Daniel 7:9-14 & Daniel 7:28 by Robert Dean
Series:Daniel (2001)
Duration:58 mins 1 sec

R. Dean/Daniel Lesson 32

The Ancient of Days; Final Judgment – Daniel 7:9-14, 28

We are continuing at Daniel 7:9.  We have covered the first part of the chapter and the second part of the chapter because the first part contains the vision of the four beasts and the second half, starting in verse 15 contains the interpretation of the vision.  But sandwiched between the vision and its interpretation we find a scene at the throne of God, literally in the courtroom of the heavens.  And this passage is going to teach us a few things about the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ as well as the culmination of all the human empires and God's judgment of them. 

In Daniel 7:9 we read, "I kept looking until thrones were set up, and the Ancient of Days took His seat; His vesture was like white snow, and the hair of His head like pure wool.  His throne was ablaze with flames, its wheels were a burning fire."  Now I want you to pay attention to the description here of "the Ancient of Days" because we will come back to a similar description when we come to the end of the hour.  The Ancient of Days is clothed in white, His hair is like pure wool and His throne is ablaze with flames, its wheels were a burning fire.  It's reminiscent of Ezekiel's vision of the throne of God in Ezekiel 1. 

It begins by saying Daniel "kept looking."  We have to picture this as if Daniel is watching a DVD or VCR and every now and then something happens and he has to stop and ask the angel what this means, so he'll hit the "pause" button, but there's continual movement here.  This is expressed in the Aramaic, the participles indicating the ongoing action.  He says "I kept looking," so more things keep going, he moves from one scene to the next and after looking at the four kingdoms he's going to move to the final scene which shows the destruction of the four kingdoms and the establishment of the fifth kingdom.  Now the New American Standard correctly translates this, "I kept looking until thrones were set up."  If you're using a King James Version it is probably translated, "I kept looking until thrones were cast down" and that's a bad translation; the word means to set up or establish. 

So what we see here is a glimpse of the throne of God similar to Revelation 4 and 5, and here these thrones are being set up.  Now we don't know who's seated on the thrones, obviously the Ancient of Days is taking His seat, and who sits on the others we don't know.  Then we have a description of the Ancient of Days and He is pictured as a judge.  This is a picture of a courtroom, as you see if we look down to verse 10, it says the court is seated before him, so this is a picture of the heavenly court, like the Supreme Court of the United States or the high court of any country, this is what is portrayed here.  It is clearly a courtroom scenario.  Now long ago somebody that I was having a discussion with wanted to challenge the idea of court in heaven, the Jews never had any idea like this, and this passage is just one of many passages that shows that that is some kind of false idea that this guy picked up out of interaction with some Jews because they just don't know the Old Testament as they should. 

The Ancient of Days here is the judge, and the other thrones probably relate to who the jury is and that's described more in the book of Revelation.  The term "Ancient of Days" describes God Himself.  Now at this point we need to be careful that we're not reading too much of the New Testament back into this.  We're going to see when we get there the Ancient of Days is God the Father and the Son of Man who comes up is the Second Person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ, but remember this is Daniel in the Old Testament and they do not have a clear revelation of the Trinity.  So he sees the Ancient of Days and this is God and He's pictured as the Ancient of Days as a metaphor for His eternity, "Ancient" indicating the longevity of eternity and God is pictured this way as an elder statesman because, of course, the view in the Old Testament is that the older generation is wise because of the years that they have lived.  And so it is emphasizing the perfect wisdom that extends from the courtroom of God. 

His appearance is like a man; now this is something we ought to pay attention to because unlike all other pagan religions and ancient cultures, when we see God pictured in the Old Testament God is pictured like a man.  If you go to ancient Egypt, for example, the Egyptian God Horus has the head of a falcon and the body of a man; you go to various other ancient religions and the gods are frequently depicted as men.  Now you have that later on in Greek and Roman mythology but in the more ancient religions you always see the gods depicted in some form of creation, some blend with the animal kingdom, but it is only in Israel… and even in Greek and Roman mythology the gods take on the forms of the animals but only in the Bible does God never appear as an animal.  He always appears as a man and that is because there is this anthropomorphic, or as some would say, a Theomorphic…see anthropomorphic means in the form of a man, Theomorphic refers to man who is created in the image of God. 

