Summary: This sermon emphasizes the importance of learning how to see and how to engage in spiritual warfare.
November 17, 2002
A. [Purpose in Chaos, Citation: Sam Shoemaker quoted in "I Stand By the Door." Christianity Today, Vol. 29, no. 18.]
There are, in every situation, two factors: there is what happens, and there is how we take what happens.
How we take what happens goes back to what kind of person we are, and what kind of belief we have about life as a whole.
B. Today in the seventh chapter of Daniel, we are going to see two uniquely different perspectives of reality.
Daniel 7:1 (NIV), In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream, and visions passed through his mind as he was lying on his bed. He wrote down the substance of his dream.
1. Now Daniel says the time of this chapter is in the first year of Belshazzar, so this actually took place before chapter six, which took place after the reign of Belshazzar and at the beginning of the Medo-Persian rule of Cyrus and Darius.
2. And although (unless God leads me otherwise) I don’t intend to preach chapter 8, it took place two years after this chapter and before chapter 6 as well.
3. So chronologically, we have chapter 5, then 7 & 8 and then 6 & 9.
4. There is a vision in this chapter that parallels the vision of Nebuchadnezzar in chapter 2 of the statue.
5. Now, as I said, I don’t intend to preach chapter 8, but it parallels these two visions as well and as we go along today, I will explain to you how the three all fit together.
I. There were four beasts.
Daniel 7:2-3 (NIV), Daniel said: "In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea. 3 Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea.
Now Daniel turns to his own vision.
Prior to this he is interpreting the visions of others.
Daniel has a vision of four beasts.
Daniel said the four beasts rose up out of the great sea (which is probably the Mediterranean); so let’s look at each one briefly…
A. The lion with 2 wings.
Daniel 7:4 (NIV), "The first was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle. I watched until its wings were torn off and it was lifted from the ground so that it stood on two feet like a man, and the heart of a man was given to it.
1. Daniel said the first beast in his vision was a lion.
2. Daniel said the lion had the wings of an eagle.
3. Daniel said the wings were torn off lion and it was lifted from the ground so that it stood upright like a man.
4. And Daniel said it was given the heart of a man as well.
B. The bear with 3 ribs.
Daniel 7:5 (NIV), "And there before me was a second beast, which looked like a bear. It was raised up on one of its sides, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, ’Get up and eat your fill of flesh!’
1. Then Daniel saw a second beast, which resembled a bear.
2. But this bear was a little different from what we picture as a bear just as the winged lion was a little different than what we know as a lion.
3. The bear that Daniel saw was somehow raised up on one of its sides.