Tag Archives: Book of Daniel

Daniel 7: Past and Future?

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptural quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version

Earlier in this series of posts, we looked at Daniel Chapter 9, and examined the prophecies of “70 weeks,” the temple’s rebuilding, the Messiah’s ministry, and the eventual destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. I made the case that all of those prophecies were fulfilled by 70 A.D.

Daniel Chapter 7 is a place where similar events are described, and many commentators believe that Chapter 7 depicts the same time period as Chapter 9, although there is disagreement as to whether the fulfillment is past or future.

I believe there is sufficient evidence to say that most of Daniel 7 had a literal fulfillment in the first century. There is a thorough explanation of the first-century interpretation on the Revelation Revolution website, in their article “Daniel 7: A Preterist Commentary.” In this post, I will bring out some key points of that article, but I would recommend reading the whole commentary if you are interested in this subject.

If you want to jump to the section where I discuss a possible future fulfillment, skip down to the section with the heading “Potential Future Fulfillment.”


First Century Perspective

Daniel 7:24-27 – Ten kings shall arise, and another shall arise after them. This one shall be different from the former ones, and shall put down three kings. He shall speak words against the Most High, shall wear out the holy ones of the Most High, and shall attempt to change the sacred seasons and the law; and they shall be given into his power for a time, two times, and half a time. Then the court shall sit in judgment, and his dominion shall be taken away, to be consumed and totally destroyed. The kingship and dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the holy ones of the Most High; their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey them.

The Ten Kings in the prophecy could be the leaders of the ten cohorts operating under General Titus and Emperor Vespasian in the destruction of Jerusalem. Alternatively, the Ten Kings could be ten Caesars of the Roman Empire. The king who arose after them in the prophecy could be General Titus, the son of the tenth Caesar, Vespasian. The prophecy says that the new king would put down three other kings.

After the death of Emperor Nero, there was a battle for the emperor’s throne, and Titus and Vespasian defeated three other contenders (Galba, Otho and Vitellius), each of whom briefly ruled in 69 A.D. After that victory, Titus and Vespasian co-ruled the empire, with both of them having the title Caesar. Titus committed blasphemous acts in the temple and sought to alter Jewish customs as described in the prophecy.

Thus far, the first century interpretation makes sense. However, at the end of the passage quoted above, we encounter the same “problem” that we had with 2nd Thessalonians in the last post. Daniel describes the coming of the Messiah and the new Kingdom Age in the same context as the aforementioned war – “the court shall sit in judgment, and his dominion shall be taken away, to be consumed and totally destroyed. The kingship and dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the holy ones of the Most High.”

Obviously, this did not happen in a literal sense during the first century. In my post on the Olivet Discourse of the Gospels, I described a way in which the Bible allows us to infer a prolonged gap of time between the first century events and the future return of Christ. The big question is whether the Bible prophecies a specific recurrence of conflict between the Jews and surrounding kingdoms that will take place right before Christ returns.


Potential Future Fulfillment

In Daniel 7:1-8, four animals are described (a lion, a bear, a leopard, and an ambiguous creature). Those four animals could represent four religious-backed alliances (a Buddhist alliance, a Hindu alliance, an Islamic alliance, and a Christian alliance). This was the view held by A.E. Knoch, the founder of the Concordant Publishing Concern. His views are outlined in the book Concordant Studies in the Book of Daniel. Key points and quotes from his commentary on Daniel 7 can be found in the article “The Four Great Beasts” by Lorraine Day, M.D.

Also, on the website of the Concordant Publishing Concern, there is an article by A.E. Knoch titled “The Three Eastern Beasts” from his series “The Mystery of Babylon,” which addresses describes Daniel 7 in conjunction with Revelation.

The first animal, the Lion, could represent a Buddhist alliance. The Concordant Literal New Testament describes the Lion as an “eastern animal.” Of the four major religions in the world, Buddhism is the easternmost religion. The Lion was described as having “eagle’s wings,” implying an ability to spread across regions. This may represent the spread of Buddhism from its origin in India to East and Southeast Asia. The Lion was also given a “human mind.” This may symbolize Buddhism’s focus on humaneness and ethics (Concordant Studies in the Book of Daniel, p. 222, quoted in “The Four Great Beasts” by Lorraine Day, M.D.).

Looking to the future, it is very conceivable that an Asian alliance of nations could form with China as its head, given China’s dramatic rise in economic and political power. If this relates to Daniel’s prophecy, the alliance is likely to have the backing of Buddhist leaders in Asia.

