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Daniel's last 3 Kingdom's as Media, Persia, and Greece

Posted: Sat May 14, 2016 3:15 pm
by TruthInLove
Hi friends,

Is anyone out there familiar with this alternative view of Daniel's kingdoms? I realize that this view is largely held by critics as a means of discrediting Daniel as a true prophet. However, I've spent a good deal of time reading and trying to debunk the book "God in Control" by Dr. Rober J. M. Gurney but to be honest, I'm finding his interpretation along these lines to be quite convincing. In fact, I think that it adds credibility to Daniel and clears up quite a few difficulties including Daniel 11:36 through the end of chapter 12. It also seems to clear up a few small difficulties with the Preterist view of Revelation, particularly with identifying the Beast from the Sea as the 1st century Roman Empire (which still seems like the best explanation to me).

Can anyone offer any reviews of this theory or resources for further investigation, both pro or con?

Thanks in advance.

Re: Daniel's last 3 Kingdom's as Media, Persia, and Greece

Posted: Mon May 16, 2016 11:30 am
by TruthInLove

If you happen to read this post, I'd be particularly interested in your appraisal of Dr. Gurney's work if you are familiar with it. I know from listening to your Verse-by-Verse lectures on Daniel that you don't find the understanding of Daniel's 4 kingdoms espoused by the Maccabean Hypothesis convincing. Since your ministry has had a profound impact on my undersranding and faith in the Scriptures, I'm curious as to your reasons for your partucular understanding of Daniel's kingdoms. Especially since you have expressed some dissatisfaction with the lack of convincing options in the traditional views pertaining to the identifications of the 10 kings of the fourth kingdom, the king who exalts himself of Chapter 11, and the mysterious numbers of Chapter 12. Gurney's explanations for these seem quite reasonable to me, at least on the surface. Interestingly, the only mainstream apologist that I've found who is sympathetic to partial-preterism and who also shares much of Gurney's view is Hank Hanegraaff. See ... n-nations/

Thank you in advance.

Re: Daniel's last 3 Kingdom's as Media, Persia, and Greece

Posted: Mon May 16, 2016 6:52 pm
by steve
Hi TruthInLove,

I am not familiar with Dr. Gurney, or his work, so I am not in a position to critique it, nor to assess his arguments. I did encounter some arguments for the fourth kingdom being Greece while sitting in Hank Hanegraaff's office, more than a decade ago. The view was presented to me by one of Hank's two primary research assistants (his son-in-law, in fact), but we did not have time to explore the whole case. I would like to read Gurney on this, and had not heard of him previously. It may be that he is not making a case for the same position I was hearing in Hank's office, but the fact that you find Hank sympathetic with it makes me think that it is at least similar.

The position I was hearing was that Daniel's first kingdom was Babylon (not controversial, since Daniel himself says so). The second, was Media, and the third was Persia. This is in contrast to the common view that the second is Media-Persia, and the third is Greece. By the alternative view, Greece is the fourth kingdom, whereas the common view makes it Rome.

Thus we have the standard view (which I will call "A"), in which the four kingdoms are:

1. Babylon
2. Media-Persia
3. Greece
4. Rome

On this view, Daniel 2:44 speaks of a fifth kingdom, which would be fulfilled in Christ's advent and the kingdom He has established.

Over against this view is the alternative (which I will call "B"), which says the four are:

1. Babylon
2. Media
3. Persia
4. Greece

Of course, the Maccabean (or Hasmonian) kingdom could then be regarded as the fifth kingdom spoken of in Daniel 2:44.

I don't remember all the arguments for "View B", but there were some that sounded reasonably persuasive.

On the other hand, the fatal flaw of that view seems to be that it sees the Median and the Persian empires as separate successors to the Babylonian. Thus, we would require the Medes to be the conquerors of Babylon, and the Persians to be the (later) conquerors of the Medes. However, as the history has been presented to me, the Medes and the Persians were joined as one entity prior to Babylon's conquest, which means the Medes and Persians were not a second, and a third, successor to Babylon, but one kingdom under Cyrus the Persian.

