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Who is the Ancient of Days

Who is the Ancient of Days?

Father Steven Ritter

Who is the Ancient of Days? The Ancient of Days—what a mysterious image this conjures up for most of us. After all, the very title seems full of mystery. “Ancient” how? We normally think of something ancient as something very old, something relegated to the distant past, something almost assuming the proportions of the mythological or legendary. But at the very least, something that we can only speculate on as in a dream, or a hazy sense of long ago. And what of “Days”? Well, this term has great significance in the biblical world. “Day” is usually a word used to indicate great seriousness of purpose and finality, as in the “day of wrath”, “day of judgment”, or the “day of the Lord”. In each case a reckoning of some sort is brought into focus, and the word can also indicate an indefinite period of time.

In our current case, “day” magnified by “days” suggests eternity. The “Ancient” one then is a personage of some sort that would be present from the beginning—ancient—and have existed for all eternity. In the holy scriptures we find this title most extensively used in the Old Testament Book of Daniel, and the New Testament Revelation according to St. John, the beloved disciple. The description is that of a heavenly man of some sort with a beard as white as snow. For this reason he is sometimes referred to as an “old man”, but this is not correct as his age is never mentioned, and even the appellation “ancient” means that he is beyond such temporal concerns as time or age.


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