Overview & Chapter 1:1-2

Study of the Book of Daniel

Lesson 1

“However, there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will take place in the latter days. This was your dream and the visions in your mind while on your bed.”–Daniel 2:28

Daniel, sometimes referred to as the “Apocalypse of the Old Testament,” presents a majestic sweep of prophetic history. The Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans will come and go, but God will establish His people forever. Nowhere is this theme more apparent than in hte life of Daniel, a young God-fearing Jew transplanted from his homeland and raise in Babylonia. His adventures—and those of his friends—in the palace, the fiery furnace, and the lion’s den show that even during the Exile God has not forgotten His chosen nation. And through Daniel, god provides dreams—and interpretations of dreams—designed to convince Jew and Gentile alike that wisdom and power belong to Him alone![1]

World Events at During the Lifetime of Daniel

image

Organization of the Book of Daniel

image

Note: Chapters 2-7 are written in Aramaic; Chapters 8-12 focus on Israel.

Historical: Chapters 1 – 6

1 Deported as a teenager

2 Nebuchadenzzar’s Dream

3 Bow or Burn: the Furnace

4 Nebuchadnezzar’s Pride

5 The Fall of Babylon

6 The Lion’s Den

7 Daniel’s Vision

Visions Chapters 7 – 12

7 Four Beasts

8 The Ram and the He-Goat

9 The Seventy Weeks

10 A Glimpse of the Dark Side

11 The “Silent Years” (in advance)

12 The Consummation of All Things

Keys to the Book of Daniel

Author—Daniel and his three friends were evidently born into noble Judean families and were “young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking and gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand” (1:4). He was given three years of training in the best of Babylon’s schools (1:5). As part of the reidentification process, he was given a new name that honored one of the Babylonian deities: Belteshazzar meant “Bel Protect His Life” (see 1:7; 4:8; Jer. 51:44). Daniel’s wisdom and divinely given interpretive abilities brought him into a position of prominence, especially in the courts of Nebuchadnezzar and Darius. He is one of the few well-known Bible characters about whom nothing negative is ever written. His life was characterized by faith, prayer, courage, consistency, and lack of compromise. This “greatly beloved” man (9:23; 10:11, 19) was mentioned three times by his sixth-century b.c. contemporary Ezekiel as an example of righteousness.

Daniel claimed to write this book (12:4), and he used the autobiographical first person from chapter 7, verse 2, onward. The Jewish Talmud agrees with this testimony, and Christ attributed a quote from chapter 9, verse 27, to “Daniel the prophet” (Matt. 24:15).

Date and Setting—Babylon rebelled against the Assyrian Empire in 626 b.c. and overthrew the Assyrian capital of Nineveh in 612 b.c. Babylon became the master of the Middle East when it defeated the Egyptian armies in 605 b.c. Daniel was among those taken captive to Babylon that year when Nebuchadnezzar subdued Jerusalem. He ministered for the full duration of the Babylonian captivity as a prophet and a government official and continued on after Babylon was overcome by the Medes and Persians in 539 b.c. His prophetic ministry was directed to the gentile courts of Babylon (Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar) and Persia (Darius and Cyrus), as well as to his Jewish countrymen. Zerubbabel led a return of the Jews to Jerusalem in the first year of Cyrus, and Daniel lived and ministered at least until the third year of Cyrus (536 b.c. 10:1). Daniel’s book was no doubt written by Cyrus’ ninth year (c. 530 b.c.). As he predicted, the Persian Empire continued until Alexander the Great (11:2–3) who stretched the Greek Empire as far east as India. The Romans later displaced the Greeks as rulers of the Middle East.

For various reasons, many critics have argued that Daniel is a fraudulent book that was written in the time of the Maccabees in the second century b.c., not the sixth century b.c. as it claims. But their arguments are not compelling:

1. The prophetic argument holds that Daniel could not have made such accurate predictions; it must be a “prophecy after the events.” Chapter 11 alone contains over one hundred specific prophecies of historical events that literally came true. The author, the critics say, must have lived at the time of Antiochus Epiphanes (175–163 b.c.) and probably wrote this to strengthen the faith of the Jews. But this argument was developed out of a theological bias that assumes true prophecy cannot take place. It also implies that the work was intentionally deceptive.

2. The linguistic argument claims that the book uses a late Aramaic in chapters 2–7 and that the Persian and Greek words also point to a late date. But recent discoveries shows that Daniel’s Aramaic is actually a form of the early Imperial Aramaic. Daniel’s use of some Persian words is no argument for a late date since he continued living in the Persian period under Cyrus. The only Greek words are names of musical instruments in chapter 3, and this comes as no surprise since there were Greek mercenaries in the Assyrian and Babylonian armies. Far more Greek words would be expected if the book were written in the second century b.c.

3. The historical argument asserts that Daniel’s historical blunders argue for a late date. But recent evidence has demonstrated the historical accuracy of Daniel. Inscriptions found at Haran show that Belshazzar reigned in Babylon while his father Nabonidus was fighting the invading Persians. And Darius the Mede (5:31; 6:1) has been identified as Gubaru, a governor appointed by Cyrus.

Theme and Purpose—Daniel was written to encourage the exiled Jews by revealing God’s sovereign program for Israel during and after the period of gentile domination. The Times of the Gentiles began with the Babylonian captivity, and Israel would suffer under gentile powers for many years. But this period is not permanent, and a time will come when God will establish the messianic kingdom which will last forever. Daniel repeatedly emphasizes the sovereignty and power of God over human affairs. “The Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses” (4:25b). The God who directs the forces of history has not deserted His people. They must continue to trust in Him, because His promises of preservation and ultimate restoration are as sure as the coming of the Messiah.

Keys to Daniel—

Key Word: God’s Plan for Israel

Key Verses (2:20–22; 2:44)—“Daniel answered and said: ‘Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things; he knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him’ ” (2:20–22).

“And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.” (2:44).

Key Chapter (9)—Daniel’s prophecy of the Seventy Weeks (9:24–27) provides the chronological frame for messianic prediction from the time of Daniel to the establishment of the kingdom on earth. It is clear that the first sixty-nine weeks were fulfilled at Christ’s first coming. Some scholars affirm that the last week has not yet been fulfilled because Christ relates its main events to His second coming (Matt. 24:6, 15). Others perceive these words of Christ as applying to the Roman desecration of the temple in a.d. 70.

Christ in Daniel—Christ is the Great Stone who will crush the kingdoms of this world (2:34–35, 44), the Son of Man who is given dominion by the Ancient of Days (7:13–14), and the coming Messiah who will be cut off (9:25–26). It it likely that Daniel’s vision (10:5–9) was an appearance of Christ (cf. Rev. 1:12–16).

The vision of the sixty-nine weeks (9:25–26) pinpoints the coming of the Messiah. The decree (9:25) took place on March 4, 444 b.c. (Neh. 2:1–8). The sixty-nine weeks of seven years equals 483 years, or 173,880 days (using 360-day prophetic years). This leads to March 29, a.d. 33, the date of the Triumphal Entry. This is checked by noting that 444 b.c. to a.d. 33 is 476 years, and 476 times 365.24219 days per year equals 173,855 days. Adding twenty-five for the difference between March 4 and March 29 gives 173,880 days.

