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 one of those books that everyone knows and nobody really knows. Everyone has heard of Daniel in the lion’s den, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace, or the handwriting on the wall. But it’s the second half of the book, with Daniel’s strange apocalyptic visions, that loses us.
But these visions are telling us the same thing that the beloved stories in the first half of the book tell us. For example, yesterday from Daniel 3 we learned that God will come to rescue his people, not from, but through the fire. In the end God wins and we win with him. The strange visions of Daniel 7 teach us these same truths – that God is the good King who comes to save his people.
The vision in Daniel 7 is a disturbing prophecy of four beasts (kingdoms). A powerful lion with wings, a devouring bear, a destroying winged leopard, and then finally, and worst of all, a fourth beast unlike anything Daniel had ever seen. This beast is extremely powerful and led by an anti-Christ figure who will blaspheme God and oppress his people. The vision reveals great suffering for God’s people, and it leaves Daniel “anxious,” “alarmed,” and “pale.”
But there is also great hope in the vision. Daniel sees the Ancient of Days seated on the fiery throne of Heaven (7:9-10). He sees him open the books, call the heavenly court into session, and then execute judgment on the evil kingdoms and destroying the terrifying fourth beast.
Daniel 7:11. And as I looked, the beast was killed, and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire.
But there’s even more good news. The Ancient of Days not only destroys the evil beast, he then gives his kingdom to those he loves, the saints.
Daniel 3:18. But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever.’
But how can the Ancient of Days destroy all evil without destroying you and me? Aren’t we all part of the same problem? Don’t we all deserve the fiery furnace? The lion’s den? Aren’t we all anti-Christ?
That’s where Daniel’s vision in verses 13-14 comes in (read it again). He sees, not a beast, but a man. The Son of Man presented to the Ancient of Days, and then given all authority, dominion, glory, and an everlasting kingdom where all mankind serves him.
How can humanity survive God’s judgment? Because the one king who will survive the judgment of the Ancient of Days is human. He is son of man. His name is Jesus. He is the Son of God incarnate, becoming the Son of Man. The one who rides the clouds, and stands as God in the presence of God, was born into time and space, in a humble cattle trough, coming to us as a servant king, giving his life as a ransom for our sins.
Matthew 20:28. the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
And now, by our union with the Son of Man, we are able to be delivered over from the kingdom of the beast and placed into the everlasting kingdom of Christ. A kingdom that will be given to all who are saints in Christ.
Daniel 7:27. And the kingdom and the dominion
and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven
shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High;
his kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom,
and all dominions shall serve and obey him.’
“To live is Christ” means that our destiny is that of the Son of Man – an everlasting kingdom given to the Son of Man and then given to us. A kingdom without evil and suffering. Without death and sorrow. Without tears or pain. A kingdom of love and goodness where we will serve and obey our good and gracious king forever and ever.
Can you see your future? What do you see?
You in Christ
In Christ your destiny is an eternal kingdom ruled by the Ancient of Days and the Son of Man. How does this reality strengthen you today?
Christ in you
How can you stand up to the kingdom of the evil beasts today in the power of Christ?
Son of Man playlist