Gleason Archer Refutes the Liberal View of Daniel

Isa 44:6 “Thus says Yahovah, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, Yahovah of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last, And there is no El besides Me. 7 ‘Who is like Me? Let him proclaim and declare it; Yes, let him recount it to Me in order,  From the time that I established the ancient nation.  And let them declare to them the things that are coming  And the events that are going to take place.

The prophetic arguments from the book of Daniel have driven the secular world insane. They affirm that Daniel had to be written after the events it prophesied because an admission that it was written before these events is simply too painful. So they resurrected and old theory from the pagan philosopher Porphyry that Daniel is a forgery and a lie. Originally Porphyry was refuted by Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea, Appollinarius and Methodius.  Jerome catalogues this in the Prologue of his Commentary on Daniel. Sadly, these works were lost to the advantage of the modern Secular Establishment. Scholars have made some arguments that there is hope these will be found.  However, Gleason L. Archer, Jr. in his A Survey of Old Testament Introduction took the task upon himself to answer the arguments of the liberals against the book of Daniel.

The liberal theory is that Daniel was written by an unknown author during the life of  Antiochus IV Epiphanes (215 B.C. to 164 B.C.) known as the Late Date Theory or the Maccabean Date Theory. The following extended quote is from A Survey of Old Testament Introduction by Gleason L. Archer, JR.  (Moody Press: Chicago, 1964, 1974 by The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago Revised Edition)

“there is no good reason for denying to the sixth-century Daniel the composition of the entire work. This represents a collection of his memoirs made at the end of a long and eventful career which included government service from the reign of Nebuchadnezzar in the 590s to the reign of Cyrus the Great in the 530s. The appearance of Persian technical terms indicates a final recension of these memoirs at a time when Persian terminology had already infiltrated into the vocabulary of Aramaic. The most likely date for the final edition of the book, therefore, would be about 530 B.C. (pg. 387)…The Jewish canon places Daniel among the Kethubhim or Hagiographa, rather than among the prophets. This is interpreted [by the liberal-DS] to mean that the book must have been written later than all the canonical prophets…But it should be noted that some of the documents in the Kethubhim…were of great antiquity, such as the book of Job, the Davidic Psalms, and the writings of Solomon. (pg. 388)…It is fair to say that the weakest spot in the whole structure of the Maccabean theory is to be found in the identification of the fourth empire predicted in chapter 2. In order to maintain their position, the late-date theorists have to interpret this fourth empire as referring to the kingdom of the Macedonians or Greeks founded by Alexander the Great around 330 B.C. This means that the third empire must be identified with the Persian realm established by Cyrus the Great, and the second empire has to be short-lived Median power, briefly maintained by the legendary Darius the Mede. According to this interpretation, then, the head of gold in chapter 2 represents the Chaldean empire, the breast of silver the Median empire, the belly and thighs of brass the Persian empire, and the legs of iron the Greek empire…That is to say, the text of Daniel itself gives the strongest indications that the author considered the Medes and Persians as components of the one and same empire, and that despite his designation of King Darius as ‘the Mede,’ he never entertained the notion that there was at any time a separate and distinct Median empire….The third empire is represented as a leopard with four wings and four heads. There is no record that the Persian empire was divided into four parts, but it is well known that the empire of Alexander the Great separated into four parts subsequent to his death…the natural inference, therefore , would be that the leopard represented the Greek empire. The fourth kingdom is presented as a fearsome ten-horned beast, incomparably more powerful than the others and able to devour the whole earth. The ten horns strongly suggest the ten toes of the image described in chapter 2, and it should be noted that these toes are described in chapter 2 as having close connection with the two legs of iron. The two legs can easily be identified with the Roman empire, which in the time of Diocletian divided into the eastern and the Western Roman empires. But there is no way in which they can be reconciled with the history of the Greek empire which followed upon Alexander’s death. In Daniel 8 we have further symbolism to aid us in this identification of empires two and three. There a two-horned ram (one horn of which is higher than the other, just as Persia overshadowed Media in Cyrus’ empire) is finally overthrown by a he-goat, who at first shows but one horn (easily identified with Alexander the Great) but subsequently sprouts four horns (i.e., Macedon, Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt), out of which there finally develops a little horn, that is, Antiochus Epiphanes[Newton and I disagree.-DS]. From the standpoint of the symbolism of chapters 2, 7 and 8, therefore, the identification of the four empires with Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome presents a perfect correspondence, whereas the identifications involved in the Maccabean date theory present the most formidable problems and discrepancies (pg. 405-406)…Two other considerations should be adduced to show that the author regarded the Medes and Persians as constituting the one and same empire. In Daniel 6, Darius is said to be bound by ‘the law of the Medes and Persians,’ so that he could not revoke the decree consigning Daniel to the lion’s den. If the author regarded Darius as ruler of an independent Median empire earlier in time than the Persian, it is impossible to explain why he would have been bound by the laws of the Persians. Second, we have the evidence of the handwriting on the wall as interpreted by Daniel in 5:28… ‘Thy kingdom is divided , and given to the Medes and Persians.’…This can only mean that according to the author, the Chaldean empire was removed from Belshazzar as the last representative of the first empire and given to the Medes and Persians who constituted the second empire. This cannot mean that the rule was given to the Medes and only later to be transmitted to the Persians, because the significant word which appeared in the handwriting on the wall was quite specifically the word ‘Persia’…we must concluded that the fourth empire indeed represented Rome. If, then, the fourth empire of chapter 2, as corroborated by the other symbolic representations of chapter 7, clearly pointed forward to the establishment of the Roman empire, it can only follow that we are dealing here with genuine predictive prophecy and not a vaticinium ex eventu. According to the Maccabean date theory, Daniel was composed between 168 and 165 B.C., whereas the Roman empire did not commence (for the Jews at least) until 63 B.C., when Pompey the Great took over that part of the Near East which included Palestinethe Romans had still not advanced beyond the limits of Europe by 165, except to establish a vassal kingdom in Asia Minor and a protectorate over Egypt. But certainly, as things stood in 165 B.C., no human being could have predicted with any assurance  that the Hellenistic monarchies of the Near East would be engulfed by the new power which had arisen in the West…this one circumstance alone, then, that Daniel predicts the Roman empire, is sufficient to overthrow the entire Maccabean date hypothesis (pg. 406-407)…It should also be pointed out that the Maccabean date theory fails to explain how the book of Daniel ever came to be accepted by the later Jews as Holy Scripture…There can be no doubt that the description given in Daniel 11:40-45 relative to the latter end  of the little horn does not at all correspond to the manner in which Antiochus Epiphanese met his death…Those who espouse the Liberal theory can only allege that the Maccabean author of Daniel was unsuccessful in his effort to predict the manner of Antiochus’ downfall…Yet, if this was actually the case it is impossible to conceive how the Jews could have continued to regard this writing as canonical or authoritative, since it contained false prophecy. (pg. 408)”

