Scripture: Daniel 7:13-27
Now that we are in the season of Advent, we are doing a sermon series called, The Kingdom. Each week, we will begin by talking about different aspects of history that formed the Jewish understanding of God’s kingdom and then explore how this history is foundational to our spiritual journey.
Last week, we talked about the second kingdom that influenced Jesus’ understanding of God’s kingdom in the New Testament with King Cyrus of Persia. King Cyrus is the first person in the Bible referred to as the "messiah" or God’s anointed one. Cyrus is given the title of messiah because he saves the Jews from their oppression. By the time we get to Jesus 500 years later, there are many Jews who were looking for a new messiah to rise up and bring peace to Israel in the same way King Cyrus brought peace to Israel.
This week we are moving into third kingdom that influenced Jesus’ perspective in the New Testament. This kingdom comes to us through the prophet Daniel. The vision we read today from Daniel was written shortly after Antiochus massacres people in Jerusalem in 168 B.C. This vision is promoting one very specific and singular message: God is going to come from heaven, and when that happens, God’s going to destroy all the enemies of the Jewish people.
This is the first instance in the Bible of apocalyptic literature. That word apocalyptic means describing or prophesying the complete destruction of the world. This apocalyptic vision is talking about the establishment of a new kingdom – one where God is in control and justice is doled out against the oppressors of the Jewish people.
This vision is the first time that we see the belief in the Bible that God is going to merge heaven and Earth. Once this merging happens, there will be a new leader who will rule over God’s kingdom. In Daniel’s vision, this leader is referred to as the son of man. Of course this is the title that Jesus chooses for himself in the gospels, and we’re going to talk about the significance of that choice and why it matters to us as we attempt to create God’s kingdom on Earth.
Our celebration of Jesus’ birth is almost here! I hope you are not getting too caught up in all the shopping and are staying focused on the things that matter for us as Christians. Have a wonderful weekend and I’ll see you on Sunday!