Our Past and Future Hope – Chapter Two: Evidence of God’s Past Faithfulness

Daniel 8 and 11

This is chapter two of Our Past and Future Hope: Reintroducing a Traditional Faith-Building Eschatology by Jason Giles. The Contents page is here.

The paperback and Kindle versions are now available here.

The PDF/Epub ebook version is available here.

Our God is sovereign, the author of the past, present, and future. He knows what will happen before it comes to pass. As Daniel testified, “he changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others” (Daniel 2:21). He also shares this knowledge with us, to prove his great power and strengthen our faith. As we saw in the last chapter, God gave his people a vision of the world empires that would rise and fall, and foretold the beginning of his Eternal Empire that would grow to fill the whole earth, replacing those empires and enduring forever. This began with the head of gold- Babylon- who had brought the Jews into captivity. After that were the chest and arms of silver- the Medes and Persians- who sent the Jews home to rebuild Jerusalem. Next was the belly and thighs of bronze- Greece. God gave Daniel visions of what would happen to the Jews in the time of the Grecian Kingdom and of a specific king who would persecute the faithful. But God assured his people that they would endure, giving them a play-by-play story of the events that would eventually lead to their restoration.

We are blessed to have these events recorded, now a divine history, so that our faith might be built up. The time prophecy in Daniel chapter 8 and the events recorded in chapter 11 are so precise that secular scholars in centuries past and to the present day insist that they had to have been written after they happened. “One of two things, indeed, is certain – either that this was written after the events here referred to occurred, or that Daniel was inspired. No man by any natural sagacity could have predicted these events with so much accuracy and particularity.”1

But there are many proofs that Daniel was written and accepted by the post-exilic Jewish community (who carefully scrutinized and guarded inspired writings) well before these events happened. Fred Miller notes the following evidence:2

  • The Mishnah, the first major written collection of Jewish oral traditions, references the existence and acceptance of the book of Daniel as Scripture before and at the time of Christ.
  • Jesus mentions Daniel and quotes from the book of Daniel in Matthew and Mark.
  • “The fact that surviving large portions of manuscripts of the book of Daniel were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls is empirical evidence of the existence of the book over 100 years before Christ, which is the time of the writing of the scrolls.”3 This is evidence you can touch with your hands.
  • The Septuagint, called the LXX, is the Greek translation of the Hebrew from the Old Testament. “The Hebrew text of Daniel was translated at the time of the translation of the Septuagint Version,– 285 B.C. This is another empirical evidence of the existence of the book of Daniel, pushing it back to 285 B.C.”4
  • A book was only considered canonical and included in the Old Testament if it was added before the Great Synagogue (in Ezra’s time), which met before 400 B.C. 

“There was not a time, as we have noted, that Daniel has not been accepted as a part of Jewish Scripture.”5 God gave Daniel very specific visions of what would happen in the future, and they were written down well before their fulfillment. In this chapter, we will look at the divine history of what the Jewish people would face in the time of the Grecian Kingdom.

The Ram and the Goat

Fortunately, the prophecy in Daniel 8 is interpreted for us once again, just like the statue in Daniel 2. Barnes writes, “This is one of the few prophecies in the Scriptures that are explained to the prophets themselves, and it becomes, therefore, important as a key to explain other prophecies of a similar character.”6 It begins right away with the vision:

1 In the third year of King Belshazzar’s reign, I, Daniel, had a vision, after the one that had already appeared to me. 2 In my vision I saw myself in the citadel of Susa in the province of Elam; in the vision I was beside the Ulai Canal. 3 I looked up, and there before me was a ram with two horns, standing beside the canal, and the horns were long. One of the horns was longer than the other but grew up later. 4 I watched the ram as it charged toward the west and the north and the south. No animal could stand against it, and none could rescue from its power. It did as it pleased and became great.

5 As I was thinking about this, suddenly a goat with a prominent horn between its eyes came from the west, crossing the whole earth without touching the ground. 6 It came toward the two-horned ram I had seen standing beside the canal and charged at it in great rage. 7 I saw it attack the ram furiously, striking the ram and shattering its two horns. The ram was powerless to stand against it; the goat knocked it to the ground and trampled on it, and none could rescue the ram from its power. 8 The goat became very great, but at the height of its power the large horn was broken off, and in its place four prominent horns grew up toward the four winds of heaven.

