From Jerusalem to Babylon

From Jerusalem to Babylon

Scripture: Daniel 1:17
Date: 01/11/2020  Lesson: 2
'As we face the challenges of the twenty-first century, we need to recapture the perception of God that is so vividly reflected in the book of Daniel.'

Hogs and Other Hazards - Paper or Digital Downloads

Hogs and Other Hazards - Paper or Digital Downloads
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Jean Ross: Good morning, friends, and welcome again to "Sabbath School Study Hour" here at the Granite Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church in Sacramento, California. I'd like to welcome those who are joining us online across the country and around the world. I know we have our online members and we always like to recognize them at the time of our "Sabbath School" program. Thank you for tuning in and being a part of our extended "Sabbath School" class. We'd also like to welcome our regular "Sabbath School" members and those who are visiting with us today. We are delighted that you are here to study the lesson and we're very excited about this quarter study. It's all about the book of Daniel, that wonderful, important, timely, prophetic book that we find in the Old Testament. And so, we're going to continue our study today on lesson number two on the book of Daniel. It's entitled, "From Jerusalem to Babylon."

Now, if you don't have a copy of the lesson quarterly-- I know many of you here have the quarterly, but some of those who are joining us online, you might not have a lesson quarterly. If you'd like to download today's lesson, you can simply go to, lesson.aftv.org, lesson.aftv.org. You can download lesson number two and you can study along with us on the book of Daniel.

We also have a free offer we'd like to let our friends know about who are joining us online or on various television networks. We have a book we would like to share with you. It's got a very captivating title. It's called "Hogs and Other Hazards," and we'll be able to send this to anyone who calls and asks. The number is ... and you can ask for the book entitled, "Hogs and Other Hazards," or ask for offer number 160. There's another way that you can get the free offer, by simply texting the code "SH136" to the number 40544, and you'll be able to download and read our free offer today.

Well, before we get to our study, we like to begin by lifting our voices in song. So, we have our song leaders that'll be leading us in our, "Sabbath School" song today. ♪♪♪

Male: Good morning. We're going to begin our singing this morning with number 518, "Standing on the Promises," which is what Daniel and his friends were so good at doing, was standing on God's promises. We'll sing 518, all three verses, "Standing on the Promises."

♪ Standing on the promises of Christ my King ♪

♪ Through eternal ages let his praises sing ♪

♪ Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing ♪

♪ Standing on the promises of God ♪

♪ Standing, standing ♪

♪ standing on the promises of God my Savior ♪

♪ Standing, standing ♪

♪ I'm standing on the promises of God ♪

♪ Standing on the promises that cannot fail ♪

♪ when the howling storms of doubt and fear assail ♪

♪ By the Living Word of God I shall prevail ♪

♪ Standing on the promises of God ♪

♪ Standing, standing ♪

♪ standing on the promises of God my Savior ♪

♪ Standing, standing ♪

♪ I'm standing on the promises of God ♪

♪ Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord ♪

♪ Bound to him eternally by love's strong cord ♪

♪ Overcoming daily with the Spirit's sword ♪

♪ Standing on the promises of God ♪

♪ Standing, standing ♪

♪ standing on the promises of God my Savior ♪

♪ Standing, standing ♪

♪ I'm standing on the promises of God ♪

♪♪♪

Jean: Let us pray. Dear Father in heaven, we thank you that we have this opportunity to open up your Word and study a very important passage, something that's practical, something that's useful for us today. And we want to invite your Spirit, as always, to come and guard our hearts, our minds. Help us to understand, but more than just simply understand, help us to apply these important biblical principles that we'll be looking at today. For we ask this in Jesus's name, amen. Our lesson today is going to be brought to us by Pastor Doug.

Doug Batchelor: Thank you, Pastor Ross, and welcome everybody to our "Sabbath School Study Hour." And I want to welcome those who are watching on TV or online, and some on satellite around the country. I'm really excited because this quarter we're getting into a study on Daniel, and today we actually dive into Daniel chapter 1. And if you don't have one of these-- and this is the study guide, the outline we use. We don't always follow it word for word, but it creates a good guide for us to get through the different chapters in the book of Daniel. You can get one online by going to the Adventist Church website under "Sabbath School," or you can probably just pick one up for free at your local Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Now, we know a lot of people watching this program, including some of our online members, do not have a nearby local church they can attend, and that's when the online version is very helpful. All right, Daniel chapter 1, and we want to dive into our study today. Have a lot of really, I think, valuable information, and this lesson is one that can actually lengthen your life, seriously. Our memory verse is Daniel 1, verse 17. If you have your Bibles, you might want to open and you can read this with me. Daniel 1:17, here it's in the New King James version. Are you ready? "As for these four young men, God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams."

Now, the book of Daniel begins with somewhat of a note of defeat. The children of Israel, because of their unfaithfulness, they are carried off. Let's read in the first chapter. chapter 1 of Daniel, verse 1 and 2, "In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some," notice that word, "some," "some of the articles of the house of God, which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the articles into the treasure house of his god." Very beginning of the book of Daniel, you see that there's a battle between gods. It looks as though the God of Israel is being defeated by the god of Babylon.

