The prophet Daniel’s vision of God’s heavenly throne room continues with the introduction of a new person, a coming King who will one day be given authority to rule over all people on the earth, throughout eternity. Unlike the great world empires which precede it, this heavenly kingdom will never be replaced.
13 “I kept looking in the night visions,
And behold, with the clouds of heaven
One like a son of man was coming,
And He came up to the Ancient of Days
And was presented before Him.
14 And to Him was given dominion,
Honor, and a kingdom,
So that all the peoples, nations, and populations of all languages
Might serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
Which will not pass away;
And His kingdom is one
Which will not be destroyed. Daniel 7:13-14 (NASB)
This “One like a son of man” is the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ, who would first arrive on earth in the midst of rule by the Roman Empire. Rome was the fourth in a series of great empires that dominated the known world since Daniel’s time, its predecessors being Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece. Unlike the three empires before it, Rome would not be overthrown, but would crumble and its remains be resorted and reassembled right up to our present time. One day, the descendants of this empire will reunite to fight one last battle between a global kingdom ruled by the Antichrist and Jesus Christ, returning with the armies of heaven. Prophecies throughout the book of Daniel and other biblical books foretell of this final conflict and reveal that Christ will be its ultimate victor, becoming eternal global ruler. At this time, the meek will finally inherit the earth, and be in service to the King.
Jesus asserted His role in this future kingdom as He spoke with one of the religious leaders of the day, an expert in Old Testament law and the prophets. This man, Nicodemus, had come to Jesus by night to secretly ask who He really was after seeing Him do amazing miracles and hearing Him speak with great wisdom and authority. Jesus answered him, referring to Himself, using Daniels words, as the Son of Man.
13 No one has ascended into heaven, except He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. 14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 so that everyone who believes will have eternal life in Him.
16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him. John 3:13-17 (NASB)
At His trial before Pilate where Jesus was condemned to die on a cross, the religious leaders pointed to Jesus’ use of the phrase “Son of Man” as evidence of His blasphemy, referring to Himself as God. Not believing that He really was God, they felt that this justified a brutal torture and death. Being raised from the dead by the Father three days later confirmed Jesus’ divine nature and glorious authority.
Many of us were alien to or even dead set against any authority God might have over us. We raised numerous objections and came up with any number of reasons or excuses why we did not need or want God to be a factor in our lives. But because of the Lord’s overwhelming grace, mercy, and love, spiritual experiences came to us anyway. We did not seek or ask for them, and we certainly did not deserve them, but come they did to us, and our lives were never the same.
When we received that kernel of willingness to open our hearts to God, all kinds of wonderful things began to happen. We received the gift of hope. No longer feeling alone or forced to fight the battles of life by ourselves, we experienced a new birth and a renewal of spirit by encountering the Spirit of a living and loving God. For many of us, the shackles of addiction began to drop off one by one. Perhaps for the first time, we began to experience a true sense of peace and serenity, and our consciences were cleansed through the unlimited forgiveness of God.
The reality of Christ has shown itself many times and many ways in my own life. One example that comes to mind was when I had felt a nudge by the Lord to participate in a fund-raiser for a young woman who had severe scoliosis of her back. She was bent over and in physical pain but could not afford the needed medical treatment. Finances were needed to purchase a proper back brace to help her overcome her affliction. After learning that the fundraiser had accumulated enough to purchase the new back brace, I opened my Bible, and immediately saw this verse, and knew it was from the Lord:
14 The Lord upholds all who fall
and lifts up all who are bowed down. Psalm 145:14 (NIV)
Just as He had told Nicodemus, the Son of Man would indeed be lifted up on a cross. Because of His great sacrifice and glorious resurrection, He is now able to lift us up to help get us through any challenge, affliction, or trial that we are facing. His loving care will continue right up through our final day on earth when He has promised that we will not perish but will have an eternal life with Him. He has not come to condemn us, but to save us. Won’t you join Him?
Where am I in my spiritual journey today? Am I resisting the presence and authority of a loving God in my life? Do I have that small kernel of willingness to be open to a spiritual experience with Him?
Lord, I believe that Jesus was lifted up on a cross to die as a sin sacrifice for me. Just as Jesus was raised from the dead, lift me up from the despair that often surrounds me, and grant me an eternal life of joy, peace, and hope as You have promised in Your word. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.