Martin Luther, Neenah 25 November 2012 End Times 4: Christ the King, ILCW B What is the point? November is a good month to be an American, isn t it?

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1 Martin Luther, Neenah 25 November 2012 Daniel 7:13-14 End Times 4: Christ the King, ILCW B What is the point? November is a good month to be an American, isn t it? The first Tuesday of November is Election Day, and this year was a major election cycle with many national offices up for election. You may not agree with all the choices the voters made, but what a great day to be living in this country! The next week we observed Veterans Day. We remember those who are serving and have served in the armed forces of our country. We remember the might of our military and those who have sacrificed to make it the powerful and effective machine that it is! Just a few days ago, we celebrated a national day of Thanksgiving. Our country, as a whole, took time out to say Thank you for the many blessings we have. It is true many don t know who deserves that thanks, and other think they are only thanking themselves. But again, how good to take that time! How good it is to live in a country that recognizes it! Normally we think about national pride around the 4 th of July, but November is as good a month as any to be proud about being a citizen of the United States of America! We have freedom. We have security. We have so many great blessings. But as we consider these verses from Daniel, they make us ask, What is the point? To understand the point of these verses before us today, we have to broaden our gaze to the surrounding verses and also look at the larger picture of Daniel s life and history in general. Remember Daniel came to Babylon as a young man with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. By God s grace, he excelled in the governments he served. He had been doing so in Babylon for about fifty years when he experienced the events in chapter 7. From his first days in Babylon, the Lord had given Daniel the power to interpret dreams. Daniel also had visions on occasion himself. These verses are from one of Daniel s visions. He was probably around 60 years old when he saw these things. One night, Daniel saw a great sea that churned and foamed in front of him. As he was watching, four great and terrible beasts came up out of the water. The first one was like a lion, the second was like a bear, the next was like a leopard, and finally there was another beast: terrible and frightening and powerful with teeth of iron. He also saw the Ancient of Days sitting in judgment. As you can imagine, when he saw all these things, Daniel was was troubled in spirit, and the visions disturbed [him]. The Lord then made it clear to Daniel what this vision meant. The sea is the chaotic and tumultuous world we live in. Each beast represents a monarchy that would come. Each would dominate the world for a time, but then each would fall. The next one would rise to take its place. This cycle of rising and falling must take place four different times but then the Messiah would come. Conflict, war, and massive upheaval in the world and God s people were right in the middle. Everything Daniel knew would change. He would live to see the first change take place. A few years later, it would be a Persian king, not a Babylonian, who threw Daniel into the lions den. Is it any wonder this news troubled him? Can you imagine what that would be like? Your armies, the mightiest in the world, have lost. They retreat, scatter, and cannot hold. Your government, a symbol of strength and a beacon of hope for the world, is no more. Its officials are dead or captive. Its laws have no meaning. Many of this life s great blessings disappear. The destruction of conflict would devour its share. Looters would claim a cut. Assets would devalue, and the economy would come to a standstill. You would stand and watch and be helpless to change it. Would that disturb you? Does it trouble your spirit? But don t we live in America? We are the richest nation the world has ever seen. Our military is the greatest the world has ever known. There has never been a government like ours. Don t you think they said the same thing in Babylon or Persia or Greece or Rome? Each rose and ruled, in some cases for centuries, and then each fell. That will be the story for every dominion or kingdom or monarchy in this world. One day that will be the case for our country too. If that is so, what is the point? What is the point? What is the point of this progression in Daniel s vision? What is the point of all we see around us today? What is the point of all history from the first Let there be to the final trumpet that sounds at the Judgment? There has always only been one answer to that question: Jesus and the salvation of his people. Christ has always been the center and focus of history. Then and now,

2 history has only one goal: the rule of Jesus, the King of kings, and his dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. That is what we remember on this Christ the King Sunday. But it can be so hard to remember! It is so hard to remember because it is so easy to get stuck in the trap of the temporary. It is a good thing to take time to say Thank you, Lord for all of our blessings, including the physical ones. It is a good thing to take time to say Thank you for your service to those who have served our country. It is a good thing to take time to vote and to engage in the political process. All of those are good things, but they are all temporary! They can serve to ensnare us and shackle us to the cares and worries of here and now. Before every election you hear, This is the most important election of our time! After every election you hear, from one side or the other, Now we are in big trouble; what s going to happen now! We become so involved in the process. We believe every promise. We fear every threat. We expect the military to protect us from every boogeyman in the world. We hide under the shadow of the B2 Bomber. We