Recently I have been considering the book of Daniel and how there are great similarities in the life of Daniel to the life of Joseph but also great relevance for every Christian reading this book in our time.
The first chapter of Daniel helps us see some very key points about the time of the exile of Israel to Babylon. God gave Israel into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, who was determined to bring about a society that was integrated in all matters, including education and worship.
Nebuchadnezzar stamped his authority by taking away the Hebrew names of the young Israelite men taken to Babylon and replacing them with names associated with his own false gods. He also took important items from the temple and placed them in the house of his own gods.
The response from Daniel comes in the way he reacts to the dietary requirements given for the young men in Babylon. Instead of eating that which would defile him as a Hebrew worshiping the one true God, Daniel, by faith, requests a test through which God graciously provides a way for him to continue walking in holiness.
Everything in the first chapter of Daniel reminds us that Daniel and the other young Hebrew men with him were taken into exile in an evil land. We are reminded that this land took the holy things of God and made them into detestable things, put in detestable places. Daniel is living in a land not his own and is living under the oppression of an anti-God government oppressing the faithful with anti-God policies.
Whenever I read Daniel, I think of the world in which we currently live. I also think of our times when I read the letters of Peter and James, who wrote to Christians who were in the dispersion. They wrote to the faithful who were dispersed among the different parts of the world, living in a land not their own. We are constantly reminded in Scripture that we are to live “in the world but not of the world.” In fact, with the increasing influence of Bible-doubting belief systems such as evolution and millions of years, the world is becoming more and more antagonistic toward Bible-believing Christians and the gospel of Jesus Christ. Yet, just as we are shown in the lives of people like Daniel and Joseph in Scripture, God is sovereign and our true security is in Him. No matter how much hatred toward God and His Word increases, we can constantly be reminded that nothing, including death, can separate us from His love in Jesus Christ (Romans 8:38–39).
What does all this mean for the worldwide ministry of Answers in Genesis? Well, simply this: here in the USA and all over the world there are people living under the worldly oppression of anti-God regimes. Christians need to be strengthened in their faith to know and defend the truth of God’s authoritative Word and to have a firm foundation to live with full conviction in the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Persecution for standing on the authority of the Word of God and pointing people to Jesus Christ is likely to become more pronounced, and the call for God’s people to remain faithful has never been more important. There is no more important time than now in which we must give real answers to the attacks on the credibility of God’s Word for a lost world and point them toward Jesus Christ. The true home for every Christian is not the dirt on which we now live but it is in the kingdom of Christ.
Just like the people in the time of Daniel, Christians are living in exile awaiting the day when we will be taken home. Just like the education systems of the Babylonian empire that Daniel was forced to learn in, the philosophies of our time are being taught to our children in the secular education facilities in state-run institutions in every country. They are designed to rob our children of their knowledge of their true home in Christ’s kingdom. Parents need to think very seriously about the education options for their children and work tirelessly to ensure the next generation understands a true Christian worldview.
The importance for parents to teach their children the truth of Scripture from the very first verses in Genesis is exponentially increasing. The faithfulness of the next generation will depend upon their ability to see through the godlessness of the philosophies of the world we live in, just like Daniel did. The church needs to see through the secular philosophies of our time and stand strong on the authority of God’s Word and the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The worldwide ministry of Answers in Genesis in its support role to the local church has never been needed more than now. God’s Word is true and His gospel is the only way of salvation in a world that openly and aggressively rejects Him. The last verse of Daniel 1 reminds us that Daniel lived through the reign of oppressive Kings. Ultimately, God will continue to bring His witness until the day Christ returns. It is God who is sovereign, not any single or cumulative power on this earth or any principality or power in the spiritual realm. Christ is King.
Steve Ham, Senior Director,