Over the last 12 weeks or so we have followed Daniel’s political career with interest. From the Royal University of Babylon to Chief Prefect over the Wise Men of Babylon, from Chief Prefect to Provincial Governor, from Provincial Governor to Third Highest Ruler in the Kingdom.
Of course, he only held that last position for a few hours before the Persian army broke into the city and put a final end to the Babylonian empire.
So the last time we saw Daniel, his career was over, a lifetime of investment in the Babylonian political system just…gone. The city of Babylon now has a new governor named Darius, whose job is to reorganize the civil service and turn the province of Babylon into a productive colony of the Persian empire. And the last time we saw Daniel we were really wondering if he would survive the chaos of the transition from Babylonian power to Persian power.
Well, here we are in Chapter 6, and apparently  it pleased Darius — the new governor of Babylon — to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom,  with three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel. The satraps were made accountable to them so that the king might not suffer loss.
So now we know: Daniel has survived the transition from Babylonian to Persian rule.
In fact, he has more than survived! It seems that this governor, Darius, was a pretty wise rule himself: instead of completely replacing the previous government, he simply restructured it, thus minimising unrest and maximising the smoothness of the transition.
And apparently, as he shuffled through the previous administrators of the Babylonian empire, Daniel somehow caught his attention as a wise and reliable governor in his own right.
And so as a result Darius has now installed Daniel as one of his three Chief Ministers: one of three men watching over 120 provincial governors.
But that’s not all:  Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.
In other words: Daniel is about to become the Prime Minister of Babylon province!
But  at this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent.  Finally these men said, “We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.”
 So they went as a group to the king and said: “May King Darius live forever!  The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or human being during the next thirty days, except to you, Your Majesty, shall be thrown into the lions’ den.  Now, Your Majesty, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.”
 So King Darius put the decree in writing.
And this seems like a pretty strange proposal to us. We are left wondering just how gullible ancient kings were: “Hey, O great king! Why don’t you pass a law that turns you into a god! — but only for the next 30 days, of course.” And Darius agrees?
But that’s not quite what is happening.
What these provincial governors are proposing is actually quite similar to what King Nebuchadnezzar did back in Chapter 3 when he set up that huge golden statue and tried to force everyone to worship it: they are suggesting that Darius should use religion to unite Babylon province. They are suggesting that Darius should proclaim himself the highest high priest in the kingdom, the chief mediator between the people and the gods.
And this is really a very clever solution to their problem:
See, their job is to make sure the king does not suffer loss: to make sure the revenues and taxes of Babyon province all get to where they should go. Their personal ambition, however, is to line their own pockets.
Apparently Daniel stands in the way of this ambition. Remember, Daniel used to be a provincial governor himself! And after 60 years in service, he knows exactly how much revenue each province should produce, and he does not allow skimming. As one of three Chief Ministers, Daniel has already proven able to severely limit corruption and cronyism. If he becomes Prime Minister, he’ll be able to stamp it out completely!
But these politicians know they can’t go to Darius and tell the truth about how Daniel’s incorruptibility is standing in the way of their ambition. So they use Darius’ own ambition against him: they know his own political career depends upon how smoothly Babylon province transitions into a productive colony of the Persian empire. And they know that religion is a well known tool to make this happen.
This is not just a clever move, it is an ironic one: these politicians and administrators are pretending to be true servants of the state in order to remove the only true servant of the state.
And Darius goes for it. He signs the decree into law: for the next 30 days, every citizen of Babylon province is to submit their petitions — their sacrifices, their prayers — to Darius alone, who will pass them all along to the gods.
The province will be united in worship: a genius move.
But only for one month: which is even more of a genius move! Because even if some citizens are unhappy with having to redirect their worship…it’s just 30 days, right? Cincai la! As long as I get my paycheck, let them play their political games, amirite?
This is how clever governors slowly wear down the convictions of those they rule: they ask you to compromise in this little way for this little bit of time. Then, a while later they ask you to compromise a little more for a little bit longer. And after a few years of that, you look around and realize that you have allowed yourself to be fully integrated into the system, and now there is no escape.
