Sermon on Daniel 7:13-14
Text: In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.
One of the most well-known and loved pieces of Christian music is “The Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s “Messiah.” Especially, as we enter into the holiday season, you will hear that piece sung by various choirs. If you look at that work, you will find that it was not a part of the Christmas section, at all. Rather, it is placed near the end of the “Messiah,” as it speaks of Jesus’ triumph at the end of the world. The text for the “Hallelujah Chorus” is found in the eleventh chapter of the book of Revelation. Today, as we focus on Christ our King, we are reminded of an ETERNAL HALLELUJAH CHORUS. 1. The Kingdom Of This World Has Become The Kingdom Of Our Lord. 2. He Shall Reign Forever And Ever.
Just prior to our text, we have a description of Judgment Day. It says in verse ten of Daniel 7, “Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.” All people are now standing before the Judgment throne of God. All have been given their verdict and sentencing has been carried out.
Now, in Daniel’s vision, another figure enters the scene. “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven.” (Verse 13) There is no doubt as to whom this person is. There are many times in the Gospels when Jesus referred to himself as “the Son of Man.” For example, we look at Mark 14. The high priest placed Jesus under oath and asked, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” Jesus replied, “I am and you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” (Mark 14:61&62) This is exactly the picture that Daniel saw in his vision.
I would like to take a few moments and look a bit more closely at the term “Son of Man.” This phrase emphasizes the fact that Jesus is not only true God, but was also true man. This is vital for our salvation, for if Christ had to be both God and man. He had to be man so that he would be subject to God’s law, but he had to be God, so that he could keep the law perfectly. Jesus had to be a man, so that he could die, but he also had to be God so that the death would count for all people.
There is something else comforting about the phrase “the Son of Man.” When Jesus came to the earth the first time, he did not come to overwhelm us or to frighten us. He came as a human being to save us by his self-sacrificing love. If he had come to the world the first time as the almighty God to judge, then no one would be saved. However, he came the first time as a human being, so that he could be our Savior. He came in humility and poverty, so that we would receive the riches of heaven.
While his first coming was one of lowliness and humility, this will not be the case with his second coming. Then, everyone will see him as he truly is – the eternal Son of God. His arrival will be announced with the blast of trumpets. As our second lesson reminds us, “Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him.” (Revelation 1:7)
Daniel continues his description of his vision, as he writes, “He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence.” (Verse 13) We have a picture of a conquering general coming into the presence of a king. That is a most fitting picture for the Father and the Son. The Father sent his Son to conquer sin, death and the devil. During his time on the earth, Jesus did exactly that. He conquered sin as he lived perfectly in our place and then paid for our guilt on the cross. Death’s hold on mankind was broken when Jesus rose on the third day. Satan was crushed, as had already been prophesied in Genesis 3. No longer can Satan accuse us of sin, for our sin has been paid for. Satan’s power over us was broken so that we no longer have to slavishly do his will. Rather, we are free to serve our God, as we say “Thank you” to him. Jesus, the conquering hero stands before the Father.
As the victor, he is given the spoils. “He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him.” (Verse 14) Here the final goal of history is described as the Messiah takes up his rule over the people he purchased with his life’s blood. Jesus will reign. As the line for the Hallelujah chorus goes, “The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord.” He rightfully takes his position at the right hand of the Father as he rules all people.
This reign will be a joyous time for some, but for others, they will only feel a righteous king’s just anger against their crimes. Those who have rebelled against him will spend their eternity feeling the ruler’s punishment. All who have sinned deserve this punishment.
Indeed, you and I are also, by nature, rebels against God. How many times don’t we rebel against him and set aside his holy will for our own? When the things of this life become more important to us than our God, we have, in essence, set them up as our rulers. However, God is to be the only ruler of our lives. We, too, have rebelled against God and deserve to spend our eternity facing God’s anger.
Yet, we have been made members of Christ’s kingdom. Jesus came and shed his blood so that he could redeem us. With the washing of Baptism, we have become members of his kingdom. On the Last Day, all will give Jesus the glory that is due him. This is what Paul was writing about in Philippians 2:10&11, “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. “The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord.”
Daniel goes on to describe this kingdom, “His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” (Verse 14) This statement is especially meaningful in light of what Daniel had seen in the first part of this vision. God showed him four beasts which represented four kingdoms that would rise and fall in the world’s history. The first was the Babylonian Empire, which was in power when the Jews went off into exile. This empire fell and was replaced by the Persian Empire, which was in power when Daniel had this vision. The Greek Empire would rise after that. Then, the last empire that is pictured is the Roman Empire. Each of these empires rose, was very powerful, but then fell by the wayside.
This is in contrast to the kingdom of the Son of Man. Jesus’ reign will never end. This, obviously, is talking about the eternity of heaven. There Christ will rule without rival. There we, his subjects, will experience all of the joys and blessings of heaven. All of the pain and sickness, worry and trouble of this life will be gone. Finally, we will be able to serve Jesus as perfectly as he, the Son of God, deserves. “His kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.”
Yet, we don’t have to wait for the end of the world for Jesus to begin his reign. Christ’s kingdom is already here. As Jesus tells us in Luke 17:21, “The kingdom of God is in your midst.” When you were brought to faith, you were made subjects of that kingdom. When we pray in the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy kingdom come,” we are praying that Christ would continue his rule in our hearts and would strengthen us. In that petition, we are also praying that God would extend his kingdom so that others might become a part of it. You and I are part of that kingdom that will never end. He shall reign forever and ever.
When you hear the Hallelujah Chorus, you might feel great joy. It is a hymn of praise to our eternal God. As a matter of fact, the first time that the Messiah was performed, The king of England stood at the end of the Hallelujah Chorus. He was so moved by what he heard. This is the reason it is customary for people to stand when the Hallelujah Chorus is performed today. As beautiful as that piece of music is, we dare never lose sight of the reason that it was written. It was written to praise our God. The day is coming when the entire world will sing the praises of our Messiah. “The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ. And he shall reign forever and ever.” Amen.
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