So there's this Theomorphic and anthropomorphic interaction going on in the Scripture where man is created in the image of God, that if we were to take… this is how God looks at it, God, knowing that He is eventually going to become this creature, whatever that creature is going to look like, let's say hypothetically, He is going to design that creature to have a body that will be the highest and best and most perfect expression of what God could be, so there's nothing happenstance about God creating mankind to look the way he looks.  God didn't just come along and say well, this is going to be a good idea, let's try this.  God is saying I'm eventually going to incarnate Myself as this creature, so what are the features that this creature has to have in order to be the highest and best creaturely representation of who I am so that I can give the clearest revelation of who I am through this creature.  So there is always this anthropomorphic and Theomorphic interaction in the Scripture and God always appears a man because that is to whom He is revealing Himself.

So the Ancient of Days takes his seat; he sits as the supreme authority in the universe.  What Daniel is picturing here for us is that ultimately it is Yahweh, the God of Israel, who is the most supreme authority in the universe and He has the right and the privilege to judge and evaluate all human societies, all human kingdoms, and all human cultures.  Furthermore, he's writing this for the benefit of all the generations of believers, not only Old Testament believers at the time that he is writing, who are at that time outside the land in captivity, some as slaves in Babylon and later in Persia, he is writing down through history to show that no matter how horrible things get, no matter how chaotic things might appear, no matter what tragedies you may go through in life as a believer, you can know that God is still on His throne, God is still the sovereign God of the universe and all kingdoms are ultimately going to be answerable to Him; that God has complete control over every single situation we face in life and even though we may think that life is out of control and circumstances are overwhelming, and there doesn't appear to be any hope or any future for us, God is still in control.  So this is a major theme throughout all of this prophecy because you remember, Daniel is writing to the Jews who are outside the land, they have been completely defeated by a foreign power and their lives have been turned upside down in this chaos of divine judgment.  So he is writing to encourage those believers. 

Then he goes on to say, "His vesture was like white snow," and His hear was like pure wool, we're going to see this again later in Revelation 19 as well as in Revelation 1.  "His throne was ablaze with flames, its wheels were a burning fire."  This is not an unusual description of God; fire is often associated with the presence of God in the Old Testament because it indicates purity and it indicates holiness.  The idea also relates to the angels, Psalm 104:4 the psalmist says, "He makes the winds His messengers," and literally the Hebrew there is malak, meaning His angels, and that again is a passage that "winds" back in 7:2 refers to angels.  "He makes the winds His messengers and flaming fire His minister."  So there is this picture of flames surrounding the throne of heaven but those flames, once you start looking more closely at them the flames differentiate themselves into these magnificent creatures called angels.

Look at verse 10, there we read: "A river of fire," these flames surrounding the throne of heaven and there is like this river of fire flowing out from the throne room of God, and coming out from before Him, and then Daniel says, "thousands upon thousands were attending Him, and myriads upon myriads were standing before Him," so this river of fire begins to differentiate itself into these tens of thousands of angels who surround the throne.  For example, it reminds us of Ezekiel 1:7 where, speaking of the cherubim, Ezekiel writes: "And their legs were straight and their feet were like a calf's hoof, and they gleamed like burnished bronze."  And then in verse 13, notice the similarity here with what we read in Daniel 7:10, "In the midst of the living beings there was something that looked like burning coals of fire, like torches darting back and forth among the living beings.  The fire was bright, and lightning was flashing from the fire."  And this is a picture of the angelic hosts surrounding the throne of God. 

And the phrase, "thousands upon thousands," and "myriads upon myriads" is further reflected in Revelation 5:11 where we read, John saying, "And I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders, and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands," so this is literally billions of angels surrounding the heavenly throne.

We are told in verse 10 that as this courtroom is in session the books are opened and these are the books of judgment.  This is not the Great White Throne judgment; this is a judgment that takes place at the end of the Tribulation.  As we will see when we get into the details of the vision, that the kingdom has not yet been given to Jesus Christ, so it is taking place prior to the millennial kingdom, but it is at the end of the Tribulation because the little horn has taken its place of power and overcome the other three, united the ten nation confederacy, so this is a picture of the final judgment on the nations from a heavenly perspective.  This is a destruction of the antichrist and his armies at Armageddon.  So we are seeing the courtroom decision as it is played out in heaven. 

