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The structure of the book of Daniel is laid out in a typical Hebrew chiasm, or reverse parallelism, where the chapters move toward a climax and then back out in a reverse pattern. The chiasm in Daniel shows that Daniel 6 runs parallel to Daniel 3.
A. The Captivity of Judah (Chapter 1)
B. Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream (Chapter 2)
C. Daniel’s Companions in the Fiery Furnace (Chapter 3)
D. The First King of Babylon (Chapter 4)
D. The Last King of Babylon (Chapter 5)
C. Daniel Himself in the Lions’ Den (Chapter 6)
B. Daniel’s Dream and Vision (Chapters 7, 8)
A. The Desolations of Jerusalem (Chapters 9-12)
From this we see that in order to understand Daniel 6, we must study it along with the third chapter. The main difference is that in chapter 3 Daniel’s three friends were cast into the fiery furnace under the order of the Babylonian king, whereas in chapter 6 Daniel himself was cast into the lions’ den under the order of the Persian king.
Perhaps the most striking prophecy in Daniel 6 is the fact that he was cast into the lions’ den AFTER the fall of Babylon. While this might be expected when we view Persia as the second beast kingdom, we may not normally expect such an event to occur in our time after the fall of Mystery Babylon.
Yet we have already seen a dual role being played out with Medo-Persia (in Daniel’s time) and the kings of the east (in our time). Isaiah 44, 45 prophesies that King Cyrus of Persia would be a “Messiah” that would release the people and give orders to rebuild the temple of God. Yet his role as “Messiah” was limited as a prophetic type, and in the end, Persia was just the second empire of “the times of the nations.”
At the end of the age, the kings of the east are God’s agents in overthrowing Mystery Babylon and funding the New Covenant temple of God. Yet even so, they are yet earthly kingdoms overthrowing the Western debt-based monetary system. As carnal entities, they are able to be deceived into persecuting the overcomers, even as Darius was forced to throw Daniel into the lions’ den.
What does this tell us about the conditions at the end of the age?
Daniel represents the saints of the Most High, to whom the dominion would be passed when “the times of the nations” had passed (Dan. 7:27). So Daniel was appointed the top commissioner in the reign of Darius (Dan. 6:3). In our own time, we reached the end of the dominion of Mystery Babylon toward the end of 2014, and then the divine court ruled in favor of the saints of the Most High (Dan. 7:22).
But a ruling in the divine court is distinct from any rulings in earthly courts. Furthermore, men’s courts do not normally recognize the rulings from the divine court. When prophesying of the fall of Babylon at the end of their 70-year mandate to rule, Jer. 50:33 tells us specifically that “they have refused to let them go.” That is, Babylon refused to release the people of Judah after the time had expired.
In fact, if any of the beast empires had complied with the divine court rulings throughout the past, there would have been no need for their successors to overthrow them by force. Their violent overthrow was the result of their non-compliance with the divine court rulings, for God raised up other nations to enforce His decrees.
So it is today once again with the rulers of Mystery Babylon. They too have refused to release the people by their deadline on October 16, 2014. And so the kings of the east are called to enforce compliance, which means there will be a financial and political “earthquake” once again, as prophesied in Rev. 16:18, 19.
The point is that the kings of the east in Rev. 16:12 are appointed as God’s agents to overthrow Mystery Babylon in verses 18 and 19. At the same time the saints of the Most High have been given the Dominion Mandate over the earth. So there is both a carnal and a spiritual authority operating simultaneously, at least for a season.
It is during that season that the saints (represented by Daniel) must go into the lions’ den in some manner by the decree of the kings of the east. As we will see, this decree will come by trickery, for Darius himself did not want to carry out the decree. His hand was forced by the fact that the king was bound by the law in a Constitutional Monarchy. If this had been Babylon, which was ruled by an Absolute Monarchy, he could have changed the law at will. But Darius was not Belshazzar, nor was Persia Babylon.
