Why the Book of Daniel Is Not About Rome
The image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and arms of silver, his belly and thighs of brass, his legs of iron, and his feet part of iron and part of clay. (Dan. 2:32-33)
Daniel 7:3 notes “and four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.”
Daniel 2’s “feet part of iron and part of clay” cannot possibly refer to Rome.
There are three irrefutable reasons why this is so:
- 7:3’s beasts reference Saul (Lion), David (Bear), Solomon (Leopard) with the Diverse beast being Israel (10 tribes – 10 horns) and Judah (7 heads – the last 7 kings of Judah, Manasseh, Amon, Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin and Zedekiah) before Babylonian captivity. The last 7 kings are a consolidated type of governance that lead Judah astray retreating from being bethulah under Hezekiah, the rebuilder of the temple (with God), to being alma (concealed from God) under these seven last kings.
- 9:24-27 is referring to the Pre-exilic and Post-exilic age. This will be verified in a later article.
- 12:12-13 of 1335 days is a Jewish symbol dealing with days over a seven year period.
If the later chapters of Daniel deal with the period up to the victory of Judas Maccabees then the projection that Daniel 2 deals with Rome is clearly incorrect.
Daniel is riddled with images, fables, and tales, all inspiring the reader to find the answer within the evoked history of the Jewish nation. Dan. 2 is a perfect example of the theological flock being persuaded to an ignominious error. Failing to have any inclination of shape, style, structure, or exegesis, they project forward this image from head to toe – from Nebuchadnezzar to Roman days. Rome, Rome, Rome! To the exegetical mind-set, there has been a relentless obsession with their Christ acclamation as having to be the one and only rock of all ages –overlooking the Jewishness of the O.T.
Since the third century the Christ supposition has been popular. Every homily raised expectations of Christ as centermost. It’s been a momentous sermon pinning Christ to everything. As long as the word Christ is heard the moral of the homily would be definitely righteousness. In this case of Dan. 2, Rome is nearly always stated to be the feet, “part of iron and part of clay.” How is that Daniel mentions the kings Saul, David and Solomon and the kingdoms of Israel and Judah after allegedly talking about Rome. This needs correction. Daniel then goes into much more detail of the two Temple periods – Post-exilic and Pre-exilic for the rest of the book.
In addition we know that the periods of 1260, 2520, 1335 mentioned in Daniel relate to the Jewish sacred (ceremonial)-civil year division and nothing to do with Rome. Everything points to a purely Jewish interpretation well prior to the N.T. age.
Let’s firstly summarize why Dan. 7 refers to these kings and kingdoms. It is very easy to identify the key points (done in detail in antecedent article) for the three irrefutable points above:
Point 1 Dan. 7:3
The three kings are easily identified by the characteristics:
King Saul (Lion): “The wings thereof were plucked”; “Lifted up from the earth”; “stand upon the feet as a man”: “And a man’s heart was given to it” (the lion).
King David (Bear): “raised up itself on one side”: “three ribs in its mouth”: “devour much flesh”:
King Solomon (Leopard): “like a leopard”; “four wings of a fowl”
The kingdom (diverse) is straightforward and all recorded in the O.T.:
Kingdom of Israel and Judah (Diverse Beast – 10 Horns and 7 Heads)
Israel: Ten Tribes: Reuben, Simon, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulon, Ephraim Manasseh. Asher, Zebuluon and Manesseh were plucked” and moved permanently to Jerusalem.
Judah: Manasseh, Amon, Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin and Zedekiah (after Hezekiah when the book was opened, temple rebuilt, and society was bethulah.
Point 2. Daniel 9:24-27 – 70 weeks (7 weeks, 62 weeks, 1 week) Using day-for year this transposes to 49 years, 434 years and 7 years = 490 years.
This first 483 years symbol can be verified from the dating of king’s individual reign in the Books of Kings and Chronicles – with the first break after 49 years. It stretches from David command to build the Temple to freedom from Babylonian captivity – Pre-exilic.
The final 7 years can be verified from the books of Isaiah, and Ezekiel to refer to the Post-exilic era and relates to persecution, burial and reconstitution.
