Many ancient cultures believed that the foundational element of our universe is water. They did not understand that outer space is actually emptiness: when they looked up at the night sky, it seemed to them as if the earth must be floating in the depths of a great ocean. And they imagined that the ocean out there must be just like the oceans on earth: swept by violent storms, inhabited by titanic monsters and cruel gods — but a thousand times worse. They saw the universe as disorderly, terrifying, and beyond the universe…nothing.
For them, the foundational principle of existence was chaos.
But the ancient Jewish people had a larger perspective. They believed that beyond the cosmic ocean there exists a realm of perfect order, ruled by the God of gods. From the very beginning of their nation, Moses had taught them that the cosmic ocean was actually created by their God as a…pool of potential. The earliest parts of the Jewish scriptures tell how God spoke that potential into existence, bringing various points of life and order to light. And the later parts of the Jewish scriptures expand this picture even further, describing the earth as God’s footstool, the skies and the cosmic ocean as the floor of his throne room.
For the ancient Jewish people, the foundational principle of existence is order and peace. Yes, from earth’s perspective the cosmic ocean is vast, and chaotic and dark, perhaps inhabited by monstrous creatures. But to God, the cosmic ocean is nothing more than a basin of water, a store-room, a warehouse from which he draws the raw materials of creation.
So when Babylon conquered Jerusalem and carried God’s people away into exile, Jewish exiles like Daniel found themselves living in a culture that believed the same things about what the universe is made of, but had drawn the exact opposite conclusions.
And the Book of Daniel has been showing us how the wise men of Babylon have been putting pressure on Daniel and his friends, teaching them that the gods out there in the cosmic sea are not closely involved with mankind, that all we can really do is read the stars and try to surf the chaotic tsunami of history for as long as possible.
Now, it is true that — for a few decades — Daniel and his friends did manage to gain a measure of tolerance from the other wise men and from their king, Nebuchadnezzar.
But kings die. Times change. And so here, in Chapter 7, we find ourselves  in the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon.
In other words: this episode takes place more than 20 years after King Nebuchadnezzar died. And those 20+ years have not been great years for the Babylonian empire. Nebuchadnezzar’s son ruled for about two years before he was executed by his sister’s husband — Nebuchadnezzar’s son-in-law — who ruled for a few years before he was assassinated by a powerful military general…and this king here, Belshazzar, is the son of that military general.
And Belshazzar is not a great king — he is certainly not at the Nebuchadnezzar level of competence. And we are going to find out more about Belshazzar’s character in a future episode.
For now all we need to understand is that the Babylonian empire is on the way down. For one hundred years the kings of Babylon have surfed the tsunami of history, reaching a pinnacle of power with Nebuchadnezzar — but now chaos is beginning to eat away at the empire’s foundations.
And for the wise men of Babylon all of this would just reinforce their belief that chaos is the foundational principle of existence, that there is no real meaning to life except the struggle to survive, and that no one survives forever: the tsunami gets everyone in the end, no matter how high you manage to climb.
So this is the setting for today’s episode. This is the context. By this point, Daniel is almost 70 years old. We will find out in a future episode that he is in retirement: he no longer holds a position of influence in the king’s court. He is at that place in life where he has to watch as everything he spent a lifetime to build is squandered by the incompetence of the next generations. Daniel is at that place in life where he has to be looking back and going, “So…what was the point of all my hard work, then?”
It is in this setting that God gives Daniel another vision. The last time Daniel received a vision from God, he was just graduating from university; now — more than 50 years later — he finally receives another one.
And he writes it down. These are actually Daniel’s words, lifted directly from the pages of his journals:
“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea.”
Daniel is dreaming about the cosmic ocean that is the universe, the same waters that Moses described at the beginning of Genesis.
But unlike the waters at the beginning of Genesis, which were quieted and controlled by the Spirit of God hovering over them, this cosmic ocean is out of control, churned up by the four winds of heaven.
And then  four great beasts, each different from the others, come crawling up out of the depths.
 “The first was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle. I watched until its wings were torn off and it was lifted from the ground so that it stood on two feet like a human being, and the mind of a human was given to it.
 “And there before me was a second beast, which looked like a bear. It was raised up on one of its sides, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, ‘Get up and eat your fill of flesh!’
 “After that, I looked, and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard. And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird. This beast had four heads, and it was given authority to rule.
