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.
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.
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 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.
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.