–by Allan Pole
Having a clear vision is essential for progress—especially through difficult times. Imagine how difficult it would be to walk if your eyesight was poor, if it was dark in the room, or if you had your head down. It’s not difficult to imagine, because I have stubbed my toe in the dark… on more than one occasion. The chances of reaching my destination without bumping into someone or something are much better when I can see clearly.
God gave Daniel an overview of world history about 600 years before the birth of Christ. His dreams and visions are incredibly accurate. As a result, he had a clear vision through difficult times. You can read this overview in Daniel 7:1-28.
We can live with a temporal vision.
The book of Daniel is a compilation of thoughts and events—not in chronological order. Daniel receives this vision before the events of chapters 5 and 6 in the first year of Belshazzar, King of Babylon. While lying on his bed, dreams and visions passed through his mind. Then he wrote down a summary of what he saw.
The sea was a dangerous and forbidding place to the Hebrews. It became a symbol of the world’s seething nations and the troubled lives of the unrighteous. Sea monsters, representing the forces of chaos and disorder, came out of the stirred-up sea. The great sea in Daniel 7:2 is probably the Mediterranean Sea, used figuratively to represent the nations where they lived. Four beasts arise from these nations to dominate them. These beasts represent the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Grecian and Roman kingdoms linked to the forces of chaos that bring disorder to God’s world… and then made to submit to God’s order.
These dreams, visions and interpretations left an indelible impression on Daniel. He knew that the kings and kingdoms of this world would have their time in the sun, but they would come and go. As impressive as these kings and kingdoms were at the time, they all lusted for more power, possessions and places because they lived with a temporal vision.
There is a massive global shift happening today. While many developing countries admire the West, our spiritual, moral and economic foundations are crumbling. While the church in the West shrinks, the church in other parts of the world grows exponentially. A bird’s eye view of historical and current events should shape our lives today.
How do current events affect you and your daily life? How do the people and circumstances around you affect you and your everyday life?
We can live with an eternal vision.
We have talked enough about the beasts’ kingdoms. Now, let’s talk about the best kingdom which Daniel describes in Daniel 7:21-22 and 7:26-27. While earthly kings and kingdoms come and go, the message is clear—God and His kingdom will last forever!
I look forward to the Lord removing the powers of darkness so we can live in His everlasting kingdom. Worshipping and serving Him is our eternal destiny.
Daniel and his three friends rose to prominence in the Babylonian and Persian empires—the world superpowers of their day. Daniel served for more than 60 years under four kings. He was neither enamoured with nor distracted by kings and kingdoms because he faithfully served the King of kings. Daniel lived and led with a clear vision, wisely discerning how to be in the world but not of the world.
Tony Robbins encourages, “If you keep a clear vision for your future, it will pull you like a magnet through your toughest times.” We have challenges now, but the Lord calls us to look beyond these short-term challenges and to keep our eyes on Him and His long-term rewards (see John 16:33). Let us live with an eternal vision and be about the Lord’s business.
Daniel concludes his description in Daniel 7:28. “This is the end of the matter. I, Daniel, was deeply troubled by my thoughts, and my face turned pale, but I kept the matter to myself.”
If we had such an incredible revelation, we would want to post it on social media, write a book about it and go on a speaking tour. Daniel’s reaction is quite different. Beware of letting these heavenly insights puff us up. We are to pray more fervently and love the Lord and our neighbour more profoundly and humbly in response to these beautiful gifts.
I find that the more I know, the more I know I don’t know. How does understanding God’s plans for the future affect you and your priorities?
I am annoyed when my glasses get spotted, smudged, streaked or fogged up. So, I like to clean them every day or two. I have tried to drive through driving rain with poor windshield wipers. So, I have replaced them. I have struggled to steer our old truck on a cold night when the defrost doesn’t blow enough warm air. So, I had to open the windows, even though I became uncomfortable. Having a clear vision makes all the difference.
We can live with a temporal or eternal vision. Let eternity shape the way we live today.