9 Out of one of them came another horn, which started small but grew in power to the south and to the east and toward the Beautiful Land. 10 It grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them. 11 It set itself up to be as great as the commander of the army of the Lord; it took away the daily sacrifice from the Lord, and his sanctuary was thrown down. 12 Because of rebellion, the Lord’s people and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.

13 Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to him, “How long will it take for the vision to be fulfilled—the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, the rebellion that causes desolation, the surrender of the sanctuary and the trampling underfoot of the Lord’s people?”

14 He said to me, “It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary will be reconsecrated.” (Daniel 8:1-14)

  • Historical context: Daniel is still in the service of the King of Babylon, now King Belshazzar (see the story of his end and the end of Babylon in Daniel chapter 5). Daniel is likely physically in Susa on government business, but this is not stated explicitly- only that the vision is set there. Susa became the capital of the next empire that was predicted to come after Babylon, namely Persia.
  • “Evenings and mornings”:  Some older translations like the King James Version used the word ‘days’ in verse 14, and so this has been called the 2,300 days prophecy in the past. But the Hebrew word for days (yôm) is not in the passage; instead, it is the singular ‘evening-morning’ (ʿereḇ-bōqer). So the New International Version above translates it as evenings and mornings, as well as the ESV, NASB, NLT, and others. This is what connects it to the ‘daily sacrifice’ in verse 13, which happened twice a day at the Temple- once in the evening, and once in the morning. Rather than being 2,300 days, it is 2,300 sacrifices over 1,150 days. 

On to the interpretation by Gabriel:

15 When I, Daniel, had seen the vision, I sought to understand it. And behold, there stood before me one having the appearance of a man. 16 And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of the Ulai, and it called, “Gabriel, make this man understand the vision.” 17 So he came near where I stood. And when he came, I was frightened and fell on my face. But he said to me, “Understand, O son of man, that the vision is for the time of the end.”

18 And when he had spoken to me, I fell into a deep sleep with my face to the ground. But he touched me and made me stand up. 19 He said, “Behold, I will make known to you what shall be at the latter end of the indignation, for it refers to the appointed time of the end. 20 As for the ram that you saw with the two horns, these are the kings of Media and Persia. 21 And the goat is the king of Greece. And the great horn between his eyes is the first king. 22 As for the horn that was broken, in place of which four others arose, four kingdoms shall arise from his nation, but not with his power. 23 And at the latter end of their kingdom, when the transgressors have reached their limit, a king of bold face, one who understands riddles, shall arise. 24 His power shall be great—but not by his own power; and he shall cause fearful destruction and shall succeed in what he does, and destroy mighty men and the people who are the saints. 25 By his cunning he shall make deceit prosper under his hand, and in his own mind he shall become great. Without warning he shall destroy many. And he shall even rise up against the Prince of princes, and he shall be broken—but by no human hand. 26 The vision of the evenings and the mornings that has been told is true, but seal up the vision, for it refers to many days from now.”

27 And I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for some days. Then I rose and went about the king’s business, but I was appalled by the vision and did not understand it. (Daniel 8:15-27, ESV)

Again, because an interpretation is given to us, the meaning of the vision is clear. Even modern futurist interpreters admit that it has been fulfilled in history, except they write that it also has a double ‘prophetic’ future fulfillment.7

As it was explained by the angel Gabriel, the ram symbolizes the united Medo-Persian Empire. The Medes came first, and then Persia came and grew mightier, “so that the name Media became finally almost dropped, and the united kingdom was known in Grecian history as the Persian.”8 So the Medes are represented by the shorter horn, and the Persians by the longer one.

