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2.2 - As We Begin Listen to As We Begin



CONTENTS

(Work in progress.)

(Work in progress.)

2.2.1 - The Son of Man and God

Jesus before Caiaphas

Jesus before Caiaphas

1

The New Testament Gospel of Matthew records a puzzling exchange which transpired nearly 2,000 years ago between a Jewish high priest and the son of a simple carpenter on trial before him. The high priest arose and said to Him:

Do you answer nothing? What is it these men testify against you?

To the surprise of all who were present, the defendant made no response. The high priest stepped up his efforts:

I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!

Breaking his silence, the defendant responded in agreement:

It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.

The defendant, bearing the common 1st-century Jewish name of “Jesus,” identified himself as both the “Son of God and the “Son of Man.” If this were not puzzling enough, the Gospel writer records the unusual reaction of the high priest:

Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, “He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy! What do you think?”

The response of the other religious leaders was predictable:

They answered and said, “He is deserving of death.”

Why did Jesus’ claim to be both Son of God and Son of Man meet with such a vehement reaction? And what is one to make of his mysterious statement alluding to the seventh chapter of the Old Testament book of Daniel concerning “seeing the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven”?

This question is one of many this work seeks to elucidate. In doing so, it is our goal that the reader comes to understand how the seemingly untimely death of this Jewish carpenter ultimately led to the explosive growth of Christianity—an historically religious movement. More than that, we desire to understand how information penned by a man named Daniel hundreds of years prior to the birth of Jesus contributes to a proper understanding of Jesus’ and provides important keys for understanding the final book of the Bible written by another man named John: the book of Revelation.

It is our prayer that these truths will lead the reader to acknowledge Jesus of Nazareth as being much more than a simple carpenter: the King of kings and Lord of lords risen from the dead.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:16-18)

Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:5-6) [emphasis added]

God our Savior . . . desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. (1Ti. 2:3-6)

We invite the reader to receive the free gift offered in the final chapter of the Bible:

And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. (Rev. 22:17+)

2.2.2 - Using the Commentary

This section discusses some practical matters related to the use of this commentary.
2.2.2.1 - Section Numbers

Because this commentary is being made available in a wide variety of formats (including digital formats), it is not practical to rely upon page numbers to locate information. Instead, numbers are used to designate the section where related information appears.2 Sections are numbered in a hierarchical fashion where subsections include the section number of their containing section. For example, section 5 will have subsections numbered 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, etc. Section 5.1 will have subsections numbered 5.1.1, 5.1.2, 5.1.3, and so on.

2.2.2.2 - Finding Your Way Around

Digital versions of the commentary contain navigation controls to facilitate movement through the text. The following controls are located at the top and bottom of each major section.

Navigation Aids in the Electronic Version

Navigation Aids in the Electronic Version

Each control in the diagram above is described below:
  1. Audio Course - Click on this button to listen to the companion audio course on the book of Daniel.
  2. Hebrew and Greek Fonts - Click on this button to obtain the necessary Hebrew and Greek fonts for viewing the original Bible languages in the text. See Hebrew and Greek Fonts.
  3. Download - Click on this button to download the commentary from our website to your computer. This allows the commentary to be viewed when disconnected from the Internet. It also provides faster access for those with a slow Internet connection.
  4. Choose Bible - Click on this button to choose between different Bible translations when looking up verses.
  5. Find Entry - Type a section number, topic, or Bible address of interest. Click on the Go button (or type [ENTER] on the keyboard) to open the related section, topic, or address. To open section 1.3, type 1.3. To find the topic symbol, type symbol.3 To open this section you are reading from anywhere in the commentary, type navigating. To open the verse-by-verse commentary associated with Daniel 3:10+, type 3:10 or Dan. 3:10+.
  6. Go - Click on this button (or type [ENTER] on the keyboard) to find the section number, section heading, or Bible address in the Find Entry.
  7. Previous - Click on this button to go to the preceding topic (the previous major section heading).
  8. Up - Click on this button to go to the containing “parent” section (e.g., from 2.2 to 2).
  9. Table of Contents - Opens the Table of Contents. (The Reference Information contains an Expanded Table of Contents listing every section heading in the entire commentary.)
  10. Next - Click on this button to go to the following topic (the next major section heading).
2.2.2.3 - Cross-References

Several types of cross-references are found within the text. Cross-references appear as hyperlinks and display with a different color than the main text. When the mouse is placed over them they exhibit an underline. Click on the underlined cross-reference to follow it.

2.2.2.4 - New King James Version
This commentary utilizes the New King James Version (NKJV).4 This text has several advantages:
2.2.2.5 - Use of Bible Addresses
All book names within Bible addresses appear in one of two forms: (1) the full formal name (e.g., Daniel), or (2) a standardized abbreviation. The standardized abbreviations are: Gen., Ex., Lev., Num., Deu., Jos., Jdg., Ru., 1S., 2S., 1K., 2K., 1Chr., 2Chr., Ezra, Ne., Est., Job, Ps., Pr., Ecc., Sos., Isa., Jer., Lam., Eze., Dan., Hos., Joel, Amos, Ob., Jonah, Mic., Nah., Hab., Zep., Hag., Zec., Mal., Mat., Mark, Luke, John, Acts, 1Cor., 2Cor., Gal., Eph., Php., Col., 1Th., 2Th., 1Ti., 2Ti., Tit., Phm., Heb., Jas., 1Pe., 2Pe., 1Jn., 2Jn., 3Jn., Jude, Rev.6

Citations from other works appear verbatim with the following exceptions: (1) Bible addresses where the book of Daniel is assumed (that omit an explicit book name) have been modified to include an initial book name designating the book of Daniel; (2) Bible addresses employing abbreviated book names have been converted to use the standardized book abbreviations (above); (3) Bible addresses for single-chapter books omitting the chapter number (e.g., “Jude 5”) have been augmented with an initial chapter number of “1” (e.g., “Jude 1:5”). These changes have been made to standardize Bible addresses to facilitate the automated conversion and adaptation of this text for inclusion in computer-based study tools. (4) The inclusion of additional Bible addresses where they differ from the English translations (e.g., versification for the Masoretic Text or LXX) may be omitted for the sake of simplicity. (5) Like the main text, terms in a citation appearing within the glossary are cross-referenced on first appearance within a section.

In digital versions of this commentary, all Bible addresses are cross-referenced to a companion Bible. Hover the mouse over the Bible address to see a pop-up containing the verse. Clicking on the Bible address with the mouse opens the companion Bible at the specified passage. Bible addresses within the books of Daniel and Revelation contain an additional cross-reference to the verse-by-verse commentary within the associated commentary. Click on the plus sign (“+”) following the address to open the verse-by-verse commentary for the related chapter and verse. Clicking on the address opens the companion Bible whereas clicking on the plus sign following the address opens the verse-by-verse commentary. You can try it with the following Bible addresses: Dan. 1:1+; Rev. 1:1+.

When the address of a passage within an original-language version of Daniel (MT, LXX, OG) differs from the location of the equivalent passage in the English version, the address in the English version is given. In other words, English language versification is used except where explicitly noted. (For example, Daniel 4:1+ within the Hebrew text is cited as Daniel 4:4+—its equivalent location in the English version.)
2.2.2.6 - Hebrew and Greek Fonts

The digital version of the commentary displays the original languages of the Bible using the free Ezra SIL (Hebrew) and Galatia SIL (Greek) unicode fonts available from www.SpiritAndTruth.org/fontsu/index.htm.

