Summary: Exposition on perspective from Daniel 7:1-28
Text: Daniel 7:1-28, Title: The Real King-Maker, Date/Place: NRBC, 2/14/10, PM
A. Opening illustration: tell the joke about the rabbi and the Pope—perspective
B. Background to passage: Daniel 7 is the first of several visions and prophecies that complete the balance of the book. It is very much the high point of the book with its visions of God and Christ. It is also the only chapter in these visions that is written in Aramaic, rather than Hebrew. So it forms an interesting link between the narrative chapters (also written in Aramaic, save chapter one), and the subsequent visions and chapters that are all written in Hebrew. However, it does go back in time to the time of Belshazzar, which is before chapter five. And also one can’t help but notice the similarities between this chapter and chapter two regarding Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, as well as with portions of Revelation.
C. Main thought: In this one vision, there are really three visions that are all related, connected, dependent, and intertwined with each other, and they are rather broad. We will renew our confidence in God’s plans.
A. View of Kingdoms (v. 1-8)
1. Many times in ancient literature and even in our world today animal symbols are used of countries. And so most people understand this to be much like the four parts of the statue in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream—four nations or kingdoms that will rise up and overtake what was currently the Babylonian empire. Other places in scripture, some of these kingdoms are spoken about with the same metaphors. They are probably the kingdoms of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece (under Alexander the Great), and Rome. Notice that all the language used to speak of their authority is language of gifts and grantings, even of command and permission. The point of all this is to say that God is in charge of all power. He is one who lifts kings and kingdoms up or takes them down.
3. Illustration: Christian professor and scholar Robert Culver wrote: “God alone has sovereign rights. Democratic theory is no less unscriptural than divine right monarchy. By whatever means men come to positions of rulership” by dynastic descent, aristocratic family connection, plutocratic material resources, or by democratic election, "there is no power but of God" (Rom. 13:1). Furthermore, civil government is an instrument, not an end. Men are proximate ends, but only God is ultimate end. The state owns neither its citizens nor their properties, minds, bodies, or children. All of these belong to their Creator-God, who has never given to the state rights of eminent domain. What do we mean by this expression? We mean the supremacy of God, the kingship of God, the god-hood of God. To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that God is God. To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is the Most High, doing according to His will in the army of Heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, so that none can stay His hand or say unto Him what doest Thou? (Dan. 4:35). To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is the Almighty, the Possessor of all power in Heaven and earth, so that none can defeat His counsels, thwart His purpose, or resist His will (Psa. 115:3). To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is "The Governor among the nations" (Psa. 22:28), setting up kingdoms, overthrowing empires, and determining the course of dynasties as pleaseth Him best. To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is the "Only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords" (1 Tim. 6:15). Such is the God of the Bible!
4. Men are impressed with Kingdoms and governments, God is not. He who speaks the world into existence is no more enamored by our best countries and governments, than we stand in awe of a week old McDonald’s cheeseburger. He who can palm the universe is not impressed by our abilities, our resources, or our wisdom. Know that all that happens has the approval or at least the permission of God. There are no accidents, mishaps, or slipups of the All-wise, All-just, All-knowing, Sovereign God! It is not like Obama can get the better of God. In fact, should God decide that He is no longer willing to keep Obama or any other world leader or government existing any longer, they would fly into chaos! And it is high time that we begin to put our trust in Him! We are not promised smooth sailing, in fact, I would argue the opposite. We are to expect trials, hardships, and suffering at the hands of others, and to think it not strange. And the reason we can suffer well is that we have an all-powerful, wise God who is superintending all things for His desired ends and purposes. Gotta read part II of the Piper quote from Sex and the Supremacy of Christ…p. 39-40