Chapter six of Daniel foreshadows the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The two stories parallel each other in a remarkable way. In fact, the more you look at it, the more amazing the parallels become. There is no way that this is a coincidence. This is just another way to show how divinely inspired the Bible really is. If the Bible is not divinely inspired, then how did the author of Daniel, 600 years earlier, tell a story that would parallel the well-documented story of Jesus? Let’s take a look at all of the similarities between these two stories, then let’s look at one remarkable difference.
Story of Daniel (around 537 BC) Story of Jesus (around 33 AD)
|The administrators and satraps conspired against Daniel.||The Pharisees and Jewish leaders conspired against Jesus.|
|They follow Daniel around, investigate him, and try to find something to charge him with.||They follow Jesus around and try to find something to charge him with. They ask him trick questions such as, “Should we pay taxes?” or “Should we stone this woman?”|
|Daniel is found blameless. They can find nothing to bring against him.||Jesus is found blameless. They can find nothing to bring against him.|
|Daniel’s enemies come up with a plan to arrest him.||Jesus’ enemies come up with a plan to arrest him.|
|Daniel’s enemies have to spy on him to catch him.||Jesus’ enemies have to use a spy to catch him.|
|When the plan is put into motion Daniel goes into a time of prayer even though he knows that if he does he will be arrested.||When the plan is put into motion Jesus goes into a time of prayer even though he knows that if he stays he will be arrested.|
|Daniel prays three times a day.||Jesus prays three times in the garden.|
|Daniel is arrested after his time a prayer.||Jesus is arrested after his time of prayer.|
|After being arrested, Daniel is immediately taken to judgment.||After being arrested, Jesus is immediately taken to judgment.|
|Daniel is found guilty of transgressing the law of the Medes and Persians.||Jesus is found guilty of transgressing the law of the Jews.|
|Darius is deeply stressed that Daniel must be sentenced to the lion’s den, even though Darius is the one who sentences him.||Pontius Pilate is deeply stressed that Jesus has to be sentenced to the cross, even though Pilate is the one who sentences him.|
|Darius is unable to sleep.||The wife of Pontius Pilate is troubled in her sleep.|
|Darius pours over the law to try to find some way to save Daniel before the sentence has to be carried out.||Pontius tries to find a way to save Jesus. He tries flogging him as a punishment, and then offers to release him, but the crowd chooses Barabbas.|
|The satraps have Darius cornered.||The Pharisees have Pilate cornered.|
|Daniel is placed into a den.||Jesus is placed into a tomb.|
|A giant rock is placed in front of the den.||A giant rock is placed in front of the tomb.|
|The king’s seal is placed over the rock so if anyone breaks the seal they will be killed.||A Roman seal is placed over the rock so if anyone breaks the seal they will be killed.|
|While Daniel is in the den Darius cannot sleep.||While Jesus is in the tomb his followers are lost and distraught.|
|All possibility of escape is cut off. Daniel is presumed dead.||All possibility of escape is cut off. Jesus is presumed dead.|
|A heavenly being appears in the lion’s den.||A heavenly being appears at the tomb.|
|At first light, Darius rushes to the lion’s den.||At first light, the women rush to the tomb.|
|Darius is given the good news that Daniel is alive.||The women are given the good news that Jesus is alive.|
|Daniel lives to prosper in the Medo-Persian kingdom.||Jesus lives to prosper in God’s kingdom.|
|Darius proclaims to the world that God’s kingdom will never be destroyed.||The followers of Jesus proclaim God’s kingdom to the world.|
This is another example of the divine inspiration of the Bible. You cannot convince me that all of this is an accident, a coincidence, or that I’m simply reading too much into these stories. In the same way that Jesus is foreshadowed by Moses, (see this post) Jesus is also foreshadowed by Daniel. However, there is one huge difference between these two stories.
It’s Just not fair
Jesus dies and Daniel is saved. Almost everything else between these two stories match, but Jesus dies and Daniel is saved. It’s just not fair! We see examples that seem unfair throughout the Bible. Peter and James are both arrested, James is beheaded, and the next day Peter is supposed to be beheaded, but an angel rescues him from jail. What? Why did the angel not show up the day before and save both of them? It’s just not fair! The disciple John gets to become an old man and write Revelation, but Stephen is stoned as a young man. It’s just not fair! Why are things so unfair? Jesus has to die on the cross, but Daniel is saved from the Lion’s den? It’s just not fair.
The fact that we think this is not fair shows us how little faith we really have. Because if we have complete faith that when a believer dies, they are going to heaven, and that they will one day be resurrected, to spend eternity with God, wouldn’t we look at it the other way around? Think about it. . .if you have faith. . . It is the other way around. People who experience a miracle and survive are stuck in this world, they will probably die an ordinary death, and they will spend eternity in heaven, as people who experienced a miracle during their lives. On the other hand, when someone dies as a martyr, and is paraded through heaven, he or she will be known throughout all of eternity as someone who glorified God with his or her death. Daniel will be known as a hero of the Bible, and a man of great faith, but the death that Jesus died will echo throughout eternity. He will always be known for it. John wrote Revelation and eventually died and he will be known throughout eternity as a faithful man, but Stephen died as a martyr, as a young man, and when he died he was paraded through the streets of heaven. He will always be known as someone who glorified God with his death. You see, we could look at it the other way around. When we say it’s just not fair, maybe we are right, but we have it backwards. It’s not fair that as we pass into eternity, some of us get to give such glory to God with our deaths, and others of us don’t. We have it backwards.
I have some breaking news for you. . .we are all going to die. . . and then there will be eternity. We can’t even comprehend how long eternity really is. I mean, after a million years of eternity the fairness of our death really doesn’t matter does it? All that matters is that when we died, we died to the glory of God. That’s all that matters. Now, that doesn’t mean that we should all go out and try to find a way to be martyred for God, but we should be mindful that we are glorifying God in our daily lives so when that day comes, whether sooner or later, we will also glorify him at the time of our deaths. In other words, we should live like we have something worth dying for. So the question is, do you have something worth dying for? Martin Luther says, “If you have nothing worth dying for, then you have nothing worth living for.” Martin Luther King says, “A man who has not found something worth dying for is not fit to live.” Daniel and Jesus both had something to die for and they both had identical stories until the very end, but they didn’t get to choose the way that they died. That was up to God. All they could do, was make sure that however they were going to die, whether as a teenager, whether as a 33 years old on a cross, or whether as an 86-year-old in a lion’s den, however it was going to happen, they were going to die for the glory of God. It didn’t matter if it was fair. It only mattered that it was for the glory of God. Their lives were for the glory of God. . . and their deaths were for the glory of God. . . . And there was nothing unfair about it.
Here is a link to the sermon that accompanies this Bible study: “It’s Just Not Fair”
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