If you are viewing this commentary in a digital format, you may need to download and install the fonts in order to view the original Hebrew or Greek characters. Wherever Hebrew or Greek occurs in this commentary, a transliteration into Roman characters is included for those who cannot read the original languages or who cannot access the Hebrew and Greek fonts.
2.2.2.6.1 - Transliteration
The transliteration of Hebrew and Greek is displayed using the Arial Unicode MS font. If you are viewing this commentary in digital format you may need to obtain this commonly-available font in order for dots and overbars and underbars to be displayed within the transliteration (see below). A key for the transliteration from the original language symbols into Roman characters follows:

Greek transliteration examples: εὐαγγέλιον [euangelion] , μυστήριον [mystērion] , ὑπερ [hyper] , ῥαββι [hrabbi] , Ἰσραηλ [Israēl] , Ἰεροσόλυμα [Ierosolyma] . Hebrew transliteration examples: אָדָם [ʾāḏām] , אֶ֫רֶץ [ereṣ] , יִסְרָאֵל [yisrāʾēl] , יְרוּשָׁלַיִם [yerûšālayim] , אֱלֹהִים [ʾělōhîm] , יָהּ [Yah] .
2.2.2.7 - Automatic Lookup
The HTML version of this commentary supports the ability to automatically open at a section or chapter and verse. To perform an automated lookup, include a search string specifying the section number, section name, or Bible address of interest. For example, to open the commentary at this section, specify: www.spiritandtruth.org/id/danc.htm?Automatic Lookup. To open the commentary at section number 1.6, specify a search string of ?1.6. To open the commentary at Daniel chapter 1 and verse 10, specify: ?1:10. If you downloaded the HTML commentary for offline use, pass the search string to the index.htm file in the top level directory of the commentary, for example: index.htm?Automatic Lookup.
2.2.2.8 - Endnote References
This commentary draws from reference works in both digital and traditional paper media. Citations to references in traditional book or article form typically make use of the page number to locate the citation. While this means of locating a citation is viable for books in print form and for some forms of digital media, many digital references do not support traditional pagination. Therefore, a different means of locating a citation is required. Moreover, even those references currently existing in print may eventually be more readily available in digital format where pagination may not be preserved. Wherever possible, we have chosen to indicate the location of citations by Bible address (e.g., Dan. 12:2+) rather than page number. This is not possible in all cases—as when citing material from a nonbiblical source or which does not deal with the verse-by-verse treatment of the Bible text. It is our expectation that over time this approach will prove to be more digital-friendly for the use of this work in conjunction with other study aids in electronic format.7
2.2.2.9 - Dating Events
The author has consulted numerous works by biblical chronologists in order to document when various events related to the book of Daniel took place in history. When consulting this information, we ask the reader to consider the complexity and attention to detail associated with the study of biblical chronology. As a result, while there is overwhelming agreement among authorities concerning the date of certain events, there may be considerable variation in the date associated with other events.

As an aid to the reader, we have included an overview of the chronology associated with the book of Daniel. Where expert chronologers arrive at different dates this provides somewhat of a conundrum for citing a single date with authority. Where this occurs, use of a date refers back to the master timeline which the reader can refer to in order to study the range of dates given by the experts and to follow up in much greater detail from the cited sources.

2.2.3 - Why Another Commentary on Daniel?

Having previously produced an online course and commentary on the book of Revelation,8 the value of a companion course and commentary covering the book of Daniel became increasingly evident. A study of the book of Revelation will reveal that much of what is revealed to the Apostle John in Revelation is closely related to the dreams and visions shown to Daniel in his book. The OT book of Daniel and NT book of Revelation are so closely related, both in terms of content and method of interpretation, as to stand or fall together. As one might expect, the number and variety of interpretive treatments of the book of Daniel is second only to the book of Revelation:

Interpretations of Daniel are so profuse as to practically defy analysis or summary, a situation which is perhaps true of no other book outside the Apocalypse of John. The literature written, for instance, on the prophecy of the seventy weeks (Dan. 9:24-27+) consists of scores of volumes, and that on the book of Daniel itself runs into hundreds.9

Another Commentary?

Another Commentary?

10

A comprehensive study of either book requires a study of both books together.

Both books, the one written by the man greatly beloved and the other by the beloved disciple, must be studied together and are the keys to the entire prophetic Word.11

One cannot understand with any measure of depth the New Testament book of Revelation without first mastering its primary Old Testament counterpart in Daniel.12

The Apocalypse of John is written in that same style and language with the prophecies of Daniel, and has the same relation to them which they have to one another, so that all of them together make but one complete prophecy . . .13

The book is quite parallel with the book of Revelation in the New Testament for giving information relative to the last days. Eschatological studies would be greatly impoverished if the Old Testament did not include the book of Daniel.14

A study of both Daniel and Revelation yields an integrated understanding of the divine purposes of God throughout history. In many ways Daniel is the more important of the two because it provides the large-scale structural framework by which other detailed events presented within the book of Revelation can be properly sequenced in time. This feature of Daniel has led many to recognize its key role for understanding the prophetic revelation found within Scripture. No less a mind than Sir Isaac Newton recognized this fact when he penned, “Amongst the old prophets, Daniel is most distinct in order of time, and easiest to be understood: and therefore in those things which relate to the last times, he must be made the key to the rest.”15

Because the books of Daniel and Revelation are so closely related, any attack upon either one of the books is an attack upon the other:

St. Paul’s predictions of the Antichrist point back to the visions of Daniel. And with those visions the visions of St. John—the Daniel of the New Testament—are so inseparably interwoven, that if the former be attributed to imagination, the latter must be attributed to lunacy. The Book of Daniel and the Apocalypse stand or fall together. . . . if the Book of Daniel be expunged the Revelation of John must share its fate, . . .16

Thus it is of no surprise to find that, like John’s Apocalypse, the book of Daniel has also been the target of incessant attacks in an attempt to discredit the work and the Bible as a whole. And like Revelation, because Daniel provides important information concerning the most important individual in history, Jesus Christ, the book remains a target for those who reject the claims of Christ.

In view of these factors, it was only natural to support the work of the previous Revelation course and commentary with a corresponding treatment of Daniel.

Other goals of the commentary include:

2.2.4 - Attacks on the book of Daniel

The Prophet Daniel, Augsburg Cathedral

The Prophet Daniel, Augsburg Cathedral

19

Like the book of Revelation, the book of Daniel has been subject to ongoing criticism by skeptics who doubt just about everything that could be doubted concerning Daniel’s work: its date of composition, its author or authors, the language of its composition, as well as many other aspects. “The Book of Daniel has, without question, been the object of more negative criticism than any other book of the Old Testament.”20 Unlike Revelation, Daniel includes predictions concerning historic developments that have already come to pass: (1) the interplay between the Seleucids and Ptolemies leading up to the repression of the Jews under Antiochus IV Epiphanes which triggered the Maccabean revolt (Dan. 11+); (2) the eventual dominion of Rome over Palestine which followed (Dan. 2+, 7+, 8+). Of these two historical developments, chapter 11+ of Daniel treats the first with great detail. So much so that the reader is placed at a crossroads: either Daniel contains bona fide prophetic predictions as demonstrated by history or it must have been written after the events it describes and misrepresent them as predictions.

Bible believers will smile when they meet with such a fork in the road. For this is the crossroads of faith one frequently encounters in the Scriptures—pitting the rationalistic naturalism of the skeptic against the possibility of an all-powerful God Who intervenes in the course of history, even declaring in advance through chosen individuals what will transpire in the future.

The Bible declares prophetic prediction to be the capability of God alone, the only uncreated being, Who is therefore not subject to the constraints of time or space:

Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure’ (Isaiah 46:9-10)

The reader of Daniel must either bow to the possibility of a supernatural God Who has predicted the future, or come up with some other explanation for how the book of Daniel came to be. If one holds an a priori commitment to naturalistic rationalism,21 then there is no possibility of the supernatural intervention of the Christian God so it becomes self-evident to such individuals that Daniel must have been written later than the events described.

If you’ve ever been involved in a college classroom or some other academic environment where Christianity has been attacked, it is probably Daniel that is at the forefront of that attack. It has borne the brunt of liberal attacks throughout the centuries and it represents the key issues in every non-Christian attack against Christianity, especially liberal rationalism because the assumption of the liberal rationalist is that God is not actually involved in human history, God does not intervene, there is no supernatural involvement by God in history at all.22

We’ll be discussing the various attacks in more detail under their respective topics (see Authorship, Date, Language, Daniel 1+, Daniel 5+, and Daniel 11+). In the following sections we’ll take an introductory look at some of the characteristics of the attacks.

It is in light of ongoing attacks against the historicity and reliability of the book of Daniel that we have chosen to title this work, Daniel Defended. The defense of the book of Daniel will call upon two primary witnesses:
2.2.4.1 - The Nature of the Attacks Listen to The Nature of the Attacks
Although attacks upon Daniel are almost as varied as the imaginations of the critics, the majority are based upon suppositions concerning the contents of the book in combination with fragmentary historical evidence derived from secular sources. The critics are deft at injecting doubt by the use of subjective statements bolstered by appeals to a fragmentary and often subjectively interpreted record of history.

[This writer is convinced] that the methods pursued by many so-called higher critics are illogical, irrational, and unscientific. They are illogical because they beg the question at issue. They are irrational because they assume that historic facts are self-evident, and that they can set limits to the possible. They are unscientific because they base their conclusions on incomplete inductions and on a practical claim of omniscience.23

The number and variety of the criticisms are such that one can easily become distracted and lose sight of the fact that most of the criticisms are mere symptoms of the real disease: disbelief in a supernatural God and all that such disbelief entails.

