Ark of the Covenant - Bible History Online
Bible History

Fausset's Bible Dictionary


A    B    C    D    E    F    G    H    I    J    K    L    M    N    O    P    Q    R    S    T    U    V    W    X    Y    Z   

Book of Daniel

AUTHENTICITY. That Daniel composed it is testified by Daniel 7:1-28; Daniel 8:2; Daniel 9:2; Daniel 10:1-2; Daniel 12:4-5. In the first six chapters, which are historical, he does not mention himself in the first person, for in these the events, not the person, are prominent (compare Isaiah 7:3; Isaiah 20:2). In the last six, which are prophetical, wherein his divine commission needed to be shown, he comes forward personally as the writer. Being a "seer," having the gift and spirit, not the theocratical office and work, of a prophet, his book stands in the third rank in the Hebrew canon, namely, in the Hagiographa (Kethubim) between Esther and Ezra, the three relating to the captivity. Its position there, not among the prophets as one would expect, shows it was not an interpolation of later times, but deliberately placed where it is by Ezra and the establishers of the Jewish canon. Daniel was "the politician, chronologer, and historian among the prophets" (Bengel).
        Similarly, the Psalms, though largely prophetic, are ranked with the Hagiographa, not the prophets. He does not, as they writing amidst the covenant people do, make God's people the foreground; but writing in a pagan court he makes the world kingdoms the foreground, behind which he places the kingdom of God, destined ultimately to be all in all. His book written amidst pagan isolation is the Old Testament Apocalypse, as the Revelation of John written in the lonely Patmos is the New Testament Apocalypse; the two respectively stand apart, his from the prophets, John's from the epistles. Porphyry in the third century A.D. assailed the Book of Daniel as a forgery in the time of the Maccabees, 170-164 B.C. But the forgery of a prophecy, if Daniel were spurious, would never have been received by the Jews from an age when confessedly there were no prophets. Antiochus Epiphanes' history and attack on the holy people are so accurately detailed (Daniel 11) that Porphyry thought they must have been written after the event.
        But Zechariah, Ezra, and Nehemiah allude to it; Jesus in His peculiar designation "the Son of man" (Matthew 24:30, compare Daniel 7:13) refers to it, and especially in the crisis of His trial when adjured by the living God (Matthew 26:64), and stamps him authoritatively as "the prophet Daniel," and ratifies his particular prophecies (Matthew 24:15; Matthew 24:21; compare Daniel 12:1, etc.). Luke 1:19-26 mentions Gabriel, whose name occurs elsewhere in Scripture only in Daniel 8:16; Daniel 9:21. The prophecies tally with those in Revelation. The judgment of the world given to the saints, and the destruction of the blasphemous king at the Lord's coming, (Daniel 7:8; Daniel 7:25; Daniel 11:36) foretold by Daniel, are further unfolded by Paul (1 Corinthians 6:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12).
        The deliverance from fire and lions (Daniel 2 and Daniel 6) are referred to in Hebrews 11:33-34. Thus, the New Testament attests (Daniel 2-3; 6-7; 11) expressly on the three points to which rationalists object, namely, the predictions, the miracles narrated, and the manifestations of angels. The former part also is referred to by Christ, namely, as to "the stone" smiting the image (Daniel 2:34-35; Daniel 2:44-45), in Matthew 21:44. The miracles, like those of Moses in Egypt, were designed to show to the seemingly victorious world power the really superior might of the seemingly prostrate kingdom of God, and so to encourage the captive Jews to patient trustfulness in God. What completely disproves Porphyry's theory is, 1 Maccabees (1 Maccabees 1:24; 1 Maccabees 9:27; 1 Maccabees 9:40) refers to Daniel as an accredited book, and even to Septuagint version of it; compare Daniel 11:26 (Septuagint Daniel 12:1).
        Daniel's place in the Septuagint shows it was received by the Jews before the Maccabean times. What a strange testimony then does Porphyry unwillingly bear to the divine inspiration of the book; the events so minutely fulfilling the prophecies about Antiochus that it might be supposed to be a history of the past instead of, as it is proved to be, a prediction of events then future. Josephus (Ant. 7:11, section 8) records that Alexander the Great had designed to punish the Jews for their fidelity, to Darius; but Jaddua (332 B.C.) the high priest, at the head of a procession, met him and averted his wrath by showing him Daniel's prophecy that a Grecian monarch should overthrow Persia (Daniel 8:5-8). Josephus' statement, if true, accounts for the fact that Alexander favored the Jews; it certainly proves that the Jews of Josephus' time believed in the existence of Daniel's book in Alexander's time long before the Maccabees. With Jaddua, high priest in 341-322 B.C, the Old Testament history ends (Nehemiah 12:11).
