The Ancient of Days
In Daniel chapter seven, verses nine and ten we see an Image of God as He is seated on His throne. Many Christians don’t expect to see any Image of God in the Bible, and certainly not the Image of God Daniel describes. What the prophet sees, and includes in this chapter is not intended to surprise or alarm Christians but it does. The Antichrist is supposed to “shake in his boots” (if he had boots.) at this Image of God, not Christians.
This is a prophetic passage that looks forward to the appointed time when Jesus will judge the Antichrist. We see Jesus, with the title “Son of man,” approach his Father’s throne in preparation for his “second coming,” when man’s rule on the earth will end and God’s rule begins. It’s an exciting prophecy and gives us a privileged look into the throne of God.
The featured image for this article is that of the ark of the covenant which is a type of the throne of God in heaven.
The Image of God in the Throne Room
By reading this vision of Daniel, we are allowed to look into the Holy Place where God resides. Only the Jewish high priest could go there once a year. No other man, woman, or child has ever been allowed to look into the Most Holy Place–the throne of God.
In our flesh, we cannot see God. We must undergo a change from this mortal flesh into the image of His Son. In the future, we will receive a spiritual body like that of Christ. Then, once in heaven, we will be able to see God, as He is, on His throne.
The image of the Son
English Standard Version 1 John 3:2
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him because we shall see him as he is.
Only Jesus, the Son of God, has truly seen God. In chapter seven of Daniel’s prophecy, we are allowed a peek into the throne to catch a glimpse of the glorious Image of God.
Holman Christian Standard Bible John 1:18
No one has ever seen God. The One and Only Son– the One who is at the Father’s side– He has revealed Him.
Why the image trouble?
As Christians, we learn we must not make any Image of God because if we do we bring God down to a defined image or likeness. God cannot be defined by any one image or likeness. Also, mankind likes to worship what he can touch, feel, and set on a table in his home. God is not like that.
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness [of any thing] that [is] in heaven above, or that [is] in the earth beneath, or that [is] in the water under the earth: 5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thyGod [am] a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the …
We also read that God is an invisible spirit.
John 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation (Colossians 1:15).
Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen (1 Timothy 1:17).
We do not understand God, we likely never will. We also cannot grasp the Image of God described to us in many passages of the Bible. Based on this passage in Daniel and others, I believe the Ancient of Days, God, can and does take on some form at times. We also must wrestle with the meaning of scripture when it says mankind was made in the Image of God.
Daniel saw this vision. On a throne, he saw God the Father with physical attributes. We should trust the Holy Spirit’s guidance in allowing the prophet to use the words he did.
Jumping in the lap of Jesus
I’ve often heard Christians express the joy and excitement they expect to have when they finally see God. Many have expressed their excitement like this, “I can’t wait to see him, I’m going to run up to him and jump in his lap!”
Um…I don’t really don’t think there will be many of us jumping into the lap of Jesus while He’s seated on the throne next to His Heavenly Father. I expect most of us to be on our faces in front of Him in silent awe, overwhelmed with thanksgiving, yet trembling with respect toward the One who exceeds all imagination and beauty.
In this Image of God, we see that His throne is a “fiery flame.” We will wait until called upon before we run and jump into anyone’s lap who is seated upon a throne of fire.
Let’s take a further look at the image of the throne and see why the Antichrist is the “little man” who really will fear this image.
The Ancient of Days, (the image of God) and the imagery of his throne.
I watched till thrones were put in place, and the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, its wheels a burning fire; a fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.
I watched till thrones were put in place:
The Old King James Version translates this as thrones were cast down. The New King James Version changed this to thrones were put in place. I think it might have been better as cast down. This same word, in the original language, is used in several other passages and is usually translated as cast down. The change to “put in place,” is probably because the translators saw the connection of this passage to Revelation 4:4. In that verse we see 24 elders seated on thrones. Many interpret these elders as representations of the church. It is argued that Daniel would not have seen these elders if they are a type of the church. It is believed the thrones are set in place before Christ vanquishes the Antichrist.