Contribution to the Bible—While Ezekiel emphasizes the nation’s religious restoration, Daniel concentrates on its political restoration. Daniel was clearly a prophet, but he did not occupy the prophetic office by making public proclamations to the people as God’s representative like Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Therefore, this book was placed in the Writings, the third division of the Hebrew bible, rather than the Prophets. Because it is apocalyptic literature, Daniel has many similarities to Revelation, particularly in its imagery and symbolism. Some believe that it was fulfilled before or during the first century a.d., but others believe that portions await fulfillment. The second view argues that since the events of the sixty-nine weeks were literally fulfilled in the four kingdoms, the events of the Seventieth Week will be literally fulfilled in the future.

Survey of Daniel—Daniel, the “Apocalypse of the Old Testament,” presents a surprisingly detailed and comprehensive sweep of prophetic history. After an introductory chapter in Hebrew, Daniel switches to Aramaic in chapters 2–7 to describe the future course of the gentile world powers. Then in chapters 8–12, Daniel reverts back to his native language to survey the future of the Jewish nation under gentile dominion. The theme of God’s sovereign control in the affairs of world history clearly emerges and provides comfort to the future church, as well as to the Jews whose nation was destroyed by the Babylonians. The Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans will come and go, but God will establish His kingdom through His redeemed people forever. Daniel’s three divisions are: (1) The personal history of Daniel (1); (2) the prophetic plan for the Gentiles (2–7); and (3) the prophetic plan for Israel (8–12).

The Personal History of Daniel (1): This chapter introduces the book by giving the background and preparation of the prophet. Daniel is deported along with other promising youths and placed in an intensive training program in Nebuchadnezzar’s court. Their names and diets are changed so that they will lose their Jewish identification, but Daniel’s resolve to remain faithful to the Lord is rewarded. He and his friends are granted wisdom and knowledge.

The Prophetic Plan for the Gentiles (2–7): Only Daniel can relate and interpret Nebuchadnezzar’s disturbing dream of the great statue (2). God empowers Daniel to foretell the way in which He will sovereignly raise and depose four gentile empires. The Messiah’s kingdom will end the “Times of the Gentiles.” Because of his position revealed in the dream, Nebuchadnezzar erects a golden image and demands that all bow to it (3). The persecution and preservation of Daniel’s friends in the fiery furnace again illustrates the power of God. After Nebuchadnezzar refuses to respond to the warning of his vision of the tree (4), he is humbled until he acknowledges the supremacy of God and the foolishness of his pride. The feast of Belshazzar marks the end of the Babylonian kingdom (5). Belshazzar is judged because of his arrogant defiance of God. In the reign of Darius, a plot against Daniel backfires when he is divinely delivered in the den of lions (6). Daniel’s courageous faith is rewarded, and Darius learns a lesson about the might of the God of Israel. The vision of the four beasts (7) supplements the four-part statue vision of chapter 2 in its portrayal of the Babylonian, Persian, Greek, and Roman empires. But once again, “the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever” (7:18).

The Prophetic Plan for Israel (8–12): The focus in chapter 8 narrows to a vision of the ram and goat that shows Israel under the Medo-Persian and Grecian empires. Alexander the Great is the big horn (8:21) and Antiochus Epiphanes is the little horn (8:23). After Daniel’s prayer of confession for his people, he is privileged to receive the revelation of the Seventy Weeks, including the Messiah’s atoning death (9). This gives the chronology of God’s perfect plan for the redemption and deliverance of His people. Following is a great vision that gives amazing details of Israel’s future history (10–11). Chapter 11 chronicles the coming kings of Persia and Greece, the wars between the Ptolemies of Egypt and the Seleucids of Syria, and the persecution led by Antiochus. God’s people will be saved out of tribulation resurrected (12).[2]

image

Map of the Babylonian Empire

Daniel and His Contemporaries

image

1. Daniel’s ministry in Babylon lasted for at least seventy years (605–536 b.c.). He was among the Jewish captives of the first deportation (605 b.c.; Dan 1:1–6), and he lived in Babylon throughout the entire seventy-year captivity period (536 b.c. is the date referred to in 10:1).

2. Babylon, the land of Jewish exile, came under three powers during Daniel’s career: Neo-Babylonian, Median, and Persian. The rulers that played an important part in the book of Daniel are:

Nebuchadnezzar; Belshazzar

(Neo-Babylonian)

Darius the Mede

(Median)

Cyrus

(Persian)

3. In 539 b.c., when Belshazzar was coregent with Nabonidus, Babylon fell to the Persian King Cyrus. This began the Persian period of supremacy.

4. The return of Jewish exiles to Jerusalem and the beginning of construction on the new Temple began at the end of Daniel’s career.

5. What prophets and kings of Judah were contemporaries of Daniel? Recall your earlier studies of these men.[3]

Outline of Daniel

SECTION OUTLINE ONE (DANIEL 1–2)

As a captive in Babylonia, the brave Daniel refuses to eat the king’s food—and prospers. He also is able, with God’s help, to interpret the king’s disturbing dream.

I. The King’s Diet refused by Daniel (1:1–21)

A. Daniel the selected (1:1–7)

1. The conquest (1:1–2): The Babylonian monarch Nebuchadnezzar attacks and conquers Jerusalem.

2. The command (1:3–5): Nebuchadnezzar orders Ashpenaz (the head palace official) to begin training some of the most promising Jewish captives for public service.

3. The candidates (1:6–7): Daniel (Belteshazzar), Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach), and Azariah (Abednego) are among those chosen.

B. Daniel the steadfast (1:8–20)

1. The request (1:8–9): Determining not to defile himself by eating the king’s food and wine, Daniel seeks permission to eat other, more wholesome food.

2. The reluctance (1:10): His superintendent fears he will be executed if the Jewish captives do not fare well with this menu.

3. The recommendation (1:11–14): Daniel suggests a 10-day test.

4. The results (1:15–16): Daniel and his three friends are healthier than the rest!

5. The reward (1:17–20): Three years later Nebuchadnezzar declares that the four young men are 10 times smarter than all the magicians and enchanters in his kingdom.

C. Daniel the statesman (1:21): Daniel now begins his service in Babylonian politics.

II. The King’s Dream revealed by Daniel (2:1–49)

A. The king and his pagan advisors (2:1–13)

1. The fear (2:1): The king has a disturbing dream.

2. The frustration (2:2–13): The king is unable to remember his dream.

a. His demand (2:2–4): The king calls for his wise men and commands them to tell him what he has dreamed and what it means.

b. His decree (2:5–13): Because the wise men are unable to do this, they are sentenced to death.

B. The king and Gods prophet (2:14–49)

1. God reveals the dream to Daniel (2:14–23).

a. The request (2:14–16): Daniel learns that he and his three friends are among those to be executed and asks the king for a little more time.

b. The revelation (2:17–19): After Daniel and his friends pray, God tells Daniel the dream and its meaning.

c. The rejoicing (2:20–23): Daniel praises God for his omnipotence and omniscience.

2. Daniel reveals the dream to Nebuchadnezzar (2:24–49).

a. The information (2:24–35)

(1) The statue (2:24–33): The king saw a huge statue with a gold head, silver chest and arms, bronze belly and thighs, iron legs, and feet that are a combination of iron and clay.

(2) The stone (2:34–35): A massive rock was cut out from a mountain by supernatural means. It struck the feet of iron and clay, smashing them to bits so that the whole statue collapsed.

b. The interpretation (2:36–45)

(1) Of the statue (2:36–43): It represents four successive Gentile powers—Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome.

