In the study of the book of Daniel in the Old Testament, I conclude what is called a traditional Historicist method of interpreting the prophecies from God here.
Through Daniel (and a King), these visions and dreams relate to the End Times events leading to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
How these map out to reality over time is, therefore crucial, to then understanding what they mean and are warning us about.
The Historicist Interpretation
To get straight to the point, this method identifies Catholicism as the system against God, His plan of Salvation, and His believers.
Now before any offence is taken, here are three quick reasons why I see this as applicable:
1. The details in Daniel match history
No matter whether we like it or not, I think the harsh reality is that these biblical prophecies identify this system throughout history.
2. Former Protestant Reformers accepted this
We’re talking about the big ones like Martin Luther, John Wesley, and even Charles Spurgeon, as well as others like John Wycliffe, John Hus, Thomas Cranmer, William Tyndale, Hugh Latimer, John Knox, John Calvin, and Isaac Newton.
3. The differences in doctrine to core Protestant Christianity
It’s essential to realise that this is all about a system of beliefs and ‘kingdom’ identified in Daniel and not necessarily about the individuals within it.
There are genuine born-again Christians in all Christian denominations, churches, and even other religions. This is because of an individual’s response to Christ’s sacrifice for our sins, not a broader system, which I try to explain better in an analogy of a coffee shop barista here.
Allen takes a different method of interpretation of such biblical End Times prophecies called the Futurist one, which is the mainstream and most popular one nowadays.
Therefore, because Allen is so good at what he does, it’s been easier for me to go through his content and see the differences in opinion compared to the traditional Historicist one.
Plus, what I find now is that this alternative method is often not even referred to nowadays, whereas it was the basis of Protestant Christianity 500 years ago with the Reformation.
I aim to simply present this alternative method. Not to argue people into accepting it, but merely to identify to the best of my ability from Scripture as led by God to help people make their own decision
Fourteen Points of Difference
Here then are fourteen specific points of difference in Allen’s main ninety-minute summary video of the whole book.
Whilst I’ll refer to his others on the same subject, this is the main summary to focus on, and will note times in the video in brackets where each particular point is.
I agree with the majority of this video and Allen’s take on things, particularly the first part of the book. It’s a fantastic way for people to have a handy overview of everything.
I also appreciate that this is only an overview by Allen, which is impossible to include everything about the book in here as he mentions at 5:00 minutes in.
These fourteen points are where I see things differently and ordered in the best way I can think in order to logically go through the main issues.
1. The Evolving Fourth Metal
The king Nebuchadnezzar has a dream in chapter two of a statue with four different metals, interpreted as worldly kingdoms over time, affecting God’s people until Christ’s Second Coming.
These are agreed upon by most Christian Scholars and described by Allen in his video – Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome (22:10 minutes in).
The differences come in how the fourth one evolves into a different form of essentially the same metal. It’s assumed by Allen and the Futurist stance to be a ‘restored’ or new form of Roman Empire still to happen in the future, whereas the Historicist sees this as already occurring in 476 AD.
There are three reasons for this:
1. This is the fall of the Western Roman Empire, which is an accepted historical change in the Roman kingdom.
2. Ten new regions emerge, which match the ten toes of the statue in this end phase. These then end up being the core European countries we know today - Visigoths, Burgundians, Anglo-Saxons, Alamanni, Suevi, Lombards, Franks, Heruli, Vandals, and Ostrogoths.
This is fundamental to appreciate. There is nothing else to wait for; Rome has already evolved into the final state before the end of time when Christ comes as symbolised by a stone hitting the statue (24:50 minutes in).
This evolved Roman empire, therefore, lasts until the end of time, with no other significant ones coming along.
Allen did actually agree later (1:09:35 minutes in) that Rome was and still is the most powerful worldly kingdom ever; therefore kingdom against God, His method of Salvation, and believers before Christ comes in a form of the Roman Empire.
2. The Final Stone
On the chart in, chapters seven and eight, an arrow says that the stone smashing the statue at the end is also the little horn.
I think this is a mistake, as Allen confirms elsewhere the understating that the stone represents Christ and His kingdom at the end of time coming to pass.
This is completely opposite to the Antichrist symbolised as a bit of horn and attacking God and His Salvation, not worldly kingdoms, as we'll see later.
