Robert Vannoy, Major Prophets, Lecture 23
Daniel 8 part II
We were in the middle of discussing Daniel chapter eight. Just to briefly refresh your mind, you have a vision there described in the first part of the chapter that involves this ram with two horns. There is the goat with the great horn, then the four notable ones that arise out of that. Then in verses 9 to 12 the little horn grows exceedingly great out of one of the parts of those four notable ones. You have that vision in verses 1 to 14 and the interpretation of the vision in 20 to 27. We were working our way down through that.
I had been talking about Antiochus Epiphanes in connection with the statement in verse 9 that out of one of them, that is the “them” referring back to verse 8, the four notable ones that came from the four winds of heaven, the four parts of Alexander’s kingdom, out of one of them came forth a little horn that grew exceedingly great. Then look over at verses 23 and 24 where you read in the latter time of their kingdom, again that reference goes back to the end of 22: “The four kingdoms that shall stand up out of the nation but not in of its power,” that is not in Alexander’s power. In the latter time of their kingdom, verse 23, “when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance and understanding dark sentences shall stand up.” So you have this little horn who is described as “a king of fierce countenance understanding dark sentences shall stand up and his power shall be mighty,” and so forth. I mentioned that that seems clearly to be a picture of Antiochus Epiphanes who was the Seleucid ruler who attacked the Ptolemaic kingdom in Egypt but was forced to withdraw from Egypt by the Roman forces that had been sent to try to limit the growth of the Seleucid power. Then he vented his wrath in his return from Egypt on Jerusalem and desecrated the temple, polluted the altar, and that action seems to be sort of cryptically referred to.
Then in verse 11: “Yea, he magnified himself unto the prince of the host and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away and the place of his sanctuary was cast down.” That’s verse 11 has—I’ll come back to that—it has some translation problems. But I say it seems that that action against the temple seems to be in view there that is described in more detail in chapter 11 verse 30 and following. Now we will look at 11 later, but if you go to chapter 11, and look at verse 30 you read: “For the ships of Kittim shall come against him.” The ships of Kittim there are undoubtedly the Roman forces. “Therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with those who forsake the holy covenant. And forces shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate. And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil many days. Now when they shall fall they shall be helped with a little help: but many shall cling to them with flatteries: And some of them of understanding shall fall, to test them, to purge” and so forth. So it seems that that same incident that here is just referred to in a verse is expanded upon in chapter eleven in more detail, again referring to Antiochus. So verses 23-25 seem to be descriptive of this “king of fierce countenance” and to fit adequately what we know of the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes.
Now, when we go back to verses 9 through 11 I mentioned I wanted to make a few comments on them. I’m reading from the King James; the NIV is a bit different but, the King James reads: “And out of one of them came forth a little horn which grew exceedingly great, toward the south, toward the east, toward the pleasant land,”--pleasant land being Israel--“and it grew great even to the host of heaven.” Now what’s “the host of heaven?” Most commentators feel that that is a figurative way of describing godly people, believers. So this little horn grows great even to this host of heaven and it casts down some of the host. In other words, some of the godly people are cast to the ground and stamped upon. In other words, you know with Abraham God told Abraham that “your seed shall be as the stars of heaven.” You do have that kind of symbolism used of people, and it seems here that in verse 10 that’s representative of the godly people that are cast to the ground and stamped on by this horn; that is, by Antiochus.
Then verse 11 of chapter 8: “Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host.” Now who is “the prince of the host? It must be God himself. The ruler of the godly people is “the prince of the host.” So he magnifies himself even to God. And then the King James says, “By him the daily sacrifice was taken away.” In the Hebrew that’s mimenu. I think it’s better translated, “And from him the daily sacrifice was taken away.” That is, from God the daily sacrifice is taken away by Antiochus. But “from him,” that is, from God, the daily sacrifice was taken away and the place of his sanctuary—that is God’s sanctuary—was cast down. So it seems that that’s the way verse 11 is to be understood.
Verse 12 says, “And a host was given to him”—again referring to godly people. The King James says, “A host was given him against the daily sacrifice.” I think that’s better translated “with the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression. And it cast down the truth to the ground and continued and prospered. Because of rebellion the host of the saints and the daily sacrifice are given over to it.” In other words, a godly people as well as this daily sacrifice came under the power of this horn, namely Antiochus because they rebelled against him and because they didn’t submit to him. And “it,” that is, this horn, namely is Antiochus. You are talking about an individual, but if you are talking in context of the horn that represents an individual, it prospered in everything it did, that is, Antiochus, “and truth was thrown to the ground.”
