The Book of Daniel

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Mukwonago Baptist Church

1610 Honeywell Road

Mukwonago, WI 53149

(262) 363-4197

Sunday school begins at 9:30 am, Sunday AM worship at 10:30 am,

Sunday PM worship at 6:30 pm, and Wednesday prayer/Bible study at 7:00 pm. has special resources dealing with evidence for the Bible and for creation to help atheists, agnostics, and others skeptical about Scripture, as well as material specifically for Catholics, Lutherans, Presbyterians and other Reformed believers, Muslims, Jews, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses and other non-Trinitarians, Seventh-Day Adventists and other Sabbatarians, Pentecostals, Evangelicals, and members of other religions.

1 You are encouraged to look up the Bible references yourself and to examine the context; to do so, you must understand how verse references work. “John 7:17,” for example, means the book of John, chapter seven, verse seventeen. Bible references sometimes do not give the whole book name but an abbreviation for it: for example, “Jo 7:17” means “John 7:17.” The Table of Contents in your Bible will probably also give you the abbreviations for the various books. If you do not own a Bible, please contact those through whom you received this composition to obtain one, or download a free copy at The King James Version of the Bible is used throughout the text, because it is the best translation in English. Many other versions and paraphrases employ what is known as “dynamic equivalence,” where the translators decide what they believe the Hebrew and Greek mean and paraphrase this supposed meaning in English. (Hebrew and Greek are the original Biblical languages, in addition to Aramaic, which is used for a small portion of the Scripture.) While such Bible translators’ decisions often create a disappointingly non-literal translation, the King James Version utilizes what is known as “formal equivalence.” This translation method requires that every word in the translation represents something in the underlying language. For example, in Proverbs 30:5, we read: “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.” Notice the “is” in italics—the italicization means that the word, though necessary for English grammar, is not in the original language, here Hebrew. All the other words represent equivalents in the original. (While there is no specific word in Hebrew for “is” in this verse, the idea of the word is involved in the Hebrew syntax, and is therefore supplied by the King James Bible.) The amazing accuracy of the King James Version explains why it has been the standard English Bible for over 400 years.

The author of this study knows all three of the Biblical languages: Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic.

2 The word LORD in capital letters represents the Hebrew Yehowah (Jehovah), the personal and covenant name of God in the Old Testament. It is related to the third person form of the verb “to be” in Hebrew and thus also demonstrates God’s self-existence.

3 Archaeologist Nelson Glueck wrote:

It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a Biblical reference. Scores of archaeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or exact detail historical statements in the Bible. And, by the same token, proper evaluation of Biblical descriptions has often led to amazing discoveries. They form tesserae [tiles] in the vast mosaic of the Bible’s incredibly correct historical memory. (Nelson Glueck, Rivers in the Desert: A History of the Negev. [New York: W. W. Norton, 1959], 31)

Dr. Glueck, former president of the Hebrew Union College, conducted pioneering work in Biblical archaeology that contributed to the discovery of 1,500 ancient sites.

4 Daniel’s authorship of the book of Daniel is discussed and vindicated below.

5 While a variety of different sources were employed to garner the facts in the interpretation of the visions of the following chapters, the reader who desires more detail is referred to two of the primary sources for this section of this composition—John Walvoord’s Daniel: The Key to Prophetic Revelation (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1989), and Barnes’ Notes, Daniel, Albert Barnes (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1998 [orig. pub. 1853]). Walvoord’s bibliography contains an extensive listing of resources for one who desires to study this matter further. Also quite helpful is the volume on Daniel in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, ed. Frank E. Gaebelien (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1990).

6 The anti-supernaturalist and unhistorical view that the Medes and the Persians were two different empires is discussed and refuted below in the section “Unavoidable Predictive Prophecy in Daniel” under the subheading “Daniel’s Fourth Kingdom: Rome, not Greece.”

