Daniel has learned the secret of the shining face, and there is something deeper here; more testing. Daniel is in Babylon. Babylon is in the ascendancy. Jerusalem is in ruins. We know what these things mean spiritually. We know that that which really is wholly according to God, that which was at the beginning, is not to be found today, that where the Holy Spirit absolutely governs and where it is all the Lord Jesus. You do not find that in the ascendancy today. It is the other religious system made by man that is in the ascendancy. That is Babylon. And the mass of the Lord’s people are in captivity to it, a man-made Christian system.
And here is Daniel, seeing that which is according to God ― broken, ruined ― and he sees this other thing, that is not according to God, holding sway and engulfing the mass of the Lord’s people. He does not accept the things seen. He knows that Babylon is only a temporary thing and that God is going to have His testimony again. And God is going ― through a remnant ― to get His house again. He knows that God cannot be defeated and so he will not defile himself with the king’s dainties. God is his life and he repudiates that which seems to have the upper hand for the time being and clings to God.
It is so easy to say, “Christianity is in a mess, but we must make the best of a bad job.” But there is no joy along that line. God is working today secretly even in Babylon. And when we come to the book of Ezra, we find that God acts sovereignly. He stirs up the spirit of Cyrus and he makes a proclamation. That is God’s outside action. But there is a company with whom God has secretly worked in Babylon.
And God is seen working in Babylon today with His own remnant and they are gradually moving in a detachment from this system so that when God’s time comes, He will have that which is after His mind. But Daniel was the first one. He represented that company. He stood for what was of God although it might not be manifested at the moment. Do not accept anything less than what God has set His heart upon. Daniel’s secret of the shining face was in that He looked on to God’s sure end and believed that, in a dark day, the ultimate purpose and thought of God was certain of realization.