When you get on to verses 13 and 14, you have another thing that’s caused a fair amount of discussion and that is this: You read, “And then I heard one saint speaking and another saint said unto that certain saint who spoke, ‘How long shall the vision concerning the daily sacrifice and the transgression [or abomination] of desolation give both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled underfoot?’ And he said unto me, ‘Unto 2,300 days, then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.’”
The issue that’s caused the discussion is that reference to 2300 days. I notice here I do have in your citations some comments on verse 12. I don’t think I’m going to take the time to read all that; I’m going back for a minute before we comment on that 2300 days. Look at page 37 of your citations; that first paragraph is Walvoord’s comments on verse 12. It’s pretty much what I just reviewed with you. And then if you go over to page 39 under E. J. Young, the first paragraph—I will read that for you, this is about verse 12. “The language of the text is difficult, but I followed Keil and others in adopting a reading ‘and a host was given up together with the daily sacrifice because of transgression.’ Thus” —And here’s his paraphrase—“and host”—that is, many of the Israelites—“on account of transgression”—apostasy from God. Now see there you would have apostasy from God, not rebellion against Antiochus. But that may be a better way to read it, but “a host, many Israelites on account of transgression,” that is, apostasy from God, will be given up, delivered up in transgression, together with the continual sacrifice.
But when you go on to verses 12 and 13 and you get to that 2300 days, follow on through here with Young. Young mentions two interpretations in the next paragraph there on page 39 of your citations. In one interpretation, it means 1150 days, in other words half the 2300—that’s one view. The logic behind that is this: “This interpretation, as far as I know, was first set forth by Ephraim of Syria, although it appears to have been held also by Hippolytus. Those that adopt it argue that the prophecy is related to the sacrifice of the continual morning and evening sacrifices, 2300 such sacrifices therefore will be offered on 1150 days, one in the morning, one in the evening. Many also find support for this position in reference to the time three and a half years, and the 1150 days they say is nearly equivalent to the three and a half years. But it is obvious that the 1150 days does not equal three and a half years not in any exact way, even if those years be regarded as comprising only 360 days. Even then there are a total of 1260 days. This discrepancy is, of course, recognized in Zulckler, possibly the ablest advocate of this view—he thinks the 1150 days represent a designed narrowing of the period. But that’s one view: This situation described here is going to last for 1150 days.
“The second view is it may mean 2300 days. This interpretation appears in the Greek version of Jerome, in most protestant expositors, and in the authorized version and appears to be correct. There is no exegetical support for the position that the evenings and mornings are to be counted separately. Thus 1150 evenings is 1150 days. As Keil correctly argues the Hebrew reader could not possibly understand the period of 2300 evenings/mornings as 2300 half days, or 1150 whole days, because evening and morning at the creation constituted not the half but the whole day. Hence, we must understand the phrase as 2300 days.”
Now go over to page 40. What are the 2300 days then, if that’s the preferred reading? I’d be inclined to think that it is. 2300 days encompass approximately 171 B.C. to 165 B.C., the period of Antiochus’ abominations. If you look at page 37, the second paragraph is on this question from Walvoord. You might note there in your margin that this is on verse 14. “Innumerable explanations have been attempted to make the 2300 days coincide with the history of Antiochus. The term of the 2300 days is taken by most expositors as to 164 B.C. when Antiochus died during a military campaign in Media. This permitted the purging of the sanctuary, the return to Jewish worship. Figuring from this date backward 2300 days would fix the beginning time at 171 B.C. In that year Onias III, the legitimate high priest, was murdered, and a pseudo-line of priests assumed power. This would give adequate fulfillment in the time for the 2300 days to elapse at the time of the death of Antiochus. The actual desecration of the temple, however, did not occur until December 25, 167 B.C. when the sacrifices in the temple were forcibly caused to cease and a Greek altar erected in the temple. The actual desecration of the temple lasted only about three years. During this period Antiochus issued coins with the title Epiphanes, which claimed that he manifested divine honors which showed him as beardless wearing the diadem. Taking all the evidence into consideration, the best conclusion is that the 2300 days in Daniel are fulfilled in the period from 171 B.C., culminating in the death of Antiochus in 164. Alternate theories have produced more problems than they solved.”