7 Compare the analysis of Daniel 11 below.

8 Josephus, Antiquities, Book XI, chapter 8. While, of course, Josephus is not Scripture and is not infallible, there are good reasons to conclude that his account here, as in the great body of the other material that he records, is accurate. Other ancient writers, such as Pliny, Arrian, and Justin, testify to historical facts mentioned in this passage. For more information, see Albert Barnes, Notes on the Old Testament: Daniel, Vol. 1 (London: Blackie & Son, 1853), 54. See also the discussion in the section below entitled “Early References to the Book of Daniel in Other Works.”

9 In the Bible, a saint is not some higher class of spiritual person, nor does the position of sainthood occur after one’s death as a recognition from some religious organization. Every one of God’s people is a saint, and the designation is used of those still alive (Romans 1:7; 16:15, 1 Corinthians 1:2, 14:33, 16:1, Philippians 1:1, 4:22, etc.).

10 Biblical prophecy often proceeds without further notice from the time when Israel fell from her status as God’s chosen instrument for His work on earth through the Church Age to Israel’s future restoration after the rapture of the saints (1 Thessalonians 4). For example, Isaiah 61:1-2, which Christ quotes in Luke 4:17-18, proceeds directly from a prophecy of the Lord Jesus’ first coming (Isaiah 61:1-2a) to His second coming (Isaiah 61:2bff.). For this reason Christ quotes to His hearers only Isaiah 61:1-2a to His hearers as fulfilled before them in that day—the rest of the prophecy still awaits future fulfillment in the Lord Jesus’ future thousand-year kingdom (Isaiah 2; Revelation 20). The Bible teaches that the return of Christ for His saints in this age will occur unexpectedly, so that men cannot know beforehand the day or the hour (Matthew 25:13). The immanency of Christ’s return would be impossible if prophecies that detailed the entire course of the church age existed. For much more detail on the Biblical doctrine of last things, see Robert Sargent, Landmarks of Bible Prophecy (Oak Harbor, WA: Bible Baptist Church Publications, 1998), the best general work on the subject, or J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1958), a classic which is also quite informative.

11 For more on these sections of Daniel’s prophecies, please see the appropriate sections in John F. Walvoord, Daniel: The Key To Prophetic Revelation (Galaxie Software, 2008).

12 For more detail on the necessary connection of the bear to the Medo-Persian empire, see E. B. Pusey, Daniel the Prophet: Nine Lectures, Delivered in the Divinity School of the University of Oxford, with Copious Notes (Oxford: John Henry and James Parker, 1864), 70–74.

13 See John F. Walvoord, Daniel: The Key To Prophetic Revelation (Galaxie Software, 2008), 178-180 for more details.

14 This historical event is described in 1 Maccabees 1:16-19. While the Apocrypha is not inspired, it does provide valuable insight into the time period predicted by Daniel.

15 First and Second Maccabees provide a historical account of the times of the Maccabean revolution. These books are generally reliable, although 2 Maccabees is less accurate than 1 Maccabees.

16 See E. W. Hengstenberg, Christology of the Old Testament. (Mac Dill, FL: MacDonald Publishing, n. d.) 803 & E. W. Hengstenberg, Dissertations on the Genuineness of Daniel (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1848) 143ff.

