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Daniel Bible Study: Chapter 1

Alistair Huong

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Alistair Huong

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Before we officially start Daniel 1, before we discuss the first chapter we’re going to need to use a big principle of Biblical interpretation and to find that principle I invite you to look with me in Ecclesiastes chapter one, Ecclesiastes 1:9, Ecclesiastes 1:9.

 

Ecclesiastes 1:9  “1.9The thing that hath been [what tense is that? It’s in the past], it is that which shall be [what tense is that? It’s in the future]; and that which is done is that which shall be done: [so simply put this text is laying out this principle Solomon here in his wisdom is saying] and there is no new thing under the sun.”  In the history of mankind what has happened in the past is what’s happening now and is going to happen in the future.  So basically, to make a long story short, for us to learn about the future, what must we study? the past history. This is a principle we are going to apply all throughout the book of Daniel, especially tonight.  It is called in, I guess, a theological term ‘History Repeats’. Simple to remember, whatever happened in the Bible it has an end time significance, especially in the book of Daniel because it’s an apocalyptic book in eschatological book.  Daniel 1, we’re going to look at this chapter with this ‘history repeats’ type of lens.  There are a lot of practical applications that we can gain, things that are very inspiring and things are neat, just reading the story as it reads like a bedtime story and I'm sure we've all heard the Daniel 1 story before, but I want to cover something that perhaps you haven't seen before, perhaps something that has special significance for our day right now. Now before we go any farther I just want to see how many of you have read Daniel 1 this past week?  Oh good, okay. Easier question, how many of you gave ever read Daniel 1? Ok, more of you. Let me ask you what happens in this chapter in just a few words? Okay, like eating the kings food. Okay, that’s simple, or the test of diet. Three years of school in Babylon. You basically hit the three main points.  I divided the study tonight basically into those three main sections, we’ll see that in a minute. Normally I would have us read through the whole chapter before we go in verse by verse, but I think we will just forgo that since we basically all know the story of this chapter so let's just start in verse one. If I'm missing anything I will come back.

 

Daniel 1:1  “1.1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it. 1.2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.

 

                  Summarize versus 1&2: The fall of Juda, the fall of Jerusalem and the fall of the temple – all of the temple vessels were taken to the treasure house of the god of Babylon

 

 Daniel 1:3  “1.3 And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king's seed, and of the princes; 1.4 Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king's palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans. 1.5 And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king's meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king.

 

                  I want to pause here for a moment. Just take a step back.  I want you to think with me, what Daniel must have gone through. There’s a lot that we can learn without the story telling us, by just thinking about what the context of the situation must have been. Now what do we know about Jerusalem in terms of its position with God, and the children of Judah, Israel? Just in general, in the Old Testament. God's chosen people, and did they know it? Oh yea, they knew it. Daniel came from this background where he knew that they were the chosen of God, they knew that they had the right message, they knew that they had the truth for that time. They knew it, but what happened to Jerusalem? Exactly, it was taken captive Jerusalem fell, it fell even when they thought that they could not fall, when they just knew that they were right. They were sure of it, and they had reason to be.

 

With that background Daniel is coming with this type of history behind him, and all of a sudden, Babylon came, Nebuchadnezzar came, destroyed the city, takes the vessels out of the house of God. The most sacred place in the whole nation, comes in, takes that out, puts it in the treasure house of his god, as if to say that our god is more powerful than your God. It is very likely that Daniel saw the massacre of his family and his friends before his very eyes. Then to add to that, they were taken as captives across the desert to Babylon, and on the way they were made eunuchs. They even lost what little they had left. They were no longer able to be real men, so to say. This was the type of experience that Daniel went through. Now you know, I don't know about you, but that is what I would call a great disappointment, wouldn’t you? Wait a second, is there something significant about that? Did God have a greater purpose? Did he have more or another plan? Did he have something else in mind for these young Hebrew boys. Look with me in Daniel 1:17. 