So it seems that chapter 8, then, gives this picture of the flow of history from the time of the Babylonian period up to the time of the rise of Antiochus Epiphanes and the persecutions that were experienced under the time of his rule. Now, having said that, if the critical approach to the book of Daniel is right, then you see their argument is that the writer was someone who lived in the time of Antiochus and who was observing these things going on. Then to encourage the people that God was with them, he is predicting that Antiochus is soon to be overthrown. And that’s the way the critics make their case, and then they argue that the stories in chapters 1-6 of his narratives are the creation of this writer; they’re not really historical. There may be some ideas in them that have some historical validity, but they’re more fictional than historical and therefore, Daniel is a human book. That’s the critical case. If the critical case is not true--and certainly the way you view scripture has a lot to do with whether you’re willing to even entertain the idea of the critical view--but if Daniel wrote the book and it’s dated back in the time of the Babylonian period, then clearly this is a divinely inspired prediction of the flow of history up to the time of Antiochus. It’s a remarkable prophesy because of the detail to which it describes the rise of this individual Antiochus. But in this case, this is an authentic predictive prophesy; it’s not some sort of fraudulent one representing itself as coming from Daniel but actually coming from someone who was observing the very things that it describes.
Now, there’s one further question that I want to bring up. We haven’t really touched much on yet, we touched on it a bit, and that’s the question: is “king of fierce countenance,” this little horn in Daniel chapter 8—is this a reference to Antiochus, or is it a reference to Antichrist? Or make another option: Is it a double reference? Are both of them here in some way? Some have raised questions about certain phrases, particularly in verses 23 to 25, as to whether or not they really applied to Antiochus. Seems to me that all of them can adequately be related to Antiochus. But some have raised questions about that. But then you can ask the question: Is it Antiochus, or is it Antichrist, or is it both? Those kinds of questions have often been discussed.
If you look at the top of page 38 in Walvoord’s Commentary on Daniel, he proposes four approaches to this question. Notice at the top of 38 he says, “Although a great deal of variation is found in details of interpretation, four major views emerge: (1) the historical view that all of Daniel 8 has been fulfilled; (2) the futuristic view, the idea that it is entirely future.” In other words, (1.), the historical view would be: it’s Antiochus, it’s been fulfilled, it’s all in the past, it’s future in the time of Daniel, but it’s all in the past to us. (2) The futuristic view is the idea it is entirely future. That is none of this was fulfilled in Antiochus; it’s all speaking about the anti-Christ, it’s yet to be fulfilled. “Thirdly the view based upon the principle of dual fulfillment of prophecy, that Daniel 8 is intentionally a prophetic reference both to Antiochus; now fulfilled, and to the end of the age and the final world ruler who persecutes Israel before the Second Advent. And then fourthly, the view that the passage is prophecy, historically fulfilled [namely in Antiochus] but intentionally typical [i.e., a type; or prefigurement] of similar events and personages at the end of the age.” So see the four views are: the historical view, futuristic view, dual fulfillment, and typical view.
Now, to follow on with those comments of Walvoord, you notice the next paragraph, which relates to the first view. He says the principal difficulty with the purely historical view is questions about its referring to Antiochus. He says, “The principal difficulty with the purely historical view is that it provides no satisfactory explanation of the expression ‘the time of the end.’” Remember I mentioned that at the end of verse 17, “At the time of the end shall be the vision,” and at the end of verse 19 “What shall be in the last end of the indignation for at the appointed time the end shall be.” He doesn’t feel that expression is done justice if you say it’s referring solely to Antiochus. The other references in the book of Daniel, which use these expressions as the end of the time of the Gentiles beyond the time of Antiochus makes him feel that the purely historical view is not satisfactory.
The second view, the totally future view, there are very few that hold to that view. I mean, there is too much linkage in the context to the Greek kingdom and to the Seleucid division of that kingdom and the rise of Antiochus. So that’s not really a prominent view.
But the third and the fourth views certainly do find a fair number of advocates, particularly the third one. The third one is the dual fulfillment view. The next paragraph is Walvoord’s comments on that. He says, “In view of the problems of a purely historical fulfillment on the one hand, or a purely futuristic fulfillment on the other, many expositors have been intrigued with the possibility of a dual fulfillment, that is, that a prophecy fulfilled in part in the past is a foreshadowing of a future event which will completely fulfill the passage. Variations exist in this approach with some taking the entire passage as having dual fulfillment and others taking Daniel 8:1-14 as historically fulfilled,”—that is the vision itself, “and Daniel 8:15-17 as having dual fulfillment.”
