One of the great battle lines drawn in the arena of eschatology
is the “Coming of the Son of Man” in Daniel 7:13, 14. Is it a
reference to the ascension in Pentecost of A.D. 30 or to the
destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, per Mathew 24:30? Hence,
our title, Pentecost or Armageddon, The Coming of the Son of
A critique of the text in light of three major views, amillennialism,
premillennialism and preterism reveal unexpected implications for
the time and nature of the second coming and the resurrection.
Preterism reveals textual contradictions of Amillennialism and
Amillennialists, those who believe in the present church age as
the millennium, thus denying a future literal thousand years
reign which premillennarians accept, view the prophecy of Daniel
as having a Pentecost A.D. 30 reference.
Dispensational Premillennialists hold the text to refer to the
second coming of Christ, after an alleged future rapture and
millennium reign of Christ on earth. The late John F. Walvoord
sees Daniel 7 referring to that event.
“The final kingdom, which is from heaven and will come with
Christ’s second coming, according to premillennarians is most
in line with these portions of Scripture.”
Major Bible Prophecies, John F. Walvoord, p. 164, 169
Presterists view the text as referring to the second coming
of Christ, but different from above, sees the text fulfilled in the
event known as the destruction of Jerusalem and it’s temple in
A.D. 70. In other words it views the second coming as a past
event, versus future.
Clearly in two of the views above, the coming of the Son of Man
is a non-literal, non bodily coming of Christ. Since both the
amillennial and preterist views hold the coming of the Son of Man
to be in the past, though separated by 40 years, the coming is
of necessity figurative.
Premmillenarisans believe it to be a future personal bodily return
of Christ. The larger issue here is the timing and nature of the
resurrection. Obviously, if Pentecost is the correct time, the
text can have no direct bearing on the resurrection which occurs
at the time of the end.
To determine the timing of Daniel 7:13, 14, consider 5 each
The first problem in understanding Daniel 7:13, 14, is one that I
would like to call playing God. I do not intend this as a mean
comment but merely of bringing the core of the problem to the
One of the most important messages taught in the book of Daniel
is that God is the revealer of secrets, (2:19–22, 28). The tragic
interpretations imposed on the book of Daniel show that men
have difficulty interpreting it, even after God revealed the meaning
The key to arriving at a good understanding of all difficult passages
in Daniel is not to seek to be a divine dream interpreter. Not even
Daniel attempted that. He was merely a receiver of Divine interpretations.
The case is no different in Daniel 7. After receiving the dream, 1–14,
Daniel was grieved in his spirit and got a terrible headache over the
meaning. What did he do? He asked for divine assistance to understand
the dream and received the interpretation in versus 17–28.
Yet, most interpreters who comment on the “coming of the Son of Man”
in 7:13, 14, cite verse 13, as the definitive text on the subject. This
is irresponsible and a seeking to understand the obscure. It is the
primary reason the passage is assigned to the ascension versus to
However, the interpretation of the coming of the Ancient of Days
is found in verse 21. Certain events attend the coming of the Son
of Man which are impossible in a pre-Pentecost time frame. Observe:
“I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the
saints, and prevailing against them, until the Ancient of Days came,
and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High,
and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom.” (7:21–22)
Now for the Amillenniarians and some partial-futurists who offer
Pentecost, it is necessary to explain how the little horn waged
war against the saints of the Most High before Pentecost?
Since in their view, the Son of Man receives his kingdom at the
ascension and the saints at Pentecost, how could the saints be
engaged in war for the kingdom before it arrived?
Where in scripture is a judgment rendered in favor of the saints
receiving the kingdom on Pentecost? Such is the the utter failure
of that position to meet the critical demands of the text.
Further, how does this address the 10–horned beast prior to
Pentecost of A.D. 30? Was Rome destroyed then? Clearly, this
view has no adequate response.
Verses 21–22, make it clear that the meaning of Daniel 7:13–14,
is not the ascension. It cannot be appled to Pentecost. The
seating of the court, per verse 26, which parallels verse 10,
occurs at the end of the war between the saints and the
little horn which results in judgment and loss of its dominion.
Keith Mathison, editor, writing in When Shall These Things Be,
opts for a Pentecost fulfillment of Daniel 7:13, 14. Kenneth
Gentry routes him, cutting him off in his debate with Dr. Thomas
Ice, thus negating the editor’s attempt to water down the time
statements of Jesus’ first century return.
Gentry, arguing from Matthew 24:30, (The Great Tribulation Past
or Future, pp. 53–65), correctly applies the coming of the Son of
Man to Jesus’ return in judgment upon the destruction of Jerusalem
in A.D. 70. Further, that coming meets all the demands of Daniel
The saints were engaged in war with their predominantly Jewish
persecutors, but including the Gentiles largely instigated by Jewish
opposition, (Acts 2:25–28;17:5–8; 19:23f; 1 Cor. 15:32; 2 Corinthians
10:3–5; 1 Thess. 2:14–16; Eph. 6:10–17; Phil. 3:18; Rev. 12:8–12).
Daniel 7:21–28, describes such a battle involving both the little
horn (unbelieving Israel) and Rome (the 10–horned beast) with
whom she has made an alliance, a fact everywhere evident in
the New Testament.
Israel’s leaders accused Christ of committing treason refusing to
pay taxes to Caesar and seeking to overthrow the government to
become king of the empire, (Luke 23:2).
At his crucifixion the Jews refused to allow Pilate to release Christ,
shouting, “Crucify him, Crucify him…If you let this man go, you are
not Caesar’s friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against
Caesar’….’We have no king but Caesar.’” (John 19:12, 15).
Thus, they aligned themselves against God and Christ to join the
Romans, fulfilling the allegiance and affinity of Rome and Israel
described in Daniel’s prophecy, Psalms 2 and Acts 4:25–28).
The Coming of the Son of Man and the Resurrection
Having demonstrated that Pentecost could not possibly fulfill the
demands of the text, what are the reasons for assigning it to
A.D. 70? The events of Daniel must occur within the days of the
Walvoord acknowledged this but subscribed to the revivification of
Rome theory based on his assumptions in the book of Revelation.
He reasoned erroneously that Daniel’s 4th kingdom, the fourth beast
7:7 (ten-horned kingdom) had 10 simultaneous kings. That is the
presupposition leading to the 10 nation confederacy of the
Daniel’s 4th kingdom does not have 10 simultaneous rulers, but it
is a 10–horned kingdom. Those who see 10 concurrently reigning
kings are not reviving the old Roman empire, but recreating a new
However, this error would not be made were it not for the
unfortunate Post A.D. 70 dating for the book of Revelation. These
two assumptions in place, modern interpreters are left with no
choice but to find a fulfillment in the future, since nothing post
70 A.D. fulfills the vision.
Walvoord compounded his error in stating assigning the “little horn”
of Daniel 7:8, as the 11th king of the Roman empire. (ibid, p. 314).
However, premillennarians walk past prophetic “acres of diamonds.”
The little horn is not a part of the 10 horned kingdom. There is no
need to extend the prophecy beyond Rome of the first century.
Jesus prophesied of Jerusalem’s fall by the Romans saying all things
written would be fulfilled, within his own generation, in A.D. 70,
This forever lays to rest the notion of a revived Rome and future
coming of Christ. The identify of the little horn and the coming of
the Son of Man (Ancient of Days) who destroys it and Rome must
fall within the chronological scope of first century.
Daniel proceeds to tell us that the vision of the little horn follow
upon the demise of the Macedonian (Grecian) kingdom, but not
immediately for the vision refers to the time of the end. (8:8–17).
This little horn exalts himself against the Messiah (Prince of the host),
(8:11, 25) and by him the daily sacrifices were taken away. (Jesus
warned that those who read Daniel pray they understand, (Matthew
The time of the end designated as the fulfillment of the little horn’s
rebellion links this prophecy with that of the resurrection in chapter
12:2–4. Note the vision was to be sealed up for the time of the end.
Therefore, Daniel’s vision of the coming of the Son of Man, “Ancient
of Days” who defeats and destroys the little horn, is set forth in
the message of the end time.
Matthew 24:30–34, places the end time at Jerusalem’s fall in the
first century generation. Thus the time and nature of the resurrection
must be interpreted according to the time of the end. That is the
Therefore, in response to the question, Pentecost or Armageddon
The Coming of the Son of Man, we opt for Armageddon to mean
to mean the end time at Christ’s second coming.