Thursday, February 20, 2020



This week we continue our study in Daniel and will be looking at Daniel 7, which is a parallel to Daniel 2. However. Although these two chapters are parallel and deal with similar time periods and subject matter, there are significant differences. You remember that in Daniel 2, Nebuchadnezzar had a dream in which he was shown four kingdoms including his own, all of which would pass away. In order to fully appreciate Daniel 7, three verses in Daniel 2 bear repeating. Daniel 2: 34,35,44, "34 You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. 44 And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever." We are left with the historical facts of the demise of these nations, but not told why the stone was able to break the iron, clay, bronze, silver and gold; why the stone becomes a mountain and fills the whole earth, nor why God gets to set up His kingdom. Herein lies the difference between Daniel 2 and Daniel 7. The account in Daniel 2 deals more with political matters and the facts of the case, while Daniel 7 shows us the great controversy taking place behind the scenes, and evidence presented that vindicates the character of God, and also shows God's end time people their part in the great controversy.

So, in Daniel 7, Daniel is having a dream in which he sees a succession of "four great beasts", the first of which was a lion with eagles wings, the second, a bear raised up on one side with three ribs in its mouth, the third, a leopard which had on the back of it, "four wings of a fowl", and the fourth, a beast "dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly, with great iron teeth." Daniel 7:7 and 8 go on to further characterize the fourth beast, "It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. 8 I was considering the horns, and there was another horn, a little one, coming up among them, before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots. And there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words" Certainly we see the close parallels between Daniel 7 and Daniel 2. Both chapters describe a pictorial view of future history, spanning time from Daniel's time to the establishment of God's kingdom.

We recognize these beasts in Daniel 7, to represent the same kingdoms portrayed as metals in Daniel 2, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, divided Rome, and the papacy. We will not take the time to review these kingdoms in this Insight as that has been established in the study of Daniel 2. Rather we will focus on the themes of the "why."

From verse 9 on, we notice a decided change from prophetic announcement to what appears to be a climactic showdown…a showdown involving the little horn power, the Ancient of Days, the Son of Man, and the saints of the Most High. This showdown is the most important portion of Daniel 7 as it answers the question of who it is that will finally rule the world and why. The first to appear "on stage", if you will, are the Ancient of Days and the little horn. In Daniel's words: "I watched till thrones were put in place, and the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, And the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, its wheels a burning fire; 10 A fiery stream issued And came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, And the books were opened. 11 "I watched then because of the sound of the pompous words which the horn was speaking; I watched till the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame."

So what we know so far is that court is in session, "The judgement was set, and the books were opened." (Daniel 7:10). Evidence is now to be presented. We have seen the uprooting of four powers, with only a little horn left to exert any influence and it speaks pompous words, great words. And for that, he was "slain and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame." Interestingly the Ancient of Days is not recorded as speaking. However, the Bible gives us a visual. The Ancient of Days is surrounded by thousand thousands ministering to Him and ten thousand times ten thousand standing before Him. This is very important as herein lies the evidence as to why He is finally declared to be the ruler of this world. But before we look at that (we will come back to this later), let us look at the third participant on the stage.

Daniel continues watching. He sees "13 "…One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. 14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed." The first point to be established is that the Son of Man coming on the clouds is not referring to the second coming. He is appearing before the Father, the "Ancient of Days" in the most Holy place…It is judgment day, but for whom? Two texts come to mind which will help make sense of what happens in verse 14 of Daniel 7. One is from Revelation 14 and the other, Romans 3. Revelation 14:6, 7 "6 Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people— 7 saying with a loud voice, "Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water." Romans 3:3, 4 "3 For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? 4 Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: "That You may be justified in Your words, and may overcome when You are judged." The judgment is not all about us. The vindication of God is central to the judgment. Who deserves to run the universe?

