ANCIENT OF DAYS
©Copyright 1998 Randall D. Hughes
In our efforts to come to know God we must first realize that there are certain defining statements in the Bible to guide us. These statements must be followed if we are to come to the correct conclusion.
So with these parameters set, we will explore the Word of God for a greater understanding of who he is and how he operates.
Hebrews 1:1-3, "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 3Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;"
Throughout the history of mankind God has revealed himself in many different ways, including by the prophets. What are some of the ways God revealed himself?
Genesis 3:8, "And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden."
Now there are some that say God had some type of physical form that walked with Adam in the garden. There is no way of knowing if that was the case or if simply they heard His voice moving through the garden. Notice when God began to condemn Adam for eating of the tree, Adam responded, "I heard thy voice in the garden and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself." Gen. 3:10. If God did have a physical form, where did it stay? Did it just appear in the Garden? If so, wouldn’t it appear in the location where Adam was? It seems from Scripture God simply spoke to Adam and Adam could communicate back to God.
When God spoke to Noah in Genesis 6:13, there is no indication of a physical form being present. Remember Hebrews 1 says God spake to the fathers. Again, in Genesis 8:15, after the flood God spoke again to Noah. There is no indication that a visible form was present.
In Genesis 12, God first spoke to Abram In verse 7, it states that the LORD "appeared unto Abram." God spoke to Abram many times in the next several (14) chapters. Some of these times state the LORD appeared unto him. This was as a theophany, or in angelic form. You ask what does an angel look like? Just like a man! For Hebrews 13:2 tells us, "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Although God is recorded as speaking to many people throughout the Bible, we will be focusing on those that is specifically speaks of Him appearing to.
In Scripture the angel of the LORD is spoken of 68 times in 64 verses. But as just mentioned, there are times when it simply spoke and was not seen. Many of these verses may pertain to single occurrences.
In Genesis 28:12-15, Jacob is fleeing from his brother Esau, when God gives him a dream. "And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. 13And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; 14And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 15And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of."
It is incredible to notice that Jacob saw only One form that represented God. It is very clearly spoken of in singular terms.
Again, Jacob has an encounter with God in Genesis 32:24-30. While the first time was a dream, this encounter took on a very physical nature. Here Jacob wrestles with a man. The Bible does not call this the angel of the LORD, but many scholars feel this was the case. Jacob’s response after this encounter was, "I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved." From the parameters already set forth, how likely is it this is an accurate statement? Jacob no doubt saw a theophany.
Next God appears to Moses in a burning bush. In Exodus 3:2, "And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed." Although the Bible says this was the angel of the LORD, Moses does not speak of seeing anything other than a bush burning. Although God tells him to tell Israel that the "God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared unto me…"
God appeared to Israel in the cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night in Exodus 13:21-22.
Moses had many encounters with God. It is impossible too know just what transpired, or just what all Moses saw. In Exodus 33:19-23, when Moses asked the LORD to shew him His glory, the LORD replied, "I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. 20And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. 21And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: 22And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: 23And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen." It was after this encounter that the Bible tells us the skin of Moses face "shone." And the people had him wear a veil.
The angel of the LORD appeared to Balaam and spoke to him through his donkey in Numbers 22:22-35.
After the death of Moses, God appeared to Joshua as a warrior, the "Caption of the host of the LORD," in Joshua 5:13-15
The angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon in Judges 6, Manoah and his wife in Judges 13, David in 2 Samuel 24:17 and 1 Chronicles 21:16, Elijah in 1 Kings 19 and 2 Kings 1. The angel of the LORD smote 185,000 Assyrians in 2 Kings 19:35, and Isaiah 37:36, although no one is said to have seen him.
Micaiah saw "the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left." In 1 Kings 22:19 and 2 Chronicles 18:18. It is interesting that Micaiah mentions the right and left of the throne without any mention of collateral beings being present with the LORD.
The LORD is spoken of as being in heaven in Job 1:6-12, and Job 2:1-6, again with no hint of collateral persons being present.
Isaiah saw the LORD on his throne in Isaiah 6:1-3. Once again a single representative of the Lord.
Ezekiel saw the "likeness of a throne… and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it." Ezekiel goes on to describe him as the "appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD" in Ezekiel 1:26-28
A quick overview of these appearances.
Notice that in every one of these dreams, visions, or appearances, whoever, or whatever God chose to represent Him was always singular. There is NEVER any indication of collateral beings with Him.