The second animal described is a bear. Given that the Lion was the “eastern animal,” it makes sense that the Bear would be slightly west of the Lion. If you start in East Asia and travel west, the next major religion you will encounter is Hinduism in India.

Daniel wrote that the Bear “was raised up on one side” and “had three tusks in its mouth” (v. 5). A.E. Knoch believed that this passage depicts the Caste System. In this interpretation, the part of the bear “raised up” is the Brahman priestly caste. The three tusks in the Bear’s mouth are the three castes beneath the priests. Note that unlike the Lion, there is no mention of wings on the Bear. This could symbolize the fact that Hinduism’s spread beyond India has been very limited (Concordant Studies in the Book of Daniel, p. 222, quoted in “The Four Great Beasts” by Lorraine Day, M.D.).

Today, India is another country that is rapidly growing economically. With a population of 1.3 billion, more than one sixth of the world’s population, I could imagine India as a stand-alone, Hindu-backed empire to compete with the other three in the prophecy.

Continuing westward, the next religion we encounter is Islam, in the Middle East. Islam may be represented by the Leopard in Daniel’s prophecy. The Leopard had “four wings” (v. 6). If wings symbolize spread of a religion, Islam’s rapid spread, both historically and in the present day, is noteworthy. Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the world today, according to a 2015 Pew Research study. The world’s Muslim population is projected to have a 70% increase by 2050, and Muslims are expected to comprise 10% of Europe’s population by then.

Daniel wrote that dominion was given to the Leopard (v. 6). We know that the Middle Eastern nations play a major role in global politics and economics. The “four heads” of the Leopard (v. 6) could represent four Islamic nations that will form an alliance near the end of this age.

Continuing westward, we encounter the parts of the world that A.E. Knoch refers to as “Christendom,” Europe and the Americas (Knoch, “The Three Eastern Beasts”).  Now, the obvious question would be, if we believe that Christianity is the one true religion, why does the prophecy group Christianity in with other religions, and why does it describe the fourth animal as evil and violent?

First, I believe this prophecy is NOT talking about individual practitioners of any of these religions. Knoch describes the relationship of religions to kingdoms in Daniel 7 as follows:

The fourth beast is repeatedly called a kingdom and it includes ten kings. If then, these are kingdoms, what relation do they sustain to the temple and to Israel as the priest nation? In ancient times religion was a matter of state. Nebuchadnezzar was neither the first nor the last to demand religious as well as political submission. As the wild beast, or its head, the anti-christ of the future will demand more than political fealty. He will have the worship of all mankind. His image will be the object of divine honors far above that accorded the most exalted potentate. The clash between Israel and the nations at the time of the end will arise out of their refusal to worship the image, rather than a breach of political faith. All of this leads us to the conclusion that the beasts of Daniel and the composite beast of Revelation are kingdoms in which religion is directly or indirectly a matter of state (“The Three Eastern Beasts”).

Thus, the prophecy deals with characteristics of nations that claim a particular religion as their basis, not the spiritual status of the religions at their core. Note that, what we see from European history is that church-run governments have the potential to turn violent and oppressive. The problem is not the true Christian religion, which is founded upon Scripture, but rather, faulty ideas about God and man’s role that corrupted the church. Similar corruption of the Christian faith could occur in a future Christian confederation.

What Daniel’s prophecy seems to indicate is that a Christian alliance of nations will eventually form in the Western world. The current European Union is a secular union. This is why I believe that if this future interpretation of Daniel comes to pass, the current European Union will be dissolved. The United Kingdom’s recent exit could be the start of this. What would eventually form is a new, religious European Union, that could very well include the Americas too. In the prophecy, the fourth animal had “ten horns” (v. 6). This could represent leaders of ten nations forming the new union.

The prophecy later says that a new horn rose up in place of three that fell off, and that the new horn had defeated those three. This could symbolize some sort of new leader arising and exposing political scandals involving three other leaders of the new union, forcing them to step down. However, as the prophecy will later reveal, this new leader himself is far from righteous.

With this political conflict in mind, it is worthwhile to consider the increasing tendency for countries to meddle with each other’s political processes. Organizations like Wikileaks are creating new platforms for such interference.

The new, Western leader depicted in the prophecy, and its supportive organizations, could be privately affiliated with any religion, or no religion at all. However, if this future scenario comes to pass, I think the leader will be guised as Christian in some way or another.