 

1.17 As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.”   

 

Having understanding in all visions and dreams, what does that mean? In just one word, gift of prophecy. God was taking Daniel out of his home, out of Judah, out of Jerusalem through this trying, this great disappointment experience, this bitter experience to come to Babylon to receive the gift of prophecy and to get the gift of prophecy and then to prophesy, right? He had to prophesy. Who did he prophesy to? We know the rest of the story, In Daniel chapter 2 and 4 and 5 and 6 and then the rest of the book. Specifically in chapter 2, because the next chapter is directly linked with this chapter. In the next chapter, chapter 2, Daniel prophesied to the king, he prophesied to King Nebuchadnezzar, and there is a special purpose behind that. I want you to look with me in Daniel 4.  Last week somebody said that we know the book of Daniel is written by Daniel. I said that that's not necessarily true. The reason I said that is because chapter 4 is not written by Daniel. Chapter 4 is written by Nebuchadnezzar. Notice very, very carefully what it says.

 

Daniel 4:1 “4.1 Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. 4.2 I thought it good to shew the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward me. 4.3 How great are his signs! and how mighty are his wonders! his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation.”

 

Now who is writing here?  Nebuchadnezzar, does this sound like a pagan king to you?  No, he sounds like he could be Paul. Paul, servant of the living God, grace and peace be multiplied unto you. This is Nebuchadnezzar writing here and look who he writes to. Notice all people, nations and languages. So Daniel through this bitter trying experience, God took him out, gave him the gift of prophecy so that he could prophesy to the king, convert the king and the end result, the king was able to proclaim the gospel message to the whole world, to people's, nations and languages.  I told you before that we’re looking at history repeats. In the book of Daniel, he, Daniel, represents God's final generation, God’s final chosen people at the end of time. So do you think that there's some sort of correlation here? There must be, Norman is sitting next to me here, for those of you who were at Advent Hope the past two Sabbaths you heard him speak on Revelation 10. Let's go there now. In Revelation 10 to be real brief, Jesus comes down as a mighty angel, He has a little book open in his hand, and that little book, as we know is the prophecy of the 2300 days found in Daniel 8:14. He was able to open it to the understanding of the people, so John, representing God’s people, comes and God tells him to take the book and eat it. Eating meaning assimilate it, understand it. At first the book, in his mouth was sweet, it was a sweet experience, but then in his belly it became bitter.  John went through this bitter disappointment, this bitter experience.  We understand that in the context of Adventist history, is the great disappointment of October 22, 1844. But notice, notice verse eleven Revelation 10:11 the final verse of Revelation 10, is speaking about God's end time movement, the Adventist movement. Notice what God says to the Adventist movement after the great disappointment experience, the bitter experience.

 

Revelation 10:11 “10.11 And he said unto me, Thou must [what?] prophesy again before [what?] many peoples, and nations, and tongues, [what’s another word for tongues? Languages] and [what’s the final word?] kings.

 

Daniel through his experience in Daniel 1, God took him out of this bitter experience, gave him the gift of prophecy, so that he could prophesy to the king, that’s the last word in our verse in Revelation, and through prophesying to the king he was able to reach all people, all nations, all languages with the gospel of Jesus. As Adventists today we take Revelation 14 as our challenge, our great commission, so to say.  14.6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,”  

 

This is the exact, exact role that God’s people in the final day, which we believe we are called to be, this is what God has called us to do. I want to take you back a step back to Daniel 1 again and looking back in Daniel 1:1

 

1.1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.”

 

Now very interesting, we’ve already mentioned that they were the chosen people of God, but yet God did not just let them be, they received the punishment when they turned away from God. God then not only took away the favor, or that the blessing from off of the Israel people, but even the mission was given to someone else; and in this case it was given to Babylon.  God had a purpose for the Israel nation, and the children of Israel and that was to proclaim his good news, the coming Messiah, salvation to all the world, to the Gentiles. That was the purpose of having a chosen nation. But they didn't care about that, they went along, and they just want to have a good old time. So God had to use Babylon. Jesus had said before if these shall hold their peace the stones shall cry out.

 

In the book of Daniel we see exactly that happening. Babylon being the rock of the day, they cried out, this pagan nation, not only that Nebuchadnezzar the king of the pagans, not just that, did you know that Nebuchadnezzar is also, most likely, also the high priest of the pagan religion of Babylon. Get this, that the high priest of paganism preaching about the God of heaven. There is a lot of deep application there, but simply put, what I'm saying is that we have a command from God to prophesy again to many people's, nations, languages, tongues and kings. But if we don't do it, the book of Daniel is telling us, if we don't do it God will raise somebody else up. If we don't do God will get his work done some other way. He doesn't need us, God’s work does not depend on us, we have to depend on God to do his work.  I'm not saying that there’s going to be another movement, or that we need to separate from the Adventist church, no-no I’m not saying any of that. All I'm saying is that in each of our individual lives we need to make sure that we're doing what God has called us to do to the best of our ability, because if we don't do it somebody else will, and it may be another hundred years, I don't know, God forbid that happens, let us remember that.

