(c) Copyright 2000 Rev. Bill Versteeg
This evening is a stretching
experiment in preaching the word of God to children. This evenings
passage is Daniel 7, as you may well know, the rest of the book of
Daniel is dreams and visions. As adult Christians, we hardly look at
these chapters because they are often hard to understand and quite
frankly, us westerners, unless we're deep into fanciful future
speculation, we have little patience for something that is not
presented in a rational propositional format. Yet God has recorded the
dreams and visions of his people in scripture. My intent this evening
is to tell the story of those dreams to the children in a vivid
memorable way while at the same time touching on some interpretation of
Daniel, who ruled during the kings of Babylon? (see if the children can list the kings -Nebuchadnezzar, (Nabonidus) Belshazzar. What happened to king Belteshazzar? He saw a hand writing on the wall and didn’t listen to it. He died that night and king Darius took his place)
Daniel was a man who had powerful and scary dreams - dreams that God felt were so important that they had to be written down so that we could see them with Daniel.
Daniel was laying on his bed, relaxing, when his mind was overtaken by a dream. In his dream, he saw the ocean churning, waves and whitecaps cresting and crashing, wind blown foam and froth everywhere. The wind groaned as it hurtled water in every direction. Then in the darkness of his dream there arose out of the water, first it looked like a lion with fiery eyes, teeth sharp as razors. But as it continue to come out of the water, he noticed that on its back were massive wings that had the ability to lift it into the air so that it could fly like an eagle. As it arose out of the water, he noticed that it had the legs of a man, as he looked at it more closely, it was as if the heart of a man had been given to it.
Right after it came out of the
ocean, a second beast came right after it. It was like a tall grizzly
bear with ferocious sharp claws and three broken ribs that he was
ripping apart between glimmering teeth. A strange command was heard:
'Get up and eat your fill of flesh!' Yet there was something strange
about this monstrous bear, it leaned sideways, kind of like it was off
But these first three creatures were nothing compared to the fourth one. This creature scared Daniel, he shook while he slept. This beast was a nightmare. Its teeth were made of Iron, it was so strong, it scrunched and munched people everywhere, and those he didn’t eat, he simply stepped on, (splat). And it had ten strange horns sticking out of its head. Even as he dreamt, Daniel knew this dream, this creature was different. For Daniel, a horn represented power. A wild bull with two large horns was feared by animal and man. With those horns he could gore a lion and kill a man. Horns were power, and this creature had ten horns! But then from the base of the horns started growing another horn, first it was a bump, then a small horn, and it grew larger and larger, so large, it uprooted three of the other horns before it, they fell to the side. This horn terrified Daniel! On the end of this horn were two eyes and a mouth that spoke boastfully about how powerful it was. Everywhere it went, this creature munched and stomped on people.
Suddenly the scene changed. Maybe Daniel looked up, away from the terror of the beasts. As he did, he saw things both amazing and spectacular. In front of him, in fact all around him, even around the four beasts, a large room was set in place. Chairs, thrones of very important people were placed all around. Important people came to stand by these chairs to watch what was happening. And then God walked in. God, called the Ancient of Days, came to take his seat, a very strange throne made of fire, its armrests made of fire, and on the bottom of the legs it had wheels made of blazing fire. From the front of God’s throne, there was a river flowing but it was not a river of water, it was a river of brilliant fire. We might call it the God’s hot seat. As Daniel looked at God, he saw his clothes were brilliant white, even the hair on his head was a shiny silvery white. All around God there were thousands and thousands of servants who did what he wanted them to do, and there were hundreds of thousands of people standing, watching, waiting to see what would happen. When God sat down, they all sat down, and the books of God’s justice and God’s plan were opened.
Even as Daniel continued to watch, the boastful words of the one horn were yelling “Who is more powerful then I?” “Who dares stand against me?” “Even God cannot stop me!” Daniel was awestruck at the foolishness of his words. He knew such pride would quickly be cut down! And it was. But the Beast had gained the power to rule over the whole world. Whole nations were trampled and crushed under his feet. The beast with the large boastful horn killed and crushed many servants continuing its boast every day. People who worshiped God died terrible deaths between his iron teeth. “Who dares stand against me?” He made doing good things crimes. He wanted to torment the world because of his wicked boastful heart. A long time passed, the people of God died and suffered from this beast. Still a longer time passed, God's people continued to be killed and tortured for their faith. Time continued to go on...
And then God, the Ancient of Days, the judge, spoke judgement. Thousands and thousands of servants attacked the beast inflicting blow after blow that threw the beast this way and that. The boastful mouth was silenced. The horn was broken. The body of the dead creature was thrown into the river of blazing fire. The other three beasts watched trembling to see what had happened to the most powerful of them all. And then the crowd of servants rejoiced because they had won the victory against the beast...
Just then Daniel again looked up. This time, just at the moment of victory, from among the clouds he saw a person coming, just like you and me in every way, face, hair, arms, legs, toes and fingers and tears and a smile. Suddenly those thousands of servants who served God served him to, they led him into the presence of God and all the crowds of hundreds of thousands of people worshiped him. He was given all authority and power to rule, to rule absolutely, any way he wanted. And all the people, from every tribe and every nation worshiped him. He became King of Kings and Lord of Lords forever and ever.
Daniel didn’t understand this dream. His heart was troubled. He did not know what to think of it. His face turned pale, but besides writing it down, in a language that everyone could understand, he kept it to himself.
Now Daniel didn’t
understand but maybe we do a little bit. What do you think the dream
meant? (If children have heard and understood the previous
stories of Daniel, they may understand these interpretations.)
(NIV) Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright (C) 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.