From the Lions’ Den to the Angel’s Den

From the Lions’ Den to the Angel’s Den

Scripture: Daniel 6:4
Date: 02/15/2020  Lesson: 7
'What kind of witness do we present to others in regard to our faithfulness to God and to His law? Would people who know you think that you would stand for your faith, even if it cost you your job, or even your life?'

Is Obedience Legalism? - Paper or Digital Download

Is Obedience Legalism? - Paper or Digital Download
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Jëan Ross: Good morning, friends. Welcome to "Sabbath School Study Hour" coming to you here at the Granite Bay Seventh Day Adventist Church in Sacramento, California. We'd like to welcome those who are joining us, our online members and our friends across the country and around the world, part of our extended Sabbath School class. Also our regular members and visitors who are joining us here in person as we continue our study in a very interesting and important prophetic book that we find in the Old Testament, the Book of Daniel.

Today we find ourselves on one of those great Old Testament stories, and it's lesson number seven if you've been following along with the lesson quarterly. It's entitled From The Lion's Den To The Angel's Den. It's lesson number seven, you know what our story is that we're going to be looking at today.

But before we get to our study, I'd like to remind our friends about our free offer for this morning. It is an Amazing Facts study guide. It's entitled "Is Obedience Legalism?" And we'll be happy to send this to anyone who calls and asks. The number is 866-788-3966, and you can ask for offer number 706. We'll be happy to send this to anyone who calls and asks. You'll also be able to download for free a copy of our study guide simply by visiting the Amazing Facts website. And you could also text the code SH041 to the number 40544. You'll be able to get a link as to where you'll be able to read the study guide, "Is Obedience Legalism?" I think you'll find it encouraging of just packed with all kinds of excellent Scriptures. But before we get to our study this morning, we have five students from Weimar College that are going to be bringing us a special musical item at this time.

♪ In Christ alone my hope is found ♪

♪ He is my light, my strength, my song ♪

♪ This Cornerstone, this solid Ground ♪

♪ Firm through the fiercest drought and storm ♪

♪ What heights of love, what depths of peace ♪

♪ When fears are stilled, when strivings cease ♪

♪ My Comforter, my All in All ♪

♪ Here in the love of Christ I stand ♪

♪ In Christ alone who took on flesh ♪

♪ Fullness of God in helpless babe ♪

♪ This gift of love and righteousness ♪

♪ Scorned by the ones He came to save ♪

♪ Till on that cross as Jesus died ♪

♪ The wrath of God was satisfied ♪

♪ For every sin on Him was laid ♪

♪ Here in the death of Christ I live ♪

♪ There in the ground His body lay ♪

♪ Light of the world by darkness slain: ♪

♪ Then bursting forth in glorious day ♪

♪ Up from the grave He rose again ♪

♪ And as He stands in victory ♪

♪ Sin's curse has lost its grip on me ♪

♪ For I am His and He is mine ♪

♪ Bought with the precious blood of Christ ♪

♪ No guilt in life, no fear in death ♪

♪ This is the power of Christ in me ♪

♪ From life's first cry to final breath ♪

♪ Jesus commands my destiny ♪

♪ No power of hell, no scheme of man ♪

♪ Can ever pluck me from His hand ♪

♪ Till He returns and calls me home ♪

♪ Here in the power of Christ I'll stand ♪

♪ Here in the power of Christ we stand ♪♪

Jëan: Let's bow our heads for a word of prayer. Dear Father in heaven, we thank You once again that You've given us life and strength, the ability to gather in Your presence on this Your Sabbath and open up Your Word. Father, we're looking at just a fantastic story that we have recorded in Scripture of tremendous faith and devotion. And not only that of our Daniel who stood faithful to You, but how You stood faithful for him. And we just ask in a special way that You would guide in our study, lead us into a clear a full understanding of this great passage. In Jesus's name, amen.

Well, as mentioned, we're going to be looking at Daniel chapter 5, I believe it is. So, if you have your Bibles, you can open it up. We're going to be looking at the story of Daniel in the lion's den. I'd like to invite Pastor Doug to come forward, and he'll be leading in our study today.

Doug Batchelor: Morning everybody, want to welcome you to our Granite Bay Sabbath School Program and "Sabbath School Study Hour." We're just so thankful that you're joining us. We know we have friends that are watching from other parts of the planet that are studying with us. Just met a gentleman who's here this morning, lives about 200 miles north of Anchorage, if I'm not mistaken, 2,000, 2,000 miles, and he said it's 32 below zero there today. Wow. So, we have folks that come from all over and we're just so thankful for those who are online members as well.

Now, our lesson today is an amazing study. It's based on the Book of Daniel chapter 6. Now, it's easy to get confused because we're on lesson seven, studying Daniel chapter 6. Last week, we were studying Daniel chapter 5, we were in lesson six. And so, you can see it sounds a little incongruous at times. And the title of our lesson is From The Lion's Den To The Angel's Den.