 

Daniel 1:17, “1.17 As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.”  

 

I know that we jumped straight to verse seventeen and it says that God gave Daniel understanding in all visions and dreams, but that came as a condition. God didn't just give him all of a sudden the gift of prophecy. According to Daniel 1, he went through a test. He had to go through something that tried and so that he would be fit to receive this gift. What was that test? Diet, but it was more than that, but specifically, particularly in this chapter it’s in the area of diet. Before we go directly there, I want to take your attention to what kind of environment the king put these four young men in.

 

I recommend you read Prophets and Kings chapter 39. It is called Captives in the Courts of Babylon on its page 479. It gives you a lot of good background, a lot of good insight on this chapter. Simply put, from that chapter the Spirit of Prophecy says that Nebuchadnezzar did not just come out straight and want to force anyone, particularly these Hebrews to change their religion to idolatry. That was not his plan. What he wanted to do was to gradually, subtly by minute changes, to convert them into paganism. How did he do that? Well we know that they are living in Babylon now. Every day they’re with the pagan influences, pagan associates, heathen students, heathen teachers in their schools. That's the next thing, it says that they were put into three years of education so that they could stand before the king. They were subject to Babylonian or pagan education, learning their pagan philosophies, pagan sciences, pagan history, pagan all this.  Not only that, it says in

 

Daniel 1:4 “1.4 …and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.”

 

How many here speak a different language other than English? Some of us, I think even if you don't, you should be able to understand, and that is, in order for you to fluently speak a language you must understand the culture. If you don't understand a culture you might even say the words but you won't be able to really communicate fluently. I speak Chinese myself and I can testify that that's true I tried learning Spanish before I don't understand the culture and it just doesn't work. For those of you who do speak another language, I think you would agree, right? So, in the tongue of the Chaldeans, in order for them to become fluent they would have to learn the culture, the culture of Babylon. You’ve got to understand the Hebrew culture, everything is centered around God, Jehovah. Their festivals, their weekly cycle, their occupation, their temple services, I mean everything is surrounded about God. Just the fact that they had to learn a different culture, they have to be stripped away from the culture that centers around Jehovah, God of heaven. Also it says in Daniel 1:7

 

1.7 Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: [so they changed their names] for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego.” 

 

These Hebrew boys had Hebrew names, but they were changed to Babylonian names. You have to understand that in Hebrew culture the names are synonymous with character and also these names all have to do with God.

 

Dan means Judge el means God, so Daniel whose name means God is my judge and I don't remember the rest but they all had to do with Jehovah or Elohim the God of heaven. In changing their names they were changing, a symbol or a type of symbol, I guess is the best, or a figure of Babylon trying to change the very characters of the young people. They did not do it by force, they did not beat them. In fact they did it the opposite way, they gave them the best education, the best food, the best associates the best place to live probably. But yet through all of these influences Daniel stood strong.

 

Now, I just want to ask you something. What kind of influences are you in, are you placing yourself under? You see, Daniel and his friends didn't have a choice. They were forced into this circumstance, they were forced to go into the Babylonian University, they were forced to be with these students, with these friends, these people. But we have a choice and we see here that Nebuchadnezzar was trying to convert them using their environment, what type of people they were around, what type of influences they were exposed to, what type of perhaps music, what type of food, what type of education, what books are we reading, what are we watching, what are we doing with our time, all of this sort of stuff. In the purpose of converting these young men to paganism. I’m afraid Satan is doing the same thing right now and we need to ask yourself this question honestly take an honest appraisal of our life, look at our lives how much time are we doing this and that, how much time are we spending with God, what's our priorities in life. If we are in questionable environments, if we are with questionable associates, the question I have for you is, who is converting who? Are you converting them or are they converting you? It's very simple, just look at your life what are you spending the majority of your time doing, where is the majority of your time spent. If it's in a place that's questionable unless, I'm saying if you chose, if you have no choice being in those kind of circumstances you can pray that God will preserve you like Daniel and I believe He will. But if you have a choice, the question is who's converting who? It’s a very important question for us to keep in mind.