Once this leader gets into power, he or she will likely get the world’s other three alliances (East Asia/Buddhist, India/Hindu, Middle East/Islam) to cooperate with the Western alliance on common objectives for the world. This persuasion is likely to be made by finding common ground across the world on issues of both politics and religion. This absorption of the other alliances is implied by Revelation Chapter 13, which depicts a beast resembling that of Daniel 7, but with all four animals combined into a single creature (Knoch, “The Three Eastern Beasts”).

It is likely that the Western leader would act supportive of Israel at first, and may even support Israel in reconstructing the Jerusalem temple. However, the Western leader will eventually turn on Israel and go to war against them (Dan. 7:24-25). This leader may also persecute Christians who do not support his or her agenda, or whatever form of Christianity is favored by the government. If the “time, two-times, and half-a-time” of Daniel 7:25 is to be literal, this war would last for 3.5 years.

However, the prophecy continues to say that this leader’s reign will be stopped (v. 26). It is not said exactly how this will happen. It is possible that it will occur through the actual return of Christ, or perhaps, shortly before Christ returns, there will be a political revolution that removes the leader from power.

I do not necessarily believe that the aforementioned war will involve global destruction. Using the period of 66-70 A.D. as a precedent for fulfillment, there was some sporadic violence throughout the ancient Roman empire as well as natural disasters, but the only severely affected areas were Jerusalem and surrounding regions. The Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica that the Rapture would come at a time when people are saying “peace and security” (1 Thess. 5:1-2). The Thessalonians were within what is modern-day Greece. Thus, while there could be some elevated violence and other crises throughout the world in the final years of this age, most people will likely, for the most part, be carrying on as usual in the years right before the Rapture.

It is after the Rapture, during a brief period before Christ’s arrival on earth, that it appears disasters will severely affect the entire world (1 Thess. 5:1-3, 2 Thess. 1:5-10). However, if you look at the passage from 2 Thess. 1, note that the destruction is directed toward those who are rebellious against God. Even though the Rapture only includes believers who are in the Body of Christ, there are people outside of the Christian faith who are striving to do what is right in accord with their conscience, are resisting their selfish passions, and live according to the principles which Jesus taught. I feel that there is good reason to think that these people will be protected on earth during the period right before Christ’s arrival on earth. In Jesus’ many parables about His coming kingdom, those granted access are those who do good works in accord with love for others.

On the other hand, the significance of being a believer, as described in Paul’s writing, is about entering into a special kind of relationship with the Lord based on justification (Rom. 3 – 8), being made a new creation spiritually (2 Cor. 5:17), and having a special role in the coming ages (Eph. 2:7). However, I do not believe this is the baseline message of salvation in Scripture. Rather, it is a special salvation for believers in this age.

The advantage of being a believer is that, through the Rapture, there is absolute assurance of protection from the calamities that will occur right before Christ arrives on earth to establish a new eon for the world.


Concluding Thoughts

As I mentioned earlier, this entire future fulfillment of Daniel 7 is not something that I am absolutely sure will happen. However, in light of the fact that prophecy is not confined to a particular era, but instead, is being continually fulfilled throughout human history, I found it worthwhile to consider possible clues in Daniel about a future fulfillment to take place shortly before Christ returns and the present age comes to a close. The interpretation of Daniel 7 described in this article makes sense to me based on the spiritual perspectives on the world and religions that I have arrived at through thematic analysis of Scripture in general.

I want to close this article by saying that, I am not encouraging people to completely separate themselves from institutional Christianity due to anything I have written. Furthermore, I am not saying that it is wrong for religion to play a role in politics. Rather, what I am writing against is enslavement to religious systems. This enslavement can manifest itself in forms such as, feeling guilty to differ on points of doctrine, feeling obligated to pledge support to various missions or political agendas, or feeling obligated to stay with a church even when that fellowship is not yielding anything beneficial to one’s life. If you can be a member of a church without being chained to the system in this way, then that is perfectly fine, and you are not at risk of religious deception.

Having looked at prophecies contained within the Bible itself in recent posts, the next matter to discuss would be, what to think of prophecies that Christians claim to receive from God today. I believe that our examination of Biblical prophecy will provide a helpful framework for thinking about modern-day claims of supernatural revelation.