        As this was long after Nehemiah, who died about 400 B.C., the register of priests and Levites must have been inserted in Nehemiah with divine sanction subsequently. The language of Daniel from Daniel 2:4 to the end of Daniel 7 is Chaldee, the world empire's language, the subject here being about the world at large. The rest is Hebrew generally, as the subject concerns the Jews and their ultimately restored theocratic kingdom. Daniel's circumstances exactly tally to this, he being Hebrew by birth and still keeping up intercourse with Hebrew, and at the same time Chaldee by residence and associations. The union of the two languages in one book would be as unnatural to one in a later age, and therefore not similarly circumstanced, as if, is natural to Daniel. Daniel's Hebrew is closely like that of Ezekiel and Habakkuk, that is, just those prophets living nearest the assumed age of Daniel. The Aramaic, like Ezra's, is of an earlier form than in any other Chaldaic document. Two predictions establish Daniel's prophetic character, and that the events foretold extend to subsequent ages.
        (1) That the four world monarchies should rise (Daniel 2; Daniel 7), Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome, and that Rome in a tenfold divided form should be the last, and should be overthrown by Messiah's kingdom alone; Charlemagne, Charles V, and Napoleon have vainly tried to raise a fifth.
        (2) The time of Messiah's advent dating from the foretold decree to restore the temple, His being cut off, and the city's destruction, are foretold definitely. "He who denies Daniel's prophecies undermines Christianity, which is founded on Daniel's prophecies concerning Christ" (Sir Isaac Newton).
        The vision mode of revelation, which is the exception in other prophets, is the rule in Daniel and in Zechariah 1-6. A new stage in the theocracy begins with the captivity. Hence arose the need for miracles to mark the new era. National miracles in Egypt, the wilderness, and Canaan marked the beginning of the theocracy or outwardly manifested kingdom of God. Personal miracles mark the beginning of the church, the spiritual kingdom of God, coming not with outward observation in "the times of the Gentiles," which began from the captivity. Originally, Abraham was raised out, of the "sea" (Daniel 7:2) of nations as an island holy to God, and his seed chosen as God's mediator of His revelation of love to mankind. Under David and Solomon the theocracy attained its Old Testament climax, being not only independent but ruling the surrounding pagan; so this period was made type of the Messianic (as it ultimately shall be manifested).
        But when God's people rested on the world powers the instrument of their sin was made the instrument of their punishment. So the ten tribes' kingdom, Israel, fell by Assyria (722 B.C.), on whom it had leaned, and Judah similarly by Babylon (Ezekiel 23). The theocracy, in the strict sense of the manifested kingdom of God on earth, has ceased since the Babylonian exile, and shall only be resumed with a glory vastly exceeding the former at the millennium (Revelation 11:15; Revelation 11:20). Daniel's position in the Babylonian court answers to the altered relations of the theocracy and the world power; see above. He represents the covenant nation in exile, and in subjection to the world power externally. But his heavenly insight into dreams which baffle the Chaldaeans' lore represents the covenant people's inner superiority to their pagan lords. His high dignities in the world typify the ultimate giving of the earth kingdom "to the people of the saints of the Most High" (Daniel 7:27).
        Thus his personal history is the basis of his prophecy. Daniel 2-7 represent the world powers developed historically; Daniel 8-12 their development in relation to Israel. The period of Daniel's prophecies is that from the downfall of the theocracy to its final restoration; it is the period of the world's outward supremacy, "the times of the Gentiles" (Luke 21:24; Daniel 9:27; Daniel 12:7), not set aside by Christ's first coming (John 18:36; Matthew 4:8-10); for Satan yet is "prince of this world," and Israel has been depressed and Judah's kingdom prostrate ever since the Babylonian captivity. But His second advent shall usher in the restored Israelite theocracy and His worldwide manifested kingdom. In Daniel 2 the world kingdoms are seen by the pagan king in their outward unity and glory, yet without life, a metal colossus; in Daniel 7 they appear to the prophet of God in their real character as instinct with life, but mere beast life, terrible animal power, but no true manhood; for true manhood can only be realized by conscious union with God, in whose image man was made.
