So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den…
Daniel 6:16 (NIVUK)
No, the title isn’t a misprint. Daniel in the lions’ den is a well-known and loved story that is included in many children’s books. But what is not well-known and is rarely identified is that Daniel’s encounter with the lions isn’t just a scary incident in Daniel’s life but is a story that prefigures the rejection, trial, crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Jesus, as well as the spread of the gospel message. Here are some comparisons to think about:
Both Daniel and Jesus:
- Lived righteous lives
(Daniel 6:3; 1 Peter 2:22).
- Were plotted against out of envy so that those in positions of power could maintain their status and privilege
(Daniel 6:4; John 11:47-50).
- Prayed before they were arrested, Daniel three times facing Jerusalem
(Daniel 6:10), Jesus three times in the Garden of Gethsemane which overlooks Jerusalem
- Were accused of not bowing to the authority of the King/Caesar
(Daniel 6:7; Luke 23:2).
- Had the highest official seek to release them
(Daniel 6:14; Luke 23:13-25).
- Are assured God would deliver them
(Daniel 6:16), Jesus sarcastically so
- Were sentenced to death surrounded by lions
Psalm 22:13prophetically and poetically describes the people after Jesus’s blood as like lions.
- Were held by a large stone and a seal
(Daniel 6:17; Matthew 27:66).
- Were alive at daybreak
(Daniel 6:19-21; Matthew 28:1).
- Had Angels involved in the story
(Daniel 6:22; Matthew 28:2-7).
Following Daniel’s release from the lion’s den King Darius recognised the God of Israel as the true God and proclaimed this to all the nations round about, just as the gospel was spread abroad after Jesus’ death and resurrection. The God of Daniel and Father of our Lord Jesus is the living God whose kingdom is forever and will not be destroyed. He performs signs and wonders in heaven and on earth as we see in the deliverance of Jesus and Daniel from the power of death.
Daniel’s deliverance from the lion’s den is a great story, but Jesus’ deliverance from the clutches of sin and death to rescue us is an even greater one.
Father, you, who delivered Daniel from the power of the lions, have also delivered us from sin and death, and from that prowling lion the devil, through the one whom Daniel points us to – your son Jesus. Thank you that you are a God who hears and answers our prayers, and who saves and rescues us. May the good news of your salvation in Jesus go throughout the whole earth, in Jesus’ name we pray,
Have a good week spreading the news of Jesus,
The Old Testament points to Jesus
(Luke 24:27, 44; John 5:39)