Babylon is Back!
By Pastor Hal Mayer
Dear Friends, thank you for joining us. This month I am very pleased to bring you an important message on the educational system of ancient Babylon. The Bible is full of living counsel which helps us understand our times. For instance, if we are watching, we can see the principles of ancient Babylon, played out in modern Babylon.
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Let us begin today by reading a passage from Jeremiah, chapter 5:15. God doesn’t do anything important to His church without revealing it through His prophets in ample time so that His people can repent and prepare. God was pleading with Israel to turn from their idolatry and backsliding and return to God. It was God’s last call. Here is what Jeremiah said under the Pen of Inspiration in chapter 5:15. “Lo, I will bring a nation upon you from afar, O house of Israel, saith the Lord: it is a mighty nation, it is an ancient nation, a nation whose language thou knowest not, neither understandest what they say.”
Jeremiah was writing for his own time and the time of Israel before their Babylonian captivity. But did you know that Jeremiah also wrote these things more for our time than his own. Listen to this interesting statement from God’s last day messenger in the Signs of the Times, January 13, 1898 “The prophets of God spoke less for their own time than for the ages to come, and especially for the generation that would live amid the last scenes of this earth’s history.” The apostle Peter wrote of the prophets in 1 Peter 1:12; “Not unto themselves but unto us they did minister…”
The message of Jeremiah is particularly relevant to those living in the very last days. Spiritual Babylon is rising. But most people don’t want to hear of it. Leaders and people continue to follow after their own gods; god’s of materialism, entertainment, popularity, fashion, etc. Israel’s gods in the time of Jeremiah have their parallel today. And God’s message is the same today. Repent and return He says. Through Ezekiel he said: “turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?”
Friends, the same message is for us. Spiritual Babylon will arise and oppress God’s church. How much easier it would be if God’s people were faithful to Him, if they followed His counsel in their schools, hospitals, publishing houses, churches and families.’
Under wicked kings, Israel and Judah rebelled against the plain counsel of the Lord and God sent them into captivity to Babylon. This has its parallel in the end times too, my friends. God is about to bring a great crisis upon the church. It will be a crisis that shakes everything and everyone to the foundations. Spiritual Babylon’s power will be mighty. She will oppress God’s people spiritually and physically. They will pass through the tribulation, but if they have prepared, they will be spared by God’s protection, “as a man spareth his own son.” Malachi 3:17.
We have this very interesting statement in the book Great Controversy, page 625. “Only those who have been diligent students of the Scriptures and who have received the love of the truth will be shielded from the powerful delusion that takes the world captive.” I think it is important to understand this word “shielded.” You actually have to be protected by God. It is not a matter of merely knowing the scriptures. It is not merely an intellectual knowledge the truth that will protect you. You must love Jesus who is the truth, with all your heart. Through His grace and power you must love and obey His law, which is the transcript of His character. Then you will be shielded by divine power in the coming confusion and chaos. Otherwise, you cannot survive spiritually.
In ancient Babylon, God had Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, children of nobility, princes of the royal family. They were actually relatives of the wicked kings Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, and Zedekiah. These men purposed in their hearts, we are told in Daniel 1:8 that they would allow nothing to defile their bodies or their souls. God worked miracles for them so they could honor Him. Similarly today, there are those who are determined in their hearts to be faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ and choose to follow Him all the way in their daily lives. He will work miracles for and through them too.
The book of Daniel is a book written for those living in the last days and is of great spiritual importance to us. It contains principles as well as prophecies. The principles of education revealed in the book of Daniel are given to help us survive the last days and withstand the enormous pressure that will be applied on God’s people. If we ignore these principles we do so to our own destruction.
When Daniel and his friends, along with many other youth, were snatched from the shelter of their homes and taken to Babylon, they were put under the charge of Ashpenaz, master of the eunuchs. Now, in this crisis, the results of their spiritual training at home were revealed. There can be no doubt that the lifestyle and personal habits of Daniel and this three friends, such as pure food, clean thoughts and physical exercise gave the Babylonians reason to put them on the list of “Children in whom is no blemish, but well-favored” (that is; physically sound and well built).
