Living for God in a Secular World
A Glimpse of the Glory of Jesus – Daniel 7:9-14, 21-22, 27
Pastor Doug Klein
How can you look directly into the sun with your naked eye before it begins to do damage to your eyes? The answer is obviously not very long. The sheer intensity of the light would blind you. The same holds true with looking into the glory of Jesus. Without a mediator, we would be overwhelmed by the sheer radiance and brilliance of His holiness.
3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature,
and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making
purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
We get a glimpse of Jesus’ glory in this life. We see through a glass darkly. One day we shall see face to face. Without a focus on the big picture of the future glory of Christ, it’s easy to get bogged down with the pain and brokenness of life. The seventh chapter of Daniel gives us a panoramic overview of the final battles of history. And it gives us a precious glimpse into the glory of Jesus.
The first principle is 1.) The Greatness of God: Judge. Daniel 7:9-10.
The focus here is on the greatness of God. It’s ironic for me to remember as a young boy laying on my back, looking into the heavens trying to figure out what God looked like. I always pictured him as an old man in the sky with a huge beard. As we look into Daniel 7, we see God represented as the Ancient of Days with clothing as white as snow and hair the color of pure wool. The Ancient of Days has always existed and has seen everything. Nothing takes him by surprise. Jesus said to the Pharisees, “Before Abraham was, I am.” One of the essential attributes of His greatness is His justice. The question is raised as to why the practice of non-violence requires a belief in divine vengeance.
Listen to this quote from Croatian philosopher Miroslav Volf
My thesis is that the practice of non-violence requires a belief in divine vengeance…
My thesis will be unpopular with man in the West…But imagine speaking to people
(as I have) whose cities and villages have been first plundered, then burned, and
leveled to the ground, whose daughters and sisters have been raped, whose fathers
and brothers have had their throats slit…Your point to them–we should not retaliate? Why not? I say–the only means of prohibiting violence by us is to insist that violence
is only legitimate when it comes from God…Violence thrives today, secretly nourished
by the belief that God refuses to take the sword…It takes the quiet of a suburb for the birth of the thesis that human nonviolence is a result of a God who refuses to judge.
In a scorched land–soaked in the blood of the innocent, the idea will invariably die,
like other pleasant captivities of the liberal mind…if God were NOT angry at injustice
and deception and did NOT make a final end of violence, that God would not be worthy of our worship.
The justice of our righteous judge is always based on His perfect holiness and moral purity. Nothing impure ever touches Him. His divine nature will not be defiled by human sin. We avoid it like we would the plaque or Ebola. His purity is so radiant that it breaks into flames of fire without consuming the throne from which it comes. His flaming wheels take His righteousness and wisdom all over the universe via His river of holiness. Thousands upon thousands of attendants attend Him with an even greater number standing before Him. The books are open and ready for judgment to begin.
So the question is raised for believers in Christ: what about our judgment before the great white throne of God. The wonder of the Gospel is that our sins have already been judged and paid for on the cross by our Savior Jesus. But the Bible also teaches us that we will also have to give an account of everything we have done with our life. Anything that is wasteful or sinful will be burned up like wood, hay, and stubble.
Here’s another description of the river flowing from the throne of God.
God Is Our Fortress
46 God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
We are left speechless by the sheer brilliance of God’s holy splendor. It only grows as we consider the eternity of God.
The second principle is 2.) The eternity of God. Daniel 7:13-14.
The term of “son of man” is one of the most important and interesting in the Bible. It is used 81 times in the Gospels. Jesus chose to refer to himself as the “son of man” much more often than “Son of God” which was a specific reference to His deity. “Son of Man” is a perfect way of describing the common humanity that Jesus shares with us humans but it is also rooted in divine splendor and righteousness.
In the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis we are called the “sons of Adam” and the “daughters of Eve.” So Christ comes in triumphant glory “like a son of man.” In other words, He is like us but like God in every possible way.
The Coming of the Son of Man
29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and
the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then will appear in heaven the
sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and
they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power
and great glory. 31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call,
and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven
to the other.
And because we belong to Christ and share completely in His victory, all dominion, glory and a kingdom are conferred upon Him and to us as His children. The entire cosmos will serve Him and He will serve us. What a mind blowing concept.
When we are communicating with unbelievers about God, it’s extremely helpful if we share some concrete illustrations of the Kingdom of God where the poor are impacted and lives are changed. It’s much more helpful than an abstract discussion concerning the existence of God. Jesus and the Apostles proclaimed the Kingdom of God and showed a clear demonstration of the power of God upon the lives of broken people and communities.
The third principle is 3.) The goodness of God: Savior. Daniel 7: 21-22, 27
The rock cut out of the mountain from Daniel 2 that strikes down the image and fills the whole earth has two sides. It is both great and good. When we are facing terrible trials, the greatness of God doesn’t really help us. It’s the fact that God is good all the time towards His people that enables us to trust Him to work good in our lives. We cling to His goodness when the storms are raging.
In Daniel 7:22, God promises to not only prevail over the antichrist at the end of history, but to give a favorable judgment for His people and to allow us to possess the kingdom. What an incredible promise. We do face the uncertainties of the future with a deep hope. Verse 27 reaffirms the very specific inheritance we will receive.
27 And the kingdom and the dominion
and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven
shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High;
his kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom,
and all dominions shall serve and obey him.
The kingdom we will receive will be great and glorious. And it takes us back to the glory of the Gospel that has been revealed to us. Christ gave up His glory on the cross in an incredible act of sacrificial love so that we could have His glory. The Apostle John in John 1:14 stated, “We have seen his glory, the glory of the only One sent from the Father, full of grace and truth.” That very same glory is a part of our lives if we belong to Christ. And every glimpse I get of the coming glory helps me make it through the day. The greatness and goodness of God together sustain and build our hope. We say with the Apostle John, “we have seen his glory in our lives. And we will see it much clearer very soon.”
Faith Presbyterian Church
February 21, 2016