Lesson 2: The Daniel Diet – Daniel 1:8-21

by Pastor Ricky Kurth

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The king’s meat (v. 8) probably included meats forbidden for Daniel to eat (Lev. 11).  And since they were meats the king himself ate (1:5), they probably came from animals sacrficed to his gods, for they only sacrificed the best to their gods, as did the Jews, and the king only ate the very best, of course.  And meat like that was also forbidden (Ex. 32:12-15).

Moses’ law didn’t forbid the drinking of wine (Dn. 1:8) but the king’s wine was also probably sacrificed to his god (Deut. 32:31-33, 36-38).  David refused to drink “their drink-offerings of blood” (Ps. 16:4), and the Bible’s connection be-tween wine and blood (Gen. 49:11) explains why Rome says the wine in the priest’s communion cup is Christ’s blood.

Catholicism calls their service “the sacrifice of the mass,” and in ancient times wine was sacrificed to a false god (Jer. 44:17), along with “cakes” (v. 19).  Jeremiah is telling us that the worship of false gods with bread and wine isn’t new with Catholicism, it goes back to the Old Testament.  But it was still around in Paul’s day, which is why he wrote that the bread and cup that “we” use in our Lord’s Supper observance isn’t the actual body and blood of Christ.  It represents “the communion” of His body and blood that we have with other members of His body (I Cor. 10:16-20).  But unsaved men back then were sacrificing to the “devils” behind their idols in their communion service, as Rome does.

But King Nebuchadnezzar commanded Daniel to eat that meat, and God told him to obey him (Jer. 27:12, 17).  So what was he to do?  Well, first he “requested” to be excused from the king’s table (Dn. 1:8), a request his prince was inclined to grant because he liked Daniel (1:9).  God hadn’t forced him to like him, of course.  Daniel had just been obeying him in all other matters so he’d have compassion on him, as God had told him to do (I Ki. 8:46-50).  It worked! (Dn. 1:10).

The reason the king nourished Daniel was so he could stand before him (1:5) looking healthy.  Kings felt if their subjects didn’t look healthy and happy it made it look like they weren’t doing a good job keeping their people happy (cf. Neh. 2:2).  So the prince told Daniel he’d like to help him but feared the king would punish him if Daniel looked underfed (Dn. 1:10).  And the word “faces” (plural) in verse 10 shows that Daniel’s friends were standing with him.

Daniel appealed to the middleman (Dn. 1:11), saying, as it were, “If you’re trying to nourish us (1:5), let us prove that keeping God’s diet can nourish us just as well” (1:12, 13).  If “ten days” (v. 12) sounds familiar, it is because Daniel is a type of Tribulation Jews who will likewise be imprisoned and tested (Rev. 2:10).  He was in Babylon, and Antichrist’s church will be called Babylon (Rev. 17:5).  They’ll be tempted to eat meat sacrificed to false gods just as he was (Rev. 2:14, 20).  The number 10 is the number of the Gentiles (cf. Zech. 8:23) and a Gentile was testing Daniel, and Gentiles will test Tribulation Jews as well (Rev. 2:9).

The middleman agreed to the test (Dn. 1:14), and God worked a miracle to make them healthier than others (v. 15), a type of how God will similarly nourish Jews who just eat manna and not idolatrous meats in the Tribulation.  So the middleman let Daniel keep God’s diet (Dn. 1:16).  We know Daniel’s ability to understand dreams (Dn. 1:17) was a miraculous one, for it enabled him to interpret the king’s dream in Chapter 2 without knowing what he dreamt!  That means the “learning and wisdom” God gave all four of them was miraculous, and a type of the miraculous wisdom the saints received at Pentecost (Acts 6:3), and a type of the wisdom God will give Tribulation saints (Luke 21:15).

The faithfulness of the Fab Four enabled them to stand before the king (Dn. 1:18,19) to hear his wisdom (cf. II Chron. 9:7), but the king soon found that they could advise him (Dn. 1:20).  This additional reference to the number ten emphasizes how Daniel will focus on the future of the Gentile nations, not the future of the nation Israel like other Jewish prophets.

Daniel lives to see the captivity end (Dn. 1:21) and his friends don’t, making him a type of Jews who will live through the Tribulation to enter the kingdom, and his three friends types of those who will have to die and rise to enter it.  He had 3 friends, a number associated with resurrection (I Cor. 15:3).

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