Daniel 7:9-14 – The Heavenly Throne Room

Daniel 7:9-14 is an apocalyptic throne room scene. The description of a great throne room is common in prophetic and apocalyptic literature. Isaiah has his inaugural vision of the Lord, “high and exalted, seated on his throne,” surrounded by angelic creatures (Isaiah 6:1-5). Ezekiel’s first vision describes the glory of God as a glowing otherworldly man seated on a throne of lapis lazuli accompanied by strange “living creatures” (Ezek 1:25-28).

1 Enoch has several throne room scenes similar to Daniel 7:9-14.

1 Enoch 14:18-25 18 And I observed and saw inside it a lofty throne—its appearance was like crystal and its wheels like the shining sun; and (I heard?) the voice of the cherubim; 19 and from beneath the throne were issuing streams of flaming fire. It was difficult to look at it.  20 And the Great Glory was sitting upon it—as for his gown, which was shining more brightly than the sun, it was whiter than any snow. 21 None of the angels was able to come in and see the face of the Excellent and the Glorious One; and no one of the flesh can see him—22 the flaming fire was round about him, and a great fire stood before him. No one could come near unto him from among those that surrounded the tens of millions (that stood) before him. 23 He needed no council, but the most holy ones who are near to him neither go far away at night nor move away from him. 24 Until then I was prostrate on my face covered and trembling. And the Lord called me with his own mouth and said to me, “Come near to me, Enoch, and to my holy Word.” 25 And he lifted me up and brought me near to the gate, but I (continued) to look down with my face.

1 Enoch 40:1-2 And after that, I saw a hundred thousand times a hundred thousand, ten million times ten million, an innumerable and uncountable (multitude) who stand before the glory of the Lord of the Spirits. 2 I saw them standing—on the four wings of the Lord of the Spirits—and saw four other faces among those who do not slumber, and I came to know their names, which the angel who came with me revealed to me; and he (also) showed me all the hidden things.

1 Enoch 60:1-3  In the year five hundred, in the seventh month, on the fourteenth day of the month in the life of Enoch; in the same parable (I saw) that the heaven of heavens was quaking and trembling with a mighty tremulous agitation, and the forces of the Most High and the angels, ten thousand times a million and ten million times ten million, were agitated with great agitation. 2 And the Antecedent of Time was sitting on the throne of his glory surrounded by the angels and the righteous ones. 3 (Then) a great trembling and fear seized me and my loins and kidneys lost control. So I fell upon my face.

Like Isaiah 6, Ezekiel 1 and Daniel 7, Enoch sees a flaming throne and a being with bright clothing light lightning. The name of the one on the throne in Daniel “Ancient of Days” is similar to the “Antecedent of Time” (sometimes translated as “the head of days.” There is a huge multitude of angelic witnesses in both Daniel and 1 Enoch, 1 Enoch also refers to four “living creatures.” Even the reaction of the visionary is similar. Isaiah cries out “woe is me” because he has seen the living God, Daniel is deeply trouble at the end of this vision (7:28) and in his final vision he is completely devastated by a vision of a man/angel/God, he falls into a deep sleep with his face to the ground (10:7-9).

In Daniel 7:9-10, the judge on the throne is the Ancient of Days. The Ancient of Days is usually interpreted as title for God even though there no other uses of the phrase in the Hebrew Bible. Identifying the on one the throne is complicated by the description of this ancient being giving his authority to the (young) son of man. The older figure sits on one throne while delegating judgment to the “son of man” on a second throne. Phillip Munoa has a list of interpretations (Four Powers in Heaven: The Interpretation of Daniel 7 in the Testament of Abraham. JSPSup 28. Sheffield: Sheffield University Press, 1998).

  • The medieval Jewish scholar Jephet took the “ancient of days” to be an angel, Ibn Ezra specified the Ancient of Days to be Michael the archangel.
  • Rabbi Hayyim Galipapa (1310-1380) identified the Ancient of Days with Matthias Maccabees, the “old man” of the Maccabean revolt, imply the “son of man” was Judas Maccabees.
  • In the sixth century Jewish text, Gedullat Mosheh, the writer identifies God as the ancient of days, but the con of man is an angel, Metatron.
  • In the Testament of Abraham, the Ancient one is Adam, the son of Man is Abel (as the protomartyr).

If Daniel is consistent with earlier apocalyptic throne room scenes then the one on the throne is God. It is his kingdom which will subdue the kingdoms of men. People of all nations will worship the son of man (7:14) and the kingdom of the Most High will be everlasting (7:26).

