I mean the following criterias must be the basis for our understanding of the prophecies.
- A) The cosmic conflict.
It is necessary that the battle between Jesus and Satan must lie as a backdrop for all our understanding of biblical texts. It is, as we know, the background to the cosmic conflict that is the origin of all the world’s problems. It all started when Lucifer rebelled against God because he wanted the glory and worship our God and Creator alone are entitled to. This conflict began in heaven and was moved to the earth when Adam and Eve fell into sin, and have remained here since, and will continue until Jesus returns.
- B) God has a special people.
Not so many hundred years after the great flood, God chose Abram to become the ancestor of his special people. The task of God’s chosen people was to bring the good news or the gospel of salvation to the whole world, the salvation that God would bring to the fallen human race. Since then, Satan has done his utmost to destroy God’s people in one way or another, so that the gospel that testifies of God’s infinite and boundless love will not be preached.
- C) God is a God of order.
When God gives us likely prophecies, such as Daniel 2 and 7, then these prophecies must be interpreted according to the same principles. We cannot interpret Daniel 2 in one way for then to interpret Daniel 7 in another way. This applies to both the general interpretation of the text and the particular interpretation of the individual parts of the text such as metals or beasts. In cases where we treat identical prophecies in both Daniel and Revelation, we must interpret the prophecies based on the same principles and criteria. We cannot allow ourselves to interpret one of these prophecies differently than the others. In that case it will be inconsistent.
- D) Criteria for being head, mountain, king, horn or beast in the prophecies.
The kingdoms we find in Daniel’s Book and Revelation are the agents that Satan uses in this battle against God´s people, and all the kingdoms or powers that can be classified as one of the devil’s agents (heads, mountains, kings, horns or beasts in the prophecies) must therefore: 1) mixing together religious power and state power, and 2) over time have a direct and devastating impact on the people of God, so that they prevent them to worship God as the Creator and Lord of the universe, and prevent God´s people to preach the gospel in the way God himself Has prescribed.
- E) Daniel and John sees the prophecies evolve from their contemporaries.
We can read from the texts in the book of Daniel that we must add the contemporary principle to our understanding of the prophecies. This because in chapters 2 and 7, the prophecies begin with Babylon and extend to the return of Jesus. In chapters 8, 10 and 11, the prophecy omits Babylon and begins with Medo-Persia. In chapter 8 we are still temporarily under Babylonian rule, while in chapter 10 and 11 we find ourselves under a Medo-Persian regime. Although Babylon still exists as a kingdom, it is omitted in chapter 8, because we have come so far in history that it is just before Babylon is conquered by the Medo-Persian Empire. Babylon does not play any significant role in prophecy anymore, and this tells us that we must use the contemporary principle. If we believe that God is a God of order (pt C), we must also use the principle of contemporary in Revelation 17, although it is not as clear here.
Daniel sees the story evolving from his time, that is, from Daniel’s contemporary until the second coming of Jesus. John also sees the prophecies evolving from his contemporary, but John sees both past, present and future, until Jesus returns. If we reject the contemporary principle we can put into the prophecies whatever we want and then we can get the answer we want, which necessarily not is what the Bible points to.
F) Daniel chapter 2 is the key to the understanding of the chapters 7 and 8 (+9, 10, 11 and 12) as well as parts of Revelation.
Daniel 2 contains the first and most important prophecy of the events to come which has an impact on the people of God from the time of Daniel and to the return of Jesus. The prophecy is clear that there are four – 4 – kingdoms, neither more nor fewer, from Daniel’s time and to the second coming of Christ. This, when we talk about Europe, for it is here where we find the toes, the ten horns and the little horn. This means that the fourth kingdom or the iron-kingdom still exists in some form when Jesus returns and creates his eternal kingdom, symbolized by the stone that hits the statue on his feet. The feet are part of, or a continuation of, the fourth kingdom.
- G) The prophecies in Daniel 2, 7 and 8 must also be read in the light of Revelation.
Chapter 17 of Revelation is a complementary prophecy to Daniel’s prophecies. This chapter constitutes the last extension of Daniel’s prophecies, and is therefore very important for understanding Daniel’s prophecies. Unlike Daniel’s prophecies that only concern the kingdoms that Nebuchadnezzar dreamed about, we have in Revelation a total of seven kings. Here too, we must add the contemporary principle in our understanding of the text. Since John also sees prophecies from his contemporaries, about year 95/96, it should be relatively easy to see which kingdoms it is about in Revelation. And then we get another clue to the fourth kingdom in Daniel’s prophecies. John explains, one is and we know that when John lived, Rome was the ruling power. But John tells us before he mentions one is that five are fallen. That means that before the Roman Empire, there must have been five kingdoms that have had a devastating influence on God’s people.