Davidson’s Response to Richardson’s Daniel 8 Video

Some readers who follow both my Signposts teaching as well as Joel Richardson’s teachings informed me of teaching videos being posted by Joel Richardson. His first Daniel 8 video was of particular concern. (And I saw his second video on Daniel 8 giving some additional detail, but my response in this article is toward the first video.)

Apparently, Joel finally decided to lean toward the traditional interpretation of Daniel 8 rather than the radical future interpretation taught in my books. Before diving in, some things should be mentioned.

This response is written more for the prophetic community of brothers and sisters watching for Christ’s return, and who follow the teachings of myself and/or Joel, rather than for Joel himself. Joel may or may not read this, but a voice needs to speak to stand against some of the things he said.

One surprise to me in particular is Joel doctored, or changed, the words of Scripture to fit his belief, twice, and this needs to be held to account.

The Three-Fold Setup That Drew Me In to This

Three disparate things happened preparing my heart and mind to view this video and respond to it. All three occurred just before I was told about Joel’s Daniel 8 video.

First, during this past month I finally came to the conclusion that the form of Scripture text shown by a chiastic analysis is just as an important voice to understanding God’s word as the meanings of the words and phrases themselves. They are partners. This is an amazing concept. There is no other book besides the Bible as far as I know in which form is in sync with the words themselves. I came to this conclusion after pondering for the last two years the evidence shown in Chronicles. The textual form (i.e., the chiasmus) sets the overall tone and direction, and the words themselves give us the details, but details can be misunderstood by themselves, evidently. The form shows us what to look for in the words. For an example of this, and a short story of why I reached this conclusion see this post.

Joel himself told me two or three years ago in a brief conversation we had out here in the Denver area that the chiastic form of Scripture must support the meaning of the words. However, theologians have said this for the last two centuries and that’s why chiastics is not pushed harder in the overall Christian church. Chiastics has not supported what theologians think Scripture says. Things like the Signposts, and that Daniel 8 is all future. I agree partly with Joel on that point, but it goes further than that. My conclusion is this—I believe that the text form and the text words themselves must meet in the middle. Word meanings can be twisted, and so can chiastic analyses, but where they are both done correctly and agree, I believe we arrive at the truth.

The book of Daniel has a very specific chiastic structure, alluded to by many chiastic teachers, and taken to its conclusion in Chronicles. The chiastic structure that Joel mentions at 05:18 to 06:12 with Daniel 7 at the peak is incorrect. As far as I know, no scholar has said this, and it doesn’t exist. No, Daniel is not one “peak” with Daniel 7 at the apex. Daniel is actually two peaks with Daniel 4:37 and 9:26 at the tops. We will go into this shortly.

Second, it was about two weeks ago I felt my spirit being impressed with the idea that certain lies, under certain circumstances, cannot be allowed to stand. This came from different ministry sources saying this and in regards to very different topics. You’ve likely experienced this yourself when at a time an idea is said a few times by different sources and you find yourself asking God if He is trying to tell you something. I thought at the time why is this being impressed on me? Now, I’m not saying Joel is lying—far from it for he is one of the most earnest and honest students of Bible prophecy I’ve ever known—but if a teaching is false, it is a lie. If my own teaching is false, it too is a lie.

The closest Joel comes to lying in this video is twice when he changed the words in Scripture, which I will detail below.

So starting two weeks ago I had this on my mind. Then Joel’s video was posted. After watching it, I realized this prophetic community needs this dialogue and certain ideas must be corrected, but in love and with respect. I cannot face my King on the Day and know I did nothing.

Third, I live in a rural area along the Front Range of Colorado. We don’t even get cable—it’s not available! The geological topography around us limits alternatives as well. We get our internet from towers and we have limited data; it’s slow, and expensive. We usually don’t stream video more than five minutes long. So it was a surprise to me that right after Joel’s video was posted and readers mentioned it to me, our data situation was allowing me to stream an hour or two of video. This is not typical.

The timing of these seemingly disparate events—the conclusion about text form and meanings merging, the impression regarding lies standing, the data availability, and even readers asking me about Joel’s video—told me I needed to watch the video. So I watched it and realized this is a good snapshot of where Joel is on the topic.

Richardson’s Position

Joel stated that he has arrived at a point in which he gives the historical—and traditional—interpretation of Daniel 8 more weight than the all-futurist interpretation.

