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Standing Firm & Staying Faithful In God's Sovereignty -- An Exposition of Daniel  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  48:59
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Do You Know What Time It Is?

Before you look at your watch or the many clocks on the wall…I want to know if you really know what time it is from a Biblical viewpoint?
Do you realize how close you are to God’s timetable of future events beginning?
Whether you’ve been part of this church for 25 years or 5 minutes you need to recognize the urgency of the hour... to make sure you are on the right side of the equation…you need to know that not only are you just one breath or one heart beat away from your eternity, the world itself is on the very brink of God pushing the button and bringing the remainder of His plan to pass.
With those thoughts in mind please turn to Daniel 7
While you are turning there let me just give you a “bird’s eye view” of God’s Prophetic Timetable...

Rapture

the next event in the prophetic timetable is the rapture of the church
1 Thessalonians 4:16–17 NASB95
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.
There are no other events on the timetable BEFORE this one!…the stage is set…Jesus could come at any time!
those who know Jesus Christ will not have to experience the last days of judgment on this earth…GOSPEL
our presence, and our influence will be removed because the Holy Spirit will be removed…since we are permanently indwelt by the Holy Spirit that is one proof we will not be here…2 Thess 2:3-7 speaks of the Holy Spirit being removed…since we know He indwells us, that means we are gone too!

7 Year Tribulation

We’ll talk more about this when we get to Daniel 9 and even more as we get closer to the end of the book...
Daniel 9:24 NASB95
“Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place.

Millennial Kingdom

There are some other events that transpire in between those events that we will talk about at a later date…but what we see here in Daniel 7 is Jesus Christ, the Son of Man will return and establish his Millennial Kingdom on this earth, seated on the throne of David, in direct fulfillment of His promises to the nation of Israel.

Eternal State

Again, some other events will take place between the Millennial Kingdom and the Eternal State..but what we have here is the reign of Christ continuing on into eternity.

Importance of Daniel 7

Where we are in our study of Daniel this morning brings us to perhaps the most important chapter of Daniel…in fact some have even labeled this one of the most important passages of the OT.
Daniel 7 marks a literary turning point of the book from historical narrative to apocalyptic visions…it is the transition chapter between the two sections of history and prophecy…it also has extreme significance prophetically because it contains the most comprehensive and detailed prophecy of future events to be found anywhere in the Old Testament.
Daniel 1-6 are necessary for understanding what comes in the latter part of the book…they demonstrated the power and sovereignty of God to prepare them for what was coming.
If Daniel’s God could deliver from lions and from the fire, He also can miraculously predict the future.

God’s message to his people through Daniel was that He was in control and the nation of Israel would endure the Time of the Gentiles domination over them

In Daniel’s time the Jews had experienced the captivity of Babylon as the first of four successive kingdoms as part of God’s judgment of their rebellion and idolatry…so if you place yourself in their sandals…you have to begin to wonder is God done with us?…Did we go too far and now God has abandoned us, thrown us away...
God used Daniel to communicate to them they still had a place in history…they would eventually be delivered from Gentile domination by their Messiah who would set up his kingdom and reign over the nations with Israel having a place of prominence.
The OT saints were much like us when it came to knowing when things would happen…we have no idea when Jesus will return…they had no idea when Daniel’s prophecy would be fulfilled…

The point of prophecy was not to just inform them of future events, it was engineered to provide a promise of a better world that would encourage them to live correctly now.

Apocalyptic Genre

Symbolism through the use of metaphors is often a key element in this type of literature…sometimes they are explained in the text or in other passages of Scripture…it should be understood as an actual account of what the writer saw and heard.
Apocalyptic genre was used to communicate truth in a dramatic way to people in crisis mode who needed to know something better was coming...
Some people try to make sense of every detail and get frustrated because they can’t fully understand it…so they just don’t bother to examine it...We are not going to shy away from it…view it as the “shock and awe”, dramatic way of communicating truth…one of the best rules for interpreting Scripture, especially in the realm of prophecy is to accept the plain sense of the text unless there is good reason not to… “If the plain sense makes good sense, seek no other sense.”
So to find the plain sense of the text we need to place ourselves in the sandals of the original readers…what message would they have taken from Daniel’s vision here in Daniel 7?

Main Point: A Better Day Is Coming, So Stay Faithful.

God wants his people to know that even though the captivity was over, the time of Gentile domination will continue and only get worse, until such a time that He intervenes to establish His kingdom with His Son being crowned the King…a better day is coming…stay faithful
That message is true for us as well…a better day is coming, so stay faithful and know what is going to happen and don’t lose sight that God is in control.
There is a real contrast here between the kingdoms of men and the kingdom of God and we’ve got to make sure we’ve choosen the right kingdom.
2 Elements to consider to remind us a better day is coming that ought to encourage us to stay faithful in difficult days.

