|Series on Daniel, I Context, B Brainwashing, Text: l:3-7, Title: A Babylonian PhD|
Nebudchadnezzar did not carry Daniel and others off into captivity merely because he was mean and wanted slave labor. He knew that to truly defeat a people he needed to weaken them by exiling the cream of their youth as we read in verses 3 and 4, Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring in some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility—young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. Thus their noblest and most intelligent sons should learn to live and think like Babylonians, and then Nebuchadnezzar would be truly victorious. So the first thing he does is isolate them from their people. separated from the worship and teaching of the true people of God the king supposed that their faith would be extinguished. The state run school system has in it those people who are determined to do the same to your children. In their view they are better qualified to decide what's best for your children than you are. They have them for several hours a day in isolation and in that period those that are so inclined including many at top echelons and people who write the curriculums are determined to make Babylonians of them. To destroy the faith which they are taught in church and home is their goal. We all know this goes on in colleges and universities and has been for many years. What makes us think that those who are the product of such schools of higher education will be any different. Isolation! The first principle of stamping out Christianity. Hitler did it, the communists do it and so do the humanists and socialists in our own country.
We've been talking about schools so let's continue. This you see was Nebudchadnezzar's plan too as we read in verses 4 & 5, He (Ashpenaz) was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service. These youth were taught the language and literature of the Babylonians. By this they would be confronted not .just with embarrassing concepts but with a whole different world and life view. Along with a Babylonian diet they would get a Babylonian Phd. Nebudchadnezzar was not the last one to see the value of infiltrating colleges and universities to capture the minds of the coming generations. Now we Christians should be very concerned about education because it involves the fundamental purpose of life, to know God. It is necessary to the mandate God has given to rule over creation. But being educated does not lead one to the truth unless the educational process has the right presuppositions to start with because the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Nebuchadnezzar's system did not have the correct presuppositions, and neither does our state supported system, nor do thousands of our colleges and universities. Therefore what we get is educated depravity, Babylonian PhDs. This is the second principle of stamping out Christianity.
Verses 6 and 7 reveal to us the initiation, Among these were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego. As often in initiation people are given a new identity or new name so here Nebudchadnezzar says you don't want these Hebrew names anymore because you're Babylonians now. And so he had the chief eunuch give them new names. In our experience what corresponds to this? Simply how we want to be known in the world. It is how we think of making a name for ourselves, how we really want to be recognized or identified. What is our self image? Is it determined by God's Word and God's love to us, or is it dictated by the world? Only in seeing ourselves as the true children of God can we triumph over this deception.
You can see how in the world today the devil is doing the same thing to Christians that he did to Daniel and his associates through Nebuchadnezzar He tries to confuse our identity, to compromise our lifestyle, to color our thinking, and to counteract our contact with the Lord's people and with his Word. For the answer God gives through Daniel tune in to the next message, but for today let me conclude with the words of Hebrews 12:2-3. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus,the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down on the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Our endurance in the midst of these awful temptations cannot be assured apart from Jesus’ endurance. He endured to the cross that we might be forgiven and he endured the opposition that we might look and learn that the solid joys and lasting treasures which none but Zion's children know do not come easily. What's easy is to become a Babylonian.