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Volume 20 - Page 49 of 195 Index | Zoom | |
The testimony of Daniel,
or The time of the end.
"The Scripture of truth" (10: 21).
pp. 1 - 4
A peculiar Gentile interest belongs to the book of Daniel, for, although it never fails to
keep in view the two great foci of all prophecy, namely (1) Israel and Jerusalem, and
(2) the kingdom of Christ at His second coming, nevertheless, its prophecies are largely
occupied with a period when Israel are set aside, and during which dominion over the
earth is held by Gentile powers. This period is known as the "times of the Gentiles", and
if the witness of the book was important when the times of the Gentiles were in their
infancy, it is certainly not less so for us when those times have nearly reached their close.
Before taking up the prophecy as a whole, it may be as well to face some of the
critical attacks upon the book so that we may all, without hesitation or reserve, follow its
teaching as a true revelation from heaven. De Wette speaks of it as "fiction"; Cornill
calculates that it was written in 164B.100:, while modern critics generally hold that it
should be dated from the period of the Maccabean wars. This means, if it is true, that the
book is but a "pious fraud", that some of its "prophecies" were not written until after the
event, and that, consequently, while it may be an interesting relic of Jewish apocalyptic
literature, it is that and nothing more. Among other arguments for the lateness of the
book Dean Farrar brought forward:--
The mention of Greek musical instruments in chapter 3:
The mention of Belshazzar as king of Babylon.
The use of some official titles.
The critic criticized.
As to the first of these, who does not know that the Phoenicians linked up the known
world by the medium of their merchandise, and that the tin of our own Cornwall might
equally as well have found its way into Babylon as musical instruments from Greece?
Since Dean Farrar wrote, however, excavations at Nippur have shown that commercial
communications was established between Babylon and Greece 900 years before Daniel!
As to the second, a visit to the British Museum will prove that king Nabonidus
associated his son Bel-sar-utsur (i.e., Belshazzar) with himself upon the throne, which
incidentally shows why Belshazzar was able to offer Daniel only the third place in the
kingdom (Dan. 5: 16).
With regard to the third argument, the allegation is that the word "master" (rab-saris)
in Dan. 1: 3 indicates a late date, yet the monuments have now yielded this very title. So
also the word "herald" (karoza) in Dan. 3: 4 was said to be identical with the Greek