Horror and Majesty
Lord God, Sovereign of all, I praise You that You are firmly in control of all things forever!
Read DANIEL 7:1-14
 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream, and visions passed through his mind as he was lying on his bed. He wrote down the substance of his dream.  Daniel said: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea.  Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea.  “The first was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle. I watched until its wings were torn off and it was lifted from the ground so that it stood on two feet like a man, and the heart of a man was given to it.  “And there before me was a second beast, which looked like a bear. It was raised up on one of its sides, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, ‘Get up and eat your fill of flesh!’  “After that, I looked, and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard. And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird. This beast had four heads, and it was given authority to rule.  “After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast-terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns.  “While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth that spoke boastfully.  “As I looked, “thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing 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.  A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.  “Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking. I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire.  (The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time.)  “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence.  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. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWho or what did Daniel see besides the four beasts?
The NIV translation gives this section the heading “Daniel’s Dream of Four Beasts.” But that’s only half true. It could equally have been called “Daniel’s Dream of the Ancient of Days and the Son of Man.” It all depends on whether we want to focus on the problem or the solution.
The beasts are scary—very scary. Being brought up to see wild animals only in a zoo we probably miss the force of this. Lions, eagles, bears, leopards—they’re all animals which kill to eat (5) and here they are even more ferocious with the addition of wings and heads. This is all nightmarish enough, but the final creature is something from a horror film, dissimilar to any natural beast.
But along with the horror is a vision of God; a king who has reigned forever (9), as magnificent in his appearance as the beasts are terrible. And the beasts are as nothing compared to his power (11,12). It doesn’t end there: “One like a son of man” appears. Despite the long and complex arguments of Bible commentators, it seems to me that here we see Jesus, crowned with glory and honor.
Reflect on the majesty of God, Father and Son. Then, thank God that he is bigger than any problems we face.
Lord, when life closes in on me, help me remember that You are with me and nothing is too hard for You.
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