WHEN WAS THE BOOK OF DANIEL WRITTEN?
Fulfilled prophecy is one of the greatest evidences that God exists. He says “I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done.”
The prophecies of Daniel are so astonishing that many claim that the prophecies of Daniel were written long after most of the events had occurred, by someone ‘pretending’ to live before the events occurred. However several facts show that this idea is incorrect and that Daniel’s book was written around 600BC:
1. The historian Josephus (c. AD100), records that Daniel’s book was shown to Alexander the Great. This means that Daniel’s book must have been written BEFORE 323BC when Alexander died.
“And when the book of Daniel was showed him [Alexander], wherein Daniel declared that one of the Greeks should destroy the empire of the Persians, he supposed that himself was the person intended; and he was then glad...” Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, XI, 333-338, Loeb Classical Library, page 447.
2. The prophet Ezekiel, who even the critics admit lived about 600BC*, wrote of Daniel’s wisdom, indicating that Daniel was known and lived around 600BC. (See Ezekiel 14:14, 20) *Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 4, 15th edition, 1988, p643.
3. Archaeological finds have confirmed that Daniel knew facts of the 6th century that were unknown by classical historians several hundred years before Christ. Facts such as... Daniel claimed that Belshazzar was the last king of Babylon (Dan 5:30), though classical historians since the 2nd century BC disagreed. The discovery of cuneiform records in the last 200 years confirm that Daniel was correct. Belshazzar was co-regent with his father and was reigning in Babylon when the city fell.
The actual discovery of Babylon in the mid-1800s confirmed that Nebuchadnezzar was the builder (enlarger) of Babylon as Daniel records (Dan 4:30). This is contrary to the claims of all classical historians from the 2nd century BC until the mid 1800s. Daniel knew what classical historians from the second century BC on did not because Daniel was an eyewitness to events in Babylon.
4. Daniel states that he lived in the days of Babylon (Dan 1:1, 6) i.e. ~600BC. Either he did or he is a liar. As Jesus accepted Daniel as a true prophet, not a liar, and as Jesus directs us to study and understand Daniel’s book (Matt 24:15), we may accept Daniel with confidence and believe that he lived around 600BC.
The prophecy which we have just studied was given about 600BC and outlines 2600 years of history down to our day. “There IS a God in heaven that revealeth secrets...” Dan 2:28.
DOES THE STONE REPRESENT THE FIRST ADVENT OF CHRIST?
A common mistake is the theory that the stone striking the image represented Christ’s first advent and the subsequent setting up of His kingdom in men’s hearts.
(a) While it is true that Christ’s kingdom of grace is growing now, His kingdom of glory is to be set up when He returns as He taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom COME.” Matt 6:10; cf. Matt 26:29.
Christ’s first advent was peaceful, in the time of the Roman legs, BEFORE Rome was divided. whereas the stone struck the image on its feet AFTER Rome had been divided into nations of Europe. cf. Dan 7) and had transitioned to Papal Rome.
(b) The transition from each kingdom to the next was with VIOLENCE and so with the transition from the feet and toes to the global mountain kingdom of Christ. The stone’s impact smashes all to dust which is blown away so that no place was found for it. The territory is entirely cleared and nothing is slowly incorporated into the stone kingdom. It is a manifestation of violence and destruction and cannot not refer to Jesus first advent for He said, “...the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save [them].” Luke 9:56. Neither can the destroying stone refer to the gentle and peaceful spread of the gospel by the church.
(c) The kingdom resulting from the stone’s impact is not to exist along side any other kingdoms. ALL is blown away BEFORE the mountain fills the whole earth. Such a situation did not occur at Christ first advent or during the growth of the church.
(d) To be consistent the stone kingdom describes a literal kingdom as all the preceeding kingdoms were literal. It cannot therefore be the spiritual kingdom which is now being made up.
(e) Christ’s kingdom spoken of in Dan 2 is that which will be set up when He comes at the Last Day to execute His Judgment at the sounding of the seventh and final trumpet. Several passages refer to the setting up of this Kingdom in the future:
“And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become [the kingdoms] of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” Rev 11:15.
“I charge [thee] therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who SHALL judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom.” 2 Tim 4:1
“When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, THEN shall he sit upon the throne of his glory...Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Matt 25:31-34.
The Kingdom of God
The kingdom of God is revealed in different aspects:
1. God as King
2. His territory - The Universe
3. His throne - The centre and seat of government
4. His law - His rule of government
5. His subjects- Those who are loyal to him
This kingdom is now in operation and always has been. Christ has not yet taken His Kingdom and will not until He returns. He is presently operating as Priest on His Father’s thone gathering subjects for His Kingdom. The kingdom of God is literal & spiritual. In order to become a subject of Christ’s literal Kingdom one must enter His spiritual kingdom by accepting His law as the rule of life. This work is not heralded by pomp and show but is a silent opening of the heart to God and the entrance of His spirit into the believer.
DO THE TWO LEGS REPRESENT THE DIVISION OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE INTO WESTERN & EASTERN ROME?
This teaching should be rejected because:
(a) The legs on the image were two in number from their beginning, however Rome was not two parts from its beginning. Rome was not divided into the East & West until A.D. 330. Rome was thus a single unified empire for about 500 years before Eastern Rome entered the picture. This empire is represented by the iron.
(b) In the parallel chapter of Dan 7 the fourth kingdom is represented as ONE beast. There is no suggestion of a two part division. In Daniel 2 the kingdoms are represented by the individual metals . The iron represents the same single kingdom as the fourth beast of Dan 7.
(c) The Bible interpretation of the symbolic image makes no significance of the number of legs or ears, fingers etc. so there is no safety in our doing so. Any claim as to the significance of the number of appendages is pure speculation and without Biblical support.