Dr. Stephen Phinney
Daniel #03 | Refusing Defilement
“Now God granted Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the commander of the officials, and the commander of the officials said to Daniel, ‘I am afraid of my lord the king, who has appointed your food and your drink; for why should he see your faces looking more haggard than the youths who are your own age? Then you would make me forfeit my head to the king.’” (Daniel 1:9-10).
Daniel’s captivity was not a shock to God. It was part of the Lord’s mission to discipline the Hebrew people and redirect them back to the individualized and collective worship of God Himself. God knew He needed an extraordinary man to accomplish this. The Lord also knew that it would require a man of absolute integrity who would deny defilement at all costs. Finally, the chosen man had to embrace the mandate of NOT fellowshipping with idolatrized nations. This man was Daniel, with the support of his friends. While Daniel was clueless about the future of his calling as a young man, God’s ability to maintain the present by knowing the future cemented Daniel’s upward calling. As a result, prophecies were born.
I have been teaching and preaching the prophecies of the Old and New Testaments for many years. I’ve come to realize one point: many times it is fruitless to teach people the profound elements of the Lord’s prophecies if they do not have the indwelling life of Christ. Unsaved people only scratch their heads after hearing these not-so-hidden Biblical truths, and they quickly default to: “Well, that’s your opinion.” The fact is, to authentically understand prophecies, one must be in Christ.
Christianity 101 reveals that unless the Holy Spirit resides in the believer, a human cannot connect the dots of prophecy from the Old Testament to the life of Christ in the New and then on to the final act played out in Revelation’s book—it’s impossible. I call this “preaching to a dead man walking.” Well, that spurs on the question of, “why preach, then?” We preach because we do not know who is authentically saved or not. Secondly, many times our preaching leads others to the personal discovery of indwelling salvation. Thus, hearing the prophecies lead the curious to Christ for Salvation unless they are cloaked in bitterness and refuse brokenness.
Also, the purpose of hearing the Lord’s prophecies is meant to spur on the brokenness process that God intends to use for those who hear these “mysteries” of the scriptures. While authentic believers hear the prophecies and are encouraged, it is meant to produce brokenness in the souls of the unsaved. As for those who preach the prophecies, may God warn them to escape a preaching attitude of empty sermons while droves of people pour into hell daily. While preaching prophecies is intended to break people with the hope of leading them to Jesus Christ, we must remember that it is not our job to decide who will respond eternally in Christ.
It is a Biblical fact that the Holy Spirit will not reveal the deep things of God’s prophecies to those defined by the sins of the Adamic nature, in other words, the unsaved. Nor will He open the door to understanding and the precious individual connections to such prophecies. With this in mind, we now understand that for the unsaved, the prophecies are used to form brokenness in their lost human souls.
We need a revival of sorts. After 40 years of studying the Lord’s prophecies, I have come to realize that the Lord has always used prophecies to awaken rebellious souls to provide an opportunity to step into a predestined holy revival. This is our mission with the study of the book of Daniel.
Christians are known for displacing responsibility for their sins. It’s the classic, “We are not responsible for the judgment that came down upon us, and we did not commit the sins God is judging us for regarding our forefathers, and He will not hold us responsible.” Daniel and his friends did not use this ridiculous sentiment. What did they do, then? They faced the lion’s den. They embraced the blazing furnace. They fronted criticism and ridicule fully knowing their father’s sins rested upon their shoulders. If I remember correctly, this is the madness method Jesus embraced. While He didn’t commit these sins, He was willing to have the sins of all placed on His shoulders. This is the model we see being carried out in Daniel’s story.
Daniel was a man who dropped all excuses at the feet of the Lord while embracing the real-time focus of beholding the will of the Father, along with the costs that come with such a decision. However, today we see young theologians compromising Biblical integrity by trying to integrate absolute truths into a culture of blurred lines with the objective of reaching those who do not know God. Many of these theologians will tattoo themselves, drink strong drinks (alcohol), and wear revealing clothing along with a host of other line-blurring modalities; all under the banner of reaching the lost. What are the results? Today, we cannot see the difference between a male and female, the corrupt from the non-corrupt, and the authentic believers from those who pretend to be Christians. Is this evangelism? I think not!