How do I know that this is the case in Daniel 7? I will give two points only for time and space sake. First, the last sentence of Daniel 7:13 is helpful." He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. I have only seen this on TV and assume that this is based on real life. But, when a verdict is to be given in court, the defendant approaches the bench. This is what happens here. The Son of Man approaches the bench. Notice the disposition of the case in verse 14: "Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed." Praise God. But why was He given this favorable disposition? Second point, He is referred to as the "Son of Man." Hebrews is helpful here. Hebrews 2:14-17 says "14 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. 17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people." Ellen White puts it this way in this most amazing quote from the Desire of Ages, "By His life and His death, Christ has achieved even more than recovery from the ruin wrought through sin. It was Satan's purpose to bring about an eternal separation between God and man; but in Christ we become more closely united to God than if we had never fallen. In taking our nature, the Saviour has bound Himself to humanity by a tie that is never to be broken. Through the eternal ages He is linked with us. "God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son." John 3:16. He gave Him not only to bear our sins, and to die as our sacrifice; He gave Him to the fallen race. To assure us of His immutable counsel of peace, God gave His only-begotten Son to become one of the human family, forever to retain His human nature. This is the pledge that God will fulfill His word. "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder." God has adopted human nature in the person of His Son, and has carried the same into the highest heaven. It is the "Son of man" who shares the throne of the universe. It is the "Son of man" whose name shall be called, "Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6. The I AM is the Daysman between God and humanity, laying His hand upon both. He who is "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners," is not ashamed to call us brethren. Hebrews 7:26; 2:11. In Christ the family of earth and the family of heaven are bound together. Christ glorified is our brother. Heaven is enshrined in humanity, and humanity is enfolded in the bosom of Infinite Love. {DA 25.3}

One other point must be addressed and that is back there in verse10 of Daniel 7. Remember those thousand thousands ministering to Him and ten thousand times ten thousand standing before the Ancient of Days? Why was that worthy of mention here in Daniel? What is its significance? I submit to you that it is exhibit A in the evidence for the vindication of the character of God. Revelation 4 and 5 speak of this same group. We will only have time to look at Revelation 5. Revelation 5 continues a description of a worship service described in Revelation 4 going on in Heaven in which four living creatures and twenty-four elders are seen worshiping God and declaring Him worthy. Their worship continues in Revelation 5 and here is where we will join them. John is weeping in verse 4 because, in his estimation, no one was worthy to open the scroll and read it. An elder comes to him and tells him not to weep and shows him something: verse 6, "6 And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth." Upon seeing the Lamb in the midst of the throne, here is what happened, starting in verse 8, "8 Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song, saying: "You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; For You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 10 And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth." 11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice: "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!" This came out of them spontaneously. Oh, for a heart to praise my God!

Those thousand thousands ministering to Him and ten thousand times ten thousand standing before the Ancient of Days, were giving testimony in this showdown. They were witnesses at court of the worthiness of God. They were not extras in a play. They were there for a very important reason, to present evidence, to testify. Daniel records the little horn as speaking, but the Ancient of Days was sitting silent. Others testified on His behalf. The cross was the only piece of evidence presented there. This is because what the cross symbolizes, the self-emptying love of God for us. The apostle Paul says it best: "5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 Who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross." This evidence speaks.

The little horn power sought the kingdom by coercion and self-exaltation, by lies and deceit.

Before we close, we need to look at the fourth group to come on the scene, the saints of the Most High. Daniel 7: 21, 22, 27 "21 "I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom. 27 Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him."

We are given the kingdom, not because of our worthiness but His. Because of His great love and sacrifice for us we respond as mentioned in Revelation 14:1-5 and Revelation 12:10, 11 respectively: "Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father's name written on their foreheads. 3 They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth. 4 These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes…." Revelation 12:10, 11 "10 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, "Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death."

In closing, I would like us to coandinsider a text, one that I pray will be the desire of all our hearts because God is asking the question "Can I have a witness?" Proverbs 27:11 "11 My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him who reproaches me."

~Andi Hunsaker

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