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Saturday, August 15, 2015

Thy Kingdom Come # 5

The Revealer of Secrets (continued)

After all, when we set aside the particular prophetic element of Daniel, which none of us can have, what remains as a lesson for us? There were three means by which spiritual sight came to Daniel. He saw by the Spirit of God: even an earthly man like Nebuchadnezzar knew that (4:8). He saw by the Scriptures, the books (9:2). And he saw in answer to earnest prayer (2:18, 19). All these three means are available to us. Daniel had the Holy Spirit, the Holy Scriptures, and the Holy Place of Prayer; he had them - and, what is more, he used them. We have them too. Let us be sure that we use them.

The Importance of Discrimination

Revelation brought various values to Daniel, but the first which we shall consider is the power to discriminate. Paul prayed for the Philippians that their 'love might abound yet more and more in knowledge and all discernment', so that they might 'prove the things that differ' (Phil. 1:9, 10). Revelation brings discrimination, ability to detect the true nature of things behind the mere appearances. By this first vision Daniel was made to realize that the imposing and popular kingdom is not necessarily the lasting one. He saw that, however much the Lord may permit what is of the earth and seem to prosper it, we must not be led astray and imagine that i can truly serve Him. It is not what He wants, and it is doomed from the start. More than that, as vision succeeded vision Daniel came to realize that the final development of this kingdom must result ultimately in antichrist. There are many kings and princes described here; there is no need for us to try to identify them, but let us observe that in their final issue they all produce a personage who is directly opposed to Christ. "He shall speak words against the Most High" (7:25), "he shall also stand up against the prince of princes" (8:25) and "shall speak marvelous things against God of gods" (11:36). It is an enlightening but most sobering fact that the kingdom which has its origin in the natural heart of man, however good it may seem in its beginnings, and however much it may seem to be permitted and even supported by God, will be found in the end not only to be not of Christ but to be His rival for the throne. Let our own hearts witness how true this is.

This first vision is basic. It revealed that after all there are only two kinds of kingdoms: one of man and earth, and so really of satan; the other of Heaven - the kingdom of God. How we need to discriminate, if we are to find out way though to God's goal, as Daniel did, without defilement and without compromise. Not that the discrimination must be only negative. While Nebuchadnezzar was being identified as the head of gold, Daniel and the others were able to identify themselves; they saw the other kingdom to which they belonged. The difference is spiritual, not legalistic. We must not draw any rash conclusions from Daniel's purpose of heart and request as to the king's meat and drink (1:8), "for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Romans 14:17). He did receive his food from Babylon (even the pulse and water), and later on he received its honors and administered its civil affairs. Yet there was a difference, for Daniel never compromised in matters of spiritual affinity and heart attachment. 

One thing is very important. In spite of his clear discrimination, Daniel never permitted himself to be critical of his brethren. They failed, they compromised, yet we may look in vain in his prayer in chapter nine for any trace of superiority, of critical condemnation or of a separate spirit. He did not denounce them; he loved them, he prayed for them; in a right way he identified himself with them. This is a lesson which we must take much to heart, unhelpful. At the same time Daniel never allowed his love for his brethren to deflect him from absolute obedience to the Lord. That would be false love. We shall not help our brethren by compromising; we must be true to the Divine vision, absolutely firm and unwavering, as befits those who know that they belong to the heavenly kingdom, even though they have to live and work in Babylon.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 6 - (Cooperation)

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