Well here it is early afternoon on Friday and I still haven't released what I began writing Thursday morning.
Thursday was one of those mornings where the first appointment was a noon luncheon, my thoughts settled into a relaxed morning of reading, and of course a better attempt at brevity, as promised in my last post.
By 8:30 my phone was blowing up and I have only now gotten back around to writing, with a follow-up meeting in a few minutes.
My slow read through Daniel has me only at Chapter 7; himself well into the second or third leader under whom he would served. In all, before passing at age 80, he would serve 4 or 5 kings, at least by way of namesakes recorded.
The second, after Nebuchadrezzar (possibly Neb.II), Amēl-Marduk, referenced by some as Evil-Marduk, originally named Nabu-shum-ukin (historical records vary), became king in 562 BC. His reign was marred with intrigue and he only ruled for two years before being murdered and usurped by his brother-in-law, Neriglissar.
Then, Nabonidus, the son of a priestess, became king in 556 B.C. and married Nitocris (probably the queen in Daniel 5:10). Their eldest son Belshazzar was made regent and co-ruler with him. In about 550 B.C., Nabonidus moved to Arabia leaving Babylon in the hands of Belshazzar.
He would be followed by Darius the Mede, mentioned in the Book of Daniel as king of Babylon between Belshazzar and Cyrus the Great, though he is not known to history,
You can imagine the early challenges of this teenager! Captured, then renamed, followed by a near death experience in a lion's den, and finally, positioned as a major influencer during chaotic political times. And we dare think providence at times hands us a bum deal!!
As crazy at it might sound, as I read Daniel, I must also think of my own life, though never facing real lions, I have at times been nearly consumed by evil. Early on for sure, escaping death a couple times, all while providence was protecting purpose in my life. I would eventually learn to lead.
As I read, it seems for both of us, three to four distinct windows of life over time. My crazy journey also began in my mid-teens, though unlike Daniel, I voluntarily left my "country land", the Pentecostal tradition, religiously speaking of course.
I remember telling my mom after school one day at age 16, always having had a sense of spiritual covering over me, that I had decided church wasn't my thing, at least as we were doing church.
With all respect, her response was, "Johnny, did you say a cuss word?" I was through with church at that moment. Those years from 16-25 were quite treacherous and at times life threatening, particularly leaving stains hard to just wash over.
At age 25, on January 3, 1973 I had a "name change" by way of an epiphany that reclaimed my spirit and redirected my life, one long departed from any desire for church engagement. That would also change, as various mentors opened doors that my previous two decades should have forever closed.
Then at age 50, a second phase of life. Like Daniel, I had become more confident in my calling, I even established a company, Master Counsel and Associates, with the intention of a deeper impact upon cities by way of a marketplace ministry. Little did I know, though traveling multiple states and several countries, that my major focus would be my hometown.
Yesterday morning, the flurry of calls around current projects, as well as an unlikely luncheon that flowed out of one of my cabin talks, verified my recent thoughts of a third window opening in my life, though age wise, now in my fourth quarter.
Providence had come full circle and like Daniel's experience with multiple kings, himself before and much younger, boldly describing dreams which only they had experienced. Then, by way of his anointing, accurately interpreting them as well. Now, he was dreaming his own.
"In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters. Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another." Daniel 7: 1-3 KJV.
My dreams, like Daniel's are about a hope and a future! A day or days, soon to come when the "Body" of Christ, though now some 2000 years passed since the man, Jesus had lived, the Church is again reaching a critical delta, a point of strategic shift, as has been her history, about every 500 years.
The Body now maturing into the Christ (that was not Jesus' first name), which with each generation, maturity has afforded an expanded revelation, just as first demonstrated in Creation. Though the institution resists, even the heavens are speaking. So timely is our sudden awareness and data based evidence of billions of galaxies, themselves ever expanding.
Will that in fact be the second coming, the Body of Christ fully formed in us, "the hope of glory"? The galaxies now awaiting our habitation, along with all those who have come before us? Could these ever expanding galaxies be the New Heavens and the New Earth, as spoken of by John?
Was John's Revelation somewhat distorted by his limited knowledge, yet driven by a passion to see the same bodily return of the man, Jesus whom he so loved? The One so similarly described in Rev. 1:14, almost identical in appearance to the One whom Daniel saw, and before him Ezekiel:
"I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire." Daniel 7:9 KJV.
Please Church, don't burn me at the stake, just being real, in light of the challenges facing the next generation, as they compare the Institution's impact over the last 2000 years. Her product so blemished in light of the life of the One who lived only 33years. A life that changed society forever, upending the religion of His day with a message of grace, compassion, love and justice.