An Examination of Biblical Precepts Involved in Issues at Hand
1) The Test- The Judgment - Luke 17:1
2) Mother Nature?
3) Killing abortionists
4) A New Name
The Judgment - Luke 17:1
At a recent preachers' meeting, it was reported that Dr. Evert Sileven made this extremely true and very revealing statement: THE EASY ACCESS TO SIN TODAY IS GOD'S TEST FOR THE CHURCH! All one must do is think on this statement for a few moments to be reminded of more points of "easy access" than he will care to mention. Furthermore, he will see the many areas in which he has failed the test.
Considering Dr. Sileven's statement, the thought goes further: THE EASY ACCESS TO SIN TODAY IS GOD'S JUDGEMENT UPON THE UNGODLY.
James 1:13-15 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
Consequently, we see that the individuals and the nations of the world controlled by lust are moving toward their own death.
Our Lord said to His disciples in Luke 17:1
Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!
This word OFFENCES pictures a rock placed before someone causing the person to stumble. The rock may intentionally or unintentionally be so placed. Offences refer to words and/or deeds that intentionally or unintentionally cause others to violate the Word of God. Among other places, the Lord's Luke 17:1 word, offence, is used in Ro 14:13; 16:17; Re 2:14, and 1 Jo 2:10. It thus refers to anything placed before anyone tempting him to go against the written Word of God. Remember, the Lord called Satan an offence to Him when Satan made his offer through Peter to prevent the Lord from going to the cross.
A parallel verse is Mat 18:7 (Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!), and it presents some interesting points:
First, the reality of temptation - The Lord clearly tells us that temptations to sin will come. Those stones causing people to stumble and fall are there. Though they are there, one does not have to fall over them. (Must a child play in the mud because the Lord provided the rain to make the mud?) The temptations include: denying the truth; forsaking one's profession of faith; ignoring one's obligation of service to the Lord; doing those things which are displeasing to the Lord and discouraging to people, and the temptation to do things that violate the conscience in general. According to Luke 17:3, temptations include doing things which stir people's ire.
Second, the need of temptation - The Lord said that temptation needs... come, viz. it must come. The stones of stumbling must be there, but the Lord pronounces a curse upon those who place them there.
Third, the purpose of the temptations - This is a hard saying, but the clear purpose of the temptation that needs come is to cause people to stumble and fall. James makes it very clear, though, that the Lord God is not the one causing people to fall. The reason people fall to their death is because of the evil in their hearts. The stone is there, but it is harmless if there is no lust in that area. In other words, alcohol advertisements are harmless to those who have never had nor do they now have a controlling lust for alcohol.
Note some interesting points under this purpose of temptation. Let us consider one negative and several positive points about temptation.
TEMPTATION BRINGS JUDGMENT UPON THE UNGODLY. The Lord does not cause anyone to go into sin and death; rather, they are drawn to their death by their own lusts. Therefore, temptation is one of the means God has of destroying the ungodly and sin itself. For example, temptation reveals hypocrites in the church: James 2 talks about the temptation to show respect to persons for their social standing. Furthermore, temptation reveals one's love for the truth of God's Word, 2 Thes 2:10, and one's love for public assembly, we might add. Modern day temptations and easy accesses to sin reveal the esteem one has for the truth of God's Word. It is extremely easy to lay God's Word aside: The world not only urges one to ignore the Word of God, but will defend one's lustful desire to ignore God's Word.
2 Thes 2:10, presents an important thought for consideration: The easy access to sin today is God bringing damnation and death upon those who have pleasure in unrighteousness:
2 Thes 2:11, 12 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (See also, Rev 13:11-13.)
Hence, we are clearly told that a purpose of temptation is to bring God's judgment upon those who believe not the truth, but have pleasure in unrighteousness. Therefore, not only is the modern easy access to sin God's test for His Church, but its easy access is God bringing damnation upon those who have pleasure in unrighteousness. Because there are more Scriptural illustrations here than we can use, we will only consider enough to make the point:
2 Kings 5:20 But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, Behold, my master hath spared Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought: but, as the LORD liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him.
