Daniel in the Lion’s Den, A Picture of the Lord Jesus Christ’s Death, Burial, and Resurrection

Source: https://seedsoffaith.cph.org/2016/06/01/lesson-1-daniel-in-the-lions-den/

This Biblical historical account is often dismissed by the world at large to be just another fantastic story that could never have taken place.  They similarly ascribe the label “fantasy” to the Book of Jonah or to Daniel’s Fiery Furnace.  It could even have been said by some skeptics that Daniel in the Lion’s den is nothing more than a children’s story, not unlike Aesop’s fable, “Androcles and the Lion”

Is that the case?  Absolutely NOT!

But it is another “Historical Parable”!

The Context

Daniel Chapter 1

The Book of Daniel begins by telling us about Jerusalem and the tribe of Judah having been taken captive into Babylon by king Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel 1:1 &2 ҦIn the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.

Then in the next two verses, Daniel 1:3&4, we read, “¶And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring [certain] of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes; Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as [had] ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.” Daniel was the first named among the four male Jews specifically identified  in chapter 1.

Then we read a bit further in verse Daniel 1:9, Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.” And the “master” (also interpreted in other verses as “great”) of the Eunuchs was named Ashpenaz (אַשְׁפְּנַז (‘ašpᵊnaz)) H828 , and that name appears only once in the whole Bible) which one concordance states to mean, “I will make prominent the sprinkled“.  IF that is indeed the case, it would make perfect sense from a spiritual perspective. This is because it reminds of the care of the Holy Spirit for God’s beloved (as we saw with regard to two other eunuchs in the Book of Esther (Hegai and Hatach) who were clearly “Types”spiritually representing the Holy Spirit) and that regarding God’s Beloved, His Church, God states in Ezekiel 36:25,Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.

Reading through the rest of the first chapter of Daniel, we see that Daniel is recognized and was indeed well favored. After Daniel requested to abstain from daily eating the king’s meat and drinking the king’s wine in order to not become defiled, the prince (also “chief” or “captain”) of the eunuchs named Melzer (מֶלְצַר (melṣar)) H4453 (meaning “guardian” or “prefect of the treasury”) granted the request and instead provided “pulse” (evidently meaning sown vegetables) to eat and water to drink to both Daniel and his three companions, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (whose names were changed to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego). Then later when they were all four brought before king Nebuchadnezzar, we read in Daniel 1:20, “And in all matters of wisdom [and] understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians [and] astrologers that [were] in all his realm.” The last verse, Daniel 1:21, tells us, “And Daniel continued [even] unto the first year of king Cyrus.”

Daniel was chosen to serve in the court of King Nebuchadnezzar and, under God’s blessing, proved himself to be a wise counselor to the king, even rising above the king’s Babylonian advisors. This created jealousy against Daniel. In this foreign country of Babylon, people did not worship the one true God. Even in the midst of false worship and persecution, Daniel remained faithful to the true God and continued to pray and worship Him alone.

Daniel Chapter 2

Daniel is Promoted

King Nebuchadnezzar had his first dream that troubled him greatly, but he could not remember the dream, but nonetheless expected that “the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans” to both recount the dream and give the interpretation of it. When none of them could determine the dream or the interpretation thereof, the king ordered that all such wise men in the kingdom (which evidently included Daniel and his three companions) would be slain.  Then we read in Daniel 2:14&15Then Daniel answered with counsel and wisdom to Arioch (אַרְיוֹךְ (‘aryôḵ))H746 the captain of the king’s guard, which was gone forth to slay the wise [men] of Babylon. He answered and said to Arioch (אַרְיוֹךְ (‘aryôḵ)) H746 the king’s captain,Why [is] the decree [so] hasty from the king? Then Arioch (אַרְיוֹךְ (‘aryôḵ))H746 made the thing known to Daniel.”

Note: Arioch (אַרְיוֹךְ (‘aryôḵ))H746 means “lion-like”, and it is also the name of an earlier Babylonian king mentioned in Genesis 14:1&9

The Secret is Revealed by God to Daniel

Daniel 2:16-19,”Then Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would give him time, and that he would shew the king the interpretation. Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions: That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise [men] of Babylon. Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.”

We later read in Daniel chapter 2, after Daniel was the only person capable of interpreting a dream of king Nebuchadnezzar, by God’s mercy alone, because it is Only “God in heaven that revealeth secrets” (Daniel 2:27Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise [men], the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king; But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visionsof thy head upon thy bed, are these;

It was not by Daniel’s own intellect or any other man

Daniel 2:30 makes clear Who the Author and Reveler of secrets Is.  It was NOT Daniel, but rather The Source Is Almighty God!   Daniel told king Nebuchanezzar, “But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for [any] wisdom that I have more than any living, but for [their] sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the king, and that thou mightest know the thoughts of thy heart.”

God Is The Only Reveler of Secrets

The king then promoted Daniel as we read in Daniel 2:46-49, “¶Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him. The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth [it is], that your God [is] a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret. Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise [men] of Babylon. Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel [sat] in the gate of the king.”  Remember that Boaz in the Book of Ruth and Mordecai in the Book of Esther both also “sat in the gate” and they were both allegorical “Types”, who spiritually represented the Lord Jesus Christ.