take refuge in the shelter of the M1 Abrams tank. They will protect, and the economy will provide. The dollar always triumphs. Black Friday will get us in the black again. Has it become in G-D-P (gross domestic product) rather than G-O-D we trust? But what happens when the government doesn t do the right thing? What happens when we lose on the battlefield? What happens when the dollar dips and the economy wobbles? What happens when they pass away entirely? And I can assure you, this will happen! I pray, as I m sure you do too, it doesn t happen as a result of invasion from without or corruption from within. But those things are possible, but even if they never come, none of these temporary things will survive Judgment Day. When that day comes, do not cling to the temporary things which will pass away. That is a trap of the devil! But did you notice the antidote to Daniel s troubled spirit? In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men 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 s what springs us from the trap too! In the midst of all the turmoil and trouble for God s people, Daniel sees one like a son of man. This is Jesus, and he comes in the clouds and possesses all authority, glory, and sovereign power. In contrast to all the temporary powers of this world, His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. He ultimately triumphs, and his victory lasts forever. Even in those times of turmoil and trouble, the Ancient of Days in on the throne. He showed Daniel what would have to happen before he would send the Messiah. And remember, Daniel, the Messiah will indeed come, when the time is right in my plan, God says. So Paul tells us in Galatians, When the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman. The Lord was still in control. He accomplished his plan. He met his goal. It is the same for us today living in the last days. We still see turmoil in the temporary powers of this world, but Jesus has made you a citizen of his eternal kingdom. Your baptism is your passport. It declares you to be a citizen of heaven, a child of God. He has cut your ties to the temporary powers of the world: the shackles of sin, the snares of Satan, even the bars of death itself. He didn t do this with a show of strength, with the angel armies in tow, with shock and awe for the world to see. He accomplished his victory in weakness and humility as he died on the cross. That act which removed sin and death s claim assured him of his crown for eternity. When he returns, he comes to share his kingdom with you. That is the point; and really the point of all history! Jesus would come, Jesus would conquer, Jesus still reigns. He has declared you to be his citizen. Now live as the citizen of heaven you are! That means we try to be the best citizens of this world we can be. We do that to give glory to Jesus. We do that because our neighbors need us to. We do that because our government needs us to too! You know what Jesus said, My kingdom is not of this world, but you also know you will share in that kingdom that will not pass away and will never be destroyed. Amen.

3 Martin Luther, Neenah 25 November 2012 Daniel 7:13-14 End Times 4: Christ the King, ILCW B What is the point? November is a good month to be an American, isn t it? The first Tuesday of November is Election Day, and this year was a major election cycle with many national offices up for election. You may not agree with all the choices the voters made, but what a great day to be living in this country! The next week we observed Veterans Day. We remember those who are serving and have served in the armed forces of our country. We remember the might of our military and those who have sacrificed to make it the powerful and effective machine that it is! Just a few days ago, we celebrated a national day of Thanksgiving. Our country, as a whole, took time out to say Thank you for the many blessings we have. It is true many don t know who deserves that thanks, and other think they are only thanking themselves. But again, how good to take that time! How good it is to live in a country that recognizes it! Normally we think about national pride around the 4 th of July, but November is as good a month as any to be proud about being a citizen of the United States of America! We have freedom. We have security. We have so many great blessings. But as we consider these verses from Daniel, they make us ask, What is the point? To understand the point of these verses before us today, we have to broaden our gaze to the surrounding verses and also look at the larger picture of Daniel s life and history in general. Remember Daniel came to Babylon as a young man with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. By God s grace, he excelled in the governments he served. He had been doing so in Babylon for about fifty years when he experienced the events in chapter 7. From his first days in Babylon, the Lord had given Daniel the power to interpret dreams. Daniel also had visions on occasion himself. These verses are from one of Daniel s visions. He was probably around 60 years old when he saw these things. One night, Daniel saw a great sea that churned and foamed in front of him. As he was watching, four great and terrible beasts came up out of the water. The first one was like a lion, the second was like a bear, the next was like a leopard, and finally there was another beast: terrible and frightening and powerful with teeth of iron. He also saw the Ancient of Days sitting in judgment. As you can imagine, when he saw all these things, Daniel was was troubled in spirit, and the visions disturbed [him]. The Lord then made it clear to Daniel what this vision meant. The sea is the chaotic and tumultuous world we live in. Each beast represents a monarchy that would come. Each would dominate the world for a time, but then each would fall. The next one would rise to take its place. This cycle of rising and falling must take place four different times but then the Messiah would come. Conflict, war, and