By Kevin Shrum
Pastor, Inglewood Baptist Church, Nashville
Question: If you could know exactly what was going to happen tomorrow, would you want to know?
Some might say, “Yes, I would want to know so that I could better prepare for what is coming my way.” Others might say, “No, I don’t want to know because knowing would increase my anxiety and stymie my faith.”
We cannot know the future. Yet we serve a God who knows the future. He is omniscient – He knows all things about all things past, present, and future. He not only knows the future, but He “makes” and “designs” the future so that His purposes might be accomplished. As Daniel 7:21 states that God “changes times and seasons; He removes kings and sets up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.” As the old saying goes, “Has it ever occurred to you that nothing has ever occurred to God?”
God reveals His knowledge in written form often through apocalyptic language. The term “apocalypse” means “unveiling,” like pulling back the curtain on a stage. In Daniel 7 God pulls back the curtain on the future coming of King Jesus. This is a future we need to know.
The first three beasts (Daniel 7:1-6). Daniel’s dreams include four great beasts paralleled in Daniel 2, the Babylonian Empire, the Medo-Persian Empire, the Greek Empire and the Roman Empire. The four heads of the beast in verse 6 represent a divided Grecian Empire after Alexander the Great’s death in 323 BC. In Daniel 7 the fourth beast has 10 horns, representing the rise of ten well-known Roman leaders.
While seeing this 10-horned beast, Daniel sees a smaller horn rising, a kingdom that starts small and ends up big. A horn that is beyond Roman rule. This “little horn” represents an arrogant world dictator known as “the man of lawlessness,” “the man doomed to destruction” (II Thessalonians 2:3), a “beast” (Revelation 13:1-10), and the “antichrist” (1 John 2:18). Daniel’s dream unveiled the truth that in the last days arrogant kings and kingdoms will rise out of the ruins of an old Roman-like Empire revived to destroy God’s kingdom. Daniel’s dream reveals the fact Satan’s kingdoms and God’s kingdom are on a collision course.
The judgment (Daniel 7:9-14). As Daniel dreams, he sees the “Ancient of Days,” the eternal God who is in control of all things (verse 9).
He comes to execute judgment on the wickedness of these earthly kingdoms. Verse 10 notes that “the books were opened,” out of which God judges both Satan and all wickedness at the beginning and end of the millennium (Revelation 19:20-21 and Revelation 20:1-15). The beast is killed and the wicked kingdoms that opposed God are removed (verse 12), though their death is temporarily extended so that God might expose all their wickedness.
Finally, Daniel sees the “Son of Man,” Jesus the Messiah, the Lord of glory, coming in clouds of glory to bring final judgment on the world (verse 13). In the end, His “dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and His kingdom is one that will not be destroyed” (verse 14). This is the future Daniel needed to see and it is one that we need to see as well. It is our blessed hope. B&R