RDean Daniel Lesson 24
Mental Attitude Instability – Daniel 6:1-8
We come to one of those episodes in Daniel; this is the second of two that is well-known. The first is the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego in the fiery furnace and the second is Daniel in the lion's den. These stories are often told, they're in children's Bible story books, they're frequently told to kids and unfortunately some people get the idea that these are just nice little wonderful Bible stories that are for kids. And that's not the case, there are some fantastic principles in Daniel 6 that relate to the believer's life today, relate to the whole issue of civil disobedience which is an extremely important subject, one that is abused and misunderstood by many Christians who are involved in Christian activism today. So it will take us a couple of weeks to work through this chapter because of these crucial doctrines that are here.
Civil disobedience is defined in Webster's dictionary as the refusal to obey civil laws in an effort to induce change in governmental policy or legislation, characterized by the use of passive resistance or other non-violent means. Now that last phrase is one that needs to be questioned, "characterized by the use of passive resistance or other non-violent means." We're going to have to look at that and see if it is right or biblically authorized for believers to be involved in that type of activism. We will get there eventually.
This not only relates to the issue of civil disobedience but answering the question, when if ever is it right for a believer to resist the established authorities in life, the established authorities of parents in the home, the established authority of parents in the home, the established authority of a husband in marriage, the established authority of government in the fifth divine institution of a nation. Is there ever a time when Christians should get involved in Christian activism. Those are some of the questions we'll answer as we get into our study of Daniel.
Now in Daniel we're faced with the problem of believer living in the cosmic system. Daniel is a picture of the believer in the Church Age that has to live in the world; Jesus Christ prayed in His high priestly prayer that we were in the world but we were not of the world, and so when we look at Daniel, because Daniel is a Jew, Daniel is a believer in the Old Testament, He is taken out of the land, the promised land, the land where there is blessing and direction from God, and he is living outside the land in a land that is surrounded by pagans, by the cosmic system. And there we get a picture of the fact that a believer can indeed be successful, even when living in the cosmic system, and how to live in the cosmic system and resist the cosmic system without getting involved or diluted into 1001 different battles. So one of the doctrines that we have studied again and again in Daniel has to do with how the believer manages to live when he is under certain authorities that are forcing him to go in a direction that 180 degrees opposite from the world.
We see that Babylon represents the kingdom of man, that is all that man wants to assert about himself in independence and autonomy from God. The kingdom of man has its political initiation at the tower of Babel which is the very location of Babylon itself, and so throughout Scripture there is always this antagonism between Jerusalem as the future city of God, the place where Jesus Christ will return at the Second Coming and establish His kingdom versus the kingdom of man represented by the city of Babylon. And it will be Babylon herself that is destroyed and is pictured as destroyed in Revelation 17 and 18. So there is a long history of Babylon as being representative of the kingdom of man. The kingdom of man is established at the tower of Babel and when God solves the problem at the tower of Babel He fragments the culture because mankind is unified against God, raising his fist in opposition to God to establish his own kingdom on the earth, completely apart from God where man is redefining everything on his own terms. So God disrupts the core issue in any kind of social involvement which is communication. He disrupts that by giving the human race a multipiclity of languages and with that we can infer from looking at history that God has built into the very fabric of the breakdown of human society into nations certain self-destruct mechanisms that when establishment principles are violated beyond a certain point or a nation begins to act too independently of God, then God destroys that nation in judgment and another nation replaces it.
So we see this picture in the flow of the history of nations in Daniel, represented by the image of Daniel 2. We see the flow moving from the head of God which is Babylon, down to the second empire which is the Medo-Persian Empire, represented by the chest and arms of silver and then the Greek Empire and the Roman Empire and eventually the Revived Roman Empire. That is the flow of history and that is the picture of the kingdom of man.
Now the problem that every believes faces is that while we are living inside the kingdom of man, we are going to be, at times, under the authority of someone who is forcing us to do something that goes contrary to the will of God. So that raises the issue of how the believer is going to operate on divine viewpoint when the culture around us is trying to force s to conform to a completely different set of values. And that's where we get into the whole doctrine of separation: when and how and to what extent does the believer separate from the world around him. The most extreme view is that of the monastics who just want to go off and live in the desert and completely divorce themselves from any involvement whatsoever with the world around them. And that is a completely false view as we've seen from looking at Daniel.
