Why Was God Called the "Ancient of Days" in the Bible?

Ancient of Days is a name for God found multiple times in the Book of Daniel.
Christianity.com Editorial Staff
Why Was God Called the "Ancient of Days" in the Bible?

Why was God called the "Ancient of Days" in the Bible? Scripture Meaning and Quotes

God is referenced as the "Ancient of Days" three times in the book of Daniel, chapter seven.

According to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, The expression is used in reference to God in Daniel 7:9,13,22 and is not intended to suggest the existence of God from eternity. It was the venerable appearance of old age that was uppermost in the writer's mind. "What Daniel sees is not the eternal God Himself, but an aged man, in whose dignified and impressive form God reveals Himself (compare Ezekiel 1:26)."
 

Ancient of Days: Bible Verses

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.

Daniel 7:13 - “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence.

Daniel 7:22 - until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the holy people of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom.

Ancient of Days: Influence and Representation

According to Wikipedia, In Eastern Orthodox Christian hymns and symbols, the Ancient of Days is sometimes recognized with God the Father or seldom the Holy Spirit; but most properly, in accordance with Orthodox theology, he is identified with God the Son, or Jesus. Most of the eastern church fathers who comment on the passage in Daniel (7:9-10, 13-14) explained the elderly figure as a prophecy of the son before his bodily manifestation.

In the Western Church, similar figures usually represent only God the Father. Developing his reasoning upon the Daniel passage, Thomas Aquinas evokes that some bring forward the objection that the Ancient of Days matches the Person of the Father, without necessarily agreeing with this statement himself.

"Ancient of Days" can also be found in the Christian hymn "Immortal, Invisible, God only Wise", as the last two lines of the first verse read:

Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,

Almighty, victorious, Thy great Name we praise.

This article's image is a painting called "The Ancient of Days" by William Blake. This work is in the public domain


Originally published February 25, 2019.