But their good looks and bodily health was not enough. Apparently, there was some preliminary testing that took place to see which of the young men had the ability to learn the language and so-called “wisdom” of Babylon and then offer wise counsel to the king. Whatever training Daniel and his three friends had in Jerusalem, it trained them enough to be given entrance into the schools in Babylon. Ashpenaz had to find out which of these young people were “skillful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science,” it says in chapter 1:4. In other words, these chosen ones must have skill in discerning what is valuable knowledge and an ability to acquire it. They were also to be cunning in applying the knowledge they learned, and understanding in how to classify and systematize it. Ashpenaz was impressed in the preliminary tests with their intellectual ability, and he ranked them with the best young people who would have “had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace.”
At this point let me say a word about wisdom. There is a distinction between human knowledge and wisdom, and that which is gained from an experience with God. You cannot have this deeper knowledge without a walk with God every day. You can only have this when you earnestly plead with God for it, and then cooperate with God in your lifestyle so that He can pour His holiness into your soul. He makes you wise unto salvation, and you become wiser than you could be otherwise in earthly and spiritual matters. You know, by the still small voice, when to speak and what to say, and also when to be silent. But your heart must be trained to hear and understand God’s voice, otherwise how can He prompt you to do the right thing when you are brought into an emergency?
Babylon was the educational center of the world at that time. They had prestigious schools. Every great town had its library of clay tablets connected to the temple that was open to the public which indicates, apparently, that the people were educated to read and write. King Nebuchadnezzar was highly educated and placed a high value on its attainment. We know this from Daniel chapter 1:4. In fact, in this one verse of scripture we learn Nebuchadnezzar’s views of education. Babylon was far in advance of the system that prevails today, even in the leading and most prestigious universities of the world.
The schools of Babylon in all their vaunted academics, however, developed pride, love of pleasure and arrogance. It tended to train the upper class to oppress the lower classes, and many eked out an existence little better than slaves. Worse yet, the Babylonian schools mixed paganism, sorcery and superstition with the educational curriculum, and this would train Daniel and his friends against the principle of holiness unto the Lord. It would corrupt them and educate them to think and act like the Chaldeans. This they could not afford to allow. They had to be protected from this and their minds had to be at their peak efficiency to discern the truth from the error. They had cultivated simplicity, courtesy, gentleness, and self-sacrifice. They were men of prayer and they pled with God to protect them from corruption. They knew how much the wisdom of God far exceeded the wisdom of Babylon, so they purposed in their hearts not to defile themselves with anything that would degrade their sensibility to God’s voice. They had to purpose in their hearts to obey God at every turn. They had to train themselves to hear His voice amid all the din and confusion of other voices around them.
The first test of their character, however, was after they had been tested in their general knowledge, wisdom and skill and had been chosen to be part of the Babylonian training. The king intended to bestow honor on the youth brought to Babylon and he wanted them to have the best physical and mental development that could be attained so that they would be the best they could be in the royal palace. Therefore, he appointed what he thought would be best for them, the very things which he ate and drank. But this would train them to be self-indulgent and develop a taste for rich and harmful foods.
Furthermore, Daniel and his friends knew that they could not eat this food or drink this wine, because in doing so, they would be acknowledging the gods of Babylon and send a wrong testimony of their faith to the Babylonians. But the greatest fear was that they would compromise their sensibilities and no longer be able to hear the voice of God. The other Hebrews thought differently. They saw that their lives would be in danger if they rejected the kindness and benevolence of the King. They feared to insult him. So instead they chose to insult Jehovah and ate the king’s food.
