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The Separated life of the New Breed of Warriors

Ricci Johnson-Wilson

February 27, 2024 from our February 23, 2024 teaching

                                        

The last time I spoke about the Nature and Character of the Overcomer. Previously I shared The Refuge Place of the New Breed of Believers/Warriors. The week before that was The Weights our Nation Bears and the New Breed of Warriors Coming Forth!

While our time together is limited, the Bible is replete with examples of warriors and overcomers, and each life we look at can help us examine their strengths and weaknesses and then apply those lessons to our own lives as we navigate the days ahead.

These messages are designed to God’s plans for us and/or our nation along with our response to His plans and purposes.

Today, I’d like us to consider Daniel’s life.  Particularly his first couple years in Babylon.

Daniel is said to have descended from the royal family of David; and he appears to have been carried into Babylon when he was very young – approximately 13-15 years old—in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, king of Judah.

In the east, the “Age of Majority” is said to be 13. This is the period at which time the males are bestowed the status of adulthood. However, physiologically, they have discovered that the frontal cortex—the decision-making portion of the brain does not fully develop until a person is approximately 25. This should be taken into account as we consider the choices Daniel makes.

Daniel 1:1-21

In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god. (See also 2 Kings 25:8-10 and the prophesy of Isaiah in Isaiah 39:7)

And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes; children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans. And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king. Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abed-nego.

But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs. 10 And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king. 11 Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12 Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink. 13 Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants. 14 So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days. 15 And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat. 16 Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.

17 As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. 18 Now at the end of the days that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. 19 And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king. 20 And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm. 21 And Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus.

 

As we look through the life of Daniel, we see the progression of his pursuit to maintain a separated life in God. This required a life of holiness from his youth all the way up to his death and as a result, we see how God used this warrior, this intercessor, this mighty prophet, to shape nations and even protect the Jewish people in the midst of their 70-year captivity.

Tiny bit of background:

  • History confirms the Word of God. In approximately 602-606 BC Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem, Jehoiakim King of Judah, along with the vessels of the House of God. 2 Kings 25:9-10. These details are confirmed according to Nebuchadnezzar Cylinders and Daniel is event referred to in both the Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus Cylinders.
  • God warned His people:
    • God warned the people that this event would occur through His prophet Isaiah 105 years earlier when Hezekiah opened his storehouses and welcomed the Babylonians into Jerusalem. Isaiah 39
    • Jeremiah also warned that due to their idolatry and failure to repent and return to God, they would be taken into 70-Year Captivity by the Babylonians. Jeremiah 25 and Jeremiah 29:10.
  • God still had a plan for His people.
    • Once taken captive, Daniel and his three friends were brought into the King’s Court to be trained up in all the wisdom of the Chaldeans, which was at that time superior to the learning of the ancient Egyptians.

Why is this important?

I believe Daniel, as part of the King’s seed, would be aware of this history and the prophesies and that would factor into his life and the decisions he would make moving forward.

Daniel 1:3-7

And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes; children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans. And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king. Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abed-nego.

As I said, these were not men, they were 13-15. Legally adults, but physiologically, they were youths and not yet equipped to make life-altering decisions.  Here they were, mere youth, thrust into the world system where their faith would be tried and tested. Would they enter the will and ways of the world, or would they choose the separated life in God?

Once separated from everything, the Babylonians began the subtle persecution of their faith along with their indoctrination program to separate the Hebrew children from family, faith, and God.

Let’s look at the Babylonian process:

  • Strip them from their land, their home and their place of worship.
  • Strip them of their identity with Jehovah.
  • Daniel which means “God is my Judge” was changed to Belteshazzar “Baal’s Prince”
  • Hananiah which means “Beloved of the Lord” or “The Lord has been gracious to me” was changed to Shadrach “Illumined by Sungod” or “God the author of evil, be propitious to us.”
  • Mishael which means “He who comes from God” was changed to Meshach meaning “He who belongs to the goddess Sheshach” (a celebrated Babylonian deity)
  • Azariah which means “The Lord is my Helper” was changed to Abed-nego meaning “the servant of Nego” a Babylonian divinity.

The effort is clear, separate their identity from Jehovah, the God of the Hebrews and rebrand or identify them with their Babylonian god. How would they respond?

These young, impressionable teenagers were taken from the King’s palace. Daniel himself was said to be from the lineage of King David. They each carried a name representing and honoring Jehovah, the One true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Now, they’ve been rebranded and pulled away from all they knew to be schooled in the way of the Babylonians.