Works Cited

Knoch, A.E. Concordant Studies in the Book of Daniel. Concordant Publishing Concern, 1968.  qtd in Day, Lorraine, M.D. “The Four Great Beasts: What or Who Are They?” The Good News About God. Spencer Publishing. 2006.     http://www.goodnewsaboutgod.com/studies/current_news/home_study/daniel7.htm

Knoch, A.E. “The Three Eastern Beasts.” Concordant Publishing Concern, n.d., Web.                 http://concordant.org/expositions/the-mystery-of-babylon/13-three-eastern-beasts/

Morais, Daniel. “Daniel 7: A Preterist Commentary.” Revelation Revolution. n.p., n.d., Web. http://revelationrevolution.org/daniel-7-a-preterist-commentary/

“The Future of World Religions: Population Growth Projections, 2010-2050.” Pew Research Center, 2 April 2015, Web. http://www.pewforum.org/2015/04/02/religious-projections-2010-2050/

What We Can Learn from the First Century Fulfillment of Prophecy

In the last two posts, I discussed prophecies of Daniel and Jesus, and explained how I believe they were fulfilled in the first century, through the death and resurrection of Christ, the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, and the Jewish-Roman War. However, I want to emphasize now is that prophecies are not confined to a particular era. The spiritual factors at play during the first century fulfillment are still at play today. But I believe that recognizing the first century fulfillment enables us to gain insights into what is going on spiritually in the world today.

In the “Daniel 9” part of this series, I mentioned how, in the early church, many Christians, including genuine, spirit-filled believers, were trying to continue following the Mosaic Law of the Old Testament. Paul denounced the mixing of the law with the gospel of grace (Gal. 2:12, 3:1-5), but the controversy never ended. The proof that the outward ordinances of the Law were no longer binding on the world came when the temple was destroyed. The temple was meant to be a physical symbol of righteousness, and a place through which people would come to God. However, the fall of the temple symbolized the end of the flesh trying to do Law. It symbolized the end of outward reforms and ordinances to produce inward righteousness.

When this is realized, it provides insights into the social and spiritual conflict going on in the world today. I want to share my insights on what is happening today with moral condition of the United States. Many Christians believe that we are living in a time of moral decline. However, what I believe is happening, is that many people, especially young people, are realizing that they cannot make their flesh cannot obey what their church is telling them, or even what the Bible is telling them. And there are various forces in the media systems who are telling these people that they should just live in whatever way feels natural to them.

I believe that the spirit behind the Romans’ destruction of the temple is the same spirit that is in the media systems who are telling people they can live however they are inclined. I am not denying that it is a spirit of animosity toward God. However, in both cases, I believe that God allows that spirit to run its course in order to vindicate the gospel of grace. God is not panicking about this generation turning away from conservative morality. There is a method to the madness. We need to understand this in order to properly react to the things going on today.

First, I believe our starting point should be the realization that, were it not for the grace of God shown to us, we would be like the people who are disregarding Biblical morality. The fact that you are different – the fact that you are still seeking to live according to the Scriptures despite being told through the media to live as you please – indicates that God has chosen you for a special purpose and set you apart. None of us were wise enough to choose God on our own initiative.

Once that is understood, we can realize what the gospel of grace produces, or rather, what it fails to produce. A key element in the paradigm of grace is “no confidence in the flesh” (Philippians 3:3). Thus, we can understand the real problem with the liberal agenda that is turning people away from Biblical morality. The problem is not their denial that everybody can make themselves live a certain way. Instead, the problem is that, instead of believing in the true gospel of grace, they try to redefine morality. They are trying to modify Biblical commandments to fit the 21st century and redefine what it means to be a responsible person.

However, I believe that God is allowing this to happen in order to demonstrate His grace. I believe that God is calling out certain people who are in this situation and leading them to writings and ministries that acknowledge the struggle with the flesh they are dealing with, but also reveal the truth of justification and show how faith in the gospel can bring them into a new way of life, empowered by the Holy Spirit, instead of the flesh trying to reform itself. (Rom. 8:1-11).

Lastly, I want to address the commonly held belief that God allows disasters to happen in order to bring nations to repentance. The war and political unrest of 60-70 A.D. did not make Rome a godly empire. Although there was some unrest throughout the empire, the intense destruction only took place in Jerusalem and surrounding areas. Many worldly, immoral people in other parts of the empire carried on as usual. After the conflict period of 60 – 70 A.D., Rome resumed its peak era for at least another century, despite continued persecution of Christians and Jews, and other kinds of immorality.

I bring this up because many Christians today are directing the “end-times” prophecies at worldly sinners everywhere. But when these prophecies came to a literal fulfillment in the first century, outside of Jerusalem and surrounding regions, life more or less carried on as usual despite some elevated conflict. When Jesus was on earth, he told when to flee Judea, and where to go. Anybody could have left, and been safe through the war, even if they were living in sin. We cannot truly say that this war was a judgment upon the world for its sins.

