Order of Worship
Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity
and passing over transgression
for the remnant of his inheritance?
He does not retain his anger forever,
because he delights in steadfast love.
He will again have compassion on us;
he will tread our iniquities underfoot.
You will cast all our sins
into the depths of the sea.
You will show faithfulness to Jacob
and steadfast love to Abraham,
as you have sworn to our fathers
from the days of old.
– Micah 7:18-20
Song 1 – Sing to Yahweh
Song 2 – Great is our God
Song 3 – How Long?
Prayer of Confession
[Revised from Prayers for a Privileged People, Walter Brueggemann]
God of the seasons,
God of the years,
God of the eons,
Alpha and Omega,
before us and after us:
You promise and we wait.
We wait with eager longing.
We wait amid doubt and anxiety.
We wait with patience thin,
and then we doubt;
and then we take life into our own hands.
For our impatience,
Forgive us, Lord.
For our impatience,
Forgive us, Lord.
Receive these words of comfort from God:
In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace. (Ephesians 1:4-7)
Let’s together ask for God’s help as we continue to wait.
We want to wait because You are the one and the only one.
We want to wait for Your peace and Your mercy,
for Your justice and Your good rule.
Give us Your Holy Spirit that we may wait
obediently and with discernment,
actively and with care,
in a spirit of trust and without cynicism,
honestly and with our feet firmly planted.
Grant that our waiting may be appropriate to Your coming
soon and very soon,
soon and not late,
long-awaited but not too late.
We wait while the world groans in eager longing.
In the name of Christ who is coming,
Song 4 – I Will Wait For You
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Praise God, from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him, all creatures here below
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
Praise God for all that he has done
Praise Him for Jesus’ reign begun!
He came with love to make us one;
He will return, His kingdom come!
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Daniel’s Vision of the Ram and the Goat
8 In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar a vision appeared to me, Daniel, after that which appeared to me at the first. 2 And I saw in the vision; and when I saw, I was in Susa the citadel, which is in the province of Elam. And I saw in the vision, and I was at the Ulai canal. 3 I raised my eyes and saw, and behold, a ram standing on the bank of the canal. It had two horns, and both horns were high, but one was higher than the other, and the higher one came up last. 4 I saw the ram charging westward and northward and southward. No beast could stand before him, and there was no one who could rescue from his power. He did as he pleased and became great.
5 As I was considering, behold, a male goat came from the west across the face of the whole earth, without touching the ground. And the goat had a conspicuous horn between his eyes. 6 He came to the ram with the two horns, which I had seen standing on the bank of the canal, and he ran at him in his powerful wrath. 7 I saw him come close to the ram, and he was enraged against him and struck the ram and broke his two horns. And the ram had no power to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground and trampled on him. And there was no one who could rescue the ram from his power. 8 Then the goat became exceedingly great, but when he was strong, the great horn was broken, and instead of it there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven.
9 Out of one of them came a little horn, which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the glorious land. 10 It grew great, even to the host of heaven. And some of the host and some of the stars it threw down to the ground and trampled on them. 11 It became great, even as great as the Prince of the host. And the regular burnt offering was taken away from him, and the place of his sanctuary was overthrown. 12 And a host will be given over to it together with the regular burnt offering because of transgression, and it will throw truth to the ground, and it will act and prosper. 13 Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to the one who spoke, “For how long is the vision concerning the regular burnt offering, the transgression that makes desolate, and the giving over of the sanctuary and host to be trampled underfoot?” 14 And he said to me, “For 2,300 evenings and mornings. Then the sanctuary shall be restored to its rightful state.”
The Interpretation of the Vision
15 When I, Daniel, had seen the vision, I sought to understand it. And behold, there stood before me one having the appearance of a man. 16 And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of the Ulai, and it called, “Gabriel, make this man understand the vision.” 17 So he came near where I stood. And when he came, I was frightened and fell on my face. But he said to me, “Understand, O son of man, that the vision is for the time of the end.”
18 And when he had spoken to me, I fell into a deep sleep with my face to the ground. But he touched me and made me stand up. 19 He said, “Behold, I will make known to you what shall be at the latter end of the indignation, for it refers to the appointed time of the end. 20 As for the ram that you saw with the two horns, these are the kings of Media and Persia. 21 And the goat is the king of Greece. And the great horn between his eyes is the first king. 22 As for the horn that was broken, in place of which four others arose, four kingdoms shall arise from his[e] nation, but not with his power. 23 And at the latter end of their kingdom, when the transgressors have reached their limit, a king of bold face, one who understands riddles, shall arise.24 His power shall be great—but not by his own power; and he shall cause fearful destruction and shall succeed in what he does, and destroy mighty men and the people who are the saints. 25 By his cunning he shall make deceit prosper under his hand, and in his own mind he shall become great. Without warning he shall destroy many. And he shall even rise up against the Prince of princes, and he shall be broken—but by no human hand. 26 The vision of the evenings and the mornings that has been told is true, but seal up the vision, for it refers to many days from now.”
27 And I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for some days. Then I rose and went about the king’s business, but I was appalled by the vision and did not understand it.
Living and Longing Under God’s Rule
- A Vision and Its Interpretation vv 1-27
- A Longing and A Promise vv 13-14
- A Warning and An an Exhortation v 25-27
Please hold the elements until all have received.
Song 5 – We Will Feast in the House of Zion
We will sing this song until all have received the elements. Please hold the elements until all have received, so that we can partake together.
We will take the elements together.
This is Christ’s body, broken for you; Christ’s blood shed for you.
Song 6 – Is He Worthy?
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name;
your kingdom come;
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who have sinned against us.
And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.
25 the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
–Numbers 6:24-26 (ESV)
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Read Daniel 8
The vision in Daniel 8 focuses on God’s rule in a particular period of history when God’s people faced intense persecution. From a first reading of the chapter, what do you think is the key message for God’s people?
What are some of the features of apocalyptic language that you notice from this chapter? What impression does this kind of language make on you?
Into the Text
When did Daniel receive the vision and what’s the significance of the timing (vv. 1-2)?
The vision concerns ‘the time of the end’ (vv. 17b, 19) and ‘what will happen later in the time of wrath’ v. 19. What do these phrases mean? Are both specific and general meanings intended?
Looking at the detail, taking the explanation vv. 3-14 and interpretation (vv. 20-26) together, who / what do the following represent.
(a) ram (vv. 3-4, 20);
(b) goat with a prominent horn (vv. 5-7, 21);
(c) four horns (vv. 8, 22);
(d) another horn (vv. 9-12, 23-25)?
4. What are we to understand by Daniel’s reaction to seeing the angel Gabriel (vv. 15-18) and his reaction after the vision is explained (v. 27)? And what are we to understand by the ‘touch’ from Gabriel (v. 18)?
What is human power like? Are the manifestations of human power we see here timeless in their application?
How is God’s rule worked out in the details of history? How important is it that God rules over the detail as well as the big picture?
God’s people face stressful times / intense periods of persecution, what are the key messages of this vision that we need to remember?
What is the relevance of this detailed vision to the times / circumstances in which we are living today?
As believers what is our reaction to this vision? Can we identify with Daniel’s reaction?
What confidence does this vision give us in the inspiration and reliability of God’s Word?