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?
Daymond Duck, Prophecy Plus Ministries
I would remind those critics of several things. First, I would remind them that Jesus quoted from the book of Daniel. That's very important. Jesus called Daniel a prophet. As far as I'm concerned, that settles the issue for me.
Second, I would remind those critics of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Scholars say that the Dead Sea Scrolls were hidden at least 200 years before the time of Jesus. If the Dead Sea Scrolls were hidden at least 200 years before the time of Jesus, then the book of Daniel had to have been written at least 200 years before the time of Jesus, because a complete copy of the book of Daniel was found with the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Third, the fact that the book of Daniel uses wording and is written in a style that went out of use hundreds of years before the time of Jesus indicates that the book was written, well, hundreds of years before the time of Jesus.
The fourth and last thing that I would remind those critics of is that Daniel not only prophesied things that would happen before and during the inter-testamental period, he also prophesied things that would happen after the inter-testamental period. He prophesied that Jerusalem and the Temple would be destroyed, and that the Roman Empire would break up but would come back into being. He prophesied that Jerusalem and the Temple would be rebuilt. If Daniel could accurately prophesy things that would happen after the time of Jesus and the inter-testamental period, he could also accurately prophesy things that would happen before the time of Jesus and the inter-testamental period.
In conclusion, I would say that those critics are wrong. The book of Daniel was written several hundred years before the time of Jesus.
Don Perkins, According to Prophecy Ministries
Many of these critics actually don't want to give God any credit in that He can speak the future in advance. Daniel is a perfect example of what God said He would do. God said that He's a God that would speak the end at the beginning. Daniel's prophecy is proof text to that.
One of the problems I have with the critics is that if they don't believe what Daniel prophesied that have already come to pass, then they don't believe in the later prophecies as well. Daniel was truly a man of God. His prophecies were truly of the Lord, and history bares it out. We can trust Daniel's prophecies.
I normally let the critics know that even if they don't believe in the first part of Daniel's prophecies coming to pass, and that they have no confidence in the later prophecies that still have to come to pass, well I still do believe.
Don McGee, Crown and Sickle Ministries
The accusations that the liberal critics present regarding Daniel are without any foundation. Whether you are looking at the book of Daniel from the internal or the external perspective, there is still evidence.
I think more important than the accusations against Daniel are the reasons for the critic's accusations. They could be classified basically into two areas. First, if they accept Daniel as an early date and the prophecies that Daniel recorded were fulfilled literally, then they have to admit that God is a miraculous God and there are such things as miracles. If they admit that prophecy is real, then they have to admit that the prophecies that Daniel wrote about regarding the end times must also be one day fulfilled literally.
Second, one of the reasons they do not accept Daniel as written during an early date is that it lifts up the Jews and the nation of Israel. Daniel is very specific and very clear that the nation of Israel and the Jewish people will play a very, very important role in end time prophecy and the history of humanity. Anti-Semitism just absolutely forbids the liberal critic from accepting that. Anti-Semitism is such a strong part of that kind of liberal theology that no matter how clear Daniel is, it's totally rejected many times simply on the basis of Anti-Semitism.
Ed Hindson, World Prophetic Ministry
The very basic problem is that the critics for the most part do not believe in predictive prophecy of any kind. So, the fact that Daniel made any future prophecies is a problem for them right from the beginning. For them, a priori, in advance, you just can't do that. I mean, if you can predict the future, this would be the Word of God, and it can't be that. So, if I'm determined that it has to be a humanistic book produced by a human being, then I have to look for a humanistic explanation of how that book came to be.
They reject the idea that Daniel knew about the four empires that would succeed one another in advance, even though the Roman Empire didn't even exist at that time. Even a critic would have to admit if you push the date of Daniel back to the Second Century BC, Rome still wasn't ruling the world at that point, so they say, "Well, he made a lucky guess." Or, "People have read that into it after the fact." In reality, God uses Daniel to help us understand what was going to happen in the future.
Daniel's prophecies deal especially with the Jewish people. He keeps saying in the book, "your people," the Jews; "your Holy city," which is Jerusalem. These four empires that he predicted would succeed one another from Babylon to Persia to Greece to Rome all dealt with the Jewish people. The Babylonians destroyed the first Temple. The Persians allowed the Jews to rebuild the second Temple. The Greeks desecrated the second Temple. And, the Romans destroyed the second Temple. All of that is part of the total picture of that prophecy.
When Daniel then goes on to predict what would happen in what we would call the inter-testamental period, then the flag goes up again and the critics say, "Oh, he couldn't have known all of that in advance. Why, it would take divine inspiration to understand that." So, the first challenge is if you don't believe God can predict the future in advance, then you're going to have to try to explain this away somehow.
Critics will also look at a few challenges in the text and say, "What about the Persian words that appear in the text?" Well, Daniel tells you himself that he's living in the Persian period after the fall of Babylon. The Persian words were all administrative titles that were used of administrators in the Persian Empire in the part of the story that deals with the Persian aspect of the empire. The Babylonian part is clearly Babylonian and the three Greek words are instruments in Nebuchadnezzar's band that he has imported from Europe, his latest "alternative rock band from Europe" that's going to play at the dedication of his statue.
The hermeunalogy used in the book clearly indicates a Sixth Century author, not a Second Century author. The Aramaic of Daniel 2-7 is royal Aramaic. It's Sixth Century Aramaic. It's not Second Century Aramaic, and the critics know that.
Gary Fisher, Lion of Judah Ministries
Josephus Flavius was the court historian for three successive emperors in the Roman Empire. He recorded that Alexander the Great when he annexed Jerusalem received a copy of the book of Daniel, and that occurred in 332 BC. We have Josephus' record to know that the book of Daniel was at least recorded by 332 BC. That's a pretty convincing argument for an early dating of Daniel. Also, all of the Septuagint which was translated in 300 to 200 BC, it included the book of Daniel. So, we have these two witnesses that are very strong.
Michael Norten, Author of Unlocking the Secrets of the Feasts
Jesus didn't have any problem with Daniel when he quoted him in Matthew 24. The biggest problem critics have to explain away is Daniel 11. It's so explicit in its prophecies that they just can't stand prophecy being so accurate. That's the big problem for them.
In the third part of this series on understanding the book of Daniel, the remaining members of our panel of Bible prophecy experts will finish answering, "Is the book of Daniel a valid book of prophecy?"