THE FOURTH CHARACTERISTIC—NOT CARING FOR ONE’S LIFE
There is still a fourth characteristic. Daniel was a person who would sacrifice himself to be martyred. From the first chapter to the last, the book of Daniel shows us that a person who is under God’s hand and who is used by Him to turn the age is a self-sacrificing person. Every incident and fact shows us that he was a person who did not care for his own life. For example, when he chose to eat vegetables only, he did not necessarily have the assurance that he would be strong. If the more he ate, the slimmer he became, he would be killed by the king of Babylon. Yet he cared neither for life nor for death. He knew that the unclean food, the food sacrificed to idols, could not enter into his mouth, that he would not be defiled, and that he would keep God’s word. Because of this word, he was willing to lose even his life.
Later, King Darius decreed that within thirty days none in the kingdom could make petition of God or men. But Daniel still prayed. Even if he would be thrown into the den of lions, he would still pray. Humanly speaking, he truly had the spirit of martyrdom.
Brothers and sisters, all those who are afraid of what might happen to them, who are afraid of things that come from one direction or another, of this and of that, cannot be used by God to turn the age. Please do not misunderstand me. Let me say it in a plain way. Everyone whom God uses to turn the age is afraid neither of heaven nor of hell. He fears nothing. He is only afraid of one thing, that is, to offend God and to lose His presence. Anyone who hides, withdraws, withers, and changes his mind when confronted with difficulties is not of much use in God’s hands. God cannot use cowards. All those whom God uses to turn the age are bold ones. They are not bold in a wild or natural way, but bold because of their fear of God and their courage to confront difficulties.
In the past I have read a little of the record of Martin Luther’s Reformation. I was most touched by the scene at his trial. Those who sat in front of him were kings and noblemen, yet Luther stood before them fearlessly. He spoke a firm word to their face: “If what I preach is contrary to this Bible, I am willing to die, but if what I preach is according to this Bible, no one can kill me!” Such majestic words caused even those who loved him and were concerned for him to tremble. His words were too majestic. He was a man who was not afraid of death. This was why God was able to use him to turn the age.
Consider Daniel and his three friends. They did not care for their own lives at all. Listen to the words of Daniel’s three friends. How resolute and majestic they were! Although the king of Babylon seduced them in the most cunning and devious way, what did they answer? They said, “O Nebuchadnezzar,…our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the blazing furnace of fire, and He will deliver us out of your hand.…But if He does not,…we will not serve your gods nor worship the golden image that you have set up.” Do you not remember the record of the Bible? When Nebuchadnezzar heard these words, he was full of fury, and the countenance of his face was changed toward them. Right away he commanded that the furnace be made seven times hotter than it was usually heated. Even the men who lifted them into the furnace were slain by the flames. The three of them would rather be bound and cast into a fiery furnace than to submit to the king. If they had been cowardly and afraid of death, surely they could not have testified for God at all that day and could not have been used by God to turn the age.
Today, we can cover only these four characteristics. First, we must be an anti-testimony. Second, we must read the Bible. Third, we must pray, and fourth, we must not care for our own life. These four characteristics can be seen not only in Daniel but also in all those used by God to turn the age. If we read the biography of Luther, we will see these four things in him also. Luther was one who stood up as an anti-testimony. He was originally a priest in the Roman Catholic Church. When he saw that the Roman Catholic Church did things completely contrary to the truth, he rose up and became a strong anti-testimony. Luther was also a person who read the Bible. He saw from the Bible that man is justified by faith and not at all by works. Immediately, he accepted God’s Word and joined himself to this Word. Luther was also a man of prayer. Each time he came across important issues, he would fight in prayers before God. At the same time, undoubtedly, Luther was one who cared not for his own life and was willing to be martyred for the Lord. Only this kind of person can be used by God to turn the age.
Young brothers and sisters, I feel deeply before God to speak such a word to you. You must see that the whole world today has followed Satan. God wants to gain absolute young people so that He can use them to turn the age. I believe that everyone who has received mercy from God today will surely respond to this matter. I believe these ones will surely want to touch God’s desire, be voluntarily-consecrated ones, Nazarites, and be used by God as an anti-testimony in this ever-degrading age.
(Men Who Turn the Age, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)