10 thoughts on “Daniel 7:9-14 – The Heavenly Throne Room

  1. We know that in Daniel chapter 7, the name “Ancient of Days” does in fact refer to God Himself for several reason. Some of these come directly from the description of Him from Daniel. Firstly, Daniel describes His clothing as “white as snow”, which is a symbolism for God’s absolute purity (ESV, footnote 7:9-12, p. 1600). God is entirely and completely perfect and without sin. Even when God manifested Himself into human form through Jesus Christ, who was fully human and lived in a sinful world, He was in fact still completely blameless and without any sinful blemish (1 Peter 2:22, 1 John 3:5, etc.) Each one of us, because we are sinful, cannot fully comprehend what it means to be totally without sin or evil, and thus Daniel attempts to describe what this looks like through earthly means, using imagery such as pure white snow, or in the case of wisdom, the Ancient of Days has a head of hair like “pure wool” (Daniel 7:9). Attempting to describe a supernatural or spiritual aspect using earthly imagery is common in the Bible. For instance, Ezekiel in chapter one, when elucidating about the four living creatures, cannot fully explain what they looked like, they had only “human likenesses”, but tries to use terms such as “faces” “feet”, “wings”, and so on in order to best relate them as he is able to (Ezekiel 1:4-9). The most important aspect of this entire vision of Daniel’s is that we as believers can take comfort in the fact that the holy and righteous kingdom of the Son of Man and the Ancient of Days will never end or fail, and that it will be a mighty and glorious kingdom lasting for eternity after the final battle (Daniel 7:13-14).

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  2. Daniel chapter 7 gives us the center point vision of Daniel, the heavenly courtroom (ESVB 1600). God, being known as the Ancient of Days, describing in details of his appearance and authority he represents in front of all creation both heavens and earth. This scene gives us a full scale image of wisdom, purity, and power. Could this perhaps be a mirror of the final judgement mentioned in the book of Revelation 20:11-15? In these verses it depicts God being the judge, and all heavens and earth were exposed and nothing could hide from his presence. Also, this vision of God being seated on the throne is mentioned in Revelation 4. I believe this is just a glimpse of the supernatural glorious and power God holds and what he is about. There are so many symbolic meanings when it comes to the throne of God. What more can he show us about his awe-inspiring being that he is? I cannot phantom the idea of being in his presence.

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  3. The title “Ancient of Days” in the book of Daniel is clearly a title that is given to the oldest person and in the case an eternal person, which is God (7:9). I understand that I am coming to this text with the worldview of a white male in America who has studied at a dispensational university but this seems pretty clear that this is a reference to God. An interpretation of this vision of the Ancient of Days being Matthias Maccabees and the son (7:13) being Judas Maccabees seems like a real stretch to me. It almost seems like an effort to promote some sort of propaganda. Rabbi Hayyim Galipapa is probably coming to this text with the understanding that these people are Jewish heroes. The view that this Ancient of Days is Michael is also pretty astounding. The emphasis placed on angelic beings takes the focus off of the Lord. Obviously angels are meant to glorify God more but I truly think that these angles are more of a distraction from the Lord himself.
    The view in the Testament of Abraham is the most intriguing to me. The Ancient of Day is Adam and his son is Abel. This makes some more sense to me than Angels or Matthias Maccabees. Adam is the oldest person since days began and Abel is his son who was worthy in the sight of the Lord before being killed by his brother Cain (Genesis 4:8). This particular view, with the emphasis on Abel, makes me think of Augustine’s work The City of God. The emphasis on the holiness of Abel and his father being Adam, the oldest human being makes sense. If I did not think that the Ancient of Days referred to God and the son of man to Jesus then I would definitely like to play around with the idea that it might have been Adam and Abel.

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  4. As you stated, in 1 Enoch, Enoch encounters someone who seems to be like the Lord, as seen in Isaiah 6, Ezekiel 1, and Daniel 7. The overall power of the Lord is seen through all of these encounters.
    Although 1 Enoch is not a canonical book, the description of God is very similar to those of the canonical accounts. I think it is very plain to see that, in the age we live in, from the viewpoint that we have, the Ancient of Days is God, and the son of man is Jesus. Although, the thing I find strange is that in Daniel 7:13, the “son of man” is not capitalized how we would capitalize Jesus as the “Son of Man.” I think it is fairly plain to see that the “son of man” is Jesus, because he “is given dominion and glory and a kingdom…parallel to God’s kingdom” (ESVSB notes, 7:13-14). Regardless of capitalization, it is obvious that the Ancient of Days is God. However, the writer of these passages almost makes it seem as if the Ancient of Day is a different entity than “the Most High.” In Daniel 7:22, it is said that the Ancient of Days would come and then the “saints of the Most High” would be judged. The wording is very interesting. I find it curious that the term shifts from the “Ancient of Days” to the “Most High.” It’s as if the blinders are being remove slowly, and the confusion of this passage is being lifted. The “Most High” could only mean one thing: God.