We have a memory verse. The memory verse is from Daniel 6, verse 4, if you want to find your Bibles. You can read it right out of your quarterly. It's from the New King James Version there. Daniel 6, verse 4. And you ready? "So the governors and satraps sought to find some charge against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him."

All right, friends, put on your seatbelts. We are getting ready to dive off into what I believe is one of the greatest chapters in the Bible because it talks about the greatest character in the Bible, and that is not Daniel, that's Jesus. The story of Daniel chapter 6 is a wonderful parallel that gives us a number of insights into Christ Himself. Now, let's go ahead and just jump to the first verse and I'll have a few of you, in a moment, help me read a couple of verses in our study.

Now, I've just got to tell you that keep in mind, a lot of people grow up, they go to Sunday school or Sabbath school and they hear the story of Daniel in the lion's den, and that story is often relegated to the children. And you know, they'll bring in some stuffed lions, and they'll reenact this cute story. And but when I first read it, I didn't know that it was a children's story. I thought it was a story of the most magnificent theology. And so, I was looking at it for its prophetic value for the Christ in the story of Daniel and it's the story, it's always been just such an amazing monumental story to me.

All right, first of all, this transpires shortly after chapter 5 when Babylon has fallen. Immediately, they installed new government, which is known to be the Medo-Persian government, and we know that Darius the Mede, along with Cyrus of Persian, work together to bring about the downfall of Babylon. And so, then they established a new government. And you read in chapter 6 of Daniel verse 1, "It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom one hundred and twenty satraps," princes, "who would be over the whole kingdom, and over these, three governors, of whom Daniel was one," or to be chief, "that the satraps might give account to them, and that the king would suffer no loss."

Now, this is astonishing because typically when one kingdom conquers another kingdom, the first thing they do is wipe out the cabinet, the leadership that was loyal to the former king. You can't have people in your new department that were loyal to the other king. They might try to assassinate you. In ancient kingdoms, your own family might try to assassinate you. So, this is very unusual that Daniel, who had served Nebuchadnezzar for so long, is now not only being allowed to remain in this kingdom, but he's given a leadership role.

Now, keep in mind word had gotten out about Daniel telling Belshazzar to take his gifts and keep them and Daniel foretelling that the Medes and the Persians were going to win. And so, they knew there was something extraordinary about this man, and he was known for his wisdom. You heard of someone, ever heard the expression of a person being a legend in their own time? Daniel was a legend while he was still alive. Even Ezekiel in a prophecy said, "Thou art wiser than Daniel." Daniel was, a few people in the Bible are known for extraordinary wisdom, Solomon is one, Daniel is another. Of course, Jesus. And so, Daniel was known for his wisdom and when Darius came into power, he wanted Daniel as part of his cabinet.

But there's a problem. Daniel is not a Persian, he's not a Median. He's not a Chaldean. He's a Jew, and the way they found their way into Babylon was because they were brought in as captives, many were made slaves. And so, then for these other Medes and Persians that are running the kingdom, to have a former Jewish captive and someone who had served Nebuchadnezzar giving them orders, that didn't sit well with them, and there was some resentment. And the king put so much confidence in Daniel, they were frankly jealous, which is one of the first sections in your lesson. It says that, not only that, says Daniel distinguished himself. I'm in verse 3. "Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and the satraps, because--" Some versions will say princes. These are the administrators. "Because an excellent Spirit was in him."

Now, you remember reading, if you go to chapter 5, and verse 12, it says an excellent spirit, knowledge and understanding, was in Daniel. So, he was known as being a Spirit-filled man. Now, right away, you're going to see some parallels between the story of Daniel and Jesus. Was there an effort made to get rid of Jesus? Was there jealousy? And there was resentment. There was envy. I've got someone's going to help me read a verse in just a minute, okay?

Something else you'll notice, these men who want to get rid of Daniel, they follow him around, they're trying to find something wrong. It says, "The governors and the princes sought to find some occasion," this is verse 4, "concerning Daniel concerning the kingdom." They say let's open his file cabinet when he's not home. There's got to be someplace that he's pilfering money, or he's not being faithful in his taxes, or he's using some of the king's money for his vacation expense. There's got to be a place he's double dipping or something's going on.

I mean, everybody's got a skeleton in their closet, they thought. People always superimpose on others what they have in their own hearts. And even after the private detectives came back, they said, "We can't find anything. We looked at all the video footage. We listened to his phone calls, and we can't find anything. This guy is the same person in public as he is in private." By the way that's integrity. Integrity means that you are the same person that you profess to be in private as you are in public. And it says they could find no fault in him, neither was any error in him. Now, why don't you go ahead read for me, I think it's John 18:38.

Female: "And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, 'I find no fault in Him at all.'"