What's the first kingdom or city that you hear mentioned in the Bible? Remember Cain, he went and he built a city. And then you read about Nimrod, and you read in Genesis 8, verse-- I'm sorry, Genesis 10, verse 8 and 10, "Cush begot Nimrod; and he began to be a mighty one on the earth. And he was a mighty hunter before the Lord; therefore it is said, 'Like Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord.' And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel," and it goes on to say, "Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar."

Now, didn't we just read that Nebuchadnezzar carried the temple gold from God's temple to his god? And so there's almost like a battle between gods. In the very beginning, you see that God said for man to go out to fill the earth, to scatter, to multiply. Instead, they build a tower of what? Tower of Babel. Babel represents opposition to God. It represents-- I think the word "babel," the original word, it means "Gate of God." And it's almost like man was trying to build his own way to heaven. But later, the word "babel" came to mean "Babbling”. When you call a baby a baby, you know why you say it's a baby? It's because babies babble, and it's connected to that word. Because the tower languages were cursed, you remember? And no one could understand each other and they were all babbling. And that's how the word went through that metamorphosis there.

And so there's a battle between-- you get to Revelation, you've got Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth. That's Revelation chapter 17. And then you get to Revelation chapter 21, "And I saw the new Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven." So there's this battle that's running between Jerusalem and Babylon that you see going from Genesis to Revelation. So Nebuchadnezzar, because of the unfaithfulness of the people of God--you can read about this in 2 Kings, just so you have the background. In 2 Kings, chapter 21, verse 10, "And the Lord spoke by his servants, the prophets, saying, 'Because Manasseh the king of Judah has done these abominations, he's acted more wickedly than all of the Amorites.'" Amorite was sort of a generic word for all the Canaanite people that lived in the land, the Promised Land, before Israel. "That he did more wickedly than all the Amorites who were before him. I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down. So I will forsake the remnant of my inheritance and deliver them into the hand of their enemies. And they shall become victims of plunder of all their enemies because they have done evil in my sight and provoke me to anger since the day their fathers came out of Egypt to this day."

And so because of their unfaithfulness, Nebuchadnezzar came. And during the time of the first captivity, the first group that was carried off, he didn't destroy the temple. He didn't burn the temple. He didn't take everything out of the temple. He took some of the articles from the temple. Jehoiakim eventually surrendered. He carried off certain of the young people. Now I'm getting ahead of myself, but he comes back later and the temple is destroyed. So if we go to Daniel chapter 1, and we read here-- I'll be thankful if we can get through the book of Daniel, chapter 1 today. And it says that he besieged it and he carried these articles from the house of God to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god.

Now, you know, before the book of Daniel's over, Nebuchadnezzar comes to believe in a different God, doesn't he? To the house of his god with the treasures of his god. Did he take the candlestick? No. Did he take the altar of incense? No. Did he take the Ark of the Covenant to Babylon? No, he just took some of the treasures. He allowed them to continue to worship their God and he left the important articles for their worship there. He did not destroy the temple. That's because they agreed that they would pay taxes. So Jehoiakim is one of the sons of good King Josiah. Probably next to David, maybe even better than David. Josiah was among the best kings of Judah that they ever produced, probably better than Hezekiah. There's no record of Josiah ever doing anything wrong or evil. Near the end of his life, he gets killed going into a battle he was advised not to go into, but you know, that was a question of courage, you might say.

And so his son Jehoiakim, he's too young. He gets carried off by Nebuchadnezzar and Nebuchadnezzar puts his Uncle Zedekiah in charge. He says, "Now, you promised before the Lord you will pay taxes." He made a vow before the Lord he would pay taxes, he would submit to Babylon. But then after Nebuchadnezzar left and a few years of paying taxes, he said, "No, we don't want to do this anymore." And everyone advised him not to do it. Jeremiah the prophet said, "Zedekiah, you made a vow in the name of the Lord. You need to submit to the king of Babylon. The king of Babylon being over us is a punishment for our sins. Just embrace it and you'll have peace. You fight against him, it's going to be worse than ever." He would not listen to the prophets like Jeremiah. And so, you read then in 2 Kings chapter 24, verse 18, "Zedekiah was 21 years old when he became king, and he reigned 11 years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah." Different Jeremiah of course. "He did evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that Jehoiakim had done. For because of the anger of the Lord this happened in Jerusalem and Judah, that he finally cast them out from his presence. Then Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon."

Nebuchadnezzar then conquered the city. Zedekiah had his sons killed before him, his eyes plucked out. The temple was burned. The city was burned and everybody was carried off captive. So during the first captivity, a small group was carried off to Babylon, and that's when you get to Daniel chapter 1. And it tells us that-- it says in verse 3, "The king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel, and some of the king's descendants, and some of the nobles, and the young men in whom there's no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king's palace, and whom they might teach the language and the literature of the Chaldeans. And the king appointed for them a daily provision of the king's delicacies and of the wine which he drank, and there'd be three years of training for them, so that at the end of that time they might serve before the king. Now from among those that were chosen from the children of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. And to them the chief of the eunuchs gave the names: to Daniel he gave the name Belteshazzar; Hananiah, Shadrach; Mishael, Meshach; and Azariah, Abednego."