The main “drawing card” of evangelism is rooted in “be ye separate, oh my people.” If lost souls cannot see the benefits of conversion in and through Christ, what’s the point? I believe that this misnomer is what formed the Social Gospel.
THE REAL ISSUE
Did you know that there was legalism in the Old Testament? Yes, Old, and New Covenants are based on hearing the voice of the Father, not on obeying the jots and tittles of the Words He spoke. Both Covenants created a dependence on God’s voice, not His written Words. As soon as a person focuses on the words of the Law, legalism moves in to dominate obedience, which propagates failure. However, when someone, like Daniel and his friends, focuses on the voice that announces the guidelines of proper living, each one gains the attention, protection, and blessing of a personal relationship with God the Father. In the New Testament, hearing the voice of Jesus Christ from within does the same thing.
When others ask me who exactly from the Old Testament is in Heaven with Jesus today, I keep it simple. It’s not about who kept the law perfectly, which we know is impossible, it is about those who honored the Law for the sake of having a relationship with the One who established the Law. These are the ones we will see and enjoy relationships with when greeted by them as we are ushered into Heaven.
All this reveals the importance of why Jesus needed to come and fulfill the laws of His Father. He didn’t abolish the laws, rather He completed the purpose of the laws He placed upon the Hebrew people. Since born-again, indwelt believers are grafted into the Hebrew lineage and bloodline, we as authentic believers get to share in the “why” Jesus came to fulfill the requirements placed on God’s people: to enjoy a law-free relationship with God the Father through Jesus. Meaning, the second after Jesus fulfilled the Law, He too was united back into a perfect Father-Son relationship with His Abba.
NO STEAK FOR ME
If you’re like me, you know there is nothing quite like a steak prepared by the standards of a great chef. However, if this steak, as refined as it is, was made known to me to be from an animal sacrificed to Satan, I honestly could not eat it under those conditions, and I doubt you could either.
God’s issue with the Jews not eating the meat of divided hoofed animals had little to do with pigs or other divided hoofed animals. It did have to do with the historical truth that the divided hoofed animals were the prime selection for animal sacrifice to ancient gods through the ages. Daniel and his friends were aware of this history. When God safeguarded the Jews by the placement of the Law, it protected them from the evil that occurred in sacrifices. We must remember that whatever is sacrificed to God or other gods receives the spirit of the one it was sacrificed to. In this, Jesus became God once He was sacrificed to God on the cross. These young men understood this profound principle intuitively and through the teachings of Jewish law.
Fact: the blood within a good steak makes that steak delicious, i.e., the reason chefs prefer people to eat their meticulously prepared steaks medium to rare.
In Leviticus, we find the issue God has with blood.
“And any man from the house of Israel, or from the aliens who sojourn among them, who eats any blood, I will set My face against that person who eats the blood, and will cut him off from among his people” (Leviticus 17:10).
God made it clear, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood” (verse 11). Keeping this intact with our Daniel story, Daniel’s issue aligned with what the Lord said in Leviticus. The blood found in the meats offered by the king would have covertly adopted the life of the god in which it was sacrificed. Daniel knew that if he ate meat forbidden by God’s law he would not be ceremonially accepted and that he would be accepting the god that it was sacrificed to. Also, he would be defiled by the evil assigned to its sacrifice, thus, he and his friends abstained regardless of the cost and consequences of doing so.
Since Daniel was the model or leader of these young men, his actions set a precedent for the future rebuilding of Judaism. His decision was not to keep the law or to keep his stomach undefiled, but to re-establish the Covenant God made to His people. You know, a Jesus-type figure.
