Problems with Daniel

Within the last 100 years, there has come a movement within the Christian Church which asserts that with the addition of the New Testament, the Bible has become the “perfect” described by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians:

“For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when PERFECTION comes, the imperfect disappears.” 1 Corth 13:9

Now while the Scriptures were truly written and or inspired by God, they are not that “perfect” as these try to claim. Indeed, we know for certain that at least some of the Books have been tampered with. Even the Prophet Jeremiah described that in his day, Scribes were altering the Scriptures to suit their agendas:

“How can you say, “We are wise, for we have the law of the LORD,” when actually the lying pen of the scribes has handled it falsely?” Jer 8:8

But even though Jeremiah knew the Scriptures had been tampered with, he did not disregard them, and neither should we. Rather, in seeking the Truth through God’s Word we simply need to be mindful that changes have been made and watch for them. Moreover, Jesus told us His Spirit would lead us into all Truth; and the Spirit can even show us which Scripture have been “handled falsely”.  As for those Scriptures which have obviously been tampered with. It seems they were not blatant changes but rather just additions, and perhaps only for the sake of clarification. This seems to be the case within several Books of the Old Testament and perhaps why the Apostle John specifically warned not to “add to or take away from the Words of the scroll of Revelation”.

With that in mind, there are a few Books of the Old Testament that have clearly been tampered with. The Book of Daniel is probably the most obvious. For centuries it was blindly accepted that the Book of Daniel was composed by the Prophet Daniel in the 6th century B.C. during the Babylonian exile. However, studies have assessed that while the first half of Daniel may have been composed early on, the later chapters were composed by Jews in the 2ed century B.C. during the Hasmoneans period (some 400 years later). Now if this is true, the later half of the Book of Daniel should be disregarded as prophetic. But this is not true—at least not completely true. While there is indeed overwhelming evidences of the Hasmonean’s hand, they did not add the entire later half of the Book; rather it appears that they only inserted some sections into the original texts. So there is no need to disregard the entire last half of the Book of Daniel. Moreover, if you trust the Words of Jesus, then you must hold that at least some of the later chapters were actually written by Daniel, as Jesus referred to the abomination of the desolation of Daniel 9 and He named Daniel as the author. Jesus also quoted from Chapter 12 as well. So how can we know which texts were inserted into the Book of Daniel?

The original Book of Daniel was written in the Ancient Aramaic, and chapters 2–7 remain in the Aramaic. However, the language was changed to Hebrew in Chapter 1 and Chapters 8 through 12 when the Hasmoneans made their changes to those sections. The texts which they inserted into these sections (1 and 8-12) are fairly simple to spot once you understand the concerns and agendas of those who inserted them.

By the 2nd century B.C. the Jews were under the rule of the Greek Seleucid Empire. But under the leadership of a family named Maccabees, the Jews rebelled against a cruel Emperor and gained their independence. Afterwards, the Maccabees established themselves as the Hasmonean Kingdom. The Books of the Maccabees records their great struggle and victorious outcome.

Many years earlier, the Prophet Daniel had prophesied of a great end time struggle for the Jews, which would result in a glorious victory and the glorified Kingdom of God. Because the Hasmonean Jews believed (or wanted their people to believe) their great struggle and victory was the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecies, they inserted their events into his prophecies. Thus, by attributing their struggle and victory as the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecies, they would also be attributing their Hasmonean Kingdom as the glorified Kingdom of God.

We know the additions to Daniel were inserted by Hasmonean Jews because of chapter 11. The Prophet Daniel lived in the 6th century; but the meticulously detailed history of Chapter 11 was clearly added about 400 years later—-after the events had unfolded. Now since we know chapter 11 was added by Hasmonean Jews we can spot other insertions which also put the focus on their period. Thus, along with chapter 11, it is easy to surmise that 8 and 10 were also added as they too bring the focus onto their Greek period.

The Hasmonean Jews simply inserted their historic period into the Prophecies of Daniel.  Chapters 8, 10 and 11 were inserted in amongst 7, 9 and 12 in order to attribute the prophecies of 7, 9 and 12 as being fulfilled by them. However 7, 9 and 12 did not point to the Greek period…nor was the Hasmonean kingdom the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God that is described at the end of 7. Rather, those prophecies pointed to the Roman period when the Messiah Jesus would appear.

