Day 11

The Ancient of Days and the Son of Man

from the Daniel reading plan


Daniel 7:1-14, Psalm 104:1-5, Hebrews 12:28-29

BY Elaine Phillips

The first part of Daniel’s dream vision was the stuff of night terrors. The four apocalyptic beasts were fierce predators, each more terrifying than the previous one. The four parts of the statue in chapter two represented four kingdoms; now Daniel saw their true nature. These rapacious creatures embodied the four brutal super-powers under which God’s people would suffer—repeatedly. While the stationary image signified the idolatrous world views of the dark kingdoms, the violence of these beasts exposed the lawless end product of idolatry, no matter what form it takes. God’s people should rightfully quail at the prospect. 

For that reason, the second part of the vision is of utmost importance—for Daniel’s audience and for us.

The Almighty God is on His throne. What words can possibly capture God’s radiant and holy presence? God is surrounded by fire and flaming wheels, with an accompanying river of fire. Fire purifies. Woe to us indeed, if we fail to bow our faces to the ground in appropriate fear and dread; “our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:28–29). 

What can convey God’s absolute and everlasting rule of the universe? That’s the point of “Ancient of Days” and blindingly white hair and clothing (see Psalm 104:2). We must linger on these words and images that catapult us to the vaults of heaven. Far above all else that we may find tumultuous and terrifying, God reigns supreme, and God will judge. Daniel saw the books opened and those utterly fearsome beasts either subdued or destroyed.

Then, the Son of Man arrived with the clouds of heaven, was ushered into the presence of the Ancient of Days, and was given dominion, glory, and power (Daniel 7:13–14). Everyone would serve Him, and His kingdom would never end. In other words, the Son of Man is God. 

Jesus intentionally chose this title for Himself (Matthew 8:20; 11:18–19). His audiences might first have thought of Ezekiel, whom God repeatedly summoned with the words, “son of man,” affirming the prophet’s human nature, entirely given over to serving God. But they would also be familiar with this passage. Daniel’s “Son of Man” was invested with all the accoutrements of deity. By consistently calling Himself “Son of Man,” Jesus was affirming and declaring that He is both fully God and fully human. 

That culminated in the exchange between Caiaphas and Jesus (Matthew 26:57–67). When Caiaphas put Jesus under oath, Jesus declared they would “see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven” (v.64). This one bold statement drew together this passage from Daniel 7 and King David’s words from Psalm 110:1—two key passages Caiaphas would have been well acquainted with, both of which unquestionably point to God and no one less. No wonder those religious leaders at Jesus’s trial tore their robes! 

Make no mistake, Jesus was declaring Himself God before those religious leaders who should have been anxiously awaiting His arrival. Their human judgment of Jesus is an ironic contrast with the image of God’s coming judgment in Daniel 7:9–10. Nevertheless, in God’s cosmic judicial proceedings, those events affected true justice—for eternity.

Post Comments (37)

37 thoughts on "The Ancient of Days and the Son of Man"

  1. Christa Strader says:

    I really enjoy reading the posts here after reading His Word and a little Commentary work :) I personally struggle to see past the words (literal person) and relating one part of the Bible to another. So far this study allowed me to actually write in my Bible for the first time in my life and be happy about it :) (like clean books and of course my Bible)

    My Bible is something I treasure and know what I’m able to put in the side notes is something I can carry with me for such a very long time and something I can teach my kiddos (something more than kid version) .

    The world is scary and I know God will always be there with me no matter what situation comes my way and Daniel is proof of just how Wonderful God is :)

  2. Margaret W says:

    The picture of God her reminds me of one in Revelation: you have to keep in mind that mere words cannot describe to contain the majesty and power of God.

  3. Cathy says:

    Sarah
    Praying that you will find a way to put God in the pause when those thoughts enter your head and find true surrender with a quick and honest prayer “I give these thoughts to you Lord and will rest in your plan for me.” True surrender leaves you With peace. Live one day at a time and be present for the moments….enjoying each one rather than be focused on the future. Peace, sister!

  4. Patricia Broadway says:

    The Ancient of Days is in control!!! No matter how frightening He has our backs. Praise Him

  5. Tammy Dill says:

    I found that Daniel seeing Jesus, our savior, in his visions so exciting and hopeful. He saw past all the different nations in power and saw Jesus, who wouldn’t be born for a very long time, saw him in his glory and power and dominion! I felt very comforted. I’m learning so much, especially because all of this is so new to me.

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