By Tim Rumsey
On October 6, 2018, Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) as an associate justice. His long and contentious confirmation process culminated in a series of allegations by several women accusing Kavanaugh of sexual assault decades ago. Numerous details of Kavanaugh’s past, including a hand-marked calendar from his years in high school, were investigated in an effort to determine the truth. The political stakes were high, but the moral stakes rose even higher. And a simple question rested at the bottom of all the controversy: What kind of man, really, is Brett Kavanaugh? We may, of course, never know the real answer to that question.
The prophet Daniel faced a similar situation thousands of years ago in Babylon. I am not comparing Brett Kavanaugh to Daniel, but important lessons can be learned by observing Kavanaugh’s dilemma and by studying this episode in Daniel’s life. Shortly after the Medes and Persians conquered Babylon, King Darius set 120 princes over the empire, with Daniel placed in preeminence over all the other princes. This didn’t sit well with his political adversaries, and they immediately began a campaign of character assassination. Daniel 6:4 records, “Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom…” In other words, Babylon’s political machinery began a systematic search of Daniel’s long life. His enemies hoped that they would find record of bribery, misappropriated funds, political treachery, or some other kind of official misconduct. Instead, “they could find none occasion nor fault, forasmuch as he was faithful” (Daniel 6:4).
Next, Babylon’s equivalent of the FBI turned to Daniel’s personal life, no doubt confident that here something could be found. Certainly, just once Daniel and his friends had enjoyed a night on the town. Perhaps he had even spent a little while in the red light district. Maybe, just once, this professed servant of God had gambled in the casinos by the river Euphrates, understated his earnings on his income tax return, or “borrowed” the company camel for a vacation to the coast. Again, they found nothing. And again, a simple question rested at the bottom of all the controversy: What kind of man, really, is Daniel? What is his character? In answer to that question, the Bible provides a stunning conclusion. “[N]either was there any error or fault found in him” (Daniel 6:4). The prophet’s character was so spotless that even false charges would be pointless, and Daniel’s enemies knew it.
Only one alternative remained in order to condemn and destroy Daniel. “Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God” (Daniel 6:5). So Daniel’s enemies devised a law prohibiting worship of the true God, and then they attached a death penalty for failure to comply with the law (see Daniel 6:6-9). Daniel’s character was so above reproach that his enemies knew this utterly unjust law was the only way to destroy him. The rest of the story is well known. Daniel remained faithful to God, was hauled into court, condemned to death, and cast into a den of hungry lions. The next morning, King Darius returned to the lion pit and found Daniel unharmed, his life protected by God’s angel (Daniel 6:19-22).
So what does all this have to do with earth’s final crisis? Revelation reveals that at the end of time, a similar plot, with a similar law and a similar death penalty, will be brought against God’s people. Revelation 13:15 predicts, “And he [the beast from the earth] had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed” (Revelation 13:15). In this time of crisis that still stands in front of us, God’s people, like Daniel, will stand trial for their faith in Christ and obedience to God’s law.
“The time is not far off when the people of God will be called upon to give their testimony before the rulers of the earth…Many will have to stand in the legislative courts; some will have to stand before kings and before the learned of the earth, to answer for their faith” (Maranatha, p. 254).
This investigation will start with what we believe, but it will end up scrutinizing how we live. As with the attacks on Daniel, every effort will be made to discredit the character of God’s people and to present them as among the vilest and most dangerous of criminal offenders.
“Kings, governors, and great men will hear of you through the reports of those who are at enmity with you, and your faith and character will be misrepresented before them” (Maranatha, p. 254).
“All who in that evil day would fearlessly serve God according to the dictates of conscience, will need courage, firmness, and a knowledge of God and His Word, for those who are true to God will be persecuted, their motives will be impugned, their best efforts misinterpreted, and their names cast out as evil” (The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 431,432).
When this crisis hits God’s people, the political drama surrounding SCOTUS nominees will look like a children’s charade in comparison. And the real question in these unjust trials will be a familiar one: What kind of people, really, are these professed servants of God? This is a good question, and one that needs to be contemplated. What kind of person, really, am I? What do I watch when no one else is home? What emotions and thought processes have I allowed to become etched in my mind? What grudges and hard feelings toward others might still be lurking in the dark corners of my heart? What areas of my life do I still refuse to completely and permanently surrender to Christ? What is my character?
