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Section 2 .. Reasons To Believe/
Biblical Prophecy

 

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Daniel’s Amazing Prophecies

Also See

The EU Superstate- Future Base of Antichrist: Peaceful political entity or the fifth and final gentile kingdom spoken of by the prophet Daniel? Major Prophecies in Daniel 2 and 7 indicate that the Holy Roman Empire will be the dominant force in the world when our Lord returns. Then, in September, came quite a shock: The EU, at an astonishing art exhibition sketching the future of the organisation, described itself under the heading : "Roman Empire Returns."

The European Union The fact that the formation of the European Union has major spiritual implications is reflected in the religious symbols that the Union has adopted in the form of its flag, its anthem, its architecture, and its basic logo.

A Dragon and Two Beasts Revelation interrupts the judgments, between the Sixth and Seventh Trumpet, to show John (in chapters 12, 13 and part of 14) a symbolic panorama of events and people sweeping backwards over the last two thousand years, then forward to the major players and events of the tribulation period, winding up with the return of Christ, depicted as standing on Mt. Zion.

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ON THIS PAGE

Was Daniel A Prophet Or A Historian?
The Dating of The Book of Daniel

The Rise And Fall of The Empires I
Daniel interprets Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.

The Rise And Fall of The Empires II
Daniel’s Dream

Also See
An Overview of Daniel’s First Vision

 

Dating of The Book Of Daniel..
The book of Daniel presents an extraordinary display of prophetic foreknowledge of the succession of empires from the reign of Nebuchadnezzar the Babylonian king about 600 B.C. to the Roman Empire which began to come into power around 241 B.C. Additionally Daniel 11 spans the centuries from Cyrus The Great to the reign of the antichrist and the end of the age.

Many critical scholars argue that Daniel wrote around 170 B.C. and was looking back in time, not forward. If Daniel is post-dated after the amazing events of history he predicted, a purely naturalistic explanation can be provided. If there is a supernatural God who knows the future, then there is no reason He cannot predict it in advance. Hence dating Daniel after the events of world history which he forecast is based at root on a rejection of the supernatural.

However there is plenty of evidence to show that Daniel lived and prophesied in the sixth century B.C. making his detailed description of future world events supernatural predictions.


Internal Evidence.
Daniel’s writing are dated by specific years of the reigns of various kings of Babylon and Medo-Persia. He explicitly states that they were about the future. “What will be in the later days” (Daniel 2:28, 9:24-29). Therefore an attack on Daniel’s words is an attack on his character. But the Bible clearly shows that only Joseph in the Old Testament had the impeccable character of Daniel. Even his enemies recognized that they could not find fault in his character (Daniel 6:5).


Independent Support for an Early Date

Josephus
 a Jewish historian from the time of Christ and who was court historian for three successive Roman Emperors, listed Daniel among the Prophets (The second section of the Jewish Old Testament), not among the writings, which was the third and last section. At that date Daniel was considered a prophet and not a historian. The prophets were considered to be older. Additionally Josephus,  records that Alexander the Great received a copy of Daniel upon his annexation of Jerusalem in the autumn of 332 BC, immediately following his conquest of Tyre (Antiquities of the Jews XI, viii, 3-5).

Furthermore, according to the ancient historian, Aristeas, Ptolemy II (also known as Philadelphus, 308-246 BC) commissioned the translation of the Jewish Scriptures or the Septuagint (which included the book of Daniel) from Hebrew into Greek in the 3rd century BC.

The Jewish Talmud attributes the books of Daniel to the prophet Daniel who lived in the 6th century B.C. The later Jewish Talmud listed Daniel among the writings, but this was a belated decision made about 400 A.D. Daniel was originally listed among the prophets. His book was later added to the writings as it contained much history and he had a significant political role in the Babylonian government.

Jesus confirmed that Daniel was a prophet and quoted predictions made by Daniel that were yet future in His day (Matthew 24:15). Denying the predictive nature of Daniels prophesies is equated with a denial of the deity of Christ.

Dead Sea Manuscripts
A fragment of Daniel, which possibly dates from the second century B.C., was found among the Dead Sea scrolls at Qumran. This was only a copy, thus placing the book earlier.

Ezekiel 14:14,20, and 28:3 mentions Daniel. Ezekiel lived in the 6th century B.C. and if Daniel was a contemporary of Ezekiel, there is no reason to reject Daniel’s prophecies as coming from this period.


Alleged Errors in the Book of Daniel
In reality the charges by critics regarding the alleged errors only disputes the divine inspiration of scripture, not the dating of Daniel. However the charges have proved baseless.

