Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Daniel 8:27

Sometimes watching a very good, emotional movie will leave me feeling a little sombre or sad for a few hours afterwards. If its extremely good, I will remember that feeling for a few days. However, in chapter 8, Daniel has a vision which outshines this by far: we read in verse 27:

‘And I, Daniel, fainted and was sick for days; afterward I arose and went about the king's business. I was astonished by the vision, but no one understood it.’ (Daniel 8:27)

This vision was so awe-inspiring and terrible that Daniel actually felt physically sick for days afterwards! So what was so special about the vision? It contains a ram with two horns (one longer than the other), and a goat with one horn, which gets uprooted by four smaller ones, one of which in turn grows another horn. The goat charges the ram and knocks off its two horns.

The interpretation given is a little more explicit than in chapter 7 – the ram symbolises the Medes and Persians, and the goat’s first horn symbolises Greece. Apparently four kingdoms rose out of Greece – which were apparently Greece, Asia Minor, Egypt and the East. These were the four horns (who did not have as much power as the first horn – representing the king Alexander). Out of one of the horns grows a horn who tries to overthrow God’s people – whom I believe I recall is Antiochus Epiphanes. However, many parallel Antiochus with the Antichrist of the last days, especially so since the interpreter for Daniel (who was Gabriel), says that the vision concerned the ‘last days’, of which Antiochus Epiphanes, I think we can safely say, was not a part.

So with the meaning of the text somewhat elucidated, let us turn to what we can glean from this passage for our daily lives. It is often hard to find anything very applicational in such a passage, but I think we can find a little gem in verse 27 (above). You see, after being sick and fainting from such a terrible and moving sight, Daniel went about the king’s business – which shows us that in our daily lives, though we have great and moving experiences, we must always be diligent in our tasks and the business expected of us. It does no good to be an offhand eccentric who sees God’s glory in every moment, but does not live a reputable life. Neither does it any good to be the other way. Rather we should live both, seeing God’s glory in every moment and having the ‘wow’ experiences, but setting forth every day to go about our tasks and duties in such a manner that a non-Christian will find us of a good work ethic – a worthy witness!

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