Daniel A Lifetime of Faith – Part 1
(Daniel 1:1 to Daniel 2:49; Daniel 4:1-33)
A Review of the Bible Drama, Saturday 3:20pm, 2021 Regional Convention Program.
Accurate to the Biblical Account or seriously flawed?
This question is vital for all of us as Witnesses of Jehovah. As such we have a responsibility to speak the truth at all times. As Witnesses, we are used to putting faith in every word from the Organization and Governing Body. Is this trust well placed or misguided? An evaluation of this video Bible drama will assist us in making that decision based on facts. We need to have all the facts available to examine and make a decision for ourselves.
In this way, we will be acting like the Beroeans. They were commended by the Apostle Paul for checking that what the Apostle Paul had taught them was indeed correct. (Acts 17:10-11). The Governing Body should, therefore, likewise, welcome such sincere examination of their teachings.
Time 00:00:37 – 00:00:54; Request for donations by Chairman of session.
Begging for donations:
The Proclaimers Book, Chapter 21, paragraph 3 states “As early as the second issue of the Watch Tower, in August 1879, Brother Russell stated: “‘Zion’s Watch Tower’ has, we believe, JEHOVAH for its backer, and while this is the case it will never beg nor petition men for support. When He who says: ‘All the gold and silver of the mountains are mine,’ fails to provide necessary funds, we will understand it to be time to suspend the publication.”
A request for donations is another way of begging or petitioning. What does this suggest about the state of the Organization’s finances? More importantly, what does it say as to whether or not Jehovah is backing the Organization according to Bro Russell’s criteria? Maybe the problem is that the current Governing Body does not seem to understand or accept the real issue. That issue is that maybe it is time to suspend the running of the Organization or at the very least, stop soliciting donations.
Is there a Biblical precedent for requesting donations? No, Neither Moses nor King David nor King Solomon solicited donations when they arranged for the construction of the Tabernacle and the Temple respectively. Therefore, there is no scriptural precedent for requesting donations or reminding of making donations for any Organization. This is regardless as to whether it claims to be God’s Organization or not.
Time 00:01:20 – 00:02:10; Date Caption: 617 B.C.E. Event shown: Fall of Jerusalem and Jehoiachin to Nebuchadnezzar.
Serious Timing Issue:
We should ask, on what basis is this caption of 617BCE made? It states 617BCE with certainty. It does not even say circa 617 BCE.
The events that follow show this caption show it to be the end of the rule of Jehoiachin. According to secular history, Jehoiachin ruled briefly for 3 months circa late 598 BCE through to early 597BCE. 2 Chronicles 36:9 agrees that he ruled for 3 months and 10 days. 2 Chronicles 36:10 tells us that in the spring (the return of the year, probably March, the 12th month went Nebuchadnezzar returned to Babylon) Jehoiachin was taken to Babylon. But it is important to note that the Bible does not give a modern year. This has to be calculated from an agreed date. However, we can work this out with simple maths.
Jeremiah 39:2 and Jeremiah 52:6 state that Jerusalem and Zedekiah fell to Nebuchadnezzar in Zedekiah’s 11th year and 4th month of rule and according to Jeremiah 52:12, this was the 19th Year of Nebuchadnezzar. History tells us this was circa 587/6 BCE. (This was Nebuchadnezzar’s 18th regnal year, but 19th year of being King.) By simple deduction then, Nebuchadnezzar defeated Jehoiachin in Nebuchadnezzar’s 8th year of being King which would have been circa 598/7 BCE , not 617 BCE.
Time 00:02:25 – 00:02:40; Event: Daniel goes out to listen to Jeremiah speaking the words recorded in Jeremiah 25:11 regarding having to serve Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon for 70 years.
The event portrayed could not have happened:
- Jeremiah 25:1-3 places Jeremiah speaking these words in the 4th year of Jehoiakim, which was the accession year of Nebuchadnezzar. This event did not take place some 7 years later at the fall of Jehoiachin and Jerusalem to Nebuchadnezzar as portrayed in the video. (Jehoiakim ruled 11 years, followed by 3 months of Jehoiachin.)
- In Daniel 1:1-6, Daniel himself states that it was in the 3rd year of the kingship of Jehoiakim that Nebuchadnezzar came to Jerusalem and a little later (perhaps early in the 4th year of Jehoiakim) he captured Jehoiakim and took some of the utensils of the Temple to Babylon. He also brought some of the sons of Israel, and the royal offspring, and the nobles. This included some of the sons of Judah including Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. If Daniel, therefore, was in Babylon by the 4th year of Jehoiakim, how could they portray Daniel as listening to Jeremiah in Jerusalem prophesying the words of Jeremiah 25 (which also took place in Jehoiakim’s 4th year) some 7 years at the end of the short reign of Jehoiachin?
