Exposition of Daniel 7:13-14 Two Reasons to Take Hope in the Midst of this Life


With all the turmoil with the credit crisis, I read a recent news article regarding some of the side effects the economic crisis is having on people:
“The Wall Street mess is messing with our bodies”

“I wake up with this feeling of anxiety and panic,” said Catherine Holmes of the Upper West Side.

Are you feeling tight in the chest? Dizzy? Short of breath, but not a heart attack? ER’s and doctors’ offices have been overrun with people in a panic. Their financial fears are turning physical.

“Stressed. You feel stressed,” said Paul Eisenberg of the Upper West Side.

Eisenberg, an information technology consultant, felt edgy and unwell of late so Friday he met with his Park Avenue doctor, Albert Levy.

“He explained to me it could be stress,” Eisenberg said. “It is more [in the head] than in the body.”

Levy said he sees a trend. More of his patients have been coming to him worried about their futures, worried they are having heart attacks. [1]
Things are bad: At the close of New York Stock Exchange trading Monday, $1.4 trillion was lost.[2]   Last night the Senate passed the bailout bill, but who knows if that really will make things right.
The passage we are going to look at today is a vision that depicts the future, recorded for us by a man who was well acquainted with the difficulty of this life.  He was a man who had been tested by the fire, and he passed through as gold.
If we’re griping about the economic troubles that are going on around us – he had more reason to gripe – His whole nation was overthrown and he was taken into captivity when he was just a young man, probably around 16 or so.  Last time I checked, that hadn’t happened to any of us.  But even in the midst of his whole world being torn apart – as a 16 year old, away from home, away from parents, who he probably never saw again, he was put in a “school for boys” of sorts, in order his captors might find the best and the brightest among them and use them for their own advantage – even in the midst of all of this, his concern is not for his own well-being, but rather for His God, and honoring his Lord.
His resolution in the midst of life’s storm is amazing – and this is what characterized his life.
By now you’ve probably recognized who I am speaking of – it is Daniel.  And it is in the book that he authored that we are going to look at this morning, Daniel chapter 7:13-14.
Daniel chapter 7:13-14.

13 “I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him.

14 “And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed.
Chapter 7 opens, with an introduction to this vision that Daniel had.  Daniel was about 67 years old at the time as we gather from the time marker in the first verse – so he had this dream before the events of chapter 5 and 6 – before interpreting the writing on the wall and before he was thrown into the lion’s den.
The vision starts, Daniel is transported as it were and he looks and before him is a sea, a great sea – and the wind is howling, causing waves, and almost like a huge whirlpool, and out of this great sea he sees four beasts come up – rising up out of the sea.
The first beast is like a lion – but it has wings
The second resembles a bear raised up on one side with three ribs in its teeth
The third is like a leopard – but with four bird wings on its back
And the fourth – the fourth is like nothing Daniel has ever seen – different than all the beasts before it – dreadful, terrifying, and extremely strong – it has large iron teeth, ten horns, devouring and crushing, trampling…
And then a small horn comes out of this beast – and three of the first ten horns are pulled out – and this little horn has eyes like a man and speaks arrogant things.
Now, let’s stop here – I mean, you have to admit – this is some pretty strange stuff!  No wonder everyone shies away from prophetic texts!
Even Daniel seems to be confused by it all, and frankly terrified
In the last vision recorded, he even says: “As for me, I heard but could not understand; so I said, “My lord, what will be the outcome of these events?”” (Daniel 12:8)
And the answer came:  “Go your way, Daniel, for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time.” (Daniel 12:9)
So yeah, the prophecies in Daniel are difficult to understand!  And even with the interpretations given in the text, there are still questions un-answered.

