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King Nebuchadnezzar's conversion to Jesus Christ, the God of Daniel, set the precedent for the entire line of empires that were yet to come. Babylon was the "head of gold" (Dan. 2:38), and more specifically, Nebuchadnezzar himself, as Daniel says. The head tells the body what to do, for that is its function. Even as our Head is Christ, and we are His Body, so also is it with this great Image that the king saw in his dream.
Yet even the body of Christ has been disobedient to the Head. So also has the Image of Babylon, and so with each new empire God has had to cause them to recognize the decree of the head (Nebuchadnezzar's decree).
Medo-Persia, of course, had an advantage in that Cyrus was a prophesied "messiah" from the beginning. His father-in-law, Darius the Mede, organized the kingdom under 120 "satraps" or governors (Dan. 6:1), making Daniel their chief governor. The number 120 always has to do with the outpouring of the Spirit in Scripture, so this too was a type of the Kingdom established by the power of the Holy Spirit.
But Medo-Persia's submission to the God of Daniel had yet to be proven, verified, and established by legal precedent under the new government. Whereas Babylon's government functioned as an Absolute Monarchy, the government of Medo-Persia was a Constitutional Monarchy. Under this form of government, the king was subject to the law of the land. If the king signed a bill into law, he himself was bound to it and could not ignore it or change his mind.
The test case for this principle of government occurred in Daniel 6. In all governments among men, there are ambitious men who plot against those above them in order to increase their own power. Yes, there have been conspiracies since human nature was invented. There were certain men in the Persian government who coveted Daniel's position as chief of the three governors over the 120 satraps.
Their problem was that they could not find any fault with Daniel. He did not accept bribes, nor did he show partiality, but followed the principles of God's Law for judges and rulers. Dan. 6:3 says that "he possessed an extraordinary spirit, and the king planned to appoint him over the entire kingdom."
Verse 4 says that Daniel's enemies "could find no ground of accusation or evidence of corruption." There was only one issue that might be exploited, and this was the question of who is the supreme authority in the realm. Was it God or the king? So verse 5 says,
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."
Among human governments, there is always a point of conflict with the Law of God, because kings tend to usurp the power of God by establishing laws that are contrary to God's Law. It is that point of conflict wherein governments find believers guilty of violating man's laws. The one thing that rankles governments most is a believer's recognition of Jesus Christ as the Sovereign King of all nations including their own.
It was Daniel's habit to pray three times a day (Dan. 6:10). His enemies thus plotted to make prayer illegal for 30 days. In order to flatter the king into passing such a bill, they worded it to say that "anyone who makes a petition to any god or man besides you, O king, for thirty days, shall be cast into the lions' den" (6:7).
The king was flattered and signed the bill (6:9). When Daniel heard about it, he immediately went home and broke the law (6:10). Then they accused Daniel before the king.
12 Then they approached the king and spoke before the king about the king's injunction, "Did you not sign an injunction that any man who makes a petition to any god or man besides you, O king, for thirty days, is to be cast into the lions' den?" The king answered and said, "The statement is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which may not be revoked."
The men then informed Darius that Daniel had been found praying three times a day in direct violation of this law. The king then knew that he had been tricked, and he pondered the situation until sunset to find a way to get around his own law.
15 Then these men came by agreement to the king and said to the king, "Recognize, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no injunction or statute which the king establishes may be changed."
Darius was forced to throw Daniel into the lions' den, because the laws of the Medes and Persians could neither be "revoked" nor "changed." Even the king was bound by it. The king told Daniel in verse 16, "Your God whom you constantly serve will Himself deliver you." He was probably adding to himself, "because I cannot get around this law."
God delivered Daniel during the long night of the lions' den. Take note that Daniel's case of "civil disobedience" did not mean that he wanted to start a revolution. Fighting the king would have indicated a fear motive. Instead, he submitted to the judgment out of respect for the king, and placed his faith in God for whatever fate lay in store for him. Even if God saw fit to have him torn apart, he was willing to die for the principle that Jesus Christ is the King of all nations.
Daniel survived the lions' den. "My God sent His angel and shut the lions' mouths," Daniel said (6:22). When Daniel was taken from the den, the angel must have gone with him, for the lions suddenly seemed to be quite hungry. The king then gave the order to cast Daniel's accusers into the lions' den to see if their gods could deliver them. Their gods proved inadequate.
Then the king issued another decree according to the laws of the Medes and Persians which could not be revoked or changed:
26 I make a decree that in all the dominion of my kingdom men are to fear and tremble before the God of Daniel [i.e., Jesus Christ]; For He is the living God and enduring forever, and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed, and His dominion will be forever. 27 He delivers and rescues and performs signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, who has also delivered Daniel from the power of the lions."
Hence, Medo-Persia became a Christian nation, "one nation under God." Not only the head of gold, but now also the arms of silver recognized that the God of Daniel was the true God and King of the Nations. The laws of men are temporary--in this case, just thirty days--but the laws of God stand forever, because they express the very character of a righteous God.
It was necessary that Daniel should go into the lions' den in order to make it clear to all men for all time that the king's decree was unalterable and irrevocable. By that same principle, now well established for future generations, the second decree was also unalterable and irrevocable.
Thus, Iran (modern Persia) is a Christian Nation. Jesus Christ was established as Iran's King many years ago. Even if they do not today recognize Him as such, the day will come when every knee will bow and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of all.