The Liturgy of History

History is Yahweh's liturgy. Daniel learns above all in this vision that it is God who governs. He is in control. It is God who providentially reigns despite all appearances sometimes to the contrary.

Sermon Notes:

1.Daniel 10 serves as an introduction to the details that will be revealed in chapters 11 and 12.

2.It is interesting that we are here reminded of Daniel’s Babylonian name (v. 1). It recalls that Daniel served as God’s priest and prophet to the Gentile empires, and we see the expansion of God’s covenant purposes for the world.

3.The specific date of the vision reveals that Daniel is in the midst of a fast during Passover (v. 2-4).

4.Daniel is in mourning – there has been opposition to the rebuilding of the temple, and a spirit of ingratitude among the returning exiles (cf. Ezra 4; Neh. 4).

5.Daniel’s fast represents his personal exile, he is troubled for the people of God.

6.In the vision of the glorious man, Daniel experiences a type of what Israel as a nation will go through.

7.Cyrus’ viceroy, Cambyses, resented the Jews and held up the work of rebuilding.

8.The man Daniel sees is God the Son (cf. Ezek. 1:26-28; Rev. 1:13-15). There is a striking contrast between this glorious figure and the fasting, unwashed Daniel.

9.The man is a priest, clothed in linen like Aaron, but trimmed in gold, showing himself to be both royal and divine.

10.Daniel’s sleep (v. 9) recalls God’s covenant with Abram (cf. Gen. 15:12).

11.The prince of Persia (v. 13) is not a reference to an earthly person, but a spiritual evil, standing behind the idols of Persia to oppose God and His purposes

12.The conflict rages because these nations are being used by God for His good purposes.

13.We don’t know exactly how the spiritual world influences the material, but this has been the case since the fall of Adam and Eve.

  1. Throughout history we can see that spiritual forces are active on the lives of kings and nations.

15.One indication that kings are in God’s hand is their favourable attitude toward God’s people.

16.Influence on human action takes time. Prayers are heard and answered immediately, but the action is not always apparent right away.

17.The word “liturgy” means “public work.” History is God’s liturgy; Daniel is repeatedly clear that God is in control over all human events and actions.

18.God governs history, bringing it to its glorious end.

19.To restrict that liturgy to within the church is to surrender everything else in the world to the devil.

Application Questions:

  1. How does God’s lordship over history affect our daily work?
  2. What does it mean to be a priest of God?
  3. What is the proper attitude of the Christian toward unseen spiritual realities?