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The Prophecy of Daniel: Overview

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.

Daniel Interpreted

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.


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Your comments are welcome!

Thank you for your thoughtful view of Daniel. Do you have any essays on the book of Revelation, too?

Posted by beth Fink on 03/20/2010 10:50 AM #

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The Silent Scream (DVD) Eight Languages

“When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.” – President Ronald Reagan to National Religious Broadcasters Convention, January 1981

Ronald Reagan became convinced of this as a result of watching The Silent Scream – a movie he considered so powerful and convicting that he screened it at the White House.

The modern technology of real-time ultrasound now reveals the actual responses of a 12-week old fetus to being aborted. As the unborn child attempts to escape the abortionist’s suction curette, her motions can be seen to become desperately agitated and her heart rate doubles. Her mouth opens – as if to scream – but no sound can come out. Her scream doesn’t have to remain silent, however … not if you will become her voice. This newly re-mastered version features eight language tracks and two bonus videos.

“… a high technology “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” arousing public opinion just as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 antislavery novel ignited the abolitionist movement.” – Sen. Gordon Humphrey, Time Magazine

Languages: English, Spanish, French, South Korean, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese

Running Time: 28 minutes

$17.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information


The Abortion Matrix: Defeating Child Sacrifice and the Culture of Death (DVD)

Download the free Study Guide!

Is there a connection between pagan religion and the abortion industry?

This powerful presentation traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God and crime against humanity has produced in our beleaguered society.

Conceived as a sequel and update to the 1988 classic, The Massacre of Innocence, the new title, The Abortion Matrix, is entirely fitting. It not only references abortion’s specific target – the sacred matrix where human beings are formed in the womb in the very image of God, but it also implies the existence of a conspiracy, a matrix of seemingly disparate forces that are driving this holocaust.

The occult activity surrounding the abortion industry is exposed with numerous examples. But are these just aberrations, bizarre yet anomalous examples of abortionists who just happen to have ties to modern day witchcraft? Or is this representative of something deeper, more sinister and even endemic to the entire abortion movement?

As the allusion to the film of over a decade ago suggests, the viewer may learn that things are not always as they appear to be. The Abortion Matrix reveals the reality of child-killing and strikes the proper moral chord to move hearts to fulfill the biblical responsibility to rescue those unjustly sentenced to death and to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 24:11,12; 31:8,9).

Speakers include: George Grant, Peter Hammond, RC Sproul Jr., Paul Jehle, Lou Engle, Rusty Thomas, Flip Benham, Janet Porter and many more.

Ten parts, over three hours of instruction!

Running Time: 195 minutes

$19.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information


Go Stand Speak (DVD)

With “preaching to the lost” being such a basic foundation of Christianity, why do many in the church seem to be apathetic on this issue of preaching in highways and byways of towns and cities?

Is it biblical to stand in the public places of the world and proclaim the gospel, regardless if people want to hear it or not?

Does the Bible really call church pastors, leaders and evangelists to proclaim the gospel in the public square as part of obedience to the Great Commission, or is public preaching something that is outdated and not applicable for our day and age?

These any many other questions are answered in this documentary.

$19.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information


A Revival Account: Asbury 1970 (DVD)

What is true Revival and Spiritual Awakening?

Discover the answer in this eyewitness account by Dennis Kinlaw, President of Asbury College, Wilmore, Kentucky, who recounts the story of a visitation of the Holy Spirit in 1970. This is the presentation that has continued to spark the flames of Revival in the hearts of people around the world. Contains eyewitness footage from the Revival at Asbury College in 1970 in Wilmore, Kentucky.

Certain to challenge you to greater holiness and a deeper commitment to full-scale revival. Original news and private footage has been included. If you are a student who longs to see a spiritual awakening at your school, you must see this video!

“This simple video does a wonderful job of conveying something of God’s heart and power, Everyone we have ever shown this to has received an immediate impartation of faith for revival and the power of prayer.”
— Bob and Rose Weiner, Weiner Ministries Int’l

Running Time: 40 minutes

$19.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information


The Beast of Revelation IdentifiedThe Beast of Revelation: Identified (DVD)

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.)

Click here for more information

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The Abortion Matrix DVD: Update

The Abortion Matrix:
Defeating Child Sacrifice and the Culture of Death

is a 195-minute presentation that traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God has produced. You can order this series on DVD, read the complete script and view clips on-line...
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