Commentary

 

Free speech. Free thought. Free religion.

     

By New Christian Bible Study Staff

Sunrise over a field of grain.

Freedom of speech. Freedom of thought. Freedom of religion. They're important. They're in the news. How do they relate to Christianity? Let's start thinking through it.

What does the Bible have to say about them?

Take John the Baptist as an example. He was the essential free speaker, the "voice of one, crying in the wilderness", preparing the way for God. He spoke freely, declaring a new, living religion. But then Herod stepped in, captured him, imprisoned him, and killed him. John (I have something I must speak freely about) is the good guy; Herod (I don't like your speech) is the bad guy.

In Daniel 6:7-23, there's the famous story of Daniel and the Lions' Den. Daniel was cast to the lions because he was speaking freely -- praying to Jehovah, not to King Darius -- against an edict of the government. Daniel's the good guy. Darius, until he repents, is the bad guy.

Perhaps the most powerful Biblical example is found throughout Jesus's ministry, which required freedom of speech -- the freedom to form, teach, and create a new religion. His free speech revolutionized the thoughts of his listeners. And, what did the powerful religious leaders of the day do? They accused him of blaspheming. They tried to trap him. To get him to recant. To be quiet. He knew that he couldn't do that; His mission was to bring new truths to a thirsty world.

There's a great "free speech" scene during Jesus's entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, in Luke 19:37-40:

"And when He was already near to the descent of the Mount of Olives, all the multitude of the disciples rejoicing began to praise God with a great voice for all the works of power that they had seen, saying, 'Blessed be the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest!' And some of the Pharisees from among the crowd said to Him, 'Teacher, rebuke Thy disciples.' And He answering told them, 'I say to you, If these should be silent, the stones would cry out.'

These are pretty clear examples. The Bible values freedom of speech.

Free speech and free thought are closely related. Deep communication is a big part of what makes us human. Humans developed the ability to have large scale cooperation through shared stories. If we can't speak freely, we lose the ability to communicate real thoughts, and we lose the ability to share new ideas, and our potential drops away.

Here are three excerpts from Swedenborg's works that relate to this:

"...when free speech and freedom of the press are curtailed, freedom of thought, that is, of examining matters in a full and complete way, suffers as well.... Our higher understanding, then, adapts itself to fit the amount of freedom there is to say and do what we are considering." (True Christian Religion 814).

"No one is reformed in a state of intellectual blindness, either. These individuals, too, are not aware of truths and do not know about life, because it is our discernment that must instruct us in these matters and our volition that must act them out. When our volition is doing what our discernment tells it to, then we have a life in accord with truths; but when our discernment is blind, our volition is blocked as well." (Divine Providence 144)

"No one is reformed in states where freedom and rationality are absent." (Divine Providence 38)

I was talking about this with a friend, and he reminded me that there are grey areas, where some freedom and discernment exist, but they are limited. I think he's right; we're mostly living in these grey areas. There are probably rare cases where freedom and rationality are at zero -- maybe when someone is in a coma. And I doubt if anyone has 100% freedom or discernment. In some ways, this makes free speech and free thought even more important. Life is not crystal clear, or free, and things that can help us as we seek understanding and freedom are really precious.

The example of Helen Keller bears on this. She called the day that Anne Sullivan arrived at her house "my soul's birthday". In her autobiography, The Story of My Life (1903), Keller described the moment when she realized that the motion of Anne's fingers, spelling w-a-t-e-r into her hand symbolized the water that she was pouring over her hand:

"I stood still, my whole attention fixed upon the motions of her fingers. Suddenly I felt a misty consciousness as of something forgotten — a thrill of returning thought; and somehow the mystery of language was revealed to me.... The living word awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, set it free!"

Helen Keller also said, “One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar.”

Free speech and free thought need each other. And... what about religion?

Religion is a core set of thoughts. If you're not free to speak, your thinking is trammeled. If you're not free to think, how can you hope to get to the core ideas about why we exist, and what we are going to do -- how we are going to live? Religion is at the heart of it. Even if you reject religion altogether, you're still living by some sort of belief system, even if it's materialistic or nihilistic.