But Daniel has been in politics for a long time. He fully understands the corrosive effect power can have on a man’s conscience. So he decides that he is not going to re-direct his prayers, not even for 30 days:  when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.
And this is exactly what his political enemies expected. So they ambushed him, they caught him praying, and then they went to the king and spoke to him about his royal decree: “Did you not publish a decree that during the next thirty days anyone who prays to any god or human being except to you, Your Majesty, would be thrown into the lions’ den?”
The king answered, “The decree stands—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.”
And at this point they bring ethnicity into the conversation:  Then they said to the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, Your Majesty, or to the decree you put in writing. He still prays three times a day.”
Race, religion, and politics: this is an old story, isn’t it! Nothing much has changed in the last 2500 years.
At this point, Darius realizes these men were not serving Babylon province with their proposal: they were serving themselves alone. And he was greatly distressed; he was determined to rescue Daniel and made every effort until sundown to save him.
Now, over the years many people have wondered what efforts did Darius make exactly? I mean: obviously he got his lawyers together and went through the law looking for some kind of loophole, we know he did that much because of what Daniel’s enemies say next.
But is that all Darius was doing to save Daniel during these hours?
…we will come back to that in a minute.
In the meantime, the men went as a group to King Darius and said to him, “Remember, Your Majesty, that according to the law of the Medes and Persians no decree or edict that the king issues can be changed.”
They’re basically saying, “Look, Your Majesty, we know you’ve got your lawyers looking for a loophole in the law, but there isn’t one. Daniel is caught and there is no escape for him.
“In fact, Your Majesty — with all due respect — there is no escape for you either. You know it is illegal for a judge to change his decision, because if judges started changing their decisions the people would lose all faith in the judiciary and that would lead to absolute chaos. And do you really think King Cyrus is going to let you get away with destabilizing his empire for the sake of just one man?
“You do realize that, at this point, it is better for you — and for us — that one man die rather than the whole empire?”
 So the king washes his hands of the situation: he gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”
 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed.  Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep.
 At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den.  When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?”
Now, here — again — many people over the years have wondered about Darius’ words and actions: why does he stay up all night wondering if Daniel will survive? Why does he run to the lion’s den calling out as if he really hopes Daniel has survived? Is Darius actually a man of faith in Daniel’s God?
Well…no. Darius, like most other people in the world, is a man of faith in his own efforts — who then tags on a quick prayer at the end of his efforts because…it can’t hurt, right?
And this is where we realize that, while his lawyers were busy looking for loopholes in the law, Darius was busy making sure the lions were stuffed full of as much meat as they could hold.
Darius knew there was no loophole in the law that could save Daniel from being executed — but he knew there was one loophole in the law that could save Daniel after he had been executed.
This was the loophole: if Daniel survived his execution, then his condemnation would be counted as fulfilled and he would be free to go.
And, by the way, this was not an unusual loophole: many nations in history have had some version of this law. There was a general understanding, in many places, that if a person survives their execution somehow, this is a sign that they were actually innocent, falsely accused, that the gods knew the truth and intervened to save an innocent victim from death.
In America, for instance, up until a century ago it was commonly understood that, if a man was to be executed by hanging, but the rope broke instead of his neck, then clearly God wanted him to live and he ought to get a second chance at life.
So Darius does appeal to Daniel’s God. He does say, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” But Darius has also made every effort to make sure the lions are relaxed and sleepy. That is why he stays up all night, hoping that his plan worked. That is why he runs to the lion’s den first thing in the morning.
 Daniel answered, “May the king live forever!  My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.”
Daniel is basically repeating what we have just learned about how ancient cultures thought about justice. He is saying that he was actually innocent, falsely accused, that God knew the truth and intervened, and that — therefore — Daniel’s continued life is itself the evidence of his innocence.
 The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.
But the story is not yet over:  At the king’s command, the men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought in and thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.
Now, here — once again — many people over the years have registered some discomfort over this turn of events. Most everyone can understand why Darius executed his administrators in this way: after all, this is what they tried to do to Daniel, who was innocent, so it is only right for them to suffer the same fate, especially since they really are guilty of corruption and the abuse of power. They were traitors who had tried to corrupt Darius’ kingdom for their own benefit.