No doubt there have been skeptics opposed to the book of Daniel almost from the date of its writing, but one of the earliest and most influential that we know of is the Neo-Platonist, Porphyry (died c. 304). Although his writings have been lost to history, we have some knowledge of his views from Jerome’s commentary on Daniel:

Porphyry wrote his twelfth book against the prophecy of Daniel, denying that it was composed by the person to whom it is ascribed in its title, but rather by some individual living in Judaea at the time of the Antiochus who was surnamed Epiphanes. He furthermore alleged that “Daniel” did not foretell the future so much as he related the past, and lastly that whatever he spoke of up till the time of Antiochus contained authentic history, whereas anything he may have conjectured beyond that point was false, inasmuch as he would not have foreknown the future. Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea, made a most able reply to these allegations in three volumes, that is, the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth. Appollinarius did likewise, in a single large book, namely his twenty-sixth. . . . Prior to these authors Methodius made a partial reply. [emphasis added]24

We may understand several important points from this passage of Jerome:

So although hundreds of years have passed since the time of Porphyry, the situation remains much the same:

Following Jerome’s refutation of Porphyry, he was more or less dismissed by Christian scholarship as a mere pagan detractor who had allowed a naturalistic bias to warp his judgment. But during the time of the Enlightenment in the eighteenth century, all supernatural elements in Scripture came under suspicion, and Porphyry’s theory received increasing support from J.D. Michaelis (1771), J.G. Eichhorn (1780), L. Berthold (1806), F. Bleek (1822), and many others after them. They all agreed that every accurate prediction in Daniel was written after it had already been fulfilled (a vaticinium ex eventu) and therefore in the period of the Maccabean revolt (168-165 B.C.).28

In many ways, conservative refutation of liberal scholarship has proven fruitless in that the same old arguments continue to resurface as if they had never been refuted. This provides more evidence that liberal scholarship is not truly interested in the possibility that the book of Daniel may in fact be a reliable document:

So far as twentieth-century liberal scholarship is concerned, little or nothing has happened since 1806—or indeed, since the third century A.D. The same old threadbare arguments, the long-refuted “proof texts,” the circular reasoning of doctrinaire rationalism, have persisted up to the present time. Even in most Roman Catholic circles it is now commonplace to speak of Daniel as a Maecabean pseudepigraph. They too seem to ignore completely the rising tide of historical and linguistic data which render that view completely indefensible, and are content to parrot the discredited arguments of Porphyry and Bertholdt as if they had never been refuted.29

For example, from a work dated in the 1990’s:

Most significant are the numerous glaring historical problems. These begin with the statement in the opening verse that Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem in the third year of Jehoiakim (Jer 25:1 says that the fourth year of Jehoiakim was the first of Nebuchadnezzar). The most famous problems concern the claim that Belshazzar was king of Babylon and that he was succeeded by Darius the Mede.... The references to the Babylonian period,... are notoriously confused.30

As shall be seen in the commentary on Daniel 1+ and Daniel 5+, answers to these “errors” have been offered by numerous commentators for decades, but they are largely ignored. Although the critics believe themselves to be objective and would deny any bias against Daniel (and Scripture in general), their bias is clearly evidenced from the inconsistent way they handle evidence. If Scripture records some event, then the account is deemed a fable until some other secular document of history is unearthed to corroborate it. However, if a secular source is found to contradict the scriptural account, then the secular source is assumed reliable and the Scriptures in error. 31

This is an uneven playing field where the Bible is always assumed “guilty until proven innocent” and fragmentary historical records are assumed to have the final word about what actually transpired. And in many cases, the historical records are so fragmentary that it is only the subjective interpretation of their contents which judges the biblical record. The inspired Scriptures aren’t even given the benefit of being taken on a par with the evidence from profane records—the Bible is considered to contain substandard historical content, regardless of the fact that archaeology has shown it to be reliable (e.g., Belshazzar and his coregency in Daniel 5+). Even in cases where there are no secular records, the Scriptures are still considered to be in error based on erroneous arguments from silence.32

Perhaps the most famous argument from silence was the denial of the existence of Belshazzar. Critics used to claim Daniel’s mention of Belshazzar was completely fictional until archaeology proved otherwise.33 Now that archaeology has proved the existence of Belshazzar and his coregency,34 the field of argument has shifted to whether it is proper to refer to him as “king” and what his relationship was to Nebuchadnezzar. Then there was the problem of lack of corroboration by secular history regarding Nebuchadnezzar’s early capture of Jerusalem, “The early capture of Jerusalem by ‘King’ Nebuchadnezzar . . . was not authenticated till very recent times, and it has been commonly denied and cited by some modern critics as the first in a list of alleged ‘historical errors’ in the book. However, within the past several decades ancient documents have come to light that indicate Nebuchadnezzar’s presence in Judah at that time . . .”35 But the historic refutation of these ‘criticisms from silence’ has not silenced the critics!

This pattern of answering an objection only to see the objection move to some new topic is akin to the frequent experience in apologetics when interacting with insincere inquirers of the Bible. The insincerity of such inquirers becomes plain when their point of criticism constantly shifts reflecting a deeper issue: entrenched, willful unbelief. As Unger observes, the historic pattern of vindication regarding contested elements of Daniel should give critics pause: “The proved solutions to many of the [previous] problems about the book should be a warning to the reader against glibly dismissing the remaining ones as ‘erroneous statements’ and using them as the basis for rejecting the book’s Danielic authorship and authenticity.”36 Predictably this has not been the case.

This tells us that the critics are not sincere in their inquiry concerning Daniel and any attempt on our part to refute their claims will largely be wasted effort since they consider the case to be closed: “Modern criticism views the establishment of a Maccabean date (about 167 B.C.) and the rejection of the Danielic authorship as one of its assured achievements.”37
2.2.4.2 - Evidence of Daniel’s Importance
The ongoing attacks upon the book of Daniel also serve to underscore the importance of its content. Why do the critics rage in such number, and with such longevity and ferocity against this book? The answer is at least two-fold. (1) The book attests to the predictive capability of God as embodied by the Bible, and especially where it lays the groundwork for the New Testament. “In NT prophecy Daniel is referred to more than any other OT book. Moreover, it contains more fulfilled prophecies than any other book in the Bible”38. (2) The book attests to the identity of the promised Messiah of Israel and Savior of mankind, Jesus Christ: “Daniel was in the greatest credit amongst the Jews, till the reign of the Roman emperor Hadrian: and to reject his prophecies is to reject the Christian religion. For this religion is founded upon his prophecy concerning the Messiah.” [emphasis added]39

Another way to think about the criticisms is to ask what would it say about the nature of the book if atheists reacted to the book with acceptance or disinterest? If that were the case, then the book would befriend the world—the exact opposite of what Jesus predicted would be the reception for those who uphold the message of God. The reception of the book is akin to how Jesus predicted his followers would be treated, “If [the book of Daniel] were of the world, the world would love [the book of Daniel]. Yet because [Daniel is] not of the world . . . therefore the world hates [the book of Daniel].” (cf. John 15:19) The irritation of the skeptics attests to its divine nature and ongoing relevance for the believer today.
2.2.4.3 - Attacks from Those Who Claim the Name of Christ
One of the most unexpected experiences for believers who accept the Scriptures as the inspired Word of God is encountering the flawed logic of the skeptics when reading the works of those who claim to share our faith. A recent scholarly commentary provides a ready example:

Conversely, conservative scholarship has sometimes overtly, sometimes covertly approached these visions with the a priori conviction that they must be actual prophecies because quasi-prophecies issued pseudonymously could not have been inspired by God; it has also approached the stories with the a priori conviction that they must be pure history, because fiction or a mixture of fact and fiction could not have been inspired by God. All these convictions seem to me mistaken. I believe that the God of Israel who is also the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is capable of knowing future events and thus of revealing them, and is capable of inspiring people to write both history and fiction, both actual prophecy and quasi-prophecy, in their own name, anonymously, or—in certain circumstances—pseudonymously. . . . Whether the stories are history or fiction, the visions actual prophecy or quasi-prophecy, written by Daniel or by someone else, in the sixth century B.C., the second, or somewhere in between, makes surprisingly little difference to the book’s exegesis. [emphasis added]40

It is difficult to see how the God of the Bible would reveal detailed events of the second century to people living in the sixth, even though he could do so . . .41

This “friendly fire” from a work purporting to further the cause of Christ promotes the strange notion that the God Who cannot lie (Num. 23:19; Rom. 3:4; Tit. 1:2; Heb. 6:18), Who’s Word cannot be broken (John 10:35), would give revelation as an admixture of truth and falsity in a way where readers could not necessarily separate the two. If that weren’t a depressing enough characterization of God, the author objects to the notion that God would choose to reveal history more then 400 years in advance! One wonders if such a writer has ever considered the many predictions associated with the first or second coming of Christ given hundreds of years in advance? Such Christian commentary borders on the bizarre.

