Hell's Hatred of the Vessel of Testimony (continued)
The Nature of the Vessel's Present Ascendency
We have to see the nature of the ascendency of that vessel. In this present age it is true that the vessel is called to be in a state of ascendency, in a place of government, now, a place of dominion if you like, ruling. But its government, its ruling, its domination in this age is not the same as it will be in the age to come. It is going to rule. There is another sense in which the kingdom will be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, then it will be literal government, literal dominion, it will be recognized and acknowledged, it will be universally manifested, the accepted order. It is not that now, that hardly needs saying; and yet the principle is to be just as true now as it will be then. But the nature of the government now is not literal, but moral. Now I explain what I mean by that by illustrating from this Book of Daniel.
Nebuchadnezzar is that head of gold. God had given him a kingdom, the greatest of all those world's kingdoms; every other dominion that followed was a step of deterioration. Silver, brass, iron, clay. A drop in value all the way through; but Nebuchadnezzar and his Babylonian empire was the most glorious of all empires, and God had given it to him. Daniel and his tree companions are in the center of that, and I ask you, who rules, Nebuchadnezzar or Daniel? When no one could help the king out of his difficulty over his dream and eventually Daniel came in, it says: "Then Daniel answered before the king." Why? Because he had already been before the King of kings. If you follow him in before Nebuchadnezzar you are moving in an atmosphere of dignity, quiet confidence and assurance. From that very first step, as we pointed out before, when Daniel heard that all the wise men were to be destroyed, he confidently announced that there was a God in heaven who revealeth secrets and he would give an answer to the king. There was not any hesitation and saying: "Well, I will ask the Lord and see if He will give an answer." Absolute assurance, absolute confidence, serenity, kept him perfectly steady. He never host his head. He called his three companions and they prayed, and the Lord revealed the thing to Daniel in the night season. "Daniel answered before the king." It is moral authority, ascendency, he is governing morally and again and again things were, so to speak, put into his hands. He became the moral ruler of the situation again and again. He ruled even from the den of lions, he was on top; he was on top of the king. The king morally groveled to this man more than once. And those three, where were they morally? Well, "Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us ... and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up" (Daniel 3:17-18). What is the result of that? Not that they are delivered from the fiery furnace - keep that in mind - not that God comes in and opens a way of escape for them, but the Son of God associates Himself with them in the fire, and the result is that everything goes down before them morally
and they come out as kings, they reign morally. You see the ascendency is a moral thing in the midst of this world-system, and government from the heavens morally. What is the secret of that ascendency which, in the sovereignty of the God of the heavens, brings the power into our hands? Go back to the first chapter of the book and you have the secret, the foundation secret: "But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the king's dainties, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself." It says: "But Daniel purposed in his heart"; it only says that about Daniel, but before you get through the chapter you find the other three are in the same position. It does not say they purposed, but it says Daniel purposed, and it is clear that Daniel's moral lead, moral stand, moral ascendency, brought his brethren alongside of him in fellowship in that testimony. Now there are two things there. I will mention the second first.
(continued with # 45)