Yet in current times, I hear many Christians on the internet declaring that any day now, God is going to allow all kinds of calamities to come upon the United States as judgment upon sinners, and that through these crises, God will bring about a great revival. But is that really how God’s judgments work? I have not found historical evidence of a great revival during 66-70 A.D. And the same could be said about times of crises today.

Regarding God’s judgments, J. Preston Eby writes,

Often they [Christians] quote the scripture . . . “When Thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness” . . .   But have any of these [disasters], even one of them, in the history of the world, ever caused the world to LEARN RIGHTEOUSNESS?  That is the question . . .  Do you suppose the people who died in the twin towers were greater sinners than the rest of the people in America?  . . . When God “judged” southeast Asia with the tsunami, do you suppose it was only the people in the coastal areas that were wicked, and deserving of God’s wrath? . . . [Was God] really out to “teach them righteousness” through these terrible events?  Is Thailand now a righteous nation?  Have they abandoned their false gods and stopped the filthy sex industry?  Is Sri Lanka now a godly country?  Has Indonesia ceased to harass and persecute believers, and now become a sweet Christian nation?  Has anything changed in India since the disaster?  DID EVEN ONE OF THOSE NATIONS, OR EVEN ONE CITY IN ONE OF THOSE NATIONS, LEARN RIGHTEOUSNESS BY THE “JUDGMENT”?  Answer that question correctly and you will know a great mystery concerning the ways and purposes of God!


I believe it is not during this age that the nations of the world will undergo judgment and learn righteousness. It is during the future age of the Messianic Kingdom that a new spiritual order will be established on the earth, and then, judgments upon the nations will bring them to a state of righteousness.

So, then, what is happening with the things going on in the world today? I believe that God can work through crises to bring about redemptive outcomes for those predestined for salvation in this age. Ephesians 1:11 says that believers are “destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will.” Romans 8:28 says that “all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” The details of how predestination works, or how God is involved or uninvolved with various events in the world, are matters which I am generally not dogmatic about. But I do not believe that God causes or allows disasters to happen as a judgment upon nations for their sins.

When the first-century fulfillment of prophecy is understood, it sheds much light on what is going on in the present day. My next post in this series will examine whether the prophecies from Daniel, and also the New Testament, reveal any things that are to happen in the future before the return of Christ.


Works Cited

Eby, Preston J. “From the Candlestick to the Throne Part 95.” Kingdom Bible Studies. Kingdom Bible Studies, n.d., Web. 9 August 2016.

Prophecies of Daniel 9

Scriptural Quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version

The book of Daniel is one of the most analyzed books of the Bible on the subject of prophecy. It can be a confusing book of the Bible given that it has prophecies that seem to have already been fulfilled, and prophecies that have not been clearly fulfilled, presented in very close textual proximity. Furthermore, prophetic writings are mixed in with depictions of events going on in Daniel’s own lifetime.

This style of writing is typical of Bible prophecy in general, and I think it is the reason why there is so much debate and disagreement among scholars as to the meaning of prophecies. I personally have reached a point where I do not try to untangle cryptic prophetic writings and arrange a precise, chronological prediction of world events. Instead, I try to step back and consider broader, overarching themes of Scripture that are reflected not only in these prophetic writings, but the Bible in general, and to understand how these themes are playing out in my own life.

That said, specific prophetic writings are still important to talk about, and I am not opposed to discussing them in relation to historical or current events as long as there is some room for uncertainty. So, in this article, I want to discuss some prophecies of Daniel that are often used to predict future events.

The book of Daniel is where the idea of a seven year period preceding the end of this age comes from. A critical passage is in Chapter 9, Verses 24-27:


Seventy weeks are decreed for your people and your holy city: to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place. Know therefore and understand: from the time that the word went out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the time of an anointed prince, there shall be seven weeks; and for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with streets and moat, but in a troubled time. After the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing, and the troops of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed. He shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall make sacrifice and offering cease; and in their place shall be an abomination that desolates, until the decreed end is poured out upon the desolator.”


There is general agreement among Biblical scholars that if a “week” refers to a quantifiable period of time, it means seven years. Thus, the “seventy weeks” in Verse 24 probably refer to seventy periods of seven years, which equals 490 years. When Daniel wrote this, the Jews were still in Babylonian captivity. Verse 25 says that the seventy weeks would begin once Israel was released and began rebuilding the temple. Daniel wrote in Verse 26 that after sixty-two weeks (483 years), an “anointed one” would be cut off. Biblical historians have noted that Jesus’ ministry began about 483 years after the Jews were released from captivity. Thus, the “anointed one” being “cut off” after 483 years probably refers to the crucifixion of Christ around 27-33 A.D. Most Christians are in agreement up to this point; it’s what comes next that starts a debate.

