Cooler than cool
In today’s first reading (Daniel 7:2-14), there are four such beasts: a winged lion, a bear with three tusks, a four-headed leopard, and finally a strange beast with iron teeth and ten horns that gets even stranger as Daniel watches.
Suddenly another, a little horn,
sprang out of their midst,
and three of the previous horns
were torn away to make room for it.
This horn had eyes like a man,
and a mouth that spoke arrogantly.
To which some gamers, Goths, and druggies today may say: “Cool”
More serious and devout people have spilled much ink and many bytes in speculation about the prophetic meaning of these beasts - over and above the meaning they would have had in past ages (some scholars identify the four beasts as representing the Babylonian, Median, Persian, and Hellenistic empires respectively).
The most important part of this passage, however, is not the description of the beasts.
The most important part of this passage is the vision of the heavenly court.
Terrible things have happened in this world and still more terrible things are certain to happen, but greater than all of these terrible things is the glory of God that is to be revealed at the end of days.
It is important for us to absorb the meaning of the Scriptures and to be vigilant against the terrible things that may come, but it is even more important for us to focus unswervingly on the majesty and the power of the Lord, who conquers all.
Besides, the heavenly court is way more cool...
...more spectacular, more thrilling, more frightening, infinitely more powerful, and – best of all – eternally more excellent for us.
Thrones were set up
and the Ancient One took his throne.
This Ancient One is no geezer, but rather a figure of infinite power and majesty, who shines with megapixel brightness.
His clothing was snow bright,
and the hair on his head as white as wool;
Daniel uses the word "fire" in describing the heavenly court, but these are no wussy orange flames, but rather "flames" of great, pulsing energy. Imagine the most awesome energy fields of the best science fiction movie, complete with that low, heavy hum of pent-up force - and multiply it to the nth power.
His throne was flames of fire,
with wheels of burning fire.
A surging stream of fire
flowed out from where he sat;
Thousands upon thousands
were ministering to him,
and myriads upon myriads attended him.
The court was convened,
and the books were opened.
I watched, then... until the beast was slain
and its body thrown into the fire to be burnt up....
As the visions during the night continued, I saw
One like a son of man coming,
on the clouds of heaven;
Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!
When he reached the Ancient One
and was presented before him,
He received dominion, glory, and kingship;
nations and peoples of every language serve him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
that shall not be taken away,
his kingship shall not be destroyed.
The Ultimate Cool
Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!