BOOK OF DANIEL – May 6, 2019

Posted by on May 6, 2019 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL – May 6, 2019

Most conservative theologians uphold the view that offers the most plausible explanation of Daniel chapter seven. This author shares that same view for the most part. I say that because it is not a plausible explanation of man per se but rather a support of the truth of Scripture. Ultimately, the choice for the reader of Daniel is faith in the truth of Daniel or faith in those who claim it to be false. This is what some would call critical interpretation. This is defined as critical analysis which is to examine something that someone has said. It means to study the individual parts of the work. The format and content of this blog are based upon the belief that the books that make up the canon of Scripture are indeed the infallible, inerrant Word of God. As such, the true believer accepts the Bible as Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone) as being God’s own Word written down for our instruction and teaching. So, while many will state that they hold to the most plausible explanation of Daniel, this plausibility must rest on the truth of what God has provided His followers to understand and accept as coming from Him. Any other position forces a person to not only reject Daniel, but also God, and certainly the prophecies relating to His Son, Christ Jesus.

Daniel 7:1 tells us, In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel saw a dream and visions of his head as he lay in his bed. Then he wrote down the dream and told the sum of the matter.” (ESV) I purposely isolated verse one for discussion because you may be wondering that Belshazzar is already dead based on our reading of Daniel chapter five. And you would be correct. What we see mentioned here is a previous time period. In other words, Daniel is returning to a previous event. This event probably dates to around the year 553 BC or fourteen years before the fall of Babylon by the Medo-Persians. You may recall, Nabonidus, the actual king of Babylon [as Belshazzar was merely a Co-Regent] took the throne in 556 BC. Three years later he left Babylon under the control of Belshazzar. This hierarchy is mentioned indirectly in Daniel 5:16 where Belshazzar promised Daniel the position of the third ruler in the kingdom. This confirms that Belshazzar, as Co-Regent, was the second in command with Nabonidus being the first as king.

So, what is the purpose of Daniel returning to a dream that is not dissimilar to the dream of Nebuchadnezzar in chapter two? And why is Daniel now returning to the time of Belshazzar that we discussed in chapter five? These questions are intriguing and interesting, and the answers are relevant to our study.

First, Daniel is confirming, by the known dating we have, as to the reign of Nabonidus and Belshazzar as Co-Regent, that these events are inextricably connected to the sixth century BC. This removes any doubt as to the accuracy of the dating of the book of Daniel. Yes, the naysayers can scream all they want to, but they cannot ignore the fact that by linking Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in chapter two to Daniel’s dream in chapter seven that the time frame of world history, according to the Bible, is the correct one – the sixth century BC.

Secondly, by returning to the dream that Daniel had during the reign of Nabonidus and subsequently seeing Belshazzar sit on the throne as Co-Regent informs us that Daniel knew that events would unravel as to the stability of the kingdom of Babylon. He knew by God using him to interpret the dream of Nebuchadnezzar that Babylon would eventually be overthrown. He knew what type of tyrant Belshazzar would prove to be. If you will, he knew the measure of the man in Belshazzar and it did not bode well for Babylon. But his dream (that we will learn more of in the next several verses) while still supporting Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, is far more detailed and, in some ways, more frightening and horrific. Nebuchadnezzar’s dream used an image as the vehicle of Divine revelation of the world powers in the form of a man with different metals to differentiate the kingdoms. Daniel’s dream speaks of beasts as opposed to kingdoms and is viewed from the eyes of God’s prophet. Nebuchadnezzar’s dream can be viewed as glorious in man’s eyes as to world history and the ensuing world powers. But Daniel’s dream views world history from God’s view and shows the depravity of man, his immorality and brutality.

Read More

BOOK OF DANIEL – May 3, 2019

Posted by on May 3, 2019 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL – May 3, 2019

BOOK OF DANIEL

May 3, 2019

Today our introduction into Daniel chapter seven consists of the second argument from critics. Again, we can thank the meddling pagan Porphyry for this also. You will see why I said in the previous blog, why both arguments are connected.

In his later years, Porphyry wrote a fifteen-volume work call Against the Christians. Approximately thirty Christian apologists of their day responded to his challenge. In 435AD, and then again in 448AD, Theodosius II, who was the Eastern Roman Emperor, ordered all copies to be burned. We, therefore, only have much of what we know of this man in the writings of several of these Christian apologists, one of which was Eusebius.