And so here they're carried off and it tells more about these young men who were carried off. This is under the section under, "Faith Under Pressure." You remember in Isaiah 39, Hezekiah became sick. He prayed that God would heal him. He had a terminal illness, but he prayed that God would heal him. He wept and he cried, and Isaiah was sent back to Hezekiah. He said, "All right, you're still terminal." By the way, we're all terminal. Did you know that? He said, "But I'm going to prolong your life." And he said, "I'm going to add to your days 15 years." And during that time, Manasseh is born who turns out not being such a good king. But God makes the sun go backwards as a sign that he's healing Hezekiah. And the messengers come from Babylon, and Hezekiah is so excited that God-- that messengers have come from Babylon and they want to find out about the God that did this miracle. And instead of Hezekiah talking about God, he talks about himself. And he says, "Wow, I'm honored, messengers from Babylon. That's the center of intelligence and studies, and I want them to be impressed with me." And he shows them all of his treasures, and his armory, and his perfumes. And he shows them everything, but he doesn't talk to them about God, unlike Solomon when the Queen of Sheba comes.

So Isaiah comes to Hezekiah with a judgment. And this is Isaiah 39, verse 5, "And Isaiah said to Hezekiah, Hear the Word of the Lord of hosts. 'Behold, the days are coming when all that is in your house that your fathers have accumulated until this day shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing will be left,' says the Lord. And they'll take away some of your sons who will descend from you, who will--you will beget, and they will be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon."

Now, did that literally come to pass? We see that in the book of Daniel? That here it says of the king's seed from the tribe of Judah, these bright young men are taken. They're taken to be eunuchs. Now, you know, Jesus talks about this, and I don't want to belabor the point, but Christ said that-- and you know, he said, once a man's married, he shouldn't get divorced. And the disciples were so surprised that there was really no biblical grounds for divorce other than adultery. And one of them said, "It might even be better not to get married." And Jesus said--I mean, it seems strange that they would think that, you know, it's impossible to be faithful. And Jesus said, "Well, there are some people that are eunuchs because they're born that way, and some people are made eunuchs of men, and some people choose to be eunuchs." Paul may have been in that third category. He just chose not to marry. And then there were people who were made eunuchs by others. And it was common in ancient times that if you were a king and you had a harem with many wives, you wanted your wise men, and your counselors, and people that worked-- took care of the women, they went through that surgical procedure to make sure that all the king's children were indeed the king's children. I think you all understand what I'm saying. And you never hear about Mrs. Daniel, or Mrs. Hananiah, Meshach, and Azariah.

So because they were to be focused on their studies, then they were--they went under that procedure. And so, that of course in itself must have been a humiliating for any Jew. You know, important thing for them was children, and to have seed, and hopefully maybe even the Messiah would come through your descendants. So then we hear that the chief of the eunuchs, the one who's in charge of these young men that are going through this training--the idea is Nebuchadnezzar was a very smart king, and as he conquered he realized he needed to organize. Education was very important. Alexander did that too, but he got some of it from Nebuchadnezzar. Alexander established libraries and schools, and he was, you know, perpetrating the teachings of Plato and Aristotle. And Nebuchadnezzar believed you gotta educate.

Babylon was a center of learning. It was--remember the magi that we're studying the heavens? And they weren't just all astrologers, they were astronomers. And so he said, "Look, I want to have some of the Hebrews in my court. I've conquered all these people. I don't know their language. I don't know their customs. I need representatives that will be trained. Get the brightest and the best young men with the most potential." And they need to be good looking because they're going to be in the palace, and you know, the king doesn't want to look at anything that might offend. And so he says, you know, "Get the brightest and the best and bring them in that they can stand before me and we can be trained. They can be intermediaries with their own people, and maybe there's some bright ones that could be part of the council to help advise for different problems." And so that was the custom.

Well, if they're going to be trained in the king's university, then they'll be fed from the king's cafeteria. And so, they were told, "You're going to be able to eat from the Babylonian banquet." And so it said, "You'll teach them the language and the literature of the Chaldeans. And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king's delicacies." This is the nicest food. It's from the king's store. "And the wine which he drank. And this is a three-year training program." How long did Jesus train his disciples? Three and a half years. "And it's a three-year training program that at the end of that time they might serve before the king."

And then again it mentions that these three are chosen, except there's a problem. It says that--and someone is going to read this for me. Who's got--Dan, you got a microphone there? I'm going to have you read Daniel chapter 1, verse 8.

Dan: Daniel 1, verse 8, "But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself."

Doug: Now, I think we're safe in assuming that it wasn't just Daniel, but Daniel spoke up, and Daniel and his three friends, they said, "We can't do this." Now, there's several reasons that they could not participate of the king's banquet. One, and I'll spend a moment talking about this, some of the food in the Babylonian cafeteria was very likely unclean, what the Bible would call unclean. Now, where do you find in the Bible the distinction between food that is clean and unclean? Leviticus 11. Let me just read some of this to you. "Speak to the children of Israel," Leviticus 11, verse 2, "saying, 'These are the animals which you may eat among all the animals that are on the earth. Among the animals, whatever divides the hoof and has a cloven hoof and chews the cud,'" meets both criteria, "that you may eat. Nevertheless, these you shall not eat among those that chew the cud or those that have cloven hooves," because they don't have both. "The camel, because it chews the cud but it doesn't have cloven hooves, is unclean to you."