There are four different points I want to review here before we get into Daniel 6. First of all, the believer is to make the issue, whenever there is a conflict with, especially government authority, the believer is to make major Scripturally revealed, Scripturally articulated issues the basis for separation. See, there are too many believers who come along and they take secondary or tertiary issues as the basis for separation, or some theological principle. But if we look at Daniel, what we saw in Daniel 1, remember they didn't fight, they didn't make an issue over the fact that the Babylonians came in and gave them new names, names that were based on their own pantheon and their own false gods, they renamed, for example, Daniel was renamed Belteshazzar which has to do with the Babylonian God Bel, which is another name for Marduk. They didn't make an issue out of that.
They didn't make an issue out of the fact that they were going to have go to a school and go through what we would call a school system and education philosophy and curriculum that was designed to indoctrinate them into the thinking of the kingdom of man. They were taught all of the occult arts, they were taught astrology, they were taught good things as well, they were taught algebra in its earliest stages as it was developed by the Babylonians, they were taught the mathematic system, their astronomical system, they were taught state craft, they were taught about foreign policy, taught about history, there were many good things that they learned but it was all wrapped up in the pantheistic or the polytheistic religion of the Babylonians. But they didn't make an issue out of that. What did they make an issue out of?
They made an issue out of diet. Why? Because the Mosaic Code said this is what you'll eat and this is what you won't eat, clearly, it was black and white, it was clearly revealed, there was no dispute over that that said, and so when the Babylonian government came in and said this is the diet you're going to follow and it completely violated the Mosaic Code that's where they took their stand. You take your stand on something that is specifically, clearly articulated in Scripture, not something that is merely a deduction that is secondary. So they picked a battle over a clear Biblical issue.
A sub point that we made was that you can't fight a thousand battles. See, human viewpoint systems are always going to be opposed to any kind of divine viewpoint thinking. You could out there and go to any university classroom, any university, high school, junior high curriculum, you could go look at what's going on in government, what's going on in the work place with all the social programs that are government sponsored that employers are enforcing on employees and you could make an issue and fight a thousand different battles, but you have to pick your battle. If you try to fight a thousand different battles or even twenty different battles then you'll be self-defeated because you're spreading your energy in too many directions. So the focus is on clear violations of Scripture.
The second thing we learned is that whenever there is a conflict always respect the legitimate authority, even though we may not agree with the authority; even though that authority may be forcing us to do something we don't agree with, always respect the authority because that is the established institution of God. God established human government in the fourth divine institution and so we are to respect the office even though the person in the office is not worthy is respect. That has to do with Presidents who have moral or legal failures; we respect the office of President even if the person who is in that office isn't worthy of it. David demonstrated that when he refused to take the life of Saul. Saul was in deep reversionism, he was disobedient to God, his reign over Israel had become tyrannical and Saul goes to relieve himself in a cave and it happens to be a cave (just by chance) where David is taking his siesta; David wakes up and there is Saul and David just has to pull out his sword and kill Saul and nobody would be the wiser. Nobody would know what the circumstances were, he could make up any story he wanted to. Saul was after him and David just kept still and kept quiet because he would not touch the Lord's anointed.
So the principle is that whenever there is somebody in a position of authority, that goes for children who are dealing with parents who are reversionistic, parents who are out of line, parents who they think are out of line but really are in line, whatever it may be, your parents are the ones that have been placed in a position of authority over you and whether they deserve it or not they are in that office and so they have to be respected. Same thing goes with wives to husbands; husbands have sin natures, I know I don't have to convince the ladies of that, but you guys have to come face to face with that. You've got sin natures and sometimes you're tyrannical in the home; that's because of the general trend of the curse, and sometimes you're not. Sometimes you don't provide good leadership, nevertheless, wives have to respect the husband and the position of authority in the home whether he deserves it or not because the command isn't "wives, respect your husbands, or obey your husbands as to the Lord when they're right, when you think they're right, when they do what you want them to do. The same thing, it's not children, obey your parents when they're going along with the way you think things ought to be. Obedience to authority is never conditioned on the subservient person's feelings about the person in authority. We respect the office, even though it may be out of line and there are different ways to address disagreements. We've seen that in Daniel. This is the third point in the review. For example, if you have a confrontation and the person agrees with you then there's no problem. But if you have a confrontation and the person says no and they're going to stick position and they will not negotiate, then at that point there may be a case for a polite defiance. So we have to see just the way in which that is taken. That's seen in Daniel 3:16-18 when Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego just refused to bow down to the great image on the plain. Daniel is going to do the same thing in relationship to this law in Daniel 6. He just doesn't do it and he's going to take the consequences. He doesn't do it in anger, he doesn't enter into any mental attitude sin about vengeance or retribution, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego didn't become spiteful or bitter or hateful because Nebuchadnezzar was going to throw them into the fiery furnace, they were completely relaxed and they understood what the issues were and they just trusted God. So when there's a negative answer then you just have to take whatever is coming to you but the issue is obedience to God.