 “After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast—terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns.”
So Daniel is having a nightmare, a Babylonian nightmare. He is seeing reality from a Babylonian perspective: a violent, dark universe belching up monsters onto the shores of earth, unthinking beasts that crawl about, devouring everything in their path, titans that no one and nothing can resist.
This is also a Jewish nightmare, because these beasts are all abominations, mutations. In Moses’ record of creation at the beginning of Genesis, God creates each animal “according to its kind”, meaning that each animal was designed to have a distinct place in the great order of creation. There are animals with wings that fly, animals with legs that walk, animals with scales that crawl in the dust — all of this intended to prove that there is a God who loves to bring order into the universe.
But these monsters here are mismatched. They are hybrids. They have no proper place in creation — or, perhaps even worse, they have more than one place in creation: they come out of the sea, they can devastate the earth, and they have wings to they can devastate the skies.
And the fact that there are four of them is also significant. The four winds of heaven — one from every direction on earth: north, south, east, west — stir up four mutated beasts: one for every direction on earth. This is why, for many ancient people, including the Jews, the number 4 symbolized universality, complete coverage. The four winds of heaven really means all the winds of heaven, and these four beasts are going to devastate every corner of the earth and the skies…
Last week, in Chapter 4, King Nebuchadnezzar was given a dream of what could have been, what would have happened if Adam had remained faithful to God. He got to see earth as a completed paradise, where all the birds and beasts lived in harmonious order.
Here, Daniel is seeing…the reality of what is. This is what happened when Adam submitted himself to a beast of the earth: the earth was given over to the government of beasts. The perfect order that God had planned never came to be, and the little order that already existed began to fall apart: dismantled, devoured by these hybrid monsters from the abyss.
And now, in verse 8, Daniel’s nightmare zooms in on the fourth beast, the one that is different from all the rest, the one that has ten horns.
And here, again, the fact that this animal has horns is significant. For many ancient people, including the Jews, a horn symbolizes kingly power: a government’s right to attack and defend.
And the fact that there are ten of them is also significant, because for many ancient people the number ten symbolized totality.
So the point is that this fourth beast is somehow the king of these beasts, the embodied king of bestial chaos in all its destructive totality.
So Daniel, knowing what these ten horns symbolize, is looking at them, puzzled by them! Because why would a beast have the qualities of total kingship? And then, “while I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a human being and a mouth that spoke boastfully.”
So now…this is interesting. These are four beasts: wild animals, monsters. They are like machines: they operate by instinct, motivated by a mindless hunger.
With, now, two exceptions:
The first beast — the lion/eagle — had its wings stripped off, it was lifted up to stand on its feet like a human being, and was given the power of human reason. Basically, it is transformed into a human being.
The fourth beast is not transformed — but one of its horns somehow gains the power of human reason: just one small part of its monstrous body becomes self-aware, with the eyes and mouth of a human being.
So what Daniel is seeing here is that, in a way, the first beast is redeemed from its monstrous nature: it loses its wings but gains the body and the mind of a human being. It started as an animal/animal hybrid — an abomination — but it becomes human. The fourth beast, however, becomes something even worse than it was at first: it retains its monstrous qualities, but now it is a monster guided by the self-conscious arrogance of a human being. The fourth beast did not actually begin as a hybrid — but then it becomes an animal/human hybrid, which is the worst abomination of all.
So far this whole dream has been an unrelenting nightmare for Daniel. So far, just about everything about this vision has simply confirmed what the wise men of Babylon have been saying: existence is dominated by chaos, by monstrous devouring forces no one can control.
But then, Daniel says,  “As I looked,
“thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze.  A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.”
What is this?
This, friends, is the larger, Jewish perspective. This is a look beyond the terror and darkness of the cosmic sea. This is a glimpse of the perfect order that exists outside the universe, in God’s throne room.
But actually this is more than just a glimpse into God’s throne room: this is a vision of God’s throne room actually arriving here on earth.
What Daniel is seeing here is what used to happen after a battle in ancient times. The armies would fight, one army would win and capture the other army. Then the victorious king would arrive on a throne carried on a four-wheeled war chariot, his bodyguards and clerks and his whole court with him — and the more powerful the king, the greater his court. Seats and tables would be set up, the clerks would open their binders, and judgement would begin:
The captured enemy kings would be brought before the judgement throne. And depending on the situation, the victorious king might have mercy and allow the enemy kings to live — if they admit defeat and surrender and make a vow of loyalty. If they refused to surrender and swear loyalty…they would be executed.