Verse 26 mentions troops of a future prince destroying Jerusalem and the temple in association with wars and desolations. There is general agreement that the destruction of the temple was fulfilled in 70 A.D. The controversial part is, who is the prince?

The traditional Evangelical view of prophesy, known as the Futurist view, says that since it was the Romans who destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A.D., there will be a new Roman empire created sometime in the future, and the leader of that empire is the prince Daniel referenced. Despite the fact that the temple was destroyed in 70 A.D., Verse 27 mentions the temple again by referencing “sacrifices and offerings.” Thus, Futurists contend that the temple will be rebuilt in the future so that this prophesy can take place. The prince is identified as the Antichrist. Since Verse 27 says that the prince will make a covenant for seven years, Futurists teach that the antichrist will make a seven-year covenant with Israel and allow them to rebuild the temple. They identify this seven year period as the Tribulation. Verse 27 says that the prince will eventually cause the sacrifices to stop, and desecrate the temple. Futurists believe this will occur at the midpoint of the Tribulation.

Although this interpretation can make sense, the problem is that the Bible never explicitly says a temple will be rebuilt before the coming Messianic age. Furthermore, I believe there is very substantial evidence that the prophecies of Daniel 9:24-27 had a fulfillment in the first century.

First, let’s consider the part about someone making a covenant with the Jews. That word translated “make” could also be translated “confirm,” and the New King James Bible does so. Note that in Daniel’s prophecy, there are two men mentioned: the “anointed one” (the Messiah) and an apparently evil figure that is often called the Antichrist. Many commentators with a first-century perspective say that it is the Messiah, not the Antichrist, who confirms a covenant with the Jews.

Espousing this view, Larry T. Smith wrote,

He shall ‘CONFIRM THE COVENANT WITH MANY FOR ONE WEEK.’ This does not mean that the covenant was just seven years long, but it is dealing with the one week that is left of the 70 weeks in which the Messiah will confirm the covenant with many.  This week had to begin with Messiah the prince being anointed at His baptism. This was verse 24’s anointing of the most holy. This fulfilled one of the 6 requirements of the 70th week” (quoted from “The 70th Week of Daniel”).

Also, keep in mind what Jesus Himself said in Matthew 5:17, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.”

Through this statement, Jesus was confirming the covenant with the Jews which God established through the Law of Moses in the Old Testament.

What I want to examine now is the concept of spiritual-physical parallels in the events of Christ’s life and death on earth, and the war of 66-70 A.D. in Jerusalem. Here are interpretations from Duncan McKenzie of PlanetPreterist.com:

“Daniel 9:26 and 27 parallel each other; that is, they each address the same two topics. The first part of each verse contains a reference to the killing of Messiah and the resulting end of the legitimacy of the sacrificial system. The death of Jesus brought an end to the legitimacy of the sacrificial system (cf. Matt. 27:50-51; Heb. 10:11-18); it happened after seven and sixty-two    weeks [483 years], Dan. 9:25 (i.e. it happened during the seventieth week)

. . .

The second part of verses 26 and 27 contain a reference to the coming of the one who would destroy Jerusalem and the Temple” (quoted from “The Last Half of Daniel’s 70th Week”).

The idea here is that the spiritual fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecies occurred through the death of Christ, circa 30 A.D., which ended the validity of animal sacrifices. However, in the physical, earthly realm, the end of animal sacrifices came to an end in 70 A.D. via the Romans’ destruction of the temple.

McKenzie’s view is that Daniel’s 70th week could be interpreted either literally or symbolically. In a literal interpretation, the seven years take place in two 3.5 year segments, separated by a gap of 37-40 years. The first half took place during Jesus’ earthly ministry of 3.5 years. At the end of this period, the spiritual validity of animal sacrifices came to an end. The 2nd half took place during the war of 66-70 A.D. At the end of this half, sacrifices and offerings as prescribed by the Law of Moses became logistically impossible, as they had to be performed at the temple. Thus, if you add the two halves together, it equals seven years (i.e. one week). On the other hand, in a symbolic interpretation, McKenzie says that the period between Christ’s resurrection and the temple’s destruction could be viewed as the latter half of the 70th week. Under that interpretation, the two segments are not quantifiable time periods, but rather, the two halves are two phases of prophecy.

