The dating of the Book of Revelation has been a matter of no small controversy throughout the history of the church, some writers placing its authorship during the reign of Claudius (41 – 54 A.D.), others placing it during the reign of Nero (54 – 68 A.D.), and others placing it in the reign of Domitian (81 – 96 A.D.). In the realm of eschatology, Preterists choose an early date, while Dispensationalists and Historicists choose the later. It is not a matter that can be resolved by external testimony, because the external testimony itself is contradictory. But the internal evidence is quite compelling. Continue reading Legs of Iron, part 1
When John the Baptist was sent forth preaching, he went about saying “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2). When Jesus received the news that John had been imprisoned, He took up John’s message and went forth preaching, “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). When His disciples tried “to make him a king,” Jesus fled from them (John 6:15). When Pilate questioned Him about His kingship, Jesus insisted, “My kingdom is not of this world … my kingdom not from hence” (John 18:36). When the Pharisees asked him “when the kingdom of God should come” he said, “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there!” (Luke 17:20-21). When His disciples asked him if He would “at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6), Jesus responded that the time for establishing an Earthly Kingdom was not theirs to know, and instead of seeking to establish an Earthly Kingdom, they should focus rather on the preaching of a Heavenly one: Continue reading “The Kingdom of Earth is at Hand”
In one of his several communications with the church at Thessalonica, Paul informed them that they already knew what was holding back “that man of sin,” “the son of perdition,” “that Wicked” one, even “him, whose coming is after the working of Satan” (2 Thessalonians 2:3, 8-9). We note that in his admonition to them, he said someone or something was holding him back, and would eventually be taken out of the way, so that the Wicked one could be seen plainly for who he was:
We mentioned last year in our article, “French Colonial Florida (1564-1565 A.D.)” that we were pleased to hear of the release of a trailer from Aperio Productions for their new film, The Massacre at Matanzas. The story is related in our article, and the excellent documentary is now completed and was released on the web last month. Continue reading The Massacre at Matanzas
Last week we concluded our analysis of Daniel 11, showing that it is a prophecy that spanned the period from Persia’s confrontation with “the realm of Grecia” and the rise of the Alexander in 336 B.C. (Daniel 11:2-3), until the waning days of his divided empire at the death of Pompey in 48 B.C. (Daniel 11:45). As we noted, the entire prophecy is fulfilled during the Greek period of Daniel’s visions, in a single Alexandrian Frame of Reference in which North, South and East refer to the same respective geographic territories from start to finish, and the “kings” of those cardinal directions are the kings that reign over those respective territories. Under the single frame approach, Daniel 11 ends just four years before Julius Cæsar was declared Dictator perpetuo, Dictator in Perpetuity, in 44 B.C.. The Empire of Rome had its first “king.” Julius was its first “emperor”—in function if not yet in name. He would be assassinated only two months later, but his descendants and relations would govern the Empire for the greater part of the next century. Continue reading Convention of the Angelic Narrators
As our readers are aware, and as we explained in our article, The Shifting Frame, we maintain that Daniel 11 ought to be read in a single frame of reference from start to finish. The commentaries almost universally recognize what we call an Alexandrian Frame of Reference at Daniel 8:8 and 11:4. In those verses, Daniel’s narrators describe post-Alexandrian Hellenism as “four kingdoms” (Daniel 8:22) that are divided “toward the four winds of heaven,” North, South, East and West. For the rest of the chapter, the warring kings and the events related to them are described in terms of these cardinal directions. And yet, no sooner does the narrator of Daniel 11 establish an Alexandrian Frame of Reference at 11:4 than the commentaries introduce a Judæan Frame at 11:5. The reason for the introduction of a Judæan Frame is that the prophecy of a series of interactions between the North and the South—which ought to have been fulfilled between the kings of Asia Minor and Egypt—appears to have been fulfilled by the Seleucids and Ptolemies, ostensibly rulers of Syria and Egypt, respectively. The Judæan Frame, centered as it is on Judæa rather than on Alexander’s empire, is offered as the solution to the dilemma of a cardinal discontinuity that manifests at 11:6. Continue reading The Single Frame Hypothesis