Daniel 6:4, 5 says,
4 Then the commissioners and satraps began trying to find a ground of accusation against Daniel in regard to government affairs; but they could find no ground of accusation or evidence of corruption, inasmuch as he was faithful, and no negligence or corruption was to be found in him. 5 Then these men said, “We shall not find any ground of accusation against this Daniel unless we find it against him with regard to the law of his God.”
Having found no evidence of corruption in Daniel, the plotters concluded that they would have to accuse him on religious grounds, that is, “with regard to the law of his God.” Such accusations can always be arranged in a beast system, because the laws of men will always find some contradiction with the laws of God. In Daniel 3 the three overcomers were cast into the fiery furnace because they refused to bow down to the image of the king. As slaves of the empire, they could comply with most of the decrees of the king, but when the king decreed that all the government officials must directly violate the First Commandment, they could not comply with the law of the king.
In Daniel 6 we find a similar situation, where, as we will see, the king banned all prayer petitions. In the book of Acts, the apostles were commanded to stop teaching or speaking in the name of Jesus (Acts 4:18). But they refused, for in Acts 4:19, 20 we read,
19 But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; 20 for we cannot stop speaking what we have seen and heard.”
There is a line that cannot be crossed. We may carry out bad policies that are mandated by men in authority, but when they tell us to worship another god or to disobey the true God, then it is better to obey God rather than men.
So Daniel’s accusers formulated a plot to get him in trouble with the new government by pitting man’s law against God’s law. Daniel 6:6-9 says,
6 Then these commissioners and satraps came by agreement to the king and spoke to him as follows: “King Darius, live forever! 7 All the commissioners of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the high officials and the governors have consulted together that the king should establish a statute and enforce an injunction that anyone who makes a petition to any god or man besides you, O king, for thirty days, shall be cast into the lions’ den. 8 Now, O king, establish the injunction and sign the document so that it may not be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which may not be revoked.” 9 Therefore King Darius signed the document, that is, the injunction.
Notice that this document “may not be changed” and also “may not be revoked.” It was based on the sanctity of contract law, and in their Constitutional Monarchy, even the king was bound by the law and could not alter it once it was signed. The trap was set.
Daniel 6:10, 11 continues,
10 Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had done previously. 11 Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and supplication before his God.
The king’s decree did not alter Daniel’s behavior in the least. He did not stop praying and giving thanks to God—that is, he did not stop petitioning God, nor did he stop giving thanks for answered prayer. He did not even close the windows to hide his prayer from his enemies. It is virtually certain that he knew his enemies would see him praying. But he was motivated by faith, not by fear. His prayer was a deliberate act of disobedience, and no doubt his prayers that day focused upon the king’s foolish decree itself.
Daniel 6:12, 13 says,
12 Then they approached and spoke before the king about the king’s injunction. “Did you not sign an injunction that any man who makes a petition to any god or man besides you, O king, for thirty days, is to be cast into the lions’ den?” The king answered and said, “The statement is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which may not be revoked.” 13 Then they answered and spoke before the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or to the injunction which you signed, but keeps making his petition three times a day.”
The plotters first maneuvered the king into confirming verbally that he had signed the injunction, and then laid out the accusation against Daniel. Their accusation focused on Daniel’s position as “one of the exiles from Judah,” rather than as the high commissioner with a spotless record. To remind Darius that Daniel was his most trusted cabinet member only would have angered Darius.
Perhaps they should have recognized that if Darius could make a decree outlawing prayer, he could also make an opposite decree that would have put their own lives in danger. But they were blind to such an outcome, because they could not see beyond the success of their plot. Dan. 6:14 says,
14 Then as soon as the king heard this statement, he was deeply distressed and set his mind on delivering Daniel; and even until sunset he kept exerting himself to rescue him.
The king sought to rescue Daniel for the rest of the day “until sunset.” But the law bound his hands, and Daniel’s accusers knew that their trap had worked flawlessly. However, they did not understand that God Himself had engineered this in order to turn the beast empire into the Kingdom of God. While this was done as a prophetic type, it will be fulfilled in the days ahead when the kings of the east fulfill the prophecies of Isaiah in a complete manner.