to The Book of Daniel
is one of the most important books of the Bible to understand.
Daniel connects the Old and New Testaments. Through Daniel, God
revealed the exact date month and year of Messiah death (Christ) and
events leading to His return.
demonstrates God’s complete control and comprehension over time and
nations, by giving detailed prophecies about the succession of
kingdoms and rulers. Daniel foretells the eventual establishment of
Messiah’s kingdom, which will overthrow the kingdoms of this world.
For the reason,
Daniel is often the most attacked book in the Bible. Critics date
Daniel’s authorship to the 2nd century B.C., otherwise
critics would be forced to accept the super natural.
Daniel is also
important for anybody who wants to understand Bible prophecy.
Without understanding Daniel, a thorough understanding of Revelation
is impossible. Daniel is the foundation for the book of Revelation.
The book of Revelation, is the completion of the plan first revealed
to Daniel in the Babylonian and Persian kingdoms over 2500 years
surrounding the book of Daniel
A. The Kingdoms
book of Daniel takes place from B.C. 605 to 530, bridging both the
Babylonian and Persian kingdom’s rule over Judea and Jerusalem.
Daniel follows a turbulent and period in Israel’s history. Israel
and Judah were buffer nations between the powerful nations of Egypt,
Assyria and Babylon.
Babylon was a
once former great kingdom dominated by the Assyrian Empire. In 621
B.C., Nabopolassar became the king of Babylon he challenged Assyrian
control. In 612 B.C., with the aid of the Medes and Scythian
hordes, Nabopolassar sacked the Assyrian capital of Nineveh.
following the sacking went into a quick decline, the armies of
Assyria abandoned the cities of Haran at the approaching Babylonians
in 610 B.C. Egypt allied itself with Assyria against Babylon to
retake the city. Pharaoh Neco, (2 Kings 23:28-30) on his
way was through Israel was intercepted by the armies of Judah led by
Josiah (640-609 B.C.). Josiah was killed in battle and Assyria
become part of the Neo Babylonian Empire.
Josiah’s 2nd son, was installed in his father’s place, he
ruled for 3 months till Pharaoh Neco returned from Haran, Jehoahaz
was taken as a captive to Egypt and replaced with his brother
Eliakim renamed Jehoiakim (608-598 B.C.) by Pharaoh Neco. Judah became a
vassal of Egypt.
In 605 B.C.,
trying to inherit the what remained of the Assyrian empire,
resulting in the battle of Carchemish. Carchemish was Egypt’s last
attempt for control of Middle East,
Babylon defeated Egypt and Judah became a vassal of Babylon. In 605
B.C. Nabopolassar also died, and his son Nebuchadnezzar commander of
the Babylonian forces returned to Babylon. On his return to Babylon,
Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem took hostages and looted treasures
from the Temple. Hostages secured Jerusalem’s surrender, among them
were included Daniel, Shadrach, Mishach and Abendgo descendents of
the Royal family.
The reign of
Josiah (640-609 B.C.) was another important event in the history of
Under Josiah rule, Israel experienced a spiritual revival. Josiah
was the great grandson of Hezekiah (715-699 B.C.). Hezekiah’s son
Manasseh (697-642 B.C.) and Manasseh’s son Amon (642-640 B.C.),
Josiah’s father, was a period of apostasy for Judah.
They turned away from the God of Israel. Josiah was different, he
sought to do God’s will.
Josiah was eight
years old when he became king, and at eighteen, the priest Hilkiah
found The Book of the Law in the Temple. Josiah
reinstituted the Covenant, celebrating a national Passover, and
destroying idol worship (2 Kings 22-23). Jeremiah was a young
contemporary of Josiah who was twenty-one, when God first spoke to
him. Jeremiah served with King Josiah until Josiah’s death in 609
B.C., Jeremiah wept for his friend and king who died at 39 years of
contemporary of Josiah and Jeremiah was Ezekiel, a thirty-year old
priest, in 597 B.C. He along with Jeremiah, Daniel and his friends
benefited from Josiah’s revival. The revival prepared a select
group of Jews for the coming exile and future destruction of Jerusalem.
The Daniel we
and Persia is the product of the revival in the days of
relation to the other prophet
Daniel was a
contemporary of Ezekiel and Jeremiah all three being in Jerusalem when
Daniel and his friend were taken captive to Babylon.
In 605 B.C. Daniel, was a young man probably about 14 to 15 years of
age. In 605 B.C., (Jeremiah 1:1-2) Jeremiah was in his 22nd
year of ministry called as youth probably near the age of 14, making
him about 36 years of age. Ezekiel was thirty in 597 B.C., making
him 22-years old in 605 B.C.(Ezekiel 1:1-2).
