To analyze the book of Daniel from an amillennial perspective.
Key prophetic passages:
Verse 33 — Its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay.
This refers to the Roman Empire. The feet partly of iron and partly of clay does not refer to a future revived Roman Empire as premillennialists often claim (see comment on verse 41). That empire would be in Europe whereas the now-defunct Roman Empire was centered on the Mediterranean Sea.
It is significant that there are two legs because the Roman Empire had two distinct stages: (1) republic, and (2) empire.
Verse 34 — While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them.
The rock is Christ. In smashing the feet He destroyed the political power of Rome. He did this at His resurrection by being King of kings and by ruling and reigning at the right hand of God. He also destroyed the power of Satan that energizes and controls the kingdoms of this world.
In a sense our western civilization of today is still Roman. Many nations still use Roman law, we have democratic government with senates (parliaments), and we have republican forms of governments. But the actual Roman Empire was not destroyed until hundreds of years after Christ.
Verse 35 — Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.
Verse 41 — Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay.
The Roman Empire was a divided kingdom in the sense that there were many diverse groups of peoples contained within it.
Verse 44 — In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.
This verse demonstrates that this extended passage refers to the churchas Christ's kingdom. Notice that the eternal kingdom is set up in the time of the Roman Empire. Christ came to earth and was crucified during the Roman Empire. At His resurrection and at the establishment of the church on Pentecost, He set up His eternal kingdom in the church.
At the end of the world at the second coming, Christ will crush all political rule.
Verse 7 — After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast — terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns.
The 4th beast is the Roman Empire and the 10 horns are the first 10 emperors of the Roman Empire. These are:
The 11th emperor is Domitian, 81 A.D.–96 A.D.
Verse 8 — While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth that spoke boastfully.
The little horn refers to the Domitian, 11th emperor of the Roman Empire. He was emperor at the time the book of Revelation was written (read more). The prophecies of Daniel cross-reference with the book of Revelation. John uses the images in Daniel in his writing.
Domitian spoke boastfully by proclaiming himself to be god and demanding that the citizens of the Roman Empire worship him. It is not clear in what way Domitian uprooted 3 other Roman Emperors. Perhaps it has to do with the civil war in which three emperors came to power in rapid succession (Galba, Otho, and Vitellius). Following this, the Flavian Dynasty began. Domitian was the third, and final emperor of this dynasty.
Verse 9 — As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze.
This refers to the final great white throne judgment after the second coming of Christ and the destruction of the world.
Verses 9 and 10 form an aside in which the topic of judgment is addressed.
Verse 10 — A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.
The river of fire is the lake of fire in the book of Revelation. Its purpose is for judgment.
Verse 11 — Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking. I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire.
The flow of ideas is picked up from verse 8.
This cross-references with the beast in the book of Revelation.
Verse 12 — (The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time.)
The other beasts are the world empires previous to the Roman Empire. They are allowed to live in the sense that the world political system under Satan's rule continues until the end of the world, but Christ conquered Satan at the cross.
Verse 13 — In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence.
The "one like a son of man" is Christ, and the "Ancient of Days" is God, the Father. The "coming with clouds" refers to the second coming of Christ. Notice that Christ is led into the presence of the Father in heaven. Immediately after the second coming, Christ approaches the Ancient of Days at the Great White Throne Judgment.
This verse is significant because it explains the judgment of Satan at Christ's crucifixion and resurrection, in which He sets up His kingdom.
Verse 14 — He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.
The church, which is the visible kingdom of Christ in the world, is composed of people from all the nations of the world.
Christ's kingdom began with His crucifixion and resurrection, when He conquered Satan.
The new heavens and new earthwhich is the final phase of Christ's eternal kingdom.
Note that Christ has all authority which He turns over to the Father:
Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. (1 Corinthians 15:24)
Verse 18 — But the saints of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever — yes, for ever and ever.
The saints receive Christ's true kingdom.
Verse 21 — As I watched, this horn was waging war against the saints and defeating them.
Domitian begins persecution against Christians. The persecution against the church lasted for centuries and will continue until the end of the world.
Verse 25 — He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time.
Domitian's period of persecution lasted for 3–1/2 years before he died. As emperor, he made radical changes.
The image of 3–1/2 years is often used to represent the church age, so this verse has application to the persecution throughout the church age.
Perhaps Domitian tried to change the liturgical calendar of the church and its church laws.
Verse 26 — But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever.
Back to the idea that Domitian and the satanic world system will be judged, first at the cross, then at the White Throne Judgment.
Verse 27 — Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.
The kingdom is finally given to the believers in the eternal state (the New Heavens and New Earth).
Verse 3 — Ram with 2 horns. The Medo-Persian empire.
Verse 5 — Goat with a prominent horn. Alexander the Great.
