If its authenticity can be clearly established the book becomes the most valuable of all the oracles of God, and any denial of its divine inspiration and revelation becomes a sheer absurdity.
This is the clear issue before any student who attempts a serious study of this short book of only twelve chapters. Cyrus returned from his Eastern campaign to reign in Babylon in the year 536 B.C., and soon after Daniel finished his book. The German critics affirm that they have satisfied themselves the book was written by the pseudo (or false) Daniel about the year 165 B.C., in the reign of the tyrant Antiochus Epiphanes, and about the time of his death.
You will observe by selecting this later date, which is nearly 400 years after the time of the real Daniel, they hope at one stroke to prove that, the prophecies at that time having been fulfilled, the predictions were fraudulent having been made after the event. You will now understand that the term ” avowed fiction,” applied to the book of Daniel by Canon Farrar, is a kind of apology for the forger, and here let me remind you of what I laid down in a previous address that there can be no compromise whatever between the rationalistic doctrine and the Christian belief : we are dealing with either the truth or a lie. It is this spirit of compromise which all through Professor Driver’s book on Daniel makes it such very sad reading. Common honesty compels you to take one side or the other; there can be no such thing as reconcilement between the rationalist who rejects inspiration and the Christian whose faith is based on revelation. However, I hope to show you, later on, that we can meet the sceptic on his own selected ground of battle, and prove that even his own chosen late date of the book leaves predictions untouched which came to their true fulfilment a century and a half after.
I have been studying the book of Daniel for only the short period of three years, but I have been closely reading a great deal of the literature and criticism of scholars who have spent ten times this period in researches concerning its contents and their historical background. I have seldom missed an opportunity of asking help from any religious teacher with whom I came in close contact, and I have been amazed at the almost invariable result. All have accepted it as a fact that ” the scholars ” had firmly established the date of the book as long after the events prophesied in it had been fulfilled, and that it was written by some other person than the Babylonian statesman; that it was full of historical inaccuracies, and contradictions; some confessed candidly that they had ceased seriously to read it many years ago, and had never preached a sermon from it.
At this stage of our study I wish to say that my own modest attempt to get into the heart of Daniel, after carefully weighing all the evidence and assumptions put forth to disprove its genuineness, has firmly convinced me that at the present time every argument and assumption has been fairly and unanswerably met. I arrived at this conclusion before I had seen the two small volumes by Sir Robert Anderson, whose official position in the Secret Service of England, had for many years educated and trained him in the grave science of sifting out and weighing the value of evidence, as few men have ever been trained. He has so covered the broad field of controversy in his book entitled Daniel in the Critic’s Den and in The Coming Prince [Published by Pickering and Inglis, 75, Princes Street, Edinburgh] that I should not have thought of addressing any audience on the subject of Daniel unless I attempted to deal with several aspects of the question which he has not touched, and I might say in passing that I find it impossible to agree with some of his views about the unfulfilled or apocalyptical prophecies in the book. Grattan Guinness is here a truer interpreter on some points. But with this subject we have nothing to do at present.
I was moreover encouraged to come before you, after seeing a paragraph in one of the books just mentioned : ” True prophetic study is an inquiry into these unsearchable counsels, these deep riches of Divine wisdom and knowledge. Beneath the light it gives the Scriptures are no longer a heterogeneous compilation of religious books, but one harmonious whole from which no part could be omitted without destroying the completeness of the revelation. And yet the study is disparaged in the Churches as being of no practical importance. If the Churches are leavened with scepticism at this moment, their neglect of prophetic study in this its true and broader aspect has done more than all the rationalism of Germany to promote the evil. Sceptics may boast of learned Professors and Doctors of Divinity among their ranks, but we may challenge them to name a single one of the number who has given proof that he knows anything whatever of these deeper mysteries of revelation.”