3. World Kingdoms
Chapter nine is described by Allen as something relating to the Jews in particular, which I agree with.
However, as outlined later, I understood this as allowing until 34 AD before the gospel is then opened up to the Gentiles, with no second chance for the Jews as a nation and exclusively later on.
Therefore, I find that Allen’s reference to ‘Gentile World Powers’ in chapters two, seven and eight visions does not quite sounding right (56:00 minutes in).
A general reference to ‘World Powers’ I think is better, as the whole point is describing them against God’s people throughout time, first through the Jewish people, but then opened out to the Gentiles in the fourth and final kingdom, which of course, Jews individually can respond to.
4. The Antichrist ‘Little Horn’
Chapters seven and eight are important visions that build upon the fourth and last Roman phase of time in chapter two’s statute vision. Some scholars believe these are different, but Allen correctly believes in repeating the same core ones from chapter two (56:00 minutes in).
Allen and the Futurist stance assumes that this fourth Roman kingdom is ‘not completely fulfilled, and the ten horns on the beast (with three falling) are supposed to represent ‘rulers yet to come' in the future when the ‘Antichrist completely fulfilled’.
The key to seeing if this is correct is the symbol of the little horn in both chapters as the Antichrist.
When you do look at the little horn’s detail in these two chapters, I believe that it can only be Catholicism that fulfils this role. This also matches chapter two's vision of a new emerging religious people in the Roman kingdom.
In the full study of Daniel, I go through ten characteristics of this little horn in these two chapters which can be summarised in this statement:
“It’s from the Roman Kingdom, after 476 AD and the formation of Europe, and destroys three other kingdoms/regions, turns into a worldwide influence until the end of time, has a central human figure, speaks against God, is different to other kingdoms, tries to change times and laws, and attacks God’s people for 1,260 years.”
This is a system that I believe is happening right now, not way into the future. The former Protestant Reformers also believed this and saw how the Papacy has not changed core beliefs since.
I believe the ten horns represent the ten regions of Europe from 476 AD-like with the toes in chapter two’s vision, not future ones. Three of these did fall from the emerging Papal religious power, which gained empire-wide control after the last one was subdued in 538 AD.
However, Allen refers to the ten horns on the beast and how they are assumed to be in the future. But, if this Futurist position does see a set of kings in the future when Christians are also assumed to have been raptured to heaven, then why all this detail now when it won’t affect believers?
5. 1,260 Days
This time prophecy appears in chapter seven and is one of the key factors of the little horn.
Allen and Futurists assume these to be literal days, rather than applying the ‘day year’ principle where one day symbolically equates to one year literally in history.
And yet, in chapter nine, the day-year principle is actually used (correctly) to come up with 490 years. But stating the obvious you have to be consistent throughout Scripture with whatever way is used (1:16:10 minutes in).
These 1260 days – or assumed three and half years – are believed to be at the very end of time and half of the final seven years of earth’s history.
However, taking these as 1260 years, these match the Papacy’s historic control as the little horn, beginning in 538 AD and ending in 1798 when the Pope was taken captive by Napolean in the French Revolution.
This is regarding their worldly political influence, and still an ongoing church religious influence. These secular powers are later restored in the twentieth century as per the prophecy in Revelation of a beast’s wound being healed.
6. Little Horn Interpretation
Allen mentioned that there are other interpretations of the little horn, not just the antichrist. However, there are two things to note (1:10:20 minutes in).
Firstly, most scholars will see the little horn as the antichrist; the issue is who this antichrist then actually is.
Secondly, this Historicist interpretation is not even mentioned as a plausible option, and later on, his definition of the Historicist method incorrectly identifies Antiochus Epiphanes as this (1:31:40 minutes in).
However, Preterists claim this position. Historicists identify the Papacy and Catholicism as the little horn and therefore Antichrist.
7. The Future Antichrist
By Allen stating that the Antichrist, as symbolised by the little horn, is in the future – I believe there is a half-truth here (1:32:10 minutes in).
This was still in the future for the New Testament writers with it beginning to appear at least over 400 years afterwards. That’s why writers like Paul always hinted at a future occurrence.