It is said that it was not Porphyry’s aim to disprove the substance of Christian teachings but rather he challenged the records that these teachings were recorded in, and subsequently, communicated. That intent alone should raise the hairs on the back of a Christian. But this is nothing new. The Canon of Scripture has always been challenged not only as to which books should have been included, but also the actual contents as being correct. But here lies the problem. If a person does not believe that the content of Scripture is correct, then they are forced to admit they don’t believe God. If they don’t believe God, then what is their belief? It certainly cannot be God, for they openly challenge His word.

Jerome stated that Porphyry attacked the prophecies contained in Daniel because both Jews and Christians alike pointed to the historical fulfillment of its prophecies as a decisive argument. However, Porphyry argued that the prophecies Daniel were written not by Daniel but by a Jew who lived during the time of Antiochus Epiphanes (215-164BC). (More on him in a moment.) Porphyry claimed this mystery Jew gathered up traditions of Daniel’s life and then decided to write a history of past events and apply them in a future tense. All along, this mystery writer was dating the story to appear as though all the events were written back in Daniel’s time period. Confused? Try writing the explanation!! Let me try and simplify it. The claim is that this mysterious Jew wrote Daniel not to predict future events but narrated past ones. Therefore, the claim is that what was written up to the time of Antiochus was, indeed, history and therefore, when we get to discuss Daniel chapter twelve, we are seeing the events that this pseudo writer wrote which really has no prophetic content. Antiochus (real name Mithradates) was a Hellenistic Greek king of the Seleucid Empire whose ancestry was derived from Seleucus I Nicator, the founder of the Empire, who was given the portion of Babylonia after the death of Alexander the Great. His reign lasted ten years during which time he attacked Jerusalem and ransacked and desecrated God’s Holy Temple.

Daniel chapter two describes the four kingdoms as historic and that would be the case also during the life of Porphyry. So, if Porphyry was only interested in attacking the prophetic portions of Daniel, why did he question the historicity of Daniel chapter two? It was because he decided that the historical events that were contained in Daniel had been predicted long before Daniel. This really highlights the skullduggery of Porphyry in his attempts to accuse Scripture of being fake.

In order to make his argument sound more plausible he invented his own interpretation whereby Greece was indeed the third kingdom, but then assigned the fourth kingdom to be the rulers who were assigned after Alexander the Great’ death, namely, the Ptolemies and Seleucids. From among these leaders he chose ten kings making the eleventh to be none other than Antiochus Epiphanes. By doing this his scheme was complete. If he could gain acceptance of this false narrative, then it would undermine all of the prophecies of Daniel. By claiming Daniel did not write the book containing his name but rather it was written by a mysterious Jew then his accusation was that the book of Daniel was a lie. If it was a lie, then God’s prophecies were never spoken, and the miracles never occurred. Ultimately, the prophecies contained in Daniel pointing to Christ would also prove Him to be an imposter.

Sadly, Porphyry’s lies (and this was, indeed, lying on a grand scale) have been adopted by many philosophers, scholars and regrettably some theologians. My own opinion of Porphyry is that, despite being known in his day as someone who was remarkably intelligent and well versed, he was nothing more than an agent of Satan. One can only imagine if he had only used his intellect to support the truth of God’s Word what he could have become – perhaps even being one of the outspoken supporters of Scripture. Clearly, he wasn’t, and his spurious rhetoric has influenced many others to accept his interpretation of Daniel rather than believing God.

Read More

BOOK OF DANIEL – May 2

Posted by on May 2, 2019 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL – May 2

May 2, 2019

Yesterday, we discussed the critic’s choice of the four kingdoms mentioned at the beginning of Daniel chapter seven. It may help you to understand that this incorrect belief (of whom the four kingdoms represent) did not gain traction until around the end of the 19th century AD. This was due to the rise of Deism and Rationalism. A quick review of both damaging thoughts will lead one to note that both are connected to the beliefs of men rather than the Creator. This is what caused such damage to the genuineness of Daniel, not only as to the time frame of when it was written, but also to the correct interpretation of people, nations, and events. This inevitably has resulted in those accepting the book of Daniel as the complete and inerrant Word of God versus those who choose to reject such truth. This, in and of itself, is a dangerous position for those who do not accept the book of Daniel as the inspired work of God. I say this quite categorically as a firm believer in God’s written Word and make no room for any other argument regarding this statement. Nor is it debatable with this author. Any such comments to this, or any other blog we produce, that is contrary to the inspired Word of God, will not be commented on and will be removed by the administrator.

