Study Notes and Slides
Reclaiming the Original Faith
Part 1- No Compromise
It is my hope that through these teachings that we come firstly to see the enormous value of our faith which is more precious than gold and to realize how many assaults there have been made on the faith. Though Yisrael and the true faith has suffered many times we will see that YHWH has always used what the enemy meant for evil and turned it for good that many would be saved.
Through various examples I wish to encourage us to understand our unique challenges and privilege in seeing the will of YHWH fulfilled in the World. From this teaching I wish to demonstrate the influence that the World system has on us who are not exempt but by some examples I hope to show the favour of Elohim and his presence that ultimately brings the victory.
This will be a journey of refinement but will end with blessings and an understanding of the path that was clearly laid out but has been filled with many obstacles that desire to turn the people of YHWH to the left and the right:
Ibrim (Hebrew) 12:12-13 Therefore Strengthen the hands that hang down and the feeble knees,13 and make straight paths for your feet so that which is lame may not be turned out of the way but let it rather be healed.
Our desire therefore is to make our path straight that we may obtain the victory firstly over ourselves and also over the worldly influences which can only be achieved through the strengthening of the Ruach Ha Kodesh (the Holy Spirit) whom Yahshua promised is our help.
Compromising the Word of YHWH:
We begin our Journey with the Yisraelites coming into the Promised Land and see that they were not faithful to the words of YHWH to drive out the inhabitants of Canaan. As they compromised his Word by dwelling among the Canaanites we see how these inhabitants became a thorn in their side causing them to turn from their true faith which finally led to the dispersion of the ten northern tribes often called Yisrael by the Assyrian Empire and eventually the Captivity of Yahudah (Judah) in Babylon.
Melekim Beyth (2 Kings) 24:3 Surely at the Commandment of YHWH this came upon Yahudah (Judah) to remove them from his sight because of the sins of Manasseh according to all that he had done.
Dibre Ha Yamim Beyth (2 Chronicles) 36:19-20 And they burned the House of Elohim and broke down the wall of Yerushalayim and burned all its palaces with fire and destroyed all its valuable utensils. 20And those who escaped from the sword he exiled to Baḇel, where they became servants to him and his sons until the reign of the Kingdom of Persia.
As grim as this picture may seem YHWH was already at work as this is only the beginning of the inspiring tale of the young men that were taken captive among the many Yisraelites. These included Daniel and his friends ChananYah, Mishael and AzarYah. These men would ultimately infuse Yisrael with courage and inspiration as they demonstrated faith through various trials and then were victorious.
Nebuchadnezzar the King made the point to choose from among the Captives members of the Nobility since he had heard about their fabulous wisdom and wished therefore to use it. We will now begin to see how this King used a number of rather brilliant strategies to compromise all they had known to make their skills useful for him so it is to our advantage to see how we can learn from these principles that we may not be turned from our ways as well.
The Kings Strategy
Instruction in New Ways
The first instruction of the King was to choose bright young men and teach them in the ways of this Pagan Empire.
Daniel 1:3-4 Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Yisrael (Israel), from the Royal seed and some of the nobles, 4 young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, skilful in all wisdom, discriminating in knowledge and perceptive in learning, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans.
It is interesting to note that the King chose young flexible minds to instruct in the ways of this Kingdom in the hope of moulding them to serve him. In the teenage years this truth is most paramount so this Pagan King knew all the tricks and employed them very well. We are not talking about a casual instruction but a daily barrage of instruction dealing with every aspect of daily life in Babylon whether it was Religion, politics, education, culture or Law. The hope was to transform their entire way of thinking to suit the King that they would be useful to him.
It has been noted that when young students who come from a Religious Background enter University to study Science or Philosophy as few as 5% leave University believing because of the constant barrage of thinking that is opposed to the ways of Elohim. This is the World we live in so we need to understand how these young men were able to withstand this constant indoctrination into these foreign ways.