The fourth point is that if there is sort of an unclear, indeterminate answer, then you appeal to the unbeliever on the basis of his value system. Now I'm not talking about evangelism; in evangelism you never appeal to the unbeliever on the basis of his value system; that's a wrong compromise. But when we are dealing with an unbeliever and the unbeliever says okay, this is the policy where we work, we're not going to do this and that runs contrary to whatever it is that you want to make an issue out of, then you appeal to them on the fact that we'll be more productive and have a greater profit margin if you let me do this, just let me give it a try. So you appeal to something that is attractive to them and then you work your tail off in order to demonstrate your value as an employee. So we are looking at the doctrine of separation here and when it's important to make an issue and when not to make an issue.
So we come to Daniel 5:31, this is the transition point between the first kingdom and the second kingdom; the transition from the kingdom of gold to the kingdom of silver, from Babylon to Medo-Persia. "So Darius the Mede received the kingdom at about the age of sixty-two." It's not precise, "at about the age of sixty-two," and immediately we run into the first problem in the text here and that is who is Darius the Mede? I've already said that history tells us that the commander of the army and the king of the Medo-Persian Empire is Cyrus, Cyrus the Great.
Let's back up and look at this chart of the kings of Babylon and Medo-Persia. In the left column you have Babylon: Nebuchadnezzar is the son of Nabopolassar and the grandfather of Belshazzar. Nebuchadnezzar married the daughter of the Median king, Astyages; we don't know her name. So he is tied in to the Median royal family through marriage. His brother-in-law is Cyaxares II, who some suggest is the Darius of this passage. We'll look at that in a minute. A sister-in-law to Nebuchadnezzar was married off by Astyages to Cambyses I of the Persians, of Anshan. And they had a son who is Cyrus the great. And Cyrus the Great took the throne of the Persians and then he invaded the Median Empire and destroyed the armies of his father-in-law, Astyages, and then they entered into an alliance together and the Medes and the Persians were united against the Babylonians and attacked and defeated the Babylonians on October 12, 539 BC. We've covered all of that, and that night on October 12th is the episode covered in Daniel 5.
But who exactly is Darius, the Mede. A lot of liberal critics of the Bible will use this as an example to show that the Bible is inaccurate. This whole episode of Daniel in the lion's den is just a nice little story but it didn't really happen. It couldn't happen, of course, their presupposition is anti-supernaturalism and the basic assumption of the liberal is that God really can't enter into human history, God doesn't affect human history and God can't manipulate the laws of physics, he can't perform miracles and He is not going to change things. And that is their presupposition so they look at a passage like this and they say well, obviously history can't identify who Darius the Mede is, so this seems somebody that was made up so this is just a fable or a myth, it's not an actual historical event.
Now one thing you need to recognize when you're faced with that kind of a question is that we're dealing with a tremendous act of historical or archeological material at this point. And the problem isn't ours, the problem is theirs. That's the thing that we always have to develops whenver we're interacting with an unbeliever who wants to attack the veracity and credibility of Scripture, we have to figure out some way to throw the monkey back on their back because it's their problem, not our problem. So we have to think about questions that we can raise when they challenge us on the veracity of Scripture and say well this is just a myth. How do you know that? How would you go about proving that? And then they're going to go to history and they're going to say we have no historical record of a Darius the Mede so obviously he didn't exist and they're making an assumption that we have a tremendous amount of data, and we do, and that our data is such that it's extensive enough to give us a clear picture of who existed and who did not exist and what they were called.
But I'm always reminded of the fact that one of the great liberal attacks against the Bible and the historical veracity of the Bible occurred in the late 19th century when liberals said that the Bible is clearly wrong when it speaks of the kingdom of the Hittites because there were no Hittites, we have no record of Hittites existing, there's no record of any Hittite kingdom anywhere, and then I believe it was in 1926 or 1927 archeologists discovered Bogazköy in Turkey which was the capital of the Hittite Empire; lo and behold we found historical collaboration of everything the Bible said about the Hittites. So the problem really isn't that we don't have historical verification; the problem is in many cases we just haven't collated all the data yet. For example, only a fractional amount of ancient artifacts have survived through all the years of erosion and decay, souvenir hunting, human destruction, wars, everything else that can destroy these things. You have to realize that it's only in extremely dry climates in the desert around the Salt Sea where they discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls in Qumran or in the dry climate of Egypt are you going to have artifacts that survive over centuries that we can still utilize and that are still of value.
