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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Ancient of Days

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ANCIENT OF DAYS occurs 3 times in Daniel ( Daniel 7:9 ; Daniel 7:13 ; Daniel 7:22 ) as a title of God in His capacity as Judge of the world. In the Vision of the Great Assizes He is depicted as a very old and majestic figure, with white hair and white raimeot, seated on a fiery throne, and having the books of the records of man opened before Him. The picture is no doubt suggested by the contrast between the Eternal God ( Psalms 55:19 ) and the new-fangled deities which were from time to time introduced ( Judges 5:8 , Deuteronomy 32:17 ), rather than, as Hippolytus (quoted by Behrmann, Das Buch Daniel , p. 46) suggests, by the idea of God as making the ages old without turning old Himself. In the troublous times which are represented by the Book of Daniel, it was at once a comfort and a warning to remember that above the fleeting phases of life there sat One who remained eternally the same ( Psalms 90:1-3 ; Psalms 102:24-27 ). At the same time it is worth remembering that the phrase in itself has no mystical significance, but, by an idiom common in Hebrew as in other languages, is merely a paraphrase for ‘an old man.’

H. C. O. Lanchester.


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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Ancient of Days'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hdb/a/ancient-of-days.html. 1909.

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