Was Daniel a Prophet?

I’ve been having a discussion with one of my chess buddies at http://www.chessgames.com on the Book of Daniel. I take it as I find it. But he, following the lead of various Biblical scholars, believes Daniel was written not by Daniel sometime in the Sixth Century B.C., but by unidentified persons circa 150 B.C. (give or take a few decades). By then, the events prophesied by Daniel would have already happened–making the book not prophecy, but a pretended prophecy: in a word, a deception.

Believing this, he says, makes no difference to his Christian faith. Well, who am I to judge that? But it would make a difference to my faith if I thought big chunks of the Bible were a load of humbug.

In Chapter 11, Daniel accurately predicts the turbulent, complicated history of the Holy Land and the successors to Alexander the Great’s empire–including the long, see-saw struggle between the Seleucid Empire, centered in Syria, and the Ptolemaic Empire, in Egypt. The prophecy does not give the names of the individuals who make this history, but it does describe their actions–in great detail.

Because these predictions are so accurate, “scholars” say the book could only have been written after all those things had happened. They begin their analysis from the presupposition that there is no such thing as prophecy–that accurate and detailed predictions of the future are simply impossible.Then they hunt up “evidence” to support their position.

I don’t have a lot of time for scholars.

If my friend’s faith can survive “Biblical scholarship,” my hat is off to him. I presuppose the truth of God’s word–not to mention its fundamental honesty!–and reason upward from that basis.

Sure–I want to know a lot more about the persons, places, and events described in the Bible. I consult historians and archeologists. After all, it was a “scientific” finding–satellite photos showing the course of a once-mighty river that flowed across Arabia into southern Mesopotamia, now buried under the desert: a river that was hidden many thousands of years ago, yet is nevertheless remembered in Genesis 2:11-13 as one of the original “rivers of Eden”–that years ago shocked me out of my indifference toward the Bible. (They’ve even named this long-lost river: the Kuwait River.)

So don’t accuse me of despising knowledge. I just despise knowledge that only claims to be knowledge, and isn’t.

21 comments on “Was Daniel a Prophet?

  1. Right on the money Lee…anytime I encounter one of these “Biblical Experts” I call to mind a classical definition of an “expert”….to wit…
    an “Expert is simply a drip…under pressure”!! 😉

  2. I don’t put much stock into what biblical scholars say either when they don’t believe in the bible to begin with. One wonders why the Essenes saw fit to preserve The Book of Daniel in the Qumran caves since there is a manuscript of Daniel (4QDanc) that supposedly dates within 50 years of the autograph. Jesus referred to Daniel as a prophet, so that’s good enough for me. They can try to explain away Daniel, but how would they explain Israel being born in a day?

    1. Many, if not most, “Bible scholars” are evangelists for unbelief.

      I once interviewed a high official in the United Methodist Church, who proudly said to me, “The first thing I learned in seminary was that the Bible is not the word of God.” He said “truth” is whatever is arrived at by a consensus (I can hardly believe I’m writing something so inane; nevertheless, it’s true), and a consensus is arrived at by politics and political maneuvering.

      Why was this guy a “Christian” at all? Search me!

    2. Here are some more fun facts to add to what I wrote those almost 4 years ago (wow, where at the time gone?). The so-called Biblical scholars believe Daniel was written about 150 BC. Well, the Book of Daniel is mentioned in the Greek Septuagint, which was written between 300-200 BC. The Jewish Historian wrote that the Book of Daniel was shown to Alexander the Great in around 332 BC. The prophet Ezekiel, who lived from 622 BC to 570 BC, mentions Daniel by name several times. Contemporary literature such as Sirach and 1 Maccabees essentially declare that prophecy has ceased. If Daniel was written at such a late date as claimed, it would have been rejected as being inspired and not included in biblical canon.

      Those who make the claim that Daniel was written during the intertestamental period, between the old and new testament, do so because they begin from the premise that prophesy isn’t true. Daniel so actually describes what happened with Alexander the Great, that they conclude it had to be written at a later date. But the fact is Daniel accurately predicts that the Messiah would be cut off (Jesus crucifixion) and the city and sanctuary (Second Temple) would be destroyed, which happened in 70 AD (Dan 9:24- 27), demonstrating the prophecies were not written after the facts.

  3. The term ‘Bible Scholar’ should send one running for the hills! Their purpose in life is a perilous one – attempting to disprove and/or discredit God’s Word. There are some who actually affirm God’s Word is true, but they are few and far between. Discernment is key. Some of these people, I think, are more interested in hearing themselves talk – being puffed up – than actually determining the Truth. There Is a day coming when the ‘experts’ will be in utter shock.

  4. It seems to always reduce to some highfalutin’ way of discrediting scripture. I can only believe that God has been able to protect His word and that the cannon of scripture is reliable. If not: well then, what is there?

    1. That’s the point I was getting at, but much more effectively expressed.

      Sometimes there is a reductio ad absurdism which says it all. There either is a God, or there is not. To me, the answer is obvious, there has to be a Designer of all creation. Creation itself works well, but the human race seems out of harmony. If one accepts this, your next conclusion is that there is a reason for all of this and the Bible explains this well and offers hope.

