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Evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls

By Jay Rogers
Published January 13, 2019

The 19th century liberal Higher Critics who doubted the sixth century BC date of the authorship of Daniel wrote prior to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1948. The discovery of several copies of Daniel at Qumran presents a further problem for the late date Maccabean hypothesis. A noted Dead Sea Scroll researcher from Harvard University wrote the following.

One copy of Daniel is inscribed in the script of the late second century BC; in some ways it is more striking than that of the oldest manuscripts from Qumran (Frank M. Cross, The Ancient Library of Qumran and Modern Biblical Studies).


In the Days of These Kings (Book)

Perfect-bound Paperback — 740 pages

The Book of Daniel in Preterist Perspective

“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever” (Daniel 2:44).

The overarching message of Daniel is that Jesus the Messiah is even now ruling over the nations. He is the King of kings. Daniel tells us that Messiah’s kingdom will advance in the whole world from “generation to generation” (Daniel 4:4,34). Christ’s dominion is “given to the people of the saints of the most High” (Daniel 7:22). Our purpose then is to see “all people, nations, and languages … serve and obey him” (Daniel 7:14,27).

This comprehensive work offers a fascinating look at the book of Daniel in preterist perspective. Great attention is paid to the writings of ancient and modern historians and scholars to connect the dots and demonstrate the continuity of Daniel’s prophecy with all of Scripture.

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The fact that Daniel is among the earliest of the Dead Sea Scrolls indicates an even earlier date outside of that community. If Daniel was written prior to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, then the bias against the authenticity of Daniel is scattered to the winds.

Was the Book of Daniel referred to in other writings found at Qumran?

To further support the probability of an earlier date, commentaries on Daniel were also discovered at Qumran. These commentaries give us evidence that the community accepted Daniel as inspired and canonical.

One writing refers to the “Anointed of the Spirit, of whom Daniel spoke” (Daniel 9:25-26). There is a quotation of Daniel 12:10 in the Florilegium as being from the “Book of Daniel the prophet.” This is significant for three reasons: (1) It proves that by about 25 BC Daniel was already being quoted as Scripture. (2) It shows that the author of the Florilegium knew Daniel as a complete book. (3) It suggests that at Qumran Daniel was included among the Prophets and not among the Writings. Several other manuscripts – all written in Aramaic – also mention Daniel or events associated with his book. This indicates that at Qumran Daniel was classified among the prophets rather than the writings (Martin G. Abegg, The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible).

If the Book of Daniel and commentaries on Daniel appeared at Qumran even a few decades after the time of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, then the book must have existed earlier in order to have been copied and distributed so widely. If a book was being read as Scripture in a remote desert commune, it is evident that it had already had a wide circulation. Furthermore, since we have still extant copies of Daniel from this time, it is likely that the book existed earlier than that.

No less than eight Daniel manuscripts and two commentaries on Daniel are among the Dead Sea Scrolls collection. One of the Daniel manuscripts is among the oldest discovered at Qumran. The canonical acceptance of the Book of Daniel suggests an earlier origin of the book.

Even though the existence of Daniel among the Dead Sea Scrolls has been known since the 1940s, it was not made available for publication until 1989. From a conservative early date point of view, the significance of the Daniel fragments in the Dead Sea scrolls cannot be overstated.

In 1969, based on the evidence then available regarding the Qumran Daniel texts, Roland K. Harrison had already concluded that the second century dating of the Book of Daniel was “absolutely precluded by the evidence from Qumran, partly because there are no indications whatever that the sectaries compiled any of the Biblical manuscripts recovered from the site, and partly because there would, in the latter event, have been insufficient time for Maccabean compositions to be circulated, venerated, and accepted as canonical Scripture by a Maccabean sect” (Harrison 1969:1127).

In other words, once the accuracy of Daniel’s prophecies became known to the Jews, it enjoyed a wider reading. According to Jewish Talmudic tradition, Daniel was widely copied, distributed and accepted as canonical by the fifth century BC. The Great Assembly (or Great Synagogue) was a group of 120 elders in Judah in the late sixth and fifth centuries during the Restoration period. Historically, the Great Assembly described in Nehemiah 8-10 was a public gathering of Jews who returned to Israel after the exile in Babylon and worshipped at the restored Temple. In this passage, the leaders and people of Judah rededicated themselves to the Law of Moses. The Great Assembly also redacted and canonized the Books of Ezekiel, Daniel and the Book of the Twelve (the Minor Prophets). They composed or compiled the Books of 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther. Then they closed the canon of the Hebrew Scriptures, which was known in Jesus’ day as the Tanakh. More importantly they disseminated the canon of Scripture to all Jews, instead of just the priestly class. Since the canon was closed at or shortly after the death of Ezra, the idea that a pseudonymous Book of Daniel could somehow have slipped into the Hebrew canon in the second century BC is highly improbable.

To summarize, there are no less than eight fragments of Daniel among the Dead Sea Scrolls from all parts of the Book of Daniel. Published portions are available from all chapters except chapter 12. Even with minor textual variants, the Book of Daniel reads like the received text we have today. Furthermore, the Florilegium, a commentary on Daniel found at Qumran shows the Jews of this era accepted the book as inspired Scripture. The author of the Florilegium quotes from chapter 12. Other biblical and extra-biblical literature from the pre-Maccabean period seem to be reliant on Daniel.

