The Abiding Message of the Book of Daniel (continued)
A Person, A Testimony, An Instrument
This rule of the heavens, therefore, is related to a Person, a Testimony and an Instrument. That person is the One here called "The Son of Man." Everything is pointing towards that Person, and the issue of this book is found in that Person, everything here is moving on toward the day when that Person shall be the one preeminent Person. The heavens are ruling and over ruling the world-kingdoms towards that end. Toward a Person, a Testimony; that is, the Testimony of Jesus. That is the spirit of prophecy, we are told: "The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy" (Revelation 19:10). The heavens are ruling and over-ruling in relation to the testimony of Jesus. And then in relation to an instrument, that instrument is the Church, and it came in with the Gentile period. That Church is represented typically and spiritually by Daniel and his three friends. It is typified by the remnant which was the issue of the testimony of these four. Now I hope you may be able to grasp that. It will leave a general impression upon you even if you cannot grasp the details.
Thus, then, there are three things clearly in view in the main. One, the set course of the age, by Divine planning, heading up to Christ. That is very clear in the Book of Daniel. The set course of the age - all these Gentile powers with all that was bad and wrong in them, nevertheless by Divine appointment (not bad by Divine appointment, but the power, the rule by Divine appointment) it is in the Divine plan, and in spite of the Divine planning being taken hold of by evil men and all the wrong that they introduce, God is carrying on toward His purpose and causing these things to head up to His Son; that is the rule of the heavens. (I know very well how I am covering very old ground for many of you, for myself this is very old ground indeed, but there are perhaps younger servants of the Lord who have not been taken though the prophetical school very thoroughly, and for whom, perhaps, the barest outline of things may be helpful to a closer study). So it ought to come to us with fresh emphasis that these world empires, these Gentile empires with all the wrong and the evil and the wickedness and the antagonism to God, are nevertheless in the hands and in the plan of God, and that God has got them not only in His plan but in His authority. They may work against Him but He is compelling their very working against Him to work for Him, and it is all heading up to Christ, the Person.
Secondly, an instrument in the earth is in view which is inseparably bound up with the purpose of the age. Again, that should carry much more weight with us than it does, and if we are going on with the Lord we are going to come to that fact spiritually, perhaps along very violent lines. You and I will, if we come right into God's specific object for the age, come right in it spiritually and vitally. We are going to discover that we are people who count for something. That is not said on the natural level; that is said in that realm where we are going to discover that heaven and hell are involved in this matter of securing this instrument, and heaven will be moved to its center and hell will be moved to its depths because of that object, that instrument, that Church or that remnant. It is inseparably bound up with the age purpose and all the kingdoms of the earth are related to it. It touches all the nations in a spiritual way, so that two mighty spiritual hierarchies are drawn in, so to speak, as to the issue, the issue of the government of those nations, and that is being determined in and by the Church. Have you ever recognized that? That the Church is the instrument for the determining of the government of the nations, because it is the instrument of the testimony of Jesus, that He is Lord; and that is the challenge. The Church stands on the side of heaven, and heaven stands on the side of the Church, the Body of Christ, and heaven and the Church confront hell and all its forces with a challenge of government for the nations in all the ages to come. And so as that instrument is inseparably bound up with the purpose of the age, this third thing comes in, that haven and hell are actively in operation concerning that instrument. That is of immense significance. You may be a professing Christian engaged in much of the organized work of Christianity, but if you come by the Holy Spirit into God's immediate age purpose spiritually, livingly, and range yourself with Christ as Lord, to be witness unto Him and His Lordship in this earth, you range yourself against hell and hell at once takes account of you and you become an object of significance and importance.
Now all that comes into view in the Book of Daniel because that is represented and typified by Daniel and his fellow, and the remnant which issued from their testimony.
(continued with # 37 - (Similarity Between Ends and Beginnings)