Verses 15-17 is where it speaks of “the time of the end.” Walvoord continues, “This latter view was popularized by the Scofield Reference Bible. Both the 1917 and the 1967 edition interpret chapter 8 being fulfilled historically in Antiochus, but prophetically, beginning with verse 17, as being fulfilled at the end of the age with the Second Advent.”
Let me just read you a couple statements from the old Scofield Bible—that’s the 1917 edition. There’s a note on verse 9 where it speaks of the little horn, and the note says, “The little horn here is a prophecy fulfilled in Antiochus Epiphanes.” But then further down it says that verses 24 and 25 give the interpretation of the vision and the note says, “verses 24 and 25 go beyond Antiochus and evidently refer to the little horn of Daniel [chapter] seven.” Now the little horn of Daniel seven seems clearly to be the Antichrist. Both Antiochus and the beast are in view, but the beast preeminently, are in view in verses 24 and 25, so there you get the dual fulfillment: both Antiochus and the beast, but the beast preeminently.
On verses 10-14 the old Scofield says, “Historically this was fulfilled in and by Antiochus, but in a more intense and final sense Antiochus adumbrates the awful blasphemy of the little horn of Daniel 7” and various other references. “In Daniel 8 the actions of both little horns blend.” The actions of both horns blend. These verses can’t read it other than that these statements have double references. They are talking at the same time about Antiochus and about the Antichrist. And then when it comes to that expression “at the time of the end” at the end of verse 17, the note says two ends are in view. One historically the end of the third, or Grecian, empire of Alexander out of one of the divisions of which the little horn of verse 9 arose; that’s one end. Two, prophetically, the end of the times of the Gentiles when the little horn of Daniel chapter seven will arise. You really have a pretty clear example here of dual fulfillment in the Scofield notes.
In the more recent, revised Scofield that’s been toned down a bit but that note I just read really reads the same. The New Scofield says that phrase is the end of verse 17. “Two ends seem to be in view here: historically the end of the third empire, prophetically the end of the times of the Gentiles.” So the Scofield Bible illustrates that third view, dual fulfillment.
Notice Walvoord’s next statement is, “Many pre-millennial writers follow this interpretation. A careful scrutiny of these many points will justify the conclusion that it is possible to explain all these elements as fulfilled historically in Antiochus Epiphanes.” He is talking about verses 23 through 25 there. “Most of the factors are obvious and the principal difficulty is occasioned by the expression ‘In the latter time of their kingdom’ and in the statement ‘He shall stand up against the Prince of Princes.’ Antiochus Epiphanes, of course, did arise in the latter time of the Syrian kingdom. However, the use of other terms such as ‘the end’ in verse”…, etc.
“The Old testament period shows God’s judgment against his people that happened during the Old Testament period. Judgment doesn’t necessarily mean eschatological end time. Taken as a whole, the principal problem of the passage when interpreted as prophesy fulfilled completely in Antiochus is the allusions to ‘the end of the age.’” He keeps coming back to that. “These are hard to understand as relating to Antiochus in view of the larger picture of Daniel 7, which concludes with the Second Advent of Christ.” Then he goes on further to suggest that both are in view. At the top of page 39 he says, “It may be concluded that this difficult passage apparently goes beyond that which is historically fulfilled in Antiochus to foreshadow a future personage often identified as the world ruler of the end time. In many respects, this ruler carries on a persecution of Israel and desecration of the temple similar to what was accomplished historically by Antiochus. This interpretation of the vision may be regarded as an illustration of double fulfillment of prophesy, or”—and here’s the alternative here, to me is much more attractive and it seems that Walvoord stresses more on dual fulfillment than on this alternative, but you notice he says, “or, using Antiochus as a type, the interpretation may go on to reveal additional facts which go beyond the type in describing the ultimate king who will oppose Israel in the last days. He indeed will be broken without hands at the time of the Second Advent of Christ.”
This is the same sort of question we discussed earlier in regard to the kind of dual fulfillment. In other words, here is a prophesy, and there’s specific things in that prophecy, details, and it seems to me that it’s pointing forward then to fulfillment of those specific details at some point in the future. And it seems to me with this prophesy you’ve got the prophesy spoken by Daniel where he’s looking forward to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes. When you look at the content of what he says, it’s fulfilled in Antiochus Epiphanes. Now what Walvoord is saying and what clearly the Scofield Bible says is that it’s more like this—it’s speaking at the same time of Antiochus Epiphanes and of the Antichrist, and you have a dual fulfillment, a multiple sense.
