Faith Bible Blog

Information and Reflections for the FBC Family

TXT: When was Daniel written?

Question: How can we show non-believers that Daniel was written before the predicted events and not after?

Answer:

 As we heard from the pulpit, the historical events that are predicted in Daniel  represent what biblical scholars call a “dual” or “near -far” fulfillment  pattern.  Within many of the predictions found in Daniel, there are dual or near-far prophecies presented in the same  flow of thought and/or chapter (see Dan 11:1-35 vs. 36-45).  This “interpretive principle” is essential to clearly understand the predictions set forth in this prophecy-saturated OT book!  It is one of the things that makes accurate  interpretation of  this type of literature in the bible so challenging , especially establishing the dating of  predictive prophecy!

Therefore, it is important to appreciate this principle for a couple of reasons.  Namely, to provide context and clarity because  1) a portion of the predictions are yet future (Dan 7:1-8 and Dan 11:36-45) .  And 2) to accurately understand “when” and “how” these events happened vs. those yet future we must use other validation methods like archaeology and recorded human history as well as the Bible.  This is where most of the confusion lies for believers (e.g., Dan 11:36-12:13).

To use Daniel as a means to demonstrate the supernatural  nature of the Bible to unbelievers can be a good tool.  It can be a useful means or segue to sharing the gospel because many today are troubled by the state of the world and mankind’s future on earth.  So… Getting to the gospel is the key!

Since the events described in Daniel  11 are verifiable in history, it does provide one support for the truthfulness of Scripture and the sovereignty of  it’s Author!  The majority of reputable textual scholars affirm that Daniel was written ca. 536-530BC.   The events predicted in Daniel 11 are cataloged in numerous history books by non-biblical historians (recently National Geographic Channel did a  historical retrospective on the  “History of  Babylon” which affirmed the four kingdoms predicted in Daniel 11).

The book of Daniel unfolds much of middle eastern history from 605 BC to 165 BC.  So precise are the 100 predictions found in Daniel that many skeptics have rejected them and claim that Daniel was written after the rise and fall of the kings and kingdoms predicted in chapter 11. However, that is not the testimony of archaeology and history.

Here are some key points to consider:

  1. Secular historians don’t dispute the four kingdoms predicted in Daniel 11 came to pass because archaeology and ancient recorded history and historians confirm their existence, exactly as predicted by Daniel (ie, Herodotus ca 200 BC).
  2. Those who claim Daniel was written retrospectively (ie, after the events predicted in Daniel) claim that Daniel was written ca. 165 BC.  This assertion was proven incorrect in light of the manuscript evidence found when the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947-56.  These  ancient documents provide copy fragments of  the book of Daniel  dated over two hundred years before the supposed date given by the skeptics.  They show the predictions recorded in Daniel 11 already existed before 165BC!

Author: Peter Spiers

Peter is an executive with CFA, a national healthcare consulting firm, and invests all his off-work time into his church and his family. He is faithful to invest his life into men and loves to see people transformed by God’s Word.

5 Comments

  1. The story of Nebuchadnezzar in the Book of Daniel is about 911. There are a number of similarities of the Empire of Nebuchadnezzar and the Empire of Saddam Hossein. I start with the Tree that grew tall and strong. When the tree was cut down the Kings reign fell with it. When the Twin Towers fell Saddam’s reign also fell.

  2. 1. Both Kings lived in Iraq. Saddam Hussein is a representative for Nebuchadnezzar in the Book of Daniel. Saddam and Nebuchadnezzar are archetypes. They are both similar stories. In a number of ways they can be viewed as exactly the same story. When the Tree (Twin Towers) fell so does their empires. I found the following information on another site:

    Nebuchadnezzar’s Palace:
    In 1982, Saddam’s workers began reconstructing Babylon’s most imposing building, the 600-room palace of King Nebuchadnezzar II. Archaeologists were horrified. Many said that to rebuild on top of ancient artifacts does not preserve history, but disfigures it. The original bricks, which rise two or three feet from the ground, bear ancient inscriptions praising Nebuchadnezzar. Above these, Saddam Hussein’s workers laid more than 60-million sand-colored bricks inscribed with the words, “In the era of Saddam Hussein, protector of Iraq, who rebuilt civilization and rebuilt Babylon.” The new bricks began to crack after only ten years.

  3. 2. The Tree is a symbol of the Economy. Daniel interprets King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in this verse:

    Daniel 4: 20 “The tree that you beheld, that grew great and became strong and the height of which finally reached the heavens and which was visible to all the earth. 21 and the foliage of which was fair, and the fruit of which was abundant, and on which there was food for all; under which the beasts of the field would dwell, and on the boughs of which the birds of the heavens would reside, 22 it is you, O king, because you have grown great and become strong, and your grandeur has grown great and reached to the heavens, and your rulership to the extremity of the earth.