Just as the ram “charged toward the west and the north and the south” (Daniel 8:4), the conquests of the Medo-Persian Empire were in the same directions: “On the west the conquests embraced Babylonia, Mesopotamia, Syria, and Asia Minor; on the north, Colchis, Armenia, Iberia, and the regions around the Caspian Sea; and on the south, Palestine, Ethiopia, Egypt, and Lybia.”9 They were very successful and subdued a large part of the known world. At one point their army was said to be over 2.5 million warriors strong, and “by 480 BCE, the empire accounted for approximately 49.4 million of the world’s 112.4 million people – equivalent to 44% of the world’s entire population.”10

Then comes the goat, symbolizing the Kingdom of Greece. Alexander the Great is symbolized by the single horn the goat has at first. Interestingly, Greece has used the emblem of a goat (at times with one horn!) at different points in its history:

  • Caranus was the first king of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedonia. According to Greek myth, Caranus was told by an oracle to follow the lead of goats in his quest for an empire. He discovered a valley with many goats and built a city there. He established that city as his capital and kept goats on his army standards to commemorate it.
  • There have been archaeological finds of bronze one-horned goats in Macedon.
  • There is a monument of a pilaster in Persepolis “where a goat is depicted with one immense horn on his forehead, and a Persian holding the horn, by which is intended the subjection of Macedon by Persia” before it was conquered.11
  • There are many Greek coins with goats on them, and “in the reign of Archelaus of Macedon, 413 B.C., there occurs on the reverse of a coin of that king the head of a goat having only one horn.”12
  • There is “An engraving from an ancient gem, representing the appropriate symbols of Persia and Macedonia, under the figures of a ram, and a goat with one horn. This gem was probably engraved in the time of Alexander the Great, and denotes the union of Persia and Macedonia under the same empire.”13

How appropriate the symbols of a ram and a goat are in this prophecy!

The goat comes from the west and seems to almost fly across the whole earth (Daniel 8:5). Greece is to the west of Persia. Alexander the Great conquered Persia and the rest of the known world quickly, within 12 years of becoming the commander of the Greeks. After his conquests, he was said to have wept that there were no more worlds to conquer.

But when Greece was at its strongest, Alexander died at the young age of 32- and so “the great horn was broken” (Daniel 8:8, ESV). Four horns rose in its place, symbolizing the division of the Kingdom of Greece into “four kingdoms that would fill up about the same space in the world, occupy about the same territory, and have about the same characteristics – so that they might be regarded as the succession to the one dynasty.”14 As history shows, after a short period of wars and rivalries for the throne after Alexander’s death, Greece was divided into four stable kingdoms: Ptolemaic Egypt, Seleucid Mesopotamia and Central Asia, Attalid Anatolia, and Antigonid Macedon.

A little horn is said to grow out of one of these four horns and move toward the south, the east, and “the glorious land” (Daniel 8:9, ESV). A few generations after the formation of the four kingdoms, a ruler of the Seleucid kingdom took power and set his sights on Egypt, Persia, and the land of the Israelites- Antiochus Epiphanes. The books of Maccabees described his acts of infamy, and how on his return from sacking Egypt, he “turned aside and invaded Judea, and ultimately robbed the temple, destroyed Jerusalem, and spread desolation through the land.”15 Another of his primary aims was to spread Greek culture, and he imposed Greek laws and customs on the Jews. After a few years he stopped the daily sacrifice in the Temple, setting up an idol and sacrificing pigs on it. “The temple fell into disuse, weeds and brush grew up in its courtyards. This was the root cause of the rebellion of the Maccabean family, who after three years of fighting, defeated the Greek forces, cleansed the temple, and reinstituted the daily sacrifice. Antiochus, upon hearing of this and other setbacks, took to his bed and in a fever died shortly thereafter.”16 The majority of both secular and Christian scholars agree that these events are what is symbolized in this chapter, so closely does it follow history. But it gets even wilder- the timeline for stopping and reinstituting the daily Temple sacrifices is fulfilled to the very day!

The 2300 Evenings and Mornings

As stated previously, the King James Version of the Bible interpreted the “evenings and mornings” in Daniel 8:14 as days, and so commentators in the past used to look for a fulfillment in that timeframe. 2,300 days would be a little over six years, which is remarkably close to how long the entire struggle was between the Jews and the Seleucid kingdom. One way this could be calculated is starting from when Antiochus desecrated the Temple by erecting a statue of the Greek god Zeus on the altar of burnt offering, thus stopping the daily sacrifice. The end of 2,300 days from that point goes past the time of the death of Antiochus and the reinstating of the daily sacrifice, to the Jewish victory over the Seleucid general Nicanor. Another way could be when Antiochus installed his own candidate Menelaus as the Temple high priest, and ending when Antiochus died. Either way, it is difficult to pinpoint the exact beginning and end of a 2,300-day period when applied to this prophecy.