Doug: Now, there were spies that were following Jesus around. And even though that they were trying to find something wrong with him, they couldn't find any fault. Now, you'll notice that Pilate realizes one of the reasons that Jesus has been turned over to him is envy. Look at here, Mark chapter 1, verse 15. I'm sorry, Mark, Mark 15, verse 8, "Then the multitude, crying aloud, began to ask him to do just as he had always done for them. But Pilate answered, saying, 'Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?'"

Notice, "For he knew that the chief priests had handed Him over because of envy." Why did they envy Jesus? There's nothing the priests wanted more than the recognition of the crowds. Jesus said, "You pray to be seen of men, you fast to be seen of men, you give to be seen of men. You want the glory of men." Who ended up getting the crowds? And they said, "We've been trying to get this special treatment, and this respect, and this recognition, and esteem all our lives, and here is this uneducated carpenter shows up and everyone's following him and the power of God's in him. And they resented that so much. They said, "He doesn't have any degrees. How can he do all of this?" They wanted to get rid of them. Did they want to get rid of Daniel? Yeah, because the king put so much confidence in him, he had so much power.

And not only that, but was Daniel called Spirit-filled? What about Jesus, is Jesus accused of being Spirit-filled? When He's baptized, what happens? They saw the Spirit of God descend upon Him like a dove. It says, "God filled Christ with the Holy Spirit who went about doing good." Jesus was Spirit-filled. And so, you see already.

Now, Daniel was a eunuch, so, how did Mrs. Daniel feel about that? There's no Mrs. Daniel. Was Daniel ever married? I'm just wanting to see if you're listening. Daniel was not married. Was Jesus ever married? Daniel's love was the church. He spends his time praying and interceding for God's people. Who is the bride of Christ? The church. You read Daniel 9, you can hear him just praying for the people. And so, all through the story of Daniel, you're going to see images of Jesus in here.

All right, and so, we read on. Now you see the plot is thickening here. They say, "You know, we're not going to get rid of them unless we find some law." They could not find any charge or fault because he was faithful. Now, is that because Daniel was a freak of nature? Is it possible for you and I to have that experience? Can we be like Daniel? Should we desire that? Wouldn't you like the Lord to look down from heaven like he did to Job and say, "Have you ever beheld someone like Job, a faithful and upright man who fears God and hates evil?" Wouldn't you like the Lord look down at you and say, "He's faithful. He's the same person in public as he is in private," or she? Yeah, an excellent spirit was in him.

We're going to talk about the secret of Daniel's faithfulness here. And so, they plot to destroy him. Notice what happens to Jesus. You look in Matthew chapter 12, verse 14, "Then the Pharisees went out and plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him." Same thing that's happening to Daniel is happening to Jesus. And they spied on him.

Now, keep in mind what happened to Daniel and happened to Jesus will happen to you. We're talking about Daniel historical, we're talking about Christ, and we're talking about Daniel teaching us for the last days. Will there be a law in the last days and if we don't obey that law, there'll be a death decree? So, the story of Daniel is really a message for the church also.

We need to have the kind of faith Daniel had. Was Daniel a preacher? Well, by his life, but he wasn't a priest. He wasn't a preacher. Daniel was a businessman, and he witnessed in everything he did. God wants us to be faithful, so that we're witnessing in our everyday lives. "But Doug, it's so hard to be a Christian in such a pagan culture." Daniel had to be a Christian in Babylon and Medo-Persia. Was he able to do it? Then what excuse do we have for not being real Christians and letting our light shine in a pagan world? There really is no excuse, is there?

So, we read on, "The governors and the princes, they thronged before the king, and said thus to him: 'King Darius, live forever! All the governors of the kingdom, the administrators and satraps, the counselors and advisors, have consulted together--" They're lying, it wasn't all of them, but they wanted him to think they'd all agreed. "And they consulted together to establish a royal statute and to make a firm decree," don't miss the word firm decree, "that whoever petitions any god or man for thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions." Now, that was the death decree.

I thought I'd throw in a little amazing fact here for you. For 9 months between 1898 and 1899, there were two infamous man-eating lions of Tsavo. They terrorized workers employed in the construction of a railway bridge in Uganda. We were there in Uganda a couple of years ago. As the death toll rose, construction was brought to a standstill. You can understand why the workers refused until protection could be provided. This reign of terror--until the reign of terror was brought to an end. They finally brought in Lieutenant Colonel J.H. Patterson. He succeeded in tracking and killing the two lions, which by that time had devoured 100 men. There's a big debate about which number. Those lions are very real. They're actually, they were stuffed and they're in the Field Museum in Chicago today, the man-eating lions of Tsavo.

But that's not the worst. There are times in Africa, I think there's one example in Tanzania, yeah, where they had killed off so much of the lion's natural game, that a large pride of lions developed a taste for people. And they say that between 1932 and 1947, this pride of lions in southern Tanzania devoured as many as 1500 people. I tell you, they must have been eating, or those were skinny people, they needed to eat several. That's a lot of people during that time, whole pride of lions. Did you know that Karen was attacked and bitten by a lion in South Africa? It's true. We were visiting a lion park, and these lion cubs attacked her leg and scratched her, they did. I turned around, there she was. We were videotaping the lions, and she was being attacked by a lion right in front of me, and I did nothing to help her.

So, when it says you go into the lion's den, that's a death decree if you don't pray to King Darius. And you notice they just say, just 30 days, just 30 days. They knew that Daniel, they did this because they knew Daniel would not wait 30 days to continue his regular practice of prayer. That's wonderful. They said, "We don't need a one year law. It's only going to take a month for him to come out of the closet." A lot of us would be quoting that verse where Jesus says, "Enter into your closet and pray." But Daniel was not going to do that. So, they make this death decree.

Therefore, the King Darius-- and this king seems to be a good king. Now, he's about 62 years old, the Bible tells us, and that's how old I am. And what a coincidence. But the reason he signed that law is because they believed back then that when you had people from many different backgrounds, you know, this is a massive kingdom. It says there's 120 provinces, and by the time of Esther, I think it's 127 provinces, stretches, you know, through parts of Europe, and Africa, and the Middle East, and he's got to administrate all these different people's different languages, different cultures and customs. And it's hard to unite people with all those differences, except through common worship.

Alexander the Great, he went to Egypt, he realized that the pharaohs were worshipped as gods. They knew they were not gods, but they were worshipped as gods so that they could bring the kingdom together. So, Alexander declared he was a god as he went off into Persia to conquer. Augustus Caesar, Octavian, they said, "You know, you've got all this--these different countries you've conquered. If you want to bring them together, Caesar needs to be respected as a god." So, they started claiming divinity. I'm sure at the end of the day, they knew they were not gods, but they thought, "Well, if we make the people worship us, they'll respect us more and it keeps the nations together." So, they said, "This will weld together the kingdom, common worship." He said, "Okay, if you guys say so."

Does Nebuchadnezzar try to bring everyone together through common worship in chapter 3? Will there be an effort to bring the world together through common worship in Revelation 13 in the last days? So, we can look at Daniel chapter 6 and maybe get some ideas on how to, how to survive that.

So, the king signs the decree, it's a royal decree, a firm statute. Now, this to me is one of the most magnificent verses in the book. "Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early times."

Daniel, knowing about the writing, you would think this would be a good time to at least close your windows. See, everyone in the capital city knew about Daniel. He was famous before the Babylonians were conquered, and they knew that just like, I forget where I was in Salzburg, Austria or something. There's some of these towns in Europe, they've got these courtyards and in the courtyard, they've got these magnificent clocks. We call them cuckoo clocks, and some are very elaborate. At certain times of the day every hour, people will all start to gather out there and they'll watch in the courtyard, and they'll look up and on the hour, all of a sudden, it starts to ding. And just as it's dinging, these little doors open up and these people come out and they like, you know, they dance or they, you know, play a fiddle, and they circle around, and they do very creative. These puppets come out on the top of the hour and they do these amazing things. I've seen several them.

And Daniel was as faithful as a cuckoo clock, just every day, no matter what the weather, three times a day they saw his windows open up, they saw him come out where they could all see him. He knelt upon his knees, he prayed towards Jerusalem, which was to the west, and he gave thanks. And people in the neighborhood when they wanted to know what time it was they'd say, "Has Daniel come out yet." Oh, that's what time it is. He was just, you could say he was a legalist about prayer.

You know what religion is? Everyone says, "I'm not religious, but I'm spiritual." Daniel was religious. He had a habit, and whether he felt like it or not, he said, "I have my regular devotions." The reason the Book of Daniel is in the Bible is because of chapter 6, verse 10, in my opinion, his devotional life, his devotion to God, his faithfulness to God. The reason that Daniel did not eat unclean food in chapter 1 is because he read the Bible. If you read in Daniel chapter 9, it says, "I was reading in the books of Jeremiah. The reason--"

Oh, I'm getting ahead of you here. Someone's going to read for me, let's see, no, I want-- I want someone to read for me Psalm 55, verse 17. Do one of you have that one? Yeah. How do we know that Daniel read the Bible? Why do you think Daniel prayed towards Jerusalem? Because it says in the Bible in 2 Chronicles, if your people are carried away to this place, if they pray towards this place, Solomon said when he dedicated the temple, 2 Chronicles 6:21, Daniel read that so he literally did what the Bible said. Why did he pray three times a day? Go ahead, read for us Psalm 55:17.

Female: "Evening and morning and noon, I will pray, and cry aloud, And He shall hear my voice."

Doug: That's King David. David lived, of course, a long time before Daniel. Daniel read where David said, "Morning, evening, and at noon, I will pray." Daniel did exactly what the Bible said. Why could Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego make it through the fiery furnace? They read where Isaiah said, "When you pass through the fires, I will be with you. The flame will not kindle upon you." They were Bible reading, they were people of prayer, and they put into practice what they read.

