From the Lions’ Den to the Angels Den

Daniel 6 introduces another power in the book—Medo-Persia (539–331 BC). Daniel 6 begins where Chapter 5 left off and is the last historical chapter in the book. The Medo-Persian empire defeats Babylon on October 22, 539 BC and succeeds to rule. Darius has ascended the throne, and Daniel is promoted once again. The theme of God’s vindication and deliverance runs through the book, and Daniel 6 is a good example of that.

The Scriptures convey the most prominent similarities between Daniel (in Babylon, Medo-Persia) and that of Joseph (in Egypt). First, both were taken captives to foreign lands (Gen 37:12–36; Dan 1:1–7). Second, both were loyal to their God (Gen 39; Dan 6). Third, both were exceptional administrators and worked as advisors to court officials (Gen 41:46; Dan 1–6). Fourth, both were gifted in interpreting dreams (Gen 41:1–38; Dan 2; 4). Fifth, both were promoted to be the second in command in Egypt and Medo-Persia, respectively (Gen 41:39–45; Dan 6:1–3).

It should be noted that the parallels between the two heroes of faith (Joseph and Daniel) take place deeper than the superficial reading of the Bible passages. For instance, the word “magician” occurs in both narratives to describe the king’s advisors (Gen 41:8, 24; Dan 1:20; 2:2). “Magician” is an Egyptian loanword used elsewhere in the Bible only in Egyptian settings (Exod 7:11, 22; 8:7, 18–19; 9:11).

The Hebrew word for “interpret” (Gen 40:8, 16, 22; 41:12–13, 15) and its Aramaic cognate “interpretation” (Dan 5:12, 16) are similarly used in both stories. Another, “one’s spirit is troubled” occurs both in Genesis 41:8 and Daniel 2:1, 3. Both are referred to as downcast (Gen 40:6; Dan 1:10). The word “eunuch” or “king’s servant” play significant roles in the both Joseph and Daniel’s lives (Gen 37:36; 39:1; 40:2, 7; Dan 1:3; 7–11, 18). The most striking parallels are seen in both men as having been endowed with “the spirit of God [gods]” (Gen 41:38) or “the spirit of the holy gods” (Dan 4:8, 9; 5:11, 14). God used dreams as vehicles of communication to reveal the future to the kings of their times (Gen 41:25, 28; Dan 2:28).[1] God used Joseph to preserve many people’s lives (Gen 50:20), likewise, He used Daniel to preserve the lives of people in Babylon and Medo-Persia. Joseph was the remnant of his time, just as Daniel and his friends were the remnants their time.

The Persian king, Cyrus, is not named in Daniel 5, but Darius the Mede is. The identity of Darius has taken a considerable amount of discussion in historical and theological circles. If one considers the words of Flavius Josephus valid, one would echo with him that Darius the Mede “had another name among the Greeks.”[2] Darius was a common name in Persia and he may have been known by this name in Persian and Media alike.[3]

Daniel 6:28 can be translated as, “in the reign of Darius even in the reign of Cyrus.” Others have suggested that Darius is another name for Ugbaru (Hebrew spelling Gubaru), who was the governor of Gutium. Yet, another possible identity, although Ugbaru conquered Babylon, another person, named Gubaru, ruled over Babylon. That is to say, Gubaru and Darius would be alternative names for the same person—Cyrus.

Regardless of who Darius was and his exact identity, the God of Daniel recognized him and honored him (cf Dan 11:1). Daniel 6 opens with an administrative plot against Daniel, caused by the 120 satraps (princes), and the other two presidents (“Daniel was first,” among three) (Dan 6:2b). Their behavior echoes the behavior of the Chaldeans towards Daniel’s friends in Chapter 3. The command to pray for one month to none other the king was aimed to corner Daniel and place a restriction on his habits of prayer. Daniel was about 84 years old.

The prayer habits of Daniel recorded in Chapter 6 reflect the character and religious practices of a pious man who prayed three times a day (Dan 6:10; cf. Ps 55:17). The Bible records that Daniel prayed while kneeling, a sign of reverence and submission to God. As his custom was, he prayed three times a day before an open window that faced in the direction of the holy city, Jerusalem. God’s temple in Israel was His throne.