(2) Of the stone (2:44–45): It represents God’s kingdom, which will someday destroy pagan power.

c. The elevation (2:46–49): An amazed Nebuchadnezzar worships Daniel and appoints him to be ruler over the entire province of Babylon as well as chief over all his wise men!

SECTION OUTLINE TWO (DANIEL 3–4)

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refuse to worship Nebuchadnezzar’s gold statue and are thrown into a blazing furnace—but survive. Nebuchadnezzar has a second dream, which Daniel also interprets. When the king refuses to repent, he has to live like an animal for seven years. His kingdom and sanity are restored when he acknowledges God.

I. Three Men and a Test (3:1–30)

A. The flamboyant Babylonian monarch (3:1–7)

1. The project (3:1): Nebuchadnezzar builds a gold statue that is 90 feet tall and 9 feet wide.

2. The politicians (3:2–3): The king summons all his political leaders to attend the statue’s dedication.

3. The proclamation (3:4–5): When the band plays, all those present are to bow down and worship the gold statue.

4. The penalty (3:6–7): All those who refuse to bow down will be cast into a blazing furnace.

B. The faithful men (3:8–23)

1. The threat (3:8–15)

a. The astrologers’ report (3:8–12): The king learns that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego have refused to bow.

b. The king’s reasoning (3:13–15): He offers the three men a second chance.

2. The testimony (3:16–23)

a. The three men’s answer (3:16–18): “We will burn, if need be, before we will serve anything other than God.”

b. The king’s anger (3:19–23): He orders the young men thrown into the furnace, which has been heated seven times hotter than usual.

C. The fourth man (3:24–30)

1. The discovery (3:24–25): Looking into the fire, an amazed Nebuchadnezzar sees two incredible things:

a. The three men are still alive (3:24–25a).

b. Another man has joined them, and he looks like a divine being (3:25b).

2. The deliverance (3:26–28): At the king’s urging, the three men walk out of the fire, not even smelling of smoke.

3. The decree (3:29–30): Nebuchadnezzar imposes the death sentence upon anyone who speaks against God, and the three men are promoted to higher positions.

II. Two Men and a Tree (4:1–37): This chapter records the second of Nebuchadnezzar’s three dreams. Daniel interprets this dream also.

A. The prologue (4:1–3)

1. The proclamation (4:1): Nebuchadnezzar issues a special announcement throughout his kingdom.

2. The praise (4:2–3): The king testifies of God’s awesome power.

B. The particulars (4:4–37)

1. The king is corrupted through vanity (4:4–27).

a. Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (4:4–18)

(1) He sees a large tree spreading out (4:4–12).

(2) He sees the tree struck down (4:13–18): A messenger, a holy one, cuts down this tree and says it represents a man who will lose his mind and will live like a wild animal for seven years.

b. Daniel’s interpretation (4:19–27)

(1) His explanation (4:19–26): Daniel identifies the tree as Nebuchadnezzar, who will suffer from a divinely caused insanity due to his pride. However, in seven years, after he acknowledges God’s power, his kingdom will be restored.

(2) His exhortation (4:27): Daniel urges the king to repent and thus avoid this terrible judgment.

2. The king is corrected through insanity (4:28–37).

a. The pride (4:28–30): Refusing to repent, the king remains arrogant, boasting to all about his building of Babylon.

b. The punishment (4:31–33): As predicted, the king is given an animal’s mind for seven years.

c. The postscript (4:34–37): Upon receiving his right mind and being restored to the kingdom, Nebuchadnezzar worships, praises, honors, and glorifies Daniel’s God.

SECTION OUTLINE THREE (DANIEL 5–6)

Belshazzar sees a hand writing on the wall and calls Daniel for an interpretation. He dies that very night when Darius the Mede captures the city. Daniel’s enemies plot against him, and he isthrown into the lions’ den.

I. God’s Hand at Dinner (5:1–31)

A. The ball (5:1): Babylonian king Belshazzar invites a thousand of his officers to a great feast.

B. The gall (5:2–4)

1. The order (5:2): Belshazzar asks that the vessels Nebuchadnezzar took from the Jerusalem Temple be brought to his feast.

2. The outrage (5:3–4): Both king and guests drink wine from these vessels and praise the Babylonian gods.

C. The wall (5:5–6)

1. The hand (5:5): Belshazzar sees a human hand (with no arm) writing a message on the wall.

2. The horror (5:6): He’s filled with fear.

D. The call (5:7–29)

1. To the magicians (5:7–9): Belshazzar promises great rewards to any who can interpret the mysterious writing. But no one is able to do so.

2. To the prophet (5:10–29)

a. The recommendation (5:10–12): The queen mother advises Belshazzar to call for Daniel.

b. The reward (5:13–16): The king offers to promote Daniel to the third highest position in the kingdom if he can interpret the writing.

c. The refusal (5:17): Daniel spurns the bribe but offers to interpret the message without cost.

d. The rebuke (5:18–23): Daniel contrasts the reigns of Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar.

(1) Lessons Nebuchadnezzar learned (5:18–21): He testified to God’s sovereignty after being humbled by insanity.

(2) Lessons Belshazzar spurns (5:22–23): Although he knows history, he still chooses to defy and insult God!

e. The revelation (5:24–28): Daniel tells the king that his kingdom will be given to the Medes and Persians—and that he will soon die.

f. The robing (5:29): In a futile attempt to escape God’s judgment, the king clothes Daniel in purple and proclaims him third ruler in the kingdom.

E. The fall (5:30–31): That very night Darius the Mede enters Babylon, kills Belshazzar, and rules over the city.

II. God’s Hand in a Dream (6:1–28)

A. A hostile plan (6:1–9)

1. The organization (6:1–3): Darius appoints Daniel as one of the kingdom’s three top administrators.

2. The orchestration (6:4–9)

a. The sinister search (6:4): Daniel’s envious enemies unsuccessfully attempt to find something in his life that can be used against him.

b. The solution (6:5): They finally conclude that he can only be trapped by his religious life.

c. The subtlety (6:6–9): Darius is tricked into signing a decree that imposes the death penalty upon anyone who prays to any god except the king for 30 days.

B. A holy man (6:10–15)

1. The fearless prophet (6:10): Even though he knows about the decree, Daniel continues his usual three-times-a-day prayers to God.

2. The heartless plotters (6:11–13): Daniel’s devilish foes gleefully report this to the king.

3. The tireless potentate (6:14–15): Realizing he has been tricked, Darius spends the rest of the day trying—unsuccessfully—to find a legal loophole whereby Daniel can be saved.

C. A heavenly ban (6:16–28)

1. The kings concern (6:16–18): With great sorrow, Darius gives orders for Daniel to be arrested and thrown into the lions’ den. He returns home to spend a sleepless night.

2. The kings cry (6:19–22): Early the next morning, hoping against hope, Darius cries out to Daniel in the lions’ den.

a. The question (6:19–20): Was God able to save you?

b. The answer (6:21–22): God shut the lions’ mouths!

3. The kings command (6:23–28)

a. About Daniel (6:23): Overjoyed, Darius orders Daniel (who doesn’t even have a scratch) removed from the lions’ den.

b. About his foes (6:24): They are thrown into the same lions’ den and are instantly torn apart.

c. About his God (6:25–28): Darius sends a message: All people in the kingdom are to fear and reverence Daniel’s God.

