The Forever Kingdom
Pray: That God may open his Word to us by the power of His Spirit. That he we may gain in knowledge and that we grow in the love of Jesus. That we may share this joy in all our lives and to those around us.
Read: Daniel 7
This week we step into part II of the book of Daniel. The initial chapters focused on Daniel’s biographical experiences. These remaining chapters focus primarily on Daniel’s prophetic visions. These visions are to be “sealed until the time of the end” (12:9) and are difficult for Daniel to accept and understand (7:28, 8:27). Thematically, the narratives of the first six chapters of Daniel demonstrate the sovereignty of God over the lives of individuals such as Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Daniel and many others. Likewise, these final chapters of Daniel are meant to demonstrate the sovereignty of God over kingdoms, nations, and the powers of the age.
Daniel 7 centers on a vision of four beasts that represent four kings/kingdoms. This parallels the four kingdoms represented by the statue in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2. In Daniel 2 God promises to shatter the kingdoms with an everlasting messianic kingdom (2:34-35, 44-45). Daniel 7 expounds on this by revealing that the Son of Man is the one to whom the kingdom is to be given (7:13-14).
God is greater than all of the world’s empires and Daniel 7:17-18 summarizes this well: “These four great beasts are four kings who shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever.”
Daniel 7 also elaborates on details regarding the fourth kingdom. This kingdom has ten kings (though not necessarily at the same time), three of which are put down by a new king (the “little horn”). This king “speaks words against the Most High” and “makes war with the saints and prevails over them” (7:21-22,25-26). Ultimately, the saints prevail and “their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom” (7:27).
Many who read this passage want to know, “Who are the four beast/kingdoms?” Daniel 2 states the first kingdom is Babylon, so Daniel 7 likely follows the same. It’s important to notice this is not the focus of the text. Rather, the focus is how these kingdoms (in fact all kingdoms, Vs. 27) relate to the messianic kingdom to come (7:13-14). What is important is that the Son of Man is “given dominion, and glory” and a kingdom “that shall not be destroyed.”
The most exciting thing about this chapter isn’t earthly kingdoms, but rather the everlasting kingdom of the Most High. Who is this Messiah, this Lord and Savior, this Son of Man? To answer this, we have only to turn to the words of Jesus himself, who in Matthew 24:30 alludes to Daniel 7:13 identifying himself with “the sign of the Son of Man in heaven” specifically citing the prophecies of Daniel. The Son of Man is Jesus Christ and He is coming again to rule forever and ever. Now that is good news!
- Are you sometimes worried by what Jesus called “wars and rumors of wars” (Matthew 24:6)? Does watching the news or hearing friends talk about the suffering throughout the world make you want to give up?
- How can we ready ourselves with the good news of Christ to remember that his kingdom is forever? Do we ignore the world or understand it in the context of Jesus?
Memorize: Daniel 7:13-14