There is a debate about when the book of Daniel was written. It could have been written in the 6th century BC or it could have been written in the 2nd Century. The debate looks at the style of the first six chapters compared with the latter chapters. The historical narratives are vague and are not easily verified with contemporary historical accounts. On the other hand the latter chapters can be easily linked with historical events leading up to the second century. This causes some to think that the authors saw the events of history, from their perspective, and wrote them as prophecy from Daniel’s perspective. It is possible to take either perspective and learn from the book of Daniel as God’s inspired word. However, it seems dishonest to our modern minds to invent prophecy and then claim that it has been fulfilled. This is especially problematic when some of the prophecy points beyond the second century BC.
Another issue is, “Who wrote the book?” It is accepted that Daniel did not write the book but it is a biography of his life and visions. We do not know who put Daniel’s biography together.
A final issue to consider is the theme of the book. Why was Daniel written? It was to show the dispersed people of Israel that God is in control of world events. The global stage is God’s stage and the nations do not make their plans without God’s knowledge.
- When do you think Daniel was written? Why?
- Why would people dispersed around the world need to know that God unfolds history according to his plan?
- Does God decide ahead of time that invasions and bloodshed will occur? Why is that a problem for us, but it would have been less of a problem for the ancients?
- When have you seen people openly doubt or forget that God ordains the path of the world?
- Why is it important for people today to see that the world is traveling a path that God wills it to travel?