If you're told what you have to believe, it doesn't usually work out very well. There's a natural tendency to rebel. We need that freedom to figure things out for ourselves.

Albert Einstein said something that speaks to this:

“It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom. Without this it goes to wrack and ruin without fail.”

Paul Schilpp, "Albert Einstein: Philosopher-Scientist (1949) ‘Autobiographical Notes’"

And... here's another excerpt from Swedenborg's work, Heaven and Hell:

In a word, anything that does not enter us in freedom does not stay with us, because it does not belong to our love or intentions; and anything that does not belong to our love or intentions does not belong to our spirit. The actual reality of our spirit is love or volition - using the phrase "love or volition" because whatever we love, we intend. This is why we cannot be reformed except in a state of freedom. (Heaven and Hell 598)

M. Scott Peck reinforces this idea:

There is no such thing as a good hand-me-down religion. To be vital, to be the best of which we are capable, our religion must be a wholly personal one, forged entirely through the fire of our questioning and doubting in the crucible of our own experience of reality.
M. Scott Peck - Road Less Travelled

Finally, let's go back to see what the Bible says about it, in these two passages:

Saul of Tarsus was persecuting Christians -- trying to destroy their freedom of religion. He had a miraculous conversion experience that led him to be renamed Paul, the great Christian teacher and evangelist. (Acts 9)

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were persecuted - thrown in a fiery furnace - for worshipping in their own way, denying the edicts of Nebuchadnezzar. They were saved by an angel, who kept them from being burned. (Daniel 3)

Wrapping it up...

It's pretty clear that free speech, free thought, and free religion are part of the same fabric. They're very much part of being human. They're well supported in the Bible. They've been woven into the better governments of our time.

We need to take good care of them. They're necessary for us to be able to learn truth, and reject falsity -- and to "Cease to do evil, learn to do good." (Isaiah 1:16)

From Swedenborg's Works

 

Divine Providence #38

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38. No one who is caught up in the pleasures of cravings for evil can know anything about the pleasures of desires for what is good, the delight that fills the angelic heaven. This is because these two kinds of pleasure are absolute opposites inwardly and therefore just under the surface, even though they differ very little on the surface itself.

Every love has its own pleasures. A love for what is evil gives us pleasure when we are caught up in its compulsions. This holds, for example, for loving adultery, vengeance, cheating, theft, or cruelty, and among the worst of us, for loving blasphemy against the holy values of the church and spouting venomous nonsense about God. The wellspring of these pleasures is a love for being in control prompted by a love for ourselves.

These pleasures come from compulsions that obsess the deeper levels of our minds and flow down from there into our bodies, where they stimulate filthy reactions that excite our very fibers. The result is a physical pleasure prompted by mental pleasure in proportion to our compulsions.

[2] After death, in the spiritual world, we can all discover the identity and nature of the filthy things that excite our physical fibers. In general, they are like corpses, excrement, manure, sickening odors, and urine. The hells are overflowing with filth like this. (On their correspondence, see material in Divine Love and Wisdom 422-424.) Once we enter hell, though, these filthy pleasures turn into dreadful things.

I mention all this to aid in understanding the nature and quality of heavenly happiness in what follows. We recognize things by their opposites.

