Over the next few weeks we are going to share with you the opinions of 17 Bible prophecy experts concerning various questions related to the book of Daniel. You should find these interviews fascinating and very informative. The interviews were conducted at a national Bible prophecy conference that was held in the Dallas, Texas area.
The first question is related to the fact that no book of the Bible has been attacked more viciously than the book of Daniel. Liberal critics hate the book with a passion because it contains precise prophecies, many of which have already been fulfilled in history. They argue therefore that it must have been written long after the time of Daniel.
So the question for our experts is this:
#1. Is the book of Daniel a valid book of prophecy?
Al Gist, Maranatha Evangelistic Ministries
I would say, first of all, that there have always been critics of God's Word as many people have never accepted the fact that we have a miracle-working God. Prophecy in itself is a miracle, and they just cannot accept that.
There's plenty of support for the authority and validity of the book of Daniel, both from the secular world and from other prophets in the Bible. Josephus tells us about the time that Alexander the Great approached Jerusalem with his army and he was met by the High Priest who revealed to Alexander what the prophet Daniel had prophesied about him. This so impressed Alexander that he spared the city so he didn't actually try to destroy Jerusalem. This reference if that conversation took place just as Josephus said would have occurred around 300 BC, which is much, much earlier than when the critics say that Daniel had to have been written.
Probably for me the most definitive authority is our Lord Jesus Christ. He's the one who said in His Olivet Discourse, "When you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet," and He goes on to tell that when this happens the people should run for the hills. Jesus made there a reference to His understanding and recognition of Daniel as a true prophet from God. Jesus for me just really settles it all right there.
Andy Woods, Sugar Land Bible Church
I would ask the liberal theologians to examine why they hate the book of Daniel first of all. I think the reason they hate it is because if the book was written in the Sixth Century, and it's predicting things that happen in the Second Century, then you've got an omniscient God who's behind it and who can see the end from the beginning. That's unacceptable to the liberal mind, so they have to generate some kind of philosophy. So, they end up dragging Daniel into the Second Century and making it a history lesson.
What did Jesus say about Daniel? You know those bumper stickers, "What would Jesus do?" Let's ask then, "What did Jesus say about the book of Daniel?" Jesus in Matthew 24:15 quoted Daniel 9:27 when He said, "The prophet Daniel says." The liberal mindset claims someone other than Daniel wrote the book, but that really doesn't comport well with what Jesus said. I'd rather agree with Jesus than the liberals at the end of the day myself.
Arnold Fruchtenbaum, Ariel Ministries
To start understanding liberal theologians, they would premise that either God does not exist, and if He does exist, He doesn't provide really true prophecies. Just throw out those detailed prophecies that Daniel provides, especially those in chapter 11!
Liberals then have to give another accounting for prophecies being fulfilled, so they have to give a late date for the book of Daniel. That won't solve all the problems, because the Septuagint has the book of Daniel in it, which puts Daniel no later than 250 BC. A lot of the events like the Maccabean prophecies were not fulfilled until about a century after that. So, they still have a problem no matter what date they use.
If you believe God can make predictive prophecies, then there's no problem. But, for those prophecies in Daniel, they have to find another way to explain them. Also, they don't have any archaeological reasons for a late date of Daniel. It's just a presupposition liberals work from that God does not give detailed prophecies.
August Rosado, Today in Bible Prophecy Ministries
These liberal critics hate the book of Daniel. Daniel was so accurate and precise in his prophecies, so they'll say that Daniel could not have written the book of Daniel, rather someone else after the fact wrote it, or someone after the events of the inter-testamental period wrote of the so called "400 years of silence."
Daniel wrote his prophecies in the Sixth Century BC. Many of those prophecies were fulfilled in the Fourth or Third century BC, and there are other prophecies that are yet to be fulfilled in the future.
We hear all the time, "Oh, Daniel didn't write the book of Daniel." But, somebody in the New Testament confirms the authorship of the book of Daniel, and clearly that is Jesus Christ. He says in Matthew 24:15, "When you therefore shall see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, whosoever readeth let him understand." Jesus is talking about that future desecration when the Antichrist goes into that third rebuilt Jewish temple and desecrates it. Jesus said Daniel wrote the book. To deny that Daniel wrote the book of Daniel is to deny the very words of Jesus Christ, and we don't want to do that.
Brian Thomas, Blessings to Israel Ministries
The critics, the liberals, the Atheists, the Agnostics — they all love to discredit the book of Daniel. The reason they do so is because Daniel wrote with such accuracy and precision concerning prophecy. He wrote prophecies from the time of his day all the way to the millennial reign of Jesus Christ. There are those who say Daniel actually wrote prophecy with more accuracy than historians have written history, and I certainly agree with that as well.
What the critics do then is they will claim Daniel was written around the time of maybe a hundred years before Jesus Christ. They claim that because they try to place it after the time of Antiochus Epiphanies. Daniel wrote about prophecies concerning Antiochus Epiphanies with great accuracy and precision, and that of course shows the divine inspiration of our God. The critics though will say, "Well, that's just not possible."
You can easily dismiss the critics. For example, if we look at the Septuagint, which is the translation of what we call the Old Testament from Hebrew into Greek, the translation was made around 280 BC, long before the time of Antiochus Epiphanies. Then, if we look at Alexander the Great, he actually spared the city of Jerusalem from destruction because of the fact that the High Priest was able to show that Daniel prophesied of his empire. Then, if we look lastly at our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Himself, in Matthew 24:15 He referred to the abomination that causes desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, so therefore our Lord validated the book of Daniel Himself.
In the second part of this series on understanding the book of Daniel, the remaining members of our panel of Bible prophecy experts will continue to answer, "Is the book of Daniel a valid book of prophecy?"