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  5. The heavenly throne room
    I think that it is safe to say that the throne room scene is about God, then the son of man is Jesus. But my main concern is using sources from the Apocrypha. It’s not that I think those books are heresy and or false. Like I’ve mentioned in plenty of other comments, I struggle with using outside sources from the bible. I just want to make sure that what I am reading is credible. I know that Enoch is part of the Apocrypha which are God-inspired books that were written around the same time as the other books. I also know that Enoch was written by Enoch. Usually, some else wrote those letters about Enoch.
    That is all besides the point. The fact that we have had multiple accounts from different authors all writing about similar visions is quite amazing to me. Regardless of the credibility of Enoch, the fact is that whoever wrote it has similar visions of the same throne room scene. This shows that there is something significant to this vision.
    I honestly don’t know the significance of these visions, but there is something to understand about these visions, I just don’t know what that could be. Like I’ve mentioned in another blog post, I just want facts. I want to know exactly what the visions and dreams mean, so we humans can’t mess up what God had intended. But I guess that just goes to show how much faith I have toward this. I need to trust God in what matters and not get lost in little aspects.

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  6. Within the New Testament we see that there are multiple accounts of the acts of Jesus, which we count as credible since we know that it was God-inspired. But looking at this, we see that there are multiple accounts of similar things, but we may take it as less credible since the book of Enoch is not in the Bible.
    I think it safe to say that the Throne Room scene references God and the son of man would be Jesus, since we seem Him referenced as that in the Bible. It is pretty cool that an outside source of the Bible has the same scene accounted for in it, I think that goes to show the significance of the vision. It must be apparent that God is making this vision known about His Throne Room. Who are we to say that God cannot give a vision to an outsider of the Christian realm? We serve an all-powerful God and if He wants to show someone something through a vision, He is more than able to.
    While it may be hard to take everything as true in the book of Enoch, we can put it against our own truth—the Bible, and see that are significant similarities between the two which definitely shows some credibility to the vision itself. As Christians, I think when we are faced with something that could be untrue, we have to hold it against our highest standard, the Bible which God has given us. It is our “truth-measuring stick,” we are able to hold up lies against it and see if they line up with what God has said is true. There are similarities between what Enoch accounts for as well as what Daniel says about the vision, which can help us believe that what Enoch says is true.

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  7. The throne room that is talked about in Daniel 7 is interesting to me because it reminds me of the Great White Throne Judgement. What’s even more interesting is the fact that we speculate God being on the throne. Though the Bible never states that it is God on the throne, we usually make the connection from the title Ancient of Days to mean God.
    Naturally, like any other throne room it is going to be decorated for the one who sits on it. We see from other books of the Bible and from 1 Enoch that there are similar examples of a throne room. One particular throne from Ezekiel’s vision is one made of Lapis Lazuli and on it sat a man that was glowing a bright white color. Another throne from 1 Enoch is made of fire, but again a man that glows a bright white light. There has to be some sort of connection between the two even if 1 Enoch isn’t canon. Daniel describes the throne room to be very similar to that of the one Ezekiel described. The room surrounding was filled with people willing and ready to serve and minister.

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  8. There was a song a couple years ago called “Throne Room” that was a big hit throughout the Christian community and I would have to say, this picture of the throne room in Daniel 7 was most likely the inspiration for the song. Because of Isaiah and Ezekiel’s vision, we can that the throne room is a holy place and a place where the Lord is exalted. Similar to what Jon-Michael said, I am also a bit hesitant to use Enoch as an apocalyptic book just because it’s not inspired. However the fact that 1 Enoch does match the other
    inspired texts on the throne room, I think we can use it as a study reference of the throne room. The last little paragraph in the article reads “If Daniel is consistent with earlier apocalyptic throne room scenes then the one on the throne is God. It is his kingdom which will subdue the kingdoms of men. People of all nations will worship the son of man (7:14) and the kingdom of the Most High will be everlasting (7:26)” (Long, Article). We know that the ancient of days is God himself and that the throne room is one of God’s but it’s important to get the kingdom right. This has to be the millennial kingdom (the real 2nd coming) that is prophesied to come after the tribulation period. I can’t say for certain that this is what the text is referring to, however the worship of the son of man and the kingdom of the most high has to be some type of eternal kingdom.

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  9. From reading the passage Daniel 7:9-14, I would have to assume that the heavenly throne room is talking about God. In the New Testament, they are all written from different individuals that were there and seen what all happened. I am a newer Christian and I was told by many of people to read the Bible and learn what happened and do not go off from what some people tell you. Due to some individuals might not exactly know what they are talking about. Within the New Testament books, like I said, there are all eyewitness accounts from what happened during that time. Some of the books will include other things that the others do not. I am going to school to become and officer and I did some research about the New Testament and found some books a man wrote that talked about how the bible is true. This man was J. Warner Wallace, he was a detective at Los Angels police department and he compared the New Testaments to how he solved cold cases. Wallace explained how to solve most cases you would use eyewitness testimonies to make sense of the situation. He stated that the four books of Matthew, Mark, John, and Luke are all eyewitness testimonies. All four of these books all lined up and basically said the same thing. Wallace grew up as an atheist and once he began to read and investigate the Bible, he found that this was all true. He is now a pastor. That is how I plan to approach and learn more about God’s word.

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