[Editor’s note: This is a rather long question, but the answer is below!]

Question:

This is on Daniel 9 and what Wiki has been saying about it. First of all, they say this has nothing to do with Jesus and the temple but it is about Jeremiah.  As stated here: “The seventy weeks prophecy is internally dated to “the first year of Darius son of Ahasuerus, by birth a Mede” (verse 1), elsewhere referred to within the Book of Daniel as “Darius the Mede” (e.g. Daniel 11:1); however, no such ruler is known to history independently of the Book of Daniel and the widespread consensus among critical scholars is that he is a literary fiction.[33] Nevertheless, within the fictionalized biblical account, the first year of Darius the Mede corresponds to the first year after the Babylonian kingdom is overthrown, i.e., 538 BCE.[34][35]

Chapter 9 can be distinguished from the other “visionary” chapters of the Book of Daniel by the fact that the point of departure for this chapter is another biblical text in Jeremiah’s seventy years prophecy and not a visionary episode.[9] The longstanding consensus among critical scholars has been that verses 24-27 is a paradigmatic example of inner-biblical interpretation, in which the latter text reinterprets Jeremiah’s seventy years of exile as seventy weeks of years.[36] On this view, Jeremiah’s prophecy that after seventy years God would punish the Babylonian kingdom (cf. Jer 25:12) and once again pay special attention to his people in responding to their prayers and restoring them to the land (cf. Jer 29:10-14) could not have been fulfilled by the disappointment that accompanied the return to the land in the Persian period, hence the necessity to extend the expiration date of the prophecy to the second century BCE.[37][36] And just as various elements of Daniel’s visionary episodes are interpreted for him in chapters 7–8, so also Jeremiah’s prophecy is interpreted for him in a manner similar to the pesher exegesis evidenced at Qumran in chapter 9.[22][38] However, this consensus has recently been challenged on the grounds that Daniel prays to God following the defeat of the Babylonian kingdom precisely because Jeremiah’s seventy years of exile have been completed and God promised through the prophet that he would respond to such prayers at this time,[35] in which case the seventy weeks prophecy is not a reinterpretation of Jeremiah’s prophecy but a separate prophecy altogether.[39][40] And these considerations have been further refined along redactional lines to suggest that the latter holds relative to an earlier “pre-canonical” stage in the text, but that the seventy weeks prophecy is, in fact, a reinterpretation of Jeremiah’s prophecy relative to the final form of the text.[19]”

Also here is the link to their article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prophecy_of_Seventy_Weeks

Also another problem is that Wiki wants to date Daniel 8 which talks about the sacrifice of pigs in the temple to after Antiochus IV Epiphanies as they do not believe prophecies cannot be true apparently, (Though they are suppose to remain unbiased.)

They state this here: “The prophecies of Daniel are accurate down to the career of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, king of Syria and oppressor of the Jews, but not in its prediction of his death: the author seems to know about Antiochus’ two campaigns in Egypt (169 and 167 BC), the desecration of the Temple (the “abomination of desolation”), and the fortification of the Akra (a fortress built inside Jerusalem), but he seems to know nothing about the reconstruction of the Temple or about the actual circumstances of Antiochus’ death in late 164 BC. Chapters 10–12 must therefore have been written between 167 and 164 BC. There is no evidence of a significant time lapse between those chapters and chapters 8 and 9, and chapter 7 may have been written just a few months earlier again.[41]

Further evidence of the book’s date is in the fact that Daniel is excluded from the Hebrew Bible’s canon of the prophets, which was closed around 200 BC, and the Wisdom of Sirach, a work dating from around 180 BC, draws on almost every book of the Old Testament except Daniel, leading scholars to suppose that its author was unaware of it. Daniel is, however, quoted in a section of the Sibylline Oracles commonly dated to the middle of the 2nd century BC, and was popular at Qumran at much the same time, suggesting that it was known from the middle of that century.[42]”

The link for that article is here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Daniel#cite_note-FOOTNOTEGrabbe2002b229–230,_243-41

I believe this is also a true prophecy, but they want to date Daniel at least the latter chapters to 167 to 164 BC due to lack of manuscript evidence that includes the book of Daniel before then. The Dead Sea Scrolls they say also is later as stated in their manuscript section which you can freely view here: “The Book of Daniel is preserved in the 12-chapter Masoretic Text and in two longer Greek versions, the original Septuagint version, c. 100 BC, and the later Theodotion version from c. 2nd century AD. Both Greek texts contain three additions to Daniel: The Prayer of Azariah and Song of the Three Holy Children; the story of Susannah and the Elders; and the story of Bel and the Dragon. Theodotion is much closer to the Masoretic Text and became so popular that it replaced the original Septuagint version in all but two manuscripts of the Septuagint itself.[43][44][8] The Greek additions were apparently never part of the Hebrew text.[45]