 

But then, we see all of these different things are questionable things that Daniel and his friends were subjected to, right? We see that they were subjected to different type of education, different type of friends, associates, different language, their names were changed and also they had a new diet. What was the only thing that they made a big deal about? It was the food, it was the diet. It wasn't like everything else was just fine, they were questionable, but somehow this area of diet sparked enough demand for them to make an opposition. Why is that? Let me just add this little snippet in there, perhaps you may have thought of it before. Surely if you're eating from the king's table, not everything is unclean, surely it can't just all be pork and shrimp and lobster and, I don’t know, coffee and beer. It can't be just that. The king doesn't just eat unclean foods, you understand what I’m saying? So why doesn’t Daniel and his friends, just go to the table, sit down, pretend they're having a great time and just eat the grapes, just eat the apple that's in the pigs mouth or something. Why couldn’t they do that? It’s very simple, in the pagan culture the food that the king ate was offered to idols. The food was, it’s sort of like we ask a blessing on the food from God, they ask a blessing from their pagan god. So even in pretending to eat that food it was it was a denial to their faith. Just the fact that they were eating it, was as if they're saying, it's okay we can worship your God sometimes. So this is something else, another important application that we have for us in our lives today, even if something is questionable, questionable if it's something that has to do with worship of God, perhaps even in a slightly different context, perhaps we need to think twice. Some people say, oh we can worship on any day of the week, as long as we worship the same God. You can worship on Monday, I’ll worship on Wednesday or you worship on Sunday or Friday night, whatever, it's just fine it's all the same God. God is big enough that He can understand. I don't think so. According to the Bible, God is a God of detail and God cares how we worship, when we worship, or else he wouldn’t have told us.  I’m getting off track here.

 

Somehow in the area of diet, simply put Daniel had to stand firm. It was a direct violation of the second commandment or both the first and second commandments. [Ex 20:3] Thou shalt have no other gods before me and [Ex 20:4] thou shalt not have any graven images. So Daniel had a choice, and he chose, he chose to withstand the temptation in the area of diet. There is another reason though. In the area of diet if Daniel fell in that one area, or if he stood firm, that one area would affect how firmly stood in all of the other questionable areas of life. Because, what he ate determined how clear his mind was, how keen his perception was and his conscience and how sharp his intellect was. We know Daniel's a smart guy. So we have this very important lesson, something we have to remember, the key issue is not what is the least we can do and squeak by, that’s not the issue. The issue is what can we do the best preserve ourselves to be faithful to God. So Daniel knew if he fell in this one area it would affect his strength, his courage in all the other areas. That's why he did not eat of the king's food. So what did he do?

 

Daniel 1:12 I'm skipping a lot of stuff here, but simply put, Daniel and his friends went to the prince of the eunuchs and said, look we don't want to eat the stuff, give us pulse to eat, or a vegetarian diet, legumes, nuts, grains, seeds and so forth. The prince of the eunuchs said, I fear my lord the king, because it could endanger my life. Then Daniel went to Melzar, who is sort of like a caretaker, and asked him the same thing, Daniel 1;12,

 

1.12 Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.” 

 

Ten days, ten days, prove us on this area of diet. There’s a lot we can glean out of this. Firstly, Daniel did not care about the consequences. Daniel did not care that he was putting his life on the line. He did not care that he was putting somebody else's life on the line. Did you notice that? The prince of the eunuchs said you know you can get me killed and Daniel said, well okay, well if you're afraid I'll go ask somebody else. He didn’t say oh, this is going to cost somebody’s life, well, in that case I’m going to have to just make do. God will just have to understand. No that’s not what Daniel did because Daniel knew that when he was faithful to God, even putting other people at risk, that God will still take care of the consequences. We have to do what’s right and leave the consequences to God, even if it has to do with other people, even if it may cost someone his life. God is in charge of that, we’re just in charge of being faithful. Next he said, prove thy servants ten days. Daniel somehow knew that in ten days he could tell a marked difference, he could tell. So he consented to this matter and proved them ten days.

 

Oh, I skipped Daniel 1:13,

 

”1.13 Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king's meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.” 