The temptation of covetousness came to Gehazi so he could be judged for his evil, lustful heart: He received Naaman's leprosy.
1 Kings 22:20 And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. 21 And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him. 22 And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so.
God did not raise up an individual to go kill wicked Ahab though Ahab was clearly under the death penalty according to God's law. Instead, Ahab was tempted to disregard the truth of God's Word, so he would be killed. God did not force Ahab to ignore His Word as given through Micaiah. Rather, it was Ahab's wicked, lustful heart that caused him to believe the deceiving spirits who spoke through his false prophets.
Accordingly, we see that the extremely easy access today to sin is God's movement against the ungodly both inside and outside His Church. Uncontrolled lusts cause the ungodly to joyfully and willfully go to their own death. How many times are we told in the Old Testament that God's people's own lusts destroyed them? (2 Ki 17; Ho 13:9; 14:1; Pro 8:36; Isa 3:9, 11; Jer 2:17, 19, &c.)
James 1:13-15 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
The easy access to killing the unborn is God moving against those who have the lusts of covetousness, envy and hatred in their hearts. The easy access to welfare money is God moving against the welfare state, for easy access breeds irresponsible people who will overthrow the ungodly state. The easy access to wicked materials of all kinds both in print and in the electronic media is God moving against those who have uncontrolled lustful hearts. The easy access to drugs to control the emotions instead of the Word and Spirit of God is God moving against those who refuse to eat and drink of the Body of Christ, the Word of God. The easy access to the sin of non-Biblical advise is God moving against those who have turned their backs upon God's Word. The easy access to divorce is God moving against the families that are not built around the Lord Jesus Christ. The easy access to immorality is God moving against those who refuse to bring every thought into captivity to the Lord Jesus Christ, e.g. the immoral stand an excellent chance of contacting AIDS or other serious venereal diseases. The easy access to non-Biblical answers to pressing problems, e.g. conservative political action and patriotism instead of Christianity, is God moving against those who have their faith NOT IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND HIS WORD.
The easy access to sin of all sizes, shapes and descriptions is simply God moving against the wicked hearts of the people making up society. Today's easy access to sin is God bringing down the anti-God societies of this world, Rom 2:1-11.
Only fools believe that God is not going to hold sinners accountable for their sins; only fools believe that God will not bring down the nations that are in rebellion against Him. And, we must admit, there are plenty such fools even in the church.
Though there are many passages dealing with temptation in a positive light, we will only consider a few:
First, GOD IS STRENGTHENING HIS PEOPLE IN THEIR FAITH. He is forcing them to make a stand or parish. He has laid out a path, life or death. Uncontrolled lusts lead down the paths of death, but lusts controlled by the Spirit of Grace lead to life, Gal 6:1-10.
Second, GOD IS MAKING AVAILABLE MANY REWARDS FOR HIS FAITHFUL SERVANTS WHO STAND IN THE TRIAL OF THEIR FAITH, 1 Pe 1:6-9.
Third, GOD IS BRINGING GLORY UNTO HIMSELF AS HIS PEOPLE STAND BY HIS GRACE. Through His faithful people, He shows Himself strong to the watching world, 2 Cor 4:8-18; Eph 3:8-13; 1 Pe 2:9, and Rev 5:8-14.
Fourth, THE EASY ACCESS TO SIN IS GOD'S MOVEMENT AGAINST OUR PRESENT ANTI-GOD, ANTI-CHRIST WORLD ORDER, 1 Kings 22:20, for when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
The spirit of deception has gone forth throughout the world. Through wicked Ahab, God establishes that the ungodly nations are following their evil lusts against the Word of God to their own death and destruction.
Sure, it requires more grace to stand in our day of easy access to sin, but the grace of God is sufficient for all situations. If we do not stand, we will also face destruction with the ungodly.
Jude 1:17 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; 18 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. 19 These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. 20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, 21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. 22 And of some have compassion, making a difference: 23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. 24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present [you] faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, 25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
Nahum 1:2. God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies. The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languisheth. The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein. Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him.
Obviously, Nahum referred to the Lord moving against Nineveh. Though Nineveh had repented under Jonah, she again turned from the Lord, and moved against His people. Now the Lord promises His vengeance against Nineveh.
