Chris White – Daniel: A Commentary

Book Review:
Disappointing Commentary on Daniel 9

I bought Chris Whites book Daniel – A Commentary in an effort to understand his view on the prophecy of 70 weeks. This review will focus chiefly on his commentary of Daniel 9. Concerning the rest of the book there are parts I agree with, some I do not and some which I still need to search the Scriptures for myself. Personally, I appreciate reading other believers perspective on Bible prophecy because it often helps me see the strengths and weakness of my own understanding.

Let me say upfront I disagree with much of what Mr. White wrote about the prophecy of Daniel 9 from both a macro and micro perspective. I am a firm believer in the premise that the “spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Yeshua. In my opinion Mr. Whites biggest mistake in his interpretation of Daniel 9 is his attempt to change the focus of the prophecy from the Messiah Yeshua to Nehemiah and the anti-christ.

More specifically there are several areas where his interpretation fails to meet a reasonable evidentiary threshold:

1. Mr. White gives no secular dates to back up his theory. He names secular rulers like Cyrus and Biblical heroes like Nehemiah but he provides the reader with no basis upon which to determine his reasoning.
2. This interpretation requires a modified yet unexplained Persian chronology. This further requires a total disregard of the known eclipse records.
3. Mr. Whites interpretation requires a 360 day lunar year. This is problematic for several reasons.

This type of lunar year is nowhere mentioned in the Bible. From the 5 months of 150 days mentioned in Genesis he extrapolates a 12 month 360 day (lunar) year. Further this assumes the month was not intercalated thus making it “vague” or wandering. (This type of year moved through the seasons.) Though some ancient cultures did have such calendars many understood the need to intercalate the 5 missing days, the so called “five days over the year”. According to Mr. Whites theory this lunar calendar must have been understood during the 2nd temple era even thought an intercalated Biblical lunar/solar year was kept as proscribed by the law. (That an intercalated calendar was kept from the time of the Exodus onward is proven by the fact that YHWH anchored the Biblical year in the agricultural cycle of Abib. (Exo 13; 23; 34 etc.) An intercalated year is also evidence by the 13th month of Ezekiel.

4. Mr. White tries to show that Nehemiah (in the 21st year of “Artaxerxes”) came to Jerusalem 49 years after the decree of Cyrus. This is problematic for several reasons. First this ignores the departure of the shekinah in the 6th year of Ezekiel (his captivity) which began a period of 70 years of Divine indignation. This period of 70 years the prophet Zechariah records as ending in the 2nd year of Darius Hystaspes. (circa 520 BC.) Further this interpretation needlessly confuses the 2nd temple chronology and ignores known eclipse records which confirm the reign of Nebuchadnezzar and Darius “the Great”.

5. Mr. White’s theory completely ignores the only contextually relevant “commandment to restore and build Jerusalem” of the 2nd temple era. A “commandment” that was given by YHWH in the 2nd year of Darius, witness by both Haggai and Zechariah and confirmed by Ezra 6:14.

In summary, thought Mr. White’s commentary on Daniel has some valuable insights his interpretation of Daniel 9 takes the most important Messianic prophecies in the Bible and minimizes the Messiah, ignores the eclipse records, arbitrarily modifies the Persian era and hopelessly confuses the Biblical chronology of the 2nd temple era, all without a single foundational statement of chronological certainty. I’ve read many interpretations of Daniel 9 over the years and this was one of the most difficult to untangle.

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Author: Chris White
Book Title: Daniel – A Commentary
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Book Reviewed by: William Struse

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