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Ascension Eve

Daniel 7:13-14

Rev. Andrew Eckert

Wed. after Easter 6
Our Savior Lutheran Church  
Stevensville, MT

Wed, May 12, 2021 

According to Daniel seven, the one like a Son of Man receives dominion.  He receives glory and honor.  He receives an eternal kingdom, which therefore makes Him a king.  He has authority that will never pass away.  All nations should serve Him.  This service includes but is not limited to worship.

When do the events in Daniel seven take place?  Daniel saw the vision hundreds of years before Christ was born.  Yet the rest of the context of Daniel’s vision appears to describe the Last Judgment, as the Ancient of Days takes His seat.  Court was in session for judgment.

But that does not necessarily mean that we are hearing about the Last Judgment.  Scripture teaches that Christ, the Son of Man, will not only receive power and glory at the time of the Judgment.  He already now has all things in His hand as the majestic Son of God at the right hand of the Father.  Already now, Christ is worthy of all service and worship.  These facts suggest that Daniel seven has already taken place.

When Christ began His ministry, He applied the phrase “Son of Man” to Himself.  When He used that phrase, the Scriptures do not record that anyone was shocked or amazed by His use of the words, “Son of Man”.  No one picked up stones to stone Him. 

This may partly be due to the fact that the phrase “Son of Man” can simply mean a human being.  For example, the prophet Ezekiel was repeatedly called “son of man” by the Lord.  Yet Ezekiel is not the Messiah the eternal Son of the Most High.

Yet Christ definitely identifies Himself as the Son of Man in the full sense with which Daniel seven uses it.  Sometimes when using the phrase, “Son of Man,” Christ was talking about the Final Judgment.  In Matthew sixteen Christ said, “The Son of Man is going to come with His angels in the glory of His Father, and then He will repay each person according to what he has done.” But then Christ adds this: “Truly I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” That is NOT the Final Judgment.  The Son of Man coming in His kingdom takes place during the lifetime of some standing there.

If we jump ahead to Matthew 28, some time before His ascension, Christ says, “All authority in heaven and earth is given to Me.” That sounds a lot like the Son of Man in Daniel seven who receives authority and dominion and honor and glory and kingship.  If, in chapter 28, Christ has already received all authority, then there is no more authority to still receive.  But Christ says these words in Matthew 28 long before the Last Judgment, and even before the Ascension.

Even earlier, in Matthew 26, Christ said, “From now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” These words were said by Christ in front of the high priest Caiaphas, moments before the whole Sanhedrin declared Christ a blasphemer who deserved death.  From there they took Christ to Pontius Pilate, and from there He went to the Cross.  These all seem to be inglorious, dishonorable events for Christ.  Yet Christ did not say, “You will see the Son of Man at the right hand of Power on clouds of glory AFTER I am finished suffering and dying.” No, He says, “From now on ...” In other words, the Son of Man was going to glory by His act of suffering for sinners.  The Son of Man received authority and majesty for the very reason that He was willing to be the Redeemer of mankind.

If we must tie down Daniel seven to an exact point in time, it seems best to place it when Christ died and was presented before His Father as the One who had accomplished all things.  Or perhaps it is immediately after the Resurrection on Easter.  Either, way, the Father bestows on His most worthy Son all power and glory.  This vindicates Christ, since earlier on the Cross Christ had appeared to be the worst sinner of all.  “No,” says the Father, “He is indeed My beloved Son.”

The Kingdom and Kingship are given to Christ, since then He had created the holy Church by shedding precious Blood to purchase her from the nations.

Likewise all authority was His because He now held the keys of the kingdom of heaven.  Death was under His foot, hell was conquered.  No other authority could be won than He had already won.

But here we might stop and say, “Did not Christ already have all power and authority and honor and kingship?  He is, after all, the eternal Son of God, who was always equal to the Father.” If we say that, we are correct.  Yet there is a difference in the enthronement and glorification of the Son of Man.  He has now received these things, not only by virtue of His redemptive work.  He has also received them as the Man who is also God.  A Man has now received all authority, honor, majesty, and an eternal kingdom.  A Man is now declared worthy of all service and worship.

This is the key to understand how all this benefits us.  The cynical sinful flesh might say, “Well, great, Christ is majestic on His throne.  Big whup.  What does that have to do with me?” To which we reply, “Everything the Son of Man has won, He gives to us.” Later in Daniel seven, it is the saints who receive kingdom and dominion and greatness, forever.  We have glory because Christ has glory, although our glory is hidden now.  We have the authority to unlock and lock the kingdom of heaven, although that does not seem to be much if viewed from the eyes of this world.  We have the eternal kingdom, but it does not look like we do just yet.

On the Last Day, the glory of the sons of God will be revealed.  Then we will see what Christ already gave us.  But it is already ours. 

What do we do with it?  We use it as Christ used it, to serve our neighbor.  We use the power of the keys to forgive sinners.  We use our greatness by humbling ourselves in acts of mercy.  We do not puff ourselves up with the honor God has bestowed on us.  Instead, we stoop low for others.

Always we remember that where the Head is, there His body is also.  Christ is one with us, His saints.  He has filled all things with His presence for the sake of His Church.  Therefore we are not beaten down and conquered, whatever the world thinks of us.  We are not the scum of the earth.  Instead, we are the glorious ones, beloved of God because of His Son.  Ours is the kingdom that is not destroyed.  Therefore we will not be destroyed, even if our bodies are laid in the dust, even if all the world should condemn us, even if we are called blasphemers worthy of death.  Christ, the Son of Man, to whom the Father has given the authority to judge, has declared us His holy saints.  Our judgment was accomplished at the Cross, when precious Blood was poured out.

Amen.



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