 

So he consented to them. And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared, in my version it says fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat a portion of the kings meat. Now my version says ‘fairer and fatter’. What does the word fairer mean?  Fairer in appearance, in a fairytale there’s always a fair maiden, what does that mean? She's beautiful, so Daniel and his friends somehow in ten days, actually look better, you know ladies, you want to look better?  Eat healthily, at the end of ten days, I guess the next word ‘and fatter’ but fatter in this sense does not mean overweight, so fatter simply put, you look fit, look well-built, you look healthy, not scrawny not obese, you look fair, you look good, at the end of ten days.

 

So now, I don't know how many here are vegetarians or vegans or whatever, but I want to challenge you to come up higher, this week. When is go veggie week anyway? Next week, oh perfect, perfect. If you have not tried it yet, now is the time to try it. … in our day, applying it to our day, not overweight but fit, anyway I think you get the idea.

 

Back to the point at hand.  I just want to challenge you all, if you're not a vegetarian, just try it. Go veggie week is only seven days, if you start today you’ll have 10 days. I think so try it for ten days. If you're vegetarian already try going vegan for ten days. What do you have to lose? Take God at his word God provided for Daniel, at the end of the ten days he looked fairer and fatter. You know, you can tell God, why would it be different with me? Just go do your best, ask God to bless, maybe next week we can have testimony time, then people can bring their pants, I lost this much weight, no ha ha-ha just joking! We’re not doing a Subway commercial. That’s that, there’s more that we can go into but going into the final section, the final point of our lesson. That is this question, how was it that Daniel was able to stand? We already discussed the trial that he went through, how hard of a time he went through that he had to come out of. This massacre of Jerusalem and the siege, the temple being desecrated, his family being killed, dragging him across the desert, him becoming a eunuch. Even with all of those trials and temptations he was able to stand firm. Why? What was his secret? How did he do it? Let me just read you what he did in Daniel 1:8, this is perhaps the most famous verse of the whole chapter of Daniel 1:8

 

1.8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.” 

 

Daniel purposed in his heart, he purposed in his heart, now let me ask you this. Purposed in his heart, that phrase, we don't talk like that anymore, so tell me in your own words, what do you take that to mean? He committed himself, made up his mind before hand, resolved. Yes you actually just spared me a few minutes to go through that point in the Bible study, that’s good. Ok, he committed himself, made up his mind before hand, resolved. I think of just two words, fixed or set his mind, it was so that he couldn’t be moved, isn’t that right? He just set it and he said, I'm not going to do it, I won’t. We mentioned earlier that this is talking about history repeating itself, now let me ask you, in the book of Revelation, if you don’t know there's no problem, if you don't know. This is just out of curiosity to see who knows, and if you do know, please, give the answer. The book of Revelation in a similar description, similar description of God's final generation, something that has to do ‘made up their mind’ something that has to do with ‘purposed in their heart's’ afraid that means the same thing, that describes God’s final generation. The book of Revelation is set. Where it says, they did not love their lives even unto death, okay, almost something happened before that. Revelation 12:17

12.17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”

 

Okay, just to tie that in, that’s not the verse I was thinking of, but just to tie that in. Daniel kept the commandments of God, didn’t he?  He was faithful in the area diet because he kept the commandments of God and then he was given the gift of prophecy. We from Revelation we know that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. We know that Daniel actually had the testimony of Jesus and he kept the commandments of God. That wasn’t part of the study, that’s added with  no charge. What is the phrase? It’s in Revelation 7. Let’s just read it in Revelation 7:3, Revelation 7:3 talking about the 144,000 saying “7.3  Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.  And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.”

 