I think that McKenzie’s interpretations of the 70th week are reasonable ways to approach the prophecy. I also want to bring out a point that Gary Amirault of Tentmaker Ministries raised in his audio series “The Rapture You Missed.” Although I do not agree with his view that the Rapture took place in 70 A.D., I believe his series contains a lot of very important information regarding the events of 30 – 70 A.D. in relation to Bible prophecy. Amirault believes that the destruction of the temple was a necessary event in order to end a conflict that was dividing the Christian church and obscuring the gospel of grace.

The conflict involved whether believers in Christ were still required to follow the Mosaic laws. Prior to the ministry of Paul, who taught salvation apart from works of the Law, many believers in Christ were still preaching the ordinances of the Mosaic Law, including James, a half-brother of Jesus who was head of the Jerusalem Church about 10 years after Jesus’ ascension. Thus, even though believers were already free from the Law through Christ, the physical destruction of the temple was a necessary event in order to bring this realization to the Church on a practical level (“The Rapture You Missed,” Gary Amirault, Part 2, 5:00-7:00).

I believe there is very substantial Scriptural and historical evidence that the prophecies of Daniel 9 had a fulfillment during 30 – 70 A.D. My upcoming installments of this series will look at Jesus’ prophecies in the Synoptic Gospels, where I find more evidence of a first-century fulfillment. The reason I am highlighting first-century fulfillments is because it is important to understand the spiritual, political, and moral factors that were at play in that fulfillment, in case these prophecies are to have another fulfillment at some point in the future, a scenario that I consider possible, and I will show where and why at the end of this series.


Works Cited


Smith, Larry T. “The Seventieth Week of Daniel.” Rightly Dividing The Word. Rightly Dividing The Word, 2002. Web. 17 July 2016

“Daniel 7: A Preterist Commentary.” Revelation Revolution. n.p., n.d., Web. 18 July 2016.

McKenzie, Duncan. “The Last Half of Daniel’s 70th Week.”PlanetPreterist. n.p., 05 November 2007. Web. 17 July 2016.

Gary Amirault. “The Rapture You Missed (Part 2 of 6).” Tentmaker Ministries. Tentmaker Ministries, 27 January 2010. Web. 17 July 2016

The Bible is an End-Times Book

It often seems that Christians are heavily focused on the end-times. For example, virtually every generation has thought that they were living in the end-times. Why is that the case? I believe it is because the Bible is thematically an end-times book. So, the focus on the end-times is quite understandable. However, I feel that the end-times theme is sometimes interpreted too narrowly.

If you ask people what books of the Bible talk about the end-times, the books you’ll probably hear most are Daniel and Revelation. But in reality, such writings are just a few instances of an overarching theme that encompasses everything from Genesis to Revelation.

So, what is the Biblical end-times theme? I believe the end-times theme is about transitioning into a new order. The old, corrupt ways entangled with sin are dissolved, and God works to bring in a new order of righteousness in the world, or in the lives of individuals.

The flood in Genesis was an instance of the end-times theme. That was one type of instance that God said would not happen again (Gen 8:21). The Israelites’ exodus from Egypt was another instance. In the New Testament, the theme of being born again (John 3:1-10) or being made a new creation are examples of the end-times theme in relation to individuals.

2 Cor. 5:17 – “If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!

The “renewing of one’s mind” (Rom. 12:2) is yet another example of the end-times theme.

A lot of the writings that are conventionally viewed as “end-times” writings today (such as Daniel) come from periods when the Jews were under oppression, such as the Babylonian captivity, and later Rome. These writings were connected to day-to-day, practical concerns and struggles for the Jews. These writings prophesied of a war between the Jews and their enemies, and promised that the Messiah would come to judge the nations persecuting the Jews, and establish a new order of righteousness in which Israel would rule the world.

But I want to relate this to an aforementioned point, which is that these writings are part of the broader end-times theme of freedom from oppression, and the transition from an old, corrupt order to a new, righteous order.

These writings were not simply written to inform us about events at a future time. Instead, these writings are instances of a much broader, sweeping theme across the Bible.

The end-times message is a transitional message rather than a doomsday message. Now, I am sure many of you know from your own experiences that transitions are not easy. Transitions causes tensions and conflicts, as there is resistance that has to be overcome. Thus, when nations, or individuals, go through “end-times” experiences, there is often upheaval and anxiousness along the way, as I am sure many of you have experienced.

