Who’s In Charge?

Daniel  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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Regardless of what is going on in the world around us, we can be encouraged that God is still and always will be in control. ‌

Tropical Storm Idalia is intensifying into expected major hurricane, mandatory evacuations underway in Florida.
Urgent manhunt for ‘person of interest’ after reports of gunfire on UNC campus.
Highland Park mass shooting suspect’s father will face trial, judge rules.
New eyedrop recall follows a string of deaths tied to other brands.
These are some of the milder headlines for just one day this past week. There is chaos and corruption all around us. It seems the world is like a gerbil, running on a spinning wheel and getting no forward motion going. What seems sane for those in charge seems totally silly for others. That which is truly good and right has been swapped for that which is gross and wrong. Purity has been replaced with perversion.
The world will eventually, and has already begun to do so, they will look to someone who will say the right words and make the right promises which can relieve them of any responsibilities and worries.
However, where does that leave the follower of Jesus Christ? How do we react and respond when faced with a world that is in utter turmoil and hopelessness?
I believe that as we look at the last part of Daniel 7, we can be encouraged. Though the church most likely will not be on this earth during this horrific part of history, we will experience some of the foreshadowing and preparation for this terrible time, even as we are now. So what is the hope and encouragement which we can receive?
Regardless of what is going on in the world around us, we can be encouraged that God is still and always will be in control.

Short Rule to Eternal Rule - 7:15-18

As we look through this verses, it is no wonder that Daniel was distraught over the chaotic and violent visions he was seeing. This is the type of dream that would not leave any peace. In the vision, Daniel is seen in verse 16 approaching someone for answers. We can assume this individual was an angel, since they are always in the presence of God ready to serve Him. We also know in other places in the Bible that angels are often used to interpret dreams for those receiving them.
The angel begins by explaining to Daniel that the four beasts were actually referring to four kings or kingdoms. Here is also where we see the explanation that the sea was actually the earth. Thus, you and I can understand that these four beasts are not really beasts at all. They simply represent certain powerful, earthly kingdoms.
However, verse 18 is no longer speaking of earthly kingdoms, but rather God’s Kingdom. In fact, the last part of the verse talks about the holy ones who will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come. The last part of this verse sounds like it came from Toy Story. In fact, the original language would literally mean to the forever and to the forever of forevers. Now, even though we know from other prophetic writings that this is a millennial time period, 1,000 years, the idea is that this Kingdom will not be limited or confined to that time period, in that it will merge with eternity.
But, let’s look further about some of the specific details about this fourth kingdom as represented by that terribly terrifying beast.