He stated many of the reasons Daniel 8 could be interpreted as all-end-time, and then in the last quarter of the video, he gives the reasons as to why he cannot lean toward that interpretation, and why he still believes the traditional interpretation of Daniel 8.

From his discussion, it seems Joel has allowed the rather obvious end-time fulfillment of Daniel 8, with its many obvious clues toward that end, to be negated or “torn down” by his own views of Daniel 11 and Daniel 7. Joel views Daniel 7 in the traditional way which is historical fading to the end-time, which I disagree with. However, Joel and I agree that Daniel 11 is also historical, “fading” to end-time.

In other words, Joel makes Daniel 8 be the same as Daniel 7 and 11 because Daniel 8 must follow suit, rather than doing the opposite, which would be using the newfound interpretation of Daniel 8 to properly challenge Daniel 7 and properly examine Daniel 11.

He says in concluding remarks that the book of Daniel flows better this way.

Davidson’s Response

My first answer to all of this in summary is the word meanings and text form of Daniel itself should tell us how Daniel best flows. We should not judge alone how a book should flow.

As an outline here, first I will contrast my view with Joel’s view, and then give the major reasons why I believe Joel is in error.

In the Diagram below, I have illustrated the chiastic structure, or form, of Daniel’s text. Joel said (at time 05:18 to about 06:12) that the chiastic structure of Daniel is one single mountain with Daniel 7 at the apex. I have not seen any study on the topic that expresses this, so I don’t know how Joel arrives at this idea. But as the reader can see in the diagram, Daniel has in fact two peaks—one Gentile (chapters 2 to 6), and one Hebrew (chapters 8 to 11)—with Daniel 1 and 12 forming the base. Every study of Daniel I’ve found, and in my own detailed research, Daniel has two peaks as shown. (And, yes, Daniel 1 is a story prophesying about the Great Tribulation, echoing Daniel 12.) It’s all explained in detail in Sections 2 and 5 of Chronicles.

The chiastic structure of the book of Daniel.

The central thoughts of Daniel, as shown in the diagram, are in Daniel 4:37 and 9:26 and show basically the history of the church age with the Gentile praising God and the Hebrew having shunned his Messiah.

Anyway, the horizontal arrows across the middle of the diagram show Daniel 7 and 8 in the middle in a red box, and fully end-time, with Daniel 2 and 11 on the sides, being historical and fading to end-time. Chiastics defines the arrow between Daniel 2 and 7, as well as between Daniel 8 and 11. Daniel 7 and 8 also have parallels to each other.

The difference between our views, then, is Joel views Daniel 7 and 8 in the box as also historical to end-time (as with Daniel 2 and 11), while I view Daniel 7 and 8 as all-end-time.

Daniel 8 as All End-Time

Let’s review the reasons Daniel 8 may be interpreted as all end-time. The reasons Daniel 8 can be interpreted as all end-time are many:

1) Three verses (17, 19, 26) say it is end-time.

2) As Joel himself said, Gabriel made no conditions for saying it is end-time, only that it is.

3) The chiastic structure of Daniel 8 itself shows that verse 17 is the main thought and the central idea—that as one reads all of Daniel 8, verse 17 is the main thought to keep in mind; the central idea is to focus the reader while he or she reads (taught in Section 2 of Chronicles);

4) There has been no ancient fulfillment of the ram. The Persian Empire never had two power bases at one time (ram with two horns charging) because Cyrus was the one and only one power, having all the power. “Medo-Persia” is a false and theological construct. No secular historian supports such a thing. It was invented to allow theologians to say Daniel 8 is historical. First the Median Empire ruled Persia and Elam and Media, and then the Persian Empire ruled Persia and Elam and Media. Cyrus took power and did not share power, but the supreme leader and IRGC of modern Iran do.

5) Another lack of fulfillment. Alexander conquered Persia because of national pride and ego, not because of “mara”, i.e. personal embittered rage (Dan. 8:7), but someone like Erdoğan would.

6) Yet another lack of fulfillment. As Joel said, Alexander’s empire was broken up into a messy number like 25 – not 4, but the all-future interpretation would require exactly 4.

7) A twelve-year conquest by Alexander on foot would not be like a goat flying and not touching the ground, but an airlift by a modern power would.

