Daniel CommentaryTHE BOOK OF DANIEL is quoted often in the New Testament Book of Revelation. Daniel ch. 6 we take a look at Mystery Babylon.  A verse by verse study.  In many ways, the two books need to be read and studied together. Daniel lived at an important time of ancient history and his story is critical to our understanding of what is happening today. His visions speak powerfully of the end times, and his writing continues to exalt the “Most High God.” The accuracy and reliability of his remarks concerning future events have caused many to question his authorship of this book. However we have complete confidence that he not only wrote the book, but that God used him powerfully to bring His message to His people about what is about to happen in our time.

Daniel in the Lions’ Den

Daniel Chapter 6 Video Expositional Teaching

By Dr. Missler

The Lion’s Den
Alternate title: “Avoiding the Mark of the Beast”

Darius, the Mede?
“Darius” may be an honorable title, meaning “holder of the scepter.” Used of five later Persian rulers.

1) Darius may have been another name for Cyrus. Daniel 6:28 may be translated, “So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius, even the reign of Cyrus the Persian.” It was common for ancient rulers to use different names in various parts of their realms. Thus Darius may have been a localized name for Cyrus. (This is the view of D. J. Wiseman, “Some Historical Problems in the Book of Daniel,” in Notes on Some Problems in the Book of Daniel, pp. 12-14.)

2) Darius the Mede could be identified with Cambyses, Cyrus’ son, who ruled Persia 530-522 B.C. (This view is held by Charles Boutflower, In and Around the Book of Daniel. Reprint. Grand Rapids: Kregel
Publishing Co., 1977, pp. 142-55.)

3) Another explanation is that Darius was appointed by Cyrus to rule over Babylon, a comparatively small portion of the vast Medo-Persian Empire. According to Daniel 9:1 Darius “was made ruler over the
The Babylonian Kingdom.”

4) Another explanation is that Ugbaru, governor of Gutium, conquered Babylon, and that Gubaru, alias Darius, was the man Cyrus appointed to rule over Babylon. (This is the view of John C. Whitcomb, Jr., Darius the Mede. Nutley, N.J.: Presbyterian amp; Reformed Publishing Co., 1974.)

Ugbaru’s Victory

The historical situation leading to this appointment, based on the Nabonidus Chronicle, was that Babylon was conquered by Ugbaru, governor of Gutium, who entered the city of Babylon the night of Belshazzar’s feast. After Ugbaru conquered Babylon on October 12, 539 B.C., Cyrus entered the conquered city on October 29 of that same year. Ugbaru was then appointed by Cyrus to rule on his behalf in Babylon. Eight days after Cyrus’ arrival (Nov. 6) Ugbaru died. If Darius the Mede is another name for Ugbaru, as is entirely possible, the problem is solved. Since Darius was 62 years old when he took over Babylon (5:31), his death a few weeks later would not be unusual.

According to this view (presented by William H. Shea, “Darius the Mede: An Update,” Andrews University Seminary Studies 20. Autumn 1982, pp. 229-47); Gubaru is another spelling for Ugbaru; Gobryas being a Greek form of the same name (Xenophon’s Cyropaedia 4. 6. 1-9; 7. 5. 7-34).

The Lion’s Den
Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions… Hebrews 11:33

1] It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom;

2] And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage.

3] Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm. Daniel was at least 83 years old, with 66 years in public office and still in a position of honor. Daniel was an exceptional administrator, partly because of his extensive experience under Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 2:48) for about 39 years.

4] Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.

5] Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God. Jealousy leads men to attack a colleague who is more competent than themselves. A man in the Kingdom of God will prompt the kingdom of this world to drive its members to display a more extreme bitterness in their assault.

6] Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever.

7] All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. Assumed “divinity” of kings derives from ancient legends from Gen 6: demigods. Examples: Babylonian, Persian, Greek, Seleucid, and Roman empires. We’ll see it again.  “den” = gob, from Heb. verb gub, “to dig”: a pit or cistern. Saying that they all agreed (v. 7) was wrong for they certainly had not discussed this with Daniel.

8] Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.

9] Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree.

10] Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.

11] Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God.

Godly Examples of Prayer

Prayer (cf. Ch 2, 6, 9): A habit (Jer 29:1-12); windows habitually open. Solomon said to pray toward their land (2 Chr 6:36-39; 1 Kgs 8:33,35,38,44,48). David (Ps 5:7; 28:2; also 1 Kgs 8:54; Ezra 9:5). New Testament (Jn 4:21-24).  Three times/day? (Ps 55:16,17). Knees? Lord: Lk 22:41 [Honored for not kneeling in Chapter 3; also 1 Kgs 8:54; Ezek 9:5.]

