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Friday, August 14, 2015

Thy Kingdom Come # 4

The Kingdom and Revelation (continued)

3. The Issue for the Church

And so we come to the issue for the Church. It is glorification and eternal vocation. When Daniel asked what was to be the issue of it all, he was probably thinking of himself. For many years his heart and mind had been concentrated on the coming of the kingdom. Of course, in his case it was the earthly kingdom centered at Jerusalem, and rightly so. While, in the midst of Babylon, he witnessed to the present expression of God's kingdom in His sovereign overruling, his real objective was the kingdom which was to come. His windows were open to Jerusalem, his life in the Word and in prayer filled him with expectation of coming glory. He was an old man now, but he had lived for one thing, the restoration of God's holy city. He had suffered for it, he had survived all the attacks upon him, and now the time had come for his vision to be realized. He must have reasoned with himself like this: "I have not gone through all this for nothing. There is an issue to it all; God must have been preparing me for something. All the grinding discipline, all the tests of faith, all the conflicts and triumphs of prayer, all the humbling under the hand of God - this must of necessity have been making me fit to have a part in the coming kingdom. When the people return, I shall surely go with them and take my place in the possession of the kingdom. Is that not to be the issue of these things?"

The answer was very illuminating, and has a meaning for all of us who will be true to the Lord in our day as Daniel was in his. "Go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and shalt stand in thy lot, at the end of the days" (12:13). 'You are right, Daniel: God has been preparing you for an honored place in His kingdom, but not now and not in something local and earthly. Your vocation is to have a part in the heavenly and eternal kingdom.' That was the issue for Daniel, and that is the issue for us.

The Revealer of Secrets

There are various implications of this fact that God is preparing a people to share with His Son in the administration of the kingdom, and perhaps the first of them is the need for understanding, for perception, for revelation. If Daniel is a book of kings, and kingdoms it is also a book of visions. We often talk about the need for vision. We do not mean the kind of manifestations and dreams that Daniel had. We shall not have these visions; we do not need them, for they are written down for us by Daniel himself. But there is a deeper sense in which he is an example of a man with spiritual insight; a man to whom God made known what could not be discovered from earthly sources or by human reasoning. He saw, God wanted him to see, for is He not  "revealer of secrets" (2:47)? God wants us to penetrate beneath the surface, to be illuminated and taught by the "Spirit of of wisdom and revelation". Far from making Daniel conceited or presumptuous, it was due to his humble walk with God and deep dependence that he became a man of vision. "From the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to humble thyself before thy God", the heavenly visitor told him, "thy words were heard: and I am come for thy words' sake" (10:12). Daniel asked to see, and his prayer was answered. Would it then be presumption for him to claim: "I Daniel ... saw"; "When I, even I Daniel, had seen ..."? Rather would it have been false humility and unbelief to ignore or to suppress what God had showed him.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 5)

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