Details soon to be posted at URL.
Point 3. Daniel 12:12-13 – 1335 days.
This can be proven to be:
|1.||1/10–1/15: choosing the Paschal lamb, which was killed = 5 days before sacred year|
|2.||1/15–7/15: 180 days X 7 half years (over a seven year period = 1,260 days)|
|3.||7/15–9/25 = 30 days (to Feast of Dedication) + 40 days (to Abomination of Desolation) = 70 days (after sacred year)|
|Total||1,335 days (5 + 1,260 + 70)|
The hypothesis is that Dan. 2’s “feet part of iron and part of clay” cannot refer to Rome in any way.
Now let’s look at the different opinions.
Nebuchadnezzar is clearly told, “Thou art this head of gold” (Dan. 2:38). There is no dispute about Nebuchadnezzar. Hey, we are all in agreement; we are one.
The statue’s characteristics as told in Daniel are as follows:
“Thou art this head of gold” (Dan. 2:38): — This identification requires no comment. It is Nebuchadnezzar.
“Chest and arms” (silver); “the kingdom shall be divided” (Dan. 2:41): — This kingdom will be “inferior to thee.” There is widespread agreement that this refers to Medio-Persia, an empire that reigned from 538 BC to 331 BC, at the battle of Issus.
- “Belly and thighs” (brass); “another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth” (Dan. 2:39): — There is no dispute that this refers to the reign under Greece; this lasted from 331 BC to 323 BC, covering the deeds of Alexander the Great.
- “Legs” (iron); “And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things … break in pieces and bruise” (Dan. 2:40): — After Greece came the rule of Judah under Ptolemaic rule from 323 BC to 198 BC.
- “Feet” (part iron and part clay); “part of potter’s clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided” (Dan. 2.41): — strength, “iron mixed with miry clay,” weakness. After Egyptian rule, the Seleucid Antiochus Epiphanes ruled from 175 BC to 163 BC.… but “they shall not cleave to one another” (Dan. 2:43). Controversy starts here. Conservative Western Christology claims this to be Rome, Rome, and more Rome and the rock that splatters, Christ. We have disputation, even sweet verbal conflict, from those Bible study classes!
- The stone—“And in these days of the kings the God of heaven shall set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed … and it shall stand for ever.… The stone was cut out of the mountain without hands” (Dan. 2.44): — This paragraph refers to Judas Maccabees, who came in these days, 167 BC, and by 165 BC had rededicated the Temple of Jerusalem. This was the end of the story of the second pre-exilic period. It ties in with Daniel 9:27. Christology has always flinched at the idea that this is Judas Maccabees, setting up a Jewish kingdom forever. This would distract from their dear Christ! Christianity claims that this must be a reference to the kingdom of Christ. How could the kingdom be set up prior to Christ? Impossible! How could you have an image of Emmanuel from an Immanuel setting? Christianity claims that this is a direct reference to Christ, as it indefatigably states, “shall never be destroyed.” In their pure, unquestionable faith, it must be Christ. But it is time to recognize the owners of the land. Judas Maccabees was the second witness, and the OT story was replete. There is a third witness, but that story was unknown to Daniel. To Daniel, the compelling story was the temple and its remembrance. Jewish writers never pinpointed future exemplifications at this time. Christian proponents tied themselves to one and one only pole.
The stone, Judas Maccabees, cut out of the mountain without hands, deserves amplification. Was this the work of Judas Maccabees?
Before Judas Maccabees, we learn that a “wicked root,” Antiochus surnamed Epiphanes, attracted wicked men out of Israel who said, “Let us go and make a covenant with the heathen … since we departed from them we have had much sorrow” (1 Macc. 1:11). Such wicked men of Israel sought licence to follow the ordinances of the heathen. This led to the king’s commissioner compelling “men to sacrifice … and the altar he pulled down.” Matthias, Judas Maccabees’ father, had rebelled against these outcasts, saying, “We will not come forth, neither will we do the king’s commandment,” and they went around and pulled down the heathen altars. After Matthias died, Judas Maccabees rose up in his stead.
