December 12, 2008

Study of Daniel's Prophecies

In my study of the book of Daniel, I want to restrict my analysis to the prophetic chapters, 7 thru 12, since these are the segments that complement the book of Revelation, and that will help us perceive the basic outlines of events to visit the world in the near future... in my personal opinion. Having said that, the more seasoned Bible student will ask why I don't include chapter 2. Yes, good question, since I will acknowledge chapter 2 as arguably the key to all of eschatological prophecy. However, it is fairly easy to understand, and has been adequately analyzed by many other commentators, so I decided to use its ideas without rehashing the text.
Daniel 7

Bible Verse (from NASB version)
My Commentary
1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel saw a dream and visions in his mind as he lay on his bed; then he wrote the dream down and related the following summary of it. Daniel introduces his dream-vision. Recall that he had had a prescient dream when he interpreted Nebuchadnezzar's dream, in chapter 2.
2 Daniel said, "I was looking in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea. His vision opens with the '4 winds of heaven'-- global forces?... stirring up the 'sea'-- masses of people (as seen elsewhere).
3 "And four great beasts were coming up from the sea, different from one another. Per vs. 17, 4 kings arise from the populous area, each of a different ethnic group.
4 "The first was like a lion and had the wings of an eagle. I kept looking until its wings were plucked, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man; a human mind also was given to it. Using ch. 2 as key, this is an apt picture of Nebuchadnezzar. He first soared with the building of Babylon; then lived in the fields when he went mad; later restored to grandeur when his mind was restored to sanity.
5 "And behold, another beast, a second one, resembling a bear. And it was raised up on one side, and three ribs were in its mouth between its teeth; and thus they said to it, 'Arise, devour much meat!' This represents Medo-Persia. The Persian 'side' was stronger, and absorbed 3 smaller nations during its expansion.
6 "After this I kept looking, and behold, another one, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird; the beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it. Alexander the Greek swiftly conquered neighboring nations. On his death, 4 of his generals split the empire among them, each ruling a quadrant.
7 "After this I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong; and it had large iron teeth; It devoured and crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet; and it was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. Then came mighty Rome, a 'technocratic' power, using its hierarchical methods to dominate all its conquered territories. Noted for the marching discipline of its 'foot soldiers.' Later, the Roman empire disintegrated into a collection of 'ten' smaller states, still sharing a religion inherited from Rome.
8 "While I was contemplating the horns, behold, another horn, a little one, came up among them, and three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots before it; and behold, this horn possessed eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth uttering great boasts. A cogent theory postulates that the 'little horn' is the Papacy, which eradicated 3 of the '10' nations by the 6th century. The horn as a 'man,' the Pope, arrogantly assumed religious, Godly powers to the office.
9 "I kept looking Until thrones were set up, And the Ancient of Days took His seat; His vesture was like white snow And the hair of His head like pure wool His throne was ablaze with flames, Its wheels were a burning fire. Daniel peers right to the time of Judgment, where he sees a vision of God on his throne.
10 "A river of fire was flowing And coming out from before Him; Thousands upon thousands were attending Him, And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him; The court sat, and the books were opened. A vision of the heavenly court, with myriads of heavenly 'citizens' (angels? or maybe deceased souls?) in attendance. Records are opened in preparation for the final judgment.
11 "Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire. The arrogant 'horn' apparently persists to the very end, when the whole collective 'beast' (presumably, the EU, as implied in Rev.) is destroyed somehow.
12 "As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time. Curious! The ancient kingdoms continue to exist for a certain period of time, although without their political power. Note: those kingdoms exist today as Iraq, Iran, and Greece.
13 "I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. After the judgment, someone human comes from 'heaven' and is brought before the everlasting God. NB: Daniel lived ca. 600 BC, so had no referents for Jesus, except 'Son of Man.'
14 "And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve Him His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed. To this 'man-God' (Jesus) is given all rule over an everlasting kingdom established by God for people of every ethnicity who acknowledge Him. This is the renewed Earth or 'New Jerusalem' that will endure forever.