According to Daniel 5:31 Darius the Mede became king, but no such person has ever been referred to in ancient documents. Critics claim that the author of Daniel confused Darius I, king of Persia (521 – 486 B.C.) with the conqueror of Babylon. However modern archeological evidence has shown that Darius the Mede could easily have existed. Cuneiform texts have shown that a certain “Gubaru” was appointed by Cyrus to be governor over all of Babylon. A common practice in Babylon and Persia was for a officials name to represent the persons new allegiances. In any case a lack of evidence is not evidence of lack.

Much has been made of the fact that Belshazzar was not the ruler as the book of Daniel claims and he was certainly never the king. But it has been clear since 1924 that though Nabonidus was the last king of Babylon, Belshazzar was effectively ruling. In ancient documents ‘son’ does not always mean ‘biological child’.


Vocabulary
Linguistic critics state that certain terms in Daniel were supposedly not in use until the second century B.C. However it is now well recognized that the Greek culture had penetrated the Near East long before the Babylonian period and words such as harp and psaltery could have been in use. Just because a word is not known to have been used at an earlier period doesn’t mean it was not. TOP


The Rise And Fall Of The Empires:
The Bible contains written records of hundreds of predictions, which have proven to be historically accurate in retrospect. Most of them were predictions about the Jew's  future and nation.  But there is a major exception, and that exception is the prophet Daniel. Daniel predicted events which were  global in nature at the time, and most of his predictions have already  come true. Examine Daniel’s prophecies validates the veracity of  Daniel and the Scriptures.

Daniel lived in the Jewish nation of Judea which was conquered by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar between 598 and 588 BC Nebuchadnezzar enlisted the most promising young men from Judah into his service all of whom were assigned the names of false gods of Babylon. The native tongue of Daniel and the others was Hebrew. The language of Babylon was Aramaic. (Called Imperial Aramaic to distinguish it from the Aramaic which evolved  later on and was still spoken in the Middle East at the time of the Roman Empire). It was the language that was used in the royal court at the time that Babylon was the dominant power in the Middle East. Portions of the Book of Daniel are written in Imperial Aramaic, which is one of the pieces of evidence that allows us to date the writings of Daniel back to the time of Babylonian dominance.


Nebuchadnezzar's Dream
The first prophecy we wish to look at is found in Chapter 2 of the Book of Daniel. This prophecy concerns the interpretation of a dream Nebuchadnezzar had one night.  The soothsayers request for the king to reveal his dream to them was met with surprising rejection. He wanted them to give it’s contents and then to explain the meaning thus proving that they were not giving a purely human and worthless interpretation.  A gruesome threat followed. Failure to construct his dream would prove them to be charlatans and they would be “cut to pieces”. The wise men were unanimous in their insistence that the king’s demand was unreasonable, unprecedented and beyond mortal means, which prompted the king to issue a warrant for the arrest and execution of all the wise men including Daniel and his friends. Daniel then requested a stay to consult His God who revealed both the dream and it’s interpretation to him in a ‘night vision’. Verses 20-23 are a ringing manifesto of Biblical faith over the pretensions of pagan pride.

Daniel also lost little time in pointing out that the pagan seers were unable to do what the ‘spokesman’ of the God of the Hebrews could do. He took no credit for what he was about to say but gave his God all the glory.

Daniel disclosed the main theme of the dream- the colossal image composed of a head of gold, breast and arms of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, legs of iron with feet of iron mixed with clay. This composite statue was then reduced to powder by a huge stone, and the powder was blown away by the wind. Where the image had stood, the rock grew to the size of a mountain and filled the earth.

 Daniel said that the statue's golden head represented King Nebuchadnezzar himself. The first world empire, then, was the New-Babylonian.  The second empire is said to be ‘inferior’ to Babylon and was to be Medo-Persia, a combination of two peoples, the Medes and the Persians. This parallels the statue in that the statue had two shoulders and arms. This ‘silver’ empire began with Cyrus the great who conquered Babylon in 539 BC, and was supreme in the Near and Middle East for about two centuries. The bronze torso and thighs represent the nation that was to follow the Medio/Persian Empire. Again, from history, we know that the Greeks under Alexander the Great conquered the Medio/Persian Empire.  Alexander conquered the eastern Mediterranean area, the Middle East, and marched as far east as  the Indus River. Legend has it that when Alexander reached the Indus River  he wept because there were no more worlds for him to conquer. But despite Alexander’s greatness, his empire was split into four realms, ruled over by his former generals, after his death.