Then in Daniel 7:11 we read, "The I kept looking," see, he gets that video going again and he keeps looking, "because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking," so while he is watching this one scene unfold where he sees the throne of God and all of the angels before the throne and the books being opened for judgment upon the nations, then he also hears in the background the sound of the little horn, the voice of the little horn, making these boastful words.  "I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking" and here that's the little horn, "I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire."  Now the word translated "boastful" is from the Hebrew root word rab which literally means great and we great and we see this mentioned several times.  I'm using a New King James Version tonight and in verse 8 it translates it "pompous words," boastful words, same thing, so you have that in verse 8 and you have it again in verse 11 and you have it again later on in verse 18-20 it's mentioned again.  So this little horn is constantly speaking against God, speaking blasphemous words, as said also in Revelation 20.  Incidentally, it's this same scene that is very similar to the Great White Throne judgment but it is the judgment that is really covered earlier in Revelation 20:3-4. 

So this little horn is speaking blasphemous words, challenging God, and we studied that last time so we want to move on past that, this is the little horn that's identified with the beast in Revelation, the first beast, also called the antichrist, the "prince who is to come," the "prince of the king of the west" who is going to unite the ten nation western confederacy with its cultural roots in Rome, against Israel, but is going to sign the peace treaty with Israel at the beginning of the Tribulation and the signing of that peace treaty is what begins the Tribulation.  Now Daniel says he watches and he keeps "looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire."  So the beast is the ultimate representation of Satan's kingdom and attempts to establish a kingdom on the earth.

In Daniel 7:12 he says, "As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away."  Now verse 12 goes back in time, in action before verse 11; when the final manifestation of the beast is destroyed that's the end of the kingdom of man in human history.  So verse 12 takes us back before verse 11.  Daniel says, "As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them [for an appointed period of time]," and what that's talking about is when you go back to the first beast, which was Babylon, the second beast which was the Medo-Persian Empire, the third beast which was the Greek Empire, the fourth beast which was the Roman Empire, even though Babylon passed from the scene and Persia passed from the scene and Greece passed from the scene, their cultural residue continued to pile up and fed into the next kingdom.  But once the last kingdom, the last beast, the fourth beast is destroyed, that destroys all of the previous kingdoms and all of their residue.  So they have an extension of life only because there is no final or ultimate judgment on those kingdoms, but once there is that final and ultimate judgment of verse 11, then all of the kingdoms are destroyed and the kingdom of man is ended.

In Daniel 7:13 we read, "I kept looking in the night visions," so he continues, the action keeps going forward and he's looking intensely to see what's going to happen next, and this follows verse 10 actually; verses 11 and 12 are sort of a parenthesis telling us what's happening on the earth, whereas verse 13 is back focusing on what's happening in the heavenly courtroom.  "I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming.  And he came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him."  So this is the presentation of Jesus Christ as the Second Person of the Trinity.  Now we don't know that yet; Daniel doesn't know that.  I want you to think a minute about reading this in the Old Testament, and you don't know the Trinity, there is no such word as the Trinity, you don't know the name Jesus Christ, you only know that a Messiah is coming.  There was some hint, based on pre-Christian, that means before Christ, some pre-Christian commentaries written by the Jews, that they thought this Son of Man had some qualities of deity but they couldn't put it together.  They didn't have a clear picture of a Trinity, even though you can go to various passages in the Old Testament and demonstrate that the concept is clearly present in the Old Testament; they don't have it clear in their own minds.  So Daniel is looking in the night vision and what he sees are all these clouds, and out from the clouds steps One who is the Son of Man.

Now let's talk a minute about what the clouds of heaven refer to.  We know of one reference to the clouds in Isaiah 14:14, which is the final two statements, the two "I will's" of Satan.  Remember Satan, in Isaiah 14:13-14 utters five "I will's" which are the condensation of his sin against God, the sin of arrogance.  And the fourth of the five he says, "I will ascend above the heights of the clouds," now what do we know about the clouds?  If we look back through the Old Testament we see that there is often associated with the presence of God in the Old Testament the presence of clouds. 

For example, if you go back to Exodus 19 when God appears to the nation Israel He appears in a cloud; He spoke out of a cloud when He gave the Law in Exodus 19:9.  Also when God appears to Israel and is going to lead them across the desert out of Egypt He does so in the form of a pillar, a cloud that goes before the nation.  And again in Exodus 40:3-4, when the Shekinah glory, which is the dwelling of the preincarnate Second Person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ, in His preincarnate state, dwelled in the midst of Israel, that's the Shekinah glory in the Old Testament, and a cloud came and settled down on the Tabernacle in Exodus 40:34.  So the cloud is often associated with the glory of God and the Shekinah and that means the dwelling of God in the tabernacle and temple in the Old Testament.  So when Daniel looks up and he sees the clouds of heaven, this speaks of the presence of God and would be a reminder of the dwelling of God. 

