According to Preterism, all prophecy given must have found fulfillment during the period between its origin and 70 AD, and some Preterists extend that to the fall of Pagan Rome in 410 AD.
Again, timing is the issue. Historicists believe many prophecies have not been fulfilled or were fulfilled after 410 AD. Read the following carefully and prayerfully using your common sense.
The prophecy chosen for this little booklet is the well-known story found in Daniel 2 of Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar and his dream of a great image.
“Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.”
Daniel interprets the vision of the King in Chapter 2:36-48:
“This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king. Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold. And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.”
In Daniel Chapter 7, Daniel had a dream which corresponds to Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Chapter 2, only it is from God’s viewpoint.
“Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another. The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it. And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh. After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it. After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.”
Daniel was told the interpretation in verses 16-27:
“I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me. I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things. These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever. Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet; And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.”
All seems in agreement; the four parts of the image and the four beasts picture the same four kingdoms beginning with Babylon, then Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome. If the story ended with the iron legs of the image and the terrible beast with the iron teeth from the sea, it would simplify matters considerably. However, it does not end there. The iron legs extend into two feet having ten toes, and those feet and toes are composed of iron mixed with clay. The iron legs represent the old Pagan Rome, but the feet and toes of iron mixed with clay represent the old paganism which became mixed with Papal Rome. For over one thousand years, no king ruled in the European nations (an average of ten) who was not under the approval and control of the Pope of Rome.
The timing is clear, as the pagan Roman Empire fell, another power rose to take its place – Ecclesiastical Rome who ruled the ten individual nations that formed out of the European continent. This happened well after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD or even the fall of Pagan Rome in 410 AD.
The vision given to Daniel in Chapter 7 tells the same story in a different form. This beast is not content to be an ordinary terrible beast. It had the same number of appendages, but they were horns, not toes. As verse 24 advises: “and the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that should arise.”
Obviously, to come out of the original kingdom – Pagan Rome – it had to be subsequent in time to that old Roman Empire. What did emerge from the old Roman Empire? Papal Rome.
It should be of great interest that the Apostle John saw this same dreadful beast with its ten horns. He wrote of it in Revelation, Chapters 12 and 13.
“And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.”
“And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.”
It is safe to assume that this beast is the same in both instances, but no doubt you have noted one difference. The dragon in Chapter 12 had seven crowns upon his heads while the beast in Chapter 13 had the ten crowns upon his horns.
“And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.”
These two chapters clearly portray the difference in timing we are so interested in. Chapter 12 shows seven crowns (power, authority, forms of government) upon his heads – the seven mountains upon which Rome was built. Chapter 13 moves the ten crowns to his horns (nations, kingdoms) into which Pagan Rome was divided into at its fall.
Obviously, the crowns of power and authority could not be placed on the horns (nations) until the nations were formed. This took place during the rise of Papal Rome.
As Dr. Guinness so clearly observed:
Some writers asserted that the predictions pointed back to Nero; this did not take into account the obvious fact that the antichrist power predicted was to succeed the fall of the Caesars, and develop among the Gothic nations.“17
These brief remarks referring to Daniel, Chapters 2 and 7, plus Revelation 12 and 13, are for the purpose of calling attention to the timing of the prophecies, not to a theological discussion of them.
The Historicists expect those of Rome to propagate the Preterist theory. However, for Protestant Christians, with a Bible in one hand and a history book in the other, to be taken in by this error is almost unbelievable.