Pentecost 24 – Saturday Devotion
Readings: Daniel 2:1-23 and Revelation 18:1-24

Daniel 2:20-22: Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; He removes kings and sets up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; He reveals deep and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him.”

Revelation 18:1-2a: After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was made bright with his glory. And he called out with a mighty voice, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!”

“Fallen and Risen Kingdoms”

Crowns and thrones may perish, Kingdoms rise and wane,
But the Church of Jesus Constant will remain.
Gates of hell can never ‘Gainst that Church prevail;
We have Christ’s own promise, And that cannot fail.
Onward, Christian soldiers, Marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus Going on before. (LSB 662:3; public domain)

I probably caught you singing those words, the third stanza of “Onward, Christian Soldiers,” didn’t I? It’s one of those hymns we sing when we have that courage, boldness, and strength in Christ to see that His kingdom, power, and glory will never fade, fail, or fall away. Our two readings today from Daniel and the evangelist John talk about kingdoms that fall and the one Kingdom that remains.

Daniel had to wrestle with the kingdom of Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar challenged Daniel and all the wise men of Babylon to not only interpret his dream but also tell it. Time and time again he was asked to share what dream he had, then these wise men could get to work. But the king would demand they even tell him what dream he had!

But Daniel trusted the Lord. He asked his three friends to pray for him. Daniel knew that God set up kingdoms on earth and that God also brought down kingdoms. God would use the Babylonian kingdom for the purpose of testing His people in exile and drawing them to repentance and faith during those seventy years.

Daniel would later tell the king that even though he had things going great now, there will come another kingdom which will bring his down. As we read further, King Nebuchadnezzar would misinterpret the dream, build a statue to honor himself, and call everyone to bow down to it. We can read more in the third chapter of Daniel to see what happens.

The evangelist John would see the vision of what God would unfold regarding another Babylon—not as the earthly kingdom but a demonic kingdom. Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon would pale in comparison to the vile and evil kingdom which the angel declares would fall. Judgment Day will come and this kingdom of earth, filled with hatred and selfishness and all other kinds of sins, will come down to total defeat.

So which kingdom will remain? Luther writes: “And take they our life, Goods, fame, child, and wife, though these all be gone, Our victory has been won; The Kingdom ours remaineth.” (I bet you were singing those words, too!)

That Kingdom is the Kingdom of our Lord! It shall stand forever. The gates of hell can do nothing but beat against the doors of the Church. Those gates and even Satan himself can make all the noise he wants, but he cannot prevail. God’s Church—His Kingdom—remains.

By faith, through water and the Word in Baptism, you are washed and sanctified and counted to be in the holy Christian Church—the blessed communion of saints in His Kingdom!

We sing:
Through toil and tribulation
And tumult of her war
She waits the consummation
Of peace forevermore
Till with the vision glorious
Her longing eyes are blest,
And the great Church victorious
Shall be the Church at rest. (LSB 644:4; public domain)

Our Father…

The peace of the Lord + Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.