But why the wives and children also? How is that right?
Well, this is difficult for us to understand. Mostly because we live on this side of history: we live after Christ. And Jesus Christ actually changed everything about how we approach this question. And not just for us, as Christians! The whole world has actually been affected by the change Jesus made. That is why even modern secular people today question whether this was right or not: they do not know it, but their mentality, their whole approach to justice, has been transformed by Christ, even though they do not believe in him!
So…here again, I’m going to ask you all to be patient: we will come back to this concept a little later.
For now, we just need to understand this: structures of authority really matter.
And we have actually been seeing this concept expressed all the way through the Book of Daniel. Nebuchadnezzar eventually submitted to God, and the citizens of his empire were blessed, even though they did not personally submit to God. Belteshazzar spit on God; and the citizens of his empire suffered when the empire fell to the Persians. And this principle holds true all the way down: if a governor is good, the province is blessed; if a governor is corrupt, the province suffers. If a husband is good, his wife is blessed; if a husband is corrupt, his wife suffers. If parents are good, their children are blessed; if parents are corrupt, their children suffer…
Let me put it this way: the Book of Daniel, at this point, is not saying that it was right or wrong for the women and children to suffer their fathers’ fate, it is simply showing us that this is the painful reality of life in this world: when those who are in power make bad choices, they end up destroying those under their care, even the innocent ones. For instance: when the captain of an airliner makes a fatal mistake, everyone on the plane dies, even though they did nothing to deserve it.
There is a solution to this reality! — but as I’ve said: we will get to that in a little bit.
The original readers would not have asked those questions. They would have seen this total destruction of Daniel’s enemies as a total vindication of Daniel and Daniel’s God. They would have seen the lions’ hunger as evidence that Daniel was saved by God’s work alone, not by God and Darius working together. They would have said, “See? Whether the lions were well-fed or not, in the end it is our God alone who is the Lord of life and death!”
Well, Darius is definitely convinced:
 Then King Darius wrote to all the nations and peoples of every language in all the earth: “May you prosper greatly!
 “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel.
“For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end.  He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.”
 So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
And so, as we reach the end of the last narrative passage in Daniel’s book, we see that Darius has turned out to be a greater king even than King Nebuchadnezzar was.
Throughout his reign, Nebuchadnezzar reaped the benefits of Daniel’s wisdom, he even witnessed miracles! and still it took him 20+ years to come to a point where he was willing to acknowledge that Daniel’s God is the God over all gods. And even in the end, even though he was the king, and even though he wrote a letter to the empire telling them the truth he had discovered, in the end Nebuchadnezzar’s faith remained…a personal one, we could say.
But Darius has travelled much further much faster. This is still only the first — maybe the second — year of his reign. He has discovered that Daniel has the wisdom of an honest administrator; but he has not had any dreams interpreted, he has not witnessed any miracles…except this one: that Daniel was brought up alive out of the pit, while those who hated him were destroyed. And yet, somehow, as a result of this one thing, Darius has not only confessed a personal faith in Daniel’s God, he has not just written a decree of religious tolerance: he has issued a decree “that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel.”
At the end of Chapter 3, Nebuchadnezzar wrote a decree saying that no one may curse Daniel’s God. Here, at the end of Chapter 6, Darius has written a decree saying that everyone ought to praise Daniel’s God. Nebuchadnezzar finished by saying: “No one can stop the Jewish people from worshiping their God.” Darius has finished by saying, “We should all join the Jewish people in worshiping their God.”
And of course we want to know why! What was it about this single event that convinced Darius that Daniel’s God is actually the only God worthy of worship?
Here is the answer: from the very beginning of this episode, we have seen that Darius was a man who hated corruption and loves justice. Even his administrators knew this about him, that’s why they used deception to control him instead of bribery or blackmail or something else. And that’s why, when the trap was sprung, Darius fought to save Daniel’s life: he knew that Daniel was innocent, he knew that it would be wrong to let an innocent man be destroyed.