Clearly, the passage applies throughout history. Among other things, the Lord uses earthquakes, fire, rain, wind, drought and unwelcome weather conditions of all kinds to take vengeance on his adversaries. Accordingly, there is no such thing as "Mother Nature:" "She" is a product of fallen man's vile imagination, so he does not have to admit that the Lord tells the clouds where to release their rain, the winds where to blow and the earth where to quake at His presence.
Through Nahum, the Lord tells us there is no place to hide from Him: not the mountains, for they mountains quake at him and the hills melt; not the woods, for the earth is burned at his presence; not the sea, for He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry; not the rivers, for He drieth up all the rivers; not a hidden island in the "South Seas," for the world, and all that dwell therein - can not stand before his indignation.
There are 48 verses in Nahum, and all say there is no place to hide from the Lord. But the Lord never leaves His people without hope in the midst of His move against the wicked. In the midst of His sending "Mother Nature" to do His bidding, there is a verse:
1:7 The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.
At the end of this century, we are seeing a tremendous amount of catastrophic events; moreover, as man's war against God escalates, so will the catastrophes. [One man said, "We have had two 100 year floods within 10 years."]
But the Lord always promises to care for His own. Untimely weather conditions of all kinds, "Mother Nature" moving against whole regions of the earth, rain, wind, fire, drought, none of which man can do anything about - now is the time for His people to increase their faithfulness to the Lord, the Creator, for "Mother Nature" answers to Him to do His bidding. "She" is doing precisely what "her" Lord and Master told "her" to do where He told "her" to do it: "She" is simply doing His bidding, Job 38:35 Canst thou send lightnings, that they may go, and say unto thee, Here we are?
Man is hopeless before "Mother Nature;" but faithful, Godly men have more than enough hope before "Mother Nature's" God, the God of the Bible.
The news is dominated by the killing of people at centers for killing the unborn. The ones doing the killing claim to be Christians, and there are Christians claiming "justifiable homicide." Undoubtedly, this is a touchy subject, but it needs to be addressed. The question is: IS IT JUSTIFIABLE TO KILL SOMEONE WHO IS IN THE BUSINESS OF KILLING OTHERS?
This writer will be the first to admit that he does not have all the answers, and he may not have the answer you are looking for, but there are some points from the Word of God that must be considered by God's people.
WE MUST REMEMBER A FACT THAT IS BEING OVERLOOKED: The doctors doing the abortions ARE NOT THE MURDERERS. The parents - mother/father/grandparents/&c. - are the murders; the doctors are simply accomplices in the murders. The abortion doctors are hired by the murderers to carry out the murderers' wishes against the innocent. There are some passages used to justify killing those who kill the unborn:
Numbers 25:7, 8, And when Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from among the congregation, and took a javelin in his hand; 8 And he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel.
Phinehas executed judgment against an Israelite man who publicly joined himself to Baalpeor. But using Phinehas as an example for Christian duty today must ignore the context: Phinehas was a grandson of Aaron. Phinehas, therefore, was one of the judges who had been commanded by Moses to slay all joined to Baalpeor, v. 5 And Moses said unto the judges of Israel, Slay ye every one his men that were joined unto Baalpeor. Accordingly, Phinehas was simply carrying out the duty and responsibility of his office in the congregation of the Lord: HE WAS A JUDGE. He was commended for his zeal in doing what he was specifically commanded by the law of God to do.
On the other hand, the New Testament Christian is not set aside by God as a judge, but he is set aside to be a preacher of the gospel of life and peace. It is sad that Christians cannot have the same zeal to fulfill their Christian responsibilities in reaching the lost with life as was Phinehas in his responsibility.
Another passage commonly used is,
Proverbs 24:11 If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; 12 If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?
V. 11 contains at least three implications, none of which justify the killings currently taking place:
First, the civil law, the State, unjustly plans to execute someone for what it determines is a crime. But if the crime is not punishable Scripturally by death, we are to do what we can to deliver the one drawn to death, work to change the law. An example would be stealing: The State requires death for stealing gold, but the Scripture only requires death for stealing men. We are to protest the death sentence, and do all we can to change the unScriptural law requiring death for stealing gold.