SECTION OUTLINE FOUR (DANIEL 7–8)

During the first and third years of Belshazzar’s reign in Babylon, Daniel has two visions of future Gentile world powers.

I. The First Vision (7:1–28): During the first year of Belshazzar’s reign

A. The information (7:1–14): Daniel sees:

1. A lionlike beast (7:1–4): “As I watched, its wings were pulled off, and it was left standing with its two hind feet on the ground, like a human being. And a human mind was given to it.”

2. A bearlike beast (7:5): It holds three ribs between its teeth.

3. A leopardlike beast (7:6): It has four birds’ wings on its back and four heads and is given great authority.

4. A 10-horned beast (7:7–8): It is by far the most dreadful and terrifying creature yet. An 11th horn grows, yanking out 3 of the 10 horns.

5. The Ancient One (7:9–12)

a. Who it is (7:9): God himself is seated in all his heavenly glory, preparing to judge the world.

b. What happens (7:10–12)

(1) A river of fire flows from God’s presence (7:10a).

(2) Millions of angels minister to him (7:10b).

(3) Tens of millions of people await judgment (7:10c).

(4) The fourth beast is thrown into hell (7:11–12).

6. The man (7:13–14)

a. Who it is (7:13): Some believe the “man” who approaches the Ancient One is a reference to God’s Son, Jesus Christ.

b. What happens (7:14): The Son is given a mighty, glorious, and eternal kingdom.

B. The interpretation (7:15–28)

1. Of the four beasts in general (7:15–18)

a. Their rise (7:15–17): They represent the four ancient kingdoms of Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome.

b. Their replacement (7:18): They will give way to God’s glorious kingdom.

2. Of the fourth beast in particular (7:19–28)

a. The confusion (7:19–22): Daniel desires more information on the cruelty and conquests of this vicious beast.

b. The clarification (7:23–27): He is given three facts concerning the fourth beast. It will:

(1) Devour the earth (7:23–24)

(2) Defy the Most High (7:25)

(3) Be destroyed by the Most High (7:26–27)

c. The consternation (7:28): The prophet is terrified by this vision.

II. The Second Vision (8:1–27): During the third year of Belshazzar’s reign

A. The animals (8:1–12)

1. A two-horned ram (8:1–4): It is able to defeat and utterly crush all its enemies.

2. A one-horned male goat (8:5–8)

a. Its destructiveness (8:5–7): The goat attacks and utterly destroys the ram.

b. Its death (8:8): At the height of its power, the goat’s horn is broken and replaced by four smaller horns.

3. Another creature that comes from the goat (8:9–12)

a. The conquests (8:9–10): He invades and occupies much of the Holy Land.

b. The contempt (8:11–12): He even challenges God!

B. The answers (8:13–27)

1. From a regular angel (8:13–14)

a. The question (8:13): How long will it take for Daniel’s vision to be fulfilled? How long until the defiled Jewish Temple will be purified, thus allowing the daily sacrifices to once again take place?

b. The answer (8:14): A period of 2,300 days!

2. From a ruling angel (8:15–27)

a. His identity (8:15–19): He is none other than Gabriel himself.

b. His information (8:20–27)

(1) About the two-horned ram (8:20): It represents the Medo-Persian Empire.

(2) About the one-horned goat (8:21–22): It represents Greece, which will break into four sections following the death of Alexander the Great.

(3) About the third creature (8:23–27): This probably refers to a brutal Syrian king, Antiochus Epiphanes IV, who defiled the Temple in December of 167 b.c. Later, it would be cleansed by Judas Maccabeus.


SECTION OUTLINE FIVE (DANIEL 9–10)

After being visited by the angel Gabriel, Daniel goes on anextended fast in order to pray for Israel’s repentance—and future restoration.

I. The Chronology (9:1–27): This chapter records two time periods—one historical, the other prophetic. Both periods involve the number 70.

A. The historical 70 (9:1–19): Daniel and God

1. The Scriptures as pondered by Daniel (9:1–2): He understands that Israel’s 70-year Babylonian captivity, prophesied by Jeremiah, is almost over.

2. The supplication as prayed by Daniel (9:3–19)

a. The review (9:3–14)

(1) Israel’s sin (9:3–11)

(2) Israel’s suffering (9:12–14)

b. The request (9:15–19): Daniel asks God to forgive his people and to restore them to their land.

B. The prophetic 70 (9:20–27): Daniel and Gabriel’s visit

1. The nature of Gabriels mission (9:20–23): He has been sent to help Daniel understand God’s future plan for Israel.

2. The nature of Gabriels message (9:24–27): God will successfully accomplish his total plan for Israel during a specified number of years.

a. The number (9:24): It will involve “seventy sets of seven,” for a total of 490 years, beginning with the command to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

b. The nature (9:25–27): These years will fall into three categories:

(1) First period, 49 years, during which Jerusalem will be rebuilt (9:25)

(2) Second period, 434 years, at which time the Messiah will be crucified (9:26)

(3) Third period, 7 years, a reference to the coming Great Tribulation (9:27)

II. The Conflict (10:1–21)

A. Daniels vexation (10:1–4): He undergoes an extended fast as a result of the fearful visions.

1. The duration of his fast (10:1–3): Three weeks

2. The location of his fast (10:4): On the bank of the Tigris River

B. Daniels visitation (10:5–21): An angel from heaven appears!

1. The radiance (10:5–6): Clothed in linen and a gold belt, the angel’s body looks “like a dazzling gem.” He sounds like an entire multitude as he speaks.

2. The reaction (10:7–8): Daniel feels faint and weak with fear. Although his companions see nothing, all of a sudden they become terrified and flee.

3. The reassurance (10:9–12): A trembling Daniel is gently lifted and comforted by the angel.

4. The revelation (10:14): He has come to instruct Daniel concerning the future of Israel.

5. The resistance against this angel (10:13, 15–21): The heavenly messenger tells Daniel why it has taken him a full three weeks to arrive.

a. The hostility (10:13a, 15–20)

(1) He was hindered by the demonic leader of Persia en route (10:13a).

(2) He will be hindered by the demonic leader of Greece upon his return (10:15–20).

b. The helper (10:13b, 21): Michael the archangel helped Gabriel as he came and will help him again as he leaves.

SECTION OUTLINE SIX (DANIEL 11–12)

God’s angel describes for Daniel the future reigns of various Persian, Greek, Egyptian, and Syrian kings. The angel concludes by predicting the eventual rule of the Antichrist himself!

I. A Chronology of Christless Conquerors (11:1–45)

A. Four Persian kings (11:1–2): Daniel learns that three Persian kings will succeed Darius the Mede, followed by a powerful fourth ruler who will use his great wealth to wage total war against Greece.

B. A mighty king of Greece (11:3–4): Here is a reference to Alexander the Great, who will suddenly die soon after building his vast empire, resulting in the empire being fragmented into four divisions.

C. The kings of Syria and Egypt (11:5–20)

1. The alliance between Syria and Egypt (11:5–6): The daughter of the king of Egypt will be given in marriage to the king of Syria to secure an alliance.

