We can't let division disrupt the unity of fellowship.
[Darris McNeely] A question that my students often ask me as I'm going through the Bible and talking with them about issues regarding religion, faith, the Bible, and the church is why do people split up? Why do denominations and churches have internal problems that lead to splits? It's a good question. It's a hard question to answer in one sense, but the are some easy scriptural examples that can help us. There's one that I always go through every year when I teach the Book of Daniel and I teach them the story and the history of the Jewish people during the time of the Greek ascendancy over them at a period of time, that is referenced in the Book of Daniel Chapter 11 when there was a period of great stress put upon the Jews, actually, a Holocaust that was put upon them by the Greek king named Antiochus Epiphanes.
And the story that begins in Daniel 11:21, where this vile person called this wicked king Antiochus comes in and with flattery and deceit is able to drive a wedge into an already existing period of strife among the Jews in Jerusalem at that time. It's about the year 168 BC, a little less than 200 years before the time of Jesus Christ. The Jews were squabbling among themselves. Some were traders to their faith, the faith given to them by God, while others were wanting to hold onto that. And this wicked vile king comes in and stirs up strife and creates what is essentially a Holocaust through a number of events with flattery, with bribery, manipulating who's in charge of the priesthood and the temple services. Long story short, he creates an event whereby he desecrates the temple with swine's blood, forbids keeping the Sabbath, tells the Jewish women they cannot circumcise their children. Anything connected with the Word of God, the law of God, and their distinctions is forbidden at point of death.
And a great insurrection takes place. It's called the Maccabean Revolt in the period of Jewish history. Eventually, the Macabees succeed. And within about a three-year period, they drive out the Greeks and they restore the temple, the dedication, and their faith. And it's a great story right there in the Book of Daniel. But what I tell students is that when people like the Maccabees do what the scriptures talk about great exploits. These Maccabees are described in Daniel 11:32 as people who know their God. They hold fast and they stand up strong. For a Christian today, the application is to not let division destroy the unity of the faith to work to maintain a unity of the spirit in their faith and their fellowship one with another. Because just as this ancient wicked king was able to take advantage of the disarray and the problems among the Jews at that time, so today, Satan and other forces can get an advantage and lead to division, upset, and chaos among the people of God, among people of faith, among people who know their God.
And so my answer to students is strive for unity. Unity of the faith, a unity of the spirit. Stay away from division. Learn how to handle conflict. Learn how to work toward reconciliation in the spirit of reconciliation with each other. Do that and you can maintain that unity of the spirit and the unity of the faith, which is so important to the Church of God and to the people of God at any time. It's a great lesson from the Book of Daniel and a largely unknown place there that we don't always go to to help us understand how it is that we can maintain the unity of the faith today.
That's "BT Daily." Join us next time.