As far back as the Westminster Confession there were godly interpreters of Scripture who saw Greece as the fourth empire, and Epiphanes as the chief character. White, who has urged us to so study our doctrinal positions that we can defend them before the world's greatest minds.
And in modern times there have been scholarly conservatives such as Bishop Westcott and more recently Dr. Too often we opt out of such tasks by categorizing all who disagree with us as "apostate liberals." This ought not to be.
Eissfeldt says: In short, there is no doubt whatever that the visions of vii-xii are largely based upon older and even much older elements, and they only become fully intelligible when their philosophy is illuminated.' Statements of this nature could be multiplied to fill whole pages. The first Messiah named in the prophecy is a reference to either Cyrus or Joshua. The ten horns of the fourth beast of Daniel 7 represent successive kings of Syria prior to Antiochus. We shall first attend to the interpretation given to the seventy weeks of Daniel 9.
Anyone who contends that every critical scholar believes all of Daniel to have been devised in the Maccabean era has not done his homework. In some areas, arguments once strongly used against the sixth-century authorship have been either modified or dropped. The second Messiah, the one "cut off," is Seleucus IV Philopater or the former Jewish high priest Oniah III. Montgomery refers to this passage as "the Dismal Swamp of Old Testament criticism." 16 On the contrary, we believe it to be, when rightly understood, a virtual Paradise.
From Driver's classic statement of the linguistic evidence in 1897 to the latest commentary Norman W. Montgomery in his great commentary on Daniel (1927) was at least open to the evidence. George Hanfmann, writing in 1948, denied that there was any evidence for a major Greek migration to Ionia before the eighth century B. Writing in 1965, he now shows that we have substantial evidence confirming the Greek tradition of an eleventh-century migration.
He wrote: "The rebuttal of this evidence for a low date lies in the stressing of the potentialities of Greek influence in the Orient from the 6th century and on . Concerning the third area, it must be said that this objection often has its origin in an evolutionary concept of theological development, rather than in the Biblical evidence.
The most well-known instance is the argument based on the Ara maic in chapters 2-7 of the book. While orthography in many cases indicates editorial work by later hands this is also the case with other Old Testament books. Similarly, since the discovery of Daniel manuscripts among the Dead Sea scrolls scholars are enquiring whether this fact does not call for a revision of the critical dating position analogous to the revision already made of the dating of some of the Psalms once postulated as Maccabean. Not only have some once popular arguments against the authenticity of Daniel been either modified or dropped, but it is just as true that others have boomeranged. Ginsberg (who sees at least six authors behind Daniel) others now follow H. Rowley in postulating a single author for the book, one who gathered older materials and fashioned a unified presentation. The last week of the seventy revolves around the exploits of Antiochus, the first half comprehending his alliance with apostate Jews, and the second involving the persecution of the faithful in Israel. Verse 24 is one of the most sublime passages in the Old Testament.
It is absolutely certain that the Aramaic of Daniel is identical with the Imperial Aramaic of the eighth to third centuries B. For example, scholars have pointed to the presence of the three Creek terms in Daniel as evidence of the second century source. This emphasis on the unity of theme and authorship of the book is closely allied to the traditional position, though all claim that this single author lived and wrote in the Maccabean era. It points to the abolition of sin and guilt, the establishment of everlasting righteousness, and the ultimate dwelling of God with His people.
Nowadays, in view of our increased knowledge of the early spread of Greek culture and language to Palestine and surrounding countries, it has be come a puzzle for those who date Daniel late why the book does not contain scores of Greek terms instead of just three." Linguistic studies show that Greek expressions exist in texts of the Near East long before the Maccabean era. Along with these preliminary observations the Adventist advocate should be aware that on the other hand a number of scholars in our own ranks admit the presence (but not the pre-eminence) of Antiochus Epiphanes in Daniel's prophecies. Now let us consider the evidence against that position which posits the centrality of Epiphanes and the position of Greece as the fourth empire. The seventy weeks equal 490 years, roughly speaking. To view it as merely a pious hope associated with the re-establishment of the sanctuary services after Antiochus Epiphanes is to restrict its perspective with out legitimate reason.
"The going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem" is an allusion to one of the prophecies of Jeremiah. The following points summarize our critique of the Maccabean interpretation. To interpret "the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem" as being a prophetic message from Jeremiah requires not only a rejection of the bearing of parallel passages of similar wording, but also an imagination of sufficient power to transmute prophetic passages descriptive of ruin into divine commands of restoration. In both cases the meaning is obviously that of the pronouncement and enactment of a royal command.
Jeremiah 30-31 is not dated and consists of a prophetic oracle of hope not of a pronouncment of enactment of a divine decree.
Furthermore, the position that the first seven weeks of years begin with the enunciation of Jeremiah's warnings regarding Jerusalem's destruction turns the Danielic prophecy on its head.
The book, particularly in its early chapters, contains several historical inaccuracies. Linguistic and literary peculiarities indicate an authorship centuries removed from the time of the exile. Certain theological concepts, such as a developed angelology and the doctrine of the resurrection, belong to later times. The central figure of the "prophecies" is always Antiochus Epiphanes, and the four kingdoms are Babylon, Media, Persia, and Greece.