By Jay Rogers
Published May 1, 2008
Daniel was of noble birth. He may have been one of the royal family of Judah, but we are not given his genealogy. He was carried captive to Babylon in the fourth year of Jehoiachin, 606 BC, when he was a youth. He was there taught the learning of the Chaldeans, and held high offices, both under the Babylonian and Persian empires. He was persecuted for his religion, but was miraculously delivered; and lived to a great age. He must have been about 90 years old at the time of the last of his visions (Matthew Henry).
Daniel’s nation was taken captive by God’s enemies because they refused to live by God’s Law. The people of Judah continually compromised their nation into a state of spiritual whoredom. The pagan Chaldeans were now using their holy instruments, stolen from the Temple at Jerusalem, in their blasphemous worship. King Nebuchadnezzar sought out the best and brightest of the Hebrew youth Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to convert to humanistic paganism.
In Daniel’s day, there arose a generation of young people called out by God who resisted state-sanctioned evil. They were not seduced into the spiritual mediocrity and compromise which had led the nation of Judah captive. No matter the moral standard dictated by pagan society, Daniel intended to be true to God. The Daniel group refused to join the party. Instead of feasting at the king’s table and joining the social elite, they learned to fast and pray so that deliverance could come to the nation of Israel.
The Daniel group faced the fiery furnace and refused to compromise. They looked to God to be their deliverer. They would not bow down and worship the false gods of Nebuchadnezzar even if it cost them their lives. Jesus Christ himself appeared as the fourth man in the fire and supernaturally delivered them. In spite of the King’s attempts to kill Daniel’s friends, their testimony could not be destroyed. Instead the King’s own men were destroyed by that same fire. In spite of the King’s attempts to kill Daniel and his friends, they kept telling the truth no matter what the cost.
In the next generation, Daniel continued to prophesy and speak the truth to the King’s son who later became king. He did not waver from his declaration or apologize for the judgment which had fallen on the king’s father. The king’s men, jealous of Daniel’s longevity and favor, set a trap for him. They knew that wherever God’s Law and man’s law conflicted, Daniel would choose God’s Law. So they issued an injunction that forced Daniel to either violate the king’s law or God’s primary Law. When Daniel obeyed God rather than man, he was cast into the lion’s den. Daniel escaped the penalty only because of God’s sovereign intervention.
Daniel took on the role of intercessor although he was not personally guilty of Israel’s sins. He assumed the role of spiritual responsibility and birthed Revival for the nation of Israel. Daniel understood that Israel transgressed the Law and that God would not be mocked.
The book of Daniel is partly historical, relating various circumstances which befell himself and the Jews in captivity in Babylon; but is mainly prophetic, detailing visions and prophecies which foretell important events relative to the four great empires of the world, the restoration of the Jews, further Judean conflicts, the coming and death of the Messiah, and the conversion of the Gentiles.
Many Bible interpreters, especially modern dispensationalists, have sought to apply a futurist interpretation placing at least some of the events described in chapters 2, 7-12 as yet to take place. Others have taken a historicist interpretive approach consigning these events to the Middle Ages, as did many of the Reformers, the Puritans, Matthew Henry and Jonathan Edwards.
Yet the historicist and futurist hermeneutic approaches create difficulties in interpretation. The best possible explanation of Daniel is preterist interpretation. The events described in Daniel were fulfilled at or before the time of Christ. This position creates the least amount of problems from an interpretive standpoint. Only a fair knowledge of ancient history is needed to do this. Nevertheless, there are few commentaries on the bookshelves today fully describing the preterist point of view.
From our perspective today, an understanding of Daniel is paramount to understanding the Mount of Olives Discourse in Matthew 24, Luke 20 and Mark 13. In two of these passages, Jesus refers to the “abomination of desolation refereed to in the prophecy of Daniel.” In Mark 13:14, the author inserts the aside: (“let the reader understand”).