But to ourselves now in the twenty-first century, this has already happened (and is happening). There is no future appearance, just a greater awareness and increase in power of something already in existence as identified by the Protestant Reformation over 500 years ago.
8. 2,300 Days
The timeline prophecy of 2,300 days in the book wasn’t referred to in the video all and is often missed with modern interpretations.
This came after the two animals at the end of chapter eight, and being identified by two angels then it must be important.
Although the animals were interpreted in this chapter, this timeline of 2,300 days was left unanswered. However, it was then referred to in chapter nine by Daniel and the same angel Gabriel as something to compare the timeline in chapter nine against.
This identifies a future cleansing of the sanctuary from 1844 AD. This must be in heaven by then, and therefore Christ’s heavenly ministry, compared to His earthly ministry in the 70-week prophecy of chapter nine.
Futurists assume this remains as 2,300 days rather than years, even though the 490 days in the seventy-week one assumes years. They also link it to a coincidental time with the assumed antichrist Antiochus right at the end of time.
As an aside, the Seventh-day Adventist church highlights this interpretation and date, which Allen openly has issues with. Although I appreciate his initial suspicion of such new doctrines, this is still biblical, and they are a genuine Christian denomination.
It’s a Messianic prophecy revealing the life of Christ on earth, and nothing to do with the antichrist as symbolised elsewhere in the book through the little horn in chapters seven and eight (and hinted in chapter two, and chapter eleven’s happenings).
The Futurist stance assumes the day year principle here, with these 70 weeks being 490 prophetic days equating to 490 years in reality. Yet they don’t believe this for other time frames in the book of Daniel like the 1,260 and 2,300 days mentioned earlier, and others in chapter twelve.
They also make two changes to the last seventieth week. Firstly, stretch this out by assuming a gap in time called the Church Age (1:19:10 minutes in).
So week sixty-nine ended shortly after Christ’s life on earth, and the seventieth week was assumed to not begin until the very end of time. There is an assumed delay whilst God allows the Gentiles to enter the faith.
Therefore, secondly, when their time is up, there are seven last days/years at the end of time back focused back on the Jews and the opportunity for them to receive Salvation (turning the meaning of Christ Himself).
This is partly based on the fact that Rome’s downfall was after seventy weeks. However, the trigger point to cause this more the Jew’s rejection of Christ, as the Messiah, within the 70 weeks.
Therefore, I believe the opportunity is actually opened to everyone after the 70-week period prophecy in 34 AD – both Gentiles and Jews on an individual basis. There is no assumed gap in time to a clear timeline as prophesied by God.
Allen also believes that the Old Testament prophets missed this stretched-out Church Age before the final seventieth week, and states ‘in the mind of the Old Testament prophets they had no understating of the Church Age’ (1:11:40 minutes in).
Although they didn’t necessarily understand the first and then the Second Coming of Christ, I don't believe they missed anything like this. The focus needs to be on God delivering a complete and accurate prophecy and not assuming the prophet's error with delivery. I believe they were correct in understanding the continued Roman influence right until the End of Time.
Alen also quotes Colossians 1:26 and Paul’s reference to a mystery (1:11:20 minutes in). To believe this relating to this hidden Church Age is a huge assumption, and it could mean that a full declaration of the evolving Roman empire would need to come at a later Time of the End, from the nineteenth century, and as God reminded Daniel about several times in the book.
Therefore, things are turned around 180 degrees in the last week so that the focus is on the antichrist, not Christ Himself. This is a serious point, namely that where I believe Scripture describes Christ’s role, it is assumed to by a complete opposite, the antichrist (1:21:20 minutes in).
So, Futurists assume this figure crops up for the last seven years of time, and makes a treaty with the Jews in the first three and half years, but then turns against them. Things, therefore, turn even worse in the Tribulation of the second half (1:19:10 minutes in).
This seven-year period comes from two lots of three and half years (1,260 days). This applies to the 1,260 days in chapter seven, and the recurring time span in Revelation.
However, these equate to 1260 years when using the same day-year principle, as applied in the seventy weeks one. Also, it focuses on the antichrist’s role whereas this chapter nine is a Messianic prophecy identifying the role of Christ.
He then links the 144,000 in Revelation to Jewish evangelists helping to spread the true gospel to the Jews in this time (1:20:20 minutes in).