Daniel 8 Connection to Daniel 11

One reason Joel gives to say Daniel 8 is historical is to equate the supposed historicity of Daniel 8 to the confirmed historicity of Daniel 11. Joel says Daniel 8:8 uses the same language as Daniel 11:4. In the NASB, Daniel 8:8 uses the phrase “toward the four winds of heaven” and Daniel 11:4 uses the phrase “toward the four points of the compass.” Joel justifies the commonality as Daniel 8 being historical like Daniel 11 using this language. By itself, yes, Joel seemingly makes a good argument.

However, Joel forgot one thing and didn’t mention this: in the NASB, Daniel 8:8 says “there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven” and Daniel 11:4 says “his kingdom will be broken up and parceled out toward the four points of the compass.” Do you see the gaping difference? Daniel 8:8 says four, but Daniel 11:4 states no number! Why? That is because after Alexander’s death 2,300 years ago his empire was indeed split into 25 pieces—a multitude and not four. But in the end-time, we should expect to see exactly four.

Joel said so himself (at about 39:35 to 41:35) that the succession after Alexander was complicated. That’s why the Bible in Daniel 11:4 leaves the number blank.

The Bible text should be followed exactly as it gives incredible detail. I know Joel would say the same thing. This was an oversight. Joel added the word “four” to Scripture in Daniel 11:4 (at time 53:35). Joel said that Daniel 8:8 and 11:4 state the same number. However, they do not! Joel is forcing a meaning on Daniel 11:4 that is not there. Joel surprised me by saying this. Other teachers have added words, but not Joel, up to now.

And this was not a single mistake, for he did it again in the video. He forced the words of Scripture to say something different when (about 14:40 to 17:23, especially around 17:21) he said that he believes the Antichrist will destroy the Temple in Jerusalem, and he used Revelation 11:2 to support his view. However, Revelation 11:2 does not say the Temple will be trampled underfoot, but the holy city. That is different. One can trample the city and not tear down the Temple. Antiochus did it. So will the Antichrist.

Joel mentioned a verse (Dan. 8:11) saying the sanctuary will be brought low—that does not mean destruction, but that it will become “polluted”, i.e. the abomination will be set up. The sanctuary will be brought low from its high place with Levitical sacrifice, to a place where it is polluted. The point here is Joel changed words to a second verse to support another of his views.

Daniel 8 Connection to Daniel 7

Joel also used his view of Daniel 7 to keep Daniel 8 historical. Joel said Daniel 8 is historical like Daniel 7 so it flows better. I would say the opposite—Daniel 7 is future like Daniel 8 so it all flows better. Joel and I disagree on Daniel 7, where I believe Daniel 7 is, like Danel 8, all end-time.

What tells us Daniel 7 is all future? The reasons are several—

1) Verse 17 says the four beasts are four kings that “shall arise”, or simply “arise”; the Aramaic here is not definite, so admittedly the language is not 100% (though most major translations say “shall arise”). Joel pointed this out to me a few years ago. However, and this is indisputable, the last king of ancient Babylon was already in power and so if Daniel 7 was the same as Daniel 2, Daniel 7 would be starting in the past, rather than the present like Daniel 2. However there are more reasons which follow.

2) The chiastic structure tells us the relationship between Daniel 4 and 5, and the one between Daniel 3 and 6, which tell us Daniel 2 and 7 have the same relationship, and that is, the two chapters exhibit the same story pattern, i.e. same kingdom progression, but different people involved (Nebuchadnezzar in Dan. 2 and someone else in Dan. 7) and different times (ancient history versus another time, likely, the end-time or whenever the lion gets his mind changed)—and, yes, chiastics really shows this.

3) The high side of the bear and the high horn of the ram is a parallel and both are historical or both are end-time, but we know the bear occurs at a different time than the silver of the image due to reason 2 above and perhaps from reason 1 above.

4) Both Daniel 7 and 8 have a little horn, the Antichrist, and the reasoning of reason 3 above is repeated;

5) Both Daniel 7 and 8 speak of a duration in time prior to the ram’s charge and the bear gorging, and that is that at the same time the lion acted and then its mind was changed, the second horn of the ram grew longer. If the end-time fulfillment is accepted, the ram’s second horn grew longer only because Iraq was conducting war as the lion, i.e. the only reason the IRGC began growing in power was because of Saddam’s invasion of Iran—experts on Iran support this situation.

