Next Imperial Regime

SYNOPSIS - The rescue of Daniel from the den of lions demonstrated that Yahweh remained in control of history – Daniel 6:1-28

Lions - Photo by Jeff Lemond on Unsplash
A
fter the overthrow of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, the new ruler of the province of Babylon - Darius the Mede - appointed Daniel his chief officer with authority over the other civil servants that administered the daily affairs of the province. His promotion caused great resentment among other officials, so a conspiracy was hatched to destroy Daniel. - [Lions - Photo by Jeff Lemond on Unsplash].

By his own words, Darius became ensnared in the plot and obligated to execute Daniel. Though he regretted his actions, under the “law of the Medes and the Persians” the king had no alternative but to cast him into a den of lions.

Through the intervention of an angel, Daniel was delivered unscathed from the ravenous lions. The next morning, the king ordered his release and the destruction of his accusers. Then, Darius issued a new edict that commanded all the citizens of Babylon to revere the wonder-working God of Daniel. As under the earlier Babylonian rule, Daniel prospered under the new regime of the “Medes and Persians.”

Darius the Mede” appointed Daniel first among his three ministers of state tasked with the management of the province. Certain provincial governors envied his elevation and sought to discredit him. Had he not been a faithful servant of the previous Neo-Babylonian rĂ©gime? However, unable to find fault with his conduct, they arranged circumstances that would make him appear disloyal to Darius.
  • (Daniel 6:1-3) – “It was pleasing before Darius that he should set up over the kingdom a hundred and twenty satraps — that they should be over all the kingdom; and over these, three confidential ministers of whom Daniel was first — that to them these satraps should render an account, and the king not be suffering loss. Then this Daniel signalised himself above the ministers and the satraps, because a distinguished spirit was in him, and the king thought to set him up over all the kingdom, Then the ministers and the satraps began seeking to find occasion against Daniel in respect of the kingdom — but no occasion nor wickedness could they find, inasmuch as, faithful was he and neither error nor wickedness could be found against him.” – (The Emphasized Bible).
A written edict was published prohibiting anyone from petitioning any other “god or man for thirty days,” except Darius. This was incorporated into the “law of the Medes and Persians” - Once written, a law could not be altered, not even by the king. Violators were executed.

Nevertheless, Daniel continued to pray daily to Yahweh. His “seditious” conduct was reported to the king. Though aware of the new law, Daniel did not alter his daily routine. His accusers “found him making petition and supplication before his God” and reminded the king of the legal tradition that no law could be altered once written. Even a ruler as powerful as Darius was not above the “law of the Medes and Persians.”

The trap was set and sprung. His enemies accused him of disloyalty to the king. This distressed Darius greatly since he valued Daniel’s services, therefore, he “determined to save Daniel.” However, he was only able to postpone the execution for a few hours - until sunset. Since the matter was out of his hands, he left it in the hands of the God of Daniel. Unlike Belshazzar, this king expressed respect for the God of the Jewish exiles and encouraged Daniel - (“Your God whom you serve will deliver you”).

Cast into the pit, it was sealed shut behind Daniel. The king passed the night in great anxiety, and early the next morning, he hastened to see if Daniel remained alive, and called out to him - “Is your God whom you serve able to deliver you from the lions?” Being very much alive, he answered the king. The angel had shut the mouths of the lions so they could not harm him - He was “blameless” before God and the king.

After removing Daniel from the pit, the king had his accusers were cast in instead, where they died a horrific death - (“The lions broke all their bones in pieces before they came to the bottom of the den”). The ferocity of the attack demonstrated that Daniel was NOT spared because the beasts were simply not hungry. The immediate dispatch of his opponents by the lions demonstrated their ravenous hunger. Daniel’s life was saved by divine intervention; not by circumstances or any attempt by Darius to save him.

Next, Darius issued a decree to “all the peoples, nations, and tongues that dwell in all the earth” to publicize how the “God of Daniel” had reversed the irreversible decree of the king. The salutation of Darius is virtually identical to the earlier one published by Nebuchadnezzar - (Daniel 4:1 - “Nebuchadnezzar to all people, nations, and tongues that dwell in all the earth”).

