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. Daniel 7:13-14 ESV
[Jesus said;] “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
And he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. Luke 24:46b-51
Do you remember Belshazzar? He had been the king of the Babylonian empire when it was defeated by the Medes and the Persians. His father’s name was Nabonidus, and his mother, Nitocris, might have been Nebuchadnezzar’s daughter. Nabonidus had gone into exile, and when that happened he made his son the king by giving him the throne and most of the Babylonian army. Belshazzar and Nabonidus were kings at the same time, and this is called a co-regency. It often happened in the ancient world that a father and his son would be king at the same time. This helped make the son’s throne secure before his father died, and gave the son a chance to learn to be the king. Daniel would have understood a co-regency very well because of this.
Late in his life, God gave Daniel many visions of the future. Some of these visions are hard to understand, but the one we just read is a very important one. It talks about someone called the Ancient of Days, who sits on the throne and rules the whole universe. But then a son of man, a human person, is brought before the throne of the Ancient of Days, and he is given power and authority to rule everyone in the whole world–all nations and languages and people–in a kingdom that will never be destroyed. Belshazzar and his father lost their kingdom, but the son of man would rule forever and ever.
This vision isn’t hard to understand. The Ancient of Days is God the Father, and who is the man who was presented to God to share in his rule? This son of man is Jesus, the promised Savior. Daniel’s vision allowed him to see into the future, to see the promised Savior his people had been waiting for, and to see the him being given authority over the whole world. Jesus came to die on the cross and rise again to defeat sin and death and the devil, and then he went back to heaven and to the throne of his Father. God made Jesus his co-regent, and gave Jesus authority over all people and nations and languages. Before Jesus went back into heaven, he told his followers to tell the good news of the life and forgiveness he had won to people all over the world. When people come to faith in Jesus, they join his kingdom, a kingdom meant for everyone no matter where they come from or what color they are or what language they speak, a kingdom that will never end.
Dear Jesus, thank you for winning the kingdom for us and for making us a part of it. Please help us share that kingdom with others. Amen.