Jump to content


Photo
* - - - - 14 votes

Daniel 7:13: Is Christ the Son of Man AND the Ancient of Days?


  • Please log in to reply
75 replies to this topic

#1 Evan

Evan

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 481 posts

Posted 03 January 2010 - 08:04 PM

"I beheld in the night vision, and, lo, One coming with the clouds of heaven as the Son of Man, and He came on to the Ancient of Days, and was brought near to Him. And to Him was given the dominion, and the honor, and the kingdom; and all nations, tribes, and languages shall serve Him."

The plain text of this passage seems to describe two separate entities-- thus, the "Son of Man" "c(omes) on to the Ancient of Days, and was brought near to (the Ancient of Days)." I had settled upon an understanding that the Ancient of Days was the Father and the Son of Man was Christ, coming in glory.

Yet my copy of Dormition Skete's "Lives of the Holy Prophets" tells me that "While a small number believe that the Ancient of Days is God the Father, avoiding the incontrovertible evidence of Jesus Himself that 'no one hath seen the Father [cf. Jn. 6:46]"-- not even wise Daniel-- the overwhelming consensus of the holy Fathers is that He is Christ, the Son of Man.

The following statements by the Fathers are included, which urge the identity of the Ancient of Days with the Son of Man, and thus with Christ:

St. Ammonios: "(Daniel) prophesied the taking on of flesh of the Only-begotten, naming Him Son of Man Who is to be the Son of the holy Mary and become Man."

St. Irenaeos: "The Ancient of Days... seen by Daniel, received humanity."

St. Kyril of Jerusalem: "The Ancient of Days became a child."

St. Methodios of Olympos: "The righteous Symeon received in his elder's arms of embrace the Ancient of Days as an infant."

Seems like a pretty firm consensus. Would I be right to discard the notion that the Ancient of Days is the Father and the Son of Man His Only-begotten Son?

In Christ,
Evan

#2 Michael Stickles

Michael Stickles

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 1,438 posts

Posted 04 January 2010 - 02:11 PM

That's a toughie. While those of the Fathers say one thing, these say another:

Lactantius, in his Divine Institutes, considered the Ancient of Days to be God the Father:

But the prophet comprises both His advents in few words. Behold, he says, one like the Son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. He did not say, like the Son of God, but the Son of man, that he might show that He had to be clothed with flesh on the earth, that having assumed the form of a man and the condition of mortality, He might teach men righteousness; and when, having completed the commands of God, He had revealed the truth to the nations, He might also suffer death, that He might overcome and lay open the other world also, and thus at length rising again, He might proceed to His Father borne aloft on a cloud. For the prophet said in addition: And came even to the Ancient of days, and was presented to Him. He called the Most High God the Ancient of days, whose age and origin cannot be comprehended; for He alone was from generations, and He will be always to generations.


Similarly St. Cyprian, in the second of his Three Books of Testimonies Against the Jews:

That after He had risen again He should receive from His Father all power, and His power should be everlasting.

In Daniel: “I saw in a vision by night, and behold as it were the Son of man, coming in the clouds of heaven, came even to the Ancient of days, and stood in His sight. And they who stood beside Him brought Him before Him: and to Him was given a royal power, and all the kings of the earth by their generation, and all glory obeying Him: and His power is eternal, which shall not be taken away, and His kingdom shall not be destroyed.”


St. Hippolytus concurs in his Treatise on Christ and Antichrist:

... Daniel says: “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 was brought near before Him. And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom; and all peoples, tribes, and languages shall serve Him: and His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom shall not be destroyed.” He showed all power given by the Father to the Son ...


and again in his commentaries on Daniel:

“And came to the Ancient of days.” By the Ancient of days he means none other than the Lord and God and Ruler of all, and even of Christ Himself, who maketh the days old, and yet becometh not old Himself by times and days.


St. Clement of Alexandria, in the third book of The Instructor, gives similar testimony:

The more, then, a man hastes to the end, the more truly venerable is he, having God alone as his senior, since He is the eternal aged One, He who is older than all things. Prophecy has called him the “Ancient of days; and the hair of His head was as pure wool,” says the prophet.


I don't know how to reconcile the two views. St. Augustine did wrestle with the implications of the Ancient of days being God the Father (i.e. that this would imply that Daniel had seen Him, whom Scripture says cannot be seen) in his work On the Holy Trinity, where he concludes in this way:

For the nature itself, or substance, or essence, or by whatever other name that very thing, which is God, whatever it be, is to be called, cannot be seen corporeally: but we must believe that by means of the creature made subject to Him, not only the Son, or the Holy Spirit, but also the Father, may have given intimations of Himself to mortal senses by a corporeal form or likeness.