    The tree is a metaphor for a skyscraper. The tree in this verse is also a symbol of the economy. In the same way the World Trade Center is also a symbol of the economy.

  4. 3. Chop the tree down, but leave the foundation

    Daniel 4: 23 “’And because the king beheld a watcher, even a holy one, coming down from the heavens, who was also saying; “Chop the tree down, and RUIN it. However, LEAVE its rootstock itself in earth, but with a banding of iron and of copper, among the grass of the field, and with the dew of the heavens let it become wet, and with the beasts of the field let its portion be until seven times themselves pass over it.

    When the Twin Towers fell so did the DOW and the economy. The remaining structure was removed down to it foundation. The tower foundation is similar to the rootstock of the tree. The clean up took aprox. 8 months. Date of ceremony marking end of the clean-up of the Twin Towers was: May 30, 2002.

    The following was taken from – http://www.ussartf.org/world_trade_center_disaster.htm
    The twin towers were part of a seven-building complex designed by architect Minoru Yamasaki that covers eight city blocks. An 800 x 400-ft foundation box, 65-ft-deep and with 3-ft-thick retaining walls, is under more than half the complex, including the twin towers and the adjacent hotel. The complex was completed in phases beginning in 1970. The 1.8-million-sq-ft Seven World Trade Center, constructed in the mid-80s, also had a steel moment frame from the seventh story up. ( Note there were 7 buildings in the WTC.)

    4. The End nears for Nebuchadnezzar and Suddam Hussein. After a year passes both Nebuchadzezzar’s and Suddam’s regime begin to pass.

    Dan 4: 29 At the end of twelve lunar months he happened to be walking upon the royal place of Babylon. 30 The king was answering and saying: “Is not this Babylon the Great. , that I myself have built for the royal house with the strength of my might and for the dignity of my majesty?” 31 While the word was yet in the king’s mouth, there was a voice that fell from the heavens: “ To you it is being said, O Nebuchadnezzar the King, “The kingdom itself has gone away from you,

    The 2003 invasion of Iraq (March 20 – May 1, 2003), was the start of the conflict known as the Iraq War or Operation Iraqi Freedom in which a combined force of troops from the United States, alongside the United Kingdom, and smaller contingents from Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 21 days of major combat operations.

    5. Period of exile for Nebuchadnezzar and Suddam

    Daniel 4: 32 and from mankind they are driving even you away, and with the beasts of the field your dwelling will be. Vegetation they will give even to you to eat just like bulls, and seven times themselves will pass over you, until you know that the most high is ruler in the kingdom of mankind, and that to the one whom he wants to he gives it.”

    After Saddam disappeared the US forces began eagerly searching for him and he was found on Dec. 13, 2003. When Saddam was found in a hole, approximately 7 months after the invasion he looked like this:

    Daniel 4:33 and with the dew of the heavens his own body got to be wet, until his very hair grew long just like eagles’ [feathers] and his nails like birds’ [claws].

  5. 6. The Kings Son is Killed. His end comes when Daniel is summoned to Nebuchadnezzar’s palace to interpret the writing on the wall for the Kings son, Belshazzar. Starting at Daniel 5: 24, these verses tell the end of Nebuchadnezzar’s regime. In a similar story it is also the end of Saddam.

    Daniel 5:24 Consequently from before him there was being sent to the back of a hand, and this very writing was inscribed. 25 And this is the writing that was inscribed: ME’NE. ME’NE, TE’KEL and PAR’SIN. 26 “This is the interpretation of the word: ME’NE, God has numbered [the days of] your kingdom and has finished it. 27 TE’KEL, you have been weighted in the balances and have been found deficient. 28 “PE’ERES, your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and the Persians.” 29 At that time Bel-shaz’zar commanded, and they clothed Daniel with purple, with a necklace of gold about his neck; and they heralded concerning him that he was to become the third ruler in the kingdom. 30 In that very night Bel-shaz-sar the Chaldean king was killed. 31 and Da-rius the Mede himself received the kingdom, being about sixty two years old.

    The writing on the wall was for Qusay and Uday Hussein, the notorious son’s of Saddam Hussein. From Wiki:

    On July 22, 2003, troops of the American 65th MP CO Airborne, aided by U.S. Special Forces, killed Qusay, his 14 year old son Mustapha, and his older brother Uday, during a raid on a home in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

    In both stories Nebuchadnezzar son is killed and so are Saddam’s sons. When a kings sons are killed then so is the Father, and that marks the end of his reign. Saddam was later brought to trial under the Iraqi interim government set up by US led forces. Saddam and his lawyers’ contesting the court’s authority and maintaining that he was still the President of Iraq. He was executed on December 30, 2006.

    To summarize from the prophet Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar and Saddam are exactly the same story.