Is this not what the world does? Government funded programs seek to pull children out of the home as early as possible with state-funded indoctrination programs designed with Communist ideology—which extracts God in every possible area. Then they proceed to fill their heads with Secularism and Cultural Marxist ideology designed to destroy their own identity and ultimately, the nation as this rolls out.

Let’s go a bit further, academia and the majority of workplaces today, are strategically designed to make the Christian as uncomfortable as possible about walking out their faith. Have a Bible on your desk this morning? Tomorrow, five people will file a complaint with HR because they feel threatened or offended when seeing your Bible. You may be asked to remove your Bible and/or take sensitivity training where you will be informed of how much your identification with God causes emotional harm to your fellow workers and while you have a right to believe whatever you wish, your particular faith is not really inclusive and as a corporation, which has a firm DEI agreement, the “I” standing for inclusivity, they want all employees to strive for inclusivity. As such, you really should reconsider whether or not you want to maintain your religion at work. Yes, you can try and stand up for your constitutional right to worship God, but the pressure to comply with their request to help secure a “pleasant inclusive workplace” environment will continue and intensify.

What would you do? Would you strive to maintain your identity with God in the workplace or compromise? We really should not be afraid to ask ourselves these questions. It is part of assessing and strengthening ourselves in the Lord.

  • Babylonians Cut off their lineage

The Bible does not specifically state that Daniel and his friends were made eunuchs, and scholars are divided on this issue. However, they were handed over to the “master of the eunuchs Ashpenaz” and left in his charge. In addition, when males were brought to the palace to serve, customarily they were castrated to prevent the royal line from compromise. If this occurred with Daniel and his friends, they were taken from a pubescent state into a physically traumatizing event that would effectively cut off their lineage. Talk about gender dysphoria! They’ve lost their home, their family, and their identity. What do they do?

I don’t have to tell you the trauma and the need of these young men to so anchor themselves in God to survive emotionally and physically the events they’ve just endured.

We see this very thing occurring today through the LGTBQ+ agenda. Our children are in the fight of their life and yet, everything around them is drawing them away from God instead of into a greater knowledge, understanding and relationship with Him. As parents, we need to prepare them.  As intercessors, we need to undergird them.

This is a level of persecution most of us cannot imagine, but it is occurring to our youth today.

Yet, Daniel and his friends, endured—they press in and press on to the high calling of knowing God. We can observe the events of Daniel and see how time and time again their faith in Jehovah was tested, even at the risk of death, and yet God was faithful and continued to intervene!

  • Lure them with the dainties of the world.

Here, after the 900-mile trek to Babylon, they were placed in this beautiful, elaborate palace. Physically traumatized as I just mentioned, but then handed the dainties of the world. Keep in mind, the journey from Jerusalem to Babylon was approximately 4 months long on foot. No trains, plains, or automobiles. Camels likely, but as prisoners, on foot was most certainly their method of travel. These young boys had everything they knew stripped from them and they were rebranded with names to identify them with Babylonian gods. Their home, their families, the King’s Palace and their beloved Temple was left in a pile of rubble behind them along with everything they knew. (2 Kings 25)

When they arrived in Babylon, after the initial trauma, the training began. The Bible tells us they were training to be advisors, councilors, and we learn that they will serve not only the Babylonian kings but they would also serve in the courts of the Medo-Persian empire.

Part of the preparations for those who were going to serve the king included isolation from the general population and luxurious provisions. Dainties that were provided only in the house of kings. It’s likely many of those taken into captivity were placed into the court for this preparation, yet, of all those who were taken captive, only Daniel and his three young friends respectfully requested a diet in keeping with the Biblical mandate. If that could not be provided, they would survive on grains and water.

The Babylonian diet included the finest meats, choicest wines, and tastiest dainties fit for the king himself. However, in keeping with their idolatrous ways, the meats and even the wine would have been first sacrificed and dedicated to any one of their Babylonian gods and Daniel and his friends were aware of this fact. The consequences of failing to partake in these dainties were not simply offending the master of the eunuchs and getting the cold shoulder for a few days, but they were putting their lives on the line with this request.

Why? The Babylonians may have had the most luxurious palaces, the Babylonian gardens (one of the seven wonders of the world) and the finest meals, but they were incredibly brutal with those who resisted them. Jeremiah 29:22 tells us that they literally roasted Zedekiah and Ahab to death. Jeremiah 39 tells us that Nebuchadnezzar captured and then slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes along with the nobles of Judah and then he put out Zedekiah’s eyes so the brutal death of his sons would be his last memory.

I can assure you these young boys knew the evil of this king.

