September 4, 2023
“I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.”
This beautiful expression of the glory of Jesus Christ describes his ascension into heavenly peace. Daniel sees a vision of “the Son of Man”, having accomplished the work of redemption in his death on the cross, receiving the reward of his exaltation—sitting at the right hand of his Father with all authority and glory.
These verses describe an unshakeable hope following a previous vision of four beasts rising up out of the sea depicting earthly division and chaos (vv. 1-8). Our Savior receives “dominion and glory and a kingdom” from the Ancient of Days, the Supreme Judge clothed in pure white (vv. 9-10). Whereas the earthly realm resides in darkness and experiences constant tension, the heavenly throne room remains full of light and peace. Our Sovereign God is seated on his throne orchestrating everything for his glory and our good.
Jesus himself told us this vision depicts him. In Mark 14, Jesus applied the title “Son of Man” to himself three times. And, after his resurrection, before his ascension, Jesus commissions his disciples declaring, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matt 28:18). Just before his own death, God gives Stephen a glimpse of that heavenly glory as well. Stephen confirms Daniel’s vision when he cries out, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:56).
This figure is the True Man who stands in stark contrast with the four beasts. Unlike them, He was never tainted by the chaos of this fallen world nor dehumanized by sin. Jesus accomplished what Adam failed to do. The Son of Man restores the image of God in all its splendor. He shines forth the true image of God, unstained by sin. Only the perfect Son of Man could bring a glorified humanity before a holy God.
The cross, resurrection, and ascension inaugurate the ‘last days’ which culminate in the everlasting kingdom. In obedience to the Great Commission, we exhort disciples to place their hope in the only King who conquers worldly chaos and establishes everlasting peace. Daniel 7 teaches you to look up from the present chaos of this fallen world and see the peaceful heavenly courtroom. It invites you to dwell upon the glory of the Lord, to know that God is in control, and that Christ has already won the victory on the cross. And he invites you—“saints of the Most High” (Dan 7:18, 27)—to reign with him!
Brad Mills is the pastor of Brandon Presbyterian Church in Brandon, MS. He previously planted Grace Presbyterian Church in his hometown of Fresno, CA.