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Daniel and his visions: The message of Daniel chapters 7-12

By Steve Wilmshurst
November 2018 | Review by Matthew Cox
  • Publisher: Independently published
  • ISBN: 978-1-97703-591-2
  • Pages: 114
  • Price: £3.99
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Book Review

Based on Steve Wilmshurst’s sermons at his church in Bristol, this book succeeds in making the ‘difficult’ latter half of Daniel an enjoyable read. It doesn’t comment on every verse, which can prove disappointing in places. However, the author generally demonstrates wisdom in his summarisation, resulting in a pithy and concise guide to Daniel. The format is helped by addressing thorny issues in separate text boxes so as not to interfere with the overall flow.

Wilmshurst defends an early date of authorship and takes an amillennial position. He sees the fulfilment of the prophecies in the empires of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome and ultimately in an antichrist yet to come.

The ‘seventy sevens’ of Daniel 9 are presented as a symbolic number with the seventieth seven identified as the period between the first and second comings of Christ. The author has a courageous stab at explaining the time periods mentioned in Daniel 12, making plausible suggestions where other commentators hold back. He graciously challenges dispensational views and tackles false teaching about territorial spirits and ‘strategic level spiritual warfare’.

Throughout the book Western readers are warned that the persecution of God’s people (as in Daniel’s day) is the norm in this world. Yet despite the frightening and gloomy prophecies, it retains an uplifting and positive outlook, rooted in the sovereignty of the God of heaven. Those who have read Stuart Olyott, Herman Veldkamp or Dale Ralph Davis on Daniel will find the approach familiar.

Strong biblical theology and examination of other parts of Scripture aid Wilmshurst’s interpretation of the trickier verses. The parallels drawn with the book of Revelation are especially helpful. Given this strength, one can’t help but wish that the author had covered the earlier chapters of Daniel as well. No doubt his thoughts on the narratives could shed even more light on the prophecies, and vice versa.

Daniel and his visions is not a technical commentary and has few footnotes or references to other works (though there are recommendations in the introduction). Preachers would benefit from its insights but will need other commentaries alongside it. It would also make good devotional reading; although there is limited personal application in the text, each chapter ends with questions to stir meditation and prayer.

Matthew Cox

Bethersden, Kent

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