Monday, November 23, 2009
An Everlasting Kingdom!
Daniel 7:19-27 (NRSV)
The holy ones receive the kingdom
Then I desired to know the truth concerning the fourth beast, which was different from all the rest, exceedingly terrifying, with its teeth of iron and claws of bronze, and which devoured and broke in pieces, and stamped what was left with its feet; and concerning the ten horns that were on its head, and concerning the other horn, which came up and to make room for which three of them fell out - the horn that had eyes and a mouth that spoke arrogantly, and that seemed greater than the others. As I looked, this horn made war with the holy ones and was prevailing over them, until the Ancient One came; then judgment was given for the holy ones of the Most High, and the time arrived when the holy ones gained possession of the kingdom.
This is what he said: "As for the fourth beast,
there shall be a fourth kingdom on earth
that shall be different from all the other kingdoms;
it shall devour the whole earth, and trample it down,
and break it to pieces.
As for the ten horns,
out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise,
and another shall arise after them.
This one shall be different from the former ones,
and shall put down three kings.
He shall speak words against the Most High,
shall wear out the holy ones of the Most High,
and shall attempt to change the sacred seasons and the law;
and they shall be given into his power
for a time, two times, and half a time.
Then the court shall sit in judgment,
and his dominion shall be taken away,
to be consumed and totally destroyed.
The kingship and dominion
and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven
shall be given to the people of the holy ones of the Most High;
their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom,
and all dominions shall serve and obey them."
Very often I wonder about God’s concept of “time.” I have no idea what constitutes a short time or a long time for an eternal being who was never created and who has existed forever and ever, amen.
Today’s scripture says that an evil king will reign “for a time, two times, and half a time.” He will speak against God and God’s people and attempt to destroy the holy seasons and law.
Ultimately, this evil one will be utterly destroyed and God will establish an “everlasting kingdom.”
It is so easy to look around at all the devastation, destruction, war, mayhem, greed, gluttony, selfishness, and waywardness of humanity and think that this is all that will ever be. We can begin to despair when we watch the news on television, read it in the newspaper, or view it on the web and we can do pretty silly--or desperate things--when we think that what we see, is all that truly exists.
That is why I am so grateful for this reminder found in Daniel 7. It is a word of prophesy that conveys a message of peace to me in a troubled world. It reminds me that “trouble don’t last always” and that ultimately Love will overcome hate and Good will triumph over evil.
I don’t purport to know when it is that God will establish God’s everlasting kingdom! But, I do know that Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Our good king allowed God’s love to give him up to the cross, where he died for our sin and opened up the door to eternal life. As a result of King Jesus’ sacrifice, our relationship with God was reconciled forever.
I don’t know about you, but every day, I am thankful for King Jesus and for the manifold and magnificent ways that His kingdom breaks into our world every time a human being makes an effort to love God with all of his heart, mind, soul, and strength and/or to love her neighbor as herself.
But, I am not satisfied with just this foretaste of glory divine! I am looking forward to the great day when God’s everlasting kingdom will be permanently established on earth, as it is in heaven.
Please pray with me:
Holy God, thank you that although the “kings” and “kingdoms” of this world don’t always prioritize your commandment to love you and to love our neighbors, there will come a day when we will all enjoy the perfect fulfillment of your law. As we wait, please help us to do our very best to usher in the reign of God within our spheres of influence by acting in ways that maximize your love, joy, and peace for the people around us. Please use us to hasten the coming of The Kingdom of Love on earth, as it is in heaven. We pray this in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
If you have questions about how to become a friend and follower of Jesus, please see the devotion entitled, “Come to Jesus” @