So what in the world does this all mean?!?  Why are the visions here?
And how could it ever apply to our day to day lives?
And I have to admit – I was not looking forward to having to preach from a prophetic text.
For one, I’ve never done it – and secondly – yeah, there is stuff I do not understand!
But as I began to study, as I began to pray and ask the Lord to teach me, I began to see a little more clearly.  Truly, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;” (2 Timothy 3:16)

For our purposes this morning, we are going to take a look at two reasons why we should take hope in the midst of this life coming from chapter 7 verses 13 and 14
Two reasons why we should take hope in the midst of this life
I.    The King is Coming
II.    The Kingdom is Everlasting

Read with me verse 13 of chapter 7:
“I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him.” (Daniel 7:13)
This verse comes as the “final consummation of the scene”
It’s the “climax of the vision”
After these beasts, who are later seen to be four kings of four earthly kingdoms (v. 17)
Daniel looks:
And what did he see?
“with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming”
Who is this One – and what hope does he bring?
Notice that he was coming with the clouds of heaven.
This is significant because it helps us understand who this is.

In the ancient world, clouds were associated with deity.  And we see this in Scripture – the cloud that guided Israel through the wilderness – God’s presence revealed in a tangible way (Ex. 13:21)
The Lord’s presence was revealed “in the cloud” at the dedication of Solomon’s temple (1 Kings 8:10)
“Clouds and thick darkness” are said to surround God in Psalm 97:2
“He makes the clouds his chariot” Psalm 104:3
This one does not come from the sea as all the beasts before Him – He is different – starkly different.
Whoever this is, he is coming in with a bang – He’s doing that which only God does – riding the clouds of heaven.
“One like a Son of Man was coming”
Also observe that he is “like a son of man”
Again, this is in direct contrast with the previous scenes in the vision – for the other players were beasts – brutes as it were, but this one is “like a  son of man”
He is not “a son of man” but rather “like” a son of man
This is important, for like we observed earlier, he comes with the clouds – he is no mere man.  But he comes like a man, in the form of man.
There is comfort in this – for while the fourth beast brought great fear and terror, this one, though He comes with great splendor, is like one of us.  Daniel, a Jew – must certainly had days of doubt, were they the chosen people?
Was God really going to bring a kingdom as He had promised to David?  So here in the midst of all the chaos – after the beasts, the horn is put down, destroyed and given to the burning fire (v. 11) is one like a son of man.

Who is this one coming with the clouds?
Fast-forward about 500 years, and someone else invokes this very vision of Daniel:
Fast-forward, 500 years to Jerusalem, it’s night, a crowd has gathered in the chambers of the high-priest, there are murmurs, whispers in the silence, and then the high priest speaks, questioning the prisoner standing before him:
Mark 14:61-65 (NASB95)
61 …“Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?”
62 And Jesus said, “I am; and you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”
63 Tearing his clothes, the high priest said, “What further need do we have of witnesses?
64 “You have heard the blasphemy; how does it seem to you?” And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death.
65 Some began to spit at Him, and to blindfold Him, and to beat Him with their fists, and to say to Him, “Prophesy!” And the officers received Him with slaps in the face.
This man, a prisoner, beaten, killed – this is the Son of Man
No longer must we look in the night visions seeing one “like” a son of man – for here He is!
God, in the flesh, Jesus – the Christ
You might say: But he did not come like Daniel predicted!!
But you would be wrong, for these events Daniel sees in his vision are yet to come – for the Son of Man first came to die – and then he will come with an iron rod – with the clouds of heaven to receive His kingdom.

