Summary: Bible study - looking at the writings, the life, and the prohecies of the prophet Daniel
Daniel - Background & Introduction
The Book of Daniel is one of the most exciting books in the Bible. The first thing we think of when we hear the name Daniel is "Lion’s Den." However Daniel is a book of prophecy. A quarter of the books in the Bible are of prophetic nature. One fifth of the content of Scripture was predictive at the time of its writing; a large portion of that has been fulfilled. Therefore, the prophecy in Scripture can be divided into fulfilled and unfulfilled prophecy. We will find a great deal of fulfilled prophecy in Daniel.
The main subject of prophecy is the Lord Jesus Christ. Other topics include Israel, the gentile nations, evil, Satan, the Man of Sin, the Great Tribulation Period, and how this age will end. The church is also a subject of prophecy; however, the church is never mentioned in the Old Testament, and therefore there will be no reference to it in the Book of Daniel. Then, of course, there are the subjects of the kingdom, the Millennium, and eternity future. These are the great subjects of prophecy.
As we study the Bible, we need to have an understanding of prophecy, we need to have knowledge of Bible prophecy and we need to be able to study prophecy. The failure to study Bible prophecy correctly has produced many harmful results which are clearly evident today.
Many of the cults have gone off the track in prophetic areas. This is largely because the teaching of prophecy has been neglected by some denominations. They dismiss it with a wave of the hand as being unimportant. And those who do go into the study of prophecy often come up with that which is sensational and fanatical. The Book of Daniel, particularly, is the subject of many such sensational writers on prophecy.
(1) The Date of The Writing
The Book of Daniel, according to it own testimony is the record of the life and prophetic revelations given to Daniel, a captive Jew carried off to Babylon after its first conquest of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in 605 B.C. The record of events extends to the third year of Cyrus, 536 B.C., and accordingly, covers a span of about seventy years.
The Book of Daniel is a very important one, and it has therefore been the object of special attack by Satan. It is a battlefield between faith ands unbelief.
Isn’t it amazing how we will believe a history book with no questions asked, but when it comes to God¡¯s Word, it is attacked over and over again.
The Book of Daniel has been under attack when it comes to dating the writing. Porphyry, a heretic in the third century A.D., declared that the Book of Daniel was a forgery written during the time of Antiochus Epiphanes and the Maccabees. That would place its writing around 170 B.C., almost four hundred years after Daniel lived.
The reason that the unbelieving world thinks that the writings took place so late is because of the accuracy of Daniels prophecies. Here’s the thing, Daniel didn’t make those predictions, God did.
However, the very interesting thing is that the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Old Testament, was translated before the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, and it contains the Book of Daniel! The liberal scholars have ignored similar very clear testimony from the Dead Sea Scrolls. Those scrolls confirm the fact that there was only one author of the Book of Isaiah. The liberal has wanted to argue that there was a duet or even a trio of Isaiahs who wrote that book. The Dead Sea Scrolls are very much alive, and they refute the liberal critic on that point.
It is interesting how these questions which are raised concerning the Bible are always answered in time. The heretic, the critic, and the cultist always move in an area of the Bible where we do not have full knowledge at the time. Everyone can speculate, and you can speculate any way you want to, generally the speculation goes the wrong way. However, in time, the Word of God is proven accurate.
Flavius Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews, Vol. 1, p. 388) also records an incident during the time of Alexander the Great which supports the early authorship of Daniel. When Alexander’s invasion reached the Near East, Jaddua, the high priest, went out to meet him and showed him a copy of the Book of Daniel in which Alexander was clearly mentioned. Alexander was so impressed by this that, instead of destroying Jerusalem, he entered the city peaceably and worshiped at the temple.
(2) The Author of The Writing
Although Daniel does not speak of himself in the first person until chapter 7, there is little question that the book presents Daniel as the author. Daniel stands out as one of the greatest men in Jewish history. That he is a real person in history is proved by Ezekiel 14:14 Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD.