Bible is the most widely circulated book in the history of man.
Over 150 million Bibles are sold each year. It is a book that
many have died to defend and to have the right to read. Yet,
it is also a book that today often sits on a table or a shelf
and collects dust. Some perhaps do not read it because they
have been convinced that they cannot understand it. Others
might fear its message. Still others consider it a book of
myths and contradictions not worthy of their time.
Bible is unique among other ancient writings. Although it was
written by many different writers over a period of more than
4,000 years, it tells a unified story. Of all the works of
ancient writers, more manuscripts exist of the New Testament
than of those of any other of the well known authors including
Plato, Herodotus, Aristotle and Homer—and the oldest Biblical
manuscript found dates less than 100 years from the events recorded
whereas the manuscript copies of other writers have a gap of
more than 500 years. The Old Testament books were carefully
preserved by the Jews, often quoted by Jesus, and the discovery
of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1946, the oldest recovered manuscript
dating back to the time of the second temple, confirmed the
exactness of Hebrew text.
appears to be strong evidence that God has preserved the Bible
throughout the ages, but is the Bible what it purports to be—the
inspired word of God? Is it truly an authoritative guide for
our lives and a predictor of future events? Were its writers
inspired by God to write what is found in the Bible?
Book of Daniel confirms the truth of the divine inspiration
of the Bible. Because Daniel's prophecies are so precise, so
direct, so unambiguous in content, and because they predicted
history in advance with such accuracy, there is only one of
two ways in which they can be explained: either he was a divinely
inspired prophet or he was a fraud who wrote after the fact.
Critics of the Bible argue the latter view. However, the Bible
itself tells us that a matter can be established by the mouth
of two independent witnesses. (Deuteronomy 19:15) In the Bible
we are given two such witnesses concerning the prophet Daniel.
first of these is the Prophet Ezekiel who wrote concerning punishments
upon Israel if it should stray from God's law: "Even though
these three men, Noah, Daniel and Job were in its midst, by
their own righteousness they could only deliver themselves,
declares the Lord GOD." (Ezekiel
second witness is Jesus himself. "When ye therefore shall
see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet,
stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)"
(Matthew 24:15) By this statement Jesus put his endorsement
on Daniel and his prophecies.
what is it about Daniel's prophecies that creates such skepticism?
It is the fact that Daniel not only described the rise of empires
many hundreds of years future from his time, but also gave specific
details about them and specifically named one that arose 200
years future to his lifetime.
was Daniel? Daniel was part of the Israelite nobility, taken
as a teenager into Babylon in the first wave of conquest by
Nebuchadnezzar in an effort to insure the submission of the
king of Israel. Two other prophets were contemporary with Daniel:
Ezekiel, who was older and was taken into captivity at a later
time than Daniel, and Jeremiah, who remained in Israel.
with three other young Hebrews, was being prepared by Nebuchadnezzar
to serve in the court of Babylon. In the beginning of the book
we are introduced to him and his companions and learn of their
determination to be faithful to God. For this reason God favored
them with special abilities and protection. (Daniel 1:8,
the second chapter of Daniel is the account of Nebuchadnezzar's
dream of a great statue. Its head was made of gold, its arms
and breast of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs
of iron, and its feet of iron and clay mixed together. In the
dream a stone was cut out of a mountain without hands and struck
the statue on its feet. The stone shattered the whole image
and ground it into a powder
that was blown away by the wind. Then the stone grew into a
great mountain that filled the whole earth. (Daniel 2:1-45)
Nebuchadnezzar called for his wise men to explain the meaning
of his dream, but none were able to do so. He was ready to
have them all put to death when Daniel intervened and offered
Nebuchadnezzar the interpretation which had been given to him
by God. (vss. 19-23,28)
explained to the king, "thou art this head of gold."
(vs.38) In time another more inferior kingdom would arise, followed
by a third kingdom that would extend its rule over the whole
known earth. That one would be supplanted by yet a fourth kingdom
that would be very strong, as shown by the iron. Its strength
would later become mingled with clay and become partly strong
and partly brittle, and it would
be divided into ten divisions. (Daniel 2:36-43)
the Babylonian Empire was succeeded by Medo-Persia, followed
by Greece, and then by Rome. In AD 539, the Roman Emperor Justinian
gave temporal power to the Bishop of Rome. Thus Rome evolved
into the Holy Roman Empire, a church state amalgam with the
Emperor and the Pope vying with each other for political supremacy.
The various kingdoms of Europe were the offshoots of this empire.
