Daniel in the Lion’s Den

The story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den is well known, however, is it clear to people what the story is really about?  To find out what the truth is, we need to look into the Almighty’s Word, The Bible.

To start our research we look into the book in the Old Testament that bears his name, ‘Daniel’.

In Chapter 1 we read that in the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon besieged Jerusalem. Daniel and his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were among the young Jewish nobility carried off to Babylon.  It is thought that Daniel was approx. 16 years old at that time.

The four were chosen for their intellectual potential, to be trained as servile advisers to the Babylonian court.  Daniel was of the royal seed of Judah.

Daniel was given the Babylonian name Belteshazzar, his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were given the names Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.  These are names of pagan gods, as Babylon was a pagan society, and has its equivalent in the present world system; See: Babylon

The origin of Babylon is well documented in Genesis 10:10, and was originally called "Babel" (in the Semitic = "Bab-ili" = "the gate of the god"; Comp. Bible).

This means, the entrance point (gate) of the god of this world; Satan.

In Genesis 11:2 onwards, is given the account of the building of Bab-ili "in the land of Shinar", and in v6 the consternation of the Godhead regarding the speed of progress of the people in intellectual and physical development; because of their condition "as gods", which was due to Satan's successful assault on Eve and Adam (see: Eve and Adam) in Genesis 3, and its results up to that point in Shinar!

The fact of their common language allowed very quick communication and development of ideas, which, had it been allowed to continue, would have thwarted the Plan of God embodied in Genesis 3:15; the Promise of Messiah, to save the human race from the clutches and destruction of Satan!

The Plan of God had to be allowed to develop to the stage we are at now, with Israel the focus point of all the world's conflict and antipathy, yet to be resolved at Armageddon!

Satan's object was to do just that, and to thwart the birth of Messiah, and ultimately the Salvation of much of the human race, see:  Satan's motivation:     

To that end, The Godhead descended to Earth (Gen. 11:7) and dispersed the human race together with their language, to enable the timespan that God has ordained should transpire in His Plan of Salvation; and His dealing with "the mystery of iniquity" (2Thess. 2:7).

To understand how God and Satan relate regarding the world and its population; See: Job, Chapters 1 & 2.

In Daniel Chapter 1:5 we are told that the king instructed the captives to have daily provisions of meat and fine wine.  However, Daniel was determined not to defile himself with this meat and wine, (this was because the meat was killed with the blood, contrary to the Jewish Law, Lev. 3:17, 7:26, 17:10-14 and many more references), and would have pagan orientation.

Melzar the Babylonian, who was given the responsibility of Daniel and his friends, and was concerned about this, because he felt they would not look healthy on the diet Daniel proposed, and this would displease the king, and put his own life in danger!  However, Daniel persuaded him to allow them a 10 day test period with just this meagre food.  At the end of the 10 days they looked healthier than others who were fed on the king’s food.

Therefore at this early part of Daniel’s life it is clear that he trusts in the Almighty, and has a very close relationship with Him, and seeks to be pleasing to Him, and obey His Laws, even though he is a captive in a foreign land, which shows that faith and trust in the one true God, is not confined to any particular land border, or opposing religion, which is still the case today regarding Christians of the Body of Christ.  See: Body of Christ and the Bride of Christ:  

In verse 17 Almighty God gives the four young captive’s knowledge, strength in learning and wisdom, and Daniel has understanding in interpreting visions and dreams.  They then appear before the king and he sees that they have 10 times more understanding than his magicians and astrologers, and they look very healthy!

In Chapter 2 it is the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar and the king is distressed by his particular dream, so he summons all his wise men, interpreters etc. to reveal it.  However, they are unable to interpret the dream.  The king is furious and orders the execution of all these (wise?) men in Babylon.  When Daniel learns of the king’s order, he askes the captain of the guard Arioch, to let him have an audience with the king.  Daniel sees the king, and is told of the dream, but not the details!  He requests time, and he would show the king the interpretation.  He then tells his friends and asks them to pray that the God of Heaven will reveal the dream to him.  The Almighty then reveals the mystery to Daniel in a vision that night.  Daniel gives thanks to the Almighty and acknowledges His greatness.  After meeting with Arioch again, Daniel is granted access to the king and relays the description of the dream and its interpretation.  He tells the king that the God in Heaven has revealed the dream to him and that it has meaning for the king in his time, and also for the future of the Jewish people and indeed the whole world.  Some of the dream (prophecy) has been fulfilled; other is yet to be in the future.  Daniel stands out in Scripture as “greatly beloved” by God (Dan. 9:23,10:11 & 19), due to his fidelity and trust in Him, and he is given later in his life predictions for the future of Israel and the world, which have yet to transpire.  To understand why Almighty God makes His statements regarding His love for Daniel, one only has to review the record of his life in adversity and captivity in Babylon.  His great trust (faith) in his God Jehovah (only Israel and the Redeemed in Christ can claim the Name “Jehovah” as their God, [App. 4 Comp. Bible]) in each of his trials, especially his prayer and supplication for himself, Israel, Jerusalem, and God’s Holy Name; in his prayer of Dan. 9:2-20!  In that prayer he demonstrated his knowledge of Israel’s duplicity, backsliding and distain to the Prophets, as well as underlining Deuteronomy’s words and warnings given to Moses!  He asks for his own sin, and Israel’s to be forgiven; and appeals to the great mercy of Jehovah (9:17-19).  Daniel was indeed a great example of faith, (Ezk. 14:14-20), the very faith which God seeks in His created beings!