Verses 9-12 — Another horn. Antiochus Epiphanes. During his last few years he tried to destroy the Jews. But exactly 3 years (1,095 days) later in 165 B.C. Judas Maccabees recaptured Jerusalem and rededicated the temple to the Lord.
Verse 11 — Took away the daily sacrifice. Antiochus Epiphanes set up a pagan altar about two months before removing the altar.
Verse 14 — 2,300 evenings and mornings. There was a morning and an evening sacrifice, so this is 1,150 days (3 years plus 70 days or 3 years plus 55 days) in which the sacrifice was absent.
Verse 25 — He will be destroyed but not by human hands. Antiochus Epiphanes died of illness or accident — not by murder.
Verse 2 — I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years.
The word "seventy" is used many times in this chapter as a literary device. Because Daniel was praying about the release of his people from the 70 years of bondage, God delivers this word to Daniel in terms of the number 70.
Verse 24 —Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for your people and your holy city (1) to finish transgression, (2) to put an end to sin, (3) to atone for wickedness, (4) to bring in everlasting righteousness, (5) to seal up vision and prophecy, and (6) to anoint the most holy.
70–7's — 490 years. There are various schemes of how long a year is, whether 360 days (I reject this)or 365 days. But in each of these methods one thing is clear — this prophecy unambiguously identifies the appearance of Jesus as the Messiah for those who will accept Him as such. Even modern rabbis who believe that the expected Messiah didn't come because they reject Jesus as the Messiah use Daniel chapter 9 to pinpoint the time of the Messiah's expected appearance.
The 69–7's refers to the time before Christ.
The 70th–7 is split into two parts (each is 3–1/2 years):
Your people — Old Testament Israel.
To finish transgression — Sin is the problem that needs to be solved.
Atone for wickedness — Christ does this on the cross.
Seal up vision and prophecy — Christ is the fulfillment of the law (the Old Testament). There are no additional Old Testament prophecies to be fulfilled except, (1) the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 A.D., (2) the final time of trial and apostasy of the church immediately before the second coming, (3) the second coming, (4) the destruction of the world by fire, (5) the White Throne Judgment, and (6) the New Heavens and New Earth.
Verse 25 — Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven "sevens," and sixty-two "sevens." It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble.
The decree to rebuild Jerusalem is given in Nehemiah 2:5
I answered the king, "If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my fathers are buried so that I can rebuild it." (Neh 2:5)Nehemiah chapters 2–6 concern the building of the wall while Ezra chapters 3–6 concern the building of the temple.
Verse 26 — After the sixty-two "sevens," the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.
Cut off — killed. "After" the triumphal entry (3–1/2 years after His baptism by John the Baptist) Christ was killed and did not receive a political kingdom after all — He had "nothing" (in human terms). Notice that the verse doesn't say that He was cut off immediately after the 62 7s. In fact it was over three years later in the middle of the 70th–7.
The ruler who will come — this was Titus. His armies destroyed Jerusalem and the temple in 70 A.D., about 40 years later.
The end — the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. The Jewish War did, indeed, come like a flood. The revolutionaries at the time of Christ who wanted to overthrow the Romans got more and more powerful, and eventually led the nation into a fatal war with Rome. There was no one who could stop it — God decreed the desolation and it happened.
The discussion concerning the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple interrupted the main chronological flow, but in the next verse it resumes.
Verse 27 — He will confirm a covenant with many for one "seven." In the middle of the "seven" he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.
The discussion in the previous verse to the destruction of Jerusalem was an interruption to the chronological flow of ideas, which we now resume.
He — Christ. This verse is all about Christ and His work. In the premillennial view, it refers to a satanic "Antichrist." But in verse 26 we have two people mentioned that the word "he" could refer to: (1) Christ (the Anointed One), and (2) Titus (the ruler who destroys Jerusalem and the temple). Titus doesn't confirm a covenant for many for one seven, so the word "he" in verse 27 must refer to Christ. It certainly fits Him very well. But, in any case, the word "he" certainly doesn't refer to a future "Antichrist"as premillennialists claim.
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church (which Catholics consider authoritative):
The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment.
Examples are Socialism, Communism, and other utopian visions.
The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.
(1) Jesus must be present in the 70th–7, since He dies during the final seven. But in the premillennial view in which the 70th–7 is the great tribulation, Jesus is not present at all.
(2) Israel and the Old Covenant were done away with by Christ. The Old Covenant required temple worship, animal sacrifice, and the law of Moses. Once these have been done away with it is impossible to ever go back. But the gap theory "undoes" the work of Christ by reinstating the Old Testament covenant.
From the King James Version: For the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
From the Revised Standard Version: Upon the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.
The phrase "wing of the temple" could refer to Golgotha, where Christ was crucified. Golgotha was literally at the wing of the temple and Christ's crucifixion would certainly qualify as an "abomination that causes desolation." And certainly Christ, Himself, set this up (it didn't happen because others did it to Him). This act by the Jews was caused by their rejection of Jesus as the Messiah and ultimately led to the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 A.D.