Where is your hope?
Daniel looked to his God for the fulfillment of the promises to Israel.  And in his vision, he got a glimpse of this future.
And we, we who have been grafted in to Israel, wait also for the same day – when He will come with the clouds of heaven.
Are you ready for His return?
Is your hope in His coming, or in His delay?
Is your whole life banking on the fact that He will one day return – that you will be raised with Him in glory?
Daniel banked his whole life on it.
When he was over 80 years old, he was thrown into a den of lions because he placed his hope in the Lord.  He hoped in God, not in the world.
The world would look at Daniel and call him a fool for putting all his eggs in one basket – but Daniel trusted fully in his God, that God would be faithful, and one day, the king would come – he fore-saw it.
Where is your hope?
Are you putting your hope in Wall Street?  In your 401k?
What if it all falls apart tomorrow?  How would you react?
Are you so much invested in this life, that when it all crashes down, you will crash down with it?
Or have you invested, have you placed your hope in the one who will come with the clouds of heaven?
Where is your hope?  In the systems of this world.  Those beasts all fall!  They all fail!  They will be destroyed!
Do not place your hope in this world – rather, in the midst of this life, place your hope in the coming King who will one day come with the clouds, and be presented before the Ancient of Days and receive His kingdom

There are two reasons why we should take hope in the midst of this life
I.    The King is Coming
II.    The Kingdom is Everlasting
Daniel 7:14
“And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom,
That all the peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away;
And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed.”
This is why the Son of Man first came to die – “That all the peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve Him.”
He could have come just once and brought in his kingdom, destroying the whole earth in wrath – for we all have made ourselves sovereign.  We make ourselves out to be the boss.
As Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, looked out on his kingdom and proclaimed: ““The king reflected and said, ‘Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?’” (Daniel 4:30, NASB95)
And then God struck him, in fulfillment of a dream, to be as a beast of the field.
Do you see the parallels here?  The world makes itself out to be God, however it is just a beast.

This is why the Son of man came first to die – because all of us sin in this way.  We rebel against his sovereign hand, against his decrees, and because we offend the God of eternal worth, the penalty is eternal death.  But this Son of Man came, that you might join him in his kingdom.
Though He could have brought in his Kingdom, and conquered with force – he desired that the world would be saved from the wrath to come, that they might joyfully become his chosen ones,
He came for you – that you might repent and escape the wrath to come!  Repent!

“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10)

Be born again, that you might see this very kingdom that is everlasting!

“And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom,
That all the peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve Him.

Men, we can’t miss this: this whole section was written in Aramaic.
“So what?” you ask.
Well, Aramaic “just happened” to be the common language of the whole known world at that time.
That means that pretty much anyone who got a hold of this book could have understood it – not just the Jews!
And listen to what it says: That all the peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve Him.
You see, Do you see how amazing that is?
This whole section SCREAMS “take hope” to gentiles – to you and me.
While Israel was waiting for their Messiah, this lets the whole world know, the King is coming – take hope!
I can’t help myself here, because brothers – we know something that Daniel did not
we know the means by which all these peoples and nations and men of every language come to serve the Lord.
It is through us!
Christ has commissioned us!  How are you actively bringing people from all nations and languages into the kingdom?  Are you planning on serving here in America?  Why?  What’s keeping you here in the States?    Is it because you don’t  feel called overseas?
Here is the call:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,” (Matthew 28:19)
Fulfill the great commission – every tongue tribe nation!  There are still tongues that have yet to have God’s Word spoken, let alone written in their language!  Why are you making plans to stay here?
Look towards the Kingdom – filled with people from ALL nations!  Just think of it!  And the glory that will be our Savior’s!

His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away;
And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed.”
Remember the four beasts: The beasts will fall – but His kingdom is forever!
Do we truly understand this?
Oh, that we would understand this life, in view of eternity!
Our hope is not here on earth!  It lies upward and onward!  His Kingdom is everlasting!

Do not worry about tomorrow, hope in the eternal Kingdom, and the King who reigns, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

[1] Dave Carlin, “wcbstv.com – Wall Street Mess Translating Into Serious Stress,” http://wcbstv.com/topstories/wall.street.stress.2.826694.html

[2] Jeff Vaughn , “How Much Did Wall Street Lose Monday? – NBC Action News KSHB-TV 41,” http://www.nbcactionnews.com/content/goodquestion/story.aspx?content_id=7d255077-9331-44f9-a2f7-7a599d284f76.

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