Call to Worship (Isaiah 55)Seek the Lord while God is to be found. Call upon God while God is near!Repent of unrighteous ways. It is never too late to turn to God!Get rid of evil thoughts. Let us turn to God, that God may have mercy on us!For God will pardon our sins and cleanse us of our transgressions.We will praise God for the new life we have found!
Lesson Text: Daniel 7:9-14 A Glorious Reign Ahead
QuestionHow does God want us to react when we see trouble and injustice in our communities?
Imagine being around 16 or 18 years of age and suddenly being carried away from your home to a foreign country against your will. That is what happened to a young Hebrew boy named Daniel when he was taken captive to the land of Babylon.
Daniel’s life and ministry covered the entire seventy-year captivity of the Jews in Babylon. Daniel, along with other captives, received an assignment from King Nebuchadnezzar to conform to the ways of Babylon (Daniel 1:1-7).
It is a fact of history that men and kingdoms rise and fall. It is only when we read, study, and apply the truth of God’s Word that we are able to keep everything in perspective. Daniel helps us do that.
Chronologically, Daniel 7 takes usback in time to a dream Daniel had 14 years prior to the events of Daniel 5 and the “handwriting on the wall.” Daniel would have been around 68 years of age .
Textually, Daniel 7 divides into two parts First, Daniel’s vision (Daniel 7:1-14). Second, Daniels interpretation of his vision (Daniel 7:15-28).
We see the revelation of the four beasts (Daniel 7:2-8); the judgment of the Ancient of Days (Daniel 7:9- 12); the triumphant coming of theSon of Man (Daniel 7:13-14); and theexplanation of it all (Daniel 7:15-27).
When the “sea” (Daniel 7:3) is usedsymbolically in the Bible, it usually represents the world of nations (Revelation 17:1, 15). The “four beasts” represented four great Gentile kingdoms, Babylon (lion with eagle’s wings); Medo-Persia (bear); Greece (leopard); and the Roman Empire (a fourth beast).
Alexander the Great, Greece,conquered the known world faster than any other ancient power. Thus, the comparison to the “leopard” (Daniel 7:6).
“The interpretation of the ten horns and the little horn was given to Daniel later (Daniel 7:23–24). Thus, the ten horns represented ten kings and their kingdoms, and the little horn represented an eleventh king and his kingdom.
When the interpretation of Daniel’s dream is examined later, it will be seen that the little horn (eleventhking) represented the Antichrist, theultimate man of the future who will be the greatest expression of man trying to rule the world apart from God.
Daniel 7:9-10 (NIV) 9 "As I looked, "thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. Hisclothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. 10 A river of fire was flowing, coming outfrom before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.
Daniel’s vision changes fromelements and animals to a Person. His vision also shifts from earth to heaven.
This is the only chapter in the Bible where the “Ancient of days” is mentioned (Daniel 7:9, 13, 22). It is also the only verse that pictures God in human form. God is not human; He is a Spirit (John 4:24).
But in his dream Daniel is visualizing God as literally “the elderly One,” or, “the One who has been around forever.” In comparison to all the kingdoms symbolized in the elements and animals God is eternal (Psalm 90:2).
As Daniel looks at the “Ancient ofdays” he sees that God is “seated.” Court is about to convene, the judge is seated, and the record is about to be read.
Daniel also speaks of God’s“garment” being “white as snow.” Whiteness represents purity and truth (Isaiah 1:18; Revelation 3:5). God is robed in purity and truth.
The “hair of his head” is “like pure wool.” The white hair symbolizes the age and maturity of the Judge.
Daniel sees “fire” in and around the “throne” of God. “Fire” symbolizes purifying judgment and authority. He also sees “a fiery stream” and “wheels as burning fire” suggests judgment is about to flow or roll out from the throne of God.
The phrase “ten thousand times tenthousand” means there were a vastand great number of angels actively “ministering” to God around the throne. This action denotes God’s deity, His sovereignty, and His Godhead, for He alone is worthy to be worshipped.
The “judgment was set, and thebooks were opened” means “court is about to begin.” Author Leon Wood writes, “Business is about to take place.”
Daniel 7:11 (NIV) 11 "Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking. I kept lookinguntil the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire.
As Daniel kept looking he was impressed to keep looking becauseof the power of “the voice” and “the great words the horn spoke.” The “horn” in this verse is from the “fourth beast,” most likely refers to the restored form of the Roman Empire (v.7) with strong possibilities of the Antichrist being her last king.
