Eastern Beauty and Ancient Prophecy
by Richie Cooley
Table of Contents
A. The Human Condition
A. Daniel’s Veracity
B. Daniel the Prophet
Richie Cooley (2016)
Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International
Cover photos by: Janaka (Daniel/Bible) and Outsider (Dragons)
Old Testament Scripture is taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
New Testament Scripture is taken from the Analytical-Literal Translation of the New Testament: Third Edition. Copyright © 2007 by Gary F. Zeolla of Darkness to Light ministry. Previously copyrighted © 1999, 2001, 2005 by Gary Zeolla.
Before getting started, let’s review a few notes that will help make sense of this writing…
*This booklet mostly uses British spelling, except for the quoted material, which often uses U.S. spelling.
*The terms LORD or GOD are ways to describe the personal name of God, often rendered as “Yahweh” or “Jehovah.”
*The Old Testament quotes are from the NASB and the New Testament quotes are from the ALT3.
The ALT3 distinguishes between singular and plural second person pronouns by means of an asterisk ().
*Divine pronouns are normally not capitalized, unless they appear that way in Bible versions or other quotes.
*Words that appear in brackets within quotes are not found in the original texts, and were added by the translators or are my personal comments, etc.
*My views on the life of Siddhartha Gautama have come solely from Dr. Timothy Tennent. Any factual information presented in the biographical sketch conforms to his lectures given at Gordon-Conwell.
Note on the translations employed:
In the interest of not exceeding “fair use” legalities I’ve employed two different versions of the Dhammapada. One translation used is Juan Mascaro’s, first published in 1973. It is now made available via Penguin Classics. The other version is by Eknath Easwaran, and was published by Nilgiri Press, 2007 (second edition). After quoting from the Dhammapada I will indicate which translation was used.
You may be thinking at this point: what in the world is the Dhammapada?
First we must back up to sometime around the sixth century B.C. We must go to a place east of the Euphrates. We must go to the nation of Nepal and also to north India. There was a man born popularly known as Siddhartha Gautama. He was a wealthy prince of high caste, sheltered throughout most of his life by a family desirous to keep him from fulfilling a prophecy given to his mother at his conception. When fully grown he left his enclaved paradise and experienced duhkha (suffering) in all its hideousness for the first time.
Outside the Edenic gates of ease, comfort, and protection, he would see four sights that would shock him out of his comfort zone, but also give him hope. The first three were old age, disease, and death. He had apparently been sheltered from these realities his whole life, perhaps in an effort by his parents to keep him from becoming the prophesied religious leader. The fourth sight was a meditating religious man, a member of the Hindu priestly caste. He seemed to be at peace; he seemed to have been able to have serenity and calm in a swelling sea of duhkha. He wanted to be like that man.
Siddhartha Gautama renounced his life of ease, left his paradise and his family, and set out on a quest to overcome the suffering of this age as that religious man. He pursued the strictest form of asceticism and meditative practices that could be found, but these things brought him no peace. It was then that he renounced this overly rigorous path as well, sat under the Bodhi tree, and was enlightened as to the way of breaking free from the wheel of samsara. All of what made up a person’s life was seen as transient, and it was all connected through an interdependent arising of twelve links. If one link could be broken, then a person could escape from the wheel. The weak link of the wheel was desire/thirst, so if desire/thirst could be overcome, then the endless cycle of suffering and rebirth would finally be dissolved.
In response to these revelations he formulated the “eight-fold” path. By not succumbing to worldly temptations on the one hand, and by not following the path of extreme asceticism on the other, he thought he found a middle way to achieve the quenching of the fire of personhood, to realize nirvana. Siddhartha Gautama had become “the Buddha” (I use this title throughout detached from any personal affirmation as to his enlightenment).
Of the many teachings supposedly to have come from the Buddha, one of the most well-attested and broadly accepted is a collection of proverbs known as the Dhammapada. It is a short work consisting of 423 verses, divided into thematic chapters. No matter what one’s religious background, it contains many thoughtful and wise sayings that are both intriguing and instructive. As a (rabid) fundamental Christian, one of the most refreshing things about studying Buddhism is that although this culture is as different from the life of the Mediterranean New Testament as the East is from the West, the human condition is the same (not ontologically of course). There is the same active conscience, the same insights into the problems of suffering and sinfulness, and the same desire for escape and betterment.
In the West people often express extremely foolish sentiments, as if the problem with culture is that Queen Victoria or the Puritans were heavy handed and able to cramp the style of the masses to this day. Western civilization thinks it is trying to outrun the Puritans, when actually, it is trying to outrun the human condition that is common to every region, in every era. Guilt has nothing to do with Queen Victoria or with Queen Elizabeth II; guilt has to do with the principle of right and wrong given to every man and woman by the One True God.
Let’s now review some of the interesting sayings from the Dhammapada, comparing and contrasting them with the dictates and doctrines from the Bible, God’s unfailing and factual Word. After that we shall focus on Daniel the prophet, who also left his home, having journeyed to the Near East. There is both strength and weakness in Buddhism, but as we will see when studying Daniel, the Bible contains spiritual strength that is undiluted and unmixed.
For now let’s look at some of the words from the Buddha. I’ve taken only a small handful from the 423 verses for review. I have grouped these chosen verses under three headings: the human condition, sin, and goodness.
A. The Human Condition
40. Considering that this body is frail like a jar, make your mind strong like a fortress and fight the great fight against MARA, all evil temptations. After victory guard well your conquests, and ever for ever watch. (Mascaro)
The glossary to Eknath Easwaran’s edition of the Dhammapada describes the term “Mara” as being “Death, the Striker or Tempter”, and the “embodiment of the selfish attachments and temptations that bind one to the cycle of birth and death.” Although it’s important to point out that Buddhists do not believe in the ultimate reality of personhood, for the sake of ease, “Mara” could certainly be seen as the Buddhist’s version of Satan. Supposedly Mara appeared when Siddhartha Gautama was being enlightened, trying repeatedly to tempt him away from truth.
With that in mind consider what the Buddha is saying in this verse. There is an enemy and there is a warfare. We are weak and yet somehow we must strive to overcome a master of temptation. Although Mara is “the embodiment of selfish attachment” and not a fallen angel (as with Satan), either way, we are at a disadvantage against such a strong enemy (I am not agreeing with the concept that all attachment is bad). The Buddha recognizes it’s important to build your mind up like a fortress and to stay in that state continually. But is this really possible?
Contrarily, the Lord Jesus Christ pities his disciples when they fall, prays for them, and strengthens them for the next round of temptation.