Consider The Demise of Worldly Governments (1-8 & 15-25)

Daniel 7 breaks down into two parts…Daniel’s Vision and then the Interpretation of the Vision.
Verses 1-8 provide a description of the beasts…verses 15-25 provide the interpretation
First year of Belshazzar…so chronologically this vision occurred before the events of Daniel 5 & Daniel 6…before the handwriting on the wall where God told Belshazzar he was spiritually worthless and Babylon would fall to the Medes & Persians…before that ever happened God gave this vision to Daniel…secular historical records indicate his first year to have begun in 533 BC…
Daniel summarizes for us what he saw to assure the Jews they still had a part in history…the point of using apocalyptic genre is to refocus their (and our) minds on the truth…the Time of Gentile domination will be long, hard and even deadly, but Israel will survive all this and have a significant role in the end times.

Human Governments Are In Constant Chaos.

The Four Winds and the Great Sea (2)
In verse 3 the beasts are seen coming from the sea and in verse 17 they are seen coming from the earthDaniel 7:17 interprets the sea to be symbolic of the earth and the beasts that rise from the sea are great earthly kingdoms
The sea regularly stands for the peoples or nations of the earth symbolically in Scripture…Isa 57:20
The idea here is that the peoples of the earth are portrayed as a great sea of humanity in a constant state of unrest, chaos and turmoil…apt description of our time isn’t it?
Four winds denotes the four directions of the earth and signifies the havoc created is universal. The sea being tormented seems to indicate a continual stirring up during the rise and fall of all four empires.

Human Governments Are Beast-like.

If you remember our study of Daniel 2, you will remember that God gave the Gentile King Nebuchadnezzar a dream regarding his part in God’s future plans…it was a dream about a statue with a head of gold, chest/arms of silver, belly/thighs of bronze, legs of clay/iron, feet with ten toes being crushed by a rock not cut by human hands…here in Daniel 7, God gives Daniel a different perspective of the same thing…Nebuchadnezzar’s dream is how man sees human governments, marvelous and valuable, Daniel’s vision is how God sees them…beastly, ruthless, with insatiable appetites for blood.
Four beasts, each different from the others.
In Daniel 7:17, the angel tells Daniel these four beasts represent four kingdoms.

First Beast — Lion with Wings — Babylon

Babylon is identified in Scripture with both the lion and the eagle — Jer. 4:7, 13; 48:40; Ezek 17:3,12; Hab 1:6-8
wings plucked...standing like a man and given a man’s heart...
God humbled Nebbie and made him live like a beast for seven years (Daniel 4) but then God restored him and gave him a place of honor.
When archeologists unearthed items from Babylon can you guess what they found as a common symbol?…lion with wings…isn’t God remarkable to prophecy something like that...

Second Beast — Lopsided Bear — Medes & Persians

the bear is lopsided because the kingdom of Persia was stronger than the kingdom of the Medes...
Daniel 8:3, 20 brings this out as well with the ram and two horns with one higher than the other
the three ribs
the Medes and the Persians conquered three nations…Lydia, Egypt and Babylon

Third Beast — Leopard with four wings and four heads — Greece

Think of how fast a leopard is and now add four wings to it…also the leopard is known for its insatiable thirst for blood..
Alexander the Great with his swift armies resulted in the incredible expansion of the kingdom of Greece very quickly and he had an insatiable thirst for more territory…it is said that he cried because there was no more territory to conquer
Four wings and four heads
When Alexander died he had no heir, so his kingdom was divided into four parts and assigned to his leaders.
Remember that God gave Daniel this vision YEARS before any of it happened to encourage faithfulness during times of difficulty.

Fourth Beast — terrifying and powerful — Rome Phase 1

By the 2nd century B.C. Rome had superseded Greece as the dominant world power.
It is a well known fact that the Roman Empire possessed a power and longevity unlike anything the world had ever known…many nations suffered conquest under the iron boot of Roman legions…the extent of its influence surpassed the other three kingdoms.
This is the one that gains Daniel’s attention and alarms him the most…pause for just a moment and remind you to...

Remember Daniel is writing to people who are at their wits end because they are being completely dominated by Gentile rulers…God tells them more is yet to come…it will only get worse before it gets better…God’s people needed to see what these kingdoms were like so that they could look forward to a better kingdom.