Nearly all modern translations of the Bible now use the precise interpretation of the original language of “evenings and mornings”, which shows a clear connection to the daily evening and morning sacrifice in the Temple. Gabriel also calls this prophecy “the vision of the evenings and mornings” in verse 26. The number of 2,300 evening and morning Temple sacrifices would take place over the course of 1,150 days.

The starting point of these 1,150 days according to the passage could be a few things, as this vision is said to be “concerning the daily sacrifice, the rebellion that causes desolation, the surrender of the sanctuary and the trampling underfoot of the Lord’s people” (Daniel 8:13). The end of it is clearer, though: “it will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary will be reconsecrated” (Daniel 8:14, emphasis mine). The ending of the time period given is when the Temple is cleansed and the daily sacrifice can be continued.

While the precise dates of different events in this period of history are not always certain, the dates for the desecration and reconsecration of the Temple are exact. The daily sacrifice was stopped when the Temple was desecrated by Antiochus, as recorded in 1 Maccabees 1:54: “Now on the fifteenth day of Chislev, in the one hundred forty-fifth year, they erected a desolating sacrilege on the altar of burnt offering” (RSVA). This same book also records the exact date the daily sacrifices began again: “Early in the morning on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month, which is the month of Chislev, in the one hundred forty-eighth year, they rose and offered sacrifice, as the law directs, on the new altar of burnt offering that they had built” (1 Maccabees 4:52-53, RSVA).

According to our modern calendar, calculating the days between these dates looks as simple as adding three years and ten days, which would only be 1,105. The modern Gregorian calendar was introduced in the 16th century; before that, most of the Western world used the similar Julian calendar, introduced by Julius Caesar in 46 B.C. Before that, the Greek calendar was in use. The most ancient Greek calendar year was 354 days, and every other year an intercalary or ‘leap’ month was added (like our leap year with 366 days instead of 365). The Hebrew calendar had a 360-day year, also using a leap month at the discretion of the high priest. Using the Greek calendar of 354 days, two leap months of 30 days, and the extra ten days brings us to 1,132 days- not quite up to the 1,150 days we’re looking at.

Yet the Greek historian Herodotus- referred to as “the Father of History”- wrote in about the year 445 B.C. about how the Greeks in his day calculated time:

Take seventy years as the span of a man’s life: those seventy years contain 25,200 days, without counting intercalary months. Add a month every other year to make the seasons come round with proper regularity, and you will have thirty-five additional months, which will make 1050 additional days. Thus the total of days for your seventy years is 26, 250, and not a single one of them is like the next in what it brings.17

I’ll leave the math to an endnote,18 but this means that they considered a year to be 360 days, with a leap month of 30 days added every other year. This is likely how the years would have been calculated by Antiochus and the Maccabees.19 If the leap month occurred in the years 145 and 148 in the dates above, the total would be exactly 1,150 days. This is the 2300 “evenings and mornings,” the precise number of daily sacrifices that would be missed!

Fred Miller, who championed this calculation in his commentary, says the following:

Using the Greek calendar is obviously the correct way to compute the number of days between the dates in Maccabees. Using that method arrives at the correct computation. Do not lose sight of the fact that Daniel wrote this prophecy years before it was fulfilled. The angel who spoke knew the future. The divine nature of the book of Daniel is validated by this prophecy. God’s messenger told Daniel there would be a period when a king, who would rise up out of one of four divisions of the coming Greek Empire, who would attack the Holy Land and stop the daily sacrifice for 2,300 times. The future came round, centuries later, and validated the prophecy. Certainly the Bible is a living miracle!20

