“I watched till thrones were put in place,
And the Ancient of Days was seated;
His garment was white as snow,
And the hair of His head was like pure wool.
His throne was a fiery flame,
Its wheels a burning fire;
10 A fiery stream issued
And came forth from before Him.
A thousand thousands ministered to Him;
Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him.
The court was seated,
And the books were opened.
…13 “I was watching in the night visions,
And behold, One like the Son of Man,
Coming with the clouds of heaven!
He came to the Ancient of Days,
And they brought Him near before Him.
14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
Which shall not pass away,
And His kingdom the one
Which shall not be destroyed.
During these days of COVID-19 we are repeatedly told that those over the age of 65 are considered among the most vulnerable. In states where shops and restaurants and churches are being opened up, those over 65 are strongly urged not to come in. 65, which is still a vibrant age as far as I’m concerned, is increasingly the poster child of old age, and, now, vulnerability.
Not so in this text from Daniel. Daniel saw a vision of the Almighty- God the Father. He is pictured as a strong, powerful older man. He is called the Ancient of Days. After all, he has existed from all eternity. No one is his mother, or father, or creator. This old man is pictured with hair as white as pure white wool. Yet his throne is a fiery flame and its wheels a burning fire. Who wants to mess with this old man? A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. He is the mighty, old, judge holding court. Before him the books were opened.
We have long recognized that we live in a culture that idolizes youth and lacks honor for the old. No one goes to the plastic surgeon to look older. The Designers design clothes to attract the young, not the old. Cosmetics claim to take years, even decades, off your appearance. Who wants a cosmetic that adds years, even decades, to your appearance?
Our God is the Ancient of Days, not the blush of youth. He knows and respects what it is like to be old now, even as he has known from the beginning. Would the Ancient of Days be allowed entry to the opening restaurants and shops today? No, not with that wool-white hair and that ancient appearance. But we do well to let him into our lives, into our hearts, into our world-view. Youth has its advantages. The Ancient of Days judges the nations. Think of that the next time you see an “old” person.
Holy God, Ancient of Days, help us to respect and honor our elders, those who are fathers, mothers, grandfathers, and grandmothers. You have made them the pillars of our churches, our families, and our lives. They share from your infinite knowledge the wisdom of the ages. They have much to share and we have much to learn if only we take the time. Amen.