In troubling times we look for signs, explanations, and certainty that brings order to disorder. The Bible, filled with the stories of God, his commands, and miraculous works throughout time and history is the resource we often consult. Did God predict this specific event? Is there something we can do to save ourselves from imminent doom from an angry God? Or maybe there is a secret code or revelation that somehow we missed? Apocalyptic texts like Daniel in the Old Testament rightfully grab hold of our curiosity and imagination in disruptive days like these. However, as we read these texts, perhaps the answers we’re looking for have been hiding in plain sight and are not so secretive after all.
“As my vision continued that night, I saw someone like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient One and was led into his presence. He was given authority, honor, and sovereignty over all the nations of the world, so that people of every race and nation and language would obey him. His rule is eternal—it will never end. His kingdom will never be destroyed.”
Daniel 7:13-14 NLT
As Christians, we have confidence in the risen and ascended Jesus Christ, who’s Lordship is eternal and already established. His “authority, honor, and sovereignty over all the nations of the world” is alive and well today. Daniel’s vision is one of a new creation, the restoration of the cosmos where God’s abundant love, goodness, and creativity is allowed to flourish. Revealed in Jesus Christ, this “son of man” in Daniel’s vision came from the heavens to rescue, redeem, and restore by defeating the greatest power that holds humanity captive — death. In Daniel’s vision; in God’s Kingdom; in Jesus’ act of re-creation and redemption; there is no death, only resurrection.
Daniel’s vision is one of a new creation, the restoration of the cosmos where God’s abundant love, goodness, and creativity is allowed to flourish.
Like the dawn of a new morning where the sun rises above the horizon, the Kingdom of God is actively being unveiled. The dangers of the dark night are still present, but hope is rising. Sin and evil are with us, danger abounds, and fear exists in the early fog and waning darkness of the morning, but soon they will have no power over the faithful. We can be sure of this because of what Jesus said after his resurrection and prior to his ascension to be with the Father. Reflecting the language of Daniel’s prediction hundreds of years earlier, he said to his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:18-19).
Did you catch the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy? The authority, power, and rule over all things has already been given to Jesus Christ who now reigns as King. The risen and un-dying King has put on his robe, his crown, taken hold of the scepter of righteousness, sat on his throne given to him by the Father, and gave his first command to his loyal and loved people: “now, go”.
The mission of Jesus to “rescue us from this evil world in which we live” (Galatians 1:4) has now become our mission through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit among those who believe. We are the messengers of the new dawn and ride on wings like eagles confident the powers of darkness will not last or overpower. Our Heavenly Commander in Chief has appointed, commissioned, and ordained every one of his children to participate in his restorative mission in the world that calls us to serve the other with humility, goodness, grace, and love in simple and profound ways. Our call and command is not allegiance to “God and country”, a politician, a religious leader, or an ideology of yesteryear, but to one Lord, one Salvation, and one Kingdom. That Kingdom is greater than what our imaginations can comprehend. It spans across empires, oceans, continents, and the cosmos under the eternal sovereignty of the risen Jesus. All that is contained in the universe can, will, and must change, but “His kingdom will never be destroyed.”
The mission of Jesus … has now become our mission through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Through our faith-filled works, activity in the world, and cultivation of the gifts, talents, and resources given to each of us, we are called to demonstrate to the world in both word and deed a better and more perfect way. That way is found in the “ways” of Jesus, and it promises to lead “every race and nation and language” to a Kingdom that will last forever. Now that is truly good news worth living for.