Natural disasters, political unrest, and interpersonal and interracial conflicts remind us that our world is broken. We all know something isn’t right yet we struggle to identify the source of this brokenness. We can’t help but ask ourselves if this life is all there is. There is a reality outside the material and it is a spiritual reality. Some question God’s existence on the premise that since the world is bad God cannot surely exist and if he does then he must be a self-centered and brutal deity. My goal in this post is to remind Christians that our Servant-King continues to reign victoriously. I would also like to challenge those who view evil in the world as a certain evidence that there is no God.
The year was around 566 B.C- 563 B.C, around thirty-nine years since Daniel and his friends were taken into exile. Nebuchadnezzar was king of the Babylonian empire and Belshazzar served as second in command. (Daniel 5:7, 16) One source suggests that Daniel 7 occurred before the events recorded in 5-6. (Holmon Bible Handbook, 1992) God’s people were exiled into Babylon as a consequence for their idolatrous worship. Even though they had been forgiven, they still had to submit to God’s discipline. Though God chastised His people, He did not abandon them or love them less. Daniel’s narrative reminds the people that God is still in control even though the Babylonian empire possessed great power.
Daniel 7 serves as a great reminder of the Sovereign Lord’s power and kingdom. Some readers focus only on the beasts and the horns and significant apocalyptic interpretations of the passage. The biblical writer intends to convey the solidarity of God’s kingdom and reign. Contemporary readers should understand Daniel’s message in relation to God’s rule and reign, even in the midst of a chaotic cultural context.
Powerful words are written in Daniel 7:9-28. Here are seven quick observations about the text.
- The Ancient of Days sits to demonstrate his confident and sure reign. (7:9)
- Many gather around His throne to worship or serve him. (7:10)
- The throne room represents a place of judgment. (7:10b)
- The Ancient of Days bestows his authority to one called, “Son of Man”. (7:13)
- The Son of Man was given a kingdom of people from every tribe, tongue, and nation. (7:14)
- This kingdom is eternal in contrast to the wicked and temporary Babylonian empire. (7:14b, 7:27)
- One day earthly kings will surrender their right to rule to the one Sovereign, the Ancient of Days. (7:27)
Significant attention can and should be given to study of this passage. My goal, for now, is to encourage believers and challenge unbelievers.
Christian, take courage knowing that this earthly kingdom will soon come to pass. Our King is the Ancient of Days. His Kingdom has no end. Jesus is a co-equal with God the Father. Even though we see death and destruction every day, Jesus is building a kingdom. His project of rescuing sinners will culminate at His forthcoming return. Daily we are reminded of the effects of the Fall from Eden’s paradise (Gen.3) but we are also reminded of the power of the Gospel. The Good News about Jesus changes people and cultures. We must submit to Jesus’s kingship today. You and I can be agents of redemption in a broken and chaotic world. Our imperative is that we have faith in the Ancient of Days and the eternality of His kingdom.
Some of you may be asking, “If God is good and he is king, why doesn’t he do something about our messed up world?” That is a powerful question and ancient question. Here we introduce the problem of evil. Contrary to a naturalistic worldview, Christians posit that the world is broken. Adam and Eve chose rebellion over submission in Genesis 3. The decision of our first parents has permeated every aspect of our personhood and our lives. Earlier in the post, I mentioned that we all know things are not as they ought to be yet we struggle to pinpoint the problem. The problems in our world are the result of human choices and actions. We are human and we are broken. Thankfully the God of the Bible is a loving and pursuing God. Redemption is the antidote to the sickness of our world.
But I am getting ahead of myself. In the next post, I will reflect on the goodness of the Biblical God and the problem of evil.
Here it is sufficient to say that the source of hurt in our world is the result of original sin. Original sin changes the way we relate to God, others, self, and the created order. Natural disasters, political unrest, and social dysfunction are not the result of an absent and unloving God. Rather, these are the result of human sin and refusal to submit to the Good Creator. When we attempt to be our own god we contribute to pain and brokenness in the world. When we submit to the Ancient of Days we alleviate the pain and suffering by viewing others and image bearers in need of redemption. A great darkness has taken over the green, but we must remember there is only one Lord of the green and He reigns righteously. His name is Jesus, the Son of Man.