17 Providing further evidence for the weeks being weeks of years, Hengstenberg writes:

But what right have we to interpret the weeks as weeks of years, or periods of seven years each? . . . The most forcible argument is founded upon the seventy years of Jeremiah. A reference to these is sufficient to show that seventy ordinary weeks cannot for a moment be thought of. For what comfort would it have afforded to Daniel, if he had been told, that, as a compensation for the seventy years of desolation, the city would stand for seventy ordinary weeks, and then be destroyed again? Moreover Daniel himself must have been able to perceive, from the magnitude of the events, which were to take place during this period, that something more was intended than ordinary weeks. But if they were not ordinary weeks, he would be led all the more naturally to think of weeks of years, both from the important position assigned to them in the law of Moses, and because the captivity had again so forcibly recalled them to mind, the seventy years’ desolation being generally regarded as a punishment for neglecting to keep the Sabbatical years (2 Chronicles 36:21). . . . [T]hese periods of seven years’ duration . . . were evidently looked upon as weeks, from the frequency with which the seventh year is spoken of as “the great Sabbath” or simply “the Sabbath” (Leviticus 25:2, 4, 5; 26:34, 35, 43; 2 Chronicles 36:21). . . . But what led the prophet to make use of this particular measure of time? . . . [A] reason may be found in the connexion between this prophecy and the seventy years of Jeremiah. It served to point out very clearly the relation in which the mercy of God stood to the wrath of God, that to the seventy years, spoken of in [Daniel 9:2] as having been accomplished on the desolations of Jerusalem, a seventy of another kind was opposed, as the period during which the city was to stand as rebuilt, namely, seven times seventy years. Moreover seven and seventy were perfect and sacred numbers, which were all the better adapted to the divine chronology, from their connexion with the creation of the world and other events in sacred history.—Lastly, the allusion to the year of jubilee is unmistakable. Seven weeks of years constituted this cycle, in the last year of which the civil restitutio in integrum took place, when all debts were cancelled, all slaves set free, and lands, which had been diverted from their original owners, were restored. The last of seventy weeks of years was the greatest of all Sabbaths, the period of spiritual restitution in integrum, of expiation and cancelling of every kind of guilt. (E. W. Hengstenberg, Christology of the Old Testament. [Mac Dill, FL: MacDonald Publishing, n. d.] 808-809)

Note also that every ancient interpretation of the seventy weeks prophecy viewed it as referring to weeks of years: “The Essenes, the Pharisees, and Zealots all understood as 70 weeks of years . . . Daniel’s prophecy of the 70 weeks” (Roger T. Beckwith, “Daniel 9 and the Date of Messiah’s Coming in Essene, Hellenistic, Pharisaic, Zealot and Early Christian Computation,” Revue de Qumran 40 [1981] 521).

18 1,260 days = 42 months of 30 days each = 3.5 years. Compare also Daniel 12:11-12, where the second half of the seventieth “week” is again assumed to be 1,260 days long, and the following 30 and 45 days during which Christ judges the world and His 1,000 year kingdom is set up are brought into view. Cf. John F. Walvoord, Daniel: The Key To Prophetic Revelation (Galaxie Software, 2008), 294–297.

19 “A sanhedrin which imposes the death penalty once in seven years [sûaœb≈u®a{] is called murderous. R. Eleazar b. Azariah says, ‘Once in seventy years’” (Makk. 1:10). “the other years of the seven year cycle [sûaœb≈u®a{]” (Shev. 4:7, 8, 9).

20 It is noteworthy from the “Babylonian Talmud (Sanhedrin 97a) that the Pharisees expected the Messiah at the end of a year-week . . . a future year-week . . . .no doubt of Daniel’s 70 weeks” (Roger T. Beckwith, “Daniel 9 and the Date of Messiah’s Coming in Essene, Hellenistic, Pharisaic, Zealot and Early Christian Computation,” Revue de Qumran 40 [1981] 531). See Jacob Neusner, The Babylonian Talmud: A Translation and Commentary, Vol. 7b (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2011), 92; & Vol. 16, 518, 732.

21 The view that the 70 weeks of Daniel 9 started with the decree of Artaxerxes as recorded in Nehemiah is ancient. For example, Julius Africanus (c. A. D. 225) wrote:

[T]he beginning of the numbers, that is, of the seventy weeks which make up 490 years, the angel instructs us to take from the going forth of the commandment to [restore] and to build Jerusalem. And this happened in the twentieth year of the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia. For Nehemiah his cup-bearer besought him, and received the answer that Jerusalem should be built. And the word went forth commanding these things; for up to that time the city was desolate. For when Cyrus, after the seventy years’ captivity, gave free permission to all to return who desired it, some of them under the leadership of Jesus the high priest and Zorobabel, and others after these under the leadership of Esdra, returned, but were prevented at first from building the temple, and from surrounding the city with a wall, on the plea that that had not been commanded. It remained in this position, accordingly, until Nehemiah and the reign of Artaxerxes, and the 115th year of the sovereignty of the Persians. And from the capture of Jerusalem that makes 185 years. And at that time King Artaxerxes gave order that the city should be built; and Nehemiah being despatched, superintended the work, and the street and the surrounding wall were built, as had been prophesied. (Dionysius of Alexandria, “The Extant Fragments of the Five Books of the Chronography of Julius Africanus,” in Fathers of the Third Century: Gregory Thaumaturgus, Dionysius the Great, Julius Africanus, Anatolius and Minor Writers, Methodius, Arnobius, ed. Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe, trans. S. D. F. Salmond, vol. 6, The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1886), 134–135.)