Moreover, if the State plans to execute someone on Scriptural grounds, e.g. stealing men, but we know the accused is innocent, we must speak up, and do all we can to stop the innocent person's death.
Second, if we see someone unjustly threatened with death, we must do what we can to stop it, cf. 1 Ki 19:10 & 14. There are many examples of delivering those drawn to death in Scripture: 1) though the Hebrew midwives sought to save the babies, they did not seek to kill the ones carrying out Pharaoh's command so they could not kill more babies (how many babies were killed?); 2) though Esther sought to save her people, she did not seek to kill the one who made the plans to kill her people so he could not do it again; 3) though Reuben delivered Joseph from the pit, he did not seek to kill his brothers who sought to kill Joseph; 4) though Jonathan delivered his friend David from the evil designs of the king, he did not seek to kill the king who sought David's life; 5) though Ebed-melech delivered Jeremiah, he did not seek to kill the plotters against Jeremiah; 6) though Daniel delivered both himself and the occult practitioners, he did not seek to overthrow the king who issued the order; 7) though the Good Samaritan delivered his injured neighbour to safety, he did not seek down the ones who did the deed so they would not do it again, and, finally, though Paul's nephew delivered Paul when the lad discovered the plot against Paul, he did not seek to kill the evil plotters. Note that with the Good Samaritan, if the Samaritan would have come upon the situation as it was happening, that would be a different story.
Proverbs 24:11 & 12 tell us that the Lord would not have accepted excuses from the above mentioned people if they had refused to do what they could to deliver the innocent, e.g. remember what Esther's uncle told her?
Esther 4:13, 14 Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king's house, more than all the Jews. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
Third, Proverbs 24:11 requires seeking the conversion of those facing everlasting death, James 5:19. How interested are those in evangelism and preaching the gospel who see nothing wrong with killing abortionists? What will change the wicked heart, fear or conversion?
Therefore, Proverbs 24:11 will not support killing someone whom we assume is about to do an evil deed.
Not doing away with the Old Testament law, the Lord gave its proper understanding.
1) the penalty against sin did not change with the coming of Christ: Sin is still sin, and the result of sin is still death. But we find no place in the New Testament where the church nor the Christian was told to execute God's justice in the sense of the Old Testament death penalty against an individual sinner.
Lev 18:1-20 condemn even looking upon the nakedness of a close relative. In the same passage, we find v. 21 And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD.
People get mad enough to go shoot up a murder mill, but they do not get mad enough to quite sacrificing their children to Molech, the State. Is it not quite inconsistent that those who get rightly upset about abortion do not get equally upset about the Baalistic government school system?
2) during the development of the New Testament gospel, abortion and degradations of all kinds were far more common than they are today. But we find no New Testament author calling for nor justifying violence against the wicked. Rather, the New Testament authors called for evangelicalism and conversion of the wicked.
The Lord did not command His disciples to stop His murderers so they would not murder others; rather, He promised to come back Himself and stop them, which He did, Mat 24. The new church did not organize to stop the Pharisees who killed Stephen from killing others. Saul went throughout the land killing Christians, but we have no record of the Spirit telling the new Christians to take steps to stop Saul's efforts to kill all who refused to deny Christ. Were not Saul and the other Pharisees were murderers of the innocent?
Third, what is required New Testament for Christians? Of course, the New Testament response is based in the Old:
Leviticus 20:10-13 And the man that committeth adultery with [another] man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. And the man that lieth with his father's wife hath uncovered his father's nakedness: both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood [shall be] upon them. And if a man lie with his daughter in law, both of them shall surely be put to death: they have wrought confusion; their blood shall be upon them. If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
V. 11 required the death penalty against both if the man and his step-mother lived together as husband and wife. 1 Cor 5 records a man and woman who were openly and clearly violating the Law of God as found in Lev 20:11, and thus clearly under the Old Testament death penalty. But Paul did not command the lawbreakers to be put to death according to the Old Testament; rather, he commanded they be treated as dead people.