Daniel 11: Playbook of History

The prophecy in Daniel chapter 8 gave a sweeping description of the empires to come, the four kingdoms that would replace a unified Greece, and a king that would come from one of these kingdoms who would dreadfully persecute God’s people. This king would even cause the daily sacrifices in the Temple to cease, but only for a very specific amount of time before relief came and the sacrifices were reinstated. Daniel chapter 11 goes into even more detail about the rise and fall of the wicked ruler Antioch Epiphanes, and the prophecy reads like a play-by-play summary of the events in this period of history. This chapter fits right next to Daniel 8 as such an impossibly clear understanding of these times, that it can only be inspired by God, or written after the fact: “Daniel 11:1-35 is either the most precise and accurate prophecy of the future, fully demonstrating its divine inspiration, or as Porphyry claimed, it is a dishonest attempt to present history as if prophesied centuries earlier.”21

This vision is introduced in chapter 10 and continues to the end of Daniel in chapter 12. Daniel is given this vision during the third year of Cyrus, king of Persia (Daniel 10:1), who let the Jews return home from captivity to rebuild the Temple. This event is another amazing story of the faith-building truth of God’s Word, as Cyrus is mentioned by name in Isaiah 45:1, written over 200 years before he came to power! Cyrus had been prophesied in many chapters of Isaiah as the one who would let the Jews return to Jerusalem, and this happened precisely as Isaiah said.

Below are the verses of the prophecy in Daniel 11 and their fulfillment in history:

“Now then, I tell you the truth: Three more kings will arise in Persia, and then a fourth, who will be far richer than all the others. When he has gained power by his wealth, he will stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece. (Daniel 11:2)

The three Persian kings after Cyrus were Cambyses (530-522 B.C.), Smerdis (pseudo-Smerdis or Gaumata; 522 B.C.), and Darius I Hystaspes (522-486 B.C.). The fourth was Xerxes I (486-465 B.C.), who did attack Greece (like in the movie 300).

Then a mighty king will arise, who will rule with great power and do as he pleases. (Daniel 11:3)

Alexander the Great, symbolized by the one horn on the goat in Daniel 8:5.

After he has arisen, his empire will be broken up and parceled out toward the four winds of heaven. It will not go to his descendants, nor will it have the power he exercised, because his empire will be uprooted and given to others. (Daniel 11:4)

Alexander’s empire did not stay with his sons but was split into four kingdoms, symbolized by the four horns in the place of the one in Daniel 8:8.

“The king of the South will become strong, but one of his commanders will become even stronger than he and will rule his own kingdom with great power. (Daniel 11:5)

Now we come to a section that recounts the wars between two of the four Grecian kingdoms: the king of the South, or Ptolemaic Egypt, and the king of the North, or Seleucid Mesopotamia. These took place from the death of Alexander (323 B.C.) to the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes (175-163 B.C.). The first king of the South is one of Alexander’s four generals, Ptolemy I Soter (323-285 B.C.). The first king of the North (in this verse, the commander that becomes even stronger) is another of Alexander’s generals, Seleucus I Nicator (312/11-280 B.C.).

The following verses span the wars between these two kingdoms for about six generations, up to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes (the fourth with the name Antiochus), who is introduced in verse 21. Needless to say, there is a great deal of politics, intrigue, and war, sometimes involving Jews who joined the king of the North on his campaigns (verse 14). Barnes says about this section of Scripture that “these kingdoms are particularly referred to, probably because their conflicts would affect the holy land, and pertain ultimately to the history of religion, and its establishment and triumph in the world. In the notice of these two sovereignties, there is considerable detail – so much so that the principal events could have been readily anticipated by those who were in possession of the writings of Daniel.”22 Barnes is a great resource (whose full commentary can be found for free online) for details on this chapter, showing that “the leading events are traced as accurately as would be a summary of the history made out after the transactions had occurred.”23

“He will be succeeded by a contemptible person who has not been given the honor of royalty. He will invade the kingdom when its people feel secure, and he will seize it through intrigue. (Daniel 11:21)

This verse introduces Antiochus Epiphanes, and the chapter up to verse 36 details his wars with the king of the South, his designs for the holy land, and the persecution of the Jews. The historical narrative of God’s faithfulness to his people in this time can be read about in detail in I and II Maccabees, an epic tale of Judas Maccabeus’ (called “The Hammer”) revolt against Antiochus. If you had a typical evangelical Christian upbringing like myself, you might have been taught to avoid the Books of the Maccabees, due to their deuterocanonical association of being a part of the Catholic and Orthodox Bible. I would like to recommend reading them, maybe not as Scripture, but as a helpful history lesson and great background to the prophecies here in Daniel 8 and 11.

