On the Internet since April 1997. All emphases are mine.
Excerpts of comments from my readers
(e-mail messages in "my best review" and "... readers' comments" pages)
Bruegel, the fall of the rebel angels
The books of Daniel and Revelation are considered basis for beliefs about "end of the world" and imminent apocalypse, because of far-fetched explanations from the mix of the two. Many cults are based in part on some extrapolations from these books, sometimes with tragic consequences.
From the 14th century, Christian scholars published "studies" on these writings. Even Sir Isaac Newton wrote some 1.3 million words about his interpretations on the combination of 'Daniel' and 'Revelation'.
From 1831, a Bible student named William Miller preached about 4,500 lectures to half a million people. A large movement began because he predicted, through his studies and calculations, the "end" to happen in 1843-1844.
Miller died lonely and forgotten in 1849. Nevertheless, his "analysis" of the two books did set a precedent about "finding" (many different) scenarios and dates for the "end of time". It is noticeable that these dates (many in times past) are (or were) within the lifetime expectation of their respective "proclaimer" (and followers). Despite the many proven wrong, others are "interpreting" away and "discovering" new ones (set in the near future, of course!).
Let's also note that neither 'Daniel' nor 'Revelation' have "antichrist(s)" in them. This word appears only five times in the whole Bible and exclusively in 1John & 2John. Here, the antichrist(s) are the non-Christian/heretical preachers or individuals who lived when the two aforementioned epistles were written.
Next are all the occurrences of "antichrist(s)" in the Bible; judge for yourself:
1Jn2:18 "Dear children, this is the last hour [some 1900 years ago!]; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour."
1Jn2:22 "Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist --he denies the Father and the Son [according to this definition, today's world has billions of antichrists!]."
1Jn4:3b "This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world."
2Jn1:7 "Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist."
And then, in the two books, the final "Saviour" is different:
In 'Daniel', it is (archangel) Michael:
Da12:1 "At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people [Jews]; And there shall be a time of trouble, ... And at that time your people shall be delivered ..."
In 'Revelation', it is God and the Lamb (Jesus):
Rev7:10 "... Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!"
Rev17:14 "... and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings ..."
The book of Daniel is noticeable for its
legendary tales and historical errors. Those
appear in the narration of the 600-530 B.C.E.
period, even if the events then were allegedly
witnessed by the author himself. However,
Daniel's prophecies are getting more &
more detailed and accurate, all the way to Antiochus Epiphanes' reign and
168-164 B.C.E., as understood by Jewish historian Josephus, commenting on the book (Antiquities X, XI, 7, published 93 B.C.E.):
"... and that from among them [the Hellenist kings] there should arise a certain king that should overcome our nation and their laws, and should take away their political government, and should spoil the temple, and forbid the sacrifices to be offered for three years' time. And indeed it so came to pass, that our nation suffered these things under Antiochus [IV] Epiphanes"
Most critical Bible scholars now call for a late composition:
"The book ['Daniel'] must therefore have been written during the persecution under Antiochus Epiphanes and before his death, even before the success of the Maccabaean [Hasmonean] revolt; that is to say between 167 and 164." (The New Jerusalem Bible, Introduction to Daniel)
"The Book of Daniel presents a collection of popular stories about Daniel, a loyal Jew, and the record of visions granted to him, with the Babylonian Exile of the 6th century BCE as their background. The book, however, was written in a later time of national crisis when the Jews were suffering severe persecution under Antiochus IV Epiphanes (reigned 175-164/163 BCE) ..." (Encyclopedia Britannica)
"The Book of Daniel was written during the persecutions of Israel by the Syrian king Antiochus Epiphanes." (Jewish Encyclopedia)
It has been mentioned that 'Revelation' is the result of Christian additions on a thoroughly Jewish text:
- "the main [part of the] apocalypse [of John] actually belongs to Jewish apocalyptic literature." (Jewish Encyclopedia)
- "... German scholar Vischer .. holds the Apocalypse to have been originally a purely Jewish composition ... we think, it cannot be objected to ... The Apocalypse abounds in passages which bear no specific Christian character but, on the contrary, show a decidedly Jewish complexion." (Catholic Encyclopedia)
I never saw any detailed reconstruction of the original Jewish Revelation. Well, this is just what I attempted, carefully sorting out the Christian parts. What is left had to be written by a non-Christian, definitively a Jew, for obvious reasons that I will explain within the text.
Good reading! And then, if you wish, send me an e-mail:
Bernard D. Muller
Most Bible quotes are from the NKJV.