This would be perplexing enough if it weren’t for the fact that Christian scholars of this persuasion, after eroding God’s character and Word with their strange logic, assert that such antics do not reduce the value of the book for the believing community! Witness the dedication from the same work, “To Steven and Mark: may they stand with Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.”42 One has to wonder how the recipients of the motivational dedication are to stand with Daniel and his three compatriots risking their lives for their faith when later, in the same work, they read, “Whether the stories are history or fiction, the visions actual prophecy or quasi-prophecy, written by Daniel or by someone else, in the sixth century B.C., the second, or somewhere in between, makes surprisingly little difference to the book’s exegesis.”43 Perhaps it makes little difference to exegesis,44 but it makes a huge difference in relation to Christian living!

The illogic found in such a combination is staggering: “live your lives just like the characters in the book who risked their lives” but keep in mind that they could well be fictional characters risking fictional lives in a fictional furnace or with fictional lions!45

The idea that the book of Daniel, whether written early or late, relates fictional accounts to motivate the Jews makes little sense.

A purely fictional deliverance is small comfort to a man who is confronted by a factual peril of death. Solid words of God or solid facts alone avail under such circumstances.46

The critic draws too much on our credulity, when he asks us to believe that the contemporaries of the heroic Judas Maccabeus would have been encouraged for their deadly conflict by any old wives’ fables, or the cunningly devised craftiness of any nameless writer of fiction, however brilliant. People do not die for fiction, however brilliant. People do not die for fiction but for faith. [emphasis added]47

Unfortunately, this is an all too commonly encountered oxymoron: undermining essential aspects of the book while extolling its devotional and motivational virtue. In this inconsistency, some Christian scholars seem to be among the ranks of the skeptics.

We must confess to our utter inability to understand the position of those who spend page after page of argument in an endeavor to discredit and honeycomb the credibility of the book and its basic reliability and then give us the bland assurance: “Yet no words of mine can exaggerate the value which I attach to this part of our Canonical Scriptures.” . . . we fail utterly to comprehend how such a position can be maintained.48

Anderson recognizes the problem and provides a warning:

Faith is not the normal attitude of the human mind towards things Divine; the earnest doubter, therefore, is entitled to respect and sympathy. But what judgment shall be meted out to those who delight to proclaim themselves doubters, while claiming to be ministers of a religion of which Faith is the essential characteristic?49

2.2.4.4 - Scripture Upholds Scripture
As our understanding of Scripture deepens, we come to recognize that an attack on almost any book of the Bible is an attack upon all books of the Bible. This is due to the interwoven nature of the Scriptures. Although written by many different authors of many different vocations in varied historical settings over a period spanning more than a thousand years, the message of the Bible is integrated. This integration did not come about by the careful planning of the various authors, but by the superintendence of the Holy Spirit.50 So an attack upon Daniel (or Revelation) is also an attack, for example, upon Genesis and the Gospels.

Yet this seemingly negative result has an extremely valuable flip-side which is of paramount importance for the believer and the preservation of God’s Word: to undermine the Scriptures requires undermining the entire integrated message as distributed through all 66 books. Admittedly, not every theme is found distributed throughout the entire corpus of Scripture, but significant themes, even prophetic ones, pop up in many and diverse passages. We like to refer to this characteristic as the “Scripture safety net.” It is impractical to wrest one or two passages out of their context to discount or abuse them—even torturing them to admit an unintended meaning—because each passage is anchored within the totality of Scripture. This is especially so for many prophetic themes such as those found in Daniel!

Moreover, in order to undermine the revelation given Daniel, one has to discount the revelation given John, Paul, Peter, and also the words of Jesus—not to mention Jeremiah, Isaiah, Zechariah, Haggai, Habbakuk, and Zephaniah, to name the more obvious books bearing upon similar topics.

Herein lies an essential tool for the equipping of the believer and great motivation for embracing the holistic study of God’s Word. Do skeptics claim that Jesus went to India as a child and studied under gurus before beginning His ministry? We know that cannot be because Jesus is absolutely anchored within the context of 1st-century rabbinic Judaism as comprehensively set forth in the Old Testament! Are Daniel’s visions of chapters 2, 7, 8, and 11 considered dubious—especially as they go beyond fulfillment in the days of the Maccabees? Not so! For Jesus, Paul, and John describe the same events in the same period of time concerning the same individual. Was Daniel confused about the events pertaining to the Jews and Jerusalem (chapter 9)? Then look to the rest of Scripture which describes the Times of the Gentiles, the partial blinding of the Jews, and their eventual restoration at the second coming of Christ. This correspondence among diverse passages is known as the analogy of faith.

Hermeneutically, “analogy of faith” is defined as the “general harmony of fundamental doctrine that pervades the entire Scriptures.” Two degrees of analogy are acknowledged: (1) the positive, something so plainly stated and based on so many passages that there can be no question as to the meaning (e.g., sin, redemption, and omnipotence), and (2) the general, something not based on explicit declarations but on the obvious scope and import of Scriptural teachings as a whole. . . . Bernard Ramm defines “analogy of faith” in terms of one and only one system of doctrine taught by the Bible. This, he says, forbids pitting one author against another or finding doctrinal contradictions within the Bible.51

This is a great and unassailable safeguard covering all doctrinal areas in the Scriptures, including an important area within Daniel: eschatology, the study of last things (prophecy). This is part of the “glue” preventing the attacks of skeptics attempting to dismantle God’s perfect Word.52 The analogy of faith is captured within the Golden Rule of Interpretation:

When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense, therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in the light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths, indicate clearly otherwise.—The Golden Rule of Interpretation, D.L. Cooper [emphasis added]53

In essence, we allow the Scriptures to defend themselves!

“No book can be written in behalf of the Bible like the Bible itself. Man’s defences are man’s word; they may help to beat off attacks, they may draw out some portion of its meaning. The Bible is God’s word, and through it God the Holy Ghost, who spake it, speaks to the soul which closes not itself against it.” [Pusey, Daniel, Pref. p. 25]. But more than this, the well-instructed believer will find within it inexhaustible stores of proof that it is from God. . . . Ignorance may fail to see in it anything more than the religious literature of the Hebrew race, and of the Church in Apostolic times; but the intelligent student who can read between the lines will find there mapped out, sometimes in clear bold outline, sometimes dimly, but yet always discernible by the patient and devout inquirer, the great scheme of God’s counsels and workings in and for this world of ours from eternity to eternity.54

2.2.4.5 - How to Respond?
What are we, as believers in the Scriptures, to think about these attacks? First, we should realize that the Scriptures have not come down to us over thousands of years by accident. For generations, countless lives have been spent and even lost to preserve them and uphold their important message. When faced with the many criticisms of the skeptics, we need to ask whether the idea of the critic is viable in light of the number of people who have accepted the book of Daniel at face value.

It seems amazing how such a conglomeration of absurdities, such a congeries of impossibilities, should have befooled both Jew and Christian alike for 2000 years or more! Why could not their learned men at least have seen that such things were impossible? And if they are impossible, and if no proof is needed to show this impossibility, why is it that millions to–day . . . should still believe them possible?55

Second, the more one becomes acquainted with the criticisms, the more one will notice a pattern of subjective variation and lack of consensus among the conclusions of the skeptics.

[There is] great divergence of opinion regarding the questions of integrity and authorship, and, by implication, the date of the book or its supposed parts. This very situation is unfortunately self-defeating, for as Rowley has pointed out, if there is so little consensus of opinion as to which were the earlier parts, it is difficult to have much confidence in the method whereby these varying results were reached.56

Critics have raised textual problems almost without number in relation to the book of Daniel; but they have also contradicted each other, testifying to the subjective character of these criticisms.57

This is one of the purposes of the Policy of Inoculation. By exposing the student to the basic criticisms and responses, he is better equipped to see how subjective and varied the critics are in their approach to Daniel.