15 "As for me, Daniel, my spirit was distressed within me, and the visions in my mind kept alarming me. The whole scene threw Daniel into great distress.
16 "I approached one of those who were standing by and began asking him the exact meaning of all this So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of these things: He approaches someone in the vision, and asks him what it all means. The stranger tells Daniel the interpretation of the vision in following verses.
17 'These great beasts, which are four in number, are four kings who will arise from the earth. The beasts represent 'kings' (or kingdoms, as we see).
18 'But the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come.' Whew! He jumps right to the conclusion, and assures Daniel that God's people will 'receive & possess' the kingdom forever.
19 "Then I desired to know the exact meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful, with its teeth of iron and its claws of bronze, and which devoured, crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet, But Daniel is still intrigued by the 4th beast. It must've made a scary impression on him. Note that Rome made use of iron and bronze, plus stone, to construct great works of engineering... and for its crushing military might.
20 and the meaning of the ten horns that were on its head and the other horn which came up, and before which three of them fell, namely, that horn which had eyes and a mouth uttering great boasts and which was larger in appearance than its associates. Daniel is also very curious about the horn that resembled a man and defeated 3 other 'horns,' and had that boasting mouth. The popes 'appeared larger' by using their religious power to coerce kings into lending their armies to wage Papal wars. The popes behaved as worldly kings.
21 "I kept looking, and that horn was waging war with the saints and overpowering them He sees that boasting king attacking Godly people and 'overpowering them.' He must have an army to 'wage war.'
22 until the Ancient of Days came and judgment was passed in favor of the saints of the Highest One, and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom. The horn-power apparently overpowers until God comes in judgment and finally settles the matter in favor of the believers, who then possess the kingdom.
23 "Thus he said: 'The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it. The 'tutor' states that the 4th kingdom is different from the others, and dominates the whole earth. Possibly, this nation is more than Rome, and may represent an end-time rendering.
24 'As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings. He elaborates that 'ten' kings arise from the dreadful kingdom ('Holy Roman Empire'?). From them, another, different king appears, and defeats 3 of the others. NB: Popes conquered the Ostrogoths, Vandals, & Heruli by mid 6th century.
25 'He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. The papacy declared itself God's 'vicar' on earth with power to forgive sins; waged long battle against true believers (eg. the Inquisitions). Pope altered the Ten C's, thinking the church was still 'under them.' Believers are oppressed for a symbolic '3 and a half years'.
26 'But the court will sit for judgment, and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever. In the end, God's justice will ensure that the false religious power is obliterated for all time.
27 'Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.' Interesting! It seems to say that all rule and power will be handed to the true faithful of God. But rule of what? 'All kingdoms under heaven' may imply more than earthly kingdoms... consider that one!
28 "At this point the revelation ended. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts were greatly alarming me and my face grew pale, but I kept the matter to myself." Whew, the dream/vision ends. No wonder Daniel is left in a shaky state!
Daniel 8
1 In the third year of the reign of Belshazzar the king a vision appeared to me, Daniel, subsequent to the one which appeared to me previously. Daniel carefully specifies the relative time of his next vision.
2 I looked in the vision, and while I was looking I was in the citadel of Susa, which is in the province of Elam; and I looked in the vision and I myself was beside the Ulai Canal. In the vision, Daniel finds himself standing beside the Ulai canal, in a fortified city in a province of Persia.
3 Then I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, a ram which had two horns was standing in front of the canal. Now the two horns were long, but one was longer than the other, with the longer one coming up last. He looks up and sees a ram (male goat) with 2 horns, one longer than the other. Per vs. 20, this is another picture of Medo-Persia.
4 I saw the ram butting westward, northward, and southward, and no other beasts could stand before him nor was there anyone to rescue from his power, but he did as he pleased and magnified himself. The Persian empire expanded west, north, and south, and for a while was unopposed.
5 While I was observing, behold, a male goat was coming from the west over the surface of the whole earth without touching the ground; and the goat had a conspicuous horn between his eyes. Then Alexander 'the Great' (the conspicuous horn) swept to the east out of Greece, in a swift campaign...