What is in our forehead? Our mind, the frontal lobe and Daniel, he purposed in his heart can we say he purposed in his mind? And it is the same concept. Daniel purposed in his mind the 144,000 were sealed in their mind, sealed meaning when you seal something you can’t change it anymore, it’s fixed, it’s set, it’s made up, it’s resolved, it's put in cement, it’s made of stone now, you cannot change it,  it’s sealed.  Daniel is actually a representation, representation of those that will be sealed in their foreheads at the end of time. Daniel is a representation of that now. I'm sure you're asking the question, Well, I’ve never studied the sealing, for those of you haven’t, what is the sealing business, you are the servant of the living God, all this stuff. We have the spirit of prophecy and she’s very gracious to give us the answer to that very question. Found in Maranatha page 200. If you are not in the habit of writing things down I suggest you write this one down. You will need to look at it again. There’s the definition of sealing, the definition of to be sealed in the forehead, okay? Maranatha page 200 says “Just as soon as the people of God are sealed in their foreheads, [then it goes on to explain what that means] it is not any seal or mark that can be seen, but it is a settling into the truth both intellectually and spiritually so that they can not be moved”. That is the sealing process, and intellectual and spiritual settling into the truth, so that you can’t be moved, and I don't know about you, but this does not sound like an overnight process. It is not something that takes place instantly at the moment the crisis hits. This has to be something to happens day by day, gradually, step-by-step. It is a work in progress, it's under construction, constantly until the crisis. The crisis comes to test how firm that thing is sealed, how firm that resolution really is. Daniel purposed in his mind, not when the food was laid out before him, not when he came into the courts of Babylon, it was before that. You can’t just wait until the last minute to prepare for a crisis. You’ve got to make up your mind before. This takes us to this final section which I have labeled true education, true education. This is very important because this is what determines whether we are sealed or not. According to the book of the Revelation, if you study it out, if you are not sealed with the seal of the living God, you receive the mark of the beast, it’s one or the other, there's no middle ground. So if we’re not preparing ourselves to receive the seal of the living God, then naturally we get the other discounted product. So how did they resolve? What was it that caused them to be able to stand so resolutely? What was it? I tend to say, I believe that Daniel made up his mind, long before Babylon ever came to Jerusalem, he made up his mind way before Nebuchadnezzar even thought about taking the temple. Daniel made up his mind when he was at home as a young boy with his parents. You don’t believe me? Read it in Prophets and Kings, that’s what it says. Daniel was trained at home by his parents so well, so well, that even though he went through all these trials, and all these extreme conditions, he was still able to stand firm to the principles of God. This is an important, important, important lesson for us today. Are any of you parents? For those of us who are not parents, but will be one day, we have to remember this, we have to remember this. If we are not training up our kids to receive the seal of the living God, we are training them to receive the mark of the beast. We have this notion, which unfortunately is prevalent even among our church, among the Adventist church. People are beginning to say that you don't need to need to let the children roam free, do what they want, have their fun until they're old enough to think for themselves and then you give them the option. When that happens it’s too late. The Spirit of Prophecy tells us in other places if that takes place, the children receive almost impossible desire for evil. It is almost impossible for them to become converted, and that is very important for us.  This is not a parenting class so let’s just leave it at that. But the Bible does say in Proverbs 22:6

 

22.6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” That's exactly what happened to Daniel.  We read in Daniel 5 and 6; he’s an old man, ninety, these men are eighty, ninety years old and still faithful. This is what I want to focus on now. What was the education that Daniel received? What was the education that Daniel received? From this chapter we can see it, we actually see the three major areas that Daniel was trained in, okay let's go there. Daniel 1:4

 

1.4 Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king's palace,”

This is describing Daniel and the other Hebrew boys that were taken captive. Daniel was intelligent, academically he had wisdom, he had knowledge, understanding science. He was good in school. I think Daniel was a 4.0 student, he was probably top of his class, if he was in class, he was actually in homeschool, if he had any brother and sisters, I don’t know, but Daniel was well educated academically. I've been guilty of saying this myself, and I’ve heard my friends and other people say it too. Don’t ever catch yourself saying this, if you do bite your tongue. That is, I don't care about school anymore, it’s just a waste of my time, I just do enough to get by, so I can have more time to study the Bible; so I can have more time to do God's work. I’ve literally said that before, I’ve thought, literally believed that before, but you know my friend, if that's what you're thinking, or that’s what your friend is thinking, you can go and tell them, look, you go read Daniel 1. You want to read the Bible more? If you read the Bible more then you’re going to learn that you’re going to have to do well in school. That's what God wants us to do, and God blesses those who work hard. Other places in the Bible Eccl 9.10

 

9.10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might;” 

 

Do whatever your hand finds to do, do it to the best of your ability. We as God's followers, we are to be the head, not the tail. We are not to be the dummies were supposed to the top of our class. If you're not, that’s fine, but do the best, the best of our ability, intellectually, academically. Next, it also says, in whom was no blemish, physically speaking they were unblemished, and probably walked quietly with erect form, good posture, there was a spring in his step, he had good-looking countenance, he was healthy looking and it even says that, get this, he had untainted breath. I quote untainted breath. This was the days before Listerine, before Colgate and Crest. There were no toothbrushes back then. He had good breath, this was Daniel, he understood the health message and we know from the rest of the story that he knew what was unclean and he knew what was clean and he ate accordingly.

