St. John's & Zion Lutheran Churches

The Ancient Of Days Takes His Throne

Daniel 7:9 & 10

Text: “As I looked, ‘thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze.
10 A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.

Last year, we elected a new president of our United States. After months and months of campaigning, the people have chosen the person they want. This is the system of government in which we live. We elect people to hold office. We also know that in four years, the whole process will start all over again. The thought of having a ruler for the rest of his life is not what we are used to. In addition, we have a system of three branches of government that is supposed to provide a system of checks and balances. The idea of one person with ultimate authority just doesn’t fit with the idea of how we do things. According to our political thought, it is completely foreign. Yet, we do realize that there is a king with ultimate authority over us, and that is our Almighty God. This morning we witness with Daniel as the ANCIENT OF DAYS TAKES HIS THRONE. 1. He Is Shining With Royal Splendor and 2. He Is Judging With Royal Authority.

Normally, when we think about the book of Daniel in the Bible, our minds turn to two stories. The first is Daniel in the lion’s den. The second is the three men, Shadrach, Mesach and Abednago, in the fiery furnace. In both of these situations, believers were sentenced to death for refusing to worship a false god. Both times God miraculously preserved their lives, and in both cases these kings saw who the true God was. These two stories are very comforting for the Christian who is undergoing persecution for their faith, and are well worth our attention.

However, these two incidents are just two chapters in this book. The other ten are filled with fantastic visions that God granted to Daniel. These visions, for the most part, dealt with the history that was about to unfold before his people’s eyes. They mainly dealt with the rise and fall of four nations or kingdoms. As a matter of fact, just prior to our text, Daniel saw a vision of four beasts, each representing a rising kingdom. The first beast was the Babylonian Empire, which was in power when Daniel began the writing of his book. The second Beast was the Medo-Persian, which conquered the Babylonians and allowed the Jews to return to their homeland. The third beast was a leopard with four wings and four heads. This represented the Greek Empire and pointed ahead to the speed with which Alexander the Great would conquer. The fourth beast was a horrifying sight. It had large iron teeth and ten horns. This represented the Roman Empire, which would crush all those in her path. From this last beast grew another horn, which waged war against the saints of God and spoke boastfully. This pointed ahead to the Roman Catholic papacy.

It is on this background that Daniel is shown this vision, which is recorded in our text. After seeing all of these terrifying sights, Daniel needed some assurance that everything was going to be OK. Daniel wrote, “I, Daniel, was troubled in spirit, and the visions that passed through my mind disturbed me.” (7:15) So in his next vision, God assured him that he had everything under his control.

Daniel writes, “As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat.” (Verse 9a) As Daniel watched, a courtroom was set up. Thrones were set in place; thrones for God, the Father, and for the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. Then the Ancient of Days takes his seat. The Almighty God has sat down on the judgment seat. God has had enough of the four beasts and the boastful little horn. Now it is time for judgment.

As fascinating as the various beasts were, they pale in comparison to the description of God. “His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool.” (Verse 9b) The white of the clothing points to his purity, his righteousness, his perfection. He has the moral right to condemn sin and the sinner. The white of his hair shows him to be ancient. He is a ruler and cannot be fooled. He has seen it all.

Daniel goes on to describe the throne of God. “His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze.” (Verse 9c) The throne was fire and it had wheels of fire, perhaps like a war chariot. God is not an old grandfather figure, sitting on a rocking chair. He is a warrior against all that is wrong. He would defeat those who stood opposed to him. Then Daniel writes, “A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him.” (Verse 10a) None of God’s enemies would escape the wrath that comes from God. Daniel describes the servants that waited on God. He said, “Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.” (Verse 10 b) Here Daniel describes the angels that attend God. He uses a Hebrew expression to tell us that there were so many angels there that you couldn’t even count them.

What an amazing picture of God that Daniel was allowed to see! So often we think of God only as a loving Father, who takes care of our every need and it is good for us to think of God in this way, for it is true. God does love us. However, let us never forget that he is also the almighty God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth. All power of the universe is his. He is holy, just, and perfect. Yes, he is our loving Father, but he is also the God of all.

Now the time for judging has come. Daniel writes, “The court was seated, and the books were opened.” (Verse 10b) The court is now in session. God, the King of all, is the judge. The books are opened. In these books we have the proof for each case which will appear before God. It is a record book detailing the life of each and every person.

Jesus gives us a picture of this in Matthew 25, verses 34-46. We begin with verses 41-46: “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Here, first of all, we have judgment pronounced on the unrighteous, the unbeliever. The fact that all of these charitable acts were missing from their lives showed their lack of faith. Where there is no faith, there is no salvation. They will be sent away from God’s loving presence. The fire, which was pictured earlier, is their ultimate punishment, as they spend an eternity in hell. Such is the fate of those who oppose God. Even if, for the moment, they appear to have it all going for them, there is a time when all are accountable to God. What a terrifying day it will be for the unbeliever.

However, listen to the words of love and invitation that are spoken to the believer in verses 34-40 of Matthew 25, “The King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”

Again the record books are opened and the good deeds that the believer did are brought before the court. It is vitally important to remember that it is not the deeds that save. These actions show that faith that is in the heart, and it is faith alone in Jesus Christ as the Savior of all that saves. God, on that day, will welcome the believers into all of the blessings and joys of eternal life in heaven.

What two very different reactions there will be on the Last Day, on Judgment Day. For the unbeliever, it will be a day of great terror as he realizes that his conscience was correct. There is a God to whom he is accountable for all of his actions, words and thoughts. That day will be the beginning of an eternity in hell. How different from that will be the reaction of the believer. It will be one of great joy, because finally we will be released from all the pain, suffering, sadness, and trouble of this life. It will be a day which begins the eternity of bliss and joy in heaven.

Make no mistake about it! Judgment Day is going to come. Yet, as Christians, we have no reason to fear it, because we know that we will be in heaven. It is faith in Jesus that saves us. We, too, deserve to be on the left side, hearing the King say, “Away from me.” But, thanks be to God, for through the blood of his Son, Jesus Christ, we are saved. We will hear our King say to us, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father.” How we look forward to the day, when the Ancient of Days, our God, take his throne.