6 He came up to the ram that had the two horns, which I had seen standing in front of the canal, and rushed at him in his mighty wrath. ... and defeated the much larger Persian army in 3 decisive battles.
77 I saw him come beside the ram, and he was enraged at him; and he struck the ram and shattered his two horns, and the ram had no strength to withstand him. So he hurled him to the ground and trampled on him, and there was none to rescue the ram from his power. The Greeks made quick work of conquering the Persian empire.
8 Then the male goat magnified himself exceedingly. But as soon as he was mighty, the large horn was broken; and in its place there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven. When Alexander was at a high point of his life, he died abruptly at a young age. In his place, 4 of his generals took over, and split the empire into 4 regions.
9 Out of one of them came forth a rather small horn that grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Beautiful Land. From the Seleucid region (Syria) came Antiochus Epiphanes who grew powerful for a time, and pushed into the land of Judah.
10 It grew up to the host of heaven and caused some of the host and some of the stars to fall to the earth, and it trampled them down. Some of the Jews cooperated with A-E for a while, although most were resistant to his 'hellenizing' attempts.
11 It even magnified itself to be equal with the Commander of the host; and it removed the regular sacrifice from Him, and the place of His sanctuary was thrown down. Antiochus is noted for his bitter dislike of the Jews. He made a point of desecrating the temple when he occupied Jerusalem in 168 BC.
12 And on account of transgression the host will be given over to the horn along with the regular sacrifice; and it will fling truth to the ground and perform its will and prosper. Many take Antiochus to be a 'type' of an end-time Antichrist to come... as may be implied here. The 'host' seems to refer to the body of believers.
13 Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to that particular one who was speaking, "How long will the vision about the regular sacrifice apply, while the transgression causes horror, so as to allow both the holy place and the host to be trampled?" Altho this passage (vs 12-14) has been explained in terms of Antiochus' abominations, it seems to me it could also have a broader, farther-reaching meaning. But if so, it's not clear at this time.
14 He said to me, "For 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the holy place will be properly restored." The verse may have dual fulfillments. Jesus 'restored' the temple/ 'holy place' in his life; maybe again at 2nd Coming.
15 When I, Daniel, had seen the vision, I sought to understand it; and behold, standing before me was one who looked like a man. While we think of angels as being visibly distinguishable, they are often taken for 'men' in the Bible.
16 And I heard the voice of a man between the banks of Ulai, and he called out and said, "Gabriel, give this man an understanding of the vision." The voice informs Daniel/us that the 'man' is Gabriel, considered one of the 'archangels.'
17 So he came near to where I was standing, and when he came I was frightened and fell on my face; but he said to me, "Son of man, understand that the vision pertains to the time of the end." As Gabriel approaches, Daniel becomes afraid, but is addressed as 'Son of man,' and told that the vision applies to 'the time of the end.'
18 Now while he was talking with me, I sank into a deep sleep with my face to the ground; but he touched me and made me stand upright. Obviously, Daniel faints with fright, but the angel revives him.
19 He said, "Behold, I am going to let you know what will occur at the final period of the indignation, for it pertains to the appointed time of the end. Gabriel states again that the vision is a look into the future.
20 "The ram which you saw with the two horns represents the kings of Media and Persia. Here the symbols are explained.
21 "The shaggy goat represents the kingdom of Greece, and the large horn that is between his eyes is the first king. Speaking here of Alexander.
22 "The broken horn and the four horns that arose in its place represent four kingdoms which will arise from his nation, although not with his power. As stated above, the territory was divided among 4 generals when Alexander died in his prime. None retained his unified power.
23 "In the latter period of their rule, when the transgressors have run their course, A king will arise, Insolent and skilled in intrigue. Most scholars take this king as Antiochus Epiphanes, 8th successor of Seleucius, one of Alexander's commanders.
2424 "His power will be mighty, but not by his own power, and he will destroy to an extraordinary degree; and prosper and perform his will; he will destroy mighty men and the holy people. He succeeded in capturing the 'holy land' of Judah, and deliberately profaned the temple with forbidden sacrifices and stealing the sacred vessels. Again, the verse could have future fulfillment.
