“Hear the word of the LORD of hosts: Behold, the days are coming, that all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have laid up in store until this day, shall be carried to Babylon: nothing shall be left, says the LORD. And of the sons that shall issue from you, whom you shalt beget, they will take; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon” (Isaiah 39:5-7),
It is the fulfillment of this prophecy that opens the Book of Daniel. The prophet Daniel was one of the great men of the Bible. Born and raised during the great spiritual awakening under the good king Josiah, he was probably descended from King Hezekiah, to whom Isaiah had spoken the words of prophecy above; he was one of the choice young men, “..the seed of the king, and of the princes..” (Daniel 1:3), who were to be trained up in the culture and religion of the Chaldeans.
The first step in that process was to render then eunuchs, thus meaning that they would no longer be able to transmit life through their own seed. It was the intention of Nebuchadnezzar that every trace and vestige of identification between them and their people and land should be utterly erased; that included giving them new names in lieu of that given them by their families. Thus Daniel – “God judges”, became Belteshazzar – “he whom Bel protects”, Bel being the Babylonian moon god, now known as Allah.
Similar changes in name were given to Hannaniah – “Beloved of the Lord”, Mishael – “Who is as God” and Azariah – “The Lord is my help”. In this way, Nebuchadnezzar proposed to obliterate any reference to the true God of Israel and keep the young men in permanent remembrance of the gods of the Chaldeans.
The history of the Babylonian captivity has much to tell us today.
The prince of darkness still perverts the straight ways of the Lord, turning God’s people away from the true path and into ways that are acceptable to the culture of the world. That is why Christianity is not hated by the world; it acquiesces in the world’s zeitgeist, standing on the sidelines and crying “me too”!
But in seeking to appease the world, Christianity has failed to trust in God and, if there is one thing the Book of Daniel should teach us, it is that God alone is trustworthy!