See the discussion in J. Paul Tanner, “Is Daniel’s Seventy-Weeks Prophecy Messianic?” Part 1, Bibliotheca Sacra 166 (April-June 2009) 189-192. The interpretation of Daniel 9 advocated in this composition is not a modern novelty, but the natural interpretation of the passage, as has been recognized for many centuries.

22 The decree mentioned in Daniel 9:25 cannot be the earlier pronouncement of King Cyrus in 539 B. C. (2 Chronicles 36:22-23, Ezra 1:1-4, 6:3-5). Cyrus’ decree related specifically to the rebuilding of the temple, and said nothing about the streets or walls of Jerusalem. It is very clear that later, just before Artaxerxes’ decree, which actually set the clock ticking on the Daniel 9 prophecy, “the wall of Jerusalem [was still] . . . broken down, and the gates thereof . . . burned with fire” (Neh 1:3. cf. 2:13-14). Nor can it refer to the decree of Darius of 519/518 B. C., because Darius’ decree simply confirmed Cyrus’ original decree and again specifically refers to the temple alone (Ezra 5:3-6:12). Nor is the decree of Artaxerxes to Ezra in 457 B. C. in view, for this decree related to the return of more exiles with Ezra, the further enhancement of the temple and its accompanying worship, and the appointment of civil leaders (Ezra 7:11-26); it did not refer to the restoration and rebuilding of the streets and walls of Jerusalem, as Daniel 9 specifies. The decree of Daniel 9 simply must be the 444 B. C. pronouncement of Artaxerxes.

23 Pusey notes:

[T]he name Messiah occurs absolutely here only in Holy Scripture—not (as it is every where else) “the Anointed of the Lord,” “Thy Anointed,” “His Anointed,” “the Anointed of the God of Jacob,” or “the anointed priest,”—but, as a proper name, Messiah, “Anointed,” they knew that He, so spoken of, was the same Whom other Scriptures taught them to look for. (E. B. Pusey, Daniel the Prophet: Nine Lectures, Delivered in the Divinity School of the University of Oxford, with Copious Notes [Oxford: John Henry and James Parker, 1864], 181–182.)

24 We can determine the date of this decree from the Biblical record. First, we note that Nehemiah 1:1 states that Nehemiah heard of Jerusalem’s desolate conditions in the month Chislev (November/December) in Artaxerxes’ twentieth year. Later in Artaxerxes twentieth year, in the month Nisan (March/April), Nehemiah was granted permission to restore the city and build its walls. To have Nisan after Chislev in the same year may seem strange unless one realizes that Nehemiah was using a Tishri to Tishri (September/October) dating method rather than the Persian Nisan to Nisan method. In this matter Nehemiah was following the example of the kings of Judah earlier in their history. (See The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings, Edwin R. Thiele, rev. ed.; [Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1965], 28-30, 161). Secondly, we can establish the time of the commencement of Artaxerxes’ rule. His father Xerxes died shortly after December 17, 465 B. C., and his son immediately succeeded him. Since the accession-year system was used (in which the first year of a king’s reign was reckoned from the first day of the following New Year, so that Artaxerxes’ first year was considered to begin the first Nisan after December 17, 465 B. C.), the first year of Artaxerxes’ reign, according to the Persian Nisan to Nisan reckoning, would be Nisan 464 to Nisan 463. According to Jewish Tishri to Tishri reckoning, it would be Tishri 464 to Tishri 463. Consequently, the report to Nehemiah (Nehemiah 1:1-4) occurred in Chislev (Nov-Dec) of 445 B. C., and the decree of Artaxerxes (2:1), which set the clock ticking in the Daniel 9 prophecy, occurred in Nisan (March/April) of 444 B. C.

25 Our calendars include leap years because solar years are actually approximately 365.25 days long, specifically 365.24219878 days long, that is, 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 49.75 seconds long.