massive upheaval in the world and God s people were right in the middle. Everything Daniel knew would change. He would live to see the first change take place. A few years later, it would be a Persian king, not a Babylonian, who threw Daniel into the lions den. Is it any wonder this news troubled him? Can you imagine what that would be like? Your armies, the mightiest in the world, have lost. They retreat, scatter, and cannot hold. Your government, a symbol of strength and a beacon of hope for the world, is no more. Its officials are dead or captive. Its laws have no meaning. Many of this life s great blessings disappear. The destruction of conflict would devour its share. Looters would claim a cut. Assets would devalue, and the economy would come to a standstill. You would stand and watch and be helpless to change it. Would that disturb you? Does it trouble your spirit? But don t we live in America? We are the richest nation the world has ever seen. Our military is the greatest the world has ever known. There has never been a government like ours. Don t you think they said the same thing in Babylon or Persia or Greece or Rome? Each rose and ruled, in some cases for centuries, and then each fell. That will be the story for every dominion or kingdom or monarchy in this world. One day that will be the case for our country too. If that is so, what is the point? What is the point? What is the point of this progression in Daniel s vision? What is the point of all we see around us today? What is the point of all history from the first Let there be to the final trumpet that sounds at the Judgment? There has always only been one answer to that question: Jesus and the salvation of his people. Christ has always been the center and focus of history. Then and now,

4 history has only one goal: the rule of Jesus, the King of kings, and his dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. That is what we remember on this Christ the King Sunday. But it can be so hard to remember! It is so hard to remember because it is so easy to get stuck in the trap of the temporary. It is a good thing to take time to say Thank you, Lord for all of our blessings, including the physical ones. It is a good thing to take time to say Thank you for your service to those who have served our country. It is a good thing to take time to vote and to engage in the political process. All of those are good things, but they are all temporary! They can serve to ensnare us and shackle us to the cares and worries of here and now. Before every election you hear, This is the most important election of our time! After every election you hear, from one side or the other, Now we are in big trouble; what s going to happen now! We become so involved in the process. We believe every promise. We fear every threat. We expect the military to protect us from every boogeyman in the world. We hide under the shadow of the B2 Bomber. We take refuge in the shelter of the M1 Abrams tank. They will protect, and the economy will provide. The dollar always triumphs. Black Friday will get us in the black again. Has it become in G-D-P (gross domestic product) rather than G-O-D we trust? But what happens when the government doesn t do the right thing? What happens when we lose on the battlefield? What happens when the dollar dips and the economy wobbles? What happens when they pass away entirely? And I can assure you, this will happen! I pray, as I m sure you do too, it doesn t happen as a result of invasion from without or corruption from within. But those things are possible, but even if they never come, none of these temporary things will survive Judgment Day. When that day comes, do not cling to the temporary things which will pass away. That is a trap of the devil! But did you notice the antidote to Daniel s troubled spirit? In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men 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 s what springs us from the trap too! In the midst of all the turmoil and trouble for God s people, Daniel sees one like a son of man. This is Jesus, and he comes in the clouds and possesses all authority, glory, and sovereign power. In contrast to all the temporary powers of this world, His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. He ultimately triumphs, and his victory lasts forever. Even in those times of turmoil and trouble, the Ancient of Days in on the throne. He showed Daniel what would have to happen before he would send the Messiah. And remember, Daniel, the Messiah will indeed come, when the time is right in my plan, God says. So Paul tells us in Galatians, When the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman. The Lord was still in control. He accomplished his plan. He met his goal. It is the same for us today living in the last days. We still see turmoil in the temporary powers of this world, but Jesus has made you a citizen of his eternal kingdom. Your baptism is your passport. It declares you to be a citizen of heaven, a child of God. He has cut your ties to the temporary powers of the world: the shackles of sin, the snares of Satan, even the bars of death itself. He didn t do this with a show of strength, with the angel armies in tow, with shock and awe for the world to see. He accomplished his victory in weakness and humility as he died on the cross. That act which removed sin and death s claim assured him of his crown for eternity. When he returns, he comes to share his kingdom with you. That is the point; and really the point of all history! Jesus would come, Jesus would conquer, Jesus still reigns. He has declared you to be his citizen. Now live as the citizen of heaven you are! That means we try to be the best citizens of this world we can be. We do that to give glory to Jesus. We do that because our neighbors need us to. We do that because our government needs us to too! You know what Jesus said, My kingdom is not of this world, but you also know you will share in that kingdom that will not pass away and will never be destroyed. Amen.