Daniel is as
established as the author, throughout the contents of the book of
Daniel. Daniel is told in Daniel 12:4, “seal
the book until the time of the end”, and in verse 9, we read,“Go your way, Daniel, for the words are
Jesus also attributes the book’s authorship to Daniel in the Olivet
Discourse (Matthew 24:15, Mark
the third century, a pagan named Porphyry questioned the sixth
century B.C. dating and authorship of Daniel. Jerome, translator
of the Vulgate, replied to his charges in his Commentary on
Porphyry was followed by critics in the 17th century, who
claimed Daniel was written in the Maccabean period (166 B.C.) by
Maccabean Jews, because of Daniel precise historical accuracy.
The dating of the book of Daniel varies from 6th to 2nd
century B.C. Liberal critics, who attribute the authorship to the
Maccabeans in 166 B.C., give the book a late date.
The purpose of the late dating is denial of the super natural aspect
of the book.
Conservative Christians and Jews, who accept the super natural
aspect of scripture have no problem with dating the book from 605 to
536 B.C, during the time of Daniel.
These dates are arrived by specific references to events and reigns
of kings in
Judah, Babylon and Persia. Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus and Jehoiakim,
historical kings of
Persia and Judah, can be dated and verified outside of the Bible,
using the dates of these kings, a reliable dating for Daniel can be
Place in the
The Jewish Bible
is divided into three sections, The Law, the Prophets
and the Writings. In the Hebrew Bible, Daniel is included in
the third section known as the writings or Kethubim
(Writings) or Hagiographa. In the Septuagint
and Vulgate, Daniel is placed with the major prophets, the Christian
Old Testament follows the pattern of the Septuagint. Josephus also
includes Daniel in the second section of the Jewish cannon.
Daniel is placed in the Kethubim, (writings), is not because Daniel
is considered less inspired then the prophets, as some critics
claim. Daniel is in the third division because Daniel was not
called a nabhi or prophet. He was seen as a hozeh
(seer) and a hakham (wise men). The 2nd section
was reserved only for books written by those addressed as prophets.
The third division is not considered less inspired and includes
Psalms, Proverbs and Chronicles. David is a prophet and his writings
inspired, but Psalm is placed in the third division in the same
division as Daniel.
Daniel is a book
of encouragement for those want to assured of God’s control. The
book of Daniel is born out of tribulation and uncertainty.
Daniel is a young boy, taken as captive into a foreign land away
from his family and city of birth. By trusting God, Daniel along
with his obedient friends become rulers in kingdoms of Babylon and
message in Daniel is God is in control. The nations are subject to
the will of God, not the will man, and God will preserve His people
through trouble. By revealing specifics of His plans, God prepares
and encourages His people for the future. Daniel confirms the
identity of Jesus Christ as Messiah, by foretelling the exact month
and year of Messiah’s death and the destruction of Jerusalem
and the Temple following. The book of Daniel lays the groundwork for
the return of Messiah, detailing events that will take place in the
end of days, leading to the return of Messiah.
Daniel also uses
the example of Daniel and his friends as example of how saints are
to act in the face of trouble, knowing God is in control despite the
Hebrew are the two languages used in Daniel. Hebrew is used in
Daniel 1:1 to Daniel 2:4a and Chapters 8 through 12, Aramaic is used
from Daniel 2:4a to 7:28. The
Aramaic langue was the common language or lingua franca, used
in Assyrian, Babylonian and Persian communication. Aramaic is found
also in the Ezra 4:8-6:18, 7:12-26 and Jeremiah 10:11.
Why did Daniel
compose a portion of his revelation in a foreign language? Some
have used this to argue a late date for the book of Daniel. Aramaic
in fact was the common language in the 6th century B.C.,
not the Maccabean period (166 B.C) where Greek became the common
language. Daniel message was not only to the Jewish people, but to
the nations. Aramaic in Daniel’s day is equivalent to English in our
day. Daniel 2:4 to 7:28 would be
accessible to any literate, Greek, Babylonian or Jew in Daniel’s day
are several ways to divide the book of Daniel. The most popular is
to divide Daniel into 2 halves, Chapters 1 to 6 and Chapters 7 to
12. The first half is historical, the second half is apocalyptic or
predictive. Chapter 1, is viewed as an introduction.
is to view the Aramaic section Daniel 2:4
to 7:28 as the message to the nations, with the Hebrew portions
Chapters 1 and 8 through 12 as a message to the Jewish people.
version of Daniel, from the Septuagint includes several additions
not found in the Hebrew or Aramaic texts. They are; The Prayer of
Azarias, The Song of the Three Holy Children, Susanna,
and Bel and the Dragon.