Moreover, note this sin that required death under the Old Testament law:
Deu 13:1-5 If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.
The subverter was from among the congregation of the Lord. God's law required death to anyone seeking to subvert the Word of God. The New Testament is much more tolerant: The subverter of God's law-word is to be treated as a dead person from whom to separate:
Rom 16:17, 18 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
Paul did not call for enforcing the Old Testament death penalty against false prophets subverting God's Word. Rather, when identified by their corrupt teachings contrary to sound Biblical doctrine, they are to be marked for a specific reason, i.e. so they can be avoided. Yet there are those who desire to take up arms against the murders of unborn children who clearly violate this passage by allowing those who war against the Inspired Word of God to instruct them and their children.
Clearly, the ministry of justice, enforcing the death penalty against the unGodly, is not given to the New Testament Christian nor to the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Rather, the wicked who will not be instructed by God's Word are to be avoided and treated as dead men. The Christian, acting as an individual, is never permitted to execute God's vengeance against the unGodly.
We are not justifying abortion in any way, shape nor form, nor are we down-playing the evil of murdering little babies. But should we not get highly upset over the fact that Christians pick and chose the portions of God's law they want to obey?
What does the Lord think of modern Christianity that only applies the portions of His Word that justify what it want to do?
Observe: 1) those serving the surrounding false gods are under God's death penalty; 2) those committing adultery and incest are under God's death penalty; 3) those sacrificing their children to the state are under the death penalty; 4) those presenting any way to peace and prosperity other than through genuine, honest, applied Biblical repentance and Christianity are false prophets under God's death penalty, and 5) those corrupting God's Word are under the death penalty. Though individual Christians cannot execute God's wrath against the unGodly, he is clearly commanded to avoid them.
Yes, killing little babies is murder, but in God's eyes, the attacks against the family and the attacks against His inspired Word are just as wicked, if not more so.
Though Hebrews 10:23. tells us that willful sin deserves the death penalty, we are clearly told that God is the only One who has the right to take vengeance when the State refuses to enforce Godly justice.
|A New Name|
Though there are several events in Daniel often used to justify fighting against the "Babylonian system," we seldom, if ever, hear Daniel 1:7 mentioned: the new pagan Babylonian names given to the young Jewish men with no resistance on their part. A few opening remarks are in order:
It is possible that this changing of their names may have been designed to make them forget their country, and their religion, and to lead them more entirely to identify themselves with the people in whose service they were now to be employed, though nothing of this is intimated in the history. Such a change, it is easy to conceive, might do much to make them feel that they were identified with the people among whom they were adopted, and to make them forget the customs and opinions of their own country... In the new names given them, the appellation of some of the idols worshipped in Babylon was incorporated, and this might serve as remembrances of the divinities to whose service it was doubtless the intention to win them... [Speaking of Abed-nego, ed.] The change of names, therefore, was designed to denote a consecration to the service of this idol-god, and the change was eminently adapted to make him to whom it was given forget the true God, to whom, in earlier days, he had been devoted. It was only extraordinary grace which could have kept these youths in the paths of their early training, and in the faithful service of that God to whom they had been early consecrated, amidst the temptations by which they were now surrounded in a foreign land, and the influences which were employed to alienate them from the God of their fathers. (Albert Barns, Barns' Notes, Daniel, I, 1851, reprinted by Baker Book House, Grand Rapids Michigan, pp 103-4)
The prince of the eunuchs changed the names of Daniel and his fellows, partly to show his authority over them and their subjection to him, and partly in token of their being naturalized and made Chaldeans... Thus, though they would not force them from the religion of their fathers to that of their conquerors, yet they did what they could by fair means insensibly to wean them from the former and instil the latter into them. (Matthew Henery, Daniel 1:1-7.)
[Writing on v. 8, Henery says] that Daniel was still firm to his religion. They had changed his name, but they could not change his nature. Whatever they pleased to call him, he still retained the spirit of an Israelite indeed.
This change of names, Calmet properly remarks, was a mark of dominion and authority. It was customary for masters to impose new names upon their slaves... (Adam Clarke, Clarke's Commentary, ND, Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, New York, Vol. IV, pp 563-4.)
