There are a lot of people with power over us: teachers, parents, bosses, governments or other leaders. But what will the rulers of the future be like? Maybe not much will change, maybe one day we’ll all be ruled by robots, or maybe one day you’ll be a ruler yourself.
Daniel had seen the power of the Babylonian rulers in action as he was a part of the King’s court; but now he sees something about the rulers who are going to follow in the future.
Read Daniel 7.
This type of writing is not something we read very often today. It has lots of symbols, and all the symbols have meanings: we’re not really supposed to try and imagine it all literally. The beasts are extremely powerful rulers, as are the horns. The sea was seen as really dangerous by the people of the time. The different animals help us understand who they were symbols of. Leopards were a dangerous beast of prey, known for swift and unexpected attacks; most likely a symbol of Alexander the Great of Greece who was known for such attacks.
As Daniel thinks about these rulers of the future he was disturbed, likely terrified; his face turned pale. When we look at our news today, we too can be scared by the power rulers have in our country, or in other parts of the world. Rulers are often arrogant, proud and violent. These people can decide where we live, take away jobs, or even injure and kill people.
Where is God in all amongst all these evil rulers and dictators?
Well, just when the beasts are getting scarier and scarier things suddenly change in this chapter because in Daniel’s vision he sees an even greater ruler; one who can destroy the beasts and throw them into the fire. There’s some symbolism again here, white hair because of the purity of God.
The Ancient of Days, God who has always existed and will into the future. You see, really, there is only one ruler who matters – he has all the authority and power and we should join with those faithful worshippers.
Daniel also sees the “son of man” here – a man who approaches the throne of God himself and is given authority and power over every nation.
We of course know this is Jesus, the true ruler of the past, present and the future – whatever we might see happening around us.