[Response to a post advocating the Gentry/Chilton/DeMar/Jordan partial preterist approach, here.]
Chris and Steve,
Yes, Daniel’s visions were ’sealed’ until the time of their fulfillment, that is the Antiochene persecution, temple desecration, and subsequent death of Epiphanes, temple cleansing, and restoration with the ‘little help’ (11:33) of the Maccabean revolt. And from a prior response, and his recommendation of I and II Maccabees (which I heartily endorse!) from Steve, I see he gets that as well. Daniel is about the Seleucid occupation and tragedy. All the apocalyptic prophecies, in fact the entire book, point to this time of trial. Practically no modern scholar does not place the focus in the 2nd century. The prophecies are not particularly hard to decipher (we are given four to be read in parallel) particularly the ultimate closing prophecy of chapters 11 and 12, which lays out the Ptolemaic and Seleucid interaction with such incredible specificity as to leave no doubt as to the historical corollaries.
And of course, in apocalyptic form (understanding apocalyptic is fundamental to texts like Daniel and Revelation, and little less in Zechariah and the Olivet Discourses), this crisis is positioned within the cosmic understanding of the final justification of God’s people before the oppressive empires, their judgment, and the final vindication of the martyrs, including their being brought back to bodily life (the resurrection) from the martyred death they received in obedience to God and his call for holiness. (Daniel 12 is the first, and probably only OT, explicit reference to the individual resurrection, a concept hinted at - not unlike the Trinity, the suffering of (an individual) Messiah, the same’s deity, and so many other aspects - but under development from the beginning of the scriptures to their end.)
But this is all common to the commentaries and scholarship of the last 100 years. The older (e.g. Matthew Henry) and less/non-scholarly (dispensational (e.g. Scofield) and preterist (e.g .Chilton)) commentaries are less worthy of consideration, as lacking in understanding of apocalyptic as many of them exhibit themselves to be.
And like Daniel (in that it is addressed to the affected community, whether written long before or in the 2nd century BC), Revelation is written - explicitly and by name - to the churches of Asia Minor to encourage them in the coming persecution at the hands of another God defying empire. These are not abstract works that have no ‘audience relevance’. That is, it is a fairly safe hermeneutic assumption that prophets and writers wrote to convey God’s word first to their contemporaries, as instruments of God in the current crisis for their encouragement and exhortation. To suppose that John is pontificating about events that have no consequence to the Gentile churches of latter first century Asia - either casting the crisis as far future (the dispensational futurist that sees the empire downing events of chapters 4-19 as still future to us) or seeing it as insignificant to the audience (by placing the writing under Nero, when his persecution of Christians did not extend beyond Rome, and the siege of Jerusalem would have hardly contributed to any stress, much less persecution) - challenges a fairly basic presupposition.
Whether the persecution anticipated by John came to the churches or not, God knows (there is very little record). The prophesied downfall of Rome was accomplished, as Steve notes (this is the traditional preterist position; the Jerusalem/AD 70 variant is the fringe offshoot among interpreters). But of course the completion of many of the culmination themes mentioned above in the context of Daniel - present in all major prophecies from the early Minor Prophets through the Majors, the gospels, the Pauline epistles, and the Apocalypse - awaits the consummation. And thus the New Heavens and New Earth did not arrive on return from Babylonian exile (Isaiah), and neither did the spiritual national resurrection (Ezek), or the exaltation to follow the restoration of the temple and sacrifice after return (Zech), or the physical resurrection and judgment of nations after the overthrow of the Seleucids and death of Antiochus IV (Daniel), and neither did these follow the destruction of Jerusalem, or the fall of Rome (John).
But we should never like Jonah be hindered by our own assumptions on God’s design or lack of apprehension in how God may stay his judgment and continually stretch out ‘these latter days’, despite the scoffers (2 Peter). Clearly the OT and NT prophets and interpreters were more than happy to continue to expect a culmination when the events of more immediate concern that were placed within the same context in prophecy (this is a core element of apocalyptic, placing the current crisis in relation to the consummation and final justice) passed (return from exile, consecration of temple, relief from persecution, destruction of temple, destruction of Rome). And I would recommend the same approach.
Thanks, fellas. Sorry for a short response that practically turned into a sermon.