In Daniel we find the only Old Testament verses that seem to contradict these earlier "revelations." In Daniel 7:9-14, he records a vision about the kingdoms of the world.
"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. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time. I 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."
God has always revealed himself as absolutely singular. There has always been only one visual representative in all of the dreams, visions, or (appearances?). But now verse 13 seems to change all that. Or does it.
Having listed the 7 parameters, lets look at them again. God is One, Invisible, Spirit, One Spirit, that is everywhere, has NOT been seen at any time, and is NOT a man.
The first thing that is important to notice is that there is only ONE deity spoken of in these verses! The Ancient of Days. The "Son of man" is terminology that clearly refers to a man and NOT God! "Son of man" is found 196 times in 192 verses in the Bible. 108 of these verses are in the Old Testament, of which all but 15 are in Ezekiel. Ezekiel refers to himself as the "Son of man" some 93 times! Of the remaining 15 times, Only Daniel 7:13 seems to indicate possibly more than just mankind in general. In fact, In Daniel 8:17 it is used in reference to Daniel.
It appears the Ancient of Days represents the One true God. What ever His substance is we know that He is NOT a man. For God is not a man! Therefore He must be some type of spiritual form, simply for the sake of revelation to mankind. That has been the purpose of the above visions, dreams or appearances, so man could somehow come to a greater knowledge of God. In each of these theophanies, God gave man a visual representative of Himself. Yet, this representative is not connected to man in any way. These representatives are somewhat temporary and seldom the same. Pillar of cloud or fire. A burning bush. A voice spoken through a donkey. A man wrestling. A man on a throne. Etc. From the writings of Hebrews we can conclude that these appearances were basically angels. For the time came when he decided not to take on the form of an angel.
"For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. 17Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. 18For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted." The time came when God took on flesh! The seed of Abraham. He was in all things made like unto his brethren! He was a partaker of flesh and blood. Hebrews 2:14. "He was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin." Hebrews 4:15.
When he was made like unto his brethren, be became the Son of man. Eighty-eight times in the New Testament the term "Son of man" is found. With all but 4 being in the Gospels. There is a single reference in Hebrews, quoted from Psalms 8 that refers to mankind in general. The remaining 87 are in reference to Jesus. In Daniel’s vision he is seen coming to the Ancient of Days. And there was given to the Son of man "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."
As Daniel sought for greater understanding, he states, "But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever." Daniel 7:18, and then again in verse 22, "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." And then verses 27-28 "And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him. 28Hitherto is the end of the matter." In these passages we find "the Ancient of Days," the "Son of man," and the saints of the "most High."
It’s as though Daniel goes through the scenario 4 times. Concluding in 14, 18, 22, and then 27-28. Each conclusion is the same. There will be a kingdom that cannot be destroyed. A kingdom that is forever. A kingdom possessed by the saints of the most High. The most High’s kingdom is everlasting. It is interesting that the "Son of man" is only mentioned once in these passages
In each of these scenario’s you end up with ONE ruler! ONE eternal kingdom. All shall "serve and obey him." Who is the "him?" It is the most High! What happens to the "Son of man?"
In this vision in Daniel, it is interesting to note the description given to the Ancient of Days. His garment was white as snow, his hair was like wool, and his eyes (wheels) as burning fire.
This prophecy of Daniel was speaking of a future time. At the time of this writing, Babylon was the ruling power, the first beast of this vision. And the time of the appearing of the Son of man seem to indicate more the rapture than his life on earth. For it speaks of Him coming in clouds. 6 of the 8 times Clouds are referenced in the New Testament they are speaking of Christ coming!
The supposed two beings of this vision of Daniel had never been revealed as such in all the previous visions or dreams. When God, was seen in all past visions he was the sole Supreme Being, and thus He is here. And yet in this vision there is key terminology that must be recognized. The Ancient of Days is clearly representative of the Eternal God.
Jesus defines clearly who the Son of man is in Matthew 16:13, when he ask, "Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?" Jesus is clearly referred to as the Son of man in 87 of the New Testament references.
There are those who chose to believe the Son of man is an eternal Son. That He has been and will always be a Son. This is not the teaching of the Bible. For as the visions have revealed, his lack of existence in all the other Old Testament visions, dreams, etc, prove he is not eternal! And even this vision refers to His humanity and NOT His deity!