Friends, God asks us in these last days to give up all things which will in any way check the flow of the Holy Spirit through our minds. Those living in the last days must have a mature faith. This means that they must have a mature lifestyle. This is the reason for careful obedience to the laws of health and temperance. Indulgence of appetite was the way Satan successfully tempted our first parents in the Garden of Eden to sin, and it is the way in which he will entrap many otherwise good people in the last days. God will also test His people just as He tested Daniel and his companions. A voluntary self-control of appetite lies at the foundation of every reform. You must get control of your appetite by the grace of God, if you want to be eternally saved, not because what you eat will save you, but because the indulgence of appetite leads to sin.
It means very much to be true to God. It is an experience that few appreciate. But if you do learn how to have it, you will be an instrument in the hands of God to do a powerful and mighty work – particularly under the power of the latter rain.
Daniel approached the two officers of the court and courteously asked if they could eat only pulse and water. Pulse was vegetables and fruits. Their request for a 10 day trial was granted after some hesitation. Then the privilege of eating simple food was extended throughout their training. God blessed them and made them prosper in Babylon, even in Babylon’s worldly training environment.
Let us try to understand the thinking of the Babylonians and their goals for the nations that they conquered. It was the purpose of King Nebuchadnezzar to make one huge harmonious empire. This meant that he not only had to defeat the nations in battle and subject them to Babylonian control, but he also had to globalize the politics of all the nations he conquered. He wanted to get everyone thinking and acting in uniform ways. He was an ancient social engineer. He did three things. First, he established an imperial system of political order that included an intricate array of officials including “the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counselors, the sheriffs.” They are all listed in Chapter 3:2, 3. Many of these officials were these young leaders that Babylon had trained for service to the king.
Secondly, King Nebuchadnezzar had to globalize the economy so that everything followed the new world order that he had established. That is one of the reasons why the treasurers were all called to the worship of the great image in Chapter 3. Notice that in this way the economy was directly connected to their religion.
Thirdly and ultimately, it was Nebuchadnezzar’s purpose to bring about a global or empire-wide religion, a “religious nationalism.” This religion, like so many other pagan religions, was rooted in the worship of the sun. The religions of other nations had to be ecumenically harmonized with Babylon’s religion. And once that was accomplished, everyone could worship at the same shrine, or in the same way. Many of these religions were not that far removed from Babylon’s religion. They worshipped the sun god. They had similar rites, rituals, feasts and festivals. They were relatively easy to integrate. But the Jews were a different story. Their religion was so different that it was a much more challenging task. Perhaps the greatest distinction was the Sabbath.
Let me point out that this is paralleled in modern Babylon. The conquest today is not with arms, missiles, tanks and bombers. It is with craft, manipulation, policy and politics on a global scale. The papacy is encouraging and assisting world political leaders in establishing a modern empire under the Babylonian principles of worship that are essentially the same as ancient Babylon, including political, economic and religious globalism. It involves the worship of the sun god, as represented in the symbols of Roman Catholicism and in the methods of worship used in her churches, and in particular, Sunday worship.
Modern social engineers such as world elites and globalists, like their ancient counterparts, want to establish a world government or another world empire that will once again assimilate all nations, kindreds, tongues and peoples into one common principle of worship. They want one world government, one world economy, and one world religion. And the papacy is skillfully positioning herself to manage the new empire at least from behind the scenes. That is what scripture tells us there in Revelation 13 & 18. There is arising a new “religious nationalism.” And those who don’t go along with this new global agenda will be considered to be disloyal citizens. More importantly, those that don’t go along with the universal Sunday laws will find themselves in prison, in torture chambers and under other forms of persecution. For Rome is preparing, we are told, to revive her former persecutions in the secret recesses of her massive institutions. That’s from the book Great Controversy, page 581.
Perhaps the best example of this assimilation in relation to modern Babylon is the ecumenical movement. The idea behind the ecumenical movement is essentially a “religious nationalism.” Rome is attempting to draw all the churches together in ecumenical activities and dialog so that she can neuter their distinctive voice and remove any opposition to her teachings and practices. Many of them are not that far removed from Romanism. After all, they mostly all observe Sunday, the sign of Rome’s authority. She wants them all to be saying the same things and thinking the same way. Once they are all speaking and thinking in uniformity, there are then no distinctive teachings that create any division between the churches, they can then become instruments of the “religious nationalism” to promote and even help enforce the observance of religious rites that will by law be imposed upon the nations. A world empire with a world religion will then become possible. Gradually, step by step this is successfully being brought into place. Once everyone is on the same principle, the Holy See will have sway with the nations and succeed in requiring all to worship in the same way.