5 Martin Luther, Neenah 25 November 2012 Daniel 7:13-14 End Times 4: Christ the King, ILCW B What is the point? November is a good month to be an American, isn t it? The first Tuesday of November is Election Day, and this year was a major election cycle with many national offices up for election. You may not agree with all the choices the voters made, but what a great day to be living in this country! The next week we observed Veterans Day. We remember those who are serving and have served in the armed forces of our country. We remember the might of our military and those who have sacrificed to make it the powerful and effective machine that it is! Just a few days ago, we celebrated a national day of Thanksgiving. Our country, as a whole, took time out to say Thank you for the many blessings we have. It is true many don t know who deserves that thanks, and other think they are only thanking themselves. But again, how good to take that time! How good it is to live in a country that recognizes it! Normally we think about national pride around the 4 th of July, but November is as good a month as any to be proud about being a citizen of the United States of America! We have freedom. We have security. We have so many great blessings. But as we consider these verses from Daniel, they make us ask, What is the point? To understand the point of these verses before us today, we have to broaden our gaze to the surrounding verses and also look at the larger picture of Daniel s life and history in general. Remember Daniel came to Babylon as a young man with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. By God s grace, he excelled in the governments he served. He had been doing so in Babylon for about fifty years when he experienced the events in chapter 7. From his first days in Babylon, the Lord had given Daniel the power to interpret dreams. Daniel also had visions on occasion himself. These verses are from one of Daniel s visions. He was probably around 60 years old when he saw these things. One night, Daniel saw a great sea that churned and foamed in front of him. As he was watching, four great and terrible beasts came up out of the water. The first one was like a lion, the second was like a bear, the next was like a leopard, and finally there was another beast: terrible and frightening and powerful with teeth of iron. He also saw the Ancient of Days sitting in judgment. As you can imagine, when he saw all these things, Daniel was was troubled in spirit, and the visions disturbed [him]. The Lord then made it clear to Daniel what this vision meant. The sea is the chaotic and tumultuous world we live in. Each beast represents a monarchy that would come. Each would dominate the world for a time, but then each would fall. The next one would rise to take its place. This cycle of rising and falling must take place four different times but then the Messiah would come. Conflict, war, and massive upheaval in the world and God s people were right in the middle. Everything Daniel knew would change. He would live to see the first change take place. A few years later, it would be a Persian king, not a Babylonian, who threw Daniel into the lions den. Is it any wonder this news troubled him? Can you imagine what that would be like? Your armies, the mightiest in the world, have lost. They retreat, scatter, and cannot hold. Your government, a symbol of strength and a beacon of hope for the world, is no more. Its officials are dead or captive. Its laws have no meaning. Many of this life s great blessings disappear. The destruction of conflict would devour its share. Looters would claim a cut. Assets would devalue, and the economy would come to a standstill. You would stand and watch and be helpless to change it. Would that disturb you? Does it trouble your spirit? But don t we live in America? We are the richest nation the world has ever seen. Our military is the greatest the world has ever known. There has never been a government like ours. Don t you think they said the same thing in Babylon or Persia or Greece or Rome? Each rose and ruled, in some cases for centuries, and then each fell. That will be the story for every dominion or kingdom or monarchy in this world. One day that will be the case for our country too. If that is so, what is the point? What is the point? What is the point of this progression in Daniel s vision? What is the point of all we see around us today? What is the point of all history from the first Let there be to the final trumpet that sounds at the Judgment? There has always only been one answer to that question: Jesus and the salvation of his people. Christ has always been the center and focus of history. Then and now,

6 history has only one goal: the rule of Jesus, the King of kings, and his dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. That is what we remember on this Christ the King Sunday. But it can be so hard to remember! It is so hard to remember because it is so easy to get stuck in the trap of the temporary. It is a good thing to take time to say Thank you, Lord for all of our blessings, including the physical ones. It is a good thing to take time to say Thank you for your service to those who have served our country. It is a good thing to take time to vote and to engage in the political process. All of those are good things, but they are all temporary! They can serve to ensnare us and shackle us to the cares and worries of here and now. Before every election you hear, This is the most important election of our time! After every election you hear, from one side or the other, Now we are in big trouble; what s going to happen now! We become so involved in the process. We believe every promise. We fear every threat. We expect the military to protect us from every boogeyman in the world. We hide under the shadow of the B2 Bomber. We take refuge in the shelter of the M1 Abrams tank. They will protect, and the economy will provide. The dollar always triumphs. Black