 

So, second area. He was trained physically in the areas of health so we in our own lives, again the go veggie week, you know, go veggie for one week, for ten days, try it out and on top of that I'm sure Daniel did not just count on his diet. I'm sure he took his fresh air, got enough rest, got the sunshine, drank enough water, got his exercise, got all the rest, you go down the list, New Start. Ask yourself, what am I missing, what can I do better? That is physical education in the true sense not just playing sports. And lastly, Daniel was trained in his faithfulness to God. We see that through the rest of the book of Daniel. Faithfulness to God and this is his spiritual education so we see a threefold education, balanced education is threefold physical, mental, and spiritual. Now you must be wondering, wow, I never heard that before. Is he just pulling this out of thin air? No, I'm not, in the book Education, the book Education, amazingly enough, exactly what we’re talking about. It's easy to remember the first paragraph of the first chapter is page 13 Education, this is what God is telling us. “Our ideas of education take too narrow and too low a range. There is need of a broader scope a higher aim. True education means more than the pursuit of a certain course of study”. So for us who live in Loma Linda, for those who are in the University, that is not all there is to education. Not just what you are studying in school. That’s not all. That has a big part to play but not all. It means more than a preparation for the life that now is. It has to do with the whole being and with the whole period of existence possible to man. It is a harmonious, listen this sentence very carefully, this is a key “True education is a harmonious development of the physical, the mental and spiritual powers.” I see Jeanine our teacher over there nodding her head.  So, I think I'm on the right track, so this is a balanced education.

 

Ya, Julian. I was wondering if for the balanced education, that’s sort of like, I feel like incorporating the spiritual aspect. I think it’s really awesome to be getting a 4.0, but at the same time I think that’s what drives some people to suicide. Sometimes they believe they really have to get that, that they really have to be at the top of their class.  I think it’s not all just academic some people believe that just hearing, that is what spiritual is, at the Andrews University a guest speaker said, If Jesus was here, what would you expect He would get for grades? And building up to the implication that He would be getting straight A’s and if people only go for the academics and kind of push the religious part aside, they might feel like that’s the center of their life. If I’, trying my best to learn, that’s really it.

 

Thank you, that’s important to remember that this is like a tri-pod, if you can imagine, a tri-pod with three legs. If one leg is shortened, the whole thing is tips that way, and you can’t carry as much weight. True education is the same way.  You may be the best scholar, you get 4.0 all your life, but you have no relationship with God, you are a bi-pod. You’re about to fall and may God forbid it, you might be even a monopod if you just do not keep your physical health either. It needs to be tri tri-fold. It has to be three ways in order for you to be a balanced Christian, a balanced individual in this world. This is what it means to be sealed. Now let me bring it all back. Sealing, what is it again? It is settling into the truth both intellectually and spiritually. So there we see the mental and spiritual aspects, so that they cannot be moved. That’s internally, because to be sealed in our minds it happens naturally in the mind, When you have committed yourself, resolved yourself to a certain task, a certain principle, the natural outgrowth of that is that you will show that outwardly, you will do it physically, it will happen, it will show. So the sealing process is not just knowing all the Bible verses, it is not just going to church on Saturday. It is not just any one of these things, it is all of these things, all-inclusively including our physical health, and our physical education so we need to keep that in mind. Just take a quick survey of your own life, which areas am I leaning towards, or am I lacking. Physical health, am I doing to the best of my understanding the best in up keeping my health. What am I doing in school, am I just lazing around or am I spending too much time, to the exclusion of the other two areas. That is just as valid a problem as anything else. And of course spiritually what are you doing how much time are you spending with God? When we come to a place of balance and we rise to all three of these areas at once, and we can have its sure foundation. We can be sure that we can stand. Now we’re coming to the end here and let me just look at the last few versus in the book of Daniel as we wrap up. Beginning in Daniel 1:18 This is looking at the end of their training program, after three years, after their Babylonian seminary training, right Dave? Now at the end of Daniel 1:18. There was no ulterior motive behind that statement, but just three years, it is interesting. Daniel 1:18

 

1.18 Now at the end of the days that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. 1.19 And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king.”

