Sunday, March 24, 2013

Print Page Daniel: When was it written?

Introduction

Daniel is probably the most debated book of the Bible. If Daniel is really written by Daniel before 530 B.C. it gives exceedingly great evidence that the Bible is a supernatural book that can be trusted. For example Daniel 11 gives really detailed information on 200 years worth of wars between Egypt and Syria which start 200 years after the book was written! The late Bruce Metzger who is a big name behind the modern Bible versions is one of many liberals that deny that Daniel really wrote the book or that it was even written around 530 B.C. They instead claim a date of around 167 B.C. which of course takes place after the fulfilled prophecies.

General Overview of Daniel

Hundreds of years after after the 2 kingdoms, Israel and Judah, split (1 Kings 12:20) Babylon started to become a super power. The northern kingdom of Israel already had fallen to the Assyrians in 722 B.C. (2 Kings 17). Then the Assyrians where conquered by Babylon. As a part of royalty in Judah Daniel was taken into captivity as a teenager in 605 B.C. by the Babylonians (Daniel 1:3-4). He lived until about the age of 85 in Jerusalem. Daniel's writing takes place during the reign of 2 Babylonian kings, Nebuchadnezzar 605-562 B.C. and Belshazzar 553-539 B.C. It also covers the first years of  Persian rulers Darius and Cyrus.

Biblical Evidence

Daniel claims he wrote Daniel.

Daniel 8:15 And it came to pass, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, then, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man.

Daniel 8:27 And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king's business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.

Daniel 9:2 In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.

Daniel 10:2 In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks.

Daniel 10:7 And I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves.

Daniel 12:5 Then I Daniel looked, and, behold, there stood other two, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river.

Ezekiel mentions Daniel.

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.

Ezekiel 14:20 Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness.

Ezekiel 28:3 Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee:

 Jesus attributes the book to Daniel.

Matthew 24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)

Mark 13:14 But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains:


The Dead Seas Scrolls

The Dead Seas scrolls are from the community of Qumran. They split from the rest of Judiasm between 171 and 167 B.C. which is right before the time the critics claim the book was written. Because of this it is telling that there are 8 manuscripts containing Daniel. This is a high number for a single book of the Bible. A large acceptance of a book would be really odd if Daniel was written at the time of the split. One manuscript 4QDanc is dated 165 B.C. or later. The manuscripts have parts of all chapter of Daniel except 12. There is a reference to Daniel 12 though in 4QFlorilegium. 4QFlorilegium supports the early canonicity of Daniel by stating "which written in the book of Daniel the prophet".


Additional Evidence

The first century Jewish historian Josephus in Againt Apion 1.8 mentions the number of prophets which Daniel would have been a part of.

The Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament called the Septuagint contains Daniel. Some believe it was being written around the 3rd century B.C.

Melito, Bishop of Sardis, listed Daniel as a prophet in 70 A.D.

Other Arguments by Liberals

Liberals throw out other arguments that have been refuted later on by archaeology.  For example they questioned the leadership of Belshazzar. Archaeological discoveries proved the liberals wrong. I won't go into the other arguments further. I don't espouse everything on the site but you can read more in-depth arguments to common arguments here.

Conclusion

As shown there are mountains of evidence that Daniel was written early and by Daniel. Jesus himself claimed such. We can either believe the words of Jesus or the words of men like Bruce Metzger. If you put your trust in Jesus you'll never be let down. If you put your trust in man you will certainly be disappointed.



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