This is another post written for Christians who are interested in the end times. If you accept what is written here it will revolutionise your end time convictions.
For all published end time theologies up until now, perhaps the most crucial foundation comes from the interpretation of the seventy sevens prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27. Since 2006 I have had the conviction that this is incorrect; instead the key that unlocks our end time theology is in Daniel’s final vision from Daniel 11:36-12:13, the passage that has been a mystery to us all throughout the church age.
I suggest that if we think big picture, we will see that the seventy sevens prophecy cannot fulfil the foundational role that has been given to it and will continue to cause confusion as long as we try to give it this role. The Hebrew text of Daniel 9:24-27 is arguably one of the most ambiguous (if not the most ambiguous) passages in the Bible. This ambiguity is reflected in the differences in our English translations and in the huge number of different interpretations it has been given which correlate with the huge number of end time theologies. Most extraordinary is the extent to which each of us have held onto our particular view so strongly given the rather obvious ambiguity that is present.
Related to this and just as notable are the large number of commentaries on the book of Revelation which say little about their interpretation of the book of Daniel even though the bonding between these two books is so critical and the interpretation given is so tightly coupled to it.
Having said this, let’s now consider Daniel’s final vision to see why it can fulfil the role that the seventy sevens prophecy never could.
Firstly, it is written as a prophetic, historical narrative which is so accurate that many scholars believe it was written after the events described. It is therefore not written in hard to interpret symbolic, apocalyptic language and there are only small variations of interpretation right up until Daniel 11:35. This vision is not open to many plausible interpretations depending on interpretation principles as is the case with the other visions in Daniel and most of Revelation.
Second we note that the man in linen “came to make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come” (see Daniel 10:14). It is written so Daniel can understand what will happen to his people in the future. We should be able to as well and especially because we live after most of the history has already occurred.
Third, we note that it quickly surveys the period of the Persian Empire and then up to verse 35 covers in greater detail the period of the Greek Empire describing the various Ptolemaic kings (kings of the south) and Seleucid kings (kings of the north) which impacted Daniel’s people up until the Jews regained authority over Jerusalem by defeating the armies of Antiochus IV in 164 BC.
So in line with the purpose of this vision and the flow of the continuation of history our natural expectation of the next passage, Daniel 11:36-12:13, is that it would describe the rise and fall of the next empire to occupy Jerusalem, that is Rome. And that is precisely what it does. After searching through many books on Daniel, I was totally amazed that this option has never even been considered in the modern era and very rarely before that.
The criteria that we have applied to test this interpretation is that it must match history at least as well as the earlier description of the Greek Empire. This it does very well. The full detail of this is in a file available for download, but to give you a taste of this note the following
1. The king in Daniel 11:36 is the government of Rome. Daniel 11:36-39 describes the character of Rome in a remarkably elegant and precisely accurate way.
2. The rise and fall of the Empire is covered in Daniel 11:40-45. It is Jerusalem centric and only describes the history of Rome in Daniel’s known world which extends West to East from Greece to Persia and North to South from Turkey to the Sudan.
3. The history begins with Rome’s entry into the region with its war with the Seleucid Empire under Antiochus III. We can identify it with confidence because Antiochus III was the only major force outside of Rome which had a large navy and they engaged Rome in battle with navy and army from 192-188 BC. History tells us that Ptolemy V, the king of the south at that time, called to Rome for help against the king if the north because he was trying to capture land in the Aegean belonging to the Ptolemaic Kingdom. To accept this interpretation we have to realise that our English translators did not know the conflict that was being described and so assumed that the “king” fought against the “king of the south”, however the Hebrew text only says that the king engaged in battle with him which could equally be translated to mean that they fought on the same side against the king of the north.
4. With this interpretation of Daniel 11:40, Daniel’s perspective is that the “time of the end” starts with the Roman Empire. We must understand the book of Daniel from Daniel’s perspective for which these events are far in the future, not from our perspective today.
