Monday 10 December 2012

Bible Book:

"As I watched in the night visions, I saw one like a human being coming with the clouds of heaven. And he came to the Ancient One and was presented before him. To him was given dominion and glory and kingship, that all peoples, nations and languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not pass away, and his kingship is one that shall never be destroyed." (vv. 13-14)

Daniel 7:1-14 Monday 10 December 2012


In the 21st century, he could be a superhero, this "one like ahuman being" who has come out of heaven and defeated the fourterrible villain-beasts.

Although there is some disagreement as to who this 'Son of Man' (asthe Authorised Version puts it) might be, both Hebrew and Christiantraditions have taken the view that one interpretation is that heis the Messiah. It is this 'Son of Man' that is probably referredto in Mark 10:45.

Not many residents of Britain have personal experience of living ina country whose land is being fought over by global superpowers,but that is what this text is about. Chapter 7 of the book ofDaniel is particularly important because it is not only laments theJews' present situation (175-163 BC), but it unites this lamentwith previous oral stories of domination of the Jewish people byforeign powers.

Babylon (lion), Media (bear), ancient Persia (leopard) and Greece(dragon) represent the ancient superpowers. The ten horns are thesuccessors to Alexander the Great and the little horn that speaksarrogantly is Antiochus Epiphanes, the king of Syria whose attemptto subjugate the Jews and destroy their religious traditionsprovoked the rebellion of the Maccabees.

Although perhaps not incidental to this text, Epiphanes' officialtitle was 'God on Earth', yet in this particular telling of thetale, the Saviour of the Jews was to be "the Son of Man".

It doesn't take any great insight to see how this text from theHebrew Scripture was linked to the promise of a Messiah. And itdoesn't take much imagination to see why the early Church appliedthis text to Jesus.

Here is the promise of a Messiah who will save his people from agodless enemy. Here is the awesome, powerful, divinely-appointedSaviour depicted as the hero using mythic imagery that was wellknown to the peoples of the Middle East at that time. This is theSaviour that everyone expected to see in the first century. Nowonder Jesus was such a disappointment!

To Ponder

  • As you read this text, what feelings does it stir up in you?How does it make you feel about God?
  • What kind of divine reign do you think that this text fromDaniel 7 envisages? How does it compare to the divine reignthat Jesus envisaged?
  • In what way is the concept of 'the kingdom of God' important orunimportant in your own walk of faith?
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