Of the fraction that has survived, only a small amount of that, only a tiny fraction, a tiny, tiny fraction of what has survived has been discovered and surveyed. Israeli teams, for example, these figures come from about 15 years ago; have surveyed over 2,000 archeological sites in Israel, of which 800 are previously unknown. These figures are probably much greater today than they were when I originally came across this 15 years ago. Of the fraction that has been surveyed only a small portion of that has actually been excavated. In Israel, due to modern obstructions and the high cost or archeology, only 150 sites of 5,000 have been excavated. Of the very small fraction of sites that have been excavated, only a small fraction of those sites have been examined. They've taken out the artifacts but they haven't had time to examine them or catalogue them yet. When a tel is excavated, usually only very small areas are dug up. One scholar estimated that to examine completely the Hazor site in Israel would take 800 more years at the present rate of digging. Finally, of the artifactual material examined only a fraction has been published. Fifty more years would be required just to publish the materials already unearthed and examined. Summarizing the extreme fragmentary nature of the artifactual Professor Yamaguchi is one of the foremost archeologists in Israel, has stated if one could, by an optimistic estimate, reckon that one-tenth of our materials and inscriptions have survived, that would be extreme, it's probably less than that, but if we had one-tenth survival rate and that six-tenths of the available sites have been surveyed, that one-fiftieth of these sites have been excavated that one-tenth of the excavated sites have been examined, that one-half of the materials and inscriptions excavated have been published, one would have six one-hundred thousandths of all the possible evidence. Any time someone says there's no evidence of anything in the Bible, remember when they're relying on archeology in history they have less than one/one-millionth of the available data that they're appealing to. So don't let that throw you.
When we come to identifying Darius there are four different options and we have to be careful not to be confused with the other three people in the Bible who have the name of Darius. The first person called Darius is the person who is in this chapter, also mentioned in Daniel 9:1 and 11:1 and that is "Darius the Mede." The second Darius that's mentioned in Scripture is Darius the king of Persia, mentioned in Ezra, Haggai Zechariah. He is also known as Darius I Hystaspes and is the cousin of cousin of Cyrus the Great, and he rules after Cyrus, from 521 BC to 486 BC. The third Darius is Darius the Persian who's mentioned in Nehemiah 12:22, and he is known in history as Darius Codomannus or Darius III and is the last king of Persia before Alexander the Great takes him out and begins the third empire. This Darius is not to be confused with the Darius in Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai or Zechariah.
We have to remember that God raised up Cyrus the Persian to deliver Israel; Isaiah 45:1 was a prophecy from the 6th century BC, "Thus says the LORD to Cyrus His anointed, whom I have taken by the right hand, to subdue nations before him, and to loose the loins of kings; to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut." God raised up Cyrus specifically for a purpose. The word "anointed" is the Hebrew word "Messiah," he's appointed by God for a mission. Many argue from the use of that word that that means he was a believer. I think that's a stretch; he might have been. If Daniel 6 is referring to Darius the Mede as merely another title for Cyrus and it well could be, then we have the story perhaps of his conversion in Daniel 6. But history has not given us enough information right now to make any dogmatic assertions as to the identity of Darius the Mede. But I'm going to give you the options.
The first theory, and this is the theory that most evangelicals utilize, and that is that Darius the Mede is Ugbaru, who was the governor of Babylon under Cyrus. Now at this point people get a little confused over the terminology and over the names of… you have two people, Gubaru and Ugbaru. Now Ugbaru is the general who leads Cyrus' army into Babylon. He dies three months after the victory over the Babylonians. Gubaru is a governor who is established as a ruler over Babylon and many evangelicals, scholars, solid conservatives as Gubaru as the identity of Darius the Mede. There are a number of problems with this, not the least of which is the fact that the text refers to the fact that he received the kingdom and that would indicate that he received the kingdom of the Babylonians, although the answer to that is he was made…Cyrus put him in charge of the entire Babylonian Empire where Cyrus ruled elsewhere. I do not think that this is the best option though.
