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Topic: Critique of original interpretation of Daniel's Last Vision

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Critique of original interpretation of Daniel's Last Vision


David Hill (7 Aug 2002) "Daniel's Last Vision"

In reference to my interpretation of Daniel's Last Vision; in order to strengthen my own view of this great work; it is necessary to critique the original interpretation that has existed for some time in both Jewish and Christian circles. There is only one possible interpretation, and as the Word of God is a perfectly accurate Blue Print of things to come; and things that have already been; it should be an easy matter to show which interpretation is correct. Though I believe my interpretation stands on its own, prudence (as opposed to negligence) dictates that an objective examination be performed of the opposing view, i.e. the onus probandi (burden of proof), in this case lies with the challenger. The critique can be divided up into 1) Major Discrepancies and 2) Minor Discrepancies.

I obtained the original interpretations from 1)Jamieson Fausset and Brown, Commentary on the Whole Bible, Zondervon Pub. House, Mi, 1961 hereafter designated as J, and 2) John Walvoord and Roy Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Victor Books, SP Publications, inc., 1985 hereafter designated as B.

Major Discrepancy :

I) The End of Years

Dan 11:6 And in the end of years they shall join themselves together...

The first five verses of Daniel 11 are not open to debate for the sole reason that there is no doubt as to their meaning, ending with the division of Alex's Kingdom to the four generals and the dominance of the king of the south. The first problem arises in verse 6 with the statement, "The End of Years." B interprets this phrase as "After some years" for the simple reason that they don't have a convincing interpretation of the same. J interprets it as, "When the predicted time shall be consummated." This subterfuge is necessary because ; with their interpretations there is absolutely no reasonable application in the events described by them. THE FACT that you have two different definitions proves this. Both of these sources ARBITRARILY ("Not supported by fair, solid, and substantial cause, and without reason given." Blacks Law Dict., Second Edition, West Pub. Co., Minn, 1910) lay aside the precise interpretation from the inspired text and substitute an imprecise paraphrase in its place. If this was a legal proceeding , their case would be thrown out of court, out of hand. The "after certain years" makes no sense, as their account picks up immediatly after the death of Ptolemy I - the first King of the south (285BC). And further, this exact phrase including the word 'certain' (in the Hebrew), is used in verse 13, but it is not used in this verse. Thus, the KJ translation is assuredly correct. The latter, "shall be consummated," doesn't occur, from their own description, until 147BC, over 138 years later. On top of that, they both neglect to interpret the passage in its context. The angel (10:14) stated that the bulk of the vision was to show Daniel what would befall his people in "the latter days." This phrase is equivalent to the one in question. The Bible itself uses this term time and again as a reference to the latter days of this age - certainly not in reference to the year's before our Lord was born. In this particular, my interpretation is Rock Solid compared to theirs (i.e. the end of the Middle Ages circa 1300AD). The angel also states (12:4) that the defining characteristics of this period would be the increase in knowledge and travel which is a perfect and concise summary of the end of the middle ages and the rise of the modern era with its increased global explorations (especially that of the new world) and the increase in knowledge in all areas of society. Now, this is the foundational verse for their interpretation, and it is already placed in question. And the next point is similar to this one.

II) The Time of the End

Dan 11:35 And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.