25 "And through his shrewdness he will cause deceit to succeed by his influence; and he will magnify himself in his heart, and he will destroy many while they are at ease. He will even oppose the Prince of princes, But he will be broken without human agency. This description seems to go beyond Antiochus, to the later Romans (eg. Titus). In fact, the last phrase suggests that there will be an ultimate fulfillment of this verse in the final days of earth (compare with Dan 2:45). Thus, Antiochus typifies a final 'Antichrist' figure.
26 "The vision of the evenings and mornings which has been told is true; But keep the vision secret, For it pertains to many days in the future." 'Evenings/mornings' has been interpreted to refer to the daily sacrifices. These were obviated by Jesus' own sacrifice, more than 500 years later.
27 Then I, Daniel, was exhausted and sick for days Then I got up again and carried on the king's business; but I was astounded at the vision, and there was none to explain it. Clearly, Daniel is greatly affected by the vision, and it bothered him for a long time.
Daniel 9

This chapter is devoted to a vision of Daniel that is a clear, Messianic prophecy that was fulfilled almost 600 years later by the life and death of Jesus. For that reason-- i.e. it is not an end-times prophecy-- I will not consider it here. For a discussion on Dan 9, refer to my essay, 'Israel-- Fulfillment of Prophecy?' [#]

Daniel 10 and 11
Chapter 10 describes an encounter between Daniel and a 'heavenly being' of great splendor, presumably an archangel (but possibly Christ), who assures him that the visions are intended to give Daniel a glimpse at events to occur in the future. There is no prophetic information to examine in this chapter.
Chapter 11 goes into a lengthy description of the future (from Daniel's day) that basically recapitulates the prophetic pictures presented in the earlier chapters. There is much detail that was not stated before, but it doesn't appear to add a lot of useful understanding to our picture of the end-times. The last few verses appear to have eschatological significance, but again, don't really provide much additional illumination. Since there is a risk of muddying the waters with pure speculation on those verses, I prefer to avoid them, and to concentrate my efforts on the chapters that are more clear and straightforward. The reader is encouraged to read these chapters for him/herself and draw your own conclusions.
Daniel 12

Bible Verse (from NASB version)
My Commentary
1 "Now at that time, Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise, and there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. 'That time' refers to the end time, at a time of great distress and when the books are opened (ch. 7:10). Since Michael is called a prince, some believe that it refers to Jesus Christ, and 'your people' would then refer to true believers in Christ (rather than to Jews).
2 "Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt. The resurrection of the dead is referred to in other Biblical texts as occurring at the final, 'white throne judgement.'
3 "Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. Those believers who exercise discernment and lead others to truth/righteousness will be honored in the hereafter.
4 "But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase." Daniel is told to hide the words, seal his book; yet it was well known by Jesus' day. 2nd part has been phrased as 'to and fro' and said to refer to the burst of knowledge and travel that began in 18th century.
5 Then I, Daniel, looked and behold, two others were standing, one on this bank of the river and the other on that bank of the river. The 2 'others' are presumably other angels, one on either side of the river.
6 And one said to the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, "How long will it be until the end of these wonders?" One of them asks a 'prompting' question, apparently, of the angel seen in ch. 10. He asks, for Daniel, how long it will be until the end of the events seen in vision.
7 I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, as he raised his right hand and his left toward heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time; and as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these events will be completed. The central angel addresses God, saying it would be for the familiar symbolic period of completion that could be any stretch of years. He adds that they will be completed once the power of the holy people is shattered. 'Looks llke a temporary, final crushing of true believers before they are finally rescued by Christ's return.
8 As for me, I heard but could not understand; so I said, "My lord, what will be the outcome of these events?" Understandably, Daniel doesn't 'get it,' and tries again, asking how it will all end.
9 He said, "Go your way, Daniel, for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time. He is told, in effect, don't worry about it, because the words won't be understandable until the end time... (which explains vs. 4, it would appear).
10 "Many will be purged, purified and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly; and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand. The end times will sift people and test their character. Evil-doers will persist in their evil deeds, and not understand Bible truth, while those with discernment will then be able to 'see' the prophecies.