In the last few weeks we have highlighted the significance of the Treaty of Apamea in 188 B.C., by which Rome imposed terms of peace upon Antiochus III after his devastating loss at Magnesia in 190 B.C.. As we noted in “When North was North…“, Asia Minor with Thrace comprised the Northern Kingdom under Lysimachus when Alexander’s empire was divided “toward the four winds of heaven” (Daniel 11:4). The North-South narrative only begins after the Seleucids have already taken the North from Lysimachus, and the Seleucids are then called “King of the North” by Daniel so long as they hold that territory. At Apamea, Rome evicted the Seleucids “from Europe and from all Asia on this side [of the] Taurus” (Polybius, The Histories, Book 21.17.3), dispossessing them of the Northern territory. Magnesia and the subsequent treaty at Apamea are depicted in Daniel 11:18, and from Daniel 11:19-39 the Seleucids remain in view, but are never again called “King of the North.” This gives rise to two important conclusions: first, Syria is not the Northern Kingdom at 11:6, and second, the title “King of the North” does not attach to the particular dynasty, but rather to whomever happens to be ruling the particular geography. When the Seleucids possess Asia Minor and Thrace, they are “King of the North.” When they are evicted, they are no longer “King of the North.” Continue reading Pirates in the Bay
Over the last few weeks we have addressed the matter of the four kingdoms that arose out of Greece after Alexander’s death in 323 B.C.. As we described in Reduction of the Diadochi, The Bounds of their Habitation, and The Shifting Frame, Asia Minor and Thrace together comprised the Northern Kingdom; Syria, Babylon and beyond, the Eastern. Yet even though the commentaries at Daniel 8:8 and 11:4 almost universally agree that Asia Minor with Thrace comprised the Northern Kingdom in an Alexandrian Frame of Reference, the commentaries just as universally shift to a Judæan Frame at Daniel 11:5. In that shifted frame of reference the “King of the North” in 11:6 is presumed to refer to Syria, which only two verses earlier had been part of the Eastern Kingdom. No explanation is given for this change of reference except that it appears to make sense of the chapter, and further that the tradition of the shifting frame is to be received as authoritative for its antiquity. It is, after all, an ancient tradition. Continue reading …and South was South
As we noted last week, the traditional approach to Daniel 11—whether Historicist, Dispensationalist, or Preterist—is to impose multiple frames of reference on the text, and then to interpret the chapter through those additional frames. One frame of reference—the only one explicitly identified in the chapter—is the Alexandrian Frame, centered on Alexander’s divided empire (Daniel 11:4). To this there is then added a Judæan Frame, centered on Israel, and then sometime later an Eschatological Frame, centered on the geographic location of a future antagonist who could be Antiochus IV, Imperial Rome, the Turks or Papal Rome, depending on the interpretation. The text does not so much as even hint at this shifting frame of reference, and yet it has been imposed upon Daniel 11 universally for almost two millennia to make sense of the chapter. Ironically, those additional frames of reference have had the opposite of the intended effect and have actually prevented us from making sense of it. Continue reading When North was North…
Within the library of apocalyptic literature, Daniel’s visions certainly occupy a shelf of their own. And yet his visions could conceivably be further subdivided into three different genres: the Dynastic, the Mosaic, and the Cardinal. Such a distinction between the three types of Daniel’s visions makes chapter 11 stand out in stark relief compared to the others, both in style and in content. When the unique aspects of the chapter are so recognized, chapter 11 is shown to be a continuous, uninterrupted narrative that was entirely fulfilled during the period of Greek rule that is signified by the Bronze, Leopard and He-goat periods of Daniel’s other visions. Continue reading The Shifting Frame