Daniel’s friends increased in their faith by watching his every move, by listening to his every word, as well as witnessing the godological theme and reason for doing what he did. It is an age-old modality God has used from Adam to Jesus—up through Biblical history to the leaders of our modern churches today.
Remember when Paul said, “Be as I am”? It is a practical action for leaders to demonstrate the works of Christ, fulfilling the law in and through Jesus Christ as an indwelt believer.
WHAT'S UP WITH THE WINE
Vineyard experts reference wine as “the blood of the fruit.” If drunk while the blood of the vine is fresh, it is embracing the drink in its purest form. After it begins to ferment (goes bad), it becomes what the Word of God calls, strong drink. As most know, wine without the punch of fermentation is next to pointless—it’s called grape juice. Early on in Biblical history, vinedressers realized that fresh grape juice gone bad produced a buzz (drunkenness). Even though these earlier vinedressers didn’t know that the science of fermentation causes addictions, they certainly knew that the masses requested their wine first, for the taste, and secondly, for the buzz; a combination that sets humans up for addictions.
We have science to remind us of the dangers of drinking strong drinks. Back in Daniel’s day, this was an unknown, but Daniel was certainly aware of the change in thought and behavior that came with drinking fermented wines. The law that God placed on Daniel and the Hebrew people was directly associated with drunkenness, and it was not about keeping His people from enjoying the juice from the fruit of the vine. Jesus Himself enjoyed it.
This results in the age-old question, “Did Jesus drink fermented grapes?” which is really the wrong question to ask. If you drink fermented grapes, you’ll get drunk. Did Jesus get drunk? Well, this, too, is a ridiculous question; almost too ridiculous to answer. The emphasis of the story regarding the wine Jesus produced through His miracle was to lead each person to Himself. Yes, I believe His version of wine was the purest of all grape juices.
Since the Jews did not use the term grape juice, all juice made from the grapes was called wine. Jesus’s version simply took the drinkers back to God’s organic version of grapes, which connects directly to Jesus saying, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Thus, the miracle revealed the Life of Jesus. The pure grapes that provided an unbelievable taste were meant to reveal the life of Jesus for those who were drinking it. For He was and is the fruit of God’s labor.
All wine experts know that a good bottle of wine starts with excellent tasting grapes. Likewise, these grapes are well-groomed in a vineyard that meticulously develops a great tasting grape.
There is nothing in the Old or New Covenant that does not reveal God’s mission—that of providing a pathway back to the Tree of Life, which as we know, was and is the Life of Christ via the Holy Spirit. All stories are set up for this single lesson.
The book of Daniel is prophetic in its entirety, but it is much more than that. It contains the most important practical lessons for indwelt Christians. These lessons are repeated throughout the Word of God. Without question, today we need to learn the mysteries buried within Christ that answer the age-old question: “How can I be obedient, live a separate life from unbelievers, be dedicated to the Lord, and experience intimacy with Christ without feeling I am under the law?” Well, the answer is two-fold: First, one must be filled with the Holy Spirit—becoming indwelt by the One who fulfilled the law—Jesus. Secondly, each one must be discipled by a quality, fellow indwelt Christian who should assist in moment-by-moment decisions leading to a dynamic obedient relationship with Jesus.
Today, the Lord’s message to the church shouts in our spiritual ears, “Come out from among them and be separated,” says the Lord, “and do not touch unclean things” (2 Corinthians 6:17). Then, again in Ephesians 5:11, Paul said, “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful workers of darkness, but rather reprove them.” It doesn’t get any more practical than that.
The Video | Refusing Defilement
The modality of the church today is to maintain elements of darkness—stay in sin while trying in self-effort to learn and adhere to the things of God. Nope, that’s not going to work, and this is not the answer. It all starts with authentic salvation. Only then will you have inward power to separate yourself from family and friends who practice “deeds of darkness.” Once separation occurs, holiness can slip into its place.
Forward these blogs to your sphere of influence. The Rapture is soon upon us.
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Dr. Stephen Phinney
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