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God Will Have the Final Say

November 6 | 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: 

Today, we'll be reading Daniel 8. The first half of Daniel is mostly written in narrative form, and now we're pivoting into what's called apocalyptic literature where we'll see things like visions or revelations concerning the coming of the end of evil and the final advent of God's kingdom. In chapter 7, Daniel has this intense vision about 4 beasts coming up out of the sea, all which represent 4 of the different kingdoms that would rise up from and after Babylon, the nation that captured him and his people so many years prior. Here in chapter 8, Daniel has another vision that deals with a few of the kingdoms represented in his previous vision, but the focus narrows in a bit more on 2 of them.

Read Daniel 8.

Grow Together: Observe & Apply

What's incredible about this vision is that it lines up accurately with history and brings more credibility to the prophetic components of the Bible. Let's dive deeper into this revelation together:

The ram introduced in verse 3 represents the Medo- Persian Empire, the people that succeeded the Babylonian Empire. This interpretation is revealed in verse 20. We see that the ram has one horn that was longer than the other, which was similar to the vision Daniel had of a bear raised up on one side in chapter 7. Ultimately, all of this points to the fact that the Persians would eventually grow stronger and overtake the Medes.

Most scholars agree that the goat introduced in verse 5 represents Greece, the empire that took over the Medo-Persian empire and much of the known world, and that the horn between its eyes represents Alexander the Great. The ram's horns are destroyed, the goat is dominating, but eventually the "conspicuous" horn between its eyes is broken off after he reaches the peak of his power. From that place on the goat's head, 4 more horns grow and replace the one. This represents Alexander the Great taking over the Medo-Persian empire, his rule coming to an end, and Greece eventually splitting up between 4 different successors.

It's largely accepted that this little horn that grew (see verse 9) represents the evil king Antiochus IV, the Syrian Seleucid king who lived many years after Alexander the Great. He was responsible for mass persecution of God's people. He invaded Israel, slaughtered thousands of Jews, and desecrated their temple by setting up a statue of Zeus and sacrificing a pig on their altar, which would be a major defilement to the altar because Jews were prohibited from touching pigs according to Old Testament Law. Accounts on how Antiochus died vary, but all point to him being "shattered, not by human hands" (verse 25). This evil king who had tormented God's people was judged and put to an end.

Daniel is visited by an angel who's identified as Gabriel, an angel of the Lord. This is the same figure we see in Luke's gospel during the announcements of both John the Baptist and Jesus Christ himself. Gabriel explains to Daniel that this whole vision is pointing to the fact that, just like he had done with all the previous kings Daniel had lived under in Babylon, God would bring them to their knees because of their arrogant, evil hearts, and ultimately judge and remove their kingdoms entirely.

This vision was so heavy for Daniel that he literally went to bed sick for days on end. But what does he eventually do? Verse 27 says, "I got up and went about the king's business."

What questions do you have as you’re processing this vision in Daniel?

1. God will have the final say.
Your current circumstances don't have the final say. Society's current voices don't have the final say. This season you're living in doesn't have to define the whole of your story. Daniel didn't know what to do with the vision he was receiving, but what he did know was that God had been faithful before, that he was in control, and that he would have the final say for his people.

Does this resonate with you? Where in your life do you need to remember that God will have the final say?

2. We should be strengthened by God daily. 
Daniel's ability to shoulder this kind of revelation was not something God had randomly given him, it was developed in the secret place - particularly in his prayer life, for decades. Daniel made this a practice to go to God regularly, both in crisis and not. We need to be strengthened by God daily to shoulder the worries of this life. We can also be strengthened by learning how he's moved before. Look to the scriptures for examples, recall from your own life,  and hear the testimony of others in community.

How are you allowing yourself to be strengthened by God OR where do you need to grow in this?

3. When you are flooded by your circumstances, faithfully put one foot in front of the other.
“We underestimate God and we overestimate evil. We don’t see what God is doing and conclude that he is doing nothing. We see everything that evil is doing and think it is in control of everyone.” ― Eugene H. Peterson, Run with the Horses. 
Just because you don't see what God is doing doesn't' mean he's left the room. Just because you see evil abounding in these days does not mean that evil is winning or will have the final say. We don't know what the future holds, but we know the one who holds the future

Have you found yourself underestimating God and overestimating evil? How can you faithfully put one foot in front of the other in this season?

Pray Together

Father God, we thank you that you have the final say. You've been faithful before, you're still faithful now, and you will be faithful forever. We praise you for that! Thank you that you're so steady. Increase our trust in you. Help us to be faithful to you, to stay committed to you, to truly follow you. Strengthen us today. Thank you Lord! In Jesus’ Name, AMEN.