Then Azarias stood up, and prayed on this manner; and opening his mouth in the midst of the fire said,
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Hippolytus of Rome
Tell me, Nebuchadnezzar, when did you see the Son of God, that you should confess that this is the Son of God? And who pricked your heart, that you should utter such a word? And with what eyes were you able to look into this light? And why was this manifested to you alone, and to none of the satraps about you? But, as it is written, The heart of a king is in the hand of God: the hand of God is here, whereby the Word pricked his heart, so that he might recognise Him in the furnace, and glorify Him. And this idea of ours is not without good ground. For as the children of Israel were destined to see God in the world, and yet not to believe in Him, the Scripture showed beforehand that the Gentiles would recognise Him incarnate, whom, while not incarnate, Nebuchadnezzar saw and recognised of old in the furnace, and acknowledged to be the Son of God.
Let me say again, how wise was the fire and how indescribable the power of God! Their bodies had been bound with chains; those chains were burnt up, whereas the bodies themselves were not burnt. As for the appearance of the fourth man, which he asserts to be like that of a son of God, either we must take him to be an angel, as the Septuagint has rendered it, or indeed, as the majority think, the Lord our Savior. Yet I do not know how an ungodly king could have merited a vision of the Son of God. On that |44 reasoning one should follow Symmachus, who has thus interpreted it: "But the appearance of the fourth is like unto the sons," not unto the sons of God but unto gods themselves. We are to think of angels here, who after all are very frequently called gods as well as sons of God. So much for the story itself. But as for its typical significance, this angel or son of God foreshadows our Lord Jesus (p. 512) Christ, who descended into the furnace of hell, in which the souls of both sinne...