The second option is that Darius is a throne-name for Cyrus and this is the position taken by Dr. Donald Wiseman of the British Museum in London and he bases this on a number of intricate arguments from pottery and from various other finds, but one of the strongest arguments goes down to verse 28 where we read at the end of this episode, "So this Daniel enjoyed success in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian." And that that should be translated on the basis of the grammar that he had "success in the reign of Darius, even the reign of Cyrus the Persian." And this would mean that the reign of Cyrus the Persian is appositional to the reign of Darius, identifying the two. Another example of that type of grammatical construction in the Bible is found in 1 Chronicles 5:26. Remember that Cyrus' mother is Mandane who was the daughter of Astyages, so on his mother's side he is a Mede and the argument here is that the name Darius was merely a throne name. These kings would have various different names that would be attached to them and this would be a throne name that identified him and he was called that in relationship to the reign of the Medes.
The third option, which I think holds a little weight, is that it's the son, Cambyses II, the son of Cyrus the Great, but the text tells us that he's sixty-two years old or about sixty two years of age, so that would mean that it wouldn't be Cyrus. Another reason it would be Cyrus is he's about sixty-two at this stage in history so that would support the view that Darius is just another name for Cyrus the Great.
But the fourth view is one based on a quote from Josephus, and Josephus states in relationship to this, "Such then as we learn from history was the end of which the descendants of King Nebuchadnezzar came. Now Darius, who with his relative, Cyrus," see he says that Darius is a relative of Cyrus, "put an end to the Babylonian sovereignty, was in his sixty-second year when he took Babylon, he was a son of Astyages but was called by another name among the Greeks." So the son of Astyages, who would be an uncle to Cyrus, was Cyaxares II, and this view, based on what Josephus says, would identify Cyaxares who is in the royal line of the Medes, that he was portioned off the western half of the Empire and he was called Darius the Mede and he has responsibility to Cyrus for the reign and the administration of that half of the Empire.
I think that the two best cases are either Cyaxares II or this is Cyrus the Great. I tend to lead toward Cyrus the Great, but as I said at the beginning we can't be dogmatic about this. There's just not enough information yet from extra-Biblical sources as to how to understand this particular passage. Nevertheless, we don't doubt its reality; we simply don't know how to properly identify the person that this story is about.
Daniel 6:1, "It seemed good to Darius to appoint 120 satraps, over the kingdom, that they should be in charge of the whole kingdom." So after taking over the empire he is going to organize it and one of the things we noted previously when we went through the statue is that as you move from gold to silver you move from a softer metal to a harder metal and the Babylonian Empire only lasted a little over 65 years but the Medo-Persian Empire lasts much, much longer, it's a much stronger empire and it had a much better organization to it. They were extremely efficient. So if Darius is a reference to Cyrus, then he had the kingdom divided into 120 satraps. Esther mentions the fact that a few years later, under Xerxes there were 127 satraps in the Babylonian Empire, so this again would suggest that Darius is probably Cyrus. "It seemed good to Darius to appoint 120 satraps. "Satrap" is not a word we use very much but it's an administrative division in the kingdom. They didn't have townships or counties or states but it was a regional division like that. So he divides up the entire empire into 120 satraps, and then over those 120 satraps he establishes three commissioners or presidents. So you have 120 satraps and then over those you have three commissioners who oversea, and they probably divided those 120 satraps into 40 for each one. So these three commissioners are the ones who are running the empire.
Daniel 6:2, "And over them three commissioners," or "presidents" I think the King James named them, "three commissioners (of whom Daniel was one), that these satraps might be accountable to them, and that the king might not suffer loss." See, every kingdom, every government has a problem with bribery and people taking advantage of them and corruption in the government, so they needed men who were men of integrity. And this is extremely unusual because Daniel is a man who is being taken out of retirement at this time. Now think about it, this is important to understand the backdrop of several things here. Daniel has been out of the public eye for over 20 years; when Nebuchadnezzar died in 562 Daniel probably retired at that point. Whenever a new administration comes in they would bring in new people, and Daniel is out of the public eye from 562 until 539. So for a period of 23 years Daniel has been in semi-retirement. We don't know what he did, he's been silent, we know there were a few times in there when God gave him a special revelation regarding the flow of human history, but he's out of the picture, he's in retirement and all of a sudden God is going to come along and bring this 80 year old man out of retirement and put him back in an incredible position.