Friday will get us in the black again. Has it become in G-D-P (gross domestic product) rather than G-O-D we trust? But what happens when the government doesn t do the right thing? What happens when we lose on the battlefield? What happens when the dollar dips and the economy wobbles? What happens when they pass away entirely? And I can assure you, this will happen! I pray, as I m sure you do too, it doesn t happen as a result of invasion from without or corruption from within. But those things are possible, but even if they never come, none of these temporary things will survive Judgment Day. When that day comes, do not cling to the temporary things which will pass away. That is a trap of the devil! But did you notice the antidote to Daniel s troubled spirit? In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men 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 s what springs us from the trap too! In the midst of all the turmoil and trouble for God s people, Daniel sees one like a son of man. This is Jesus, and he comes in the clouds and possesses all authority, glory, and sovereign power. In contrast to all the temporary powers of this world, His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. He ultimately triumphs, and his victory lasts forever. Even in those times of turmoil and trouble, the Ancient of Days in on the throne. He showed Daniel what would have to happen before he would send the Messiah. And remember, Daniel, the Messiah will indeed come, when the time is right in my plan, God says. So Paul tells us in Galatians, When the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman. The Lord was still in control. He accomplished his plan. He met his goal. It is the same for us today living in the last days. We still see turmoil in the temporary powers of this world, but Jesus has made you a citizen of his eternal kingdom. Your baptism is your passport. It declares you to be a citizen of heaven, a child of God. He has cut your ties to the temporary powers of the world: the shackles of sin, the snares of Satan, even the bars of death itself. He didn t do this with a show of strength, with the angel armies in tow, with shock and awe for the world to see. He accomplished his victory in weakness and humility as he died on the cross. That act which removed sin and death s claim assured him of his crown for eternity. When he returns, he comes to share his kingdom with you. That is the point; and really the point of all history! Jesus would come, Jesus would conquer, Jesus still reigns. He has declared you to be his citizen. Now live as the citizen of heaven you are! That means we try to be the best citizens of this world we can be. We do that to give glory to Jesus. We do that because our neighbors need us to. We do that because our government needs us to too! You know what Jesus said, My kingdom is not of this world, but you also know you will share in that kingdom that will not pass away and will never be destroyed. Amen.

7 Martin Luther, Neenah 25 November 2012 Daniel 7:13-14 End Times 4: Christ the King, ILCW B What is the point? November is a good month to be an American, isn t it? The first Tuesday of November is Election Day, and this year was a major election cycle with many national offices up for election. You may not agree with all the choices the voters made, but what a great day to be living in this country! The next week we observed Veterans Day. We remember those who are serving and have served in the armed forces of our country. We remember the might of our military and those who have sacrificed to make it the powerful and effective machine that it is! Just a few days ago, we celebrated a national day of Thanksgiving. Our country, as a whole, took time out to say Thank you for the many blessings we have. It is true many don t know who deserves that thanks, and other think they are only thanking themselves. But again, how good to take that time! How good it is to live in a country that recognizes it! Normally we think about national pride around the 4 th of July, but November is as good a month as any to be proud about being a citizen of the United States of America! We have freedom. We have security. We have so many great blessings. But as we consider these verses from Daniel, they make us ask, What is the point? To understand the point of these verses before us today, we have to broaden our gaze to the surrounding verses and also look at the larger picture of Daniel s life and history in general. Remember Daniel came to Babylon as a young man with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. By God s grace, he excelled in the governments he served. He had been doing so in Babylon for about fifty years when he experienced the events in chapter 7. From his first days in Babylon, the Lord had given Daniel the power to interpret dreams. Daniel also had visions on occasion himself. These verses are from one of Daniel s visions. He was probably around 60 years old when he saw these things. One night, Daniel saw a great sea that churned and foamed in front of him. As he was watching, four great and terrible beasts came up out of the water. The first one was like a lion, the second was like a bear, the next was like a leopard, and finally there was another beast: terrible and frightening and powerful with teeth of iron. He also saw the Ancient of Days sitting in judgment. As you can imagine, when he saw all these things, Daniel was was troubled in spirit, and the visions disturbed [him]. The Lord then made it clear to Daniel what this vision meant. The sea is the chaotic and tumultuous world we live in. Each beast represents a monarchy that would come. Each would dominate the world for a time, but then each would fall. The next one would rise to take its place. This cycle of rising and falling must take place four different times but then the Messiah would come. Conflict, war, and massive upheaval in the world and God s people were right in the