I Want To Know
Father God, Your Word isn’t always easy to understand, but I trust You to show me what I need to know.
Read DANIEL 7:15-28
 “I, Daniel, was troubled in spirit, and the visions that passed through my mind disturbed me.  I approached one of those standing there and asked him the true meaning of all this. “So he told me and gave me the interpretation of these things:  ‘The four great beasts are four kingdoms that will rise from the earth.  But the saints of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever-yes, for ever and ever.’  “Then I wanted to know the true meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others and most terrifying, with its iron teeth and bronze claws-the beast that crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left.  I also wanted to know about the ten horns on its head and about the other horn that came up, before which three of them fell-the horn that looked more imposing than the others and that had eyes and a mouth that spoke boastfully.  As I watched, this horn was waging war against the saints and defeating them,  until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom.  “He gave me this explanation: ‘The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it.  The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings.  He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time.  “‘But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever.  Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.’  “This is the end of the matter. I, Daniel, was deeply troubled by my thoughts, and my face turned pale, but I kept the matter to myself.” 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.
ReflectWhat will be the final outcome of this terrible situation?
Having had these amazing dreams/visions, Daniel wants to know what they mean. The four beasts represent four kingdoms. These are often understood as the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks and the Romans. But there’s more to this passage than trying to make its symbols fit history. In fact, too much concentration on the details may make us miss the big picture. God’s Old Testament saints have no power and are under the control of powerful empires. But in God’s perfect time the “saints … will receive the Kingdom” (18); God will pronounce judgment in their favor (22); “the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms” will be handed over to them (27).
Militant Islam, secular humanism, post-modern moral relativism—these worldly “empires” once more seem arrayed against the saints. But the message of this passage is not only that the end is certain, but that God is at work in every “empire” that opposes him. Daniel worked out God’s purposes for his life in Babylon. The challenge to each of us is to find our place in working out his purposes in the part of “Babylon” where we live.
How will you act on the belief that God has both a long-term purpose for society and specific purposes for you?
Lord God, help me to see Your good purposes for society and for me so I can cooperate with You.