He says, "One like a Son of Man was coming, and he came up to the Ancient of Days."  Now before we jump too quickly into just interpreting this, let's wait and see how this develops over the process of time.  Remember, revelation was given progressively.  This is a foundational doctrine in understanding the Bible.  God did not dump everything in the first chapter or in the first five chapters of Genesis.  There are the seeds of every major doctrine in the Bible in the first eleven chapters of the Bible but they are progressively revealed so that Noah knew more than Adam did or knew more than Methuselah did, more was revealed to him.  Abraham knew more than Noah did; Moses knew more than Abraham did; Elijah and Elisha knew more than David did; Daniel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, understood more about God than their predecessors did.  And none of them understood the Old Testament as clearly and as precisely as we do because we're able to look back at the Old Testament through the lens of the New Testament. 

Now that doesn't mean that there weren't things that they understood that aren't written down; I think that's clear.  I think that Daniel saw a lot more than what he wrote in Scripture.  I think Moses saw a lot more than he wrote in Scripture.  I think there are hints of that if you read through Hebrews 11 where we're told that Abraham lived as a tent-dweller, a sojourner, a pilgrim in the land but he kept his focus on a city that was built without human hands.  Well, if you go back to Genesis and you try to find information about that city built without human hands you can't find it in Genesis, so obviously they knew things that aren't recorded in the Old Testament for future generations.  But nevertheless, they weren't putting it altogether in quite the same way that we can because hindsight is better than foresight and we have the completed revelation in the New Testament so we can clearly understand all the different themes and motifs and foreshadowings that were going on in the Old Testament. 

So we look at this and we see that all he sees is a "Son of Man," an individual.  But remember, let's take this in context.  We've seen the procession of the four beasts; we saw the wind blowing on the sea, we saw four beasts.  Now each one of these elements is a symbol that represented something.  The first beast represented Babylon; it didn't represent an individual, it did not represent Nebuchadnezzar, although when you link it and connect it to the image in Daniel 1, God said through Daniel to Nebuchadnezzar, you re the head of gold.  But see, here's an individual, an individual also represented the kingdom.  So you have the individual or the kingdom itself represented by an individual so both are at work here, not just an individual but a collection.  So when we see here the "Son of man coming" with the clouds of heaven, it's not simply an individual but it is all that is included with that individual, including all believers.  So this is a picture of a kingdom coming, because He's going to be the fifth kingdom.  He is the picture of the fifth and final kingdom that will supplant the kingdoms of man.

Now Daniel uses the terminology, "Son of Man," but Daniel doesn't make an issue out of it like we would, simply because he doesn't have all of the revelation from the New Testament at his hand.  So we need to ask the question, what does the "Son of Man" mean when we get into the New Testament. 

Let's go on with Daniel 7:14 and we'll come back and answer our questions about the "Son of Man" and the "Ancient of Days" when we finish this in verse 14.  "To Him," that is to the Son of man, "was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and men of every language might serve Him."  See, this is the kingdom that comes with the individual so it's not simply an individual in view here, it is "all the peoples, nations, and men of every language" that are associated with the fifth kingdom.  That they "might serve Him.  His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed." 

You say wait a minute, what about Revelation 20 saying that it's a thousand year kingdom.  That is its initial manifestation is a thousand year kingdom on the earth, but remember Israel is promised the land, and a city, and an inheritance forever.  What happens is at the end of the millennium there is the Great White Throne judgment, there is the temporary God and Magog revolution, then there's the Great White Throne judgment and then the present heavens and earth are destroyed, a new heavens and earth are created, but the New Jerusalem is still going to be in the new heavens and the new earth, and there will be an inheritance in the land in the new earth for Israel, and that goes on into eternity.  So it doesn't cease; the Messianic rule and the fifth kingdom doesn't cease with the destruction of Jerusalem and the present heavens and present earth; it goes on and makes a transition into the eternal state and goes on forever and ever.