11 "From the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. Enigmatic! Seems to refer again to the sin of Antiochus; yet he's been referring to 'end times' thru-out this chapter. Hence, look for symbolic enactment.
12 "How blessed is he who keeps waiting and attains to the 1,335 days! Unclear! Waiting for what? Some have devised ingenious explanations for the 1290/1335 days; but really, it isn't at all clear what they refer to.
13 "But as for you, go your way to the end; then you will enter into rest and rise again for your allotted portion at the end of the age." Daniel is to just live out his days in the knowledge that he will get his reward at the end of the age.

My Analysis

Note on Daniel 8:14 from the NIV Study Bible: "There were two daily sacrifices for the continual burnt offering (9:21, Ex 29:38-42), representing the atonement required for Israel as a whole. The 2300 evenings and mornings probably refer to the number of sacrifices consecutively offered on 1150 days, the interval between the desecration of the Lord's altar and its reconstruction by Judas Maccabeus on Kislev 25, 165 BC. The pagan altar set up by Antiochus Epiphanes on Kislev 25, 168 BC was apparently installed almost two months after the Lord's altar was removed, accounting for the difference between 1095 days (an exact 3 years) and the 1150 specified in the verse."

The above note seems to be a very reasonable explanation for the 2300-day prophecy. Nevertheless, as I hint above, it most likely has a secondary, 'apocalyptic' significance that has yet to unfold. Altho it appears from events of history that the vision was fulfilled by the time of Jesus' death and resurrection, it's significant that Gabriel informs Daniel that the vision (of ch. 8) "pertains to the appointed time of the end." For that reason, I suggest that there will be another fulfillment of "A king will arise, Insolent and skilled in intrigue." Today, we are seeing numerous national leaders who rely on big talk and behind-the-scenes schemes and deceit to get what they want. Since the passage states that "he will destroy mighty men and the holy people," it is apparent that this is someone strutting on the world stage, not just a local actor in the Middle East. Some readers will assume that 'the holy people' must be the Israelis, or all Jews; but I propose that because it pertains to end-times, it refers, actually, to the true believers in Christ. And remember, these are not Jews, nor even nominal Christians, but those who put their faith in the living Christ, and whose lives reflect it.
Verse 25 supplies more details that point us towards an eschatological scenario: "through his shrewdness he will cause deceit to succeed by his influence; and he will magnify himself in his heart, and he will destroy many while they are at ease." The next verses don't really provide any further details about this person, so those who feel it is simply Antiochus will stop seeking anti-typical fulfillment. Since I feel there is a final outworking of this prophecy, let me offer an admittedly speculative possibility. From 2001 to 2009, we had G.W. Bush strutting his hour upon the world stage, employing deceit and power in a way and on a scale never before witnessed by the world, and indeed, he used his influence to destroy many (Iraqis and Afghanis, mainly). However, I'm not postulating that the 'insolent king' is Bush. No, my guess is that it will turn out to be the incoming president Obama! Here is why.
Altho he used deceit (lies) in provoking war, and even 'magnified himself,' or tried to, Bush junior never had much 'shrewdness' as you can verify by checking the dictionary definition of the word. And his attempts to sound important (magnified) were, in the second term, met with blatant derision. Obama, on the other hand, is obviously a shrewd man, as seen in his debates with Hilary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, and then in his campaign against McCain for president. He is noted for his intelligence, and for keeping his cool under pressure. As of this writing, it may be arguable if he will cause deceit to succeed by his influence, yet it is clear from his appointments to his cabinet and as advisors, that he has no possibility of making good on his campaign promise of 'change.' Hence, he has already displayed clever use of deceit! While Obama comes across as rather unassuming, one must suspect that he would like to magnify himself, but if so, it will most likely take place 'in his heart,' not openly after the manner of Bush. And, finally, I have a gut feeling that the 'many' who 'are at ease,' are all those who have pinned their hopes on this man-- those who are 'at ease' thinking that America now has a president who is the 'antithesis' of Bush, and who will usher the world into a new era of peace and prosperity. While many will be thus, breathing easily, the new incumbent will rudely surprise them with draconian legislation and subterfuges that will threaten religious and political freedoms of people everywhere. The verse states that the insolent king "will even oppose the Prince of princes," which refers to Christ. This could be taken to mean he attacks the earthly manifestation of Christ, namely His church; or it could mean, literally, he is the one referred to by Paul as "the man of lawlessness" (2 Thess 2:3). As always, time will tell; but we may not have to wait a long time before these verses are finally revealed.