  
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   Study this Passage
Table of Contents
Angelic Wisdom about Divine Providence 1-26 The Lord's Divine Providence Has as Its Goal a Heaven from the Human Race 27-45 In Everything That It Does, the Lord's Divine Providence Is Focusing on What Is Infinite and Eternal 46-69 There Are Laws of Divine Providence That People Do Not Know 70 It Is a Law of Divine Providence That We Should Act in Freedom and in Accord with Reason 71-99 It Is a Law of Divine Providence That We Should Put Aside Evils in Our Outer Nature, Regarding Them as Sins and Doing So in Apparent Autonomy, and That This Is the Only Way the Lord Can Put Aside the Evils in Our Inner Nature and in Our Outer Nature Alike 100-128 It Is a Law of Divine Providence That We Should Not Be Compelled by Outside Forces to Think and Intend and So to Believe and Love in Matters of Our Religion, but That We Should Guide Ourselves and Sometimes Compel Ourselves 129-153 It Is a Law of Divine Providence That We Should Be Led and Taught by the Lord, from Heaven, by Means of the Word, and Teaching and Preaching from the Word, and That This Should Happen While to All Appearances We Are Acting Independently 154-174 It Is a Law of Divine Providence That We Should Not Sense or Feel Anything of the Working of Divine Providence, but That We Should Still Know about It and Acknowledge It 175-190 Our Own Prudence Is Nothing--It Only Seems to Be Something, As It Should. Rather, Divine Providence Is All-Inclusive Because It Extends to the Smallest Details 191-213 Divine Providence Focuses on Eternal Matters, and Focuses on Temporal Matters Only As They Coincide with Eternal Ones 214-220 We Are Not Granted Inner Access to the Truths That Our Faith Discloses and the Good Effects of Our Caring Except As We Can Be Kept in Them to the End of Our Life 221-233 Laws of Permission Are Also Laws of Divine Providence 234-274 Evils Are Permitted for a Purpose: Salvation 275-284 Divine Providence Is for Evil People and Good People Alike 285-307 Divine Providence Does Not Charge Us with Anything Evil or Credit Us with Anything Good; Rather, Our Own Prudence Claims Both 308-321 Everyone Can Be Reformed, and There Is No Such Thing as Predestination 322-330 The Lord Cannot Act Contrary to the Laws of Divine Providence, Because to Do So Would Be to Act Contrary to His Own Divine Love and His Own Divine Wisdom, and Therefore Contrary to Himself 331-340
From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Apocalypse Revealed 630

Divine Providence 45, 58, 123, 202, 253, 323


   Swedenborg Research Tools

Related New Christian Commentary


Thanks to the Swedenborg Foundation for the permission to use this translation.

The Bible

 

Daniel 6:7-23

Study the Inner Meaning

              

7 All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellers, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions.

8 Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.

9 Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree.

10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.

11 Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God.

12 Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning the king's decree; Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask a petition of any God or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions? The king answered and said, The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.

13 Then answered they and said before the king, That Daniel, which is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day.

14 Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him.

15 Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed.

16 Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.

17 And a stone was brought and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel.

18 Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of musick brought before him: and his sleep went from him.

19 Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions.

20 And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?

21 Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever.

22 My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.

23 Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God.

     

   Study the Inner Meaning

Daniel in the Lions' Den      

By Rev. Dr. Andrew M. T. Dibb

Henry Ossawa Tanner (United States, Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, 1859 - 1937) 
Daniel in the Lions' Den, 1907-1918. Painting, Oil on paper mounted on canvas, 41 1/8 x 49 7/8 in.

Darius was the king of Babylon. This means that his correspondence falls into the same category as Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar. Babylon, as we have seen many times, describes the love of ruling over other people from a love of self. Nebuchadnezzar represents the falsification of the Word and destruction of truth (AR 47) which draws its strength from an unbridled love of self. As his story unfolds, we see the impact of truth both on the love of self, bringing it into order, and the recognition of the Lord and His Word. In first four chapters, Nebuchadnezzar declines while Daniel ascends.

The final verse of chapter five tells us that Darius was sixty two years old when he came upon the throne of Babylon. Age in the Word always indicates state, and the number of years are the qualities of that particular state. So this age is an insight into the character of this new king.

As we saw in Chapter three, six represents a state of incompleteness, and has the same meaning as "two" (AC 900)—and for the same reason: it is one less than a number signifying completeness. Two comes before three as six comes before seven. Both "three" and "seven" represent completeness, for example, the Lord was in the tomb for three days, or the trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The number seven is similar: after creation the Lord rested on the seventh day, and in the Ten Commandments we are instructed to obey that day and keep it holy. "Six" falls just short of this representation of perfection, and so illustrates a state of imperfection.

The picture of Darius begins to emerge as states laying the ground work of faith and goodness, as we put to rest the overt evil depicted by Belshazzar. Initially these states are weak, for they belong to our early regeneration. The root cause of the weakness should not be forgotten: Darius, by killing Belshazzar became the king of Babylon, thus representing our love of self.