Those of us who hold to the correct interpretation of the fourth kingdom being Rome have long shared the support of Luther along with centuries of orthodoxy. Porphyry was nothing more than a third century AD pagan antagonist. The church has had to deal with such people long before Porphyry and will continue to do so today and into the future until the glorious return of Christ. But, despite all attempts by Satan’s workers to make the book of Daniel a book of history rather than of prophecy, they have and will continue to, fail. We would do well to read the words of our Lord, Jesus Christ in Matthew 24:15 who said, “So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand).” (ESV) Jesus’s words were actually referring to events that are mentioned in Daniel 12:11, which foretells a future event. But even this Scripture is twisted by the workers of lawlessness who argue otherwise. We will deal with this falsehood in a moment.

A student of Scripture can easily recognize that Revelation chapter thirteen parallels with the final stages of the fourth kingdom in Daniel. Revelation, you will note, was written during the closing years of the first century AD. Therefore, what critics suggest as to the events in Daniel happening in the second century BC, is a factual impossibility.

Likewise, when we get to Daniel chapter nine, we will read of the prophecies of the Messiah, which occurred during the time of the Romans.

When we put all these events together, the only way the critics’ choices can be accepted, wrongly I might add, is by considering the details in Daniel as factually incorrect as they relate to the prophecies. Sadly, such critics and those who choose to believe them are ignorant of the fact that Daniel is an inspired work of God (cf. 2 Timothy 3:16) and therefore, to oppose the words of Daniel is, in effect, opposing God Himself. That is a very dangerous and foolhardy place to put oneself. Either a person believes God, or they believe man. If they believe man, then they believe Satan, who is the father of the lie (cf. John 8:44).

Once we get into the study of Daniel chapter seven you will understand why I am laying out these points ahead of time. It will become clear that the kingdoms mentioned in chapter seven are the very same ones, we discussed in chapter two. Therefore, we have spent time in pointing out the critic’s argument versus Bible truth because you need to have a correct understanding of who the four kingdoms in Daniel are. Otherwise, you will have a false narrative if you try and view the prophecies in any other way.

To complete this introduction there is one more falsehood we must cover, and it is tied to the claim that Daniel is a second century BC forgery. We will deal with this in our next blog.

Read More

BOOK OF DANIEL – Some Introductory Notes on Daniel Chapter 7

Posted by on May 1, 2019 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL – Some Introductory Notes on Daniel Chapter 7

Some Introductory Notes on Daniel Chapter 7

Before we begin the second half of our blog series on the book of Daniel it is worth stating several things to set the tone, especially with regard to Daniel Chapter 7. You may or may not be aware, but this chapter is unique in the pages of the Old Testament. How so? It is unique in that the details contained and interpreted correctly by expositors of the text provide us with the most comprehensive details of prophecy of future events. It is for that very reason I decided when I first did a verse by verse blog on the book of Revelation (which we subsequently published as a book) that I wanted to follow up with a blog series on the book of Daniel. This too will be published as a book. Probably more than any two books of the Bible, Daniel in the Old Testament and Revelation in the New gives us an outline to follow as to future events that will occur. So, as we approach chapter seven and the subsequent chapters you will need to stay focused and aware that much of what is written is symbolic, prophetic, and future in its timing and interpretation.

Some theologians and scholars argue that the four world powers mentioned in Daniel are Babylon, Media, Persia, and Greece. While they may offer what appears to be a strong argument for such belief sadly, they are wrong. As we shall see, this incorrect belief is based primarily on the fact that Darius the Mede is mentioned, as we saw earlier, in Daniel 5:31; 6:1, 6, 9, 25 and 28. Therefore, they argue that Media was the second world power. Their basis is that there was, in fact, a Median Empire. No historian argues this point. But one simply must look at the rise and fall of the Median Empire to see that this belief of Media being the second world power identified in the book of Daniel is historically incorrect.

