You are hereThe Man of Lawlessness, part one: The Connections with the King of the North

The Man of Lawlessness, part one: The Connections with the King of the North

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By Duncan - Posted on 15 May 2010

The following is from my book, The Antichrist and the Second Coming: A Preterist Examination See reviews here http://www.amazon.com/Antichrist-Second-Coming-Preterist-Examination/pro... The chapter on the man of lawlessness is the last chapter of the book. Because of its length I will be breaking it up into four sections. Let me bring the reader up to speed a little.

The basic thesis of the book is that the Antichrist was ultimately a demonic spirit that worked through Titus in his three-and-a-half year destruction of Israel (Dan. 7:25; 9:26-27; 12:1-7; cf. Rev. 11:2; 13:5). Notice that the beast comes out of the abyss (Rev. 11:7; 17:8). This is a spiritual ruler, (cf. 1 John 4:3), just like the kings and princes of Persia in Daniel 10:13, 20-21 (although he would work through a specific man, cf. Rev. 13:18). This explains what was destroyed and thrown in the lake of fire at Jesus’ Second Advent in AD 70 (Rev. 19:11-21). It was obviously not the Roman Empire that was destroyed at that time, it was not the man Titus--it was the beast from the abyss working through Titus.

The Antichrist is the opponent of God/Christ that was to appear at the last hour of the old covenant age (1 John 2:18). He was destroyed by the parousia at AD 70 (Dan. 7:21-22; 2 Thess. 2:8; Rev. 19:11-21). For parallels between the little horn of Daniel 7 and the beast of Revelation see here http://www.theos.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=3203 Notice that this rules out Nero as the man of lawlessness. Nero died in mid AD 68; he can not be the one who was defeated by the AD 70 parousia. He had been dead for over two years by that time. Another thing that rules Nero out is the fact that the man of lawlessness takes control of the Temple and is worshipped there (2 Thess 2:4)—Nero never even set foot in Judea, let alone the Temple. It was Titus who captured the Temple and was worshipped there.

In talking about the man of lawlessness, Paul is teaching from Daniel 11:36-12:13 and the attack against Jerusalem by the king of the North (cf. Dan. 11:36-37 with 2 Thess. 2:4). This was the Antichrist, the coming prince who would destroy Jerusalem and the Temple (Dan. 9:26). I will discuss the parallels between Daniel 11:36-12:13 and 2 Thessalonians 2 below (note, in my book I go into detail on Daniel 11:36-12:13 in chapters 5 and 6).

THE MAN OF LAWLESSNESS
In 2 Thessalonians 2 Paul discusses the Antichrist and the day of the Lord. Paul refers to the Antichrist as the “man of sin” (NKJV) or the “man of lawlessness” (NASB). The man of sin/lawlessness would be the one who captures the Temple and is worshiped there; he would be revealed just prior to the Second Coming (Gr. parousia, vv. 1, 8) on the day of the Lord.

Now brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God . . . whom the Lord will consume with the breath of his mouth and destroy with the brightness of his coming.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-4, 8

I will be using the title “the man of lawlessness” in my discussion of the Antichrist here. Some Greek manuscripts contain the title “the man of sin”; the New King James Version, following the Majority text, uses this phrase. The New American Standard Bible, following the Nestle text, uses the phrase “the man of lawlessness.” The New Revised Standard Version, also following the Nestle text, uses the phrase “the lawless one.” I prefer the title “the man of lawlessness” to “the man of sin” because Daniel 11:36 (the passage which Paul references in 2 Thess. 2:3-4) says that the king of the North would “do according to his own will.” A person who does according to his own will is one who recognizes no superior law or authority; thus the title of the man of lawlessness is quite appropriate for such a person. Ultimately sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4) so the two terms are essentially synonymous.[1]

In this chapter I will first examine the context of 1 and 2 Thessalonians and the day of the Lord. I will then deal more specifically with 2 Thessalonians 2 and the man of lawlessness.

1 AND 2 THESSALONIANS AND THE DAY OF THE LORD
By those who accept its authenticity, it is generally agreed that Paul and his associates Silvanus and Timothy (1 Thess. 1:1) wrote 1 Thessalonians around AD 50-51, shortly after their first visit to Thessalonica.[2] Appearing to have been written shortly after 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians was a response to a misunderstanding that arose from Paul’s teaching in his first letter. In 1 Thessalonians, Paul told his audience that the soon-coming day of the Lord would come as a thief in the night (5:1-6). As a result, an erroneous idea emerged that the day of the Lord had already begun (cf. 2 Thess. 2:2). It was for this reason—to counter this misconception about the day of the Lord and the Second Advent—that the second letter to the Thessalonians was written

In correcting the false teaching that the day of the Lord had already begun, Paul simply gives two events that would be markers of that Day (2 Thess. 2:3). The first is the “falling away” (Gr. apostasia), which can mean either a political revolt or religious apostasy. The second event is the revelation of the man of lawlessness. These events were not to take place thousands of years in the future in a rebuilt Temple as many futurists teach; they were to take place in the lifetime of Paul’s audience (cf. 1 Thess. 4:17; 2 Thess. 1:7) in the then standing Herodian Temple.

DOES 2 THESSALONIANS CONTRADICT 1 THESSALONIANS?
In comparing the teachings of the day of the Lord in 1 and 2 Thessalonians, some see a contradiction between the theology of the two books.[3] For example, 1 Thessalonians (5:1-6) says that the day of the Lord would come secretly like a thief in the night. In apparent contradiction, 2 Thessalonians gives specific indicators that had to take place before the day of the Lord. This alleged contradiction (as well as a difference in writing style) has led some to wonder if 2 Thessalonians was really written by Paul. The seeming contradiction in theology between 1 and 2 Thessalonians is more apparent than real. The difference between 1 and 2 Thessalonians is one of emphasis, not theology.

That the falling away/revolt had to happen, after which the man of lawlessness would be revealed, did not contradict the fact that the day of the Lord would come as a thief in the night. When Paul gives these precursors to that Day in 2 Thessalonians, he reminds his readers that he had already told them these things would happen: “Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?” (2 Thess. 2:5). Thus, the teaching of 2 Thessalonians was not something new or different from that of 1 Thessalonians; it was simply a different emphasis, a clarification on what Paul had already taught. Unfortunately, we do not have the totality of Paul’s original teaching and, as a result, this different emphasis can appear to be a different teaching.

Examining 1 Thessalonians, Paul writes that the day of the Lord would come unexpectedly: “For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape” (1 Thess. 5:2-3). As the OT teaches consistently, the day of the Lord was to involve the nations of the world coming against Jerusalem and destroying the land of Israel (Is. 1-5; Dan. 11:40-12:7; Joel 2:1-11, 3:12-17; Zeph. 1; Zech. 14:1-9; Mal. 4 NASB; Luke 21:20-36). The sinners in the land would be destroyed at this time and God’s true people would be delivered (Zeph. 3). Thus, the “they” to whom Paul refers in 1 Thessalonians 5:3 are the Jews (cf. Matt. 8:10-12). The Jews of Thessalonica were violently opposed to the gospel and chased Paul out of town (Acts 17:1-15).

The fact that the “they” who would be destroyed in 1 and 2 Thessalonians refers primarily to the Jews is supported by 2 Thessalonians 1:9: “These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power”. This is taken from the Septuagint version of Isaiah 2:10, 19, 21, and speaks of the judgment of Jersualem:[4]

Now therefore enter ye into the rocks and hide yourselves in the earth, for fear of the Lord, and by reason of the glory of his might, when he shall arise to strike terribly the earth . . . And every man shall be brought low, and the pride of men shall fall: and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. And they shall hide all idols made with hands, having carried them into the caves, and into the clefts of the rocks, and into the caverns of the earth, for fear of the Lord, and by reason of the glory of his might, when he shall arise to strike terribly the earth. For in that day a man shall cast forth his silver and gold abominations, which they made in order to worship vanities and bats; to enter into the caverns of the solid rock, and into the clefts of the rocks, for fear of the Lord, and by reason of the glory of his might, when he shall arise to strike terribly the earth.
Isaiah 2:10, 17-21 LXX (underlined emphasis mine)

Regarding this passage, Beale notes:

The phrase from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power [in 2 Thess. 1:9] comes from Isaiah 2:10, 19, 21, where the same phrase is repeated three times (Isaiah adds “the fear of” before “the Lord”), though it appears nowhere else in the entire Old Testament.[5]

That Paul is alluding to the second chapter of Isaiah in 2 Thessalonians 1:9 is quite significant. The context of Isaiah 2 (as well as the rest of Isaiah 1-5) is the judgment of Jerusalem: “The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem . . . For Jerusalem stumbled, and Judah is fallen, because their tongue and their doings are against the Lord” (Is. 2:1; 3:8; cf. Is. 5 with Matt. 21:33-45). It should be no surprise that Paul is taking his language for the soon-coming day of the Lord from a prophecy concerning the judgment of Jerusalem; he is teaching that the day of the Lord would involve the man of lawlessness executing God’s judgment by capturing Jerusalem and the Temple (“. . . he sits as God in the Temple of God . . . .” 2 Thess. 2:4).

