Introduction to the Book of Daniel

            The book of Daniel has two distinct sections. Chapters 1 through 6 are mostly historical narrative of the life and times of Daniel, but include some prophetic material found in Daniel’s interpretation of king Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. Chapters 7 through 12 delve deeply into Daniel’s prophetic visions about events to happen in his future.

            The events described by Daniel begin when Daniel was taken captive by the Babylonians and carried off to Babylon under king Nebuchadnezzar II. This was sometime between 605 and 598 BC. It is generally thought that Daniel was young at the time, perhaps about 14. The text mentions Daniel’s personal interaction with not only Nebuchadnezzar, but also other rulers to follow—including Belshazzar, Darius the Mede, and Cyrus the Persian. Cyrus was ruler from 539 to 530 BC.

Daniel, a Jew, demonstrates his wisdom and moral integrity as well as God’s protection, and he gains favor with the pagan royalty. Included in the book are the famous biblical stories about God’s protection of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace—and Daniel in the lion’s den. There are several lessons we can glean from Daniel’s account. Among them are:

  • The sovereignty of the God and His intervention into history.
  • The importance of trusting in the one true God and our faithful allegiance to Him, even under persecution.
  • The willingness to witness the truth of the one true God to even pagan rulers and others in authority.
  • The willingness of believers to participate in civil government when circumstances allow, bringing biblical truth and values to society.

Daniel’s witness to political rulers, as well as his competent participation in government, is similar to other biblical figures, including Joseph (book of Genesis), Mordecai (book of Esther), and Paul (book of Acts). See also Romans 13:1-7 for the biblical view of government. These examples should give Christians today a message about the importance of influencing civil government with integrity and truth.

            The prophetic sections of the book are more difficult. Like the book of Revelation, there are many symbolic depictions, and Christians have different interpretations. These interpretations are challenging enough because of the symbolism, but Christians also often mistakenly read their presuppositions into the text. Our focus will be on what is clearest and most relevant to us today.

            Scholars generally see the four kingdoms of Daniel 2 and 7 as Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. The fifth kingdom is clearly Christ’s kingdom as it is described as an everlasting kingdom (Daniel 2:44; 7:27). So, the story line of Daniel ends in the first century during the Roman empire and work of Christ.

            However, some liberal scholars see the four kingdoms as Babylon, Media, Persia, and finally Greece. They base this partly on a false, we think, assumption that the book of Daniel was written in the 200’s or even the 100’s BC during the Grecian domination. This view is influenced by liberals’ skepticism of biblical prophecy. That is, they question that the prophecies of Daniel were truly written in advance, and were only written as history—after the events took place. But representations in the book itself indicate that Daniel was its author (9:2; 10:2) and thus it was probably written shortly after the capture of Babylon by Cyrus in 539 BC.

Liberals also suggest that there was never a time when Media and Persia acted together. But that is incorrect. Persia conquered Media in 550 BC and Media subsequently operated as a vassal state under Persian authority. Also, there is a reference to “the Medes and Persians” in Daniel 5:28 and elsewhere as evidence that Daniel considered them as together, constituting one kingdom. Josephus also placed the Medes and Persians as a single conquering force. But we can be certain that Daniel’s prophetic events culminated under the Roman empire. How do we know? Because Jesus himself said so, as we will see when we explore the Chapters 9 and 12 of Daniel.

One thing that makes interpretation difficult is that the Messianic references are mixed in with the pre-Messianic references. But let’s focus on the Messianic references. One important one is the term “son of man” found in Daniel 7:13 and 8:17. This term is clearly a reference to Messiah.

The term is used eighty-one times in the New Testament gospels, and is the title that Jesus most often used of himself. (It also appears in the book of Ezekiel. Ezekiel was a contemporary of Daniel.) In Daniel 7:9-27 where we find this term, we note several other things. The Son of Man would have dominion over all in an everlasting kingdom. But more than this, the Son of Man would come in judgment (7:10) on clouds of heaven (7:13). It is only God who has the power and authority to judge, and only God comes on clouds—so Jesus was claiming deity by proclaiming himself to be the Son of Man.

