Remember those lurid illustrations in The Plain Truth showing the beasts of Daniel's visions? The Ambassador College art department seems to have had a minor cottage industry going producing those for the publications and telecast. Remember the apologetics that went with the articles? Fulfilled prophecy - proof of the Bible's inspiration! Every detail fulfilled on schedule - making those things yet to occur certain: the more sure word of prophecy.
In fact, one of the first "reprint articles" I remember receiving, as a gawky, naive teenager, was something by Herman Hoeh (if memory serves) on the 2300 days of Daniel. I knew it had to be right because it made no sense at all - Dr. Hoeh's genius was so much more powerful than my poor ability to understand things too wonderful for me.
You can still find clone articles - complete with lurid illustrations - courtesy of the splinter groups. Prophecy marches on!
But, bear in mind the following data:
* Daniel says that Cyrus succeeded Darius
* That Belshazzar was the son of Nebuchadnezzar
* That Darius the Mede conquered Babylon
So what? Well...
* Darius actually succeeded the son of Cyrus
* Belshazzar was the son of Nabonidus
* Cyrus of Persia conquered Babylon (there was no such person as Darius the Mede)
It's gaffes like those that have led scholars to date the composition of the book to long after Daniel's alleged lifetime in the 500s BCE. Internal evidence suggests that the real author cooked the book in the 160s BCE.
In 9:2 Daniel is puzzled by a reference in the book of Jeremiah stating that Jerusalem would lie in ruins for seventy years (Jer. 25:11). The angel Gabriel fortuitously drops by to explain that it really means seventy weeks of years. Here beginneth the proud tradition among apocalyptic types of textual "nip 'n tuck" to retread failed prophecies.
In living memory we've had to deal with all kinds of off-the-wall speculation about the time of the End. 1972 anybody? The assumption is that the Bible holds the answer in some form of secret code not to be revealed till the End Time. The reality is that the author of Daniel, living in the age of the Maccabean revolt, simply made it up, leaving later generations (including the author of Revelation) to try and explain away the inconvenient fact that he got it all terribly wrong.
Notice what the introductory notes to Daniel in the The HarperCollins Study Bible say:
The book appearing under the name of Daniel is actually by an unknown author... The name of such a wise and legendary figure was probably chosen to enhance the text. The stories about Daniel in chs. 1-6 have a legendary character and are clearly fictitious.
The portrayal of Daniel as a Jewish exile in Babylon creates a literary setting in the sixth century BCE... The literary setting is not, however, the setting in which the book was actually written. The fact that ch. 11 obviously refers to Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the Seleucid ruler from Syria, makes it clear that the book took its final form during Antiochus's persecution of the Jews... The inaccurate description of the end of Antiochus's reign and of his death indicates that the book was finished before these events of 164 BCE.
The Jewish Study Bible concurs:
The book of Daniel, probably written in its final version in 164 BCE, is probably the latest composition of the Hebrew Bible... The anonymous author thus uses the period of the exile as a setting to address the challenging issues of Jews living under foreign kings.
Daniel could be described as a colorful inspirational novel, but it's got zero predictive value.