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King Nebuchadnezzar went to war with the Hebrews and won. The Babylonians took children from parents to train in their own schools. Broken hearted parents watched as their children were dragged off. They just knew they would never see them again. It was such a sad time for the Hebrews.


Among the captives  in 607 BC, were four carefully raised boys who determined to serve God no matter what happened to them. Their names were Daniel, Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael. These young men were in the age ranges of 18-20 years. These boys chose to be different. They determined to honor God even if it brought death. These boys were very good students in sciences. They had been raised with the best education expecting they could possibly be king in the Jewish nation.

Daniel had a godly mother who carefully taught him the story of Nadab and Abihu over and over. He learned the effect of strong drink on the body and its dangers in changing the abilities of the mind. By Scripture and by song, the mothers of Daniel and his three friends carefully taught their children, forming characters that would stand the hardest tests of peer pressure. 

These things were not taught in the schools of the time. Most young men in the capital of Judah were wild and reckless.

The Babylonians  took gold dishes and pitchers out of the sanctuary that had been dedicated to Jehovah. They put them in their own temple full of their collection of strange gods. They always collected gods from the countries they conquered. They thought this would make them a stronger nation. Since they had won the battle with the Hebrews and captured them, they were sure their god collection was stronger than the Hebrew God Jehovah.
There is a very interesting history behind Babylon. It was originally founded by people who were grandchildren of Noah. They built the tower of Babel. They did not like being around people who worshipped Jehovah, so they built up their own system of gods. Marduk was one of their chief gods. They had many that they believed in. These were all made up gods.
Marduk was also called Bel, one of their chief gods. Hoping to get Daniel to worship Babylonian gods, king Nebuchadnezzar changed Daniel's name  to Belteshazzar which meant "prince of Bel". So now Daniel, which meant "judge for God", was called the prince of Satan or Bel their chief god. Bel is another name for Satan. Any teenager going through natural identity crisis, would soon identify with whatever was popular, but NOT DANIEL. He had access to a  secret power which the king soon learned about.
Hananiah meant "Gift of the Lord". He was given the name of Shadrack which meant servant of the moon god. The moon god was Aku.

This is the symbol for the Babylonian made up moon god.

Azariah meant "Whom Jehovah helps". He was renamed Abednego which meant "Servant of Nebo". Nebo was claimed to be the prophet of Marduk. One who interpreted the will of Marduk. King Nebuchadnezzar had the first part of his name from NEBO.
Mishael meant "one who is what God is". He was renamed Meshack "Who is what Aku is" Aku was  the Sumarian moon god of sin.
King Nebuchadnezzar served Satan. Satan desired to rule the whole world. This is what the king Nebuchadnezzar wanted to do also. The kings heart is in the hand of the Lord. God arranged for King Nebuchadnezzar to choose these four Hebrew young men. 

Proverbs 21:1 The king's heart [is] in the hand of the LORD, [as] the rivers of water: he turns it where ever he wills. 

The king loved these young men like his own sons and gave them names of his gods. He fed them kings food. He started them in language studies. For three years they studied the Chaldean language and the wisdom of Babylon. The king had high hopes that all these teenagers would soon worship his gods too.

These fine 4 young men were given the best of the Babylonian food but this was a problem. This was not what they knew was best for their bodies. Also the food was offered to idols before given to them. Now, what could they do? If they offended the soldiers and king, they could die. Was it really worth making a fuss about? Why not just pretend to eat it? THIS WAS A BIG TEST. Obey God and risk their lives, or disobey God and try to please the king?
Should they break God's law stated so plainly in Leviticus 11 and Numbers 11? If they ate meat and drank wine offered to idols, it would be an act of worshiping the gods. It was bad enough to be named after the gods. They took their problem to God in prayer. This is the secret of their power. They asked God what to do. After praying, they resolved to keep the 10 commandments and not worship idols, and not kill their bodies by eating the kings diet and drinking his wines.
These four boys had been carefully trained in the very best food for strength and intelligence. They thought about the good food their parents had fed them. They had food called "pulse". This was simple food of fruits, grains and nuts. This is what they ate back home. This was why they were so intelligent and strong.
The fruits could be fixed in so many ways. It was simple yet so delightful in flavor and packed with energy for their growing muscles and brains. God had created their bodies and advised as to the very best foods to eat. By obeying His laws, they had the absolute best performance in school.
They drank only water or fresh grape juice. The fermented wines were harmful to brain cells. They knew there was danger in drinking this. They decided they would refuse the wine and kings meat.
This brought a fear to the heart of the servant Melzar whom the king Nebuchadnezzar had appointed the responsibility of making sure they had food. He was really upset. Daniel prayed for help and asked Melzar to give them a 10 day test. At the end of the test, they could compare their strength with the others in school. The difference at the end of 10 days was remarkable. It was convincing to Melzar that  this diet would do no harm.
Daniel was rewarded for his trust in God. He followed God's diet plans, and refused also to break the second commandment regarding idol worship. All four boys excelled and received the blessing of God. They did so much better than the rest in their school.  After graduation, the king was so impressed, he gave them the highest positions in his government.
The pure fresh grape juice is what Daniel chose to drink.

Daniel always went on this special diet when he wanted answers from God to his prayers. Eating a simple diet is one way of fasting when one is praying for something very important. I want to always be on this special diet, so that I will have a very clear mind and know God's plan for me in the end of the world. We are in the very end of time and need special information from God. We need the strongest bodies so we can do the most missionary work and have the least amount of sickness of anyone in the world.

Because of their health choices, they were able to resist temptations to sin. In the kings palace there were many temptations.  Keeping in touch with the invisible God of the universe, they walked with God as did Enoch.
For more information on health, there is a section of 21 lessons on healthful living placed under the lesson 20 of Basic Bible on the Web site. Or one can get a CD of the Basic Bible lessons which have nature stories, lessons 1-39 on basic Bible lessons on issues important for salvation, and health lessons. The lesson 20 is on health. It has 21 more health lessons under this section.

1. What year was Daniel and his 3 friends taken captive?

2. How did the parents know ahead of time to prepare their sons for this crisis in their lives?

3. What special things did the parents do to get their boys ready?

4. What was the name of the king of Babylon?

5. Who was the master builder of the original tower in Babylon and what relationship did he have to Noah?

6. What happened to that original tower and later what did people do with the mess?

7. Why was the tower built?

8. Who was the chief god of Babylon?

9. Why did the Babylonians have a collection of gods?

10. What 2 reasons made Daniel and his friends unhappy with the diet they were offered in Babylon?

11. What were the Hebrew names of the 4 special captive teenagers?

12. What new name did Daniel get from Babylon, and what was its meaning?

13. What new name did Hananiah get?

14. What  new name and meaning did Azariah (Whom Jehovah helps) get?

15. Who was the made up god named NEBO?

16. Did the king have this name in his name?

17. How many days did the diet test last?

18. Where in the Bible are God's diet health laws and drink laws

Sources: Daniel chapter 1, Prophet and Kings pages 479-490
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