“I watched till thrones were put in place,
And the Ancient of Days was seated;
His garment was white as snow,
And the hair of His head was like pure wool.
His throne was a fiery flame,
Its wheels a burning fire;
A fiery stream issued
And came forth from before Him.
A thousand thousands ministered to Him;
Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him.
The court was seated,
And the books were opened.
“I watched then because of the sound of the pompous words which the horn was speaking; I watched till the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame. As for the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away, yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.”
Notice that the most powerful, most terrifying beast gets the biggest smackdown. The pompous words which the horn was speaking seem to be its downfall. He (or it) is doing fine until the Ancient of Days was seated. Then he isn’t.
This is all about power. The four beasts are scary, with the fourth being the worst. He’s also the one who makes boasts. Conversely, the Ancient of Days is described in glorious terms but not scary ones. Yet, the fearsomeness of the beasts is comparatively nothing.
But it’s more than that—much more. Notice that what happens to the beasts is written in the passive voice. The beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame. They are so insignificant that no one commits the action; it just happens.
The Ancient of Days [that] was seated isn’t the one who slays the beast; He is the author of it all.
We see here the difference between the Creator and His creation.
The simple message here is the most important one—this is a heavenly battle. As we’ll see, the beasts represent kingdoms, but this passage shows the real action isn’t down on earth where the kings are.
This is similar to the book of Job, where we see what happens in the presence of God and then we see the action down below, where Job is getting blitzed. The parallels are important. While we can’t see the action in the heavenly realms, it’s important to know that it’s there.
Our prayers must be informed by this understanding.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.