His prayer facing Jerusalem is in line with what Solomon said, “Listen to the supplication of your servant and of your people Israel, when they pray toward this place” (2 Chr 7:30). First-century Christians prayed facing Jerusalem. Interestingly, Coptic Christians in Egypt today pray while facing Jerusalem. It was only in the second century AD, that praying toward the East replaced the old tradition (Jerusalem) because of the increasing influence of Hellenism. Such an aspect came because Christians saw the resurrection and the second coming of Christ as associated with the rising sun. By the second century AD, Christianity abandoned most of its Jewish roots, thus, praying toward the East was an influence of Greek cultural worship of the sun. Muslims and the Prophet Muhammad initially prayed toward Jerusalem; later Muhammad the prophet changed this custom to replace it with Mecca.

Saint Augustine tells us that “prayer is the soul’s breathing.” Two fundamental aspects emerge from this image: First, prayer, like breathing, is extremely natural to the human person; second, those who cease to breathe automatically die. It suffices to say, prayer is natural and indispensable to human souls.[4] Natural, in a sense, is not difficult as some would say. The soul [person] who does not practice prayer is likened to a person who has paralyzed limbs. Indispensable means one cannot live without it, just like inhaling and exhaling are needed for survival and living so it is with prayer. Prayer is the health and warmth of love. For prayer and love are inseparable. Prayer is the voice of faith. It should be the key of the day and the lock of the night. I like the Yiddish words regarding prayer, “Prayers go up and blessings come down.” Thus, we can conclude that prayer is indispensable. True prayer consists neither in the number of words nor in the length of time spent. It is motivated by love and considered the breath of the soul. Love is the pulsation of prayer; hence, love is the source of prayer.

Finally, the officials of Darius succeed in having Daniel thrown into the lions’ den. After a long and sleepless night, Darius rushes to the lions' den. To his surprise, Darius finds Daniel still alive. Consequently, the king brings Daniel up from the den and, instead, throws the accusers of Daniel and their families into the lions’ den. Daniel survived the night because an angel shut their mouths. Daniel is fully vindicated; his principles have been vindicated too.

Christopher Wordsworth shows a unique parallel between Daniel and Christ:

Daniel was like Christ in wisdom. . . . He was like Christ in dutiful loyalty to rulers who scorned and persecuted him. He was like Him in intercession. He was also like Christ in the manner of his suffering, and in its consequences. He was condemned on account of his reverence and obedience to God. The princes of Persia raged against him, as the rulers of Judah raged against Christ. Daniel was cast into the pit or den of lions, so Christ is said by the psalmist to be in the pit, and among lions (Ps 40:2; 22:21). The prison house of Daniel was closed with a stone, sealed with the king's seal and the seals of his lords; a stone was on the mouth of the grave of Christ, and it was sealed with the seal of the chief priests. Daniel arose from that pit to honour and glory; so did Christ from the grave. After Daniel's resurrection, a decree went forth "unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth . . .” And after the resurrection of Christ, a commission was given to the apostles to preach the gospel of peace to all nations, and Christ promised to be with them even to the end of the world.[5]

The deliverance of Daniel from the lions' den foreshadows the deliverance of God’s people from future tribulations. As Daniel trusted in God and was delivered, so end-time people will be delivered once they trust in the God of Daniel.

Youssry Guirguis currently serves as a full-time Lecturer at Asia-Pacific International University (AIU), Muak Lek, Thailand and also as an adjunct professor at the Adventist Institute for Islamic & Arabic Studies at Middle East University (MEU), Beirut, Lebanon.

Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash

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[1] Andrew E. Steinmann, Genesis: An Introduction and Commentary (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2019), 391–393.

[2] Flavius Josephus, The Works of Flavius Josephus: The Learned and Authentic Jewish Historian and Celebrated Warrior: with Three Dissertations, Connecting Jesus Christ, John the Baptist, James the Just, God's Command to Abraham and Explanatory Notes and Observations, trans. William Whiston (Nashville, TN: H. S. & J. Applegate, 1851), 217.

[3] Albert Barnes, Notes on the Book of Daniel: With an Introductory Dissertation (New York, NY: Levavitt and Allen, 1859), 262.

[4] Augustine Ichiro Okumura, Awakening to Prayer (Washington, DC: ICSP, 1994), 13–15.

[5] Christopher Wordsworth, Daniel, Commentary on the Holy Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994), 6:xix.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at
1 Like

So many Seventh-day Adventists lust for that dramatic and glorious judgment moment in which they are threatened with death unless they renounce their faith. They imagine that they can be as righteous and principled as Daniel. They long for that dramatic and glorious judgment moment, but they don’t realize that many such moments have already come.