But he is different from his predecessors: Nebuchadnezzar progressed in his understanding and appreciation of the Lord’s power, Belshazzar did not. Darius completes the story of Nebuchadnezzar, the chastised love of self. Selfishness is humbled in Darius: he places Daniel at the very head of his government, second only to himself. The implications of this accolade should not be lost: since selfishness is only subdued by the conscience, the conscience needs to become the prime motivator in our feelings, thoughts, and actions.

"Wise men" and "governors" are a theme in the first half of the book of Daniel. While usually failing, these are the first people kings seek advice from. They represent our habitual thoughts (the wise men) and loves (the governors) under our central selfishness. In this chapter, Darius divided his kingdom into one hundred and twenty provinces, each ruled by a "satrap" or governor.

In the internal sense, these officials represent the thoughts and affections springing from the central or ruling love. Darius, like Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar before him, was a king of Babylon, and thus represents our love of self, but a love of self under control. So the satraps represent the affections springing from this love.

The number "one hundred and twenty" is another compound number describing the affections represented by the satraps. In a perfect square, like the number one hundred, the length and breadth are fully equal. Thus the quality of goodness and truth is the same. Ten represents states of remains, or states of goodness and truth implanted in the human mind by the Lord. Ten multiplied by ten doubles this meaning—fullness of remains (AC 1988 [2]).

For "one hundred and twenty" we must add the final twenty. Twenty is ten times two. As we saw earlier, two represents the state before completeness, the necessary turmoil to achieve that completeness (AC 900). Yet the number two also describes the state of conjunction, where goodness and truth are brought into harmony through the trials and temptations of life.

So the one-hundred twenty satraps symbolize the approaching states of regeneration, where the love of self has been somewhat purified of the profanation, represented by Belshazzar. They mark progress in human regeneration. The truths we learn, represented by Daniel, find fuller expression in daily life.

Darius’ reign is one of promise, which is developed even further: over these one hundred and twenty satraps, Darius appointed three "presidents," of whom Daniel was the first. Daniel would control the land, the satraps would report to him, and he would rule as the de facto ruler of Babylon. This is a long way from the captive boy led out of Jerusalem—it is a long way from the first stirrings of conscience, to the point where our lives are firmly under the guidance and control of the conscience. Daniel’s appointment to this post of authority is a clear promise of victory for truth in our minds, if we are willing to listen to its leading, allowing it to humble and judge us, as Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar were humbled and judged.

The satraps, seeing Daniel’s exalted position, plotted against him. When they could find nothing personally wrong with him, they planned to use his devotion to the Lord to undermine him. This is the essential point of conflict between our conscience and our love of self. Even when the love of self has been subdued, it still retains a tendency to exalt itself. There is something in us which causes us to look back with fondness to the days before we were fighting selfishness, a memory that can be fleeting, yet powerful. It is in that moment when we are vulnerable to temptation. This kind of weakness allows the thoughts and attitudes from selfishness to reassert themselves. We fall back into our old ways.

In these circumstances, though it may not seem so at the time, we are setting ourselves over God—we convince ourselves that our needs, our wants, our desires are more important than anything else. In what might later seem like a moment of spiritual madness, we set aside our conscience and embrace a concept, and attitude, an action we know to be wrong. Like Darius, we have been seduced by pride.

In temptation, our loves give us comfort. If we love goodness, truth, and doing the right thing, then those loves cannot be undermined by temptation. Love forms the basis of our spiritual lives, and if it is good, then it offers us a tranquility of mind and strength of spirit to overcome the temptation. Thus Daniel’s home, where he fled in the face of Darius’ unreasonable demand, is an image of our loves.

If a house represents our loves, then the chambers in the house are the good things springing from those loves (AC 3900). We cannot divorce good thoughts, feelings, and activities from our loves, for love permeates throughout our whole being once we have been regenerated. In temptation we take solace in these, we have to remind ourselves of the progress we have made, that the Lord in His mercy has given us the ability to turn our backs on the pure selfishness which nearly destroys us.

