Daniel 6 is the last chapter of the historical part of the book. It is a highlight in the prophetic interpretation. Daniel 1-5 take place in the Babylonian realm. Daniel 6 takes place under the rule of the Medes and Persians. The Babylonian empire existed for about seventy years, that of the Medes and Persians will exist for about two hundred and ten years.
In Daniel 3-6 moral characteristics of the ruling pagan forces are shown in various histories. In it we see an increasing hostility to God.
1. In Daniel 3 Nebuchadnezzar belittles God by presenting Him as a God Who cannot deliver (Dan 3:15b15Now if you are ready, at the moment you hear the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery and bagpipe and all kinds of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, [very well]. But if you do not worship, you will immediately be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire; and what god is there who can deliver you out of my hands?”).
2. In Daniel 4 Nebuchadnezzar ignores God and boasts of his works as the result of his own effort and merit (Dan 4:3030The king reflected and said, ‘Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?’).
3. In Daniel 5, Belshazzar defies and insults God by mocking objects from God’s house and glorifying his own gods (Dan 5:2323but you have exalted yourself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines have been drinking wine from them; and you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which do not see, hear or understand. But the God in whose hand are your life-breath and all your ways, you have not glorified.).
4. In Daniel 6 we have the height of enmity against God. Here we see a ruler, a man, who bumps God off the throne and takes the place of God (Dan 6:8-108Now, O king, establish the injunction and sign the document so that it may not be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which may not be revoked.”9Therefore King Darius signed the document, that is, the injunction.10Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously.).
This apostasy of God is presented to us in the New Testament as the hallmark of the end of the times of the nations. In the second letter to the Thessalonians, Paul foretells the coming apostasy and relates it to the revelation of “the man of lawlessness …, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God” (2Thes 2:3b-43Let no one in any way deceive you, for [it will not come] unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,4who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.). From Revelation 13 we learn that this man of lawlessness is the second beast, the beast of the earth (Rev 13:12,1512He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed.15And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed.). Darius’ decree to address every request to him alone is a foreshadowing of the actions of this through and through evil man.
Incidentally, it is good to note that it only concerns the injunction and not the person of Darius. Darius as a person seems to have had a better character than the licentious and self-willed Belshazzar we had before us in the previous chapter. In this chapter he appears sympathetic in his attitude towards Daniel. There is no doubt that he has sincere admiration for Daniel. He even has a sleepless night because of him and is very pleased when he discovers that Daniel is still alive. Like Nebuchadnezzar, he finally comes to the recognition that there is only one God, and that is the God of Daniel.
However, a warning is also appropriate. We have to be careful not to be too impressed by certain characteristics that seem pleasant to us. It will not come as a surprise if it turns out that the man of sin will also be an extraordinarily charming man with a very attractive appearance, someone who comes across as sympathetic. Corruption is in the heart.