The Book of Daniel is one of the most important books in the Bible. It contains a great deal of practical information, as well as a wealth of technical details about future events.
It also helps us to trust in the preservation of scripture, as this book’s historical claims have been validated through recent archeological finds, as well as recent linguistic discoveries. It also contains many prophecies that should astound anyone who considers the implications that this book, written so long ago, was able to accurately predict the future.
For example the first 36 verses of chapter 11 describe future events so accurately that critics have had to claim that the Book of Daniel was written after the event it describes. They do this in order to defend their view that predictive prophecy is impossible, a position that is very difficult to maintain in this case because copies of the Book of Daniel have been found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, making it a very improbable notion that this book was written after the events described.
But it also is probably the single most important book in the Old Testament with regard to prophecies that have yet to be fulfilled. Of these prophecies none are more important to Daniel himself than the prophecies concerning the man we call the Antichrist and the period of time just preceding, and just after his so-called “abomination of desolation.”
If one wants to fully understand the subject of the Antichrist, and the Last Days, they must become extremely familiar with the intricacies of this great book.
Though this book offers us so much information, it comes at a cost. The Book of Daniel is also one of the more difficult to understand in all of scripture when it comes to prophecy. It is my conviction however that the exact same face value, or literal hermeneutic, that we apply to any other portion of scripture should be applied to this book as well, and that doing so will demystify the more difficult sections that have historically been so controversial.
I think that any commentator of the Book of Daniel should be up-front with their biases because strongly held presuppositions have too often shaped the interpretation of this book in the past.
My main biases are as follows: I am firmly “premillennial” which means I believe that there is a literal 1000-year period that will occur after Jesus returns to Earth (Rev 20: 1-15). I am also “dispensational,” meaning that I believe that God’s many promises to the Jews will come to pass in the future, and that He is not done with them (Romans 11: 25-32). I also believe wholeheartedly in the inspiration and infallibility of scripture in its original languages.
I take great pains to discover the long-held beliefs and traditions of the church and rarely stray from them. That being said, there are a number of occasions in this book that I depart from some of these traditional interpretations. When I do this, I do so with great fear and trepidation. I am not one to take a different position on something simply because it is different. If I ever do this I hope you will agree that I at least have a sound argument for doing so, and even if you disagree, you should be able to see that the reason I departed was because of the hermeneutic that we probably share. In other words, I try to let hermeneutics trump tradition if they are ever in conflict.
So let us begin our study of Daniel, and I pray that the Holy Spirit guide me, the writer, and you, the reader, to teach us more about this book.