“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. (Daniel 11:31)

This verse is about the desecration of the Temple by Antiochus, and how he set up an idol of Zeus and sacrificed pigs there, marking the beginning of the 2300 evenings and mornings without the daily sacrifices in Daniel 8. This is one of three instances where ‘abomination’ and ‘desolation’ are mentioned together in Daniel, the others being in chapters 9 and 12. This instance here in chapter 11 is related to 12, and chapter 9 (which Jesus quotes in Matthew 24) is a completely different event that we will look at in more detail in the next chapter of this book.

Verses 36-45 (the end of the chapter) are said by many today to refer to someone other than Antiochus- a future Antichrist, thousands of years after the other events recorded in this chapter. There are four problems with this view that Barnes’ observes:

(a) that the allusion in the previous verses is undoubtedly to Antiochus Epiphanes.

(b) There is no indication of any “change,” for the prophetic narrative seems to proceed as if the allusion to the same person continued.

(c) The word “king” is not a word to be applied to Antichrist, it being nowhere used of him.

(d) Such a transition, without anymore decided marks of it, would not be in accordance with the usual method in the prophetic writings, leaving a plain prediction in the very midst of the description, and passing on at once to a representation of one who would arise after many hundreds of years, and of whom the former could be considered as in no way the type.24

Storms says of this section that “it must be admitted that there is no indication of a break or a change of subject. Vv. 36-45 appear to flow in continuation with the preceding paragraph. There is reference to the ‘king’ and to the ‘king of the South’ and ‘king of the North’ without the slightest indication that the three are any different from those in the 4th-2nd centuries B.C. who are described by the same names in the preceding verses.”25

Barnes sees this section “as containing a recapitulation, or a summing up of the series of events, with a statement of the manner in which they would close.”26 This prophecy beginning in chapter 10 spans some 350 years, while the whole reign of Antiochus was only 11 years at the very end of that large period of time, and was the most dangerous part for the Jews. It is proper to end the events with a synopsis of the main villain, Antiochus Epiphanes, and an assurance of his demise.

Traditional Vs. Modern Interpretation

Daniel 8 and 11 are evidence of God’s faithfulness and sovereignty over world events. He knew which empires were to come, and the kings and kingdoms that would arise within them. He gave us symbols that were spot on, and actually used by the kingdoms they represented. He saw the struggle his people would face, but he assured them they would prevail, and gave an exact timeline that they could expect the interrupted daily sacrifices to start again. All of these things were told to Daniel centuries before they came to pass, and they were fulfilled so precisely that secular historians can only insist they were written afterward.

If secular scholars look at these passages and dismiss them as being written after the fact because they follow history too closely, how can Christians insist that they are still unfulfilled? Nearly all Christian interpreters concede that Daniel 8 and 11 refer to historical events, yet many still succumb to the obsession with seeking the future in every prophecy. Such interpreters will say that they point to Antiochus in part, and to another future Antichrist as well. This is a major stretch when it comes to Daniel 8, but it is true that Daniel 12 (the end of the exchange with the angel that started in chapter 10) does mention the future resurrection. The end of Daniel 11 (verses 36-45) can be confusing if not understood as a synopsis, even though the setting or language does not change- it distorts the harmony of the passage when we insist that it suddenly speaks about events thousands of years in the future.

When we rip these passages from their historical context and fulfillment, we lose sight of just how faithful God is to his promises. Because the focus is put on the future element of any given prophecy, the actual historical fulfillment becomes a mere footnote. Some allow their minds to go wild with speculation about who the future Antichrist will be, others become overwhelmed at the sheer amount of promises there are in the Bible that are said to be unfulfilled. It was the latter in my case- I would read chapters like Daniel 8 or 11, and then come to a verse that I had always heard was unfulfilled (even though I had very little knowledge of the historical context to verify that). From there, I would assume the whole chapter was unfulfilled, and then just file it in the ‘future stuff – do not speculate’ part of my brain. On to the next chapter, and repeat. With the current popular interpretation of prophecy pushing everything into the future, all of God’s promises end up in the ‘still not fulfilled’ bin.

