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Reference: Daniel, The Book Of


AUTHENTICITY. That Daniel composed it is testified by Da 7; 8:2; 9:2; 10:1-2; 12:4-5. In the first six chapters, which are historical, he does not mention himself in the first person, for in these the events, not the person, are prominent (compare Isa 7:3; 20:2). In the last six, which are prophetical, wherein his divine commission needed to be shown, he comes forward personally as the writer. Being a "seer," having the gift and spirit, not the theocratical office and work, of a prophet, his book stands in the third rank in the Hebrew canon, namely, in the Hagiographa (Kethubim) between Esther and Ezra, the three relating to the captivity. Its position there, not among the prophets as one would expect, shows it was not an interpolation of later times, but deliberately placed where it is by Ezra and the establishers of the Jewish canon. Daniel was "the politician, chronologer, and historian among the prophets" (Bengel).

Similarly, the Psalms, though largely prophetic, are ranked with the Hagiographa, not the prophets. He does not, as they writing amidst the covenant people do, make God's people the foreground; but writing in a pagan court he makes the world kingdoms the foreground, behind which he places the kingdom of God, destined ultimately to be all in all. His book written amidst pagan isolation is the Old Testament Apocalypse, as the Revelation of John written in the lonely Patmos is the New Testament Apocalypse; the two respectively stand apart, his from the prophets, John's from the epistles. Porphyry in the third century A.D. assailed the Book of Daniel as a forgery in the time of the Maccabees, 170-164 B.C. But the forgery of a prophecy, if Daniel were spurious, would never have been received by the Jews from an age when confessedly there were no prophets. Antiochus Epiphanes' history and attack on the holy people are so accurately detailed (Daniel 11) that Porphyry thought they must have been written after the event.

But Zechariah, Ezra, and Nehemiah allude to it; Jesus in His peculiar designation "the Son of man" (Mt 24:30, compare Da 7:13) refers to it, and especially in the crisis of His trial when adjured by the living God (Mt 26:64), and stamps him authoritatively as "the prophet Daniel," and ratifies his particular prophecies (Mt 24:15,21; compare Da 12:1, etc.). Lu 1:19-26 mentions Gabriel, whose name occurs elsewhere in Scripture only in Da 8:16; 9:21. The prophecies tally with those in Revelation. The judgment of the world given to the saints, and the destruction of the blasphemous king at the Lord's coming, (Da 7:8,25; 11:36) foretold by Daniel, are further unfolded by Paul (1Co 6:2; 2Th 2:3-12).

The deliverance from fire and lions (Daniel 2 and Daniel 6) are referred to in Heb 11:33-34. Thus, the New Testament attests (Daniel 2-3; 6-7; 11) expressly on the three points to which rationalists object, namely, the predictions, the miracles narrated, and the manifestations of angels. The former part also is referred to by Christ, namely, as to "the stone" smiting the image (Da 2:34-35,44-45), in Mt 21:44. The miracles, like those of Moses in Egypt, were designed to show to the seemingly victorious world power the really superior might of the seemingly prostrate kingdom of God, and so to encourage the captive Jews to patient trustfulness in God. What completely disproves Porphyry's theory is, 1 Maccabees (1Ma 1:24; 1Ma 9:27; 1Ma 9:40) refers to Daniel as an accredited book, and even to Septuagint version of it; compare Da 11:26 (Septuagint Da 12:1).

Daniel's place in the Septuagint shows it was received by the Jews before the Maccabean times. What a strange testimony then does Porphyry unwillingly bear to the divine inspiration of the book; the events so minutely fulfilling the prophecies about Antiochus that it might be supposed to be a history of the past instead of, as it is proved to be, a prediction of events then future. Josephus (Ant. 7:11, section 8) records that Alexander the Great had designed to punish the Jews for their fidelity, to Darius; but Jaddua (332 B.C.) the high priest, at the head of a procession, met him and averted his wrath by showing him Daniel's prophecy that a Grecian monarch should overthrow Persia (Da 8:5-8). Josephus' statement, if true, accounts for the fact that Alexander favored the Jews; it certainly proves that the Jews of Josephus' time believed in the existence of Daniel's book in Alexander's time long before the Maccabees. With Jaddua, high priest in 341-322 B.C, the Old Testament history ends (Ne 12:11).