2. The defeat of Syria by Egypt (11:7–12): The king of Egypt will carry Syria’s treasures back to his land.

3. The defeat of Egypt by Syria (11:13–16): Even though Egypt is fortified, it will be destroyed.

4. The stalemate between Syria and Egypt (11:17–20): The king of Syria will give his daughter to the king of Egypt in marriage to overthrow the kingdom from within.

D. An evil Syrian king (11:21–35): This is a reference to Antiochus Epiphanes IV, who will come to power around 175 b.c.

1. His craftiness (11:21–23): He will secure his kingdom by flattery and intrigue.

2. His conquests (11:24): He will besiege and capture powerful strongholds.

3. His confrontations (11:25–30)

a. With Egypt (11:25–27): The king of Syria will defeat him.

b. With Israel (11:28–30): He will set himself against the people of the covenant, doing great damage.

4. His cruelty (11:31–35): Antiochus Epiphanes IV will possess a hellish hatred for Israel.

a. He will desecrate the Temple and cause the daily sacrifices to cease (11:31–32): He will flatter those who violate the covenant.

b. He will murder many Jews (11:33–35): Many who are wise will die, but those who survive will be made pure till the time of the end.

E. The satanic, self-willed king (11:36–45): These verses describe the frightful reign of the coming Antichrist.

1. The wickedness of the Antichrist (11:36–39)

a. His impudence (11:36–37): He will blaspheme God in unthinkable and unheard-of ways!

b. His idolatry (11:38–39): He will worship the god of fortresses.

2. The warfare of the Antichrist (11:40–45)

a. The ones he will defeat (11:40–44a): He will sweep through many countries like a flood, including Israel, Egypt, and Libya.

b. The one who will defeat him (11:45): The context here suggests that God himself will utterly crush the Antichrist near the city of Jerusalem!

3. The wrath of the Antichrist (11:44b): Hearing some alarming news from the east and the north, he will return in great anger, destroying as he goes.

II. A Chronology of Closing Conditions (12:1–13)

A. The description of the end times (12:1–4)

1. The suffering (12:1)

a. The pain (12:1b): During the Great Tribulation, Israel will suffer as never before.

b. The prince (12:1a): Israel will be helped at that time by Michael the archangel.

c. The perseverance (12:1c): All those whose names are written in God’s book will be delivered.

2. The separation (12:2): In the last day, all will be resurrected, some to everlasting life, others to everlasting punishment.

3. The shining (12:3): The righteous will shine like stars!

4. The sealing (12:4): Daniel’s prophecies are sealed until the end times.

B. The duration of the end times (12:5–13): Three separate time periods are specified.

1. A period of 1,260 days (12:5–10): This probably refers to the last three and one-half years of the Great Tribulation.

2. A period of 1,290 days (12:11): The previous 1,260 days plus 30 additional days.

3. A period of 1,335 days (12:12–13): The previous 1,290 days plus 45 additional days.[4]

 

Scripture List

Isaiah 46:9–10

9 “Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;

John 14:29

“Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe.

Ezekiel 14:14

even though these three men, Noah, Daniel and Job were in its midst, by their own righteousness they could only deliver themselves,” declares the Lord God.

Ezekiel 28:3

Behold, you are wiser than Daniel; There is no secret that is a match for you.

Hebrews 11:33

who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions,

Matthew 24:15

“Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand),

Daniel 2:28

“However, there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will take place in the latter days. This was your dream and the visions in your mind while on your bed.

Daniel 4:17

“This sentence is by the decree of the angelic watchers And the decision is a command of the holy ones, In order that the living may know That the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, And bestows it on whom He wishes And sets over it the lowliest of men.”

Daniel 4:25

that you be driven away from mankind and your dwelling place be with the beasts of the field, and you be given grass to eat like cattle and be drenched with the dew of heaven; and seven periods of time will pass over you, until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes.

Daniel 4:32

and you will be driven away from mankind, and your dwelling place will be with the beasts of the field. You will be given grass to eat like cattle, and seven periods of time will pass over you until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes.’

Matthew 24:21

“For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.

Matthew 24:30

“And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.

Daniel 9:27

“And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”

Daniel 11:31

“Forces from him will arise, desecrate the sanctuary fortress, and do away with the regular sacrifice. And they will set up the abomination of desolation.

Daniel 12:11

“From the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days.

Daniel 12:1

“Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.

Daniel 7:13

“I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him.

Matthew 26:64

Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Daniel 12:12

“How blessed is he who keeps waiting and attains to the 1,335 days!

John 5:28–29

28 “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, 29 and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.

Why study prophecy?

By David Jeremiah

Why should we study the panorama of prophecy found in Scripture?

If you were to omit passages about prophecy, you would have to remove one out of every 30 verses in the New Testament. You would also have to skip 23 of the 27 New Testament books which mention prophecy.

Jesus not only spoke many times about the future, He also rebuked people who didn’t seem to recognize the significance of the events taking place around them. He scolded those who could read the sky for weather, but were unable to read the signs of the times (Luke 12:56). Jesus wants us to investigate what the Bible has to say about the future.

The Protection Of Prophecy

Jesus knew an understanding of prophecy would protect us from future deceptions. In Matthew 24:4-5, He said, "Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many."

Jesus said in John 16:1, "These things I have spoken to you about the future that you should not be made to stumble." If you know what Jesus says about the future, you won’t fall into the trap of panic or distress.

Satan knows that if you read Revelation, you’ll see that the adversary who is tempting you every day has already been assigned to the Lake of Fire. If you see Satan as a defeated foe in the future, that helps you to be victorious over him today. Prophecy will protect you from Satan’s attacks in the present.

The Preparation Of Prophecy

Be prepared. Always be ready for the Lord’s return, which will be as unpredictable as a thief in the night. First Thessalonians 5:4 says, "But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this day should overtake you as a thief." Prophecy prepares us to meet the Lord anytime.

Prophecy also prepares us for future events. Hardly a day goes by that we don’t read about wars or rumors of wars, natural disasters or lawlessness in the newspaper. World calamities never take God by surprise. In John 16:4, Jesus said, "These things I have told you that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them." By reading biblical passages about prophecy, you will be prepared for the days ahead. For even though the time of sorrows is coming, that means the day of redemption is drawing near.

The Practicality Of Prophecy

The Book of Revelation is not only for understanding — it is for application. For each prophetic message, there is a present day application.

For instance, if you are aware of Christ’s imminent return, that will impact your desire to witness to others about the Gospel. If we take prophecy seriously, it will affect the way we live — resulting in our reaching out to the lost because we understand what will happen in the future. Prophecy is intensely practical — the driving force behind evangelism and righteous living.

The Prize Of Prophecy

Revelation 1:3 says, "Blessed is he who reads, and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near." If you follow the instructions in the book, God has promised a prize of blessing for you.

Prophecy’s Panorama

Prophecy gives us a glimpse into the future so that we will know how to live in the present. That’s why prophecy is so prominent throughout the pages of the Bible. It protects us from deception and prepares us for Christ’s return. Prophecy is not only an academic exercise; it’s practical for everyday living. Then at the end of our lives, we will receive a great prize of blessing if we heed prophecy’s instructions.