“PEACE AND SAFETY”
Also consistent with my assertion that Paul is making reference to the Jews in his discussion of the day of the Lord in 1 and 2 Thessalonians is his mention of the false proclamations of peace and safety that those hostile to the gospel would make: “For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape” (1 Thess. 5:3). The proclamation of peace and safety right before the day of the Lord alludes to OT references describing the false prophets of Israel proclaiming that peace was coming when, in truth, what was coming was God’s judgment (Jer. 6:1, 12-15; 23:14-40; Ezek. 13:1-16). These false prophets were those “who prophesy concerning Jerusalem and who see visions of peace for her when there is no peace” (Ezek. 13:16).

What seemed to be the imminent collapse of the Roman Empire in AD 68-69 lent itself to Jewish false prophets proclaiming “peace and safety” for Jerusalem. The Roman assault on the Jews had started in early AD 67 with Vespasian and Titus’ invasion of the Holy Land. In AD 67 and the first half of AD 68, Vespasian and Titus were systematically destroying Judea, making their way toward Jerusalem. Midway through AD 68 Nero committed suicide, plunging the Roman Empire into chaos (cf. Rev. 16:10) and putting the planned Flavian assault on Jerusalem on hold as the empire experienced two back-to-back civil wars. Three short-lived emperors (Galba, Otho, and Vitellius) came and went in the space of a year-and-a-half (AD 68-69; cf. Dan. 7:8). It was uncertain whether the Roman Empire would survive this upheaval intact; according to Tacitus, the year AD 69 was “nearly Rome’s last.”[6]

The near-collapse of the Roman Empire, along with the chronology of the prophecies of Daniel which showed the kingdom of God intervening in history during the reign of the tenth ruler of the Roman Empire (i.e., Vespasian, Dan. 2:44; cf. 7:19-22), presented ample fodder for Israel’s false prophets to declare that God was interceding on the Jews’ behalf. The Jewish prophets’ false message of peace and safety was that Rome was about to fall and Israel would triumph; these prophets were predicting “peace and safety” up to the very end. Josephus indicates that during this time a number of these false prophets proclaimed that God’s deliverance was at hand:

The people [6,000 Jews who had gone up to the Temple to be “delivered” by God] owed their destruction to a false prophet who had, on that very day declared to the people of the city that God ordered them to go up to the Temple courts to receive there the signs of their deliverance. Many prophets had been induced in these days by the rebel leaders to deceive the people by exhorting them to wait for help from God and thereby to reduce the flow of deserters, as well as buoy up with hope those who were beyond fear or precaution.[7] (emphasis mine)

The unidentified prophet Josephus references, deluded six thousand people to go up to the Temple even as it was going up in flames, resulting in a deadly inferno. These people were deceived so that they believed the lie (2 Thess. 2:11) that God was on the side of the Jews and would deliver them from the iron grip of Rome.

LABOR PAINS
The image of labor pains that Paul uses in 1 Thessalonians 5:3 (“For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape”) is often used in the OT as a symbol of the gut-wrenching terror produced by a mighty nation executing God’s judgment against another nation. This image is used in the context of Babylon coming against Jerusalem (Jer. 6:22-26; 22:18-23) and the Medes coming against Babylon (Is. 13:1, 6-9, 17-19; Jer. 50:41-43). The mighty nation executing God’s judgment on the ultimate day of the Lord was Rome; the Roman Empire would be coming against the doomed Jewish nation.

Jeremiah 6 is especially pertinent to 1 Thessalonians 5:3 in that it is the one place in the OT that references both the false proclamations of peace and safety (Jer. 6:14) and labor pains (Jer. 6:22-26). It is no coincidence that this section of Scripture is talking about the soon-coming destruction of Jerusalem (in the sixth century BC):

For thus has the Lord of hosts said: “cut down trees, and build a mound against Jerusalem. This is the city to be punished. She is full of oppression in her midst . . . For I will stretch out My hand against the inhabitants of the land,” says the LORD. “Because from the least of them even to the greatest of them, everyone is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even to the priest, everyone deals falsely. They have also healed the hurt of My people slightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace!’ when there is no peace.” . . . Thus says the Lord: “Behold, a people comes from the north country, and a great nation will be raised from the farthest parts of the earth. They will lay hold on bow and spear; they are cruel and have no mercy; their voice roars like the sea; and they ride on horses, as men of war set in array against you, O daughter of Zion. We have heard the report of it; our hands grow feeble. Anguish has taken hold of us, pain as of a woman in labor. Do not go out into the field, nor walk by the way. Because of the sword of the enemy, fear is on every side. O daughter of my people, dress in sackcloth and roll about in ashes! Make mourning as for an only son, most bitter lamentation: for the plunderer will suddenly come upon us. I have set you as an assayer and a fortress among My people, that you may know and test their way. They are all stubborn rebels, walking as slanderers. They are bronze and iron, they are all corrupters; the bellows blow fiercely, the lead is consumed by the fire. The smelter refines in vain, for the wicked are not drawn off. People will call them rejected silver, because the Lord has rejected them.”
Jeremiah 6:6, 12-14; 22-30 (underlined emphasis mine)

In Jeremiah’s day Jerusalem had rejected the Lord (Yahweh); as a result, he was going to depart from her and make her desolate (Jer. 6:8; cf. Matt. 23:37-24:1). This paralleled the Jews’ rejection of the Lord (Jesus) and the desolation of Jerusalem that would come at AD 70 (Matt. 23:31-39; cf. Dan. 9:26-27).

Beale notes additional parallels between 1 Thessalonians 5:3 and Jeremiah 6:

Commentators (and margins of translations) often cite Jeremiah 6:14 (“‘Peace, peace,’ they [false prophets] say, when there is no peace”) as a parallel to 5:3, but they rarely comment on it. Jeremiah 6 also includes reference to the following elements in common with 1 Thess 5:3: (1) the sound of a trumpet signals the visitation of God (6:1, 17; see 1 Thess 4:16); (2) the sudden report of calamity for Jerusalem has the result that “anguish has gripped us, pain like that of a woman in labor” (Jer. 6:24), and (3) the sudden coming of the destroyer (6:26), “even terrible destruction” (6:1), which occurs not during the light of “day” but by “night” (6:4-5; see 1 Thess 5:4-8).[8] (brackets in original)

By having Jesus killed, the Jews had rejected the Lord (1 Thess. 2:14-16), and as a result they were left desolate. What awaited them was the sudden coming of the destroyer (cf. Dan. 11:44-45), the coming of Antichrist, to annihilate Jerusalem and her Temple (Dan. 9:26-27).

NATION WILL RISE AGAINST NATION
In addition to the OT references, Paul’s use of labor pains in 1 Thessalonians 5:3 also borrows from Jesus’ use of labor pain imagery in the Olivet Discourse. Jesus indicated that the action of nation rising against nation would be the beginning of the “birth pangs” at the end of the age.

