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The Test By Fire

Nebuchadrezzar, the king, made an image of gold ninety feet high and nine feet wide. He set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. Then he sent for the officers, the governors, the judges, the treasurers, and all the rulers of the provinces. So they all came together and stood before the image that Nebuchadrezzar had set up.
      
      Then the herald cried aloud, "To you it is commanded, O peoples, nations: 'The moment you hear the sound of the trumpet, flute, lute, harp, bagpipe, and all kinds of musical instruments, you shall fall down and worship the golden image. Whoever does not fall down and worship shall be thrown into a burning, fiery furnace.'" So when all the people heard the sound of the trumpet, flute, lute, harp, bagpipe, and all kinds of musical instruments, all the peoples, nations, and races fell down and worshipped the golden image that King Nebuchadrezzar had set up.
      
      But at that time certain Chaldeans came near to the king and made this charge against the Jews: "O king, live forever! O king, you have commanded that every man who hears the sound of the trumpet, flute, lute, harp, bagpipe, and all kinds of musical instruments shall fall down and worship the golden image, and that whoever does not fall down and worship shall be thrown into a burning, fiery furnace. There are certain Jews, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, whom you have placed in charge of the province of Babylon. These men, O king, have not obeyed your command; they do not serve your gods nor worship the golden image which you have set up."
      
      Then Nebuchadrezzar in his rage and fury gave command to bring in Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. When they were brought before the king, Nebuchadrezzar said to them, "Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my god nor worship the golden image which I have set up? If you are now ready, as soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, flute, lute, harp, bagpipe, and all kinds of musical instruments, to fall down and worship the image which I have made, well; but if you do not worship, you shall at once be thrown into a burning, fiery furnace. Where is there a god who can deliver you out of my hands?" Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, "O king, there is no need of our answering you about this. Our God whom we serve is able to save us from the burning, fiery furnace; he will save us out of your hand, O king. But if not, know, O king, that we will not serve your gods nor worship the golden image which you have set up."
      
      Then Nebuchadrezzar was very angry and the appearance of his face changed, as he looked at Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered that the furnace should be heated seven times hotter than usual. He also commanded certain strong men who were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and throw them into the burning, fiery furnace. Then these men were bound in their cloaks, their tunics, their robes, and their other garments, and were thrown into the burning, fiery furnace. As the king's command was urgent and the furnace very hot, the flames destroyed the men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. But Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down, bound, into the midst of the burning, fiery furnace.
      
      Nebuchadrezzar, the king, was so astonished that he rose up hastily and said to his counsellors, "Did we not throw three men, bound, into the fire?" They answered, "True, O king." He said, "Now I see four men, unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are unhurt, and the fourth looks like an angel."
      
      Then Nebuchadrezzar went near the door of the burning, fiery furnace and said, "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out." Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out of the fire. And the officers, governors, and counsellors who were there saw that the fire had no power over the bodies of these men, and that the hair of their heads was not singed and that their cloaks were not harmed, and that there was no smell of fire. And Nebuchadrezzar said, "Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel to save his servants who trusted in him and refused to obey the king's command and have offered their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god except their own. Therefore I command that every people, nation, and race that shall say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be cut in pieces and their house shall be made an ash-heap, for there is no other god who is so able to save as is this one." Then the king gave high positions, in the province of Babylon, to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

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The Handwriting On The Wall

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A King's Strange Dream


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