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Why Daniel? | The Skeptics Are Puzzled

dead sea scrolls

“There is too much light,” they assert. “The Book of Daniel is simply too true to be trusted.” The Book of Daniel is God’s unrivaled masterpiece of predictive prophecy. Daniel’s visions describe the geopolitical events of the ten centuries following his lifetime with an accuracy and detail that leaves its reader no room to be impartial. This is not immediately perceptible to most of us, since we live 1,500 years after the latest of these events took place. Yet this was unavoidable reality to those who lived in the world that Daniel had predicted. The taxes they paid, the rules they obeyed, and even the language they spoke testified to the power of Daniel’s book. This gave the Book of Daniel a reputation that surpassed the limits of class, culture, and country. Be it king or commoner, Gentile or Jew, this book was well-known and taken seriously (Mt. 2:1–2; Mk. 13:14; 2 Th. 2:3–4).

Today the fulfilled prophecies of this remarkable book are frequently dismissed offhandedly as pious fabrications. What happened? In the third century CE, Porphyry of Tyre—a neo-Platonic writer and opponent of Christianity—asserted that the accuracy of Daniel’s predictions proved it could not be the result of divine revelation but rather, the work of an author who lived after the events took place. This did not constitute a valid argument in that it could not be proven but rested entirely on the assumption that either God does not exist or, if He does exist, does not make His thoughts known to men and women.

Centuries later, this presupposition was readily taken up by the writers and critics of the Enlightenment who prided themselves in their partiality to reason and their prejudice against anything that smacked of the sacred or supernatural. Ironically, it was the ignorance of Enlightenment thinkers that made this assertion appear plausible. History, Philology, and Textual Criticism were in their infancy as modern academic fields, and the fields of Archaeology and Anthropology did not yet exist. However, the numbers are now in and the skeptics are puzzled. Three centuries of curiosity, consistent research, and controversy have yielded an abundance of historical, philological, textual, and archaeological data that gives a consistent proof of the very thing they did not expect: the historicity of the Book of Daniel.

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