Now, the alternative to that is the typical view, which to me is much more attractive, which would say: Yes it’s speaking of Antiochus, but Antiochus as a person typifies the Antichrist, and in that sense it points forward to the Antichrist. I don’t think that there is any doubt that Antiochus is a type of the Antichrist. And it seems to me that that’s to be preferred. Walvoord mentions that view, yet he seems to prefer the dual fulfillment. When he talks about this view, notice the way he words it (it’s unfortunate) at the end of that paragraph at the top of page 39. He says, “This interpretation of the vision may be regarded as an illustration of a double fulfillment of prophesy or, using Antiochus as a type,”—fine—“the interpretation may go on, but then reveals additional facts which go beyond the type.” I don’t think it reveals additional facts that go beyond the type. There you’re back into the double fulfillment thing if you are going to say that this prophecy describes the ultimate king who will oppose Israel in the last days. So it seems to me that even his typical view and the way he has formulated it here is somewhat problematic. I don’t see that you need to say that there’s any additional facts that go beyond the type.
Let me develop the fourth view a little. If you take a statement out of, say, verse 11, “He magnified himself even to the prince of the host and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away,” you’d say that that is talking about Antiochus Epiphanes, and when he did that in the temple in Jerusalem, that was its fulfillment: period! There is no other fulfillment. But Antiochus as an individual, and in many of his specific acts, is foreshadowing the coming of another individual in the future who will do similar things but will be more intense. With type and fulfillment you move the progress of redemptive history from a lower to a higher plain. So when the Antichrist comes presumably he’s going to do things that are similar, but even worse. There will be a more complete embodiment of the same basic principal, or truth. I’d say that we have revelation with the coming of the Antichrist--we know such an individual is on the way. John says there will be many antichrists. There are other people who will appear—so in that sense you could say that Antiochus does have more than one anti-type along the progression of redemptive history. I hadn’t really thought about that before, but maybe you could. Vos works with that principle and uses the tabernacle as an illustration. You have the tabernacle, the dwelling of God with man, and an anti-type—the highest fulfillment of which is the new heaven and new earth where God is dwelling with his people in the fullest and complete sense. But you find fulfillment in the incarnation of Christ, and you find fulfillment in the Church. In the individual believer there’s sort of a progression of anti-types in which that principal is realized in the progression of redemptive history. But you see that still avoids multiple sense, or multiple meaning. These words have one sense and one meaning, but it seems the way--at least the way I understand scripture, certain individuals, people, certain places, certain events, certain institutions, things of that sort--can symbolize some truth, and in so symbolizing that truth can become typical of a later realization of that same truth.
Student: When you look at the typological aspects of some of the Old Testament figures like Antiochus, do we need to have biblical warrant to typologize?
Answer: There is a difference of opinions on that. Some people say the only legitimate type is one that is identified as such by some other scripture. My own view is that’s too narrow. I think that some have gone to that view because of the abuse of typology and finding types all over. And it becomes something that makes interpretation seem suspect. I think of Vos’s idea: that if you use symbolism as a gateway to typology and you keep the same truth, whatever the truth is that’s being symbolized, that same truth, if it reappears at a later point in redemptive history, that symbol can be the gateway to typology if you keep the same truth in the line of progression of redemptive history. I think that is a guard against abuse and falling into allegorical kinds of uses of typology. But I think even with that kind of a safeguard you have to be very careful that you do keep the same truth. So the truth that appears here has got to be the same truth in the progression of redemptive history at a later stage that reappears.
In my view verse 17 can adequately be understood as the end of the Old Testament period. I don’t think it’s an eschatological end. I’d say the only reason that the typology comes in here is that it does seem generally that Antiochus embodies a personification of evil that is at the end of history that is going to reappear in an even more intense form at the time of the Antichrist. This is one of the worst persecutions of God’s people after the Old Testament period. You have an individual, Antiochus, who does certain things here to God’s people. Other passages speak of the antichrist who is going to do similar things. So it seems like an anticipation of that. I guess we could spend more time discussing this, but maybe we better push ahead. We have got a long way to go in Daniel. Daniel is a complex book.
