Will the Real Daniel Stand Up
October 1st, 1967 @ 10:50 AM
WILL THE REAL DANIEL STAND UP
Dr. W. A. Criswell
10-1-67 10:50 a.m.
On the radio and on television you are sharing the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas. This is the pastor bringing the morning message. In these days we are preaching a long series of sermons on the Book of Daniel. And these beginning messages have to do with the authority and the inspiration of the Book. And by that word, "Book," we finally come to mean the whole Bible, for to somebody like me at least, the Bible is one. It is of the same fabric. It is of the same inspiration. It is of the same kind. And if a part of the Bible is not true, to me, I cannot know but that all of it is false. To me, it falls or it rises together. If I cannot trust a part of the Bible, I cannot be assured that I can trust any other part of the Word of God.
We have come to live in our day, and in our time, and in our generation, in one of the strangest ecclesiastical phenomena that could ever have been imagined. For the attack on the Bible today is not on the part of the infidel, or the atheist, or the blaspheming communist; but the attack against the Bible today is on the part of the modern liberal Christian theologian. Were an atheist to attack the Bible, we would not think it unusual; were a communist to decry the Word of God, we would expect nothing else; were an agnostic or an infidel to scoff at the revelation of the truth in God’s Book, we would not be overwhelmed. But the phenomenon that we see in our day and in our time is this: the attack against the Bible is made by the modern Christian theologian. Nor can we shield our children and our young people and our congregations from it. It is taught in every liberal seminary in the world. It is taught in every liberal academic institution in the world, and practically all of them are liberal. It is preached in all of the liberal pulpits in the world, and most of them are liberal.
This is the thing that you read in daily life if you open your eyes to read at all. All you have to do to see such a thing as this is to listen to any modern day preacher who is liberal, and most of them are, or to read a magazine like Time. There is a religious section in magazines like Time; and this is the view and the presentation that is made almost without exception; so much so, that one who believes the Bible is referred to as an antiquated fundamentalist; he belongs to a medieval age. To him the resurrection is real, Satan is real, heaven is real, hell is real, conversion is real, the life to come is real. But we of this modern scientific era know different from that: there is no resurrection of the dead, there’s no afterlife, there’s no heaven, there’s no hell, there’s no angel, there’s no spiritual redemption, there’s no actual conversion. This is not the preachment of an infidel or blaspheming communist; this is the preachment of this modern world. This is the pulpit today; this is the message today. And what they preach is race relations, and UNESCO and war and peace, and capital and labor, and all of the other things that belong to the religious turmoil of this modern, ecclesiastical world. No wonder people go into church, yawn, and go out and play golf. We are losing our message. We’re getting to where we don’t believe anything, and least of all the Word of God and the Bible. So as I am preparing these messages on Daniel, it has come into focus, because the liberal attack against the Book, against the Bible, is largely centered in a book like Daniel.
Now, the title of the message this morning is, Who is Daniel? Who wrote this book? When did he live? And where did he come from? Who is Daniel? Now, the author of the book says that he was taken a captive by Nebuchadnezzar in 605 BC [Daniel 1:1, 3-6], and he says he lived throughout the Neo-Babylonian Empire from 605 BC until the empire was taken by Cyrus in 539 BC. And he says that he lived into the third year of Cyrus [Daniel 10:1]. So the man who wrote this book says that he lived from about, say he was born in 620 or 625 BC, he lived from about 625 BC throughout the course of the Neo-Babylonian Empire down to the days of the Persian Empire; from about 625 he lived until about 535 BC. And he says that God revealed to him in visions, in apocalypses, these great visions of the unfolding of world history. Now that’s what the Daniel who wrote that book says.
The liberal theologian says, and there is not a liberal theologian in the world that believes in the authenticity, the integrity, and the inspiration of the Book of Daniel – the liberal theologian says that the book is a forgery, it belongs to the pseudepigrapha, it is a false book, and that it was written four hundred years after it is supposed to have been written. They say it was not written by any Daniel who was taken in a captive raid by Nebuchadnezzar; but that it was written in 165 BC in the days of the Maccabees, and that all of its prophecy is nothing but history; it had already happened, and the author placed it in the garb of prophecy as though he had written it four hundred years before. There is nothing authentic about it, there is nothing prophetic about it, there is nothing genuine about it, that all of it is false, it is counterfeit, it is a fake, it is a forgery, and that it belongs to a class of literature that they call the pseudepigrapha, false writings that we’re going to speak of in a moment.