Simon Peter, a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, was going to betray his master. Jesus knew that this was going to happen, as he knows the thoughts of all. Neither sea nor wall nor the hardness of the heart impedes his power. Moreover, he had a plan already in place to make something good come out of the bad…
Then the Lord said, “Simon, Simon, listen! Satan himself asked for you* to sift [you*] like wheat. But I implored [in prayer] for you, so that your faith shall not fail; and you, when having returned, strengthen your brothers.” -- Luke 22:31-32
That very night Simon Peter brought great shame and disgrace upon his master, the Lord Jesus Christ. He denied that he ever knew him when Jesus was in his greatest hour of need. Yet after the Lord resurrected from the dead (forever gaining absolute power over every visible and invisible foe) he forgivingly called for Peter and restored him.
. . . .
149. What joy can there be for those who see that their white bones will be cast away like gourds in the autumn?
150. Around the bones is built a house, plastered with flesh and blood, in which dwell pride and pretence, old age and death. (Easwaran)
In several places within the Dhammapada the Buddha bemoans the power that old age has over the body. Even though personhood in his reckoning was completely different from the Biblical view (which speaks of conscious, objective, God-created people who will forever exist), he still recognized what a great and fearful enemy death was. He said at the beginning of the chapter entitled “Age”…
146. Why is there laughter, why merriment, when this world is on fire? When you are living in darkness, why don’t you look for light? (Easwaran)
I say “Amen!” to that. I am extremely saddened to see Western culture take the greatest nosedive imaginable into decadence and the ensuing dilapidation. Perhaps never before has a culture become so carnal, sinful, and selfish at such breakneck speeds. I personally like jokes, having a good time, and enjoying all of God’s creation, but there must be time for seriousness as well; yet I see very little seriousness among world leaders these days. They seem much more interested in T.V. appearances. Why is there laughter, why merriment, when the world is indeed on fire!
But of course Buddha seems to be talking about the fire of old age and decay, the fire that is slowly evaporating these bodies of ours. Again, I see this aptly descriptive of the Western world. If you are doleful then people think there is something wrong. We are emotionally prodded into having a sunny disposition. Really, when this world is our desire we all have very, very good cause to be very, very depressed. The Buddha did well to point out one great reason for such pensiveness…
163. It is easy to do what is wrong, to do what is bad for oneself; but very difficult to do what is right, to do what is good for oneself. (Mascaro)
Now since there is a chance I’m engaging with someone from a Buddhist background, I’m assuming very little is known about the historical accounts in the Bible. In the last section I mentioned the Lord Jesus Christ, Satan, and Peter, and yet if you have known only Buddhism your entire life you probably have no real idea who these people are. So let me back up now and explain the macro-narrative of the Bible before moving on to the point I want to make in this section.
There is an eternal God. Before anything else existed, he existed. He always existed, and he was always in a complex, Triune form. He personally created all of time, all of space, and all of matter. He created beings which are invisible to us (called “angels,” some of whom rebelled against him); he created all the animals; and last of all, he created the first man and woman. This first couple dwelled in Paradise on this earth, in the Garden of Eden (probably somewhere near to modern-day Israel, being between what Moses knew to be the rivers of Africa and the Near Eastern Tigris/Euphrates; cf. Genesis 2). He gave humankind charge over every animal and over all the earth. In the process of time the humans were tempted by one of the rebellious angels (Satan), and God, being righteous and holy, punished the couple and banished them from the Paradise. Moreover, now the principle of death, extreme decay, and extreme sinfulness wreaked havoc among all people.
After several generations and after a global flood, eventually a man named Abram was born. God formed him, called him, and sanctified him to be a great man of faith. He set out from a land of plenty in the Near East to travel back to the land of Canaan (i.e., modern-day Israel ). God blessed him for his faith and obedience, and he became the father of the Jewish people, the nation of Israel. Making a long story short, this people eventually flourished in the land, and many prophets arose, instructing the people as to the way of righteousness. They pointed forward to a Messiah, an anointed Saviour -- a real Pure Land Bodhisattva (speaking figuratively), through whom death, decay, and condemnation would be overcome.
About 2,000 years ago this Messiah was born in the land of Israel, in the little town of Bethlehem. His name was Jesus. He was a real man, but also an incarnation of God, one of the parts of the Triune deity who created the entire universe. He was given the title “Christ” because it is another way of saying “Messiah.” So Jesus Christ went about among his people, being history’s greatest prophet, greatest miracle worker, and greatest teacher. He was the Light of Heaven. He was the second Adam. However, because the hearts of all people are wicked, his generation rebelled against him and killed him. Yet the Triune God had planned it this way before time began.
[I’m referring to the Triune God now as “Father,” “Son,” and “Holy Spirit”… ] The Father sent the Son to die in order to suffer the punishment and condemnation due to each of us. Jesus Christ, this eternal and sinless Son, was brutally slain, that by trusting in him as being our substitute, we will forever be free of debt, and will dwell with God personally in an actual Paradise -- the purest of heavens.
Jesus Christ and his apostles taught all these wonderful things, and gave us wonderful proof that these promises were true. There are a couple of times in the Bible when -- to demonstrate his gracious and comforting power -- he even raised the dead among a great crowd of witnesses…
And it happened on the next [day], He was traveling to a city being called Nain, and many of His disciples were going along with Him, and a large crowd. Then as He approached the gate of the city, that look!, [a man] having died was being carried out [for burial], an only-begotten [or, one and only] son of his mother, and she [was] a widow, and a large crowd of the city was with her. And the Lord having seen her was moved with compassion towards her, and He said to her, “Stop weeping !” And having approached, He took hold of the open coffin. Then the ones carrying [it] stood still, and He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” And the dead [man] sat up and began to speak! And He gave him to his mother. But fear [or, awe] took hold of [them] all, and they began glorifying God, saying, “A great prophet has risen up among us,” and, “God [has] visited His people!” And the account of this went out in all Judea about Him, and in all the surrounding region. -- Luke 7:11-17
The Buddha is right to tell us to be sorrowful, but the Lord Jesus Christ is just as right to tell us to “stop weeping!” He has given us good news, which is what the term “Gospel” means. For if we repent of our sins to God the Father and trust in Jesus the Son as being our only Saviour, we shall overcome the grave and shall overcome all duhkha. This was the testimony of Paul, who was imprisoned for telling others about this great salvation…
Therefore, you shall not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord nor of me His prisoner, but endure hardship along with [me in] the Gospel according to [the] power of God, the One having saved us, having called [us] with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, the one having been given to us in Christ Jesus before eternal times [or, before time began], but having been revealed now through the appearance of our Savior Jesus Christ, on the one hand having abolished death, on the other hand having brought to light life and immortality through the Gospel... -- 2 Timothy 1:8-10
The next theme from the Dhammapada that I’d like to discuss is the corrosive influence of sin (i.e., moral transgression; the Bible also describes it as breaking the laws of God).