So Daniel knelt facing Jerusalem, his home city, which represents the church in us: the ability to humble and submit ourselves to the Lord. To kneel is a sign of humility and adoration. It contains a recognition of the Lord’s power over our lives.

But it is easy for our selfishness to make ridiculous demands on us, things which would bind the conscience and make it ineffective, things which go against the grain of our concept of truth. Having laid this trap for our conscience, we begin the process of pointing out its non-compliance. How often we tell ourselves we should do this or that, even though we know it is wrong. When our conscience pricks us, and reminds us of the truth, we turn away.

It is so easy to see only the immediate and positive benefits to ourselves, just as Darius must have felt so pleased that no one would ask a favor of any man or god, other than himself. In a country with thousands of household gods, this would have been the epitome of power. How long did it last? How long does any evil last? Many evils give only momentary pleasures before the effects begin to make themselves felt. Adultery, murder, theft, hatred, and revenge only last as long as given vent. Then we have the damage to contend with: guilt, fear, loss of prestige or esteem, loss of love, loss of friends.

The story of Daniel in the lions’ den is one of the best known in the Word. On the surface it tells the story of courage, deliverance and the defeat of pride. In the internal sense it tells of the final battle between selfishness and conscience. Every detail has meaning.

In the Word the image of a lion is used in connection with the Lord. He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah who was able to open the sealed scroll in the book of Revelation. He is the lion who roars as He comes to fight for Mount Zion (Isaiah 31:4). Thus the Lord as a lion illustrates His great love for fighting against the evils which infest humanity, and preserving us from them.

In this case, the lions change meaning from beautiful strength to fight against evil and falsity from the Lord’s power, to the "desperate boldness" springing from intense self love. Since self love is bolstered and supported by false reasoning, the den was sealed with a great stone.

The night the king passed in despair represents obscurity, a vital part of temptation (AC 1787, 2694, 7166). Temptations are characterized by doubt about the Lord’s presence, and whether regeneration is actually possible (AC 2334). The doubt begins mildly, but increases in time.

Just as the weeping women found the Lord’s tomb empty, guarded by an angel, so Darius found Daniel alive and well in the midst of the lions. This is a resurrection of sorts, for Daniel should not have survived the ordeal, and would not have survived but for an angel who had shut the lions’ mouths.

All through temptations, the Lord is at our side. He protects our good loves, our conscience, our very desire for regeneration. Divine Providence is always striving to lead us out of temptation, into the fullness and joy of the Lord’s kingdom. This can only happen if we are willing to undergo the temptation. These never take place for their own sake, but for our spiritual development.

Once we have made our decision to submit to the Lord, like Darius in the night, He sets us free from the bondage of temptation. When Darius found Daniel safe, he commanded him brought out of the lions’ den. Then the satraps, who had conjured up and manipulated this near tragedy, were cast into the den. This action, cruel on the surface, reflects the casting away of our final selfish loves.

The aim of the conscience is to bring us to the recognition that God is king. This is a story of victory. We need to know the baser side of our lives, when selfishness runs rampant. Unless we know who we are, we cannot change. Knowledge gives the power to change. Knowledge from the Word forms a plane in our minds into which the Lord can flow. His presence makes a difference to the way we act and react, think and feel. The Daniel side of our character is the means of our salvation, and as the Lord protected the historic Daniel, so He protects and guards our spiritual conscience, making sure it is strong enough to challenge us on points of selfishness, and powerful enough a presence to lead us into the states of blessedness and peace which are His kingdom.

From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 177


Other references to this text:

Arcana Coelestia 1326, 2788

Apocalypse Revealed 717

True Christian Religion 292, 754


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 1029

Related New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:



Hop to Similar Bible Verses

1 Kings 8:48

Esther 1:19, 3:8

Job 5:19

Psalms 18:21, 28:2, 59:5, 94:21, 119:164

Jeremiah 38:5, 6, 51:50

Lamentations 3:53

Daniel 1:6, 2:4, 3:8, 11, 12, 26, 28, 6:7, 22

Matthew 6, 27:66

Mark 6:26

Acts 10:9, 12:11, 24:16

Hebrews 11:33

Bible Word Meanings

governors
‘Governors,’ as in Genesis 41:34, signify common or general things, because they govern over particular things. ‘Governors of Israel,’ as in Judges 5:9, signify the...

