Daniel's Secret of the Shining Face
Daniel has learned the secret of the shining face, and there is something deeper here, more testing. Daniel is in Babylon. Babylon is in the ascendancy. Jerusalem is in ruins. We know what these things mean spiritually. We know that that which really is wholly according to God, that which was at the beginning, is not to be found today - that where the Holy Spirit absolutely governs and where it is all the Lord Jesus. You do not find that in the ascendancy today. It is the other religious system made by man that is in the ascendancy. That is Babylon. And the mass of the Lord's people are in captivity to it, a man-made Christian system.
And here is Daniel, seeing that which is according to God broken, ruined, and he sees this other thing, that is not according to God, holding sway and engulfing the mass of the Lord's people. The wonder of it all is that Daniel did not accept Babylon. He repudiated Babylon and clung to Jerusalem. If Jerusalem is literally in ruins, to Daniel it is not so. He does not accept the things seen. He knows that Babylon is only a temporary things and that God is going to have His testimony again. And God is going, through a remnant, to get His house again. He knows that God cannot be defeated and so he will not defile himself with the king's dainties. God is his life and he repudiates that which seems to have the upper hand for the time being and clings to God.
Daniel also sees beyond and sees when Babylon and all the other kingdoms will be shattered. If you accept Babylon you will lose the shining face. If you accept religion as it is today and say, "It is the best there is," you will get involved in something that is not of God. And people more and more today are revolting, and are not satisfied. People say, "Oh, to be out of it, to find the real thing." God is going to have His real thing. God cannot be robbed of that thing which He has set His heart upon. Let us set our hearts upon it and not accept anything else. It is so easy to say, "Christianity is in a mess, but we must make the best of a bad job." But there is no joy along that line. God is working today secretly even in Babylon. And when we come to the Book of Ezra, we find that God acts sovereignly. He stirs up the spirit of Cyrus and he makes a proclamation. That is God's outside action. But there is a company with whom God has secretly worked in Babylon.
And God is seen working in Babylon today with His own remnant and they are gradually moving in a detachment from this system so that when God's time comes He will have that which is after His mind. But Daniel was the first one. He represented that company. He stood for what was of God although it might not be manifested at the moment. Do mot accept anything less that what God has set His heart upon. Daniel's secret of the shining face was in that he looked onto God's sure end and believed that in a dark day the ultimate purpose and thought of God was certain of realization.
Stephen - all that were in the council, looking upon him, saw his face as it were the face of an angel. What is the secret? I believe the second passage is the secret, "And lifting up his eyes he said, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God." Stephen was a man full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and the Holy Spirit had drawn Stephen's attention to the Lord Jesus in glory. Read Acts 7. It is almost matchless in New Testament literature, and see the place that he gives to the Lord Jesus. He heads it right up to the Lord Jesus in glory and, while he is under the test, that is the thing that sustains him, and when he comes to the last moment he sees literally with his eyes what he had been seeing with his heart all the way through. And that just means this - when we see the Lord Jesus in glory we have seen this, that God having got Him there, the Son of Man, having got one all-inclusive Man there, it is all right for us. He can get us there!
That One has simply fathomed all judgment, all death, all the power of satan and the grave. He has exhausted all and God has got Him there. He had all the sin of all the creation from Adam onward heaped upon Him, and then that One came to glory. He had all the power and fury of the devil heaped upon Him, and God got that One to glory; the power of death and Hades being liberated upon Him, and God brought that One to glory. We will never have to go through all that He went through. Stephen saw that One Man in the glory, being such a One as He was, is the guarantee that God could get him there, let all hell rush upon him. It is the secret of the shining face.
Sometimes we may, by reason of many things, wonder if we shall get to glory, if we shall hold out to the end, but, blessed be God, He is capable of getting us there. It is not our doing, it i the Lord's doing. Why? Because He has already got our Forerunner in His presence. That bears you up in the time of opposition. And men filled with the Holy Spirit are especially the object of stones.
And now, finally, what Paul says about himself and about us. "We all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory" - transformed. It is by the Lord, the Spirit. And what is the secret of this shining face? 2 Corinthians 4:6, "God hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." The secret of the shining face in this case is not Christ objectively but Christ subjectively. It is a blessed thing to realize that the One Who has gone up there in His great triumph is within us. It does not depend on what is outside of us. But the Lord is inside us, Who has already overcome. We are familiar with the terms, but it is a great day when suddenly we wake up to know what Christ is in us. Has it ever come to you by a sudden flash of light? Christ in you! "Know ye not as to your own selves, that Christ is in you" (2 Cor. 13:5). "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith" (Eph. 3:17). Get that, spiritually apprehended, and you have got the shining face. All that which is around you is no match for Him. "Greater is He That is in you, than he that is in the world" (1 John 4:4).
Ask the Lord to make this live. To know this means a wonderful lot to the life. May the Lord take us back with that in our hearts which speaks of the Lord Jesus! That is the testimony. Our eye is upon what God's eye rests upon, our hope is set upon God's hope, our assurance upon God's assurance. And it is all the Lord Jesus.