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.

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