And one principle there is that there is really no such thing as retirement for the believer; not in terms of your spiritual life. There may be a time to step back and to change your responsibilities and to change your role in relationship to whatever energy, talents and abilities you have as you get older but in Daniel's case God clearly brought him out of retirement and God promoted him. Think about what happened back in Daniel 5. There Daniel was brought before Belshazzar, Belshazzar promised him that he would make him the third ruler in a triumvirate over the Babylonian Empire, that he would hang around his neck a gold chain that would symbolize his power and give him incredible wealth. Daniel wasn't bribed, he turned it down; nevertheless, Belshazzar gave that to him. So here on that night in the palace when the Persian army comes in and they capture everybody and they started going through and identifying who all the rulers were, making a determination as to who they were going to kill and who they're going to throw in prison, and who they're going to torture, and as they interview everybody they came to Daniel.
And Daniel was this Jew who is now robed in a royal robe and given all the accouterments of power and authority in the land, and they started asking him some questions, and as they found out who he was, and word got around word got around and Darius found out who Daniel was and his background, it very well could have been that Daniel had a reputation that had gone beyond the Babylonian Empire. Remember, these people are generally related, they're not that far apart geographically, so it's conceivable that Darius knew all about Daniel and knew the episodes related to the fiery furnace and the golden statue and the dream of Nebuchadnezzar and all of that, and so he's impressed with Daniel as a man who couldn't be bribed, a man who didn't care anything for the accouterments of power and a man who was going to tell Belshazzar the truth of God no matter what it would cost him. And so he's impressed with Daniel's integrity and God promotes him. The principle here is that we're never promoted until God promotes us.
Daniel is not trying to make a name for himself; Daniel is trying to live his life before the Lord as openly and as honestly as he can. He shows tremendous integrity and as a result God promotes him. And the same thing is true for every believer. We need to be serving the Lord in our work, whatever it is, doing everything we do as unto the Lord. That means if you're a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, what you do in the work place is a direct reflection upon your Christian testimony and is part of your Christian testimony. And that's why every believer should be the best employee they can possibly be, they should have a tremendous work ethic because they are working for the Lord according to Colossians 3 and Ephesians 5, they are not just working for whomever you think your boss is. So Daniel, because he is a mature believer, because of the tremendous integrity in his soul because of his advanced stage of spiritual maturity, is now being honored by God and being put in a place of incredible and fantastic authority and power. It's a wonder that he didn't have a greater impact but we can assume that if Darius is Cyrus and I think he is, that Daniel encouraged Cyrus, pointed out the Scripture, how God had prophesied his coming back in Isaiah, passages in Jeremiah, and how God had foretold through the prophets that Cyrus would be the one to send the Jews back to the land. So Cyrus is going to do that.
Daniel is a man who has gotten a promotion and he has tremendous energy, even at the age of 80. We can assume that Daniel lived to be almost 90 and still had this tremendous position of power. And he's the only person I know of in history or that I can think of in history that rises to the level that he did in one empire, where he is the chief over all of the advisors for Nebuchadnezzar, he is made, although it was only for a very short time, the third member of the triumvirate ruling Babylon, he was only in that position for about and hour maybe, and then in the kingdom that comes in and defeats that one, he is then elevated to this high position. So he is established as one of the three commissioners that oversees the 120 satraps of the kingdom because he is a man of integrity and Darius needs somebody he can trust. So he recognizes in Daniel somebody who is loyal, somebody who is faithful and somebody who has integrity.
And then look at what happens in verse 3. In Daniel 6:3 Daniel is a picture of the statement in Psalm 92:14, that they will still yield fruit in old age, they shall be full of sap and very green. See there's still productivity when we get old. Americans get this idea that it's all over with by the time you're 30 or 40 or 50, whatever the next decade is for you, we all think it's over with then, but that's not necessarily true. Now people have to be careful about health and as you get older that's a test in itself for everybody's spiritual life. You have to decide where you're effective and how effective you can be. I know a professor of mine at Dallas Seminary has told me he's in his 70's now and his prayer is that he will know when it's time to hang it up because he doesn't want to embarrass the Lord. And that's happened to pastors over the years. There was a tremendous pastor by the name of Donald Grey Barnhouse of a previous generation, and Barnhouse, the last 2 or 3 years of his life started teaching universal salvation, that everybody would go to heaven, he started making many other strange pronouncements about Scripture, completely reversed himself on a number of key foundational doctrines during the last 2 or 3 years of his life. Charles Feinberg who was a Hebrew professor at Dallas Seminary and later at Talbot Seminary and was kind of a…[tape turns] of Dr. Chafer's, they didn't know it at first but he eventually died from Alzheimer's, but before he died he went back…he was born a Jew, he was kicked out of the family when he was saved when he was 17 or 18 years of age, he was a fantastic Hebrew scholar, and a fantastic believer, but during the last 2 or 3 years of his life I understand that he went back into the synagogue. There's a seminary up north of Boston called Gordon Conwell Seminary, it's named for a man named Adoniram Judson Gordon and Gordon was one of the great evangelical Bible teachers about 100 years ago and he taught at the Niagara prophecy conferences and at numerous other Bible conferences that Moody had up in Massachusetts and he was a contemporary of C. I. Scofield and Lewis Sperry Chafer and Arnold C. Gaebelein and many in that era and he was one of the founding fathers and thinkers of dispensationalism and the last 2 or 3 years of his life he rejected dispensationalism, he threw out the pre-trib rapture, he condemned everybody who was a dispensationalist, and he just went off the deep end.
