Daniel 8:20,21 - what do secular authorities say?

by konceptual99 15 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Vidqun

    First of all, I have to make something clear. I am firmly committed to the authority of Scripture as divine revelation. I also believe the book of Daniel to be viewed as a unitary structure and should be studied as such (I do admit that a measure of editing has gone into the book). On this basis I study the book.

    When it comes to prophecy: 1) It should agree with context and fit in with rest of Bible. 2) It should be true according to the principle in Deuteronomy (18:22). 3) It could have more than one fulfillment as demonstrated by Jesus. By the way, he rejected the Maccabean interpretation of Daniel.

    I differ those rejecting the predictive element of prophecy while emphasizing probability. For one, modern scholars ignore the internal evidence. Here’s a few examples.

    Daniel is first and foremost a book of prophecy. It concerns the future. This we see from the arrangement of the contents. One quarter describes happenings in the life of Daniel and his friends. Three quarters contain prophecy.

    This we also determine from the book itself. Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar: “However, there exists a God in the heavens who is a Revealer of secrets, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what is to occur in the final part [’acharith] of the days” [“the latter days”, KJV] (Dan. 2:28). [1]

    Later the angel Gabriel informs Daniel: “Understand, O son of man, that the vision is for the time of [the] end” [“the end time”, NAB] (Dan. 8:17b). [2] He continues: “Here I am causing you to know what will occur in the final part [’acharith] of the denunciation, because it is for the appointed time of the end”. The “final part of the denunciation” refers to God’s anger during “the time of the end” (cf. Dan. 8:19, 25).

    The small horn or fierce king will rise “in the final part [’acharith] of their kingdom, as the transgressors act to completion” (cf. Dan. 8:23). Gabriel concludes: “And you, for your part, keep secret the vision, because it is for many days” [“it concerns the distant future”, NIV] (cf. Dan. 8:26b).

    Concerning the final vision, the angel reveals: “And I have come to cause you to discern what will befall your people in the final part [’acharith] of the days, because it is a vision yet for the days [to come]” [“for the vision pertains to future days”, NET] (cf. Dan. 10:14). [Cursive script added.]

    The final King of the North “will certainly prove successful until [the] denunciation will have come to a finish.” Again the “denunciation” here refers to God’s wrath, indicating that the final King of the North would from hereon remain the same, enjoying great success, until his destruction towards the close of “the time of the end” (cf. Dan. 11:36, 40, 45).

    Secondly, they lose sight of the fact that the final vision (Dan. 10-12) starts with the Persian Empire and ends with the resurrection. Getting stuck with Antiochus IV Epiphanes is unrealistic, especially concerning Dan. 11:40-45. This would make Daniel a liar.

    Leolaia has touched on it, but here is a prophecy that did come true. In sharp contrast to Maccabees, Daniel makes no direct mention of Hellenistic Reform. The angel in Daniel’s final vision would also doom a Jewish uprising, by saying: “And the sons of the robbers [“violent ones”, CSBO] belonging to your people will, for their part, be carried along to try making a vision come true; and they will have to stumble”, i.e., die [3] (cf. Dan. 11:14b).

    This is what a conservative scholar had to say about current research. I agree with him:

    The vast body of literature on the prophets has shown them to be first of all religious spokesmen in their own world and to their own times. That view is certainly correct, but not to the exclusion of their theological relevance for the future of Israel and the world. Unfortunately modern critical methodology has not consistenly set the stage for greater confidence in the integrity of the biblical prophets and the authenticity of their oracles and writings. The ongoing and asymmetric editing of the prophetic meterials in the biblical period, as suggested by some modern approaches to this literature, is at best hypothetical. Much remains to be discovered about the literary process, and that inquiry must take place not only in a literary context but in a theological one as well. [4]

    [1] This eschatological marker often occurs in the prophetic books of the Bible, corresponding to a new era in human history (cf. Is. 2:2; Jer. 23:20; 30:24; 48:47; 49:39; Dan. 12:13; Hosea 3:5; Mic. 4:1; cf. Ezek. 38:8).

    [2] This eschatological marker occurs six times in the book of Daniel. Only the prophet Daniel would use it (cf. Dan. 8:17 , 19; 11:35, 40; 12:4, 9) .

    [3] The Hebrew word for stumble is kâshal (= “to cause to fall”). Especially in the book of Daniel this verb refers to a literal stumbling because of war (cf. Dan. 11:33b). In most cases the Syriac interprets it as “to overthrow.” This fact is corroborated by HALOT: to fall, collapse (of a government, dynasty) Dan. 11:14, 19, 33, 35, 41. In each of these cases, the verb refers to people, not countries. The Maccabean dynasty, and all break-away groups, disobedient to God, would come to a violent end.

