Daniel, His Friends, and Separation #5

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

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 1:8 KJV).

Every Sunday School child knows about Daniel and his three companions (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego). Unfortunately, today, few adults practice what these precious children knew!

Rather than “cause trouble” by holding to and defending specific doctrines, many “Christian” people today have chosen to allow anything and everything in their local assemblies. It is said in ecumenical circles, “Doctrine will always divide us. We need to quit focusing on doctrine and just ‘fellowship’ around ‘Jesus Christ.’” Despite good intentions, they are so woefully ignorant of a common Bible theme. From Genesis chapter 3 (Satan and Eve’s perversion of God’s words) until the final chapter of the Revelation (a warning not to add to or take away from the divine words), doctrine is of utmost importance in the mind of Almighty God. Sitting between these two “bookends” are Daniel and his three friends—sound doctrine caused them to believe separation from error was tantamount to serving JEHOVAH God.

Paul the Apostle exhorted us in 2 Corinthians chapter 6: “[14] Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? [15] And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? [16] And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. [17] Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. [18] And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”

The evil religious system that Satan tried to utilize to defile Daniel and his friends exists even today, and future Israel needs to be warned….

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Daniel, His Friends, and Separation #4

Monday, May 1, 2017

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 1:8 KJV).

Every Sunday School child knows about Daniel and his three companions (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego). Unfortunately, today, few adults practice what these precious children knew!

In refusing to partake of the pagan ways, Daniel and his friends, by faith, have established a good testimony in Babylon. JEHOVAH God can use them for His purposes even in the midst of rank heathenism! Verse 17 tells us: “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.”

Verse 18 occurs three years after the opening verses of Daniel: “[18] Now at the end of the days [or three years, verse 5] that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. [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. [20] And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.”

Whether Nebuchadnezzar ever learned about Daniel and his friends’ special diet, we do not know because the Bible never says. Nevertheless, the King of Babylon recognized that they were somehow special. He used them in his government. They had a supernatural power on their side that his religious leaders never even came close to matching. It would be years later, but Nebuchadnezzar would come to realize, looking with spiritual eyes, that these four Hebrew men served the one true God, “the King of Heaven” (Daniel 4:37).

Daniel chapter 1 closes: “And Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus” (verse 21)—Daniel served some 70 years in these pagan Gentile courts! His three friends went on in their own separation (see chapter 3). Let us see what lessons they can teach us….

Special-edition Bible Q&A #375: “Does Scripture teach a flat Earth or a spherical Earth?” (A 37-page PDF to be read in your leisure.)

Daniel, His Friends, and Separation #3

Sunday, April 30, 2017

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 1:8 KJV).

Every Sunday School child knows about Daniel and his three companions (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego). Unfortunately, today, few adults practice what these precious children knew!

Verses 11-16 continue: “[11] Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, [12] Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink. [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. [14] So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days. [15] And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat. [16] Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.”

The prince of the eunuchs, verse 11 says, appointed Melzar to supervise Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (notice their Hebrew names). Daniel, the spokesman of the group, “beseeches”/begs/asks (not demands or violently protests, remember!) if they can be given vegetables to eat and water to drink instead of the king’s meat and wine (verses 11,12). This routine, Daniel suggests, is to continue for 10 days, after which Melzar can see how the four boys compare to those following the king’s defiled diet (verses 13,14). After the trial, Melzar sees that Daniel and his three friends are actually healthier looking and appear more nourished than those eating and drinking according to Nebuchadnezzar’s specifications (verse 15). Melzar decides to allow Daniel and his three companions to eat their special diet for the three years (verse 16).

Let us see what happens when King Nebuchadnezzar meets these four Hebrew children, who will now probably be young adults….

Daniel, His Friends, and Separation #2

Saturday, April 29, 2017

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 1:8 KJV).

Every Sunday School child knows about Daniel and his three companions (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego). Unfortunately, today, few adults practice what these precious children knew!

During the first invasion of the Babylonians into Judaea and Jerusalem, circa 606 B.C., King Nebuchadnezzar ordered one of his servants to gather some of the best, learned Jewish children living in Judah. These kids, probably in their early to mid-teens, were to be trained and fed for three years, before being promoted in Nebuchadnezzar’s court.

Today’s Scripture says: “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.” Notice how Daniel did not pick a fight, throw a tantrum, shout, or make demands. Instead, he “requested” (as in asked politely) that he and his three companions be exempt from following pagan ways. They, good Law-keeping Jews, obey the kosher food rules in Leviticus chapter 11 and Deuteronomy chapter 14. Furthermore, they do not eat or drink things offered to idols. Moreover, in such Gentile lands, blood may not have been drained from animal flesh—the Mosaic Law forbad Israel from consuming blood (Leviticus 19:26; Deuteronomy 12:16).