You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.
Matthew 24:6-13 NASB
(underlined emphasis mine)

The “end” to which Jesus refers is not the end of the world but rather the AD 70 end of the old covenant age when the Jewish nation would be shattered (cf. Dan. 11:40-12:7; 1 Cor. 10:11; Heb. 1:2). The upheaval of nations would mark the beginning of birth pains of the end of the age. This began in AD 68 as the various principalities that made up the Roman Empire vied for supremacy after Nero’s death. Wellesley, speaking of the worldwide upheaval of AD 69, writes the following:

The year 69, ‘that long but single year’ as Tacitus had earlier called it, offers a wealth of dramatic incident. After the solid and prosperous security of the first or Julio-Claudian dynasty, the ground opens. The vast edifice of the world empire is shaken. Pretender rises against pretender. The frontier armies move on Rome from Spain, Germany, the Balkans and the East. The frontiers themselves are breached by the barbarian. There are palace conspiracies, sudden assassinations, desperate battles, deeds of heroism and perfidy. The scene shifts continually from one end of the empire to the other, from Britain to Palestine, from Morocco to the Caucasus. Three emperors—Galba, Otho, Vitellius—meet their end. The fourth, Vespasian, survives by fate or chance or merit, and founds his dynasty for good or ill.[9]

SUDDEN DESTRUCTION
The end of the old covenant age in AD 70 would come about two-and-a-half years after these labor pains of nation rising against nation began. Those in Israel who had rejected Jesus would face sudden destruction as they would be cut off (physically and spiritually) at that time (1 Thess. 5:3; cf. Matt. 8:10-13; 21:33-45; Luke 2:34). These were the “days of vengeance” on the Jews (Luke 21:20-36). As the OT had often warned, the ultimate day of the Lord would happen at the time judgment fell on Israel. This culminated in AD 70 when the (Roman) eagles gathered around the corpse (i.e., devoid of the Spirit) that Jerusalem had become (Matt. 24:26-28).[10]

The “sudden destruction” coming on the Jews that 1 Thessalonians 5:3 speaks of is borne out by the events of AD 70. When Vespasian was established as sole emperor in December of AD 69, the Roman Empire was suddenly resurrected from its death throes (cf. Rev. 13:1-3) and the assault on the Jewish nation was unexpectedly resumed (it had been on hold for about a year). Just as the Christ was to come quickly to the Temple (Mal. 3:1) so did the Antichrist. Titus came suddenly on the heels of the Jewish pilgrims who went up to Jerusalem for the Passover of AD 70. The city was full of Jews from all over the Land (an indication of a feeling of safety on their part) who found themselves trapped by Titus’ unexpected parousia. Josephus writes the following on this:

All the prisoners taken captive throughout the entire war totaled 97,000; those who perished during the long siege [of Jerusalem], from its early stages to the end were 1,100,000. Of those, the largest number consisted of Jews by race, but not native of Jerusalem; they had assembled from the whole country for the Feast of Unleavened Bread; and had suddenly been caught up in the war.[11]

Just when it appeared that Rome was going to fall and the Jews would have peace and safety, the Roman Empire suddenly came back to life. This resulted in the second coming of Titus (this time from Egypt, cf. Dan. 11:40-45) and the sudden destruction of the Jewish nation. It is no coincidence that forty years to the day after the Jews rejected the Christ (he was killed during Passover in AD 30; Matt. 26:17-19; 27:15-25), the Antichrist came. This fulfilled Daniel 9:26: “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary . . . .”

THE CONNECTIONS BETWEEN THE MAN OF LAWLESSNESS AND THE KING OF THE NORTH
In his discussion of the man of lawlessness, the one “who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God” (2 Thess. 2:4), Paul expounds on the king of the North of Daniel 11:36-45, the one who would “exalt and magnify himself above every god [and] speak blasphemies against the God of gods” (Dan. 11:36). Thus, both the king of the North and the man of lawlessness oppose God and try to exalt themselves above God. Both are vanquished at the time of the Second Advent (2 Thess. 2:8; Dan. 11:45). Although Daniel 11:36-12:13 does not actually depict the parousia, it shows the events that the NT associates with it, that is, the great tribulation (Dan. 12:1; cf. Matt. 24:21), the abomination of desolation (Dan. 12:11; cf. Matt. 24:15), and the resurrection and judgment (Dan. 12:2-3; cf. Matt. 25:31-32). All of these events are shown as happening at this time, at the end of the age attack by the king of the North on Jerusalem.

Both the man of lawlessness and the king of the North are defeated after laying siege to the Temple in Jerusalem (2 Thess. 2:4; Dan. 11:45). As I mentioned previously, the Antichrist’s defeat at this time is not talking about the death of a man but the destruction of a demonic ruler that worked through a man (cf. Rev. 11:7; 17:8). This was the end of the spiritual ruler that worked through Titus in his destruction of the Jewish nation. This resulted in the casting of this demonic ruler of the Roman people (Dan. 9:26; cf. Dan. 10:13) into the lake of fire (cf. Dan. 7:11; Rev. 19:20).

The king of the North/man of lawlessness would be a man who would do as he pleased; he would “do according to his own will” (Dan. 11:36). In the words of Paul, he would be a “man of lawlessness” (2 Thess. 2:3 NASB). The king of the North/man of lawlessness would “destroy and annihilate many” (Dan. 11:44); in Paul’s words, he would be “the son of destruction” (2 Thess. 2:3 NASB).[12] Both Daniel and Paul are talking about the ultimate day of the Lord in their discussion of the king of the North/man of lawlessness. This is made clear by the fact that the great tribulation and resurrection are shown as occurring at the time of the king of the North’s attack on the Temple (Dan. 11:45-12:2).[13] In his discussion of the man of lawlessness, Paul also talks about the time of the resurrection on the day of the Lord. Compare Daniel 12:2 (“And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake”) with 1 Thessalonians 4:14 (“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus”).[14] Both contexts are speaking about the resurrection that was to happen at the end of the age.

Added to all this, both Daniel and Paul speak of Michael the archangel (cf. Jude 9) being active at this time (Dan. 12:1; 1 Thess. 4:16), and both writers speak of it as a time of severe tribulation (Dan. 12:1; 1 Thess. 3:3-4). This great tribulation would be completed by the time of the destruction of the Jewish nation in AD 70 (Dan. 12:7; cf. 1 Thess. 5:3). According to Daniel (12:10-11 LXX) this would be a time when lawless ones would commit lawlessness (cf. Matt. 24:11-12). Drawing from this, Paul writes about the ultimate “lawless one” (2 Thess. 2:8). Beale elaborates:

The expression man of lawlessness (anthrōpos tēs anomies) echoes Daniel 12:10-11 which . . . refers to the end-time trial as a period when “the lawless ones [anomoi] will do lawlessness [anomeō], and the lawless ones [anomoi] will not understand” (i.e., they will mislead, be misled or both).[15] (brackets and emphasis in original)

THE MAN OF LAWLESSNESS AND THE COMING WRATH ON ISRAEL
Daniel 11:36 talks of the Antichrist bringing God’s wrath on Israel. The king of the North would “prosper till the wrath has been accomplished . . .” (cf. Dan. 9:26-27). Paul, referring to this wrath, tells the Thessalonians that it would be directed at unbelievers (the Jews in particular, cf. Luke 21:20-23) not God’s people: “When they say ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them . . . [but] God did not appoint us to wrath but salvation . . .” (1 Thess. 5:3, 9; cf. Jer. 6:10-30). In 1 Thessalonians 1:10 Paul tells his first-century audience “to wait for His [God’s] Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” Approximately two decades earlier, John the Baptist warned the Jewish leaders of this coming wrath:

But when he [John the Baptist] saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly cleanout His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
Matthew 3:5-10; cf. 22:1-14; 2 Thessalonians 2:1
(underlined emphasis mine)

Indeed, the Jews who were troubling the Thessalonian believers (either directly or by proxy; cf. 1 Thess. 2:14-16; Acts 17:1-15) would be repaid “with tribulation” on the day of the Lord (2 Thess. 1:6). This tribulation—the great tribulation mentioned in Daniel 12:1—was the coming judgment of God on the Jews (cf. Matt. 21:33-45; Rev. 15:1; 16:19):

Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, and say “If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.” Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your father’s guilt. Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.
Matthew 23:29-36 (underlined emphasis mine)

This coming wrath is clearly described by Luke in the context of the AD 70 judgment and dispersal of the Jewish nation.

But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. For these are the days of vengeance that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
Luke 21:20-24 (underlined emphasis mine)

When Saul was persecuting believers he did so under the authority of the high priest (Acts 9:1-2, cf. 22:4-5). With the fall of Jerusalem, the institutions of the priesthood and the Temple were destroyed. In fact, when Titus captured the Temple he had all the surviving priests put to death. After AD 70, the Jews throughout the empire would not trouble believers as they had before; they (the Jews) would have to worry about their own safety. The end result was that Jesus’ parousia gave his followers rest from Jewish persecution: “it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels” (2 Thess. 1:6-7). It may be hard to fathom that this coming of Jesus with his angels happened at AD 70, but it is what Jesus taught:

For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom. [16]
Matthew 16:27-28

If, as futurists claim, the Second Advent is still future, then Paul’s first-century audience at Thessalonica never lived to see the rest that Paul had promised them at the soon-coming parousia.

