Islam and Christianity in Prophecy
by Tim Roosenberg with Tim Lale, Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald, 2011.
This book comprises the latest in a series of books and articles dealing with Daniel 11, and has 14 chapters and four appendices of which the first one is the most significant, as it includes a comparison of Daniel 11:2–12:4 with historical events. The main thrust of the book, as the title indicates, shows that Daniel 11 mainly describes a history of the wars between Christianity and Islam. Putting aside the issue of Islam for the moment, the book contains some excellent material on the Sabbath, the state of the dead, and the Second Coming. This manuscript is basically an evangelistic book with appendix C, “A Gospel Appeal,” as the altar call at the end of the evangelistic series. I commend the author for his adherence to the basic Adventist doctrines and for the evangelistic emphasis in the book.
Roosenberg’s basic outline of Daniel 11 is found on pages 203–212:
- Verses 2: Media-Persia
- Verses 3, 4: Greece
- Verses 5–19: Wars between the Seleucids and the Ptolemies
- Verses 20–22: Romans
- Verses 23, 24: Rise of the papacy
- Verses 25–28: Crusades (First conflict between Christianity and Islam)
- Verses 29–39: Second conflict between Christianity and Islam during the time of the Reformation
- Verses 40–45: Third and future conflict between Christianity and Islam
This outline presents a number of problems. Two of which are the following:*
1. On page 12, Roosenberg claims that Daniel 11 predicts three holy wars between Christianity and Islam. The first he sees in the Islamic conquest and the Crusades. However, when he comes to the text in Daniel 11:25–28 (207), he finds no room for the Islamic conquest and begins with the Crusades. Therefore, page 91 calls the Crusades the “first conflict between the papacy and Islam.” This is historically problematic. If Daniel 11 describes the wars between Christianity and Islam, then it does not mention the most important war in the past—the Islamic conquest in the seventh and eighth centuries a.d. that wiped out Christianity in the Middle East. If Daniel 11 deals with the conflict between Christianity and Islam, why have others ignored the greatest conflict?
2. Much of the interpretation of Daniel 11 is based on subjective conjectures rather than exegesis. Roosenberg claims that the prophecies in Daniel are historically sequential (13), for example, nations or events follow each other chronologically, as they do in Daniel 2, 7, and 8. Yet, he has the Crusades (1095–1291) in verses 25–28 (207) with the events in 11:31 (“taking away of the daily” and “setting up the abomination of desolation”) taking place 500 years before the Crusades in 11:25–28. His interpretation destroys the chronological sequence of the prophecy at this point.
Roosenberg’s book on Daniel 11 shows an interesting interpretation of one of the most difficult chapters in the Bible, but the book is by no means exegetically as solid as it claims.
—Reviewed by Gerhard Pfandl, PhD, retired associate director, Biblical Research Institute, Silver Spring, Maryland, United States.