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Notes on Daniel: Hermeneutics

By Jay Rogers
Published April 27, 2008

A great difficulty with hermeneutical approaches persists to our day. Is the correct approach to Daniel and Revelation preterist, historicist, futurist or idealist? While most prophecy is forth-telling rather than foretelling, both the Prophets and John’s Revelation speak of things “yet to be.”

What was “yet to be” often had a temporal immediacy. King Nebuchadnezzar saw his Chaldean Empire conquered by the Medio-Persian Empire just as Daniel had prophesied. But other prophecies were fulfilled centuries later. And some biblical prophecies — such as the Second Coming of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, the final judgment, and a new heavens and a new earth — have yet to be fulfilled.

The problem with prophecies is that they can sometimes seem to have several fulfillments. Certainly, some references to Antiochus Epiphanes can be found in Daniel’s prophecy. However, the abomination that causes desolation (Daniel 9) referred to by Jesus in the Mount Olivet Discourse, cannot refer to Antiochus, even though when Daniel is read in isolation from Matthew 24, he fits the description.

These difficulties are only surface problems. Predictive prophecies refer to the blessings, curses and judgments of God. There is a direct cause-effect between God’s promised judgment and the outcome of a prophecy. When Daniel saw the successive overthrow of four kingdoms, this was the direct effect of the persecution of God’s people. The Babylonians, Medio-Persians, Greeks and Romans came under judgment because they usurped the rule of God’s chosen people over the promised land.

When John saw the destruction of the beast, the false prophet and the whore of Babylon, this was the direct result of their persecution of the church. This came to pass when Jerusalem was destroyed and when the Roman Empire came under progressive judgment by God through internal strife in the first century.

We may rightly assume that the Roman Catholic Church was judged for its persecution of dissenters who held to a more correct orthodoxy. We may also assume that the Soviet Union was judged because of its persecution of believers of all stripes. There are historical applications we can make, such as the invasion of Rome by barbarian hordes later on, and futuristic applications, such as the judgment of Gog and Magog at the end of the millennium (Revelation 20).

However, the immediate application of most of the book of Revelation was that the judgment was to happen “soon.” To say that the papacy or the Roman Catholic Church is going to be judged for its persecutions of Christians in the first centuries is anachronistic. It ignores the repeated temporal urgency as well as the historical and literary context of the book of Revelation.

For instance, John was writing when the Temple at Jerusalem was still standing and sacrifices were still being made — according to numerous references in Revelation. If John saw events in a vision that have an immediate first century application, then how can the papacy be interpreted as the Beast or the Whore?

While I agree that God has judged those who persecuted believers throughout history, I do not see a cause-effect relationship between the persecutions of first century Roman Emperors and the Protestant Reformation (at least not in this prophecy).

Since the papacy did not exist in the first century, then how can the Roman Church of the Middle Ages be held responsible for persecutions of Christians in the first century? A futurist or historicist hermeneutic is anachronistic because these events did not coincide in history.


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Amazing GraceAmazing Grace: The History and Theology of Calvinism (DVD)

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Just what is Calvinism?

Does this teaching make man a deterministic robot and God the author of sin? What about free will? If the church accepts Calvinism, won’t evangelism be stifled, perhaps even extinguished? How can we balance God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility? What are the differences between historic Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism? Why did men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards and a host of renowned Protestant evangelists embrace the teaching of predestination and election and deny free will theology?

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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

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Massacre of Innocence (DVD)

Exposing The Occult Roots of Abortion

This presentation looks at the spiritual roots of abortion and exposes the myths surrounding child killing. Little known historical facts about abortion and how they relate to modern feminism are presented logically and accurately. Has been effective in converting many to a pro-life position.

Massacre of Innocence goes where no pro-life presentation has gone before in “tearing the lid off abortion” to reveal the spiritual realities we must battle if we will bring an end to this crime. The presentation is absorbing, fast-paced, informative and incredibly devastating to any attempt to justify abortion.

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— Congressman Robert K. Dornan

Running time: 85 minutes

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Dr. Francis Schaeffer - How Should We Then Live? (DVD)

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After 40 years of intense study and world-wide ministry, Dr. Francis Schaeffer completed his crowning work of scholarship – to present profound truths in simple film language. Dr. Schaeffer’s brilliant analysis of the past and predictions for current trends have proven so uncannily accurate that this amazing series still feels contemporary almost three decades after its initial release. Ultimately, Schaeffer concludes that man’s only hope is a return to God’s Biblical absolute, the truth revealed in Christ through the Scriptures.

Available for the first time on DVD, this documentary spectacular also includes intimate in-depth conversations with Francis and Edith Schaeffer. With the on-disc study guide, this presentation forms a unique course of comprehensive study. While this series forms an innovative analysis of the past, this outstanding work is more than history. Each episode focuses on a significant era, yet speaks clearly to 21st-century man with answers for modern problems.

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The Four Keys to the Millennium (Book)

Foundations in Biblical Eschatology

By Jay Rogers, Larry Waugh, Rodney Stortz, Joseph Meiring. High quality paperback, 167 pages.

All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?

These and many more questions are dealt with by four authors as they present the four views on the millennium. Each view is then critiqued by the other three authors.

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