The history of the Median empire is well documented. From the 10th to the late 7th Centuries BC the western portions of Media fell under the vast Neo-Assyrian Empire. Several Assyrian kings imposed vassal treaties upon the various Median rulers and offered them protection from other nations.  Between 622–612 BC the Assyrian empire, which had been in a state of constant civil war since 626 BC, began to unravel. Many of the nations that were under subjection to the Assyrian Empire [which included Medes, Babylonians, Chaldeans, and Egyptians] stopped paying tribute to Assyria. Neo-Assyrian dominance over the Medians came to an end during the reign of the Median King Cyaxares who, in alliance with King Nabopolassar of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, attacked and destroyed the strife-riven empire between 616 and 609 BC. This newly found alliance helped the Medes to capture Nineveh in 612 BC, which resulted in the eventual collapse of the Neo-Assyrian Empire by 609 BC. The Medes were subsequently able to establish their Median Kingdom with Ecbatana becoming their royal capital. After the fall of Assyria, a unified Median state was formed which, together with Babylonia, Lydia, and ancient Egypt, became one of the four major powers of the ancient Near East.

Cyaxares was succeeded by his son, King Astyages. In 553 BC Cyaxares’ maternal grandson Cyrus the Great, the King of Anshan/Persia, a Median vassal, revolted against Astyages. In 550 BC, Cyrus finally won a decisive victory resulting in Astyages’ capture by his own dissatisfied nobles, who promptly turned him over to the triumphant Cyrus. After Cyrus’s victory against Astyages [who was the last king of Media], the Medes were subjected to their close kin, the Persians. In the new empire, the Medes retained a prominent position in honor and war. They stood next to the Persians and their court ceremony was adopted by the new sovereigns. During this time, many noble Medes were employed as officials, satraps, and generals. This brief history is important for us to log because it removes any doubt that a Median Empire was in existence during the descriptions that Daniel mentions of the four world empires in the book bearing his name.

Read More

BOOK OF DANIEL – Surprise! Surprise!

Posted by on Nov 8, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL – Surprise! Surprise!

Surprise! Surprise!

Have you ever had trouble falling to sleep through worrying about something that you just cannot wait for morning to arrive? That situation describes exactly how king Darius felt in Daniel 6:19 where we are told, “Then the king arose at dawn, at the break of day, and went in haste to the lions’ den.” (NASB)

After foolishly being deceived by his officials into having Daniel put to death, as soon as day broke he ran to the lions’ den. We are told “at dawn” (which is the first light of the day) that he arose with no time to waste. Whether you realize it or not, Darius was holding on to some hope that Daniel’s God would save him. Why did he have such a hope? That is one question the Scriptures do not answer for us directly. But given the fact that he favored Daniel above all others meant that, in some way, Daniel had impressed him. He may have seen how devout Daniel was in serving his God. Daniel may have shared the history of the Babylon nation and, in particular, the events that the book of Daniel records with the king. Rather than this be a faith in Daniel’s God, however, it was more likely a superstitious belief that may have arisen from such stories. Nevertheless, in the next verse, we are about to read there is a remarkable address that the king utters. Daniel 6:20 says, “When he had come near the den to Daniel, he cried out with a troubled voice. The king spoke and said to Daniel, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you constantly serve, been able to deliver you from the lions?” (NASB) In the early morning light just breaking through the darkness, the shadows of the den limited his vision in attempting to catch a glimpse of Daniel, or what may have been left of him. Not being able to see him, Darius calls out to Daniel. Here again, we see a king of an empire address Daniel as a servant of the living God. He asks Daniel if his God has saved him. Even the fact that Darius held on to the possibility that Daniel may have been alive is remarkable. But this was not faith on his part. We see that because the Scripture says he cried out with a “troubled voice”. Other translations use the word lamenting for troubled. In other words, he was crying out mournfully, hoping against all hope that Daniel was, indeed, still alive.

What king Darius next heard must have been breathtaking! Daniel 6:21-22 tells us, “Then Daniel spoke to the king, “O king, live forever! My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths and they have not harmed me, inasmuch as I was found innocent before Him; and also toward you, O king, I have committed no crime.” (NASB)  

Several points are evident in these verses that we must not miss. First, we hear the calm collective voice of Daniel without any hint of concern or fear. He addresses the king in the usual courteous manner by saying “O king, live forever”. Secondly, he tells the king how he was saved by saying that his God sent His angel who “shut the lion’s mouths”. He confirmed that he was unharmed, which highlights the third point. True justice had won the day. Daniel told the king he was unharmed because he had been found innocent before His God and also toward Darius himself. No crime had been committed. Now, I can hear the liberals shout that, of course, he was innocent because he flouted the command of Darius decreeing that no one was to make a petition to their gods. Such accusations show complete ignorance of the laws of God. He is Almighty. He is the ruler of heaven and earth. He rules the Universe. No law trumps God’s laws. You will recall in Acts chapter four the Apostles Peter and John were arrested and jailed for preaching about Jesus Christ. The day after their arrest they were told by the Jerusalem Council not to speak about Jesus to anyone. Acts 4:19-20 says, “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; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (NASB) In the following chapter of Acts, Peter and all the Apostles were arrested. In Acts 5:27-28 the High Priest and the Council charged them not to teach in the name of Jesus. Acts 5:29 records, “But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.” (NASB)