The Prayer of
Azarias and the Song of the Three Holy Children contain
the prayer and praise of Daniel’s three companions while in the
furnace in Daniel chapter 3.
is the story of a woman protected by Daniel, who obtains conviction
of two judges guilty of trying to seduce her. The are executed
according to the Laws of Moses.
Bel and the
has three stories; Daniel destroys Bel’s image, kills the dragon and
is fed by Habakkuk the prophet in the lion’s den for six days in
are rejected as not genuine parts of the book of Daniel but later
Against the Critics
until the third century, was the book of Daniel questioned. A
neo-Platonist, a student of Plotinus, Porphyry (A.D. 234-305) wrote
a 15 volume work entitled Against the Christians, attacking
the evidences of Christianity. The only surviving fragments of his
writings are preserved in St. Jerome’s
Commentary on Daniel.
347-420) in his introduction to his Commentary on Daniel said
his twelfth book against the prophecy of Daniel, (A) denying that it
was composed by the person to whom it is ascribed in this title, but
rather by some individual living in Judea
at the time of Antiochus who was surnamed Epiphanes. He furthermore
alleged that “Daniel” did not foretell the future so much as he
related the past, and lastly, that whatever he spoke of up till the
time of Antiochus contained authentic history, whereas anything he
may have conjectured beyond that point was false, inasmuch as he
would not have foreknown the future…… I wish to stress in my preface
this fact, that none of the prophets has so clearly spoken
concerning Christ as has this prophet Daniel. For not only did he
assert the he would come, a prediction common to the other prophets
as well but also he set forth the very time at which he would
come….. For so striking was the reliability of what the prophet
foretold, that he could not appear to unbelievers as a predictor of
the future, but rather a narrator of things already past.
arguments against Daniel and were again raised in the seventeenth
century with the rise of higher criticism.
Prior to this period, Jerome’s view of Daniel was the view of the
church. The arguments against Daniel have been listed by Thomas S.
Kepler and they include,
1. About 200 B.C.
the Prophets were added to the Law to compose the Jewish “Bible”.
Yet Daniel is not among the Prophets, being added to the sacred
writings about A.D. 90 When the Jewish Bible was completed.
2. The Book of
Daniel is not mentioned in any Jewish literature until 140 B.C.,
When the Sibylline Oracles (3:397-400) refer to it.
3. Jesus Ben
Sirach about 190 B.C. lists the great men of Jewish history
(Ecclesiastics 44:1-50:24) But among these names Daniel is missing.
4. Words borrowed
from the Babylonian, Persian and Greek languages appear in Daniel.
5. Jeremiah is
mentioned as a prophet and his writings are referred to.
6. In Jeremiah’s
time (Also the period Nebuchadnezzar) the Chaldeans are spoken of as
a nation or people, but in th book of Daniel they are known as
astrologers, magicians, diviners of truth.
7. The book of
Daniel is written partly in Aramaic, a language popular among the
Jews in the Second century B.C. but not at the time of
8. The author has
an excellent view of history after the time of Alexander the Great,
especially during the Maccabean struggles; but his history shows
many inaccuracies during the Babylonian and Persian periods.
9. The theology
regarding he resurrection of the dead and ideas about angels show
that the author lived at a later time than that of Nebuchadnezzar….
10. The pattern
and purpose of the book of Daniel as an apocalypse, which
reinterprets history from the time of Nebuchadnezzar until the time
of Judas Maccabeus and Antiochus IV and written in 165 B.C. fits
better into the scheme and purpose of Daniel than if the book were
written in the period of Nebuchadnezzar, predicting history for the
next 450 years.
to Daniel can be placed in six categories.
1. Rejection of
inclusion in the third section of Hebrew canon (Hagiographa, The
Writings) and not among the prophets was not because Daniel was
written after the canon was closed. Daniel was viewed as an official
or wise man not as a prophet, he was prime minister in both
Babylonian and Persian courts. He was not called a prophet in his
book (Nabi) and did not preach to the people. His words are placed
alongside, Psalms, Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah and proverbs all
considered inspired and part of the Hebrew canon.
Daniel is also
mentioned in the book of Ezekiel three times (Ezekiel 14:14,20, 28:3).
Daniel and Ezekiel were lived at the same time, in 605 B.C. when
Daniel was taken captive, Ezekiel was 22-year old, destined for the
Jewish priesthood. When Ezekiel penned the name of Daniel in
chapters 14 and 28, Daniel exploits or rising to the level of prime
minister under Nebuchadnezzar would have been well known.
Jesus in the
Olivet Discourse, Matthew 24:15 calls specifically brings attention
to the book of Daniel referencing the Abomination of Desolation
referred to in the book of Daniel. Jesus calls Daniel a prophet and
verifies the book as part of Holy scripture.
2. Rejection of
original objection is that prophecy is impossible, this stems from
the rejection of theism and the rejection of the super natural.
