Monday, March 7, 2016

Chapter 8 "A Prophetic Panorama"; Daniel Chapter 7

"In my vision that night, I, Daniel, saw a great storm churning the surface of a great sea, with strong winds blowing from every direction.  The four huge beasts came up out of the water, each different from the others."  Daniel 7:2-3

Wait? What? Go back!  Daniel had visions, too?

Yes, apparently Daniel had several visions during his life and they are contained in chapters 7-12. Many scholars explain the book of Daniel as being in two parts: the first being a chronological order of his life and the second being a collection of his visions over his lifetime.  Chapter 7 is the start of the 'second half of Daniel'.

In chapters 2 & 4 King Nebuchadnezzar had dreams that terrified him.  Daniel conveyed God's message of what these dreams meant, to the King.  But as we'll learn in the next few chapters, Daniel was also having disturbing dreams and visions.  In chapter 7 Daniel was troubled by what he had seen, but was unable to interpret his own vision.  This fact does not come up in our discussion questions, but I do find it interesting and wonder what it means, if anything.

As you read the description of Daniel's dream/vision try to picture it in your mind.  With today's technology, we could certainly recreate these scenes & beasts with movie-magic.  Even when things don't make logical sense, we can picture them in our imaginations.  Keep these images in your mind's eye while you read through the questions in the study guide.  Try not to get bogged down in details or what's not there.  Dreams can be elusive and confusing and explaining them can often seem disjointed or incomplete.  Keep the big picture in mind when answering the questions.  Especially the questions that make the leap from what we're reading to what it means to us personally or socially.

This chapter can be difficult to get through, since it seems so 'other worldly'.  But, hang in there.  It is a part of our faith, that mystical, sometimes scary part that doesn't quite fit into our world.  We don't know how to make sense of it, so we often skip over it.  Instead, let it wash over you. Like sitting in surf at the beach on a hot day.  Let the waves of this strange vision wash over you - you need not understand it all; just take it in and let it refresh & excite you, even though it can be powerful and a little bit frightening.

I can't wait to discuss this chapter with you!  Go to the blog to leave your comment on this strange, yet interesting chapter!

Your Partner in Ministry,

"Kind words are like honey - sweet to the soul and healthy for the body."  Proverbs 16:24

1 comment:

Shelly said...

Thank you for an interesting discussion! There were some good points made that I will keep in mind while we move further into Daniel and read more of these dreams/visions.
We have to take them one at a time; slow and steady so we don't get overwhelmed.
Keep the big picture in mind. We shouldn't get bogged down in any one part or detail; take it as a whole and keep in mind that this one, at least, was showing 'the future'. We / scholars can speculate as to the future it represents, but we'll never really know. Our time & God's time can be very different :)
These are like poetry in that things in dreams are often metaphors, not literal. Often times metaphors help us more fully grasp a complicated or layered situation or idea. I'm tempted to fall into a singular take on something (black or white/ good or bad/ real or metaphor) because it's easier to wrap my head around. But, not everything is meant to be completely understood and it is a reminder to me that God's ways are higher than my ways; my tiny human intellect can't comprehend all that the maker of the universe has to say ;)