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If you read the passage in Daniel 1:8-16 you will quickly see that Daniel’s diet had nothing to do with his weight or health but everything to do with not defiling himself, not mixing himself with the Babylonian practices. The purpose the Old Testament law was for God’s people to stand out from the pagans. God wanted them to be weird, to be noticeably different. In fact, with the Hebrew word Holy, the root qdš carries the idea of “separate, set apart.” A lot of the laws that seem arbitrary to us like not mixing certain types of fabrics in a weave were metaphors for not mixing with the pagans.
The overall principle that Christians can derive from the OT law is that we should strive to stand out from our culture. We should be distinct. This principle carries forward into the New Testament for Christians in Paul’s exhortation, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (2 Co 6:14) In his commentary on Daniel – James Montgomery Boice observes,
One thing the world seems always to try to do—it has happened in the past, and it is happening in our own time—is to take Christian words and rework them to convey the world’s ideas. I suppose it is one of the devil’s subtlest tricks. It happens in liberal theology.
Warren has done the polar opposite of what Daniel did in chapter 1. He has associated with the pagans for the purpose of his diet and labeled it “the Daniel plan.” He has put the flesh above the spirit and revealed his gross apathy toward the proper interpretation of scripture.
William Sanford La Sor, David Allan Hubbard and Frederic William Bush, Old Testament Survey: The Message, Form, and Background of the Old Testament, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1996), 301.
James Montgomery Boice, Daniel : An Expositional Commentary, Originally Published: Grand Rapids, MI : Ministry Resources Library, c1989. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 2003), 21.