The names thus at the outset are significant of the seeming triumph but sure downfall of the heathen powers before Jehovah and his people. (Jamieson, Fausset, Brown, ND, Vol II, Eerdmans Publishing Co, Grand Rapids, Michigan, p 384.)
The clear propose of the name change was to show Babylon's dominion over the Jewish captives and the supposed power of Babylon's false gods. The prince of the eunuchs gave pagan Babylonian names to the four to honor Babylon's gods. Though the four neither refused nor resisted the new pagan names, they neither recognized nor used them. The new pagan names did not change their nature, and the Lord is concerned about one's nature.
We live in a system where the anti-God Babylonian system forces a new name, i.e. number, upon individuals. But receiving the number does not mean one must use nor recognize it. Though the new name certainly encourages one to forsake the God of his fathers by "freely" offering many "benefits" with the name, e.g. welfare, food stamps, medical care, education assurances, &c., it DOES NOT force a change of nature. The modern use of pagan Babylon's new name, e.g. SS#, to obtain any "government benefits" would be like the youths using their new pagan names to obtain their desires and social securities from Babylon. Of course, dependance upon "government benefits" was precisely what Babylon desired: The new names were an attempt to influence them to become pagan Babylonian - Chaldean - in nature.
Thus we will have a difficult time saying that it is clearly sin to take modern Babylon's new name, i.e. numbers, &c., for these young men took Babylon's names. If one remains consistent and says modern Babylon's efforts to enforce new names is worth going to jail over, then he must also say that the four in Daniel should have faced the wrath of pagan Babylon over being named after Babylon's pagan gods. The Babylonian pagan names stuck with them, but the youths never allowed the pagan names to override and replace their Christian names and natures. Read the whole book of Daniel.
The new pagan names did not violate the law of God, or the youths would have refused the names, 6:5. It thus appears that the modern Babylonian name issue is little more than another "rabbit trail" to distract God's people from the truth of the matter, viz. the problem is that those professing Godly knowledge and love refuse to consistently exhibit a Godly, Christian nature, Rom 1:21. They are, hence, pagan Chaldeans at heart. The issue in Daniel was not over the Babylonian name; it was over the Babylonian nature. How many today identify Christianity with resisting Babylon's new pagan name while overlooking completely the problem dealt with in Daniel, i.e. the pagan Babylonian heart? They many times seem to think that refusal to receive a new Chaldean name means that they are not Chaldean at heart, when, in actuality, their outward resistance is simply a cover for their inward Chaldean nature.
The Babylonian system, with its name change in chapters one and two, did not force the four to change religions, nor does Babylon today with its name change. Rather, Babylon allured the youths to itself through lawful means, viz. it did not threaten them with execution for failure to switch religions, but it allured them with supposed "benefits" which only the Lord was to supply. Babylon allured the four boys with the best food it had to offer.
Many of those fighting against a pagan Babylonian name change are unwilling to surrender their pagan Babylonian heart and glorify God as God over every area of life and thought. Their Babylonian nature is anti-God as they refuse to tithe, faithfully attend church, evangelize their communities and take time to generally serve the Lord. In fact, many will find time to learn how resist Babylon's efforts to change their names, but they have little or no time to learn how to apply God's law in Babylon. Standing against a new, pagan Babylonian name will not change the fact of a Babylonian nature.
Daniel shows us that there are times to stand against Babylon to the death, but those times are few and far between, being clearly established by God's law. The areas many might spend vast amounts of resources upon today are not usually areas clearly spoken to by God's Word.
The young men were required to learn the wisdom and language of Babylon, its history, philosophy, mathematics, arts of husbandry, war, navigation, and other such learnings that might serve their generation in captivity. (MH) It was a college education in Babylon's higher learning. But the pagan Babylonian name change did not require a religious change: The young men did not become like the "wise men" of Babylon. They were neither required to learn nor convert to the pagan religion; they were not required to learn the unlawful arts of the magicians, astrologers and sorcerers. Babylon was simply interested in common sense, wisdom and understanding, seeing no threat from the boys' God Whom, they thought, could not protect His nation from captivity. The four kept their individual Christian identity, and were never identified as Babylonian "wise men."