        The Son of God as "the Son of man" is the true ideal Standard and Head of humanity. (See BEAST.) In Revelation 4; 5, the four cherubim are "living creatures," not "beasts" as KJV. The "beast" (theerion) appears in Revelation 13; Revelation 14; Revelation 17; Revelation 19, as in Daniel 7-8. When Nebuchadnezzar glorified and deified self, becoming severed from God, he became beast-like and consorted with the beasts, that look downward to the earth, having lost his true humanity; but when "he lifted up his eyes to heaven his understanding returned, and he blessed the Most High, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion" (Daniel 4:28-34).
        Nebuchadnezzar's degradation, repentance, and restoration contrast strikingly with Belshazzar's sacrilegious luxury and consequent doom; and Daniel develops definitely the prophetical germs already existing as to Messiah (Daniel 7; Daniel 9), the resurrection (Daniel 12:2-3), and the ministry of angels (Daniel 8:16; Daniel 8:10; Daniel 12:1). The "seventy weeks" (Daniel 9:24) probably date from 457 B.C., when Ezra (Ezra 7) in the 7th year of Artaxerxes Longimenus returned to Jerusalem empowered to restore the temple and the national polity, 13 years before the rebuilding of Jerusalem by Nehemiah, who carried out the commission of Ezra, which virtually included the rebuilding of the city.
        457 B.C. (the A.D. dating four years after Christ's actual birth.)
        30 A.D. the crucifixion.
        3 1/2 years, afterward, of gospel preaching to the Jews only.
        490 1/2
        So, Jeremiah foretold that 70 years of the captivity would begin at 606 B.C., 18 years before the actual destruction of Jerusalem, when Judah's independent theocracy ceased, Jehoiakim being put in fetters by Nebuchadnezzar. The seventy weeks of years are divided into 7, 62, and
        1. The 70th one week, the period of New Testament revelation in Messiah, consummates the preceding ones, as the sabbath succeeds and crowns the work days. The Messianic time (seven years) is the sabbath of Israel's history, in which it had the offer of all God's mercies, but was cut off temporarily for rejecting them. The seven weeks or sevens in the beginning, i.e. 49 years, answer to the period closing Old Testament revelation, namely, that of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Malachi. The 62 are the intermediate period of 434 years between the seven and the one, and in them was no revelation; in all 490 years. The closing one week (or seven years) includes the 3 1/2, years of Jesus' own preaching to the Jews, and 3 1/2 of the apostles' preaching to the Jews only; then the persecution as to Stephen drove the evangelists from Jerusalem to Samaria.
        The universal expectation of a Savior existed even in the Gentile world at the very time He came; doubtless due to Daniel's prophecy carried far and wide by the Jews (Tacitus, Hist., 5:13; Suetonius, Vespasian 4). Jerusalem was not actually destroyed until A.D. 70, but virtually and theocratically was "dead" A.D. 33, 3 1/2 years after Christ's death, having failed to use that respite of grace (Luke 13:7-9). Genesis 2:17, in the day that Adam sinned he died, though his actual death was long subsequent. Hosea 13:1-2; Jerusalem's destruction by Titus only consummated the removal of the kingdom of God from Israel to the Gentiles, which took place at the scattering of the disciples from Jerusalem (Matthew 21:43), to be restated at Christ's second advent, when Israel shall head the nations (Matthew 23:39; Acts 1:6-7; Romans 11:25-31; Romans 15).

Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew Robert M.A., D.D., "Definition for 'book of daniel' Fausset's Bible Dictionary". - Fausset's; 1878.

Copyright Information
© Fausset's Bible Dictionary

Fausset's Bible Dictionary Home
Bible History Online Home


Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE)
Online Bible (KJV)
Naves Topical Bible
Smith's Bible Dictionary
Easton's Bible Dictionary
Schaff's Bible Dictionary
Fausset's Bible Dictionary
Matthew Henry Bible Commentary
Hitchcock's Bible Dictionary