Missing the Context
I think this switch in wording misses the context of the passage in Daniel. The vision is about the four empires which rule among the nations leading up to the time of the end. The leaders of those empires sit on earthly thrones and boast that their thrones are the greatest ever. But God will judge the earthly rulers, and their thrones will be cast down, just as this verse says.
The chapter starts on earth, revealing four attempts by human leaders to rule over the affairs of men and the tiny Jewish nation of Israel. The vision then switches to a heavenly perspective where The Ancient of Days is seated on His throne. He will have the final say about who rules over the nations and Israel.
When the Apostle John saw heaven, he also saw thrones, but he also saw those who sat on those thrones – the 24 elders described in Revelation 4:4. Daniel made no mention of these elders, perhaps because the 24 elders represent the church, and the church was an unrevealed mystery to Old Testament saints (Ephesians 3:1-7). Guzik
And the Ancient of Days was seated:
The Ancient of Days is clearly God Almighty, the Creator, and Heavenly Father. Some wonder if this is God because of the confusion about God’s nature and physics of his make-up. Some people argue that only the Son can manifest in a human form, but this verse and several others present a problem for that view. Most scholars believe this is God the Father. The white garments and white hair are symbols of the eternal character of God the Father.
But God is not an old man.
Old Man in the Sky
I cringe when I hear people describe God as the ‘Old-man upstairs.’ God is eternal with no beginning but he’s not an aged man. The Lord made mankind in the Image of God. He gave Adam a portion of his glory in the Garden of Eden. Much of that glory was lost during the fall from grace of Adam and Eve. Christ’s redemptive work on the cross and the future fulfillment of this prophecy in chapter seven of Daniel will help restore mankind’s lost glory. The glory of the Image of God lost in the garden but restored in heaven in the future.
His throne was a fiery flame:
There is little wonder why we wouldn’t last a second in God’s presence. The Bible describes God as a consuming fire. Here we see his throne is also a blazing fire. In the vision Daniel sees the throne and government of God preparing to judge the empires of the fallen world. The fire of judgment flares into readiness at the anticipation of judgment against the final beast-kingdom. The Antichrist will lead that final beast-kingdom.
Something like a flow of hot molten lava pours from the fiery throne. The Lord once used water to judge the earth. He will use fire to judge it the next time.
Isaiah 66:15-16 describes the judgment of God in terms of fire: For behold, the Lord will come with fire and with His chariots, like a whirlwind, to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by His sword the Lord will judge all flesh, and the slain of the Lord shall be many. Guzik
Its wheels a burning fire:
These wheels were under the throne of God. We don’t usually imagine that God would need wheels to get around. He is everywhere at once. He is larger than the universe and present at every corner of every galaxy. Why would his throne need wheels? We don’t know, but there are some fascinating descriptions of these wheels in the Book of Ezekiel. In the visions Ezekiel saw, it’s easy to get the impression that the wheels are possibly angelic beings also. We don’t know. The prophets wrote down what they saw using the best words they could think of to describe the indescribable.
A thousand thousands ministered to Him:
This number is like the innumerable host of angels that sang to the shepherds announcing the birth of Christ. We don’t know what the wheels under God’s throne are and we also don’t know how many angels there are. There is a vast number of them and they are created to serve God and his creation.
Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him:
Some believe this describes human souls standing before God awaiting judgment. There are similar scenes in the Book of Revelation. We know for certain that some of the crowds described in Revelation are part of the church. As far as what Daniel sees, it’s likely a good guess that this is the church but it could be more angelic beings as well.
The court was seated, and the books were opened:
For those who do not know the Lord, this part should be scary. God is keeping a careful record. The court is in session, The Ancient of Days is ready, and His Son will soon complete His mission.
If you have not made your peace with God, now is as good a time as any. No need to wait till you’re in the mood. click here and Take the Roman Road if you like.
The Bible describes several record books used in God’s governing of the affairs of heaven and earth.
- · The book of the living (Psalm 69:28).
- · The book of remembrance (Malachi 3:16).
- · The Book of Life (Philippians 4:3, Revelation 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27 and 22:19).
In the next part of this series, we take a closer look at the Antichrist’s kingdom and destruction.
More from Daniel