"I AM RESCUED out of the mouth of the lion (2
Tim.4:17). Paul used this phrase figuratively in his second letter to
Timothy to describe his deliverance in a difficult and trying situation.
Such a powerful, picturesque expression dramatically illustrates the
power of God to liberate his chosen ones from any dilemma.
Daniel, in a very literal way, was also rescued from
the mouth of lions. But Daniel's case was only typical and illustrative
of the greater emancipation which God gave to His Son.
Psalm 22 begins, "My El! My El! Why have You
forsaken me?" and it ends, "...He has done this" The
crucifixion begins with the same words (Matt.27:46) and ends with the
similar expression: "It is accomplished" (John 19:30). The
details throughout the twenty- second Psalm clearly show it to be
prophetic of the crucifixion. And not to be overlooked among these
details are these statements: "They open their mouth wide against
me like a lion, ravening and roaring" (verse 13); and, "Save
me from the mouth of the lion" (verse 21). The lion which Christ
faced on the cross was death. The power of death had been committed to
the one who is "walking about as a roaring lion, seeking someone to
swallow up" (Peter 5: 8; Heb.2:14).
God has delighted to foreshadow and typify the
wondrous work of His Son throughout the pages of the Hebrew Scriptures.
The similarities of the deliverance of Daniel from the lion's den to the
deliverance of Christ from death are worthy of our meditation.
Daniel and Christ both lived in times when their
nation was subjected to foreign powers. These political circumstances
influenced the sentences passed and carried out against them. Both
Daniel and our Lord were conspired against by those who were jealous of
them (Dan.6:4; Mark 15:10; John 11:47-53). Daniel and Christ were both
in positions of authority over their betrayers (Dan.6:1; John 6:70,71).
Both Daniel and Christ were faithful and faultless in the performance of
their duties (Dan.6:4; Luke 23:5; John 19:6). The only hope Daniel's
enemies had in finding something against him was in his relationship to
his God (Dan.6: 5). So also the final accusation against Christ was
based upon His relationship to God (John 19:7). Both Daniel and Christ
did what they did openly (Dan.6:10; Luke 22:52,53). Daniel was seen
praying three times daily (Dan.6:10), and Christ prayed three times in
Gethsemane where He was betrayed. Neither the conspirators against
Daniel nor those against Christ had the authority to execute their
victim, but both groups pressured someone in greater authority to
fulfill their desires (Dan.6:11- 13; John 19:7,12). Both Darius and
Pilate tried unsuccessfully to deliver the accused from their assailants
(Dan.6:14-16; John 19: 8-12).
The tomb where Christ was laid and the vault of the
lions were closed by a stone (Matt.27:60; Dan.6:17). Both the tomb and
the lion's vault were sealed by official authority (Matt.27:62- 66;
Dan.6:17). The lions' mouths were closed, and they did not harm Daniel
(Dan.6:18); and it was not possible for death to hold Christ (Acts
2:24). The disciples and followers of Christ grieved deeply over His
crucifixion and were early visitors to His tomb, just as Darius grieved
over Daniel and hurried to the lion's den early in the morning
Both Daniel and Christ were raised from the vault and
tomb through God's power (Dan.6:22,23; Acts 2:22-24). Just as Daniel's
accusers were cast to the lions (Dan.6:24), Israel, owning the
bloodguiltiness for Christ (Matt.27:25), was cast away by God, and
suffered the destruction of their nation in 70 A.D. This sentence is yet
Because of Daniel's deliverance, knowledge of
Daniel's God and a message of welfare, or peace, was to be sent to all
nations of the earth (Dan.6:25-27). So also, through the resurrection of
Christ, the peace of God will go to the entire universe (Col.1: 20).
Even as Daniel was prospered in the kingdom after coming out of the
lion's den (Dan.6:28), so also Christ was exalted to the highest
position of authority after His resurrection from death (Eph.1:20-23;
Christ was "saved from the lion's mouth" by
the might of God's strength which raised Him from the dead. This power
is operative in us too (Eph.1:19,20). What encouragement it is, not only
that we will be saved from the lion's mouth, but also that we shall be
graced to become a part of that great administration in which the lion
of death will be abolished (1 Cor.15:26)!
© J. Philip Scranton