However, the Biblical end-times theme is not about punishment, in the absolute sense. Everything that is involved with “end-times” scenarios, ultimately works toward a redemptive goal, either for individuals or the world. But something has to get the processes started. And the factors that God employs to drive the processes can seem like punishment even though ultimately they are of a transitional, corrective nature, designed to stimulate change.

I plan to make more posts this summer on the prophecies that are often looked at as end-times writings. Specific events which these writings point to is a subject where my own understanding is not conclusive in certain aspects, so that is why, instead of focusing on prophecies of specific world events, I wanted to make this current post to focus on the broader end-times theme in the Bible.

My Views on End-Times Matters

I have decided not to do a long exposition on this subject because, for each of my key points, there are a lot of resources available online by famous authors. In this post, I just want to share what I consider to be the most reasonable interpretation of end-times prophecies based on my reading of the Bible and commentaries from various Christian eschatologies. I have combined what I feel are the best parts of different end-times doctrines. If you would like to discuss any of these points in greater detail, feel free to post a comment.

• I think that most prophecies of the Tribulation (including the war, destruction of the temple, and antichrist), were fulfilled during a war between the Jews and the Romans during 63-70 A.D. The antichrist was most likely the Roman General Titus who led the attack on Jerusalem (Daniel 7:24-25 & 9:24-27, Matthew 24, Luke 21). In a general sense, the Tribulation and spirit of the antichrist have continued up to the present day (1 John 4:3, Luke 21:24). See my notes at the end about the Tribulation.

• We are currently living in an era known as the “times of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24, Romans 11:25-56). This era was not known to the Old Testament prophets, which is why many Biblical prophesies skip over it.

• The present age will conclude with a literal rapture in which all believers are caught up to the celestial realms (1 Thess. 4:13-18). There is no world event to signal that the rapture is near; it will happen at a seemingly ordinary, peaceful time (1 Thess. 5:1-3, Matthew 24:36-41).

• After the Rapture, there will be a brief period of catastrophic events on the Earth (possibly lasting only a few days or weeks – “as in the days of Noah”) (1 Thess. 5:3, Matthew. 24:36-41).

• After this brief crisis phase, Jesus will return to earth to establish a new Kingdom in the world, centered in Israel. Nations will be judged to determine their circumstances at the start of this new era (Matthew 25).

The majority view in Christianity is that the Tribulation is a future period of time, and that the events of the Tribulation are described in the Book of Revelation. This view is expressed in the writing of Futurist commentators such as Hal Lindsey, Tim Lahaye, and Robert Gundry. My reasons for thinking the Tribulation took place in the first century are too complicated to explain in this brief post, but if you’re interested let me know and I’ll write in more detail about it. My reasoning on the Tribulation mostly follows the Preterist rationale although I do not agree with Preterists’ allegorical view of Christ’s Second Coming.

Also, regarding the Book of Revelation, I do not agree with the Preterists that Revelation is prophesying about first-century events in particular. I feel that Revelation has many indications of symbolic literature (though still of Divine revelation). Revelation also came from an ancient culture which had its own symbolic meanings for imagery and numbers. I tend to think that Revelation is a depiction of the spiritual warfare taking place in this age, using symbolic imagery that first-century readers would have understood.

Christians who believe in the Divine inspiration of the Bible often have the motto “literal if possible” to describe their approach to Scripture. I believe in this approach if a book establishes itself as a historical or practical work. For instance, the Four Gospels and the Book of Acts are historical commentaries on the life of Jesus and the apostolic ministry to show the world why Jesus is the Messiah. The epistles are a combination of expository theological writing and practical writing to deal with everyday issues in the Church. Obviously, these writings are meant to be taken literally as much as possible. However, Revelation, right from the start, establishes itself as a very different kind of writing, and I’m not sure that “literal if possible” still applies.

Having said that, I do not advise approaching Revelation with an imaginative mentality as if it’s a fairy tale. If there is a symbolic meaning, it would have to be spiritually revealed to a person. For an example of what a serious, spiritual meaning might look like, you can read J Preston Eby’s “Revelation Series” at http://www.kingdombiblestudies.org.

Lastly, I should emphasize that I do not rule out the possibility of anything happening in the future, including the events of Revelation literally playing out. If the Futurist commentators are right about world events, that doesn’t disprove anything in this article. The difference for me is that I don’t live in expectation of those events, and if they happen, that may or may not mean that the Bible prophesied them.

So, that’s my overview on Bible prophesy. Like I said earlier, if there is anything you would like to discuss in more detail, let me know and I’ll either give some more writing of my own or give links to other material.