Third, although the believer must never decouple faith from reason, he must realize that God has chosen faith—not intelligence, not academics, not influence, not any other thing—as the sole dividing line between those who are His and those who are in the kingdom of Satan (Mat. 12:30; Luke 11:23). We will encounter many in our sojourn here on earth who surpass us in ability, including intelligence and academics. But where they lack faith, expect either outright or latent hostility to God’s revelation. We find many of the critics of Daniel among these intelligent enemies of God who lack faith. It is not so much reason preventing their acceptance of Daniel, but an inability and unwillingness to trust God in areas where information is incomplete or contradictions appear to exist. On the other hand, for we who accept Scriptural revelation as God’s Word to mankind, faith is the highest act of our reason.58

The difficult truth is that God’s Word requires a faith-response on the part of the reader. Those who respond in faith will be shown more. Those who lack faith and respond as scoffers will be hardened in their rejection (Mat. 13:12; Mark 4:24-25). Thus, we find purposeful design in the Scriptures admitting of either interpretation: carefully crafted interrelationships providing evidence of supernatural origin to the people of faith, mixed with apparent contradictions (so-called “Bible difficulties”) which, when considered superficially, provide evidence of the falsehood of God’s Word to the skeptic. Those who respond in faith admit that they are “blind” because there is much they do not yet understand, whereas those who scoff are generally self-assured in their analysis and rejection of what to them are obvious Scriptural blunders. Jesus mentioned how this spiritual principle works: “And Jesus said, ‘For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.’ ” (John 9:39)

Finally, as followers of our Lord, we can have no lower view of Daniel then our Master (Mat. 24:15; Mark 13:14), “To the Christian the Book is accredited by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself; and in presence of this one fact the force of these criticisms is dispelled like mist before the sun.”59

2.2.5 - Fidelity over Academics

Although this treatment of Daniel will draw from a number of scholarly works, the commentary is unlikely to satisfy those who major on academics over practical exposition and assimilation of the Scriptures. Too often, academics, scholarship, and personal recognition are sought at the expense of sound biblical exposition.60 Like every other endeavor, academic work without fidelity to God engenders compromise:

The final virtue I shall mention is fidelity to God and dedication to His cause in the world as one’s chief end. The Christian intellectual is here to serve a Name, not to make one. Unfortunately, I have seen too many Christian thinkers who have a certain texture or posture in life that gives the impression that they are far more concerned with assuring their academic colleagues that they are not ignorant fundamentalists than they are with pleasing God and serving His people. Such thinkers often give up too much intellectual real estate far too readily to secular or other perspectives inimical to the Christian faith. This is why many average Christian folk are suspicious of the mind today. All too often, they have seen intellectual growth in Christian academics lead to a cynical posture unfaithful to the spirit of the Christian way. I have always been suspicious of Christian intellectuals whose primary agenda seems to be to remove embarrassment about being an evangelical and to assure their colleagues that they are really acceptable, rational people in spite of their evangelicalism. While we need to be sensitive to our unbelieving friends and colleagues, we should care far less about what the world thinks than about what God thinks of our intellectual life. Fidelity to God and His cause is the core commitment of a growing Christian mind. Such a commitment engenders faithfulness to God and His people and inhibits the puffiness that can accompany intellectual growth.61

This is more often the case where Higher Criticism is concerned—an endeavor frequently practiced in a rarefied academic atmosphere where gaining the respect of academic peers and interacting with their questionable theories is the primary focus. Even evangelical scholars, who should know better, often succumb to this temptation to laud other scholars and their works—regardless of their negative contribution to the cause of Christ.62

Academia has a plethora of anti-supernaturalist thinkers who spend a good deal of time and energy directed against those of us who are considered naïve Christians:

Every course on religion on the college campus or in high school which is taught by an unregenerate, unredeemed individual or a person who does not think doctrinally . . . will feature a prominent attack on the authenticity of this book. . . . the book of Daniel has so many already fulfilled [prophecies] that it is deeply offensive to the anti-supernaturalists. People who attack Daniel hate the concept of a personal infinite God who speaks to His creatures and they vent their hatred by their academic attacks upon this book. . . . no one is objective; even the people you are paying for your education, you thought they were nice cold scientific and objective, you thought they were until you began to rub on their religious presuppositions, and then you discovered they’re not objective. They’re more fanatically committed to their presuppositions than any Christian ever thought of being and they show it by their emotional reaction to Bible doctrine.63

The key for the Christian is to avoid throwing out the baby (academics with fidelity) with the bathwater (academic liberalism). Too often we react in the extreme by avoiding in-depth study of the facts, leaving us unprepared and giving Christianity a reputation as a belief system for the simpleton. Nowhere is this more true than in the many sensational and often superficial treatments of the prophetic passages of Scripture:

True prophetic study is an inquiry into these unsearchable counsels, these deep riches of Divine wisdom and knowledge. Beneath the light it gives, the Scriptures are no longer a heterogeneous compilation of religious books, but one harmonious whole, from which no part could be omitted without destroying the completeness of the revelation. And yet the study is disparaged in the Churches as being of no practical importance. If the Churches are leavened with skepticism at this moment, their neglect of prophetic study in this its true and broader aspect has done more than all the rationalism of Germany to promote the evil. Skeptics may boast of learned Professors and Doctors of Divinity among their ranks, but we may challenge them to name a single one of the number who has given proof that he knows anything whatever of these deeper mysteries of revelation.64

Although we are in need of the ox of academics, it must be harnessed by fidelity to Christ if it is to be effective in serving the purposes of God. We recognize that academic study—in and of itself—is a good thing. Yet we also recognize that much of what passes for “deeper study” in relation to Christianity is a pandering to academia including its typically disparaging attitude toward God and His Word. While much that flows from the academy is faithless, it is possible to combine academic excellence with faith and fidelity. But where the academy differs from the faith, fidelity requires the man of God to follow Christ at the cost of offending academia. Moreover, the spiritual nature of God’s revelation is such that academic pursuit without spiritual enlightenment and dedication will not yield the sought-after understanding.

This little company, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, four devoted young men, set themselves against all the evil of the kingdom of Babylon. They said, “We will not defile ourselves”: and these were the men to whom God could communicate His mind. I believe it is important to dwell upon this, because in our own day, alas, in many cases prophetic study has been taken up by very unspiritual persons. If we are going to get the mind of God in studying this book, we must remember that it consists of revelations, deliverances and visions given to a spiritually-minded man who was separated from the iniquity of his day; and if we are to understand it, we also need to be spiritually-minded, and to walk apart from all that is unholy, all that would hinder progress in divine things. . . . God does not commonly impart His secrets to careless men, but to those who are devoted to His interests. He may, in His sovereignty, use even a Balaam or a Caiaphas to utter divine truth; but cases like these are extraordinary. The rule is that “the secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him.”65

2.2.6 - Policy of Inoculation

Inoculation

Inoculation

66

Someone has said “every writer has biases, but only some admit to it.” It is not our intention here to provide an unbiased tour of a wide variety of views concerning Daniel. There are many other works the reader could refer to providing that function. Here, we will practice a policy of ‘inoculation’ in regard to alternate views. That is, we intend to set forth enough information concerning the alternative view for readers to be aware of its major features. We also provide information refuting aspects of the view that seem most problematic. Neither the alternate view nor the refutation will proceed in great detail, but will include suitable references for those who wish to pursue the subject in greater depth. It is our hope that in the same way that an inoculation injects a small amount of a deadly disease into the human body so that it may build up its natural defenses, an understanding of aspects of alternate views will help the reader appreciate the problems accompanying them and so avoid the mistake of endorsing questionable ideas mainly because they are “new” or “different.”67

Some of the matters discussed are not simply differing viewpoints within Evangelical ranks, but touch on basic issues concerning the nature of the Scriptures undermined by many purporting to guide others into a deeper understanding of the Bible. Teachers who endorse questionable views concerning the inspiration, inerrancy, and authorship of Holy Scripture are adept at dressing their skepticism within the garb of inference, making it less obvious to the inexperienced student of Scripture. We hope to make these implicit teachings more explicit where needed. All of this is intended to help prepare students to defend their faith.

Sooner or later you will be trapped into a situation where you will be shredded by a knowledgeable non-Christian who has studied some of the higher critical arguments and will attempt to demolish your position by hitting you at what amounts to in most believers’ lives as their Achilles heel, their inability to defend this book.68

Anybody who goes to college and takes a Western Civilization course is probably going to run into a professor who is going to start assaulting Daniel. It happened to me in my first year of college and I think it’ll happen to just about anybody if they have a professor who has studied in the schools of liberal higher learning. So we have to be prepared, and as parents that’s one thing you need to do is prepare your children so that when they go off to college then they are able to withstand the intellectual assaults against Christianity. I can’t tell you how many people I knew who were believers but who never had the foundations, were never given the information. When they got to college and they got into sociology classes and biology classes, more often it was in the liberal arts classes than in the science classroom, their Christian beliefs came under the assault in the classroom and they had never heard the correct answers, they had never heard the information that substantiated the claims of Scripture and their faith came under severe assault and in many cases they were shipwrecked.69

Although we’ll be discussing the alternate views in greater depth in association with various introductory topics, once we enter upon the verse-by-verse exposition we’ll devote relatively less attention to such distractions.70

2.2.7 - The Importance of Prophecy

While recognizing that any treatment of Daniel would be deficient if it focused entirely on prophecy while bypassing the many other important aspects of the book, we are also aware of a prevalent bias by God’s people against the study of prophecy. People are too quick to dismiss prophecy as being unimportant thereby demeaning both its study and its motivational power in the life of the believer. The study of prophecy is seen as either irrelevant or “negative” and “unfruitful” because one of its side-effects is to remind us that this age will end in fearful apostasy.