 

Somehow these four boys stood out immediately, people can tell automatically, instantaneously there something different about these people. So they stood before the king. I think that this was like a personal interview. Daniel 1:20

 

1.20 And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them [how many times?]  ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm. 1.21 And Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus.”  

 

So in this area of being faithful of just in the diet area, led them to be blessed in all the other areas. They were spiritual, they were healthy, they were smart, and it just happened that the diet area was the one where the test was revealed. The crisis was revealed. They came forth as gold tried in the fire. They came forward and they were found ten times wiser than all the magicians and astrologers. We tend to sometimes look at this and think, they’re all ten times better than all of the other students. No, that is not what it is saying. It says all the magicians, all the astrologers, including the very people that taught Daniel and his friends. So we, when we choose to live under the unction of the Holy Spirit, and we live a balanced life, have a balanced education in our lives, it is possible for us to be ten times wiser than our professors. Ten times wiser than our teachers, ten times wiser than our pastors, and our elders. That is what we can strive to be. By the grace of God we can do it. This is the promise that God has given that when we put Him first God will bless us. When we are faithful in that which is least, God will grant us more responsibility, that we can prove that we will be faithful in that which is much also. Daniel 1:21 just to wrap things up, Daniel 1:21 “1.21 Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus.” 

 

king Cyrus was the king of what nation? Medo-Persia, right? That was the nation that overtook Babylon. So in the beginning of Daniel 1 we see Babylon coming to take Jerusalem, to take God's temple as if to say, our gods are mightier than your God. But through the course of the chapter we see that God, our God's perception of greatness is not the same as our perception of greatness. God’s perception of greatness is through the faithfulness of his servants. The faithfulness of Daniel proved that God is indeed more powerful than Nebuchadnezzar. His God was able to preserve Daniel, faithful, healthful, to a ripe old age, even after the king of Babylon had well come off the scene. So we have an important lesson to learn from that, is that our faithfulness to God will last longer than the nations, and last longer than these things that we think are great, these institutions, these degrees, whatever it may be. Faithfulness to God is what counts.

 

That is all I have for this week but just to re- encourage you all that this week I really, really I'm not just saying this. Let’s try, let’s try this week to be, to take that one step higher, maybe a few steps higher in terms of our diet and our health. If you’re not vegetarian, go veggie this week, if you're already vegetarian try going vegan for one week. Just see what God does, prove thy servants, for ten days then see what happens. In closing, are there are any questions or comments before we close? … Eric just brought up a really good point that I just skipped today is that God brought them in favor, into loving favor, the princely eunuch. This is exactly in keeping with the commandment of God. Thou shall love thy enemies, pray for those that hate you. Daniel was brought into favor with the people that killed his family that destroyed his nation, desecrated the Temple made him a eunuch. If anybody would deserve his hatred, it would be these people, but he showed love, compassion and became friends with them and God blessed him in the end. Thank you Eric for bringing that up, it was an important application.

 

… We’re going to dive into Daniel 2 next week. If you think that Daniel 1 is loaded wait until you get to Daniel 2.

 

All right if there is nothing else why don’t we kneel as we close in prayer. 

 

Our Father in heaven, we thank you so much for this time that we are able to dive into the book of Daniel to look at these grand themes and these applications for our lives today, I pray Lord, that as we looked at the history past, may we realize that, that history is going to repeat again. Help us to repeat the integrity, repeat the fidelity, repeat the courage that Daniel had in our own lives. Help us Lord, to be able to stand in that day. To say no, we will not eat the kings dainties and his foods, but we will stand firm to the principle of God of heaven. I asked as we come into this next week, may we resolve in our minds, may we purpose, as Daniel did to come a step higher in our health and in our diet. I pray that you will bless us, that at the end of these ten days, may we too be able to say we are fairer and fatter in flesh like Daniel and his friends. I ask that you will bless us as we continue to study your word as we seek to come up higher in all areas of life, may it be physical, mental or spiritually, I ask that you will grant us this true method of education that we will become balanced individuals that we may be worthy vessels to do your work and that we may glorify your name in this world.  I ask that you will protect us and lead us and be with us this is our prayer in Jesus name. Amen.

 

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