After presenting fairly clear prophetic visions in the earlier chapters (2, 7, 8, 9), Daniel is given in chapter 12 a rather ambiguous explanation for end time events, although he is assured that God's faithful will finally be delivered from the power of evil. What's significant is that the angel tells him that the book is sealed until the end; i.e. it cannot be understood until the time when the last events begin to unfold. Hence, if attempts to perceive Daniel's words demonstrate veracity, then you can conclude that the age is approaching its end. You will know by exercising 'insight' (12:10), as led by the Spirit.
Reference is made (12:11-12) to periods of 'days' (1290 and 1335) that do not relate to any other time periods (or even numbers) mentioned in scripture. Taken as years, these periods still do not seem to correlate with specific milestones; therefore, it remains an open issue. Just as the 'time, times, and half a time' are symbolic, these numbers are symbolic, but of what, we can't be sure. (As Jesus' ministry lasted 3 & a half years, so too, the church age is believed to cover a symbolic 3.5 time periods). This difference of days, 45, is relatively small, (and curiously, represents 3.5% of 1290) and made me recall 7:12, which makes an interesting statement: "As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time." This 'extension' occurs after the terrible, fourth beast is slain. And Rev 18 talks about the destruction of symbolic Babylon, without mentioning the fate of other nations. When I put all these scraps of evidence together, I postulate that the USA and the EU will receive disastrous judgments from heaven, while the original beasts-- the Middle East nations from antiquity-- will survive for a short interval after that. Thus, anyone who survives to the end of the 1335 days, will be blessed with seeing the end, and the return of his Savior.
Much has been made by some (particularly evangelicals), of the reference to the regular sacrifice being abolished (12:11), since it implies that the sacrificial system will be reinstated (so that it can be 'abolished') at some point prior to the tribulation and the Second Coming. However, we have seen that there was already a fulfillment of this prophecy, in a literal sense, back in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes (ca. 168 BC). I've said elsewhere that a prophecy can have a secondary, later fulfillment; but in that event, the next fulfillment is, most often, not literal, but figurative-- symbolic in nature. Hence, if there is a cessation of a 'regular sacrifice' yet to come, I would look for an allegorical fulfillment of some kind. The verse says that an 'abomination of desolation is set up,' which implies that something contrary to God's instructions is installed in Jerusalem, the past, official center of God's earthly representatives (His temple, or Church). Today, if the mainstream 'Christian' church continues to denature its concept of Jesus until he is just another holy man, then they could be thought of as denying the ultimate sacrifice (Heb 10:14) and introducing an abhorrent or abominable doctrine into the heart or core of Christian faith. Thus, the prophecy would find symbolic accomplishment.
As alluded in 7:21 and 12:7, (see also Rev 13:7) it appears that the genuine church will be persecuted and sorely oppressed in the last days, until final deliverance comes from Jesus at his second coming. Just prior to the return of Christ, however, Daniel refers to a period of unprecedented distress (12:1) which is corroborated almost verbatim by Matthew in 'Jesus' Apocalypse' (ch. 24; see vs. 21). Thus, it is certain that things will get very ugly, amid general chaos, for those who cling to the true faith in the closing days of this era.
After studying the book of Daniel, we can see why some refer to it as the 'Revelation of the Old Testament' since it portrays in dream-visions a broad-brush outline of geo-political events from Daniel's time up to the end of this age. In that regard, Daniel is a useful complement to John's Revelation, and by pointing in the same direction in their prophecies, the two books corroborate the emerging end-time scenario. My hope is that this study will encourage the reader to investigate scripture for him/her self, and thereby, become grounded in the saving faith of Jesus the Messiah-- who will be returning as Jesus, Lord of the Universe.


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