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.
4. The bear had three ribs stuck in its mouth between its teeth.
5. The bear was told to get up and eat its fill of flesh.
C. The leopard with 4 wings and 4 heads.
Daniel 7:6 (NIV), "After that, I looked, and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard. And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird. This beast had four heads, and it was given authority to rule.
1. Third, Daniel saw another beast, which looked like a leopard.
2. This leopard was unusual as well.
3. This leopard had four wings like wings of a bird.
4. This leopard also had four heads.
5. And, it was given authority to rule.
D. The beast with 10 horns.
Daniel 7:7-14 (NIV), "After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast--terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns. 8 "While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth that spoke boastfully. 9 "As I looked, "thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. 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. 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. 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. 12 (The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time.) 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. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.