In Daniel 6, we encounter the most famous episode in Daniel’s life, the night he spent in the lion’s den. Does it foretell Jesus’s death and resurrection? Was a picture of “Jesus in the Lion’s Den” yet to come?
Jesus and the Book of Daniel, PART TWO
Let’s begin with the account of Daniel and how it might apply to Christians enduring the 70th Week of Daniel. Who is the Lion symbolically? Peter tells us:
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Pet. 5:8 NASB, emphasis mine)
Why is Daniel thrown to the lions? He was persecuted because he worshiped YHWH when worship of the true God was made illegal, and because he was betrayed by his associates. Similarly, we must also plan for a time when the worship of God will be illegal and when we are betrayed by our former brothers and sisters in Jesus who fall away. Jesus himself tells us:
Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of my name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. (Matt. 24:9-10 NASB, emphasis mine)
Daniel’s night in the lion’s den not only reveals whose den we will be thrown into (Satan’s), it also reveals our deliverance. The Angel of God shut the mouths of the hungry lions. But we need to notice Daniel was saved in the midst of the trial, not from the trial. This also is a picture of what we believers need to plan for. God will save us in the trial. We should not expect to be caught up and snatched away before the trial begins.
No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation (trial) will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. (1 Cor. 10:13 NASB, emphasis mine)
Notice our means of escape is being able to endure the trial. This is an important insight.
These foreshadows of the tribulation are not coincidence. God has given them to us in the same book of the Bible where many of the original prophecies occur to deepen our understanding of the Great Tribulation so that we might prepare for the coming times.
Jesus in The Lion’s Den
There is an even more amazing analogy between the Lion’s den and Jesus’s Tomb. Look at this graphic for all the similarities:
|Daniel’s Lion’s Den||Jesus’s Tomb|
|The leaders of the nation (satraps and commissioners) conspired to have Daniel arrested||The leaders of the nation (Sanhedrin and the High Priest) conspired to have Jesus arrested|
|No fault could be found in Daniel so the leaders trumped up charges based on religious grounds||No fault could be found in Jesus so the leaders trumped up charges based on religious grounds|
|A law was written that even the king could not break (law of the Medes and the Persians) causing Daniel to enter the Lion’s Den||A law was written even God could not break (the wages of sin are death) causing Jesus to die for our sins and enter the Tomb|
|Daniel was arrested while praying (3 times)||Jesus was arrested while praying (3 times)|
|A stone was rolled over the cave sealed with the signet ring of the king||A stone was rolled over Jesus’s grave and a Roman seal was set on the stone|
|Early in the morning, the king came to see if Daniel was alive and rolled away the stone||Early in the morning the women came to Jesus’s tomb to find the stone rolled away|
|An angel shut the mouths of the lions||An angel announced that Jesus was risen|
|King Darius decreed YHWH was the living God who reigns forever||Jesus’s ascension declared he is the living God who lives forever|
God’s Word is more miraculous than any of us can imagine. We have all read the story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den, perhaps hundreds of times. Yet below the surface is a teaching more amazing than we thought. All of scripture is like that; conceived by the mind of an infinite, all-knowing God. All scripture is ultimately about Jesus and God’s plan of redemption. Praise God.
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In the third and final article in this series we will look at Jesus’s extensive references to Daniel in the Olivet Discourse, Jesus’s great and extensive teaching on end times.