God the Father is in His own right the supreme Judge of men and of angels. He proposes to bring all mankind into judgment. Yet this work is only done in part by Himself in person. It is by Jesus Christ that God is to perform the larger part of His immense work. The following proposition is worthy of serious consideration:
God the Father opens the judgment in person, then crowns His Son King and commits the judgment to Him.
“I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of Days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head like the pure wool; His throne was like the fiery flame, and His wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him; thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him; the judgment was set, and the books were opened. I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake; I beheld even till the beast was slain and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away; yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time. I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him; His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” Daniel 7:9–14.
The Ancient of Days represents God the Father. That One like the Son of man Who comes to the Ancient of Days is none other than our Lord Jesus Christ. (See Matthew 26:64; Mark 14:61, 62.) It is, therefore, not the Son but the Father who sits in judgment as described in this vision. Those who stand in His presence, either to minister or to wait, are not men but angels. This is a very important fact. Every student of the Bible is aware that the book of Revelation is a wonderful counterpart to the book of Daniel. This very phraseology respecting those in the presence of the Ancient of Days is made use of in the Revelation with the evident design of showing who are the persons intended by Daniel.
Thus, John says: “And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands.” Revelation 5:11.
Daniel describes the opening scene of the final judgment. The Father presides as Judge. The angels of God are present as ministers and witnesses. At this tribunal, the Son of man presents Himself to receive the dominion of the world. Here men are not present to witness this part of the judgment, or to behold the coronation of Christ. It is the Father, the Son, and the holy angels who compose this grand assembly. Our Lord cannot act as Judge as long as He ministers as High Priest to make intercession for those who come to God through Him. (See Hebrews 7:24, 25.) Nor can He act as Judge until He is clothed with kingly power; for it is by virtue of His authority as King that He pronounces the decision of the judgment. (See Matthew 25:34, 40.) The coronation of our Lord at the judgment-seat of His Father marks the termination of His priesthood and invests Him with that sovereign authority by which He shall judge the world.
The Judgment Scene of Daniel 7
It is not upon the earth that the Ancient of Days holds the session of the judgment described in Daniel 7.
Those who think that this session of judgment by the Father is to be held upon our earth, understand that the “ten thousand times ten thousand” who stand before Him are the vast multitude of the human family, standing at His bar for judgment. But as this vision represents the Son as coming to the Father when He is thus seated in judgment, it follows that if the Father is already upon this earth judging its inhabitants when the Son of God comes the second time, the Father does not send His Son to the earth, but He comes first; and then the Son comes and joins Him. Yet Peter said of the Father, concerning Christ’s Second Advent, “He shall send Jesus Christ.” Acts 3:20.
It would also follow that instead of the Son of man coming to gather His saints from the four quarters of the earth, He comes to find all mankind gathered at His Father’s bar. But we do know that when the Saviour comes, He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet and shall gather His elect from the four winds, even from the uttermost parts of the earth. (See Matthew 24:31; Mark 13:27; II Thessalonians 2:1.)
But should this difficulty be avoided by adopting the truth that those who stand before the Ancient of Days are angels, as those certainly must be who minister unto Him, it follows that our Lord is coming back to our earth thus preceded by His Father and the holy angels, comes unattended and alone. But this cannot be true; for when Jesus comes again, it will be with all the holy angels. (See Matthew 16:27; 25:31; II Thessalonians 1:7, 8.)
Christ Receives His Kingdom
Again, the Saviour is crowned King at the judgment-seat of the Father. But that judgment-seat cannot be upon our earth, else the Saviour would have to return to this earth to be crowned; whereas He receives His kingdom while absent and returns as King of kings, sitting upon the throne of His glory. (See Luke 19:11, 12, 15; Matthew 25:31; II Timothy 4:1; Revelation 19:11–16.)
It is certain, therefore, that the judgment scene described in Daniel 7 does not take place upon our earth. Indeed, were it true that immediately preceding the descent of the Saviour to our earth, God the Father should Himself descend in His own infinite majesty and summon mankind to His bar and enter into judgment with them, the subsequent advent of Jesus would hardly be taken notice of at all by men. But such is not the truth in this case. (See Matthew 24:29–31; 25:32, 32; Mark 13:26, 27; Luke 21:25–27, 36; I Thessalonians 4:14–18; II Thessalonians 1:7–10.)
This session of the judgment by the Ancient of Days precedes the advent of Christ to our earth.
When the Lord comes again, He is a king seated upon His own throne. (See Matthew 24:31; Luke 19:11, 12, 15; Revelation 19:11–16.) But the tribunal of the Father is the very time and place where His coronation occurs. (See Daniel 7:7–14.) It must then precede His advent.
When He comes the second time, it is “in the glory of His Father.” (See Matthew 16:27; Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26; II Thessalonians 1:7, 8.) But it is when the Father sits in judgment that He gives this glory to His Son. (See Daniel 7:14.) Indeed, the very majesty of the Father as displayed at this tribunal will attend the Son when He is revealed in flaming fire to take vengeance on His enemies. (See II Thessalonians 1:7–10; Matthew 24:30, 31; 25:31.) We are certain, therefore, that the revelation of Christ in His infinite glory is subsequent to that tribunal at which that glory is given to Him.
On this occasion, the Father is Judge in person, and the Son presents Himself to receive the kingdom. But when the Son of man comes to our earth, having received the kingdom, He acts as Judge Himself. (See II Timothy 4:1.) But it is evident that our Lord’s work as judge is at a later point of time than that judgment scene at which the Father presides. We are certain, therefore, that the tribunal of Daniel 7:9–14 precedes the descent of our Lord from heaven. (See I Thessalonians 4:14–18.)
