By Charlton Hillis
While Daniel was still down on his knees, God sent Gabriel with answers—and a note of love: “The moment you began praying, a command was given. And now I am here to tell you what it was, for you are very precious to God.” (Some versions say, “…for you are greatly loved.”) Sometimes he reaches down and hands us a part of himself.
From the Pentateuch through Revelation runs a theme of love. God’s love, no less than His power, wrapped around the written word like a blanket around a newborn baby. No amount of questions and debates can diminish the view of that persistent Divine love. Not even in those Old Testament books which seem top heavy with power and judgement. Here is Daniel’s vision of the power of the Christ:
“As my vision continued that night, I saw someone like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient One and was led into his presence. He was given authority, honor, and sovereignty over all the nations of the world, so that people of every race and nation and language would obey him. His rule is eternal—it will never end. His kingdom will never be destroyed.” Daniel 7:13, 14
God-breathed inspiration demands trust that it is just that. Trust built on fulfilled prophecies, multiple eyewitness accounts, history and more. Trust built on a God who did not leave us without a foundation, floundering for the answers. Trust built on love.
Some scholars point out pagan myths that mirror and seemingly predate Genesis accounts. They pick out supposed contradictions and consign the letter writers to the op-ed page. Their conclusions of the Bible range widely. Stories only loosely inspired. Flawed and outdated—to be reinterpreted for our society. Mere myths copied from other cultures. (Other scholars present intelligent contradictions to all of the above—but are seldom referenced.)
Believers point out a God before time who holds the answers in his hand, whether revealed to us or not. Spirit-breathed inspiration is insight and understanding, signed with love. We search the word for what has been revealed but too often hear and embrace things without searching. Sermons and platitudes. Opinions and traditions. We remain several cloudy layers removed from that revelation.
His Spirit in us gently, persistently guides us back to His own word. Finally at the place where we burn with the desire to see clearly, we read it hungrily. With new eyes. Spirit-breathed words in the face of which all else fades. The final authority, according to scripture itself.
The Bereans in the book of Acts were said to be more open-minded (some versions say “noble”) than some. They searched the scriptures every day to see if the apostle Paul was teaching the truth about Jesus…and they had only the Old Testament to search. The answer was yes.
As with many Old Testament/New Testament passages, there are striking links. Fulfilled prophecies. Mark’s account of the Christ is reminiscent of Daniel’s powerful vision.
“…Then the high priest asked him, ‘Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?’ Jesus said, ‘I am. And you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven.’ Mark 14:61, 62
But we cannot talk of authority, power, the day of judgement—or the written word—without talking of love. To leave out love is to flounder again without a foundation. To deny the very nature of the Creator. He sends his rain on believers and nonbelievers alike, and in the same way sends His love. All claim it and take it for granted, the same as with the life-giving rain. The great I AM does not just love—He is love. His presence, His love is ubiquitous. Absent His presence, love is absent.
We see but a glimpse of that love, never imagining—as Daniel probably never did before the angel told him—just how personal it is. Now and then someone sees more…
A sister in Christ told me something from her past which she could never forget. Complications after open heart surgery. No, she said, not a death-on-the-operating-table story, but near death. Feeling a powerful pull. But she had small children. She couldn’t let go. And each time she tried to resist, the pull was almost irresistible. She strained against the sweetest thing she ever knew.
That pull that was nearly irresistible?
Like nothing she had ever experienced. How to describe it in earthly terms, which never come close to describing heavenly things? The closest picture she could paint…When you have just given birth, and they lay the baby on your chest.
She gave me the best description I could have grasped. Something from my own past, never mentioned, never forgotten. You have known and loved that baby all those months, and now you are holding her in your arms. Yes, that love…only sort of in reverse, she said. That love. Like nothing before or since, and it’s the same no matter how many children you have.
Not everyone has been there. But most can understand it. And even if you doubt and find other explanations for her experience, as some will—do not discard the analogy. It’s a priceless picture of God’s love. Sometimes He reaches down and hands us a part of Himself.
Here’s the best picture of that—the power and the love in One:
But think about this: “…while we were wasting our lives in sin, God revealed His powerful love to us in a tangible display—the Anointed One died for us.” Romans 5:8
Scripture references from NLT (New Living Translation) and The Voice.