The Taurus Mountains of Asia Minor were formed long ago by the collision of the European, African and Arabian tectonic plates. They climb out of the the quiet shores of Lake Eğirdir in the west like a youth emerging from a refreshing swim, and then stand up and run on a southeasterly course toward the Bay of Pamphylia on the southern coast. Here they have left only a narrow sliver of arable land as a gift to the brigands and pirates who would one day terrorize the shipping lanes of the Mediterranean from the isolated cove. From Pamphylia, the mountains have come to full stature and tightly hug the shoreline, their feet playing in the waves of the Mediterranean. They form an imposing and deadly barrier to any who might dare to approach them. As an indication of the relative speed of the colliding plates, the Taurus as viewed from Cyprus (shown above) appear almost as a towering cliff or as a cresting wave of rocks about to crash down upon the watery plain of the Mediterranean. Now nearing Cilicia the rocky crags have briefly turned due east and then, as if losing interest in the sea, proceed northeasterly, leaving the plains of Cilicia as another gift to the pirates, situated as they were between the Taurus mountains of Asia Minor and the Amanus mountains of Syria. Here at Cilicia the Taurus mountains become the Anti-Taurus, and continue on their course until they reach the southeastern shores of the Black Sea to be united with their sister range, the Pontic Mountains that have served in a similar capacity along the northern coast. Continue reading The Bounds of their Habitation
As we have highlighted in the preceding weeks, when examined in their context, the events of Daniel 8 and 9 culminate in the rise and fall of Antiochus IV, king of Syria, from 175 – 163 B.C.. The context of Daniel 9 is fundamentally Mosaic rather than Messianic, and its basis is the Leviticus 26 Protocol. The fulfillment of Daniel 9 is found in the restoration of the Temple under the First Covenant, using Ezekiel’s instructions, as we described in All the Evenings and Mornings. Notably, the background of the successive chastisements prescribed in Leviticus 26 is Jewish idolatry, sabbath violations, and profanation of the sanctuary (Leviticus 26:1-2). The objective of the successive chastisements under Leviticus 26 is that the Jews “confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers,” and that “their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity” (Leviticus 26:40-41). As Ezekiel prescribed to the Jews in captivity, “if they be ashamed of all that they have done” they will restore the Temple in accordance with “the pattern” he was given for them (Ezekiel 43:11), and as Gabriel prophesied, the final outcome of the Seventy Weeks was that the Temple would be anointed in accordance with the instructions in Exodus 40 (Daniel 9:24). In 164 B.C., in what would become the first celebration of Hannukha, the Jews finally rededicated the Temple as prescribed and prophesied. It was the conclusion of the Seventieth Week of Daniel 9, the objective of which was for the Jews to repent of their idolatry, sabbath violations and sanctuary profanations, by restoring the Mosaic order according to Ezekiel’s pattern. These events were prophesied to occur under the period of Greek rule, in the aftermath of the four-way division of Alexander’s empire, as described in Daniel 8. Having laid this groundwork, including the Reduction of the Diadochi last week, we now proceed with an analysis of Daniel chapter 8. Continue reading The Rise of Antiochus IV
One of the most critical phases in Western Civilization is the period of post-Alexandrian Greece prior to the rise of Rome. It is the period following Alexander’s death in 323 B.C. when his kingdom was divided, leading up to the period of Rome’s dominance on the world stage. That period weighs heavily in any discussion of Danielic eschatology, especially Daniel chapters 8 and 11, because in those chapters, he prophesies about exactly that period in history—the division of Alexander’s kingdom and the wars that followed. The fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecies of the period are foundational to Christian eschatology, and much of what John saw in Revelation draws on the imagery and symbolism of Daniel’s several visions of the post-Alexandrian Greek empire. For this reason, a comprehensive Christian eschatology cannot be developed without knowledge of the era. And yet, from an historiographical perspective, it is one of the darkest periods in human history, for very little written evidence exists from which a complete story can emerge. Thus, at the period in history when our need for data is most critical, the historical record is least generous.