Gurney may have an excellent explanation for this problem, which escapes me. I would be glad to read his thesis and its defense. I notice it can apparently be read online, so I will keep the link until I can get around to reading it.

Re: Daniel's last 3 Kingdom's as Media, Persia, and Greece

Posted: Mon May 16, 2016 11:06 pm
by TruthInLove
Hi Steve,

Thank you very much for your reply. You are correct that the entire book is available in PDF form online. For anyone else who may be interested, it has been freely posted with permission from the author here: ... urney.html

It's not a long read. About 120 pages. The book addresses most if not all of the common objections to identifying the kingdoms in this alternative arrangement. You mention some of these on Track 5 of your MP3 lecture on Daniel, specifically Daniel 2:44; 5:28; 6:8,12,15.

For a relatively quick introduction to his theory, the above site also includes an article by John Walton which gives a summary of some of the high points of Gurney's theory. The book is much more thorough however. Walton also presents a few weaknesses in Gurney's theory before presenting a theory of his own. However, having read Gurney's updated version of the book several times and meditating on it repeatedly, he seems to do a pretty good job addressing the points where Walton is critical of him. ... alton.html

Hank Hanegraaff cites both of the above authors in footnotes 5, 6, 7, and 23 in the link from my previous post. Also, footnote 25 gives a few key points in the argument that may pique your interest.

I've also found that Keith Mathison of R.C. Sproul's Ligonier Ministries mentions both Gurney and Walton in the following article in paragraph 4. ... chatology/

While Mathison states that he thinks the traditional identification of the 4 Kingdom's is more likely (model A from your summary above), he doesn't really spend any time defending his opinion.

The one point with Gurney's theory that I'm still a little unsure about is his interpretation of the "King Who Exalts Himself" of Daniel 11:40-50 in Chapter 7, page 7 of his book. The historic fulfillment he proposes seems very plausible and is just as precise as the other details Daniel gives in 8:1-11:40. The only serious difficulty seems to be the peculiar linguistic/literary device he proposes that was used within these verses. The occurrence of such a device seems unparalleled to me anywhere else in scripture except possibly the double reference to Cyrus and Cymbases in Isaiah 45:13-14. Still, there does seem to be some justification for his suspicion. I'm still mulling over that portion.

It may also be worth pointing out up front that Gurney's interpretation of Revelation is heavily futurist. Still, this doesn't seem to have much bearing on his interpretation of Daniel as being primarily fulfilled in the events prior to and including 70 A.D. To his credit, he readily admits that many of his futurist leanings are very speculative and may very well have a valid preterist interpretation.

I hope you and others find these resources interesting and useful.

God bless.

Re: Daniel's last 3 Kingdom's as Media, Persia, and Greece

Posted: Mon Oct 17, 2016 1:31 am
by TruthInLove
Hi friends,

It's been a while but I just wanted to follow up on this post. I've actually created a video resource discussing the primary difficulty I had with Dr. Gurney's views on Daniel 11. For those who are interested, it can be found here:

Any feedback or constructive criticism is welcome.

In Christ,

Re: Daniel's last 3 Kingdom's as Media, Persia, and Greece

Posted: Sat Dec 24, 2016 1:18 am
by TruthInLove
I'm reviving this post in response to an inquiry from Zechariah 14:3
thrombomodulin wrote:
TruthInLove wrote:
thrombomodulin wrote:The idea of conquering through the gospel seems attractive given Daniel 2:44.
I would respectfully disagree with Steve and others who see this portion of Daniel as a reference to a period of Roman domination.
Despite being a minority view, I am convinced that the biblical evidence overwhelmingly supports the idea that Daniel's 4th kingdom was the ancient Greek Empire and that ancient Rome is not a primary focus of Daniel, although it is mentioned a handful of times. I'd also be willing to explore this with anyone who may be interested.
I have only been exposed to the idea that it Daniel's 4th kingdom is the Roman empire. I am interested in learning about your view that it is not, can you please elaborate?
This is a somewhat involved subject, but I’ll do my best to give an overview of the major justifications for viewing Daniel’s 4 kingdoms as Babylon, Media, Persian-dominated Medo-Persia, and Greece. I can elaborate, clarify and respond to possible objections as requested.

