“And a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signet of his lords, that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel.” (Daniel 6:17, ESV)
I love how every time I read the Bible, God shows me something I had not seen before. I thought I knew everything there was to know about the story of Daniel and the lion’s den. But somehow, I missed Daniel 6:17: “And a stone was laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet…”
This made me think of Matthew 27:66. When the Jewish leaders came to Pilate and told him they were afraid Jesus’ disciples would steal His body, Pilate ordered the soldiers to secure the tomb by sealing the stone.
I realized another parallel. Daniel makes a big deal of how once the law of the Medes and the Persians was established, it could not be revoked, not even by the king. So even though the king loved Daniel, the law had to be satisfied (Daniel 6:12).
In the same way, the penalty for sin had to be paid. God could not sweep it under the rug, because the law is irrevocable. So even though God loved His son, God’s wrath against sin had to be satisfied.
There’s more. Notice that king Darius arose and went to the lion’s den “at break of day” (Daniel 6:19). He fully expected to find a dead body. Instead, he rejoiced and was “exceedingly glad” to find that Daniel was alive.
Sound familiar? Five hundred years later, two women would rise before the dawn and come to a cave, expecting to find a dead body:
“Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.”
Matthew 28:1-2, 4-8 ESV
Oh, how I love God’s Word! And how thankful I am for this one crucial, life-changing difference between Daniel and the Gospel story:
In Daniel, when the stone was removed, none of the lions of Darius escaped. But in the Gospel, when the stone was rolled away, the Lion of Judah walked out. The lions couldn’t touch Daniel, and death couldn’t touch the Lion.