Scripture: “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And 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 one that shall not be destroyed.” Daniel 7:13-14 ESV
Observation: Chapter 7 is devoted to a series of soon and end-time visions. Initially, the first prophetic imagery points to the rise and fall of Belshazzar, Cyrus, Alexander the Great, and the four succeeding officers that divvied his Greek empire upon his death. Of these latter “four horns,” Antiochus IV Epiphanes exercised superior strength and intentionally blasphemed the God of Israel, desecrating temple worship and inciting the Maccabean rebellion. Nevertheless, the Ancient of Days (God the Father) sits in judgment over all these pretentious world rulers, removing them from their positions of power and bequeathing absolute authority to the Son of Man (incarnate Christ), who would arrive one and half centuries after Antiochus.
Regarding fulfillment at the end of the age, there are remarkable similarities between Daniel’s dreams and those revealed to the Apostle John as he describes in his Revelation. In his mind’s eye, Daniel witnesses the final act of world history when the devil’s minions rise to power and seek the destruction of humankind. Satan is indicted and found guilty. Stripped of his power and destroyed (along with his beast and all principalities of evil), the Lord transfers the devil’s authority over earthly kingdoms to his saints who will rightfully serve under the rule of the Son of Man.
Takeaway: First, when we receive prophetic images or words, we would do well to maintain confidentiality until the Holy Spirit interprets the meaning, the audience, and the appropriate time to share the vision. We will often do more harm than good if, in our excitement, we prematurely pronounce or misdirect the message. Indeed, Daniel reports at the chapter’s end that he kept the matter in his heart (implying confidentiality until the right time).
Secondly, end-time prophecy can be distressing if we focus on evil rather than our Savior. At the close of this chapter, Daniel reports that his visions alarmed him, changing his color (a flushed face from fear and anxiety). But if we turn our attention to Christ’s initial victory at the Cross and his final triumph at the world’s end (see above verses), our gratitude and love for our invincible Savior will cast out all fear. For the Son of Man will approach the Ancient Days in the clouds and receive the glory due to him: authority over all peoples with the establishment of his eternal kingdom where sin is no more.
Prayer: Father God, we thank you for your Son who has defeated the Enemy and will one day return to our world to eternally reign and make all things new and unblemished by sin. Would you please help us to behold our Savior rather than the evil around us? And please help us to exercise prudence in sharing visions and prophetic words until made clear by your Holy Spirit. Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling