Recent Posts
Lowell Brueckner

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Daniel in the Lions’ Den


The Book of the Prophet Daniel

“… some stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire!” Hebrews 11:33, 34

Chapter 6:1-28                                    Daniel in the Lions’ Den

1.   It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom 120 satraps, to be throughout the whole kingdom; 
2.  and over them three high officials, of whom Daniel was one, to whom these satraps should give account, so that the king might suffer no loss. 
3.  Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. 
4.  Then the high officials and the satraps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom, but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him. 
5. Then these men said, "We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God." 
6. Then these high officials and satraps came by agreement to the king and said to him, "O King Darius, live forever! 
7. All the high officials of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an injunction, that whoever makes petition to any god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions. 
8. Now, O king, establish the injunction and sign the document, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be revoked." 
9. Therefore King Darius signed the document and injunction.

Because historians carefully detail the Persian overthrow of Babylon, the date can be accurately placed as October 16, 539 B.C. Daniel´s account began in 606 B.C. and we have been learning about the head of gold, on the image in Nebuchadnezzar´s dream. Now we enter the Persian period, with the chest and arms of silver. Already we have witnessed 67 years of Jewish captivity and shortly after this, Cyrus decrees that the Jews are to return to their native land. It seems certain that Daniel had something to do with this decree and so we find another purpose, for which he has been sent to Babylon.

In setting up the new government, having conquered and taken possession of much new territory, Darius placed 120 satraps as regional governors. Over these were three higher officials, only under the king himself, and Daniel became the prominent leader among these. It seems that Darius had plans to make him something equivalent to a prime minister over the entire empire.  

In the earlier chapters, we have already learned of the “excellent spirit” that was in Daniel and to Whom Daniel gave the credit, as the fountain, from which his spirit was nourished (2:28,30). Along with three other men, who were brought as captives to Babylon, Daniel attained learning, skill, wisdom and understanding of dreams and visions from God. 

In all our Bible study, I hope that I have made it clear that we want to see the immutability of spiritual principle. Because spiritual principles are unchanging, we should find modern similarities in all Bible stories. Here are a few that we will cover in the following paragraphs: Anti-Semitism, the deification of man, supposed infallibility of high leaders, religious persecution, and evil, destructive opposition without constructive purpose.

Above all, the governors and the other two high officials saw Daniel as an exile Jew. Throughout the centuries, the devil has plagued the human race with anti-Semitism, simply because God has chosen them as His national people and through them has manifested His glory. In the book of Esther, the entire Jewish race was threatened by a high Persian official named Haman. Through witchcraft, he chose a day for their annihilation. God intervened, Haman was hanged and, to this day, the Jews celebrate Purim, on the 15th day of Adar (in February/March on our calendar), in memory of His deliverance (Es.9:20-32).

This prejudice accentuates natural envy against a man, who has been particularly favored by the emperor and God. Daniel’s enemies were looking for any grounds for impeachment, but he was a careful and wise leader. They found no way to accuse him, regarding the way he handled his office, so they came against him from another angle. They devised a plan to attack him on his religious practices and then they presented it to the king.

From the Pharaohs to the Caesars, subjects gave the supreme ruler divine reverence. This was and is characteristic of the antichrist system which, inspired by Satan, seeks to exalt man into a super-race. Therefore, it was not hard to convince Darius that all the world should worship him. Also, it might seem reasonable, in the transfer of government from the Babylonians to the Persians, to demand total loyalty towards the stability of the new regime.    

The rulers and regional governors constructed a 30-day loyalty plan, in which no one was to conduct worship or prayer to any god, but solely to the emperor. The Medes and the Persians rendered infallibility to their king and even he could not change a law once it was signed. They attached a death penalty to the violator of the law, by throwing him into a lions’ den. King Darius signed it into law.

10.  “When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. 
11.  Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and plea before his God. 
12.  Then they came near and said before the king, concerning the injunction, "O king! Did you not sign an injunction, that anyone who makes petition to any god or man within thirty days except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?" The king answered and said, "The thing stands fast, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked." 
13.  Then they answered and said before the king, "Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or the injunction you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day." 
14.  Then the king, when he heard these words, was much distressed and set his mind to deliver Daniel. And he labored till the sun went down to rescue him. 
15.  Then these men came by agreement to the king and said to the king, "Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no injunction or ordinance that the king establishes can be changed." 
16.  Then the king commanded, and Daniel was brought and cast into the den of lions. The king declared to Daniel, "May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!" 
17.  And a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signet of his lords, that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel. 

Prayer was not an option for Daniel; it was a necessity. His relationship with God designed his entire life and purpose and prayer maintained that relationship. It was his lifeline. The Logos of God clearly taught the principle, when He lived among men. “I am the vine; you are the branches… apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch… into the fire, and burned.  If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (Jn.15:5-7).

For this reason, Daniel did not take this new law into consideration and there would be no compromise, neither physically or spiritually. I read the story of a Bulgarian, sent to a communist prison for his pastoral position. By signing certain, seemingly minor, concessions, he could have reduced his sentence. He and Daniel did not modify their position, and that is the characteristic of any and all men of God: “When Daniel knew that the document had been signed”, he opened his window on the top floor, got down on his knees, and prayed out loud three times a day, “as he had done previously”.

