Study 10 SHINING AS THE STARS FOR EVER
STUDIES IN THE LIFE OF DANIEL
by Francis Dixon
(Scripture Portion: Daniel 12:1-13)
In this concluding study of the series we are to consider a great statement contained in Daniel 12:3. This verse brings before us the Christian’s supreme task, for the greatest and the most worthwhile thing a Christian can do is to ”lead many to righteousness”. The Lord has saved us in order that we may serve Him (Ephesians 2:10), and the supreme act of service, so far as our fellow-men are concerned, is that of bringing others to Christ.
The language and poetic beauty of Daniel 12:3 is very striking, and the statement is all the more remarkable when we see the context in which it is found. Daniel chapter 12 is a prophetic utterance concerning the last days; it should be read in conjunction with Matthew chapter 24, and with those chapters in the book of the Revelation which speak of the end-time of the age, of the Great Tribulation, of the appearance of Antichrist, and of the fearful battle of Armageddon. Daniel 12:3, therefore, is set in the midst of prophecies concerning God’s judgments – compare verse 2, for instance. The teaching is this: When God’s judgments are upon the earth (verse 2) there will be a great company of evangelists (the Jews) who will go forth to lead many to righteousness. But these words also have an immediate application to believers who are living today; they are a challenging word for every Christian, to spur us on to engage in our supreme task of winning the lost to the Saviour. Notice first in Daniel 12:3:
1. THE TASK THAT IS DEFINED
This task is committed to the “wise” who do a certain clearly defined work:
- The nature of the task. What is it? It is turning men and women to righteousness. Christian, this is our job - to bring others to know Christ; as Andrew brought Peter (John 1:41); Philip brought Nathanael (John 1:45); and the Woman of Samaria brought a great company of people to know the Lord (John 4:28,29,39). Are we engaged in this task?
- The measure of the task. Notice the two words: ”they”, which refers to a certain kind of people, the “wise” (Proverbs 11:30); and notice the word ”many”. It is wonderful to win one soul, especially when we realise the truth of Matthew 9:36 and the emphasis of our Lord’s teaching on the parables of Luke chapter 15. How wonderful, however, to win many to Christ! God longs that many shall be converted; and the few may be instruments in His hands to turn many to righteousness - look up Acts 18:8.
- The superiority of the task. This is the greatest kind of work in which a Christian can engage. It is great to institute social reforms, better living conditions …it is great to be a doctor, a teacher …but the greatest task of all is to win a soul to Christ - look up James 5:20, and think over the meaning of the words ”sinner …save… death…” Now see in Daniel 12:3:
2. THE EFFORT THAT IS REQUIRED
Two phrases here indicate effort! ”Those who are wise…” - that implies work, industry, energy; and ’those who lead many to righteousness…” – which also implies work and effort. In other words, an effort has to be made if men and women are to be saved. What effort is required in order to lead others to the Lord?
- There is the effort of prayer. There are some Christians to whom the special ministry of prayer is committed, and many of these have the great joy of seeing men and women brought to the Lord Jesus Christ directly in answer to their prayers. Are you sick or shut-in? Is there anything you can do to win souls? Yes! You can pray for their salvation, and God will answer your prayer - look up James 5:17.
- There is the effect of a quiet, consistent life lived in the home, the shop or the office. Multitudes of souls have been turned from sin to salvation simply by the power of a consistent Christian life. Nagging or bringing unsanctified pressure on them has not brought them into the kingdom; they have been won to Christ through the testimony of a Christ-filled life close at hand. Here is a ministry in which all of us can engage - look up Acts 4:13.
- There is the Spirit-directed frontal attack; the carefully planned approach to the soul who needs to be turned ”to righteousness”. The methods of getting to work are so varied and the opportunities are so constant that it is almost impossible to give a detailed description of the ways in which souls can be won. The important thing is that there should be the will to do the work, for if there is a burning desire in our hearts to win the lost to the Saviour, the Holy Spirit will lead us to the souls whom He would have us win - look up Acts 8:26,29.
Look again at Daniel 12:3, and notice one more thing:
3. THE REWARD THAT IS PROMISED
Compare Ecclesiastes 8:1 with Daniel 12:3. The latter verse speaks of the reward for faithful service that God promises to every soul-winner.
- It is the promise of a certain reward. Notice that word ”will”. God does not say: ”Those who are wise may shine…” Here is His certain promise of reward in eternity compare Galatians 6:9.
- It is the promise of a glorious reward. If we win souls here, in eternity we shall shine like stars for ever. What an amazing thought but it is true!
- It is the promise of an eternal reward. This reward is imperishable; it is ”for ever and ever”. Do you want something that will be yours throughout eternity? - look up Psalm 126:6.
This, then, is the Christian’s supreme task in which the Lord would have us all engage, and for which He promises a glorious reward in eternity. Let the wonder of Daniel 12:3 captivate your soul and send you forth with a burning heart and with the message of the gospel on your lips as you seek to lead many to righteousness!