First, the prophets had long expected Media to overthrow Babylon (Jeremiah 51:11,27-29; Isaiah 13:17; 21:2) So if the Babylonian empire was the 1st of Daniel’s kingdoms, as most would agree it is, based on these earlier prophets then, we would expect Media to be the 2nd kingdom.

Of all of Daniel's visions, those of chapter 8 and 11 probably contain the largest number of entities whose historical identities are agreed upon by nearly all interpreters. In chapter 8, the Ram is identified in the text itself as "Media and Persia" and the He-Goat is identified as "Greece". In chapter 11, scholars are almost in complete agreement that the kings of the North and South are the various Greek rulers of Egypt and Syria respectively, at least up until verse 36 or 40. It seems that it would be safest then to use these chapters as a guide to understanding the less obvious visions of chapters 2 and 7.

I've attempted to do this visually with the graphic below since jumping back and forth between the texts can be quite tedious and confusing. This color-coded table, crude though it may be, will hopefully more readily demonstrate the comparisons between the beasts of chapter 7, the statue segments of chapter 2 and the Ram and the He-Goat of chapter 8. I’ve paired the Ram and the He-Goat with the 3rd and 4th kingdoms respectively, as I believe the comparisons justify those pairings. Most interpreters would pair the Ram with the 2nd kingdom and the He-Goat with the 3rd, which I think poses several issues.


The bulk of Chapters 8 and 11 are concerned with Greece. This may then suggest that the kingdom in the other chapters which is spoken of in the greatest detail would most likely be identified with Greece also. The most detailed descriptions are of the 4th kingdom. Also, by comparison, the 4th kingdom seems to have the most in common with the He-Goat (Greece) than does the 3rd kingdom.

We can further recognize that Rome never devoured the earth to quite the degree that Persia and Greece did.

We are told that the 2nd kingdom would be or was already inferior to the Babylonian Empire under Nebuchadnezzar but if the 2nd kingdom was the Medo-Persian Empire, that could hardly be the case. Further, the 4th beast is completely destroyed before the establishment of the Messiah’s kingdom. Not only was the Roman Empire still growing when Christ came, it also fell very gradually over a period of centuries, well after the advent of Christ. In what way could Christ’s kingdom be viewed to have manifested itself after Rome fell?

Also, I have yet to hear a satisfactory explanation for the 7 horns, the little horn and the 3 horns that were uprooted before it in terms of the Roman Empire. On the other hand, the lives of the kings and princes of Greece fit this description very well.

Zec. 9:13 [v. Zec. 9:9 is quoted loosely in Mat. 21:5; Jhn. 12:15] associates the coming of the Messiah with the passing of the Greek empire. If the kingdom of the Messiah was the 5th kingdom of Daniel, then that would make Greece the 4th.

Additionally, if the beast of Rev. 13:2 was the Roman Empire, as I believe it truly was, why is it described as a composite of the beasts of Daniel 7? This is especially strange given that the 4th beast is "different" than the previous beasts (Dan. 7:23). If the 4th beast of Daniel was Rome, why doesn’t Revelation simply just use that same imagery, excluding that of the other attributes of the other 3 beasts?

It’s also clear that the 4th kingdom is destroyed in association with an appearance of God and wind (Dan. 2:34-35,44-45). Similarly, the 4th kingdom is destroyed in association with the installment of the throne of God afterwards, complete with wheels. (Dan. 7:9-10) Compare these to the whirlwind and wheels of God’s chariot-throne in Ezekiel 1:4,15; 10:1-2,6,9-10,12-13,15-16,20,22.