middle. Everything Daniel knew would change. He would live to see the first change take place. A few years later, it would be a Persian king, not a Babylonian, who threw Daniel into the lions den. Is it any wonder this news troubled him? Can you imagine what that would be like? Your armies, the mightiest in the world, have lost. They retreat, scatter, and cannot hold. Your government, a symbol of strength and a beacon of hope for the world, is no more. Its officials are dead or captive. Its laws have no meaning. Many of this life s great blessings disappear. The destruction of conflict would devour its share. Looters would claim a cut. Assets would devalue, and the economy would come to a standstill. You would stand and watch and be helpless to change it. Would that disturb you? Does it trouble your spirit? But don t we live in America? We are the richest nation the world has ever seen. Our military is the greatest the world has ever known. There has never been a government like ours. Don t you think they said the same thing in Babylon or Persia or Greece or Rome? Each rose and ruled, in some cases for centuries, and then each fell. That will be the story for every dominion or kingdom or monarchy in this world. One day that will be the case for our country too. If that is so, what is the point? What is the point? What is the point of this progression in Daniel s vision? What is the point of all we see around us today? What is the point of all history from the first Let there be to the final trumpet that sounds at the Judgment? There has always only been one answer to that question: Jesus and the salvation of his people. Christ has always been the center and focus of history. Then and now,

8 history has only one goal: the rule of Jesus, the King of kings, and his dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. That is what we remember on this Christ the King Sunday. But it can be so hard to remember! It is so hard to remember because it is so easy to get stuck in the trap of the temporary. It is a good thing to take time to say Thank you, Lord for all of our blessings, including the physical ones. It is a good thing to take time to say Thank you for your service to those who have served our country. It is a good thing to take time to vote and to engage in the political process. All of those are good things, but they are all temporary! They can serve to ensnare us and shackle us to the cares and worries of here and now. Before every election you hear, This is the most important election of our time! After every election you hear, from one side or the other, Now we are in big trouble; what s going to happen now! We become so involved in the process. We believe every promise. We fear every threat. We expect the military to protect us from every boogeyman in the world. We hide under the shadow of the B2 Bomber. We take refuge in the shelter of the M1 Abrams tank. They will protect, and the economy will provide. The dollar always triumphs. Black Friday will get us in the black again. Has it become in G-D-P (gross domestic product) rather than G-O-D we trust? But what happens when the government doesn t do the right thing? What happens when we lose on the battlefield? What happens when the dollar dips and the economy wobbles? What happens when they pass away entirely? And I can assure you, this will happen! I pray, as I m sure you do too, it doesn t happen as a result of invasion from without or corruption from within. But those things are possible, but even if they never come, none of these temporary things will survive Judgment Day. When that day comes, do not cling to the temporary things which will pass away. That is a trap of the devil! But did you notice the antidote to Daniel s troubled spirit? In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men 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 s what springs us from the trap too! In the midst of all the turmoil and trouble for God s people, Daniel sees one like a son of man. This is Jesus, and he comes in the clouds and possesses all authority, glory, and sovereign power. In contrast to all the temporary powers of this world, His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. He ultimately triumphs, and his victory lasts forever. Even in those times of turmoil and trouble, the Ancient of Days in on the throne. He showed Daniel what would have to happen before he would send the Messiah. And remember, Daniel, the Messiah will indeed come, when the time is right in my plan, God says. So Paul tells us in Galatians, When the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman. The Lord was still in control. He accomplished his plan. He met his goal. It is the same for us today living in the last days. We still see turmoil in the temporary powers of this world, but Jesus has made you a citizen of his eternal kingdom. Your baptism is your passport. It declares you to be a citizen of heaven, a child of God. He has cut your ties to the temporary powers of the world: the shackles of sin, the snares of Satan, even the bars of death itself. He didn t do this with a show of strength, with the angel armies in tow, with shock and awe for the world to see. He accomplished his victory in weakness and humility as he died on the cross. That act which removed sin and death s claim assured him of his crown for eternity. When he returns, he comes to share his kingdom with you. That is the point; and really the point of all history! Jesus would come, Jesus would conquer, Jesus still reigns. He has declared you to be his citizen. Now live as the citizen of heaven you are! That means we try to be the best citizens of this world we can be. We do that to give glory to Jesus. We do that because our neighbors need us to. We do that because our government needs us to too! You know what Jesus said, My kingdom is not of this world, but you also know you will share in that kingdom that will not pass away and will never be destroyed. Amen.