Meanwhile, a record of the battle would be written down. The king’s warriors who did heroic things would be rewarded, those who did cowardly things would be punished. All the captured plunder would be counted and distributed. And the commander who won the battle for his king would officially hand the victory over to his lord and receive his reward, and usually the whole thing ended with a feast of celebration right there on the battlefield.
Daniel is seeing God arrive on the battlefield of earth, riding on his war-chariot, with flames pouring out on every side, a river of fire clearing the way ahead of him, surrounded by millions of angels, his court officials. And to Daniel, God looks like “the Ancient of Days” — which basically means God looks like a very old man in this vision.
Now, to us, it is not usually a compliment to say, “Man, that guy looks so old!” — but the point God is making by appearing like this in Daniel’s vision is that, as the most ancient king in the universe, he is the center and the source of all wisdom.
In other words, we are supposed to understand that this king is the perfect judge: he has so much experience that he just does not make mistakes.
The seats and tables are set up, the clerks open their binders —
And what’s a bit funny about this whole post-battle judgement scene is this…there has been no battle! One minute these four beasts are out devouring the whole earth — and the next minute here they are bound and brought before God’s throne to be judged.
Now, to be clear: there was a battle, and future visions in Daniel’s book will go into some of the details of that battle. But this vision is focused on what happens after the battle.
So in verse 11 Daniel continues to watch as the four beasts are brought in for judgement. And guess what: the small horn on the fourth beast — the horn with the eyes and the mouth — refuses to admit defeat. He keeps on speaking boastful words. ”So,“ Daniel says, “I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire.”
The other three beasts, however, do surrender. They are stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time.
And then, Daniel says,  “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven.”
So here Daniel sees yet another human figure approaching the scene, also riding on a chariot. Except that this human figure is young — not old. And his chariot is made of clouds, not fire.
But this is actually very confusing. Because the Ancient of Days on his fire-chariot is obviously God. But at the same time, nobody has the power to ride in a cloud-chariot…except God. Sooooo…God is sitting there as an old man on his fire chariot, while God also arrives as a young man on his cloud chariot…?
Let’s go on and see if this gets any clearer:
“He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence.  He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.”
That does not really help clear up the confusion, does it.
Clearly this human figure is the commander who led God’s armies to this great victory over the beasts. And as his reward he is promoted to the position of God’s Prime Minister, the vigorous young man ruling alongside the wise old man: it is a perfect government.
And Daniel says that his dominion is an everlasting dominion — so clearly this commander, this newly promoted Prime Minister, is going to live forever. Which means that he must not be a human being, right? because humans do not live forever, nor do they enter God’s presence.
So this human figure must actually be an angel, then. And this could make sense, because the ancient Jews understood that God’s heavenly armies are commanded by arch-angels — ruling angels. Psalm 104, for instance — which we read today for our Call to Worship — points out that God’s cloud-chariot is carried “on the wings of the wind” and that “he makes winds his messengers” — literally, “he makes winds his angels, flames of fire his servants.” So angels are very closely associated with God’s fire-chariot and his cloud-chariot.
It could be, then, that God might allow the highest angelic commander of his armies to borrow his cloud-chariot for this particular battle, and now this angelic commander has been promoted to Prime Minister…?
But Daniel also says that all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him — which is blasphemy! Angels are not to be worshiped. Neither are human beings. God alone is to be worshiped. Which means that this young man, this human figure, really is God.
So the Ancient of Days is God, and this is his kingdom; but the young man is also God, and this is his kingdom — but his kingdom was given to him by the Ancient of Days, just as a son receives an inheritance from his father…but he only receives this kingdom after he had proven himself worthy by winning this battle and then giving the victory over to the Ancient of Days, so clearly the young man is also somehow distinct from the Ancient of Days, even though they are both God…
That is as far as we are going to go today. There is a mystery here about how the Ancient of Days and the young man relate to one another. And this mystery will be developed a little bit more next week…
But even without a more precise interpretation, we can look back at the larger themes of this vision and learn something about who God is and how he plans to bring proper order into creation.
From the very beginning of Daniel’s journals, Daniel and his fellow Jewish exiles have been confronted with a Babylonian worldview that says chaos is the foundation of reality, life is meaningless, and in the end every human civilization is going to pass away, dissolved back into the waters whence they came. The winner is simply the one who dies last.
