Originally posted on Facebook in January of this year; for those who didn’t get to read it as a post, peruse it here!
“‘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 was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed.'” Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14
This chapter begins in the first year of Belshazzar, the party king. Daniel has been God’s spokesman for many years, but now God reaches him in a new way; while he previously interpreted dreams, now God gives the prophet dreams of the future.
This vision is a mirror image of the statue dream Nebuchadnezzar had seen in chapter 2; Daniel saw the four empires as ravaging beasts, which represented their spiritual state. The fourth empire was Rome, which was different because it absorbed other kingdoms into itself rather than consume them, and from Rome is born the kingdom of the Antichrist (represented by the ten horns and the little horn with eyes and a boastful mouth).
After these things, Daniel is granted a vision of God’s court in heaven, where He (the Ancient of days) sits in judgment against the kingdoms of the world. After the judgment sentence has been passed, Jesus appears, is brought near to God, and the Kingdom of God is forever established with Jesus as its king. While both dreams (ch.2 & ch.7) point to the white throne of judgment and new creation of Earth in Revelation 20 & 21, Daniel’s is deeper because he existed in a closer relationship with God than Nebuchadnezzar did; God reached each man according to the state of their hearts.
It is interesting that God is described as the Ancient of Days; it is from a misinterpretation of the simile here that the image of God as an old man comes from. The whiteness of His hair is not due to age, but rather the light that comes from it – it is a picture of the holiness and purity of God’s character. The very term “Ancient of Days” actually points to God’s creation of linear time (and by extension His existence before and outside of it).