9 Martin Luther, Neenah 25 November 2012 Daniel 7:13-14 End Times 4: Christ the King, ILCW B What is the point? November is a good month to be an American, isn t it? The first Tuesday of November is Election Day, and this year was a major election cycle with many national offices up for election. You may not agree with all the choices the voters made, but what a great day to be living in this country! The next week we observed Veterans Day. We remember those who are serving and have served in the armed forces of our country. We remember the might of our military and those who have sacrificed to make it the powerful and effective machine that it is! Just a few days ago, we celebrated a national day of Thanksgiving. Our country, as a whole, took time out to say Thank you for the many blessings we have. It is true many don t know who deserves that thanks, and other think they are only thanking themselves. But again, how good to take that time! How good it is to live in a country that recognizes it! Normally we think about national pride around the 4 th of July, but November is as good a month as any to be proud about being a citizen of the United States of America! We have freedom. We have security. We have so many great blessings. But as we consider these verses from Daniel, they make us ask, What is the point? To understand the point of these verses before us today, we have to broaden our gaze to the surrounding verses and also look at the larger picture of Daniel s life and history in general. Remember Daniel came to Babylon as a young man with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. By God s grace, he excelled in the governments he served. He had been doing so in Babylon for about fifty years when he experienced the events in chapter 7. From his first days in Babylon, the Lord had given Daniel the power to interpret dreams. Daniel also had visions on occasion himself. These verses are from one of Daniel s visions. He was probably around 60 years old when he saw these things. One night, Daniel saw a great sea that churned and foamed in front of him. As he was watching, four great and terrible beasts came up out of the water. The first one was like a lion, the second was like a bear, the next was like a leopard, and finally there was another beast: terrible and frightening and powerful with teeth of iron. He also saw the Ancient of Days sitting in judgment. As you can imagine, when he saw all these things, Daniel was was troubled in spirit, and the visions disturbed [him]. The Lord then made it clear to Daniel what this vision meant. The sea is the chaotic and tumultuous world we live in. Each beast represents a monarchy that would come. Each would dominate the world for a time, but then each would fall. The next one would rise to take its place. This cycle of rising and falling must take place four different times but then the Messiah would come. Conflict, war, and massive upheaval in the world and God s people were right in the middle. Everything Daniel knew would change. He would live to see the first change take place. A few years later, it would be a Persian king, not a Babylonian, who threw Daniel into the lions den. Is it any wonder this news troubled him? Can you imagine what that would be like? Your armies, the mightiest in the world, have lost. They retreat, scatter, and cannot hold. Your government, a symbol of strength and a beacon of hope for the world, is no more. Its officials are dead or captive. Its laws have no meaning. Many of this life s great blessings disappear. The destruction of conflict would devour its share. Looters would claim a cut. Assets would devalue, and the economy would come to a standstill. You would stand and watch and be helpless to change it. Would that disturb you? Does it trouble your spirit? But don t we live in America? We are the richest nation the world has ever seen. Our military is the greatest the world has ever known. There has never been a government like ours. Don t you think they said the same thing in Babylon or Persia or Greece or Rome? Each rose and ruled, in some cases for centuries, and then each fell. That will be the story for every dominion or kingdom or monarchy in this world. One day that will be the case for our country too. If that is so, what is the point? What is the point? What is the point of this progression in Daniel s vision? What is the point of all we see around us today? What is the point of all history from the first Let there be to the final trumpet that sounds at the Judgment? There has always only been one answer to that question: Jesus and the salvation of his people. Christ has always been the center and focus of history. Then and now,

10 history has only one goal: the rule of Jesus, the King of kings, and his dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. That is what we remember on this Christ the King Sunday. But it can be so hard to remember! It is so hard to remember because it is so easy to get stuck in the trap of the temporary. It is a good thing to take time to say Thank you, Lord for all of our blessings, including the physical ones. It is a good thing to take time to say Thank you for your service to those who have served our country. It is a good thing to take time to vote and to engage in the political process. All of those are good things, but they are all temporary! They can serve to ensnare us and shackle us to the cares and worries of here and now. Before every election you hear, This is the most important election of our time! After every election you hear, from one side or the other, Now we are in big trouble; what s going to happen now! We become so involved in the process. We believe every promise. We fear every threat. We expect the military to protect us from every boogeyman in the world. We hide under the shadow of the B2 Bomber. We take refuge in the shelter of the M1 Abrams tank. They will protect, and the economy will provide. The dollar always triumphs. Black Friday will get us in the black again. Has it become in G-D-P (gross domestic product) rather than G-O-D we trust? But what happens when the government doesn t do the right thing? What happens when we lose on the battlefield? What happens when the dollar dips and the economy wobbles? What happens when they pass away entirely? And I can assure you, this will happen! I pray, as I m sure you do too, it doesn t happen as a result of invasion from without or corruption from within. But those things are possible, but even if they never come, none of these temporary things will survive Judgment Day. When that day comes, do not cling to the temporary things which will pass away. That is a trap of the devil! But did you notice the antidote to Daniel s troubled spirit? In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men 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 s what springs us from the trap too! In the midst of all the turmoil and trouble for God s people, Daniel sees one like a son of man. This is Jesus, and he comes in the clouds and possesses all authority, glory, and sovereign power. In contrast to all the temporary powers of this world, His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. He ultimately triumphs, and his victory lasts forever. Even in those times of turmoil and trouble, the Ancient of Days in on the throne. He showed Daniel what would have to happen before he would send the Messiah. And remember, Daniel, the Messiah will indeed come, when the time is right in my plan, God says. So Paul tells us in Galatians, When the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman. The Lord was still in control. He accomplished his plan. He met his goal. It is the same for us today living in the last days. We still see turmoil in the temporary powers of this world, but Jesus has made you a citizen of his eternal kingdom. Your baptism is your passport. It declares you to be a citizen of heaven, a child of God. He has cut your ties to the temporary powers of the world: the shackles of sin, the snares of Satan, even the bars of death itself. He didn t do this with a show of strength, with the angel armies in tow, with shock and awe for the world to see. He accomplished his victory in weakness and humility as he died on the cross. That act which removed sin and death s claim assured him of his crown for eternity. When he returns, he comes to share his kingdom with you. That is the point; and really the point of all history! Jesus would come, Jesus would conquer, Jesus still reigns. He has declared you to be his citizen. Now live as the citizen of heaven you are! That means we try to be the best citizens of this world we can be. We do that to give glory to Jesus. We do that because our neighbors need us to. We do that because our government needs us to too! You know what Jesus said, My kingdom is not of this world, but you also know you will share in that kingdom that will not pass away and will never be destroyed. Amen.

