Those who are parents understand that their children, once able to talk tend to ask the same question all the time. Whatever happens or when you ask them to do something or when you are about to discipline them they ask “Why”. You might have either used the response or heard it … “Because ‘Y’ is a crooked letter and cannot be straightened.” We might become agitated and fed up when they continually ask “why” … but that question shows they want to know. They need to learn … and often you need to be repetitive because they are slow to learn. Have you noticed that although you are grown up you still ask that question? You want answers. You need to know. How can anyone expect you to respond, help or give directives if you don’t know the basic answer to the “why” question at any specific time? From verse 15 we come to the interpretation of Daniel’s vision.
1) Although not mentioned, he was asking the “why” question.
Da 8:15 While I, Daniel, was watching the vision and trying to understand it, there before me stood one who looked like a man.
He was watching the vision and trying to understand it. His mind was asking “why”, what’s this all about. I need meaning! The “why” question was not directed at an angel or at God, it was directed at himself. Then, suddenly and angel in the form of a man stood before him. The angel was not a man. He only appeared as a man. The angel is Gabriel. His names means strong and powerful.
2) The answer Daniel sought is about to come.
Da 8:16 And I heard a man’s voice from the Ulai calling, “Gabriel, tell this man the meaning of the vision.”
The location is the Ulai River and this human voice could be the same as that of
Da 12:5 Then I, Daniel, looked, and there before me stood two others, one on this bank of the river and one on the opposite bank. 6 One of them said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river.
Who is this one above the water … the one as it were, hovering over the waters? Although there has been discussion as to this one, it seems as though it is the Supreme One … God. God is hovering above the waters, between the two banks of the river. When we read the opening verses of the Bible, this thought is quite understandable.
Ge 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
God instructs angel Gabriel to explain the vision to Daniel.
3) Daniel’s fear.
Da 8:17 As he came near the place where I was standing, I was terrified and fell prostrate. “Son of man,” he said to me, “understand that the vision concerns the time of the end.”
(1) We need to understand that what Daniel saw in the vision was exceptionally scary. Now, although the angel is not God, as he approaches Daniel, Daniel is filled with such terror because the angel radiates the splendor and holiness of God … whilst he, Daniel is a sinner. He falls flat on his face … almost as if he could not look at the angel and because his sin, he was blinded by this sight. He was acknowledging his unworthiness. One of the greatest problems we have in the modern Christian Church today is familiarity. We treat God as a friend or a buddy in the sense of an equal. This is why most of the Church today needs to rely on human resources to make as if God is present amongst the people. Sadly, God does not and will not present Himself amongst a sinful fiasco! If He called us to be holy, holiness is what He requires. I loved the way Robert Murray M’Cheyne said … and I have quoted it often … “The greatest need of my people is my personal holiness.” Personal holiness starts when you are aware of how sinful you are before a holy God. M’Cheyne knew this … today both the clergy and congregants need to learn this otherwise a manmade hype is needed to generate response from the people. Dare to be a Daniel. Prove your littleness before God in reverent fear!
(2) Gabriel calls Daniel “Son of man”. He was, as he was human … yet remember, this was Jesus’ favorite title for Himself.
(3) Daniel now hears that this worrying vision had to do with the last days! “Son of man,” he said to me, “understand that the vision concerns the time of the end.” When are the “last days?”… When is “the time of the end?” To get the meaning and interpretation of “the time of the end” we need to look at verse 19 … “later in the time of wrath.” In the context of the prophecy, this refers to the end of the Old Testament period for the Israelites who would suffer greatly for their apostasy! The “wrath” of verse 19 lasts only until the Messiah arrives! It does not refer to the end of all human history and the end of the world. At a time like this it is wise to stop and reflect a little.
(a) It is wrong to think the Wrath of God will only come when Jesus returns, conducts the Judgment and casts the unbelieving wicked into the Lake of Eternal Fires. It would be stupid to think that. God dispenses wrath at His pleasure, where and when needed, according to His will.
(b) As horrible as it is to consider God’s Wrath, this Wrath is not only for the unbelieving wicked! Why would God ignore your continual sin once you are saved?
Heb 12:4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” 7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?
Why is discipline? Because sin is disobedience and causes anger! Therefore God’s displeasure resulting in some form of correction (discipline) needs to be seen as anger … yes wrath. Not for eternal punishment but to correct and restore the child of God. If you are God’s own, next times when discipline (wrath) falls because of sin, remember God loves you and wants you to be holy. He chose you for exactly that!
(c) Yes God also pours out wrath upon unbelievers in this way … hoping they will turn and believed and avoid the Eternal Wrath that awaits should they not come to Jesus for salvation.
(d) Every expression of wrath, anger or discipline from God ought to be used by the people of God as an evangelistic opportunity.
Holy Father, we have so much to learn regarding us being made holy. Help us to see, understand and appreciate that Your discipline is for our eternal good. Teach us holiness for Jesus’ sake. Amen.