by Rose-Marie Slosek
Let’s face it: none of us will escape the trial of our character. It behooves us to prepare to pass through infernos that God will allow to test our mettle. Jesus never suggests that the world will be without tribulation, nor does He suggest that He will not find a bride that has not been purified at His return. He is ever Holy and He calls us to holiness in this hour.
In the Book of Daniel, chapter 11, we read of a time when the Antichrist begins to come to power and there is great tumult upon the earth. As all categories fail, and people are trying to understand what is happening, the Bible tells us that “those of understanding among the people” — the “maskilim”— will arise and instruct many. They will be strong and do exploits. Yet some difficult things are said about them: “they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil many days.” (Daniel 11:33) So outwardly they are attacked, and some are killed but the harder part of this is that it says that they will be “helped with a little help” but many shall cleave to them with flatteries. And some will fall to try them, and to purge, and to make them white even to the time of the end.” (Daniel 11:34,35).
One wonders what the “little help” is because we like to think in terms of huge help, of superheroes saving the day, but, alas, a “little help” is provided. There is much to ponder here. So what is the hard part if it is not falling by the sword and fire? The hard part is that the Maskilim are people of understanding, they know the Scriptures, they are wise and can explain what is happening, they are like the sons of Issachar (I Chronicles 12:32)— able to know the times and the seasons— but things in their character are still not perfected and they fall prey to temptations they hoped they would not.
It appears that Scripture gives a hint as to one of the arrows that pierces into their spiritual life and causes them to stumble. It says, “many will cleave to them with flatteries.” They are thrust into the public eye and looked upon with wonder and admiration and yet do those that flatter them have their best interests in mind? Yet possibly they believe the flatteries. Flattery works. Flattery can lure. It can cause us to think unwisely about ourselves and what we are allowed to do. If we are simply wise about Scripture but have not fully applied it in our lives so that it is worked into our character, problems can and most certainly will arise.
Dear ones, if this can happen to the Maskilim at the end of the age, should we not expect the same kind of trials to cross our own? If someone calls you “wise” be sure to run that by the wholly Wise One. Lay it at His feet. In this situation in Daniel God uses the very calling that propels them into the public eye to purify them. They have some understanding, but they need deep refinement.
Don’t think you are exempt from this, or above the same need of refinement. We live in a time where you can be unknown one day and on the world stage the next. Flatteries work. Social media shows us that not everyone who applauds us, is our friend. Even long before social media was a thing, the betrayal of Jesus shows us this.
Flatteries can make us think we are someone and somewhere we are not. Flatteries can tempt us to justify our sins and invite us into forbidden territory.
We will not know what is in our hearts until our hearts are tried by fire. Every one of us will face that either now, shortly, or at the day of our judgment. There is not a lot of time between any of those options.
Soldiers that we thought could not or should not fall are falling on either side of us. We need to prepare ourselves to be tried by fire. God loves us and is looking at who and what and where we will be eternally far more than He is looking at any influential position we hold here. Perhaps we will never hold an exclusive or honored position in the eyes of the world—yet we can still think too highly of ourselves or misjudge how we will hold up under pressure or temptation. Jesus advises that we fall on the Rock and be broken to pieces rather than having the Rock fall on us and grind us to powder. (Matthew 21:44)
It’s easy to point fingers at someone but consider when the prophet Nathan points his finger at King David and says, “You are the man!” (2 Samuel 12:7). We are the men, my dear ones! All have fallen short of the glory of God! Let us submit ourselves to the discipline of God while there is time to amend our ways and repent. God is not a harsh taskmaster, but He abhors sin and He insists we abhor it also. Let us turn ourselves into the Holy One and allow the fire of purging to begin with us.
Rose-Marie Slosek is on the Board of Directors of Women of the Word. She also serves on the Lead Team for FAI Emmaus Online School. Rose-Marie travels regularly to Northern Ireland and Israel.
She can be reached at email firstname.lastname@example.org