In other words, the Babylonians had a bestial view of existence. They pictured Time and Space as an eternally seething ocean of chaos and chance, that would occasionally produce these semi-functional evolutionary by-products, these monsters that would wash up on the shores of earth and then crawl around eating everything in sight. And when they had stripped the earth bare, when there was nothing left to eat, they would turn on each other. And then the winning monster — the “king” monster — would starve to death, and dissolve. And out of its monstrous carcass would grow new life, new plants and animals, a new eco-system that would gradually fill the earth — until the next set of all-consuming monsters came bubbling up out of the chaos.
This is how the Babylonians saw the march of empires, the march of civilizations: as a series of ravenous beasts, each one ruling for a time until it is devoured by the next. This is how the Babylonians saw themselves!
And this vision Daniel saw simply confirmed what the Babylonians believed — but with some important differences.
For instance, even at the beginning, when Daniel first saw the cosmic ocean, God was present there, ruling over the chaos. That is the significance of “the four winds of heaven”:
See, in the beginning, in Genesis, the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. In Hebrew — and in many ancient languages — the word for “spirit” and the word for “wind” is the same word. So, in Genesis, the Wind of God was hovering over the cosmic sea, quieting it for the first moments of creation.
Here, in Daniel’s vision, “the four winds of heaven” — the four spirits of heaven — are hovering over the waters. But this time the Spirit of God is churning the sea up into a terrible storm.
Now, to be clear, this does not mean God has four Spirits. Remember, the number 4 is a reference to the four points of the compass, it is a reference to complete coverage. When the bible talks about the “four spirits of God” it is merely saying that the Spirit of God is everywhere, coming from every direction, going in every direction.
The point is this: from the very beginning of this vision, Daniel understood that even the destructive chaos of the cosmic ocean is under the control of God’s Spirit. The sea is being churned up — the Babylonians are right about that! — but God is doing the churning.
Which means that these four beasts that come up out of the waves are also under God’s control.
But, again, to be clear: God did not create these creatures, because God does not create abominations. These animals are like Frankenstein’s monster, they have been sewn together out of pieces taken from other animals that God did create.
Now, who did that sewing? Well, we will also be talking about that over the next couple of weeks, so make sure to stay tuned…
For now we need to understand that God did not create these monsters, but he did allow them to be pieced together. And he allows them each to play a role in his creation: he turns the first one into a human being, he tells the second one to “Get up and eat your fill of flesh!” The third one he gives authority to rule. But the fourth one —
Ohhhh, the fourth one is a bit different.
And, again, you’ll need to come back next week to find out more about the fourth beast.
The overall idea here is that — in one way — the Babylonians are right: the empires and civilizations of mankind really are like a series of ravenous mutated monsters rising up out of the abyss, each one devouring what it can until it is devoured in its turn. Where the Babylonians are wrong is in believing that all of this is the product of chaos and chance. Because the truth is this: God is in control even over this procession of monsters.
And he is not just in control, he is in control for a purpose. God has a goal in mind. Daniel’s vision reveals that these four hybrid monsters have been sewn together by some unknown hand, and then thrust onto the earth to devastate creation. And God allows this to happen. Why?
So that he might conquer them and weave them into a greater order, the final order that he has had in his mind from the beginning.
And we saw a hint of this last week in the story of Nebuchadnezzar’s descent into madness. He rebelled against God and became a beast. And God allowed him to do this! so that, in the end, when Nebuchadnezzar finally admitted defeat and surrendered, he could be given a proper place in God’s kingdom.
In the same way, here in Daniel’s vision, three of the beasts surrender to God’s rule, and he allows them to live for a period of time, he allows them a place in his kingdom, so that they can be…un-sewn, their various animal parts taken off and restored to their original created kinds. This is meant to demonstrate God’s amazing mercy even to his enemies!
At the same time, one beast refuses to submit, and it is destroyed: there is no place in God’s kingdom for a predator that refuses to stop hunting and devouring the helpless. And this destruction is meant to demonstrate God’s perfect justice.
Daniel’s vision gives us a clearer picture of who our God is: this is the God who allows a limited disorder to rule for a limited time so that he can demonstrate his righteousness to the world, so that he can be just to those who refuse to repent, and the one who justifies those who do repent; so that he can be the God of perfect justice and the God of perfect mercy.