121. Hold not a sin of little worth, thinking ‘this is little to me’. The falling of drops of water will in time fill a water-jar. Even so the foolish man becomes full of evil, although he gather it little by little. (Mascaro)
This is a wonderful truth, and much of the Western world has dilapidated to monstrous proportions because of not understanding it. The Lord Jesus Christ said something similar…
The one faithful in a very little [thing] [is] also faithful in much, and the one unrighteous in a very little [thing] is also unrighteous in much. -- Luke 16:10
Men gorge themselves on pornography thinking that it is a little thing and no one is getting hurt, when actually they’re helping support an oppressive and abusive syndicate. Moreover, they’re slowly but surely perverting their own hearts, ruining their marriages, and building a precedent of deception, believing that life is about the pursuit of carnal frills. People constantly stay plugged into mindless television and radio which preach a carnal doctrine and then say, Ah, it’s just a song. It’s just a show. It’s just a video game. It’s not affecting me. Everything affects us.
. . . .
Generally speaking, people of the West have a laughable view of real Buddhism. They treat it as if it was formulated to give them spiritual help as they pursue their own grandeur and lusts. These ideas couldn’t be farther from the mind of the Buddha. He was a very moral teacher who believed in the dissolution of the self.
246. They dig their own graves who kill, lie, get drunk, or covet the wealth or spouse of another.
247. Those who drink to intoxication are digging up their own roots.
248. Any indiscipline brings evil in its wake. Know this, and do not let greed and vice bring you lingering pain. (Easwaran)
Of course the Buddha believed in karmic cycles, and not in an objective, personal, divine Judge. Yet in a world of obvious material entities, is it reasonable to believe that there is no actual personality behind it all (i.e., why isn’t everything just lumped together?)? Anyway, the Bible makes it clear that those who have not put their trust in Jesus Christ to receive eternal forgiveness will have to stand before God and be judged for every desire, thought, word, and deed. The requirement for entry into Paradise is perfection, and no one will meet the requirement in and of themselves.
Jesus said concerning deeds…
Stop marveling at this, because an hour is coming in which all those in the tombs will hear His voice, and they will come forth: the ones having done the good [things] into a resurrection of life, but the ones having practiced the wicked [things] into a resurrection of judgment. -- John 5:28-29
And concerning words:
But I say to you*, every idle [or, careless] word which the people shall speak, they will render an account concerning it in [the] day of judgment. -- Matthew 12:36
And concerning passionate desires:
But I say to you*, every[one] looking on a woman in order to lust after her already committed adultery [with] her in his heart. -- Matthew 5:28
And concerning thoughts:
And listen! Some of the scribes said within themselves, “This [Man] blasphemes!” And Jesus, having known their thoughts, said, “Why are you* thinking evil in your hearts?” -- Matthew 9:3-4
But how can we receive the resurrection for our goodness if we are to be judged so strictly? Are we all doomed to everlasting denunciation and suffering in Hell? Blessedly, the Bible offers hope…
Therefore, they said to Him, “What shall we be doing so that we shall be working the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you* be believing [or, trusting] in Him whom that One sent.” -- John 6:28-29
Only God is great enough to forever be completely sinless. The people in the passage wanted to do great and wonderful miracles, and Jesus told them what God truly wanted them to do: believe in the sent Messiah. This faith is evidenced by calling out to God for salvation with faith in the resurrected Jesus. Whoever repents of wrongdoing and rests solely on Jesus for salvation will go to the real Pure Land, escaping condemnation and wrath…
For by your words you will be justified [or, declared righteous], and by your words you will be condemned. -- Matthew 12:37
For every[one], “who himself shall call on the name of [the] LORD will be saved!” [Joel 2:32] -- Romans 10:13
Don’t get me wrong; we don’t even need to say such words physically, but only in our hearts. And we don’t need to say them for weeks or months or put them on a prayer wheel; God is not deaf. He knows our innermost thoughts. We only need to call once.
The Buddha of course never said anything like this, although some of the later ideologies concerning Bodhisattvas in various Mahayana forms of Buddhism come close (interestingly, it seems as if some of these doctrines developed concurrently with the Christian era). The Buddha in the Dhammapada did say some things however that are of a very similar flavour…
107. If a man for a hundred years should worship the sacred fire in the forest; and if another only for a moment paid reverence to a self-conquering man, this reverence alone would be greater than a hundred years of worship.
5. For hate is not conquered by hate: hate is conquered by love. This is a law eternal. (Mascaro)
Jesus Christ, the spiritual victor, was condemned as a criminal even though he was sinless. He was brutally killed on a cross even though he had done no wrong. You might say that he had no bad karma and had rather an infinite amount of good karma, yet still suffered. God is willing to accept his suffering as being on our behalf, and will impute to us his infinite goodness, if we trust in him and call out for salvation. Death (which leads to Hell) is the punishment for sin, but Christ defeated death, rising from the dead three days after his crucifixion. He ascended to heaven forty days later to be the high priest of all those who have believed in him, having quenched God’s holy wrath through his selflessness, mercy and love.
151. Even the chariot of a king loses its glitter in the course of time; so too the body loses its health and strength. But goodness does not grow old with the passage of time. (Easwaran)
The Bible has never lost its lustre. It is the perfect Word of the Living God. It contains the history of the nation of Israel (Old Testament), the life of the Messiah, and instructions for those who believe in the Messiah (New Testament). There is a mountain of ancient manuscripts that attest to its authentic and faithful reproduction. We can have confidence that the Scriptures we now possess are the words that God gave to the original inspired authors. The Bible says over and over again that we are to hold its teachings above all else as the source of truth. Family, leaders, churches, and friends, must take a back seat to what it plainly says. Its goodness will never grow old with the passage of time…
Your word is very pure, therefore Your servant loves it. -- Psalm 119:140
Of old I have known from Your testimonies that You have founded them forever. -- Psalm 119:152
The sum of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting. -- Psalm 119:160
The instruction of teachers is helpful and edifying, yet the beauty of the Christian faith is that you can read a literal, conservative translation of the Bible, and know the fullness of Christianity without a teacher. The truth is in the Bible and the Bible alone. If you spend 20 to 30 minutes a day reading the book you can have it perused in a year. This is a far cry from Buddhism and from so many religions, where the number of doctrinal documents is so large that they require multiple lifetimes to master (and there is only one lifetime). When it comes to what various branches of Buddhism claim as authoritative, learning all the texts is completely impossible. There just isn’t enough time. All we Christians need is the Bible, and the Holy Spirit to guide us, whom we can have as a teacher by simply asking for his presence (Luke 11:13).
And the anointing which you* received from Him abides in you*. And you* have no need that anyone should be teaching you*, but as that same anointing teaches you* concerning all [things], and is true and is not a lie, and just as it taught you*, you* will abide in Him. -- 1 John 2:27
How can you decide if a religion is true if you cannot properly study its foundational documents? Perhaps leaders are seeking to pull the wool over your eyes. We can’t all be right, for most religions run completely contrary to each other at the fundamental level. How can you know truth unless you study objectively?