Well, you know, camel was a very popular food in the time of Christ, and that's why Jesus said to the religious leaders, "They're hypocrites. You strain a gnat and swallow a camel." What he meant was they were straining their water and their milk, lest a little microscopic gnat might get in there because it might be an unclean bug, but they'd eat camel steak. And he said, "You're hypocrites. Camel's unclean," because while they chew the cud, they didn't have a cloven hoof. And I was talking to Steve Friend, Michelle raises alpacas. Alpacas are in the camel family, isn't that right, Michelle? And they're unclean, but people eat them, but you're not supposed to eat them. So I just want to make sure your animals are safe from at least this crew.

male: Don't eat your friends.

Doug: Yeah, don't eat your-- ha ha, I got it. So the camel was unclean and it says because it does not have cloven hooves. "And the rock hyrax, because it chews the cud," it's like a rabbit creature, but it doesn't have cloven hooves, "is unclean to you. The hare, because it chews the cud but it doesn't have cloven hooves, it's unclean to you. And the swine, though it divides the hoof, having cloven hooves, yet it does not chew the cud, it is unclean to you."

I was just reading a book-- still reading a book about some people that were shipwrecked on an island south of New Zealand back in 1865, and they thought they were wild sheep on the island because they saw the footprints. They later found that it was pigs, because they've both got cloven feet. And unless you really know what you're looking at, you might confuse a pig footprint for a deer or for a sheep. But a pig is very different from a sheep. It does not chew the cud. They are scavengers. They are not the vegetarians that the sheep and the goats are. And he says, "They are unclean to you." Matter of fact, it says, "You shall not-- Their flesh you shall not eat, their carcass you shall not touch. They are unclean to you. These are all-- These you may eat of all that are in the waters, whatever has fins and scales, in the sea or in the rivers, that you may eat. But in all the seas and the rivers, if it does not have fins and scales, all that move in the waters and any living thing in the waters, they are an abomination to you."

So it needed both criteria if it's going to be clean for food, fins and scales. Someone always asks, "Well, is tuna clean? Tuna technically is clean. They do have scales. They're very small. You have to look closely, but it's very almost microscopic scales. Shark is unclean. Catfish is unclean. They're scavengers. Snails are unclean, escargot. Your crab--I used to love shrimp cocktail before I knew this truth. Lobster, used to catch my own lobster. Crawdads I've eaten. They're all scavengers. They're unclean.

We have one president that actually died. I can't remember, was it Harding? Who--he ate contaminated shellfish and he got sick and died from it. So yeah, God says don't do it. And then for the birds, it tells us-- he gives us the names the birds. "And these you shall regard as an abomination among the birds. They shall not be eaten. The eagle, the vulture, the buzzard, the kite, the falcon after its kind." These are the raptors. They're birds of prey. "Every raven after its kind." Ravens, the corvidae, they're omnivores. They'll eat anything. "The ostrich, the short-eared owl, the seagull, the hawk after its kind, the little owl, the fisher owl, the screech owl, the white owl." That's just all the owls. "The jackdaw, the carrion vulture, the stork, the heron after its kind, the hupa, the bat." People ask, "Swan, duck?" They are in that category. They're unclean.

So the two rules for the animal: cloven hoof, chew the cud. Two rules for the sea life: fins and scales. The rule really for the birds, if you want to simplify it, is if it's a foraging bird. Now, those are the birds that are your chicken, your quail, your turkey, your dove, technically sparrow." I mean, the Bible says, "Are not two sparrows," but I mean, the very poorest people might offer a sparrow in the temple. You can never offer an unclean animal in the temple. It was an abomination. If you were to bring a pig to sacrifice, that would be the highest insult. And matter of fact, there's an adage, if you're going to talk about someone who doesn't understand the culture, you say they brought pork chops to the bar mitzvah. That's talking about someone who just doesn't understand, and you don't do that. And so--because they're unclean.

So one reason that Daniel and his friends couldn't eat these foods is because the Bible says they're unclean. Now, someone might say, "Well, that's because that's-- those are the laws for Jews. We don't have to worry about that today." Oh really? How many here are related to Noah? Oh, I think that's all of you. If you're not, we'd like to talk to you later. You had some relatives that survived the flood, but everyone's related to Noah.

Did God make a distinction between clean and unclean foods for Noah? He did. Everyone says, "The animals all went on the ark two by two." Not exactly. The unclean animals went two by two because those unclean animals didn't need to worry about being eaten during their voyage. But the clean animals were taken by seven because they could be eaten and they were used for sacrifice afterward. You could not eat anything that could not be used for a sacrifice. By the way, "Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and whosoever defiles that temple, him will God destroy." That's the New Testament. Some people say, "Well, didn't--" So it's not just for Jews. Unclean and clean food was for all people.

"Didn't Peter have a vision where God declared all foods clean?" He did have a vision. God did not declare all foods clean. Peter, in interpreting that vision himself-- he had this vision where all this big sheet came down from heaven, all these creatures in it, clean and unclean. And God says, "Arise and eat." Peter says, "Not so, Lord. I have never eaten anything common or unclean." Now, that by itself tells you something. That means that this is Acts chapter 10, which is taking place, you know, probably six, seven years after Jesus has ascended to heaven. Peter still says, "I've never eaten anything common or unclean."