So the reason God allows these monsters to exist in the first place is actually so that we can know him better in the end.
But Daniel’s vision does not just give us a clearer picture of why God allows these beasts to rule for a time, it also shows us how he will defeat them and redeem the earth from their creeping chaos.
And this was also hinted at last week in the story of Nebuchadnezzar’s descent into madness. Last week we saw how God redeemed a bestial individual by giving him the mind of a man.
This week shows us how God redeems bestial civilizations by bringing them under the rule of a Man.
Basically, the bible teaches that beasts need to be ruled by mankind if they are going to be properly redeemed from disorder. We talked a bit about this last week — how wild plants and wild animals, if left to themselves, live by oppression: the strong devour the weak. And so the bible tells us it was God’s plan from the beginning for mankind to redeem creation from this disorder and then rule over it alongside God, as sons of God, as children of God.
The point being made here is that, just as beasts need to be ruled by mankind if they are going to be redeemed from disorder and self-destruction, so also bestial civilizations need to be ruled by mankind if they are going to be redeemed from disorder and self-destruction.
But that is the problem, right? Bestial civilizations are ruled by mankind — that is why they are bestial. We are the problem!
So what is the solution? Get rid of mankind? Let nature take its course?
No. Daniel’s vision shows us that the solution is a perfect man. A perfect king. Not a screw-up like Nebuchadnezzar, but a second Adam who will do the job right, who will fill the earth and subdue it — including the monstrous, sprawling, self-destructive civilizations of mankind.
Daniel’s vision tells us that, one day, God’s court — God’s angelic army — will break through the chaos of the cosmic ocean and will bring it to an absolute stillness, a calm so complete that other parts of scripture say it will look like a sea of glass, clear as crystal, glowing with fire as God’s throne is set up there on the shores of earth. The court will be seated. The books will be opened. All of God’s enemies will be brought for judgement before the throne.
And another part of scripture says that a question will then be asked, “Who has the authority to judge these people and rule over them? It needs to be a man, a human being, otherwise the judgement will not be fair. But where are we going to find a man who is uncorrupted and worthy to pass judgement and rule?”
And then, into the midst of that awesome silence, one man will be brought to stand before the throne. And again, another part of scripture tells us that he will look like a warrior, a lion, marked with the wounds of battle. He will also look like a lamb that has been sacrificed, its throat cut, and yet somehow still alive. This commander of God’s armies will approach God’s throne, and take from God’s right hand the authority to rule that has been reserved for him from the foundations of the earth. Judgement will begin, and after that the victory feast that will last forever and ever.
Now, after Daniel’s book was published, the Jewish people understood that this “one like a son of man” that Daniel saw was a preview of their Messiah, the warrior who would one day come and defeat the nations, judge them, and then rule over those that surrendered.
Unfortunately, what they failed to understand is that God’s warrior Messiah would win by losing. They failed to understand that God’s Messiah was destined to die during that battle to subdue the nations, that he needed to die in order to win the battle in every dimension of existence: not just in the heavens above and on the earth below, but even in the abyss of death.
But we understand now that the “one like a son of man” must be the man Jesus of Nazareth, because he is the only man in history who died such a terrible death and then lived again. And we understand now that what Daniel saw here was the moment Jesus entered God’s presence after his death on the cross, after his victory over the grave, after he left the earth and ascended into the clouds — the cloud-chariot that carried him into his Father’s presence, where he is judging the nations of our earth even now from a throne at his Father’s right hand.
Now…this timeline is confusing. Because Daniel is clearly having a vision of Judgement Day, and yet scripture tells us that the Son of Man has already been led into God’s presence …does that mean Judgement Day has already begun?
We will talk more about this in the future. But for now we just have to remember that this is that special kind of prophecy called Apocalyptic. And apocalyptic writing is a bit like a Quentin Tarantino movie: often critical pieces of the timeline are left out or moved around so that the story will only really make sense at the very end. Apocalyptic writing is designed to create an effect; we are supposed to have an “ohhhhhhh!” moment at the end of all things. So:
Please be patient if some of this seems confusing at this moment. If you are confused, that is okay. We are supposed to be a bit confused.
But parts of this are supposed to make sense to us even now. So, what are those parts? How should we make sense of this vision today? What is our practical application for our church here in Kuala Lumpur?
