Advent Day 14: Daniel and the Apocalypse

Daniel 7:9-13
9 “As I looked,

thrones were placed,
and the Ancient of Days took his seat;
his clothing was white as snow,
and the hair of his head like pure wool;
his throne was fiery flames;
its wheels were burning fire.
10 A stream of fire issued
and came out from before him;
a thousand thousands served him,
and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him;
the court sat in judgment,
and the books were opened.

11 “I looked then because of the sound of the great words that the horn was speaking. And as I looked, the beast was killed, and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire. 12 As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.

13 “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him.
14 And to him was given dominion
and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.

Daniel is describing an apocalypse. Apocalypse is a fancy theology word that means God is breaking into time, space, and history in a supernatural way. Apocalyptic deals with God’s response to evil and suffering, his rule over heaven and earth, and the ultimate reality that is usually hidden from mankind. In Daniel 7, he foresees the return of Jesus to earth. From the clouds to the land. From a fiery throne in Heaven, to an everlasting earthly dominion. A truth that was hidden is revealed. God wins. God rules. Evil is defeated.

Santa’s apocalypse – will evil Jack Frost be defeated?

This apocalyptic vision in Daniel 7 has not happened yet. This is the Advent that you and I are waiting for. Daniel is describing our hope. Our longing. The day the Son of Man sets up his rule on earth. When the beasts (those that opposed God) are destroyed.

It’s hard to believe that Daniel is describing the little baby in my nativity scene. The “sweet little Jesus boy” is the Son of Man. The baby in the manger is this woolen haired, angel worshipped, book opening, nation ruling, Ancient of Days. An ancient baby? Now that is apocalyptic.

The first Christmas is just as much an apocalyptic event as will be the return of Christ. At the birth of Christ in a manger, humanity saw the beginning of the apocalyptic end. The veil was removed from our understanding. God broke into time, space, and history in the most supernatural of ways – he became one of us. Why such a dramatic entrance? Because our darkness demands it. A supernatural entrance was needed because the natural alone would never do. Plagues, sea crossings, water from a rock, bread from heaven, leprosy healed, even the dead raised. These all solved some problems and even “saved” God’s people for a time. But these miraculous yet natural acts would not solve our ultimate problem – sin. This would require an apocalypse. God would have to not only use the natural, he would have to become the natural. The Son of God had to become the Son of Man.

And so, as we said, now we wait for another great apocalyptic event. When God will enter into history again as the ruler of the earth, ending injustice and bringing his everlasting dominion to earth.

Where does this leave us today? As those who are in Christ, we are living apocalyptics. God has broken into time, space, and history in our very own lives. In the living church, God lives. God doesn’t just speak to us from a mountain top outside of us, or manipulate nature for the benefit of his will. He has invaded our lives, our very beings. The Ancient of Days lives in me. The Son of Man rules my heart. My life is his fiery throne. The beasts of my heart have been crushed. The kingdom of my soul is his indestructible kingdom. Now that’s apocalyptic. That’s “to live is Christ.”

Do you see yourself as part of God’s apocalypse? How does union with Christ join you to Daniel 7:9-14? Do you long for Christ’s return? How has his return already begun in our lives?

The humanity yet the apocalypse – “we didn’t know who you were”

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