Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Bible Challenge: Day 299

The scripture read are Daniel 7-8, Psalm 95 and Revelation 19.

Daniel 7. We flash back in time. Now Daniel, like Revelation, suddenly turns into apocalyptic literature. Daniel sees these visions in his dreams. You'll notice a lot of similarity between the images here and those in Revelation.

We have 4 beasts rise from the sea. The sea represented chaos to the Hebrews. (Genesis 1:2) The first 3 creatures are chimeras: mixtures of 2 or more animals. The last is unique and has a multiplicity of horns. Horns in the ancient Near East meant power. The last is especially horrific: swallowing victims and crushing the rest into dust. Then a new horn uproots 3 of the original ones. It sprouts eyes and a big mouth.

God makes an appearance on his throne with fiery wheels. The heavenly court is now in session. The monster is immolated and the other animals are deposed from power. Then power is given to one "like a son of man", in other words, like a human, but coming on a cloud and given everlasting rule. So not mortal, then. Now you see where Jesus got the title "Son of Man."

Like John, Daniel asks somebody for an explanation and is told the creatures represent kingdoms and the horns represent kings. As for what kingdoms and kings are meant, there is no definitive way to know, though it is interesting to note that Alexander the Great's empire broke up into 10 kingdoms after his death.

Daniel 8. This vision is of a ferocious ram who is defeated by an even fiercer billygoat. The billygoat's horn even prevails against God's truth for a while, interrupting the regular sacrifices for 2300 days. This time Gabriel interprets the vision and names the kingdoms involved: the double act of the Medes and Persians and the Greeks. The Greek king will be taken down but not by human hands.

Psalm 95. This Kansas choir does a great job on this choral version of the psalm, performed in St. Paul's Cathedral in London.

Revelation 19. The downfall of Babylon gives way to singing in heaven. The Wedding Supper of the Lamb is announced (a wedding feast being one of Jesus' favorite pictures of the kingdom of heaven).

Then a white horse and its rider, called the Word of God, comes out of heaven to put an end to God's enemies.

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