Jesus Coming on Clouds of Judgment in Daniel 7

Some Christians place the complete fulfillment of Daniel 7 at Jesus’ First Coming. But that cannot be correct because Jesus’ coming-on-clouds judgment (Daniel 7:9-14) was not at the First Coming but at the Second Coming (Matthew 23:35; 24:29-34; 26:64). Others think that Jesus’ coming “on clouds” is upward and was fulfilled at the Ascension. But that must be ruled out because the event is about a coming, not a going away. Further, Jesus was not given dominion at the Ascension. Luke places the kingdom coming in finality at the fall of Jerusalem (Luke 21:6, 22, 31-32).

Other Christians place the fulfillment at the Second Coming, yet expect it at the end of history. But Jesus promised to return in judgment within his own generation at the end of the age (the old covenant age)—failure to have done so would make Jesus a false prophet. You may have read these passages numerous times, but take the time to re-read them: Matthew 3:7; 10:23; 13:36-43; 16:27-28; 21:33-45; 22:1-15; 23:29-24:2; 24:15-34; Mark 8:28-9:1; Luke 13:6-9; 21:20-24, 32; John 12:31; 21:22; 2 Timothy 4:1 (see Young’s Literal Translation); Hebrews 10:25-37; 1 Peter 4:7, 17; 2 Peter 3:10-13; Revelation 1:1-3; 22:6-20. Jesus spoke of an imminent return in judgment, and the writers of the New Testament echoed that expectation. What is often misunderstood is that Jesus’ Parousia (literally, his effectual divinepresence”) was not to be a visible bodily coming, but rather a metaphoric coming in judgment, just as Yahweh came in clouds of judgment in the Old Testament.

For the critical context of Jesus coming on clouds, we need to study Yahweh’s previous intervention into the affairs of men, especially those “on clouds.” Clouds are God’s figurative abode and manner of travel. No one actually saw God “coming on clouds,” so this is a Hebraic phrase to express God’s presence to effect change, including judgment. Study such passages as the following, which often include figurative disruptions of the created order, which are common expressions of Hebraic apocalyptic language: Exodus 19:9; 34:5; Leviticus 16:2; Numbers 11:25; Deuteronomy 5:22; Psalm 18:7-12; 97:2-5; 104:1-9; Isaiah 19:1; Joel 2:1-2; Nahum 1:2-3; Zephaniah 1:14-16.

The preterist view of prophecy is that most, if not all, of the Old and New Testament passages about Jesus’ Parousia (“Second Coming”) were fulfilled by Jesus’ coming in judgment against Old Covenant Israel in AD 70. While this notion seems foreign to many modern Christians, it has been a view held by Christians since the first century. (Some preterists see a few passages, such as Acts 1:9-11 as still in our future.) Daniel 7:9-27 clearly ties to the Second Coming predictions made by Jesus in the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24/25; Mark 13; Luke 17/21) in which Jesus promised to return in judgment on clouds. And he promised to do so within a generation, while many of those hearing his words were still alive.

Most Christians today think “coming on clouds” is a future bodily return of Jesus—literally on clouds. What they fail to understand is the metaphorical context of such Hebraic apocalyptic language in Scripture. Jesus claimed divinity to come on clouds of judgment against Old Covenant Israel in AD 70 for her sins and failure to accept Him as Messiah—just as Yahweh “came” in judgment in the Old Testament numerous times against his enemies.

The religious leaders of Jesus’ day resented the fact that Jesus claimed to be the divine Messiah by his use of “son of man” and “coming on clouds.” They also clearly understood by his remarks that THEY THEMSELVES would soon be the specific target of his Second Coming judgment—his Parousia—to mark end of the old covenant age. There are over 100 passages in the New Testament that limit fulfillment to the first century. In Matthew 23:45 the Jews declared their understanding that Jesus was speaking about taking the blessings of the covenant from THEM and giving it to another group. Jesus specifically told Caiaphas and the chief priests in Matthew 26:64 that THEY themselves would witness this judgment “coming.” This insulted and angered the Jews who accused him of blasphemy which led to his execution. The preterist view takes Jesus at his word, there being no need to explain away what both the old and new testaments teach.

