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Ancient Book of Daniel Paperback – November 27, 2010
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About the Author
Ken Johnson is an author and lecturer who speaks on a variety of issues related to Bible prophecy, ancient history, and the apostasy that will form in the church in the last days. He received a Doctorate in Theology from the Christian College of Texas, Texarkana Tx, in 1989. He is also the author of the website Biblefacts.org.
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Ken's scholarship is exceptional and so is this work. I hope he keeps going as the "church" could sure use more like these to educate, explain and challenge us to dig deeper and understand that our faith is born out of a rich Jewish culture and language we Gentiles frankly don't really seem to understand well. Way to go Ken! Keep them coming. And I have to ask, are you Jewish on your mother's side?
Author: Ken Johnson, Th. D.
From the book's first paragraphs--indeed from the title itself--Dr. Johnson confirms he will be reverent and conservative: He obviously rejects the liberal claim that the biblical book of Daniel was written during the Maccabean period (about 165 BC) by some "pseudo-Daniel."
In accepting the authenticity of the book, that it was written by a real prophet named Daniel in the late seventh and early sixth centuries BC, Dr. Johnson aligns with Jesus Himself, whose explicit statement indicates He also believed the author of the book called "Daniel" was in fact an inspired prophet who wrote under his own name (Matt. 24:15; Mrk 13:14).
In general Dr. Johnson's exposition aligns with what might be called the "standard understanding" of the book of Daniel which has emerged over the past century from the scholarship and writings of Scofield, Chafer, Walvoord, Pentecost, Ryrie, Hitchcock and others. That understanding includes:
. That the book of Daniel is a key to Bible prophesy in general and specifically to the "end times."
. That Nebuchadnezzar's Statue dream of chapter 2 and Daniel's chapter 7 vision of the four beasts reveal the four successive kingdoms which would rule over the Jews (as well as most of the Gentile world) from Daniel's day until Israel's Messianic promises were fulfilled. These kingdoms would be Babylonia, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome.
. That Daniel's "seventy weeks of years" defines the history of Israel from Daniels's day until the Second Advent, with a parenthesis of unknown duration (representing the Church Age) intervening between the 69th and the 70th "weeks."
. That there would be a revised form of the fourth or Roman Empire in the 70th week during which the so-called Antichrist will persecute Israel and the whole world. This is generally known as the Great Tribulation.
In this now widely taught understanding of Daniel's "seventy weeks of years" (70 X 7, or 490 years), many literalistic prophesy students see an accurate prediction of the time of Messiah's death (although minor variations in the date for that event exist in the literature, due mainly to the difficulties of locating the exact date of Christ's birth relative to the modern calendar.) With this Dr. Johnson concurs. He describes in detail a "Timeline Prophesy" within the book of Daniel which begins with "the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem" (Dan. 9:25; Neh. 2:1-8) on March 14, 444 BC, and which ends four hundred eighty-three years later (the end of Israel's 69th "week") with the death of Christ on April 6, 32 AD.
However, Dr. Johnson departs--or, perhaps better, goes beyond without contradicting--that standard understanding in several particulars, including two additional "Timeline Prophesies" he finds within the pages of Daniel:
. That Israel would be re-born as a nation in May, 1948;
. That the Temple Mount would return to Israel's control in June, 1967 (the Six Day War).
To give a sense of how the author establishes these "Timeline Prophesies," the first of these two will be summarized here.
In developing this Timeline Prophesy, the author combines Ez. 4: 4-6 with Lev. 26: 14-18 to establish a number of years during which Israel will be scattered among the nations. He then shows how Daniel Chapter 4 confirms the exact calculations of Ezekiel using an entirely different symbol.
In Ezekiel chapter 4, the prophet is told to lie on his left side for 390 days, symbolizing the duration of Israel's punishment for violating the Mosaic Covenant--a year for each day, or 390 years. Next he is told to lie on his right side for an additional 40 days, representing an additional 40 years of punishment due to Judah. Together, this pronounces 430 years of punishment upon the natural seed of Abraham. According to Leviticus 26: 14-18, God would multiply the remaining period of punishment by seven if the nation did not repent and obey the Law after the 70 year period of the Babylonian captivity. After subtracting the 70 years of punishment exacted by the Babylonian captivity, 360 years would remain. Applying the Leviticus "factor of seven," this period of punishment would become 2520 years (7 X 360).
The author then demonstrates how Daniel chapter 4 leads to this exact same number of years using the period of Nebuchadnezzar's insanity as the symbol.
Nebuchadnezzar had a dream about a Great Tree, which symbolizes the scope and majesty of his earthly empire. In the dream, this majestic tree is suddenly cut down at the command of an angel, although its roots remain in the ground. Following this the angel announces that Nebuchadnezzar would lose his reasoning ability, remain outside to be drenched with the "dew of heaven" for seven years, while eating grass like a beast.
The meaning of this dream is explicitly revealed to Nebuchadnezzar by Daniel. Daniel told the king that the Most High God was using the dream to warn the king to acknowledge God. Specifically, Nebuchadnezzar was to learn that God ruled in the affairs of men and did according to His Own will (by which Nebuchadnezzar would be acknowledging that he owed his Kingdom to God). If he did not, the king would lose his sanity, be driven from his kingdom and be forced to eat grass like an animal. The period of this insane behavior would be seven years, after which, coming to his senses, Nebuchadnezzar would be restored to his kingdom. (One year later, this prophetic dream was fulfilled, ultimately resulting in Nebuchadnezzar's coming to faith in Daniel's God after seven years of insanity.)
Assuming the same year-for-a-day formula, Dr. Johnson converts the seven years of Nebuchadnezzar's' insanity into "prophetic years" by multiplying 7 X 360 (the number of Hebrew days in a year), obtaining the same period of 2520 years as obtained from the Ezekiel/Leviticus passages. (The analogy in Nebuchadnezzar's case seems to be that, as Nebuchadnezzar was restored to his kingdom after suffering a specified period of banishment, so also Israel would become a lasting, independent nation after enduring their specified period of banishment from the land.)
Having established by two methods that 2520 "prophetic years" must elapse before Israel can again become a permanent, independent nation, Dr. Johnson next shows how this time period relates to the modern calendar.
Multiplying 2520 years by 360 "Hebrew days per year" shows that 907,200 days will elapse from the official ending of the Babylonian captivity until the permanent establishment of the nation of Israel. The official ending of the Babylonian captivity occurred, according to the author, when Cyrus proclaimed individual Israelites free to return to their land on August 3, 537 BC. (2Chr. 36:22). Extending forward from this date 907,200 days brings us to May 14, 1948, the exact day the UN officially declared the modern nation of Israel a sovereign state.
In addition to the Timeline Prophesies, there are other examples of the author going beyond the "standard understanding" of the book of Daniel. For example, Dr. Johnson finds in Daniel 12 proof of a Pretribulational Rapture. While the majority of Premillennialists today believe in a Pretribulational Rapture, it is not common for them to claim proof from this passage. The author also considers the "2300 days" of Daniel 8 to be an integral part of Daniel's "seventieth week" rather than to have been fulfilled in the second century BC under the persecutions of Antiochus IV Epiphanies.
Whether these "goings beyond" are justified will, of course, depend upon the reader's judgment, but the reader can be assured that, in The Ancient Book of Daniel, the author clearly, reverently and within the bounds of orthodoxy lays out the reasons for his conclusions.
Ken Johnson takes you on an adventure to explore the coming days and gives you peace of mind as we the generation prepare.
I recommend this book to all students of prophecy!