So growing old is a test, it is a test for each of us as to our own productivity and we need to be careful what we do and what we're involved in in relationship to our own abilities, our own mental capacities and our own energy. And obviously Daniel still had tremendous capacities and tremendous energy because God promoted him. He wasn't looking for this slot, God promoted him and Darius put him in this position. Not only that, but he continued to function at an extremely successful level, verse 3.
Daniel 6:3, "Then this Daniel began distinguishing himself among the commissioners and satraps because he possessed and extraordinary spirit, and the king planned to appoint him over the entire kingdom." So he's 80 something and he's out-performing all these young bucks that are coming along and he is doing a tremendous job, he's much more efficient, he's more honest, nobody is bribing him, he understands management, he's been in the administration of a kingdom business for most of his life and Darius recognizes that. That says a lot about Darius as somebody who is willing to promote those who deserve it and who work hard. So Daniel "distinguished himself among the commissioners" and that's what's going to happen to any believer, at some point in your life you're going to go through this same test. You will distinguish yourself because of the way you perform, you will distinguish yourself because you are a believer performing your job as unto the Lord and for the glory of the Lord and not for the glory of man and somebody is going to take notice of it.
Two kinds of people are going to notice it, one is a person who is going to recognize the value of a good employee and that's hard to find today. The other person that is going to notice is all those other run of the mill lowest common denominator employees that are just trying to get buy and you're making them look bad and as soon as you start performing in an excellent say you're going to make them look bad and then their sin nature is going to kick in and they're going to become jealous and bitter, vindictive, they're going to start gossiping about you and maligning you and doing whatever it takes to run you down because you are not doing the things that they're doing, taking advantage of the company, taking advantage of extra long work breaks, and to just get by and in many companies today it's almost impossible because of union rules and other things to ever fire somebody because they don't work. And so people get hired and then they just hang around and don't do anything and you start distinguishing yourself and you're going to make them look bad and that's exactly what happens and what always happens in a career, in a job, in a country, in any situation you're involved in, when people get jealous, when the people who are just getting by get jealous they are going to start to try to tear down those who are successful.
That's what happens in a country, it's called socialism, and when you try to tear down people who are successful, try to penalize those who make a lot of money. We think well, they make a lot of money, they're a millionaire, they make more, they ought to pay more in taxes. What we're doing is we're penalizing them for their productivity and that's always wrong. We don't want to penalize for productivity, they ought to be rewarded because their productivity is going to benefit many other people. So Daniel is now going to be at the brunt of a test and that is how to handle people testing when the people who are engaged in some kind of conspiracy against you, running you down and trying to destroy you, and perhaps spreading gossip or false rumors and maligning, whatever it might be, trying to destroy you.
This is what happens in Daniel 6:4. "Then the commissioners and satraps began trying to find a ground of accusation against Daniel in regard to government affairs; but they could not find no ground," they couldn't find anything, they kept watching, they were hiding out in the hallway and when he wasn't in his office they were going in his office and riffling through his desk, looking at his budget reports and try to find some way in which he was shading the figures in his behalf, and they couldn't find anything. They tried to find "a ground of accusation against Daniel in regard to government affairs; but they could find no ground of accusation or evidence of corruption, inasmuch as he was faithful," there the word "faithful" means he's loyal and he has integrity. There was "no negligence or corruption found in him."