      So, what are my choices? I believe in a Creator and believe Hos work to be good. If that’s the case, there has to be a way for things to be made good. Why wouldn’t I accept the Bible as an explanation when no other book or source of information has offered any credible hope for the future. Ultimately, I see it as an all or nothing situation.

      If the Bible is not the word of God, then there really is no hope and you end up like Joe Collidge, grasping at the straws of human reasoning.

    2. “If Christ is risen – then nothing else matters. And if Christ is not risen – then nothing else matters.”

  5. The so-called scholar is subscribing to argumentum ad populum, which has no standing in the Kingdom of God. Yeshua called Daniel a prophet
    and that settles it, no matter how many scholars come forward to dispute.
    Fools, all.

  6. Some years ago, I decided that any time I heard someone say, “Theologians are now saying…,” I knew I was about to hear a choice bit of heresy.

    Sorry, but I don’t play charades and make-believe with life-or-death realities. Either Christianity is true or it isn’t. If it isn’t, I want no part of it. But I long ago found it to be true, after years of scrutiny during which I wouldn’t accept anything about it that I couldn’t prove by something outside itself.

    And anyone who says that “truth” is whatever we want it to be is just playing word games. I don’t play word games with life-or-death realities either.

    1. Some years ago, after having come to reject the Adventist take on the End Times (which is how I was raised), I experienced a loss of hope. I prayed about it and was almost instantly provided with help, but those times without hope were unbelievably dark. Truly, I believe that I became a Christian at that moment, when I quit relying on humans and turned to our Father as a source of understanding.

    2. Amen, Unknowable. My circumstance was similar, only Catholic in background. The moment I asked God (on my face sobbing to Him on my living room floor) to show me what HE said and not what some man says He said – I was provided with my answers – through His Word and His leading.

    3. In my case, Linda, I had heard End Times prophecies from my earliest memories, but these were all based on chronologies dating back to William Miller, in the nineteenth century. I had always had misgivings about these and knew that the Bible states that no man can know the day or hour of the Lord’s coming.

      One day, I put all of the pieces together in my mind and concluded that chronology was a dead end. The problem is, that I felt adrift, because I had been raised with that mindset. I prayed and instantly brought to mind words of a friend regarding the restoration of Israel and how that was unique in all of history. No nation has ever been out of existence for many years, then was reconstituted.

      This gave me a new anchor with regard to God’s purposes being fulfilled, even in our time. I had seen prophecy fulfilled, in my own day. Soon thereafter, I remembered the Six Day War and how it. Looked like curtains for Israel, but they beat the odds and won decisively. At that moment, much changed in my thinking, because I realized that “replacement theology” was not correct.

      Since then, I’ve felt closer to my faith, and to my God, than ever before. I don’t have all of the answers, but I have significant evidence of God’s works in progress in our day. I think that the Great Day of God Almighty is probably near at hand, but I can’t know that to a certainly. However, no matter what, I can see critical events shaping before my eyes and it bolsters my faith. No matter what else, I have seen that God is at work and His promises will be kept.

    4. At that time, the Catholic Church didn’t encourage Bible reading or study. In fact, Bibles weren’t brought to church – they had their own Missals. And their sermons usually consisted of a few verses from the New Testament after which they always made their pitch for more and/or extra ‘donations’ for this project or that heat bill. And with regard to the Book of Revelation, their usual mantra was that it wasn’t meant to be understood – notwithstanding the very title. So I was at a huge disadvantage when I left the church. Aimless and not knowing what to do, I spent many years wandering aimlessly. Then God got ahold of me. Praise His Holy Name!

    5. I went to Catholic schools from 1 through 12 and we never had even one Bible study – only their Catechism, which we had to memorize.

    6. It must be going on 20 years since I taught at St. Helena’s, so I can’t be sure they still have regular Bible study. All my Catholic friends around my age tell me there was nothing but memorizing the catechism when they were in school.

      Judging by what some of our Catholic universities have been getting up to, there are some seriously bad people fiddling around with Catholic education.

    7. I’m Catholic, and I know that there are at least three readings from the Bible at every weekday Mass, and four at Sunday Mass. Also, many parishes have Bible study groups, Bible study summer camps for kids, and various missions around the Diocese that are Bible-based. Of course, as with Protestant churches, a lot depends on the pastor. There are dissidents and wishy-washes among our priests and even among our bishops, just as there are among Protestant pastors — and entire denominations. But you can’t walk out of a Catholic Mass without getting a heavy dosage of Bible readings: on weekdays, one from one of the Gospels, one from the OT or NT non-Gospel, and a psalm; on Sunday, the same, plus an additional non-Gospel selection. And some of these readings are looooong. Also, the homily is supposed to be based on the readings.

      So as far as the Mass readings go, there’s no escape (joke). The rubrics are set, and every Catholic Mass in the world has the same readings prescribed for a given day. But what an individual pastor does with those readings, and with the CCD and RCIA programs (for children and converts, respectively), as well as parish Bible programs, can be up for grabs. The same goes for the Catholic school system in a given Diocese. Much depends on the bishop — and I regret to say we have some pretty poor bishops, some of whom seem to have lost their faith themselves. (I’ve heard similar things about church leaders even from my evangelical friends.)

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