Now let us begin and see if we can find the real Daniel who wrote this book. However we may study or read or deny, the fact is the book is here; and it is here in the canon of the Old Testament. It belongs to the Bible, and it is one of the masterpieces of all time and of all literature. Read the great literature of the Greeks, read the great literature of the English-speaking peoples, there is nothing in literature that would rival the masterpiece, the literary masterpiece of the Book of Daniel. And not only that, not only is it a tremendous piece of literature, but it has prophecies in it that can be tested, by now 2500 years. This is a miraculous phenomenon in itself. How do you account for it? And who is the man that wrote it? And when did he live? Now he says that he lived in 625 to 535 BC, and that he saw these things in apocalyptic visions [Daniel 2:28-29]. The liberal says that he lived four hundred years afterward, in 165 BC, in the days of the Maccabees. So let’s begin, let’s try to find the real Daniel.
First, in the days of the Maccabees, this man is a prophet, this man is a genius, this man has in him the supernatural. Did he live, as the liberal says, in the days of the Maccabees, in 165 BC, 400 years after he says he lived? Well, we have a marvelous record of the days of the Maccabees; one of the finest pieces of writing, and one of the finest pieces of history in the world is 1 Maccabees. If it were written, if it were placed in the Bible, I would say it’d be perfectly in order. First Maccabees is a magnificent production. The lament of 1 Maccabees, over and over again, is this: that there is no prophet.
In the fourth chapter of 1 Maccabees, the stones of the altar, the great brazen altar, the stones of the altar have been desecrated by Antiochus Epiphanes, the king of Syria. And he dedicated the temple at Jerusalem, Jehovah’s temple, to Jupiter, Olympus Jupiter. And in order to desecrate the temple and the altar, he offered a sow on the altar, and took its juice and spread it all over the temple to defile the holy house of worship of the Jews. Judas Maccabeus gained the independence of little Judah, and he dedicated the temple anew. On the twenty-fifth day of December, the Feast of Dedication, which is mentioned in the New Testament, and which the Jews observe today, Judas Maccabeus overwhelmed the forces of Antiochus Epiphanes, the king of Syria, and rededicated the temple. And when they came to the altar on which that sow had been offered, and the juice poured out over the temple, they did not know what to do in its reconsecration. So 1 Maccabees says they tore the altar down stone by stone and took those stones out into an unclean place. And then the author adds, "until a prophet should arise who could tell them what to do; for there was no prophet in the land."
Again, in 1 Maccabees, chapter 9, there is a lament over the death of Judas Maccabeus, slain in the war; and the volume says, the book says that there was no lament like that over Judas Maccabeus, since there was no prophet that appeared in the land, there had been no lamentation like that since the days of Nehemiah, Malachi; for there was no prophet in the land in those centuries. Then in the fourteenth chapter of 1 Maccabees, the author says that when the sons had been slain that Simon, the son of Mattathias, the old priest, was chosen to lead the people until a prophet should appear who would be able to direct them. The constant refrain of 1 Maccabees is this: that there is no prophet in the land. Yet the liberal says that in that day Daniel, who wrote this great prophecy, lived.
Now may I add before I leave it, nor is there any figure between Nehemiah and Malachi and the appearing of John the Baptist, nor is there any figure who arises in a prophetic office or genius or gift as appears in the Book of Daniel, none. You can search through the Targum, the Talmud, the Mishna, the Gemara; you can search through all of the literature of the ancient Jews, and you will find from Nehemiah, Malachi down to John the Baptist, there is no prophet who appears. And yet the liberal would have us believe that an unknown forgerer living in 165 BC wrote this counterfeit document and smuggled it into the canon of the Old Testament. And the ancient synagogue believed that Ezra fixed that canon in the days of Nehemiah, Malachi, and no book was ever added after the cannon was fixed. What an astonishing thing and credulous, do they present here as the author of the Book of Daniel.
All right, second, who is this Daniel? They say he is one of the pseudepigrapha writers. Now, the pseudepigraphic apocalypses are men who are anonymous, they are faceless, they are unknown, all of them, all of them. An apocalypse is a vehicle by which God reveals to His people what is to come to pass in symbols and in visions. That is an apocalypse; God revealing through symbols and visions. There are two Apocalypses in the Bible: Daniel in the Old Testament, and the Revelation, the Apocalypse, in the New Testament. An apocalypse is a vehicle, a way that God uses to reveal the future by using signs, and symbols, and visions. Now, that word – pseudepigraphic, pseudepigrapha – that refers to a phenomenon in Jewish literature that began about 250 BC in which men who were faceless and nameless; they all belonged to a sect of the Jews called the Essenes. They wrote apocalyptic visions, and they put them in the mouths of ancient biblical characters who lived long ago as though they had seen these apocalyptic visions. And then they just outlined history as though it were prophecy, using the names of these men who lived a long time ago.