Summary

Instead of taking the obvious clues that Daniel 8 is future, and re-thinking Daniel 7, Joel let his own view of Daniel 7 pull back his view of Daniel 8 and what that chapter potentially has to tell us, in my opinion. He also let Daniel 11 pull back Daniel 8 when there was nothing there to pull back (Daniel 8:8 versus Daniel 11:4), by adding a word to Daniel 11:4, to support his argument.

Regarding the Diadochi and whether it was 4 or 5, or who the names even were, is all irrelevant to Daniel 8 and a futurist interpretation. (As it turns out, yes there were four finalists in history, but instead of letting the Bible tell us the list as it does in Revelation 12 and 13, theologians have made a poor attempt to draw up their own list. And this Biblical list of four is important because it tells us who the four heads of the leopard are in the end-time.)

I see no reason to change Daniel 8 to a historical interpretation.

Joel gave many reasons why Daniel 8 is indeed all future. On the other hand, Joels’ reason to change Daniel 8 because of Daniel 11 is in error due to adding a word that are not there in the text. Joel’s reason to change Daniel 8 because of Daniel 7 is premature and a wrong turn.

Finally, I was disappointed in Joel’s decision simply because there are so few watching the right places in the world for signs of the coming Christ, and with his being a major voice among these few, he has changed the “what” of what to watch. I was also surprised by Joel’s changing Scripture and someone needed to call him to account. My intention was not to tear down, but to build up.



Categories: Signpost Theology, teaching

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15 replies

  1. To use the rationale for Scripture interpretation that ‘it flows better’ seems unwise. That often works well for song writing (which I do), but song writing is limited to a particular given language. Scriptural exegesis requires careful, logical translation from one language into another, a painstaking process full of comparitive analysis. This has nothing to do with ‘flows better’… so this seems to be a misjudgment on Joel’s part.

  2. I would suggest that both of you get together by phone or email or whatever means and humble yourselves and discus this (as you both have done in the past) until you can come to an agreeable conclusion or both agree to disagree publicly. The last thing I want to see is he said vs he said with no personal dialogue from each other. That can degrade into a bad witness for the body of Christ. You’re both too much respected to not try to do this. Tom

  3. Mark,

    “Daniel Revisited” has a few sentences that I had to read several times before getting what was written. With “Chronicles of the End Times” every sentence was immediately understandable. In this presentation sentences are satisfyingly understandable. Since the accompanying diagram internally cites “Chronicles of the End Times,” would it be okay to display that diagram on a not-for-profit website?

    Your response was to Joel’s “The Underground” #132 video. His #133 video probably bothered you as much as it did me. Its suggestion that the Antichrist might appear at any time seems oblivious to what is taught in 2 Thessalonians 2. I am now about to watch Joel’s #134 video on the mark of the beast.

  4. Detec10,
    I’ve been ready to talk for years, and am still ready to talk. It can be hard to get his attention. And this position of Joel’s basically blind-sided me.

  5. Prisms,
    The diagram can be used as you say. However, it is as you know, not in Chronicles directly, but is a summary of data presented in Chronicles. Please let this be known on the site. Thanks.

  6. Very succinct thanks Mark. We watch FAI updates all the time, and was concerned that the associations might lead some in the FAI community to change Dan 8 perspectives based on Joel’s teaching, so appreciate the reply. Really useful diagram as well thanks.

    Tom – I think this online discourse is essential. Humbly disagreeing via phone is one thing, but using ones gifting to guide those of us who actually struggle with these end-times events in line with biblical prophecy is really crucial. Paul called out Peter when he felt he was leading others astray, so it is biblical I believe.

  7. Mark,
    Very convincing. I hope you and Joel can sort it out.
    But if not I go with what you have said at this moment.
    Good diagram.