Only the preterist view honors the numerous imminency passages, restores Jesus’ credibility, is consistent throughout, and is faithful to Scripture. We know that Jesus’ judgment upon the Jewish nation did in fact happen in AD 70 in the manner and time frame that He predicted. It was the norm in biblical history that God would use the army of one group of people to administer his justice against another group. In this case, He used the Romans to administer his judgment upon the apostate Jews. There really is no room for doubt, in our view, that Daniel 7:9-27 includes the Second Coming judgment in AD 70.

The fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple in AD 70 is theologically more significant than most Christians think. That event marked the end of the Jewish priesthood, and it ended the temple sacrifices for sin forever. The genealogical records of the Jews were also lost forever. Jesus replaced the temple per John 2:18-21 and Revelation 21:22. So, Jesus became our sole source of salvation. No longer could anyone say they are saved by Jewish birth or temple sacrifices. While the New Covenant began with Jesus’ first advent, the Old Covenant ended in finality in AD 70 (Hebrews 8:13). The forty-year transition period between approximately AD 30 and 70 is a remarkable parallel to the Exodus. The Hebrew children escaped the worldly bondage of slavery in Egypt at the Exodus, but they did not reach their new home for forty years, after much trial and tribulation. In the first century, believers received their promised escape from spiritual bondage at the cross, but would enter their new spiritual dwelling place—the New Jerusalem/New Heaven and Earth (Revelation 7, 21)—about forty years later, after much trial and tribulation (Acts 14:22; Revelation 1:9).

Abomination of Desolation

Another important term that we find in Daniel is the multiple mentions of a time when the burnt offering would be taken away (or similarly the end to sacrifice) and the sanctuary overthrown(or similarly the transgression that makes desolate/the abomination of desolation). This terminology appears in these passages: 8:11-14; 9:27; 11:31, and 12:11.

            The term abomination of desolation is used by both Daniel and Jesus. It refers to times in history in which the temple was desecrated. This, in fact, happened twice. Many commentators—futurists and preterists—agree that both of these occurrences are referenced in Daniel. Daniel 8:11-14 and 11:31 probably refer to the first time it happened—in the mid-second century BC. Daniel 9:27 and 12:11 refer to the second time it happened—during the Jewish-Roman War from AD 66-70. This is the abomination of desolation to which Jesus specifically refers as he describes the soon future events surrounding his Second Coming (Matthew 24:15-28; Mark 13:14-23; Luke 21:20-24).

            In the first occurrence, King Antiochus IV Epiphanes (ruler of the Greek Seleucid kingdom from 175-164 BC) forbade ceremonies and the worship of God in the Jerusalem temple and in the cities of Judah. In around 168 (or perhaps 167) BC Antiochus entered the Most Holy Place and plundered the silver and gold vessels. He erected an altar to the Olympian Zeus on the altar of God in the temple court and sacrificed pigs there. The books of 1 and 2 Maccabees (books in the Roman Catholic Bible but not in the Protestant Bible) mention the abomination of desolation in reference to these actions of Antiochus.

            There are some confirming indications within Daniel that the 8:11-14 mention of the abomination of desolation refers to the Antiochus abomination. In particular, verse 8:14 indicates that the temple would be restored. The temple was indeed cleansed and rededicated under the leadership of Judas Maccabeus in 164 BC.

The other instances of the burnt offering cessation and the abomination of desolation (Daniel 9:27 and 12:11) are portrayed differently by Daniel than the Antiochus situation. At the end of the AD 66-70 abomination period, instead of being cleansed or restored, the temple would be destroyed (Daniel 9:26) and the Jewish nation would be shattered (Daniel 12:7-11). This was a first century fulfillment, but there are minor disagreements over what precise event marked the final abomination of desolation. It could be the destruction of the temple itself in AD 70. Or it could be other events earlier in the AD 66-70 tribulation period when various radical groups—the Zealots and the Idumeans—stormed the temple and committed acts of mass murder. But in any case, it seems clear that Daniel 9:27 and 12:11 were fulfilled consistent with the prophecies of Daniel and Jesus—in the first century.