5. History tells us that after capturing Jerusalem in 63 BC, the Romans advanced against Petra, the capital of the Nabateans who were an Arab people who now occupied the region previously comprising Edom, Moab and Ammon in Daniel’s time. Rome accepted a bribe of 300 talents to withdraw from their attack and so fulfilled the prophecy in Daniel 11:41 precisely.
6. Daniel 11:44 describes in a very brief way the many battles Rome had to defend its Eastern and Northern provinces until it was eventually defeated by the northern tribes.
7. Daniel 12:1-4 gives us a description of the Jews persecution under Rome which is described as the worst until then. In allusion to these verses, Jesus says that the persecution of the Jews just before His return will be the worst until then, but will never be repeated (Matthew 24:21). There is a clue here that Jesus would have understood Daniel 12:1-4 as persecution by Rome, not at the end of the age.
These seven points give a taste of why this interpretation is so strong. In fact, every phrase can be shown to match history very well. Now let us see how this enables us to compute the length of the time, times and half a time.
Daniel 12:6-7 NIV
6 One of them said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, “How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?”
7 The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, “It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.”
The question asked by the angel assumes that the start time for the period is Daniel’s now, that is the third year of Cyrus, about 535 BC. That would be the natural way to understand the question; why many assume it starts with the king in Daniel 11:36 makes little sense. The end point is when the power of the Jews is finally broken. In the context of this prophecy, this occurred when the Jews were scattered all over the Empire and lost control of Jerusalem. History reveals that after the destruction of the temple in 70 AD they made about 10 attempts to rebuild it. The last one was in cooperation with the Muslims about 638 AD when they captured Jerusalem. The final “nail in the coffin” which eliminated all possibility of rebuilding the temple was the construction of the “Dome of the Rock” on the Temple Mount which began in 688 AD. This matches the end of the prophecy described in Daniel 12:11. Thus the prophecies of the book of Daniel, whose first was given to Nebuchadnezzar in his second year of reign (603 BC) ends in 688 AD after 1290 years. The time, times and half a time which begins in 535 BC ends in 688 BC after 1222 years. This is very different from the 3½ years normally assumed, but is far more robust in its derivation.
It is but a short step from here to arrive at the conclusion that the little horn in Daniel 7 must be Muhammed, the founder and prophet of Islam.
If we know the book of Daniel, we will quickly make a connection between the time, times and half a time in Daniel 12:7 with the one in Daniel 7:25. The results are even more dramatic. If the king in Daniel 11:36 is Rome, we can be sure that the four empires described in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2 and the vision in Daniel 7 are the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek and Roman Empires. Since the little horn in Daniel 7:8 who emerges from the Roman Empire also lasts for a time, times and half a time (TT½) as explained in Daniel 7:25 it cannot be the same period of time, it must be contiguous with the one in Daniel 12:7 and follow after it. When joined together they make a single longer period of seven, starting in 535 BC and still continuing today and with an abomination that causes desolation in the middle (Daniel 12:11-12).
The total period of time from these two TT½ must exceed 2,500 years as the end of the age has not yet come.
The astute student of the word of God will also see that the two TT½’s matches the final seven in Daniel 9:26-27. It contains two contiguous three and one halves with an “abomination that causes desolation” in the middle. However, this is not seven years, but more than 2,500 years.
All of Daniel’s visions focus on God’s people and centre on Jerusalem. The four empires he describes in Daniel 2 and 7 are all empires which had authority over Jerusalem and interestingly each of the founders of these empires is explicitly identified. So the question must be asked, which empire has controlled Jerusalem for most of the time after the Roman Empire and who was its founder?. The answer is clear, the Islamic kingdom. The little horn in Daniel 7 must therefore be Muhammad, the prophet and founder of the Islamic kingdom.
The revived Roman Empire promoted by some must be the Islamic Kingdom