Daniel chapter 1 continues: “[9] Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs. [10] And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king.” The prince of the eunuchs is worried. If he allows Daniel and his friends to have a special diet, and it harms them, Nebuchadnezzar will be wroth—probably issuing a death sentence for them all!

Let us see what happens….

Daniel, His Friends, and Separation #1

Friday, April 28, 2017

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 1:8 KJV).

Every Sunday School child knows about Daniel and his three companions (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego). Unfortunately, today, few adults practice what these precious children knew!

The Book of Daniel begins: “[1] In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it. [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.” After centuries of persistent unbelief and pagan idolatry, JEHOVAH God finally judged the Jews as promised (cf. Leviticus 26:14-46; Deuteronomy 28:15-68). He recruited Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, to attack and eventually deport Israelites from Judaea (southern Israel) to Babylon (modern Iraq).

Daniel continues: “[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; [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. [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.”

“[6] Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: [7] Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave 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.” Today’s Scripture says that Daniel, living in heathen surroundings, has already made up his mind to remain separate….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is the Ephesian church of the Revelation the same group as those in the Book of Ephesians?

“Hate Speech” #2

Thursday, February 18, 2016

“Therefore the princes said unto the king, We beseech thee, let this man be put to death: for thus he weakeneth the hands of the men of war that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words unto them: for this man seeketh not the welfare of this people, but the hurt” (Jeremiah 38:4 KJV).

Who is “this man?” And, what words is he speaking to make him worthy of being “put to death?”

From verse 1, we learn that it was Jeremiah the Prophet speaking “offensive” words. The wicked leaders of Judah (southern Israel) had grown tired of the 40 years of Jeremiah’s preaching ministry. Now, they wanted him dead, so they went to King Zedekiah in today’s Scripture to “make the arrangements!” (We will comment on this later.)

The Jews had overlooked a simple fact. While they were blaming Jeremiah, he had not originated the prophecies of judgment that were coming up on idolatrous Jerusalem. In fact, nearly 1000 years earlier, Moses had given Israel express instructions concerning God’s Law Covenant with them. Disobedience to God’s commandments would result in five courses (phases, rounds) of judgment/chastisement. Whenever Israel would persist in false religion, idol worship, increasing divine judgment would come upon them. Once Israel refused to repent of her wickedness after four rounds of judgment, the fifth phase of chastisement would be Gentile captivity. Israel would be removed from her Promised Land. (We will comment on this later also.)

For now, just notice that it was so strange then that Judah’s king and the other Jews in the area had grown upset with Jeremiah. He was doing nothing more than quoting what Moses had written to them centuries earlier! Yet, Moses did not originate those judgments either. It was God’s Word through Moses. The same God who had spoken through Moses was now speaking through Jeremiah. Furthermore, by the Jews refusing to hear Jeremiah, they proved they really did not believe Moses, either. If Jeremiah were guilty of “hate speech,” then so was Moses, and so was the JEHOVAH God they had claimed to “love and worship!”

Our latest Bible Q&As: “Is Matthew 27:9 a mistake?” and “Is Matthew 2:23 a mistake?

“Hate Speech” #1

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

“Therefore the princes said unto the king, We beseech thee, let this man be put to death: for thus he weakeneth the hands of the men of war that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words unto them: for this man seeketh not the welfare of this people, but the hurt” (Jeremiah 38:4 KJV).

Who is “this man?” And, what words is he speaking to make him worthy of being “put to death?”

Let us start at the beginning of the chapter: “[1] Then Shephatiah the son of Mattan, and Gedaliah the son of Pashur, and Jucal the son of Shelemiah, and Pashur the son of Malchiah, heard the words that Jeremiah had spoken unto all the people, saying, [2] Thus saith the LORD, He that remaineth in this city shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: but he that goeth forth to the Chaldeans shall live; for he shall have his life for a prey, and shall live. [3] Thus saith the LORD, This city shall surely be given into the hand of the king of Babylon’s army, which shall take it.”

Jerusalem was such a glorious city in the days of King David and especially once his son Solomon assumed the throne. That was 400 years prior to today’s Scripture. During those four centuries, Jerusalem, and surrounding Judah, had steadily declined. They were now just about to hit “rock bottom” economically, socially, politically and spiritually. As we learn from the “fifth-course prophets” such as Jeremiah, divine judgment is swiftly coming on idolatrous Judah. Centuries of spiritual wickedness would finally be punished.

Earlier, JEHOVAH had told Jeremiah, “Therefore pray not for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee” (7:16). There will be no more delay, no more pleading, no more hope. God will use Babylon’s armies to return and level Jerusalem and deport nearly every Jew in Judah to Iraq. Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar will burn Jerusalem’s Temple to the ground and Israel’s religion will fall apart. This was the “hate speech” of Jeremiah the Prophet. Unbelief had gripped his kinsmen according to the flesh, and now they wanted his life!