Another example of the idea of “religious nationalism” of modern Babylon is the statements of Pope Benedict in September of 2007 calling on the nation of Austria to cherish its Christian heritage. To the diplomatic corp. he said: “Much of what Austria is and possesses, it owes to the Christian faith… An Austria without a vibrant Christian faith would no longer be Austria.” During his homily at Mass while visiting the shrine at Mariazell he added the one element upon which Rome intends to unite all the nations, and which is the key ingredient of Babylon’s “religious nationalism,” Sunday observance. “Give the soul its Sunday, give Sunday its soul,” he said.
It should be pointed out that this idea of “religious nationalism” which has as its goal a conformity or uniformity of culture and religion is a global concept, not linked to any particular nation, except the Vatican or the Holy See. It is transnational. In other words, it bypasses national or geographical borders and is linked, not to one’s own country, but to the Holy See. Moreover, it educates the student to be a “servant of god,” or a “servant of the gods.” “Religious nationalism” turns ordinary people into defenders of the faith. As “servants of the gods” they do the bidding of the common religious authority. This was the goal of the educational plan of both ancient and modern Babylon.
Ancient Babylon accomplished this by importing international students to study in Babylon and then used them to promote and develop the Babylonian culture and education among their own people. They chose the nobility. After all, once educated in Babylonian ways and means, they would have more credibility with their own people, and perhaps would be more effective in neutralizing their own nationalism and replacing it with Babylonian nationalism. Moreover, some of them at least would be in a position to help the king work through any issues that might arise related to the integration of the Hebrews into Babylonian culture and religion.
This is clear from the scripture itself. Daniel 1:3 & 4 tell us that they needed to have the ability “to stand in the king’s palace.”
To stand before the king in ancient Babylon would be a great privilege. Yet these students were to be servants of a religious nationalism that worked to absorb God’s people into Babylonian philosophy and culture. To Daniel and his three friends, this would be a literal impossibility; but to the other Hebrews, it was a “necessity.” These Hebrews were offered privilege and honor in exchange for loyalty. They would be educated in all areas of Babylonian life and culture, science and logic as well as the mysteries of the Babylonian religion. And they were expected to obey.
Note the following statement about those living at the time when the Sunday movement becomes bold against commandment keepers. It is from Great Controversy, page 607. Note what is offered to some.
“As the movement for Sunday enforcement becomes more bold and decided, the law will be invoked against commandment keepers. They will be threatened with fines and imprisonment, and some will be offered positions of influence, and other rewards and advantages, as inducements to renounce their faith.”
Did you hear that? History repeats itself. Like the Hebrew children, they will be “offered positions of influence, and other rewards and advantages, as inducements to renounce their faith.” In other words, some will be bribed. In exchange for their loyalty and support for the Sunday law movement, they will be offered positions of influence so that they can be used to sway others.
I’ll read on: “But their steadfast answer is: ‘Show us from the word of God our error…’” I like that! God will have a faithful people who will not conform to the ecumenical “religious nationalism” that wants to bring them all into conformity to the Holy See.
The intentions of this “religious nationalism” became more clear in ancient Babylon over the years, both on the Plain of Dura before the great image, and at the time of Darius, when Daniel was threatened with death by lions. God made it clear Who was in charge by protecting these men from execution. Now in modern Babylon the same principle is unfolding. There is a steady, and sometimes stealthy attempt to legally restore the ancient religion of Babylon involving Sunday worship. Again, there will be an attempt to educate God’s people in the ecumenical way. You can see it happening in many parts of God’s church today. Yet there will be those who will refuse to go along with it, though sadly many will accept this uniformity to avoid the disadvantages.