Basically, then, by saving Daniel’s life and by destroying those who tried to destroy Daniel, God proved to Darius that he also knew that Daniel was innocent, that he also believes it is wrong to let an innocent man be destroyed.
With this single action, God proved to Darius that he truly understands justice, that he is able to distinguish between the innocent and the guilty. And Darius converted immediately.
And his rapid shift really just goes to show us how revolutionary Daniel’s God seemed to Darius.
See, the gods of the ancient world had immense power combined with a very low sense of responsibility. They really had no interest in systems of justice. They generally did just whatever they wanted — though they were open to being bribed. So if a powerful man made the right sacrifices to the right god, that god might help that man achieve his ambitions, even if those ambitions involved executing innocent people. For the pagan gods, Might makes Right. Whoever has the power makes the rules. There was no objective standard of right and wrong.
But the Jewish God, Daniel’s God, was completely different. First, he wrote down his laws, so that people could see clearly what was expected of them. There were no hidden rules set up as traps for the unwary. Second, the rules were the same for everyone. He did not have a lighter set of laws for the rich and the religious, and a heavier set of laws for the poor. Really, it was the opposite! Those with more power and authority actually have more responsibility to care for those with less. Third, he is above corruption, he does not show favouritism, he is not open to bribery. If you are guilty, you are going down! — even if you are a provincial governor in the most powerful empire in the world. If you are innocent, you will be vindicated, even if you are an 80-year old Jewish exile with no wife, no children, no real future.
Darius saw this clearly. Politics and religion do always go hand-in-hand. There is no separating them. That is a painful truth! An even more painful truth is this: a nation’s politics always take on the nature of the gods they worship. The administrators of Babylon province worshiped gods that practice manipulation, deception, corruption and bribery, and that is the political system they wanted to create. Daniel worshiped a God who loves truth and justice and mercy, the vindication of the innocent and the destruction of the destructive — and Darius knew at once which way he wanted his government to go. And he began at once to move everything in that direction.
So…okay. But what does it mean? What does God want his people to learn from this episode? Are we supposed to be like Darius, moving the politics of our nation in some more godly direction?
…well, if you are a king, then: yes. You had better be doing that. And this principle holds true all the way down: if you are in any kind of position of authority in society — whether king, or town council-member, or employer, or office manager, or teacher, or parent — then you are obligated to be moving those under your care in a more godly direction.
But that is not really the point of this episode. This episode is not actually about how God’s people should create a just and godly society. Moses wrote several very detailed books about that, and if we want to talk about that topic we should go back and study those books.
No: this episode — just like all the other episodes in the Book of Daniel — is actually about how God’s people should live in an unjust and ungodly society.
And by this point in Daniel’s book we understand very well why God has been teaching his people these lessons: because, over the centuries to come, God people are going to be constantly confronted with the tension that exists between the laws of man and the laws of God. They will be ruled by Persian law at first, then by Greek law, then by Roman law. And so in that sense, this episode is yet another preview of those conflicts to come. The Persians were not the first to declare that their laws were perfect and eternal, and they certainly have not been the last! In the same way, the Persians were not the first to be trapped by the cleverness of their own laws, nor have they been the last.
And so this episode was recorded to convince God’s people in every generation to come that, really, there is only one law that leads to perfect justice and perfect freedom: God’s law.
Now, does this mean that the laws of other nations are completely useless, completely godless? No. Some nations in history have come closer to the godly ideal than other nations. Persian rule, for instance, was more civilized than Babylonian rule.
Does this mean that the rulers of other nations are always godless, power-mad tyrants? No. Some rulers in history have been better than others. Darius, for instance, was a man who cared about truth and justice even before he met Daniel’s God.
But here is the lesson underlying this episode: no matter how well-balanced the laws of a nation may seem, no matter how good the rulers of a nation may seem, those laws and those rulers will always eventually fall prey to unscrupulous and wicked men who will learn how to manipulate that good system for their own benefit. Always!
”Therefore,“ God is saying, “dear children: do not ever put your faith in the laws of men! Do not ever put your faith in ‘political reform’. In the centuries to come false messiahs will appear and tempt you to indulge in violent revolution: do not follow them. In the centuries to come false prophets will appear and tempt you to ‘change the system from within’: do not fall into their trap. No matter how good and incorruptible you may be, no matter how good and incorruptible your government may become, in the end you will find yourselves betrayed and falsely accused and put on trial and put to death!