. . . .
290. If one who enjoys a lesser happiness beholds a greater one, let him leave aside the lesser to gain the greater. (Easwaran)
But why should a Buddhist forsake the eight-fold path to pursue Christianity? How can you be sure that the Bible is the perfect Word of the Living God? What objective proof is there? That is the subject of the next section…
Christianity is built upon an air-tight historical record. If you keep up with news reports coming from Israel then hardly a week goes by when some exciting archaeological discovery that confirms the Biblical record fails to surface. Here are a couple of examples. To truly appreciate the first story consider the fact that names are a good indication of date, for rare names have the tendency to be confined to one time period.
Anugrah Kumar wrote for The Christian Post on July 27, 2015…
Archaeologists in Israel have found a rare inscription of the name of an apparently influential person from the time of King David, a name that is also mentioned in the Bible, according to [the] Israel Antiquities Authority.
Archaeologists have discovered a 3,000-year-old large ceramic jar with the inscription of the name “Eshbaal Ben Beda,” the Associated Press reported Sunday…
This is the first time the name was found in an ancient inscription, they said. It is one of only four inscriptions discovered from the biblical 10th century B.C. Kingdom of Judah under the reign of King David.
The discovery is significant, as it disproves claims that biblical accounts from the time of David and Saul are not verifiable and could just be myths.
The announcement about the discovery was made after archaeologists put together the inscription discovered on shards found in a 2012 excavation in central Israel. The examination was done at [the] Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
“We have found hundreds of jars in big cities across what was the Kingdom of Judah,” [the] Daily Mail quoted Ganor, the director of excavation at Khirbet Qeiyafa for the Israel Antiquities Authority, as saying. “This is the only one to have an inscription. For the jar to bear this man’s name, it suggests he was someone very special and important. Writing from this period is extremely rare[.]”
“This is the first time that the name Eshba’al has appeared on an ancient inscription in the country,” Garfinkel was quoted as saying. “It is interesting to note that the name Eshba’al appears in the Bible, and now also in the archaeological record, only during the reign of King David, in the first half of the tenth century BCE.”
He added: “This name was not used later in the First Temple period. The correlation between the biblical tradition and the archaeological finds indicates this was a common name only during that period…”1
Secondly, Julie Steigerwald reporting for The Jerusalem Post on April 24, 2016, wrote an article entitled, “A timely reminder of the Exodus: Ancient Egyptian scarab seal found near Haifa”…
…A relic of a Pharaonic dynasty from some 3,500 years ago was found in northern Israel’s Tel Dor.
The University of Haifa announced on Sunday the discovery of a rare scarab seal belonging to a senior official of the Thirteenth Pharaonic Dynasty, which reigned in Egypt during the 18th-17th centuries BCE.
Birdwatcher Alexander Ternopolsky found the engraved stone seal at the coastal excavation site located south of Haifa before handing it over to archeological authorities.
“The rains this past winter must have eroded the soil on the southern slope of the site, and thanks to Mr. Ternopolsky’s keen eyesight, the scarab was discovered and handed over to us,” said University of Haifa Prof. Ayelet Gilboa, who co-heads the excavations at Tel Dor.
According to initial studies of the scarab, stone engravings reveal the name of the seal’s owner, his position along with symbolic hieroglyphics.
“Scarabs were very common objects in ancient Egypt, but the size and quality of this one, its owner’s high-ranking position, and the gold ring in which it is set all make this particular scarab a rare finding in our region,” Gilboa explained.
“The scarab must have belonged to a very senior figure in the kingdom, probably the viceroy responsible for the royal treasury,” she stated.
“The owner of this scarab filled a similar position to that held by Joseph in Egypt after he interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams…”2
I mentioned earlier that Abram (whose named God changed to “Abraham”) was called from the region of Babylonia to go to the land of (proto-) Israel. After a few generations Abraham’s descendants had to migrate to Egypt, due to a severe famine. Joseph, a great grandson of Abraham, had become prime minister in the land and helped keep his family safe in the midst of the tumultuous times. Joseph was sent down to Egypt as a slave, being hated by his other brothers for being his father’s favourite. Joseph rose to power in Egypt after he was able to successfully interpret a dream that the Pharaoh had…
Fast forward about a thousand years. The descendants of Abraham had returned to the land of Israel and had swollen into a great and mighty nation. In the midst of their prosperity however they became forgetful of God and grew very sinful. In response to this God sent nations and kingdoms to judge them, chief of which were the Assyrians and then the Babylonians. The Assyrians would take the northern portion of Israel into captivity while the Babylonians, through successive waves of battles and displacements, would carry the southern kingdom into captivity -- back to where Abraham had left so many years before.
In the midst of the first group from the south to be taken captive was a teenager named Daniel. This probably happened about 605 B.C. He would live the rest of his long life around the Tigris/Euphrates region, and so he wasn’t too far from the Buddha whenever he was born around 563 B.C. Anyway, like Joseph, Daniel also rose to prominence in this foreign land, having successfully interpreted a dream for King Nebuchadnezzar, one of the greatest monarchs of antiquity. We’re going to quickly show how Daniel successfully predicted the future in amazingly detailed ways. Prophesies like these are that which prove the Bible to be a better revelation than any other religious book.
To do this properly however we must first prove that the book of Daniel is indeed as ancient as the Bible claims….
A. Daniel’s Veracity
There are 66 individual books that make up the Bible. The book of Daniel is fairly short. You could probably read it in an hour. Point for point however it is truly breath-taking. Based upon Daniel alone, not only is the Bible completely vindicated as being from Divinity, but it also forces us to understand Christianity as being the authentic, validated faith within the larger Judeo-Christian spectrum. For these reasons post-modern cynics hate the book of Daniel. They understand the implications. If the book of Daniel is fully historic then it was doubtlessly written by Omniscience.
That is why an enormous effort has been going on for many years to partially discredit the book, trying to say that instead of being written in the sixth century B.C., it was actually written in the second century B.C. by an imposter. However, as we shall see, there has been a turning point recently that has forever validated the early date for Daniel. I’ve compiled three categories of historic reasons why the book of Daniel is fully authentic; the turning point I mentioned will feature as the last category…
1. The Biblical Evidence
The New Testament is fairly dependent on the book of Daniel. Since there are so many manuscripts that prove the antiquity of the New Testament, this is very significant. It was compiled in the first century A.D., mostly by Jewish men who would have been reasonably acquainted with the history of their own people. If there was a vicious rumour that Daniel was a forgery, it wouldn’t have found such a solid home in Jewish thought.