There is yet another idea in this principle of “religious nationalism.” Ancient Babylon, as an empire, was concerned about all the nations, tongues and peoples under its rule. Babylonian education, culture and religion was for the common good, for all people, and therefore needed to be brought to them, if not by persuasion, then by force.
Modern Babylon by comparison has the same idea. The “brotherhood of humanity” is in a struggle against the evil in the world. The best and only solution, according to the Papacy, is to homogenize or conform all people of all races and all nations to one system of understanding. This would prevent wars, conflicts and schisms and promote the common good united under one god, the Pope of Rome.
In this idea is contained the principle of wealth re-distribution for the benefit of the poor. The idea of the “common good” is that all members of society work together for the benefit of all. It is a socialistic concept that requires a centralized global authority to control the politics, economics and religion of the empire according to moral principles guided by the religious authority, just as in ancient Babylon. In this system, each individual helps all, and the collective society helps the individual. While there is some good in this principle, there is a dark side. In an evil world, the empire is controlled by a few elite men who are determined to conform everyone to certain principles that defy the law of God. This is where the problem was for Daniel and his three friends. And this is the problem for God’s people in the last days.
Today modern Babylon is again advocating a global authority to guide the economies and politics of the world according to moral principles, principles which the Holy See is positioning herself to define as the moral authority of the world. She works with the “merchants of the earth” such as the central bankers and the “kings of the earth,” or the rulers, to engage them in the process of restructuring the global economy. The Holy See works with the nations to promote a globalism that enhances her position as the spiritual mother of all.
Babylonian education required that individuality be trained away from independent expression in exchange for the common expression with all the rest of society. Hebrew education was exactly the opposite because it trained the individual to exercise his independence and individuality. Without this independence the Hebrew system would not flourish. God’s plan was to educate His people to think for themselves, reason from cause to effect, and develop a love and loyalty to God that prevented apostasy both on an individual basis and on a church-wide basis. The human tendency to conform was always at odds with the principle of a divinely guided individuality.
Modern Babylon attempts to do the same as ancient Babylon by training the individual to think like everyone else and conform to social “norms” that limit or even prevent certain types of individual expression. If you do not conform to these demands, you are ostracized, unrecognized and unacknowledged.
The training of Babylon was rather elaborate. It involved many disciplines, from sciences, math, languages, political science, history, law, military strategy, to public affairs and religion or theology. But it also involved training in observation, judgment, prudence and discernment. It also taught its students how to think in the Babylonian way. It was considered that three years would be sufficient time to acquire these skills if the candidates had sufficient aptitude. They also had to learn the difficult and complex Chaldean and Aramaic languages. This was foundational to all other studies. Their training likely involved mental exercises like solving puzzles or riddles, etc. During their specialized education, the trainees covered a lot of ground and applied themselves diligently and mastered it. Moreover, they learned to articulately transmit that knowledge to others.
Also, Babylonian astronomers had reached a very high degree of development. They could, for instance, predict both lunar and solar eclipses by computation. Their mathematical skills were also highly developed. They used formulas that were as advanced as the Greek mathematicians. Moreover, the Babylonians were good architects and builders, as witnessed by the famed hanging gardens and beautiful building designs discovered by archeologists. They were reasonably good physicians, having discovered by research and repeated demonstration, the cures for many diseases. These things were part of their educational system, for why would these things be developed without imparting them to the succeeding generations.
These are, no doubt, the branches of learning that Daniel and his friends and the other captives learned in the school of Nebuchadnezzar. And it was no doubt in these branches of learning in which Daniel and his friends exceeded the Babylonians. Magic, sorcery, astrology and their related superstitions were very inexact matters and involved guesswork and supposition. Worse, their connection to the false religion of Babylon made them all the more odious to the faithful Hebrews. But the impressive mind of Daniel, standing before the king, no doubt made Nebuchadnezzar admire him greatly, greatly enough to place him and his companions in his cabinet of advisors, and eventually to oversee the vast number of Chaldeans in the realm.