This futurist cycle of interpretation gives us little incentive to further investigate the historical context of the prophecies. Why bother looking into the past, when I need to keep my eyes glued to the evening news to look for clues? It also completely impairs our ability to understand how prophecies in different chapters and books relate to one another. We start to lose all sense of our place in God’s timeline- everything is ‘not yet, but soon.’ Instead, we should be amazed at what he has done, and excited for what’s ahead. If he fulfilled his promises so precisely back then, all the way up to the current date, nothing can stop his amazing Word! As Miller said, the Bible is truly a living miracle.

  1. Albert Barnes, “Notes, Critical, Illustrative, and Practical”, Daniel 8 intro.
    Available online at https://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/cmt/barnes/dan008.htm ↩︎
  2. Fred Miller, “Revelation: A Panorama of the Gospel Age”, 21-26.
    Available online at http://moellerhaus.com/rev666.htm ↩︎
  3. Miller, ibid, 23. ↩︎
  4. Miller, ibid, 24. ↩︎
  5. Miller, ibid, 25. ↩︎
  6. Barnes, ibid, Daniel 8 intro. ↩︎
  7. See John Darby on Daniel 8 for an example of this kind of interpretation.
    Available online at https://www.christianity.com/bible/commentary/drby/daniel/8 ↩︎
  8. Barnes, ibid, Daniel 8:3. ↩︎
  9. Barnes, ibid, Daniel 8:4. ↩︎
  10. Michelle Chua, “The Strength and Structure of the Ancient Persian Army”, Introduction.
    Available online at https://brewminate.com/the-strength-and-structure-of-the-ancient-persian-army/ ↩︎
  11. James Strong and John McClintock, “The Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature”, Macedonia.
    Available online at https://www.biblicalcyclopedia.com/M/macedonia.html ↩︎
  12. Barnes, ibid, Daniel 8:5. ↩︎
  13. Thomas Smiley, “Scripture Geography”, 246.
    Available online at https://archive.org/details/scripturegeograp00smil ↩︎
  14. Barnes, ibid, Daniel 8:8. ↩︎
  15. Barnes, ibid, Daniel 8:9. ↩︎
  16. Miller, ibid, 217. ↩︎
  17. Herodotus (trans. De Selincourt and Marincola), “Histories”, 1.32. ↩︎
  18. Fred Miller writes: “Using the Greek calendar according to Herodotus and assuming that the years 146 and 148 were intercalary years, we come up with the following calculation: 9-15-145 to 9-25-148, the dates given in Maccabees from the desecration to the cleansing, is three years and ten days. Thus, the math sentence following the Greek calendar which was in use at the time the prophecy was fulfilled would be: (3 X 360) + (2 X 30) + 10. Let’s diagram it.

    3 x 360 equals ******************1080 days
    2 x 30 (2 intercalary months) ******60 days
    From 15th to 25th equals *********10 days
    Total ****************************1150 days” (Miller, ibid, 223-224) ↩︎
  19. Miller, ibid, 223. ↩︎
  20. Miller, ibid, 224. ↩︎
  21. John Walvoord, “Daniel- The Key To Prophetic Revelation”, Chapter 11.
    Available online at https://walvoord.com/article/252#P1649_705536 ↩︎
  22. Barnes, ibid, Daniel 11 intro. ↩︎
  23. Barnes, ibid, Daniel 11 intro.
    Available online at https://biblehub.com/commentaries/barnes/daniel/11.htm ↩︎
  24. Barnes, ibid, Daniel 11:36. ↩︎
  25. Sam Storms, “Daniel 11:2-12:13”, 11:36.
    Available online at https://www.samstorms.org/all-articles/post/daniel-11:2-12:13 ↩︎
  26. Barnes, ibid, Daniel 11:40. ↩︎