How the other Fathers viewed this belief of St. Augustine, I do not know.

In Christ,
Michael

#3 Olga

Olga

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 2,821 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 05 January 2010 - 02:55 PM

From memory, any liturgical references to the Ancient of Days, particularly plentiful in the vigil for the Nativity of the Lord, refer to Christ, not God the Father.

#4 Jonathan Companik

Jonathan Companik

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 20 posts

Posted 20 October 2012 - 09:33 PM

Christ Himself clarifies Dan. 7:13 in Matt. 16:27-28 when He states that He will come "...IN THE GLORY OF HIS FATHER with His angels..." (vs. 27). The actual description of the "Ancient of Days" in Daniel is found in vs. 9 (not in vs. 13 where the Son of Man "came to" the Ancient of Days, presumably the Father). Here in verse 9, aspects of the description correspond directly with the description of "...One like the Son of Man" (Rev. 1: 13-16) found in St. John's apocalyptic vision. A comparison of Dan. 7:13 and Matt. 16:27 reveals an obvious eschatological identification between the Ascension and Second Coming (since they are the same event from an eternal point of view, although they are perceived as two different events within history, and separated by time).

#5 Rdr Andreas

Rdr Andreas

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,028 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 20 October 2012 - 10:31 PM

The Council of Moscow 1667 declared that the Ancient of Days is Christ. It said this on the authority of many Fathers. It is tied in with the prohibition on depicting God the Father. The relevant canon (2:44) is this:

"It is most absurd and improper to depict in icons the Lord Sabaoth (that is to say, God the Father) with a grey beard and the Only-Begotten Son in His bosom with a dove between them, because no-one has seen the Father according to His Divinity, and the Father has no flesh, nor was the Son born in the flesh from the Father before the ages. And though David the prophet says, "From the womb before the morning star have I begotten Thee" (Ps.109:3), that birth was not fleshly, but unspeakable and incomprehensible. For Christ Himself says in the holy Gospel, "No man hath seen the Father, save the Son" (cf. John 6:46). And Isaiah the prophet says in his fortieth chapter: "To whom have ye likened the Lord? and with what likeness have ye made a similitude of Him? Has not the artificier of wood made an image, or the goldsmiths, having melted gold, gilt it over, and made it a similitude?"(40:18-19). In like manner the Apostle Paul says in the Acts (17:29), "Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold or silver or stone, graven by art of man's imagination." And John Damascene says: "But furthermore, who can make a similitude of the invisible, incorporeal, uncircumscribed and undepictable God? It is, then, uttermost insanity and impiety to give a form to the Godhead" (Orthodox Faith, 4:16). In like manner St. Gregory the Dialogist prohibits this. For this reason we should only form an understanding in the mind of Sabaoth, which is the Godhead, and of that birth before the ages of the Only-Begotten-Son from the Father, but we should never, in any wise depict these in icons, for this, indeed, is impossible. And the Holy Spirit is not in essence a dove, but in essence he is God, and "No man hath seen God", as John the Theologian and Evangelist bears witness (1:18) and this is so even though, at the Jordan at Christ's holy Baptism the Holy Spirit appeared in the likeness of a dove. For this reason, it is fitting on this occasion only to depict the Holy Spirit in the likeness of a dove. But in any other place those who have intelligence will not depict the Holy Spirit in the likeness of a dove. For on Mount Tabor, He appeared as a cloud and, at another time, in other ways. Furthermore, Sabaoth is the name not only of the Father, but of the Holy Trinity. According to Dionysios the Areopagite, Lord Sabaoth, translated from the Jewish tongue, means "Lord of Hosts". This Lord of Hosts is the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And although Daniel the prophet says that he beheld the Ancient of Days sitting on a throne, this should not be understood to refer to the Father, but to the Son, Who at His second coming will judge every nation at the dreadful Judgment."