The Lord Jesus Christ himself uttered strong words of support for the authenticity of Daniel…
Therefore, when you* see the ‘abomination of the desolation’ [or, the ‘detestable thing that causes desecration’ - Daniel 8:13, LXX; 9:27, LXX; 12:11], the one having been spoken [of] through Daniel the prophet, having stood in [the] holy place (the one reading, let him be understanding [or, be paying attention]), then the [people] in Judea must be fleeing to the mountains. -- Matthew 24:15-16
The Lord Jesus quoted from the book, called Daniel a prophet, and then either he or the writer of the Gospel said that this information could be read about. If someone respects the Lord Jesus Christ as being a teller of truth, this is irrefutable proof for the validity of Daniel.
Moving on, the Lord Jesus mentioned Daniel once more, at a very important time in his life. While being condemned as a criminal he quoted the book of Daniel to his accusers…
Then the high priest, having risen up in the middle [of them], questioned Jesus, saying, “You do not answer anything, do You? What do these testify against You?” But He was keeping silent and answered nothing. Again the high priest was questioning Him, and says to Him, “Are You the Christ -- the Son of the Blessed [One]?” So Jesus said, “I am! And you* will see ‘the Son of Humanity [ i.e., “Son of Man” ] sitting at the right [parts] [fig., on the right hand] of the Power’ and ‘coming with the clouds of heaven [or, of the sky]!’” [Psalm 110:1; Dan 7:13] -- Mark 14:60-62
This is the passage of the book of Daniel that the Lord Jesus Christ was quoting from…
I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and [men of every] language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed. -- 7:13-14
Digressing, the whole concept of an Antichrist probably originated in Daniel (see chapter 9, verses 24-27; I quote it later). This Antichrist is mentioned by Paul in 2 Thessalonians and is also mentioned throughout the writings of John. In fact, John’s book Revelation, the last book in the Bible, is fully dependent on Daniel for a proper understanding. Vast swaths of the book of Daniel are revisited. Daniel is so important to eschatology in general that the renowned Bible scholar Merrill Unger uttered these amazing words…
The book is the key to all biblical prophecy.3
There are a few other light references to Daniel in the New Testament. Hebrews 11:33 mentions the shutting of the lion’s mouths (see Daniel 6); Matthew 24:21 mentions great tribulation in the end times (see Daniel 12); and 1 Corinthians 6:2 declares that the saints will judge the earth (see Daniel 7). Moreover, the entire concept of the “Kingdom of God” found in the Gospels probably is referencing Daniel.
Also, a truly dynamic reference is found back in the Old Testament. As I said before, the Babylonians conquered southern Israel (also known as “the Kingdom of Judah”) in many different waves. Daniel was taken captive during the first wave. Another prophet was taken captive in a later wave; his name was Ezekiel. He was a prolific writer, as his book is four times the size of Daniel’s. He was the prophet God showed the coming Messianic Age to, and a coming great war (called the War of Gog and Magog). By the time Ezekiel began prophesying Daniel had already been promoted in the kingdom of Babylon, having successfully interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.
God revealed his approval of Daniel to Ezekiel. God mentioned Daniel along with other famous men in the Bible -- Noah and Job -- in Ezekiel 14:14 and 14:20. Since he mentioned Job and Noah, it is only sensible that this Daniel was also of like Scriptural calibre, and not some unknown person. Moreover, Job suffered a lot of ill and Noah built the ark whereby a remnant of humanity was saved. This fits Daniel, as he suffered as an exile, having been torn from his decimated homeland; also, he, as Noah, provided refuge in the midst of troublesome times.
The other mention of Daniel in the book of Ezekiel is just as remarkable. God was mocking a certain ruler and said, “Behold, you are wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that is a match for you” (28:3). This is in reference to the fact that Daniel was given unparalleled wisdom and spiritual insight (see Daniel chapter 1). One of my favourite aspects about Ezekiel’s mentioning of Daniel is that the name was spelled just a tad bit different than the way Daniel spelled it in his own book. Biblical names were fluid when it comes to spelling, as many names had alternate renderings (such as Micah, Hezekiah, Nebuchadnezzar, Doeg the Edomite, etc., ect.). If someone tried to insert Daniel into the book of Ezekiel in order to give it more validity, would they not have taken the time to spell it exactly the same way?
2. Extra-Biblical Citations
The validity of the book of Daniel can be proven even outside of the Bible. One example is the fact that there is an unbroken string of witnesses to the truthfulness of the book throughout church history. Men such as Jerome (born in the 4th century A.D.) were able to do a lot of research into Old Testament times more directly than we are able, and never did any such scholar question Daniel; rather, they vociferously defended the book. The only early writer to question Daniel was a pagan named Porphyry (born in the 3rd century) who hated Christianity and wrote many volumes venting his malice. He came up with every theory he could think of to assault Christianity, including maligning Daniel. Jerome says Eusebius (born in the 3rd century) made a lengthy reply, and mentions other ancient writers named Appollinarius and Methodius who also refuted the claim.4
Simply put, I know of no church father or early Rabbi who rejected the canonicity of Daniel.
Next, the book of Daniel has an interesting history regarding its language. It is written in Hebrew and Aramaic, which is exceedingly rare. The only book of the Bible to employ this in any major way is Ezra, which naturally comes from the same time period. Those who say the book of Daniel was written later allege that it was composed when Greek culture was dominating the land of Israel. If this was the case then the book would have been written in Greek, as were the books of the Apocryphal. The Apocryphal is a small group of books added to the Old Testament during this time of Greek influence. Jews and Protestant Christians reject these books as being inferior and spurious. If Daniel belongs to this group, why was it not written in Greek as well? Or at least, why wasn’t Greek terms and ideas found throughout Daniel? None are found (apart from maybe a few musical instruments, but even these words might actually have etymologies harkening from elsewhere, as is often the case with such items; moreover, Greek culture obviously predated universal Hellenism). Also, if this was a fraudulent work then why wasn’t local heroes like Judas Maccabeus mentioned in some sort of phoney prophecy? What rube would have believed that such a wonderful book had been lost and then “rediscovered” four centuries later?
Interestingly, a few Old Testament books had Grecian additions placed within them. For the Bible was translated into Greek by way of the Septuagint (a.k.a. “LXX”) a few hundred years before the time of Christ. That’s mainly how we know of these Greek additions. The book of Daniel had a few additions placed upon it that aren’t found in the Hebrew and Aramaic manuscripts. Not to steal my thunder from my next category, but ancient manuscript fragments of Daniel have been found in Hebrew and Aramaic that do not contain these Grecian additions. If Greek-speaking people incorporated Greek sections into Daniel, doesn’t it definitively show that the Hebrew and Aramaic portions were of a much earlier time? As a matter of fact, the Septuagint is one of the greatest witnesses to the antiquity of Daniel. As I said, it was a translation of the Hebrew and Aramaic into Greek, but it apparently wasn’t perfect…
That the book of Daniel was quite old by the time of the Septuagint is evidenced by the fact that the translators were completely unaware of the meaning of many terms in Daniel as evidenced by their mistranslations.5
Also regarding its original languages, the words and style certainly seem to date back to very ancient times, further confirming a sixth century B.C. composition. John Walvoord provides a quote from Robert Wilson in the International Standard Biblical Encyclopedia…
The composite Aramaic of Daniel agrees in almost every particular of orthography, etymology and syntax with the Aramaic of the North Sem inscriptions of the 9th, 8th and 7th cents. B.C. and of the Egyptian papyri of the 5th cent. B.C., and that the vocabulary of Daniel has an admixture of Hebrew, Babylonian and Persian words similar to that of the papyri of the 5th century B.C….6
Stephen Miller, whose introduction to Daniel is the modern benchmark I think, also confirmed that Daniel’s style of writing is in keeping with an early date of composition; for example:
E. Yamauchi adds, “Discoveries, such as Adon’s letter in Aramaic (sixth cent. B.C.), have confirmed the fact that the Aramaic of Ezra and of Daniel is basically the same as the Aramaic of the sixth-fifth centuries as we know it from contemporary evidence”…^7^
In one study [Gleason] Archer examined sample Hebrew texts from Qumran (1QS and 1QM) and determined on the basis of the language that Daniel’s Hebrew came from an earlier period.8
The documents from Qumran generally came from the 1st and 2nd centuries B.C. As for Adon’s letter, William Shea writing for the American Schools of Oriental Research describes the letter thus…
The Aramaic letter of Adon written of papyrus was sent to Pharaoh in Egypt from someplace in Syria-Palestine around the end of the 7th century B.C. Coming to light during the excavations at Saqqara in 1942, its discovery was announced in 1945…^9^
Everything points to Daniel being written in the sixth century B.C.
Moving on, Daniel influenced more Jewish literature above and beyond the New Testament. As beforementioned, there were books written between the close of the Old Testament canon and the beginning of the New Testament. This “intertestamental period” yielded such works as the apocalyptic book of Enoch (approximately dating from the 2nd century B.C.; in fact, the whole genre of apocalyptic literature could be owing solely to the fountainhead of Daniel).
Compare this passage from Enoch with Daniel…
…And I beheld a vision, And lo! there was a second house, greater than the former, and the entire portal stood open before me, and it was built of flames of fire. And in every respect it so excelled in splendour and magnificence and extent that I cannot describe to you its splendour and its extent. And its floor was of fire, and above it were lightnings and the path of the stars, and its ceiling also was flaming fire. And I looked and saw [therein] a lofty throne: its appearance was as crystal, and the wheels thereof as the shining sun, and there was the vision of cherubim. And from underneath the throne came streams of flaming fire so that I could not look thereon. And the Great Glory sat thereon, and His raiment shone more brightly than the sun and was whiter than any snow. None of the angels could enter and could behold His face by reason of the magnificence and glory, and no flesh could behold Him. The flaming fire was round about Him, and a great fire stood before Him, and none around could draw nigh Him: ten thousand times ten thousand (stood) before Him, yet He needed no counselor. And the most holy ones who were nigh to Him did not leave by night nor depart from Him. -- Enoch 14:14-23 10
I kept looking until thrones were set up, and the Ancient of Days took [His] seat; His vesture [was] like white snow and the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne [was] ablaze with flames, its wheels [were] a burning fire. A river of fire was flowing and coming out from before Him; thousands upon thousands were attending Him, and myriads upon myriads were standing before Him; the court sat, and the books were opened. -- Daniel 7:9-10
There certainly seems to be a reasonable level of dependence.
Another great witness to the historicity of the ancient composition of Daniel is the 1st century historian Josephus. His works can be found at many places online (see Christian Classics Ethereal Library or Sacred-Texts.com, etc.). He wrote many words about Daniel. First, he provides the standard history of the prophet that can be found in the Bible (see his Antiquities of the Jews, book 10). Here is a snippet of what can be found there…
[Daniel is speaking about the dream that the prophet interpreted for Nebuchadnezzar…]
“This is the dream which thou sawest, and its interpretation is as follows: The head of gold denotes thee, and the kings of Babylon that have been before thee; but the two hands and arms signify this, that your government shall be dissolved by two kings; but another king that shall come from the west, armed with brass, shall destroy that government; and another government, that shall be like unto iron, shall put an end to the power of the former, and shall have dominion over all the earth, on account of the nature of iron, which is stronger than that of gold, of silver, and of brass.”
Daniel did also declare the meaning of the stone to the king but I do not think proper to relate it, since I have only undertaken to describe things past or things present, but not things that are future; yet if any one be so very desirous of knowing truth, as not to wave such points of curiosity, and cannot curb his inclination for understanding the uncertainties of futurity, and whether they will happen or not, let him be diligent in reading the book of Daniel, which he will find among the sacred writings. -- Antiquities 10.10.4 11
We’ll see later why Josephus didn’t want to talk much about the stone to his Roman audience.