Now, I can't help but wonder if there was a law, suddenly for some bizarre reason, a new law is issued by our government or our governor--now that could happen in California, anything. We never know from day to day what the next law is going to be. I better not comment on that. I just heard the voice of prudence and she said, "Don't say that."

But if, for some reason, there was a law and it said you can't go to your prayer meeting at your church for 30 days or you're going to go to prison, I wonder what would happen to our prayer meeting attendance? We're better than most, but still, for most churches, prayer meeting is usually pretty scant. And but you wonder how many people would say, "Oh, you know, probably better not to aggravate the government right now." Or would we say, "I don't care what the government says, my relationship with God is more important than even my own life"?

I mean, why couldn't Daniel close his windows? Was he a fanatic or what? Was he looking for trouble? Or maybe he said, "I'm almost 90, what difference does it make?" His courage is amazing. He is so bold, he is so undaunted that just think of all the opportunities Daniel had to compromise. He could have gone to his upper room and prayed, kept the windows closed.

He didn't have to pray out loud. The reason they knew he was praying is because he they heard him. How did they know he was giving thanks? You can close your eyes, if you're praying with your eyes closed, I can't tell what you're saying. But they knew he was giving thanks because he was audible. They heard him. They saw him. He opened the windows.

You can say Daniel had a fresh experience. A lot of us have a closed window prayer life. Daniel wanted to keep it fresh. He wanted to see and be seen. Someone's going to read another verse for me Matthew, yeah, you get that one? Go ahead.

Male: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."

Doug: You know, Daniel knew the people in the community were used to seeing him pray three times a day and then they see on the telephone poles there in the capital, "If anyone is caught praying to any god or man for 30 days, he's going into the lion's den." Death decree, if you're caught praying, and they're all thinking, "Ooh, I wonder what Daniel is going to do." And they probably gathered in the courtyard and started watching his window. And he thought, "You know, this is not the right time for me to shut my window." He said, "What are people going to think?"

If you've got to make a decision and say, "You know, I want to obey the laws of the land," and Christians should obey the laws of land, but what happens if the laws of land conflict with the law of God? God's law always trumps the law of the land. I didn't mean that to be a pun. The law of God, doesn't Peter say we ought to obey God rather than man? And Daniel's very respectful of the government laws, but he said, "I'm not going to put God second place." And Daniel said, "People are going to be watching me, and I want to be a witness."

You know, people are watching you when you don't know they're watching you, especially now, not just in Daniel's day. Now, there's cameras go on all the time and if you're about to do something stupid, be sure someone's going to take out their phone just before you do and they're going to press record. It seems like everybody's recording everything these days. Let your light so shine.

Now, he had a custom. It says he had done this since early days. First of all, notice he's in the upper room. Did Jesus pray with His disciples in an upper room before a great trial? And He also had a deep moment of prayer in the garden before a great trial. Daniel has a great season of prayer before a great trial. Knelt down. I won't say a lot about that, but the Bible tells us that physical posture in prayer is actually important. Solomon, the king knelt when he prayed, Paul knelt when he prayed, the apostles knelt when they prayed.

Not every time, but I just noticed that in our culture today, I think people are becoming increasingly more familiar with God and casual about prayer, and we forget that he is the Sovereign of the cosmos. And when we bow down before Him, we're acknowledging that He is the King. Daniel knelt and, yeah, I'm getting older, to be honest, it's sometimes a little harder getting down, a little harder getting up. I remember when I was young, I could drop on my knees, I could jump in the air and land on my knees, didn't hurt. And I could pop off my knees without just right up to my feet. And now I'm kind of going, uh. And then you're down on your knees and after you're done praying, you're thinking, is there anything else I can do down here before I get up? But Daniel's an old man, and he still gets on his knees.

Now, I'm not trying to make any of the seniors here feel bad because, you know, I think that finally, you know, our physiology takes over and God understands that. But and I don't think that God wants you on your knees praying if all you can think about when you're on your knees is how much your knees hurt. And a word to elders and pastors or other people, if you're leading in group prayer, if there's seniors there, don't pray long prayers because you lost them after about a minute. Just say what you got to say and then let him get up.

So, he prays, as his custom was since the early days. Did Jesus have a custom about worship? Luke 4, He came to Nazareth where He had been brought up and as His custom was, that means from a child, train up a child in the way he will go. Paul, as his custom was, he went to them and for three Sabbath days he reason with them from the Scriptures.

Now, you know, there is a promise in the Bible, I think Daniel read and it says, "Save me from the lion's mouth and from the horns of the wild oxen." That's, by the way, written by King David. Daniel read that. So, when he saw the decree, if you're caught praying the next 30 days, you're going to the lion's den, Daniel claimed that promise, "Lord, save me from the lion's den." So, he goes to his upper room, a lot of things happen in the upper room. Opened his windows, didn't need to open those windows. Prayed towards Jerusalem, didn't need to pray towards Jerusalem. Opened his mouth when he prayed, got down on his knees. Everything Daniel did said, "I am praying," probably had his back to the palace and his face to Jerusalem.