Now there are two questions that we need to ask in relationship to this passage.  The first is: what is Christ's relationship to the Ancient of Days and the Son of Man.  I've already hinted at the answer but we want to develop out what the New Testament says about this, so the question we're asking is: is Jesus Christ the Ancient of Days or is the Ancient of Days God the Father?  Remember the picture of the Ancient of Days is identical to the picture of Jesus Christ that we'll see in Revelation 1.  And the second question that we need to answer is: when exactly is the fifth kingdom given to Jesus Christ.  When is this fifth kingdom, the kingdom of God, given to Jesus Christ?  Is it given at Christ's ascension, when He ascended in Acts 1 and said "all power in heaven is given to Me," or is it given at the Second Advent, or at the end of the millennium? 

See, what's important to remember here is that whenever you start working on a passage like Daniel 7 and you've got all of these details from all of the beasts and all the kingdoms and you get into this whole passage dealing with judgment, and then you start interacting with all of the cross references, like we did last week in Revelation 9 and Revelation 13 and Revelation 12 and now in Revelation 20, you begin to see that the Bible has to be the inerrant infallible Word of God because there is no contradiction when you start comparing and putting all of these passage together, and they're written by different men in different civilizations in different eras of history.  Daniel is recording this in the 4th century or 5th century BC, and he is recording this is Babylon.  Then you have John who's writing in the 1st century AD and John is writing on the isle of Patmos during the time of the Roman Empire.  And John sees all these things just as much in the future as Daniel saw them in Daniel 7, and what they write about all of this is not exactly identical because each has different elements that the other doesn't include but they blend together perfectly with no contradiction.  Then you add in other passages like Matthew 24, you add in things that are revealed to Zechariah, passages in Ezekiel as well, and you discover that this just can't happen by chance, the Bible clearly has to be what it claims to be and that is a supernatural revelation of God to man outlining His plan and purposes for man.  And that starts with salvation, which ultimately culminates in His glory.

So let's look at this title, the "Son of Man," answer the first question first, why did Jesus come up with this title "Son of Man."  It comes from this passage in Daniel 7, so when we look at New Testament passages where Jesus uses the term "Son of Man," this isn't just some title He pulls out of thin air because it sounded good.  Neither is it simply a statement, although it is a statement expressing His humanity, it's not simply a statement of His humanity.  Remember, we've gone through a study where we have seen that the Hebrew idiom, "son of" doesn't necessarily indicate descent or family lineage but it indicates a quality or characteristic.  For example, a fool was called the son of a fool; a murderer was called the son of a murderer; an evil person was called the son of Belial.  When Jesus Christ was called the Son of God that's not saying something about His descent, that is saying He is deity.  When it says He is the Son of Man, that is not saying something about His descent; that is saying that He expresses true, genuine humanity. 

And notice, the Son of Man in Daniel 7 stands in complete contrast to what?  The four beasts!  See, man in all of his beauty and all of his glory is viewed by God as nothing but bestial, he has fallen far short of God's original design for man in terms of what his true humanity is because sin has so warped and distorted the nature of mankind.  We think of all of our great humanitarian efforts and all of the wonderful self-less heroics that were accomplished on a day like September 11th and many other instances in human history and yet those pale in insignificance compared to what man could be if man were not tainted by sin.  God looks at all of man's highest achievements in terms of culture and civilization and says that at his best man is nothing more than a beast, but that is the purpose of redemption and ultimately the kingdom of man will be destroyed and man will realize what true civilization is all about, but only under the perfect reign of Jesus Christ. 

So when Jesus uses this term, "Son of man," it's a signal to anyone who really knew the Old Testament, now not everybody would pick up on it, some people would just think, as people today do, that well, when Jesus calls Himself the Son of Man He's just emphasizing His humanity but it  you knew Daniel you would know that when Jesus says He is the Son of Man that he is making a profound theological statement about His identity because it is the Son of Man who comes to establish this fifth and final kingdom.  So let's look at some of these passages in the New Testament where Jesus uses the phrase "Son of man."

Matthew 24:30 he says, "and then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory."  What does that image remind you of?  What we just read in Daniel 7:13, he sees the Son of Man coming with the clouds of heaven.  So this is a picture of the Son of Man coming at the Second Coming, not the rapture, He is coming on the clouds in the sky with power and with great glory and this is not the rapture because He comes all the way to the earth and Matthew 24:30 is not a rapture passage, though some people have tried to make it that it is a Second Coming passage.  But Jesus gets the picture here from Daniel 7 and it's almost an exact quote and so what Jesus is saying, if anyone is listening, what He's saying is that they would see Him coming and this is a reference to Him establishing the fifth kingdom and destroying the fourth kingdom.

