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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 then because of the sound of the pompous words which the horn was speaking; I watched till the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame. (Daniel 7:9–11, NKJV)


It was hinted in the previous chapter that if we can identify the Person called the Ancient of Days we can easily identify the little horn that arises from among the ten horns on the fourth beast. The little horn comes into the vision speaking pompous words, which put him in direct conflict with the Ancient of Days. The final result of this conflict is that this fourth beast is slain and its body destroyed.  This is a fate different from the three previous beasts of the vision as there is no indication that their bodies were destroyed. Adam Clarke quotes Bishop Newton on this fact:


When the dominion was taken from the rest of the beasts, their bodies were not destroyed, but suffered to continue still in being; but when the dominion shall be taken away from this beast, his body shall be totally destroyed; because other kingdoms succeeded to those, but no other earthly kingdom shall succeed to this.


Simply stated, the Roman Empire is the last of the four world-wide kingdoms that dominated the land of the Jews within the scope of Daniel’s prophecy. Verse eleven says, “As for the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away, yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.” A season is one-fourth of a year (spring, summer, autumn, and winter), roughly three months in duration. A time represents one year, so the total time the lives of these beasts were prolonged was approximately fifteen months. Time symbols are fascinating to students of Bible prophecy; while there is agreement on the meaning of many time symbols in prophecy, there is a great deal of disagreement on other time symbols. Trying to fit any number of the rules applied to time symbols does not produce any specific time-frame in the concurrent history of the three beasts; however, if we accept a season and a time to mean a short period of time compared to the historic lives of these kingdoms, this time symbol suggests that there is a short bound or limit to their existence after the destruction of the Roman empire. The first three beasts, Babylon, Persia, and Greece, actually survived the destruction of the Western Roman Empire in 476 a.d. They were never restored to their former strength and power, but they did outlive Rome. Historically, it was Islam, a religion not another kingdom, that overcame Babylon and Persia and severely challenged the very existence of Greece. The Ottoman Empire ruled Greece from 1453 to 1821 and many Orthodox Christians in Macedonia, now a separate country on the north of Greece, converted to Islam resulting in about one-third of the population being Moslem. But, these events are beyond the scope of Daniel’s prophecy and it is sufficient for us to know that God’s judgment fell on the Roman Empire as well as the other empires.

When we learn the identity of the little horn we will see it wasn’t just the fact of his pompous words that lead to the destruction of the fourth beast, we will see that it was during the time of the little horn the stone cut out of the mountain, the kingdom of God under the rule of Christ, struck the image in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, this fourth beast of Daniel’s dream, bringing it down to complete destruction. The time of the little horn is precisely the point in history where that stone struck the image. In truth, this is the first prophetic indication of the exact time in history for the coming of Messiah.

We will now turn out attention to the Ancient of Days. Some commentators believe this Person to be God the Father sitting in judgment over the Roman Empire. This cannot be for a significant reason: Daniel saw throne set in place and the Ancient of Days being seated. This suggests that this Person did not begin to reign until the time of the little horn. However, God has always reigned. David, in Psalm 5:2, prays, “Give heed to the voice of my cry, My King and my God.” God has always been King and there was no need to set Him a throne during the days of the Roman Empire. Let us examine the description of the Ancient of Days and ask ourselves if He appears anywhere else in the Bible.

Daniel identifies this Person by the name Ancient of Days. This name consists of two Hebrew words: at-teek, meaning ancient, and yome, meaning day. There is nothing significant about the meaning of these words by themselves; but, there is an implication of their combined meaning in this passage. Albert Barnes comments on this name: “Used only in this chapter . . . a representation of one venerable in years, sitting down for the purpose of judgment.” In his discussion of this name he brings out two corresponding expressions found in the Old Testament.


Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. (Psalm 90:2, NKJV)


Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God. (Isaiah 44:6, NKJV)


The words in bold will help us to make a connection between the Ancient of Days as presented in Daniel’s prophecy and the Person with Whom He is identified later in the Bible. The words are not identical with at-teek yome but the concepts of ancient of days, everlasting to everlasting, and the first and last are all consistent with the Divine Personage to be identified.

Where in the Bible does this Ancient of Days appear? He appears in Revelation 1:8, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, says the Lord, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters in the Greek alphabet. Isaiah records that Christ the Redeemer called Himself the First and the Last. Also, think of this not just as of an alphabet, but in the sense of time. The Beginning and the End as He calls Himself in Revelation, ranging from everlasting to everlasting as described in the Psalm, are both concepts consistent with the Ancient of Days. Christ also identifies Himself as the Almighty and both the Psalm and Isaiah identify Him as God Almighty.

