Daniel 8:9-11, Typological Fulfillment

Out of one of them came another horn, which started small but grew in power to the south and to the east and toward the Beautiful Land. It grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them. It set itself up to be as great as the Prince of the host; it took away the daily sacrifice from him, and the place of his sanctuary was brought low.

//When Isaiah prophesied that a child would be born of “a young maiden” (the Septuagint version reads “a virgin”), he probably had in mind the birth of either his own son or that of King Ahaz. When you read the verse in context, the immediacy of the prophecy is very clear. Isaiah did not have Jesus in mind, and if Isaiah’s prophecy was fulfilled at all, then it was fully fulfilled in his own time.

Matthew, however, when he references Isaiah’s prophecy, may have considered this a typological fulfillment. It strains the imagination to think that Matthew didn’t know Isaiah’s prophecy had been fulfilled long ago, so we must assume Matthew meant its second fulfillment to be typological. The son of the King, in Isaiah, becomes a “type” of the birth of Jesus. The question readers must answer for themselves is this: Do you accept typological fulfillment as true prophecy?

Today’s verse is another example, of primary importance to today’s time. Without getting too deeply into the discussion, Daniel prophesied a conqueror, and this prophecy was fully fulfilled in the 2nd century BC. The name of the conqueror was Antiochus IV. John of Patmos then later picked up on Daniel’s prophecy and applied it to the conqueror of his time: Nero Caesar. Nearly all scholars of Revelation recognize Nero Caesar as the Beast of the Sea in Revelation. John’s prophecy, if taken seriously, must also be considered a typology; Daniel had no intention of prophesying an event in the first century.

But if typological fulfillment is legitimate, how, then, are we to know when a prophecy is fulfilled in its final expectation? I guess we don’t, really. As regards Daniel’s prophecy of a conqueror, Preterists stop at the first century, and conclude that Nero Caesar, and the great war of 67-70 A.D., is the final typological fulfillment of his scripture. It’s written about in Revelation. However, most Christians take the futurist view, and conclude that the prophecy of Daniel will be fulfilled yet a third time; that it will all happen again in our future, at Armageddon. Daniel had no idea his prophecy regarding the 2nd century B.C. would be read in this manner; John had no idea his prophecy regarding the 1st century A.D. would be read in this manner; yet both events were laying down a typological foundation for an antichrist and a great war yet to come.

The flexibility of scriptural fulfillment, and the way the New Testament has taught us to think typologically, means there will always be argument about when prophecies are fulfilled. What makes us think, for example, that the next antichrist will be the final one? In my opinion, the great debate between Preterists and Futurists about whether Christ is coming again may as well be put to bed. Neither are referringto the original scriptural fulfillment of Daniel, so both are arbitrarily choosing a particular point in time to end the cycle of repeating typological fulfillments.

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