Daniel 7 [Read]
Daniel 8 [Read]
1 John 5 [Read]
Starting from chapter 7, the book of Daniel takes a drastic turn. The previous chapters contain stories of the past in order to convey particular messages, whereas, from this point on, Daniel looks into the future to deliver apocalyptic images. The second half of Daniel contains dreams and visions that biblical scholars debate about their meanings to this day. Instead of being bogged down by the detailed interpretation of every mysterious figure or number, I think it’s helpful to look at the big picture conveyed by the prophet.
Today’s reading contains a dream (Dan 7) and a vision (Dan 8). They are similar in the following sense. First, they both contain beasts, natural (ram and goat) and unnatural ones (4 beasts from the sea). These beasts were arrogant and boastful, and they roamed around the earth as they pleased (7:8, 8:4, 8:8). Just when we think the first one was terrible, a worse one came onto the scene. Such pattern vividly depicts the unending nature of human sinful acts, and it is still repeating itself to this day. As the technology advances, new ways of committing sins are advancing too.
Second, God is still in control of the history. Even though the beasts and horns are creating chaos on earth, the Ancient of Days (7:9) is still sitting in his throne overseeing all things (7:10). Moreover, there is a promise that the Son of Man will be brought to the throne (7:13). He will be given authority, glory, and sovereign power from the Ancient of Days, and all nations and people shall worship him (7:14). Regardless how desperate and chaotic the situation is, God is still sitting at his throne and all will be brought to his judgment someday.
Finally, there will be a period of tribulation (7:25, 8:14). The duration is intentionally encrypted in various ways, and it’s not meant for us to speculate about its meaning. We are told that “no one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son” (Mt 24:36), but we are told to keep watch (Mt 24:42). Those servants who are faithful and wise shall be welcome into the glory by their master.
Therefore, we wait and keep watch, like the watchmen waiting for the morning. The morning shall come, for the morning always comes. Trust me, it will be something worth our waiting.
Keep on reading, you have finished the 49th book.