#6 Jonathan Companik

Jonathan Companik

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 20 posts

Posted 21 October 2012 - 11:26 PM

Rdr Andreas, while I do not agree with depicting the Father in icons as the 'Father', to address the statement from the Moscow council in bold print, I think the conclusion of the council here is partially mistaken (or at least fails to tell the whole story and risks being too simplistic). With that said, I am taking back my comment regarding verse 9 of Daniel. I think that is a reference to a visual form considered distinct from the "Son of Man" mentioned in verse 13. The whole scene in Dan. 7:9-12 is reminiscent of the judgment scene in Rev. 4-5, and in Rev. 4-5 the Lamb is not on the Throne; rather, the Lamb is found worthy to receive the scroll from the right hand of Him who sat upon the Throne (Rev. 5:6-9) and to break its seal. I think what we are dealing with here is something far more subtle than both sides in the debate are usually prepared to admit. IMHO, what we are seeing in Daniel is an eschatological (post-Ascension) image of the Father IN A FORM THAT THE SON OF MAN WOULD TAKE ONCE HE (AS "SON OF MAN") CAME TO THE ANCIENT OF DAYS (Dan. 7:13, Rev. 1:13-16). The vision is simply intended to simultaneously combine pre-incarnational and eschatological truth in a way that affirms that a.) Christ became a man at a specific point IN TIME, and yet b.) also affirms His ETERNAL (PRE-INCARNATIONAL) STATUS as a Divine Person. In short, Daniel's vision is combining Christ's glorified humanity with the notion of His Divine, pre-incarnational existence. So the truth is still preserved that the Son (and the Son alone) is the true image through which we discern the Father. In short, what is being contrasted in Daniel is the perfect (glorified) human image of the Father with the as yet unglorified (pre-Ascension) "Son of Man".

So the "Son of Man" in Daniel is clearly being CONTRASTED with the "Ancient of Days", but not in such a way as to suggest that they are strictly two different personages. Another reason the vision is given in this manner (in my humble opinion) is to show that God never left Heaven to become a Man, thus the Son of Man returns to the Father by coming into His glorified humanity, a glory that He had with the Father before the world was (albeit apart from the flesh).

#7 Ryan

Ryan

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 837 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 22 October 2012 - 12:22 AM

St. Nicodemus the Hagiorite came out specifically in favor of depicting the Father as "Ancient of Days." He believes this to be consistent with the Seventh Ecumenical Council's exhortation to depict the visions of the prophets. Perhaps he was wrong, but the question does seem to be rather ambiguous.

The Moscow council of 1666-1667 is problematic for a number of reasons, and its authority is questionable. For one thing, its other primary decision- the condemnation of the Old Rite- has been reversed by the Church and admitted to be a mistake. For another, God the father and Holy-Spirit-as-dove icons continue to show up in Russian churches, including the highest cathedrals, rightly or wrongly, so the Russian Orthodox Church has de facto repudiated this council almost entirely.

#8 Olga

Olga

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 2,821 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 22 October 2012 - 01:15 AM

For another, God the father and Holy-Spirit-as-dove icons continue to show up in Russian churches, including the highest cathedrals, rightly or wrongly, so the Russian Orthodox Church has de facto repudiated this council almost entirely.


The continued existence of deficient images such as these has nothing to do with the authority or otherwise of the Great Council of Moscow. Such imagery was denounced since before the time of St John of Damascus, yet, either through honest ignorance, or wilful disregard, such images continued, and continue, to be painted.

#9 Ryan

Ryan

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 837 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 22 October 2012 - 01:31 AM

All I'm saying is, however well-founded the council's decision may have been, it does not carry weight anymore on the ground in the Russian church. Coupling that with the fact that the anathemas against the Old Rite are lifted, it seems to me that the Great Council has been consigned to the dustbin. If we want to establish the propriety or impropriety of images of God the Father, we must turn to other sources. I would be interested in what you are referring to here:

Such imagery was denounced since before the time of St John of Damascus



#10 Father David Moser

Father David Moser

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 3,581 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member
  • Verified Cleric

Posted 22 October 2012 - 01:40 AM

I have, somewhere in my files, a thesis, in Russian, by Archimandrite Kyprian of Holy Trinity Monastery (Jordanville). Fr Kyprian was the master iconographer of Holy Trinity and the principle iconographer of Holy Virgin Cathedral in SF and of Holy Trinity Cathedral in Jordanville (to name only a couple). He was the instructor of other great iconographers in the Russian diaspora such as Archbishop Alypy of Chicago and Fr Theodore Jurevich. This paper defends the depiction of the Ancient of Days as God the Father. I no longer recall any of the details (since I only got it in translation and summary from two other fairly well known iconographers - I don't read Russian), however, just the fact that an iconographer and monastic of his stature defended the practice makes me pause before condemning these images out of hand.

