Who Was the Fourth man in the Fire?
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were cast into a fiery furnace because of their faith in the one true and living God and because of their refusal to bow to an image set up by king Nebuchadnezzar. The king later saw a fourth man in the fire and proclaimed: "Lo, I see four men loose . . . and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God" (Daniel 3:25).
In the original language (Aramaic) there is no "the" before Son in this passage. The New International Version of the Bible (NIV) and The Amplified Bible (TAB) render this phrase as "a son of the gods." Nebuchadnezzar was a pagan king, who believed in many gods. He said that man in the fire looked like one of the sons of the gods. He had no faith in the true and living God known as Jehovah in the Old Testament of the Bible.
Most likely the king saw an angel, for he later described this manifestation as an "angel" (Daniel 3:28). God did not form a body for Himself as yet. The Son of God (in regards to Jesus) is a title used for the man Christ Jesus, who came for the purpose of redemption. This manifestation as Son of God was not revealed until a later time in history when God overshadowed the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:35, Matthew 1:21) and formed the baby in her womb. Hebrews 10:5 states "a body hast thou prepared me." It is erronous and ditheistic to believe the king was speaking of Jesus Christ. God did not identify Himself with the name Jesus in the Old Testament—He operated as Jehovah. It was when the fulness of time came for God to redeem mankind from sin that he came as a man, made of a woman (Galatians 4:4). The fleshly body of Christ or Son of God did not exist before the conception in the womb of Mary, so the king was not referring to Jesus. God operated as one Spirit in the Old Testament, for God is one being (Deuteronomy 6:4). He visited only people for whom he had special assignments as a theophany (a temporary manifestation of God as an angel) in the Old Testament. When used in its proper context, Sons of God (not Son of God), in one place refers to angels (Job 38:7) or in another context as the righteous seed of Seth (Genesis 6:2).