“Understand what exactly?“ one might ask.
Obviously, from the context, we must understand this passage of Daniel. And unless we have the correct interpretation of Daniel, we will not be able to understand the Mount of Olives Discourse.
Therefore, a historical approach to Daniel is necessary for understanding the purpose of the book. This was a prophecy given so that the restored Jews would know the times and events surrounding the coming of the Messiah. That is the main purpose of Daniel chapters 2, 7-12.
I will first present a preterist interpretation of Daniel and will conclude with with a series of notes explaining its application to interpreting similar biblical passages, finally showing the flaws in the historical and futurist approaches to Daniel and Matthew 24.
This is not meant to be a complete commentary on the entire book of Daniel or even an exhaustive treatment of the passages quoted here. I am here merely interpreting the language and symbols of the predictive passages by applying them to known historical events.
The Preterist View of Daniel
In this commentary, I’ve tried to show that the prophecy of Daniel has been literally fulfilled in history. Hopefully, the reader will find this argument interesting and persuasive.
I started taking notes on the preterist view of Daniel in 1997. I picked it up intermittently and finally finished it in the summer of 2004 after posting it to a discussion group on the Internet. I received many objections from a historicist commentator, Dr. Francis Nigel Lee, who forced me to go back and re-examine each verse of the prophecy.
At that time, I also came across John Calvin’s Commentary on the Book of Daniel and I was fascinated and delighted to find that he applied many of the same interpretations to the book as I had concluded. I corrected a few of my own comments after I determined that Calvin’s were superior. Obviously Calvin was a preterist with respect to Daniel. According to a preface by Calvin’s translators:
Our readers will remember, that as an expositor of prophecy, Calvin is a Praeterist, and that his general system of interpretation is as remote from the year-day theory of Birks, Faber, and others, as from the futurist speculations of Maitland, Tyso, and Todd. Notwithstanding the disagreement between these Lectures and the writings of Birks, we strongly recommend their perusal by every student who would become thoroughly proficient in the prophecies of Daniel. The first step towards progress, is to surrender all our preconceived notions, and to prepare for the possibility of their vanishing away before the force of sanctified reason and all-pervading truth.
After understanding the concurring argument in John Calvin’s commentary in favor of the preterist interpretation of Daniel, I decided to publish these articles on this web site. I regard my study of Daniel to be incomplete. There is still much more work to do. In The Days of These Kings is a study that remains unfinished, but not abandoned. I post this at this time because there is little available for study on the preterist view of Daniel.
Forerunner - Home » In The Days of These Kings ...
Your comments are welcome!
Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?
Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!
Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.
Ideal for group meetings, personal Bible study — for anyone who wants to understand the historical context of John’s famous letter “… to the seven churches which are in Asia.” (Revelation 1:4)
Running Time: 145 minutes
$17.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Exposes the Dangers of Abortion to Women!
These shocking eyewitness accounts expose the dangers of abortion not only to unborn children, but to the health and lives women as well. An antidote to the smokescreens of the liberal media, these short clips show what really happens in and around abortion clinics.
Although the content is emotionally gut-wrenching, these videos have been used in church seminars and small groups to educate Christians on the abortion issue and to lead people toward a pro-life position. Contains 2 hours and 40 minutes of materials that can be shown separately.
Watch these pro-life videos on-line.
“These videos helped change my mind from pro-choice to pro-life. Your videos are what did it for me. I will be walking in next year’s March For Life in San Francisco.” — A. Jackson, California
“I was going to have an abortion until I saw your video. Praise Jesus!”
— M. Drew, YouTube Commenter
$4.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
That Swiss Hermit Strikes Again!
Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.
Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Who is the Real Jesus?
Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.
Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.
The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.
Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.
Ten parts, over two hours of instruction!
Running Time: 130 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
“Give me liberty or give me death!”
Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.
The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).
Welcome to the Second American Revolution!
This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.
$14.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)