Fr David Moser

#11 David Hawthorne

David Hawthorne

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 130 posts

Posted 22 October 2012 - 01:57 AM

It seems to me that the "Ancient of Days" refers to God's eternity and so it is a title appropriate to His nature which all three Persons share. This is why some Fathers apply it to the Son while others apply it to the Father. It is equally appropriate in either circumstance.

#12 Olga

Olga

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 2,821 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 22 October 2012 - 02:03 AM

Two points for consideration:

1. Did God the Father become incarnate?

2. Does the Church celebrate any feasts dedicated to the Father alone?

#13 Olga

Olga

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 2,821 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 22 October 2012 - 02:09 AM

From St John's authoritative treatise In Defence of the Holy Images:

If we made an image of the invisible God, we would certainly be in error ... but we do not do anything of the kind; we do not err, in fact, if we make the image of God incarnate who appeared on earth in the flesh, who in His ineffable goodness, lived with men and assumed the nature, the volume, the form, and the colour of the flesh...

If we made an image of the invisible God, we should in truth do wrong. For it is impossible to make a statue of one who is without body, invisible, boundless, and formless. Again, if we made statues of men, and held them to be gods, worshipping them as such, we should be most impious. But we do neither. For in making the image of God, who became incarnate and visible on earth, a man amongst men through His unspeakable goodness, taking upon Him shape and form and flesh, we are not misled.

It is impossible to make an image of God, who is a pure spirit, invisible, boundless, having neither form nor circumscription. How can we make an image of what is invisible? "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him." (Jn. 1.18) And again, "No one shall see My face and live, saith the Lord." (Ex. 33.20)

Images are of various kinds. First there is the natural image. In everything the natural conception must be the first, then we come to institution according to imitation. The Son is the first natural and unchangeable image of the invisible God, the Father, showing the Father in Himself. "For no man has seen God." (Jn. 1.18) Again, "Not that any one has seen the Father." (Jn. 6.46) The apostle says that the Son is the image of the Father: "Who is the image of the invisible God," (Col. 1.15) and to the Hebrews, "Who being the brightness of His glory, and the figure of His substance." (Heb. 1.3) In the Gospel of St John we find that He does show the Father in Himself. When Philip said to Him, "Show us the Father and it is enough for us," [94] our Lord replied, "Have I been so long with you and have you not known Me, Philip? He who sees Me, sees the Father." (Jn. 14.8-9) For the Son is the natural image of the Father, unchangeable, in everything like to the Father, except that He is begotten, and that He is not the Father. The Father begets, being unbegotten. The Son is begotten, and is not the Father, and the Holy Spirit is the image of the Son. For no one can say the Lord Jesus, except in the Holy Spirit. (I Cor. 12.3) Through the Holy Spirit we know Christ, the Son of God and God, and in the Son we look upon the Father. For in things that are conceived by nature, language is the interpreter, and spirit is the interpreter of language. The Holy Spirit is the perfect and unchangeable image of the Son, differing only in His procession. The Son is begotten, but does not proceed. And the son of any father is his natural image. Thus, the natural is the first kind of image.

Link to the whole document:

http://www.fordham.e...scus-images.asp

It is worth noting that, in this treatise, St John refers constantly to his forebears among the saints and fathers to give authority to what he says.

More:

“Why do we neither describe nor represent the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ? Because we do not know what He is ... And if we had seen and known Him as we have seen and known His Son, we would have tried to describe Him and to represent Him in art.” (from the letter of Pope St Gregory II to the iconoclast emperor Leo the Isaurian - the arguments against iconoclasm in this letter greatly influenced the Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council of 787)

Edited by Olga, 22 October 2012 - 02:15 AM.
added additional material


#14 David Hawthorne

David Hawthorne

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 130 posts

Posted 22 October 2012 - 02:28 AM

It is true that we do not make icons of the Divine Nature but we may represent the Father in the form He revealed Himself in visions and theophanies of the prophets and patriarchs just as we do with the icon of Abraham's hospitality as St. Nicodemus points out: "We must note that since the present Council [the Seventh] in the letter it is sending to the church of the Alexandrians pronounces blissful, or blesses, those who know and admit and recognize, and consequently also iconize and honor the visions and theophaniae of the Prophets, just as God Himself formed these and impressed them upon their mind, but anathematizes on the contrary those who refuse to accept and admit the pictorial representations of such visions before the incarnation of the divine Logos it is to be inferred that even the beginningless Father ought to have His picture painted just as He appeared to Daniel the prophet as the Ancient of Days."