As this was long after Nehemiah, who died about 400 B.C., the register of priests and Levites must have been inserted in Nehemiah with divine sanction subsequently. The language of Daniel from Da 2:4 to the end of Daniel 7 is Chaldee, the world empire's language, the subject here being about the world at large. The rest is Hebrew generally, as the subject concerns the Jews and their ultimately restored theocratic kingdom. Daniel's circumstances exactly tally to this, he being Hebrew by birth and still keeping up intercourse with Hebrew, and at the same time Chaldee by residence and associations. The union of the two languages in one book would be as unnatural to one in a later age, and therefore not similarly circumstanced, as if, is natural to Daniel. Daniel's Hebrew is closely like that of Ezekiel and Habakkuk, that is, just those prophets living nearest the assumed age of Daniel. The Aramaic, like Ezra's, is of an earlier form than in any other Chaldaic document. Two predictions establish Daniel's prophetic character, and that the events foretold extend to subsequent ages.

(1) That the four world monarchies should rise (Daniel 2; Daniel 7), Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome, and that Rome in a tenfold divided form should be the last, and should be overthrown by Messiah's kingdom alone; Charlemagne, Charles V, and Napoleon have vainly tried to raise a fifth.

(2) The time of Messiah's advent dating from the foretold decree to restore the temple, His being cut off, and the city's destruction, are foretold definitely. "He who denies Daniel's prophecies undermines Christianity, which is founded on Daniel's prophecies concerning Christ" (Sir Isaac Newton).

The vision mode of revelation, which is the exception in other prophets, is the rule in Daniel and in Zechariah 1-6. A new stage in the theocracy begins with the captivity. Hence arose the need for miracles to mark the new era. National miracles in Egypt, the wilderness, and Canaan marked the beginning of the theocracy or outwardly manifested kingdom of God. Personal miracles mark the beginning of the church, the spiritual kingdom of God, coming not with outward observation in "the times of the Gentiles," which began from the captivity. Originally, Abraham was raised out, of the "sea" (Da 7:2) of nations as an island holy to God, and his seed chosen as God's mediator of His revelation of love to mankind. Under David and Solomon the theocracy attained its Old Testament climax, being not only independent but ruling the surrounding pagan; so this period was made type of the Messianic (as it ultimately shall be manifested).

But when God's people rested on the world powers the instrument of their sin was made the instrument of their punishment. So the ten tribes' kingdom, Israel, fell by Assyria (722 B.C.), on whom it had leaned, and Judah similarly by Babylon (Ezekiel 23). The theocracy, in the strict sense of the manifested kingdom of God on earth, has ceased since the Babylonian exile, and shall only be resumed with a glory vastly exceeding the former at the millennium (Re 11:15,19). Daniel's position in the Babylonian court answers to the altered relations of the theocracy and the world power; see above. He represents the covenant nation in exile, and in subjection to the world power externally. But his heavenly insight into dreams which baffle the Chaldaeans' lore represents the covenant people's inner superiority to their pagan lords. His high dignities in the world typify the ultimate giving of the earth kingdom "to the people of the saints of the Most High" (Da 7:27).

Thus his personal history is the basis of his prophecy. Daniel 2-7 represent

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Dan'iel, The book of,

stands at the head of a series of writings in which the deepest thoughts of the Jewish people found expression after their close of the prophetic era. Daniel is composed partly in the vernacular Aramaic (Chaldee) and partly in the sacred Hebrew. The introduction, Dan. 1-2:4 a, is written in Hebrew. On the occasion of the "Syriac" (i.e. Aramaic) answer of the Chaldeans, the language changes to Aramaic, and this is retained till the close of the seventh chapter (2:4 b-7). The personal introduction of Daniel as the writer of the text, 8:1, is marked by the resumption of the Hebrew, which continues to the close of the book. ch. 8-12. The book may be divided into three parts. The first chapter forms an introduction. The next six chapters, 2-7, give a general view of the progressive history of the powers of the world, and of the principles of the divine government as seen in the events of the life of Daniel. The remainder of the book, chs. 8-12, traces in minuter detail the fortunes of the people of God, as typical of the fortunes of the Church in all ages. In the first seven chapters Daniel is spoken of historically; int he last five he appears personally as the writer. The cause of the difference of person is commonly supposed to lie int he nature of the case. It is, however, more probable that the peculiarity arose from the manner in which the book assumed its final shape. The book exercised a great influence upon the Christian Church. The New Testament incidentally acknowledges each of the characteristic elements of the book, its miracles,

Heb 11:33-34

its predictions,

Mt 24:15

and its doctrine of angels.

Lu 1:19,26

The authenticity of the book has been attacked in modern times. (But the evidence, both external and internal, is conclusive as to its genuineness. Rawlinson, in his "Historical Evidences," shows how some historical difficulties that had been brought against the book are solved by the inscription on a cylinder lately found among the ruins of Ur in Chaldea. --ED.)

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