We should also remember what we are told in Deuteronomy 29:29, “The secret [things] belong unto the LORD our God: but those [things which are] revealed [belong] unto us and to our children for ever, that [we] may do all the words of this law.

Daniel Chapter 3 

Please see “The Fiery Furnace

Daniel Chapter 4

Note that we see a repetition of some of the events and declarations from Chapter 2 are also in Chapter 4. In Daniel Chapter 4 we see that king Nebuchadnezzar has another dream, this time involving a great tree that is cut down and only a stump remains.  Daniel is able once again interpret the dream when no other man can. First is the request by the king to Daniel (Belteshazzar) in Daniel 4:9O Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods [is] in thee, and no secret troubleth thee, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and the interpretation thereof.  Then, after hearing Nebuchadnezzar describe his dream (unlike the earlier dream of the statue), Daniel ended his interpretation with the admonition in Daniel 4:27Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity.”  Daniel was allegorically saying that the king needed to repent and turn away from his sins and show mercy to others, just as all believers do, and then to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the “poor” (unsaved) of the world that they might have salvation and eternal life.

Later in Daniel 4:29-31 we read, “At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon.The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty? While the word [was] in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, [saying], O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee.”

After enduring God’s condemnation for his (King Nebuchadnezzar’s) pride, the king’s final words in the Bible are at the end of Chapter 4, in Daniel 4:37, “Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.” (See for example: Psalm 75:7But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.“)

Daniel Chapter 5

King Nebuchadnezzar had evidently died shortly after the end of Chapter 4, because we next read in Chapter 5 that king Nebuchadnezzar’s son, Belshazzar, is now king (who allegorically was represented by the remaining stump of the hewn down tree in Chapter 4). Daniel 5:1  tells us that this son, Belshazzar, held a great feast,  “Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand.” and moreover in Daniel 5:3m, we read that he used the golden and silver vessels from the Holy Temple in Jerusalem to drink from, “Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which [was] in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein.”

As a result God sent a vision of a hand, writing on a palace wall, which writing required interpretation as we read in Daniel 5:5-10.

Then the queen told  king Belshazzar, that there was a man who could explain the meaning in Daniel 5:11There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom [is] the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; whom the king Nebuchadnezzar thy father, the king, I [say], thy father, made master of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, [and] soothsayers; Forasmuch as an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and shewing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts, were found in the same Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar: now let Daniel be called, and he will shew the interpretation.

Then the king summoned Daniel and said in Daniel 5:14-16, “I have even heard of thee, that the spirit of the gods [is] in thee, and [that] light and understanding and excellent wisdom is found in theeAnd now the wise [men], the astrologers, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing, and make known unto me the interpretation thereof: but they could not shew the interpretation of the thing: And I have heard of thee, that thou canst make interpretations, and dissolve doubts: now if thou canst read the writing, and make known to me the interpretation thereof, thou shalt be clothed with scarlet, and [have] a chain of gold about thy neck, and shalt be the third ruler in the kingdom.”

Daniel told king Belshazzar, Daniel 5:2But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know:and the God in whose hand thy breath [is], and whose [are] all thy ways, hast thou not glorified:

The meaning of the handwriting on the wall was interpreted to mean that the kingdom would be taken from Belshazzar, and, moreover, that the kingdom would be divided among the Medes and Persians.  That very night king Belshazzar was slain, and his kingdom came under the authority of King Cyrus of Media, as we read in the last verse of Daniel, Daniel 5:31And Darius the Median took the kingdom, [being] about threescore and two years old.”

Daniel Chapter 6: Daniel in the Lions’ Den

In Daniel 6:1&2, we read that King Darius established his kingdom and those to whom he delegated lesser authority to princes and presidents, which included Daniel. ¶It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom; And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel [was] first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage.

But there arose a conspiracy of jealousy against Daniel (being from Judah and neither a Mede or Babylonian) in Daniel 6:3-5, to wit, “Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm. Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he [was] faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find [it] against him concerning the law of his God.”

They conspirators went to the king to lay a trap for Daniel by asking the king to make a decree (that could not be annulled or changed, Daniel 6:15), whereby Daniel, because he was found being obedient to God in prayer, would be cast into a lion’s den. King Darius was not aware of the intent of the conspirators, or he evidently would not have agreed to such a decree. Nonetheless, upon finding out that Daniel would have to be thrown into the lion’s den, we read the following in Daniel 6:16, “¶Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel,and cast [him] into the den of lions. [Now] the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee. And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel.

Then king Darius “passed the night fasting,” and had no sleep, and he “arose early in the morning” to the lion’s den as we read in Daniel 6:18-20, and then, “And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: [and] the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?” To which Daniel replied, “Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever.”

Daniel 6:22My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.” “Innocency” (זָכוּ (zāḵû)) H213 is from the Hebrew and is used only once in the whole Bible. before God…Here Daniel is clearly a “Type” to represent Jesus Christ, but also all believers in Christ.