Other examples: Stephen (Acts 7:60); Peter (Acts 9:40); Paul at Miletus (Acts 20:36); at Tyre (Acts 21:5). Note: Praise not absent, even with pending danger. Our own country was founded by men who knew and believed in the power of prayer.

12] Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning the king’s decree; Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask a petition of any God or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions? The king answered and said, The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. Did he sign? Why did they ask first?

13] Then answered they and said before the king, That Daniel, which is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day.

14] Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him. They “bugged his apartment.” Daniel was derisively belittled as one of the exiles from Judah (as Arioch and Belshazzar had done; cf. 2:25; 5:13), The king knew Daniel for more than a year. Aramaic word order places Daniel first in the sentence, the stressed position: “And as for Daniel, he set his mind to deliver him.”

15] Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed.

16] Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee. Monarchy not absolute. Diodorus Siculus records a similar paradox with King Darius III. Also a key issue in Esther (1:19; 8:8). “…whom you serve continually”: what a witness!

17] And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel.

18] Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of musick brought before him: and his sleep went from him. Both rings would be needed to remove the stone. Parallels with Christ: “By law to die,” John 19:7. “Stone, sealed,” Mt 27:62-66. “Power of resurrection,” Phil 3:10. Also Acts 5:17-22; 12:5-10, 18.

Sleepless in the palace…

19] Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions.

20] And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?

Daniel was not kept from his hour of trial!

21] Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever.

22] My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.  By faith (Heb 11:33). Secret of safety: the Breastplate of righteousness (but whose?) Angels: Ps 91:11; Heb 1:14; Ps 34:7; Ps 103:20.

23] Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God.

24] And the king commanded, and they brought those men which had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den. Kindred also: Ammianus Marcellinus confirms this Persian custom (cf.Haman’s similar fate, Est 7:9-10). Dathan, Abiram, Korah (Num 16).

Mosaic law more lenient (Deut 24:16).

Principle of lex talionis: False witnesses (Deut 19:16-21). Aramaic, and other early languages, have a singularly strong idiom for “slander”: “eat the pieces of a man.” (Found in the Assyrian and Amarna letters.)

When Daniel came out the next morning, he was the gainer: The king approved him, admired him, loved him. Everybody heard of it; what awe he must have inspired. The king was not regarded as half as much a “god” as Daniel. The counselors never troubled him again. The lions had taken care of them.

25] Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you.

26] I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end. Satan’s attempt to extinguish the light of the Living God in Babylon: Cf. Rev 12… Wrath restrained: “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee:
the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.” Ps 76:10.

27] He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.

28] So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and [even?] in the reign of Cyrus the Persian. Daniel 6:28 may be translated, “So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius, even the reign of Cyrus the Persian.”

Parallels of the Faithful Remnant

Faithful remnant: Edward Dennett (1893), A.C. Gaebelein, G.H. Lang,
H.A. Ironside, O.B. Greene, P.R. Newell. Foreshadows the Man of Sin, claiming divine honors under penalty of death (Rev 7:3,14; 12:13-17; Mt 24:13-14; Mk 13:13). Roaring Lion: 1 Pet 5:8; 2 Tim 4:17; Rev 13:2. Daniel did not receive the “mark of the Beast.” (Cf. Seal of 144,000 in Rev 7, 14.)

• Safety in persecution
• Faithfulness of God
• Inspiring faith of one consecrated
• Blessing of obeying God rather than men
• Reward of separation
• God is equal to every emergency: “Thou shalt prosper, if thou takest heed” (1 Chr 22:13).

The Magi of Medo-Persia

• Latinized form of Magoi, ancient Greek transliteration of the Persian original (Herodotus, 1:101).
• gm’-br; Rab-Mag, Chief of the Magi in Nebuchadnezzar’s Court (Jer 39:3,13).
• Daniel’s Title (Dan 4:9; 5:11).
• Oneiromancy, not astrology, was their key skill (Herodotus I.107, 120; VII.19).