“So, when YOU see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.” (Matthew 24:15-16) “But when YOU see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near.” (Luke 21:20) In these words, our Lord was speaking to his disciples—not to us thousands of years later. THEY were to witness the abomination of desolation. The veracity of Jesus is at stake here. Daniel’s vision would be fulfilled in finality with the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70.

Josephus, who was a first-century Jewish eyewitness to the events of AD 66-70, specifically wrote that the “abomination of desolation” was fulfilled both under Antiochus and finally with the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70 (Antiquities of the Jews X.11.7).

The Time of the End in Daniel 12

It is particularly apparent in Daniel chapter 12 that we find a first-century AD fulfillment. Chapter 12 culminates Daniel’s visions. This chapter is often titled “The Time of the End” in most Bibles, and that phrase in mentioned in verses 4, 7, 9, and 13 in Daniel chapter 12. Note that it does not say, “the end of time.” So, this marked the end of what? The events of this chapter indubitably define the Second Coming events of 66-70 AD. Thus, it is not the end of the world, but the end of the Old Covenant Mosaic Age. (Previous mentions in Daniel of a “time of the end” refer to the end of a prior secular kingdom rather than the Mosaic age.) Jesus himself places this fulfillment in the first century. Below are some important references by Jesus to Daniel 12 that help to confirm the preterist interpretation:

time of trouble such as never has been since there was a nation till that time (12:1)

Jesus uses this same phrase in the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24:21; Mark 13:19) where He emphatically placed these events to occur within his generation (Matthew 24:34; Mark 13:30; Luke 21:20-22, 32) in conjunction with the fall of Jerusalem. Josephus described them similarly as the worst any city had ever suffered (The Wars of the Jews V.10.5 and VII.9.4), thus describing the actual events after-the-fact in identical fashion as Daniel and Jesus did before they happened.

There is broad agreement among both futurists and preterists that this time of trouble refers to the so-called Great Tribulation. In support of the preterist view, Jesus, in Matthew 24:15-22 ties the Great Tribulation with the abomination of desolation, using nearly identical language as does Daniel to describe the coming holocaust, which we know occurred during the Jewish-Roman War of AD 66-70. Indeed, all these things refer to AD 66-70: The great tribulation, the abomination of desolation, the destruction of the temple, the great judgment, the end of the Old Covenant Age—and the Parousia.

            Most Christians think that the Great Tribulation is still in our future and will be a global event. Jesus dispels any such ideas. Here is a partial summary of the evidence from Luke 21, a parallel passage to Matthew 24/25 and Mark 13:

  • Jesus said that the tribulation/wrath/desolation would come when they saw “Jerusalem surrounded by armies,” leaving no room for doubt about a first century fulfillment. (Luke 21:20)
  • Jesus said that the tribulation/wrath/desolation could be escaped by those in Judea by simply fleeing to the mountains, making it clear that it was a local rather than a global event. (Luke 21:21)
  • Jesus said that “these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled”—a declaration in the present tense—in a clear reference to when Jerusalem would be surrounded by armies in the first century (Luke 21:20-22). This fulfills the long-standing “vengeance” prophecy of Moses in Deuteronomy 28-32. In this passage, Moses prophesied that there would come a time when the Jews would become so unfaithful that God would take VENGEANCE on them (Deuteronomy 32:35, 41, 43) and destroy them (mentioned ten times in Deuteronomy 28). This would happen when they became a “perverse” generation (Deuteronomy 32:20), which Jesus and the writers of the New Testament declared was the first-century generation of Jews (Matthew 12:38-42; 16:4; 17:17; Mark 8:38-9:1; Luke 11:29-32; Acts 2:40; Philippians 2:13-15). Also of note, Moses said this would happen at their “end” (Deuteronomy 32:20) and “latter end” (Deuteronomy 32:29). Daniel was certainly aware of Moses’ words and was echoing Moses’ prophecy about their covenantal end.
  • Jesus said that the wrath would come upon “this people,” a clear reference to the first-century apostate Jews. (Luke 21:23)
  • Jesus said many would “fall by the edge of the sword,” making this about ancient warfare, not modern nuclear weapons and taught by many modern teachers. Josephus reported that 1,100,000 people died in Jerusalem during the siege by the Romans. (Luke 21:24)
  • Jesus said that the tribulation/wrath/desolation would be marked by the Gentiles trampling Jerusalem, which happened when the Gentile Romans invaded. (Luke 21:24)
  • Jesus said that all (Old Testament) prophecy would be fulfilled in his generation. (Luke 21:22, 32)
  • Jesus reiterated that these things were about to happen. (Luke 21:36. See the NASB, NIV, and YLT translations.)

the general resurrection and judgment of the dead (12:2)

You might now be saying, “Wait. This cannot all have happened in the first century because the resurrection of the dead has not happened yet.” But let me ask you a question: Where do you think that the Old Testament saints are now, today? Most Christians would say they are in heaven. So, if they are in heaven now, how can there NOT already have been a resurrection?

While futurists place the general resurrection and judgment at the end of history (amillennialists/postmillennialists) or at the beginning of a literal earthly millennium (premillennialists), the New Testament places it as imminent in the first century

  • at the end of the Old Covenant Age (Matthew 13:39-43)
  • at the Second Coming Parousia in the first century (Matthew 16:27-28; 25:31-46; 1 Corinthians 15:20-57)
  • as imminent to the time of the apostles (John 5:21-29; Acts 17:31; 24:15; Romans 13:11-12; 2 Timothy 4:1; 1 Peter 4:5, 17; Revelation 20:12-15; 22:12). Read Acts 17:31 and 24:15 in Young’s Literal Translation, which makes it clear that there was “about to be” (Greek “mello”) a resurrection. The general resurrection was imminent when the New Testament was being written.

Hebrews 9:27 teaches that we will all be judged when we die. But the “Great Judgment,” abut which the Old and New Testaments speak, was God’s judgment against apostate Old Covenant Israel in AD 70. Eschatology is largely about the change of the covenants in the first century through the work of Jesus, who was given the power to judge (John 5:19-22; Revelation 6:12-17).

The futurist view of resurrection relies on a false assumption that the general resurrection will be a resurrection to earth in our old earthly bodies. But that is not what the Bible teaches. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul discusses what our resurrection bodies will be like. He says four times that the resurrection bodies will be spiritual bodies (in heaven). The preterist view is that the general resurrection occurred in or about AD 70 when the faithful were raised from hades, the temporary abode of the dead, and taken to HEAVEN in their new glorified, spiritual bodies. When the Old Covenant passed from history, there was no longer any reason for believers to be kept out of heaven. The preterist view is that when believers die today, we go directly to heaven in our new bodies. This is good news, don’t you agree?

the book sealed until the time of the end (12:4)

The “end” was not to be the end of the world, but the end of the Old Covenant Age. Revelation confirms that the time of the end was NEAR/MUST SHORTLY TAKE PLACE, soon after John wrote Revelation (Revelation 1:1-3; 22:6-20). Revelation was certainly written prior to AD 70 and refers to AD 70. Revelation 22:10 is a bookend to Daniel’s message and states not to seal up the prophecy of the book for the time was near. See my article “Twenty Evidences Why Revelation Was Written before AD 70” in Section B of my articles:

time, times, and half a time when the shattering of the power of the holy people would come to an end (12:7)

The phrase “time, times, and half a time” is usually recognized even by futurists to be a 3½ year period (one year, plus two years, plus a half year). Since these events culminate in the first century, we should be looking for first-century historical fulfillments. Three and a half years is exactly the time that the final assault on Jerusalem by the Romans lasted. This assault, under Vespasian and his son Titus beginning in February AD 67, culminated in the destruction of the temple in August AD 70. Of further interest is the mention of 1,290 days in Daniel 12:11, which is also 3½ years.