Then we come to Daniel 6:5, "Then these men said, 'We shall not find any ground of accusation against this Daniel unless we find it against him with regard to the law of his God.'" In other words, after they've been engaged in this investigation for a while, and looking into everything in Daniel's life they discover that Daniel is a man who is loyal to the God of Israel and that this is the primary issue in his life and the number one motivation in his life and so they're going to pick on his religion as the leverage to get him out of office.
So they come together and in Daniel 6:6 we read, "Then these commissioners and satraps came by agreement to the king," and here we have the Aramaic word regosh, which in Hebrew is regash and it's the same word, same meaning, and it's the word that's found in Psalm 2:1 where we read, "Why are the nations in an uproar," and that's the word regash, "and the people's devising a vain thing." regash means to be in rebellion, it means to be conspiring in defiance of authority, whether it's a king or some other authority. It implies chaos, disorder and the attempt to overthrow a government. So this tells us that they were involved in a conspiracy and they're going to work to do whatever it takes to try to overthrow Daniel and to get him out of the way so that they can take his power because Darius has clearly recognized the fact that he is superior.
Back in verse 3 we need to note that it says that "he possessed an extraordinary spirit," and the Hebrew there is ruach yattiyr which doesn't just imply…it's not talking about the Holy Spirit here, it's easy to every time you see the mention of spirit that it has to do with human spirit or Holy Spirit but there's about six different nuances to the word spirit. And when it talks about the fact that he had an extraordinary spirit it's talking about the fact that he had an incredible mental attitude. The word "spirit," ruach in the Hebrew, or even pneuma in the New Testament often refers to an attitude or a mental attitude and this is talking about the fact that Daniel had this incredible mental attitude. It was as a result of his spiritual growth and his maturity.
So these men get together and they are going to devise some sort of trap for Daniel in their conspiracy. And they come together and they meet with the king, "and spoke to him as follows: 'King Darius, live forever!'" And although that is the polite address to a superior here it shows nothing more than they don't really mean it, they're phony and you're always going to run into people that have some kind of loyalty to you and some kind of phony allegiance and you always have to be careful of this. If you're in any position of authority the higher you go the more you're going to get those who want to flatter you, who always want to tell you what they know you want to hear so that they'll look good in your eyes and the whole time they just want to gain your trust so they'll be in some position where they can promote their own agenda and they're not really loyal at all. So it takes a tremendous amount of discernment if you're a leader to pick out the people that are just the ones who are trying to further their own agenda and not your agenda.
So they come to the king and in Daniel 6:7 they says, "All the commissioners of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the high officials and the governors," so they pull everybody together, all 120 satraps and a number of others, and also there's a hint of anti-Semitism here, and they "have consulted together that the king should establish a statute and enforce an injunction to anyone who makes a petition to any god or man besides you, O king," so they appeal to his vanity, they appeal this power lust. Now this is really an absurd law that they want to have passed. They want to pass a law that says that no one can make "a petition to any god or man" other than the king, "for thirty days." Now how would they get away with that? Well one view is, and we can't be sure, one view is there was also some rivalry going on between some of the various priestly groups related to Zoroastrianism which was going through a period of renewal at this time, a reformation, and that one group was going to…they presented this as if it would give them leverage against another group, and this was going to be limited for thirty days in order to find some that were guilty in order to clean up this reform movement that was also making some of them uncomfortable.
But that theory goes against what I think is a clear evidence of the text that this whole thing is designed to go after Daniel, it's not some secondary issue. It's an absurd thing because anyone who is a king who is going to devote his time to answering everybody's petition and everybody's prayer for thirty days is going to put himself in a position basically to outlaw the entire priesthood for all their polytheistic religions and say nobody can go to any temple, nobody can pray to anybody but me for the next thirty days, is someone who has just completely given themselves over to arrogance. So they have found Darius' weak spot, it's his arrogance, if this is Cyrus then it's right after he's gained victory over the greatest empire to date and so he's probably filled with arrogance. So they convince him that this is a great thing in order to weed out those in the administration who aren't truly loyal to him, and they convince him to sign it.
The penalty will be that they "shall be cast into a den of lions." The ancient world had tremendous punishments. We saw that the Babylonians were going to have everybody torn apart and their houses turned into dunghills and the Medes and the Persians were going to throw you into a den of lions. So I think these are wonderful punishment for capital criminals.
Now Daniel knows about this; somehow he is aware of this, it's not necessarily done behind his back, but in some way he knew about it. He's not involved but in some way he knew about it and we're going to look at his civil disobedience next time and look at how that relates to other instances of civil disobedience in the Scripture.