Jesus never told them it was okay. Peter's protesting against the vision. Three times the sheet comes down. He never takes anything from the sheet and he never eats it. It's a vision. You don't eat visions, right? Unless you're, you know, you're in the Spirit, like John when he's being told to eat a book. But he never eats anything. And then when he's wondering what the vision means, three Gentiles come knocking on the door. Peter later says, "God has shown me not to call any man unclean." That vision had nothing to do with food and it had to do with going, taking the gospel to the Gentiles.

Some people have used that to say it doesn't matter what a Christian eats anymore, which is really absurd because intelligent people know that God is not mocked. Whatever you sow, you're going to reap. Even if you're not even talking about clean or unclean foods, if you eat a lot of cholesterol, you're going to reap a heart attack. If you eat a lot of sugar, you're going to reap obesity. You're going to reap what you sow. Anyone knows it matters what you eat, so for a Christian to say God doesn't care what we eat is really ludicrous when you think about it. Of course he does. He wants us to be wise about that. How did Eve get in trouble?

Does God care what we eat? The whole world is in trouble now because someone ate something they weren't supposed to eat. God said, "Eat from that tree. Don't eat from that tree." God has never taken away the health laws. The Jewish stomach is exactly like your stomach. And those laws that, by the way, you know, God has blessed them so they have become a very resilient people. And you look at history and you can see that at least in part one reason that they were blessed is they observed these health laws.

So one reason that Daniel probably did not eat those things is because there were some things that were unclean. Secondly, those things may have been butchered in an unclean manner. Suppose there was sheep and chicken on the menu, and Daniel could rightly eat those things, but God said that their necks were to be cut and the blood was to be drained out. You remember even in the New Testament, they said, "Tell the Gentiles they are not to eat things with blood." Not only not unclean food, even the clean animals were not to be strangled. That's Acts chapter 15. So God had specified even in the New Testament they were not to eat blood. That's a health law, so obviously the health laws were not done away with. So Nebuchadnezzar's cafeteria may have also had some things in it that were not sacrificed in the appropriate way.

Thirdly, the food that Nebuchadnezzar was offering them, much of it could have been offered to an idol. And Daniel, you know, they sacrificed it to an idol and then they bring it to him, and he did not want to look like he was supporting these pagan gods that now had taken possession of the sacred things from the temple. And so, for those reasons he says very nicely, "I don't want to defile myself." So they've got this firm resolution.

Now, someone's going to read for me 1 Corinthians 10:28. You'll have that, Diana? And just before you read that, I want to mention that for Daniel to say, "We're not going to eat what they're giving us," you've got to keep in mind he's trying to find out, "How do I not offend?" Most of the children of Israel that were carried away to Babylon didn't stay in the palace. They didn't eat from the king's table. Many of them probably looked like prisoners of war by the time they arrived in Babylon. They were enslaved. Daniel and his three friends were extremely fortunate in that they probably had clean quarters to live in. They had nice clothes to wear. They were protected by the king's guard. They were not living in poverty.

So, for you as a captive to say, "This is what I'm going to eat and this is what I'm not going to eat." Can that be misunderstood? It could sound like, "Well, how dare you. You are so lucky that you have been chosen. Instead of being carried off and sold in Babylon, you've been chosen to be in the palace, and you're going to tell us what you will and won't eat?" And so they've got to pray that they have a way to say this. They probably said it very humbly. They may have even explain that, you know, this is for religious grounds. And Daniel said, "We cannot be defiled because of our faith." And so, go ahead, you can read that verse.

Diana: But if anyone says to you, 'This was offered to idols,' do not eat it for the sake of the one who told you, and for conscience sake; for 'the earth is the Lord's, and all its fullness.'"

Doug: Now, the whole business about him not eating the food because it may have been offered to idols, you're going to find there seemed to be a couple of conflicting opinions in the New Testament about can you or can you not eat things offered to idols. This verse that was just read helps explain it. The disciples were pretty clear in Acts chapter 15, "Command them to abstain from things offered to idols." We don't want the pagans to think that we worship idols. Paul, a little later on, he said, "Look, you did not offer it to the idol." And you've got to understand how it was back in Bible times. In the Greco-Roman world, there were thousands of different gods. Every market where you went to do your shopping, if you wanted to buy goat, mutton, or chicken, or whatever it was, clean food, I mean, biblically a clean meat, everything that was butchered, they had a little idol in the marketplace and everything was butchered in front of an idol. And so Paul said, "Look, if you buy something there, you didn't offer it to the idol. The idol is nothing. It's dead. But if it bothers the conscience of the person, don't do it."

You remember when Paul says in Romans chapter 14, "Those that are weak eat only vegetables." Someone said that says vegetarians are weak. No, it had nothing to do with vegetarians. It meant those whose faith was hypersensitive, weak faith, they couldn't eat any meat because they were afraid they might be worshipping an idol.

The way I relate this in modern times, how many of you like Asian food? I had some this week. How many of you have been in a Chinese or Asian restaurant where they've got a Buddha? Are you worshipping Buddha? I've even seen when you walk in they got little incense burning by a little statue of Buddha, or they'll have a candle in front of a picture of Buddha. And if you eat in that restaurant, are you worshipping Buddha? Well, if you worry about that, don't eat at that restaurant. Anything that is not of faith is sin. But if you realize, "Hey, that's just a piece of stone. It's not going to hurt my food," and you can eat with a clear conscience, Paul says, "Enjoy it." If it's going to bother your conscience, don't eat it, because you're not doing it in faith, and that which is not of faith is sin.

