This book began when I started taking notes on Daniel in 1997. I picked it up intermittently over a period of seven years. After posting my interpretation chapter by chapter to a discussion group on the Internet, I received many counter-arguments from a historicist commentator, Dr. Francis Nigel Lee (1935-2011), who forced me to go back and re-examine each verse of the prophecy. Dr. Lee, an Australian Presbyterian scholar who had earned numerous advanced degrees, was gracious and patient in our debate. We did not convince each other, but our back-and-forth rebuttals helped me to strengthen my interpretation. Finally, I posted “Part I: The Prophecy of Daniel Explained” on the Forerunner.com website in the summer of 2004.
In this book, I outline a preterist interpretation of Daniel. This is followed by “Part 2: Notes on Daniel,” which attempts to answer the common questions and objections often raised toward a preterist approach. This is followed by “Part III: Historical Background and Resources” examining other pertinent books in the Bible; the historical figures prophesied by Daniel; the historical accounts that corroborate Daniel; and finally a survey of the eschatology of the early Church. I’ve included a list of “Sources” that have influenced this book and my view of eschatology in general. The book is meant as a jumping off point for students of the Bible. I’ve arranged the book in sections so you can use it as a reference to answer questions. You do not need to read it sequentially from beginning to end. Expect to find a certain amount of repetition in each section in order to maintain the context.
Introduction – The first section of this book gives you some important background information. I begin with a definition of preterism. Then I explain some common methods of interpretation, and discuss the structure, composition and authorship of the Book of Daniel. Then comes an overview of liberal objections to an early dating and a reasonable defense of the authenticity of authorship. The introduction finishes with an explanation of the four millennial views, related hermeneutical approaches and a brief critique of the futurist view of Daniel. Although the introduction contains foundational material, which might be interesting and clarifying, it is not necessary to know this in order to understand Daniel. If you are interested in getting right to the meat of a preterist interpretation of Daniel, I encourage you to begin reading “Part I: The Prophecy of Daniel Explained.”
Part I: The Prophecy of Daniel Explained – In this brief commentary on the prophetic passages of Daniel, I demonstrate that all has been literally fulfilled in history. The prophecies find their fulfillment in the Babylonian Captivity in the time of Daniel up until the time of the generation of Jesus the Messiah. The prophecy of Daniel outlines major historical events in the form of successive prophetic signs that took place from the days of Nebuchadnezzar up until the time of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in AD 70 as Jesus himself prophesied in the Mount Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24:15). Note that this section is brief in order to give an overview. Parts II and III then go into more depth in interpreting Daniel in preterist perspective.
Part II: Notes on Daniel – This part is the result my responses to Dr. Nigel Francis Lee that answer objections to the preterist viewpoint. These have been edited into a collection of notes. I also include answers to questions I have fielded over the years regarding my interpretation of Daniel in “Part I.”
Part III: Historical Background and Resources – The third section of the book is an outline of world history containing some interesting, yet not commonly known, ancient historical sources that corroborate Daniel. I begin with the books of the Bible that are relevant to Daniel. I then show how pagan histories and the writings of the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus corroborate a preterist view of Daniel. This was the last part of the book I worked on prior to publishing. This research was the most fascinating part of my study. It was a like completing a giant jigsaw puzzle. The commentary on Daniel in “Part I” was the border of the puzzle. Then every extra-biblical fact from ancient history was one more piece of the puzzle that began to form a bigger picture. In the last section of “Part III,” there is an overview of the eschatology of early Christianity that focuses on how the Church Fathers viewed the Book of Daniel.
Conclusion – I conclude by dealing with the question of how a preterist view of Daniel can be relevant to all of history into the 21st century and beyond.
Sources – I do not consider this book to be the final word. In fact, I want you to have this same joy of discovery, so I have included a list of “Sources” at the end of the book for further research. My hope is that you will be inspired to pick up where others have left off. No doubt many undiscovered pieces of the puzzle will be put into place as a result of a renewed interest in preterism.
Throughout the commentary, I use the King James or Authorized Version of the Bible. Although the language of the King James is not always the most accessible for modern readers, I began the study at a time when I was using this version as a literal translation. In other places, I rely on the New King James Version and other versions where noted. You may want to compare other translations such as Young’s Literal Translation and some dynamic equivalent translations. I put longer quotations of Scripture in block quotes. I use bold text to distinguish specific phrases in Scripture that are noted and explained.
I have used the traditional dating of BC and AD rather than the modern and politically correct form of BCE and CE. I precede the dates with AD in the standard editing practice (AD 70). Dates with BC are noted after the year number (167 BC).
All quotations, graphics, charts and photos are fair use, public domain or created by the author. All parts of this book are also available at www.forerunner.com/daniel/daniel.html. Short portions may be quoted and reproduced freely with credit and a web link to the source.