With Daniel’s successful interpretation of the dream, the king expresses his admiration for Daniel, and even wants to worship him.  He acknowledges that Daniel’s God is indeed the God of gods, and is the revealer of mysteries.  Daniel is then promoted to chief governor over the whole province of Babylon.  At Daniel’s request, his companions are also promoted, so that they remain at the king’s court.

Some 40 years later, in Chapter 5 of the book of Daniel, the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, king Belshazzar was holding a great feast for all his nobles.  In a drunken state, the king calls for the sacred vessels captured from the Jerusalem temple and blasphemously drinks from them.  Suddenly, the fingers of a man’s hand appear before the king and write on the wall of the palace.  When none of his wise men are able to interpret the message Daniel is called in at the suggestion of the queen-mother, (she clearly remembered Daniel’s ability to interpret things from the past, and held him in high regard).  After reprimanding the king for his impiety, Daniel interprets the handwriting on the wall to mean that Belshazzar is about to lose his Kingdom to the Medes and the Persians.  For successfully reading the handwriting, Daniel is rewarded with a purple robe and elevated to the rank of ‘third ruler’ of the Kingdom.  ‘That very night’, (and confirmed by history), ‘Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians, was slain’ and his successor was King Darius the Mede.

Chapter 6 relates that after the Persian conquest of Babylon, Daniel is depicted as one of three senior administrators of the Empire of the reign of Darius the Mede.  When the king decides to set Daniel over the whole Kingdom, the other officials plot his downfall.  Unable to uncover any corruption, they use Daniel’s religious devotion to try to defeat him.  The officials trick the king into issuing an irrevocable decree that no god is to be worshiped for a 30 day period.  When Daniel continues to pray to Jehovah God, three times a day towards Jerusalem, he is thrown into a Lion's Den, much to the distress of Darius.  A stone is placed over the mouth of the entrance and the king seals it with his own signet ring and with the ring of his nobles.  Darius spent the night fasting, unable to sleep.  The next morning, he returns to the mouth of the Lion's Den and calls to Daniel, to find out if God had rescued him.  Daniel replies that God had sent an angel to shut the mouths of the lion's, and they did not hurt him.  He came out of the den unscathed; after an angel shut the lion's mouths, Daniel is delivered, and the corrupt officials and their wives and children are thrown into the den where they are eaten instantly.

From Chapter 7 to the end of the book of Daniel, a change in emphasis comes about for Daniel.  He dreams himself, and the Almighty via an angel interprets some of these dreams for him, the ones not, are "sealed" (8:26 and 12:4), until the pertinent "End Time".  This then becomes a very important prophetic ministry, akin to the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel.  These prophets foretell events surrounding Israel, some were to be fulfilled in the Old Testament, and others that are yet still future.  These include the Antichrist appearing on Earth, and the eventual destruction of him by the appearance of Christ as the Jewish Messiah, saving a remnant of the Jewish people, after much persecution, see: www.revelationsmessage.co.uk.

The prophet Ezekiel, with whom Daniel was a contemporary, describes Daniel as a ‘pattern of righteousness’ Ezek. 14:14, 20 and ‘wisdom’ 28:3.


Although Daniel is known more for his time in the Lion's Den, clearly his whole life was spent serving the Almighty, and he was used to prophecy important events, which are still yet to be fulfilled, although many people feel that these events are close, when viewing world events, particularly the Mid-East.

The importance of Israel is clearly seen in the life of Daniel, and although he was taken to Babylon at a young age, he was used to declare the importance of the Almighty’s love and purpose for His people in the future.

The last words of Chapter 12 reveal that Daniel is to go to his rest, and that he will stand in resurrection at the appointed time; when Israel is raised, some to “Jeshuran” (Ideal Israel), some to contempt and doom!

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