So Daniel, knowing he's being watched by others, there were other Jews, and not only Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, Daniel said, "We're not going to eat also because it's been offered to idols and we don't want to send the wrong signal." Because you had just read how Nebuchadnezzar said, "My god is bigger than your God, because my gods have taken the treasures from your God." Now, of the things that were taken out of the temple, the Ark was not taken. Now, this is a point in history when Daniel's first carried off. Nebuchadnezzar enters the temple. He takes some of the treasures. We just read that. He comes back later during the time of Zedekiah. He totally loots the temple. He not only takes all the gold and everything out of the temple, he takes the bronze pillars and breaks it in pieces because it's too big to carry. He breaks these--the Bible says these pillars are, you know, they're like 40 feet high and they're as thick as a man's hand all the way around. It's just a massive bronze pillars. He takes everything of value.

Where does the Ark go? Do you realize that from the time before Nebuchadnezzar and after Nebuchadnezzar, the Ark is never mentioned. When they come back from Babylon after 70 years, it talks about the different articles that come back. Never mentions the Ark. The best that we know is that Jeremiah the prophet, in concert with the priests, when they saw Nebuchadnezzar was outside the city and they knew the city was going to fall, they went into the temple, and they snuck out with the Ark, and they hid it in one of the many caves that absolutely honeycombed Jerusalem. I've been to Jerusalem several times, and under the city and around the city, it is honeycombed with caves and graves and you can get lost in them. And every time they do any building, they run into some new chamber. And it is probably still hidden there to this day, so that's what happened to the Ark.

But so, there's a battle going on between gods here. All right, and you look for instance in Revelation 20, verse-- Revelation 2, verse 20, "Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce my servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols." So can you see that in the New Testament it did matter if you ate things sacrificed to idols. So you didn't--you know, buying stuff in the marketplace, Paul said, "Well, that's one thing," but if you're-- if you're participating in a sacrificial feast, that was forbidden.

So Daniel now makes a proposition. He tells Ashpenaz, he said, "Look, why don't you give us pulse to eat." He said, "Please let your servants be tested for 10 days," and this is verse 12, "and let them give us vegetables to eat," just vegetable stew, "and water to drink. Then after ten days, let our appearance be examined before you, and the appearance of the young men who eat the portion of the king's delicacies." Daniel already knew they were going to be better off because he'd been living on that diet when he was a young man. And he said, "You see fit you deal with us." He said, "You know, we're not wanting to be ungrateful. We're actually telling you, not only does this go against our conscience, but if your goal is to have these young men looking bright, and sharp, and smart, give us this diet and see which does better."

And so I think that the chief of the eunuchs is a little intrigued. He said, "Okay, I'll give you ten days. What have I got to lose? It's not going to kill you eat vegetables for ten days." Now there are kids that will argue it will kill them to eat vegetables for ten days, but there's probably some beans, and legumes, and porridge, and stuff like that. And so basically, you know what he's saying. He's saying, "Give us a vegetarian diet." They didn't want to risk eating anything that had been sacrificed, which meant no meat. And water to drink. They're not going to drink the wine.

Why would he not drink the wine from Nebuchadnezzar's wine cellar? It probably was aged. They thought, "Oh yeah, if it's got a little kick to it, that's all the better." And you know the Bible says that, "Woe to him that gives his neighbor drink. Wine is a mocker. Strong drink is raging. Whoever is deceived thereby is not wise." Noah drank wine and stumbled around naked in his tent, and Ham was cursed and Canaan as a result. The Bible tells us a lot-- Lot's daughters gave him wine to drink and he became one of the few men in the Bible that his children were both his children and his grandchildren. You know what I'm saying? He slept with his daughters, drinking. David tried to get Uriah drunk so he'd go against his conscience.

Wine doesn't have a very good record. It says you give it to him who is ready to perish. It's like a person who drinks and lies down in the midst of the crow's nest in a storm . The Bible doesn't say anything good about wine. People say, "But Jesus turned the water into wine. Wine must be okay." That word "wine" is the only word you find in the Bible. Wine is also "new wine," which is unfermented. Jesus spoke of his gospel as new wine and he said, "I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until I drink it with you again, new in my Father's kingdom." When Jesus turned the water to wine, he didn't advance it, accelerate it to being fermented. He made it the very best grape juice. They said, "You've saved the best for last," because you couldn't get fresh grape juice except during the harvest.

So wine is bad, and so they said, "We're not going to drink that." And so finally, you can read here, it says that they ate the vegetables. The original diet God had for man is, "I've given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed, to you it shall be for food." And so he gives these young men this diet.

Now, you know, I might mention here it says they're unblemished and wise. Why were they--why were they chosen for their looks? Are good-looking people smarter than ugly people? I refuse--I refuse to accept that theory. But you know, does the Bible identify some people as good-looking? Many of them it identifies as good-looking, with a couple of exceptions, are actually godly. You've got Esther. It says she's good looking. Joseph, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel. Rachel was so good-looking that when Jacob kissed her, he cried. That's what it says. He lifted up his voice and he wept after he kissed her. Moses, Saul, David, Tamar. Now, that's Tamar, the sister of Absalom. Absalom was also good-looking. Bathsheba, Abigail, Abishag, Vashti, Job's daughters, and of course Esther.