captains
‘Governors,’ as in Genesis 41:34, signify common or general things, because they govern over particular things. ‘Governors of Israel,’ as in Judges 5:9, signify the...

writing
If knowing what’s right were the same as doing what’s right, we would all be thin, healthy, hard-working, law-abiding, faithful to our spouses and free...

daniel
The book of Daniel follows after Ezekiel in the Old Testament. Daniel was a prophet during the early part of the captivity of the Jews...

open
To open,' as in Revelation 9, signifies communication and conjunction.

three
The Writings talk about many aspects of life using the philosophical terms "end," "cause" and "effect." The "end" is someone’s goal or purpose, the ultimate...

spake
Like "say," the word "speak" refers to thoughts and feelings moving from our more internal spiritual levels to our more external ones – and ultimately...

said
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

heard
Thanks to modern science, we now understand that hearing actually happens in the brain, not the ears. The ears collect vibrations in the air and...

going
In the physical world, the places we inhabit and the distances between them are physical realities, and we have to get our physical bodies through...

own
In many cases, the spiritual meaning of "own," both as a verb and as an adjective, is relatively literal. When people are described as the...

might
'Might' denotes the forces or power of truth.

servant
Generally speaking, those who are at lower levels of an organization serve those at higher levels. Bosses boss and their employees serve; coaches devise strategy...

Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library at the New Church Vineyard website.


 Close the Lion's Mouth
Color the lion, then fold to close its mouth as you retell the story.
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 Daniel and Lions
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Daniel and the Lions’ Den
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 Daniel Delivered from the Lions
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Daniel: God Is My Judge
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Daniel in the Lions' Den
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 Daniel in the Lions' Den
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 Daniel in the Lions’ Den
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Daniel in the Lions’ Den
We need to place our trust in the power of the Lord.
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Daniel in the Lions’ Den
This lesson discusses a story from the Word and suggests projects and activities for young children.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 Daniel in the Lions’ Den
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 Daniel in the Lions’ Den (3-5 years)
Project | Ages 4 - 6

 Daniel in the Lions’ Den (6-8 years)
Project | Ages 7 - 10

 Daniel in the Lions’ Den (9-11 years)
Project | Ages 11 - 14

 Daniel in the Lions' Den Diorama
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 Daniel in the Lions' Den Retold
Story | All Ages

 Daniel in the Lions' Den Sequencing Activity
Cut the story strips for sequencing by one or more children
Activity | Ages 7 - 14

 Daniel in the Lions' Den Story Line
Make a story line reflecting your perspective on whether the events in this story are happy, sad, or “neutral.”
Activity | Ages 7 - 14

 Daniel (sheet music)
Song | Ages 4 - 14

 Daniel’s Protection
Bad things do happen and they happen to good people as well as bad, so the Divine protection does not mean immunity from bodily harm. But Divine protection is a very real thing.
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Daniel Worships the Lord
An illustrated story about Daniel's faithfulness to God and how he was protected in the lion's den.
Story | Ages 4 - 6

 Dramatize the Story of Daniel in the Lions' Den
Retell the story while the children act it out. Have the angel go to all of the lions to "shut" their mouths.
Activity | Ages up to 6

 False Teeth
Use this picture of a lion roaring, to write a true idea and then a false idea that wants to "tear" at our understanding of the truth.
Activity | Ages 15 - 17

 In the Lions' Den
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Jigsaw Puzzle: Daniel in the Lions' Den
Print and cut out the color pieces of a jigsaw puzzle showing an angel protecting Daniel from the lions.
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 King Darius, Daniel, and Me
Explore how the Lord helped both King Darius and Daniel, and how he helps us.
Activity | Ages 15 - 17

 Overview of Daniel: A Man of Conscience for ages 3-14
Overview of a series of scripted lessons for the first six chapters of the book of Daniel. Suitable for Sunday schools, families and classrooms. Levels A, B and C provide materials for ages 3-14.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 3 - 14

 Quotes: The Lord Protects Us
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 The Lions’ Den
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14


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