Last week we read the first part of Daniel 7. The narrative changes pace and goes back to a dream Daniel himself had during Daniel 5. His dream, similar to Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in chapter 2, envisions 4 kingdoms arising. This time it is not a statue but four frightening beasts that terrify Daniel. Terrifying nightmares unsettle us and niggle at the back of our mind and often linger.
- How do you deal with nightmares? What comforts you? __________
- Let’s see what Daniel does…
15 As for me, Daniel, my spirit was troubled within me and the visions of my head terrified me. 16 I approached one of the attendants to ask him the truth concerning all this. So he said that he would disclose to me the interpretation of the matter: 17 “As for these four great beasts, four kings shall arise out of the earth. 18 But the holy ones of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever—forever and ever.”
- It is not clear who “the attendant” is but I am assuming someone in the dream as the attendant can explain to Daniel. Read Deuteronomy 18: 9-13. Does this apply today? ____________
- The Old Testament is clear about consulting fortune tellers. What might be the danger in palm reading, taro cards, and other fortune telling medians of today? ______________________________
19 Then I desired to know the truth concerning the fourth beast, which was different from all the rest, exceedingly terrifying, with its teeth of iron and claws of bronze, and which devoured and broke in pieces, and stamped what was left with its feet; 20 and concerning the ten horns that were on its head, and concerning the other horn, which came up and to make room for which three of them fell out—the horn that had eyes and a mouth that spoke arrogantly, and that seemed greater than the others. 21 As I looked, this horn made war with the holy ones and was prevailing over them, 22 until the Ancient One came; then judgment was given for the holy ones of the Most High, and the time arrived when the holy ones gained possession of the kingdom.
- Seeking clarification for what we do not understand is never wrong but I note the response is still cloaked in symbolism that some debate today. What are some ways we can double check our sources? ___
23 This is what he said: “As for the fourth beast,
there shall be a fourth kingdom on earth
that shall be different from all the other kingdoms;
it shall devour the whole earth,
and trample it down, and break it to pieces.
24 As for the ten horns,
out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise,
and another shall arise after them.
This one shall be different from the former ones,
and shall put down three kings.
25 He shall speak words against the Most High,
shall wear out the holy ones of the Most High,
and shall attempt to change the sacred seasons and the law;
and they shall be given into his power
for a time, two time,] and half a time.
26 Then the court shall sit in judgment,
and his dominion shall be taken away,
to be consumed and totally destroyed.
27 The kingship and dominion
and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven
shall be given to the people of the holy ones of the Most High;
their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom,
and all dominions shall serve and obey them.”
28 Here the account ends. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts greatly terrified me, and my face turned pale; but I kept the matter in my mind.
6. Daniel still is terrified, still unclear about the meaning and perhaps not feeling it is his responsibility to broadcast his dream. He works for the king, not the “church”. It reminds me of Henny Penny running around declaring, “The sky is falling.” Some day there will be justice but it may not be for us to understand. In the meantime, where do we place our trust? _______
7. What touched you about Daniel’s dream?