No doubt Babylon provided these young men with educational books and good teachers who used the best known methods of teaching. But three years may seem too short to qualify these men for service to the king when they were starting from the very beginning to learn the language, plus all the information and knowledge and wisdom to be 10 times greater in understanding than all the magicians and astrologers in the realm. Humanly speaking, this would be impossible. But it is quite a testimony to the power of God. No doubt He gave them special grace and a special portion of His Holy Spirit to guide them and help them learn quickly, taking the key ideas and issues and applying them diligently. He gave them fantastic memories, and huge capacity for acquiring, sorting, synthesizing and applying the knowledge they gained.
These men were consecrated. No doubt they could see the differences between the education of Babylon and the education they had found in God’s word while at home with their mothers. They could see clearly that there was a wide gap between the superstition of pagan teachings and philosophy and their own.
Likewise today, there is a wide gap between the kind of education that God has ordained for His church and their institutions of learning and the learning in the schools of the world. For Christian schools to teach evolution, for instance, would be inappropriate. Yet it actually happens. For children from protestant homes to attend a Jesuit college or university would be most inconsistent with the teachings of God’s word. It would be absolutely foolhardy to voluntarily place oneself in the hands of modern Babylon for training.
Among the first things that the prince of the eunuchs did was to give these young men new Babylonian names. This signified a change in character. The fact that it was one of the first things also signifies its importance to the Babylon system of training. Their names reflected the qualities or benefits of worshipping the gods of Babylon. Since religious integration into Babylon’s mysteries was the ultimate goal of the Babylonians in their dealings with other nations, particularly the Hebrews, it was vital that they have Babylonian names, and Babylonian names that reflect their gods. As they hear their names repeated in various places and settings, they would subtly become submerged into the religious thinking and feelings of the Babylonian system of religion. If these young men were going to stand as advisors to the king, and help the king to integrate the Hebrew population into the Babylonian religion, these men would need to have a full complement of credentials and skills that would make them most useful to the king. Their minds would have to be absorbed in the Babylonian way of thinking so that they could represent the king before their own people, and so that they could help the government navigate through any difficulties that resulted from the religious thinking and mentality of the Hebrew people.
The issue will be the same at the end of time. Though we do not place so much emphasis on the character in choosing the names of our children today, modern Babylon’s purpose is still to change the character into its own likeness. Those who are preserved and who arrive at the new Jerusalem will maintain their spiritual independence and autonomy from the modern Babylonian system. They will not be swallowed up in the false worship that the Vatican will impose on the whole world. They will continue to obey God’s command to keep the Sabbath of the Lord regardless of the consequences or punishments brought upon them.
Remember, Nebuchadnezzar’s idea was to merge the religions of the nations, including the Hebrew faith into the Babylon system of worship, by force if necessary. But the king had not reckoned that there would be those in his employ that would resist this to the death. He expected that all the young men would be grateful for the privileges and honors they would be given and would therefore be willing to support the king’s agenda.
Young people from other nations were also in Babylon. They were to do the same thing. But their religious background and their mentality was not so foreign to the Babylonian way. After all, they were already heathens, and just needed some adjustments. But the Hebrews were quite distinct, and they would need special attention. So the Bible records for us that the finest Hebrew youth were chosen to take up that task of being retrained, or reframed into good Babylonians. Today this is much like sending Christian teachers to worldly institutions of learning, or universities of the fallen churches of Babylon, where they unlearn whatever they knew or thought they knew of the message of God for the last days, and they become infiltrated with false educational ideas. They then come to teach in God’s schools and bring their false ideas into the classroom and teach them to their students, thus spreading them for many years to come. Eventually they can, through this process, change God’s church from one that is loyal to God to one that conforms to the ecumenical principles of Rome.
These false ideas that are brought back to God’s institutions of learning vary depending on the person, but could certainly include evolutionary theories, false ideas about salvation, such as the unfallen nature of Christ, or the idea that you cannot have victory over your sins through the grace of Christ, that there is no sanctuary in heaven, or the concept that all we need is love and unity. These false ideas strike at the very heart of the distinctive message God has ordained to be given in the last days.
