In this article, I would like to examine a well-known passage in Scripture—Daniel’s account of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace. While many have been taught this story reveals that Christ is with the believer in the midst of life’s storms and will deliver us through them, I would assert that this is merely a secondary application. Instead, there is a far more important—albeit less visible—lesson to be found here in God’s Word… a primary application that is directly related to the fast-approaching apocalyptic period facing the world.
When it comes to the apocalypse, should we be prepping to survive or escape the coming fiery furnace?
Throughout Scripture, we find God utilizing typology. What are types? It’s really just a fancy name for a simple literary concept or technique. A type is something which paints a picture of a yet future event.
Stated differently, it is a foreshadowing or, better stated, foretelling of future events utilizing historical events. In other words, types are actual historical events or people; however, these historical things point to a larger and more significant occurrence of a similar event or person in the future.
In the case of the fiery furnace, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s refusal to worship Nebuchadnezzar’s image of the beast points to or is a type of two massively important future events:
- The Seven-Year Tribulation Period
- The Rapture of the Church
Understanding this typology is critical for everyone—but especially for preppers!
It’s important to always be as physically prepared as possible. As we get closer and closer to the coming tribulation period, natural and civil disasters will continue to grow in both intensity and frequency. It’s both wise and biblical to ensure we are reasonably prepared for them. However, as we always warn, it is far more important to be spiritually prepared.
Many preppers are frantically preparing to survive the coming apocalypse… but is that warranted?
Let’s take a moment to explore the story from Daniel more closely and properly interpret what it means for us today as we stand on the very threshold of a looming apocalyptic period on earth—the Tribulation.
Should we be physically prepping to survive the apocalypse… or spiritually preparing to escape it?
The Fiery Furnace Is a Type Pointing to the Tribulation Period
Many of you are familiar with the story. King Nebuchadnezzar built a large golden image—an idolatrous statue—to be worshiped by all in the land.
Daniel describes this image:
Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon” (Daniel 3:1).
This image was part of Satan’s false Babylonian religious system. To learn more about this—and how it is being resurrected today, I encourage you to read our article Wokeness—Rebirth of Global Babylonian False Religious System. It is similar in nature to Satan’s Throne, which we discuss in our article Satan’s Throne: Are You Prepping with Spiritual Situational Awareness?
Daniel tells us that this image was threescore cubits high—meaning 60 cubits—and six cubits wide. Hold onto those numbers for just a moment.
Now, Nebuchadnezzar announces that the time has come to dedicate the new golden idol. He has his herald declare to everyone:
To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of music, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: and whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace” (Daniel 3:4-6).
This reveals two additional items of importance.
First, all will be required (i.e., it is mandatory) for everyone to worship this image. In fact, failure to do so will result in immediate death—it is a capital offense.
Second, Scripture is very clear that worship will be signaled by music—specifically, by the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer. Daniel repeats this specific description four separate times. Why? The type of instruments seems like an odd thing to emphasize in this story?
I would argue that it is not the type of instruments that God was emphasizing but, rather, the number of instrument types—six!
Thus, in Daniel’s concise introduction to this event, we find the important numbers 6-6-6 (60, 6, and 6).
This is nearly identical to John’s description of events that will take place during the seven-year tribulation period—specifically, that which the False Prophet will do:
And he [the False Prophet] had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.” (Revelation 13:15-18)
Clearly, King Nebuchadnezzar’s image and the worship of it is a type of the coming seven-year tribulation period.
To learn more about the coming False Prophet, I encourage you to read our article I Come In My Own Name: Is Pope Francis the False Prophet?
Proper Identification Matters—Who’s Actually in the Fiery Furnace?
Next, Daniel tells us that when the instruments sounded for the dedication, not everyone fell down and worshipped the idol:
There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up” (Daniel 3:12).
Here, we find those three familiar individuals we remember from Sunday school as a child—Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego. They refused to bow down and worship the image (a type of the image of the beast).
What is critical to notice here is not necessarily their names but, rather, how they are described or characterized.
Scripture emphasizes that they were Jews: “There are certain Jews.” And, because they refused to serve or worship the Babylonian false gods, they were faithful Jews.
Thus, we find that this story is not only a type of the future seven-year tribulation period, but it pertains to the faithful Jews during that time.
This is critical to understand. While Christ does deliver Christians through the storms they face, that is not the point God is making regarding the future tribulation period. He is using a historical event to paint a picture (a.k.a. a type) of His chosen people—the Jews—during that period.
This biblical type is addressed to Jews and the nation of Israel—not the church!
Divine Deliverance from the Fiery Furnace
When King Nebuchadnezzar heard that these certain Jews refused to worship the image of the beast, Daniel declares that he was filled with anger and rage:
Then Nebuchadnezzar, in rage and fury, gave the command to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego” (Daniel 3:13).