Here is the point. Unless we are challenged by government authorities to stop obeying or offering worship to God we are to submit ourselves to their authority for they are placed in those positions of authority by God Himself. Whether they recognize such appointments are sovereignly appointed by God is irrelevant. The only time a Christian can disobey such authorities is when a decision or order is in conflict with obeying God. This is what the Apostles recognized and it was what Daniel recognized.

Daniel 6:23-24 tells the reaction of Darius the king in finding Daniel unharmed and his actions to those who had used him. “Then the king was very pleased and gave orders for Daniel to be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den and no injury whatever was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. The king then gave orders, and they brought those men who had maliciously accused Daniel, and they cast them, their children and their wives into the lions’ den; and they had not reached the bottom of the den before the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.” (NASB)

Here are the two verses I said I would mention that confirms the structure of the lions’ den. Verse twenty-three says Daniel was taken up out of the den. Whether this was by a rope or ladder we are not told. Just like the flames in Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace could not touch Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah neither could the mouths of lions harm Daniel. It was, again, an act of Divine protection by God Himself upon His faithful witnesses.

Verse twenty-four tells us that those who had maliciously used Darius to fulfill their evil intent were cast [or thrown] into the den and were overpowered by the lions before they had reached the bottom. Scriptures are replete with accounts of those who disobeyed God and reaped His full wrath upon them due to their actions. The punishment upon such evil false witnesses is in line with the law God laid down in Deuteronomy 19:16-21.

Yet again, liberal scholars have ridiculed Daniel’s account by saying that it would be impossible to throw one hundred and twenty officials plus wives and children into the lions’ den. I am appalled at such an attitude as to question not Daniel, but God Himself. I am also somewhat amazed at such a statement being made when first they say no such dens were known in antiquity, yet now they claim they know the size of the den or how else are they to ridicule the Scripture? But let us step back a moment. The Scripture does not state all one hundred and twenty officials plus wives and children were thrown into the den. It could easily as meant the main ringleaders of the plot to kill Daniel and, thereby, serve as a warning to the rest of their co-conspirators. But suppose it was all one hundred and twenty officials. Would that be impossible for a den of lions to devour possibly upward of four hundred plus individuals? Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 – 43 BC) who was a Roman statesman, orator, lawyer and philosopher wrote it was seldom necessary for two beasts to be required to take down one man. Frequently one beast dispatched several men. He goes on to say that in one instance, a single lion dispatched two hundred people. Why do such “scholars” think they have better knowledge of God’s Word than God Himself? These so-called experts ignore the fact that they bear the same attitude as those who threatened Daniel. Many of those officials knew how God had acted in the days of Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar. They saw what happened. Yet they ignored the fact that God was watching them and noting their gross sin against His representative(s). The result was that they were overpowered by the lions and every single bone in their bodies was crushed. It should be a stark lesson not to mess with God or His faithful followers for, at God’s choosing, their wicked acts will receive God’s judgment.

Just as Nebuchadnezzar declared that the people of Babylon were not to speak against Daniel’s God, Darius issued a similar decree. Daniel 6:25-28 says, “Then Darius the king wrote to all the peoples, nations and men of every language who were living in all the land: “May your peace abound! I make a decree that in all the dominion of my kingdom men are to fear and tremble before the God of Daniel; For He is the living God and enduring forever, And His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed, And His dominion will be forever. “He delivers and rescues and performs signs and wonders In heaven and on earth, Who has also delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.” So this Daniel enjoyed success in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.” (NASB)

Darius declared peace to abound and further issued a decree that everyone was to fear and tremble before the God of Daniel. While he may not have served Daniel’s God himself he acknowledged that Daniel’s God was a living God who endures forever. Despite him being the king of the mightiest nation on earth, he knows God’s kingdom would never be destroyed and that his dominion would last forever. We see the proof in all of his words through the delivery of God servants by the various signs and wonders in heaven and on earth confirming that Daniel himself was delivered by that same power out of the lions’ den. As for Daniel, he continued to enjoy success under both Darius and Cyrus.