The coming of the Son of man to the Ancient of Days is not the same event as His second advent to our world.
This has been proved already in the examination of other points. Thus, it has been shown from the coronation of Christ that the Second Advent must be at a later time than the Saviour’s act of coming to His Father in Daniel 7:13, 14 to receive the kingdom. Again, to make this the Second Advent, we must have God the Father and the host of His angels here upon our earth when the Saviour comes again. But this, as has been shown, involves the contradiction of the plainest facts. We cannot, therefore, doubt that the coming of Jesus to the Ancient of Days as He sits in judgment is an event preceding His second advent to our earth.
The coming of the Ancient of Days in this vision of Daniel’s is not to this world but to the place of His judgment scene. With regard to the place of this tribunal, we will speak hereafter. We have already proved that this session of the judgment precedes the Second Advent and that it is not held upon our earth. This fact establishes the truthfulness of this proposition.
The destruction of the power represented by the little horn does not take place at the time when the Ancient of Days sits in judgment but at a point still later when the Son of man descends in flaming fire.
We have proved that when our Lord comes to this earth the second time, He comes as King and must, therefore, come from the tribunal of His Father; for at that tribunal, the kingdom is given to Him. But the man of sin, or little horn, is destroyed by the brightness of Christ’s coming. (See II Thessalonians 1:7–10; 2:8.) Whence it follows that the destruction of the papacy is not at the Father’s judgment seat but at the advent of His Son, at a still later point of time. Were it true that the judgment scene of Daniel 7 is opened by the personal revelation of God the Father to the inhabitants of our earth, we may be sure that there would be no man of sin left to be destroyed afterward by the brightness of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We have already proved that the destruction of the wicked power is when Christ comes to our earth and that He does not thus come till He has first attended in person this tribunal of His Father. To this statement agree the words of Daniel 7:11. “I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake; I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.” It appears that even while this grand tribunal was in session, the attention of the prophet was called by the Spirit of God to the great words which the horn was speaking. “I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake.” But Daniel does not represent his destruction as coming at once even then. He says: “I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.” The period of time covered by this “till” is thus filled up: The Son of God comes to His Father’s judgment-seat and receives the dominion, and the glory, and the kingdom, then descends to our earth in flaming fire, like that which comes forth from before His Father, and by the brightness of His advent, destroys the little horn. (See II Thessalonians 1, 2.) It is when our Lord thus comes that this wicked power is given to the burning flame.
War Against the Saints Ended
This is really the very point marked in verses 21 and 22 for the termination of the war against the saints: “I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints and prevailed against them; until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.” But even while the Most High sits in judgment to determine the cases of His saints, the little horn is, according to verse 11, uttering great words against God. When, however, the saints have passed the test of this examination and are counted worthy of the kingdom of God, their Lord, being crowned King, returns to gather them to Himself. It is at this very point of time, the advent of the Lord Jesus, that judgment is given to the saints of the Most High, as is proved by comparing I Corinthians 6:2, 3 with 1 Corinthians 4:5. Thus we have marked again the advent of Christ as a point of time for the destruction of this wicked power.
The destruction of the papacy is not the same event as the taking away of his dominion. (Compare Daniel 7:11 and 26.) The one follows after the sitting of the Ancient of Days in judgment, but the other precedes it by a certain space of time. Yet, if we read the chapter without strict attention, we would be very likely to conclude that not the little horn alone, but each of the first three beasts, had their dominion taken away at the judgment. (See verses 11, 12, 26.) This, however, cannot be. For the dominion of the first beast was taken away by the second, through his life was spared; and so of each one to the last. But the little horn has a special dominion over the saints for “a time and times and the dividing of time,” or 1,260 prophetic days (see verse 25: Revelation 12:6, 14), which is taken away at the end of that period. There remains even then a space of time to “the end,” during which his dominion is consumed and destroyed. He wars against the saints, however, and prevails until the judgment is given to the saints at the advent of Christ (see I Corinthians 4:5; 6:2, 3; Revelation 20:4), when he is given to the burning flames. (See Daniel 7:11; II Thessalonians 2:8.)
The coronation of Christ at the judgment-seat of the Father is the same event as the standing up of Michael (compare Daniel 7:134, 14; 12:1); for Michael is Christ, and His standing up is His beginning to reign. Michael is the name borne by our Lord as the ruler of the angelic host. It signifies, “He who is like God.” This must be our Lord. (See Hebrews 1:3.) He is called the Archangel. (See Jude 9.) This term signifies prince of angels, or chief of the angelic host. But this is the very office of our divine Lord. (See Hebrews 1). Michael is the great prince that standeth for the children of God. Also He is called our Prince. (See Daniel 10:21: 12:1.)_ But this can be no other than Christ. (See Acts 5:31.)
The standing up of Michael is His assumption of kingly power. (See the use of this term in Daniel 11:2, 33, 4, 7, 20, 21.) But it is Jesus, and not an angel, who takes the throne of the kingdom. (See Daniel 7:13, 14; Psalm 2:6–12.) Our Lord receives His dominion at His Father’s judgment-seat. (See Daniel 7.) A great time of trouble follows, at which Christ delivers everyone found written in the book. This is a plain reference to the examination of the books shown in the previous vision. (Compare Daniel 12:1; 7:9, 10.) This shows that the judgment scene of Daniel 7 relates to the righteous and that it precedes their final deliverance at the advent of Christ.