When the three Jewish men appeared before the king, he gave them a final ultimatum: bow and worship the image or die.
They refused… and we see Nebuchadnezzar’s rage explode even further:
Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego” (Daniel 3:19).
Remember, prior to this, Nebuchadnezzar was thrilled with Daniel and his three friends. He recognized the power of their God and thought that he could control them (and their God)—that he could bring them under the umbrella of the broader Babylonian religious system (a.k.a. Satan’s one-world religious system).
He was fine with them having their God, so long as they recognized and respected all the Babylonian gods—and his ultimate sovereignty as king.
However, when they refuse to play nice and submit to both his sovereignty and the gods of the false Babylonian system, his opinion of and countenance toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego changed drastically. They were now public enemy number one and he was filled with anger and rage against them.
This is precisely what Scripture declares will happen during the tribulation period. During the first half (three and a half years), the Jews will embrace the Antichrist. They will be deceived into believing that he is their long-awaited messiah.
However, at the halfway point, the Antichrist will be indwelled by Satan himself and will declare himself to be god in the Temple at Jerusalem—in the very Holy of Holies. At this point, the faithful Jews will realize that they have been deceived and were terribly wrong—that he is in fact a false messiah.
Up until that point, the Antichrist will be friendly towards the Jews. He will have confirmed a peace treaty and sought to protect the nation of Israel—even enabling the construction of the Third Temple.
However, at this point, his demeanor will drastically change. He will become enraged against the Jews and will seek to destroy them:
Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman [Israel] which brought forth the man child [Jesus].” (Revelation 12:12-13).
Daniel adds that Nebuchadnezzar was so filled with rage that he “commanded that they heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated” (Daniel 3:19) before throwing them into it.
Again, this makes clear that God is indeed pointing towards the future seven-year tribulation period.
To summarize the rest of the story, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are cast into the fiery furnace. However, when King Nebuchadnezzar looks in, he sees them walking with a fourth figure—the Son of God!
He calls them out of the furnace and, when they emerge, he finds that not only had the flames had no power to touch them, but they didn’t even have the smell of smoke on their body or clothes (Daniel 3:27).
Again, this points to the divine protection and deliverance for faithful Jews following the mid-point of the Tribulation. God declares that, when they see the abomination committed by the Satan-possessed Antichrist in the Temple, these faithful Jews will flee to a place God has prepared for them—a location (possibly Petra) where they will be divinely protected from the wrath of Satan (just as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were in the fiery furnace):
But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Revelation 12:14-17)
Satan will chase after these faithful Jews and attempt to destroy them—but God will protect them. Satan—like the flames in the furnace—will have no power to touch them. This will just further enrage Satan and he will turn his rage against all others around the world who refuse to worship him.
God’s message is clear: He will deliver the faithful Jews through the Tribulation and from the wrath of Satan… just as he did for these three faithful Jews in the fiery furnace in ancient Babylon.
Where Was Daniel?
This all raises an interesting question: Where was Daniel?
I mean Daniel is central to this book. It was Daniel who interpreted all of Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams. It was Daniel who was thrown in the lion’s den. Daniel was front and center and personally involved in everything in his book… except this one event?
Why was he missing?
Well, I’m glad you asked!
We find the answer in the previous chapter. As always, context is so critical to rightly dividing and interpreting the Word of God. The very last thing we read before Daniel introduces Nebuchadnezzar’s image is:
Daniel petitioned the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego over the affairs of the province of Babylon; but Daniel sat in the court of the king” (Daniel 2:49).
This is so profound and critical to recognize and understand!
First, Daniel specifically requested that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be placed into the position that would cause them to be tested in the fiery furnace.
The Tribulation will be all about Israel—not the church! This seven-year period is the fulfillment of Daniel’s 70th week and is called the time of Jacob’s Trouble. Jacob refers to Israel—it is Israel’s time of trouble and the final week (7 years) during which God will return His focus to His chosen people “to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy” (Daniel 9:24).
It is all part of God’s prophetic and redemptive plan. The tribulation is for Israel in order to bring them back to Him and for them to finally accept their true Messiah—Jesus Christ.
To learn more about Daniel’s 70th Week, I recommend reading our article Daniel’s 70th Week & Fig Tree Generation—Is Our Time Running Out?
Second, we read that Daniel was not there because he was in “the court of the king.” This declaration is introduced with a “but”—which should be read as though it was in all caps as it is a little word that carries big significance!
Daniel was saying: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were in the fiery furnace… BUT I was in the court of the king. As a type, God is declaring Israel will be front and center in the Tribulation… BUT the church will be in the heavenly court of the KING—Jesus Christ—in heaven!
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are a type of Israel… BUT Daniel is revealed here as a type of the Church. The Church that will not see the fiery furnace of the Tribulation. A Church—the Bride of Christ—that will be raptured (snatched away from the fire) to be with the Lord in heaven!
