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Christian Natural Health

with Dr. Lauren Deville

Daniel and the Lion's Den: A Meditation and Retelling of Daniel 6

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Today's podcast comes from Daniel 6. Introduction: I’ve known the story of Daniel and the lion’s den since I was a kid in Sunday School classes, but I never really considered before what Daniel was thinking at the time. As I wrote some of these retellings, it was obvious that the heroes were actually terrified and full of doubts, like Gideon. Samson wasn’t at all fearful, but he’d placed his confidence in himself, rather than in God. It was only very rare individuals that seemed to be completely confident in the Lord. David and Jonathan clearly had this mentality, because the things they said to those around them just before their exploits revealed their thoughts. With Daniel, it’s not quite so clear, until you put this event in chronological context with the rest of the book of Daniel.    The first half of the book of Daniel is historical, telling events that transpired during Daniel’s lifetime as the kingdom changed rulership. The second half, from chapter 7 through 12, is prophetic, in which Daniel is treated to a series of profound visions which encompass the “silent” years of the Old Testament through the coming of Christ, and then apocalyptic visions that harmonize with John’s account in Revelation. We’re told in Daniel 5:31 and 6:1 that this episode of the lion’s den occurred during the reign of King Darius, and historians say he only reigned for two years. We also know from Daniel 9:2 that Darius was king during the time that Daniel received his famous seventy weeks prophecy, so these two events must have occurred relatively close to one another in time. In the seventy weeks prophecy, Gabriel appeared and helped Daniel to understand that while Jeremiah’s prediction of seventy years of captivity (Jeremiah 25:11-12) was nearly over for Israel, there was a deeper meaning for the seventy years as well. There would also be seventy weeks of years, or 490 years, from the time of the rebuilding of Jerusalem, until the end of the age. It would be sixty-nine weeks of years from the rebuilding of Jerusalem until the Messiah would come (and according to “The Coming Prince” by Sir Robert Anderson, from the time Nehemiah was sent to rebuild the walls of the city, sixty-nine weeks of years, where a year in the calendar of the day was 360 days, would work out to 173,880 days. This is to the day when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey on Palm Sunday, proclaiming himself to be king, Luke 19:28-44.) That last week of years, or the last seven years, will be the end of the age—and the rest of Daniel’s seventy weeks prophecy describes the antichrist, the covenant with Israel that begins those seven years, and the abomination of desolation 3.5 years in, which will initiate the last 3.5 years of tribulation. Daniel’s prophecy here doesn’t indicate that there is a gap between the 69th and the 70th week, though some scholars believe that was because there didn't have to be a gap: had the Jews accepted Jesus as Messiah when he rode in on Palm Sunday, the first and the second coming might have been one and the same. This might have been why Jesus wept as he rode into town (Luke 19:41-44). As it was, there is a pause in Daniel’s timeline “until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” (Romans 11:25).    In my retelling, therefore, I imagined how full Daniel’s mind must have been with such wonderful revelations. He’d seen and spoken with God’s messenger, not once, but twice (Gabriel also came to him in Daniel 8:16). He’d been in captivity nearly all his life, and now in his eighties, he realized that the time drew near for his people to return to Jerusalem. His prayer in Daniel 9:4-19 is so impassioned, one can almost picture him weeping as he contends for their release. Gabriel told him that he was greatly beloved (Daniel 9:23), and told him that not only did the time draw near for his people’s release, but also showed him God’s entire plan for history.    Meanwhile, Darius wanted to promote Daniel because, like Pharaoh had said of Joseph, he had the spirit of God’s wisdom upon him (Daniel 6:3). As King Solomon wrote, a man who excels in his work will stand before kings, and not obscure men (Proverbs 22:29). Daniel did his work with excellence, but he had no ambitions in Persia. His heart was clearly with his people, his homeland, and God’s plans for the earth. So when the other governors and satraps conspired against him, I imagine that Daniel almost ignored them. He had far bigger things on his mind. He probably heard the threat, knew it was petty jealousy, proceeded about his business, and forgot about it.   It was the Persian custom that a law sealed by the king could not be changed (Daniel 6:15), which was the same issue Esther ran into in her day. Clearly Darius realized that his satraps and governors had convinced him to sign such a law just to entrap Daniel. Darius wanted to rescue Daniel and tried to find a loophole (Daniel 6:14), but even he couldn’t do it, which was what his officials had counted upon. Daniel’s d
January 07, 2022
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Meet Your Host
Dr. Lauren Deville is the owner of Nature Cure Family Health in Tucson, Arizona. She received her NMD from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, AZ, and she holds a BS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics from the University of Arizona, with minors in Spanish and Creative Writing. She is the author of The Holistic Gut Prescription and How to Be Healthy: Body, Mind, and Spirit.

In her spare time, Dr. Lauren writes young adult science fiction and fantasy novels as well as Biblical retellings under the pen name C.A. Gray, and she maintains a movie review blog with her cinephile husband.
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