When we go through hardships and trails we might cry out “When, O when will this end?” If you are an older person as I am, you are able to look back over your life and remember the many times when you thought your pain and suffering, be it relational, financial, emotional or physical would never end, only to find they do. They might return in other ways but the end does come. Again, if you are like me, you would not want to be in Daniel’s shoes, ever! Although this was a dream / vision … it must have been extremely disturbing one on the one hand and challenging on the other. Even once the interpretation came it was frightful … and remember, he was living through the Babylonian Exile. But then, verse 22 starts with the word “until”.
1) The most wonderful news to the believing ear!
Da 7:22 until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom.
This is the ultimate outcome. The small horn’s reign continues only “until” the Ancient of Days judges in favor of His people. These are the saints and they have not only possession of the Kingdom, but it is an eternal possession compared to the limited possession the king of the small horn has. That Kingdom is the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus and all believers are part of this Kingdom … forever.
2) Although part of the vision, verses 21-22 are not part of the interpretation. The Holy Spirit slots these verses in here for us to see that history does continue with God’s omniscient eye surveying the planet and its happenings. This Judgment here is not the same as that of verse 11 and 26. That is judgment upon empires [kingdoms]. This Judgment is the Final Judgment. This is when Jesus returns as promised for the second time and ends earth’s history. A great comfort for every believer must be that God is seated upon the Throne of Glory and He reigns. We might wonder why He allows things to happen as they do, such as an evil regime. That is His business and often we don’t understand why it happens this way, but He is in control even if it does not seem so.
3) Now we arrive at the Judgment of the fourth beast. Remember, in Daniel’s vision he wants to know about the fourth beast.
Da 7:23 “He gave me this explanation: ‘The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it.'”
This beast is different to the others in that it is a world conqueror. It did not just overrun Palestine, but all the known and inhabited world. This kingdom (small horn) was mightier and more devastating than those it followed … yet the chapter before us wants us to see that although this kingdom is so huge and powerful it is actually very small compared to the True Kingdom that exists, the Kingdom of the Triune God, reigned over by God the Son. It might have been mighty but it was inferior to the True Eternal Kingdom of God. Without attempting to be an International Political Fundi, understanding Political Science … which I don’t … when I look back over the years of my life there have been a number of mighty kingdoms. Some of them fell. Some of them rose again. Some of them just got bigger and the greatest fear is one president getting out of the wrong side of the bed and presses the ‘red’ button. None of these, irrespective of how much of a superpower they are compares to the True Kingdom of God. That was the message to Daniel and his people and that is the message to you and me today. Praise the Lord!
4) We ought not to forget that Apocalyptic Literature is full of symbolism.
Da 7:24 The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings.
From this beast (kingdom) ten kings will come. The number “ten” here needs to be seen as symbolic. It is not a literal ten but a symbolic ten meaning a complete number. Neither must we think these kings are contemporary. Rather, they have a common existence during the second phase of this beast’s history. Many commentators have gone far off course in their writings because they have moved away from the symbolism of Apocalyptic writing to the literal or perceived. After these ten kings will come another, different from the ten of whom he destroys three of them. His difference is that he is extremely aggressive. His arrogance leads to him being brazen and egotistical. He overstepped all political and international boundaries and norms. When a leader is deified or praised beyond due, they become like this. Even in this century of ours there are citizens who are led to believe their leader is a ‘god’ … or they are forced to accept it. Be prayerful about how you perceive your leaders. They might be God appointed but they are not God. One of the sad break downs in political leadership across the planet is people elevating their leaders to perceived positions of glory. The run off from this is that they devote more time, energy, resources and finances to a political cause that the Creator of Heaven and Earth’s cause. Look at our world and its kingdoms today. Many have such wealth apart from power. Some kings and leaders are said to be worth so many billions of dollars. Now compare that with the Visible Church today. Very few have the means to exist without worrying about meeting the monthly budget. Then look at the Eternal Kingdom of God. Would you not want to belong to God’s Kingdom? There nothing is temporal. Nothing is passing. No corrosion; no moth eating and no decay. This is why the early Church cried … “Jesus is Lord!” He is indeed Lord and King over all. Perhaps before we proceed, let’s stop and consider our affiliation and commitment to our local Church. (I assume your Church is Biblical and Intentional about Jesus’ Lordship and Reign.) It is possible to devote much of our time, effort, resources and money to the temporal and ignore the eternal. There are at least four ways we can contribute to God’s Kingdom through investing into it. Let me ask …
(1) Are you an active member? Membership is more than once a month, Easter or Christmas attendance. Are you in Church every Lord’s Day and are you there for the right reasons?
(2) Are you active in serving? A Church does not work by itself. Some have the idea the pastor does it all. His role is to equip you for service. Are you serving?
(3) Are you active in evangelism? Are you reaching the lost for heaven?
(4) Are you active in giving? Why does Church Ministry suffer? The tithing is not Biblical!
Help me Lord to be an active member of Your Kingdom. Amen.