So, these different people, other than those people I mentioned, everyone else in the Bible is probably ugly, so there's hope for you and me. At least hope for me, sorry. And all right, so we need to move on here. Daniel makes up his mind that he's going to be faithful. And as a result of that, they're given this final exam. You can read in Daniel chapter 1, verse 18, "Now at the end of that ten days, when the king had said that they should be brought in, the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. Then the king interviewed them, and among them, all of them, none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore they served before the king.

Now, it says that he investigated, and after ten days it says they were fairer and fatter in flesh. And I know that some people kind of resent that allegory. They think, "Well, why would I want to be fatter in flesh?" Well, they had just crossed the desert. They just made a long trip after their captivity and they wanted them to put some more meat on their bones. And he was surprised that just by eating the bread and the vegetables that they started looking ruddy. If you read about this in the book of Prophets and Kings, it says they had elasticity in their step, that their eyes were sharp, and sparkling, and lucid, that their minds were clear. And you could just look at them and say, "Wow." Line them up next to the other captives from other empires that were in the king's university that were eating all of the other food and they all looked a little sluggish and they didn't look healthy. Daniel and his friends--and I think that God may have even, not just because they were following the health message, I think he may have just blessed them. Because you know, when you're obeying God, you've got a clear conscience and it does something for your looks.

You know, innocence will improve your appearance. You've heard the story about when Abraham Lincoln became president for the first time. He had all these folks that we're seeking office and he's interviewing all these people that are seeking office. And after one interview, this person walks out and Lincoln turns to his secretary and said, "I don't want to hire them." Secretary said, "Well, Mr. President, he's got great qualifications." And Lincoln said, "I don't like the looks of him." And he said, "Mr. President, you mean you're not going to hire someone because of the way they look?" He said, "You know, after a person's 40 years old, they're responsible for the way they look." And sometimes, you know, you're going to look at a person and you can say, "You know, they don't look innocent." How many of you know what I'm saying? So I think just even the innocence, the relationship with God, made them look better than the others that were eating from the king's table.

And not only did they find them fairer and fatter in flesh, you look at verse 20, it says, "In all matters of wisdom and understanding about which the king examined them, he found them ten times better."

Now, how many days were in the test? Ten days. And how many times better does he find them? Ten times better. You know, ten, when you think of ten in the Bible, it's often a symbol of, like, the law of God. Comes in derivatives of ten. And it says that they were ten times better than all the magicians and the astrologers who were in all his realm. And you know, before three chapters go by in Daniel, what four individuals are the leading counselors for Nebuchadnezzar? It's the Jewish Council of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. And if you go to the end of Daniel chapter 1, it says, "Thus Daniel--" or, let me see here. Yeah, "All wiser than all the magicians and astrologers who were in his realm. Thus Daniel continued until the first year of King Cyrus."

Now, you know what that little footnote, it's not only saying that his diet helped him be healthier. It helped him be wiser and it helped him live longer. Because for him to continue until the first year of king Cyrus, that means Daniel not only lived through the time of Darius, he lived to the one who followed after him. Matter of fact, I think there were two kings between Darius and Cyrus. Daniel lived like 90-100 years. We're not exactly sure how old they were. It says that they were to take young men, so you know, they weren't-- they weren't little kids. They were probably somewhere between 16 and 20 years of age when they were taken, which means Daniel lived somewhere between 90 and 100 years of age. And it doesn't really tell us when Daniel died. It means--because Cyrus reigned for many years, but Daniel lived into the reign of Cyrus. And so, the Bible gives us lots of good reasons for following the principles of health that he has.

Now, is that sometimes hard for you to practice the health message in a foreign land? I have people say, "Pastor Doug, you know, I'd--" First of all, I'm a vegetarian. I'm a vegan vegetarian, and I meet people that say, "I don't think that I could not eat unclean meats, because as I travel, what would you eat?" I think, "Oh, that's--, man. There's a million things you can eat in the world today." I travel all over the world. I managed to eat as a vegetarian. I managed to eat as a vegan vegetarian all over the world. It's actually getting easier. And yeah, some of the places where it's hard-- go to Spain, everything's, like, soaked in fish and meat. But see, those of you who've been there know what I'm talking about. But Karen and I just went to Spain. We were able to stay vegetarians. And so, when people start saying, "I don't know how I could do it," Daniel did it when he was a captive in the king's palace and they were commanding him to eat the wrong thing. He stood up for God.

Did God honor him? Did God bless him? Yeah, you're going to go through different tests. Don't cave in so easy. You know, I remember hearing one time that the reason the lions did not eat Daniel in the lion's den is because Daniel had too much backbone. Daniel stood. And you remember that song, "Dare to Be a Daniel"? I think it might even be in our hymnal. We've got to take a stand even in a foreign land. As Christians, like Daniel, we are captives in a foreign land and we need to stand for God even in the little things. And will God honor us? And did Daniel get promoted? And was he able to intercede for his people?