Showing the Father as the Ancient of Days is not a portrayal of the Divine Essence but of His Divine Energies in the manner He revealed Himself. If He revealed Himself in these forms how is it wrong for us to portray Him in the same manner?

#15 Jonathan Companik

Jonathan Companik

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 20 posts

Posted 22 October 2012 - 03:02 AM

It seems to me that the "Ancient of Days" refers to God's eternity and so it is a title appropriate to His nature which all three Persons share. This is why some Fathers apply it to the Son while others apply it to the Father. It is equally appropriate in either circumstance.


St. Dionysios in his treatise on the Divine Names would agree with you that the title can apply to any one of the three Persons, but we could not infer from this that it would be okay to depict the Holy Spirit as a man (something canonically unprecedented and foreign). You might argue that, nevertheless we may depict the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove or tongues/flames of fire. However, depicting the Spirit as one thing and the Father/Son as something else would not be consistent with your solution, since the symbolic imagery is intended (as per your argument) to reveal that the three all share one thing in common (the Divine nature). Thus by depicting the Father/Son as one thing, and the Spirit as another would be the filioque heresy in symbolic/iconic form (a subordination of the Spirit in animal form to the Father/Son in human form).

Edited by Jonathan Companik, 22 October 2012 - 03:21 AM.


#16 Jonathan Companik

Jonathan Companik

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 20 posts

Posted 22 October 2012 - 03:09 AM

Showing the Father as the Ancient of Days is not a portrayal of the Divine Essence but of His Divine Energies in the manner He revealed Himself. If He revealed Himself in these forms how is it wrong for us to portray Him in the same manner?


We cannot portray/depict the Father in any sense without divorcing person and nature within the Godhead. The Divine essence did not cause the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; rather, The Father (the personal representation of the eternal Godhead) eternally caused the Son and Holy Spirit.

Edited by Jonathan Companik, 22 October 2012 - 03:24 AM.


#17 Jonathan Companik

Jonathan Companik

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 20 posts

Posted 22 October 2012 - 03:16 AM

St. Nicodemus the Hagiorite came out specifically in favor of depicting the Father as "Ancient of Days." He believes this to be consistent with the Seventh Ecumenical Council's exhortation to depict the visions of the prophets. Perhaps he was wrong, but the question does seem to be rather ambiguous.


St. Nikodemos' conclusion in the quote you mention is partly influenced by his belief (which he stated there) that "the Trinity itself" was revealed to Abraham. Whether this was an interpolation or an error on his part I do not know. Regardless, it is obvious from Gen. 18 and from patristic commentaries that the Logos (Angel of the Lord) and two other angels appeared to Abraham, not "The Holy Trinity".

#18 Rdr Andreas

Rdr Andreas

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,028 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 22 October 2012 - 11:11 AM

We can also cite the Moscow Council of 1551 which forbad icons depicting the Father. Since Ouspensky cites the 1667 Council, we ought not to be quick to bin it.

St John Chrysostom:

"What can I say? What can I utter? For the wonder stuns me: the Ancient of Days became a child. He who is seated upon a high throne and carried aloft is placed in a manger." (Homily on the Nativity.)


From Leonid Ouspensky's ‘Theology of the Icon’:

"This possibility of representing the God-Man in the flesh which He borrowed from His mother is contrasted by the Seventh Ecumenical Council with the absolute impossibility of representing God the Father. The Fathers of the council repeat the authoritative argument of Pope St Gregory II, contained in his letter to the emperor Leo III the Isaurian: “Why do we neither describe nor represent the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ? Because we do not know what He is ... And if we had seen and known Him as we have seen and known His Son, we would have tried to describe Him and to represent Him in art.

"St John of Damascus and the Holy Fathers of the VIIth Ecumenical Council declared that the Father, being inconceivable and invisible, is thereby incapable of being represented."

It is worth bearing in mind that St Nicodemus wrote at a time of considerable western influence, and that in our time western, that is, Roman Catholic influence (in music as well as icons) reaches Russia via Ukraine.

We are probably off topic - this matter has been discussed before in another thread.

#19 Mina Soliman

Mina Soliman

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 113 posts
  • Guest from Another Religious Tradition

Posted 22 February 2013 - 06:55 PM

Leaving off from here:
 
http://www.monachos....e-2#entry113562
 
 

quite true - the Ancient of Days is always considered a manifestation of the Son.

Fr David

 
 

A clarification, if I may:
 
The Ancient of Days can refer to any of the three Persons of the Holy Trinity, as they are all co-eternal and without beginning. However, iconographically, only the Son may be portrayed as a white-haired, bearded figure, and properly identified in the iconographic inscription and halo, as only He of the Three became incarnate in time.

