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Oct 25, 2020

The True End of History

The True End of History

Passage: Daniel

Speaker: Patrick Lafferty

Series: Of Kings and Kingdoms - Daniel

Long before followers of Jesus began wondering when the Lord would come to complete what he’d begun in Christ, those whose hope was in God imagined the end of an enduring era and a beginning of an everlasting one. Prophets like Daniel added to those expectations. But with what appears to be a mostly random and dispiriting developments in human history, do those spoken hopes have any remaining relevance? What do we receive from hearing old hopes of a future world?

Order of Worship

CALL TO WORSHIP: Revelation 5:11-13
NT READING: Mark 13 (excerpts)
RESPONSE: Prayer of Confession (from The Service for the Lord’s Day)
BENEDICTION: Colossians 1:11-14

Children's LessonsChildren's Activity Packet

Readings & Scripture

CALL TO WORSHIP: Revelation 5:11-13
LEADER: 11 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” 13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying,

ALL: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might for ever and ever!”

NT READING: Mark 13 (excerpts)
3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked him privately, 4 ‘Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?’
7 When you hear of wars and rumours of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 8 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth-pains.
12 ‘Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 13 Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
23 So be on your guard; I have told you everything in advance.
29 Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door.
31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away

1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel saw a dream and visions of his head as he lay in his bed. Then he wrote down the dream and told the sum of the matter. 2 Daniel declared, “I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea. 3 And four great beasts came up out of the sea, different from one another. 4 The first was like a lion and had eagles’ wings. Then as I looked its wings were plucked off, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man, and the mind of a man was given to it. 5 And behold, another beast, a second one, like a bear. It was raised up on one side. It had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth; and it was told, ‘Arise, devour much flesh.’ 6 After this I looked, and behold, another, like a leopard, with four wings of a bird on its back. And the beast had four heads, and dominion was given to it. 7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, terrifying and dreadful and exceedingly strong. It had great iron teeth; it devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. 8 I considered the horns, and behold, there came up among them another horn, a little one, before which three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots. And behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things. 9 “As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days took his seat; his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames; its wheels were burning fire. 10 A stream of fire issued and came out from before him;
a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the court sat in judgment, and the books were opened. 11 “I looked then because of the sound of the great words that the horn was speaking. And as I looked, the beast was killed, and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire. 12 As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time. 13 “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. 14 And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed. 15 “As for me, Daniel, my spirit within me was anxious, and the visions of my head alarmed me. 16 I approached one of those who stood there and asked him the truth concerning all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of the things. 17 ‘These four great beasts are four kings who shall arise out of the earth. 18 But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever.’ 19 “Then I desired to know the truth about the fourth beast, which was different from all the rest, exceedingly terrifying, with its teeth of iron and claws of bronze, and which devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet, 20 and about the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn that came up and before which three of them fell, the horn that had eyes and a mouth that spoke great things, and that seemed greater than its companions. 21 As I looked, this horn made war with the saints and prevailed over them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given for the saints of the Most High, and the time came when the saints possessed the kingdom. 23 “Thus he said: ‘As for the fourth beast, there shall be a fourth kingdom on earth,
which shall be different from all the kingdoms, and it shall devour the whole earth, and trample it down, and break it to pieces. 24 As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise, and another shall arise after them; he shall be different from the former ones, and shall put down three kings. 25 He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. 26 But the court shall sit in judgment, and his dominion shall be taken away, to be consumed and destroyed to the end. 27 And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; his kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.’ 28 “Here is the end of the matter. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts greatly alarmed me, and my color changed, but I kept the matter in my heart.”

RESPONSE: Prayer of Confession (from The Service for the Lord’s Day)
ALL: O Merciful God,
We confess that we have not loved you with
our whole heart, mind, and strength
And have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.

In your great mercy, forgive us,
renew us, compel us and lead us,

That we may delight in your will
walk in your ways; find joy in your Word.
Through the finished work of Christ.

BENEDICTION: Colossians 1:11-14
LEADER:11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.

ALL; 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.


  • Matthew 25
  • Mark 13
  • Revelation 14:14


InView Media: 10.25.20 Album


  1. Best end of the world film or story you’ve read/seen? Why that one?
  2. What do you think history will end up saying about what we’re all experiencing in these days?
  3. Why might this vision associate animals with human powers?
  4. How does Daniel see God’s involvement in the ebb and flow of kingdoms coming and going? Is God only involved at the end of history? How are we to think Him at work in history, even when it feels like he’s left history to fend for itself?
  5. What does this vision suggest about the culmination of history? What’s to happen?
  6. Who else of note is involved in that culmination? What is that player’s role and storyline?


  • He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; Daniel 2:21
  • The Most High rules the Kingdom of men . . . . Daniel 4:17
  • That very night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was killed.  Daniel 5:30
  • The awareness that God acts in history in ways that we can only know in the context of our culturally determined experience should be central to a Christian understanding of history.  Yet the Christian must not lose sight of the fact that, just as in the Incarnation Christ's humanity does not compromise His divinity, so the reality of God's other work in history, going well beyond what we might explain as natural phenomena, is not compromised by the fact that it is culturally defined. George M. Marsden, Fundamentalism and American Culture. 
  • . . .they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. Daniel 7:25
  • I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven. Mark 14:62
  • Our most revolutionary political act is to hope. James K.A. Smith, Awaiting the King
  • Worship again and again interrupts the course of the world. Through worship the Christian community testifies that the world is not on its own. And this also means that it is not kept alive by politics, as the business of politics, which knows no Sabbath, would have us believe. James K.A. Smith, Awaiting the King
  • Over the chaos of this world reigns the King of kings, Jesus the Resurrected, before whom every knee will eventually bow, whether they like it or not. Every governmental authority now — presidents, kings, prime ministers, you name it — are in lame-duck administrations. Their time is ending. Put not your trust in politicians or parties or ballot boxes. Christ and his kingdom are everlasting. And into that kingdom he calls us all to find forgiveness, life, and peace. Chad Bird
  • I will end… with a little scene that took place in the last months of peace. They were the most terrible months of my life, for, helplessly and hopelessly, one watched the inevitable approach of war. One of the most horrible things at that time was to listen on the wireless to the speeches of Hitler—the savage and insane ravings of a vindictive underdog who suddenly saw himself to be all-powerful. We were in Rodmell during the late summer of 1939, and I used to listen to those ranting, raving speeches. One afternoon I was planting in the orchard under an apple-tree iris reticulata, those lovely violet flowers… Suddenly I heard Virginia’s voice calling to me from the sitting room window: “Hitler is making a speech.” I shouted back, “I shan’t come. I’m planting iris and they will be flowering long after he is dead.” Last March, twenty-one years after Hitler committed suicide in the bunker, a few of those violet flowers still flowered under the apple-tree in the orchard. Leonard Woolf (HT: Austin Kleon)


  • A Wikipedia summary of the book “The End of History,” in which the author Francis Fukuyama argued that, with the end of the Cold War, history has reached a point of stability in which mature democracies would no longer go to war. Now history would proceed without violent transitions of power. 
  • A long-term view of restoration,” a brief excerpt from a longer conversation between Dr Anthony Bradley and Gabe Lyons of Q Ideas