Continue reading Reduction of the Diadochi
When we left off in our last post, we concluded that while the Little Horn of Daniel 8 and the Little Horn of Daniel 7 share much in common, the Scriptures nonetheless differentiate between the two. Although they are both similarly hostile to God’s holy people (Daniel 8:24, 7:25), they are nevertheless distinguished one from the other, separated in time by the succession of empires. The Little Horn of Daniel 8 is Greek in identity and the Little Horn of Daniel 7 is Roman. Among the significant differences between the two, one of the most prominent is the period of persecution by the Little Horn of Daniel 8. The duration of his persecution is described in terms of literal days: “Unto two thousand and three hundred evenings and mornings” (Daniel 8:14). As with the days of creation (Genesis 1), “the evening and the morning” is one literal day, and 2,300 such evenings and mornings is 2,300 literal days. Those 2,300 literal days all occur within the One Week of Daniel 9:27; the 1,290 days of Daniel 12:11 all occur within those 2,300 literal days; and the 1,290 literal days, plus an additional 45 literal days, comprise the 1,335 literal days of Daniel 12:12. Our objective this week is to identify those three periods of literal days— all the evenings and mornings. Continue reading All the Evenings and Mornings…
Of the many things Daniel shows us in his visions, one of the most prominent is that of imperial succession. Son follows father in the succession of kings, and empire follows empire in the succession of kingdoms. Daniel 2 speaks explicitly of four empires—Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome—and Daniel 7 speaks explicitly of the same four. When those two visions are harmonized, what emerges is a Fifth Empire, the Empire of Roman Catholicism that arose after the thirteen-way fragmentation of Rome. We explored the emergence of Roman Catholicism as the successor to those Four Empires in our series, The Fifth Empire, and in our article The Fourteenth Diocese. Like a river flowing relentlessly and continuously onward, the prophetic timeline depicted in Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 flowed from Babylon to the rise of Antichrist without gaps or discontinuities—Babylon, then Medo-Persia, then Greece, then Rome. Then Papal Roman Catholicism, the arrogant Little Horn of Daniel 7, the persecutor of God’s holy people.
In the last two weeks, we have laid the foundation for an analysis of the Seventieth Week of Daniel. In The Leviticus 26 Protocol, we showed that the Seventy Weeks of Daniel 9 are inextricably related to the Seventy Year chastisement described in Jeremiah 25 and 29. The latter chastisement (Seventy Weeks of Years) is a seven-fold prolongation of the former chastisement (Seventy Years) and thus, the Weeks and Years must in some way share a common point of beginning. In our follow up article, Rightly Dividing the Weeks, we showed that Gabriel, in explaining the vision to Daniel, divided the Seventy Weeks into three subsets—the Sixty-two, the Seven and the One. The Seven Weeks (587 – 538 B.C.) ran concurrently with the Sixty-two (605 – 171 B.C.), which was only possible if Gabriel had first “divided” the Weeks, which is precisely what he did when he announced them to Daniel. That is why the “anointed” is described as being “cut off” after the Sixty-two Weeks (Daniel 9:26), rather than after the often alleged, but Scripturally untenable, “Sixty-nine.”
What follows upon the description of the Sixty-two Weeks is the most detailed description of any Week in the ninth chapter of Daniel. What we will demonstrate is that the Seventieth Week of Daniel was fulfilled between 171 and 164 B.C., in the period of Greek rule over Israel. As we shall also demonstrate, Jesus acknowledged the past fulfillment of Daniel’s Seventieth Week when He instructed His audience in Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14 to watch carefully for the soon return of the Abomination of Desolation to the Holy Land.
