Dan. 7:13-14 are monumental words taking center stage in the book of Daniel and our times. The Bible is clear ~ time has a beginning and end. Daniel has a vision of the coming of Jesus Christ in power, in glory, to complete what was begun by God in the beginning. There is an appointed goal of history. The world as we know it will end. Dan. 7:13-14 is a preview of the end. READ.
- “son of man” [Jesus]
- “clouds of heaven” [Second coming of Christ from the heavenly realm],
- “Ancient of Days” [God sitting on the throne of judgment details in Dan. 7:9-11]
- Dan. 7:14 is the pre-eminent place of Jesus, sounds like Phil. 2:9-11 READ.
Remain faithful. The World will not prevail against the Church! Stand firm with Christ and the world will not prevail against you! You are NOT Crazy! Dare to be a Daniel, Dare to stand alone. Consider the way of Daniel and stand firm in the conviction of your faith, knowing where to draw the line. Four young men stand out in the book: Daniel and his friends “Shake-the-Bed, make-the-bed and to-bed-we-go.”…
I am convicted. How can I with good conscience preach a series titled Dare to be a Daniel without addressing some of the great cultural shifts of our day? Recently the Supreme Court made the ruling to extend the definition of marriage to include the right for same sex couples to be married in all 50 states. I have written a statement which reflects my best understanding of the response of this church and me personally, not only what we believe but also the attitude we will strive to live as we go forward:
In Feb. 2014 at the annual church meeting, SACC affirmed the Biblical definition of marriage as between one man and one woman. I recognize many people associated with the church have family members and friends that are gay. I know and expect you will keep loving them ~ we are not asking you to reject them. I believe our values of what defines marriage and your love for your family are not in conflict. We ask respect for what we believe as a congregation and we ask that you hold us as a congregation responsible to show respect for those who disagree. We are wrong if we are harsh in our disagreements, but we do stand on the teaching of the Bible and affirm that traditional marriage and families are God’s design.
Our world is seeking to suppress the voice of Traditional Christianity in the Public Square! How common, even among Christians, to think the answer to get along with our conflicting views of the world, is for “religion” to stay in the private world.
The world seeks to suppress God’s voice the same way King Nebuchadnezzar tried to suppress Daniel and his friends: try to convince us there are better ways than faith in God, teach new values, and change the way we think about ourselves. The world will not prevail. There is hope because Jesus Christ is coming Again.
The world’s solution is to preach we can all get along if we get rid of God in public and emphasize individual rights and equality. Leave God out of the equation. Keep him to yourself. And we’ll be fine. It begins with an invasion. READ Dan. 1:1.
Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians represent the world against God. The year of Dan. 1:1 is 605 BC as the armies of Nebuchadnezzar surround the capital city of Israel. The king of Babylon overwhelmed Jerusalem. The Babylonians removed the Jews from Israel over a period of almost 20 years in two more assaults. Daniel and his friends were taken to Babylon after the first attack. Daniel is separated from everything he has known. The question of the hour: How will they worship God without a temple, without sacrifices, while living among unbelievers?
The world is seeking to make the church irrelevant, out of touch, judgmental, backwards… “Give in…assimilate”…that is the solution so many are imposing…
The World is saying there is a better way than faith. The way of faith is for the weak, but not for the mature and sophisticated! READ Dan. 1:2. Nebuchadnezzar took worship objects made from gold and silver and took them to Babylon, putting them in the temple of the chief god of Babylon, Bel. Taking the worship objects was meant to show Israel’s complete defeat. The message was clear: Our god is greater than your god.
From a worldly point of view it appears God was dead. Crucial questions: Can we trust a God who is defeated? Can you trust God when all the evidence suggests he is dead? Will you be faithful even when your world falls apart?
The World Seeks to teach new Values. READ Daniel 1:3-5. Daniel is away from Israel. As far as we know he never returned. The Babylonian strategy is to educate into the brightest and best of the prisoners new values, new ways of thinking, new priorities... For three years Daniel and friends will be immersed in Babylonian knowledge, culture, history, language, and religion. At the end of that time they will enter the king’s service….this is an attempt at mind control. We would never do that in America would we? you know what distresses me about the new marijuana laws? When we voted, we never had a full public discussion of the darker side, how more people will be foggy brained all day, more drivers on the road, more people won’t be able to pass a drug test to get a job, how it leads to a lack of motivation….we were only given the rosy picture of the worker who wants to smoke a joint to relax on Friday evening after a long week. If marijuana is so positive for society, how come we didn’t have full disclosure from every angle of what it means? It’s mind control. Daniel is to be taught a new language, new up to date modern relevant topics, a new diet, a whole new set of values.
How to assimilate into the world: Separation from the old, marginalize faith, teach new values, and finally, in Babylon they tried to give a new identity to the rising stars from Jerusalem. That’s what the new names are about: READ Daniel 1:6-7.
Let’s suppose Muslim terrorists put me in jail and said, from now on, you will no longer be called Carl, you are now named “He who loves Allah” Crouse. The Babylonians are replacing Hebrew names of Daniel and his friends with Babylonian names. The old names all contain a reference to the one true God: El, Jah, El, Jah those are names of God, and the new names all contain the name of the Babylonian gods: Bel, Aku, Aku, Nebo.
The original names are indications of the roots of faith in the God of the Jews. The new names are meant to take away their past/identity. Nebuchadnezzar didn’t want good Jews working for him, he wanted good Babylonians who happened to have a Jewish background.
The assimilation process of the Babylonians is subtle: The goal was for these young men to think, act and speak like everyone around them. The Babylonians forgot one thing: You can change the outside but you can’t change the heart. Transform the values of the world around me. Try to make Christianity an outdated way of thinking. Try to take God out of the school system, the courtroom, the government. You can even call me “How Who Loves Allah” if you want. But I will stand firm on the word of God and I will remain true to my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The world will not prevail. Faith will not be destroyed.
I passed over a key phrase in Dan. 1:2 that makes all the difference: “And the Lord delivered.” Neb. didn’t “take” Jerusalem. God gave it to him. I’m sure the King thought he was the greatest, just as the world now thinks the way we are headed is Progress! God knows what he is doing yesterday and today. No matter what I say or don’t say, what we believe or don’t believe, how we respond to the cultural shift taking place around us, if we are bold or shy, what our courts and congress decide, who we elect, how we feel ~~ God Has the Final Word.
I’d like to end with a word of encouragement from a young man from Rwanda, a modern Daniel, who was forced by his tribe in 1980 to renounce Christ or face death. He refused to renounce Christ, and was murdered immediately. The night before he had written the following commitment which was found in his room. It is titled, "The Fellowship of the Unashamed." This captures the book of Daniel and the conviction of holding on in Christ:
"I am a part of the fellowship of the Unashamed. I have the Holy Spirit Power. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I won't look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure. I am finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tame visions, mundane talking, chintzy giving, and dwarfed goals.
"I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don't have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by presence, learn by faith, love by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by power.
"My pace is set, my gait is fast, my goal is Heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few, my Guide is reliable, my mission is clear.
I cannot be bought, compromised, deterred, lured away, turned back, diluted, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
"I won't give up, back up, let up, or shut up until I've preached up, prayed up, paid up, stored up, and stayed up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I must go until He returns, give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He comes.
"And when He comes to get His own, He will have no problem recognizing me. My colors will be clear for "I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.." (Romans 1:16)."
God Has the Final Word. Jesus is Coming Again. Hold On!