There IS Something About That Name
Reading: Daniel 7-9; Revelation 4
The bulk of the book of Daniel involves a series of visions and encounters with God that Daniel had during his time in Babylon. Here is one of the most beautiful ones.
“As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing coming out from before him. Thousands and thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened” (Daniel 7:9, 10, NIV). This vision of Daniel is reminiscent of sections of Revelation that describe God and the final judgment (Revelation 1:13-16; 20:11-14).
Daniel’s vision continues: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds or heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshipped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed” (Daniel 7:13, 14, NIV). And again there are parallels to this in the book of Revelation, such as Revelation 15:3, 4.
The Scriptures say that Daniel was “troubled” (7:15, 28) by what he saw. It was not the vision of God that created the uncertainty, and it was not until a little later when he understood the prophecies of his predecessor, Jeremiah, that the cause of his concern became clear. That understanding sent Daniel into mourning over the sins of his people (Daniel 9:3ff).
The end of Daniel’s prayer of repentance on his behalf, and that of his people, is a series of pleas: “Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, O Lord, look with favor…Give ear, O God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name” (Daniel 9:17-19, NIV, emphasis mine).
Among the many things I am impressed with here is the reason behind Daniel’s plea. That reason hikes back to the vision he saw of God, that same vision that send John crashing to his knees in Revelation 1, and Isaiah on the ground with his face buried in the dirt in Isaiah 6.
It’s the Name, the reputation of God, that is at stake when His people sin. Paul points out that it is the mention of the Name that will bring everyone to their knees eventually. Philippians 2:9-11 tells us: “God exalted him to the highest place and gave him a name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Daniel says that it isn’t on account of his righteousness, or that of anyone else, that God should respond to his prayer for salvation. He wants God to respond for His own sake. His concern is for God’s reputation, that God’s glory will not be tarnished any more that it has been, that God will be vindicated.
You see, we aren’t too concerned about the reputation of someone we don’t know or don’t particularly care about. Once men like Isaiah, Daniel, and John, and us, had seen the Lord in all His majesty and understood Who He is to the fullest extent humanly possible, all we will see is our own unrighteousness and all we will be concerned about will be His reputation, His Name, His glory.
As we grow more intimate with Him, so will grow our concern that everything we are and do bring glory, and not shame, to that great Name.