As we stood in the shadow of the tomb of Daniel, we were overwhelmed by a great sense of awe as we considered the amazing example of this man of faith, “a man greatly beloved” (Dan 10:11), and paused to meditate on the words “but go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days” (Dan 12:13).

Today in the city of Shush, just a few hundred metres from the ruins of the great palace of Shushan, lies an ornate mausoleum revered by Muslims as the tomb of the prophet Daniel.

The interior of the shrine is a bedazzling array of gold, silver and marble, lit by the natural light streaming through its windows. The large coffin, draped in green and framed in gold and silver, is highly decorated in a style normally reserved for notable Muslims.

We asked our driver,“How highly do the Persian people revere Daniel?” He responded, “For us, probably about third or fourth after Mohammed” (in his estimation). How intriguing is that, considering Daniel was once made third ruler in the kingdom!

So, 2500 years after his death, the prophet Daniel is still reverenced and given tribute by the Muslim world as being saintly and righteous. The legacy of Daniel and his wisdom has lived on through the ages: it was seen in the wise men of the east, who came to pay homage and give gifts to the newborn king and Messiah (Matt 2:1-12) whose coming Daniel had foretold.

Interestingly Noah, Daniel and Job are linked together in Ezekiel 14:14 for their ability to save others. Ezekiel 14 shows the national sins of the nation would bring national judgements and no intercessory work of the faithful would prevail upon this, not even if it were Noah, Daniel or Job. Of Job we read, “And Yahweh turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends” (Job 42:10). Of Noah, that “eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us… the answer of a good conscience” (1 Pet 3:20-21).

We know Daniel prayed for his people and Jerusalem (Dan 9) as a response to reading Jeremiah 29:10-14, where God assures His people they will return to their land after 70 years of captivity. What confidence and trust we can have in God that He works in our lives for our good (Rom 8:28): “For I know the plans I have for you, says Yahweh, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jer 29:11 RSV ).

The purpose of Israel’s captivity was that they would learn to seek God, to find God and to search for Him with all their hearts, and this was the desire of Daniel. In response to his prayer for his people and his city, Daniel was given the 70 weeks prophecy showing him the future of Jerusalem, but more particularly the salvation offered to man by reconciliation for sin through the work of Messiah.

Daniel was given the assurance that his people, those found written in the book, would be delivered (Dan 12:1). His great desire was to see many righteous “shine… as the stars for ever and ever” (Dan 12:3). Above all, he wanted the full conversion of his people to God.

As we stand on the verge of a new world order, let our prayers rise up to the Father for the full conversion of many to His glory, that many may be released from the captivity of sin and death to see the great light that God has sent into the world and be saved from its awful darkness.