When we read the events that occurred during the time of YermeYahu (Jeremiah) we see a total decline of Yerushalayim under King TsidqiYah (Zedekiah) but we can easily lose sight of the fact that unlike many in Yerushalayim these young men were brought up under a strongly Torah based instruction even though as a Nation Yisrael was declining and absorbing much Pagan worship especially that of Ba’al which ultimately brought on the promised judgement of YHWH which led to its Captivity.
From understanding the way these young men who are referred to as Children were educated we receive a truth about the power of Torah enrichment to the Young:
Mishle (Proverbs) 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
It was therefore this rich instruction and observance of Torah that sustained these young men even though they no longer had the Temple or the ability to study Torah as they formerly had. Compiled with this was surely there love and passion for YHWH whom they believed in without a doubt even though the whole Nation had fallen under the power of this Kingdom that now ruled them.
From the example of these young Men we need to learn if we are to stand against the daily indoctrination of the World we must have a love for YHWH & we must learn to fill ourselves with his Torah lest we be consumed by the constant assaults of the World that comes to us from every angle. When we have such a passionate love for Yahweh and his Word we will understand what this verse really means:
MattithYAHU (Matthew) 4:4 “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of YHWH.’” (Devarim (Deut) 8:3)
A Change in Identity
In Ancient cultures unlike today the name you gave your Son or Daughter was greatly influenced by your belief & your desire to influence their future. In the Hebrew culture names were more than just labels that sound good as they are today, since they clearly described something they believed. Babylon understood this concept so the Chief of the Eunuchs gave new names to the young men:
The Name Dani’el meant “EL is my Judge” & to him the King through the Master of the Eunuchs gave the name Belteshazzar meaning “Bel (the Pagan Elohim) guard the Prince.”
To ChananYah meaning “Yah has Favoured” he gave the name Shadrach meaning “Command of Aku” being the Babylonian Elohim (God) of the Moon.
To Misha’el meaning “who is like El” he gave the name Meshach meaning “who is what Aku is.”
To AzarYah meaning “YAH is my helper” he gave the name Abed-Nego meaning “servant of Nego” another Pagan Elohim (God) known also as Nebo the Elohim of wisdom/ brightness.
From this change in identity it was hoped that all memory of their former life would gradually disappear. The constant reference to the Elohim of the Babylonians was a constant affront to the Elohim of Yisrael since we know what the Torah says in:
Shemoth (Exodus) 23:13 And in all that I have said to you take heed. And make no mention of the name of other mighty ones, let it not be heard from your mouth.
This was all an elaborate well-conceived plan that had been successful with many of the diverse captives but with these young men it could not succeed. Within this process is a great teaching for us about the diverse schemes of the World to seduce the faithful away from the path to a path of least resistance. The key we find within these young men is that they had been so engrossed in the knowledge of Torah that their love for YHWH their Elohim so consumed them that even with everything taken away even their own identity nothing could dissuade them to change their long held belief though the conquering Kingdom was so meticulous in its attempt.
We need to understand the power of Identity! Do you realize that every Prophet’s name spoke volumes about their faith! Elijah (EliYAH) actually means “my EL (God) is YAH” & Isaiah (YeshiYAHU) means “YAHU is salvation.” There is however more that we can learn from this however in that the world is forever drawing us into its mould in the hope of changing our identity. Hebrew parents knew that to keep faith alive in their children it was most useful to give them names that would remind them who they were or whose they were. We could learn this lesson too! Also we need to teach our Children that there identity is not found by looking, talking & acting like the world which is compromise but it is found in Yahshua Ha Moshiach (the Messiah) our Saviour, redeemer, King & Elohim.
That was not only in name & character but in the first Century it was also in appearance as the believers were extremely Hebraic but through the inclusion of Gentiles the Assemblies the Kehilot in appearance drastically changed.
Under Emperor Constantine everything that was Hebrew such as the Shabbat, the Feasts and everything Hebrew was banned based on the Constantine Creed which left the world with an Ecclesia (Assembly of the called) devoid of all the appearance of its Hebraicnessbeing replaced with a new set of values:
Quote from the Constantine Creed:
Furthermore, any follower of the “Jewish Messiah” (Yeshua HaMoshiach) who wished to join this “holy community” was compelled to adopt a different set of rules and customs. Subsequently special creeds were drafted, to which the Christian would have to swear such as:
“I accept all customs, rites, legalism, and feasts of the Romans, sacrifices. Prayers, purifications with water, sanctifications by Pontificus Maxmus (high priests of Rome), propitiations, and feasts, and the New Sabbath “So! dei” (day of the Sun, ), all new chants and observances, and all the foods and drinks of the Romans. In other words, I absolutely accept everything Roman, every new law, rite and custom, of Rome, and the New Roman Religion.”
What we can learn from Daniel & his friends is that their strong faith in the ways of YAHWEH could not be shaken so they remained faithful to all that they were taught during their Torah based upbringing.
If we believe that we have the calling to reveal the true faith of Yisrael apart from all the ways of compromise we need to be like these men who stood strong in the face of Elevation to the highest positions in the Kingdom and also in the face of expected death to which YHWH the Elohim of these faithful men was greatly praised. It is for us to be strong in recognizing the importance of our identity as Netzarim and I hope we are not afraid of placing our faith over the acceptance of the world, which will surely bring the blessings of YHWH as well.
The Breakdown of Covenant
Daniel 1:5 And the king appointed for them a daily provision of the king’s delicacies and of the wine which he drank, and three years of training for them, so that at the end of that time they might serve before the king.
The 3rd great challenge that we find Daniel & his friends faced was in the area of the foods that would be provided for them. This constituted much more than the value of food but rather was a Covenant issue. It is interesting that this same Challenge fell to Adam & Chavah (Eve) since the only command that they received in “Gan Eden” the Garden of Eden was with regard the eating of the fruit of the tree of good and evil. Also we see clearly expressed through Noach (Noah) the same importance associated with clean and unclean animals and then Yisrael was given through Mosheh clear instructions concerning “Kosher” foods which would act as a sign that the Yisraelites were set apart for Yahweh. This then becomes the background to which Daniel was so greatly influenced.
The King was surely aware of the restrictions imposed on the Yahudim (Jews) through their Religion so it was not just about making them healthy but so much more. To submit to the King’s wishes meant eating food & drink that had been devoted to Idols thereby to indulge in this was to give honour to those Pagan Deities something strictly forbidden in the Ten Covenant Words (the Ten Commandments) especially the Worship of Idols. But more than this it was to go against the covenant words of the Most high something that Daniel & his friends were not willing to do.
According to the Sages (Sanhedrin 93b) Daniel & his companions are alluded to in:
YeshiYahu (Isaiah) 56:4-5 For thus says YHWH: “To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths,
And choose what pleases Me, And hold fast My covenant, 5 Even to them I will give in My house and within My walls a place and a name Better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.
Since Daniel had been named for a Babylonian Idol he suspected that he was being consecrated to this Idol and that the food were animals sacrificed to the idol including wine used for libations:
Since the Torah commands total abstinence from objects used in the worship of Idols Daniel needed to suffer death rather than submit:
The “Halachah” requires that one submit to death rather than transgress in a situation where there is an intent to estrange a Yahudi (Jew) from his Religion (Malbim cf Sanhedrin 74b)
Their obedience however resulted in them looking extremely good. The inner peace resulting from the fulfilment of the will of YHWH radiated outward and greatly enhanced their appearance. It is also thought that because of their earnestness YHWH also miraculously caused them to be fatter though their foods were of grains and vegetables.
Today we have been given a great opportunity to demonstrate that same passion for the Covenant of Yahweh. More than just a matter of being obedient to YHWH’s Mitsvot (Commands) we also face the question of honouring a foreign Mighty one every time we go to the Supermarket.