This is why Daniel 7 is important for us today...
So if you want to put your trust in the kingdoms of men, what you see described here is what you will getbeasts hell bent on the ruthless destruction of others…just look at where we are as a culture…destruction of babies in the womb…destruction of biblical marriage…destruction of biological gender identities…destruction of differing opinions…all in the name of political correctness…if you make the kingdom of man your kingdom of choice, then be prepared for what comes next...
Before we move on I think it is important for us to understand that everything Daniel prophesied to this point about the four kingdoms has come to pass EXACTLY as God said it would…what we are about to examine has not happened yet…since that portion of God’s Word has already been fulfilled, there is no reason to doubt the next part.

Little Horn - Kingdom of Antichrist — Rome Phase 2

One of the things that secular history tells us is that no one nation conquered Rome, it just dissolved but elements of the Roman form of government are still seen today…in Revelation 13 this same empire is described and we see that it incorporates into itself all the leading characteristics of the earlier kingdoms…that is what Daniel 7:12 refers to…extension of life was granted…elements of each preceeding empire can be seen in the successors…Rome prided itself on adapting and adopting the culture and civilization of conquered nations as it brought them under its system.
In both the vision and the interpretation of the vision, stress is placed on the ten horns and among them, yet distinct from them, rises this little hornDan 7:8, 20.
The 10 horns are 10 kings or kingdoms that will exist in the last days…corresponds with the 10 toes in Daniel 2horns were commonly used in Scripture to denote kings or kingdoms…the horns are specifically identified as kings in Daniel 7:24since these horns protrude from the fourth beast, they have a connection with that empire.
In the previous existence of Rome there was no united federation of 10 kings…this is Rome Phase 2
during the last days the Kingdom of Rome will be revived into a 10 nation federation.
The little horn here represents the last world ruler called the Antichrist…in Revelation, John refers to him and his empire as The Beast.
Antichrist = Greek = anti = against, instead of
He will be both a counterfeit Christ and an enemy against Christ.
He is small at the beginning and then grows to the point where he overpowers three of them and becomes larger and more powerful than the rest…Daniel 7:20
The uprooting of the three horns symbolizes that three kings/nations will be conquered by the new ruler…uprooting denotes a violent overthrow and does not imply an individual will simply step in to assume the throne…the three horns are not contenders for the thrones they are actual leaders of those nations…by force this little king will bring the three other kings into submission to him and eventually the entire 10 nation federation will be under his full control…how can he do this?...Revelation 13 reveals he is empowered by Satan.
The mention of his eyes suggests he has remarkable intelligence, insight and wisdom…he will be extremely clever...
Read Daniel 7:23-25
His mouth speaks arrogance especially in blasphemies against the true God…it will be revolting to believers…but the world will be captivated by his personality.
He will wear down the saintsmuch like you and I wear out garments…believers will experience daily harassment until their lives are miserable…religious freedom will be gone (Dan. 9:27) and pressure will be applied economically to force people to follow him and reject religion (Rev. 13:16-17)…
He will try to change the set times and laws…best understood as religious holidays and the laws are most likely religious in nature…in other words he is going to attempt to eliminate God from EVERY ASPECT of LIFE.
2 Thessalonians 2:9 NASB95
that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders,
Revelation 13:2 NASB95
And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority.
Revelation 13:4 NASB95
they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?”
His dictatorship will last for three and a half years…we’ll explain this more in Daniel 9.
The tribulation is the seven year period of time where God pours out his wrath on the world…it begins with the Antichrist signing a covenant with Israel for seven years and then half way through it…3 and half years…he breaks it and begins to persecute God’s people…Daniel 11 uses 42 months…1260 days…all based on a Jewish calendar of 360 days.
God allows Daniel to see this last human leader as the ruler of a coalition that arises from the ashes of the old Roman Empire who will be brilliant and arrogant and powerful…he will conquer three kingdoms that will resist him and by his show of force is able to take control of the whole earth…what we see here fits the other descriptions of him in the Scripture.
see Dan. 11:35-36; 2 Thess 2:3-12; Rev 13:5-6
Much more could be said about this Antichrist and his kingdom…you’ll have to come back next week as we look at Daniel 8 and even more as we progress to the end of the book… but let me pause and ask you consider is this really who you want to follow?
If you are trusting in your government or your political party to create a brighter day for you then you are really placing your trust in Satan’s kingdom…you don’t have to look very hard to see where the world is going…that is all part of Satan’s plan to overthrow God making it easier for him to set his man up as the world leader…my friend it is only going to get worse…GOSPEL

Consider the Description of the Wonderful God (9-14 & 26-28)