Satan’s plan was to get these Hebrew young men to compromise so that they would be unable to stand firm to principle and be unable to maintain the distinctives of the Hebrew faith in heathen Babylon. The tragedy is that many of the Hebrews were quite willing to integrate into the Babylonian ecumenical spirit. They had been trained to use situational ethics as their reasoning. Situational ethics is that process where a person can justify whatever they want to do, no matter how it violates the counsel of God, on the basis that the circumstances require it and that God will understand, or overlook it and forgive you.
Today there are many that preach and teach these same principles. They excuse the people from obeying the writings of the apostles and prophets because they supposedly wrote in the “context of their own times,” and not for us in every detail, only in general principles. They teach that the fourth commandment, the Sabbath commandment does not need to be kept anymore. All this makes religion easy.
The education of Daniel and his three friends in Babylon was mixed with sorcery and superstition. While the Hebrew youth would study the exact sciences and other legitimate learning, they kept themselves aloof of the heathen elements. It would have no doubt been difficult to preserve their faith in that heathen land with enormous pressure on them to conform to the customs and manners of the Chaldeans. We are not told how they avoided the common conflicts, but we do know that they held fast to their Hebrew faith.
Today we have a similar problem. The education of modern Babylon has similar characteristics. Again, there is the mixture of exact sciences with superstition and speculation. For instance, modern science involves the evolutionary process which is as speculative as anything can be. The Catholic Church has its own version of evolution. It is called deistic evolution, which is not all that far removed from the evolutionary ideas of secular scientists. The teachings of Rome also involve superstitions and heathen practices, such as praying for the dead. While in a different form, they are essentially the same in principle.
The educational system of the Babylonians was built on a principle of spiritualism, particularly spiritualism that predicts the future. The Babylonians were involved in divining the future by comparing the livers of dead beasts with clay model livers, or by watching how arrows fall, or by the pattern of oil spreading as it is poured on water. These magicians, astrologers, and other diviners also interpreted dreams through incantation formulas and by asking advice of the spirits of the dead. They were very interested in the future, and sought guidance from the spirits so they could navigate the future successfully. Their educational system was deeply imbedded with these principles. While Daniel and his friends avoided this sort of non-sense, they were nevertheless surrounded by it, and learned very quickly of the interest that the Babylonians had in prognostications of the future.
This placed these men, and particularly Daniel, in a position to see the need of a true understanding of the God who reveals all necessary secrets through his prophets. God,meanwhile, was setting Daniel in place to be His prophet in Babylon. He placed Daniel close to the principles of spiritualism, so that he could learn how the Chaldeans thought and how to talk to them and help them understand the true God. Moreover, Daniel was destined to rule over these Chaldeans, and would have a need to understand their mentality.
Human beings naturally want to know the future. Since they cannot see beyond the present, they need prophecy to enlighten and guide them. And because God created man with this desire or need, He also provided prophecy in the word of God so that he can understand what is coming. That is one of the reasons why prophecy is in every book of the Bible.
Satan also has his way of dealing with this innate desire to know the future. Many are led to the wrong places for a knowledge of the future. And they will pay good money for the information. There are abundant false prophets and abundant false interpretations of prophecy. If they would just diligently study their Bibles, God’s people would have a knowledge that surpasses the mixture of false ideas that abound in our day. If we purpose in our hearts to live the way Daniel lived, we would be able to discern the subtle mixture of truth and error in most systems of philosophy.
Modern Babylon, my friends, is much the same today. Spiritualism is one of the key principles developed in the last days. Modern spiritualism is presented in a very attractive form. Many people, for instance, believe that the spirits of their dead relatives are hovering over them, or that they can feel their presence in the room with them. Moreover, many more are simply placated by spiritual leaders, priests and pastors who tell them that everyone is going to be saved and that they don’t need to worry themselves about the future. Or they are told that so long as they are baptized in the church, they will be saved.