THE TWO INDICATORS GIVEN FOR THE DAY OF THE LORD
IN DANIEL 12 AND 2 THESSALONIANS 2

Finally, seeing as how Paul is elaborating on the end of the age spoken of in Daniel 11:36-12:13, it seems quite likely that the two indicators he gives to identify the timing of the day of the Lord are related to the two indicators given in Daniel 12 for the countdown to the end of the age. The two markers given in Daniel 12:11 are (1) the taking away of the daily sacrifice and (2) the abomination of desolation (i.e., the coming of the one who would make Israel desolate, cf. Dan. 9:27 NKJV). The two markers that Paul gives in 2 Thessalonians are (1) “the rebellion” (Gr. apostasia) and (2) the revelation of “the lawless one” (2 Thess. 2:3 NRSV).

The Jewish rebellion (which was referred to as an apostasia)[17] began in AD 66 with the taking away of the daily sacrifice for the emperor (or any foreigner). The Roman response to this resulted in the coming of the one who would make the Jewish nation desolate. This was the abomination of desolation, the coming of the Antichrist (Dan. 9:27, 12:11); it equates with the second of Paul’s markers, the revelation of the man of lawlessness.

Notice that Paul, in his teachings in 1-2 Thessalonians, is not only drawing from Daniel 11:36-37 in his discussion of the man of lawlessness and the day of the Lord, he is drawing from the whole final section of Daniel (Dan. 11:36-12:13). This should not be a surprise, as both Daniel and Paul are speaking of the same subject, the attack of the king of the North/man of lawlessness against God’s holy mountain and his capture of the Temple (Dan. 11:36-37, 45; 2 Thess. 2:4). This would happen on the ultimate day of the Lord; it would be the time of the great tribulation and the beginning of the resurrection (Dan. 12:1-3; 1 Thess. 4:16; 2 Thess. 1:6-7).
[Duncan McKenzie, The Antichrist and the Second Coming: A Preterist Examination (Xulon, 2009), 329-344]

For part II go here: http://planetpreterist.com/content/man-lawlessness-part-two

Endnotes
1. Beale has the following comments on why he thinks man of lawlessness is the original designation for the opponent of Christ in 2 Thessalonians 2: “Some good manuscripts, as well as the majority, have ‘man of sin’ instead of man of lawlessness. The latter reading is also attested by quality witnesses and is more probable for at least two reasons: (1) lawlessness (anomia) is relatively rare in Paul (five times outside of 2 Thess 2), so a scribe more likely would have changed an original lawlessness to ‘sin’ than vice versa; (2) reference to the mystery of lawlessness in 2:7 appears to presuppose an earlier mention of lawlessness.” G. K. Beale, 1-2 Thessalonians, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series, series editor Grant R. Osborne (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarstiy Press, 2003), 204, footnote.
2. F. F. Bruce, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, Word Bible Commentary, vol. 45, gen. eds. Bruce Metzger, David Hubbard, and Glenn Barker, N.T. ed. Ralph P. Martin (Waco, TX: Word Books, 1982), xxxiv-xxxv.
3. See Charles A. Wanamaker, The Epistles to the Thessalonians: A Commentary on the Greek Text, 17-28.
4. Bruce, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 152.
5. G. K. Beale, 1-2 Thessalonians, 189.
6. Tacitus, Histories, Book 1, 11.
7. Josephus, The Jewish War, 6, 5, 2, trans. Gaalya Cornfeld, 424.
8. Beale, 1-2 Thessalonians, 142-43, footnote.
9. Kenneth Wellesley, Tacitus: The Histories (New York: Penguin Books, 1975), 9-10.
10. Jerusalem became a dead body--a corpse--when God’s Spirit left her after she rejected Jesus (Matt. 23:37-38). Just as the body without the spirit is dead (James 2:26), so Jerusalem was dead without God’s Spirit.
11. Josephus, The Jewish War, 6, 9, 3, trans. Gaalya Cornfeld, 450.
12. This probably has the dual connotation that he would be one who destroys (Dan. 11:44) and be one who would be destroyed (Dan. 11:45; cf. Rev. 17:11).
13. It should be noted that the partial preterist distinction between the great tribulation (which they say happened at AD 70) and the resurrection (which they say occurs at a future final advent) does not hold up to scrutiny. Daniel 12:1-2 depicts the two events as occurring sequentially; the resurrection commences at AD 70, right after the great tribulation. The resurrection, of course, continues from that time for those who are in Christ. It is therefore more correct to say that the resurrection began at AD 70.
14. In his teaching on Daniel 11:36-12:13, Paul is not reinterpreting a second-century BC event to describe what he was expecting in the first century (unless one wants to say the resurrection happened in the second century BC; Dan. 12:2). In 2 Thessalonians 2, Paul is elaborating on the soon-coming fulfillment of Daniel 11:36-12:13.
15. Beale, 1-2 Thessalonians, 206.
16. Some try to connect this with the transfiguration. To say only some would be alive for the coming that Jesus was talking about does not fit the transfiguration, however; it would happen a mere six days later. Moreover, the transfiguration was not the time when Jesus came with the angels and rewarded each man according to their works. That is a reference to the judgment at the end of the old covenant age (cf. Dan. 12:1-3; cf. James 5:7-9), not the transfiguration. Jesus was saying that this judgment would happen in the lifetime of some of his hearers (cf. Rev. 22:10-12).
17. The Greek word that Paul uses for the “falling away” in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 is apostasia; it is the same word that Josephus uses for the Great Revolt of the Jews in AD 66. I discuss this in greater detail later in the chapter.

tom-g's picture

Duncan, perhaps I missed your explanation of "He who now letteth until he be taken out of the way". Could you explain this for me?

Thanks,
Tom-g

Duncan's picture

Tom,

I will get into that in part two (which I will put up tomorrow or Sat.). Here is an excerpt, however.

In 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7 Paul discusses how the man of lawlessness was being restrained at that time:

6. And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time.
7. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. (NKJV)

Paul said that the man of lawlessness was being restrained until the time of his revelation. There has been much discussion by commentators over who and what was restraining the man of lawlessness. The “what” of verse 6 is the neuter participle; the “He” (or “he”) of verse 7 is the masculine participle. Russell Spittler observes that “in grammatical terms, what is restraining the Man of Sin is neuter, referring to an impersonal force, while He who now restrains is masculine, suggesting a personal figure.”41 Unfortunately, we do not have Paul’s teaching on who and what were restraining the man of lawlessness; as a result, most of the discussion on this topic is speculative in nature.

The book of Revelation, written approximately fifteen years after the Thessalonian epistles, may be of some help in understanding who and what were restraining the Antichrist. As mentioned previously, the beast of Revelation is the same as the man of lawlessness, as both are shown to be the evil ruler that would be defeated by Jesus at his Second Coming (2 Thess. 2:8; Rev. 19:11-21). In Revelation, the “what” which was restraining the beast was the abyss (Rev. 11:7; 17:8). That would mean that the “he” who was restraining the beast/man of lawlessness was either God or, more likely, one of his angels (cf. Rev. 9:1-11; 20:1-3). The fact that the restrainer was to be taken out of the way (2 Thess. 2:7) sounds much more appropriate of an angel rather than of God himself. It of course makes little sense for Satan or his forces to restrain evil.

kingdomsaint7's picture

Duncan, SOLID stuff, brother.

Also, regarding Vespasian and the King of the North, there is also the link to him consulting a foreign god not known by his fathers - this is Serapis, is it not? This is whom Suetonius records Vespasian consulting in Egypt at the time he started performing "miracles".

Duncan's picture

Thanks Jason,

Yes, I will get into that in part 3. The coming (parousia) of the man of lawlessness was accompanied by satanic miracles (2 Thess. 2:9). Both Suetonius (The Twelve Caesars, Vespasian 7) and Tacitus (The Histories 1, 10) tell us that Vesapasian all of a sudden had the ability to make the lame walk and blind see, right before Titus set off for the final siege of Jerusalem (from Egypt, cf.Dan. 11:42-45). Serapis (or Sarapis, either spelling is accptable) is the foreign deity that helped the king of the North/man of lawlessness in his attack against God's holy mountain in Jerusalem (Dan. 11:39).

kingdomsaint7's picture

Sorry, I should have noticed the "part one" of your title. :)

Duncan's picture

Please do not let it happen again ;- )

kingdomsaint7's picture

LoL, Sorry, Duncan. While I'm playing spoiler, did you also know that Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker's father? D'oh! Looking forward to the later parts. The way you connect the dots of prophecy and its manifestation in history is unparalleled imho.

ThomasS's picture

I seriously doubt that it is possible to equate the beast from the sea (Rev 13:1ff.) with the fourth beast in Dan 7 (cf. e.g. R. van der Water: "Reconsidering the Beast from the Sea [Rev 13.1]", NTS 46:2 [2000], pp. 245–561).

