The book of Daniel has been greatly attacked by critics of the Bible. The book of Daniel has been attacked more than Genesis chapters 1-3 that record the origins of life and all creation. Liberal preachers hate the book of Daniel. The critics generally refuse to believe prophecy. They say that prophecy is impossible and that there is no such thing as knowing the future events of the world before they take place. Therefore, a book that contains predictions obviously had to be written after the predicted events had already occurred. They say that Daniel did not write this book during the exile of Israel in Babylon. They teach that some pious Jew wrote this book much later, probably during the time of the Maccabees in the 2nd century B.C. They say this book is simply fiction written like prophecy so that it will be more interesting to the readers.
A. The Attack on Daniel’s Authenticity
Most modern liberal critics are simply teaching what a man named Porphyry taught back in 233 B.C. Porphyry was a student of a man named Origen. History records that at one time Porphyry confessed faith in Jesus as his Savior. However, Porphyry left his Bible teacher, Origen, and moved to Rome. While in Rome he studied under the very famous neoplatonic philosopher named Plotinus. Plotinus taught that there were many gods. Well, Porphyry embraced this heresy completely and began to feel that his greatest enemy was Christianity. Porphyry devoted the rest of his life to vigorously opposing Christianity. In fact, he wrote 15 books and placed them in one volume he titled, “Against the Christians.” He was a diligent student distinguished by great learning and was endowed with a gift for historical and philosophical research. In his defense of polytheism, Roman religions, and the worship of popular gods, he vigorously attacked Christianity. The 15 bitter books he authored gained for him the reputation of being the most rabid and wicked of all the enemies of the Christian faith. Those 15 books especially singled out the book of Daniel for attack. He tried everything he could to prove that this book was not written by Daniel. He claimed that it was written around 165 B.C. during the Maccabean period, and that all events which the book of Daniel “prophesied” had come to pass long before the book was written. Porphyry claims that the book of Daniel is all a lie and that is was written 400 years after it was supposed to have been written. All modern day critics simply take the arguments of Porphyry and rework them to make them sound current and modern. They have not added any real substance to Porphyry’s arguments. Well, you may be thinking, “Larry, is it possible that Porphyry is correct in his arguments?”
B. The Defense of Daniel’s Authenticity
Is the book of Daniel trustworthy? Or are the critics right? Well, I think the first thing we need to do is examine the testimony of some of Daniel’s contemporaries. You see, the first problem with a “late date” for Daniel is that Daniel is mentioned by name by another famous contemporary, the Prophet Ezekiel. Ezekiel talks about Daniel. Ezekiel says that Daniel was a real person and that he was alive and legitimate. Folks, if we are not going to believe Daniel, then we have a problem with Ezekiel, too, because Ezekiel says Daniel was real. Turn with me to Ezekiel 14:12-14, “And the word of the LORD came to me: 13 “Son of man, when a land sins against me by acting faithlessly, and I stretch out my hand against it and break its supply of bread and send famine upon it, and cut off from it man and beast, 14 even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness, declares the Lord GOD.” Verse 16 says, “even if these three men were in it . . .” Verse 18 says, “though these three men were in it, as I live,” declares the Lord God.” Verse 20 says, “even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live,” declares the Lord God, “they would deliver neither son nor daughter. They would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness.” Ezekiel certainly seems to think these three were all real people. He says Daniel was just as real as Noah and Job. So if we don’t want to accept Daniel, we can’t accept Noah or Job either, and in that case Ezekiel is in trouble. Ezekiel has another interesting comment about Daniel. Ezekiel 28:3 quotes God speaking to the King of Tyre, “You are indeed wiser than Daniel; no secret is hidden from you.” In this sentence God is speaking to Lucifer, Satan, our great enemy. I find it interesting that when God wanted to name the wisest man on earth He didn’t mention Solomon, but Daniel. This certainly shows us what God thought about Daniel. So I want you to note the testimony of Daniel’s contemporary named Ezekiel.
The second thing I say to the critics is that they need to examine the modern archeological evidence that has been discovered. A few years ago the critics attacked the book of Daniel because Daniel said Nebuchadnezzar took the temple vessels from Jerusalem and placed them in the house of his god in Babylon (Daniel 1:1-2). The critics said, “This is something that is never heard of in secular history. It is an unknown custom, something that was never done. Daniel is wrong and this proves the book was written late.” Folks, within the last 25 years an inscription was uncovered informing us that Nebuchadnezzar always put his choicest spoils in the house of his god. It was a custom that was peculiar to Nebuchadnezzar alone. In Daniel 1:3 there is a reference to a man named Ashpenaz. Critics use to claim that this was proof of a later date because the verse says that Ashpenaz was “the chief of his officials (eunuchs).” The critics said, “Here is another obvious mistake. This man is unknown in history. Daniel just made him up.” Folks, within the last 25 years, the name Ashpenaz was found on a monument in the ancient ruins of Babylon. In fact, you can view that stone in the British Museum and it says this, “Ashpenaz, master of eunuchs in the time of Nebuchadnezzar.” One of the most striking examples of the critic’s errors concerning Daniel relates to the 5th chapter of Daniel, where Belshazzar, king of Babylon, is said to have been killed during a feast on the night the city fell. Secular historians identified Nabonidus as the last king of Babylon; they said Nabonidus was not present at the capture of the city, that he was not killed but taken captive and kindly treated, and lived in retirement as a private citizen. Well, the critics loudly hailed this as a clear case of biblical error. None had any idea how the two accounts could be reconciled until Sir Henry Rawlinson discovered an inscription on a cylinder in the Euphrates valley containing the facts needed to clear up the problem. You see, there were two kings of Babylon during Daniel’s later life, a father and son. Nabonidus, who occupied a stronghold outside the city, had his eldest son, Belshazzar, co-regent, and allowed him to use the royal title. Belshazzar was killed while defending the city; Nabonidus was spared. Thus, even the apparently insignificant detail of Daniel 5:7, 29 about Daniel being made the “third ruler” in the kingdom, was explained. Now, my point in sharing all these explanations with you is to show you that all supposed errors and contradictions mentioned by Daniel’s critics can and have been explained. Daniel is a very trustworthy book!
And if that were not enough. Let me give you the final blow to the critics as I defend the book of Daniel. Please turn in your Bibles to Matthew 24:14-15. In this passage we see the final and strongest blow to any person who tries to deny the reality and trustworthiness of this OT book. Here we have the word of Jesus Himself and this should settle the matter once and for all, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. 15 “So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand).” This passage makes it very clear that our Lord Jesus thought Daniel was real, and that this book is indeed trustworthy. In this passage, Jesus reaffirms the truth of what Daniel wrote in his 9th chapter about an event called “the abomination of desolation.” Friends, when Jesus Christ says Daniel is for real, that is all I need. Therefore I can go to Daniel’s book and dig out its truth with the full and absolute confidence that I have got God’s Word in my hands. Daniel is a legitimate, canonical book of the Old Testament, regardless of what the critics may say about it. Daniel is solid. It is absolutely trustworthy. And this book is well worth our study.