Are you and I encouraged today because of Daniel's faithfulness? Don't ever underestimate how far your influence will go. All right, our time is up, but I want to remind those who maybe missed the opening announcement, we do have a free offer for you. This is great. It's called, "Hogs and Other Hazards." Talks a little bit about the health message. If you'd like a free copy of this, it's offer number 160 is what you ask for. Offer 160, and here's the phone number, ... That's 866-STUDY-MORE. And you can also get it online right now. You can text it anywhere in the world. Simply text SH136. You text SH136 to 40544, and I think you'll see that there on your screen. God Bless you, friends. We'll look forward to studying more. Daniel chapter 2, great chapter, next week in our study.

Announcer: Don't forget to request today's life-changing free resource. Not only can you receive this free gift in the mail, you can download a digital copy straight to your computer or mobile device. To get your digital copy of today's free gift, simply text the keyword on your screen to 40544 or visit the web address shown on your screen. And be sure to select a digital download option on the request page. It's now easier than ever for you to study God's Word with "Amazing Facts" wherever and whenever you want, and most important, to share it with others.

Announcer: "Amazing Facts: Changed Lives."

Male: I met my ex-wife, and her family were a real big into drugs. And it started out with them wanting me to go to the doctor to help get them drugs. And you know, I'm noticing they're going to the doctor, they're coming back with like 60 pills, and they're selling these pills for like 1,000 bucks. And I'm thinking, "Wow, this is a lot of money I'm giving these people, so I'm just going to start selling it myself."

My problem with that was that we had all this money, but we was absolutely miserable. She would go out and sleep with other guys to get drugs, and that ended my marriage. But during this time, I have to get a job to build back up to where I was at, to open my shop again, so I get a job at Food City. And when I get this job at Food City, there's my wife now, Rebecca. She's a cashier there. And when I walk in, she's the most beautiful girl I've ever seen in my life. I was like, "Man, I could never have a girl like that. Wow, she's so beautiful."

But as I'm working with her, she's actually kind of mean to me, and she's saying, "I don't want anything to do with you. Get away from me," stuff like that. But you know, I just keep being nice to her and keep trying to give her my phone number. And it's around Christmas Eve, we'd just been dating for a little while, moved in together, my ex-wife shows up with my three children that I had by her. And she's like, "Here's your kids. Here's their birth certificates. Here's their social security cards. I'm done." And we were starting a family, we already have three kids.

During this time, we spent the next year watching nothing but "Amazing Facts" on YouTube. I didn't even know they even had a website at this time. I just knew that this little guy on YouTube was super smart, was teaching Bible, and I wanted to follow him. I wanted to be a Christian.

I gave my life to God now because of these truths that I'm learning from Doug Bachelor. Just because Doug taught it didn't make me real sure about going to this church. I really didn't want anything to do with it. But I called the guy up and I'm telling him, and I'm not very nice about it actually. I'm telling him, "Look, we was thinkin' about coming into your church," and he's really nice. He's like, "Well, you're more than welcome to. We'd like to have you come." And I'm like, "Well, hold on. I'm going to lay down some ground rules." I'm tellin' him, I said, "Look here, I'm covered in tattoos and I'm a tattoo artist," and he don't say, "Well, you know, wow. I didn't know all that. Don't come to my church." He says, "You're more than welcome. We would love to have you. Please come."

He asked me what I want to do and I said, "Well, I want to preach." I said, "I have all these truths. I have all this knowledge, stuff I've never known before, stuff if I'd've had when I was younger that would've been life-changing to me," I said, "I got to share this with the world." I said, "I want to preach. I want to teach." He gives me the book, says, "Study that."

Well, now that I'm a Bible worker, I'm able to go reach people that most of the normal churches wouldn't even bother to even speak to. I'm able to go out and reach the people who have lived the life that I've lived. I'm able to let them know that I am like you. I've been there. I've done that. I want to show you what my life is like now. I'm want to teach you this Bible. I want to show you what Jesus can do for you. It's not too late.

Doug: So what is the brightest light in the world? Well, naturally you'd say the sun, but we're talking about the brightest manmade light in the world. It's the light that shines out of the roof of that pyramid-shaped hotel in Las Vegas called the Luxor. There in the cap of that hotel, there's a room that contains 39 washing machine-sized xenon bulbs, and each of those bulbs requires about 7,000 watts. Altogether, they produce about 40 billion candle power of light.

Can you imagine getting that electric bill at the Luxor Hotel every month? That light is so bright that planes can see it 250 miles away. They are shooting light 10 miles up into space, meaning if you happen to be floating by, you could read a newspaper up there. And as you might have guessed, that bright light has become the world's best bug attractor, bringing in moths, and bats, and owls, creating its own ecosystem there at night above the hotel.

But the sad thing about the brightest light in the world is especially when the night air is clear without any particles, the light doesn't hit anything and it's invisible. It shoots up into empty space. The brightest light in the world illuminates nothing.

You know, the Bible tells us that there's another great wasted light, and that's the light of God's Word. It says in Psalm 119, verse 105, "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path," and yet so many people are walking in darkness. Furthermore, Jesus said, "If you do have that light, make sure you don't put it under a bushel, but you let it shine and illuminate the lives of others." Jesus said in Matthew chapter 5, "Set your light up on a hill like a city so that all might see it." Light only benefits others when it reflects off of something. God wants our lights to illuminate the lives of others. So are you glowing for God? Remember, Jesus said, "Let there be light."

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