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Monday: The Plot Against Daniel — 17 Comments

  1. You don't need to explore Seventh-day Adventism very far on the internet before you come up against various conspiracy theories about plots to do away with our church and persecute us. I am not about to give them space here as most of them are based on fear, uncertainty, and doubt and very little substance. I have mentioned before, some of the persecution stuff I grew up with, and have had to deal with before I learned to interact with people, not of our faith, with trust and appreciation.

    I am not saying that persecution will never happen, but preparing for persecution is much more than simply putting up with pain without cracking your faith. In my reading this week, I read some reviews of Michael Scorsese's film, "Silence". The plot is too involved to summarise in the few minutes I have available today, but it does raise a significant question; "Would you give up your faith, to save others?"

    I raise this question because we often refer to the story of Daniel and the lion's den as an example of faithfulness in spite of the prospect of persecution. But the story behind the film "Silence" is not a hypothetical scenario made up for a dramatic film. It happened in Japan in the 15th century and priests were asked to give up their faith and spit on the face of Jesus to save their parishioners from torture. If we can look beyond the fact that it happened to Catholic Christians for just a moment to challenge our own ideas about salvation and persecution.

    I can point you to Moses, who expressed a willingness to be sacrificed so that the Israelites could be saved. And Jesus who lived a life and experienced death to save others. Has our Christianity reached that point? Or are we still thinking that it is ok to be persecuted and perhaps even be killed because, in the end, we are going to be rewarded with eternal life?

    It is a tough thing to think about and puts a whole new perspective on the notion of faithfulness.

    • Man cannot do what Jesus did. We cannot save others through our death. I will pray and ponder on the rest you write but I ask everyone to do the same. May the Holy Spirit guide us.

      • Paul, somehow you have missed the point that Maurice is trying to make I would implore you to read over the few paragraphs.

    • It seems to me that Moses was moved here by emotion and did not realize what he was asking. No man can ever be blotted out of the book of life for the sake of another or a whole nation. Of course we must be prepared to give up earthly life for anyone. I do not like hypothetical questions as it is the work of the Holy Spirit to put us in situations. We cannot imagine our reaction in foresight.

      • That is an interesting question Maurice. I have not seen “Silent”, so I don’t know the story, but I don’t believe giving up or verbally denying God, is ever the way to save a person or people. Each person must stand alone on their belief in God. If I denied my faith to save someone else, I would then be limiting God on His ability to save that person Himself. If we trust God enough to die for Him, then we must trust Him enough to save others. Our death may be their salvation, so to speak.

    • Sorry I am late with my comment.
      I think the willingness to give up one's life for another is admirable.
      But what these priests were asked to do was deny Jesus so others could live and believe me, the ones whose lives would have been spared also would have to live a life of denial.

      It was not worth It! It is not worth it to give up Jesus for anything or anybody!
      Hold onto Jesus and leave everything else to God.

      Jesus said if we deny Him.....He would also deny us.....

      What Moses offered to do and what our Savior did had nothing to do with denial of God.

  2. This takes me to 1 Peter 2:19-20 and 1 Peter 3:17...19For if anyone endures the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God, this is to be commended. 20How is it to your credit if you are beaten for doing wrong and you endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His footsteps:… Daniel is suffering for doing right, for He could attest his God without fear of the consequences and the beauty of the story is that God protects him in a miraculous way that leaves the Pagan community with a lesson that there is a living and true God of Daniel. How nice if this can be our current personal testimonies for God is still in action.

    • True Gerald but not all of us going to be as fortunate as Daniel to experience the miracles of deliverance and protection from persecution. Most of our pioneers suffered serious and horrible deaths. They were marthyed in the faithful line of duty. We have to just trust God explicitly and say in our hearts and believe that God is always with us comes what may.

  3. Sorry, I read it over and I would implore you to read my comments. I will not let Scorcese and 15th century Catholic Priests make me ask myself questions as I do not think they were guided by the Holy Spirit. We are moving on dangerous ground with this. I will focus on myself and the people around me. And let God make the big plan.

    • Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:2
      This mind is to save all who are entrusted in our care.
      In the life of Moses, he was willing to sacrifice his eternal life for the rebellious Israelites.
      Ethical dilemmas are the most difficult to resolve because obeying one transgress the other.
      Let the Spirit of God be the beacon of light to guide us through obscurity.

