Today’s readings: Daniel 7:1-28, 1 John 1:1-10, Psalm 119:153-176, Proverbs 28:23-24
How often do we hear stories in the news of the next disease or natural disaster that will threaten our lives? How often in our secret thoughts do we give way to fears of dreadful things happening to us or to the ones we love? This is what I’m thinking of as I read Daniel 7. The fourth beast that he describes was more fearful than Voldemort and Darth Vader combined.
23 Then he said to me, “This fourth beast is the fourth world power that will rule the earth. It will be different from all the others. It will devour the whole world, trampling and crushing everything in its path. 24 Its ten horns are ten kings who will rule that empire. Then another king will arise, different from the other ten, who will subdue three of them. 25 He will defy the Most High and oppress the holy people of the Most High. He will try to change their sacred festivals and laws, and they will be placed under his control for a time, times, and half a time.
26 “But then the court will pass judgment, and all his power will be taken away and completely destroyed. 27 Then the sovereignty, power, and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be given to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will last forever, and all rulers will serve and obey him.”
The fourth beast will exercise devastating power (v. 23), will defy God and oppress His people (v. 25) and will seek to change the culture to bring everything under his control. That’s pretty scary. I don’t know how to understand this fourth world power – I’ll leave that to others – but I do understand the outcome. It is easy to get bound up in the fear and worry associated with this vision. However, the main point to me is how it all turns out. Daniel’s vision ended with the Most High in control and with His people in His everlasting kingdom. I do trust the One whose kingdom will last forever. I believe that, not matter what the fourth beast does, in the end our Savior Jesus Christ will come and reign forever.