We trust you are well and kept by the Grace of God. This week our Sunday School lessonis about “The Beginning of the Gentile Kingdoms of the world.” Please let your child/children take out their Bible and read the scriptures aloud and follow the story.
With Christian love and respect.
The Beginning of the Gentile Kingdoms of the world.
In history there were many Gentile kingdoms:
The Babylonian kingdom, The Medes-Persian Kingdom, The Greek and Roman kingdoms.
All of these were gentile kingdoms. All of these had their days of Glory. Yet all these kingdoms had to give way or die out to another kingdom less great.
Until finally God will establish on earth His everlasting Kingdom of Peace and Faith in the Living God. The Kingdom of God will be more glorious than any kingdom that existed on the earth.
Let’s read in The Book of Daniel 1-6:
Daniel Chapter 1
Centuries ago, the Land of Judea was invaded by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. Jerusalem was conquered. All the land and buildings plundered and looted for gold and riches taken as treasures.
The holy vessels belonging to the Holy temple at Jerusalem were taken to be used in the temples in Babylon. The Judean king Johoiakim was also taken. The Babylonian army also took captive many youth or able- bodied men and women to make slaves of them.
Among them were 4 youth from the royal family of David namely Daniel, and his 3 friends. We learn of their struggles in the Land of their conquerors. How they were pressurized to give up their Jewish identity and heritage.
Daniel, as a young boy had served Jehovah all his life till now. But how would he fare in the Babylonian land. He had to survive. He determined that one day he would return to the land of his birth.
In Babylon it became clear that Daniel and his 3 friends; Hananiah, and Mishael and Azariah were strong boys with no disease or physical faults. (They were without blemish). Already they were trained with much learning and knowledge and understanding in science.
- THEIR Names were changed:
Let us learn how the Babylonians at first tried to get these young men to take on their Babylonian habits; to get them to learn their ways and to become one of them.
The Babylonians wanted their captives to conform to their way of thinking and to THEIR STANDARDS of living. They knew that these Israelites were devout worshippers of Jehovah, their God and that their Israelite names would remind them of their God and every worthwhile principle of Life.
So they gave them other names….. The names of their Babylonian gods.
Daniel was named Belteshazzar (Daniel 4:8); and his three friends were named Shadrech, Meshach and Abednego.
The Babylonians felt sure that these young Hebrew slaves would soon or in time to come, would forget Jehovah God and His teachings and turn to Babylonian Gods and to the Heathen way of Life.
Do you know that a name has a meaning? Your name means something and it has an effect on your life. Your name can express your character. If it has a good meaning, it will influence your life for good and the bad meaning of a name can affect your life poorly. Ideally it is therefore preferred to have your name to reflect righteousness and good.
Can we list a few Bible characters that had their names changed? For Example Apostle Saul was later called…………………? Simon was named ……………………….?
Of course the Hebrew boys were so faithful to Jehovah that not even changing their names to the names of Babylonian gods would let them forget their Israeli roots. They remained faithful to the end.
Provision of food from the king’s table
While being recruited and prepared to serve in the palace of the king, the captives were placed in the hands of the chief of the king’s officers, who trained the slaves to please the king. Every effort was made to get these fine strong young men to conform to the Babylonian way of life.
After 3 years, in order to stand before King Nebuchadnezzar and be pleasing to him, they should be so very wise, have much knowledge and should also love the Babylonian way of life.
- THE king therefore ordered that a daily portion of the king’s food and wines be given to all the new slaves.
- But when Daniel and his friends saw the delicacies of the king’s table, they refused to partake;
- As some animals were unclean for Israelites to eat and they could not eat of foods forbidden by Jewish laws.
- Daniel and his friends realized that here in Babylon, all wine and food were offerings to Heathen gods except vegetables, which were not food that were offered to, or blessed, by their idol gods.
- They explained to the officer that they would rather eat pulses, that is vegetables and drink water.
- The chief officer was shocked and said the king will have him killed when he finds that the four friends are leaner in appearance than the other slaves also eating of the king’s table.
- Yet Daniel and his friends persuaded him to allow them to eat vegetables and not drink the king’s wine and to abstain from eating of the table for ten days.
After this Testing TEN days, Daniel and his friends were brighter, stronger and even cleverer than ever before. So they were given their requested daily portion.
These young men could not be persuaded to live like the Babylonians. The king spoke with them and found that they these four were ten times wiser than all the magicians and the astrologers in the land. In the end they were elevated by the king to high positions in the Empire.