Another possibility, suggested by the King James and Revised Standard Versions, is that God will judge the Romans and the Jews for killing Christ.
Verses 1–35 refer to happenings after the Old Testament and before the New Testament.
Verse 31 — His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation.
This is a reference to Antiochus Epiphanes. During his last few years he tried to destroy the Jews. He abolished temple worship and set up a pagan altar in the temple. But exactly 3 years (1,095 days) later in 165 B.C. Judas Maccabees recaptured Jerusalem and rededicated the temple to the Lord.
Verses 36-45 refer to Herod.
Verse 1 — At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people — everyone whose name is found written in the book — will be delivered.
That time (1st occurrence) — the preceding verses (Daniel 11:36–45) talk about the activities of a king. Premillennialists usually consider this to be the coming Antichrist but in the context it makes better sense to identify this king as Herod. Then in Daniel 12:1 we have the phrase "at that time" referring to the time of Herod. In the time of Herod, Jesus was born and later declared Himself to be king of the Jews. But because they rejected Him, God destroyed them in judgment about 40 years later.
Michael — An archangel who: (1) fights spiritual battles against worldly kingdoms (Daniel 10:21), and (2) disputes with Satan (Jude 7 and Revelarion 12:7)
Time of distress — the Jewish War from 66–70 A.D. in which Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed. This time of distress was the worst from the beginning of God's creation of the nation of Israel (the beginning of nations) because it resulted in the complete destruction of the nation. The modern nation of Israel is not the restored Israel and there are no prophetic events associated with modern Israel.
That time (2nd occurrence) — as we will see in verse 2 the time has shifted to emphasize the final destination of all people, good and wicked alike.
Your people — the Jews but specifically the remnant — those who believe. But he uses the formula Church = Israel to refer to all believers.
Verse 2 — Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.
Resurrection and final judgment or final reward for all. This is the destruction of the world at the second coming of Christ and the great white throne judgment.
Verse 4 — But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. . . .
The words are sealed until they are unsealed in the New Testament. They are unsealed in the Olivet Discourse, the book of Revelation and many other passages.
The time of the end is the church age.
Verse 6 —"How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?"
How long "before" these things are fulfilled. In other words how long until the fulfillment is "completed." How long from the time the destruction of the Jews (distress) begins until it is finished.
Verse 7 — "It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed."
There are five events in prophetic history in which the time period of 3–1/2 years (42 months or 1,260 days) occur:
|End to sacrifice||Abomination causing desolation|
|Epiphanes||He stopped the sacrifices in the temple||He set up a statue of himself in the holy of holies|
|Christ||His death on the cross ended forever the need for temple sacrifices||His murder on the cross (at Golgotha on a wing of the temple) at the hands of his people, the Jews, resulted in God's permanent destruction of the nation of Israel|
|Jewish War||The revolutionaries stopped the sacrifices on behalf of the Romans (this event started the Jewish War)||(1) The rebels used the temple as a military base, (2) Eleazar allows armed terrorists into the temple to live and (3) there were murders and massacres in the temple|
|Domitian||Symbolic — that Christ's sacrifice is null and void||Declares himself to be god and demands worship|
In this passage it is the Jewish War that is referred to (continuing the context from verse 1). The end of the Jewish War with the destruction of Jerusalem, the temple, and the nation of Israel symbolized the end of God's dealings with Israel. From this point on, is was clear to all Christians who might have still had doubts about it, that God had transferred His focus to the church and that He was finished with the nation of Israel. The final destruction of the temple in August, 70 A.D. was a powerful sign of this truth, but the actual fulfillment was during the crucifixion of Jesus Christ which was orchestrated by the Jewish leaders. It was this event that resulted in God's judgment and permanent rejection of His chosen nation Israel.
The 3–1/2 years refers to the church age in which there will be persecution, distress and hard times for Christians.
Verse 11 — From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days.
1,290 days is 1,260 days (3–1/2 years or 42 months) plus 30 days. According to Josephus, between May and August of 66 A.D. two events took place:
These events resulted in Nero declaring war on the Jews between Nov 66 A.D. and the spring of 66 A.D. Assuming Nero declared war on Jan 66 A.D., it was 1,290 days later to the destruction of the temple in August 70 A.D.
Verse 12 — Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days.
It took several years until the violence by the Romans against the Jews was over. From August 70 A.D. until April 74 A.D is 1,335 days. Josephus records that the massacre of Massada occurred May 2, 73 A.D.
Whether the reference to 1,335 days is 45 days after the destruction of the temple (1,290 plus 45 = 1,335) or 1,335 days after the destruction of the temple, in either case, the Jews who survive the horrific violence from the Romans were certainly blessed.
Verse 13 — "As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance."
Rise — final resurrection at the second coming of Christ immediately before the destruction of the world and final judgment.
End of the days — the end of the world at the second coming of Christ.