He is the Eternal God and Righteous Judge

Read Daniel 7:9-10
Daniel’s vision of heaven is that of a court room setting with the Ancient of Days as the judge taking his seat on the throne with the presence of thousands upon thousands of angelic beings attending God…this is to inspire awe and emphasize the cosmic nature of what is about to transpire...
Ancient of Days is a title for God that is unique to Daniel…it is an idiom that literally means “advanced with regard to days”…it is a reference to the eternality of God and stands here in this context in as a shining contrast to the temporal human kings and their kingdoms…John will use these same terms to describe Jesus in Revelation 1:12-20.
The clothing He wears is symbolic of the absolute moral purity of the divine judge…God is holy and because He is holy, He judges sin…here in this context, the evil empire of Satan and his Antichrist.
His hair being white is a symbol of old age and recognizes his eternal nature…can also refer to his holiness.
We are to see God as Daniel does…the wise and honorable judge.
Throne of flaming fire…river of fire...fire is often used as a symbol of judgment and the fact the entire throne is engulfed in flames signifies the wrath of God that is being poured out upon the world is a total judgment…see Ezekiel 1:15-21, 26, 27.
Books being opened…books are symbolic of God’s memory of deeds, words and thoughts of every person who has ever lived.
Malachi 3:16 NASB95
Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who esteem His name.
Revelation 20:12 NASB95
And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.
God calmly takes his seat on the throne as the eternal God and righteous judge and prepares to mete out judgment upon this little horn....
Read Daniel 7:11-12
Daniel’s attention is brought back to the little horn and is drawn to his arrogant speech and sees the judgment of God upon this little horn is complete destruction…ending the reign of Gentiles over God’s people.
God’s judgment is both just and complete and reveals to his people that the day is coming when Israel will rule over her former oppressors and the nations will serve her.

He is the Promised Messiah Who Shares His Kingdom With His People.

Read Daniel 7:13-14
The expression “son of man” is an idiom for a human being…placing emphasis on the humanity of this person and the fact that he comes with the clouds emphasizes his deity…clouds were frequently connected with theophanies...appearance of God in the OT…it is also how Jesus left the earth and will return to earth…see Matt 24:30; 25:31; 26:64; Rev. 1:7.
This God-man approaches the throne of the Ancient of Days and God bestows Him with absolute power and authority over all humanity…He is granted glory and sovereignty and all are to worship him…this preludes the rock cut out in Daniel 2 that destroys the other kingdoms and parallels Revelation 5:1-7.
His kingdom stands eternal, the others are swept away by divine judgment…this is in fulfillment of God’s promise to David that his throne would not end…see 2 Samuel 7:13, 16.
The title Son of Man is a Messianic title that Jesus ascribes to himself frequently in the Gospels…82x...He delights to identify Himself with us, even though we are fallen, so that He could relate us to God through faith in Him… “The Son of God became the Son of Man in order that sons of men might become sons of God”
Don’t miss this this next part…Read Daniel 7:18, 22, 27…Jesus, the Promised Messiah will rule from Jerusalem on the earthly throne of David and His people, specifically Israel, with reign with Him…that speaks of a better day!
Revelation 5:10 NASB95
“You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.”
Revelation 11:15 NASB95
Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”
Revelation 20:4 NASB95
Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
The kingdom covenant God made with David will one day be fulfilled in Jesus Christ…God promised David that one from his line would have a throne and kingdom forever…that is the God-Man, the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
We are told in Rev 20:1-8 this kingdom will last for 1000 years…millennium…it is during that time, Jesus will fulfill the many kingdom promises of the OT…nature will be delivered from the curse of sin (Isa 35; Rom. 8:18-25) and there will be peace (Is 2:1-5; 9:1-7)…there will be a brighter day…all those who are identified with Christ in his death, burial and resurrection by faith WILL SHARE IN THE GLORY OF THIS KINGDOM.

Lesson For Life — Find Comfort In the Promises of God

Daniel was given a vision that described the vast sweep of history beginning with Babylon and ending with the 1000 year reign of Christ on earth…that was to be a message of comfort to his people who were exiled…one day the Messiah will come, your suffering will end, and you will reign with Him.
As the NT church, we anxiously await the return of our Savior when we hear the trumpet blast and we meet Him in the air…1 Thess 4:13-18…Believer, are you ready to hear that trumpet? Find comfort in knowing that this too shall pass…the suffering we face now is only temporary…there is a better day ahead…unbeliever, the time for you to respond is now…you’ve got to make a decision here today of what you will do with God’s plan....GOSPEL.
God’s Word can be trusted because God can be trusted…find comfort in knowing that God will bring about His perfect plan, and those whom He claims as His, are guaranteed a glorious future.

When it is time for the millennial kingdom to begin, we will come back with Him with perfect bodies and perfect souls with a perfect desire to serve Him…a better day is coming…hold on…stay faithful!

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