The Greek Empire was eventually replaced by the Roman Empire. This is what the iron legs and feet in the statue represent. Rome ruled the Mediterranean area, portions of Europe, the Middle East, and Asia Minor for hundreds of years. Eventually this large empire split into two factions, an Eastern Empire and the Western Empire. In the Fourth century AD the Roman emperor Constantine succeeded in re-uniting the empire temporarily, and moved his capital from Rome to Constantinople in Asia Minor, which eventually was named after him. (Constantinople is now known as Istanbul, the  capital of Turkey).   Constantine's efforts to make Constantinople the  capital of his empire were only partially successful. Eventually the empire  did divide irrevocably into an eastern and a western portion. This is what is represented by the two legs and two feet.

The dream goes on to portray yet another empire symbolized by the  toes which are partly iron and partly clay. Iron connotes toughness and ruthlessness and while iron and clay may co-exist they cannot combine into a strong and durable world power. The implication being that this final phase would be marked by a kind of federation rather than by a single powerful realm. The final scene of the monument being reduced to dust by the rock which then becomes a mountain and fills the earth is God’s established kingdom which is destined to endure forever.

The Babylonians, the Medo-Persians, the Greeks and finally the Romans have all come and gone exactly as Daniel prophesied. The last two are yet to come but is it possible that we Are witnessing the birth of the fulfillment of the fifth kingdom? Many students of Bible prophecy think so. [See Links at the top of the page]

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The  Rise And Fall Of The Empires II.
The second prophecy we wish to look at is found in Chapter 8 of the Book of Daniel. This one involves a dream that Daniel himself had. In his dream he saw a ram with two horns which trampled the whole earth. Then a goat with one large horn came and trampled the ram into the ground. At the height of his power the goat's large horn was broken off and replaced by four other horns. Out of one of  these horns comes a little horn that extends itself toward the south and the east, including the Beautiful Land, i.e. the Jewish nation. This  little horn which grows large interrupts the religious worship in the Jewish nation.

Again, although this is pretty figurative language, we are not free to interpret it anyway we please because Daniel himself tells us what it all stands for, and that interpretation is the core of Daniel's  prophecy.

Daniel explicitly states that the two-horned ram represents the  Medio/Persian Empire.

The fact that one horn is larger than the other signifies that in the Medio/Persian coalition, Persia became the dominant  partner.

Daniel then tells us that the goat is Greece, and the large horn is the first king. This king conquers the Medio/Persian Empire. We already know from our previous discussions that this large horn is Alexander the Great.

Daniel goes on to tells us that four kings will replace Alexander, and this is exactly what history tells us too. Alexander the Great died of natural causes in 323 B.C. at the very early age of 32, at the height of his power. Alexander's son did not get to take over his father's kingdom so Alexander's four top generals split the kingdom among themselves. These four generals are, of course, the four subsequent horns. Alexander's  kingdom was divided as follows: Lysimachus received Thrace and Bithynia; Cassander received Macedonia and Greece; Seleucus received Syria and  Babylon; and Ptolemy received Egypt, Palestine, and Arabia. Out of Alexander's one, great, kingdom came these four kings and kingdoms, none of which was ever as great as Alexander or his kingdom. Now the four parts were not really equal. As we shall see two of the kingdoms became greater than the others became and continuously warred with each other to control  the whole empire which had once been Alexander's. The two dominant kingdoms that emerged were the southern kingdom, Egypt, and the Northern  Kingdom, Syria.

Daniel's prophecy goes on to tell us that a subsequent ruler of the northern kingdom, Syria, will extend its way to the south and east, and will also invade the Jewish nation. The prophecy also says that this king  will not only fight against and conquer the Jewish nation, but he will stop the religious practices and worship in the city of Jerusalem.  Finally, the prophecy says that this king will die, but not by human  hands. What does all of this mean, and how does it compare to the historical record?

History tells us that one of the subsequent kings of Syria was called  Antiochus Epiphanes IV, and he was a very ambitious and cruel person. Indeed, Antiochus did try to enlarge his kingdom by conquering the southern kingdom of Egypt. In fact, he attacked Egypt several times, but  he was never successful. He finally ended up venting his frustration against the Jewish nation and the city of Jerusalem. Antiochus did invade Jerusalem and put a stop to the Jewish worship in Jerusalem in 168 B.C. In fact, Antiochus insisted that the Jews stop worshipping their God and worship him instead! Antiochus' oppression of the Jewish nation lasted just over six years. Eventually the oppression was so cruel that the Jews revolted and ran the Syrians out of their land. The fact that the oppression lasted just over six years is interesting because Daniel prophesies that the oppression will last 2,300 evenings and mornings. 2,300 evenings and mornings are of course, 2,300 twenty-four hour days, and 2,300 days is just over six years. So once again Daniel's prophecy is accurate even down to the detail of time!

One final note on Antiochus. Antiochus did not die in battle, and he was not assassinated. He did not die by human hands. He died from a disease just as Daniel had foretold.

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