Some (especially those on the side of the opposition) would call this rebellion. It is not; it is non-conformity and throughout church history, God has always used non-conformists. Please understand this, you who have been so careful to obey men, fear them, and seek honor from them: Conformists have no future in God.

He prayed towards Jerusalem. Solomon asked: “In the land of their captivity to which they were carried captive… (if they) pray toward… the city that you have chosen… then hear from heaven your dwelling place their prayer and their pleas (2 Chr.6:38,39). Daniel’s enemies knew where and when they should come and they came unitedly with plenty of witnesses, and “found Daniel making petition and plea before his God”. 

From Daniel’s residence, they went to the king and, before mentioning Daniel, they reminded him of the injunction, which he recognized to be legal and firm. Then they accused Daniel (notice how they refer to him as an exile, rather than a principal official) of subordination and of willfully defying the king. The news did not please Darius in the least and he was aware of their trickery and evil intentions towards Daniel. He spent the rest of the day looking for a loophole or some counter measure in order to free this valuable man.

The leaders came unitedly before the king and demanded the execution of the legal sentence. They perhaps knew of Darius’ search for an escape, and pressed the immutability clause in Median and Persian law. They knew that the plot was made without the emperor’s favor, but they had accomplished their purpose and were determined to see it carried out.

Darius had no choice, but to command, with regret, the execution of the law. He expressed to Daniel his desire for his deliverance and, as he had failed, he held to the possibility that, as Daniel had been faithful to his God, so He would be faithful to him. Darius’ political position is somewhat similar to Pilate’s, although, I think, with sincerer sentiments. Daniel took the place of a type of Christ and, as the Jews, so his peers had the greater guilt. Nevertheless, Darius put his seal on the stone set on Daniel’s ‘tomb’ and the leadership “make it as secure as (they) can” (Mt.27:65).

 18.  Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; no diversions were brought to him, and sleep fled from him. 
19.  Then, at break of day, the king arose and went in haste to the den of lions. 
20.  As he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish. The king declared to Daniel, "O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?" 
21.  Then Daniel said to the king, "O king, live forever! 
22.  My God sent his angel and shut the lions' mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm." 
23.  Then the king was exceedingly glad, and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. 
24.  And the king commanded, and those men who had maliciously accused Daniel were brought and cast into the den of lions—they, their children, and their wives. And before they reached the bottom of the den, the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces. 
25.  Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: "Peace be multiplied to you. 
26.  I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end. 
27.  He delivers and rescues; he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, he who has saved Daniel from the power of the lions." 
28.  So this Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

In the following narrative, I see, not only Daniel saved from the lions’ mouth. I also see Darius under conviction of guilt, running towards God, and then exceedingly joyful in witnessing His salvation. The Persian emperor ate no dinner that night, refused his evening entertainment, and “sleep fled from him”. This is a great way to describe conviction for his sin. Sleep abandoned him and left him alone to face his miserable decision. Although he signed Daniel’s death warrant under extreme political duress, yet he has sinned and is accountable to God. As the representative of world government, he has allied himself with the devil and men to oppose the purposes of God.  

He ran to the den, hoping for relief from his conscience and there he was met by the supernatural capability of the living God, who can right every wrong. The context separates the cry from the speech: “He cried out in a tone of anguish. The king declared to Daniel…” He first gave an outcry of anguish and this would be consistent with the reaction of a sinner under conviction for sin. Then he expressed the hope that his guilt has been removed.

Daniel was respectful and gentle to the king, even as he walked and spoke among the lions. Certainly this would not naturally be an atmosphere for rational conversation, but after a night of peaceful co-existence with ferocious carnivores, Daniel was at rest and in control. His greeting may have been a common form of salutation to a king, but I prefer to think that Daniel used it with a sincere desire to see the king come from his conviction of sin, into eternal life! He gently reproves the king for condemning an innocent man and declares to him the salvation of God.

God sent His Angel and I think it was the same divine Angel sent to the three Hebrews, who were condemned to be burned alive. The Fourth Man comes from the furnace to lock the lions’ jaws in the den. He tames the fire, calms the storm, and dries the sea. Working within the trinity, He engraves commandments with His finger on stone and writes on palace walls. His word endures forever and will judge men in the last day.

The king rejoiced in God’s salvation brought to Daniel, because he trusted in God. He is a living witness before the eyes of a world emperor. Always, good results come to those who trust God, and they find that God is totally satisfied, when they put their trust in Him. He requires nothing besides. Hebrews 11 shows that all the wonderful acts of God came by faith. “By grace you have been saved through faith(Eph.2:8). Daniel by faith stopped the mouth of lions and now Darius releases him from the den.

The death sentence is reversed and falls upon the accusers. The evil, spiritual instigator behind these wicked men is the accuser of the brethren, who will be cast out of his place in the heavens and, eventually, will be thrown into the Lake of Fire. “God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you… when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (2 Th.1:6,7,8).

As Nebuchadnezzar, King Darius decrees and confesses in favor of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. As in the former case, I want again to bring this testimony before our eyes, as we close this chapter. It is worthy of serious contemplation: “In all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end. He delivers and rescues; he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, he who has saved Daniel from the power of the lions." 

The final verse of this chapter brings to mind a verse from the apostle Paul in the New Testament, which Daniel certainly found to be true, after all his tribulation and tests: “We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Ro.8:28). This is true prosperity!


Post a Comment