My regularly scheduled Bible study provided me with a unique and unexpected Lenten and Easter preparation. I probably learned this years ago in seminary but hearing it anew in a sermon from my former pastor1 cemented the truth that Daniel chapter six contains a foreshadowing—a type—of Jesus Christ.
A “type” in the Bible is “a person or thing in the Old Testament that foreshadows a person or thing in the New Testament.”2 How amazing that God intentionally pointed to Jesus from the very beginning and throughout history.
Here are some ways that Daniel foreshadows the death and resurrection of Christ.
Daniel was a royal son of Judah whose superior wisdom and excellent spirit set him apart from his peers (Daniel 1:3, Daniel 6:3)
Jesus was a royal son of Judah whose superior wisdom and excellent spirit set him apart from humankind (Matthew 1:1, Acts 10:38)
Daniel’s intended appointment as chief ruler over Babylon angered the other leaders who were envious of him. (Daniel 6:3)
As King of the Jews, Jesus’ claim to the throne angered the other leaders who were envious of him. (Matthew 2:1–2, John 1:49, Matthew 27:18)
The officials conspired against Daniel (Daniel 6:4)
The priests and the elders conspired against Jesus (Matthew 26:3–4)
They could find no fault to charge Daniel with (Daniel 6:4)
They could find no fault to charge Jesus with (Matthew 26:59–60, Luke 23:14–15)
Daniel chose willingly to break the law to do the will of his God (Daniel 6:10)
Jesus chose willingly to break the “law” to do the will of his Father (John 10:18)
Daniel’s accusers had to lie to get him convicted (Daniel 6:13)
Jesus was convicted by false witnesses (Matthew 26:61, 65, 66)
Daniel was guilty of transgressing the (unjust) laws of the Medes and Persians (Daniel 6:10–11)
Jesus was said to be guilty of transgressing the (unjust) laws of the Jews (John 19:7, Luke 23:41)
Daniel was arrested while praying in his room when his enemies came to spy on him (Daniel 6:11)
Jesus was arrested while praying in the Garden when his enemies came to arrest him (Matthew 26:36, 45, 46)
King Darius unsuccessfully tried to save Daniel (Daniel 6:14)
Pilot unsuccessfully tried to save Jesus (Luke 23:22)
Daniel descended into the pit (Daniel 6:16)
Jesus was laid in the tomb (Luke 23:53)
Daniel’s “grave” was covered with a stone and sealed with the king’s seal (Daniel 6:17)
Jesus’ grave was covered with a stone and sealed with the Roman seal (Matthew 27:60, 65, 66)
The king found found Daniel alive early the next morning (Daniel 6:19–22)
The women found Jesus alive early in the morning (Mark 16:2, Luke 24:2–3, Matthew 28:9)
Daniel’s enemies were destroyed (Daniel 6:24)
Jesus’ enemies were disarmed and put to shame (Colossians 2:15)
Daniel’s bones were spared (Daniel 6:24)
Jesus’s bones were not broken (John 19:36)
Daniel’s deliverance led to the praise and worship of God in Babylon (Daniel 6:26)
Jesus’ deliverance from death led to the universal praise of God (Philippians 2:9–11)
Of course, Daniel does not match Jesus in every way. No type is meant to. While Daniel was human and thus a sinner, Jesus was divine and never sinned (1 Peter 2:22). Daniel experienced the possibility of death whereas Jesus truly died (Mark 15:37). Daniel prospered temporarily (Daniel 6:28) and later died as an old man but Jesus resurrected and was elevated to the right hand of God the Father where he reigns forever and ever (Mark 16:19).
How might God be foreshadowing Jesus’ death and resurrection in your current reading or experience? What do you need to remember this Easter?
Lord Jesus, like Daniel I face a roaring lion on the prowl looking to devour me (1 Peter 5:8). But this Easter, I remember that you are my Lion of Judah (Revelation 5:5) who willingly gave your life for me (John 10:15). Deliver me from evil (Matthew 6:13) as you did for Daniel.