The Book of Revelation is not an imaginative piece of spiritual fiction to tickle our fancy. Instead, it is a guidebook to teach us the sequence of events leading up to the return of Jesus Christ. Read this panorama of prophecy that will change your life, for today and for eternity. [5]

Two Witnesses in Defense of Daniel’s Authorship

[6]

Although we are not undertaking here a defense of the book of Daniel, some notice needs to be taken of the attacks that the book has suffered. We shall call two witnesses for the defense—a layman and a theologian. The layman is Sir Robert Anderson, in his day the respected head of Britain’s prestigious Scotland Yard. He was not only a well-taught Bible scholar with a number of thought-provoking books to his credit but also a man well versed in interrogating witnesses, detecting falsehood, and exposing the sophistries of error. He described himself as a man "long accustomed to deal with evidence in difficult and intricate inquiries." The Hebrew scholar and theologian is Edward B. Pusey. Let us begin here with Sir Robert Anderson.

Let it not be forgotten that the present inquiry is altogether judicial. The question involved is precisely similar in character to issues such as are daily decided in our Courts of Justice. And one of H. M. Judges with a good "special jury" would be a fitter tribunal to deal with it than any company of philologists, however eminent. Due weight would of course be given to the evidence of such men as experts. But the dictum, so familiar to the lawyer, would not be forgotten, that the testimony which least deserves credit is that of skilled witnesses, for the judgment of such men becomes warped by their habit of regarding a subject from one point of view only.

The critics maintain that the definiteness of the predictions of Daniel is due to the fact that the book was written after the events referred to; and further, that its "visions" cease with the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes. The main issues of fact therefore, to be decided at such a trial would be these:—

(1) Was the Book of Daniel in existence in pre-Maccabean days? and

(2) Was any one of its visions fulfilled in later times?

And if either of these issues should be found against the critics their whole case would be shattered.

The discovery of Neptune was due to the fact that astronomers found reason to assume the existence of such a planet. And if the Book of Daniel had been lost, true criticism would assume the presence of a Daniel at the Court of Babylon. For otherwise the story of the Exile and return of the Jews would be intelligible only on the assumption of miracles such as those which marked the Exodus. And further; if the advocates of the pseud-epigraph theory of Daniel were versed in the science of evidence, they would recognise that, on their own hypothesis, the presence of the book in the canon is evidence of the existence of the man. For the Sanhedrim [sic] would never have accepted it unless they had had knowledge of the historical facts on which it is based.

But while the existence of Daniel was indisputable when Dr. Driver wrote his Introduction, it was only "probable" when he came to write his Book of Daniel—a deplorable lapse from true criticism to "Higher Criticism," and from rational belief to unreasoning scepticism. On this point I have already cited the testimony of Ezekiel; and that testimony is conclusive unless the critics can find some adequate answer to it… the same remark applies, though in a modified degree, to the testimony of I Maccabees.

Even if the testimony of these witnesses stood alone, it would prevail with any impartial tribunal. But when we come to consider the general question of the canon, the weight of proof becomes overwhelming. Apart from the disturbing influence of these controversies, no reasonable person would reject the clear and definite tradition that the completion of the Old Testament canon was the work of the men of the Great Synagogue. In an age when scepticism of a singularly shallow type has been allowed to run riot, it is the fashion to reject that tradition because of the myths and legends which have attached themselves to it. But a soberer scholarship would recognise, first, that this very element is a proof of its antiquity, and of the hold it gained upon the Jewish mind in early times; and secondly, that if historical facts are to be ignored on this ground the whole volume of ancient history must shrink to very small proportions.

But all that concerns me here is to establish that the canon was complete before the Maccabean epoch. And upon this point I might almost rest the case upon the evidence of a single witness.

As mentioned in an earlier chapter, Ecclesiasticus was written not later than about 200 b.c. The object of the book is thus explained by the grandson of the writer, who translated it into Greek not later than 132 b.c[7].: "My grandfather Jesus, seeing he had much given himself to the reading of the law, of the prophets and the other books of the Fathers, and had gotten therein sufficient proficiency, was drawn himself to write something pertaining to learning and wisdom." Now it is acknowledged even by hostile critics that the words "the law and the prophets and the other books," or as he calls them again, "the rest of the books," refer to the sacred writings, and that they imply the existence at that time of a recognized canon.

"I think it quite incredible," says Dr. Ryle, "that the thrice repeated formula should have been an invention of the Greek translator, and not rather the description of the Hebrew Scriptures commonly used among the Jews." The Law, the Prophets, and the Writings—these same words stand upon the title-page of the Jewish Bible of today, and no fair and competent tribunal would hesitate to find that that title has covered the same books for more than twenty-three centuries.

Ben-Sira was "a poetical paraphraser" of the Old Testament, and his book abounds in passages which are imitations of the canonical writers. And, "as clear examples of such imitation can be found of all the canonical books, with the doubtful exception of the Book of Daniel, these books must, as a whole, have been familiar to Ben-Sira, and must therefore be much anterior to him in date." These words are from Dr. Schechter’s Introduction, already quoted, and they are substantiated by a list of the passages referred to. That list includes three quotations from Daniel; these however are, of course, rejected by the critics.

Now I confidently maintain that upon the evidence any impartial tribunal would find that the canon was complete before Ben-Sira wrote. But assuming, for the sake of argument, that the inclusion of Daniel is doubtful, the matter stands thus:—It is admitted, (1) that the canon was complete in the second century b.c.; and (2) that no book was included which was not believed to have been in existence in the days of Nehemiah. For the test by which a book was admitted to the canon was its claim to be inspired; and the Sanhedrim held that inspiration ceased with the prophets, and that no "prophet"—that is, no divinely inspired teacher—had arisen in Israel after the Nehemiah era.[8] When, therefore, Josephus declares that the Scriptures were "justly believed to be Divine," and that the Jews were prepared "willingly to die for them,[9]" he is not recording merely the opinion of his contemporaries, but the settled traditional belief of his nation.

How, then, can the critics reconcile their hypothesis as to the origin of the Book of Daniel with its inclusion in the canon?

As regards point (1) above indicated, the Bishop of Exeter’s testimony carries with it the special authority which attaches to the statements of a hostile witness. "If," he says, "all the books of ‘the Kethubim’ were known and received in the first century a.d., and if, as we believe, the circumstances of the Jewish people rendered it all but impossible for the canon to receive change or augmentation in the first century b.c., we conclude that ‘the disputed books’ received a recognition in the last two or three decades of the second century b.c., when John Hyrcanus ruled and the Jews still enjoyed prosperity."

This ought to decide the whole question. For mark what it means. The critics would have us believe that after the death of Antiochus some Jewish Chasid incorporated a history of his reign in a historical romance, casting it into the form of a prophecy supposed to have been delivered hundreds of years before; and that, at a time when this was still a matter within living memory, the work was accepted as divinely inspired Scripture, and bracketed with the Psalms of David among the sacred books of the Hebrew nation!

We are dealing here, remember with the acts, not of savages in a barbarous age, but of the religious leaders of the Jews in historic times. And the matter in question related to the most solemn and important of all their duties. Moreover, the Sanhedrim of the second century b.c. was composed of men of the type of John Hyrcanus; men famed for their piety and learning; men who were heirs of all the proud traditions of the Jewish faith, and themselves the sons or successors of the heroes of the noble Maccabean revolt. And yet we are asked to believe that these men, with their extremely strict views of inspiration and their intense reverence for their sacred writings—that these men, the most scrupulous and conservative Church body that the world has ever known—used their authority to smuggle into the sacred canon a book which, ex hypothesi, was a forgery, a literary fraud, a religious novel of recent date.

