SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 4 (EGW)



Chapter 1

1. Especially for Last Days—Read the book of Daniel. Call up, point by point, the history of the kingdoms there represented. Behold statesmen, councils, powerful armies, and see how God wrought to abase the pride of men, and lay human glory in the dust. God alone is represented as great. In the vision of the prophet He is seen casting down one mighty ruler, and setting up another. He is revealed as the monarch of the universe, about to set up His everlasting kingdom—the Ancient of days, the living God, the Source of all wisdom, the Ruler of the present, the Revealer of the future. Read, and understand how poor, how frail, how short-lived, how erring, how guilty is man in lifting up his soul unto vanity.... 4BC 1166.4

The light that Daniel received direct from God was given especially for these last days. The visions he saw by the banks of the Ulai and the Hiddekel, the great rivers of Shinar, are now in process of fulfillment, and all the events foretold will soon have come to pass (Letter 57, 1896). 4BC 1166.5

8. No Different Plan Now—When Daniel was in Babylon, he was beset with temptations of which we have never dreamed, and he realized that he must keep his body under. He purposed in his heart that he would not drink of the king's wine or eat of his dainties. He knew that in order to come off a victor, he must have clear mental perceptions, that he might discern between right and wrong. While he was working on his part, God worked also, and gave him “knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.” This is the way God worked for Daniel; and He does not propose to do any differently now. Man must cooperate with God in carrying out the plan of salvation (The Review and Herald, April 2, 1889). 4BC 1166.6

An Intelligent Decision—As Daniel and his fellows were brought to the test, they placed themselves fully on the side of righteousness and truth. They did not move capriciously, but intelligently. They decided that as flesh-meat had not composed their diet in the past, it should not come into their diet in the future, and as wine had been prohibited to all who should engage in the service of God, they determined that they would not partake of it. The fate of the sons of Aaron had been presented before them, and they knew that the use of wine would confuse their senses, that the indulgence of appetite would be-cloud their powers of discernment. These particulars were placed on record in the history of the children of Israel as a warning to every youth to avoid all customs and practises and indulgences that would in any way dishonor God. 4BC 1166.7

Daniel and his companions knew not what would be the result of their decision; they knew not but that it would cost them their lives; but they determined to keep the straight path of strict temperance even when in the courts of licentious Babylon (The Youth's Instructor, August 18, 1898). 4BC 1167.1

9. Good Behavior Gained Favor—This officer saw in Daniel good traits of character. He saw that he was striving to be kind and helpful, that his words were respectful and courteous, and his manner possessed the grace of modesty and meekness. It was the good behavior of the youth that gained for him the favor and love of the prince (The Youth's Instructor, November 12, 1907). 4BC 1167.2

15. Daniel's Tempters—In taking this step, Daniel did not act rashly. He knew that by the time he was called to appear before the king, the advantage of healthful living would be apparent. Cause would be followed by effect. Daniel said to Melzar, who had been given charge of him and his companions: “Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat and water to drink.” Daniel knew that ten days would be time enough to prove the benefit of abstemiousness.... 4BC 1167.3

Having done this, Daniel and his companions did still more. They did not choose as companions those who were agents of the prince of darkness. They did not go with a multitude to do evil. They secured Melzar as their friend, and there was no friction between him and them. They went to him for advice, and at the same time enlightened him by the wisdom of their deportment (The Youth's Instructor, September 6, 1900). 4BC 1167.4

17. God's Blessing No Substitute for Effort—When the four Hebrew youth were receiving an education for the king's court in Babylon, they did not feel that the blessing of the Lord was a substitute for the taxing effort required of them. They were diligent in study; for they discerned that through the grace of God their destiny depended upon their own will and action. They were to bring all their ability to the work; and by close, severe taxation of their powers, they were to make the most of their opportunities for study and labor. 4BC 1167.5

While these youth were working out their own salvation, God was working in them to will and to do of His good pleasure. Here are revealed the conditions of success. To make God's grace our own, we must act our part. The Lord does not propose to perform for us either the willing or the doing. His grace is given to work in us to will and to do, but never as a substitute for our effort. Our souls are to be aroused to cooperate. The Holy Spirit works in us, that we may work out our own salvation. This is the practical lesson the Holy Spirit is striving to teach us (The Youth's Instructor, August 20, 1903). 4BC 1167.6

17, 20. Honor Without Exaltation—Daniel and his three companions had a special work to do. Although greatly honored in this work, they did not become in any way exalted. They were scholars, being skilled in secular as well as religious knowledge; but they had studied science without being corrupted. They were well-balanced because they had yielded themselves to the control of the Holy Spirit. These youth gave to God all the glory of their secular, scientific, and religious endowments. Their learning did not come by chance; they obtained knowledge by the faithful use of their powers; and God gave them skill and understanding. 4BC 1167.7

True science and Bible religion are in perfect harmony. Let the students in our schools learn all they possibly can. But, as a rule, let them be educated in our own institutions. Be careful how you advise them to go to other schools, where error is taught, in order to complete their education. Do not give them the impression that greater educational advantages are to be obtained by mingling with those who do not seek wisdom from God. The great men of Babylon were willing to be benefited by the instruction that God gave through Daniel, to help the king out of his difficulty by the interpretation of his dream. But they were anxious to mix in their heathen religion with that of the Hebrews. Had Daniel and his fellows consented to such a compromise, they would, in the view of the Babylonians, have been complete as statesmen, fit to be entrusted with the affairs of the kingdom. But the four Hebrews entered into no such arrangement. They were true to God, and God upheld them and honored them. The lesson is for us. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Letter 57, 1896). 4BC 1167.8

20. Spirituality and Intellect Grow Together—As in the case of Daniel, in exact proportion as the spiritual character is developed, the intellectual capabilities are increased (The Review and Herald, March 22, 1898). 4BC 1168.1