It’s so easy to reduce our impression of Jesus down to a mild-mannered teacher and healer who went around saying encouraging things to people who were having tough days. But the Jesus of Scripture is also one of unmatched power and authority. One that compels people to fall on their knees in worship. Today’s passage serves up a powerful image of this Jesus.
You’ve seen it in a hundred movies: the good guys finally meet their mysterious foe, only to discover he is so much more powerful than they ever could have imagined. The beast rises from the ocean and blocks the light of the sun. The harbor looks like nothing more than a puddle. Military missiles bounce off like nerf darts. The only realistic response is to abandon all hope.
Daniel 7 opens like one of these movies. Daniel dreams about four beasts, which verse 17 says are four kings who shall arise out of the earth—perhaps Babylon, Medo-Persia, Alexander the Great’s conquest, and the Roman Empire, respectively. The creatures are strong and horrifying, the kind you would presume would destroy you like you destroy a mosquito. They take your breath away and sever your courage. And each one is more terrifying and ruthless than the one before. No doubt the exiles of Judah would have felt the chilling reality of this imagery.
Suddenly, a throne room—or better, a courtroom—comes down in their midst (Daniel 7:13). God Himself, the Ancient of Days, sits on the center throne. Here Scripture gives us a rare personified description of God the Father: He has pure white hair, clothing white as snow, a chariot-like throne of fire. Thousands surrounded Him, serving Him and listening to Him. Here, the Lord is not like the four ferocious beasts, hungry for blood and bent on destruction. Instead, He is the picture of strength that comes from wisdom and the power of righteousness. He doesn’t inspire fear, but worship.
In a moment, the greatest beast was destroyed, and the power of the others was taken away. Then, from heaven, came the Son of Man, to whom the Ancient of Days gave all authority and dominion. Daniel says God gave Him glory and a kingdom which would draw people from all nations to worship and serve Him. His dominion would never end and His kingdom would never be destroyed.
In Mark 14:62, Jesus says the Son of Man that Daniel saw was, in fact, Jesus Himself. He wasn’t just referring to His first coming, but His second, when He will descend to establish His kingdom forever. When you think about Jesus, or pray, or worry about seemingly insurmountable obstacles, picture this Jesus.
Written by Russ Ramsey