“Dear children, when you are confronted with a choice between worshiping the laws of the nation that rules you, or worshiping me…choose me, and you will live!”
That is how God wanted his ancient Jewish people to live in the midst of unjust and ungodly societies.
And that is what he wants for us also. He wants us to set aside our dreams of revolution or transformation, and simply live lives of stubborn, long-term faithfulness to his law, trusting that he knows what justice is, that he is able to distinguish between the innocent and the guilty.
But, just like God’s people in every generation, we tend to be rather stubborn children. We do not give up our dreams of earthly reform so easily. So we respond and we say, “Yeah, but…didn’t Daniel change the system from within, from a position of authority and power at the highest levels of government? Shouldn’t we be doing the same?”
And that is when our Father says to us, very gently, “Oh, my dear children: you don’t know what you are asking! Can you drink the cup of judgement Daniel drank, or be baptized with the baptism Daniel was baptized with?”
See, friends, Daniel was a Messiah, an especially anointed saviour for his people. He was a very special man, selected by God in childhood and then trained in righteousness through many years of exile and loneliness so that when he was finally raised up to the highest levels of government he was able to handle that power without being corrupted by it.
And how do we know he was not corrupted by it?
Because, in the end, when he was faced with a choice between holding on to earthly power or holding on to his relationship with his Father…he went home to his upstairs room, he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God. In other words, he did not consider power something to be grasped, but made himself nothing. Taking the very nature of a servant, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death in a pit full of wild beasts.
And this passage makes it absolutely clear that the only reason God saved Daniel from death and exalted him to the highest place is because Daniel was found innocent in his sight. Think about that: innocent in God’s sight! How righteous, how perfectly uncorrupted, would a man have to be to make that claim?
Can any of us — dare any of us — say the same?
Yes, it is true that Daniel and his friends did change the system from within. But they did not do this from the highest levels of government, they did not accomplish this through the proper exercise of power: they did it by dying to themselves, by setting aside every ambition and trusting themselves completely to God. They transformed the governments they served, yes! but they did so from the flames of a furnace, from a pit of lions, from positions of powerlessness.
So, if — in the end — it was through powerlessness that Daniel redeemed his world, why don’t we just skip to the end and adopt a philosophy of powerlessness? If we are so eager to drink the cup Daniel drank and thereby redeem our nation of Malaysia, why don’t we do it right now? There is no need to become Prime Minister first, we can start dying to ourselves right here, right now!
Why don’t we do this? Because we are not Daniel. We are not righteous. We are not innocent in God’s sight. We are ambitious. Which means that we could not drink the cup Daniel drank and remain uncorrupted: we would go down into the pit of power and we would never emerge, we would lose our souls there.
But now it is time for some Good News:
We lack the wisdom, the righteousness, and the courage to accomplish what Daniel accomplished. So God accomplished it for us.
See, Daniel’s experience in the lions’ den was not just meant to be an example to us of what we could never do, it was also a lived prophecy of God’s Messiah to come.
Let’s look back over Daniel’s life, and you tell me if this sounds familiar: Daniel was a son sent away from his father’s house, to act as a hostage in place of his father’s people. He grew in wisdom and stature. He earned the favor of God and of men. He proved himself absolutely incorruptible, flawless in the exercise of his responsibilities. Even so, in the end, he was betrayed by the people under his care. He was arrested in his customary place of prayer. He was falsely accused of religious and political crimes. His judge knew he was innocent, and made every effort to save him. But the laws of men proved unable to distinguish between truth and falsehood, between the innocent and the guilty, and he was sentenced to death. His body was buried in a cave. A stone was rolled into place behind him, and sealed with the governor’s seal.
But death could not hold him, because he was truly righteous. So God sent his angel to save his servant’s life. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. And because of this single action, the word went out to all the nations and peoples of every language in all the earth that God alone is worthy of worship, because God alone has the power to save his servants from death.