 
 

So when the Son of Man approaches the Ancient of Days, who's the Son of Man?  Are we to say the Son of Man, Jesus, approached the Word of God?
 
I think it's one thing to confess Christ as the Ancient of Days, as is the Father and the Holy Spirit.  It's another thing to say the vision of Daniel 7 alludes to the two natures of Christ.

 
 

There are three references to the Ancient of Days in Daniel. Usually Daniel 7.9 & 22 is interpreted to be Christ. Daniel 7.13 was usually interpreted by most Fathers as Christ recieving power and glory and sitting on His right hand after the Ascension.
 
St John of Damascus during the iconoclastic controversy wrote that certain OT visions were 'shadows' of prohecies. Hence 7.13 speaks of the  'night visions' and one "like" the Son of Man. Anyhow, he interpreted this vision as a shadow of the hypostatic union. The Son of Man coming to the Ancient of Days meant God the Word assuming humanity an allegory of the incarnation. The explanation given by John of Damascus seems to be saying that Daniel saw one figure represented in a dual form:
 
 And Adam saw God, and heard the sound of His feet as He walked at even, and he hid in paradise. And Jacob saw and struggled with God. It is evident that God appeared to him in the form of a man.... And Isaias saw Him as a man seated on a throne. And Daniel saw the likeness of a man, and as the Son of Man coming to the ancient of days. No one saw the nature of God, but the type and image of what, was to be. For the Son and Word of the invisible God, was to become man in truth, that He might be united to our nature, and be seen upon earth. Now all who looked upon the type and image of the future, worshipped it, as St Paul says in his epistle to the Hebrews: "All these died according to faith, not having received the promises, but beholding them afar off..." (bk3 divine images)

 
 
 
I don't think I need to post much sources, as this article pretty much sums up what I have also interpreted the vision in Daniel 7 to be:
 
http://www.saintjona...cientofdays.htm
 
In summary, we can say that the depiction of such is not by essence, but by, as St. John Chrysostom would say, a "condescension", or as St. Gregory Palamas developed for us, by His energies.  Thus, when we depict the Holy Spirit as a dove or tongues of fire, we do not say the Holy Spirit by essence is precisely these figures.  It seems almost reasonable that in the particular instance of Daniel 7, the Ancient of Days mentioned is the Father, with the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the father, just as St. Stephen the Archdeacon would have probably imagined seeing in his martyrdom as well.
 
Jonathan Companik's post here:
 
 
 

Rdr Andreas, while I do not agree with depicting the Father in icons as the 'Father', to address the statement from the Moscow council in bold print, I think the conclusion of the council here is partially mistaken (or at least fails to tell the whole story and risks being too simplistic). With that said, I am taking back my comment regarding verse 9 of Daniel. I think that is a reference to a visual form considered distinct from the "Son of Man" mentioned in verse 13. The whole scene in Dan. 7:9-12 is reminiscent of the judgment scene in Rev. 4-5, and in Rev. 4-5 the Lamb is not on the Throne; rather, the Lamb is found worthy to receive the scroll from the right hand of Him who sat upon the Throne (Rev. 5:6-9) and to break its seal. I think what we are dealing with here is something far more subtle than both sides in the debate are usually prepared to admit. IMHO, what we are seeing in Daniel is an eschatological (post-Ascension) image of the Father IN A FORM THAT THE SON OF MAN WOULD TAKE ONCE HE (AS "SON OF MAN") CAME TO THE ANCIENT OF DAYS (Dan. 7:13, Rev. 1:13-16). The vision is simply intended to simultaneously combine pre-incarnational and eschatological truth in a way that affirms that a.) Christ became a man at a specific point IN TIME, and yet b.) also affirms His ETERNAL (PRE-INCARNATIONAL) STATUS as a Divine Person. In short, Daniel's vision is combining Christ's glorified humanity with the notion of His Divine, pre-incarnational existence. So the truth is still preserved that the Son (and the Son alone) is the true image through which we discern the Father. In short, what is being contrasted in Daniel is the perfect (glorified) human image of the Father with the as yet unglorified (pre-Ascension) "Son of Man".

So the "Son of Man" in Daniel is clearly being CONTRASTED with the "Ancient of Days", but not in such a way as to suggest that they are strictly two different personages. Another reason the vision is given in this manner (in my humble opinion) is to show that God never left Heaven to become a Man, thus the Son of Man returns to the Father by coming into His glorified humanity, a glory that He had with the Father before the world was (albeit apart from the flesh).

