Daniel 7 “The Return of the King”

Introduction: REM, It’s The End Of The World

Do you remember the band from the 1980’s, REM? I do. They had a song called “It’s The End Of The World” and it goes on to say, “and I feel fine.” Tragically, for many people when the end of the world comes they won’t feel fine. This is not just a pastor overstating something for dramatic effect, it is the sobering truth.

Read passage: Daniel 7


15 “As for me, Daniel, my spirit within me was anxious, and the visions of my head alarmed me. 16 I approached one of those who stood there and asked him the truth concerning all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of the things. 17 ‘These four great beasts are four kings who shall arise out of the earth. 18 But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever.’

19 “Then I desired to know the truth about the fourth beast, which was different from all the rest, exceedingly terrifying, with its teeth of iron and claws of bronze, and which devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet, 20 and about the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn that came up and before which three of them fell, the horn that had eyes and a mouth that spoke great things, and that seemed greater than its companions. 21 As I looked, this horn made war with the saints and prevailed over them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given for the saints of the Most High, and the time came when the saints possessed the kingdom.

23 “Thus he said: ‘As for the fourth beast,

there shall be a fourth kingdom on earth,

which shall be different from all the kingdoms,

and it shall devour the whole earth,

and trample it down, and break it to pieces.

24 As for the ten horns,

out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise,

and another shall arise after them;

he shall be different from the former ones,

and shall put down three kings.

25 He shall speak words against the Most High,

and shall wear out the saints of the Most High,

and shall think to change the times and the law;

and they shall be given into his hand

for a time, times, and half a time.

26 But the court shall sit in judgment,

and his dominion shall be taken away,

to be consumed and destroyed to the end.

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.’

28 “Here is the end of the matter. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts greatly alarmed me, and my color changed, but I kept the matter in my heart.”

There are 4 beasts which represent different empires and rulers

The four empires, in chronological order:

Babylon: Having it’s wings torn off is most likely a reference to when King Nebuchadnezzar was humbled because of his great pride.

Medo-Persia: Being raised up on one side is most likely a reference to the fact that the Persians were more powerful than the Medes.

Greece: Their speed of attack was like a leopard, they had no rival. The four heads pointed to the fact that Greece’s Empire would be divided under 4 different leaders.

Rome: The fourth kingdom. The ten heads are leaders that would appear in the future. The eleventh head is a reference to the Antichrist.

Daniel’s response is that he was greatly troubled by all that God revealed to him.

The Ancient of Days takes his seat

Verses 9-10 mentions one of my favorite names for God, the Ancient of Days. This is a reference to God the Father.

His clothing was white like snow communicates his holiness.

His throne of flaming fire, and a river of fire flowing from his presence speaks of the fact that he will bring judgment. A topic that many churches fail to speak of, but nonetheless it is a part of the Word of God.

Books were opened. In Revelation 20:15 we learn that this is the Book of Life, also called the Lamb’s Book of Life. All those whose name is not in the book of life will be thrown into the lake of fire.

The beasts are judged and the 4th beast is destroyed

We see Daniel 7 unfolding in the future in Revelation 19.

17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, 18 to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.” 19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. 20 And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. 21 And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and mall the birds were gorged with their flesh.

The kingdom is given to the Son of Man

The Son of Man is a reference to Jesus Christ. This is a name that Jesus frequently used to describe himself. Jesus took the title from the book of Daniel. Son of Man means a number of different things: 1) it means that Jesus is human 2) it means that Jesus is divine 3) it means that he is coming back one day in the clouds.

Matthew 24:30, speaking of Christ’s return says this, “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven.”

The context of this passage leads us to believe that this will be a literal, earthly reign of Jesus on earth

How are we to respond to all of this?

We need to be on guard against merely attaining head knowledge. The main goal of this passage is not meant to give you the tools by which you can draw up a cool chart of the end times. The goal of this passage is to get you to live differently in light of the return of Jesus!

We need to be ready for spiritual warfare. We are living right now in a Babylonian culture. The devil and his other fallen angels are real and they want to stop and destroy us. Are you praying? Are you in the Word of God? Are you fighting a spiritual battle or have you been distracted by civilian pursuits (culture war)?

We need to make sure that our life reflects the awesome glory of God. We should be holy as God is holy. Is your life being transformed into the image of God? We should be living every day life with a sense of urgency. Does the thought of the Second Coming of Jesus cause us to live differently? Do you have a passion for the lost?

We need to be assured that Jesus wins! In the end, the battle between Jesus and the Antichrist is really not much of a fight. It is the breath of Jesus that overpowers the Antichrist. Fully showing the awesome power of Jesus.

