“I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And 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 one that shall not be destroyed. Daniel 7:13-14
Today we take a second look at Daniel 7:13-14 from a different perspective. Daniel describes the Son of Man coming before the Ancient of Days, being presented before him actually, and being given an everlasting rule. So, are Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses correct and traditional Christianity wrong? To answer that question we need to look at how Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses view the Godhead and the orthodox Christianity view. Finally we need to look at what Daniel was trying to relay to the reader and the difficulties he encountered. This will be an overview only and you are encouraged to explore this further.
Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses both view Jesus as a created being and therefore not eternal with the Father. This belief runs against what the Bible says in John 1:1-2, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” Jesus was not created but was with God from the beginning. The Mormons in particular give God a physical body as their belief is that God was one a man, human as we are. In either case both religions believe that God the Father and God the Son are two distinct beings.
The orthodox Christian view of God is that there is one God with three distinct personalities. All three are co-eternal and each is wholly God. There is not enough time to delve into explaining the doctrine of the trinity nor do I have the expertise to do so. As I believe Saint Augustine wrote “To try to understand the Trinity is to lose your mind … but to deny the Trinity is to lose your soul.” As I have written before just because something is difficult to understand does not make it false.
Now let’s look at what Daniel was trying to do. To put it bluntly Daniel was trying to explain the unexplainable. He had a vision of God and is now trying to put that vision into human language. I believe it is only by God’s guidance that Daniel was able to do the job he did. I believe that what Daniel saw and described is how the human mind can make some sense of an encounter with God. Daniel encountered two of the three personalities of God, The Father and the Son and in order to make sense of that encounter Daniel saw two persons but and this is important he saw only one God.
When we try and divide God into distinct entities we make the error of Modalism. God is one and has always been one. What Daniel saw and described was God the Father giving authority to God the Son but he only witnessed one God. When it comes to the attributes of God Saint Augustine was spot on.
Have a blessed day,