• Established as the state religion of Persia by Darius the Great, after some Magi who were considered to be expert in the interpretation of dreams had been attached to the Median court.
• Not originally followers of Zoroaster (Encyclopedia Britannica 7:691). Later: Philo of Alexandria, Cicero, and Philo, and others, record that the Magi were attached to senior Roman courts with acknowledged gifts and standing. Magi (sing., magus = “magic”). “Magicians” (a profession, rather than citizenship or cultural link), presented in the book of Acts as vile men without standing or morals: Simon Magus in Samaria (Acts 8:9-24); Elymas Magus at Paphos on the Island of Cyprus associated with Sergius Paulsu the proconsul. (International Dictionary 3:222). Chief of the Magi, a Persian word for a Magian; magician, chief soothsayer. Cf. Magi are Median; vs. Chaldeans.) Persian magi were credited with profound and extraordinary religious knowledge. (Babylonian magi often considered mere imposters.) [This Jewish appointment may have had repercussions among the hereditary Median priesthood, leading to the plot of Daniel 6.]

Magian Religion vs. Judaism

• Each had its monotheistic concept of one beneficent creator, author of all good, who in turn was opposed by a malevolent evil spirit;
• Each had its hereditary priesthood which became the essential mediator between God and man by virtue of a blood sacrifice;
• Each depended upon the wisdom of the priesthood in divination;
• Each held concepts of clean and unclean forms of life;
• Each involved a hereditary priesthood, serving several religions;
• Magi were the priestly caste during Seleucid, Parthian, and Sasanian periods.
The subsequent syncretistic Magian religion of Archaemenid days had much in common with the Jews: Cf. The Urim and Thummim of the Levite; the Barsoms, small bundles of divining rods of the Magian priest.

Political Background in Daniel’s Day

Since the days of Daniel, the fortunes of both the Persia and the Jewish nation had been closely intertwined:
• Both nations had in their turn falling under Seleucid domination in the wake of Alexander’s conquests.

• Both had regained their independence: the Jews under Maccabbean leadership, the Persians as the dominating ruling group within the Parthian empire.
• It was at this time that the Magi, in their dual priestly and governmental offices, composed the upper house of the council of the Megistanes (“magistrates”) whose duties included the absolute
choice and election of the king of the realm. Magistrates
• It was in a dual capacity of priest and counselor whereby civil and political counsel was invested with religious authority,
• Thus, the Magi became the supreme priestly caste of the empire.

The Inscription of Bisitun
• Darius I (The Great) 522-486 B.C.
• Three languages: Elamite, Akkadian/Babylonian, Old Persian/Aramaic.
• Speaks of his speedy and final triumph over a revolt of Magi in 522 B.C.

The Parthian Empire

Parthia, ancient empire of Asia, in what are now Iran and Afghanistan. The Parthians were of Scythian descent, and adopted Median dress and Aryan speech. Parthia was subject successively to the Assyrians,
Medes, Persians, and Macedonians under Alexander the Great, and then the Seleucids. In 250 B.C.: the Parthians succeeded in founding an independent kingdom. During the 1st century B.C., grew into an empire extending from the Euphrates River to the Indus River and from the Oxus (now Amu Darya) River to the Indian Ocean. After the middle of the 1st century B.C. Parthia was, thus, a rival of Rome, and several wars occurred between the two powers.

Judea: a Buffer Zone

Pompey, the first Roman conqueror of Jerusalem, in 63 B.C. had attacked the Armenian outpost of Parthia. In 55 B.C. CRASSUS led Roman legions in sacking Jerusalem and in a subsequent attack on Parthia proper. The Romans were decisively defeated at the Battle of Carrhae with the loss of 30,000 troops, including their commander. The Parthians counterattacked with a token invasion of Armenia, Syria, and Palestine.

Nominal Roman rule was reestablished under Antipater, the father of Herod, who in turn retreated before a Parthian invasion in 40 B.C. Mark Antony reestablished Roman sovereignty in 37 B.C.., and like Carssus before him, also embarked on a similarly ill-fated Parthian expedition. His disastrous retreat was followed by another wave of invading Parthians, which swept all Roman opposition completely out of Palestine (including Herod himself who had to flee to Alexandria and then to Rome).
With Parthian collaboration, Jewish sovereignty was restored and Jerusalem was fortified with a Jewish garrison. Herod, by this time, secured from Augustus Caesar the title of “King of the Jews.” However,
it was not for three years, including a five months’ siege by Roman troops, that the king was able to occupy his own capital city.

Herod’s Slippery Rock

Herod had thus gained the throne of a rebellious buffer state situated between two mighty contending empires. At any time his own subjects might conspire in bringing the Parthians to their aid.