Continue reading The Seventieth Week of Daniel 9
When we left off last week with The Leviticus 26 Protocol, we mentioned that Gabriel had multiplied the Seventy Year Babylonian Exile in accordance with Leviticus 26 to arrive at Seventy Weeks of Years in Daniel 9:24. As specified in the Law of Moses, Israel had been punished for disobedience, and when Israel still would not hearken unto the Lord, her punishment was multiplied seven-fold. But Gabriel had done more than that. He had multiplied the Seventy Years, but then he divided the Seventy Weeks. Although Gabriel announced the “Seventy Weeks” in Daniel 9:24, he never mentions them in those words again, and instead describes the prophecy in three subsets of Weeks. He speaks of the Seven Weeks (Daniel 9:25), the Sixty-two Weeks (Daniel 9:25,26) and the One Week (Daniel 9:27), but never again of the Seventy. That division is reflected clearly in the text, but many translations and interpretations have long since obscured the meaning by trying to put the Seventy Weeks back together again.
Continue reading Rightly Dividing the Weeks
When approaching the prophecy of the Seventy Weeks in Daniel 9, the ancient and frequent temptation has been immediately to rush forward to the last four verses of the chapter and read about “Messiah the Prince” Who will come (Daniel 9:25) and “confirm the covenant” (Daniel 9:27) to “make an end of sins,” “make reconciliation for iniquity,” and bring about “everlasting righteousness” (Daniel 9:24). In other words, the temptation is to read the chapter in a Messianic context. Once it is established that Daniel 9 is a Messianic prophecy, all that remains is somehow to make the numbers of the prophecy work out.
Those who have been reading this blog for any length of time are at least peripherally aware of the eschatology espoused here. We believe that the prophesied Antichrist of which we are warned by the apostles and prophets was manifested in the rise of Roman Catholicism and is personified in the Papacy of Rome. As we noted last week, in The Fourteenth Diocese, Daniel foresaw that the Antichrist would emerge among of the thirteen fragments of the Roman Empire, would uproot three dioceses in the process, subduing their three metropolitans, and rise up among the remaining ten, growing “more stout than his fellows” (Daniel 7:8,20-22,24-26). That is precisely what Roman Catholicism did as it claimed Rome, Alexandria and Antioch as a single See of St. Peter, aggregating for itself the three Dioceses of Italy, Egypt and Oriens. The papacy of Rome is the Little Horn of Daniel 7 and the dioceses of Diocletian’s reorganization are the other horns of the vision. That reorganization into dioceses began in 293 A.D., and was completed by the end of the fourth century. As prophesied, Roman Catholicism emerged during that time frame when the Papacy came up among the dioceses, “speaking great things” (Daniel 7:8).
Continue reading It’s About the Bread
The city of Rome was the capital seat of the empire at its founding, and retained that primacy for centuries. But for a brief period from 293 A.D. to the latter part of the fourth century, Rome was relegated to the status of a third tier Metropolis behind the tetrarch capitals and the metropolitan seats of Diocletian’s new dioceses. The division of the empire started in 293 A.D. with the formation of 12 dioceses under four tetrarchs, presiding from Nicomedia, Smirmium, Milan and Trier. Each tetrarch was assigned the rule over three dioceses, and each diocese was in turn ruled from its chief metropolis by a vicarius or equivalent. Notably, the city of Rome was reduced in stature, and was made neither a tetrarch capital, nor even the chief metropolis of the Diocese of Italy. Nevertheless, the city of Rome was also assigned its own vicarius, and he ruled over his limited jurisdiction in the heart of Italy. Over the course of the fourth century, the tetrarchy faded away, but the diocesan system endured. Further reorganizations occurred in which two dioceses were combined into one, and two others were divided into four. The eventual outcome by the end of the fourth century was a fully reorganized Roman empire of thirteen dioceses under thirteen vicars—and within one of those dioceses, a greatly diminished city of Rome, a comparatively small vicariate in an empire of dioceses. Although the Vicar of Rome had not received a diocese to manage, the city of Rome and its suburbs comprised what could almost be called a little diocese of their own. We might even call it “the fourteenth diocese.” That little “fourteenth diocese” had been diminished in Diocletian’s reorganization, but under the administration of a pope, it would one day rise up again to rule the empire. Only three metropolitan cities stood in his way, and he would dispatch them short order.
Continue reading The Fourteenth Diocese