Sunday School Material 3-3-13: Daniel's Vision of Change

(Daniel 7:1-3, 9-14; 3/3/13)

Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that Paul urges his readers to stay dutiful, especially in regard to praying. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to be dutiful, especially in regards to praying.

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Body:

Read Daniel 7:1-3

I. Vision Begins. In our Sunday School material Daniel had a dream and visions. They take place during the first year of Belshazzar, the King of Babylon. Daniel wrote down the essence of what he saw in his visions. He saw four winds churning up the great sea and four beasts from the sea.

Applications -

- God’s speaking in troubled times. Notice in vss. 1-3 of our Sunday School material that God speaks in the times of trouble. First, God is still God, even though His people may be victimized by all kinds of trouble.

Second, in our text, God spoke by way of dreams and visions. Today, we are thankful that the most authoritative source for knowing God and His will is the prayerful study of the Bible.

Third, God sees what disturbs us. In the text, God saw the beasts and knew about the fear of the raging sea. In like manner, God sees our fear of old age, bad health, broken relationships, running out of money, and/or mean people.

He is not so Heaven bound that He is unaware of what disturbs us. Let’s behave as if we believe that God is still God and is speaking through the Bible to His people about those things that disturb us. Such behavior is known for obedience, peace of mind, and confidence, even in the midst of trouble.

Read Daniel 7:9-10

II. Ancient of Days Enthroned. In our Sunday School material Daniel continued to look. He talks about thrones being set in place and the Ancient of Days taking his seat.

There is a description of the Ancient of Days and His throne. A river of fire and a huge multitude is described. The books are opened before the court.

Applications -

- God the judge. Notice in vs. 9 that the Ancient of Days is a reference to God and His being the judge. First, God is from everlasting to everlasting. Whatever we see as new, God has seen it before. When we are dead and gone, God  will still be here.

Second, God is the judge. Everyone, no matter our socio-economic status, gender, or race will have to see the judge. And He will judge with the benefit of knowing the whole story, not just the presented evidence.

Let’s live like we believe that God is the great judge of humanity. Such living should be known for obedience and reverence for God’s seeing and knowing all about us. At the core of obeying God are the issues of accepting Christ as savior and loving God and others, as we love ourselves.

- Purity, wisdom, and justice. Notice in vss. 9-10 of our Sunday School material that the Ancient of Days, God the Father, is pictured as having white cloths, which may well symbolized purity. He is pictured with white hair, which may symbolize wisdom, even though there are many with white hair who do not live wisely.

And He is pictured with fire on and around His throne, which may symbolize judgment/justice - the bad will be burned up and the good will be sustained and purified. Let’s live like God is pure, wise, and focused on judgment/justice.

Such living is known for obedience. We cannot live a self-centered life that is apathetic to the needs of others and then think we can come to church on Sunday and exchange church attendance for favor. God is too pure, wise, and just for that.

- The books. Notice in vs. 10 of the Sunday School material that there are books at judgment. First, it is a good idea to keep records, so we can remember what happened and what did not happen. Record keeping requires our doing a certain amount of paper work.

Second, God has a record of all that we do and say. “All” includes all - in church, in the parking lot, our text messages, our phone conversations, Monday activities, Saturday activities, and Wednesday activities (e.g., it is sad to see how many believers are at home watching television, while prayer meeting and Bible study are  going on, but it is in the record books).

Let’s live like God’s records are important. This application calls for us to cooperate with recording keeping efforts in church. And it calls for living obedient lives, so our records will lead to our being blessed, instead of punished.

Read Daniel 7:11-12

III. Beasts Defeated. Daniel continues with his description in our Sunday School material. A beast is destroyed. Other beasts were stripped of their authority and allowed to live for a period of time.

Applications -

- God’s dealing with the beasts of this world. Notice in vss. 11-12 that the beasts of this world are no match for God. God has His ways and timing in dealing with beasts, but He will deal with them all.

Soon He will destroy in the immediate future, as in vs. 11. And some He allows to continue with limited authority.

An understanding of the text should make us careful about trying to deal with ordained leadership ourselves. God can take down those He wants down. He can use those He wants to use. Let’s work on trusting God to deal with the authorities of this world.

This application calls for obeying God’s will to obey those who have rule over us, as long as they are not leading us contrary to God’s will. It calls for praying to God to keep and eye on the authorities and to protect His people. And it calls for trusting God’s plan and timing.

Read Daniel 7:13-14

IV. Son of Man Appears. In our Sunday School material Daniel continues to talk about his nighttime vision. He sees one who looks like a son of man who is led into the presence of the Ancient of Days.

He was given authority and all nations worship Him. His kingdom is said to be one that will never be destroyed.

Applications -

- The “son of man’s” reign. Notice in vss. 13-15 that the “son of man” is interpreted as either Jesus or Israel or both Jesus and Israel. The commentary does an interesting job of explaining this point.

I believe Christians are called to see that this text may have a Jewish interpretation for the first audience but it also has a Christian interpretation. That is, Jesus is the “son of man.” It is He who has all authority and who reigns forever.

Let’s live like we believe that Jesus will reign forever with all authority. Such living includes obedience to God’s will and confidence in God’s plan.

Conclusion: Let’s work on trusting God to deal with wicked people and placing good people in positions to take care of the people of God. God has much for those who obey His will.

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