Robert Rite (01/15/2015): Many believe that the story of Daniel in the lion’s den is nothing but a fairy tale. It is not, but even if it were so there is a significant divine message behind the account. It applies to this very moment in time and the coming tribulation period (apocalypse).
Daniel was the only prophet who spent his entire adult life living in exile in Babylon and Persia. He outlasted all of the kings in his time. Daniel was first exiled into Babylon as a youth of approximately 17 years of age, when Israel was invaded by the Babylonians who took many Jews captive.
Because the kings all recognized that Daniel had an excellent spirit in him (since God’s favor was upon him), Daniel was always appointed to positions of nobility in the various empires that he would serve under. Instead of serving as a slave like many of the captives, Daniel always was appointed to high positions within these empires.
By the time that he is convicted to death he is approximately 83 years of age. Let’s review the reason for his persecution.
Under King Darius of Media-Persia Daniel was appointed as one of three chief governors. Because of his excellent spirit, He was preferred by Darius over the other governors.
In time great jealousy developed among the governors against Daniel and they conspired to have Daniel killed. So they conspired to set a trap for Daniel to have him executed. They could find no fault in him (Dan. 6:5-8) but they knew that he was unwavering in his faith in the God of Israel. So since they had to convict him by his religious belief, they established a 30 day statute whereby anyone who was caught praying to any god other than to king Darius – he would be put to death. We see the spirit of Satan at work here, whereby he influences the leaders of nations to worship man instead of God.
King Darius was tricked into accepting this edict, and according to the law of the Medes and Persians once established, a law could NOT be revoked.
As he was accustomed to doing Daniel continued to pray three times a day facing Jerusalem with window open (Dan. 6:10).
So they reported to the king that Daniel had violated the statute and therefore must be put to death. This greatly displeased the king, and he was upset at allowing himself to be deceived. Some scholars believe that King Darius respected and revered the God of Daniel because he may have been the grandson of Queen Esther (the Jewish exile who the Persian king Ahasuerus chose as his wife circa. 478 B.C.).
So the king had to carry out the death sentence – and put Daniel in the Den of Lions. Based on the biblical account, it is apparent that the King believed Daniel would survive even though it would take a miracle. However his level of faith was nowhere near as strong as Daniel’s. So the king was deeply distressed and could not sleep all night. It is likely that the fear of God was upon him, knowing what would happen to him and his empire if he killed Daniel (Dan. 6:13-15)
Early in the dawn, the king rushed down to the Den to see if Daniel had indeed survived (Dan. 6:19-20, 23). In one of the greatest miracles of the bible – God had shut the Lion’s mouths, and Daniel was unharmed. Daniel was spared because he believed in God (Dan. 6:23).
The king was delighted. Those and the families of those who deceived the king where then cast into the Den of lions and were all torn to pieces (Dan. 6:24).
Daniel died in his mid 90’s. He served God his entire life even though his entire life was spent in captivity. The important take away here is that no matter where you live, whether a free man or in jail – we can still serve the Almighty. We can turn our lemons to lemonade regardless of our situation or position in life. I believe that a special crown in heaven, awaits those who persevere and remain steadfast in their faith despite their handicaps or trials. I believe this is why our Lord revealed that the first shall be last, and the last shall be first in God’s kingdom.
God never took Daniel away from his exile in Babylon, because God knew that Daniel’s level of faith would allow him to persevere even under captivity. This is why Daniel was held in high esteem, and why the Archangel Gabriel revealed to Daniel visions of what would happen at the time of the very end. Daniel was probably the greatest prophet of the Old Testament, and received detailed revelations of the apocalypse, and all the players thereof. In fact, many of the prophecies in the book of Revelation were foretold in the book of Daniel.
We learn some foundational truths from this account:
– God’s People are Persecuted
– God’s Children are not Swayed
– Even ungodly men respect those whom the Lord has blessed and anointed.
– God’s Children are Protected
– God honors those who honor Him!
God remains with us when we face trials and persecution, and depending on our level of faith, God can deliver us from anything (Matt 28:19-20)!
A popular theme in this secular world is that there are many ways to God. This is obviously a poke at the major monotheistic religions; Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Since there is only one way to God, we must be courageous just like Daniel and stand up for our God – even in the face of death. Daniel was willing to die for His God; and His God remembered him at his moment of peril.
There will soon come a time when you and I may also have to stand up for our God. If your faith is unwavering, like Daniel’s was, then you too will persevere and stand up for your faith knowing that the sovereign God of the Bible is the only way to eternity in Paradise.