Now, there's a law that you couldn't pray for 30 days. It's incredible that some people go days without praying. And it is the most incredible privilege, think about it, that you and I can have an uninterrupted audience with the King of the universe through Christ. The Bible says Daniel looked towards Jerusalem because that represented the presence of God. That's where the temple was. You and I don't look towards Jerusalem, do we? Muslims look towards Mecca. You and I look up towards the heavenly sanctuary where Christ is interceding as our high priest before the Father. You and I have a friend in high places. And to think, here I can have Jesus present my request before God Almighty and not take advantage of that.

God is up there and he's going, "Okay, waiting to hear from you. You want to talk?" And we're too busy down here to talk to Him. It's just incredible. I think when we get to heaven, a lot of us may still be there and we're going to think, "Wow, I can't believe I prayed so little, and I had the opportunity through Christ to commune with the Father." So, Daniel took advantage of that, and he was busy and he still found time for prayer.

Someone said a good time for prayer is not found, it's made. You need to decide to do it. Daniel read the Bible, and he prayed. Let me read something to you from this is "Great Controversy" page 51. "Satan well knew that the Holy Scriptures would enable men to discern his deceptions and withstand his power. It was by the Word that even the Savior of the world had resisted his attacks. At every assault, Christ presented the shield of eternal truth saying, 'It is written.' To every suggestion of the adversary he opposed in the wisdom and the power of the Word. In order for Satan to maintain his sway over men and establish his authority, he must keep them in ignorance of the Scriptures."

Daniel had a regular devotion life where he prayed and he read the Word, and that was the secret to his overcoming the law of the beast. Now, I better move on with my story. They catch him praying, as you know. And they go to the king and they say, "King, didn't you make a law saying that if anyone, you signed a petition, firm decree, law of the Medes and the Persians, does not change, if anyone prays to any god or man within 30 days, except you, O king, he goes to the lion's den." The king is still, you know, he's clueless. He doesn't realize what they're up to. King says, "Yeah, it's true, according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, which does not change."

Then they answered and said before the king, "That Daniel," just the way they say it, "That Daniel who is of the captives, that captive you put over us from Judah, not even a Persian, he doesn't show regard for you, O king, or the decree that you signed, but he makes his petition three times a day." And I can just picture right there that king groaned and sighed and said, "Oh, I've been duped." "And the king, when he heard these words, was greatly displeased with himself. And he set his heart on Daniel to deliver him." He labored and worked with all his heart to try to save him. "He labored till the going down of the sun." What time of day did Christ die? Just before Sabbath going down of the sun.

And then these men approached the king and they said -- he had to fulfill the law before the end of the day, see? And they go to him and say, "No king, that is the law of the Medes and the Persians that no decree or statute that the king establishes can be changed." King had spent all day getting the best lawyers in the kingdom and said, "Any loophole, any loophole, any way around this?" And they said, "No king, you signed an ironclad agreement. There is no way, it is a law that cannot be changed." So, the king gave command and they brought Daniel and they cast them into the den of lions.

Now, think about this, this to me is mind boggling that here you've got this earthly king. He's a king, I mean, he is the undisputed king, but he makes a law he can't change his own law. Do we think God, the King of the universe, is going to make a law and change it? You have three or four cases in the Bible of kings or judges that made laws they didn't want to keep, but they had to because their word was law. You have Herod that made a promise that if his stepdaughter would come out and dance that he said, "Anything you want up to half my kingdom is yours." She said, "I want the head of John the Baptist." He said, "Oh, not that, I like John. I like to go listen to him preach." He didn't want to do it, but everyone was watching. He knew, "I will never have the respect of the people if I break my own word," so John had to die.

Similarly, Ahasuerus signs a law that all the Jews should be attacked on a certain day and under law of the Medes and the Persians, and then after he signs it, his wife lets him know, "I am a Jew." And the king cannot change his law so what he does is he makes an additional law that gives them permission to attack their enemies first, preemptive attack, because you can't change the law.

Jephthah, who is to become a judge in Israel, he speaks and says, "Whatever comes out of the doors of my house is going to be offered to the Lord if I'm victorious." Turns out it was his daughter. He didn't expect that. He thought it would be a goat, or a sheep, or a cow. And but he can't change his word.

Now, in light of that, how in the world do Protestant and Catholic Christians in the world get the idea that God changed the Ten Commandments? I mean, if God was going to do anything to show its permanence, what more could He have done? He audibly speaks in the presence of a whole nation with thunder and lightning and earthquake. He then writes it with His own finger, and He writes it on stone to show its enduring nature. And then people say, "Well, God, you know, Ten Commandments have been done away with, they're optional."