If you side with Donald Trump who has thrown into the lions’ den, as it were, the Daniels of our day, Colonel Vindman and Ambassador Yovanovitch and many others, you have already been weighed in the balances and been found wanting. If you side with Donald Trump, who like Haman has promoted conspiracy theories for the purpose of harming others, you have already been weighed in the balances and been found wanting.

If you are a supporter of Donald Trump, don’t lavish Daniel with praise. Don’t preach on Daniel 6. Don’t talk about standing for right though the heavens fall. In other words, don’t make a laughingstock out of yourself. Don’t be ridiculous. You have squandered your opportunity to take a dramatic and glorious stand for right. You are not in Daniel’s company. You are nothing like him.


Although I do have some sympathy with your position I do think you are being unduly harsh on those who support Trump. There are many reasons both physiological and psychological for being a Trump supporter. He is unquestionably a gifted manipulator and picks his marks well. He has the ability to connect on an emotional level and extract what he likes from a mark. It is not accidental that he was a republican rather than a democratic candidate though he had been a long time democrat. His style has more traction on the right than the left. Research such as that of Pennycock [Pennycook, G., and Rand, D.G. (2019). Who Falls for Fake News? The Roles of Bullshit Receptivity, Overclaiming, Familiarity, and Analytic Thinking (Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network)] and others have built on the initial work of the moral philosopher Henry Frankfurt (Frankfurt, H. G. (2005). On bullshit. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press). One recent study from Sweden where politics is much more diverse than the binary politics of the US has shown the complexity of human reasoning, perception, bullshit receptivity and issue of confirmation bias.

Binding moral orientation was by far the strongest and most robust predictor of bullshit receptivity. One possible reason for this is that the binding intuitions (and socially conservative ideology in general) are associated with a desire for social cohesion ([Graham et al., 2009] ; [Jost, van der Linden, Panagopoulos, & Hardin, 2018] ; [Malka et al., 2016] )—a psychological orientation that should make people disinclined to critically analyze and question the claims of others, particularly if these claims sound authoritative. The motivation to engage in the kind of high-effort thinking required to unmask bullshit, and to risk social discomfort by doing so, may thus be undermined by binding moral intuitions. (Nilsson, A., Erlandsson, A., and Västfjäll, D. (2019). The Complex Relation Between Receptivity to Pseudo-Profound Bullshit and Political Ideology. Pers Soc Psychol Bull 45 , 1440–1454.)

Christians including Adventists unfortunately are prepared to accept authoritarian agendas and rule if it is convenient for some overall objective of stability and perpetuation of some perceived greater good. We did it in 1930s Germany and we do the same today. In a world of profound propaganda machines like facebook and Fox it is indeed hard to engage in individual critical analysis.
Indeed to be a Daniel and protest empire is a dare too great for most.


Are you really Don Lemon?"

Phil, the reason why Trump will win is precisely because it seems like he casts shade on everything that you read :). It becomes the 6 degrees to showing how immoral Trump is.

If you want to beat Trump, start talking less about what you don’t want… and talk more about what you want. Talk up the candidate that you think is better. Talk up his superior position and why people should vote for her/him.

The more you make it about Trump, the more power Trump draws from you, because it seems like he took up a permanent residence in your mind … rent free.


I find that the Donald Trump supporters fall into these classifications:

  1. Ignorant people who have no training in the human sciences, such as law, political science, history, and basic civics. These people have not been educated to understand that Trump’s interference in a criminal case, for example, is an impeachable offense for which he should be removed from office.
  2. People who have a binding orientation to the Republican Party, even if its standard bearer, Donald Trump, does not promote traditional Republican policies or is a true Republican himself. This binding orientation is much stronger than any orientation these people may have toward God and was probably formed years before they were baptized.
  3. People who are doing well who mistakenly think that Trump is responsible for the good economy that he inherited. Money is more important for these people than our democratic institutions, norms, and values.
  4. White supremacists, white nationalists, neo-Nazis. Those in the other three groups, by virtue of their acceptance and acquiescence of Trump’s promotion of white supremacy, white nationalism, and neo-Nazism, can be arguably classified in this group as well.

I certainly agree that binding moral orientation is the strongest and most robust predictor of bullshit receptivity. But is it possible that at this late date, Trump’s chumps do not realize that they have been conned? That is hard for me to believe.