In view of such a marvellous Book with divine and infallible predictions concerning this earth and its future, the destiny of nations, one can hardly understand why the professing church of to-day should almost completely ignore and neglect the study of Prophecy. Yet such is the case. The study of a Book like Daniel, or the great New Testament prophetic book, the Revelation, is frowned upon by many. The great majority of professing Christians have little desire to know what God has said concerning the future. They rather listen to the theories or dreams of the human mind than to God’s plan. . . This rejection of what God says about the future appears strange and inconsistent, when one thinks of the natural eagerness and curiosity of the human heart to know the future. . . . And this almost absolute neglect of the study of Prophecy has avenged itself. On account of it Christendom has sunk into the deplorable condition in which it is to-day. The denial of the inspiration of the bible has become widespread. If Prophecy were intelligently studied such a denial could not flourish as it does, for Prophecy gives the clearest and most conclusive evidence, that the bible is the inspired and infallible Word of God. Because the study of Prophecy has been set aside skepticism has come in. One of the most powerful answers to infidelity is Prophecy. . . . For this reason we see about us among Christians an unscriptural optimism, which holds in theory and practice, the very opposite from what the bible teaches; an optimism, which has no use for the solemn declarations of the Word, that this age is an evil age and that it will close with apostasy and judgment. . . . The statement one hears sometimes from good Christian people, “I have not much use for Prophecy,” is bad testimony for the spiritual condition of the one who speaks thus. [emphasis added]71

But it is this very realization, that we are not people of this world and our focus is to be heavenward—which Scripture gives as a powerful motivation for believers to forego the temptations and distractions of this life because of our understanding of what is to come.

Prophecy is designed to change the way we think and the way we live at the present time. It is not to satisfy our curiosities but to alter our priorities and our decision making right now. It is to develop and mature a “two world view” in our lives. A “two world view” can be described as living well in this world because there is a clear focus on the world to come. This is THE biblical approach to living life right now here on earth and it is the way in which the Apostles lived, and how they exhorted other believers to live. . . . If believers do have a clear focus and understanding of the world to come (and believe it!), their lives will be lived with greater authenticity and with greater consistency.72

Besides all that, a large portion of Daniel (and the entire Bible) is prophetic in nature. Thus, to ignore or belittle the study of prophecy is to subject oneself to ignorance concerning much of what Scripture relates.

One fourth of the books in the Bible are of prophetic nature; the subject and statement of the books are eschatological, that is, they deal with prophecy. One fifth of the content of Scripture was predictive at the time of its writing; a large segment of that has been fulfilled. . . . I do not believe that one can have a full-orbed view of the Bible or be a well-rounded student of Scripture without a knowledge of eschatology, or prophecy. The neglect of the study of prophecy has produced certain harmful results which I think are quite 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 the great denominations.73

There is also the nagging question about why God gave so much of the Bible as prophecy if believers are not expected to diligently apply themselves to understand it? The unavoidable conclusion is that a large part of the Bible is prophetic because it is a subject God holds us accountable for knowing. To be ignorant of prophecy is to be at risk of opposing God’s plan in our own age as it works its way toward final fulfillment and the culmination of history.

2.2.8 - Dispensational, Premillennial, Pretribulational Exposition

The reader should know that this commentary is written from the perspective of a dispensational, premillennial, and pretribulational view of Scripture as we believe that this is what God’s Word teaches when rightly interpreted.

It has been our observation that many who are trained to observe details and integrate the teachings of Scripture into a self-consistent whole wind up in the dispensational, premillennial camp.74 Not because we hold this a priori understanding, but because the Scriptures, when interpreted in a consistently literal way where figures of speech and symbols are duly recognized as such and handled in their normative fashion, evidence differences in the requirements God prescribes to different groups at different times.75 This approach refuses to divest passages of their intended meaning.76

The Millennial Kingdom on Earth

The Millennial Kingdom on Earth

77

As but one example, consider the following passage written by the Apostle Paul:

Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? (2Th. 2:1-5) [emphasis added]

Paul gives a detailed prophecy identifying a future individual known as “the man of sin . . . the son of perdition” who will take specific actions including sitting as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. There are no indications within the passage that the individual, temple, or seat are to be interpreted as figures or symbols. Moreover, we will search the historic period between the writing of 2 Thessalonians (A.D. 51-52)78 and the destruction of the temple by Rome (A.D. 70) in vain for evidence of such an individual or the events which Paul describes. This simple fact leads us to two reliable conclusions: (1) a future Jewish temple must arise; (2) the individual in view has yet to appear on the stage of history. This is but one example of why this commentary takes a futurist interpretation of eschatology: we believe Scripture clearly predicts a future figure known as “the Antichrist (1Jn. 2:18).

The idea that this passage, along with numerous others, could be describing this nefarious figure—revealed in numerous passages of both Old and New Testaments—is so repugnant to some interpreters that they completely deny this possibility in related passages within Daniel. Concerning the idea that this “man of sin” might be the subject of passages within Daniel (e.g., Dan. 9:27+), Philip Mauro confidently asserts:

There is no conceivable reason why any prince (i.e., commander) should be mentioned in this passage except the one whose armies were to accomplish the destruction of the city and temple, that being the subject of the passage. . . . we know nothing of any roman prince who is to “come” (come where?) in the future. . . . this prophecy has nothing whatever to do with any future roman prince; nor is there, so far as we are aware, any ground for saying that a roman prince will arise to play a part in the time of the end of this age.79

Mauro is certain that the Antichrist is not found in Daniel 9:27+. Moreover, he asserts there are no passages in Daniel or elsewhere concerning a future prince associated with Rome. Never mind that numerous early church fathers understood passages such as Daniel 7:7-8+, 23-27+; 9:27+ and Revelation 13:2-3+ to indicate this very thing! Fathers such as Irenaeus, Chrysostom, Hippolytus, and Cyril of Jerusalem were among those who expected a future individual as Paul described to the Thessalonians.

Rather than approaching the text with a predisposition to shoehorn nearly all the prophecies of Daniel into the events attending the first coming of Christ, we recognize Daniel’s close correspondence to the Revelation given John after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.80 When taken at face value, Daniel and Revelation concern many of the same events beyond our day in association with the second coming of Jesus. It is only at the second coming, when Jesus ascends the throne of David in Jerusalem, that the kingdom is given to the “saints of the Most High” (Ps. 2:6; Dan. 7:27+; Zec. 14:9; Mat. 6:10; 25:31; Luke 4:5-6; Rev. 5:10+; 11:15+). Scripture relates that the culmination of the present era, which Jesus referred to as “the times of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24), is found in the predicted appearance of the most powerful Gentile government yet known to man. This is the full flowering of the Times of the Gentiles: the most powerful (Dan. 2:31-33+)—and worst (Dan. 7:7+)—government that the nations of the world will ever produce. That this government will be headed by a future Antichrist seems plain enough.

2.2.9 - Guidelines for Study Listen to Guidelines for Study

When studying the book of Daniel, or any book of the Bible, the following guidelines may prove helpful.


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Notes

1Image courtesy of Bachiacca, Christo davati a Caifa, (1539-40). Image is in the public domain.

2Due to the absence of page numbers, endnotes are utilized instead of footnotes.

3Topics are searched for within section titles, glossary entries, and index entries. The first section title, glossary entry, or index entry containing the word or phrase is opened.

4Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

5e.g., [James Strong, The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship, 1996)], [R. Torrey, The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, 1995)].

6Recognizing that no single set of Bible book abbreviations is optimum in terms of length, readability, and interoperation with other study aids, our main interest in standardization is to facilitate digital processing of this document.

7In some resources, while the majority of information may be located by verse, other information is not verse-specific. In the latter case, references cite the page number rather than the verse location.

8 [Anthony C. Garland, A Testimony of Jesus Christ : A Commentary on the Book of Revelation, Vol. 1 (Rev. 1-14) (Camano Island, WA: SpiritAndTruth.org, 2004)] [Anthony C. Garland, A Testimony of Jesus Christ : A Commentary on the Book of Revelation, Vol. 2 (Rev. 15-22) (Camano Island, WA: SpiritAndTruth.org, 2004)]

9Hobart E. Freeman, An Introduction to the Old Testament Prophets (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1968), 274.

