The Burning Fiery Furnace

This week Frank offers tips on reenacting an important Biblical scene…

Nebuchadnezzar made a huge golden idol, and at its dedication proclaimed that at the sound of special music everyone must worship. But Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused. Chaldean nobles informed the King of their defiance, and he angrily threatened to cast them into a furnace. “What god can save you then?” he cried. “Our God is able; but even if He does not we will not worship the image,” they replied. Then the strongest men in the army were ordered to bind them. Fully clothed, they were flung into the burning, fiery furnace, the heat of which killed the men who did so. Suddenly the King cried: “I can see four men walking in the flames unhurt. The fourth is like the Son of God.” And when they came out, untouched by fire, King Nebuchadnezzar said: “Blessed be their God!”

To reenact this important Biblical scene you will need a minimum of seven participants, one each to play the parts of Nebuchadnezzar, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, and the phantom who looks like the Son of God, one to represent the Chaldean nobles, and another to be the army strong men. You will need to dig a large pit, at the bottom of which should be placed sufficient straw and kindling (such as scrunched up newspaper or small twigs) to provide a healthy blaze. Douse this in petrol to make quite sure – you do not want your audience to traipse home disappointed that all they have seen is a damp squib. As soon as the pit is ignited, the person playing the army strong men pushes the Godly trio into it, then immediately keels over with screams of agony and lies still. After the King has said his lines, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego climb out of the pit. They should wait to attend the burns unit until the King delivers his closing words, spoken with due awe.

Note that the person playing the Son of God should be hiding in the pit from the beginning of the reenactment, unseen by the audience. If they spot him beforehand, the surprise, and indeed the whole point of the story, is ruined.

If you have difficulty mustering sufficient numbers, a two-person version is playable, with one as Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, and the Son of God figure, and the other as the King, the nobles and the army. As you can appreciate, the logistics of this can be quite overwhelming for amateurs. And be warned that audiences find this version a little far-fetched and may boo, hiss, and throw projectiles such as tomatoes, potatoes, and the hot entrails of recently sacrificed poultry.

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About Author Profile: Frank Key

Frank Key is a London-based writer, blogger and broadcaster best known for his Hooting Yard blog, short-story collections and his long-running radio series Hooting Yard on the Air, which has been broadcast weekly on Resonance FM since April 2004. By Aerostat to Hooting Yard - A Frank Key Reader, an ideal introduction to his fiction, is published for Kindle by Dabbler Editions. Mr Key's Shorter Potted Brief, Brief Lives was published in October 2015 by Constable and is available to buy online and in all good bookshops.

3 thoughts on “The Burning Fiery Furnace

  1. Worm
    January 20, 2012 at 08:47

    Baggsy be Abednego!

    Toby Ferris
    January 20, 2012 at 09:09

    Many years ago I had three goldfish called Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, so named because, while they were in their appropriate element, they bobbed around unconcerned in a fiery golden sort of way looking pleased with themselves, until the cat got Abednego. Shadrach didn’t last too long either, but Meshach just went on and on, all holier than thou in his burning fiery furnace.

    The Lord God Almighty made no appearance, unless in the form of the humming water filter (which the goldfish conceivably worshipped). I suppose the cat was Nebuchadnezzar, or possibly the Lord God now that I think of it (oh lord thou pluckest me out, burning) and I was the Chaldeans.

  3. Gaw
    January 20, 2012 at 20:10

    Looks like throwing the Atlas of Norbiton into the fiery furnace of Hooting Yard will have us shouting the odd blessing.

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