Such a figment is worthy of its pagan author, but it is wholly unworthy of Christian men in the position of English ecclesiastics and University Professors. And were it not for the glamour of their names it would be deemed undeserving of notice. But our respect for Church dignitaries of our own times must not make us forget what is due to the memory of Church dignitaries of another age, men whose fidelity to their trust as the divinely appointed custodians of "the oracles of God" has earned for them the gratitude and admiration of the Church for all time. Their fitness, moreover, to judge of the genuineness and authenticity of the Book of Daniel was incomparably greater than could be claimed for any of those who join in this base and silly slander upon their intelligence or their honesty. For if the critics are right, these men who were, I repeat, the divinely appointed custodians of the Hebrew Scriptures, and from whom the Christian Church has received them, were no better than knaves or fools. Let no one start at this language, for it is not a whit too strong. They were utter fools if they were deceived by a literary forgery of their own time; they were shameless knaves if they shared in a plot to secure the acceptance of the fraud.

For let it be kept steadily in view that no book would have been thus honoured unless it was believed to be ancient. The avowed fiction theory of Daniel is puerile in its absurdity.[10] If the book was not genuine it was a forgery palmed off upon the Sanhedrim. And like all forgeries of that kind the MS. must have been "discovered" by its author. But the "finding" of such a book at such a period of the national history would have been an event of unparalleled interest and importance. Where then is the record of it? When it suits them, the critics make great use of the argument from the silence of witnesses; but in a case like this where that argument has overwhelming force they ignore it altogether.

Moreover, the suggestion of the critics that the Sanhedrim admitted a book to the canon in the way a library committee adds a volume to their catalogue is grotesque in the extreme. "They never determined a book to be canonized the sense of introducing it into the canon. In every instance in which a writing is said to have been admitted to the canon, the writing had already been in existence for generations, and had for generations been claimed as canonical before the discussions arose in regard to it. In every instance the decision is not that the book shall now be received into the collection of sacred writings, but that the evidence shows it to have been regarded from the first as a part of that collection."

One point more. While books of great repute, such as Ecclesiasticus and I Maccabees, were absolutely excluded from the canon, and even canonical books, such as the Book of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and even Ezekiel were challenged, "the right of the book of Daniel to canonicity was never called in question in the Ancient Synagogue.”

In disparagement of Daniel the critics point to the extraordinary additions which mark the Septuagint version. But owing to their want of experience in dealing with evidence, they fail to see what signal proof this affords of the antiquity of the book. The critics themselves allow that the Greek version of Daniel was in existence before I Maccabees was written.[11] According to their own case, therefore, the interval between the appearance of the book and its translation into Greek must have been within the memory of the older members of the Sanhedrim. And yet they ask us to believe that though during that interval it was under consideration for admission to the canon, it was guarded so carelessly that these additions and corruptions were allowed. The Septuagint version is evidence that Daniel was a pre-Maccabean work: the corruptions of the text which mark that version are evidence that it was in existence long before the Maccabean era.

In view of all this it is not surprising that even a writer so cautious and so fair as Canon Girdlestone should assert that "there is not an atom of ground for the supposition that any of the books or parts of books which constitute our Old Testament were the work of men of that age." "Of one thing," he adds, "we may be quite certain: nothing would be introduced into the ‘Sacred Library’ which was not believed to be ‘prophetic,’ and therefore in some sense Divine, and though there were occasionally men after Nehemiah’s time who had semi-prophetic gifts, the Jews do not acknowledge them as prophets.[12] We look in vain down the remains and traditions of Hebrew history between the age of Nehemiah and the Christian era for the appearance of any men who would venture to add to or take from the sacred library or canon which existed in Nehemiah’s days."[13]

Upon the first of the issues above specified I therefore claim a decision in favour of the Book of Daniel…. [14]

Such is the answer that a man who is well equipped to sift and weigh the evidence and expose falsehoods gives to the critics.

Now it is the turn of the trained theologian. Dr. Edward Pusey took up the challenge of these liberals on their own ground. He discussed their arguments at length. He exposed the flaws in their attacks on the Bible. He wrote page after page, showing how little the destructive critics agree even among themselves:

And so the weary changes were wrung [sic], each refuting his predecessor, the last awaiting his refutation from his successor, or ofttimes taking up that which he had before condemned. Lengerke refuted Rosch, and Wieseler refuted Lengerke, and Hitzig, Wieseler; or they mutually exchanged with each other. Wieseler took up with Corrodi; and Hofmann exchanged his theory for Ewald’s; and Ewald gave up what Hofmann took, for Hitzig’s; and, at last, since the assumption, that the prophecy is no prophecy but a description of Antiochus, was to be infallible, and yet the periods given by Daniel were hopelessly irreconcilable with that assumption, the fault is to be thrown, not on the infallible theory, but on what (whether men will it or no,) abides what it was, the Word of God. Hitzig, in his arrogant way, says, "If, in this way, the reckoning does not agree, then Daniel has erred, and the only question is to explain the error…."

Such then is the result of this "scientific" criticism. It fixes the interpretation beforehand, at its own will; then it endeavors, in every way it can, to adjust with its theory the clear and definite statements of the text as to the seventy weeks of years, as divided into the periods of 7, 62, 1, and this one into its two halves. It adjusts the numbers, adapts the descriptions of those spoken of, as it wills; no one for the time interferes with it; it has free scope; it adjusts, re-adjusts, turns, returns, in every way it wills. It gives its explanations authoritatively; no failure damps its confidence; it has but to please itself and it cannot. After 80 years of twisting, untwisting, hewing at the knot, the knot is to them as fast and indissoluble as ever. "Except the Lord build the house, their labor is but lost that build it." They form a rope of sand, and wonder that it does not cohere; that, twist it how they will, it is but sand. And so at last they throw up the problem; and, like insolent scholars, accuse not their own ignorance, but their Master’s. "It is not we who erred, but Daniel. The problem is insoluble in our way; therefore it cannot be solved at all."

And yet, in this very charge of error on the writer of the book of Daniel, they forget their own previous charges. This school objects to the book, that the writer had too minute a knowledge of the history of Alexander’s successors. "God does not," they say, "so minutely reveal the future." Good. So far then it is conceded that the account is accurate. Again, it says, that the writer was ignorant of the Persian history; that he believed that there were only 4 Persian kings in all, and that the Persian empire lasted but 54 years; that the empire of Alexander was divided immediately after his death. Good, again. It concerns not us, whether God revealed to Daniel more of the future, than he has actually set down. But how this is to help the adaptation of the 70 weeks to the period from Jehoiakim or Cyrus to Antiochus Epiphanes, these theorists have to explain. According to them, the writer knew accurately the period from the battle of Ipsus, 301 b.c. to 164 b.c. This gives 137 years. Add the 54 years, during which these assume the writer to have believed the Persian Empire to have lasted, and the 10 of Alexander’s Asiatic wars. This gives us 201 years, which the writer is supposed to have believed to have elapsed from Cyrus to the death of Antiochus Epiphanes. And yet they would have us to accept this as an explanation, why the writer of the book of Daniel should have supposed 63 weeks of years or 441 years to have elapsed from the fourth year of Jehoiakim or, if they would be but decently honest, from Cyrus, when a decree did go forth to restore and to build Jerusalem, to Epiphanes. They assume that the writer of the book of Daniel supposed the period from Cyrus to Antiochus Epiphanes, to have been little more than half of what it was, viz., 201 years, instead of 374, and then, retaining the general term, "inaccuracy of chronology," they urge this as an argument why the writer may have fixed a period, more than twice the length of time which they themselves suppose him to have imagined the actual time to be. Their charge of "inaccuracy of chronology" tells against themselves.