Judas Maccabees had been “mighty and strong,” asking, “Let me be your captain.” All nations came to talk about the fame of the battles of Judas Maccabees (1 Macc. 3:26). Judas Maccabees faced a situation as compelling as that recorded in the pre-exilic first temple period. Under Judas Maccabees came the saying, “Let us restore the decayed estate of our people, and let us fight for our people and the sanctuary” (1 Macc. 3:43). “Now Jerusalem lay void as a wilderness.… The sanctuary also was also trodden down” (1 Macc. 3:45).
For those unfamiliar with Maccabees, it is best to read all the toing and froing, but the statement I believe sums it all up is this: “They also of Judas’ side, they sounded their trumpets also, and so the earth shook at the noise of the armies, and the battles continued from morning to night.” This is synonymous with all the battles against deception being fought to the bitter end. Many are said to be “slain on both parts” (1 Macc. 9:17). And in one of these battles, Judas was killed. Judas had accomplished restoration or resurrection from the depths of despair and was labeled a great stone. The phrase “not made by hands” that destroys the image of Daniel 2 refers to Judas, who was certainly not reliant on the physical exertion that other nations exhibited. Judas was a renowned warrior of historical proportions. How can the claim that the story jumps to imperial Rome and Christ be logical? Has none of the OT been understood? Why circumnavigate Antiochus Epiphanes and Judas Maccabees? Futurists miss the boat. In 1 Maccabees 14, the kingdom of the second exilic period, a second witness, is outlined. One witness was never sufficient. You can never move on to a third testament until the first two are completed. The third testament follows the same pattern — persecution by Pharisees and Sadducees, mourning, and restitution. We will cover that shortly.
In 1 Maccabees 14, we see the exact story from Daniel 2 being related. The God of heaven sets up the kingdom to stand forever. This is the finalization of the record for the post-exilic period, way before the rule of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Let’s consider a few pertinent quotations:
- “For the land of Judea was quiet all the days of Simon (a son of Judas Maccabees)” (1 Macc. 14:4). Simon’s authority and honour pleased them well.
- “Then they tilled their ground in peace, and the earth gave her increase, and the trees of the field their fruit” (1 Macc.14:8).
- “The ancient men sat all in the streets, communing together of good things, and the young men put on glorious and warlike apparel” (1 Macc. 14:9).
- “For every man sat under his vine and his fig tree, and there was none to fray them” (1 Macc. 14:12).
- “He beautified the sanctuary and multiplied the vessels of the temple” (1 Macc. 14:15).
- “For he and his brethren and the house of his fathers have established Israel, and chased away in fight their enemies from them, and confirmed their liberty” (1 Macc. 14:26).
- “King Demetrius also confirmed him in the high priesthood according to those things” (1 Macc. 14:38).
Let’s make it plain how the above differs from the Roman Empire schema and the Maccabean thesis.
Roman Empire Schema
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
The following interpretation is a traditional view of Jewish and Christian Historicists, Futurists, Dispensationalists, Partial Preterists, and other futuristic Jewish and Christian hybrids, as well as certain messianic Jews, who typically believe that the kingdoms in Daniel (with variations) are:
- The Babylonian Empire
- The Medo-Persian Empire
- The Greek Empire of Alexander
- The Roman Empire, with other implications to come later
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Most secular historians and higher critics, and some contemporary Jewish and Christian scholars, hold that the Book of Daniel was written approximately 165 BC as a vaticinium ex eventu of the events leading up to that era.
- The Median Empire, anachronistically implied in the Book of Daniel to be the successor to the Neo-Babylonian Empire rather than contemporaneous.
- The Macedonian (Greek) Empire of Alexander, and continuing through the Diadochi, the successors to Alexander’s empire, in particular the Seleucid Empire, up until the time of Antiochus.
- Head (gold) — Nebuchadnezzar
- Chest and arms (silver) — Media-Persia
- Belly and thighs (brass) — Greece
- Legs (iron) — Ptolemaic rule
- Feet (iron and clay) — Antiochus Epiphanes
- Rock — Judas Maccabees
The details of Point 2 will be spelt out in detail if forthcoming articles.