DARE TO BE A DANIEL

Kingdoms come, Kingdoms go

Daniel 8

Jerry A Collins

SCC

10/17/04

 

*               Is God in control of world events?

*               Will there ever be an end to the evil in the world?

*               How ill God plans for the nations culminate in history?

 

Our country is engaged in a war against terrorism. War has been declared upon us and we are grappling with how to win this kind of war. War brings the dark side of power mixed with pride. It can bring us to the brink of disaster. In the 20th century alone some have calculated that 187.000.000 people lost their lives. Places like Armenia, the trenches of Europe, Aushwitz, Hiroshima, Cambodia, the Ukraine, Ruwanda, Bosnia and Kosova to name a few. Behind these faces are people. God defying despots like the Turks, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Idi Amin. Power and pride form a toxic mixture polluting human history with its potent misery and Daniel 8 provides a framework for this kind of history. The fact is, nothing lasts forever. Kingdoms come and kingdoms go. God does the toppling. God is writing history. Babylon fell to the Persians. Persians fell to the greeks. Greece fell to Rome and Rome to the barbarians into the city states and countries of Europe. Today the glories of Egypt are buried beneath the sand. Relics of the empire in museums. Greek and Roman empires admired in the midst of its crumbling ruins today. No more Caesers, kings, dynastys. And what of the kingdoms today? Where will they be in 50 years? This constant history reminds us that no earthly kingdoms will lastbut only one, the Kingdom of God not of this world will last forever! The point so far is that God is sovereignHe overrules and eventually overcomes all human evil. God makes all events of history, the decisions of tyrants, all actions of govts., all military victories and defeatsall of it bends to His will and plan. So we cling to this as His children. God is the God of human history Daniel 8.

1. HISTORY IS FULL OF KINGDOMS COMING & GOING

8:1-2 550BC 2 yrs after chp 7 Daniel is in a palace in Susa, a royal city where the events of Esther took place. And where it was that Nehemiah would eventually become a cupbearer to the king Artaxerxes (Neh 1:1). God again describes these kingdoms as animals with brute force and violence as in chp 7.

8:3-4 A ram here with 2 horns one larger than the other. And it is pushing and bucking in all directions. Fortunately, we have interpretation for all of this here. In vs 16 Gabriel gives Daniel understanding here. This represents Media and Persia and Persians overshadowed the Medes and were the larger horn on this ram and extended this empire into the largest of its kind ever known.

8:5 Until the next kingdom described as a goat with a conspicuous horn between its eyes so swift it sweeps into prominence hardly touching the ground.

8:6-8 This kingdom completely flattens the ram in its wrath. It becomes greater than the previous kingdom of Persia and at the height of its power the prominent horn is broken off and was replaced by 4 other horns. Again explanation is given in vs 21. This is the king of Greece the large horn is this 1st king. The 4 horns that emerge do so after Alexander the Great dies. In the wake of this kingdom, 12 short years he ruled, he conquered the world faster than any previous kingdom. A kingdom that stretched from Europe to the threshold of India. Little did he know that its language and culture God would use during the time of the birth and life of His Son. Alexander died at age 32, broken off at height of his power and subsequent attempts to rule this kingdom failed and split into 4 nations under his four generals. God said all of this is true 200 yrs before it happened. From this day forward history is a cycle of one nation after another coming to prominence and then disappearing. One tyrant after another following in wake of each other only to disappear from view and power. I was thinking about the dictator Enver Hoxha who ruled 40 yrs keeping Albania isolated from West but his death in 1985 was the beginning of the end of that scheme. There has to be more to live for than this!

2. HISTORY WILL CLIMAX WITH ONE LAST WORLD DICTATOR

Nothing much will change all the way to the end of history. Kingdoms will continue to come and to go until it all culminates in one final gasp of a world dictator.

8:9-11 We fast forward to a chilling climax of this vision of Daniel. A small horn that grows come out of one of these 4 horns. Vs 23-25 tells us that this time it is not another kingdom but it is a person. He is described 1. insulting 2. Skilled in intrigue 3. Powerful 4. Will destroy 5. Shrewd 6. Magnifies self in heart 7. Opposes Prince of Princes 8. Will be broken without human agency. He died of insanity & bowel disease. He grasps for power as tyrants do and with expansionist tendencies takes the war onto Gods turf. He takes it to Gods people vs 10. He takes it to God Himself vs 11.

8:12 He interferes with and suppresses the very worship of God. More sinister and diabolical than even the previous despots. It even says that he flings truth to the ground. He is identified as Antiochus Epiphanes a distant relative of one of the 4 Greek generals. 175BC murders his brother and subsequently suppresses Jewish worship. Thousands murdered, temple desecrated, replaced with statues of Zeus, pig offered on altar blood spread all around and it did not get more disgusting in Israel.

8:13-14 Any suffering saint would ask this kind of question. If Gods very turf can be taken and His worship desecrated is any place safe? The answer is only 2300 days before restoration. The point being that evil is always on a short leash. From 175-169 BC he ruled. Then he went the same way as Alexander not long after the rebellion of Judas Maccabees and temple re-conquered and cleansed. Still celebrated today as Hannukah. What a comfort though. What a consolation that this man stepped into the stage of human history in Gods timing and plan. Only did what God had foreseen. And tho he became strong, it was not his own power vs 24. So, too, for all satanic figuresall antichrists even the last one of 2 Thess 2. The message is the same. It requires nothing more than the sweep of Gods invisible hand to remove them from the stage of human history forever after fulfilling the will and plan of God.

So what about us?

(1) God is sovereign over all of history. Daniel 4:17 tells us that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind. And bestows it on whom He wishes and sets over it the lowliest of men.

(2) All events serve Gods sovereign will. History can seem so big while God seems so small.

(3) We tremble at thought of evil men but to God they are merely pretentious little horns to be broken off and discarded after use. The only difference with the final dictator is that he will be the last in line.

(4) God measures history as it impacts His people. This is why there is so little about the kingdoms of Persia Greece and rome but more about Antiochus. World may not care but God cares about us and we are in His loving grasp at all times!

(5) Like Daniel, exhausted and shaken vs 27, bad times will still come our way. 9/11 is example. Antichrists will come to power on Gods turf. True security even in face of tragedy is in God who loves us and cares for us in midst of it! So like Daniel we must get to work tomorrow. He in the kings palace and us in our world. What will the future bring to us? Stow away this teaching for harder times. God is in control. The wars we live with (persecution in America possibly) can be lived with knowledge of how it will all end and Lords unfailing love for His own people who trust Him.