Notice that when they were tested by the king, he found these four men “ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.” This tells us that apparently Nebuchadnezzar’s expectation was that eventually, as these men got more experience in the Babylonian ways, they would be involved in the speculative and superstitious knowledge of Babylonian spiritualism and the divining of the future, and guide him through difficult passages in his leadership as king. But Daniel had something infinitely better. He could offer the king a knowledge of the future rooted in the infallible and unchangeable word of God. As God’s prophet, he could guide the king concerning the future with certainty, quite unlike those Chaldean diviners.
Perhaps we can learn from the story why Daniel and his friends survived. First, they had educated themselves to have a firm resolution to remain true to God. “Daniel purposed in his heart…” (Dan 1:8). This was more than a mere passive desire. They actively willed to do the right and shun the wrong. Victory was only possible by the right action of the will. Second, their dependence on God brought upon them the power of Jehovah. In Chapter 2:28 Daniel said to the king, “But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets…” These Hebrews knew that they had to work diligently and that human effort was necessary. Yet they knew that it would be worthless if they did not rely on God for power. Third, they refused to blunt their spiritual and moral powers by indulgence in appetite in even one single instance. This was vital to their success. Fourth, they maintained a consistent prayer life. Victory cannot come in life without constant prayer for wisdom to navigate the difficulties and temptations.
Little did Nebuchadnezzar realize who was standing before him during the final exam. Here was a representative of the God of heaven, the God he did not know, the God whose will he was unknowingly fulfilling. Daniel and his friends excelled in Babylon by being faithful to God. When modern Babylon reaches its peak of power, will God have people alive that will again stand for truth and righteousness? Will He have Daniels whom He can bless with important responsibilities?
The lesson of the educational system of Babylon is put on record because it is God’s object lesson for us today. The relation of the Jews to Babylon is the same that God’s faithful people, the true Israel have to the modern churches of our day. The sins of ancient Babylon will be repeated today because the educational system today is the same. It exalts the human through sports, through the honors system, through modern philosophy, evolutionary science, superstition, entertainment, and much, much more.
Friends, I pray that you will “purpose in your heart” not to be defiled by Chaldean teaching and Babylonian living. The call today is to come out of her my people, that ye partake not of her sins and receive not of her plagues.
Primary reference works.
1. Haskell, Stephen N. The Story of Daniel the Prophet, (South Lancaster, MA, 1908, Bible Training School), chapters 1 & 2.
2. Henry, Matthew, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (1991, Hendrickson Publishers) pages, 1427-1429.
3. Jones, Alonzo T., The Place of the Bible in Education, (Oakland, CA, Pacific Press Publishing Co.), pp. 9-16.
4. Rosenkranz, Johann Karl Friedrich, The Philosophy of Education, (New York, 1886, D. Appleton and Company), pp. 183-195.
5. Sayce, A. H. Babylonians and Assyrians, (New York, 1900, Charles Scribner’s Sons), pp. 47-62.
6. SDA Bible Commentary, Volume 4, (Washington DC, 1976, Review and Herald Publishing Association), pages 743-764.
7. Sutherland, E. A. Living Fountains or Broken Cisterns, and Educational Problem for Protestants, (Battle Creek, MI, 1900, Review and Herald Publishing Co.), pp, 92-100.
1. Clarke, Adam, The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments… with a Commentary and Critical Notes, Volume IV, Isaiah to Malachi, (New York, 1850, Lane & Scott), pages 564-567.
2. Cook, F. C., The Holy Bible According to the Authorized Version, with an Explanatory and Critical Commentary… (London, 1876, John Murray), pages 232-250.
3. Laurie, S. S., Historical Survey of Pre-Christian Education, (New York, 1970 AMS Press), pp. 57-61.
4. Rawlinson, George, The Five Great Monarchies of the Ancient Eastern World…, (New York, 1881, Dodd, Mead, and Co.), pp 12-14, 19-21.