26 It is noteworthy that Hebrew also employs the same word for “new moon” and “month” (cf. 1 Samuel 20:5, Genesis 7:11, etc.), so a non-solar calendar is natural for this prophecy.

27 The Hebrew word “Messiah” is the same as the Greek word “Christ,” both signifying “Anointed One” and referring to the great King predicted throughout the Old Testament who appeared in the New Testament as the Lord Jesus. Furthermore, Beckwith notes:

There is strong evidence to show that the Essenes, the Pharisees, and Zealots all thought that they could date . . . the time when the Son of David would come . . . based upon Daniel’s prophecy of the 70 weeks (Dan 9:24-27) understood as 70 weeks of years. . . . [T]he most usual interpretations in Judaism until after 70 A. D. [when, because Daniel 9 indicates that the Messiah would come before the destruction of Jerusalem, either one would have to recognize the Lord Jesus as the Messiah or modify the traditional view of Daniel 9], and in Christianity down until the end of the nineteenth century, were of the Messianic kind. (Roger T. Beckwith, “Daniel 9 and the Date of Messiah’s Coming in Essene, Hellenistic, Pharisaic, Zealot and Early Christian Computation,” Revue de Qumran 40 [1981] 521)

28 It is noteworthy that multitudes of Jews in the first century believed that the Messiah was going to come in that period, influenced to that position by Daniel’s prophecy. Josephus indicates that the Zealot party in First Century Israel believed that “about that time, one from their country should become governor of the habitable earth” based on an “oracle that was . . . found in their sacred writings.” This view was held by “many of the wise men” among them (War of the Jews 6:5:4), and would have been held by many among the Pharisees also, based on the fact that the Zealots and Pharisees agreed, except on the matter of rebellion (Antiquities 18:1:6). The view that Daniel contained the date of the Messiah was also present in the somewhat later Bar Kokba movement; only after “the time of the suppression of the Bar Kokba revolt [did] the Jewish reaction against the Messianic interpretation of Daniel’s 70-weeks prophecy see[m] to have set in” (Roger T. Beckwith, “Daniel 9 and the Date of Messiah’s Coming in Essene, Hellenistic, Pharisaic, Zealot and Early Christian Computation,” Revue de Qumran 40 [1981] 539). Thus, “many Jewish and Christian interpretations . . . sought [the Daniel 9’s prophecy’s] fulfillment [in] those years . . . between 10 B. C. and 70 A. D.,” but were hindered in achieving an exact figure by “inadequate chronological information,” despite the universal “Essene, Hellenistic, Pharisaic, and early Christian . . . aim at precision . . . trying to achieve exactness . . . [among] all its old interpreters, Jewish and Christian alike, from the second century B. C. onwards” (Ibid., 541-542). Thus, historical theology validates the natural character of the interpretation of the seventy-weeks prophecy set forth above, in that it was dominant among non-Christian Jews and Jews before the coming of the Lord Jesus. Note the discussion in Roger T. Beckwith, “Daniel 9 and the Date of Messiah’s Coming in Essene, Hellenistic, Pharisaic, Zealot and Early Christian Computation,” Revue de Qumran 40 (1981) 529ff.

29 For evidence that A. D. 33 was the year of Christ’s crucifixion, see Harold W. Hoehner, Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1977) 95-114. Hoehner’s analysis on pages 115-140 constitutes an important source for much of the material on Daniel presented here.

30 See Harold W. Hoehner, Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1977) 137-138.

31 Jesus Christ was crucified on Friday, Nisan 14 (April 3) of A. D. 33. Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, presenting Himself as Israel’s Messiah, took place the previous Monday (Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; John 12:12-16). Four days later, since Daniel 9 states “after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself,” Christ was sacrificed as the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world. In fulfillment of the type of the firstfruits (Leviticus 23:9-14; 1 Corinthians 15:23) offered the day after the Sabbath, He rose again from the grave on Sunday (Matthew 18:1-15; Mark 19:1-20; Luke 24:1-35). For more detail on the day of Christ’s crucifixion and His final week, see Hoehner, Chronology 65-93.

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