But getting back to Daniel, how can someone who will not disassociate himself or herself from a promoter of white nationalism, white supremacy, and neo-Nazism ever hope to become a citizen in the Kingdom of God? Do SDA supporters of Trump who are presently failing one test after another think that they will be given the honor of a dramatic and glorious judgment moment right before they die? I do not see that happening.


If ALL the United States Seventh day Adventists voted for whichever
Democrat candidate is put forward,
it will make no difference on the re-election of President Donald Trump.
The majority of the American electorate see President Trump as the
BETTER of the two evils presented for 4 years of residence in the
White House.


mm… is this an example of PPB or is this a profound observation?

As a scientist I am interested in the rise of authoritarianism exemplified by Trump and his enablers and the attendant antiscientific sentiment and deprecation of knowledge and learning. Should we really not notice or comment on these trends?


Question –
WHICH of the Democrat Running Candidates would you VOTE YES for?
If one is going to be against President Trump, then one would HAVE to
be FOR a specific candidate from the other side.

OR, do SDAs Not Vote in presidential elections?

1 Like

You are right populism is comforting to those for which the complexities and changes of modernity are concerning but this should not lead to the assumption that those that support Trump and authoritarianism are poorly educated rubes.

This was not true for authoritarianism in 1930s Germany nor for modern America. Trumps administration is populated by highly intelligent and ivy league educated people who have apparently made the calculus that what they are doing and who they are enabling has great value. It is probably the same with any cult.

You cannot say that those on the religious right are simply doing it for self interest or money without any concern for moral principles. The changes in judiciary and the expected reversal of Roe v Wade is very much a moral issue for which excusing minor indiscretions and moral lapses is an easily accepted.

You make claims about something I am not sure you understand or of which you have experience. I asked before what is the basis on which you make these conclusions. You have been very coy about your credentials for making the dogmatic at times condescending statements you make.

I am not idealizing the process or practice of science of which if you care to look at google scholar you will find there is evidence of my expertise and participation. Like Jonathon Sacks appreciate that science tells us how and religions role is tell us why, I do not confuse them but the why has to be entirely cognizant of the how and be true realities as best we can apprehend them. This is where the current climate of misinformation and bullshit in political discourse impacts outcomes. You may think this is a local phenomena but unfortunately the US is still a dominant force in determining behaviour and understanding in the rest of the world.

The message of Daniel and the exhortation of Matthew 24:15 to understand is not to chill and say there is nothing happening here. This is what has always happened. Dont get excited. This is what they said to Bonhoeffer in the 1930s Its just rhetoric we are a civilized country and the adults in the room would not allow anything immoral or destructive.


lol…you often have such profoundly simple explanations, Steve! Both you and Arkdrey @Arkdrey are making some pertinent points that are being overlooked. I don’t mind some political commentary but to hijack this article isn’t a good thing…but many here are upset over Trump (and supporters).

I might add that the true “villains” are those US citizens that keep on putting The Donald back in power. Perhaps more of the vitriol against Trump needs to be redirected at WHY this is happening. It could be that the frustration level cannot decrease because there isn’t a clear way to counteract. A thought.


Why don’t you write an article on the topic and submit it?


So many perceptive and insightful comments have been made by the ones who have posted before me…but I am wondering where everyone sits with the overwhelming theme of the book of Daniel, which is that God is Sovereign and in control.

I am not a Trump supporter, but I have found myself thinking lately that besides voting, I need to give up my angst and gnashing of teeth over the daily vitriol coming out of the white house as a means of demonstrating at least to myself that I have internalized my recognition of what will be God’s over-arching ultimate fulfillment of His plans for this earth.


The majority of the electorate in the last election voted for Hillary Clinton.


" So, isn’t this how SDA’s act and think all the time? Since 1844 we have accepted information as authoritative from a frontal-lobe-damaged depressed teenager who came from a shouting Methodist background, during a time when she was influenced by millions of starving superstitious Roman Catholic Irish were debarking in New England, when visions and manifestations were common and widely accepted? What “binding moral intuitions” prevent us from looking geological science in the face and coming out of our literal-7-day-24 hour-period view of creation (same teenager’s view)? What perpetuates our psychological orientation that makes us disinclined to critically analyze and question the claims of others about the role of women in modern society and in church (TW’s view)? We have an example of Daniel and his prayer life who didn’t seem to be overly concerned with how his practice might affect social cohesion - lots to love about Daniel and his example.