And yet what one, the more bold because the least believing, speaks out, must have been in the conscience of many. "After the death of Jesus, the Son of man, it was inevitable that they, to whom He was the Messiah, should refer to Him the words, Messiah shall be cut off" One might easily be tempted to interpret Messiah, v. 26, who was to die by a violent death, of Jesus and His Death; and if one thought of this Messias, notwithstanding the absence of the Article, as the Messias, (as Christ stands in Greek for the Christ,) they with whom the Name had weight, naturally understood Messias, v. 25, also to be Jesus Christ. Yet with a strange inconsistency, any chronological difficulty was a solid ground not to believe that Jesus was foretold; no chronological difficulty was any ground against believing any one else to be spoken of.

The harmony of unbelieving criticism has been contrasted with the disagreements among believers. It were no harm, were these disagreements as great as they allege; for the exposition of particular texts, closely or incidentally as it may at times bear upon the faith, is not in itself, matter of faith. Not the meaning of texts in detail, but the truths, on which they bear, are mostly matters of faith. But the alleged unanimity of this unbelieving criticism has been in pulling down, not in building up. It has been agreed in rejecting Christ. It would, if it could, blot the mention of Him out of the Old Testament. But when the question is, how to replace it, quot homines, tot sententiae. All agree in bearing witness against Him. But it is still, as of old, their witness agreed not together (Mark 14:56). If they waited, until they found those whose witness would agree together, the old faith would not have been parted with till now.

In regard to the 70 weeks, agreement on certain points was a necessity of the case. It was essential to any exposition which should exclude our Lord, that the Messiah of v. 25, should be Cyrus; it was their axiom that the last week should be part of the reign of Epiphanes; they had then next to no choice as to the Messias who was to be cut off. Without religious indifference they could not have lighted upon more than one. The table in the appendix will show their unanimity as to the rest.[15]

The Testimony of Christ

In a letter to a Christian magazine many years ago, a believer wrote the following:

The sceptical critics of modern Germany, in their discussion of the Old Testament, completely ignore the opinions of Christ, as they do also the indubitable opinions of the Jews of New Testament times. These German critics deliberately leave out of view a whole mass of vital evidence bearing on the subject, which—sceptics or infidels though they may be—it is most unscientific for writers, professing to be serious historians, to rule out of court and treat as if it had no existence.

No one has had a loftier or more thorough acquaintance with the Old Testament than Christ. Especially important, from the critical point of view, should be His views of the book of Daniel because He lived within a couple of centuries of when the critics claim the book was written. To ignore Christ would be as though a historian ignored Herodotus on the Greek and Persian wars or Plutarch on the lives of the caesars. That the critics do so is evidence of their dishonesty.

The critics treat the book of Daniel as a religious romance, its title as pseudonymous, and its prophecies as an apocalypse written after, not before, the events.

To Jesus, Daniel was a real person. He gave him his proper title, "Daniel the prophet." He quoted him three times in His own prophetic discourse (Matt. 24:15, 21, 30).

In this great advent prophecy, He quoted first from Daniel 9:27 (11:31; 12:11) where He endorsed Daniel’s warnings about the coming abomination of desolation with a special added warning of His own that people should heed this warning.

He quoted from Daniel 12:1 in adding His own confirmation of the coming woes of the Jewish people in the impending Great Tribulation.

He quoted from Daniel 7:13 to describe His own second coming, both in His Olivet discourse and again when put upon His oath by the high priest as to whether He were the Christ, the Son of God (Matt. 26:64). From this quotation we learn that the Lord took His own favorite title for Himself—"the Son of man"—from Daniel 7:13. His use of the definite article, prefixed to the title, intimates that He Himself was indeed the mysterious being seen by Daniel, "one like the Son of man."

In addition, the Lord’s description of the Resurrection is an endorsement of Daniel 12:2 (John 5:28-29). His description of the coming glory of the righteous is a paraphrase of Daniel 12:3 (Matt. 13:43).

Such was the Lord’s endorsement of Daniel, a book that the critics dismiss as religious fiction.

Further New Testament endorsement of the book of Daniel can be found in the book of Revelation, described specifically by the Holy Spirit as "the Revelation of Jesus Christ" (1:1). The apostle John, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, echoed his beloved Master’s reverence for the book of "Daniel the prophet": Daniel 1:12, 15 and Revelation 2:10; Daniel 3:6 and Revelation 13:15; Daniel 4:30 and Revelation 14:8; 17:5; 18:2, 10, 21; Daniel 5:23 and Revelation 9:20.[16]


[1] Wilkinson, B., & Boa, K. (1983). Talk thru the Bible (220). Nashville: T. Nelson.

[2] Wilkinson, B., & Boa, K. (1983). Talk thru the Bible (221–225). Nashville: T. Nelson.

[3] Jensen, I. L. (1978). Jensen’s survey of the Old Testament : Search and discover (376). Chicago: Moody Press.

[4] Willmington, H. L. (1999). The Outline Bible (Da 1–12:13). Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers.

[5]Copyright 2012 Baptist Press. Original copy of this story can be found at http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?ID=30166

[6] John Phillips Commentary Series, The – The John Phillips Commentary Series – Exploring the Book of Daniel: An Expository Commentary.

[7] The evidence clearly points to an earlier date for both the book and its translation. But because I want to avoid all "collateral issues," I adopt for the sake of argument the dates that the critics accept. See, however, Kitto’s Cyclopedia, s.v. "Synagogue"; also Alfred Edersheim, Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1967), 1:26ff.

[8] The question of the justice of such beliefs and claims in no way affects the force of my argument.

[9] Josephus, Against Apion, 1.8

[10] Imagine a meeting of the upper house of Convocation to discuss a proposal to add Dr. Frederic W. Farrar’s Life of Christ (2 vols. [London: Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co., n.d.]) to the canon of the New Testament! Quite as ridiculous is the suggestion that the Jewish Sanhedrin in the second century b.c. would have entertained the question of adding "an elevating romance" of their own age to the canon of the Old Testament.

[11]The presumption is strong that the LXX version was in existence at the date to which the critics assign the book itself. But here, as on every other point, I am arguing the question on bases that the critics themselves accept.

[12] In proof of this, he referred to 1 Maccabees 4.46; 9.27 (which puts the prophets in the far past); and 14.41.

[13] R. B. Girdlestone, The Foundations of the Bible, 2d ed. (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1891), chap. 2, pp. 8, 10.

[14] Sir Robert Anderson, Daniel in the Critics’ Den (London: James Nisbet and Co., 1902), 96-11. See also his book, The Coming Prince, 14th ed. (reprint, Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1954).

[15] Edward B. Pusey, Daniel the Prophet (New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1886).

[16] John Phillips Commentary Series, The – The John Phillips Commentary Series – Exploring the Book of Daniel: An Expository Commentary.

    Chris Eller is a Christ Follower, Husband, Father, Pastor, Geek, Writer, Photographer, and Church Technology Consultant.

    Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.