James Montgomery Boice preached through Daniel. In his initial sermon of the series, Daniel 1: A Young Man Decides, he expounded on how liberals use language to change the meaning of words, and to inculcate a loyalty to the new definition by showing how Nebuchadnezzar did the same. (Daniel 1:1-7).
How does one change the loyalty of people who adhere to a different God, and make them loyal to him and the Empire? And as much as possible make them forget their loyalty to their homeland and all that was within it (including their God)? In the sermon, Boice noted that the originator of the word changes was Nebuchadnezzar.
We see of course that Nebuchadnezzar took young men, who at that age are more impressionable and perhaps have not come to a settled loyalty yet. Or who at least could moldable and be made to forget.
Next, you entice them. That was why the King offered the young men choice delicacies from his own table. Nebuchadnezzar was making the world attractive.
Third and chiefly, Nebuchadnezzar did it through changing their names. Their names had God within them. According to Daniel 1:6, the young men’s original Hebrew names were
Daniel and Michael have the name for God (El) in them, the plural name of El is Elohim which we may be more familiar with. In Hebrew, Daniel means “God is my judge”, Mishael means “Who is like God?”. The names were great reminders of their racial and Godly heritage. Hananiah and Azariah contain a shortened form of the name Jehovah. Hananiah’s meant “Jehovah is gracious”, Azariah’s meant “Jehovah is my helper.”
Nebuchadnezzar was intending to mold them by giving them names of local Babylonian deities in order to distance the men from their own God and inculcate a local loyalty.
We can apply Nebuchadnezzar’s tactic to our own day. Nebuchadnezzar did it then, and the world still does it. Changing words and meanings of words is a scheme that molds followers to a new concept or idea. Liberals change words within the Christian vocabulary. They don’t abandon the great concepts outright, they simply change the meanings of the words.
A word like sin is changed to mean: not any want of conformity unto or lack of obedience to the Law of God, which is the word as true Christians know it. Sin is changed to oppression that resides in the social structure to a word so that it’s not a personal thing, where you and I individually have rebelled against God, but is instead something ‘out there’ in the system that can be overcome by revolution.
The name Jesus according to traditional understanding is the second person of the Godhead, God the Son who became a man-God who died on the cross for our sins and rose from the dead to be seated at the right hand of the Father.
The word ‘Jesus’ has come to be redefined in some liberal quarters, not the second Person of the Trinity, but is changed to mean simply a Person who is an example to us, not someone who achieved anything for us.
Salvation comes not as a word meaning not God’s deliverance to us by His grace instead of the penalty due us for our sins, but a word meaning we are freed from the world’s socially oppressive structures.
The word faith has been changed to mean not that obedient response of the heart to God’s declaration of what He’s done, but instead becomes something like “commitment”.
Change the word meaning, and you can change the mind. What’s important though, its that external pressures, liberals, or the world, cannot change the heart. What keeps the heart warm and moldable to God is reading His word and prayer. Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah could not be swayed from their faith to God and in God. They remained actively attuned to Him and steadfast in their faith in both heart and mind and so were true to the end.
When you speak to people and they say words like faith, salvation, Jesus, sin, or any other common word, they might mean something totally different to that person from what your understanding of these words are. It’s always important to first, know what you believe and can define it. Second, when discussing Christian concepts, don’t take for granted that both you and the other person have the same understanding of the words you are using. Third, recognize that there is nothing new under the sun, and people opposed to the truth use and re-use the same tactics that are intended to incrementally sway you away from the truth.
One wonders what tactics were being used against the truth to draw the Galatians away from the Gospel. Paul was amazed it had happened so fast.
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel (Galatians 1:6).
The word ‘quickly’ is tachus which means quick, fleet, speedy. We get the word tachometer from tachus. Tachometer is a measure of velocity of machines. I know right now you’re picturing a tachometer needle speeding up form first gear to top gear. Sometimes desertion of the truth can happen that fast.
Make sure your loyalty is founded on a solid rock and that you (and I) have a solid understanding of what word means what in the faith. Especially the moldable youth. I do not think it is an accident that over this last generation we have herded the youth away from the main church service and sequestered them all in one room or building. Nebuchadnezzar knew that the impressionable teenagers were best to remove from their traditional place and mold to a new thought by sequestering them, enticing them, and redefining what they used to know into new concepts.
Stay strong, Ladies, oppose redefinition of our words, which are precious to the faith and important to the mind and heart. Watch your teenage children. Don’t be satisfied when you superficially hear the Youth Pastor teaching them of Jesus, sin, faith and the like. Make sure you know that he knows what they really mean, and that your children do too.
And, Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15).