THE END IS NIGH – OR IS IT?
Lord, I choose to follow You, no matter what the future holds.
Read Daniel 7:15–28
The Interpretation of the Dream
15 “I, Daniel, was troubled in spirit, and the visions that passed through my mind disturbed me. 16 I approached one of those standing there and asked him the meaning of all this.
“So he told me and gave me the interpretation of these things: 17 ‘The four great beasts are four kings that will rise from the earth. 18 But the holy people of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever—yes, for ever and ever.’
19 “Then I wanted to know the 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. 20 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. 21 As I watched, this horn was waging war against the holy people and defeating them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the holy people of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom.
23 “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. 24 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. 25 He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time.[a]
26 “‘But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. 27 Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.’
28 “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.”
a Daniel 7:25 Or for a year, two years and half a year
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHow do these words make you feel? Frightened? Hopeful? Trusting?
If we thought Babylon was as bad as it gets, we have a nasty surprise coming. In apocalyptic visions God lifts the veil on his victory and the suffering that precedes it.
The succession of “beasts,” which culminates in one that is “different from all the others” (19,23), tells us that evil kingdoms will come and go, until one even worse than the rest will arise and oppress God’s people for “a time, times and half a time” (25). No wonder Daniel was “disturbed” (15) and “deeply troubled” (28). How does this make you feel?
Now imagine on the mountain you have a guide: she warns you about false peaks, and she reassures you that the summit will come eventually. Does that not make the climb more bearable? Does that not encourage you to keep going over the false peaks, knowing that the summit is on its way?
God tells us what is to come so that we don’t lose hope. But he keeps the when hidden behind phrases like “for a period of time” (12)—it is enough for us to know that he knows.
Have you ever worried whether you would be strong enough to face the coming troubles? Don’t worry. Choose to trust God one day at a time—starting today.
Father, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10).