As with Daniel, how we live now will determine what happens then. If we, as professed Christians, continue stuffing the proverbial skeletons into the closet now, the investigation then will be relatively short. We will be quickly condemned on any variety of charges and it will be seen that our character is no different from that of the rest of the world.
However, the Bible predicts that God’s people will be found, like Daniel, with “no guile” and “without fault” (Revelation 14:5). They will be living testimonies to the absolutely perfect redeeming grace of God—a grace that not only forgives sin, but that also cleanses the heart and mind of the disease of sin (1 John 1:9). They will be sanctified and cleansed “with the washing of water by the word,” and will stand as “a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:26,27).
Embedded within Daniel’s story and Revelation’s prophecies is an incredible promise: It is possible to “keep the commandments of God” and live with the “faith of Jesus” (Revelation 14:12). Many people today—even many within the remnant church—assert that true or complete obedience to God’s law is impossible on this side of eternity. Yet at the end of time God’s people will be condemned precisely because they are keeping God’s law.
“Those who honor the Bible Sabbath will be denounced as enemies of law and order, as breaking down the moral restraints of society, causing anarchy and corruption, and calling down the judgments of God upon the earth. Their conscientious scruples will be pronounced obstinacy, stubbornness, and contempt of authority. They will be accused of disaffection toward the government” (The Great Controversy, p. 592).
One of the Bible’s last promises reveals that loving obedience to God’s law is not only possible, it is also necessary in order to experience the blessings of heaven. “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Revelation 22:14). Obedience has never earned salvation or merited favor with God, and it won’t at the end of time either. However, God’s grace leads to “obedience to the faith” (Romans 1:5), and those who love God for the gift of His saving grace will keep His commandments (John 14:15).
Now here is the kicker. The Bible states, “whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10). This means that in earth’s final crisis, God’s people must be living in harmony with all of God’s law, not just the fourth commandment. A failure to reflect God’s character in relation to any of the other nine commandments will, in God’s sight—and in the world’s opinion—completely erase the witness that could have been gained by remaining faithful to God’s seventh-day Sabbath. Imagine that you, when the mark of the beast is enforced, are hauled into court for continuing to worship God on the seventh day of the week. You are subsequently charged with “breaking down the moral restraints of society,” an accusation you of course deny. A relentless investigation of your life follows, and it is eventually discovered that you never gained the victory over pornography, or perhaps that your business transactions were often less than completely honest. At that moment, if you are found guilty “in one point,” you will be “guilty of all.”
Daniel underwent this kind of investigation, and the verdict at the end was that his only guilt was “concerning the law of his God.” True, Daniel was still condemned, but because of his character and his faithfulness to God, God was able to save Daniel and glorify His name as well. We are given the promise that it is possible to live as Daniel did in the midst of this corrupt world. It is possible, through Christ’s power, to keep God’s law. It is possible, through God’s transforming grace, for a born-again Christian to reflect God’s image and His character. “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17).
As I write this, it remains to be seen what kind of a supreme court justice Brett Kavanaugh will turn out to be. He bears a tremendous responsibility to rightly interpret and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. However, an even greater responsibility rests upon God’s professed people, those who claim to “keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” (Revelation 14:12). They are called to represent and defend the Constitution of Heaven—the Law of God. And the world is in desperate need of this faithful testimony.
“The greatest want of the world is the want of men—men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall” (Education, p. 57).
How is this kind of character obtained? Does it come automatically following baptism, or does it inevitably develop through years of church attendance? Is it due to a favorable environment or a fortuitous fluke of heredity? Is it something that some people “just have,” while others are doomed to struggle forever without hope of ever overcoming?
“[S]uch a character is not the result of accident; it is not due to special favors or endowments of Providence. A noble character is the result of self-discipline, of the subjection of the lower to the higher nature—the surrender of self for the service of love to God and man” (Education, p. 57).
A character transformed by Christ and in harmony with all of God’s law is possible, but it requires the surrender of our finite, selfish, deceptive, and sinful wills to God. We must die to self, and allow Christ to live within, for this is our only hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). When that decision is finally made, God’s people will, like Daniel, “shine as the brightness of the firmament; and…turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever” (Daniel 12:3).
Comments will be approved before showing up.
Send me a FREE Bible prophecy update!
Join our email newsletter and receive "Pictures of the End," new product alerts, and ministry news each week.