Just as the start of their case is in question, so also is the conclusion of their interpretation in doubt, by their own admissions. B states, "In verses 36-45 a leader is described who is introduced simply as 'the King.' Some suggest that this is Antiochus Epiphanes and that the verse describes additional incursions of his into Israel. However, the details given in these verses were not fulfilled by Antiochus. True, Antiochus was a foreshadowing of a King who will come (cf. comments on 8:25). But the two are not the same...starting with Daniel 11:36 the prophecy moves from the 'near' to the 'far.'" And J states, "Here [verse 31] Antiochus' actions are described in language which reach beyond him the type, to Antichrist the anti type...for the narrative seems to continue the history of Antiochus, though with features only in type applicable to him, fully to Antichrist." Now note first that there is disagreement between these sources about when the transition is made from Antiochus to the Antichrist (i.e. vs 31 as opposed to vs 36) showing that the application to the former is not as clear cut as has been assumed. J's interpretation leaves absolutely no natural division derived from the passage itself by a clear statement to this change, and is an argument from silence solely because they don't even mention the transition or where, precisely, it occurs. B's attempt "from near to far" is almost as impotent, not only because the Scriptures are silent in this verse to a transition, but mainly because this clear cut transition was already given in verse six, when it emphatically stated that the vision then makes a major transition from the times of the Grecian Empire to the end of this age (compare 10:14b). The authors felt the force of this vacuum and tried to bolster their defense with supposed introduction of the A.C. "simply" as the King. But this "simply" means that verse 36 is still referring to the king of the preceding passage, as an unbiased reading shows (which J obviously realized). And finally, both sources, burdened with the "proof" that doesn't exist, retreat to the ever popular spiritualization Principle of, "when in doubt metaphor it out".

Because the passage was not fulfilled in crystal clear details, they say he was just a type of the coming dictator. In fact, J is so unclear on this point, that he even includes, not only Antiochus and the Antichrist, but Muhammad himself throughout the remainder of the passage as a possible fulfillment of these things, if only in type. Now, this would be considered the "closing argument" for their case, and just as in their opening argument, not only can they not agree amongst themselves, neither one of their interpretations can be made to fit the Biblical facts.

III) Former or Latter

Dan 11:29 At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter.

Concerning verse 29 J has an interesting statement, "or, making this the THIRD expedition [into Egypt], the sense is, 'not as the first or as the second' expeditions." The problem is simply this; Contrary to popular ignorance on this matter, Antiochus made FOUR expeditions into Egypt, the first of which was when he captured Ptolemy Philometer. And yet, the individual of the Biblical record only invades Egypt, as here stated, three times. So, J tries to circumvent this problem two ways. Concerning verse 25 he tries to say that this is, "a fuller detail of what was summarily stated (vss 22-24)." Thus turning four invasions into three. But, this goes against the flow of the passage concerning the career of this individual, which is subsequently proven by B who stated, "these verses describe Antiochus IV Epiphanes...[who]is given as much attention as all the others before him combined." Yet, with all this attention to detail that this passage affords B neglects to EVEN MENTION the first invasion of Egypt and the capture of Ptolemy, in order to maintain the inherent flow of the passage, which only shows three invasions. Again, this is an argument from silence, and even more, it is a hermeneutical Malpractice of sorts. And J's second attempt of dodging the issue is to, once again, paraphrase The Inspired Word to make the theory fit the facts that don't match the Biblical description - plain and simple. But, more than that, this is the main personage of the passage involved, and they don't agree on how to correctly interpret the passage. With the start and end being the foundation, this would be the capstone, and yet this whole edifice is built upon arguments from silence, and personal paraphrases of the Word.

IV) The Prince of the Covenant

Dan 11:22 And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant.

In verse 22 a "Prince of the Covenant" is broken and yet again, the interpreters are at odds as to who this individual might be, where as, if "The context so accurately agrees with the relations of Antiochus to Ptolemy that the primary reference seems to be to the 'league' between them" (J), then there should be no doubt as to this person's identity, yet B, because they don't acknowledge the first 'invasion' of Egypt by Antiochus, which ended with this covenant, they find the fulfillment in "Onias III, the high priest, called here a prince of the covenant" whom Antiochus disposed. This interpretation would also make "the league with him" separate from "the covenant" which may be the case, but is in conflict with the previous interpretation and what, to me, is the logical understanding of the passage - one covenant, and that the Holy Covenant (Mosaic) as stated in other passages in Daniel and further in this passage, when the same covenant is subsequently broken. The significance of this is that the confirming of the covenant (Dan 9) is the official start of the tribulation (and the MAJOR POINT of this vision) and their views break up the general analogy of the word, and the flow of the passage, and provide no initiatory confirmation of the covenant that is the focus of the latter part of the passage. And, for this reason (and others) they MUST interpret the abomination of desolation in this passage as referring to Antiochus, as opposed to our Lord who applied it to the Antichrist. If both interpretations were in agreement, it would make the case more solid, but the fact that they can't agree on the prime criteria for the rise of the "vile one" should lead the reader to discard their interpretation as unfounded.

