The Ancient of Days
and the Kingdom of His Son
The term “Ancient of days” occurs only three times in the Bible and all three are found in the Book of Daniel in the seventh chapter. Let us examine these and see what they teach us.
In Daniel's vision of the “Ancient of days”, he said, “I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.” (Daniel 7:9)
Daniel also saw, “in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” (v. 13-14)
These verses are so fantastic. They give us an Old Testament glimpse of the plan of God the Father to give to His Son the kingdom over the nations forever. The prophet Isaiah also spoke on this wise saying, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” (Isaiah 9:6-7)
Further detail is revealed in the New Testament concerning the Son who will reign on David's throne, and it is a very prominent theme. The New Testament opens with these words, “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David” (Matthew 1:1). Upon the announcement of His incarnation, the angel told Mary, "He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David. And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end... that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." (Luke 1:32-35). When the “child is born” the angel immediately announced, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)
Jesus Christ is the “Son of man” but He is also the “Son of the Highest”. He is the “Son of David”, but He is also the “Son of God”. He is the “Saviour, which is Christ the Lord”. The Revelation sums it up like this, He is “the root and the offspring of David” (Revelation 22:16). He is the “offspring” of David, but He is also the “root” of David. He is David's “Son”, but He is also David's “Lord” (Matthew 22:42-46).
When the Word became flesh, miraculously born of a virgin in the line of King David, the eternal Word of God and our Creator dwelt among us. This is what the Lord had promised David, “And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son.” (2 Samuel 7:12-14) This was a promise by God to David for, “God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne” (Acts 2:30, Psalm 132:11).
Many who knew the Word and understood the times knew that Jesus was the “Son of David”, and believed that the kingdom of God on earth would finally be fulfilled. Even Jesus began His ministry saying, “the kingdom of heaven is at hand”, but that changed rather quickly. When His rejection by the leadership of Israel became evident, He began to tell His disciples, “But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.” (Luke 17:25) The “sufferings” must come “first” and the “glory... should follow” (1 Peter 1:11).
Therefore, He spake a parable to them, “because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear. He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.” (Luke 19:11-12) He told many parables saying how the events would unfold. Israel would reject their King, “saying, We will not have this man to reign over us” (Luke 19:14), and as a result, they “cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him” (Matthew 21:39).
As foretold by the prophet Daniel, so “shall Messiah be cut off” (Daniel 9:26). Jesus was “the stone which the builders rejected”, and because of His rejection He said, “The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof” (Matthew 21:42-43). The violent thought they could take the kingdom by force and seize upon His inheritance, but the kingdom would now be postpone as Christ goes to a “far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return”. This same “stone” that the builders rejected, would be the “stone” that one day will return and smite the kingdoms of this world, and His kingdom shall fill the whole earth (Daniel 2:35, 44-45).
This is what we see in the text of Daniel, as Christ goes back to His Father where was “given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom”, even the title deed to the whole earth as we see given to Him in Revelation chapter 5. This was also foretold in the second Psalm, “I shall give thee ... the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession” (v. 8). He hath been “appointed heir of all things”, and who is He that shall be the heir of all things? None other than He that “made the worlds” (Hebrews 1:2), the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now in Daniel's vision, he saw, “one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days”. After the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, Jesus told Mary Magdalene, “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God” (John 20:17). There is no question that the “Ancient of days” was His Father. He had come down from the glories of heaven, and as He promised, was going back to His Father's house to prepare a place for those who believed on Him (John 10:1-4). He would dwell with them yet for 40 days showing “himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs” (Acts 1:3) and then ascend back to His Father, 10 days prior to Pentecost.
When Jesus ascended up into heaven, “while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight”. Just then, two men appeared testifying, “this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9, 11). When Jesus was on His mock trial, “the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven” (Mark 14:61-62).
The High priest knew that the Messiah would be the Son of God (Psalm 2:2, 7). The Jews also knew that the Christ would proceed from the bowels of David and reign over the nations (Psalm 132:11, 17, John 7:42). Now when Jesus answered the High priest, he also knew the reference from Daniel 7:13, and Psalm 110:1. David said, “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” (Psalm 110:1), but here David calls Him Lord, and that He is the One who is set at God's right hand.
He is not just David's Son, He is not merely a descendant of David, He is David's Lord. He is the only begotten Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. The resurrection and ascension of Jesus proved that He is both Lord and Christ, set on God's right hand. He is “declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4). This is how Paul interpreted the Second Psalm saying, “he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee” (Acts 13:33). The Son of man is the Son of God, He is David's Lord, and when He returns, He will be coming in “the clouds of heaven” from His Father's throne to make His enemies His footstool.
Now when He does return, Jesus said, “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30). Jesus Christ is that sign (Luke 2:34, Matthew 12:39) coming in the clouds of heaven. John said in the Revelation, “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.” (Revelation 1:7)
His Second Coming will be no secret event. Every eye shall see Him. As “the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matthew 24:27) When He returns the second time, it will not be to a virgin's womb, nor to be born in a manger, it will not be to suffer and die for the sins of the world and rise from the dead. This He did once. His sufferings must come first, but His second coming will be in glory.