This is our application: just like Daniel and his friends, we live in a world where we all believe the same basic things about the the universe, but we have all drawn very different conclusions about what it means.
All of us, today, believe that the universe is made of matter, energy, atoms — as Christians, we have no problem with modern physics. But, where our world looks at the universe and sees nothing but chaos and chance, we look at the same universe and we see order and purpose. Over the last 2500 years, our Judeo-Christian faith has not generally disagreed with science about the nature of physical reality, but we have disagreed about what it means.
And what we believe about the meaning of our existence makes all the difference in whether we live as beasts or as human beings.
Just like the ancient Babylonian wise men, our modern secular scientists have concluded that any order that exists in our world is just the product of chaos and chance. And so, just like the ancient Babylonian philosophers, our modern secular philosophers have concluded that every human civilization, every human conception of beauty and justice and proper order are nothing more than arbitrary cultural constructs. And who gets to decide which set of cultural constructs is ”right” and which ones are ”wrong“? Obviously, the people with the strongest civilization get to tell everyone else what to believe.
And that’s it. That is our modern world’s philosophy of existence: Might makes Right. The fittest survive. The strong oppress the weak. And the winner is the one who dies last.
That, friends, is a bestial philosophy. That is a bestial existence. And right now we are watching the West collapse under the weight of it. Over the last 300 years the forces of chaos have been eating away at the foundations of European empires, and now there is nothing left. In the secular West, reality is now suspended in space, founded on nothing, attached to nothing. But instead of being terrified, too many are celebrating this as if it is the ultimate form of freedom! In its most extreme form now, people are saying that even biological realities can be reassigned with the application of enough will-power.
When Nebuchadnezzar began to ”identify” as a beast, his friends and relatives recognized that he had gone mad, and they treated him for that madness in the best way they knew how. Today, more and more, our global civilization is being consumed by the same kind of reality-redefining madness — but more and more we are not allowed to treat it, or even call it what it is.
This is the world we live in, friends. This is the cultural tsunami that is sweeping over every corner of the earth. And I know we are increasingly horrified, grieved by what is going on.
What can we do about it?
Well, just like Daniel: nothing much — except to warn people about the coming flood, and try to get them to safety.
So, if you are here today, and you are drowning under the weight of gender dysphoria, or these questions of race and ethnicity, this pressure to find some fixed identity so that you can know who you are —
First, let me say that I am sorry you are being forced to lock yourself into these restrictive categories. Our scriptures tell us that such slavery is wrong.
Second, let me say that you do not have to lock yourself into these restrictive categories. Our world wants you to reduce your identity to your sexuality, or your race, your diseases or your desires — the world wants you to reduce yourself to your animal instincts — because that makes you easier to categorize and control.
But you are a human being. You do not have to be reduced to the level of an animal. You do not have to drown in this flood. There is a Rock that you can stand on, there is a Mountain tall enough to save you from these rising waters of chaos and confusion and dysphoria. There is a Man who can give you a secure identity unrestricted by the world’s narrow categories.
So let me urge you now to run for safety to Jesus’ throne. All you have to do is ask him to remake you into who he wants you to be. If you do this, you will be allowed to live. Actually, you will not be simply allowed to live, he will absolutely fill you with life and give you a place in his kingdom that will never be destroyed.
Now, if you are here today, and you have already recovered your lost humanity by submitting to the only true Son of Man, then you already know that only way to redeem our modern civilization from this madness and confusion is by giving people a vision of what that true Son of Man really looks like. We warn our world by showing them Christ! — through our words, through the structure and order of our lives, our families, our churches. Because, until the nations catch a vision of what True Humanity can be, they will just keep on living as beasts…
And I know this feels feeble. I know this sounds like foolishness. How can we stand against such a tsunami by just…living? By just…preaching? That sounds crazy! Well, in a certain sense, friends, it is crazy. Because the truth is we are not going to stand against these cultural tsunamis. We are not going to stop them; we are going to pass through them, just as Daniel’s friends passed through the flames.
And so, this is what we are going to do, as the waters of chaos rise about us in this age: we are going to remember two things, and we are going to preach these two things to one another, over and over:
First, we are going to remember that even this madness, this disorder, this monstrous global civilization has a part to play in our Father’s plan. Somehow even this waste will one day be redeemed.
Second, we are going to remember our Father’s promise to us, his children: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.”