I never could figure that out. I just don't under--how can a person fool themselves into believing that? So, that's why I'm a Seventh-day Adventist, I believe in keeping all Ten Commandments. And even if you're not going to keep them, at least admit they're there, that God doesn't change. He says, "I am the Lord, I change not." Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. "Heaven and earth will pass away, My Word will not pass away."

The king couldn't change his law. So, the king commanded and they brought Daniel, and they put him in the lion's den. And the king says to Daniel, "Your God, who you serve occasionally, He will deliver you." Now, I didn't know if anyone was following me, but that's not what it says. I changed a word. Your God who you serve, when it's convenient. Your God who you serve, when others are watching. He said, "Your God who you serve continually," there was a consistency, "He will deliver you."

By the way, friends, if you and I consistently continually serve God, He will deliver you. That's a promise you can claim. So, they put him in the lion's den. They lowered him down. They could probably hear the ground shake from the roaring that was going on in there, these ravenous lions. Doesn't say a lion, it says lions. Then a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den. They probably gently lowered Daniel down with a rope, he's an old man. I don't think the king tossed him in. And then the accusers of Daniel want to make sure the king's not going to sneak back during the night and save him, so the king puts a seal on it. Why else did he do it? He did it to show them, "Look, I'm keeping the law, sealing that no one's going to--I have no guards that I paid off to come rescue him during the night." The king seals it so there'd be no interference.

What time of day does this happen? Around the going down to the sun? What time does Jesus die? Was Jesus placed in the ground? Was there a stone put over the mouth? Was there a government seal that sealed the stone? Does Jesus come out alive? What do you think's going to happen to Daniel?

I'm not ruining the story for you, am I? "Now the king went to his palace and spent the night in fasting; nor was music brought before him." Remember, he was sore displeased with himself. I bet you, you know, of course, it says he's fasting, he's praying. What do you think the angels in heaven were doing? Were they playing songs in heaven when Jesus was in the tomb or when he was on the cross? No, there was sadness, sadness in the palace. "Then the king arose very early in the morning." What time of day did the women come? All the gospels are consistent, very early in the morning. They come to the tomb, they come to the lion's den.

And the king comes and he cries out with a lamenting voice. He's been crying all night. Daniel, he says, "Daniel, servant of the living God," as opposed to what? The gods of Persia, the gods of Babylon. Servant of the living God, the king doesn't know Daniel's God saved him yet, and he still calls him the living God. "Servant of the living God who you serve continually. Has your God been able to deliver you from the lions?" And then he hears a voice come up from the lion's den. Daniel says to the king, "O king live forever. My God has sent his angel and shut the lion's mouth. So, they have not hurt me because I was found innocent before him and also I have none no wrong before you."

Now, this is amazing. The angel comes. Who came to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace? Who was it that came to Daniel? Calls Him an angel but, you know, sometimes when it talks about the angel of the Lord, He may have sent an angel, but don't rule out that it wasn't the same one that came to the fiery furnace. Jesus said, "If we stand up for Him, He will stand up for us." And he says, "He's delivered me from the lions." Who delivers us from the-- well, let's back up. Who's the lion? Bible tells us in 1 Peter 5:8, "Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil," walks about like what? "A roaring lion looking for whom he may devour." Psalm 91:13 and 14, "You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, The young lion and the serpent--" Lion, serpent, symbol of the devil. "You will trample underfoot."

God gave David victory over a lion. He gave Samson victory over lion when they were filled with the Spirit, and He will give us victory over the lion. That's the devil, right? And how did Daniel do it? Three times a day on his knees knowing the Word of God gave him victory. The lions could not hurt him. I don't know how well he slept that night. Dwight Moody says that he probably curled up and leaned against a lion that purred as he went to sleep. It's hard not to sleep with someone that snores. I can't imagine sleeping with someone that roars. But he was preserved. Now, some people say the lions weren't hungry and that's why this happened. There was really no miracle here.

And I got time for a short story. I might go long just one minute. This man went to a zoo, and he really wanted a job. And they said, "Well, we don't have anything." He said, "You gotta give me something. It's been my dream to be able to work at the zoo." He said, "I just love the animals." And one of the heads, board members said, "Well, there's one thing, but it's sort of strange." He said, "Anything." He says, "If I can get an entry level job and I can work in the zoo." He said, "Okay, but what happened is, this weekend, our chief attraction is the gorilla died, and we need someone-- if people find that out, they're not going to come. We need someone to just put on a gorilla suit, sit quietly in a corner. You know, you'll be by a food dish, just move a little bit every now and they'll think you're just resting." Says, "The people will keep coming until we find another gorilla." "I think I can do that, yeah."

