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A Powerful God and His Beastly Enemies

October 30 | DNA Guide

Be Real Together

Take a few minutes to catch up, tell stories, and laugh together. Trust and friendship take time to build. If you’re launching a new DNA, one person should tell their story — what do we need to know about you? Next week, have another person in your DNA share their story.

Read Together: Daniel 7

Grow Together: Observe & Apply

Let’s take a look at 3 statements that summarize this passage and will guide our time of discussion in Daniel 7:

1. The truth that earthly kingdoms are always corrupt

As we look at the 4 beasts described in verses 3-8, the majority of scholars agree that these 4 beasts are 4 kingdoms that correlate with the vision King Nebuchadnezzar had in Daniel 2 of the giant statue made for 4 different sections:
  • Head of God - Nebuchadnezzar
  • Chest, arms of silver - Medo-Persian Empire
  • Stomach of bronze - Greeks
  • Legs of Iron - Rome

Remember in this vision in Daniel 2 a stone comes down, crushes the mountain, and that represents Jesus, which ultimately, is the most important detail of this dream. It’s not the bad guys that should be our focus, it’s the hero of the story - God.

With this in mind, some of the most widely agreed upon interpretations of the 4 beasts in Daniel 7 are as follows:
  1. Lion with eagles wings - represents Babylon & King Nebuchadnezzar
  2. Bear raised up on one side, 3 ribs in it’s mouth - Medo-Persian empire
  3. 4-headed leopard with wings on it’s back - Greeks
  4. Not a particular animal, just a beast / monster - thought to represent Rome, however, this beast is different in that it represents so much more than Rome. It’s more than just a single nation. The picture we get of this little horn (verse 8) that sets itself up against God appears to be the first biblical reference to the individual later described in the Bible as the antichrist, who speaks arrogantly against God and brings oppression against God’s people. (See 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4.)

Here’s the point - Daniel is getting a VERY robust picture of his current situation, things that would happen in his future (now our past), and things that none of us have yet experienced. Daniel’s vision is meant to keep our hearts in check and remind us that these earthly kingdoms are not the sources we should put our hope in!

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.—Ephesians 6:12

In light of what we just read, how does Ephesians 6:12 encourage you today? What questions do you have as you’re processing this vision in Daniel?

2. The hope that God’s Kingdom is supreme, eternal, and unshakeable

In verse 9, the scene changes dramatically from chaotic winds and hideous creatures to a picture of God and his kingdom overtaking his opponents. The title “Ancient of Days” speaks to the eternality of God. Look at the image here of both authority and peacefulness - God “takes his seat” while all the world is raging. While nations are acting up, God is on his throne and with great ease, he’s ready to intervene.

Dan Duncan rightly summarizes:
“That [which] began like a nightmare with monsters coming out of the sea, ends happily and hopefully with a Man coming out of heaven whom God crowns sovereign over the world!”

How does this vision of the Ancient of Days and the Son of Man give you hope today?

3. The reality of the now and not yet moment we’re living in

The good news is that the rule of the antichrist will come to an end. The bad news is that the reality for Christians has been, and will be, the challenge to be faithful under the pressures of a society and systems that have set themselves against God. The picture God is giving Daniel is a vision of God’s people - the Church - experiencing great pressure in the in-between moments until Jesus returns.

Why does all of this matter?
Because, as Christians, we are not called to put our hope in earthly kingdoms. In the kingdom of heaven earthly kingdoms are established and torn down all the same, all under the authority of God. Yet, there is one kingdom and one King over this earth whose kingdom will never be destroyed, and that King’s name is Jesus Christ!

How have you struggled to remain faithful under the pressures of a society that sets itself against God? Where are you feeling challenged?

Pray Together

Ancient of Days - thank you that you’ve gone before us, you’re with us now, and you go ahead of us. You hold our future in your hands. We declare today that we trust you. Help us to remain faithful to you in a world that has set itself against you. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN.