DANIEL 11 AND OTHER

SCHOOLS OF PROPHETIC INTERPRETATION

We now focus our attention on claims of exact historical fulfillment in Daniel 11. The absurdity of the preterist position on Daniel 7-9 has already been made evident, but we need to critique their view of Daniel 11 for it contains excellent evidence for Antiochus Epiphanes as the intended fulfillment. Secondly, we critique the most popular historicist application of the very same verses. It demonstrates the weakness of the historicist position and illustrates the bias of their method. First the preterist view. Consider the following details:

20 Then in his place one will arise who will send an oppressor through the Jewel of his kingdom; yet within a few days he will be shattered, though neither in anger nor in battle.

It is understood that Seleucus Philopator must be referred to here. One problem then, as C. M. Maxwell points out, is that this king was to be "broken, neither in anger or in battle" and that according to the best available evidence, Seleucus Philopator was murdered. And Keil notes that the Hebrew expression "a few days," (as in Genesis 27:44, 29:20), designates a very short time and that this does not harmonize with the fact of his twelve years’ reign.

21 And in his place a despicable person will arise, on whom the honor of kingship has not been conferred, but he will come in a time of tranquility and seize the kingdom by intrigue. 22 And the overflowing forces will be flooded away before him and shattered, and also the prince of the covenant.

All agree that Antiochus did not seize the kingdom by flatteries or intrigue and that his time was not a notable period of tranquility.

The most common identification of the prince of the covenant is as Keil writes: "the Jewish high priest, Onias III who at the commencement of the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes was driven from his office by his brother, and afterwards, at the instigation of Menelaus, was murdered by the Syrian governor Andronicus at Daphne near Antioch, (2 Macc. 4:1 ff., 33ff.)."

Keil quickly adds:

"This interpretation is not warranted by the facts of history. This murder does not at all relate to the matter before us, not only because the Jewish high priest at Antioch did not sustain the relation of a "prince of the covenant," but also because the murder was perpetrated without the previous knowledge of Antiochus, and when the matter was reported to him, the murderer was put to death by his command (2 Macc. 4:36-38)."

25 And he will stir up his strength and courage against the king of the South with a large army; so the king of the South will mobilize an extremely large and mighty army for war; but he will not stand, for schemes will be devised against him.

Secular sources agree that, at this time, Egypt had no "extremely large and mighty army." In reply to this, The Interpreter’s Bible Commentary only states that the estimate of Egyptian forces was somewhat exaggerated.

According to the text, the South was to be the more powerful opponent, yet it would be defeated through the schemes of the enemy-prince. This does not fit Antiochus Epiphanes in any way. There was no trickery employed by him. It was unnecessary! He had the larger army.

28 Then he will return to his land with much plunder; but his heart will be set against the holy covenant, and he shall work his will and return to his own land. 29 At the appointed time he will return and come into the South, but this last time it will not turn out the way it did before. 30 For ships of Kittim will come against him; therefore he will be disheartened, and will return and become enraged at the holy covenant and take action; so he will come back and show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant. 31 And forces from him will arise, desecrate the sanctuary fortress, and do away with the regular sacrifice. And they will set up the abomination of desolation.

These verses present a glorious victory for the little horn in his first attack on the king of the south. His second strike against the south proves unsuccessful however, for a fleet of ships from Kittim come against him. It is then clearly stated that because of this defeat and unexpected intervention by a power he could not overthrow, the tyrant prince becomes infuriated, retreats and vents his anger and rage against that which his heart opposed — the holy covenant.

There is some resemblance of history here. There were two campaigns against Egypt by Antiochus. During the second, Antiochus was forced to leave Egypt. Here are the details alleged to be the fulfillment of the prophecy:

"Messengers from the Roman Senate encountered Antiochus as he besieged Alexandria. Popillius Laenas was the head of the Roman embassy. He told Antiochus that the Senate demanded his withdrawal from Egypt. As the Syrian leader vacillated in the giving of his reply, the Roman drew around Antiochus a circle on the sand of the shore with his staff. He demanded an answer before Antiochus moved from the circle. Intimidated, the Syrians withdrew from Egypt" (Desmond Ford, Daniel, p. 269).

This presents several problems:

First: No fleet of ships came against Antiochus. The Roman messengers made the voyage on a single vessel.

Second: Because the LXX translates the above passage as: "And the Romans will come.." and that the Dead Sea Scrolls call the Romans Kittum, only tells us that the prophecy was understood as applying to the Romans after the event took place. In actual fact, there is no connection between Rome and Cyprus. This is just another case of the historicist retro-fit (history defines prophecy) methodology.

Third: The sequence of events is ignored. Antiochus defiled the temple on his first return from Egypt, not his second! (1 Macc 1:20-25).

Fourth: The setting up of the abomination of desolation, "as recorded in 1 Maccabees 1:54, taken together with verse 59, tells of an altar built on the altar of burnt-offering, not of any statue such as the Daniel reference would suggest" (Joyce Baldwin, Daniel, p. 195).

36 He will exalt and magnify himself above every God, and will speak monstrous things against the God of Gods... 37 and he will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the desire of women, nor will he show regard for any other god; for he will magnify himself above them all.

The Interpreter’s Bible reluctantly comments: "The secular historians, however, do not seem to have been struck by any particular impiety in Antiochus. On the contrary, both Pliny and Polybius remark on the honor he paid the gods, and it is a matter of record that he contributed lavishly to the shrines at Athens and Delos."... "We do not know of any particular words of blasphemy uttered by Antiochus against the Jewish God."

Keil notes on page 464 of his commentary that: "Antiochus, according to Livy, xli. 20, put great honor upon Jupiter by building a splendid temple to Tages, and according to Polybius, xxvi. 10,11, he excelled all kings who preceded him in expensive sacrifices and gifts in honor of the gods."

41 But these will be rescued out of his hand: Edom and Moab and the foremost of the sons of Ammon.

The Interpreter’s Bible frankly admit two problems with this verse. They write: "This is a puzzle. Charles asks why the Edomites and Ammonites, who were enemies of the Jews and who, according to 1 Macc 4:61; 5:1-8, were on the side of Antiochus, should be spoken of as being delivered out of his hand, and why the Moabites should appear here when as a people they had long since disappeared from history."

 

Historicism

The historicists of today generally hold the position of Reformation Protestantism. Our objection to this school is that they read history into prophecy instead of letting prophecy explain itself. Now, if our objection is valid, such a struggle with Scripture should be easy to detect — especially in Daniel 11. The prophecy is free of symbolism. It is more precise in its meaning and more specific in its details than any other prophecy of the Bible. And since inflexible sentences are hard to shape by wishful thinking, such an attempt would be self-evident. That is how we refute the most popular historicist view of Daniel 11; We simply quote it. That you may more easily grasp all the facts and self-contradictions presented, I should first say a little bit more about the historicist retro-fit (history defines prophecy) methodology as they apply it to this chapter. Not much is known about the rationale of their system you understand, all the defenders of the historicist faith are safely cloistered away at the Biblical Research Institute in Silver Spring, Maryland. And they don’t like to answer difficult questions. However, I have been privileged to have a few questions answered by Wm. Shea, now the associate director of the Institute. In a long exchange of letters, these facts became clear:

Historicism rejects the grammatico-historical method of exegesis as a valid basis to interpret the book of Daniel. Shea’s objection was that the grammatico-historical method is used by antichristian rationalists and anti-supernaturalist humanists. (This is like saying that the scientific method is fallacious because atheists use it to "prove" evolution).

As for Daniel 11, all historicists seem to agree on the method of interpretation. Their idea is to consider the prophecy as a time chart; a simple list of historical events. They maintain that successive verses, sentences, phrases etc. are describing events in a chronologically successive order. Exceptions to chronological exactness are tolerated.

The problems are that adjacent verses are interrelated by context and that nothing in history fits that context. More problematic is that the prophecy reads just like a historical documentary about a single individual: After a rapid survey of background material (11:2-20), there next appears, in story-book fashion, a central character, a vile megalomaniac who seizes the throne by flattery and intrigue. He (we have seen) is formally introduced as the little horn of Daniel 8. He has no successor. He is the dreaded end-time enemy — the narrative artfully tells the story. The plot is meaningful and his life story unfolds with drama and suspense. It is the perfect Hollywood script.

This certainly refutes historicist conclusions. Contrary to what historicists teach, Daniel 11 is not a simple collection of disjointed events! So now that we understand the historicist hermeneutic, it is time to exhibit how the prevailing historicist view denies with contradictions at every step, the rational communication of thought at every verse of Daniel 11:16-31.

16 But he who comes against him will do as he pleases, and no one will be able to withstand him; he will also stay for a time in the Beautiful Land, with destruction in his hand. 17 And he will set his face to come with the power of his whole kingdom, bringing with him a proposal of peace which he will put into effect; he will also give him the daughter of women to ruin it. But she will not take a stand for him or be on his side. 18 Then he will turn his face to the coastlands and capture many. But a commander will put a stop to his scorn against him; moreover, he will repay him for his scorn. 19 So he will turn his face toward the fortresses of his own land, but he will stumble and fall and be found no more.

Historicists try to insert Rome as the little horn power in verses 16. We ask: If the Roman power is referred to here, who then is the commander in verse 18 that accomplishes the truly remarkable feat of successfully putting a halt to Roman conquests? Before you listen to their answer, please examine the structure of verses 18-19.

A = Confrontation between the king and commander at the coastlands.
B = The defeated king moves toward the fortresses of his own land.
C = He was to stumble and fall and be found no more.

The text implies a chronological sequence A < B < C.

This is far removed from the historicists understanding of this verse. This king, they say, is Julius Caesar and the commander that came against him, M. Junius Brutus. The very history they cite refutes their own position. R. Wieland, a historicist, and noted author of the book, Daniel and our Times, writes:

"While enjoying the luxury of the court of Egypt, Caesar received word that there was trouble in Asia Minor. He confronted the army of the enemy near Zela, and utterly defeated them. Boasting of his success, he sent the famous message in Latin to the Roman government, ‘Veni, vidi, vici’ (I came, I saw, I conquered).

"In 47 BC Caesar entered Rome in triumph, where he was showered with every kind of reward and honor, including the title of ‘dictator for life.’ Rome had up to this time been a republic. Caesar’s enemies now feared he would become a king or emperor, and change the age-old form of Roman government. Thus it was that in March, 44 BC, when Caesar was least expecting it, He ‘stumbled and fell,’ begin murdered in the senate house by his former friends."

This has nothing to do with the context yet the works of other historicists such as Uriah Smith’s Daniel and the Revelation and the SDA Bible Commentary agree with this interpretation. This is the common thread in historicism. The history they cite usually has nothing to do with the text under consideration.

You might have noticed several additional problems: There is no hint that the phrase "stumble and fall" refers to anything but an accidental or foolish act that leads to death. There is no hint of an assassination or murder! And history is silent regarding Julius Caesar stumbling when struck by the dagger of M. Junius Brutus. Furthermore, Brutus was only an assassin — not a commander.

20 Then in his place one will arise who will send an oppressor through the Jewel of his kingdom; yet within a few days he will be shattered, though neither in anger nor in battle.

After the king in verse 19 stumbles and falls, to be found no more, this successor takes his place. The historicists identify him as Caesar Augustus, the successor to Julius Caesar. The oppressor is thought to be a taxgatherer. For a historical reference point, they quote Luke 2:1. "It came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed." Once again, historicists ignore the specificity of the text — they never discuss (or even remark on) the question as to the identity of the specific taxgatherer that traversed the entire region of the nation Israel.

The king of the North was to die "neither in anger nor in battle" and this is true of Caesar Augustus; he died in bed. We ask, was he also quickly shattered? Consider the facts: He died at the age of 76 after a reign of 59 years. In his long career, he ruled over the Roman Empire as a member of the triumvirate for 17 years, and when the other two members died, he then became the supreme ruler and reigned for another 42 years. This is explained as "seeming but a ‘few days’ to the distant gaze of the prophet."

21 And in his place a despicable person will arise, on whom the honor of kingship has not been conferred, but he will come in a time of tranquility and seize the kingdom by intrigue. 22 And the overflowing forces will be flooded away before him and shattered, and also the prince of the covenant.

The historicists argue that this king is Tiberius Caesar because it was during his reign that Jesus Christ was shattered. We hold that this argument is unreliable because it is based on the error that assumes the unconditionality of Daniel’s prophecy. It is true however that the Prince of the covenant is Christ. But the best understanding of the prophecy given here, as in Isaiah 7 & 9, is that the very words present a scenario that did not develop historically — as it well might have. A more direct argument is as follows:

There is nothing in this prophecy that points directly to Tiberius. Consider the description of this king: The word despicable means, deserving to be despised; contemptible. To this the SDA Bible Commentary has no references to show this to be historically true of Tiberius in any notable degree. Again, what they do cite refutes their own position:

"Certain historians maintain that there was a deliberate attempt by Suetonius, Seneca, and Tacitus to blacken the character of Tiberius. Doubtless, the picture [once thought correct] was overdrawn. Nevertheless sufficient factual evidence remains to show that Tiberius was an eccentric, misunderstood, and unloved person."

We add these remarks: First: If Tiberius was an eccentric, misunderstood, and unloved person, this does not prove him to be despicable. Second: This shows that the references cited by Smith and Wieland, to prove that Tiberius was indeed a man of despicable character, to be unreliable, for they only quote Tacitus and Seneca. For example: To support the traditional historicist position Wieland only supplies a single quote: "Seneca says Tiberius was drunk only once in his life — he maintained one continual drunken spell from the time he began to drink until he died." The SDA Bible Dictionary refutes this directly. It says, under Tiberius Caesar, that "his (Tiberius’) morose retirement to the island of Capri gave rise to gossip about his supposed debaucheries, but he was actually austere."

The word confer means, to bestow upon as a gift, favor, honor, etc. So we ask: Was the honor of kingship conferred upon Tiberius Caesar or did he come in a time of tranquility and seize the kingdom by intrigue? The facts are, as Smith admits, that Caesar Augustus conferred upon Tiberius the status of successor. The claim that "his accession to the imperial dignity was to a considerable extent due to the maneuverings of his mother" does not satisfy the precise wording of the prophecy. The word intrigue means, to accomplish or force by crafty plotting or deceitful stratagems. This is certainly not true of Livia, the wife of Augustus. She simply besought her husband to nominate her son Tiberius as successor. This was simply an appeal of a mother for her son. Furthermore, the larger context of the book says that it is the little horn king that is skilled in intrigue (8:23), not his mother.

23 And after an alliance is made with him he will practice deception, and he will go up and gain power with a small force of people. 24 In a time of tranquility he will enter the richest parts of the realm, and he will accomplish what his fathers never did, nor his ancestors; he will distribute plunder, booty, and possessions among them, and he will devise his schemes against strongholds, but only for a time. 25 And he will stir up his strength and courage against the king of the South with a large army; so the king of the South will mobilize an extremely large and mighty army for war; but he will not stand, for schemes will be devised against him. 26 And those who eat his choice food will destroy him.

Recall our remarks on verses 21-27. This "he" clearly refers to the king in the previous verse, but this in no way fits the description of Tiberius Caesar. The historicists therefore must deny the simple grammar involved and the chronological continuity of the prophetic narrative. Instead, and without any contextual justification, the school of Uriah Smith understands verse 23 as returning to the time when the Jews made a covenant with the Romans in 161 BC. He claims, and others do not question, that "at this time the Romans were a small people, and began to work deceitfully, or with cunning, as the word signifies. But from this time they rose steadily and rapidly to the height of power." Nothing could be further from the truth. That the Romans were a small people in 161 BC and that they then began to move against other nations is not historically true. The SDA Bible Commentary, on Daniel 8:9, says: "Egypt was long an unofficial protectorate of Rome. Her fate was already in Rome’s hands in 168 BC when Antiochus Epiphanes, who was seeking to make war on the Ptolemies, was ordered out of the country. Egypt, still under the administration of its Ptolemaic rulers, was a pawn of Roman Eastern policy for many years before it became, in 30 BC, a Roman province." Furthermore, "the Seleucid Empire lost its westernmost lands to Rome as early as 190 BC." We must add that the text says, "he" will gain power with a small force of people. The Romans did not come to power with a small army.

Let us examine verse 25: The little horn must stir up his strength and courage against the king of the south, no doubt because he is still growing great. The little horn has "a large army;" the king of the South has "an extremely large and mighty army." The next line of this verse is in perfect character with the little horn: for "he (the king of the South) will not stand, for schemes will be devised against him. And those who eat his choice food will destroy him."

Curiously, Smith, Wieland, and other historicists, place this verse nearly at the height of Roman power. According to their exposition, this verse refers to the struggle between Augustus Caesar and Mark Antony, which culminated in the Battle of Actium, 31 BC. — The problem is that Cleopatra was the ruler of Egypt; there was no king of Egypt at this time. And if we accept Smith’s interpretation of history, that Antony stood at the head of Egyptian affairs, then the interpretation still fails. No schemes were devised against Antony; those who ate his choice food did not destroy him, he took his own life. Incidentally, the death of Cleopatra was also by suicide. Smith recounts that "she had artfully caused herself to be bitten fatally by an asp."

The conflicts that occurred between Rome and Egypt in no way resemble any part of the prophecy that concerns the little horn and the king of the South. Another example: Daniel stipulates that the little horn would initiate a successful military campaign against the king of the South (8:9 cf. 11:24-28), but note, it is not said that "he" had conquered Egypt. Rather, it is only stated that the little horn returns home with his seized plunder (11:28). That "he" failed to conquer Egypt is especially evident from 11:29. This verse clearly refers to a return to the South and an unsuccessful second attack.

28 Then he will return to his land with much plunder; but his heart will be set against the holy covenant, and he shall work his will and return to his own land. 29 At the appointed time he will return and come into the South, but this last time it will not turn out the way it did before. 30 For ships of Kittim will come against him; therefore he will be disheartened, and will return and become enraged at the holy covenant and take action; so he will come back and show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant. 31 And forces from him will arise, desecrate the sanctuary fortress, and do away with the regular sacrifice. And they will set up the abomination of desolation.

These verses present a glorious victory for the little horn in his first attack on the king of the South. His second strike against the South proves unsuccessful however, for a fleet of ships from Kittim come against him. It is then clearly stated that because of this defeat and unexpected intervention by a power he could not overthrow, the tyrant prince becomes infuriated, retreats and vents his anger and rage against that which his heart opposed — the holy covenant. The historicist denies this! Generally speaking, the bottom line of their explanation is as follows:

Up to this point, the South meant Egypt, but now, the South means East, specifically, Constantinople. And to come into the South refers to the moving of the capital of the Roman Empire from Rome to Constantinople. Previously, the move to the South (Egypt) resulted in conquest and glory. This return to the South (which now means going east to Constantinople) in 330 AD resulted in demoralization and ruin because the naval warfare based at Carthage came against the Roman empire (albeit, one hundred years later) (AD 428-477); therefore "he" (pagan Rome) became disheartened (came to an end) and returned (the capital to Rome and established it as the seat of the holy Roman empire) and (thus?) "he" (the papacy) became enraged at the holy covenant (the gospel in all of its purity), took action, and induced others to forsake it. Then forces (from the apostate Christian church at Rome) arose, desecrated the (heavenly) sanctuary fortress and removed (diverted men’s attention away from) the continual (priestly ministry of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary); And they set up the papacy to take His place.

The full explanation, as given by historicists, obscures their interpretation. This or any other summary exposes the hidden problems: Continuity in cause and effect is denied! Preconceived ideas are inserted! Words must be added or edited or redefined! Perhaps the most obvious examples of this are the questions that are never asked: How can the South mean East? How can you return to a place without going there? And our most hated inquiry: Why suspend with contextual unity, grammar, and continuity of thought in the narrative just to make the interpretation fit history?

To "do away with" means to abolish, yet the historicist interprets "abolish" to mean "eclipse." A power does away with the "daily" or "continual" (11:31, 12:11). The term "continual" is taken to mean the continual priestly ministry of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary and the true worship of Christ in the gospel age (Read SDA.BC on Daniel 8:11). This view, with the only correct and sensible understanding of the term "abolish" and "take away," contradicts scripture. There were men still faithful to God after the removal of the "continual" in verse 31. See verse 32! Furthermore, Christ "ever liveth to make intercession for them" (Hebrews 7:25). It cannot be taken away! Scripture says: Christ "holds His priesthood permanently" (Hebrews 7:24). Quite simply then, God’s sanctuary in heaven cannot be profaned! The antichrist may utter blasphemies against it, but even this attack is not clearly alluded to in prophecy, not even in Revelation 13:6. See the NASB.

To be complete, I will now state some objections to an older, but still contending, detail in the view of historicism as understood by U. Smith and as parroted by a host of others.

31 And forces from him will arise, desecrate the sanctuary fortress, and do away with the regular sacrifice. And they will set up the abomination of desolation.

The thinking is that this refers to the sanctuary of the little horn, the city of Rome. Wieland holds that this refers to the dishonor brought on the city by the barbarian hordes in their sack of Rome. Smith also suggests that it may refer to the moving of the seat of the Roman government from Rome to Constantinople. — This is not the desecration of anything. Furthermore, the transfer of the capital and the sack of Rome has already occurred in the narrative and there is no hint or reason that the prophecy has returned, in reflection, to such an insignificant event. Thus we again have another instance where the simple chronological order of the narrative is destroyed. Ignoring this, Wieland accepts Smith’s first proposal, that "the sanctuary of strength" refers to the city of Rome in its pagan phase. To prove this, he boldly asserts, without justification, that "the sanctuary of strength" in the Hebrew means, a dedicated place of military might. He places great emphasis on the fact that the Hebrew word employed here for sanctuary is miqdash and that it is not used exclusively for God’s sanctuary, it being used once for Moab’s sanctuary (Isaiah 16:12) and once for Satan’s (Ezekiel 28:18). We have many objections:

This word for sanctuary is used 67 times for God’s sanctuary, and in the two exceptions mentioned above, the meaning is explicitly stated. — Nothing military is implied there.

Daniel could not have understood or even have imagined that the phrase "sanctuary of strength" means anything other than God’s temple in Jerusalem:

The Hebrew word here translated "strength" most often refers to God as the source of strength (2 Sa 22:33 Neh 8:10 Ps 27:1, 28:8, 37:39, 52:7) and God is found in His sanctuary. Hence the sanctuary of strength is the sanctuary of God.

The sanctuary in 11:31 is profaned. This word is only used to describe the desecration of something holy. A pagan sanctuary is not holy! Hence the sanctuary of 11:31 is not a pagan sanctuary!

Not only does the traditional view deny the Biblical meanings of words but it denies simple grammar: The "him" in 11:31 refers to the person in 11:30 who is, in fact, the little horn. Hence, the little horn defiles God’s sanctuary and not his own.

The claim that the city of Rome was a dedicated place of military strength is only assumed to be true without any supporting evidence or argument. No such description of Rome exists nor is it even remotely possible that the city was ever dedicated as a military fortress.

This sect of historicists understand that the word "continual" refers to paganism. They claim that it was taken away when the papacy was established. However, history testifies to the contrary. Wieland argues that paganism was only "taken away politically and militarily," whatever that means. Unknowingly, he refutes the standard view mentioned above and casts doubt on his own peculiar position — He quotes historical references that say paganism was exalted and established by the Church, not done away with. We find these remarks on page 163 of his book:

"The more Christianity supplanted the heathen worship, the more did it absorb the elements of paganism." "The work of corruption rapidly progressed. Paganism, while appearing to be vanquished, became the conqueror. Her spirit controlled the church. Her doctrines, ceremonies, and superstitions were incorporated into the faith and worship of the professed followers of Christ."

* * *

In this critique of historicist understanding of Daniel 11:16-31, many problems have been raised at virtually every verse. Unfortunately, all historicists seem to be unaware of these problems. The reason for this is not clear. Perhaps they just don’t talk about them because an open discussion may draw attention to fatal flaws in what have become personal views. Perhaps the answer is political: It would upset the long held traditional position of their church. It is easy to see how anything that challenges preconceived ideas regarding the nature of inspiration may be viewed as an attack. So they may all be too busy "defending the faith" or in launching counterattacks to refute or suppress opposing perspectives. (They certainly suppress the grammatical-historical method). Their unquestioning trust that ‘Daniel’s prophecy is unconditional’ and therefore has an exact historical fulfillment suggests a more probable answer:

It is simply due to their ignorance of what the Bible really says coupled with the false confidence that their greater awareness of history can act as a substitute for sound Biblical exegesis.

Supplement 1.

Historicists generally perceive preterists and futurists to be a great threat. That’s absurd. Historicists are their own worst enemies. Historicists often declare a text to mean whatever they want it to mean. There are many examples where the history they cite to explain a passage has nothing to do with the text under consideration. Nothing at all! Sometimes the meaning is directly opposite. A good example of this has recently been brought to my attention by Bill Shea. I’ll share it with you.

37 And he will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the desire of women, nor will he show regard for any other god; for he will magnify himself above them all.

"Among historicist SDA circles, the historical nominee for the figure identified in Daniel 11:36-39 has had two main proposals; either the papacy or revolutionary France. In early days of Adventism the opinion was largely in favor of the papacy. ... "At the present time probably most of the strong historicist interpreters of Daniel 11 in the SDA church suggest that this scene in Daniel 11:36-39 has been fulfilled by the papacy, and vv. 40-45 are as yet unfulfilled. That was essentially the position announced by the committee formed to study this problem in the early 1950s. ... The characterization of this power as a power which is opposed to all previous gods and introduces a new god which has never been worshipped before, etc. etc. indicates the atheistic character of revolutionary France, or at least fits well with it, while this kind of statement does not fit the papacy well at all. On the contrary, that was the genius of the papacy, worshipping the god or gods that had been worshipped before, but bringing their worship under its control and guidance. The papacy did just the opposite of what is stated here about this power." — Dr. Wm. H. Shea, an unpublished manuscript: his most recent thoughts on Daniel 11 (pp. 47-48).

Isn’t it amazing that a good refutation is always grammatical-historical!

Supplement 2.

12:11. And from the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days.

What year was it that the "daily" was taken away? The time must exist: it’s specific: it’s the basis for a time calculation!

It’s unreasonable to believe that there was an event in history at a specific time in history where a power removed the faith of saints and "abolished" at an instant their trust in the continual priestly ministry of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary. This fact forcefully refutes the standard Adventist interpretation.

 

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