Another time that Jesus this phrase is in Matthew 26:63-64.  Here we read, this is one of Jesus' trials and remember the six trials Jesus went through were all illegal, not one of the trials before either the Sanhedrin, Herod, or Caiaphas were legal.  And He keeps silent; this is in fulfillment of Isaiah 53 which states that "He will be led like a lamb to the slaughter and like a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth."  And in Matthew 26:63 we're told, "But Jesus kept silent.  And the high priest said to Him, 'I adjure you by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.'"  So in the midst of this interrogation by Caiaphas, Caiaphas asks Him, tell us straight out, "are you the Messiah, the Son of God?"  Now isn't that interesting that Caiaphas is recognizing that the Messiah is the Son of God.  He's derived that much from the study of the Old Testament.  So he's seeing the Messiah as the Son of God. 

Verse 64, "Jesus said to him, 'You said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven."  So Jesus looks at him and He basically is saying if you think I'm making an audacious claim now, that I claim to be the Messiah, let me make an even more audacious claim, I am the Son of Man who will be sitting at the right hand of Power, and you will see Me there.  So that really aggravates Caiaphas and the rest of the Jews, and he rents, just rips his robe in two as a sign that he can't stand the blasphemy in front of him and then they have to hustle Him off to Pilate in order to get some kind of death penalty imposed on Him.  But it tells us by their reaction that they clearly understood what Jesus was claiming when He claimed to be the Son of Man.  They knew He was claiming to be God.  They knew He was claiming to be deity and that is why they took such an exception to His claim.  He is not simply saying I am one of the greatest men that ever lived, He's not claiming to be a great prophet, He's not claiming to be the ideal of all humanity, He is claiming to be full undiminished deity and they understood what He was claiming and they rejected it and for His claim they wanted to have Him crucified. 

There's another verse where the term "Son of Man" is used and that's in Matthew 9:6 and here it's in the context of grace, grace and the relationship to forgiveness of sins.  It's in this particular instance that Jesus is going to heal the paralytic but as a sign that He has forgiven him, that his sins are forgiven.  Now in Jewish Old Testament theology the only one who can forgive sins is the judge, and here in this passage Jesus has the audacity to say that He forgives sins.  Notice He doesn't say your sins have been forgiven; see that could be anything, a rabbi could say yeah, God forgave your sins.  But he says "the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins," He specifically forgave the sins of this individual, taking upon Himself the privileges and prerogatives that belong only to God.  And He says, "in order that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins" He told the paralytic to stand up and walk. 

Then again in Luke 9:22 Jesus uses the term Son of Man in reference to Himself as the suffering servant in relationship to the prophecy of the suffering servant and Isaiah.  Here we read: "saying, 'The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day."  How many times did He announce what was going to happen to Him and the disciples never seemed to get the picture.  So Jesus is identifying Himself with the people, that He is going to suffer just as they suffered.  Once again, this reminds us of the theme in Daniel, that many people are going to suffer persecution but we realize that God is in control, no matter what happens in this life we know that God is still in control and that Jesus was persecuted by the greatest persecutor in all of the universe and that is by Satan himself. 

So we see that Jesus used this title, the "Son of Man," in the same way that it is portrayed in Daniel 7, He's going back into Daniel 7, picking up this title, applying it to Himself to show that He is claiming to be the King, the One to whom the final kingdom is given, and that He is going to come in glory but that first He must suffer.  And this is a problem that the Jews never understood from Old Testament prophecy and that is that the cross had to come before the crown, that He had to go to the cross and suffer before He could be glorified and rule and reign, and this is always the principle, that suffering must come before glorification.  So Jesus had to first go to the cross and die on the cross bearing our penalty in His body on the cross; because He paid the penalty in full there is nothing we can do to add to it.  We can't add to it by being good, we can't add to it by going to church, we can't add to it by participating in religious rituals, there is nothing we can to do help.  In fact, the Bible makes it clear that if we try to help, faith plus anything destroys faith.  It is faith alone in Christ alone.  Scripture says "believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved." 

Now that is the answer to the first question and that is: what is the meaning of the Son of Man and it ultimately relates to the doctrine of the hypostatic union and that is that Jesus Christ is undiminished deity united with true humanity for all eternity, without mixture, without division, His deity doesn't flow into His humanity and His humanity doesn't flow into His deity, but these two natures are united together in one person and that one person remains in hypostatic union from now throughout all eternity.  So we have this remarkable picture of what God thinks of His creature, man, and He thinks so much and He loves the creature so much that He united Himself with humanity and that unity will stay for all eternity.