11 Martin Luther, Neenah 25 November 2012 Daniel 7:13-14 End Times 4: Christ the King, ILCW B What is the point? November is a good month to be an American, isn t it? The first Tuesday of November is Election Day, and this year was a major election cycle with many national offices up for election. You may not agree with all the choices the voters made, but what a great day to be living in this country! The next week we observed Veterans Day. We remember those who are serving and have served in the armed forces of our country. We remember the might of our military and those who have sacrificed to make it the powerful and effective machine that it is! Just a few days ago, we celebrated a national day of Thanksgiving. Our country, as a whole, took time out to say Thank you for the many blessings we have. It is true many don t know who deserves that thanks, and other think they are only thanking themselves. But again, how good to take that time! How good it is to live in a country that recognizes it! Normally we think about national pride around the 4 th of July, but November is as good a month as any to be proud about being a citizen of the United States of America! We have freedom. We have security. We have so many great blessings. But as we consider these verses from Daniel, they make us ask, What is the point? To understand the point of these verses before us today, we have to broaden our gaze to the surrounding verses and also look at the larger picture of Daniel s life and history in general. Remember Daniel came to Babylon as a young man with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. By God s grace, he excelled in the governments he served. He had been doing so in Babylon for about fifty years when he experienced the events in chapter 7. From his first days in Babylon, the Lord had given Daniel the power to interpret dreams. Daniel also had visions on occasion himself. These verses are from one of Daniel s visions. He was probably around 60 years old when he saw these things. One night, Daniel saw a great sea that churned and foamed in front of him. As he was watching, four great and terrible beasts came up out of the water. The first one was like a lion, the second was like a bear, the next was like a leopard, and finally there was another beast: terrible and frightening and powerful with teeth of iron. He also saw the Ancient of Days sitting in judgment. As you can imagine, when he saw all these things, Daniel was was troubled in spirit, and the visions disturbed [him]. The Lord then made it clear to Daniel what this vision meant. The sea is the chaotic and tumultuous world we live in. Each beast represents a monarchy that would come. Each would dominate the world for a time, but then each would fall. The next one would rise to take its place. This cycle of rising and falling must take place four different times but then the Messiah would come. Conflict, war, and massive upheaval in the world and God s people were right in the middle. Everything Daniel knew would change. He would live to see the first change take place. A few years later, it would be a Persian king, not a Babylonian, who threw Daniel into the lions den. Is it any wonder this news troubled him? Can you imagine what that would be like? Your armies, the mightiest in the world, have lost. They retreat, scatter, and cannot hold. Your government, a symbol of strength and a beacon of hope for the world, is no more. Its officials are dead or captive. Its laws have no meaning. Many of this life s great blessings disappear. The destruction of conflict would devour its share. Looters would claim a cut. Assets would devalue, and the economy would come to a standstill. You would stand and watch and be helpless to change it. Would that disturb you? Does it trouble your spirit? But don t we live in America? We are the richest nation the world has ever seen. Our military is the greatest the world has ever known. There has never been a government like ours. Don t you think they said the same thing in Babylon or Persia or Greece or Rome? Each rose and ruled, in some cases for centuries, and then each fell. That will be the story for every dominion or kingdom or monarchy in this world. One day that will be the case for our country too. If that is so, what is the point? What is the point? What is the point of this progression in Daniel s vision? What is the point of all we see around us today? What is the point of all history from the first Let there be to the final trumpet that sounds at the Judgment? There has always only been one answer to that question: Jesus and the salvation of his people. Christ has always been the center and focus of history. Then and now,

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