Whenever you are reading and studying Scripture, always pay close attention to the “buts”—it is one of God’s favorite transitions to signal important contrasts.
Finally, just before Daniel’s request to the king, we find that he writes:
Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon” (Daniel 2:48).
This is yet a further illustration of Daniel as a type of the church and of the Rapture. Following our snatching away to be with Christ in the court of the King, believers will (1) receive their glorified (sinless) bodies, (2) appear before the judgement (bema) seat of Christ to receive rewards (or gifts) for those things that were done for the glory of God during their lives, and (3) Christ will appoint believers to positions of authority in His coming earthly kingdom—where we will reign with Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him. If we endure, we shall also reign with Him.” (2 Timothy 2:11-12)
And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years… they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:4, 6)
Thus, Daniel represents a clear type of the coming pre-Tribulation rapture of the church, which is the body and bride of Christ:
- Daniel was made great by the king
- Daniel received gifts from the king
- Daniel was made a ruler over the whole province by the king
- Daniel was in the court of the king
- Daniel was absent from the trial in the fiery furnace
As we have seen, Daniel’s account of King Nebuchadnezzar’s image and fiery furnace is a type that points to a future event that will be similar in nature but far more significant in size and scope.
Specifically, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s deliverance was a type which teaches that this fiery trial points to, foreshadows, or foretells:
- The seven-year tribulation period (a.k.a. Daniel’s 70th Week and Jacob’s Trouble)
- That the Tribulation is for Israel—not the Church
- That faithful Jews will be protected from and delivered through the fire (the wrath of Satan) by God
However, this story is also a powerful type of the pre-tribulation rapture of the church.
Believers of the age of grace (the Body of Christ) were not ordained by God to experience His wrath. Jesus—the Great Bridegroom—will appear in the clouds to call His bride unto Him before the Tribulation begins.
If you are a believer in Christ, it is wise to reasonably prepare for emergencies. However, there is no need to prepare for the apocalypse—you won’t be there! You will be in the court of the King enjoying the wedding feast, appearing before Christ at the bema seat to give an account of your life (hopefully receiving a reward), and preparing to return with Christ at His second coming to reign with Him for a thousand years in His earthly kingdom.
If you are not a believer in Christ, then you are faced with the most serious of dilemmas:
- Prepare to try and survive the Tribulation, or
- Trust in Christ and escape it
I would remind you that God will supernaturally protect those Jews that are faithful. However, He will not protect the rest of the world! When Satan finds that he can’t touch the faithful Jews, his wrath will be poured out on all others who refuse to worship him—they will be identified, tracked down, and put to death. (And that’s on top of all the judgments that God will pour out on mankind)
Salvation in the Tribulation will require enduring to the end—meaning, in most cases, your death.
During this period, we will be back to the gospel of the Kingdom… not the Pauline gospel of grace! Salvation will require denying self and taking up one’s cross to follow Christ—even unto death (cf. Mark 8:34; 10:21).
If you’re not a faithful Jew, the odds—no matter how much you prep—are very, very low that you will survive this seven-year period. Furthermore, if you do survive, but do so by taking the mark of the beast and worshiping his image, you will be cast directly into hell when Christ returns with His saints at the end of the seven years.
If you’re not willing to trust Christ now—when you’re under grace and there’s no threat to your life for doing so—do you really think you will do it when it will literally cost you your head?
After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands… These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation… And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death… I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands.” (Revelation 7:9, 14; 12:11; 20:4)
Given the choice before you, I beseech you to immediately chose to be spiritually prepared by accepting Christ!
Time has run out. The apocalypse is on our doorstep. The church will be leaving at any moment.
Get on the Ark that is Jesus Christ now—before the doors are sealed shut and your chance to escape the coming madness is gone!
It’s not complicated! Salvation comes but one way: through faith alone, in Christ alone, by grace alone.
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins… But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:1, 4-9)
Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)
I’ll leave you with this…
There is nothing wrong with prepping for emergencies and potential crises—we are firm advocates for prior, proper preparation. To learn more about this, I encourage you to read our article 10 Reasons It’s Completely Biblical for a Christian to Be a Prepper.
However, attempting to prepare for the coming apocalypse is both futile and unnecessary! No matter how much you prepare, you will likely not survive. But more importantly, why on earth would you want to go through that?
The good news is that you don’t have to! God has lovingly and graciously provided you with a way to escape it—through faith in His beloved Son Jesus Christ and His shed blood on the Cross.
Furthermore, not only is it futile and unnecessary… but it is dangerous. You will literally be gambling with your very soul.
Scripture is clear that during this period, Satan will deceive most “with all power and signs and lying wonders” (2 Thessalonians 2:9) and God himself will “send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12).
What makes you think you won’t be deceived? Why even roll the dice and take that chance?
By all means, prep wisely and reasonably… but, FIRST, get on the Ark my friend while you still can—get spiritually prepared!