So, the man dresses up in this very realistic looking gorilla suit, and they--in the morning he goes out in a gorilla cage, and they kind of push him out and there's a glass there, and the people can see him. And he's got the lion cage next door, and he's got some zebras on the other side of him. And he's got this, you know, concrete tree that's there for him to climb on. So, their first few hours, he just sits there and all the people, when he comes out, all they come and they're all pointing. And he kind of likes that and he notices every time they move all the kids go, "Whoo, hoo, look," you know, they're snapping pictures, and he's starting to get into his job a little bit. And then he starts to walk around a little bit, a bigger crowd comes, and the people are all hooting.

And the next day he thinks, "You know, I've got 'em fooled." And so, he starts to walk around, he bounces a little bit, he leans up against the tree and more crowd comes. They're taking pictures and they're calling everybody over. No one's at any of the other exhibits because they want to watch what he's going to do. He got so full of himself, he thought that he could climb the concrete tree. And so, he gets up on the tree and everybody's looking. He starts pounding on his chest like King Kong, and bouncing. And he got out on a limb that was over the lion's cage and people thought, "Well, this is really interesting." And he starts throwing things down at the lion. The lion just looks up at him.

The whole zoo is over here watching this carry on. He starts to beat his chest, bounce up and down. And the little concrete limb that he was on snapped, and he fell off into the lion cage. And when he looked over and he saw the lion, and he recovered himself he's like, "I'm going to get eaten." He starts to say, "Help, help." The lion ran over to him, put his hand over his mouth and said, "Be quiet, you're going to get us both fired." [Congregation laughing]

The lions that Daniel was with were real lions. The fact that they didn't eat him is because he had the Spirit of God and the angel protected him. Now, if you wonder does this still happen, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 2005, a girl was kidnapped by six men to be forced -- she was a Christian, to be forced into a marriage with a Muslim, and she was 12 years old. And she did not want to do it. She refused and so they beat her repeatedly. And she ran off, and the men came after her to find out that she had been surrounded by a pride of lions.

There were actually three female lions, and the lions chased off the men and when the family came along with a guard, they confirm that there were three lions that were guarding the girl. And when they saw the family come, they got up and they walked away. They protected her, and you can read about that yourself and it's printed in AP News, which is usually pretty reputable. God can still send lions to protect us, amen?

In conclusion, and if anyone wants more about this, it'll be in my notes that we usually post online with our Sabbath school study. How was Daniel like Jesus? I got 14 points real quick. Jesus and Daniel were never married. Daniel and Jesus both came from the royal bloodline of David. Remember, Daniel came from the house of Hezekiah. They had spies follow Daniel and Jesus from envy. It was declared of both of them, there's no fault found in them. They're both recognized as being Spirit-filled. Both are known for exceptional wisdom. Ezekiel 28, "Behold, you are wiser than Daniel." Mark 6, "Where did this man get this wisdom?"

Speaking of Jesus. Point seven, they both, Daniel and Jesus, pray before a great trial Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, Daniel in his upper room. They both give thanks, Jesus at the Last Supper, and Daniel in the upper room. Daniel goes to the lion's den just before sunset, Jesus goes to the cross, or he dies on the cross, I should say, and he goes to the tomb. When Daniel is in the den, the palace is in mourning as heaven was for Christ. A stone with a government seal is placed in the door of the tomb and on the lion's den. The king removes the stone very early in the morning. The stone is taken away from the tomb very early in the morning. Daniel emerges alive from the lion's den and is a type of resurrection just like Jonah coming out of the whale and Christ coming out of the tomb.

The lions could not hurt Daniel because he was innocent, and the devil could not keep Jesus in the grave. Just amazing parallels in this story between Christ and Daniel, amen? And so, it's just one of the great story. I wish I had more time. I could go an hour on this.

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Doug: Hi, friends, you know the modern flags that we see flying from the top of Capitol buildings or out in front of patriotic homes really stem back from the times of battles being fought between warring nations. These beautifully designed and intricately colored banners were flowing high above the battlefield so the warring forces were able to identify amid the chaos, and the smoke, and the fog of war, where their forces were rallied and where they were fighting the battle. And if you could capture your enemy's flag, it was considered the highest honor. I wonder if that's where we got the game capture the flag.

With the changes in war, now these flags also represent a little more of a demarcation and identification of different nationalities. Today, the flags that represent the different nations of the world are very colorful and diverse and all of the colors and the shapes have a specific meaning. They're easy to distinguish and recognize from one another.

Perhaps, one of the most interesting flags in the world is the flag of the Philippines. This is unique because it is flown differently in times of peace than it is in times of war. During times of peace, the Filipino flag that's composed of red, white, blue, and yellow, is flown with the blue side up, but in times of war, they flip it around and the red side is up because there they're willing to make sacrifices of their blood to defend the freedom of the country.

In the same way that an embassy that is situated in a foreign country flies their flag while still surrounded by another nation, Christians are supposed to have the flag of God's love flying in this fallen world. You can read in the Book Song of Solomon chapter 2, verse 4, "His banner over me is love." Love is the flag that identifies Christians as a unique kingdom, even here in the world. So friend, the big question is, how are you flying your flag?

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