The conservative theory states that the one mentioned in Daniel 11:40-45 is the future antichrist. Jamieson Fausset Brown points out this embarrassment for the liberal interpretation, commenting on Dan 11:40,

“40. The difficulty of reconciling this with Antiochus’ history is that no historian but PORPHYRY [Who is the originator of the Liberal theory-DS ] mentions an expedition of his into Egypt towards the close of his reign. This Daniel 11:40 , therefore, may be a recapitulation summing up the facts of the first expedition to Egypt (171-170 B.C.), in Daniel 11:22 Daniel 11:25 ; and Daniel 11:41 , the former invasion of Judea, in Daniel 11:28 ; Daniel 11:42 Daniel 11:43 , the second and third invasions of Egypt (169 and 168 B.C). inDaniel 11:23 Daniel 11:24 Daniel 11:29 Daniel 11:30 . AUBERLEN takes rather PORPHYRY’S statement, that Antiochus, in the eleventh year of his reign (166-165 B.C.), invaded Egypt again, and took Palestine on his way. The “tidings” ( Daniel 11:44 ) as to the revolt of tributary nations then led him to the East. PORPHYRY’S statement that Antiochus starting from Egypt took Arad in Judah, and devastated all Phoenicia, agrees with Daniel 11:45 ; then he turned to check Artaxias, king of Armenia. He died in the Persian town Tabes, 164 B.C., as both POLYBIUS and PORPHYRY agree. Doubtless, antitypically, the final Antichrist, and its predecessor Mohammed, are intended, to whom the language may be more fully applicable than to Antiochus the type. The Saracen Arabs “of the south” “pushed at” the Greek emperor Heraclius, and deprived him of Egypt and Syria. But the Turks of “the north” not merely pushed at, but destroyed the Greek empire; therefore more is said of them than of the Saracens. Their “horsemen” are specified, being their chief strength. Their standards still are horse tails. Their “ships,” too, often gained the victory over Venice, the great naval power of Europe in that day. They “overflowed” Western Asia, and then “passed over” into Europe, fixing their seat of empire at Constantinople under Mohammed II [NEWTON]. ”


So let’s summarize the impossibilities of the liberal theory:

1. There is no record that the Persian empire was divided into four parts

2. The two legs of the statue prophecy can in no way correspond to “history of the Greek empire which followed upon Alexander’s death”

3. The author of Daniel considered the Medes and Persians as empire.

Dan. 5: 28 Peres; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.

Dan. 6: 8 Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.

4. “The Roman empire did not commence (for the Jews at least) until 63 B.C., when Pompey the Great took over that part of the Near East which included Palestine… no human being could have predicted with any assurance  that the Hellenistic monarchies of the Near East would be engulfed by the new power which had arisen in the West…this one circumstance alone, then, that Daniel predicts the Roman empire, is sufficient to overthrow the entire Maccabean date hypothesis”

5. Dan. 11:40-45 does not describe the life of Antiochus.

Thus, as we see, it is not the author of Daniel who is guilty of fraud but Porphyry and the liberals themselves.


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