This is the reason Daniel has come under such an intense attack by
the critics. For those who view omniscience as part of God’s
character, the foretelling of future of events is not out of the
Even if the
critic accepted the late date as valid, they still run into the
problem of prophecy. Daniel foretold the exact month and year of
(Messiah) Christ’s death and the destruction of Jerusalem
and the Temple in A.D. 70 by the Romans in Daniel 9:24-27. Over
200-years before the destruction of Jerusalem.
3. Rejection of
If Daniel is
rejected because of miracles such as the three boys in midst of the
fire (Daniel 3), The hand writing on the wall (Chapter 5),Daniel in
the lions’ den (chapter 6) and the appearance of angels, (Chapters
8,9,10,11,12), then all of scripture must be rejected. This is the
point and presuppositions of the critics, to deny the existence and
possibility of the super natural.
Daniel focus on the Aramaic and Hebrew divisions of Daniel, claiming
the text was tampered with by late date redactors, who changed the
contents. Robert Dick Wilson an expert authority on Aramaic
comments on the Aramaic in the book of Daniel,
however, that the composite Aramaic of Daniel agrees in almost every
particular of orthography, etymoloty and syntax, with the Aramaic of
the North Sem inscriptions of the 9th, 8th and
7th centuries BC and of the Eypt papyri of the 5th
cent. BC, and that the vocabulary of Daniel has an admixture of
Hebrew, Babylonian and Persian words similar to that of the papyri
of the 5th century BC; whereas, it differs in composition
form the Aramaic of the Nabateans, which is devoid of Persian,
Hebrew and Babylonian words, and is full of Arabisms, and also from
that of the Palmyrenes, which is full of Greek words, while having
but one or two Persian words and no Hebrew or Babylonian.
5. Problems of
Persian words found in Daniel have been used as evidence for a late
dating of the book of Daniel. Critics claim these words were not a
common part of Assyrian and Babylonian language and prove Daniel was
written in the Maccabean period.
This argument is
no longer valid in light of archeological discoveries. One hundred
before Daniel, Greeks served as mercenaries in the Assyrian armies
under the command of Esarhaddon (683 B.C.) as well as in the
Babylonian army of Nebuchadnezzar.
Persia was the
successor of the Babylonians and Daniel rose to the rank of Prime
minister. Daniel would have been familiar with the language before
and after this event. Diplomatic and economic relations between
Persian speaks and Babylonians would be expected, and the borrowing
of words from one culture to another is very common.
accuracy of Daniel is another point of attack by the critics. They
claim, because Daniel was written in 2nd century his
grasp of Babylonian and Persian history is lacking. Daniel has
repeatedly proved the critics wrong. Here are two examples of how
the accuracy of Daniel is demonstrated in Archeology.
Daniel chapter 5 has Belshazzar as the King of Babylon, this has
often been disputed by the critics. The discovery of the
Nabonidus Chronicle provided an precise explanation that a
This clay tablet is a Babylonian chronicle recording events
from 605-594 BC. It was first translated in 1956 and is now
in the British Museum. The cuneiform text on this clay
tablet tells, among other things
3 main events:1 The Battle of Carchemish (famous battle for
world supremacy where Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon defeated
Pharaoh Necho of Egypt, 605 BC.),2 The Accession to the
Throne of Nebuchadnezzar II, the Chaldean, 3. Capture of
Jerusalem on the 16th of March, 598 BC.
Daniel’s account of the situation in Babylon.
says Nabonidus was the King of Babylon, Daniel says Belshazzar was
king. Critics pointed to this, saying Daniel is in error, this
changed as a result of the discovery of the Nabonidus Chronicle.
Sir Henry Rawlinson discovered a cylinder with an inscription in the
River which cleared the confusion about the King of Babylon.
There were two
Babylon in Daniel’s day, a father and son. The father Nabonidus
installed his son Belshazzar as co-regent, Nabonidus spent much of
his time in Arabia.
When the Persians conquered the city in 539 B.C. Belshazzar was
killed. Nabonidus was later captured and sent to exile. This
explained the promise made to Daniel in Daniel 5:29, after Daniel
explained the meaning of the writing on the wall, Behshazzar
promised to make him third ruler.
Belshazzar gave the command, and they clothed Daniel with purple and
put a chain of gold around his neck, and made a proclamation
concerning him that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.
mentioned in the first chapter of Daniel as master of the Eunuchs.
The critics claim no such person ever existed. Recent discoveries
again proved the accuracy of the book of Daniel. Asphenaz name has
been found on monuments of ancient Babylon
which are now in the Berlin Museum.
The Babylonian monument had the following statement, “Ashpenaz,
master of eunuchs in the time of Nebuchadnezzar”