Now let's look at the next image, which is that of the "Ancient of Days."  We see the Ancient of Days is surrounded in Daniel 7:13 by clouds, also by the fiery flame in verse 9 and the wheels of burning fire; He's pictured as having a garment that's white as snow and hair on His head that's like pure wool.  So let's look at some other passages that are similar to this. 

Revelation 1:13-14 gives us a picture but this time it's Jesus Christ; it's very close to the image that we see in Daniel 7.  Here we read, "And in the middle of the lampstands one like a son of man," notice the terminology again, "son of man," clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His breasts with a golden girdle.  [14] And His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire."  So here we see the phrase applying this same description to the Son of Man as was described to the "Ancient of Days" in Daniel 7.  So when Jesus appears to John in Revelation, John is thinking in terms of the vision of Daniel 7 and Jesus appears as both the Son of Man and the Ancient of Days.  This indicates the hypostatic union; He looks like a man but He is God also.  So in Revelation 1 we meet Jesus Christ who now judgment is being given to Him and so He looks and takes on the role as Judge as the Ancient of Days because of the hypostatic union. 

Now when is the fifth kingdom?  That's the next question.  When exactly does the fifth kingdom begin?  Does it begin when Jesus said all authority had been given to Him, which is after the resurrection, or does it begin sometime later?  Let's look at two passages: first of all, in Matthew 28:18 we read, "And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, 'All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.'"  Well, has that already been given to Him?  Has He already established the kingdom or is it yet future?  Remember, He said this in his post-resurrection appearance.  So all authority had been given to Him, but this is after the resurrection. 

Then we look at another passage in Matthew 26:64, "Jesus said to him, 'You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.'"  So the statement in Matthew 26:64 pictures Jesus as the Son of Man coming to receive His kingdom at the Second Advent. 

So it seems like we have two answers, but the solution to this comes by understanding what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:20 and following.  There we read, "But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.  [21] For since by man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.  [22] For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive.  [23] But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming,  [24] then comes the end, when He delivers up the kingdom to God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.  [25] For He must reign until He has put all enemies under His feet.  [26] The last enemy that will be abolished is death."

Now the first fruits is the first part of the harvest, the initial harvest.  You know what it's like when you go out there in May and plant your tomato plants and sometime about that first tomato comes up, even though the other ones are still green, but that one made it, that's the first fruits, it's the first part of the harvest and that is Jesus Christ, it's not the end of the harvest, it's an ongoing continuing action.  And what the picture is in 1 Corinthians 15:20 is that Christ is the first part of the creation to go through resurrection and transformation.  He's the initial part of it, and we are reminded of the purpose of this in verse 21, "For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead." 

Now I want you to notice here a couple of things just as a sidelight.  "For since by a man came death," this is death in principle, this is physical death; this isn't talking about spiritual death.  How do we know it's not talking about spiritual death?  Because he's talking about physical resurrection in verse 21, he's talking about resurrection from the physically dead, not spiritually dead.  1 Corinthians 15:21 says that "since by a man came death," now for the second half of that verse to have any meaning whatsoever, then that first death has to be physical death and not spiritual death.  That means that it is a result of Adam's decision at the fall; physical death is a result of Adam's decision at the fall.  Spiritual death is the penalty but physical death and the transformation of all of nature and the judgment on all of nature, as in Romans 8 where you see the whole earth groans presently, waiting for the future redemption of Jesus Christ, all of nature succumbed because of that decision. 

That means there had to be no physical death of anything, animal or human.  Now plant life, the verbiage in Hebrews is a completely different kind of life so you don't have to worry about it if you actually kill a plant, that's not life in the same order as either human life or animal life.  But the point is that you can have no physical death of any kind; that means fossils which represent the death of animals, fossils cannot predate Adam's sin.  All the fossils had to come from some event after Adam's fall, not before Adam's fall because if one thing dies prior to Adam's sin, then physical death is not a consequence of sin and Jesus Christ didn't have to die physically and He didn't have to rise from the dead.  That's why I have always said that evolution is a subtle but direct assault on the cross.  It is one of Satan's greatest and most subtle attacks on Jesus Christ, His deity and His redemptive work on the cross.  You cannot believe in any assimilationist theory. 