Se also:

http://sefer-daniel.blogspot.com/2008/10/intertextual-evidence-against-r...

Best regards

Th.S.

Duncan's picture

Have to disagree with you Thomas. Here is why.

Below are some of the connections between the little horn of Daniel 7’s fourth beast and the individual beast of Revelation. By the term "individual beast" I mean the eighth ruler of the confederation of eight rulers that make up what I call the "corporate beast" (Rev. 17:8-11). These eight kings were ultimately demonic rulers; notice that the individual beast was about to come out of the abyss when John wrote (Rev. 11:7; 17:8 NASB). Compare this with the kings of Persia in Daniel 10:13; these are spiritual rulers not merely physical rulers. The little horn/individual beast is the Antichrist, the demonic ruler from the abyss that would work through Titus in his 3 1/2 year destruction of Israel (Dan. 7:25; 12:7; Rev. 11:2; 13:5)

1. The little horn/individual beast is an eighth ruler (Dan. 7:8; Rev. 17:11).

The little horn of Daniel 7 starts out as an eleventh ruler but becomes an eighth when three horns (rulers) are removed before him (11-3=8). The individual beast is an eighth king.

After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong . . . and it had ten horns. I was considering the horns, and there was another horn, a little one, coming up among them, before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots. And there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words.
Daniel 7:7-8

The beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition.
Revelation 17:11

Titus was the eleventh Caesar of Rome. In AD 70 he was a general, the son of the reigning emperor (Vespasian), hence the designation as a little horn in Daniel 7. The three horns (rulers) removed before him refer to the three short-lived emperors (Galba, Otho, and Vitellius)) that fell in AD 69 just before Titus and Vespasian gained control of the Roman Empire (AD 69 is known by historians as "the year of four emperors").

2. The little horn/individual beast speaks great blasphemies against God (Dan. 7:8, 11, 20, 25; Rev. 13:5-6).

. . . that [little] horn which had eyes and a mouth which spoke pompous words, whose appearance was greater than his fellows.
Daniel 7:20
He shall speak pompous words against the Most High . . . .
Daniel 7:25

And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies…Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven.
Revelation 13:5-6

Ladd notes the following on the blasphemous words of the (individual) beast in Revelation 13:5 and how it is a direct reference to the little horn of Daniel 7, “This [Rev. 13:5-6] is based directly on Dan. 7:8, 20, 25. The little horn had a mouth ‘speaking great things’ and spoke ‘words against the Most High.’” The Talmud says that Titus spoke great blasphemies when he captured the Temple, actually claiming he had killed the God of Israel (The Babylonian Talmud, Gittin 56a).

3. The little horn/individual beast wages war against the saints and overcomes them (Dan. 7:21; Rev. 13:7).

I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them . . . .
Daniel 7:21

It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them . . . .
Revelation 13:7

The saints would have been understood by Daniel as the Jews. While the reference to saints is expanded in the NT to include believing Gentiles (cf. Rom. 2:28-29; Rev. 3:9), the focus of the Antichrist is on the Jews and their Temple (Dan. 9:26-27; 11:40-12:1; 2 Thess. 2:4). While the great tribulation would come on the whole world, it would focus on the dwellers on the Land, the Jews (Rev. 3:10; cf. Rev. 11:2). Josephus records that Titus’ campaign against the Jews resulted in over a million deaths (Josephus, The Jewish War, 6, 9, 3).

4. The little horn/individual beast has a three-and-a-half-year reign of terror (Dan. 7:25; 13:5).

The phrase “a time and times and half a time” of Daniel 7:25 is a period of three-and-a-half. It is usually taken to be three-and-a-half years or forty-two months, which is the form it takes in Revelation 13:5. This three-and-a-half-year reign of terror of the little horn/individual beast is the last half of Daniel’s seventieth week. It was the time of the coming of the prince who would destroy Jerusalem and the Temple and make Israel desolate (Dan. 9:26-27). This last half of Daniel’s seventieth week would end with the destruction of the Jewish nation (cf. Dan. 12:7). This is shown in Revelation 11:2 where we are told that Jerusalem would be trodden under foot by the Gentiles for forty-two months.

. . . Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time.
Daniel 7:25

. . . and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months.
Revelation 13:5

Forty-two months is the time that it took Titus to destroy the Jewish nation, from around March/April of AD 67 to August/September of AD 70.

5. The little horn/individual beast is defeated by the Second Coming (Dan. 7:21-22; Rev. 19:11-13, 19-20).

In Daniel this is shown as the coming of the Ancient of Days; in Revelation it is shown as the coming of the Word of God. In Revelation the Son of Man is shown as having the characteristics of the Ancient of Days (the white hair, Rev. 1:13-14; cf. Dan. 7:9) The Son of Man having white hair is symbolic of the eternality of Jesus (cf. Is. 9:6), the Word of God (John 1:1). Revelation is thus showing Daniel 7’s coming of God to defeat the little horn in the form of the coming of the Word of God to defeat the individual beast. (Dan. 7:21-22; Rev. 19:11-21).

I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them, until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints . . . .
Daniel 7:21-22

Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God . . . And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. Then the beast was captured . . . .
Revelation 19:11-13, 19-20

6. The little horn/individual beast is thrown into the lake of fire at the time of the Second Coming (Dan. 7:11; Rev. 19:19-20).

. . . I watched till the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame.
Daniel 7:11

Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence . . . These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.
Revelation 19:20

Daniel 7:11 shows the entire fourth beast (not just its little horn) being thrown into the fire at the coming of God. In Revelation it is the corporate beast (the eight demonic kings behind the pre AD 70 Roman Empire, cf. Dan. 10:13) that was destroyed at AD 70, not just the individual beast. Obviously the Roman Empire was not destroyed in the lake of fire at this time. An empire being thrown into the lake of fire (which is the second death, Rev. 21:8) makes no sense. What was destroyed at the AD 70 Second Advent was the confederation of eight spiritual rulers behind the pre-AD 70 Roman Empire (cf. Rev. 17:8-11). It was not Titus, but the demonic ruler from the abyss working through Titus (cf. Rev. 11:7), that was thrown into the lake of fire at this time.

Best regards,

Duncan

ThomasS's picture

We all know that John is using Daniel 7 in Rev 13, but the way he (re-) uses the Danielic discourse indicates that in this case, similarity does not indicate the same identity of the fourth beast (in Dan 7) and the beast from the sea (in Rev 13:1). This is important, because if it can be proven that the beast from the sea (Rev 13) = the Roman Empire, this would indicate that the fourth beast (Dan 7) cannot be the Roman Empire.

Regards

Th.S.

kingdomsaint7's picture

Even Jesus said that it was spoken by Daniel in Matt 24:15.

Thomas, the statue in Daniel 2:31ff represents the same empires the sea beasts in Daniel 7:2-7.

Dan 2:35 says these kingdoms were destroyed "at the same time". Just as the statue's kingdoms are destroyed "at the same time", so too are the beasts destroyed "at the same time" when it names each of the four sea beasts to the final one in Rev 13:1-2.

Rev 13:1-2 is an identical parallel to Daniel 7's four sea beasts and in fact, they are all mentioned in it by name (lion, bear, leopard and a special trampling dragon beast) which is as obvious as it gets to a "soon" fulfillment to the recipients of the letter. The beasts from Rev 13 and Dan 7 are all from the sea - this is not a "similarity" it is a fulfillment.

You said: "This is important, because if it can be proven that the beast from the sea (Rev 13) = the Roman Empire, this would indicate that the fourth beast (Dan 7) cannot be the Roman Empire."

This doesn't even make sense. The rock (Jesus Christ) destroyed the statue/beasts in its final phase and the rock became a mountain (Zion, the church) that destroyed the other physical, beastly kingdoms and replaced them as authority on the earth. If you don't think Rome was the final beast of Dan 7 or the legs/feet of the statue in Dan 2 then Jesus didn't come during the Roman Empire... which we know he did. There is no other kingdom on earth that Jesus came during, therefore Rome is when the statue is destroyed as well as when the beasts are too because that was when he set up his eternal kingdom.

ThomasS's picture

"kingdomsaint 7",

You wrote:

"Even Jesus said that it was spoken by Daniel in Matt 24:15."

There is absolutely no evidence in Matt 24:15 proving that the fourth kingdom in Dan 7 (and Dan 2) = the Roman Empire. For your information, the reference in Matt 24:15 is to Dan 11:36 (and 12:11). In Dan 11:31, Antiochus IV is in view, not a Roman emperor. This indicates that Jesus is re-using a Danielic prophecy; I refuse to believe that Jesus thought Dan 11:31 was about the Jewish War (66-70 CE), as that would be absurd.