Nebuchadnezzar's dream a "stone cut out of the mountain
without hands," struck the image on its feet breaking it
into pieces. (vss. 34, 44, 45) Until World War I the crowned
heads of Europe considered that they ruled by divine right.
The First World War ended reigns that had existed for hundreds
of years without interruption. Then "the stone became a
great mountain and filled the whole earth." (vs.35) The
stone represents the next universal kingdom, Christ's kingdom,
which will be set up by the God of heaven, and which will last
the first year of Belshazzar, Nebuchadnezzar's son, (chapter
7) Daniel was given a vision of these same empires but in the
form of beasts, with further characteristics pictured. Again,
after the fall of Babylon to Medo-Persia, Daniel received yet
another vision of the same coming empires, again pictured as
beasts, but showing other facets of their natures and this time
Greece is named although there would be 200 years before it
rose to power. This is found in Daniel 8:1-10, 20-24. In verse
16, we learn that the angel Gabriel revealed to Daniel the meaning
of the vision. Daniel knew he was not able himself to interpret
this dream nor to predict future events, but acknowledged that
it was God who revealed everything
to him. (Daniel 2:19-23)
Daniel 8:20-22, a ram with two horns pictures the joint kingdom
of the Medes and Persians. The rough goat with a conspicuous
horn that rushed at the ram and trampled him, Daniel identifies
as Greece, and the horn, its first king. This horn is broken
and four horns come up in its place. Looking back over history
we see the accuracy of this prophecy as Greece under Alexander
the Great overthrew the Medo-Persian Empire. But at the peak
of his greatness, Alexander died leaving his empire to his four
generals, also shown by the four heads on the leopard in the
vision of the 7th chapter. At Daniel's time, 200 years before
the rise of Greece under Alexander, there was nothing about
the disorganized Greek provinces to hint of the coming greatness
of the Grecian nation.
chapter 11, Daniel gives another outline of history's events.
Daniel's prophecy showed that three kings would arise in Persia,
and that the fourth would have great riches and would oppose
the realm of Greece. (vs.2) Cyrus was the first king of Persia,
followed by his son Cambyses, then Smerdis, then Xerxes. It
was Xerxes who gathered all his riches and fought a great battle
against Greece at Marathon. The Persians were defeated by the
Greeks but the Greeks went home. One hundred fifty years later,
Greece came back against Persia to become the third universal
empire under Alexander.
all other empires were passed down whole from father to son,
Alexander died childless so his empire was divided between his
four generals. As Daniel 11:4 states, "And when he shall
stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided
toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity..."
Such precision in prophecy is truly extraordinary! The prophecy
goes on to describe what Bible commentators recognize as an
historical narrative of events which involved Rome and Egypt.
prophecies in Daniel based upon the "day for a year"
principle, (Numbers 14:34; Ezekiel 4:6) accurately indicated
the time of Messiah's first advent, and give clues to "the
time of the end." (Daniel 9:25,26; 11:35,40; 12:9) In
Daniel 12:3 our own day is described as a time when "many
shall run to and fro and knowledge shall be increased."
He also wrote of a "time of trouble such as never was since
there was a nation." (vs1) Jesus also speaks of such a
time. (Matthew 24:21,22) Our nuclear age truly fits his description.
value of Bible prophecy was demonstrated by Jesus when he pointed
two of his disciples to the testimony of the prophets concerning
him when he appeared to them after his resurrection: "And
beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them
in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself."
(Luke 24:27) In the Gospels we have numerous references to
Old Testament prophecies fulfilled in Jesus. (Matthew 2:5,6;
4:14-16; 12:17-21; 26:56; Luke 4:18-21; John 17:12; 19:24)
The Apostles Peter and Paul used the Old
prophecies to preach Christ. (Acts 17:2,3; 2:1621, 25-28; 3:22,23)
our day we see the fulfillment of prophecies concerning the
reestablishment of Israel as a nation. (Amos 9:11,14,15; Ezekiel
36:24-28; Jeremiah 30:3,7-11; 16:14-16) That a nation that
went out of existence for nearly 2000 years, and whose people
were scattered throughout the world, should be reborn in its
own land is an event unparalleled in world history. That ancient
writers predicted that it would happen should serve to increase
our faith in the inspiration of the text.
has provided for his people in wonderful ways to support and
sustain them in this skeptical age. Every discovery of science
is demonstrating the existence of intelligent design—God—and
history and archeology are confirming the Bible records. There
is ample evidence to believe that the Bible is the inspired
Word of God.
make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what
is still to come. I say, 'My purpose will stand, and I will
do all that I please.'"