Now of course you can, you can be illogical, I've certainly had my arguments with lots of illogical people, you can be irrational, you can make your experience or the experience of scientists more real in your life than the Word of God, but if you're going to make the Word of God more real in your life than your thinking, than any experience, then you cannot hold to some sort of theory that has a pre-Adamic race or dinosaurs existing before man or progressive evolution or theistic evolution or the day-age theory or any of the other attempts that are set forth to try to assimilate with modern science.  They don't have the answers and they know it; more and more books are coming out by scientists arguing against Darwinian evolution because we have discovered so much now regarding DNA combinations and protein change and enzymes that we realize… that objective scientists are beginning to realize it's impossible for chance to have worked out anything.  The complexities of simple DNA chain are so incredible that there is no mathematical possibility that it could have happened by chance. 

So we're told here in verse 21 that it is physical death that came as a result of a man, as a result of Adam's son.  Verse 22, "For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive."  So Christ is the first fruits, and then there are going to be successive stages of those who are resurrected.  Verse 23, "But each in his own order: Christ is the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming."  Now the word for "order" here is the Greek word tagma, which means rank or order.  And so the picture here is that you have a military unit on parade, and the first company goes by and that's Jesus Christ; the second company goes by and that's Church Age believers.  The third company goes by and that's tribulational saints.  The fourth company goes by and that's Old Testament believers.  So there is this succession of ranks that are going to be resurrected.  And the kingdom is finally given when those ranks have received their resurrection bodies. 

Then we come to the final verse in Daniel 7:28.  "At this point the revelation ended.  As for me, Daniel, my thoughts were greatly alarming me and my face grew pale, but I kept the matter to myself."  When he says "my thoughts were greatly alarming me," this means he doesn't have enough information to be able to really understand all the elements of this prophecy.  He didn't really understand who the Son of Man was or who the Ancient of Days was because he didn't know about the revelation of the God-man Jesus Christ in the New Testament.  He knew that this vision promised an end to the persecution of the Jews, that they would suffer under successive kingdoms but ultimately God would make all things right and would judge all of these nations.  So he says he kept everythihng to himself, he didn't discuss it, he didn't try to figure it out, he kept what he saw to himself.

So what are some conclusions that we can derive in terms of application from Daniel 7?  First of all, God's sovereignty over history is shown by the operation of the angelic winds, and even though these are probably demonic powers here stirring up fallen unregenerate mankind, raising up these various manifestations of the kingdom of man, we see that God is ultimately in control of what the angels do.  

The second thing we need to learn is that we should not be naïve about the kingdom of man surrounding us.  God pictures the kingdom of man as a beast so let's not fall in love with human culture, let's not fall in love with human civilization because God says that at its very best it's bestial; don't fall in love with various empires.  Now some of us really enjoy history and the study of history and we have our favorite empires and favorite countries that we like to study, some like British history, some like French history, some like various ancient history but don't be carried away, the best of human culture is bestial.

The third application, when we understand Daniel 7 and we put that together with New Testament revelation, we realize that as believers understanding God's role and God's operation of human history, we can relax and be calm and have stability, no matter how horrendous things might be around us, no matter how many chaotic events may appear, no matter how many times… and frankly when you look at the Tribulation, something like September 11th is going to happen every day, sometimes ten times that's going to happen every day, and that's happened at other times in world history; we're just maybe unaware of it.  

I've been reading about the battle of Stalingrad, and in the first day of the battle of Stalingrad the Luftwaffe, there was a surprise attack, the Soviets did not warn the people the Germans were even as close as they were and they were just about 40 miles away, and all of a sudden the Luftwaffe hit Stalingrad and it was dropping thousands and thousands of pounds of bombs and in a 24 hour period it just decimated, it flattened downtown Stalingrad and 40,000 Russians were killed in one day.  That just makes events like September 11th… and this went on, the battle of Stalingrad went on for another seven months, day in and day out.  We have to have a little historical perspective and then we realize that things aren't quite as bad as sometimes we think they are.  But even when they are much worse than we think they are, God is still in control and He never loses control so we can relax in that.

Then finally, we know where history is going, we know that ultimately there will be a culmination, there will be a righteous and just judgment of all human kingdoms and that eventually will culminate in the perfect kingdom under the rule and reign of Jesus Christ, not just for a millennium, but following that for all eternity.

With our heads bowed….