However, they came from a people set apart from the other nations of the world, a chosen people, and their life was ordered by God, not idols, and not worldly ways.

As such, Daniel and his friends had a decision to make. This one decision would set in motion the path they would walk for the rest of their lives. This isn’t about merely wheat or white bread, meat or veggies, sugar or keto, this is about the heart. The decision would determine whether they would order their steps or allow God to order them. Would they separate themselves from the world or give in and compromise? They knew there was no “rescue plan” this was their new life. Would they choose to follow God and live a separated life unto Him?

We know the end of this story, but the truth is, they had to really weigh this decision and seek God for wisdom. We see again and again in the book of Daniel the process of those pivotal decisions and there’s no reason to believe this first time was any different.

It was simple yet incredibly effective:

  • They went to prayer.
  • They praised God for providing His answer.
  • They relayed that response to their superior.
  • The trusted God.

Each time their lives were on the line they followed the same process. Why? Because they knew the God they served. Every time they followed this protocol, He sustained and often advanced them.

Given all that I’ve shared thus far, let’s look at how did these young boys not only survived this process, but came to thrive in the midst of Babylon. Again, this was likely a pattern they continued.

  • They determined in their hearts not to defile themselves even if it cost them their lives.
  • When the enemy tried to strip them of their identify and redefine who they were, they remained steadfast in the image their Jehovah God created
  • They did not allow their environment to dictate their faith and were purposeful in their pursuit of God.
  • They did not allow their physical circumstances to determine their spiritual outcome.
  • In the face of persecution, they remembered they came from God, they were His beloved, He was their helper, and He was their Judge! They knew who and Whose they were and refused to allow the delicacies, the influence, or the persecution to sway them from this revelation.
  • They kept themselves separated from the world, they may have lived in Babylon, but they never allowed Babylon to live in them!

 

As we saw in Daniel’s life, persecution is part of the Separated life. So, how can we handle our own circumstances, especially when persecution is on the rise? How do we live a separated life?

I just want to provide you with a few Scriptures to help you not simply “endure” persecution but see the beauty and outcome of that persecution.

Remember that persecution is part of the walk of faith. Of all the Apostles, only one did not die as a martyr and that was John—and that’s not for lack of trying—ultimately he was banished to the Island of Patmos and assigned to hard labor. 

Jesus Himself told us this would occur:

  • John 15:18-20

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

Remember:

  • The Lord chose us out of the world.
  • The world hated Him. It will hate us too. Quick sidenote—if the world loves us, we really should reevaluate our lives.
  • They persecuted Him, and they will persecute us.

Paul who was persecuted relentlessly for His faith provided us with an understanding to help us see that God works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes:

  • Romans 5:18 

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Here we learn that tribulation isn’t just tribulation. It’s the opportunity for God to do a deep work within us and help us to work out our salvation, mature us, basically grow us up! In addition, we aren’t alone, He is with us.

Paul tells us:

  • Through the inward working of faith, we have the grace we need to stand.
  • He also says we should glory in tribulation; not feel sorry for ourselves.
  • Understand that tribulation works patience.
  • Patience works experience (experience to endure) which builds us up.
  • Experience works hope (hope for the eternal promises).
  • Hope does not make us ashamed (or embarrassed by that persecution).
  • Why? The Love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which gives us the strength, the love and the ability to endure.

 

  • James 1:2-4 (AMPC)

How do we handle this persecution and the trials?

James tells us consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials.  Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace].  And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing.

  • Consider it nothing but joy! I’m going to say something here that might offend people, but we have to stop seeing ourselves as victims. The world wants us to see ourselves as victims. We have an entire generation being raise up under Cultural Marxism to believe there’s always an oppressor and there’s always the oppressed AND chances are, you are the oppressed, you are the victim. That is not what the Word of God tells us! The Bible tells us to count it all joy! That means refuse to allow yourself to fall into that victim mentality. It is a joy and a privilege to undergo persecution for the sake of the Gospel, for the sake of the One Who died for us, and for the sake of the One Who sent His Son to the Cross. It is a privilege to suffer for Him.

This comes with a promise. A bonus if you will.

If we will see ourselves as partakers in the Lord’s suffering, James adds that:

  • We gain endurance through the experiential testing of our faith.
  • That endurance leads us to spiritual maturity and an inner peace unlike anything we can experience otherwise.
  • Endurance will also do a thorough work of perfecting us in Christ.

And isn’t that our ultimate goal? Absolutely! We are called to be separated unto Him, perfected in Him, and truly rise up as the new breed of warriors He can use in the days ahead!!

Blessings & love,

Ricci Johnson-Wilson