You also wrote:

"Thomas, the statue in Daniel 2:31ff represents the same empires the sea beasts in Daniel 7:2-7."

Yes. And your point is?

You wrote:

"Dan 2:35 says these kingdoms were destroyed 'at the same time'. Just as the statue's kingdoms are destroyed 'at the same time', so too are the beasts destroyed 'at the same time' when it names each of the four sea beasts to the final one in Rev 13:1-2."

Your "logic" is very strange. The fact is that the sea beast in Rev 13 is a composition of all the four beasts in Dan 7. That demonstrates that it cannot be equated with only one of them.

You wrote

"Rev 13:1-2 is an identical parallel to Daniel 7's four sea beasts and in fact, they are all mentioned in it by name (lion, bear, leopard and a special trampling dragon beast) which is as obvious as it gets to a 'soon' fulfillment to the recipients of the letter. The beasts from Rev 13 and Dan 7 are all from the sea - this is not a 'similarity' it is a fulfillment."

I have re-read the Aramaic text (MT) and the Greek text (OG) of Dan 7 and compared it with Rev 13. I am not able to see that Rev 13:1.2 "is an identical parallel" to the four sea beasts in Dan 7. Therefore, I conclude that you are mistaken.

BTW, the Roman Empire was not destroyed in 70 CE. In fact, the Roman Empire grew more powerful after 70 CE. Again, this demonstrates that the fourth kingdom in Dan 2 and 7 cannot be the Roman Empire. In Dan 7, one like the son of man receives the kingdom AFTER the end of the fourth kingdom.

As you have argued, the rock destroyed all parts of the statue "at the same time". Thus, you cannot argue that Jesus had to come during the fourth empire (because, following your "logic, he had to have come during the first, second and third kingdoms as well...). Dan 2 demonstrates the same as Dan 7: four kingdoms are destroyed before one like the son of man receives the eternal kingdom.

Hope this helps!

Best regards

Th.S.

kingdomsaint7's picture

"There is absolutely no evidence in Matt 24:15 proving that the fourth kingdom in Dan 7 (and Dan 2) = the Roman Empire."

The verse itself is the evidence. Jesus said that what was spoken of by Daniel was coming upon them - and Rome was in power when it did. I really hope you don't start flipping out on me now, that seems to be your tone.

["For your information, the reference in Matt 24:15 is to Dan 11:36 (and 12:11). In Dan 11:31, Antiochus IV is in view, not a Roman emperor."]

No, its a Roman Emperor.

["This indicates that Jesus is re-using a Danielic prophecy; I refuse to believe that Jesus thought Dan 11:31 was about the Jewish War (66-70 CE), as that would be absurd."]

What's "absurd" is that you would assume Jesus would "regurgitate" prophecies that were already fulfilled even before he lived. Jesus said it was spoken of by Daniel to fall upon them - and it did. Jesus was telling them what was coming, that it was pre-determined and why.

["Thomas, the statue in Daniel 2:31ff represents the same empires the sea beasts in Daniel 7:2-7."

Yes. And your point is?]

My point is obvious and clear. I may have hit a nerve with that fact I raised because you're getting an attitude now. However, you seem to know what my obvious point is because you touch on it after your pointless question here.

["Your "logic" is very strange. The fact is that the sea beast in Rev 13 is a composition of all the four beasts in Dan 7. That demonstrates that it cannot be equated with only one of them."]

Now THIS Is the "very strange" logic. You said the sea beast wasn't the same as in Daniel. After making my point you pretended to not understand, now you admit they are the same beasts and Rome was the last. You went from "similar" to now "identical" yet now you are confusing yourself even further with "logic" that contradicts the simple texts.

["I have re-read the Aramaic text (MT) and the Greek text (OG) of Dan 7 and compared it with Rev 13. I am not able to see that Rev 13:1.2 "is an identical parallel" to the four sea beasts in Dan 7. Therefore, I conclude that you are mistaken."]

Your "conclusion" is based on your own opinion so therefore your circular logic is what is mistaken. The text is plain, even in English.

["BTW, the Roman Empire was not destroyed in 70 CE. In fact, the Roman Empire grew more powerful after 70 CE."]

Well then you are at odds with the bible itself then. It says specifically that the Christ/kingdom/church "DESTROYED" the statue and the kingdoms it represents "AT THE SAME TIME" when it struck the feet - Rome. You are not thinking spiritually, only physically, and this is why you are so confused to begin with perhaps. Bible = Rome destroyed then; You = Rome not destroyed and bible is wrong. I'll stick with the bible, not a hard choice at all to make.

["Again, this demonstrates that the fourth kingdom in Dan 2 and 7 cannot be the Roman Empire. In Dan 7, one like the son of man receives the kingdom AFTER the end of the fourth kingdom."]

Wrong. It clearly says "IN THE TIME OF THOSE KINGS:

Daniel 2:44
"IN THE TIME OF THOSE KINGS, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. IT WILL CRUSH ALL THOSE KINGDOMS AND BRING THEM TO AN END, but it will itself endure forever."

So you see you are wrong/confused about not only the timing but also the demise of the fourth kingdom on which it falls. Rethink things, Thomas. :)

["As you have argued, the rock destroyed all parts of the statue "at the same time". Thus, you cannot argue that Jesus had to come during the fourth empire (because, following your "logic, he had to have come during the first, second and third kingdoms as well...)."]

Wrong. This is not my logic this is YOUR logic and it is demonstrably false. The rock came at the time of the last empire of the statue/beasts. It was a specific time for him to come. The other beasts were gauges to know the times of the "end" based on the fact that 3 others had come before Rome (and the first began with Nebuchadnezzar within the book of Daniel itself) which were obvious by their descriptions with Medo-Persia raised up on one side, and Alexander the Great easily witnessed as the great horn on the shaggy goat. All 4 of these Empires directly affected Judea so all Jews knew who the kingdoms were if they really cared to.

["Hope this helps!"]

Hope THIS helps. :)

ThomasS's picture

Dear "kingdomsaint7",

You seem somewhat confused, but that's fine. It gives me the opportunity to clear up things in behalf of other readers as well.

As I don't know if you are able to read the Biblical languages (Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek), I'll try not to be too technical for you.

The reference in Matt 24:15 is to Dan 11:31 (I'm sorry I wrote 11:36 in my previous message); this is obvious from the Greek texts in question. Now, virtually all scholars understand Dan 11:31 as a reference to Antiochus IV, not a Roman emperor.

You wrote:

>> What's 'absurd' is that you would assume Jesus would "regurgitate" prophecies that were already fulfilled even before he lived. Jesus said it was spoken of by Daniel to fall upon them - and it did. Jesus was telling them what was coming, that it was pre-determined and why. <<

The re-use of OT material is very common in the NT. In the Book of Revelation, oracles against ancient Babylon and Tyre are used against "Babylon the great". Hopefully, you do not think "Babylon" in the Apocalypse = ancient Babylon.

I wrote:

"Your 'logic' is very strange. The fact is that the sea beast in Rev 13 is a composition of all the four beasts in Dan 7. That demonstrates that it cannot be equated with only one of them."

To which you gave the following response:

>> Now THIS Is the "very strange" logic. You said the sea beast wasn't the same as in Daniel. After making my point you pretended to not understand, now you admit they are the same beasts and Rome was the last. You went from "similar" to now "identical" yet now you are confusing yourself even further with "logic" that contradicts the simple texts. <<

Of course, your conclusion is wrong. I have never said that Rome was the last of the four empires (in Dan 7). My point is that the fourth beast in Dan 7 cannot be the same as the sea beast in Rev 13. This is obvious from (a) the Aramaic text in Dan 7 and (b) how John describes the sea beast in Rev 13.

According to the Aramaic text in Dan 2, ALL parts of the statue were destroyed at the same time. Arguing that Rome was destroyed spiritually in 70 CE is just "petitio principii". There is nothing in the text (viz. Dan 2) indicating that the destruction of the fourth kingdom is different from the destruction of the three previous empires. What the text does make clear is that the sequence of four world empires would end because of the arrival of the stone/Christ.

Unfortunately, when you say you'll stick to the Bible you actually mean sticking to your (rather erroneous) interpretation of the Bible.

As to Dan 2:44, the Aramaic text indicates that "those kings" = those [four] kingdoms, corresponding to the fact that all parts of the statue were destroyed at the same time. I guess you are able to see that Christ didn't come during the first three kingdoms, but after them. So, like in Dan 7, where one like the son of man receives the kingdom AFTR the fall of the fourth kingdom, the Messianic kingdom in Dan 2 is established after the fall of the fourth kingdom. The text simply indicates why the four kingdoms had to go: Making room for a fifth kingdom.

