the word of the Lord came unto me,
saying, Son of man, when a land sinneth against Me by
committing a trespass, and I stretch out mine hand upon
it, and break the staff of the bread thereof, and send
famine upon it, and cut off from it man
and beast; though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job,
were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by
their righteousness, saith the Lord God.... Or if I send
a pestilence into that land, and pour out My fury upon it
in blood, to cut off from it man and
beast: though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, as I
live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither son
nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by
their righteousness" (Eze. 14:12-14, 19-20).
said the Lord unto me, Though Moses and Samuel stood
before Me, yet My mind could not be toward this people:
cast them out of My sight, and let them go forth" (Jer.
situation in relation to which these Scriptures occur is
indeed a desperate one; it is one of hopeless extremity.
God is represented as stating that He Himself has come to
the end of His human resources as far as the salvation of
His people is concerned. He says that there is not a man
who could avert the judgment which must come upon Israel.
In such a state He says that if that averting WERE possible
there were certain five men who could do it; and in
mentioning the five by name - "Moses, Samuel"
(Jer. 15:1). "Noah, Daniel, Job" (Eze.
14:12-14), He pinpoints that which those men signify
which would prevail with Him, if anything could do so.
therefore seeking to put our finger upon that particular
feature and factor which God Himself indicates as having
power with Him up to the last degree. We have considered
Noah; now we move to the second in the order in Ezekiel -
it is impressive that, with the acceptance of Ezekiel by
Hebrew authorities for inclusion in the Old Testament
Canon, they should have made such heavy weather over
including Daniel. Only after much debate and controversy
was Daniel admitted to a place in the Bible by those
higher critics. The reasons for this attitude are full of
interest, but not to be considered here. The point is
that, as always, prejudice results in contradiction and
inconsistency. Admit Ezekiel, yes, but overlook the fact
that in Ezekiel God sets the very highest importance upon
one whom you will not admit without a battle - Daniel.
From Noah To Daniel
It is a
very far cry from Noah to Daniel. Noah stands in the book
of beginnings - Genesis; Daniel stands so near the end of
the Old Testament era. Are we straining the truth when we
say that that fact really brings us to the very
significance of Daniel as an ultimate factor in power
with God? We must remember that when God speaks there are
very deep and eternal thoughts beneath His words; they
are SPIRITUAL thoughts. We have seen that with
Noah the vast eternal and fundamental spiritual truth of
the righteousness which is by faith was the power by
which believers were delivered from universal judgment
and secured a new, regenerate world. How far-reaching
that truth is in the light of the New Testament 'Genesis'
- the Letter to the Romans! If that is foundational and
at the beginning, what is it that is ultimate as
indicated by Daniel?
which bears his name may be regarded as a book of history
and apocalypse; of prophecy, and history written in
advance; but that is surely not the point made by God
when He singled out Daniel as a man of pre-eminence in
power with Him. No, we must think again.
to begin by reminding ourselves of why Daniel was in
Babylon at all; that is, why the people of Israel were
there. That brings us to the point that Daniel was
physically and temporally - though not spiritually -
involved in Israel's situation and condition. Was it not
because Israel had forsaken their high and distinct
position as God's 'Peculiar People'? All distinctiveness
of life and testimony as "not reckoned among the
nations" had been wholly violated and forsaken. They
had become like Babylon before they were in Babylon. They
were not only in the world, they had become of it. To
this position and condition Daniel reacted with
deliberation, positiveness, and faithfulness. His
decision regarding the king's meat; his refusal to bow to
the king's image; his persistence in rejecting the king's
edict about praying to any other god; and his acceptance
of the penalties of all this - in fellowship with his
other three friends - was all related to one principle.
From the lips of the king himself were forced words which
precisely and concisely embodied that principle:
"The heavens do rule". The inclusive truth of
Daniel, in himself and in the effect of his life with God
in secret (remembering that it is in the age of "the
times of the Gentiles", that is, the era when the
"kingdoms of this world" are in WORLD power),
is that after all "the heavens do rule", and
that any power with God over "the world rulers of
this darkness" demands a heavenly position on the
part of any vehicle of that power.
means, as in the case of Daniel,
Absolute Spiritual Distinctiveness
of life and testimony, AT
It may involve the lion's den, and there
are many kinds of lions' dens. It may mean the fiery
furnace, and there are many kinds of fiery furnace. It
may be the fire of jealousy and spite on the part of men,
as with David. In His great and spiritually instructive
prayer (John 17) Jesus had VERY much to say about
the world as THE enemy of His Church. How He
prayed for the Church to be saved from the world; to
abide in its "out of the world" position, and
so be kept from the evil one. This kind of praying was
based upon His immediately preceding words: "I have
overcome the world", and this because (as seen
throughout that Gospel) He Himself maintained His
therefore so impressive and significant that the Letter
which speaks so forcefully about the Church's warfare
with "world rulers" is the Letter which is
based wholly upon the heavenly position of the Church.
The measure of powerlessness in the Church, in preaching,
in the prayer-life, in the testimony, within and without,
will be determined by the measure of the
"world" in the methods, means, behaviour,
habits, accommodation, compromise, etc., in its members
and corporate life.
This is an age of imitation of the world
by the Church, and the power of the Church is
pathetically small. If the Church were what it is really
meant to be there would be neither need nor thought for
imitating the world. We have to recover "the rule of
the heavens" by recovering our heavenly position
Daniel is a kind of summary of the Old
Testament and a prophetic voice to the New. The one
battleground of all the Old Testament is that of the
heavenly distinctiveness of the people of God. That
battle was lost in Israel, and the hopelessness of their
position AS A WHOLE NATION (apart from the
Remnant) at the end, with the desolating judgment of God,
was on this one issue - compromise with the world! The
Lord has thus thundered in history and through all the
Prophets to warn His Church of the calamity of this lost
distinctiveness through compromise with the world. The
whole Gospel of John, his Letters, and the Letters of
Paul make unmistakably clear three things:
One: there is a "Prince of this
world"; a "Spirit that now worketh in the
children of disobedience"; that "the whole
world lieth in the wicked one", etc.
Two: that there is a spiritual realm where
Christ is Lord, and not Satan, and where "the prince
of this world (has been) cast out". Into that realm,
by birth "FROM ABOVE", believers have
been related and spiritually, inwardly, located, so that,
as Jesus said: "They are not of the world, even as I
am not of the world."
Three: there is a fierce and relentless
warfare between the two realms and their two Lords. But THE
point is this: Satan, for any success at all, must
have his own ground. Therefore, to rob Christians and the
Church of prevailing power, he MUST get Christians
and the Church in some way, on some point or points, on
to his own ground - this world.
Daniel "determine" not to touch the provision
from the king's table? Why did he and his friends refuse
to have anything to do with the king's image? Why did he
keep his prayer window open three times a day? It was all
to avoid compromise with the world and its god, and to
maintain his link with heaven. He knew that such was the
secret of spiritual power, and he is the very
personification of the law of power with God.
were DESPERATELY concerned about power with God in
life and testimony, we should be stretched out to know by
the Holy Spirit where "Achan" (Josh. 7:1)
links, contacts and ground are in our lives, sabotaging
our spiritual strength. The Holy Spirit would very
faithfully say: 'There, here, this, that!'
a matter of position.
noticed how dominant in Daniel is the phrase "The
End" (11:27,35; 12:4,13)? This spiritual position to
prevail is peculiarly characteristic of the end, and who
shall say that it is not THE issue in our time?
The Church is feverishly trying to recover power, but is
it by SPIRITUAL POSITION?