Dr. Stephen Phinney
Daniel #04 | Wisdom From Above
“Then at the end of the days which the king had specified for presenting them, the commander of the officials presented them before Nebuchadnezzar. The king talked with them, and out of them all not one was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; so they entered the king’s personal service. As for every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king consulted them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and conjurers who were in all his realm. And Daniel continued until the first year of Cyrus the king.”
Through the years, young men have studied world history or the beliefs of nations who do not honor God, and there is nothing sinful about it. Likewise, there is nothing wrong with young men studying today, provided they keep the Holy Word of God as their primary source text. However, it is purely sinful to choose global history over Biblical history, and worse yet, to choose wisdom touted by various religions over wisdom that comes down from above.
I’ve been teaching on the topic of wisdom for many years. There is a major difference between natural wisdom, demonic wisdom, and wisdom that comes down from above (James 3:13-18). Any other wisdom except God’s shifts the student to support earthly, natural, and demonic wisdom, which is an outpouring from the personhood of Satan himself and is certainly a modality that has infiltrated our Bible schools today.
Most monarchy kings expect two things from their cup-bearing servants: that they always speak the truth and that they have a high level of wisdom. Daniel was committed to both. Today’s lesson reveals Daniel’s readiness after a three-year course of instruction on how to communicate with royalty, in addition to many other historical lessons of Babylon.
Daniel and his friends were unique when it came to wisdom. Earthly wisdom is nothing short of commonsense in motion. Since Old Testament believers could not tap into indwelling wisdom, they had to rely upon external obedience, as well as listening to what they were taught by family, the Judaist priests, and the prophets. For them to apply such wisdom, it required supreme character, which was formed in them by their earthly fathers. These four young men had the privilege of all these benefits.
New Testament James was similarly wise in saying, “But if you have bitter jealously and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, and demonic” (James 3:14-15).
Wisdom today is defined as “high intellect in motion.” While most of us can easily refute this as a lie, people draw themselves to those who are quick to respond with worldly knowledge and quips. The reality is this kind of wisdom is earthly, natural, and demonic.
Suppose you are like most people when you hear the descriptive demonic—you avoid the reality of its origins. Demonic wisdom cannot be defined in human terms, and while it is supernatural, listeners cannot determine its source.
As for our study, Nebuchadnezzar was considered one of the wisest kings in Biblical history—worldly speaking, that is. Most kings had sorcerers serving them, and sorcerers were humans who gave credit for their wisdom to the demonic spirit world. King Nebuchadnezzar was accustomed to being led by these demon-led fortune tellers. Now Daniel arrives on the scene with the wisdom from above, and what we have here is the battle between the wise. In today’s teaching, we will discover why Daniel won these battles—hands down, every time.
THREE YEAR COLLEGE
Daniel and his companions underwent a three-year Babylonian training course to introduce them to Babylon’s history, beliefs, and methods of honoring their king. In addition, it was during this training that the young servants learned the deeds of approaching the throne of kings (royal protocol). Archeologists have uncovered this “palace school,” noting it was next to the king’s table—probably in the next room—keeping in mind these young masters ate from the king’s table.
While Babylonian history reveals that these young men learned mathematics, astronomy, and Babylonian grammar, Daniel’s wisdom washed out the demonic teachings of the magicians and sorcerers. Thus, he began to gain the attention of King Nebuchadnezzar, certainly enough to be called into this throne room. The odd thing about Nebuchadnezzar was that he had a discerning mind, despite that fact that his mind was depraved, and he could pick out wisdom that was not housed within the traditional teachings of the magi. God used Daniel’s wisdom to gain access to a king that He was going to front in a dream.
Dreams were a big deal in Daniel’s time, so much so that the kings believed the gods of their age were speaking to them. In Nebuchadnezzar’s case, it wasn’t the gods but THE God. As noted, when kings had dreams, they typically called on their sorcerers. If their sorcerers missed the mark, they would lose their heads.
Babylon was built on the side of Babel where Nimrod attempted to build a tower to Heaven to curse God. It is on this foundation that Babylon evolved. Furthermore, it is the reason the Babylonians were haters of the God of the Hebrew people—descendants of Ham’s brothers, Japheth and Shem—the two forefathers of the Hebrew people. Keep in mind that Shem was the number one forefather of the Jews. Japheth represented the Gentile age—who ultimately was given the privilege to be grafted into the lineage of Shem.
THE END OF DAYS
In our passage, the phrase given, “The end of the days,” is about the three-year period of training that Daniel and his friends had successfully completed. Each of these young men had been on a specific, special diet and trained by a high level of Babylonian teachers. Having completed their studies, they appeared face to face before Nebuchadnezzar, which was their final exam. While we can assert, via Babylonian history books, the king battered them with a plethora of questions. After answering the king correctly with a great deal of respect, the king concluded his questioning.
Not one man was found to be like Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, and so, they entered the king’s personal service. As for every matter of wisdom and understanding in which the king consulted them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and conjurers who were in all his realm. Folks, this is a pivotal moment in Old Testament history, and God revealed his wisdom through Daniel and his friends.
As most Bible teachers know, this moment would soon be used to unfold the true Biblical rhyme and reason for Nebuchadnezzar’s infamous dream—a dream that continues to play out in Revelation’s book as well as today’s society.
Question: How many today fear God in honoring their authorities no matter how ungodly they are? I can safely say, not many.
WISDOM ABOVE DEMONS
While Daniel had the assurance of passing the final exam of his king, he and his friends had Biblical understanding that there was no hope of returning to their homeland for at least seventy years. They knew the Scriptures, and each one also knew that God’s sentence was upon them. God could not—would not—change His sovereign timeline. These young men knew that God had made a habit of using the number seventy, at least when it came to discipling the Hebrew people. As wisdom from above would shout, “Settle in, coexist, and properly submit (at least in part) to the customs of the rebellious land of Babylon without sinning before your God.”
I doubt Daniel and his friends were exuberant about being chosen for the king’s personal service given their knowledge (through training) that any servant who defied the king would lose their head. Despite having this knowledge, they refused to deny their God by yielding to Nebuchadnezzar’s standards of eating the king’s defiled food. All four of these young men were aware of the strong possibility of death if Nebuchadnezzar found out about this refusal.
WE NEED MORE DANIELS
Can you imagine our churches filled with a bunch of Daniels? Bluntly speaking, I cannot. Despite this, we need a reflection of Daniel and the conviction and dete