 
I really like this interpretation.  Indeed, iconographically, we can say that the Ancient of Days depicted pictorially both in Revelations, similar to Daniel, is Christ in His divine glory.  Granted this however, in my humble opinion, we should be wary as not to condemn other depictions that were given to us, both by the witness of the Church fathers and by the great iconographers of the time.  St. John Chrysostom's quote from St. Jonah's Orthodox Church website is a valuable prerequisite of thought before venerating such icons:
 
“No man hath seen God at any time." By what connection of thought does the Apostle come to say this? After showing the exceeding greatness of the gifts of Christ, and the infinite difference between them and those ministered by Moses, he would add the reasonable cause of the difference. Moses, as being a servant, was minister of lower things, but Christ being Lord and King, and the King's Son, brought to us things far greater, being ever with the Father, and beholding Him continually; wherefore He saith, "No man hath seen God at any time." What then shall we answer to the most mighty of voice, Esaias, when he says, "I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne high and lifted up" (Isa. vi. 1); and to John himself testifying of Him, that "he said these things when he had seen His glory"? (c. xii. 41.) What also to Ezekiel? for he too beheld Him sitting above the Cherubim. (Ezek. i. and x.) What to Daniel?for he too saith, "The Ancient of days did sit" (Dan. vii. 9.) What to Moses himself, saying, "Show me Thy Glory, that I may see Thee so as to know Thee." (Ex. xxxiii. 13, Ex. xxxiii 13 partly from LXX.) And Jacob took his name from this very thing, being called3 "Israel"; for Israel is "one that sees God." And others have seen him. How then saith John, "No man hath seen God at any time"? It is to declare, that all these were instances of (His) condescension, not the vision of the Essence itself unveiled. For had they seen the very Nature, they would not have beheld It under different forms, since that is simple, without form, or parts, or bounding lines. It sits not, nor stands, nor walks: these things belong all to bodies. But how He Is, He only knoweth. And this He hath declared by a certain prophet, saying, "I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes by the hands of the prophets" (Hos. xii. 10), that is, "I have condescended, I have not appeared as I really was." For since His Son was about to appear in very flesh, He prepared them from old time to behold the substance of God, as far as it was possible for them to see It; but what God really is, not only have not the prophets seen, but not even angels nor archangels. If you ask them, you shall not hear them answering anything concerning His Essence, but sending up, "Glory to God in the Highest, on earth peace, good will towards men." (Luke ii. 14.) If you desire to learn something from Cherubim or Seraphim, you shall hear the mystic song of His Holiness, and that "heaven and earth are full of His glory." (Isa. vi. 3.) If you enquire of the higher powers, you shall but find7 that their one work is the praise of God. "Praise ye Him," saith David, "all His hosts." (Ps. cxlviii. 2.) But the Son only Beholds Him, and the Holy Ghost" (15th Homily on the Gospel of John).


Therefore, in iconography, we only behold as images of the glory of God "as far as it is possible for us to see it; but what God really is," is not what is depicted in icons (except of course the Word of God incarnate), whether it be the Holy Spirit in the Theophany or Pentecost icons or the Father in the Rublev or Ancient of Days icons.

 

So yes, we can say Christ is the Ancient of Days, just as He is also in truth the Pantocrator of all things visible and invisible, in heaven and on earth, even though the Creed uses such terms for the Father.  But Daniel 7 seems to point to the glory of the Father, not as the essence of the Father, and thus, I am unable to understand why that would be prohibited in iconography (or at the very least Scriptural interpretation for that matter).


Edited by Mina Soliman, 22 February 2013 - 07:04 PM.


#20 Kosta

Kosta

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,516 posts

Posted 23 February 2013 - 07:04 AM

Leaving off from here:

http://www.saintjona...cientofdays.htm

In summary, we can say that the depiction of such is not by essence, but by, as St. John Chrysostom would say, a "condescension", or as St. Gregory Palamas developed for us, by His energies. Thus, when we depict the Holy Spirit as a dove or tongues of fire, we do not say the Holy Spirit by essence is precisely these figures. It seems almost reasonable that in the particular instance of Daniel 7, the Ancient of Days mentioned is the Father, with the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the father, just as St. Stephen the Archdeacon would have probably imagined seeing in his martyrdom as well.