V) Forecast Devices

Dan 11:24 He shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province; and he shall do [that] which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers' fathers; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches: [yea], and he shall forecast his devices against the strong holds, even for a time.

The success of this "vile one", the Scriptures (vs's 24-25) attribute to "devices" that he "forecasts" against the king of the south. Remember that this is the individual that the entire passage (or according to B the majority of the passage) is referring to. Thus, you would think that this statement should be easily ascertainable from history. Yet B fails, once again, to even mention the phrase. J makes an attempt by, once again, paraphrasing the Inspired text as, "he shall form a studied scheme" against the king of the south. Devices (machashebeth) means a contrivance, or texture, machine or abstractly - intentions (Strong's Exhaustive Con.). Thus, the passage itself should determine for us if this is an abstract idea, as they propose, or a device as the primary definition requires. Now, verse 21 talks about the arms as a flood which a casual understanding would equate to a military confrontation(which J does not but B does agree with), and vs 24 specifies that this individual takes a spoil - an obvious reference to the spoils of war (which B acknowledges and J totally ignores), and vs 26 tells us that the king of the south shall be DESTROYED (shabar - to burst, breakdown, in pieces, crush, destroy etc) which, by their interpretation, HE WAS NOT (he was left in power), which BOTH interpreters passover, once again, in silence, even though in vs 11:20, where this word is also used, both acknowledge that Seleucus Philopator was assassinated by poison and thus destroyed. So, here we see that the entire tenor of the passage is; after the initial rise to power by "intrigue" or "flatteries"; one of military conflict. Thus the device, assuredly, is not referring to an abstract "studied scheme" but a military device of some kind. I stated in my interpretation that this is a very accurate description of a pre-emptive tactical nuclear strike, which would fit the martial context of the passage.

And now we can look at the 'minor' discrepancies of their positions.

Minor Discrepancy :

1) Both authors ignore, in verse 14, "the robbers of your people" which I showed was fulfilled, to a tee, by Shabbati Tzvi.

2) Both ignore "not be found" in verse 19, which I showed was referring to Napoleon being exiled on an obscure island and buried in an unmarked grave.

3) J says that "he who comes against him" in vs 16 is still referring to Antiochus Epiphanes, when the passage indicates that it is someone else. And this is where the mistake is made concerning the origins of the a.c. - North or West (see post on The King of the West). B totally ignores the description. The passage itself, by grammatical rules, implies another individual other then Antiochus (which B obviously realized) and which J passes over, without explaining why it is Antiochus against the proper rules of grammar.

4) "His own behalf" in verse 18 is ignored by B and claimed by J even though B states that Scipio was not acting on his own behalf but had been dispatched from Rome specifically to turn Antiochus back.

5) "Within few days" of vs 20 is ignored by B because Seleucus Philopater reigned for 12 years, not a few days. J says that these 12 years were a few days compared to the 37 years that Antiochus ruled. I personally find this hard to believe and this is the exact reason why I discarded my original interpretation of this being Charles X, for the simple reason that he reigned for 7 years or so. The omission of B is very telling in this regards indicating that they also believe that 12 is a tad bit too long to stretch those 'few days.'

7) In verse 7 the king of the south invades and conquers the "fortress of the king of the north" which at the time was Antioch, yet this was not accomplished by the person in question, but instead it was a city in Assyria, whereas in my interpretation Baybar in fact did attack and overcome the city. This is a glaring minor discrepancy and makes the Scriptures seem like inaccurate guesses instead of a precise history written in advance. The same, exactly, is true of verses 10 and 13.

So, those are just some of the problems with the original interpretation of Daniel's Last Vision, and I only looked at this today. I haven't had time to search it out completely, nor do I feel the need to continue, for I feel that I have proven my point, and now the Burden of Proof lies in the other camp.


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