By the time the Book of Daniel was read by those at the community of Qumran in the early second century BC, it was already accepted as inspired and canonical. There is solid documentary evidence of this in the number of copies and even commentaries on Daniel written by that time. The faithful accuracy between the texts of Dead Sea Scrolls copies of Daniel and in comparison to the later Masoretic text manuscripts is another good indicator of an earlier manuscript. Based on the Dead Sea manuscripts of Daniel found at Qumran, there can no longer be any reason for late-dating the book to after the Maccabean period. Thus Daniel contains remarkable prophecy written before the events predicted came to pass.

It is safe to say that prior to the second century BC, the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, the Book of Daniel was already recognized as Scripture. Daniel’s literary work had already been included in the “Writings” section of the Hebrew Masoretic canon according to Josephus. Initially, Daniel was not included among the Prophets, but added after the Book of the Twelve Minor Prophets and Esther. When Greek Septuagint was compiled under Ptolemy II in 250 BC, the Jews were seeing the prophecy of Daniel being fulfilled before their very eyes. Ptolemy was one of the rulers of the “Third Kingdom” of Daniel chapter 8 and mentioned more specifically in chapter 11. Therefore, Daniel was grouped among the Prophets in the Septuagint.


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Frank Schaeffer Will You Please Shut Up! (Book)

High Quality Paperback — 200 pages

A Reasonable Response to Christian Postmodernism

Includes a response to the book Christian Jihad by Colonel V. Doner

The title of this book is a misnomer. In reality, I am not trying to get anyone to shut up, but rather to provoke a discussion. This book is a warning about the philosophy of “Christian postmodernism” and the threat that it poses not only to Christian orthodoxy, but to the peace and prosperity our culture as well. The purpose is to equip the reader with some basic principles that can be used to refute their arguments.

Part 1 is a response to some of the recent writings by Frank Schaeffer, the son of the late Francis Schaeffer. This was originally written as a defense against Frank’s attacks on pro-life street activism – a movement that his father helped bring into being through his books, A Christian Manifesto, How Should We Then Live? and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? These works have impacted literally hundreds of thousands of Christian activists.

Part 2 is a response to Colonel Doner and his book, Christian Jihad: Neo-Fundamentalists and the Polarization of America. Doner was one of the key architects of the Christian Right that emerged in the 1980s, who now represents the disillusionment and defection many Christian activists experienced in the 1990s and 2000s. There is still great hope for America to be reformed according to biblical principles. As a new generation is emerging, it is important to recognize the mistakes that Christian activists have made in the past even while holding to a vision for the future.

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Dr. Francis Schaeffer - How Should We Then Live? (DVD)

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After 40 years of intense study and world-wide ministry, Dr. Francis Schaeffer completed his crowning work of scholarship – to present profound truths in simple film language. Dr. Schaeffer’s brilliant analysis of the past and predictions for current trends have proven so uncannily accurate that this amazing series still feels contemporary almost three decades after its initial release. Ultimately, Schaeffer concludes that man’s only hope is a return to God’s Biblical absolute, the truth revealed in Christ through the Scriptures.

Available for the first time on DVD, this documentary spectacular also includes intimate in-depth conversations with Francis and Edith Schaeffer. With the on-disc study guide, this presentation forms a unique course of comprehensive study. While this series forms an innovative analysis of the past, this outstanding work is more than history. Each episode focuses on a significant era, yet speaks clearly to 21st-century man with answers for modern problems.

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Freedom: The Model of Christian Liberty (DVD)

“Give me liberty or give me death!”

Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.

The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).

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This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.

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The Abortion Matrix: Defeating Child Sacrifice and the Culture of Death (DVD)

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Is there a connection between pagan religion and the abortion industry?

This powerful presentation traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God and crime against humanity has produced in our beleaguered society.

Conceived as a sequel and update to the 1988 classic, The Massacre of Innocence, the new title, The Abortion Matrix, is entirely fitting. It not only references abortion’s specific target – the sacred matrix where human beings are formed in the womb in the very image of God, but it also implies the existence of a conspiracy, a matrix of seemingly disparate forces that are driving this holocaust.

The occult activity surrounding the abortion industry is exposed with numerous examples. But are these just aberrations, bizarre yet anomalous examples of abortionists who just happen to have ties to modern day witchcraft? Or is this representative of something deeper, more sinister and even endemic to the entire abortion movement?

As the allusion to the film of over a decade ago suggests, the viewer may learn that things are not always as they appear to be. The Abortion Matrix reveals the reality of child-killing and strikes the proper moral chord to move hearts to fulfill the biblical responsibility to rescue those unjustly sentenced to death and to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 24:11,12; 31:8,9).

Speakers include: George Grant, Peter Hammond, RC Sproul Jr., Paul Jehle, Lou Engle, Rusty Thomas, Flip Benham, Janet Porter and many more.

Ten parts, over three hours of instruction!

Running Time: 195 minutes

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The Abortion Matrix DVD: Update

The Abortion Matrix:
Defeating Child Sacrifice and the Culture of Death

is a 195-minute presentation that traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God has produced. You can order this series on DVD, read the complete script and view clips on-line...
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