We have reached the mid-point of the book of Daniel. In its pages so far we have seen how man-made governments are not only transient but lack any ability to change the course of God’s plans. We have seen quite the opposite, in fact, where it is God who can, and has, thwarted the plans of man, forcing them to acknowledge His ultimate and Almighty power. It is a story of abject failure of man to rule themselves.  Mankind’s only hope is in believing and accepting that only a kingdom installed by God can be both everlasting and powerful. That kingdom is coming. It is imminent. It cannot be stopped. It will be ruled by God’s Son Himself, Christ Jesus. As we move into the second half of Daniel we are going to see the prophetic timelines unfold of when that kingdom will be established on earth. We will see many symbolic pictures that identify the nations of the Gentile Times and that help us weave through the historical timeline. This second portion of the book will challenge you. The descriptions in Daniel may appear confusing and difficult to understand at times. I will endeavor to explain it as I am able, God willing.

Read More

BOOK OF DANIEL – Certain Death

Posted by on Nov 7, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL – Certain Death

Certain Death

Once Daniel was cast into the lions’ den the entrance was sealed shut. This word “cast” is used for the Aramaic word remah which means cast, cast (down) or throw. Let’s not be mistaken here. Daniel wasn’t casually walked up to the entrance of the lions’ den. He was thrown into it. That is significant as the story unfolds because it relates to why the lions did not immediately attack their prey. Some have suggested that a door may have been located at the side of the den. But read the Scripture and you will see why that does not make much sense. Daniel 6:17 reads, “A stone was brought and laid over the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signet rings of his nobles, so that nothing would be changed in regard to Daniel. Then the king went off to his palace and spent the night fasting, and no entertainment was brought before him; and his sleep fled from him.” (NASB)

The original Aramaic text reads, “And a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den. And the king sealed it”. Notice the NASB translation is very close to the original. In fact, it is so close there is only a one-word difference. The translators of the NSAB use the word “over” in describing the stone being put in place. The original text uses the word “on”. Both words are actually describing the same thing. The entrance to the den or pit (as some translations use), was actually above the den not at the side of it. You will see this point confirmed by two further Scriptures when we get to them.

The signet ring of the king likely contained his name and symbols that would identify to anyone the orders of the king. Breaking the seal would result in the death of the offender for breaking the king’s command. Notice the Scripture also tells us that the signet rings of several nobles were also used. The seal was likely made of clay.  Each signet ring would be pressed into the clay to form the impression of the name of the king or his symbol, along with each identity of the nobles. We are not told how many and who these nobles were. The reason why so many signet rings were used meant that nothing would be changed with regard to Daniel’s sentence. The seals of the nobles guaranteed that the king had fulfilled the provisions of the Persian law. Unlike the absolute power of Nebuchadnezzar under the rule of the Persians, it may also have meant that, although Darius was king, his authority or power was in some way limited by the nobility. However, although Darius had fulfilled the provisions of the law, his seal did not mean that he could not break his seal if Daniel was somehow able to survive. The officials assumed Daniel would die. But Darius had hoped Daniel’s God would somehow save him. Where Darius had been foolish in not questioning why the officials were asking for such an injunction, those same officials were equally inept in not considering the possibility of Daniel surviving. Such a request may suggest to us that feeding enemies to the lions was a sure death sentence. They were convinced Daniel would perish also.

One can imagine those who contrived the plan to have Daniel murdered went off gleefully into the night celebrating their victory. They were finally rid of Daniel, or so they thought. As for Darius, he retired to his palace where we are told he spent the night fasting, unable to eat or drink. Nor was he able to sleep. Darius knew he had been duped into killing Daniel by his own orders. He was party to a grave and serious injustice. His conscience troubled him greatly which is why we see him unable to eat, drink or sleep.

Interestingly we are not told if the sentence had a time limit imposed on ensuring Daniel’s death. Wild beasts such as lions, starved to the point where they would eat humans, meant an easy and quick kill. Therefore, there was very little need to state how long the person was to remain in the den because their death was likely to be immediate. We do know from ancient mosaics and writings that during the Roman Empire, lions and other wild beasts were used to devour enemies, which later included Christians, to entertain the crowds during their games. This was known as Damnatio ad bestias (Latin for condemnation to beasts). This form of execution started around the 2nd century BC and continued through to 3rd century AD. It was part of a wider class of blood sports called Bestiarii.

Read More