However, in light of the uncertaintyas to exactly which king and kingdom the “horn” represents, it is morebeneficial to look at “the great words which the horn spoke” in regard to his boastful speaking and what God would do in judgment against it.
Daniel kept looking “till the beastwas slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.” The implication is that when “the books were opened” (v.10) that there was sufficient evidence for judgment to be meted out upon the kings and nations.
All four of the “beasts” Daniel saw had defied the living God and suppressed God’s people. Most world leaders today including those in America are guilty of the same arrogant rebellion and likewise marked for judgment from the hand of God.
The words “slain, destroyed, and given to” suggests intentional punishment given to kings andnations as directed by “the Ancient of days.” The Hebrew writer said, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). He also said, “For our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29).
Psalm 2:4 (NIV)4 The One enthroned in heavenlaughs; the Lord scoffs at them.
Daniel 7:12 (NIV) 12 (The other beasts had beenstripped of their authority, but wereallowed to live for a period of time.)
Men and kingdoms have theirmoment in the sun but it quickly fades into destruction. When the fire and smoke of God’s judgment cleared all the “beasts” are gone.
Each “beast” had a “season” and a “time” that was “prolonged” or lengthened in history. God allows some kings and kingdoms to exist longer than others and some suffer less judgment than others.
All humankingdoms, kings, presidents, governo rs, prime ministers, and whatevertitles men may claim, whether good or evil, will be replaced by God’s kingdom.
Daniel 7:13 (NIV)13 "In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds ofheaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence.
Up until this point most of whatDaniel had beheld was bad news for kings and kingdoms. Now he is seeing some good scenes that proclaim good news.
“I saw in the night visions” means asDaniel continued to watch his dream unfold a new Person appeared. This new Person was “like the Son of man.”
Bible students know that one of the names of Jesus Christ is “Son of man.” Christ is designated by that title in all four gospels, Acts, Hebrews and Revelation. “In Daniel 8:17, the phrase ‘son of man’ is used to contrast a human with an angel.
In Daniel’s dream the “Son of man” approached “the Ancient of days,”God the Father, and was presented “before him.” The language of the verse leads to the conclusion that the “Son of man” and the “Ancient of days” were God the Father and God the Son.
The fact that the “Son of man came with the clouds of heaven” is a reference to Jesus Christ because “the clouds of heaven” is terminology associated with Jesus Christ in Scripture(Matthew 24:30; 26:64; Mark 13:26; Revelation 1:7).
Daniel 7:14 (NIV)14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples,nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.
As Jesus Christ the “Son of man”stands before the “Ancient of days” He will be given rule of the earth.
Psalm 2:7-8 (NIV) 7 I will proclaim the decree of theLORD: He said to me, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father. 8 Ask of me, and I will make thenations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.
Revelation 11:15 (NIV) 15 The seventh angel sounded histrumpet, and there were loud voicesin heaven, which said: "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of hisChrist, and he will reign for ever and ever."
The rule bestowed upon the “Son of man” by the “Ancient of days” is identified under three aspects, all referring to this kingdom. First, “there was given him dominion…” “Dominion” refers to ruling authority. Second, “glory” speaks of the honor that accompanies that authority.
Third, “kingdom” designates the organized form of Christ’s rule. “Which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed” means by these three statements Christ is guaranteed absolute rule, power, and authority.
The result of Christ’s rule over allkingdoms and nations is “that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him…” “People, nations, and languages” are three terms used to describe all people from wherever in the world they are or from whatever dominion might be in mind.
The words “serve him” actually come from the Hebrew wordmeaning “worship” or “revere.” The thought is that everyone under Christ’s rule and kingdom will fear and stand in awe of the Lord.
Christ’s kingdom “shall not passaway” and His kingdom “shall not be destroyed.” The thought magnifies the contrast between the fleeting temporary kingdoms of this world.
The main thought to take away from this verse is not length of time of Christ’s kingdom, but rather the strength and durability of His kingdom. Our world and the kingdoms of our world are so sinful and limited in strength and time. But the kingdom of Christ is without limitation. He is the absolute King of the whole world.
Although God is in control of kings and kingdoms each of us have aresponsibility to tell the lost world about His saving grace. The only way for sinful man to be ready for the coming kingdom is to be born again by God’s marvelous grace (John 3:3).