10Image courtesy of Gnosos, Diverse Bücher (Bücherhaufen). Image is in the public domain.

11Arno Clemens Gaebelein, The Prophet Daniel: A Key to the Visions and Prophecies of the Book of Daniel, 2nd (New York, NY: Our Hope, 1911), 5.

12Paul Benware, Daniel’s Prophecy of Things to Come (Clifton, TX: Scofield Ministries, 2007), s.v. “Foreword - Dr. Thomas Ice.”

13Isaac Newton, Observations Upon the Prophecies of Daniel, and the Apocalypse of John (Cave Junction, OR: Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, 1991), 254.

14Leon J. Wood, A Commentary on Daniel (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1998), 23.

15Newton, Observations Upon the Prophecies of Daniel, and the Apocalypse of John, 15.

16Robert Anderson, Daniel in the Critic’s Den (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1909, 1990), 70, 78.

17See www.e-sword.net, www.swordsearcher.com, www.SpiritAndTruth.org, and others.

18Some classic works have not yet been digitized or licensed so as to make the transition from print to electronic media.

19Copyright © 2010 by Hans Bernhard. This image is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

20Freeman, An Introduction to the Old Testament Prophets, 261.

21“There is nothing really so irrational as rationalism. Whoever wishes to peer into God’s secrets must be adorned with the threefold ornament of humility, reverence, and faith; and where these are found the soul can restfully commit to the Most High all matters not revealed.”—Eric Sauer, The Dawn of World Redemption (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1964, 1951), 37.

22Robert Dean, Lessons on Daniel (Spokane, WA: Ellen Kelso [transcriber], 2006), 1-2.

23Robert Dick Wilson, Studies in the Book of Daniel (New York, NY: G. P. Putnams & Sons, The Knickerbocker Press, 1971), xiii.

24Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus, Jerome’s Commentary on Daniel (Translated by Gleason L. Archer Jr.) (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 407, 1958), 491.

25Carl Friedrich Keil, “Daniel,” in Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2002), 9:503.

26Anderson, Daniel in the Critic’s Den, 6-7.

27Mike Stallard, “Inerrancy in the Major Prophets,” in The Conservative Theological Journal, vol. 3 no. 9 (Fort Worth, TX: Tyndale Theological Seminary, August 1999), 174.

28Gleason Leonard Archer, “Daniel,” in Frank E. Gaebelein, ed., The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 7 - Daniel and the Minor Prophets (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1985), 13.

29Gleason Leonard Archer, “Modern Rationalism and the Book of Daniel,” in Bibliotheca Sacra, vol. 136 no. 542 (Dallas, TX: Dallas Theological Seminary, April-June 1979), 130-131.

30John J. Collins, “DANIEL, BOOK OF,” in David Noel Freedman, ed., The Anchor Bible Dictionary (New York, NY: Doubleday, c1992, 1996), 2:29, 30.

31“It is an unhappy circumstance, that there are many persons who suppose that the fact that a thing is mentioned by a profane historian is presumptive evidence of its truth; if mentioned by a sacred writer, it is presumptive evidence of its falsehood.”—Albert Barnes, Notes on the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1884-85), s.v. “Introduction to Daniel.”

32“Since Darius the Mede is not mentioned outside the Old Testament narratives, and since the cuneiform inscriptions do not record the existence of any king between Nabonidus-Belshazzar and the accession of Cyrus, the historicity of Darius the Mede has been denied by many liberal scholars, and the accounts concerning his reign have been held to be a conflation of confused tradition.”—Roland K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament (Peabody, MA: Prince Press, 1969, 1999), 341. “I personally would maintain that many of these difficulties are raised through there being insufficient extant evidence, either archaeological or scriptural, for a valid definition of the problem and thus of the circumstance and interpretation. Some are due to an interpretation of the evidence, whether biblical or otherwise, which need not necessarily be the only one tenable. Allowing this would reduce the number of ‘errors’ to (i) those which could be varying presentations of the same fact; (ii) those which at present defy solution through lack of evidence; or (iii) those which might be classified as ‘scribal errors.’ The last apply mainly to single words, spelling, or numerals and the proven errors of this category are liable to be the subject of diverse interpretation.”—Donald J. Wiseman, “Archeology and Scripture,” in Westminster Theological Journal, vol. 33 no. 2 (Philadelphia, PA: Westminster Theological Seminary, May 1971), 151. “It is to be remembered, also, in regard to these events and times, that we have few fragments of history remaining. We have fragments of the writings of Berosus, a Chaldean, indeed, who wrote in Greece; and of Abydenus, a Greek, who wrote in Chaldea; we have some historical statements in Xenophon, and a few in Herodotus: but the Chaldean history, if ever written, is lost; the public documents are destroyed; the means of an accurate and full knowledge of the Chaldean or Babylonish power in the time when Daniel lived, have disappeared for ever. Under these circumstances, it would not be strange if we should not be able to clear up all the difficulties of a historical nature that may be suggested respecting these fragmentary accounts, or be able to verify the statements which we find in the sacred books by the explicit testimony of contemporary writers.”—Barnes, Notes on the Bible, s.v. “Introduction to Daniel.”

33“As Dougherty recounts, before the discovery and publication of cuneiform documents demonstrating that Belshazzar was Nabonidus’s son, scholars proposed that Belshazzar was (a) a pure invention, (b) a brother or son of Evil-Merodach, or Evil-Merodach himself, (c) Neriglissar, (d) a grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, or (e) another name for Nabonidus.[Raymond F. Dougherty, Nabonidus and Belshazzar (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1929), pp. 13-14.]”—Edwin M. Yamauchi, “Archaeological Backgrounds of the Exilic and Postexilic Era, Part I: The Archaeological Background of Daniel,” in Bibliotheca Sacra, vol. 137 no. 545 (Dallas, TX: Dallas Theological Seminary, January-March 1968), 9.

34“A cuneiform source expressly states that Nabonidus entrusted the kingship to his son, Belshazzar.”—Merrill F. Unger, Unger’s Commentary on the Old Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2002), 1630.

35Ibid., 1609.

36Ibid., 1604.

37Ibid.

38Archer, Daniel, 3.

39Newton, Observations Upon the Prophecies of Daniel, and the Apocalypse of John, 25.

40John E. Goldingay, “Daniel,” vol. 30 in Bruce M. Metzger, David A. Hubbard, and Glenn W. Barker, eds., Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas, TX: Word Books), xxxix-xl.

41Ibid., 321.

42Ibid., v.

43Ibid., xl.

44Even that we wouldn’t readily admit.

45Goldingay’s commentary in chapter 3 continues in a similar vein: “With chap. 6, Dan 3+ can be seen as a tale of court conflict concerning three men who have been promoted in the administration.”—Goldingay, Daniel, 67. “Concerning as it does a religious and not merely a political offense, it can also be seen as a confessor legend telling of heroes of faith who defy a royal edict, despite the sanction of execution, because obeying it would mean contravening a fundamental aspect of their religious commitment.”—Goldingay, Daniel, 67. “the storyteller is giving local color to his fiction.”—Goldingay, Daniel, 68. “Dan 3+ can also be seen as a midrash, the story taking as its text Isa. 43:1-3 (cf. Ps 27:2; 66:10-12); cf. Isa. 48:10; 50:11. Haag (TTZ 96 [1987] 21-50) sees Isa. 43 as suggesting key aspects to the original form of the story, which was then reworked in the Antiochene period and in other contexts.”—Goldingay, Daniel, 68. “A narrative that combines features of court-tale, legend, aretalogy, and midrash does not invite us to treat it as historiography.”—Goldingay, Daniel, 75.

46H. C. Leupold, Exposition of Daniel (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1949, 1969), 133.

47Wilson, Studies in the Book of Daniel, 168.

48Leupold, Exposition of Daniel, 27.

49Robert Anderson, The Coming Prince, 10th ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1894, 1957), 6.

50Although it remains in academic vogue to attribute the design of each book, even apocalyptic visions, to the carefully crafted literary intentions of the author, Scripture makes clear that apocalyptic revelation, such as that given to Daniel and John, finds the author dutifully recording what is shown by vision and divine interpretation. Non-apocalyptic books such as those by Luke (e.g., Luke 1:1-4; Acts 1:1) evidence human design, but even there the overall structure must be attributed to the Spirit.

51Robert L. Thomas, Evangelical Hermeneutics: The New Versus the Old (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 2002), 64.