Secondly, Josephus also provides confirmation of Daniel’s book that is not found in the Bible…
And when he [Alexander the Great] had said this to Parmenio, and had given the high priest his right hand, the priests ran along by him, and he came into the city. And when he went up into the temple, he offered sacrifice to God, according to the high priest’s direction, and magnificently treated both the high priest and the priests. And when the Book of Daniel was showed him wherein Daniel declared that one of the Greeks should destroy the empire of the Persians, he supposed that himself was the person intended. And as he was then glad, he dismissed the multitude for the present; but the next day he called them to him, and bid them ask what favors they pleased of him; whereupon the high priest desired that they might enjoy the laws of their forefathers, and might pay no tribute on the seventh year. He granted all they desired. -- Antiquities 11.8.5 12
Finally, many modern cynical scholars will try to say that the Jews of old didn’t have a set canon. These people are lying. Josephus provides a canonical list (see his Against Apion, book 1, section 8); and even though he doesn’t list the books by name, given his glowing words about the man, it can only be assumed that he placed him within the prophetic section of the Hebrew Bible, as did everyone else in antiquity…
The book has never, so far as we have any knowledge, been placed among the Apocryphal writings. It was evidently regarded by Josephus, speaking the common sentiment of his countrymen, as having a place in the canonical writings; it was certainly so regarded by the authors of the Talmud, though they assigned it a place in the third division, or Kethubim; it is expressly so mentioned by Jerome, by Melito, Bishop of Sardis (A.D. 170), by Origen, by the Council of Laodicea (A.D. 360-364), by Cyrill of Jerusalem (A.D. 350), by Gregory Nazianzen (A.D. 370), by Athanasius of Alexandria (A.D. 326), and by the author of the Synopsis Scripturae Sacrae, who lived in the time of Athanasius.13
On a footnote, the fact that Josephus placed Daniel in the second section of the Hebrew Bible [the prophets] whereas the Talmud and subsequent Hebrew sources placed him in the third division [cf. also Jerome, who followed such recommendations], there certainly seems to have been some sort of subtle downgrade by the Rabbis. Why? I think Albert Barnes gives the sensible answer…
The place which Daniel should occupy in the sacred writings probably became a matter of discussion among the Hebrews only after the coming of the Saviour, when Christians urged so zealously his plain prophecies (ch. ix 24-27) in proof of the Messiahship of the Lord Jesus.14
I’ve gone on for a lot longer than I originally intended so I won’t multiply words in this section. I just wanted to especially point out that the war over 6th century Daniel versus 2nd century Daniel really ended last century, although liberal scholars are reluctant to admit this (and probably never fully will). It ended because of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the ancient collection of Hebrew writings discovered in the vicinity of Israel and Jordan, beginning in 1947. John Walvoord said it best…
The principles adopted by critics in evaluating other manuscripts and assigning them to a much earlier period than had been formerly accepted, if applied to Daniel, would make impossible the liberal critical position that Daniel is a second-century B.C. work. Strangely, liberal critics have been slow to publish and comment upon the Qumran fragments of Daniel that seem to indicate a pre-Maccabean authorship.15
John Whitcomb asserted (citing Joyce Baldwin) that…
A number of fragments of Daniel have been discovered at Qumran as well as references to words that were “written in the book of Daniel the prophet”…^16^
William MacDonald states…
A manuscript of Daniel found in Qumran Cave 1 is believed to have been copied during or before the Maccabean era, which fact demands that the original has to be older yet.17
Many important features about Daniel have been confirmed by Qumran, such as the faithfulness of the transmitted text, the Greek additions being omitted, and the transition from Hebrew to Aramaic and from Aramaic to Hebrew occurring.18
The Qumran community was very familiar with this book…
In the Dead Sea document known as 11Q13, Daniel 9:26 is found in a group of messianic texts that were linked together to reveal the status of the messianic deliverer. This corpus of prophetic texts (11Q13 2:15-20) reveals the eschatological and messianic context in which the Qumran community understood the anointed one of Daniel 9:26.
The Messiah of Daniel 9:26 is referred to as “the Anointed one of the spirit” (11Q13 2:18) and connected with Isaiah’s anointed messenger (Isaiah 61:1-2) who brings the announcement of salvation…^19^
Thus, the Dead Sea Scrolls have forever vindicated Daniel.
To close this section completely I’d like to quote from the Apocryphal book of 1 Maccabees. This, according to liberals, was from the same era as Daniel; obviously there’s a problem with that thesis…
Remember the deeds of the ancestors, which they did in their generations; and you will receive great honour and an everlasting name. Was not Abraham found faithful when tested, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness? Joseph in the time of his distress kept the commandment, and became lord of Egypt. Phinehas our ancestor, because he was deeply zealous, received the covenant of everlasting priesthood. Joshua, because he fulfilled the command, became a judge in Israel. Caleb, because he testified in the assembly, received an inheritance in the land. David, because he was merciful, inherited the throne of the kingdom for ever. Elijah, because of great zeal for the law, was taken up into heaven. Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael [three men mentioned in the book of Daniel ] believed and were saved from the flame. Daniel, because of his innocence, was delivered from the mouth of the lions. -- 2:51-60 [ New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition]
B. Daniel the Prophet
I won’t go on for long here, for like I said, I’ve already written a lot more than I originally intended. I just want to quickly review some of the prophetic highlights of Daniel, and then I’ll close.
1. Future Kingdoms
Daniel was taken from Israel and exiled to the region of the Tigris and Euphrates. He would receive intermittent reports about how his people were being crushed and his homeland decimated. The epitome of sorrow must have swept among the Jewish exiles when the report came that Jerusalem had been levelled and the Temple burned down. Daniel took comfort in God and in his prophets, especially in the faithful words of Jeremiah. This famous man of God had made it clear that the exile would only last seventy years, at the end of which period the Jews would be allowed to return.
Daniel kept hold of his faith in the God of Israel even after being selected by the Babylonians to be trained in their culture and minister to the throne. One night Nebuchadnezzar had a troubling dream, and Daniel, blessed of God for his obedience, was given the information that the dream contained [see chapter 2]. The king saw a statue composed of four different metals. The head was of gold, the arms and chest were of silver, the thighs and loins were of bronze/brass, and the legs, feet, and toes were of iron and clay. Finally, a stone came, smote the image on the feet, and destroyed the image, filling the whole earth with an everlasting kingdom. Much of the book is taken up with expounding the themes of this dream. The cumulative total of the revelation was that there would be four kingdoms which would rule the known world. Babylon was represented by the head of gold; Medo-Persia was represented by the silver; Greece was represented by the bronze/brass; and the final empire was Rome. Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece were specifically mentioned by Daniel. Moreover, in chapter 11, the kingdom of the Greeks is told with such amazing detail that it boggles the mind. There’s nothing else like this in the history of writing. Daniel accurately predicted the coming of three successive empires, often with remarkable detail.
On a loosely related footnote, Hinduism from of old promoted the idea that mankind can be divided into four groups, which is where the caste system came from. The Laws of Manu say…
Whatever he assigned to each at the (first) creation, noxiousness or harmlessness, gentleness or ferocity, virtue or sin, truth or falsehood, that clung (afterwards) spontaneously to it. As at the change of the seasons each season of its own accord assumes its distinctive marks, even so corporeal beings (resume in new births) their (appointed) course of action. But for the sake of the prosperity of the worlds he caused the Brahmana, the Kshatriya, the Vaisya, and the Sudra to proceed from his mouth, his arms, his thighs, and his feet. Dividing his own body, the Lord became half male and half female; with that (female) he produced Virag.20
And the Rig Veda says…
When they divided Puruṣa how many portions did they make? What do they call his mouth, his arms? What do they call his thighs and feet? The Brahman was his mouth, of both his arms was the Rājanya made. His thighs became the Vaiśya, from his feet the Śūdra was produced.21
2. The Coming Messiah
The reason why Josephus did not want to divulge to his Roman audience what the stone meant was because it pronounced that the Messiah of God would destroy the Roman Empire, thus liberating the oppressed people of God. John Whitcomb comments…
Suddenly, Nebuchadnezzar’s fascination with this humanlike image of decreasingly valuable metals, standing on “fragile feet of china [i.e., clay] mixed with iron,” was interrupted with the vision of a great, rapidly moving stone that smashed into the feet of the image. The fact that the stone “was cut out without hands” indicates its divine character and origin, as confirmed by the explanation that it was “cut out of the mountain” (i.e., God’s heavenly kingdom, Isa. 2:2) and that “the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and…will itself endure forever” (2:44).