Remember the parameter? God is not a man. What was Jesus? He was the Son of man. But he also was the Son of God. Thus he was unlike any other man who ever existed on this earth. He is of a genre all His own. There had never been a Son begotten by God prior to the manger. And there will never be another. For He is the "Only begotten." Sin is carried from the father’s to their children. In that God was the Father of Jesus he knew no sin. He was not born in sin like the rest of us. God’s law required a blood sacrifice to cleanse us from our sin. God is a Spirit. God is not a man. A spirit does not have flesh and bones. So God who is a Spirit could not offer the sacrifice to save us. Whatever type of physical or spiritual being the Ancient of days may have been, (in the theophany form) He was not made like the rest of us. However, the Son of man "in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren." He became a partaker of flesh and blood. Thus he was a sinless man who offered himself for the sins of the world.
1 John 3:16, "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us…" For one to understand God, they must first understand who Jesus Christ is. This was the problem the Jews had. "If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. 23He that hateth me hateth my Father also. 24If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father." John 15:22-24
In seeing Jesus, the Jews were also seeing the Father. For Jesus was the image of God. Jesus was "God with us." Matt. 1:23. 2 Cor. 4:4-6, "…Christ, who is the image of God… For God … hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." "I and my Father are one." John 10:30.
So how does all this reconcile with Daniel's vision? Daniel saw the Ancient of Days and the "Son of man!" Then in the New Testament, Stephen saw "the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God." Acts 7:55. Or as verse 56 says, "the Son of man standing on the right hand of God." Doesn't that make at least two persons in the Godhead? And then what about Rev. 5:6-7, when the Lamb takes "the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne?" How does this all reconcile with the above parameters?
Did Stephen see God? Or did he see the glory of God? 1 Timothy 6:15-16
What we have in Daniel 7 and then again in Revelation 5, is a panoramic view of God. During the time in which God revealed himself to man in the person of Jesus Christ, there was a Spirit and flesh relationship. This was however, a temporary set up. Jesus operated under the limitations that all humanity operates under. This was while He was manifest as Son, High Priest, Mediator, Intercessor, etc. However, 1 Cor. 15:24-28, lets us know that there is a day coming when the Sonship will be "subject," put under, or done away, and God will be all and in all!
Remember the description of the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7? His garment was white as snow, his hair was like wool, and his eyes (wheels) as burning fire.
Look at Revelation 1:13-14. When John sees Jesus in this "revelation" he sees, "the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;" Notice the similarities with the Ancient of Days? With the exception of additional details by John, the descriptions are exactly the same!
Why is this? Because Jesus is the One and Only God! The Jehovah of the Old Testament, robed in flesh in the New Testament, ascends to take the throne! Matt. 25:31. Notice the transition of possession in Rev. 3:21. "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne…" Who's throne? Jesus! Then notice the next phrase, "…even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne." During the time when Jesus was our High Priest, Mediator, Intercessor, etc, the throne was spoken of as belonging to the Father. But after Jesus overcame, put down all powers and authorities, and destroyed all enemies. He becomes the sole possessor of the throne! Repeatedly in Revelation John speaks of one sitting on the throne and the Lamb. If the Lamb is indeed on the throne, and if he were a separate person from the Father, how could John say there was only one on the throne? There are many times in Revelation as well as other New Testament books, that the word "and" is actually intended to mean "even." All references to the One on the throne are with singular pronouns! The entire fourth chapter of Revelation speaks of ONE on the throne with all references emphatically singular! There are several references, which seem to indicate the Lamb is separate from the ONE on the throne. This "separation" is not literal. The word "and" (kia) is often used instead of "even" and does not imply two beings. This is John adding emphasis to the fact God is also our Savior! Or EVEN the Lamb! There are many examples of locations in the NT were "and" is used with no intent of indicating two beings. A few examples of such usage, Eph. 5:20, Col. 1:3, 2:2, 3:17, 1 Th. 1:3, 1 Ti. 1:1, Jam. 1:27, 1 Pe. 1:3, Jude 4, Re. 1:6, 12:9, 20:2. There are no doubt more. These all use the word "and" where the word "even" is actually implied. Thus in light of the way it is used in Revelation, speaking of one on the throne, and the Lamb, and then following this with praise to a single being, indicates Jesus is the ONE on the throne, Matt. 25:31!
Although there was a time in the over all view (panoramic) of eternity when there was a "separation" of sorts, this is not a literal separation, in that Jesus is described as the Ancient of Days in Revelation. The One God who revealed himself in divers manners. Jesus Christ! God with us. "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." Titus 2:13.
For additional information concerning the "Sonship," read "The Right Hand of God."
©Copyright 1998 Randall D. Hughes
Thank YOU for visiting God Glorified! If you have questions
or comments please e-mail me!