Furthermore, In Revelation 1:11, Christ again identifies Himself as “the Alpha and Omega, the First and Last.” In case we did not make the connection with Isaiah earlier, we have the connection here and from the mouth of Christ Himself. There can be no doubt that the Ancient of Days and the Alpha and Omega of the Revelation are God Almighty in the Person of Jesus Christ. In addition to this, Jesus says of Himself in Revelation 1:18, “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.” Who else died and was resurrected and lives forevermore?

The word thrones in Daniel 7:9 is plural. The Ancient of Days needs only one throne; so there must be others who are intended to sit on thrones along with the Ancient of Days. In the fourth chapter of Revelation, John was caught up into heaven and the very first thing he saw was “a throne set in heaven,” verse 2. There is a Person sitting on this throne identified in verse 8 as “Lord God Almighty.” Verse 4 reveals another twenty-four thrones around the Lord God Almighty and verse 10 calls the people on these thrones the twenty-four elders. We will defer further identification of these people until later in the prophecy where they are clearly identified.  However, Jesus in part alludes to their identification in a conversation with His disciples about those who will be saved.


So Jesus said to them, Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Matthew 19:28, NKJV)


As Jesus, the Son of Man, sits on the throne of His glory, those who follow Him will sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. The twelve disciples of Jesus and the twelve Patriarchs of the Israel added together come to the prophetic twenty-four of the fourth chapter of Revelation.

Another clue to the identity of the Ancient of Days is the strange number Daniel mentions in Daniel 7:10, “A thousand thousands ministered to Him. Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him.” In Revelation 5:11 it is essentially the same number of worshippers around the throne of Christ: “and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands.”

There are other similarities between the Ancient of Days and Christ. (1) “His garment was white as snow.” Revelation 1:16 “His countenance was like the sun shining in his strength.” (2) “The hair of His head was like pure wool.” Revelation 1:14 “His head and hair were white like wool.” (3) “His throne was a fiery flame.” Revelation 1:15 “His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace.” (4) “A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him.” Revelation 1:16 “Out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword.” The similarities between the Ancient of Days of Daniel’s vision and the Alpha and Omega Christ of the Book of Revelation are too striking to be merely accidental. The Ancient of Days has to be Jesus.

While it is easy for us to see the Ancient of Days as Jesus, we might at first be a little confused by what we read in Daniel 7:13.


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.


This Son of Man at first approaches the Ancient of Days and then a mysterious “they” bring this Son of Man into the presence of the Ancient of Days. The name Son of Man immediately rings a bell in the minds of most Bible students. In Matthew 16:16 Jesus asked His disciples “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” In the gospel of Matthew alone, Jesus refers to Himself thirty-two times as the Son of Man, thus directly linking Himself to the seventh chapter of Daniel. But Jesus is not the only one that makes this connection; John, in Revelation 1:13 after seeing the Alpha and Omega, calls Him “One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.”

As Daniel sees the Son of Man, he notices that He came “with the clouds of heaven.” Jesus made the same connection twice in the gospels.


Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (Matthew 24:30).


Jesus said to him, It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” (Matthew 26:64).


The first text is from the Olivet Discourse where Jesus speaks of some events that will herald His Second Coming. The second text is from His trial before the Sanhedrim where He responds to their demand that He tell them if He is the Son of God. His answer is essentially a quotation from Daniel chapter seven and He is claiming to be the very Person the prophecy foretells.

The fourteenth verse of the seventh chapter of Daniel speaks of a kingdom that is given to the Son of Man, a kingdom that includes people of all nations and languages, a kingdom that is everlasting and will not be destroyed. Jesus refers to this kingdom in His trial before Pilate:


Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” (John 18:36–37).


In His role as the Son of Man, Jesus is the king of the kingdom of God. His kingdom is not a political kingdom, such as were Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. His kingdom is a spiritual kingdom; it is a kingdom of truth that admits any and all who of the truth and respond to the voice of Christ.

Again, relating this vision to Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, the Son of Man and His kingdom in Daniel chapter seven are most certainly identified the stone cut of the mountain without hands that struck Nebuchadnezzar’s image. Compare these statements:


And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. (Daniel 2:44)


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 7:14)


We have identified both the Ancient of Days and the Son of Man as Jesus Christ. In doing so we appear to have set up a conundrum; how can one Person be two different Persons? The answer is quite simple if we will keep in mind that we are looking at “a dream and visions of the head” of Daniel. Anything is possible in a dream. We know that Jesus is God incarnate: fully God and fully man in one being. As the Ancient of Days Christ appears in His divine sense and purpose and as the Son of Man He appears in His human sense and purpose. In Daniel’s dream the two Representations are pictures of Jesus Christ as both the Almighty God in the Second Person of the Godhead and the Messiah and Savior as the head of the kingdom of God. It is in these combined capacities He takes on the judgment of the little horn of the fourth beast.