This past Sunday, we moved back into our Daniel series and kicked off the second half of Daniel. The second half of Daniel is quite different than the first half, as we get into a different genre; the genre of apocalyptic literature. This literature functions very differently than narrative or discourse and requires us to be diligent in our work and study in attempting to uncover what the author was really trying to convey. In Daniel 7, it would seem that the main idea of the text was twofold: All kingdoms opposing God and His people will be destroyed by the Eternal Judge, who will create an everlasting kingdom for His people.
- God Will Judge All Those in Opposition to Him: v.1-14
In the first part of the chapter, Daniel is given a vision. This vision is really 3 scenes that are tied to one another. It begins with four terrifying beasts, then a second scene of the Ancient of Days rendering judgment on the beasts and then finally a scene of the Son of Man being presented to the Ancient of Days. As we begin to unpack this, we realize that these beasts represent various kingdoms (v.17). While it’s not wrong to see them as geo-political entities, it would also seem that there is a spiritual component that exists here as well. As they oppose God, they ultimately find themselves in judgment before God. God removes their dominion and brings the fourth beast to death. Then God gives eternal dominion and an eternal kingdom to the Son of Man. You may read this and think, “that’s interesting, but what does that have to do with me?” I would suggest three things that are helpful:
One, we trust that deliverance comes through God. In the same way that their deliverance would come through God, the same is true for us. Deliverance will come to us through Jesus. Two, we must embrace the difficulty in front of the believer. Apocalyptic literature is written to believers who are struggling and are being encouraged to persevere. This is a message to the people encouraging them to persevere. Three, we put our hope in the truth that Jesus will win. Sometimes we need to be reminded of how all of this will end. Knowing how it ends can give us confidence for what’s right in front of us. It doesn’t mean there won’t be difficulty, but we can have confidence knowing that Jesus will see us through to the end.
- God Will Establish an Everlasting Kingdom for His People: v.15-28
While God will bring judgment to those that oppose Him, He responds quite differently to His people. To His people, He establishes and ultimately gives them His everlasting Kingdom. As the vision is interpreted, God begins by giving Daniel an assurance of this future kingdom. He tells him in verse 18 that the saints of the Most High are going to possess the kingdom. It’s amazing that God leads with this! He makes known that suffering will be a part of this current kingdom. God doesn’t sugar coat this or pretend that it will be easier than it actually will be. He’s clear about the suffering. But He finishes by making known that God will deliver His people from these kingdoms of the world, to His eternal kingdom! Not only does God deliver us, but He will choose to give us the kingdom. What a brilliant reminder that is meant to function as a means of help for us to persevere through the things that are in front of us today! Loved ones, let it be.
If you would like to read ahead and be in prayer, next Sunday’s sermon will be from Daniel 8.