In the name of our Savior and King, dear friends,
In God’s Word for today, we have part of a vision that God gave Daniel, and one of the things he sees is the Lord himself on the throne of heaven. He is the King of kings and the Lord of the universe! He is the one who is in charge! We need to remember that when it seems that all the other important things are falling apart. Daniel needed to see this, because his world was filled with trouble and what the Lord had showed him was that it was going to get worse. Sound familiar? When all the things we can see are going from bad to worse, we need to be sure about the things we cannot see. This glorious vision leads us to say:
For Thine Is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory
1. That’s Our Certainty in Troubled Times; and
2. That’s Our Confidence in Living Now.
Let’s talk about Our Certainty in Troubled Times
What Daniel saw had troubled and bothered him greatly. He says, “The visions that passed through my mind disturbed me.” What was so disturbing? The Lord had shown him four great world powers, ferocious attack animals – described as beasts. First was a lion with wings of an eagle, which was the present power of Babylon. Next came a bear with someone’s ribs in its mouth, which was the Persian power. After that a swift moving leopard, with four wings and four heads. We know that this was fulfilled by Alexander the Great and the 4 kingdoms after he died. And finally, the beast that was Rome, which was not even identified as anything like an animal we know, but it had iron teeth, it devoured victims and crushed them, and had ten horns. For us this is all ancient history, but remember for Daniel, none of this had happened yet, except for the winged lion which was Babylon. After the most terrifying beast of all, Daniel saw the Lord on heaven’s throne.
What’s the message? The powers of this world are ferocious and evil and oppressive. They cause terrible things to happen to the people of this world. But they never last. There is One, the Ancient of Days, who has been around a lot longer than any earthly power, who is sitting on the throne and is presiding over everything for all eternity. Yes, THINE IS THE KINGDOM AND THE POWER AND THE GLORY FOREVER AND EVER! That’s our certainty in troubled times!
And certainly, there is enough trouble to topple our confidence as to where our country and the world is going. There is the problem with Covid 19, the banks, and the stock market. Almost all our major companies are in danger of going under, which means loss of jobs. All of that has made people forget that we are also fighting a war against terrorism, whether Iraq or Afghanistan. It’s like a little story I read about a shipwrecked sailor who had been stranded on a deserted island for three years. One day, he was overjoyed to see a ship in the distance and watched as it came closer and dropped anchor in his bay. A small boat came ashore, and an officer handed the marooned sailor a bundle of newspapers. He thought that was a very strange thing to do, but the man in the boat explained: “The captain suggests that you read what’s going on in the world. Then you can let us know if you still want to be rescued.” It can make us wonder, where is the Lord in all this mess?
Let’s see what Daniel saw and seem how it applies to our world. “As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. This is God the Father, the Ancient of Days, on the eternal throne. And we say, THINE IS THE KINGDOM. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire and its wheels were all ablaze. So we see God the Father in pure whiteness and holy fire. THINE IS THE GLORY. 10 A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened. All the angels are at his bidding when the fires of judgment start to flow, and it’s time for judgment. THINE IS THE POWER.
11 “Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking. I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire. The Lord explains to Daniel that this horn is a different kind of king, rising out of the old Roman Empire, God explains that this king will speak against the, Most High, and oppress his saints. That takes us to the present time, because on Judgment Day he will be slain and thrown in the lake of fire. And who is presiding over all of this?
It’s not only God the Father, the Ancient of Days, seated on the throne. Daniel saw more than one throne, and can you guess who it is, sitting on the right hand of God the Father? 13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. Daniel sees Jesus, who has become a “son of man” and he sees him on the other side of his ascension, coming back into heaven’s glory. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. Daniel writes in verse fourteen 14. He was given authority, glory, and sovereign power; As Jesus said in Matt. 28:18, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me!” All peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. And St. Paul wrote: “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Phil 2:10. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. Truly for Jesus as well as the Father, we can say: FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM AND THE POWER AND THE GLORY, FOREVER AND EVER.
No matter how bad the world situation gets, that’s our certainty in troubled times. And we know that if this sinful world exists there will be troubled times. But we have Christ’s own promise, and that cannot fail. “
30 some years ago it was communism threatening our security. Now it’s terrorism and radical Islam. What will be next? Daniel reminds us that all the powers of this world will rage as they will, but they will all fail. And when the world situation seems totally hopeless, then we know that the King of kings will be riding in on his white horse to put a stop to it all. The power and the glory are all his! That’s our certainty for the future, and it is also:
2. Our Confidence in Living Now
When we get away from the sweep of world history, and start examining our own little spot in time, and our own set of worries and troubles, there are times when we have our doubts. We’re not always so confident and sure. It seems that trouble and sufferings come all too often. Even in the small corner of the world called our church family, we see cancers and sorrow and a multitude of problems are on the prayer list. What we tend to forget is that (A) there are a multitude of answered prayers and (B)even for those who have lost a loved one from this earth, there is a glorious heavenly home where they are experiencing what Daniel saw!
But we’re often like Daniel. We tend to dwell on the problems. Even though he had been given a vision of heaven itself, even though he could see Jesus on the throne ruling over all things, yet Daniel writes at the end of this chapter: I, Daniel, was deeply troubled by my thoughts and my face turned pale. Perhaps he had thought that the hardest times for God’s people were just about over. And God revealed to him, that the troubles would only get worse! It wasn’t going to be easy!
Even though we know in our minds that the Lord Jesus is in charge, in our hearts, it doesn’t always feel that way. We don’t always understand our LORD’S ways, and we are like the man in Psalm 42:9, I say to God my Rock, “Why have you forgotten me?” The Psalmist calls God his Rock, but then acts like the rock has crumbled. We also feel that perhaps God has forgotten all about us, even though you know in your head that he hasn’t. Then all the skeptics of the world can add fuel to the fire. In the same Psalm we hear: My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” Yes, Lord, where are you?? Are you stuck off in heaven so far away that you cannot be here for me? Where are you, Lord? Are you in the battlefield of our soldiers? Are you in the squalid tenements of our cities? Are you in the suburbs with houses up for sale all over? Are you in the hospitals and care centers and places of suffering? People of faith will answer: Yes, he is there.
Perhaps dear friends, we are asking the wrong question. Instead of asking, “Lord, where are you?” perhaps we should be asking, “Lord, where am I?” (A) Lord, am I so tied up with this world and its pleasures that I can’t bear it when life gets hard? (B) Lord, have I become so materialistic, that I don’t appreciate your eternal treasures of forgiveness and salvation and a heavenly home? (C) Lord, I have become so attuned to my own suffering, that I have forgotten just how much my Savior suffered for me, just so I could be saved in the first place? (D) Lord, have I become so self-centered, that you must rock my little boat to wake me up and show me what’s more important?
What a joy to know that the one who is ruling over all things, and whose dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, still has a love for each one of us, to put up with our complaints, and still answer our prayers and forgive us! No matter how much we may suffer, no matter how chaotic the world may get, we know that Jesus rules as King and watches over us with his eyes of love. We can say with confidence and certainty, FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM AND THE POWER AND THE GLORY, FOREVER AND EVER. AMEN.