  8. The issue is one of time. It has been 17 years since the “first signpost” was achieved (removal of Saddam and the introduction of “democracy”). Well, the democracy is a joke- the country is fragmented by clan and tribal fights. The Iranians have set up their own puppet (Mukhtada Al-Sadr) as their Shiite puppet master of the Iraqi Shia population. The Sunnis have formed ISIS. So, it’s a bust 17 years into that signpost. The “second signpost” supposedly would have Iran dominating the middle east militarily, while holding the world hostage by withholding its oil. Well, no can can give away any oil these days. Iran is racked with disease and all its infrastructure is falling apart. The brilliant general is dead, and the old man at the top is having his diapers changed by the “faithful”. So, how many more years till they sweep into power and “did as they pleased, and became great”. Then we wait for the goat with the single horn, and the ensuing war, and time needed to show himself to be great. Then the horn is no more, and four horns arise and wrangle over the kingdom. So, how many more years will it take for the “little horn” to arise? Using the timeline of the rising and removal of Saddam it sure looks like it might be a hundred years or more? That’s where we run into the Hosea 6: 1-3 prophecy. During 2030 will be 2000 years since our Lord was crucified. “Two days” where a day is a thousand years (2 Pet 3:8- context is the Lord’s return). We eagerly await 2030 and to watch the former Selucid kingdom (currently Turkey, Syria and part of Iraq) for the rise of the “little horn”. Blessings to all!

  9. Been reading your book Chronicles about Chiasms. I wanted to mention something I found interesting about this structure. In public speaking there is concept called “linking” in which you are bringing what you are saying back throughout the discourse of a speech back to the original point and theme you have made in the beginning connecting to other points made so that the overall theme is not lost and actually reinforced very nicely. The chiastic structure seems to serve that purpose very well. Amazing to see God’s purposed with chiasms.

  10. Tonight’s the last Supermoon of 2020. It shows Jesus praying.

  11. John,
    In Matthew 24 Jesus says all the things He spoke of in that chapter including the Signposts, Tribulation and Return will happen in one person’s lifetime, in one generation.

  12. John Phillip,

    I have to agree about one thing in your post. 2030 is the year of our Lord’s death AND resurrection which the universal church will be celebrating. It is the resurrection that delivered redeemed humanity from slavery to Satan and his evil minions who btw, are far superior to us and they consider us feebly weak which we are. But without the covering and redemptive blood of King Jesus, the true and rightful King of the universe, we would not stand against such incredible supernatural powers.

    Mark is also right in that Jesus said that when all such signs come together in quicker succession we can be sure that that generation will see unspeakable and fantastic things (ie as in the days of Noah) and the physical return of the Lord and King Jesus to rescue his people from supreme unprecedented evil on the earth; Jesus alone fighting the supernatural powers at Armageddon which he will easily do and then reign forever more on Earth.

    I truly believe I and those reading this are at the tail end of that generation who will indeed see all these things. Praise God and Jesus for our redemption and his incredible love for mankind!

    Blessings!

  13. I do struggle with the first sign post being Saddam Hussein,I think for me now it hinges on the rams actions in the middle East, it does not look good for Iran at this time, the on ground situation is nothing to God and the Lord will create the situation favorable at the time of Iran’s north,south, and west push. The force of that text Daniel 8:4 IS unmistakable and decisive, Some have expressed the thought that Iran’s push is allready complete through proxy, I,m not buying that yet.Time will tell could be soon or years it’s not easy to determine.

  14. Mike,
    Iran cannot have made the push yet because Daniel 8 also says the ram will get to do all it wants to do. A careful study of the IRGC / supreme leader ideology as in Daniel Revisited chapter 10 shows the regime has not accomplished that but it will when it finally runs out.

  15. On 2020-05-06 Iraq’s new Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi told the Iraqi Parliament that Iraq would never allow “outsiders” to use Iraq for acts of aggression against others: https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/05/07/624803/Iraq-Kadhimi

    That Kadhimi was referring to the American military as “outsiders” is shown by Iran’s happiness over Iraq’s newly-formed government: https://en.irna.ir/news/83779209/Zarif-congratulates-Iraqi-premier-on-forming-new-Gov-t

    In a gesture of good will, for 120 days the Trump Administration will not punish Iraq for buying gas and electricity from Iran: https://en.radiofarda.com/a/us-extends-iran-sanctions-waiver-for-new-iraqi-government-pledges-support/30598537.html But American bureaucrats 7000 miles away are wrong to think that the new Iraqi government will heed minority demands for a reduction of Iran’s influence. The population of Iraq is 64-69% Shia and only 29-34% Sunni. Iraq and Iran share nearly 1,600 km of joint border areas. Iraq and Iran are also united in fighting against remnants of ISIS.

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