Eight copies of the Book of Daniel, all incomplete, have been found at Qumran, two in Cave 1, five in Cave 4, and one in Cave 6. Between them, they preserve text from eleven of Daniel’s twelve chapters, and the twelfth is quoted in the Florilegium (a compilation scroll) 4Q174, showing that the book at Qumran did not lack this conclusion. All eight manuscripts were copied between 125 BC (4QDanc) and about 50 AD (4QDanb), showing that Daniel was being read at Qumran only about 40 years after its composition. All appear to preserve the 12-chapter Masoretic version rather than the longer Greek text. None reveal any major disagreements against the Masoretic, and the four scrolls that preserve the relevant sections (1QDana, 4QDana, 4QDanb, and 4QDand) all follow the bilingual nature of Daniel where the book opens in Hebrew, switches to Aramaic at 2:4b, then reverts to Hebrew at 8:1.”   Thanks for the help and blessing.

Answer:

There is a lot here.  BTW, I answer every single one of these questions, and in much detail, in my book Daniel, Prophet to the Nations. (www,ipibooks.com).  You really need to get a copy of this book!  However, let me give you the short version of answers to your questions.

First of all, just because people say things, does not make it true.  Here are two things I believe are not true:  1. Daniel 9 only has to do with things found in Jeremiah.  2. Daniel is a fictional character.

So, let me go for the first one.  First of all, you need to bear in mind that what these people are saying is true “by consensus” is NOT true by consensus.  It is true by consensus of a limited group of people, almost all of whom reject a priori the inspiration of the Bible and even the possibility of the miraculous.  When one begins one’s approach to truth by assuming a thing which is not true, this will do two things.  It will result in much circular reasoning and it will lead one to wrong conclusions much of the time.

About Jeremiah, it is absolutely true that Daniel is talking about Jeremiah.  He read Jeremiah, and more specifically a prophecy in Jeremiah (from Jer 29:10-14 or other similar passages in the book).  Now, remember that the “job” of these skeptics is to prove that Daniel is a fiction, that he is not a prophet, and that he did not successfully predict anything. So, what do they do?  They begin by noting that Daniel is interpreting a prophecy by Jeremiah and declare by fiat that that is all Daniel 9 is about.  Well, making such a statement does not make it true!!!  Here is what is going on in Daniel, at least according to me 😊.  Daniel is reading a prophecy about restoration after 70 years.  The year is approximately 537 BC, and he has been in captivity since 605 BC, so he does the math and interprets Jeremiah 29:1-10 to predict a restoration coming very soon.  In fact, under Cyrus, this restoration did in fact happen!  However, when he receives the vision, it is not about a return from captivity in 70 years, but a return from captivity in 70 times 7 years, which is 490 years.  What return from captivity is this?  Is it one done by Cyrus?  Well, let us look at the context.  It is a return from slavery (to sin) which is done by the Messiah.  Just read Daniel 9:24 where we see that this salvation involves, not the physical return of God’s people from captivity in Babylon, but it will be one that can “finish transgression, put an end to sin, atone for wickedness and bring in everlasting righteousness.”  Yet, these writers claim that it has nothing to do with the Messiah!  The facts are otherwise.  In fact, in Daniel 9:25 it is specifically stated that this prophecy concerns the Anointed One.  The Hebrew word here is messioch–Messiah!  So, this claim that it is only about Jeremiah is quite obviously false, and the reason these people get it wrong is that they are beginning with a presupposition which does not allow them to see what is really quite obvious.

These folks say that there is no external reference to Darius the Mede.  This is true.  Does this prove that the person did not exist?  They act as if lack of evidence proves that the thing did not exist.  What kind of argument is this?  The critics of Daniel for generation said that the Belshazzar of Daniel 5 also did not exist because he was not found in external sources.  Then his reality was discovered at the Ziggurat in Ur.  Do these people publish an apology? Of course not.  In fact, given that Daniel got it right about Belshazzar, when all others disagreed, it is reasonable to conclude that Daniel is getting it right about Darius the Mede.  In any case, simply calling him a fictional character does not make him a fictional character.  The “consensus” that he is a fictional character tells me nothing, given the presuppositions of those who state this, especially given that the same cast of characters (or people like them, only 20 years ago) said the exact same thing about Belshazzar.  I am not intimidated by such people, and neither should you be.