It is definitive that the power of the holy people ended when Jerusalem was destroyed, Israel ceased to be a nation, the priesthood ended, and the temple was destroyed in AD 70. Revelation 11:2 states that the holy city would be trampled for forty-two months, again 3½ years. (Note: Not all of these 3 ½-year periods are necessarily the same. There was another historical 3½ year period that may apply, that being the 3½ years of persecution of Christians by Nero beginning in November of AD 64 and ending at his death in June of AD 68. The 1290 days may refer to this period.) While there are different possible interpretations of the respective 3½-year periods, it is remarkable how these fit the historically significant facts of the first century.

Daniel’s 70 Weeks

            Finally, let’s back up and address the famous passage in Daniel 9:24-27—the Seventy Weeks. The “seventy weeks” are usually understood to be seventy weeks of years, or 490 years. Why is that? The original Hebrew word for week means “a period of seven” and can apply to days or years. A more literal translation of Daniel 9:24 would be “seventy sevens are determined.” Importantly, the only way to get close to the events described in the passage is to understand it this way―70 times 7 or 490 years. It’s also noteworthy that “seven” is sometimes used figuratively in Scripture to depict fulfillment.

While there are different possibilities, most scholars think that the 70 weeks began in approximately 457 BC (give or take) when King Artaxerxes decreed that the Israelites who had not already done so could return to Jerusalem (Ezra 7:12-26).

            Note that the “anointed one,” i.e. Jesus, was crucified (“cut off”) after the 69th week (7 weeks plus 62 weeks equals 69 weeks). The 69th week ended about AD 27 (483 years). The text does not clarify how long after the end of the 69th week Jesus died. But AD 27-30 would fit the time line. If Jesus’ ministry began in AD 27, He was crucified in AD 30. But then it gets more controversial with the final 70th week.

Dispensationalists insist that there is a gap of thousands of years between the sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks. They think this must be finally fulfilled in our future. But this is preposterous. As confirmed by Daniel 12, Daniel 9 ends with the war, the fall of Jerusalem and destruction of the temple (and thus the end of the temple ritual sacrifices): “shall put an end to sacrifice and offering”―which was clearly AD 70. Jesus affirmed the time-line in Matthew 24:15, tying Daniel’s abomination of desolation (9:27; 12:11) with the destruction of the temple (Matthew 24:1-2, 34). Speaking to his contemporaries, He declared, “When YOU see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel. . . .Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place” (24:15, 34).

The seventy weeks are a unit. While there was a 40-year “transition” period between the cross and the Parousia, there is no indication of any greater gap in the seventy-week period. Daniel 7 implies that the cross and judgment upon Old Covenant Israel are two parts to the same event. This convergence is confirmed by several other passages in Scripture: Isaiah 61:2; Haggai 2:6-7 (ref. Hebrews 12:26, 37); Zechariah 12:10-11; 13:1, 6; 14:1-3; Malachi 3:1; 4:1,5; Hebrews 10:11-13.

Yet, the apparent 40-year gap between the 69th and 70th week suggests that the “seventy weeks” could not have been a strictly literal chronology, since 490 years from 457 BC ends in about AD 34. Thus, it was not precisely 490 years as some think. Some people think that the 490 years ended with the stoning of Stephen in c. AD 34, but that event does not fit the narrative of the destruction of the temple.

There are several dates that could be the beginning of the “seventy weeks,” and none of these dates encapsulate the prophecy into a literal 490 years ending in AD 70 without forcing the dates to fit. See the endnotes for possible beginnings of the prophecy as defined by various “decrees” in the Old Testament.[1]

To be more precise, however, the destruction of the temple in AD 70 happened, apparently, in the MIDDLE of the 70th week. The first half of the 70th week matches the period of the siege of Jerusalem by the Roman army under Vespasian and his son Titus―which was from February AD 67 to August AD 70. That’s 3 1/2 years. Interestingly, that matches the 42-month period―also 3 1/2 years―in Revelation 11:2 predicting that the holy city would be trampled.

What happened during the second half of the 70th week? The text doesn’t say. But it hints that the end of the war was coming (9:26). The Jewish-Roman War finally ended at the close of AD 73 or early AD 74 when the Romans finally took the fortress of Masada. That was 3 1/2 years from the destruction of the temple in AD 70.

There is no 7-year tribulation found in Daniel 9:24-27, except the Jewish-Roman War. And indeed, that was a Great Tribulation for the Jews as, according to Josephus, over a million of them were killed and tens of thousands taken into slavery.

Who are the two “princes?” They may have been different people. The first prince (9:25) is the “anointed one” or the Messiah Jesus, who atoned for iniquities. The second prince (“who was to come” in 9:26) may also have been Jesus. Jesus had a hand in the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 per Acts 6:14. But the second prince was conceivably was a different prince―the Roman general Titus, the one who literally destroyed the city and sanctuary.

And, by the way, the text says nothing about the restoration of Israel to her land. Jesus’ kingdom is not a worldly kingdom (John 18:36). There is no justification for putting any of this beyond the first century except for a violently forced presupposition on the part of the interpreter. And, Jesus made it abundantly clear that all Old Testament prophecy would be fulfilled in his generation:

“These are the days of vengeance to fulfill all that is written.” (Luke 21:22)

We also reject any ideas of double fulfillment of the AD 70 time-line in Daniel. The idea of double fulfillment is that, yes, any given passage was fulfilled in AD 70, but it will be fulfilled again in the future. This view postulates that the temple will be rebuilt (again) in the future; there will be two Second Comings, two Great Tribulations, and so forth—one in AD 70 and one at the end of history. We argue that the Bible never contemplates the end of history (Ecclesiastes 1:4; Psalms 78:69; 104:5; 148:4-6) or the end of the Christian age (Daniel 2:44; 7:14; etc.)—only the end of the Old Covenant Age.

The double fulfillment idea is just not in the New Testament. It is true that there are “types and shadows” in the Old Testament. For example, the old covenant was a type or “shadow” of things to come—the new covenant. However, the new covenant is not a shadow of still newer things to come. The prophecies, types, and shadows of the Old Testament have been fulfilled once for all with Jesus’ completed work in the first century. Jesus clearly stated that all prophecy would be fulfilled in his generation (Luke 21:22, 32; etc.).

The first-century fulfillment expectations were the correct ones and things happened right on time—no gaps, no gimmicks, no double meanings, no interruptions, no postponements, no delays, no exegetical gymnastics, and no changing the meaning of commonly used and normally understood words. Such manipulative devices have only given liberals and skeptics a foothold to discredit Christ’s deity and the inspiration of Scripture. What needs adjusting is our understanding of both the timeand natureof fulfillment to comport with Holy Scripture, and not manipulation of the time factor to conform to our popular, futuristic, and delayed expectations.


Charles Meek is the author of CHRISTIAN HOPE THROUGH FULILLED PROPHECY: IS YOUR CHURCH TEACHING ERROR ABOUT THE LAST DAYS AND SECOND COMING? (An Exposition of Evangelical Preterism) The book is available at Amazon.

Mr. Meek is also the editor of, one of the oldest apologetics sites on the Internet.

[1] Daniel 70 Weeks Literal Possibilities:

Decree                                   Date               69 Wks/483 Yrs                   70 Wks/490 Yrs

Ezra 1:1-4 (Cyrus)           538-537 BC                  55-54 BC                            48-47 BC

Ezra 6:8-14 (Darius)        520-518 BC                 37-35 BC                            30-28 BC

Ezra 7:12-26 (Artaxerxes)  457 BC                      27 AD                                     34 AD

Neh. 2:1-8 (Artaxerxes)      444 BC                      40 AD                                     47 AD           

Neh. 2:1-8 (Artaxerxes)      454 BC                      30 AD                                      37 AD

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