The “stone” must be the “One like a Son of Man,” who will receive from “the Ancient of Days…an everlasting dominion which will not pass away” (7:13-14). In the progress of revelation this great divine kingdom is the one our Lord taught us to pray for (Matt, 6:10) and is finally shown to have a thousand-year initial phase (the Millennium), which follows immediately the second coming of the Messiah-Christ and ultimately merges into the eternal state of the new heavens and earth (Rev. 19-22).22
Judaism can’t answer the question of why their Messiah didn’t come during the days of the Roman Empire. Christians can answer the question, for we believe the Lord Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah of Israel who came during this time, as the Jewish apostles affirmed and proclaimed to the world. Not only did Daniel make it clear that the Messiah would come in the days of the Roman Empire, but in chapter 9 he even predicts the very year he would come. An angel appeared to Daniel while he was praying for the redemption of his people. The seventy years that Jeremiah predicted had come to pass, and so the prophet was beseeching God to bring in his prophesied blessing. The angel gave the prophet an even greater hope: God would completely redeem his people in every way imaginable after seventy years times seven…
Seventy weeks [Or units of seven, and so throughout the ch] have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy [place]. So you are to know and discern [that] from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince [there will be] seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its [Or his] end [will come] with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined [Or war will be decreed for desolations]. And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations [will come] one who makes desolate [Or causes horror], even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate [Or causes horror ].” -- verses 24-27
John Whitcomb’s commentary on Daniel furnishes a sagacious summary of the numbering…
Who is “Messiah the Prince” (Heb. mashiah nagid)? The answer is clear: “The only person who fits the description is Jesus (Ps. 110:4; Zech. 6:13; John 4:25).” [quoting Paul Feinberg]
It is true that God had prophesied many years earlier that Cyrus would declare of Jerusalem, “She will be built” (Isa. 44:28). But the context of that prophecy indicates that his purpose in having the city rebuilt and repopulated was that the Temple might function again. It was certainly not refortified, as this prophecy requires (“with plaza and moat”). The first official decree for refortifying Jerusalem and building its walls was issued by Artaxerxes I in 445 B.C. (Neh. 2:4-8).
From 445 B.C. to Messiah the Prince would be a total of sixty-nine weeks (or units of seven years), that is, 483 years. This would bring us to about A.D. 37, slightly beyond the time of Christ’s life on earth.
There is a possibility, however, that Daniel intends these prophetic years to be understood as 360-day years, rather than normal years of 365 days, thus bringing us to about 33 A.D. In support of this possibility, 9:27 refers to “the middle of the week,” a time period which is described in Revelation 11:2-3, 12:6, and 13:5 as lasting 1,260 days, or 42 months. Since Revelation uses 360-day years for its calculations, it seems reasonable to use the same time units in Daniel.23
Finally, the best part about prophecy is that it isn’t over. There’s still more to be fulfilled, which we are beginning to see form before our eyes. There will be a seventieth week, another seven year period before the Messiah comes again to actually smash the toes. Implicitly therefore there must be a revival of the Roman Empire, which we are seeing with the growth of a unified Europe. There is a coming world leader who will be Mara-in-human-form. He will be a fountainhead of duhkha, persecuting tirelessly those who refuse to submit to his satanic rule.
There’s much more to Daniel and obviously there’s a lot more to be said concerning the Dhammapada and Buddhism in relation to Christianity. My design was just to attempt to provoke your interest in studying the Bible further, and to give greater credence to its claims in this age of cynicism and persecution.
The world is indeed set ablaze with Christian persecution. The heart of any thoughtful person should break over the horrors going on in places like Nigeria and Pakistan, with thousands of young Christian women being kidnapped and raped. Meanwhile, Western culture is hell-bent on throwing all truth and compunction out the window for the sake of sexual desire and various other ridiculous liberal ideologies.
One of the most famous modern scientists once said in his most famous book that “an individual is either definitely male or definitely female”.24 This is now even no longer true according to the “enlightened” liberals. I hope the same madness does not largely spread to Africa or to Asia. Western culture is finished (the sooner the better I think). Africa and Asia may provide the future areas of sanity and morality. My prayer is that various groups in Africa and Asia will cease to persecute the believers, and may all within these continents resist the cancer of Western carnality, and consider the Scriptures of God’s ancient prophets.
3Unger, Merrill. Unger’s Bible Handbook. Chicago: Moody Press, 1967. (pg. 382)
4Walvoord, John. Daniel. Chicago: Moody Press, 2012. (pgs. 24-26, Epub)
5Miller, Stephen. The New American Bible Commentary. Nashville, Tennessee: B & H Publishing Group, 1994. (pg. 42, Epub)
6Walvoord, John. Daniel. Chicago: Moody Press, 2012. (pg. 34, Epub)
7Miller, Stephen. The New American Bible Commentary. Nashville, Tennessee: B & H Publishing Group, 1994. (pgs. 33-34, Epub)
8Ibid. (pg. 35, Epub)
9Shea, William. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research. No. 223 (Oct., 1976). (pg. 61)
10Charles, R.H. The Book of Enoch. New York: Dover Publications Inc., 2007. (pgs. 41-42)
11Whiston, William (translator). http://www.ccel.org/ccel/josephus/works/files/ant-10.htm
12Whiston, William (translator). http://www.ccel.org/ccel/josephus/works/files/ant-11.htm
13Barnes, Albert. Notes, Critical, Illustrative, and Practical, on the Book of Daniel. New York: Leavitt & Allen, 1857. (pg. xlvii)
14Ibid. (pg. xi)
15Walvoord, John. Daniel. Chicago: Moody Press, 2012. (pg. 31, Epub)
16Whitcomb, John. Daniel. Chicago: Moody Press, 1976. (pg. 14, Kindle)
17MacDonald, William. Believer’s Bible Commentary. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 1995. (pg. 1076)
18Miller, Stephen. The New American Bible Commentary. Nashville, Tennessee: B & H Publishing Group, 1994. (pgs. 28-53, Epub)
19Lahaye, Tim and Ed Hindson. Exploring Bible Prophecy from Genesis to Revelation. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2006. (pg. 251)
20Bühler, George (translator). http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/manu/manu01.htm
21Griffith, Ralph T.H. http://sacred-texts.com/hin/rigveda/rv10090.htm
22Whitcomb, John. Daniel. Chicago: Moody Press, 1976. (pgs. 46-47, Kindle)
23Ibid. (pgs. 131-132, Kindle)
24Dawkins, Richard. The Selfish Gene. Oxford, 2006. (pg. 57, Epub)