Go to Facebook   or Tweet @strangework to interact.                                                                                                                                           Home           



The book of Daniel is an amazing prophetic book of the Bible. Within its pages, nations, events and even individual people were foretold ... often decades or hundreds of years before they actually stepped out upon the scene of human history. It is the apocalyptic book of the Old Testament as Revelation is the apocalyptic book of the New Testament. This word, Apocalyptic comes from the word apocalypse, referring to disasters or doom or ... as is the case of Daniel and Revelation ... the end of the world. Daniel and Revelation predict many of the same events and personalities that are yet to come in world history. So, they go hand in glove together and are both essential to getting a complete picture of the Bible’s presentation of the end times (eschatology).

The Greek word translated Revelation in Rev. 1:1, is Ἀποκάλυψις (apocalupses). It means unveiling or uncovering ... a pulling back of the curtain, so to speak, in order to reveal things that were previously unknown. It involves the following elements:

    1.  The revelation that comes about through a dream or vision. The book of Zachariah also falls into this category, recording several such visions.


    2.  The revelation that comes through the use of symbols. If the reader is unfamiliar with the Bible, it is sometimes difficult to determine which is symbolic and which is not.


    3.  The revelation of the future of God's chosen people. With great specificity, Daniel predicts many things that will happen in the future to God's chosen people ... the Jews ... many of which have already come to pass ... just as Daniel prophesied ... and others that are still yet to come.


    4.  Revelation written in a prose style ... rather than a poetic style.


As a youth, Daniel was taken out of Jerusalem as a captive by the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar. This took place in the first deportation of the Jews around the year 606 BC. There were two more invasions and deportations by king Nebuchadnezzar when the Jews that Nebuchadnezzar had left behind attempted to rebell. The last time he had to put down rebellion at Jerusalem, he was so angry at the Jews that he completely destroyed the city and literally plowed the ground before he returned home again.


Jesus called Daniel a prophet in Matthew 24:15, and so he was. His writings are filled with prophecy. However, during his lifetime, Daniel never held the official office or title of prophet as did, for example, Isaiah or Amos. The distinction is that Daniel was not actually a spokesman for God to God's people, the Jews. Rather, he was God's spokesman to the Gentiles (non-Jews). All his adult life, he was a statesman in a Gentile court. Therefore, the book of Daniel was not placed among the "prophetic" books by the Jews, but was placed among the "historical" books.


Daniel lived during the time of two great world empires ... Babylon and Persia (including Medo-Persia). Under those kingdoms, he served under several kings ... beginning with Nebuchadnezzar in 606 BC, and ending with the reign of Cyrus around 536 BC. He was well known among the Jewish people. Ezekiel mentions him in his prophecy in Ezekiel 14:14, 20 and 28:3.


Daniel wrote his book using two languages. The lion's share is in Hebrew and there is a small amount of Aramaic. He goes from Hebrew to Aramaic and then back to Hebrew again. The use of these two languages provide a neat separation for outlining the book as follows:


          1.  1-2:4a (in Hebrew) ... containing Daniel’s account of Nebuchadnezzar's expedition and Daniel and his friends' subsequent experiences in Nebuchadnezzar's court in Babylon. Logically, this was written in Daniel's native tongue of Hebrew.   


          2.  2:4b-7:28 (in Aramaic) ... containing Daniel’s prophecies concerning the great Gentile nations that were to come and greatly impact the Jewish people ... their character, relations, successions and destinies. Thus the language used is the Gentile tongue of Aramaic.


           3.  8:1-12:13 (in Hebrew) ... containing Daniel’s prophecies of God's future program for his Jewish people. Consequently, the language reverts back to Hebrew.


Early records confirm that the book was indeed written by Daniel. As far as can be determined, every Jew and early Christian attributed the book to Daniel. Even Josephus, the secular Roman historian of the first century, does so. The authorship and date of the book was first challenged around AD 300, by the anti-Christian philosopher, Porphyry. Porphyry saw that the book of Daniel foretold many historical events that occurred between 600 BC and AD 70  ... especially things during the days of Antiochus Epiphanes, the "Madman". Thus, Porphyry concluded that the book of Daniel must then have been written after the events it recorded saying that it was merely written to comfort the Jews in their suffering and as a prop for their religion. He reasoned, After all, no one can foretell the future! This is a stubborn view that is still held by secularists and theological liberals today who deny the historicity, prophecies and miracles of the Bible.


I will not go into detail about the arguments put forward by these critics who wish to relegate this beautiful and historic prophecy to just another Jewish apocalyptic fantasy. If the reader would like to do further study in this area, I would highly recommend the book, In and Around the Book of Daniel by Charles Boutflower. He takes these critics "head on" and does a masterful job of laying out the case for the historicity and authorship of Daniel. Dr. Herbert Lockyer says of his book, ...there is no other that can compare with Boutflower's masterly work for a right understanding of the historical background of Daniel's prophecy. Another great defender of the authorship of Daniel was the studious Jerome, translator of the Latin Vulgate.


Modern archeology has put to rest many of the critic's objections to the book of Daniel by uncovering records that show the uncanny historical accuracy of Daniel's prophecies. The East India House Inscription at the British Museum, is an example. This stone block, covered with finely carved cuneiform, was found in the ruins of Babylon sometime before 1801 and was given to the representative of the East India Company in Baghdad (hence its modern name). It records Nebuchadnezzar's desire to glorify his god, Marduk, by his many construction works in his capital, Babylon, and nearby city of Borsippa.


A picture of the East India House Inscription stone tablet found in the ruins of Babylon.


Finally, let me repeat … Jesus referred to Daniel's authorship in Matthew 24:15. His stamp of authenticity is proof enough for me. How about you? Someone has said, If I cannot believe Christ, it doesn't make much difference what I believe about Daniel! I might add, or anything else for that matter!