Now I’m going to name you some of that pseudepigrapha literature, and listen to the names, you will recognize them. There is The Testament of Adam, Adam. There is The Testament of Abraham, Abraham. There is The Testament of Moses. There’s The Ascension of Moses. There is The Assumption of Moses. There is The Ascension of Isaiah. There is The Testament of Job. There is The Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, The Twelve Sons of Jacob. There is The Fourth Book of Esdras. There are The Odes of Solomon and The Psalms of Solomon. They took these names of the old revered biblical characters, and in them, in their mouths they placed all of these words and they wrote them out in apocalyptic visions. They are forgeries; they are a sub-literature. They’re not in the Bible, these apocalyptic visions, they’re not in the Bible, they’re not even in the Apocrypha. It is a type of literature that does not move on the same plane, or live in the same world with Daniel. Yet these liberal critics would classify Daniel as one of those pseudepigraphic writers.
Well, let’s go on with it. In order to present his apocalypse, why, he had to choose, whoever this nameless author is they say, he had to choose a name of some great biblical worthy in the past like Enoch, The Testament of Enoch, or like Moses, The Testament of Moses. Now he had to choose a great name in the past; so this pseudepigraphic writer chose the name of Daniel. Well, who is Daniel? Nowwe’re trying to find out who Daniel is. Who is the name of this great worthy who lived in the past and whose name this pseudepigraphic author chose, this name this anonymous forgerer chose, to write under his name? Who is Daniel?
Well, we turn to the Bible and see if we can find who Daniel was. Now in the third chapter of 1 Chronicles there is the Daniel who is the second son of David [1 Chronicles 3:1], and who is called Chileab in 2 Samuel [3:3]. But nobody ever heard of him, so that wouldn’t do.
Now there is another Daniel mentioned in the Bible. In the eighth chapter of the Book of Ezra and the second verse, there is a Daniel who is a post-exilic priest who went back to Judah after the Babylonian exile [Ezra 8:2]. He is also named in Nehemiah chapter 10 and verse 6 [Nehemiah 10:6]. But that wouldn’t do; nobody ever heard of these Daniels, nothing at all; and it has to be the name of a great legendary figure such as Moses, legendary in the sense that he’s revered and known, a great name in biblical literature such as Enoch and Abraham. Well those Daniels won’t do.
Then, they have found it. In the fourteenth chapter of the Book of Ezekiel, verse 14 and verse 20, the Lord says through Ezekiel the prophet to the people of Judah, "Though these three men, Noah, [Daniel], and Job, were in the city, I still would destroy it" [Ezekiel 14:14]. Then in the twentieth verse he says the same thing, "Though Noah, [Daniel], and Job were in the city I still would destroy it" [Ezekiel 14:20].
"Now there is that man," they say, "Noah, Daniel, and Job." But who is the Daniel of the Book of Ezekiel? We’re going to have a sermon on that next Sunday when I preach on The Trail of Tears. Who is this Daniel in Ezekiel? Nobody ever heard of him, and yet the name chosen by the pseudepigraphic authors has to be some great worthy in days past if it belongs to that pseudepigraphic literature. You’d meet a dead end; there is no Daniel who is anciently known as a Moses, or as an Enoch, or as an Abraham; he does not exist. And it is a figment of the imagination to suppose that there ever lived such a man in that legendary past.
Then something happened, something happened, and oh, how the modern critic seized upon it, because you got Daniel here mentioned between Noah and Job. In 1930 in northern Syria, in ancient Ugarit, modern Ras Shamra, there was discovered a great many tablets, cuneiform tablets. And in those tablets, as the Assyriologists studied them, they found the legend of Aqhat. And Aqhat had a father by the name of Danel. Now this legend arose about 1400 BC. And they said, "This is the Daniel that is found in Ezekiel, ‘Noah, Daniel, and Job’. And the Danel whose name is used by the pseudepigraphic author who wrote the Book of Danel in the Bible; there he is; he was a legendary Canaanite hero who was famous for justice and for wisdom as he judged the fatherless and the widow."
Then, we looked more closely at those cuneiform tablets, and in all that Ugaritic literature from Ras Shamra. We look at it closely, and this is the Danel that is described in that legend: one, he worships Baal and eats his meal in the house of Baal; second, he erects a stele to his ancestral gods, a tablet, raises a pillar to his ancestral gods and offers to them libations; third, he is habitually drunk. Now, Noah was drunk one time, named here by Ezekiel as being righteous, but that was a tragedy, a single tragedy in his life [Genesis 9:20-21]. But this Danel of the Ugaritic literature is habitually drunk; it’s his way of life. And another thing about him: he curses his enemies and damns his enemies, and he has no hope in the living God. Yet the critic would say that this is the Daniel that Ezekiel uses as being holy and righteous along with Noah and Job [Ezekiel 14:14, 20]. It is unthinkable, it is unimaginable, it is unspeakable, such things as that! Yet this is the greatest, finest of modern academic intellectual approach to the Word of God.