Darius had decreed previously that no man could petition anyone but him. However, now he summoned “all peoples, nations, and tongues…to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel.” The plot to exploit the “law of the Medes and Persians” to destroy Daniel, instead, caused the demise of the plotters.

The Aramaic word rendered “destroy” in verse 26 is the same one translated “destroy” in verse 22 - (“The lions have not destroyed me”). This usage echoes the declarations about the coming “kingdom of God” made years earlier in the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. The miraculous deliverance of Daniel from the pit demonstrated that the kingdom of God “shall not be destroyed,” regardless of the edicts and machinations of kings and evil men - (Daniel 2:44).

Everest - Photo by Luo Lei on Unsplash
Everest - Photo by Luo Lei on Unsplash

Daniel prospered under the reigns of “Darius the Mede” and “
Cyrus the Persian.” The first half of the book closes with the inauguration of the next WORLD-POWER – The kingdom of the “Medes and the Persians.” Geopolitical developments continued to prove that Yahweh gave sovereignty to whomever He pleased.

This story is related to events recorded in chapter 3. In both stories, the Jewish exiles who were educated in the learning of Babylon had aroused jealousy among the ruling class. In both accounts, plots were hatched to destroy them. In chapter 3, Daniel’s three friends were thrown into a fiery furnace when they refused to venerate the king’s golden image. In chapter 6, Daniel was cast to the lions when he transgressed the royal edict.

In both stories, the exiles violated the king’s edict because of their higher allegiance to Yahweh, and in both, they were miraculously delivered from death. Both stories concluded with the king issuing decrees that honored the God of Israel and advanced the status of the Jewish exiles in the government of the empire, and both demonstrated that Yahweh was in full control of history, the rise and fall of empires, and the welfare of His people.

In Revelation

The written decree by Darius issued to all the peoples that “dwell on the earth” is echoed in the proclamation of the angel in chapter 14 of Revelation. Like, the “fiery furnace” from third chapter of Daniel, the destruction of the men who plotted against Daniel in the pit of lions has influenced the portrait of the destruction of the “Beast” and its followers in the “Lake of fire” in Revelation. Note the verbal parallels:
  • (Daniel 6:24-26) - “And the king commanded, and they brought those men that had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and broke all their bones in pieces, before they came to the bottom of the den. Then king Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and tongues that dwell on all the earth - Peace be multiplied unto you. I make a decree, that in all the dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel; for he is the living God, and steadfast forever; and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed; and his dominion shall be even unto the end.
  • (Revelation 14:6-7, 9-11) - “And I saw another angel flying in mid heaven, having everlasting good tidings to proclaim to them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people; and he says with a great voice, Fear God, and give him glory; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made the heaven and the earth and sea and fountains of waters…If any man renders homage to the beast or its image, he also shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is prepared unmixed in the cup of his fury; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment is ascending forever and ever; and they have no rest day and night.
  • (Daniel 3:8-9) – “At that time, certain Chaldeans came near and brought accusation against the Jews. They answered and said to Nebuchadnezzar the king, O king, live forever. You, O king, have made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of music, shall fall down and render homage to the golden image; and whoever does not fall down and render homage, will be cast into the burning fiery furnace.”
  • (Revelation 19:20) – “And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought the signs in his sight, wherewith he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast and them that paid homage to his image: they two were cast alive into the lake of fire that burns with brimstone.”
  • (Revelation 21:8) - “But for the fearful, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
Ironically, the men who plotted to condemn Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego to the fiery pit were themselves cast into it and destroyed; likewise, the fate of the envious governors who conspired to have Darius throw Daniel to the lions.

So also, in Revelation, the “Dragon” and his servants that “waged war” against the “saints” find themselves consigned forever to the “Lake of Fire.” In each case, the “inhabitants of the earth” from every nation were exhorted to take the lesson to heart by acknowledging the God of Daniel.




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