Bible Study: Book of Daniel An Overview Part 1 Book of Daniel An Overview Part 1 As every reader of the Bible knows, the books of Daniel and Revelation are written largely in symbols. Bible students, consequently, describe them as apocalyptic prophecy to distinguish from straightforward classical prophecy, such as we find in the major and minor prophets of the Old Testament. In these two apocalyptic books God reveals the sweep of the moral controversy which has convulsed our planet, focusing on the ultimate victory of His cause and the final doom of the forces of evil.
From the beginning Seventh-day Adventists have followed the historical method of prophetic interpretation to explain the symbols and their meaning. Sometimes this approach is called the historicist method or the continuous historical method.
The historicist method accepts the assumption that the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation are intended to unfold and to find fulfillment in historical time – in the span between the prophets Daniel and John respectively and the final establishment of God’s eternal kingdom. The year-day principle (a symbolic day = a literal year) is an integral part of this method inasmuch as it functions to unroll the symbolic time periods so that we are able to locate the predicted events along the highway of history.
Jesus used the historicist method for interpreting Daniel when He announced, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:15). In this affirmation of prophetic fulfillment He alluded to Daniel’s 70 week prophecy (Dan 9:24-27) which foretold the appearance of the Messiah. Near the close of His life Jesus again referred to the same prophecy. This time, however, He pointed to another aspect-to “the prince that [should] come [and should] destroy the city and the sanctuary.” (v. 26; see Matthew 24:15; Luke 21:20.) These events were to take place after His death and ascension. Their historical fulfillment occurred in the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple by the Romans in A.D. 70.
The Protestant reformers (from whose roots we spring) likewise employed the historicist method. On this basis they concluded that the Papacy was the focus of several of the prophecies in Daniel and Revelation. Following this method the early Seventh-day Adventist pioneers came to perceive our own times, the twofold ministry of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary, our identity as a people, and our task. Our understanding of Daniel and Revelation became the distinctive frame to hold in place and to highlight the biblical truths we teach as a church.

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