Roman Tensions

Augustus was also aged; Rome, since the retirement of Tiberius, was without any experienced military commander. Pro-Parthian Armenia was fomenting revolt against Rome (which was successfully accomplished
within two years). At the time of the birth of Christ, Herod may have been close to his final illness.

Parthian Instability

The time was ripe for another Parthian invasion of the buffer provinces, except for the fact that Parthia itself was racked by internal dissension: Phraates IV, the unpopular and aging king, had once been deposed and it was not improbable that the Persian Magi were already involved in the political maneuvering requisite to choosing his successor. It is possible that the Magi might have taken advantage of the king’s lack of popularity to further their own interests with the establishment of a new dynasty if a sufficiently strong contender could be found…

A Precarious Visit?

It was a group of Persian-Parthian king makers who entered Jerusalem in the latter days of the reign of Herod. The Magi, likely traveling in force with unimaginable oriental pomp and adequate calvary escort to insure their safe penetration of Roman territory, certainly alarmed Herod and the entire populace of Jerusalem (Mt 2:3). Herod’s reaction was understandably one of fear when one considers the background of Roman-Parthian rivalry that prevailed during his lifetime. It would seem as if these Magi were attempting to perpetrate a border incident which could bring swift reprisal from Parthian armies.

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the
east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Matthew 2:1-3

Their request of Herod regarding him who “has been born king of the Jews” (Mt 2:2) was a calculated insult to him who had contrived and bribed his way into that office. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, art not the least among the princes of Judah: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Matthew 2:4-6

Quoting Micah 5:2. It was prophecy, not astronomy, that was their guide.

Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found
him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. Matthew 2:7,8

When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.  And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. Matthew 2:9-12

In the providence of God, Herod’s request for their subsequent assistance was thwarted, the Magi “being warned in a dream” (a form of communication most acceptable to them) departed to their own country without responding to him. (Within two years Phraataces, the parricide son of Phraates IV, was duly installed by the Magi as the new ruler of Parthia.)

Magi Traditions

Eastern tradition: 12 magi (Christmas on Jan 6). Western tradition: 3 magi (Epiphany on Jan 6).
• 3rd century: Kings bearing gifts, Ps 72:10, 68:29.
• 6th century chronicle (Exerpia Latina Garbari):
Bithisarea = Balthasar
Melichior = Melchior
Gathaspa = Gasper
• Bede (673-735): three sons of Noah—Asia, Africa, Europe—Shem, Ham, Japheth.
• 14th century Armenian tradition:
Balthasar King of Arabia
Melchior King of Persia
Gasper King of India

Relics attributed to them discovered in the 4th century; transferred from Constantinople to Milan, 5th century; to Cologne by Frederick Barbarossa in 1162 where they remain enshrined.

“Star” of Bethlehem?
• Balaam’s prophecy in Num 24:17? Numbers 24:17 and Isa 60:3 not quoted by Matthew.
• Conjunctions? Kepler suggested that the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in the constellation of Pisces in 7 B.C. from an erroneous inference from Josephus. (Wrong date: 2 B.C.- 4 B.C.)
• Not a “natural” phenomenon: it settled over a specific location…
Note: Simon Bar Kochba, A.D. 135,”Son of the Star.” [See Signs in the Heavens briefing for a discussion of the Hebrew Mazzeroth and the Zodiac. See The Christmas Story – What Really Happened for more background on the Nativity. ]

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Chuck Missler Bio

About Chuck & Nancy Missler

chuck-misslerRecruited into senior management at the Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan, Chuck established the first international computer network in 1966. He left Ford to start his own company, a computer network firm that was subsequently acquired by Automatic Data Processing (listed on the New York Stock Exchange) to become its Network Services Division.

Returning to California, Chuck found himself consulting, organizing corporate development deals, serving on the board of directors at several firms, and specializing in the rescuing of financially troubled technology companies. He brought several companies out of Chapter 11 and into profitable operation. Chuck thrived on this type of work.

As Chuck notes, his day of reckoning came several years ago when — as the result of a merger — he found himself the chairman and a major shareholder of a small, publicly owned development company known as Phoenix Group International. The firm established an $8 billion joint venture with the Soviet Union to supply personal computers to their 143,000 schools. Due to several unforeseen circumstances, the venture failed. The Misslers lost everything, including their home, automobiles and insurance.

It was during this difficult time that Chuck turned to God and the Bible. As a child he developed an intense interest in the Bible; studying it became a favorite pastime. In the 1970s, while still in the corporate world, Chuck began leading weekly Bible studies at the 30,000-member Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, in California. He and Nancy established Koinonia House in 1973.

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