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Daniel 7:9-14

 

Here in Daniel’s vision, he describes two objects of divine worship; the Ancient of Days and the Son of Man.[1] Particularly take note of verses 9, 13-14: 

 

9 I kept looking until thrones were set up, and the Ancient of Days took His seat. . . . 

13 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. . . .

14 And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed.

 

 

First, it is significant that Daniel sees “thrones” that were set up rather than one throne. Apparently, both the Ancient of Days and the Son of Man each have thrones as also indicated in the New Testament (Rev. 22:1)[2]. In verse 13, Daniel sees the Son of Man coming up to the Ancient of Days. It is undisputable as to the identity of the Ancient of Days (Aram. Atik Yomin; LXX, palaios hēmerōn). Thus, the CEV translates the title of “Ancient of Days” as “the Eternal God” and the TEV translates it as “One who had been living for ever.” In verse 14, the Ancient of Days gives to the Person of the Son of Man “dominion, Glory and a kingdom.” This is reminiscent to Matthew 28:18 where the Father gives the Son “All authority . . . in heaven and on earth.”

 

We then read that “all the peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve” (“worship” NIV) the Son of Man.

 

The term “serve” is from Aramaic word, pelach, which corresponds to the Hebrew word, palach. In a religious context, every time the term appears in the Old Testament where the object of the term is God, it caries the idea of worship rendering religious service or performing religious rituals in honor of a deity (Bock et al., 2007: 72).[3] In the LXX, the term used in verse 14 is douleuō, “to serve.” As with pelach, this term also caries the idea of divine worship when God is the object of the term. In verse 27 speaking of Yahweh (the “Highest One”), the LXX translates as pelach as douleuō (“serve”): “His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.”

 

 Now the usual term in Hebrew translated “worship” is avad. However, “the most frequent English translation of the term is “to serve” (White, 1996: 210). For example, in Exodus 20:5, God commands the Israelites that they “shall not worship them or serve” other gods, but worship and “serve” the true God. Here, the LXX translates the Hebrew term avad as douleuō (“serve”) showing that in a religious context, douleuō caries the meaning of “worship.” Paul too expresses the import of douleuō when God is the object: “When you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods.” The phrase “were slaves” (or “you served”) is from the verb douleuō. Paul was clear: to douleuō anyone other than the true God in a religious context[4] is wrong - it is idolatry.

 

The point here is that there are two divine Persons mentioned in Daniel 7: 9-14, the Ancient of Days and the Son of Man. Daniel’s vision was clearly within a religious context – the heavens. Thus, the Son of Man receives “worship” (douleuō) from “peoples, nations and men of every language.” Similar to the reference to Yahweh in verse 27, the Son of Man’s “dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed” (cf. Eph. 1:20-21; Heb. 1:8-12).


 


NOTES

 

[1] In the gospels, Jesus refers to Himself as the “Son of man” more than eighty-nine times to signify both His humanity and deity (cf. Matt. 9:6; Mark 10:45; John 3:13-14).

[2] “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life – water as clear as crystal – pouring out from the throne of God and of the Lamb” (cf. v. 3). Note the last phrase in Greek: ek tou thronou tou theou kai tou arniou, literally, “out of the throne of the God and of the Lamb.” According to the rules of Greek grammar (viz. Sharp’s rule #6), tou theou, “the God” and tou arniou, “the Lamb” are two different Persons. Each noun is preceded by the article (tou, “the”) and both nouns are connected by the copulative conjunction (kai, “and”; see chap. 3, sec. 3.4.2.1).

[3] In Greek versions of Daniel, the term latreuō, “to worship” is a frequent translation of pelach (cf. 3:12, 14, 18, 28; 6:16, 20). 

[4] Of course, there are places in Scripture where men honored and served others, but never in a religious context. For when Cornelius bowed (proskuneō) before Peter, Peter rightly stopped him saying, “I too am just a man” (Acts 10:25-26).