I might say on that phrase “the time of the end,” and I didn’t
mention this before, that phrase also occurs in chapter 11. Look at verse 27, “In
both these kings’ hearts shall be to do mischief. They shall speak lies at one
table but it shall not prosper; for yet the end shall be at the appointed time.”
“The end” there is also clearly not eschatological as well as in verse 35, “And
some of them of understanding shall fall, to test them, and to purge, and to
make them white even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time
appointed.” Again, “the time of the end.” There it’s back in its context of
the activities of Antiochus. So it’s not eschatological in 11:27 and 35.
Let’s go on to two on your outline. Two is the question of basic approach to the book of Daniel. Before going further, I thought I’d make some comments about basic approaches. There are many variations of approach to the interpretation of Daniel, but I think most of them can be reduced to three main categories. It’s helpful to have those basic categories of approach in mind as we look further at some of these prophecies and to understand where each interpreter is coming from. So let me mention three approaches.
The first is the critical approach. We’ve already talked about that, but again, just briefly, that’s the viewpoint the book was written in the time of Antiochus about 165 B.C. The view, of course, entails assumptions that reflect negatively on the authenticity of the book as far as it’s really being prophesy, as well as on its historical reliability. The advocates of this view suggest that the person who wrote it wasn’t too clear on his history.
A good illustration of that approach is this book in the Old Testament Library: Daniel, by Norman Porteous. It’s in your bibliography if you ever want to look at sort of a representative commentary from that viewpoint. Look at your citations, page 40. There is a paragraph or two that gives you the essence from Porteous’s approach. Notice, he says, “The linguistic evidence, the fact that the visions reveal a vague knowledge of the Babylonian/Persian period and an increasingly accurate knowledge of the Greek period up to and including the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes, with the exception of the closing events of that reign, suggest a date for the book shortly before 164. The only element”—see he says—“of genuine prophesy relates to the anticipated death of Antiochus and the expected intervention of God in the establishment of his kingdom. Everything else that is ‘revealed’ to Daniel is history viewed in retrospect, either in symbol as interpreted to Daniel, or, in one case, by Daniel to a heathen king. The whole book”—this is from page 20—“as we have it, belongs to a few years, 167 to 164, possibly 169 to 164, but it must have been completed before the rededication of the temple by Judas Maccabaeus and the death of Antiochus. That the book cannot have been written in the exilic age is proved by the author’s vague acquaintance with the Babylonian/early Persian period. His actual inaccuracies, by the character of both the Hebrew and the Aramaic in which it is composed—there is nothing inconsistent with their being from the second century. The presence of Greek words points to an age after the conquest of Alexander by the literary references to the book which give no support to an early date for its composition, by its position in the Canon, and by the character of its theology and angelology.” So that in essence is the critical view. And in their view, Antiochus Epiphanes is the primary subject of the book. It was written to people who suffered during his rule. The writer didn’t really know what was going to happen in the future, but he expected divine intervention to end this persecution by Antiochus. That’s the first view, the critical view.
Second view. I’ll call this an orthodox view, but a view that finds its stress, or primary stress, of the book in the prophetic sections on the first coming of Christ. It’s hard to give a label to this view and to the next one, but I would say generally this is the view of those who hold to an a-millennial eschatological position. They will find stress on the First Advent of Christ. Not exclusively so, that is, they wouldn’t say there’s no picture of the Second Coming of Christ and of events associated with it, but the stress is on the First Advent.
Now an example of this position is E.B. Pusey. Look at page 6 of your bibliography under 2b2 Pusey, Daniel the Prophet, late 1800s. Pusey wrote while these critical views were initially being developed. He opposed them, and he does a good job of arguing for the authenticity of the book, but then he tries to show that the book focuses on the birth of Christ and that the basic message is to show that at the time of the coming of Christ during the Roman Period, God’s kingdom will be established. So that, for example, in chapter 2, when you have that image with the head of gold and the four parts, and that stone is cut without hands that smites the image—that’s the first advent of Christ, and it’s the beginning of the spread of the gospel, which destroys the world empires at war.
Now, a more recent advocate of this view would be E. J. Young—his book is also there under 2b2, Prophecy of Daniel commentary. Young also goes rather thoroughly and carefully into questions of authorship, authenticity, and historical background. He concludes that critical arguments are not convincing and that the book was written in the days of Nebuchadnezzar by Daniel. But when you come to this matter of interpretation of many of these visions and prophecies. Young sees the fourth empire as the Roman Empire. It’s not the Greek, as critical scholars say, but he says it’s not a reestablishment of the Roman Empire. It’s the Roman Empire in its original form and, therefore, when the stone cut without hands hits the feet of the image, that is Christ being born in Bethlehem. It’s through his life and death that the Roman Empire is destroyed. That’s the way he argues.