I wish we had hours to learn these things that are of the truth. I must close. Who is the Daniel of the Bible? Who is he? As there was an Enoch, a man of God who walked with the Lord [Genesis 5:23-24], as there was a Moses [Exodus 2-3], as there was a Noah [Genesis 5:29-6:22], so there was a Daniel. And the Daniel of the Bible is the Daniel who presents himself as having been taken a captive by Nebuchadnezzar in 605 BC [Daniel 1:1, 3-6], and who died some time after 535 BC [Daniel 10:1], and to whom God gave these apocalyptic visions of the great sweep of world history [Daniel 1:1-12:13], and there is no other Daniel that can be found in time, in literature, in the centuries, in the millennia, there is not, there is none.
The only Daniel we know, and the only Daniel who actually lived who wrote this great prophecy, is the Daniel who was taken captive in 605 BC as he says in that glorious genius masterpiece of his book. Now, there are many pseudepigraphic apocalypses, but because there is a counterfeit apocalypse does not mean there’s no genuine Apocalypse. Because there is counterfeit money does not mean there’s no real money. Because there are counterfeit Acts of the Apostles and there are counterfeit gospels of Christ does not mean there are no real Acts of the Apostles and no real Gospels of Jesus Christ.
There had to be a first apocalypse somewhere, sometime, if ever – and the first Apocalypse the world ever saw is the one that God gave to Daniel. And the spurious apocalypses that were written centuries after are just poor and sorry unworthy imitations of the great glorious apocalypse that God gave to His prophet and statesman Daniel. Oh, there’s a flood of things to be said, maybe God will give us time in these days that lie ahead to look at them! This Daniel, just for a second, look at him, then we’ll close.
This Daniel, who was this Daniel? As a captive, he was faithful to his Lord: "And Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself" [Daniel 1:8]. Who is this Daniel? He is a man of illimitable and tremendous spiritual courage. He stands before the king and calls him to repentance and humility and announces to him the destruction and loss of his kingdom [Daniel 5:22-28]. Here is a man, who when the law of the Medes and Persians could not be rescinded or changed, he knelt as he had done, the Bible says "as he did aforetime, before an open window" [Daniel 6:10]; why didn’t he close his window? It meant apparent death to keep that window open and when he knelt and prayed. He was a man of tremendous spiritual courage. He was a man of prayer and supplication. I have never read a prayer that ended with the earnest appeal and supplication as his prayer in the ninth chapter, "O my God, incline Thine ear, and hear; O God, open Thine eyes, and behold. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken, and do. O my God" [Daniel 9:18-19]. Daniel, a man of prayer; a forgerer, a faker? Oh!
In the Book he is described one, two, three on this page; or I open it here, "a man greatly beloved," beloved of God and beloved in heaven" [Daniel 10:19] and on earth. And here is a man of illimitable, illimitable faith. He lived in a dark, dark hour. The city’s destroyed, the temple is destroyed, the people are in captivity, and in his captivity and in the loss and degradation and servitude of his people, he said, "And in the days of those last kings, there is coming a time when the God of heaven shall set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed. And it shall stand forever and ever" [Daniel 2:44]. What a man of faith and tremendous commitment! In the darkest hour of the life of his nation and his people, he saw the Lord high and lifted up, King over all the earth, and the kingdoms of the earth under His suzerainty and sovereignty and subjection [Daniel 2:44]. Oh, this Daniel of the Bible, like all of the Word of God, like a breath from heaven, like a vision beatific, like the glory of God Himself.
Now we must sing our song. While we sing it, a family you, to come into the fellowship of the church; a couple you, or one somebody you, while we sing the song and make the appeal, on the first note of the first stanza, would you make it now? Would you come now? "Here I am, pastor, this is my wife and these are our children; all of us are coming." Or just one somebody you, "Today, I give my heart to the Lord, and my life to God, and here I come, and here I am." As the Spirit shall open the door, and if as God shall make the way, come this morning, come today, you, while we stand and while we sing.
THE REAL DANIEL
Dr. W. A. Criswell
I. Supposed fictitious prophet of the Maccabean period
A. First Maccabees laments that there was no prophet
B. Nor was there a prophet from Malachi to John the Baptist
C. Modern critical identification of Daniel
D. Liberals believe an unknown forger wrote Daniel in 165 BC
II. Daniel as the faceless author of a pseudepigrapha
A. Pseudepigrapha authors had false names but used legendary biblical names for their books
B. Who is the legendary pre-exile biblical Daniel? There isn’t one
C. The modern critical identification of Daniel by Ezekiel
D. The critics have created a "holy and pious Jew" named Daniel
III. The real Daniel of the Bible
A. Just because there are counterfeit prophets does not mean there are no real prophets
B. A man "greatly beloved, beloved of God, beloved of heaven"