God's people today, though they might have a new, pagan Babylonian name, are not required to stay away from the preaching of the Word, they are not required to keep their TVs nor are they required to keep their children in Babylon's pagan education system.
It is clear, therefore, that issues involving Babylon's new, pagan names are little more than offers designed to at least hinder God's people's learning of and applying of His law-word into society. Refusing to take Babylon's new name would not have influenced the prince of the enunchs nor Nebuchadnezzar for the Lord. But refusing to become Babylonians at heart and defile themselves influenced all Babylon for their God: The king made decrees that honored God, e.g. 3:29. Today, more often than not, folks fight over the new names given by Babylon while they see no problem with defiling themselves. If they would spend as much time developing God's Word as they do developing reasons to fight Babylon's new pagan names, all of Babylon would feel the Godly effects.
Though Daniel was named after a pagan god and identified with the ungodly by his name, he never assumed the pagan Babylonian nature and character his name reflected, 4:8. God's people are required to remain pure in extremely pagan environments regardless of the name or number by which they are called. Note that the queen in 5:11 still called Daniel by his Christian name, Daniel. GOD'S PEOPLE HAVE NO EXCUSE FOR BEING INFLUENCED BY PAGANISM; they have no excuse for being pagan Babylonians at heart. How many battle against Babylon's effort to give new names in order to justify their lack of personal Christian character, their pagan heart?
"But this is a nation `Of the people and by the people...!'" It is time we realize that a silent, peaceful revolution has taken place for the hearts of the American people just as sure as Babylon took Judah. America is no longer the Christian nation at heart as founded over 200 years ago; it is now Babylonian at heart.
Daniel 1:8, the commitment was that they would not defile themselves. Geneva makes a good comment here:
Not that he thought any religion to be in the meat or drink (for afterwards he did eat), but because the king should not entice him by this sweet poison to forget his religion and accustomed sobriety, and that in his meat and drink he might daily remember of what people he was from. And Daniel brings this in to show how God from the beginning assisted him with his Spirit, and at length called him to be a Prophet.
Thus the issue was not what kind of food was involved, i.e. Scripturally clean or unclean, but over whether or not the young men would depend upon the Lord to meet their needs.
Of course, this brings up the issue of the Revelation 13 number. Its basic answer is the date of the book, i.e. before the destruction of Jerusalem. See Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol 1, pp 834-836 for irrefutable reasons for dating before AD 70. Baptist theologian, A.H. Strong writing in 1909, said:
" Elliott's whole scheme [based on his "interpretation of `time and times and half a time' of Dan. 7:25, which according to the year-day theory means 1260 years..." p 1009, ed], however, is vitiated by the fact that he wrongly assumes the book of Revelation to have been written under Domitian (94 or 96), instead of under Nero (67 or 68). His terminus a quo is therefore incorrect, and his interpretation of chapters 5-9 is rendered very precarious. The year 1866, moreover, should have been the time of the end, and so the terminus ad quem seems to be clearly misunderstood--unless indeed the seventy-five supplementary years of Daniel are to be added to 1866. We regard the failure of this most ingenious scheme of Apocalyptic interpretation as a practical demonstration that a clear understanding of the meaning of the Prophecy is, before the event, impossible, and we are confirmed in this view by the utterly untenable nature of the theory of the millennium which is commonly held by so-called Second Adventists, a theory which we now proceed to examine. (Systematic Theology, A.H. Strong, ©1907, published 1912, The Griffith & Rowland Press, Boston, p 1010.)
Hence, the simple fact that the year-day theory failed to materialize on time proves the fallacy of dating Revelation after Jerusalem fell. With the book being written before Jerusalem fell, the anti-Christ of Rev 13 is Nero. But, as Strong, points out, it is impossible to obtain a clear understanding of Prophecy "before the event."
Regardless, we can dogmatically say from the Book of Daniel, upon which the Revelation is based, that the boys took the new names given them by pagan Babylon - but the Babylonian names did not make them pagans.
Should we not be more concerned about the Babylonian nature than about the Babylonian name?
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