“And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.” -2 Thessalonians 2:8

Hosea: The Covenant Love of God (Part 1)

I began a six week sermon series on the book of Hosea this past Sunday. I will be sharing thoughts on the book of Hosea with six different blog posts. Here is Part 1: The Covenant Love of God.

Hosea 1:1-11

1 The word of the LORD that came to Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel. 2 When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the LORD.” 3 So he went and took Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.

4 And the LORD said to him, “Call his name Jezreel, for in just a little while I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. 5 And on that day I will break the bow of Israel in the Valley of Jezreel.”

6 She conceived again and bore a daughter. And the LORD said to him, j“Call her name No Mercy, for I will no more have mercy on the house of Israel, to forgive them at all. 7 But I will have mercy on the house of Judah, and I will save them by the LORD their God. I will not save them by bow or by sword or by war or by horses or by horsemen.”

8 When she had weaned No Mercy, she conceived and bore a son. 9 And the LORD said, “Call his name Not My People,2 for you are not my people, and I am not your God.”

10 Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And sin the place where it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it shall be said to them, “Children of the living God.” 11 And the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together, and they shall appoint for themselves one head. And they shall go up from the land, for great shall be the day of Jezreel.

Historical background

  • Author: Hosea (perhaps had a scribe help him)
  • Date: Approximately 750 BC
  • State of affairs for Israel at the time of Hosea:
    • Hosea ministered about 200 years after the division of Israel. The divide tookdivided_kingdom_of_israel_and_judah1 place approximately 930 BC and it was a division between north and south Israel. The ten northern tribes made up Israel or sometimes called Ephraim. The two southern tribes were Judah and Benjamin and they formed the nation of Judah.
    • Hosea’s ministry took place when the northern kingdom of Israel was once again prospering and doing very well economically. The problem was that they were far from God. The people were focused on their money, their comforts, and they became very immoral. Does it sound like another country that you know of?
  • In order to understand the book of Hosea it is important to understand that Israel was in a covenant relationship with God. In Exodus 19:5 we read this, “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine.”

Main Points

We are in grave danger of forgetting that we are part of a divine love story

There is a danger that we face today. We can study and jump from bible study to bible study and actually forget that our Christian faith is all about a love story. God has gone to great lengths to be in a personal, intimate relationship with us. He wants much more than for us to be learning about him, he wants us to grow when it comes to experiencing and loving him.

Did God really tell Hosea, a prophet, to marry an immoral woman?

In verse 2 God makes it really clear, Hosea is to marry a whore to be his wife. It is meant to be shocking! It is meant to make us sit up and wonder ‘what in the world is going on?’ There is no doubt that Gomer was a sexually immoral woman before she married Hosea. She might have even served as a temple prostitute in a local cult religion. So the answer is, yes, God did command his prophet, Hosea, to marry an immoral woman.

What was the point of telling Hosea to marry Gomer?

Hosea 1:2 gives us the reason God tells Hosea to marry Gomer. “…for the land commits whoredom by forsaking the Lord.” God is using the marriage between Hosea and Gomer to reveal that Israel had committed spiritual adultery against him. God’s people were being unfaithful regarding their covenant relationship with God. What do we learn from this?

1- God is revealing that there are consequences for our sin. This is not a popular teaching in our enlightened, progressive culture today. Hosea and Gomer have three children and they are given very strange names (Jezreel=judgment, Lo-Ruhamah=no mercy and Lo-Ammi=not my people). What God is doing through the naming of these three children is telling the nation of Israel, telling you and me, that to continue in sin will bring pain and suffering. God was warning his people but they would not repent. 30 years after these three children were born God raised up the violent nation of Assyria to bring absolute devastation to the people of Israel.

2- Certainly we learn that God’s heart is absolutely broken over the fact that his people pursue other lovers. Think for a moment how you would feel if your spouse was continually unfaithful to you?

3- We also learn that God’s love knows no boundaries. Hosea in many ways reminds me of the story of the prodigal son in the gospels. The younger son has left his father and lives a blatantly rebellious, immoral life. Yet at the end of the story we find that the father is running towards his son because his great grace and love. This gives us sinners great hope to know that we are loved like this. Plus, it motivates us to love people like Gomer in our everyday life. We love the misfits and sinners in our culture because we too have received God’s amazing grace.

We are Gomer

We might be tempted to shake our head at Gomer and secretly wonder how she could be so immoral. If that is as far as we get when it comes to thinking about Gomer we have missed the point of the story. In this story Hosea represents Jesus and Gomer represents the church (you and me). Go ahead and say it, ‘I am Gomer’. I know it is true in my life. In a million different ways I pursue other priorities, passions, and make God second in my life. Spiritual adultery is something we are all guilty of. Spiritual adultery is not just something we do or an act that we commit. First and foremost spiritual adultery happens when we love something, or someone, more than we love Christ.