Scary Ruler to Sovereign Ruler - 7:19-26

Daniel needed more information, as he asks the angel about this fourth beast. We might wonder why would Daniel be so curious? It would seem that this fourth beast was so incredibly different and powerful and cruel, plus being the last of the beasts, it would make sense for Daniel to want more insight.
One of the characteristics of this beast is seen in verse 19 and is not found in the earlier description. Here, it states this beast had claws of bronze. Daniel would know that this type of claw could completely shred that which it attacked. Thus, the empire this would represent would have incredible destructive power.
Daniel also seemed to be quite intrigued as well, by the other horn which came up, and before which three of them fell, namely, that horn which had eyes and a mouth uttering great boasts and which was larger in appearance than its associates. When one thinks about it, if we had a vision that had such strange characteristics, the beast being larger, with eyes and a mouth, uttering blasphemy toward God, we probably would be petrified.
In fact, verse 21 shows that this horn is waging war with the saints and overpowering them. Obviously, those following Christ during this time cannot stand up against Satan and the Antichrist. We see that this will continue until the Ancient of Days came and judgment was passed, as seen in verse 22.
So, as we go on to verse 23, the angel gives further insight. He starts by explaining that this beast is actually a fourth kingdom that rules on this earth. We understand this to be Rome. Every other kingdom that tries to go against it will be crushed.
Verse 24 helps us to understand that the ten horns are really ten kings who develop out of the Roman kingdom. Now, here is something we need to understand. Since these kingdoms will be ended when Jesus Christ returns, they have to be ruling before Christ’s second coming. So, what Daniel’s vision is predicting is that out of the old Roman Empire, ten kingdoms will develop as a continuation of it. We see from Revelation 17:12-13 that these ten kingdoms will eventually exist together.
Then there is the issue of the little horn. This individual is not a kingdom only, but a person who is a ruler. He is a ruler in the last days. He is referred to by various names throughout the Bible; man of lawlessness, the Antichrist, the beast. When Daniel uses the phrase, arise after them, that gives us the clue that this empire will be formed by the first ten kings, then the Antichrist rises up in dominance over them. His empire and his kingship is not a separate nation from the other ten. We gather that it is a part of the ten kingdoms after the Antichrist comes into power.
However, he is different from all the others. He is greater in power, intelligence, and arrogance. It seems quite clear that he is ruling the entire confederation of nations. Yet, what about those other three? We’re not certain, but it would make sense to think that they will dare to go against the Antichrist and he will conquer them by force. At that point, it seems that all of the others will then completely submit to his authority.
Verse 25 is a scary verse for those who will be followers of Christ. He will speak out against the Most High. He blasphemes God and speaks against Him in rebellious arrogance. We see this in Revelation 13:5-6. We don’t know specifically what he says. However, 2 Thessalonians 2:4 and Revelation 13:8, 12, suggest that this Antichrist will demand that all humanity worship him.
But it doesn’t stop there. The Antichrist blasphemes God and wear[s] down the saints of the Highest One. Some translations use the word oppress. The original language carries a word picture of wearing out a garment by abusive use. One commentator states, Believers will daily be harassed until their lives become miserable. Religious freedom will be abolished and economic pressure will be applied to force his subjects to follow him and reject God.
He will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. The word for intend means to try. What exactly is meant by the phrase, times and in law? It seems the best explanation is the times of the religious holidays. The laws probably would refer to anything religious in nature. Several scholars suggest that the word law in this context is nearly equal to religion. Historically, this is not a new thing. During the French Revolution, they developed a 10-day workweek, though unsuccessfully. We’ve seen over the centuries attempts to deny religious liberty in a variety of forms. However, the Antichrist will do all that he can to create a world that is completely secular. Does this sound familiar in our time?Those who hate God, will do what the Antichrist will desire to do. They will try to eliminate anything that stays true to Christ.
Some of you are hoping for an explanation of the phrase, time, times and half a time. Based upon the several Bible passages that deal with this, it seems that the most obvious explanation is that it refers to 3 1/2 years. In dealing with this phrase and time period, we have actual days of 1,290 mentioned. This is just a little over 3 1/2 years. Revelation 11:2 talks about Jerusalem being trampled for 42 months; which is 3 1/2 years. This will be the time of intense persecution by the Antichrist.
Simply put, the persecution of those who follow Christ will be 3 1/2 years; half of the Antichrist’s 7-year rule. This is what is often referred to as the Great Tribulation. That is when the judgments from Revelation 14-19 will happen.
The angel now offers some encouraging news in verse 26. At the end of that 3 1/2 year tribulation period, Jesus Christ comes from heaven with His holy angels and passes judgment. The Antichrist’s power and kingdom will be taken away and permanently destroyed.
But what comes next? After the emotional upheaval Daniel had been experiencing, what is the next phase?

Saintly Rule - 7:27-28

It is at this point, we see that the Kingdom of God takes over everything. The destruction of Antichrist has happened, then Christ’s kingdom is established. The sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One. Believers will truly inherit the earth. These are not angels, but God’s people. These are followers of Jesus Christ.
Finally, the end credits begin to roll, as it were. Yet, though the information and explanation was given, Daniel is still alarmed and in shock. It is no wonder with all that he saw. Not only did he see terrible things happening against God’s people, he had no idea as to when the actual time frame would be.
So what did Daniel do? He kept the matter to [himself]. After all, with whom could he share this type of information?

Some Reflections

It would seem that since there are parallel visions or dreams in chapter 2 and chapter 7, that this is absolutely and certainly going to happen.
I understand that there are others who might not agree with the interpretation I have shared. The majority of scholars which I consider born-again and hold high the Bible, share the same interpretation. Regardless, the sovereignty of God is preeminent in these verses. In other words, regardless of what is going on in the world around us, we can be encouraged that God is still and always will be in control.
Don’t become frightened or fearful by what you read or see or hear that is taking place in the world around you. God is in control. Do not look to kings, kingdoms, presidents, nations, or any earthly leader for answers. Jesus is the answer.
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