Christianity 201

February 20, 2018

Ancient of Days

Daniel 7.9 ‘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.

11 ‘Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking. I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire. 12 (The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time.)

13 ‘In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man,[a] coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshipped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

When we were launching our Sunday Worship series of articles, we discovered the blog Ascents. We made a return visit this week and noticed this particular topic, which had been discussed in the church service we attended on Sunday. The writer is Tim Adams.

The Ancient of Days

The other day, I posed a question to my family and a few friends asking whether or not we should refer to Jesus Christ as the Ancient of Days, as many songs we sing in church do. I felt that I had already come to an opinion on the subject, but I wanted to encourage them to research the question for themselves and articulate a position.

One of the dangers of internet research is the fact that anybody armed with a laptop, tablet, or smartphone sitting in a secluded corner of Starbucks can publish their ramblings, credible or not, on the world wide web. What I found when I asked Mr. Google for the identity of the Ancient of Days was that opinions were many and varied. It seemed as if all those people with laptops at Starbucks had weighed in on the issue.

Obviously, as with all questions like this, the place we need to go for clarity and guidance is not Google, but Scripture. When we do, we find that the phrase, Ancient of Days, only appears in the 7th chapter of the book of Daniel. Here, Daniel is describing a vision consisting of 6 primary characters: 4 beasts representing 4 earthly kings, the Ancient of Days in all His glory and power, and the Son of Man who receives from the Ancient of Days an everlasting kingdom. From this passage we can see that the Son of Man and the Ancient of Days are separate persons. From Christ’s own words we know that He is the Son of Man and that he has received all authority from God, the Father. Therefore, the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7 cannot be Jesus Christ.

So there. Another theological mystery solved and more ammo to shoot down the biblically illiterate, contemporary Christian songwriter. Well, not so fast Marshall Dillon (ancient TV show reference). There may be other things to consider. First, Ancient of Days, is a title God has given to Himself referencing His own eternality. In other words God precedes time itself. But, Jesus is also eternal. John 1 tells us that He was there, one with God the Father, at the beginning of creation. Therefore, Jesus is, in fact, ancient of days. Perhaps not the Ancient of Days, but ancient of days, nonetheless.

I know what you’re thinking. “Tim, could you possibly split a smaller hair?” Probably, but here’s why it’s important. When we worship, when we pray, and when we join voices with other believers to teach and admonish each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, we must take great care to regard God in a manner that is worthy of Him. In Scripture, God has given us insight into certain truths and mysteries about Himself; and, while we don’t yet know Him perfectly, what we do know must be proclaimed in truth with authority; and, whatever we proclaim must be informed by and filtered through the lens of Scripture. Also, it’s usually risky to refer to Him in ways He has not referred to Himself.

As we worship, as we pray, and as we speak of God, let us always be mindful of who it is we are talking to, or about. He is God, the all powerful creator of all that exists, and the sustainer of life itself. To know Him is eternal life. It has been said that as God is infinite, we will be spending eternity learning about God. What an amazing thought. But until that day, as imperfect as we are, let’s always strive to see God as He has revealed Himself to us in His Word.

Prophetic books are complicated. Before we leave this subject today, I know some are wondering, ‘Is Daniel really the only place where ‘Ancient of Days’ is used?’ It may be that you’re making a connection to Revelation where we read.

‘Look, he is coming with the clouds,’
    and ‘every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him’;
    and all peoples on earth ‘will mourn because of him.’
So shall it be! Amen.

which is a reference to Daniel 7:13.

Who you think is being referred to in Revelation, probably has much to do with how you’ve heard that text explained, but Tim raises a good point distinguishing between who appears in the Daniel 7 passage.

…While you’re thinking about that, we couldn’t let this text go by without including the worship song, Ancient of Days by Ron Kenoly.

Texts today: NIV



September 1, 2015

Bowing Before God

Every Knee Will Bow and Every Tongue Confess

Occasionally we feature writing by young authors whose blogs are new to the various Alltop pages, this one is from Alltop – Christianity. The website is titled Your Bible Quotes, and the writer is Sonya Richards.

Glory of God the Father – Name Above All Names

Glory of God the Father

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee shall  bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11 (NIV)

Although Paul talked about this in his letter to the Philippians, the foundation of Philippians 2:9-11 comes from Isaiah.

