Locations of visitors to this page
Truth: Recognizing It May Not Be Pleasant
Scripture: Daniel 7:1-28
Track 8 of 11 in the Living Lives That Leave People Speechless series
Running time: 15 minutes, 51 seconds.

Click above to listen in this window.
Right-click to download MP3. With one-button mouse, control-click.

Be sure to scroll down to read the transcript.

Chuck Sackett Speaker: Chuck Sackett
Dr. G. Charles Sackett is minister of Madison Park Christian Church.

View all sermons by this speaker.

"Truth: Recognizing It May Not Be Pleasant" Daniel 7:1-28 February 24, 2008

I was a naive and innocent 15-year old when they ripped us out of our home in Jerusalem, but by the time the three months passed that it took us to get to the great city of Babylon I was a much wiser -year old. My friends and I, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, determined that on our journey we would not cave in to the Babylonians. We would do everything in our power to be faithful to the most high God.

It was clear, clear that that wasn't going to be an easy thing for us to do. No sooner had we arrived in Babylon than they selected us as a part of a group of young people to be trained in the ways of the magicians to interpret dreams. They put us in a special group of people in order to eat the king's delicacies, and we made our choice known. We wouldn't do that. And God was faithful. He honored that choice, and in the midst of establishing that we would not follow the king's rules God blessed us, and they elevated us to positions of responsibility.

But it was clear the choice to honor the most high God was not going to be an easy choice. It was not long after that that the report came around through the city that King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that terrified him. No one could interpret it. It was soon known that everybody that was to be an interpreter of dreams was going to die if they couldn't find an explanation for the dream. And the odd thing was that King Nebuchadnezzar was refusing to tell anybody what the dream was.

My friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah and I prayed to the most high God, and he gave us the answer to the dream. I was called in to Nebuchadnezzar's presence, and I told him, King, you've seen a great image. It looks like a man, but no man you've ever seen. The head is of gold; the chest, the arms of silver; the belly, the thighs are of bronze; the legs of iron; and the feet iron and clay. And you, King, you are that head of gold. But, King Nebuchadnezzar, you should know that in your dream a stone was cast at the feet of iron and clay, and that stone smashed those feet and began to grow until it was a kingdom that covered the entire earth. That kingdom will have no end.

Nebuchadnezzar honored my interpretation. He elevated me to a place of importance. But apparently the dream had inspired his own vision of himself, and so he created a huge image, plated it with gold, and said that everybody in the kingdom had to bow down and worship. And we refused. My friends, the three of them, were arrested. They were taken to a furnace and cast into a fire seven times hotter than normal, and God, the most high God, once again rescued them.

Sometime after that King Nebuchadnezzar had had another terrifying dream. This time he didn't try to hide the dream. This time he just told us this is what the dream was, but he needed somebody who could interpret it, and I was invited in again to tell him what it meant. I was concerned, because the dream was not a good dream for Nebuchadnezzar. The dream was of a great tree. It towered above the other trees. Its branches were huge, and in the branches of the tree lodged the birds of the air, and under the branches were the cattle of the field, and the image was one of great prosperity and strength.

But a messenger came, and the messenger called for the tree to be fallen. And at that moment in the dream the image turned from that of a tree to a man on all fours out in the field eating grass like a cow and drinking the dew, whose hair had become matted like birds feathers, and whose nails had become long and curled like talons. I said, King Nebuchadnezzar, you are that tree, mighty but fallen. And we saw it. For seven seasons Nebuchadnezzar crawled around in the grass of the field like a cow eating the grass and drinking the dew. His hair became long like feathers, and his nails like claws.

I realized that Nebuchadnezzar was a mighty king, but he was not God, that the most high God was the only true God. Fifty years passed. There were lots of dreams and lots of interpretations. King Nebuchadnezzar died. His grandson, Belshazzar, took over the kingdom. I wondered if I would be interpreting dreams for him as well. It wasn't long until I realized that the next dream was not going to be the king's dream. It was going to be my dream.

And in the midst of the night I saw the most terrifying thing I had ever seen in my life. It troubled me, disquieted me. It was something I had never imagined in all of my life. I began to understand the terror that Nebuchadnezzar felt when he saw the dreams come from God. I was there, and there was wind from every corner of the earth, and soon before me was the sea. And I should have known. I should have known that coming up out of the sea it had to be evil because the sea was always evil, and there arose before me a beast like I had never seen. It was a beast that looked like a lion, but no lion I had ever seen. This beast had wings making him powerful and swift.

But about the time I was beginning to take in the image of the lion he stood. His wings were removed, and he took the form of a man, a man who was given the heart of a man. And about the time I was beginning to look this over he disappeared.

Out of the sea a second image appeared. This one looked like a leopard, swift and fast. Four wings, could fly like the wind. Four heads, meaning he could be powerful in any direction. Between the lion and the leopard there was an image of a bear, large and vicious, on all fours, and yet with one paw raised high, and in his mouth three large ribs, and there was a voice that said, kill and eat, eat to your fill.

I was trying to sort out those beasts when up out of the sea arose a beast like I had never seen before. This beast was vicious. This beast devastated anything and everything in its path. It had ten horns. And then as I was looking, three of the horns were removed, and one small horn began to grow, and that one horn soon outgrew them all. It developed eyes and a mouth and it spoke. It spoke in opposition to the most high God, and it spoke oppressive things to the people of God.

And as I was gazing at that fourth terrifying beast suddenly the most magnificent image I had ever seen in my life appeared. It was a throne, magnificent throne, covered with fire, and out of the front of it emanated a river of fire, and there seated on the throne was the ancient of days, the most high God himself. His clothing was whiter than any white I had ever seen. His hair was white like wool. He was surrounded by thousands, I don't know, maybe tens of thousands of attendants. And they opened the book, and the little horn that had outgrown the others was devastated and destroyed, and the three other beasts were powerless.

And then the attendant ushered in the son of man, and as the son of man stepped into the presence of the ancient of days, the ancient of days announced that all the kingdoms of the earth were under the power of the son of man, and he would rule every kingdom on the face of the earth, and there would be no kingdom that could stand against his, and his kingdom would be eternal and last forever.

I didn't understand. Never before had I had no interpretation, and so I asked. I went to one of the attendants. What does it mean? The kingdoms of men will never stand. One kingdom will simply destroy another and then another and then another. But what about the horn, the horn? The horn will devastate the earth. The horn will be powerful, but the horn will never be more powerful than the most high God. And the kingdom of God will reign on the earth, and those who oppose the king, those who oppose the most high God, those who oppress the people of the most high God will succumb to the fall of the horn. But the son of man will reign forever.

And I was troubled. I was terrified by what I saw, and I wondered. And I realized that as devastating as the kingdoms of men can be, they will never stand against the holy one of God, that the most high God rules the earth. And I realized that while there may be those who speak oppressively against the saints, the people of the most high God, that as long as we are a part of the kingdom of God we must never fear what men can do. And I realized that there was a hard side to God, but there was a just side of God that one day would exact judgment on the earth. I pondered and I wondered and I realized you would never want to be found on the opposition's side to God when he sits down on his throne.