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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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The Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of ChristThe Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of Christ (DVD)

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.

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Martin Luther: Digitally Remastered 1953 Classic (DVD)

“Here I stand … I can do no other!”

With these immortal words, an unknown German monk sparked a spiritual revolution that changed the world.

The dramatic classic film of Martin Luther’s life was released in theaters worldwide in the 1950s and was nominated for two Oscars. A magnificent depiction of Luther and the forces at work in the surrounding society that resulted in his historic reform efforts, this film traces Luther’s life from a guilt-burdened monk to his eventual break with the Roman Catholic Church.

Running time: 105 minutes

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Watch a clip from Martin Luther.

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Abortion Clinic 911 Calls (DVD)

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

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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.

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Freedom: The Model of Christian Liberty (DVD)

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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.

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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).

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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.

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