Allen also shows a chart in the video explaining how this theory maps out (1:14:00). I’ve highlighted on here as below what I believe the correct Historicist interpretation is of this later part in blue, and then the stretching and turning changes in green:
The rest of the sixty-nine weeks Allen describes is wholly agreed with, and quite righty being aware of many other slight deviations of this prophecy amongst Scholars.
10. Michael the Archangel
I believe Michael the Archangel is Christ Himself, and Chapter twelve describes how He rises at the End of Time to bring victory to his believers at His Second Coming.
However, Futurists see Michael as an ordinary created angel and leader of others, therefore, assuming chapter twelve is an angel messager to the Jews at the end of time.
Allen mentions the reference to chapter ten as supporting this argument, however, with a separate post here looking at how this is believed to mean Christ incarnate.
11. North & South
Chapter eleven was only very briefly touched upon by Allen and is a long and difficult one to appreciate fully.
There’s a theme of two kings in the north and south being against each other over time, and in my own study, see seven different phases that link to the Historicist interpretation of prophecy.
Futurists have a different take on four of these phases (three, four, six and seven). A key one is around verse thirty, where Antiochus Epiphanes is identified in one of these key roles, however, only within the capacity of a consecutive king and not as the symbolic antichrist.
However, Futurists assume this continues into further verses, which should be the emergence of the Rome period and the Papacy appearing as the little horn, not Antiochus’s continued rule.
12. Antiochus Epiphanes
Allen mentions the popular focus on Antiochus Epiphanes, a terrible Greek kind several hundred years BC who attacked Jerusalem, the Temple and the Jews (1:32:10 minutes in).
As per the earlier point, Historicists see him as one in a line of various other kings in chapter eleven, who is inexcusably against God’s people.
However, Preterists see him as fulfilling the criteria of the little horn, and therefore they believe this antichrist has already been and gone.
Futurists note how not all the criteria of the antichrist are covered in him; therefore, he is only a foreshadowing taster of what the main one will assumed to still be right at the end of time (1:32:10 minutes in).
There is a dramatic scene of God pronouncing a judgement in chapter seven that Allen does not emphasise in this video, but mentions in another video on End Times prophecies in Daniel (around 10 minutes in).
I believe it is important to appreciate what and when this is happening, as it's affecting Christians inheriting God’s kingdom.
As described in chapter seven, applying the same day-year principle as other timelines to the 1,260 years, then this judgement comes after the political influence of the little horn.
The Historicist interpretation, therefore, sees this as after 1798 and the Papacy’s downfall at the French Revolution.
14. Final Three Time Lines
In the last part of chapter twelve, there are three final timelines, although these are not in Allen’s video (probably because he was already packing so much into it)
The other two are 1,290 and 1,335 days and in the Historicist interpretation of these identify the earlier rise of Papal power in Europe and the year before the year 1844 AD in chapter eight and the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary.
However, Futurists assume this is finer detail about how the antichrist figure at the End of Time will appear and disappear a few days before and after the core three and half year period.
As an aside, these are three references to the Seventh-day Adventists doctrine of pre-advent judgement in this book. The other two are the original 2,300 days timeline in chapter eight, and the commencement of judgement after 1798 in chapter seven.
The book of Daniel is undoubtedly one of the most difficult ones to appreciate, with just so much symbology and detail in there.
However, it is essential to still dig deeper and further understand the End Times events, and I believe the foundation for understanding the book of Revelation in the New Testament.
Understanding the method of interpretation is therefore critical. Although the Futurist one is now mainstream what most Christians default to even if they don’t fully appreciate what it means, I believe the Historicist one is correct.
This was the basis of former great Protestant Reformers and their understanding of this book of Daniel and how it lines up to history throughout time. I believe the Seventh-day Adventist church doctrines then help bring some further light to things over the last few centuries.
It identifies Catholicism as the antichrist system against God, which has the same core beliefs behind any newer up-front issues of, say, greater spirituality, human betterment and aid, and ecumenicalism.
I also don't want this to come across as a criticism of Allen Parr and his videos. He’s a gifted teacher and fellow Christian believer helping bring clarity to this book in order to then help explain an alternative interpretation.