If you will notice, while the prophecy of Daniel chapter 7 describes the destruction of the 4 great Empires (Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome), it elaborated only on the time of the Roman Empire and the little horn which comes out of the Roman Empire. Chapter 7 then concludes by describing the salvation of God’s people and the coming of the glorified and everlasting Kingdom of God. Then, suddenly Chapter 8 turns the reader back to focus back to the Greek (Hasmonean) period. But then, Daniel 9 returns us to the same style of prophecy of chapter 7, wherein Daniel gives an overview, but then focuses on the time of the last kingdom which would destroy and desolate Jerusalem—which was Rome. But then again, Chapters 10 and 11 suddenly switches us back to the Greek (Hasmonean) period. So whereas Daniel 7 and 9 both take us to the Roman period, Chapter 8, 10 and 11 suddenly catapult us back to the Greek / Hasmonean period.

So if you will take, 8, 10 and 11 out, you would see that Chapters 7, 9 and 12 consecutively focus on the Roman period. Moreover, if you leave out Chapters 10 and 11 and connect the end of Daniel 9 directly to the beginning of Daniel 12 (as it should be); it describes the destruction of Jerusalem as Jesus described it in Matthew 24:

Dan 9:27 + Dan 12: 1: “…and on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate.” ….”…At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time.

 Matt 24:15:  “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.

Indeed, Jesus quoted the Book of Daniel the way it read before it was “handled falsely”. Moreover, by stating that these things were soon to happen, Jesus let us know that the Hasmoneans were not the recipient’s of the “end of the sacrifices” or the “Abomination of the desolation” of Daniel 9—even though they tried to insert that they were in Chapter 11: 29:

“At the appointed time he shall return and go toward the south; but it shall not be like the former or the latter.   For ships from  Cyprus shall come against him; therefore he shall be grieved, and return in rage against the holy covenant, and do damage. “So he shall return and show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant.   And  forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation.” Dan 11:29

This insertion was an attempt to attribute the Seleucid Emperor Antiochus as the fulfillment of the evil prince of Daniel 9. But he was not. For while Antiochus may have defiled the Temple, he did NOT set up the Abomination that caused Desolation because Jerusalem did not become DESOLATE under Antiochus! Desolation means the banishment of the people from Jerusalem. And Jerusalem was NOT made desolate until the time of the Romans in 70 A.D. Moreover, besides inserting their Emperor as the desolator of Daniel 9, the Hasmonean Jews also copied and pasted themselves as “the refined, purified and made white” afflicted ones from Chapter 12 to their 11:35:

Dan 12:9“…And he said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, made white, and refined..”

Dan 11:35“…And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end...”

Along with their attempts to claim themselves as the fulfillment of the glorified Kingdom in the Book of Daniel, the Hasmonean era Jews also tried to claim the fulfillments of other famous Zionistic prophesies as well. The prophet Isaiah prophesied often of a future restoration for Israel which would come through a Messiah (Anointed one). The Hasmonean era Jews inserted Isaiah Chapter 44:28 – 45:6 and verse 45:13, in an attempt to attribute the Persian Emperor Cyrus as the Messiah and their return from Babylon as the beginning of the fulfillment of the great Restoration of Israel. But even though they tried to claim these prophecies as fulfilled in their day, we now know they were not. We now know Cyrus was not the Messiah who bought an “everlasting salvation” for Israel (Isa 45:17), and that Antiochus did not bring about the Abomination that causes Desolation. Nor were the Hasmoneans the “afflicted ones” who were “refined, purified, and made white”—as their kingdom was very corrupted. Rather, all those prophecies would later be fulfilled through the Messiah Jesus and the Christian Church.

Why the Hasmonean era Jews made these additions to the Scriptures no knows for sure. Perhaps the Hasmonean who had unlawfully seized the kingship and priesthood commissioned these additions to make the people believe the Hasmoneans had fulfilled the prophecies…thus that his dynasty was God’s new choice for the throne. Or perhaps some scribes added these erroneous details to try to help their people understand the prophecies—the way they believed they had been fulfilled. But whatever the reason, the additions have caused a lot of people to misunderstand of the true meanings of these prophecies. Indeed, even though most people today know those prophecies were not fulfilled in the Greeks / Hasmoneans period, they erroneously view these false insertions as foreshadows. But even viewing them as foreshadows will corrupt the true meanings and the expectations of their true fulfillments.

For more on Daniel 9 also see:

Desolate vs. Desolator