*Scripture verses covered in this section's commentary are noted in italics

Daniel 7:9-10 meaning

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Daniel 7:9
  • Daniel 7:10

A heavenly courtroom appears. The Eternal God sits on His fiery throne. He prepares to make a judgment.

Daniel is experiencing a vision while he sleeps. In his vision, he sees four beasts come out of a stormy sea. The first beast is a winged lion (Babylon), the second is a ravenous bear (Medo-Persia), and the third is a leopard with four heads and four wings (Greece). The fourth beast is unlike any other animal, with ten horns and teeth of iron (Rome). From its head emerges a new horn that makes great boasts.

Daniel keeps looking. The scene continues to develop: thrones are set up. The thrones represent authority and judgment. The multitude of thrones are likely for the saints (believers) or apostles (1 Corinthians 6:2, Luke 22:30).

There is a throne greater than the others. Daniel sees the Ancient of Days take His seat. The Ancient of Days is God. His vesture (clothing) is like white snow, signifying perfect righteousness. His hair is like pure wool, white. His name, Ancient of Days, and the whiteness of his hair, represent the eternity of God. He is older than all of creation. His throne is magnificent: ablaze with flames with wheels of burning fire. In the Bible, fire represents judgment. God is described in the Bible as a “consuming fire” (Deut 4:24;9:3; Heb 12:29). There is a river of fire that is flowing and coming out before the Ancient of Days. His throne is consumed with fire and produces fire. He is the source of life as well as the ultimate Judge.

The Ancient of Days has Thousands upon thousands who are attending Him. These attendants are likely angels. The vision in the book of Revelation uses similar language to explain the multitudes of angels, thousands of thousands, who surround God’s throne and worship Him (Revelation 5:11). Daniel sees myriads upon myriads standing before God; all peoples are gathered for this judgement.

The court sits in anticipation of the Judge. The trial begins: the books are opened. These books also appear in Revelation: “And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds” (Revelation 20:12).It appears that all the deeds of every human are recorded in these records. And all will be judged according to their deeds (Rom 2:6). Hebrews 4 indicates that God’s judgment will include the thoughts and intentions that attend every action (Heb 4:12-13).

The similarities between Daniel’s visions and Revelation are striking. Both Daniel and John (the witness of the Revelation of Jesus Christ) are likely seeing many of the same events. God is showing them what He will do with human history.

With the books opened, the Judge will make His ruling.

Biblical Text

9 “I kept looking Until thrones were set up, And the Ancient of Days took His seat; His vesture was like white snow And the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was ablaze with flames, Its wheels were a burning fire. 10 “A river of fire was flowing And coming out from before Him; Thousands upon thousands were attending Him, And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him; The court sat, And the books were opened.

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