How many items do you find on the shelf in your local Supermarket that say “Halal.” This is a term used whereby that product has been devoted to the Elohim (God) of Islam. We may not consider this as of great importance but the Hebrews certainly did. What other Covenants did these Pagans endeavour to draw these young Hebrews from. Could this include Circumcision a tenant of the Abrahamic Covenant or could it be the Shabbat (Sabbath day) a commandment given them by the Mosaic Covenant? We are not told in the book of Daniel but the enemy of our soul always wishes us to break covenant & he uses every possible subtle way at his disposal.
Daniel’s answer to Compromise:
When we think of the degree of pressure coming upon these young men who were Children and thought to be between 14 and 17 we surely are amazed that they exhibited such great faith. Knowing that the Pagan King was presenting them with such promises of great wealth & power if they attended him the words of Daniel serve us well to Challenge us when faced with opportunities that may temp us to compromise:
Daniel 1:8 But Dani’ĕl laid it upon his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the sovereign’s food, nor with the wine which he drank. So he asked permission from the chief of the eunuchs not to defile himself. 9 And Elohim granted Dani’ĕl kindness and compassion from the chief of the eunuchs,
In our journey of establishing an uncompromising heart it is interesting to note that because Daniel had purposed in his heart not to defile himself we see YHWH moving in the situation to cause Ashpenaz the chief Eunuch to show Kindness to Daniel. This in its self is a demonstration of how significant Yahweh the Elohim of Yisrael considers his Covenant Commandments since we see how greatly Daniel was elevated and even given Prophetic understanding above his friends because it was him that risked his life in this endeavour because to defy the King meant death.
The Inspiration of Daniel:
From this episode in the epic saga of Yisrael we receive many gems of inspiration:
Even when things seem grim and all seems lost, YHWH is working to fulfil his purpose though he seems remote.
Though the world is at work to corrupt young flexible minds the key to victory is that we are to bring up a child in the ways of Torah and believe that YHWH will keep his seed alive to establish his Covenant in them.
If we truly see our identity in YHWH & his Covenant we will endeavour to display it & not compromise to appease the World around. This may mean that we wear “Tzitsit” (tassels) or we may make it clear among friends that we keep the Feasts of YHWH and that they are not Jewish. Also we will be passionate to keep the Shabbat & attend the Covenant fellowship to honour YHWH. We will also make it our passion to let our friends and family know that keeping “Kosher” for us is a matter of love and obedience for YAHWEH and is not legalistic observance.
When we lay it upon our heart not to defile ourselves in any areas of the Covenant, YHWH will bring powerful blessings in our life if we take an uncompromising stance like Daniel.
The benefit of our Covenant relationship far out ways anything that the World could give us since we believe that through our demonstration of love for YHWH we will receive greater intimacy with him which would be enough but we believe he will also bless us with many spiritual blessings as we saw in the life of Daniel.
We read in the Brit Chadashah what I consider a definitely important word from the Master that has often been misunderstood and that we should have a better revelation of:
Ephesians 5:26-27 Messiah also did love the assembly and gave Himself for it, 26 in order to set it apart and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 in order to present it to Himself a splendid assembly, not having spot or wrinkle or any of this sort, but that it might be set-apart and blameless.
These verses speak of Moshiach (Messiah) giving his life to redeem his people from the power of sin so that she like a bride would then be purified by his Word the Torah being an ongoing process.
Because he has redeemed her he also desires to cleanse her whom he loves from every form of sin & evil and therefore become like him the righteous one. This can only be achieved by obedience to all his Torah his set-apart instructions which is the way of purity. How can this be interpreted any other way. We may not be perfect but it is his desire that we work towards total Righteous living and amazingly the Hebrew wedding tradition shows us that even the Groom traditionally paid a ransom for his bride if she in any way was found not to have totally succeeded in being what he expected.
We now have been given the great privilege of demonstrating to our Husband Yahshua Ha Moshiach (the Messiah) that we are his faithful bride and that we desire to hold fast to all he has said without compromise and now await his beloved coming every single day knowing that he will receive us with such joy.