God Reveals His Eternal Kingdom - Daniel Chapter 7
Daniel so far:-
- Chapter 1.God protects
- Chapter 2.God reveals & rules
- Chapter 3.God Humbles Man's Pride
- Chapter 4.God delights in mercy
- Chapter 5.God is No. 1
- Chapter 6.God rescues
A hard book? No - main message "God rules, & His people who trust in Him don't need to be afraid" - what a message of hope to the hated people of God!
Background (inc. ch 1-6) - v1- 1st year of Belshazzar; before Persian rule. (Daniel about 60)
Ch 7-12 - "apocalyptic" (Greek - "to uncover") - history prophesied in images. V1 - Daniel's amazing dream/visions while asleep; he writes down the summary for us.
Rules for understanding apocalyptic (or any) Scripture. Many try wrong ways & end up confused.
- True, not "literal" (literary idiom)
- true history - A&E real people - Jesus uses as history Matthew 19:4 (ESV) He answered, "Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male & female"
- true poetry - eg, Isaiah 40:6 (ESV) A voice says, "Cry!" & I said, "What shall I cry?" All flesh is grass, & all its beauty is like the flower of the field
- true metaphor - Psalm 36:7 (ESV) "How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.";
- true imagery - Nebuchadnezzar's dream of great Statue & Stone. He truly had a dream, but there was no literal statue or stone; Rev 12 "moon & stars" under woman's feet not literal; Temple & mighty river Ezekiel. 47:1-6;
- true parables - the main point, not the minute details, eg, 5+5 virgins;
- true generalisations eg Proverbs. 26:4,5 "answer a fool...";
- true plain teaching (Law & Letters...);
- Gospel is key (centrality of the Gospel). If we can see what it says about Jesus the Saviour of ruined men, women & children, we have seen the main thing.
- Collage, mural - we get the main point, but don't try to connect all the bits (eg, a collage about the diversity of city life, or the speed & noise of a car race, or the beauty of motherhood). Not detailed story-plot, nor lawyers contract, nor engineer's specification.
- We won't get everything; Deuteronomy. 29:29 (ESV) "The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us & to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law." - to keep us humble (Venn)
V1-8, 17-25; God reveals the ongoing madness of wicked men (Vision of the 4 Beasts)
- V2 - Raging storm at sea (not calm) but v3 terrifying animals; 4 & all different. (parallel Rev. 13:1; 1 beast)
God made the sea - wickedness must borrow from Goodness its very power to do evil. It has nothing of its own, but corrupted Good.
- Winged lion - Babylonian Empire (soon to fail) - becomes weak like a man;
- Savage bear - Persian Empire, gobbling up earlier empires (inc. Babylon.)
- Fast, winged leopard w/- 4 heads - Greek Empire under Alexander the Great. Conquered all (inc. Persia) in 6 short years, then divided into 4 upon Alex's early death from fever & drunkenness.
- Indescribable beast, w/- iron teeth & stamping feet. - Great Rome - cruel & efficient machine, enslaving & robbing the nations.
- 10 horns = many kingdoms shall come out of this one v24 (10 being for fullness; we don't have to try & identify exactly 10; (medieval church, French Rev., Napoleon, British Empire, Nazism, Communism) - almost every nation owes something to old Rome, via Europe; models of government, even Chinese Communism is a European idea - colonial heritages, Commonwealth, USA.
- and later 1, at the end of the age. A "little" horn, arrogant & boastful & great v20, & cruelly treating God's people, & setting himself up as god. V8,25. This is Antichrist; many little antiChrists have come (1 John 2:18 (ESV) "Children, it is the last hour, & as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour."). But 1 particular man is to come (2 Thessalonians. 2:3-4 (ESV) "Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, & the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,  who opposes & exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God."
- Remember, true imagery - don't expect to see a 4-headed leopard, nor a 10-horned Tyrannosaurus.
- See how wicked is man - puffing himself up like some great bull-frog; little tyrants in houses & big tyrants in palaces - all one. All children of that great wicked spirit who engineered our first parents fall into misery so long ago. He is still at it, and finds plenty in all of us to work upon. We see all man's rebellion against God from Adam, thru Nimrod right up to today; beastly cruelty & strength.
- See we are not promised that things will get better little by little - rather they ultimately get worse! Worst at the end of the age. Wickedness will seem to win.
- Perhaps Daniel (& you or me) felt like crying "Have I wasted my time trusting God?" Psalm 73:13 (ESV) "All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence."
V9-14 God reveals the True King
- Scene shifts to the throne room of heaven. God, the Ancient of Days, Who always had been, sits to rule and judge. Greater than all the beasts, & GOOD. V9,10. (parallel Rev. 4)
- This throne never trembles at an army approaching. All the kingdoms or men are like beasts on a chain (though they do not know it); He reins them in when He chooses.
- All men's evil works, represented by the 4th beast & little arrogant horn, are judged & destroyed. There is an end! Wickedness may seem to win hands down, but when it is at its worst, God steps in, and it is all over! Hallelujah! Little horn wins for a time, and times & half a time; see he is cut off at half time, when he never expected it.
- Best of all - a "Son of Man" appears & is given the true & everlasting kingdom. None but Jesus the Christ, who delighted to call Himself "Son of Man" (ch 10:5-6, with Rev. 1:13-16). The Son of God became the Son of Man (& died) so that the sons of men might become the sons of God.
- There is a Man on the throne of heaven. Paradise was lost by one man, so Paradise must be restored by another Man. This is what Jesus the Son of God has done.
Which Kingdom do you belong too?
- The kingdoms of this world, which must end in ruin, and you with it?
- Or the kingdom of this blessed Son of Man, who will reign in glorious power & joy for ever and ever, and His people sharing in it all?
- Are you trusting in this King Jesus, Who died so that His people might be forgiven, and share His glory with Him? If not, why not? Why will you put it off, seeing He offers life and freedom and joy and glory. Will He have to say of you at that great last Day John 5:40 ESV "yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life." Matthew 7:23 (ESV) "And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.' "
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published: 9 December 2012
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