Science doesn’t and will not run politics, unless we wise up and implement a lottery system that will elect knowleageable technocrats and end of all of this electoral nonsense.

Science is likewise inconsequential if we don’t speak in facts and data as opposed to feelings and ideals.

In fact, the best remedy for feelings and delusional ideals are facts that create that uncomfortable dissonance of being shown that you are wrong in some specific context that sticks and hopefully prevents people from repeating nonsense.

Making a statement like…

Doesn’t actually show anything to anyone. It doesn’t reference facts. It doesn’t provide alternative as ideals that are worthy to follow. It doesn’t change anyone’s mind or requires anyone to think.

It merely fuels more of the “if not with us then against us” irrational ideology that doesn’t want conversation and merely assumes to be in the right.

Just because you are against certain kind of wrong … It doesn’t make you right. Think about it.

It has very little to do with scientific approach you seem to idealize. It doesn’t contribute to understanding.


Sorry, should have said majority of the states.
Electoral College. :roll_eyes:


Of course you may be right that science has nothing to say about physical reality but I doubt it. When you look at the tsunami of propaganda that is coming courtesy of the Brad Parscales and team trump and their bilion dollar war-chest I have to ask do you really think anyone but the amish community or some prepper at Walden pond will not be swayed by the emotional appeals moral indignation and scapgoating you see now in nascent form from Fox personalities. The patriotic minutemen will soon be out in force and I see that Adventists will be among them of course as noncombatants of morality and principle.

Leni Refinstahl and Joseph Goebels were just amateurs in comparison.

As McKay Coppins has recently written in the Atlantic if you set out objectively to ask what is the trump information eco system like you will soon arrive at a position where you have been gaslighted to the degree that you trust no source of information.

What has this got to do with Daniel and science. Much I think. I appreciate the scientific approach because it has a consistent approach. It says there is an objective reai world that is understandable There is a process of hypothesis driven interrogation of the real world with experiment and there is a canonical repository of information. The scientific scholarly literature. There is of course erosion at the edges with psudoscience and woo but so far the core has remained intact. It is however based on trust. There is too much original information for a single person to understand and in science we have a concept of trust by those doing research that there are experts like me that are doing science in good faith in other fields and I can trust their observation. That they are honest and will report experimental results whatever it may mean for the viability of their own pet theory. There is in science a certain altruism deprecated in the current climate of hostility distrust and enmity.

The cultural changes in society with the rise in authoritarianism means that these concepts are threatened by the rise of the bullshit that is the basis of a transactional approach to everything.

To me the message of Daniel is that you have to determine who you trust and where you get information and the impact of that information and understanding on your behaviour. Daniel was in an empire that was not immune from misinformation. He was falsely accused and a plot generated for his demise. He remained faithful to his conviction.

Unfortunately you are so right. I wish we could be talking about the POTUS in a different way, but considering what this POTUS is and has said/done, there is no other option if one wants to be accurately reacting to the facts we see every day.

One major problem that is changing the normal moral landscape in the US is the normalization of the abnormal, of the unacceptable, and of the indecent. It’s almost like saying, “Well, if 16K lies is OK, then when it (soon) reaches 17K , it will be OK as well.” When ONE, just one deliberate lie from any POTUS should be in itself abnormal and unacceptable.

I really don’t understand how DT’s defenders and followers, those who are part of the cover up of his indecency and criminality, are dealing with the Daniel lessons. Those four young guys revealed great integrity in the way they handled the DTs of their time. They said NO to abuse of power and unacceptable behavior. They took immense risks as they stood by what is right and just. And here we are…, seeing so many Christians doing exactly the opposite of what the “four Hebrew amigos” did.

It would be completely hypocritical to praise DT and the FOUR AMIGOS at the same time. It’s either or, can’t be both. Because the two camps are completely opposite to one another. If they escaped lions and fire, DT wouldn’t ever! God honored their behavior, therefore it’s obvious that God can’t honor DT’s behavior.

Why do some who call themselves “Christians” also support an anti-Christian individual like DT? Mystery!!! Well, … hypocrisy is a mystery in itself…


How does that align with
Da 6:1 “It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom;”
And notice
Esther 1:1 ¶ “Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus, (this [is] Ahasuerus which reigned, from India even unto Ethiopia, [over] an hundred and seven and twenty provinces:)”

Sorta looks like Ahasuerus would have had 7 more princes than Darius. Hardly looks like Darius was a local governor.