  4. Paul I respect your comments but I would like to suggest that I want us all to think about what faithfulness really means. I am not saying that we should make statements like Moses, or that we can save people like Jesus. The key element with both of them is their attitude of self-sacrificing love.

    Let me tell you about a colleague of mine. She was a Roman Catholic nun and a lawyer and was teaching legal studies in a business course in a Seventh-day Adventist institution. I was teaching the computing subjects in the same course and over the years I got to know her quite well. Apart from teaching in our course, she spent most of her time and considerable skill doing pro-bono legal work for the people who really needed it. She supported the abused, the needy, the scammed, the deserted wives, the bashed partners, and those sexually abused by priests. This quietly spoken nun taught me a lot about practical Christianity and essentially changed my thinking about the meaning of being saved. We appreciated her input into our business course. The Holy Spirit can speak through the actions of dedicated Christians irrespective of the label we put on them. We should be open to seeing Jesus working through others.

  5. The Plot Against Daniel

    It is most time the case with new leaders who want to have their subordinates on their sides to entertain their ideas and suggestions especially if they sound plausible and will make them (the leader) look good or feel special and important. This is a flawed practice.

    King Darius got caught in what I would consider poor leadership skill and decision. Suggestions of such nature should be carefully examined, discussed and voted on. To take such harsh recommendation and sign off so abruptly is tantamount to poor management. No rationale for such stamp of approval

    Here again is a leader with poor judgement and one who is very self seeking. Pride and need for honour and worship got the better of him.

    We need to ensure that we learn from these stories and do not allow ourselves to be similarly trapped.

  6. The question Maurice Ashton raised is nuanced in that, it is not just about losing your physical life or being persecuted for JESUS' sake. It is would you be willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice to be eternally separated from GOD so that others might be saved. That would be acid test of true love.

    That is a hard searching question, which if I'm honest cannot answer.
    Was Moses really just being irrational and emotional? Or was GOD demonstrating through him the lengths love would to save someone?Ponder the texts and words below.
    1 John 3:16  Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

    He [JESUS] will save man at any cost to Himself. DA693
    All His life Christ had been publishing to a fallen world the good news of the Father’s mercy and pardoning love. Salvation for the chief of sinners was His theme. But now with the terrible weight of guilt He bears, He cannot see the Father’s reconciling face. The withdrawal of the divine countenance from the Saviour in this hour of supreme anguish pierced His heart with a sorrow that can never be fully understood by man. So great was this agony that His physical pain was hardly felt. – {DA 753.1}
    Satan with his fierce temptations wrung the heart of Jesus. The Saviour could not see through the portals of the tomb. Hope did not present to Him His coming forth from the grave a conqueror, or tell Him of the Father’s acceptance of the sacrifice. He feared that sin was so offensive to God that Their separation was to be eternal.

    Exodus 32:32  Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.

    Romans 9:3  For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:

    Gk. anathema - excommunicated, condemned and cut off, separated from
    Having said that l believe as mentioned earlier that the question is subtle and nuanced. There is a difference between when you decide or wish to be separated from CHRIST so others can be saved and the devil through others tells you to do. That would be obeying the devil.
    Maurice thanks for yet again raising thought provoking, searching and hard questions. GOD has indeed blessed you with the gift of teaching

  7. Be guided by the Holy Ghost

    To me in this circumstance those men were joining religion and politics together, or state and church. I am sure Daniel got his Sabbaths off from work to worship. The King and his men were aware of Daniel religious and social life to a greater degree. I am sure that was not the first time he went to worship. That was a premeditated move to get rid of him.
    Do we see the similarity in our time when state and church will join together to persecute those who worship the true God. Those who don’t bow down to false gods. In our world today there are head of states with that same state of mind like Darius, if anyone worship or even talks about Jesus is persecuted. The preaching of Jesus is done undercover.

  8. A couple of years ago, I had the blessed privilege of sharing a sermon on Daniel 6. God showed me amazing parallels between this story and the story of Jesus, especially surrounding his false accusations and his mock trial and crucifixion. I will share the link for those who would like to hear it. https://drive.google.com/open?id=1S_0BBKXO1g-BmKWbgtGngtuoROlmpUrJ


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