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2.8.6 - Structure and Authorial Intent

We differ from Gooding (and Patterson) above who attribute the design of Daniel to the author. Rather, it should be attributed to the Holy Spirit who superintended the work. Daniel did not carefully craft the content of the work. Instead, the dreams and visions were given by God—along with their interpretation—and Daniel mainly served as an amanuenses, much like John did when writing the book of Revelation. The tendency of scholars to attribute supernaturally intended details of apocalyptic revelation to the author rather than the Holy Spirit1 does a disservice to students of the Bible and contravenes the plain teaching of the Scriptures, which indicate that the author generally had no part in determining the content or order of such information2 and even struggled to describe what was being shown which was not understood.3 We agree with Calvin:

First of all, the matter itself shews how Daniel did not speak from his own discretion, but whatever he uttered was dictated by the Holy Spirit for whence could he conceive the things which we shall afterwards behold, if he were only endued with human prudence? . . . This, then, is a great step, and we shall not repent of taking it, when we acknowledge Daniel to have been only the organ of the Holy Spirit, and never to have brought anything forward by his own private inclination.4


1 For example: “It is of crucial importance to note that in detailing the events of these future end-time days, John draws upon the material presented under Daniel’s predictions relative to the fourth kingdom/era.” [emphasis added]—Richard D. Patterson, “The Key Role of Daniel 7,” in Grace Theological Journal, vol. 12 no. 2 (Grace Seminary, Fall 1991), 260. “If indeed John is consciously introducing major sections of his book by the Daniel 2+ allusion—which in view of the above discussion seems to be the case—a further conclusion possibly can be drawn . . .” [emphasis added]—G. K. Beale, “The Influence of Daniel Upon the Structure and Theology Of John’s Apocalypse,” in Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, vol. 27 no. 4 (Evangelical Theological Society, December 1984), 419.

2 Dan. 12:4+; Rev. 1:11+, 19+; 2:1+, 8+, 12+; 3:1+, 7+, 12+, 14+; 10:4+; 14:13+; 19:9+; 21:5+.

3 Dan. 7:15-16+, 28+; 8:27+; 10:20+; 12:8+; 1Pe. 1:10-11; Rev. 7:13-14+.

4 John Calvin, Commentary on The Prophet Daniel (Albany, OR: Ages Software, 1998, 1561), s.v. “Preface.”

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