We are told He is coming to set up His Kingdom. He is not coming as a Lamb to take away the sin of the world. No! This He did in His first coming. When He returns, it will be as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, to execute judgment against “that Wicked”, whom he “shall destroy with the brightness of his coming” (2 Thessalonians 2:8). He shall “smite the nations” (Revelation 19:15) and “destroy the sinners thereof out of it” (Isaiah 13:8), and “slay” His “enemies”( Luke 19:27).
In the meantime, He is at His Father's right hand, interceding for us daily, but when He returns, it will be to “make thine enemies thy footstool”. “Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure... Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel” (Psalm 2:5, 9).
Just as a “cloud received Him out of their sight”, when He returns, we see the “heaven open” and the brightness of His coming, “above the brightness of the sun” (Acts 26:13), even “the brightness of the LORD'S glory” (Ezekiel 10:4), coming with all His saints to execute judgment (Revelation 19:11-21).
“Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” (Jude 14-15).
At this time, “the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10)
Now as to His person. We see “one like the Son of man” who comes to the “Ancient of days”. The “Ancient of days” is described as having a garment “white as snow” and hair “like the pure wool”. Righteous and Holiness they do signify, very pure. What is quite revealing in the New Testament, is that this is the same picture of Christ. In His transfiguration we get a glimpse of His glory, we see Him in “his raiment”, “exceeding white as snow” (Mark 9:3). Matthew said, “his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light” (Matthew 17:2), and in the Revelation, John saw “one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and... his hairs were white like wool” (1:13-14).
He is the Word of God who became flesh. In the book of Philippians we are told, “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:6-11)
The Lord Jesus Christ was made in “the likeness of men”, and now has ascended up on high as “one like the Son of man” returning to the glory which He had with His Father before the world was, “being by the right hand of God exalted” (Acts 2:33), the incarnate, glorified, resurrected Christ. This is how He came to His Father in Daniel, one “like the Son of man”, but Isaiah called Him, “The mighty God, The everlasting Father”. John said, “the Word was God” (John 1:1), Paul called Him “the Lord from heaven” (1 Corinthians 15:47), and Jesus plainly said, “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30).
This brings us to the third mention of the “Ancient of days”. Daniel saw in his vision and said, “I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.” (Daniel 7:21-22)
It is the Lord Jesus Christ who will return to earth to save His people Israel, to give them judgment, to destroy the Antichrist, and to set up His kingdom here on earth, at which time His saints shall possess the kingdom. Who is the “Ancient of days”? It is the Lord Jesus Christ, He who had “neither beginning of days, nor end of life” (Hebrews 7:3). He is the One “to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2). He is my God. He is the Lord from heaven, The mighty God, and everlasting Father. He and His “Father are one”, but clearly, also distinct persons of the indivisible triune Godhead, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
In His glory we see the One, “that holy thing”, who had a body of flesh and blood prepared in a virgins womb to dwell in (Hebrews 10:5). The only One who was “without sin” (Hebrews 4:15), The Holy One of Israel, “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens” (Hebrews 7:6), clothed in beauty and majesty, raiment white as snow, and His hairs as wool, just like His Father. The Man in the glory. What an amazing vision we see.
But what is even more amazing than that is we too “shall be clothed in white raiment” (Revelation 3:5), that is, His very own garment of salvation which is the “gift of righteousness”.
We are not pure, we are not holy. We are defiled with sin. But we may come to Christ, the Holy one of Israel, for pardon and cleansing of sin. “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Psalm 51:7) This may seem all too wonderful to us, but the Lord says, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18)
When we repent and believe the gospel, that Christ died for our sins, and was buried, bearing that eternal separation from God that we deserve, but rose again for our justification, we shall be saved and shall be clothed in His likeness. He paid the full debt of our sins. Our mighty God conquered sin and death and the grave, and now, “death hath no more dominion over Him” (Romans 6:9). He hath died for our sins, and because of His death and resurrection, death shall no longer have the victory over us, and that is guaranteed for “now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept... But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming ” (1 Corinthians 15:20, 23). What's more, we have the promise and pledge of the redemption of our bodies by the Holy Spirit that dwells in us who believe, and we too shall be raised incorruptible by that same Spirit that dwelt in Him (Romans 8:11). This is all too glorious.
Even now, when we are born again, we are made new creatures, “created in righteousness and true holiness.” (Ephesians 4:24) Because He bore our sin, “we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21), receiving “the gift of righteousness” (Romans 5:17-18), “imputed” (Romans 4:20-5:1, James 2:23) to all those whose faith and trust is in Him who was “delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification”, and because of Him, we might be “arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints” (Revelation 19:8).
What love is this, that those who were so horribly wretched and miserable and blind and naked, should receive such grace and mercy and loveingkindness and favor and pity and blessing, limitlessly showered upon us? “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight” (Colossians 1:21-22). “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)
The day is coming soon, when He whose right it is, shall sit upon the throne of His Father and reign throughout eternity, and we shall reign with Him. Even today we can serve and follow Him, although at times stumbling in “the sin which doth so easily beset us” (Hebrews 12:1). Nevertheless, the day is coming soon when “the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:52-53) and we “shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” (Romans 8:21) What a blessed hope.
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2)
“Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” (Philippians 3:21).
“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Romans 8:29)
Hallelujah! What a Saviour!