We should note that while Daniel is an allegorical Type for the Lord Jesus Christ in this account, Daniel was still a man placed in this difficult temporal account.  It is similar to what happened to the three of Daniel’s companions who were thrown into the Fiery Furnace in Chapter 3. There we saw how Jesus was literally present with them, keeping them all safe, and here in the Lions’ Den we hear that God sent His Angel (Messenger), Who we must assume is also pointing to the Lord Jesus Christ.

God Is the One Who Stops the Mouths of Lions

Psalm 22:21,“Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns”.

In Psalm 91:13 we read prophetic statements that describe Jesus, and by implication, also the believers in Christ, “Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.”

In Hebrews 11:33 we read of the great men of faith,“Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,

Ezekiel 22:25, [There is] a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof.

1 Peter 5:8,Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”  Resist him in faith.

2 Timothy 4:17&18, “¶Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and [that] all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve [me] unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom [be] glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

Daniel “Trusted in his God”. Daniel “Believed.” Even if we are faithless, God is faithful 2 Timothy 2:13, “If we believe not, [yet] he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

1 Corinthians 1:4-9¶I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and [in]  all knowledge;Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:Who shall also confirm you unto the end, [that ye may be] blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

1 Peter 3:13,”¶ And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy [are ye]: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For [it is] better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.”

A Stone Covered the Entrance to the Lions’ Den With Daniel Inside

Daniel 6:17, “And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel.”

Does not this sound reminiscent of what we read concerning the burial of Jesus in the unused sepulchre of the rich man, Joseph of Arimathaea, which we read about in where in verse Mark 15:46?  There we read, “And he (Joseph of Arimathaea) bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre.” Then later, on the third day, in Mark 16:1-4, we read, “And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the [mother] of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning the first [day] of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.

The New Decree (A Typological Reference to the New Testament, or New and Everlasting Covenant)

Daniel 6:25&27 “Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he [is] the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom [that] which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion [shall be even] unto the end. He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.

The eternal “new decree” of “Peace” is what God has done for the world with the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday. It is all about the New Covenant that we read about in Hebrews 8.

Hebrews 9:15And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions [that were] under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.”  The first testament is the Old Testament or the Old Covenant.

Hebrews 13:20Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,”

Jesus said in Acts 1:8, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

And we saw this same kind of new decree in the Book of Esther, where we find in  Esther 8:17, “And in every province, and in every city, whithersoever the king’s commandment and his decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a good day. And many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them.

Does not this sound exactly like the conversion that happened at the beginning of the New Testament era starting at Pentecost* in 33 A.D. when the Gospel of Salvation through Jesus Christ was first proclaimed?  The New Testament did not annul the Old Testament Law, but it offered the Good News of the Way of escape through Jesus Christ from the penalty of the Law, “the wages of sin is death“.   This is clear as we read in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  Didn’t many of the people obtain the necessary “fear” of God and become Christians (the true “Jews”), thereby obtaining peace with God, as a result?  Again, is not this is exactly what was declared in Revelation 14:6&7, “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and peopleSaying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

The New Decree Declares Peace!

Isn’t it a fact that Jesus Christ is “The Prince of Peace” (see Isaiah 9:6) and that in John 20:21 we read, “Then said Jesus to them again, Peace [be] unto you: as [my] Father hath sent me, even so send I you.”  We can also read in Psalm 85:8, we learn that, “I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly.”  and in Psalm 122:7&8 we read where God is referring allegorically to the body of believers (Jerusalem, the city of God), “Peace be within thy walls, [and] prosperity within thy palaces. For my brethren and companions’ sakes, I will now say, Peace [be] within thee.”  In Acts 10:36, “The word which [God] sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)” Finally, what we find in Psalm 29:11, “The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace.”


Daniel Chapter 5, that provides us with the historical account of Daniel in the Lion’s den, is another of the Bible’s  historical parables, in which in this case, Daniel is set up as an allegorical “Type” to represent the Lord Jesus Christ.  On the one hand, God, who listened to Daniel’s prayers and saved him from the power of the lions, saves the believers from sin, death, and that prowling lion, the devil, through His Son, Jesus Christ. He invites all to call upon Him, and promises to answer our prayers for Jesus’ sake. On the other hand, we know that Jesus, like Daniel, was falsely accused (by accusers who represent the devil and his host who will be destroyed on Judgment Day, see Haman and his 10 sons in Esther) of being disobedient, while He remained faithful.  Jesus went to the cross willingly, just as Daniel was willing to die for his faith in the One True God.  Jesus’s body lay in the tomb, like Daniel did in the Lion’s den, which in itself is a picture of being placed in hell where there is no apparent escape.  Nonetheless, God stopped the mouths of lions, and he came up out of the lion’s den unscathed just like Jesus up from the grave, without corruption.  In both cases a stone was placed over the top of both the lion’s den and the tomb where Jesus’ body lay.  In both cases, those stones did not prevent God’s will from being done.  Hallelujah! Praise God that Jesus arose from the tomb to loudly proclaim, that through Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection that the believers will not be harmed by death or hell, and that the believers are guaranteed eternal life with Jesus!


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