Notice also that a “whirlwind” appears in Dan. 11:40 in suspiciously close conjunction to the description of Antiochus Epiphanes. I talk at great length about this in the video mentioned above as I believe this has a tremendous and unacknowledged significance in correctly interpreting the last few verses of Dan. 11.

This is probably a good deal to chew on for now and hopefully will at least demonstrate that this view should be given serious consideration. I’m aware of objections to this view but I believe they all have more than satisfactory answers. I can address those as they are brought forth in this discussion. I mention several resources in my previous post that elaborate more on this view.

One thing further I would say about this view at this time is that it has opened my eyes to a great deal of symbolism which is employed in Daniel’s visions. Symbolism that has gone largely unnoticed and unexplained by the scholarly community. Just as Revelation is largely based on Old Testament imagery, I believe Daniel can be shown to be quite dependent on images from and give deeper meaning to events from the OT. I’m currently working on making some resources available to fill these gaps.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if there is anything you'd like to have clarified or expounded on.

Re: Daniel's last 3 Kingdom's as Media, Persia, and Greece

Posted: Mon Jan 02, 2017 6:34 pm
by thrombomodulin

Thank you for recommending the the book, God is in Control. I have finished reading it, and I agree that it makes a convincing case. I am also interested in comments Steve, Doug, or others may have on it.


Re: Daniel's last 3 Kingdom's as Media, Persia, and Greece

Posted: Mon Jan 02, 2017 11:56 pm
by TruthInLove
That's great Pete! Thank you for taking the recommendation to heart and for investing your time to read it. I'm glad you found it interesting and convincing. Perhaps your interest will prompt others to investigate as well. This book really solidified my faith in the credibility of Daniel and other OT prophecies/types.

If you think of anything in particular you'd like to discuss regarding this theory, please don't hesitate to bring it up.


Re: Daniel's last 3 Kingdom's as Media, Persia, and Greece

Posted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 1:02 am
by TruthInLove
Hello again Pete,

I'm not sure if you've revisited this much since you first finished the book, but I'm genuinely interested in your thoughts (and those of others) on Gurney's comments on page 9 of chapter 7 regarding Daniel 11:40. For me, this was by far the hardest part of his explanation to swallow. He writes:
We are told that the king of the north shall rush upon 'him'. This 'him' could be the king of Egypt but another possibility is that it is the same 'him' as in the preceding phrase - that is, the king of Syria. It is possible, therefore, that verse 40 should be understood as follows. 'At the time of the end, the king of the South (Egypt) shall attack him (Syria); but the king of the North (Rome) shall rush upon him (Syria) like a whirlwind.
He doesn't state it very clearly here, but what he's suggesting is that while many, though not all (e.g. Philip Mauro) would agree that the first 'him' here refers to the King of the North which is Syria (as it was in all the preceding verses), Gurney believes that in the second half of verse 40, Rome suddenly takes the place of Syria as the King of the North and Syria becomes the King of the South!

While he does furnish some evidence for this, I didn't personally find it very convincing and neither did most of his critics (e.g. Ernest C. Lucas). Still, it did seem awfully coincidental to me that if this transition were assumed, the verses following were an astoundingly detailed and accurate picture of the fall of the Greek Empire and the military failures of Rome against the Parthians and Nabateans. And after doing further research, I do think there is scriptural evidence that strongly supports this.

Did you have any thoughts on this? Does this have any bearing on how credible his theory strikes you? Just curious.

Thanks in advance,

Re: Daniel's last 3 Kingdom's as Media, Persia, and Greece

Posted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 8:21 pm
by thrombomodulin

I agree that the part of Gurney's theory that you mentioned above is a weak point. Nonetheless, I thought his explanations for the change in subject were sufficient, and so I consider his interpretation to be a plausible one. Unfortunately this chapter of the scripture is one that I am less familiar with, and so I do not feel qualified to give a well informed opinion about it. Like you, I am looking forward to reading the comments that those who are better informed might make about Gurney's interpretation.