I have sworn by Myself; The word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, And shall not return, That to Me every knee shall bow, Every tongue shall take an oath. Isaiah 45:23 (NKJV)

The near, literal application (meaning its immediate, possibly symbolic, relevance at the time of its writing) of this scripture is to the Israelites in captivity in Babylon and to King Cyrus who would lead them back to their ancestral homeland to the glory of God. Although Cyrus was a pagan king, God used him to accomplish His work, showing that God can do whatever He chooses, and work through whomever He desires. Proverbs 21:1 says:

The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the LORD; he guides it wherever he pleases. Proverbs 21:2 (NLT)

It Shall Come to Pass

There is a principle that is applied to certain Biblical prophesies called “double fulfillment,” meaning it has a first fulfillment, often immediate, and a second, or even multiple, fulfillment(s) later on. All prophesies point to Jesus in some way to the glory of God. In some cases prophesies can even be split between current and future fulfillments with no specific designation as to what or when they refer to, such as in Matthew 24:2-3. Jesus prophesied that the temple in Jerusalem would be destroyed and spoke of the signs of the second coming. In verse 2 He speaks of the literal destruction of the temple in 70 A.D., and in verse 3 speaks to the final judgment, and yet, they appear side-by-side.  They are not in succession chronologically, yet they are conceptually associated.

Some believers abstain from reading the Old Testament for various reasons. They think is too hard to understand, they think it is obsolete, or they think it is not important; nevertheless, the whole Bible is God’s Word. If the Old Testament were obsolete, or unimportant God would not supernaturally, as He does for the whole Bible, shield it from extinction. It is the foundation for the New Testament, which is why reading the whole Bible is important.

Paul refers to the aforementioned passage in Isaiah in his letter to the Romans regarding the Good News of salvation:

Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. Romans 14:10-12 (ESV)

The Second Coming of the Lord

Someday the Lord Jesus Christ will return to the Earth to take His children home, the committed, submitted, and sanctified, in the blink of an eye, and those left behind will try, out of fear, to strike a bargain to save themselves, unfortunately, it will be much too late in the game. If you have not accepted Jesus as your Savior, it is not too late now to turn to God; He is calling even now.

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 1 Corinthians 15:51-52(NIV) Glory to God in the highest; forever, He reigns!

It is notable that our opening scripture from Philippians, is similar to Isaiah 45, and Romans 14 as quoted from Isaiah, in that it contains the same foundational reference of bending the knee and confessing, declaring, or taking an oath (to God), but there is a new and wider meaning added in Philippians to encompass not just believers, but also non-believers; essentially every person on earth will partake in “bending the knee” before Jesus.

In the Isaiah passage, echoed by Paul in Romans, God says every knee will bow to Him but in Philippians Paul said God gives Jesus a name above all names and every knee will bow at its utterance to the glory of God the Father. God takes the highest place, even in the Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; therefore, even as the text refers to knees bowing at the name of Jesus, it is still for the glory of God the Father.

When Paul in Philippians says every knee will bow, it is clear that He is referring to believers, because the passage in Isaiah refers to the Jewish exiles, and the quote from Romans is also to believers because Paul calls them “brothers and sisters,” but the Philippians passage refers to all people, and, based on the verbiage, includes both believers and non-believers, meaning every knee will bow willingly or will be forced to bow. In the end, no one will be able to resist Him.

When Jesus comes on the scene to the glory of God, His brilliance, ten thousand times brighter than the noon-day sun, will blaze across the sky and we know “every eye will see Him.” I posit that everyone will fall to their knees, either out of pure joy for those who love His appearing, out of shock, or out of fear and a sense of self-preservation such as begging for their lives.

Every Eye Will See Him

In that day, when Jesus Christ the Lord comes on the clouds of Heaven with fire and every eye sees Him, those who ridicule Him now, who curse His holy name, will have to bow when it is spoken in their hearing (glory to God!), much the same as all were made to bow towards the statue of King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel Chapter 3; however, no one will be able to resist as Daniel did, because God, and His Son, rule supreme. And the tragic end for those who refuse to believe and be saved is that the Lord will delay as long as He can to allow as many as will come, to come before this age comes to a close, and yet, some will never yield.