52Care is still needed when determining which passages shed light on the primary passage in question. An appeal to related passages is valid to the degree the claimed passages are themselves interpreted according to a plain sense. “Scripture must be interpreted, and that includes any Scripture passage to which an interpreter appeals in his effort to support his interpretation of another Scripture passage. In other words, to claim that one is interpreting Scripture with Scripture often simply means that the interpreter has interpreted one Scripture passage in one way and is using his interpretation of that passage to support or clarify his understanding of another Scripture so as to interpret it in a comparable way. But, if an interpreter’s interpretation of a given passage is questionable, his appeal to other passages does not serve to support his interpretation of the passage in question, because his interpretation of those other passages may be equally questionable. Even the choice which Scriptures relate to which, and which do not relate at all, is an interpretive process that is influenced by the prior hermeneutical and eschatological framework of the interpreter. . . . There is nothing that is necessarily illicit or improper in this process. The disingenuous aspect is to imply that simply because an interpreter compares one Scripture passage to another, this somehow obviates the need for interpretation and miraculously bypasses the interpreter’s presuppositions and assumptions, and that by means of this process of appeal one has the hermeneutic high-ground . . . The practice of comparing Scripture with Scripture is not some magical formula that validates one’s interpretation . . . As important as the practice is, in order to be valid, the interpreter must justify and prove his interpretation of the related Scripture just as he must justify and prove his interpretation of the Scripture under consideration.”—Thomas A Howe, Daniel in the Preterist’s Den (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2008), 9-11. To minimize susceptibility to possible abuse of the Analogy of Faith, the reader must possess sufficient familiarity with Scripture to discern when important related passages are omitted by the interpreter in favor of an interpretive disposition.

53J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1958), 44.

54Anderson, The Coming Prince, 14-15.

55Wilson, Studies in the Book of Daniel, 285-286.

56Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament, 1109.

57John F. Walvoord, Daniel: The Key to Prophetic Revelation (Chicago, IL: Moody Bible Institute, 1971), 22.

58“The proof that the voice is really Divine must be absolute and conclusive. In such circumstances, skepticism betokens mental or moral degradation, and faith is not the abnegation of reason, but the highest act of reason.”—Anderson, The Coming Prince, 11.

59Ibid., xliii.

60This is often the snare of otherwise bright young men who, in furthering their preparation to serve Christ, wind up chasing academic recognition, often shipwrecking their faith.

61J. P. Moreland, Love your God with all Your Mind: The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1997), 110-111.

62 “No student of Daniel can afford to ignore the writings of Montgomery and Rowley, and it is hoped that the frequent reference to these men in the following pages, even though it is so often by way of disagreement, will be regarded as a sign of the admiration and respect with which their labors are regarded by the author.” [emphasis added]—Edward J. Young, The Prophecy of Daniel (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1949, 1998), 5-6. What a strange recommendation! We are told that no student of Daniel can afford to ignore the writings of Montgomery and Rowley. But these authors are among the most vocal and influential critics of the book of Daniel! How can any believer who cares for the cause of Christ have admiration and respect for promoting views that the Apostle Paul would surely have condemned and effectively undermine the work of our Lord? Such is the allure of the academy and its ability to twist judgment and promote compromise.

63Charles Clough, Lessons on Daniel (Spokane, WA: Ellen Kelso, [transcriber], 2006), 1:1, 6.

64Anderson, The Coming Prince, 16.

65H. A. Ironside, Lectures on Daniel the Prophet, 2nd ed. (New York, NY: Loizeaux Brothers, 1953), 11, 19.

66Dr. Schreiber of San Augustine giving a typhoid inoculation at a rural school, San Augustine County, Texas. Image courtesy of John Vachon. Image is in the public domain.

67Many who have defected from solid doctrinal positions never truly understood the position they initially endorsed. Having ridden on a “straw horse,” it became all too easy for others to push them off.

68Clough, Lessons on Daniel, 1:1.

69Dean, Lessons on Daniel, 1-5.

70“[This author] has likewise appreciated commentaries which spend less time in refuting an opposing writer and give more time to presenting positive evidence for the interpretation favored. . . . the prime endeavor should be analysis, not refutation.”—Wood, A Commentary on Daniel, 8.

71Gaebelein, The Prophet Daniel: A Key to the Visions and Prophecies of the Book of Daniel, 2-3, 5.

72Benware, Daniel’s Prophecy of Things to Come, 10.

73J. Vernon McGee, Thru The Bible Commentary (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1997, c1981), 3:524.

74Being trained as an electrical engineer, I soon found other engineers who reached similar conclusions. Men like Clarence Larkin, Henry Morris, and Robert Thomas.

75One need only contrast the different instructions given by God pertaining to the eating of meat to see the essence of dispensationalism: Gen. 1:29; 9:3; Deu. 12:15; Isa. 11:7; 65:25; Rom. 14:2; 1Ti. 4:3.

76Our view accepts at face value the numerous passages in both OT and NT that contribute to an understanding of the thousand-year kingdom of Jesus reigning from earthly Jerusalem. Others are unwilling to allow such an interpretation of the Biblical text: “Nowhere, however, do the Scriptures teach that at his return Christ will establish a this-worldly, political kingdom or ‘millennium.’ . . . the ‘millennium’ described in Revelation 20+ is the church age, spanning the time between Christ’s first and second advents. . . . this period of time, figuratively described as a thousand years, has already begun, so ‘inaugurated millennialism’ might be technically more accurate for it.”—Andrew E Steinmann, Daniel (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2008), 49, 51. However, if the church age is the millennium, then Satan must be presently bound (Rev. 20:2-3+)—something the nightly news easily refutes. For additional background on the millennium, see . [Garland, A Testimony of Jesus Christ : A Commentary on the Book of Revelation, Vol. 2 (Rev. 15-22), 4.11]

77Copyright © 2003 Ariel Ministries (www.ariel.org), P.O. Box 792507, San Antonio, TX 78279-2507. This image appears by special permission and may not be duplicated for use in derivative works.. [Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of Messiah, rev. ed. (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 1982, 2003), 2]

78John MacArthur, ed., The MacArthur Study Bible (Nashville, TN: Word Publishing, 1997), xxxii.

79Philip Mauro, The Seventy Weeks and the Great Tribulation (Washington, DC: Eerdmans, 1921, 1944, 2005), 26-27.

80Garland, A Testimony of Jesus Christ : A Commentary on the Book of Revelation, Vol. 1 (Rev. 1-14), 2.11.

81“Apocalyptic literature in the Bible has several characteristics: (1) In apocalyptic literature a person who received God’s truths in visions recorded what he saw. (2) Apocalyptic literature makes extensive use of symbols or signs. (3) Such literature normally gives revelation concerning God’s program for the future of His people Israel. (4) Prose was usually employed in apocalyptic literature, rather than the poetic style which was normal in most prophetic literature. . . . In interpreting visions, symbols, and signs in apocalyptic literature, one is seldom left to his own ingenuity to discover the truth. In most instances an examination of the context or a comparison with a parallel biblical passage provides the Scriptures’ own interpretation of the visions or the symbols employed. Apocalyptic literature then demands a careful comparison of Scripture with Scripture to arrive at a correct understanding of the revelation being given.”—J. Dwight Pentecost, “Daniel,” in John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, eds., The Bible Knowledge Commentary (Wheaton, IL: SP Publications, 1983), 1:1323.

82Clarence Larkin, The Book of Daniel (Glenside, PA: Clarence Larkin Estate, 1929), s.v. “Introduction.”

83Pentecost, Things to Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology, 55.

84In response, some will point to passages such as, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28 cf. Col. 3:11). But Paul is not teaching the abolition of all male/female, slave/free, or Jewish/Gentile distinctions because the context concerns the means of salvation and our resulting position in Christ Jesus. Other passages written by Paul illustrate that these important distinctions have not been abolished in every sphere (e.g., Rom. 2:8; 11:25-29; 1Cor. 10:32; 11:3; Eph. 5:22; Col. 3:18). Also consider the Jewish/Gentile distinction in the mouth of Jesus concerning our present times (Luke 21:24).

85Monty S. Mills, Daniel: A Study Guide to the Book of Daniel (Dallas, TX: 3E Ministries, 1988, 1999), s.v. “Introduction.”

86This follows when we realize that the Scriptures describe the way of eternal salvation and the eternal damnation of those who reject God. If language were insufficient for the task of accurately communicating these truths, God would be guilty of judging mankind based upon a response to an ambiguous message.

87Mills, Daniel: A Study Guide to the Book of Daniel, s.v. “Introduction.”


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