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Times of Testing Are Limited

Daniel 11:35 (ESV) … “and some of the wise shall stumble, so that they may be refined, purified, and made white, until the time of the end, for it still awaits the appointed time.”

The context of verse 35 is dealing with the Jews who refused to submit to Antiochus’ false religious system were persecuted and martyred for their faith. Further examination of this verse reveals much more to us.

Some of those who have a correct understanding of religion, and who have joined the army from pure motives. The idea seems to be that on some occasion they would meet with a temporary defeat, in order that the sincerity of the others might be tested, or that it might be seen who adhered to the cause from principle, and who from selfish purposes. If they should not always be successful; if they should be temporarily defeated; if some of the most eminent among them should fall among the slain; and if the cause should at any time look dark, this would serve to try the sincerity of the remainder of the army, and would be likely to thin it off of those who had joined it only from mercenary motives.

To try them. Marg., “or, refine them.” So the Hebrew—בָּהֶם. The meaning perhaps is, that it would be by them, as it were, that the army would be tried. As they would fall in battle, and as the cause would seem to be doubtful, this would test the fidelity of others. The word try here (צָּרַף) means, properly, to melt, to smelt—as metals; then to prove any one; and then to purify.

And to purify; to test the army and to make it pure.

And to make them white. To wit, by thus allowing those who had joined the army from mercenary motives to withdraw.

Even to the time of the end. The end of the war or the conflict. There would be an end of these persecutions and trials, and this process had reference to that, or tended to bring it about. The act of freeing the army from false friends—from those who had joined it from mercenary motives, would have a tendency to accomplish the result in the best way possible, and in the speediest manner.

Because it is yet for a time appointed. This seems to be designed for an assurance that the calamity would come to an end, or that there was a limit beyond which it could not pass. Thus it would be an encouragement to those who were engaged in the struggle, for they would see that success must ultimately crown their labors.[1]

The basic encouragement is that when we find ourselves in times of testing, we should take heart knowing it is for season. That either by way of death or life we shall be delivered, and we shall come out as gold when it is over. So, trust in the Lord when you find yourself in a season of testing.

[1] Barnes, A. (1853). Notes on the Old Testament: Daniel (Vol. 2, p. 240). London: Blackie & Son.


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