Does any of this sound familiar, friends? Isn’t this the exact story of the Christ, Jesus of Nazareth? The only differences are these: Daniel did not actually die; Jesus did. Daniel emerged from the tomb without a mark found on his body; Jesus still bears the wounds of his crucifixion. Daniel transformed the heart of a single governor, a single province of the great Persian empire; Jesus is making all things new.
What does all this mean for us, then? What practical difference should this make in our lives today?
First, Jesus’ resurrection transforms our understanding of who God is. In the world outside, the gods of economics and politics are powerful but fickle creatures that can be bribed and blackmailed and manipulated to serve ambitious men.
But now, because of Jesus’ resurrection, we know that our God is the God of perfect justice, who knows how to lift up the innocent and cast down the tyrant. Daniel’s resurrection from death convinced Darius of this truth, and compelled him to to write a decree to all the nations and peoples of every language in all the earth. Well, Jesus’ resurrection from death is obviously so much greater than Daniel’s! and therefore so much more convincing.
So we should never be afraid to keep on preaching Darius’ decree: “In every part of the world people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel, the God of Jesus Christ, because he alone has the power to rescue and save.”
Second, Jesus’ resurrection transforms our understanding of how justice should flow. As we noticed before, in the world outside, this is the painful reality of existence: when the powerful make bad choices, the powerless are destroyed; when the pilot makes a mistake, the passengers suffer the consequences. That is a kind of injustice.
But now, because of Jesus’ resurrection, there is a solution to this reality, there is an escape from that terrible system of cause and unintended effect. I promised we would come back to this, and here we are, here is the solution: when Jesus becomes our king, we are removed from the authority structures of the world, and so we no longer share in the fate of this world. Instead, we share in the fate of our perfect king: we share in his death, but even more we share in his eternal resurrection.
But what does this mean, practically speaking?
This is what it means: perhaps you grew up under the authority of an alcoholic father, a gambling father, and you are still trying to escape from his mismanagement of your childhood; perhaps you grew up under the authority of a verbally abusive mother, and your adulthood has been stunted by the things she said to you twenty years ago; perhaps you work for a corrupt manager who is sinking your department for the sake of their short-term ambitions; perhaps you live under a government that has mixed race and religion and politics in such a way that economic collapse is inevitable — with Christ as our king, we are delivered from the chains of those authority structures. We do suffer in our bodies, in our minds, in our careers, because of the wicked ambitions and carelessness of the powerful, but we have this promise that the things we suffer in this life cannot destroy our eternity with God.
Last week, through Daniel’s vision, we realized that there are two covenants running side-by-side in our world. One is the law of man, the covenant of the antichrist, the covenant of slavery and injustice and undeserved death. The other one is the law of God, the covenant of the true Christ, who submitted to the covenant of undeserved death in order to set us free from it. So if you are here today and you have not yet claimed Christ as your king, do so now! Make the transition from the old covenant to the new, from the antichrist’s covenant of slavery and death to the true covenant, the only covenant that can lead you to life and justice and freedom.
In closing, here: we live in the midst of corrupted and unjust systems; and even the very best systems in our world are being actively corrupted by ambitious and unscrupulous men. This means that, in this world, we will always be living in some kind of tension between the laws of man and the law of our God.
Now: we hate tension. And so we are always tempted to resolve this tension by seizing control, and forcibly changing man’s law to be more like God’s. But Daniel’s political career has shown us that it is not our job to resolve this tension, and that — even if it was our job — we could not accomplish it anyway: we are not righteous enough or courageous enough.
Instead, our job, our calling, as God’s children, is to live by faith in the midst of this tension. Why? Because it is actually through this tension that our Father is transforming the world. Every time we choose faithfulness over compromise, every time we choose prayer over revolution, we are testifying to our faith in Christ’s resurrection and our own. We are saying to the world, “You can put us to death, but you cannot keep us from living.”
So let us always proclaim this truth, just as Darius did: “To all the nations and peoples of every language in all the earth: may you prosper greatly! In every part of the world people must fear and reverence the God of Jesus Christ. For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end.  He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Jesus from the power of death. He is rescuing us. Let him rescue you also.”