  • What are you passionate about?
  • What do you talk about?
  • What do you think about the most?
  • What are you known for by the people that know you best?
  • What worries you or makes you anxious?

The answers to these questions may go a long way revealing false loves (idols) in our life.

A better love is available to us

This chapter ends with good news. In verse 11 we read this, “And the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered  together, and they shall appoint for themselves one head. And they shall go up from the land, for great shall be the day of Jezreel.”

Hosea is prophesying that there will be ‘one head’ in the future. This is a reference to the fact that Jesus Christ will one day, approximately 750 years later, arrive on earth. Jesus, our Messiah, was prophesied of old and one of his many names was Immanuel (God is with us). Jesus is the fulfillment of these two verses, and Jesus is the one to whom you and I can have a deep, intimate, loving relationship.

*The video and sermon outline came from Irving Bible Church. The sermon(s) I preach are mine!

The Incarnation of Jesus

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.” -Matthew 1:18

Does the incarnation inform and teach us about the mystery of Jesus Christ being both God and man?

(OR)

Does the incarnation give us an example of how we are to live as followers of Jesus Christ?

I think the answer to both questions is yes.

The gospel makes absolutely no sense if Jesus was not both God and man. The incarnation is a core doctrine of the Christian faith. Hebrews 9:11-14 makes it clear that our sins are atoned for because of the shed “blood of Christ”. The shedding of blood requires humanity. But this blood has the power to atone for all sins for all time precisely because Jesus was God. The incarnation informs and teaches us about the nature of Jesus and how he needed to be both God and man for his sacrificial work on the cross to be redemptively effective.

The incarnation also gives us some clues about how the body of Jesus Christ (the church) should conduct itself in the world today. Paul says in Philippians 2:4-8, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Paul is telling us to look at the birth of Jesus Christ and use it as an example of how we are to live.

Paul is not saying that we can “do incarnation.” Only Jesus Christ, as God-man, can do incarnation. Although we as mere humans can not duplicate the incarnation we can and should emulate the humility that Jesus demonstrated through his birth (God becoming a baby, scandalous marriage, poor, running from the law, etc…).

A few questions to consider this Christmas season…

Jesus came to earth as a weak, vulnerable baby. He came to serve others and die so that others may live. How should this impact the way that you approach everyday life?

Jesus boldly went into the broken, sinful, and dangerous world that He created. Jesus was not obsessed with personal comfort and safety. How should this challenge the love affair many American Christians have with safety and comfort?

Have you ever communicated the story of Christmas as an exciting rescue mission that Jesus went on to save all those who are lost in their sins? How might this change the way our kids think about Christmas?

How does the incarnation challenge the the tendency that the American church has to sit back and wait for people to show up on Sunday morning?

How might the truths of the incarnation of Jesus Christ lead you into a deep sense of gratitude and worship this Christmas season?

 

 

Redemption History and Hermeneutics

I have come to understand that there is not one passage of Scripture, Old or New Testament, that makes any sense unless it is seen in the light of Jesus Christ. I might be able to unpack and explain a passage in Ruth, but unless I see it’s connection to the gospel I will fail to understand it fully or have the power to live it out in daily life.

With that said, I find myself enjoying the Gospel Transformation Bible. Here is an excerpt from the introduction (viii)…

Gospel Transformation Bible

It is important to remember that the ‘redemption’ component of biblical history begins unfolding long before the crucifixion narrative in the Gospels. The Bible reveals the dawning light of redemption near the very beginning. Immediately after Adam’s and Eve’s sin, God says to the one who tempted them, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Gen 3:15). Bible scholars refer to this verse as the “first gospel.” It is God’s first promise to redeem his world and people-broken by Adam’s sin-by the divine provision of One who would come through a human source to defeat Satan while also suffering an awful attack from him.

This early verse in Genesis sets the stage for all that follows in the Bible. The rest of human history will be played out on this stage. Thus, every piece of Scripture that follows has a redemptive context. Our goal as Bible readers who are interpreting as God intends is not to try to make Jesus magically appear in every text, but to show where every text properly stands on this redemptive stage. Jesus is the chief and culminating figure on this stage. The stage is set for him; all that transpires on the stage relates to him; and we do not fully understand anything on the stage until we have identified its relation to him.

It should be emphasized that placing every text in the redemptive context does not mean that every text mentions Jesus. Rather, every text relates some apsect of God’s redeeming grace that finds it’s fullest expression in Christ. Ultimately, we understand who he is and what he does by how he “fleshes out” the message of redemption that unfolds throughout the Bible.