    [4] C. Hassell Bullock, An Introduction to the Old Testament Prophetic Books, Mooody Publishers (2007), p. 33.

  • konceptual99

    WOW! Many thanks. I'd checked out wikipedia but, as I suspect, there is alot more detail out there.

    Thanks again. I'm off to digest...

  • transhuman68

    Interestingly, the WTS basically conceded that the Book of Daniel might be a composite document ; in the 'Daniel's Prophecy' book (1999) page 28:

    Jesus further authenticated the book of Daniel at the very time of his baptism. He then became the Messiah, fulfilling a prophecy in Daniel regarding the 69 weeks of years. (Daniel 9:25, 26; see Chapter 11 of this book.) Even if what may be called the late date theory were true, the writer of Daniel still knew the future some 200 years in advance. Of course, God would not inspire a forger to utter true prophecies under a false name.

    Except that Daniel would have been dead for centuries...

  • mP

    Part of the evidence against Daniel being authored back when teh Jews were in Babylon is he uses the Greek form of Nebuchanezzar, whilst other contemporaries who were actually there use another form. I cant recall the exact differences but one form substitutes some "r" for "z" or vice versa.

  • John Kesler
  • John Kesler
    John Kesler

    Leolaia:Then ch. 10-12 gave a parallel explication of Hellenistic history from the time of Alexander the Great to the present (165-164 BC), foreseeing a third campaign by Antiochus against Egypt which never occurred, and his death on Judean soil which never occurred. (Nor did the resurrection of the dead follow this as well)

    Some apologists appeal to Porphyry, the third-century Neoplatonist enemy of Christianity, to prove that Antiochus IV really did engage in a third campaign against Egypt. Reading Porphyry--whose commentary about Daniel survives only in the writings of St. Jerome, who was rebutting them--it becomes obvious that Porphyry was so determined to prove that Daniel's "prophecies" are after-the-fact accounts about Antiochus that he aparently didn't consider that some passages in Daniel precede Antiochus' death. Porphyry tips his hand not only when he claims that Antiochus, contrary to every other historian, engaged in a third Egyptian campaign, but also when he claims that even the resurrection of the dead already occured--just figuratively so!

    St. Jerome responding to Porphyry:
    Verses 1-3. "But at that time shall Michael rise up, the great prince, who stands for the children of thy people, and a time shall come such as never occurred from the time that nations began to exist even unto that time. And at that time shall thy people be saved, even everyone who shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some unto life everlasting, and others unto reproach, that they may behold it always. But those who are instructed shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that instruct many as to righteousness, as the stars for all eternity." Up until this point Porphyry somehow managed to maintain his position and impose upon the credulity of the naive [reading imperitis for imperitus] among our adherents as well as the poorly educated among his own. But what can he say of this chapter, in which is described the resurrection of the dead, with one group being revived for eternal life and the other group for eternal disgrace? He cannot even specify who the people were under Antiochus who shone like the brightness of the firmament, and those others who shone like the stars for all eternity. But what will pigheadedness not resort to? Like some bruised serpent, he lifts up his head as he is about to die, and pours forth his venom upon those who are themselves at the point of death. This too, he declares, was written with reference to Antiochus, for after he had invaded Persia, he left his army with Lysias, who was in charge of Antioch and Phoenicia, for the purpose of warring against the Jews and destroying their city of Jerusalem. All these details are related by Josephus, the author of the history of the Hebrews. Porphyry contends that the tribulation was such as had never previously occurred, and that a time came along such as had never been from the time that races began to exist even unto that time. But when victory was bestowed upon them, and the generals of Antiochus had been slain, and Antiochus himself had died in Persia, the people of Israel |146 experienced salvation, (p. 576) even all who had been written down in the book of God, that is, those who defended the law with great bravery. Contrasted with them were those who proved to be transgressors of the Law and sided with the party of Antiochus. Then it was, he asserts, that these guardians of the Law, who had been, as it were, slumbering in the dust of the earth and were cumbered with a load of afflictions, and even hidden away, as it were, in the tombs of wretchedness, rose up once more from the dust of the earth to a victory unhoped for, and lifted up their heads, rising up to everlasting life, even as the transgressors rose up to everlasting disgrace. But those masters and teachers who possessed a knowledge of the Law shall shine like the heaven, and those who have exhorted the more backward peoples to observe the rites of God shall blaze forth after the fashion of the stars for all eternity. He also adduces the historical account concerning the Maccabees, in which it is said that many Jews under the leadership of Mattathias and Judas Maccabaeus fled to the desert and hid in caves and holes in the rocks, and came forth again after the victory (I Macc. 2.) These things, then, were foretold in metaphorical language (726) as if it concerned a resurrection of the dead. But the more reasonable understanding of the matter is that in the time of the Antichrist there shall occur a tribulation such as there has never been since nations began to exist.

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