These people say, The longstanding consensus among critical scholars has been that verses 24-27 is a paradigmatic example of inner-biblical interpretation, in which the latter text reinterprets Jeremiah’s seventy years of exile as seventy weeks of years  OK.  Fine, but in this case the longstanding consensus is simply wrong.  The decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem is found in Ezra 6, in the 7th year of Artaxerxes, which is 458 BC.  490 years later is 33 AD (because there is no year zero).  Besides, it is the person Jesus who did all these things found in the passage.  Therefore these people are wrong. Period.  Plain and simple.  Now, it is true that the prophecy in Daniel 9 is a reinterpretation of the prophecy in Jeremiah.  That is true.  But it is a reinterpretation of the prophecy by God, through an angel, and the reinterpretation of the prophecy is itself a prophecy of the coming of Jesus to Jerusalem at the time predicted by the prophecy.  These people simply ignore this.  I believe they do this because of their presuppositions, not because of the evidence.

The next section of the material you have found is about the date of the writing of the book.  Here your sources basically admit to the very thing I am accusing them of.  They know that Daniel 8 (and Daniel 11, by the way) describes in considerable and undeniable detail the events surrounding Antiochus Epiphanes in the second century BC.  Therefore, because they “know” that there cannot be supernatural prophecy in the Bible, then Daniel was written after the events.  The problem with this is that it is pure and undeniable circular reasoning.  How do I know that Daniel 8 is not a prophecy, written 350 years before the events?  Because I know that Daniel 8 is not a prophecy, written 350 years before the events.  Talk about bias.  This is more than bias.  It is not an argument at all.  Therefore, the entire following paragraph is nonsense.  Sheer nonsense.

So, we need to discuss the evidence that Daniel was written after the death of Antiochus in 164 BC.  The article states that Daniel was excluded from the prophets which was closed around 200 BC.  This is a tricky argument they are playing.  The fact is that Daniel is in the “Writings,” not the “Prophets.”  This is true, but there are a few problems with this argument.  First of all, many of the books in the “Prophets” section of the Jewish canon are not prophetical, such as the Samuels and the Kings.  Second, Daniel was not a prophet by the Jewish definition, and therefore was not likely to be included in the Prophets.  He did not say “thus says the Lord” to the Jewish people.  Besides, they are not fully explaining their argument. The Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Bible was made by a bit before 200 BC.  They are using this to claim that the Prophets were closed and canonized at this time, but Daniel is not in these books.  What they are not telling you is that the entire Old Testament was translated into the Greek in 200 BC, including the writings.  Besides, they are stating as fact that Daniel was not contained in the canon at the time, but what they are failing to tell you is that there is no evidence that it was not in the canon at that date.  Let me say this again, there is literally zero evidence that Daniel was not in the canon at this time.  In fact, it is very likely, and I would argue extremely likely that Daniel was already in Greek by 200 BC, and they have no evidence that it was not.  None!

Next we get to the Dead Sea Scrolls.  There is the evidence.  The Dead Sea Scrolls have two broad categories of material.  It has biblical material and material produced by the Essenes.  Here is the question: Which category does Daniel fall into?  That is an easy question.  Daniel is biblical material, not Essene material, as we all know.  Therefore, the conclusion is that Daniel may or may not have been in the canon in 200 BC (I believe it was, but I cannot prove this), but it was in the canon when the various Daniel fragments were produced–around 125 BC.  This is very strong evidence that Daniel was not written around 160 BC.  It is very strong evidence indeed.   These critics propose that a fictionalized–a purposefully falsified–document was written around 160 BC and that the Jewish scribes were duped into including a falsified document into their canon within 30 years that this fake document was written.  Is this a believable proposition?  No!  It is not.  Besides, it assumes a priori that the Bible is not inspired, which is a really bad assumption because it is not true!  The presence of Daniel in both the Septuagint and the Dead Sea Scrolls, which is common knowledge, is very strong evidence indeed that it was written well before 200 BC.  All the evidence, and I mean all the evidence (including the Greek vocabulary and the Aramaic vocabulary in the book) points to the same conclusion.  It is my opinion that in this case the “scholarly consensus” is nonsense.

The data in the last paragraph above all support my conclusion.  They say showing that Daniel was being read at Qumran only about 40 years after its composition Again, they are using their conclusion as an argument for their conclusion here, but in this case, what they should have said is that Daniel was being read as canonical material by the Qumran community in 125 BC, which is solid evidence that these people did not consider it a fictionalized account.  They should know better than we because many of them were living in 164 BC when Antiochus died.

I hope this helps.

John Oakes

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