This book is subtitled ‘Predictive prophecy in the Book of Daniel’. Daniel and Revelation are commonly misapplied by cults to justify their bizarre theories; such is not the case here. The author seeks to expound the prophetic passages of Daniel according to biblical principles of interpretation, albeit acknowledging that his views on prophecy have evolved over the years.
This is a readable and enjoyable work aimed at the general reader. No knowledge of biblical languages is required. The most technical comment is the observation that Daniel is written partly in Hebrew and partly in Aramaic.
Before beginning his exposition, Parsons deals with the issue of interpretation: how are we to understand prophecy? There are occasions though where he seems to deviate from his own principles and I found myself in disagreement with his exegesis.
In dealing with the dream of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 2 (concerning the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek and Roman Empires), he follows most commentators. However, he adds that the ten toes of the image relate to some form of continued Roman Empire, comprised of civilisations that succeeded it down to the present day.
The fifth chapter, ‘An expanded view of history’, considers Daniel 7. The identity of the ‘little horn’ is dealt with in detail in the sixth chapter. He takes the view that it is a reference to Antichrist, identified by most Reformers and their successors as the papacy. The second appendix gives a series of quotations from the Reformation period to support this view. The author believers that both partial preterism (the view that most prophecies have already been fulfilled) and dispensationalism were inventions of Romanists attempting to undermine this view of who the Antichrist really is.
Daniel 9 is expounded as the run-up to the coming of Christ and the destruction of the Temple in AD 70. The ‘seventy sevens’ (‘weeks’ in some translations) of Daniel 9:24 are not seen as literal years but symbolic of this period of time, that is the 600 years to AD 70.
Some theologians claim the Temple will be rebuilt in the future, but the author writes, ‘Any attempt to rebuild the Temple’ after its destruction by the Romans ‘would be … repugnant to God’ (p.71).
The first half of Daniel 11 is explained as the persecution of the Jews by Antiochus Epiphanes, but, halfway through the chapter, the author believes the subject switches to a future oppressor of the people of God.
References to Jerusalem are not seen as relating to the modern state of Israel. He holds out the hope of a future great turning of the Israeli population to Christ. Whether readers will agree with all the author’s conclusions will depend on their existing views of prophecy. This reviewer was in agreement with many, though not all, his conclusions.
Digby L. James