Look at page 40 and 41 of your citations. Young says there are two things he is opposing in his commentary. The bottom of page 40 says, “Present work is designed to serve the needs not only of the minister and trained Bible student, but also of the average, educated reader of Holy Scripture. It aims above all to present a clear and positive exposition of the prophecy. In order to accomplish such an end, it has been necessary to refute two common interpretations.” Top of page 41, “On the one hand the so called critical position of the date and authorship of Daniel must be answered and the true views be established.” So that’s one of his purposes, to refute the critical view. As I mentioned, he does a pretty good job of that. But then the second thing he says, “Another interpretation, which is very widely held today, although maintaining the genuineness of the book, nevertheless interprets the prophecies in an extremely unwarranted manner by referring the fulfillment of many of them to an alleged period of seven years, which is supposed to follow the Second Advent of the Lord. Those who espouse this position are sincere and zealous Christians, and it is only with hesitation that one writes against them. The present author hopes that advocates of this school of thought who study his commentary will understand the spirit in which he has discussed their views and will at least give serious consideration to the interpretation here advanced.”
So those that find a great deal of stress on the Second Advent of Christ, and particularly on this seven year period connected with the Second Advent of Christ, he feels is an extremely unwarranted way to interpret the prophecies.
The next paragraph, which comes from page 75, identifies this second view that he is opposing more specifically. He says, “In recent times another interpretation has been making its appearance, this interpretation is known generally as dispensationalism. It is to the effect that the fourth monarchy represents not only that historical Roman Empire, but a revived Roman Empire which will come to an end by a sudden catastrophic judgment after which the kingdom of God, the Millennium, and Revelation 20 will be set up. The destruction of the Gentile world power, according to this view, occurs not at the First Coming of Christ, but at its Second Advent.” So this commentary, as he mentions in his preferences, set out to refute two--what he views as erroneous--approaches to the interpretation of Daniel. One is the critical view; the other is what he here calls the dispensational view. But his stress is on the First Advent of the Christ.
A third view, also difficult to label, but I’ll describe it this way, the third view finds the focus of the book to be primarily on Antiochus Epiphanes and the persecution under him, and on divine intervention in human affairs at the end times when God’s kingdom will be established. So, you see this third view is in contrast with the other two. The first one was the stress on Antiochus Epiphanes alone. The second one has Antiochus Epiphanes in view, and there may be something about the Second Advent of Christ, but the stress is the First Advent of Christ. In the third view, the stress is more on the time of Antiochus and on the end time. It’s hard to give it a title, or a name. It’s an orthodox view, and this third view does not find a great deal of stress on the First Advent of Christ, but the stress is on Antiochus and Christ’s Second Coming, or end time.
Now, I’d say with this approach there are probably more books written taking slightly different interpretations than the other two combined. I think that the reason for that is with the stress on the Second Coming of Christ. That means you’re dealing, in many cases, with things that as of yet have not been fulfilled, and there the possibilities are certainly much greater in how this thing is ultimately going to unfold and be fulfilled. There are some in this third category that try to almost get rid of Antiochus altogether so that the stress then shifts almost entirely to the end time: the Second Advent of Christ and the Antichrist. Or somebody like Walvoord might say, well, Antiochus is here, but it’s kind of merged into the stress on the Antichrist. I don’t think that kind of emphasis really does justice to the content of the book. I think that perhaps there’s some reaction, as it were, because the critics put so much stress on Antiochus. I think certain fundamental scholars feel that if critics find Antiochus there, we had better find something else. It would be conceding too much otherwise. But I think you have to get a chapter like chapter 8 that is clearly talking about Antiochus. A large portion of chapter 11, it seems to me, is clearly talking about Antiochus. Now at some point I think in chapter 11 you do move to the Antichrist—we’ll discuss that—but I think it’s hard to really study the book without being aware of these basic approaches. A question that might be asked here—and we’ll come back to this later—concerns the matter of time gaps.
by Nathan Josephs
Initial edit by Carly Geiman
Rough edit by Ted Hildebrandt
Final edit by Dr. Perry Phillips
Re-narrated by Dr. Perry Phillips