As demonstrated by the oldest interpretation of Daniel, the fourth kingdom should not be identified as the Roman Empire. I see but a few references to Rome in the Book of Daniel; cf. Dan 11:18 (the Roman consul Scipio) and Dan 11:30 (the "Kittim"). These references are important as they indicate that neither the king of the north nor the king of the south may be identified with Roman 'kings'.

Best regards

Th.S.

kingdomsaint7's picture

Thomas, I'm demonstrably not confused about a thing.

Yes, I can read the ancient languages just fine. No need to pretend you are above me and condescend. But this seems ingrained in you at this point so I guess it doesn't matter if I address it or not.

Scholars agree on very little, and I don't care if 100% of them agreed the king of the north has do to with Greece, the context is more than obvious that it isn't and that is what I am going with - substance over sensationalist consensus. The resurrection and tribulation take place immediately in those days following chapter 11 of Daniel - it doesn't end at chapter 11 like you may think it does, it is married into chapter 12 which were the events of Revelation and in the lives firstfruits church.

["The re-use of OT material is very common in the NT. In the Book of Revelation, oracles against ancient Babylon and Tyre are used against "Babylon the great". Hopefully, you do not think "Babylon" in the Apocalypse = ancient Babylon."]

These are quoted because they are fulfillments not because they are simply tossed around loosely. Those quotes from the OT were finding their ultimate fulfillment in the kingdom of God - like ALL Scripture does. This is why both Jesus AND Revelation speak of the things in Daniel - and Jesus calls upon Daniel by name - because they were being fulfilled WHEN they said they were.

["Of course, your conclusion is wrong. I have never said that Rome was the last of the four empires (in Dan 7). My point is that the fourth beast in Dan 7 cannot be the same as the sea beast in Rev 13. This is obvious from (a) the Aramaic text in Dan 7 and (b) how John describes the sea beast in Rev 13."]

You didn't even read what I wrote, it was YOUR conclusion I was speaking of. You just did admit that all the four beasts of Daniel were incorporated into the Sea Beast of Revelation which was what you were denying. I've now FORCED you to acknowledge this:

First argument of yours: "I seriously doubt that it is possible to equate the beast from the sea (Rev 13:1ff.) with the fourth beast in Dan 7"

Changed your argument to: "The fact is that the sea beast in Rev 13 is a composition of all the four beasts in Dan 7."

I rest my case. In fact, this entire discussion is settled because that was what your argument was resting on. Now that it no longer rests on that but instead what I've shown you then what's the point in continuing this? The Sea Beast not blasphemes God and persecutes the saints just as the little horn on the last beast does, but its what the "man of lawlessless" does as well so Duncan's point is also validated yet again.

["According to the Aramaic text in Dan 2, ALL parts of the statue were destroyed at the same time."]

Yep, it says this in English too. And I'm the one who brought this up.

["Arguing that Rome was destroyed spiritually in 70 CE is just "petitio principii". There is nothing in the text (viz. Dan 2) indicating that the destruction of the fourth kingdom is different from the destruction of the three previous empires. What the text does make clear is that the sequence of four world empires would end because of the arrival of the stone/Christ."]

No, Thomas, it says quite clearly that the kingdoms would be destroyed upon the arrival of the stone that turned into the mountain which is God's kingdom of heaven on earth; Zion, the church:

Daniel 2:44
"IN THE TIME OF THOSE KINGS, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. IT WILL CRUSH ALL THOSE KINGDOMS AND BRING THEM TO AN END, but it will itself endure forever."

So again this is God's word against the word of Thomas. "ALL THOSE KINGDOMS" were crushed represented in Rome when the kingdom of God came. Not only was Rome "crushed" and "destroyed" but so too were its horns - even the final, little one:

Dan 7:11 "Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking. I kept looking until THE BEAST WAS SLAIN AND ITS BODY DESTROYED and thrown into the blazing fire. 12 (The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time.)"

23 "He gave me this explanation: 'The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. 24 The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. 25 He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time. [Same as the Sea Beast in Rev 13.]

26 " 'But the court will sit, and HIS POWER WILL BE TAKEN AWAY and COMPLETELY DESTROYED FOREVER. 27 Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.' [Obviously the kingdoms of the earth became God's dominion instead of the evildoers' (Rev 11:15) and the saints plundered their spiritual enemies because they had been conquered finally.]

So again it is more than obvious that not only is the last beast destroyed when Christ set up his kingdom, but so too were its horns and even the last one. THEIR AUTHORITY WAS STRIPPED AND DESTROYED - NOT THEIR PHYSICAL PRESENCE. This is because GOD'S KINGDOM was given authority. If Rome wasn't "destroyed" and "crushed" then God's kingdom wasn't "set up" and "established" and it certainly has no authority. You can't have it both ways, no matter how much you want to deny Rome wasn't destroyed by the power of God's kingdom your argument for doing so contradicts what is so plainly stated in the Scriptures. This is a word of Thomas vs. word of God that you are basing your entire argument on at this point.

["Unfortunately, when you say you'll stick to the Bible you actually mean sticking to your (rather erroneous) interpretation of the Bible."]

Forgive me for erroneously not contradicting the bible then.

["As to Dan 2:44, the Aramaic text indicates that "those kings" = those [four] kingdoms, corresponding to the fact that all parts of the statue were destroyed at the same time."]

WRONG. "Those kings" were the feet of iron/clay. If what you are saying is true then it means Jesus came during the days of when Daniel was written because Babylon/Nebuchadnezzar was the first kingdom. If you would just be honest, you would not be confused. I guarantee it, Thomas. It was the kings of the 10/11 horned beast that the kingdom was said to be set up, and that's just when it was - during the Roman empire under which Jesus was even born.

["I guess you are able to see that Christ didn't come during the first three kingdoms, but after them. So, like in Dan 7, where one like the son of man receives the kingdom AFTR the fall of the fourth kingdom, the Messianic kingdom in Dan 2 is established after the fall of the fourth kingdom."]

Wrong. The Messianic Kingdom is what destroys the fourth kingdom (and the others). It doesn't just wait it out for Rome to fall - IT ITSELF CRUSHES THE FOURTH KINGDOM. Its not "after" its during:

Daniel 2:44
"IN THE TIME OF THOSE KINGS, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. IT WILL CRUSH ALL THOSE KINGDOMS AND BRING THEM TO AN END, but it will itself endure forever."

["The text simply indicates why the four kingdoms had to go: Making room for a fifth kingdom."]

There is no "fifth kingdom" there are the four Sea Beasts and then there is God's kingdom that is not of this world, never to be conquered because it can't be.

["As demonstrated by the oldest interpretation of Daniel, the fourth kingdom should not be identified as the Roman Empire."]

As demonstrated by Daniel itself, the fourth kingdom is Rome. As demonstrated by the time period of when Jesus was born and what empire ruled at the time, the fourth kingdom was Rome. As demonstrated by Jesus saying what was spoken of by Daniel was coming upon them for their not recognizing the time of God's coming to them, the fourth empire was Rome. As demonstrated by Rev 13 referencing the sea beasts of Daniel describing the identity of what was going to "soon" come to pass, the fourth kingdom was Rome. As demonstrated by Rev 17 that the beast destroyed the prostitute (Jerusalem), the fourth kingdom is Rome. As demonstrated by the last and little horn of the fourth beast being blaspheming and waging war on the saints just as the Sea Beast does, the fourth kingdom is Rome. I can go on and on and on with the points the bible makes that are undeniable, but you get the point. Just accept what is written rather than trying to sell me an "old interpretation" based on biblical contradictions such as "Rome wasn't destroyed" when it says it was.

Islamaphobe's picture

To Duncan, Kingdomsaint7, and Thomas,

I have enjoyed reading the article and the comments, and I hope that many visitor to this site will pay close attention to them. While I regard Thomas as a rather pedantic and myopic contributor who beautifully illustrates the intellectual arrogance associated with much of academia, I value his comments because they help simplify the study of points of view to which I am strongly opposed. In reading them, I am reminded, for example, of how I once studied the writings of Marx, Lenin, et. al. in order to gain insight into both the strong points and the weaknesses of their arguments.

I am too preoccupied with other matters at the present time to get much involved in the current debate, but I shall throw in some observations related to Daniel 2 and 7.