Jonathan Companik's post here:

I really like this interpretation. Indeed, iconographically, we can say that the Ancient of Days depicted pictorially both in Revelations, similar to Daniel, is Christ in His divine glory. Granted this however, in my humble opinion, we should be wary as not to condemn other depictions that were given to us, both by the witness of the Church fathers and by the great iconographers of the time. St. John Chrysostom's quote from St. Jonah's Orthodox Church website is a valuable prerequisite of thought before venerating such icons:

For since His Son was about to appear in very flesh, He prepared them from old time to behold the substance of God, as far as it was possible for them to see It; but what God really is, not only have not the prophets seen, but not even angels nor archangels." (15th Homily on the Gospel of John).


Therefore, in iconography, we only behold as images of the glory of God "as far as it is possible for us to see it; but what God really is," is not what is depicted in icons (except of course the Word of God incarnate), whether it be the Holy Spirit in the Theophany or Pentecost icons or the Father in the Rublev or Ancient of Days icons.

So yes, we can say Christ is the Ancient of Days, just as He is also in truth the Pantocrator of all things visible and invisible, in heaven and on earth, even though the Creed uses such terms for the Father. But Daniel 7 seems to point to the glory of the Father, not as the essence of the Father, and thus, I am unable to understand why that would be prohibited in iconography (or at the very least Scriptural interpretation for that matter).


What St John Chrysostom said above is the same that St John of Damascus is saying. He prepared them by giving them a shadowy glimpse of God incarnate.

Jonathons post about not readily condemning 'other images' that were given to us; is true. Problem is these other images do not exist. That is a fact. No image of Daniel 7.13 exists in antiquity which portrays the Ancient of Days as the Father.

The river of Fire icons show Christ seated on the throne. The earliest Ancient of Days icon such as the 7th century Sinai depicts Christ. As does virtually every Ancient of Days depiction pre-13th century. The vision of Daniel 7.13 icon in antiquity is depicted as Christ the Ancient of Days holding the incarnate Christ in his bosom. Another of these depictions from Northern Greece shows Christ the Ancient of Days with the infant Christ in his bosom dating to the 11-12th century.

This icon of the Ancient Christ in white hair and beard and the infant Christ is the depiction of Dan 7.13. Because the ancient and eternal begotten Christ emptys (condescends) himself and becomes the new and young Christ born in time. This aspect is what the Tradition of the Church has handed to us. There simply is no icon in antiquity that exists of Dan 7.13 which depicts Christ the son of man being presented to God the Father.

The confusion arose in Russia where in the 15th century ignorant iconographers misinterpreted the ancient greek icon. They thought the young Christ was sitting on the bosom or lap of the Father because they ignored the inscriptions and the cross in the halo. These misinterpreted icons spread like wildfire and in Russia are refered to as ''Paternity" icons. One famous example of these erroneous Paternity icons is in the dome of the Chinese Church where St John of San Francisco served in.

The Fathers and the liturgical texts of the Church explain how this image represents Dan 7.13:

“Let us all raise our eyes to God in heaven, as we cry like Jeremiah: The One who appeared on earth, this is our God, who also willingly lived among men, and underwent no change, who showed himself in different shapes to the prophets, whom Ezekiel contemplated like the form of a man on the fiery chariot, and Daniel as a son of man and ancient of days proclaiming the ancient and the young to be one Lord: The One who appeared and enlightened all things”. (St Romanos the Melodist, 2nd Kontakion for the Theophany)


“Let the earth bow down, let every tongue sing, chant, and glorify the Child God, forty-day old and pre-eternal, the small Child and Ancient of Days, the suckling Child and Creator of the ages.” (St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Homily on the Presentation of the Lord)

“In the likeness of a son of man, he foresees the incarnation of the Only-begotten One.” (St. Ammonius, P.G. 85, l380A)

“The Ancient of Days became an infant.” (St. Athanasius, Homily on the Birth of Christ)



Now there is a simple reason why God the Father depictions are forbidden and its the same case for depictions of the Holy Spirit. There simply is no prototype to depict. We know that we cannot depict the substance (essence) of God and the energies have nothing to do with the theology of images. The depiction we venerate in an icon passes to its protoype. In the case of God the Father there exists no prototype to depict. When we venerate the icon of the Trinity, that veneration does not pass onto the Father, we are venerating the historical event of Abraham's Hospitality, the Trinity is the 'type'.

What is uncreated is undepictable, as there is no prototype for the veneration of a circumscribed symbol can pass onto.

Edited by Kosta, 23 February 2013 - 07:13 AM.





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users