Because it seems rather obvious to me that the statue of Daniel 2 is intended to serve as a prophetic timeline, I find it remarkable that little attention has been given to that possibility by most "mainstream" academics, to whom the possibility that Rome might be the fourth kingdom of Daniel is as welcome as the sign of the cross to Count Dracula. Again and again, these guardians of received knowledge assure us, notwithstanding that the statue is supposed to be prophetic, its dimensions must not be associated with specific periods of time.

For academics who deny that there was a real prophet Daniel, the four kingdoms are Babylonia, Media, Persia, and Greece; and since Media's time span as the ruler of Babylon is only a year or two, I can readily understand why they are determined to deny that the chest and arms of silver are supposed to be matched to a period in history.

For most of those who favor Rome as the fourth kingdom, unfortunately, there has been a misguided determination to extend the life of that kingdom into our day. This approach obviously rules out taking the statue to be timeline unless you insist on finding some kind of gap in the feet for which there is no scriptural basis.

If I understand Thomas's position correctly, there perhaps was a real prophet Daniel and the four kingdoms are Babylonia, Medo-Persia, the Greece of Alexander, and the "Greece" that consisted of the successor kingdoms set up by his generals. In this case, the third kingdom, the kingdom of bronze, corresponds to a historical time period of about twelve years, which hardly seems to match the belly and thighs of bronze. So again the timeline approach must be ruled out and ignored as a serious possibility.

In Daniel 7:19 we read that the fourth beast has TEETH OF IRON and CLAWS OF BRONZE. Given the historical FACT that the Roman Empire was essentially a Greco-Roman empire in which the military and political power of Rome was functionally joined with the CULTURE of Greece, the teeth and claws seem to me to provide a remarkably strong argument for the position that "Rome" was the fourth kingdom. I have found little evidence, however, of a willingness of the establishment of biblical academia to look at this possibility.

Finally, there is the matter of the clay in the feet of the statue. For almost all of biblical academia, the mixture of clay and iron refers, of course, to the interdynastic marriages between the Seleucids and the Ptolemies. Never mind the "little" problem of explaining how the iron came to consist only of Seleucid Syria, and never mind that in Isaiah 64 and Jeremiah 18-19, we find cases in which clay is used to symbolize the people who are shaped by God.

I look forward to further contributions from the three of you.

John S. Evans

ThomasS's picture

Dear John,

Thanks for your friendly words! I have made some comments on your interpretation here:

http://sefer-daniel.blogspot.com/

(Cf. "How not to interpret the Book of Daniel" #3 and #4.)

Best wishes

Th.S.

ThomasS's picture

Dear "kingdomsaint7",

You still seem rather confused.

I have noticed that you see Dan 11:31 as a reference to a Roman emperor (rather than Antiochus IV) and that you don't care if 100 % of all serious scholars think this verse is about Antiochus IV. (Even Duncan McKenzie would probably agree with me on this one!)

You are, of course, entitled to your private and somewhat eccentric opinion. But I think your interpretation of Dan 11:31 demonstrates that our approach to the Biblical text is very different. Regarding Dan 11:31, I am in agreement with virtually all (conservative and liberal) scholars.

As to the re-use of OT material in the NT, we also seem to disagree. Support for my view (which, by the way, is held by virtually all scholars) is to be found in the following scholarly works:

(1) J.-P. Ruiz: Ezekiel in the Apocalypse: The Transformation of Prophetic Language in Revelation 16,17-19,10. Frankfurt/Bern/New York/Paris: Peter Lang, 1989.
(2) G.K. Beale: John's Use of the Old Testament in Revelation. (JSNTSupp 166). Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1999.
(3) R.T. France: The Gospel of Matthew. (NICNT). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2007.

As to Rev 13, you really don't seem to get my point.

You wrote:

>> You just did admit that all the four beasts of Daniel were incorporated into the Sea Beast of Revelation which was what you were denying. I've now FORCED you to acknowledge this (...). <<

I am sorry (for you), but your statement is pure nonsense. You haven't forced me to anything. I have stated that regardless of how you identify the fourth beast in Dan 7, you cannot equate it with the sea beast in Rev 13:1f. That's my point, and it's pretty conventional (cf. R. van de Water's article "Reconsidering the Beast from the Sea", NTS 46 [2000], pp. 245-261). It's based on (a) the Aramaic text in Dan 7 and (b) how John depicts the sea beast in Rev 13.

You also wrote:

>> First argument of yours: "I seriously doubt that it is possible to equate the beast from the sea (Rev 13:1ff.) with the fourth beast in Dan 7"
Changed your argument to: "The fact is that the sea beast in Rev 13 is a composition of all the four beasts in Dan 7." <<

Again, you are mistaken! I haven't changed my argument at all. It is precisely because John uses features from all beasts in Dan 7 for his portrait of the sea beast (in Rev 13) that you just cannot equate it (the sea beast in Rev 13) with just one of the four beasts (in Dan 7). This is pretty basic logic.

As to Dan 2, we seem to agree on one thing: All parts of the statue were destroyed at the same time and in the same way. Fine! But that indicates that all kingdoms were destroyed at the same time and in the same way. That also indicates that no fourth (third, second or first) kingdom could co-exist with the messianic kingdom (the mountain). The arrival of the stone is what causes all kingdoms to be destroyed.

The parallel vision in Dan 7 also makes this point: One like the son of man arrives and receives the kingdom AFTER the fall of the fourth kingdom (and its little horn).Thus, if we stick to the Bible, we can safely conclude that the fourth kingdom would be destroyed (= ceased to exist) before one like the son of man received the kingdom (Dan 7:26-27).

This does not correspond to the history of Rome. The empire grew more powerful AFTER 70 CE. And that makes it very difficult to assume that Dan 7:26-27 was fulfilled in 70 CE.

By the way, the text (in Dan 2) does not clearly indicate that all four kingdoms are represented in the fourth kingdom. In fact, the first kingdom (Babylon) was no part of the Roman Empire (at least not in the year 70 CE).

You wrote:

>> "Those kings" were the feet of iron/clay. <<

Unfortunately (for your interpretation), that's not what the Aramaic text says. Nowhere does the text say that "those kings" = "the feet of iron/clay". Aramaic mlk ('king') is found in vv. 37-38, where a king (Nebuchadnezzar) is identified with the first part of the statue. However, in v. 39 we read: "After you [= the king] shall arise another [!] kingdom (…)" (NRSV). Obviously, here "king" and "kingdoms" are used synonymously. Now, if we accept this and that king Nebuchadnezzar represents the Neo-Babylonian Empire and that the first part of the statue may be identified with Neo-Babylonia (as a "king" might be seen as the "symbol and incarnation" of a kingdom, then we do have a linguistic counterpart, or reference point, to "those kings" in v. 44a. Thus, "those kings" in v. 44b should be identified with all the four kingdoms [= the four parts of the statue], as confirmed by v. 44b: "It [= the messianic kingdom] shall crush all these kingdoms [= all four kingdoms] and bring them to an end" (NRSV). For scholars advocating the same position on "those kings" in Dan 2:44 as outlined above, one could mention: E. Young (Daniel, 1954), K. Marti (Das Buch Daniel, 1901); A. Bentzen (Daniel, 1952); O. Plöger (Das Buch Daniel, 1965); Hartman & Di Lella (The Book of Daniel, 1978); J. Goldingay (Daniel, 1989).

You wrote:

>> If what you are saying is true then it means Jesus came during the days of when Daniel was written because Babylon/Nebuchadnezzar was the first kingdom. <<

Wrong, as I already have argued: "Christ didn't come during the first three kingdoms." So, if it is OK (based on what the Aramaic text in Dan 2 actually says) that Jesus did not come during the first, second or third kingdom, it should not be a problem that he did not come during the fourth kingdom either. The arrival of the stone does not only correspond to the birth of Christ, it corresponds to the whole process of the first advent. Using so-called chronography (rather than chronology), the prophecy in Dan 2 makes it clear that the era of the four kingdoms (= the time of "those kings") would be broken because of the first advent. And that is what historically did happen: Four world empires did cease to exist before the king of God was established and made known through Christ.

IF the Aramaic in Daniel dad suggested that the stone came during the time of the fourth kingdom alone, you may have had a point. But, again, the Aramaic text does not support your interpretation.

As demonstrated by Daniel himself, supported by the oldest interpretation of Daniel, the fourth kingdom is not the Roman Empire. The key to the identity of the fourth kingdom is "the little horn" mentioned in Dan 7 and Dan 8.

Daniel does mention the Romans in Dan 11:18 and 11:30. The way the Romans are referred to here makes it clear that they are not to be equated with the fourth kingdom.

Best regards

Th.S.

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