- This event is highly misleading and potentially confusing. They are changing the facts of the account recorded in the Bible for some reason not obvious in the video. This is either very, very poor research or alternatively if done deliberately then it is a very bad deliberate lie. Either way, it reflects poorly on the Organization.
Time 00:02:25 – 00:02:40; Caption: Babylonia District. Event: Daniel is living a 3-day Journey from Babylon and soldiers arrive to take him to Babylon.
Poor artistic license:
This whole passage is definitely artistic license and pure fantasy for the following reasons:
- What exactly is Babylonia District? The name is made up. The reviewer has been unable to trace the existence of a district named thus. It would be much more historically plausible if they stated he was in the jurisdictional district of Babylon. (Daniel 2:48)
- The video portrays the Babylonian soldiers travelling to some small remote village, 3 days travel from Babylon. It defies belief as to exactly how the Babylonian soldiers would know that Daniel was living there. There is no evidence that the Babylonians kept any record of potential candidates for the King’s training at the time when the exiles were resettled, nor any record of where they were settled.
- The implication of the account in Daniel 1:1-4 is that Daniel (and his 3 companions) were taken directly from Jerusalem. In the video, even to portray this as happening along with the exile of Jehoiachin and his entourage into Babylon itself (where Jehoiachin was taken) would have made much more sense and then be in keeping with the false order of events depicted in the video. (2 Kings 24:12). However, the reality is that Daniel himself indicates he was taken directly from Jerusalem late in the 3rd year or early in the 4th year of Jehoiakim. This is at least 7 years before the events depicted in the video if we carefully read Daniel’s own record in Daniel 1:1-5.
Time 00:16:05 – 00:18:15; Event: Daniel stutteringly says “Our god .. does not allow us to eat such foods”.
Poor representation of character of Daniel:
Daniel was a man of faith. Even though this is when he was a youth, why is he portrayed speaking in such a fearful way? Daniel 1:8 says, “he kept requesting of the principal court official that he might not pollute himself.”
Does that sound like the kind of youth who would stutteringly blame his god for the prohibition? Surely a man of faith would be one who would take the initiative and ask politely but firmly for alternative foods? He would also want to assist the court official as to which foods he could not eat and those foods that he could eat. This is finally shown in Time 00:18:50 – 00:21:40; Event: Daniel makes a second request and is served vegetables and water in compliance with his request.
Time 00:24:10 – 00:27:59; Caption: 3 Years Later. The Test at the end of the training.
Serious Timing Issue:
What is shown is reasonable.
However, something is missing between this section and the next section.
The training of Daniel and his three companions ended after 3 years (spanning years 4, 5, and 6 of Jehoiakim) which would have been the 6th Year of Jehoiakim, the 2nd Regnal (Kingship) Year of Nebuchadnezzar (spanning accession year, and years 1 and 2) according to Daniel 2:1-2.
According to Daniel’s account of Daniel 2:3-49, he was made ruler of the jurisdictional district of Babylon sometime during the 2nd Regnal (Kingship) year of Nebuchadnezzar after the successful interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the Image smashed by a stone.
But this event is not shown in its proper timeline.
Time 00:28:00 – 00:28:31; Caption: 7 Years Later, 607BCE.
Serious Timing Issue:
This is just continuing the error highlighted in Time 00:02:25 – 00:02:40.
The training of Daniel and his three companions had ended after 3 years (spanning years 4, 5, and 6 of Jehoiakim) which would have been the 6th Year of Jehoiakim, the 2nd Regnal Kingship Year of Nebuchadnezzar (spanning accession year, and years 1 and 2) according to Daniel 2:1-2. Jerusalem under Zedekiah would not fall for another 16 years or so. This being 5 more years of Jehoiakim followed by 3 months of Jehoiachin and then finally 11 years of Zedekiah. It was not just 7 years later as stated by the video caption.
Notice how there is no attempt to help the viewer associate the dates of the video’s captions with any year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign or that of the Judean Kings. If there were perhaps some viewers of the video would more easily have picked up the twisted timeline being presented.
Time 00:28:35 – 00:33:16; Event: Daniel visits his family.
Serious Timing Issue and Pure Conjecture:
This event is pure conjecture.
- There is no record that Daniel’s family went with him to Babylon.
- There is no record that Daniel’s family was alive when Jerusalem was completely destroyed in Zedekiah’s 11th year, Nebuchadnezzar’s 18th year.
- The final fall of Jerusalem was not 7 years later from the end of Daniel’s training by Nebuchadnezzar. It was some 16 years later after the training ended.
- There is a serious believability problem here. If Daniel was a mere subordinate as indicated by the video, we could safely assume that if he had left his post for a 7-day trip to see his family, especially without seeking permission, he would have been in severe trouble, most likely put to death.
- Also, showing that even more is wrong with the timeline portrayed by the video, is the mention of Nebuchadnezzar turning his attention to Tyre. Now Ezekiel 28:1-4 which can be dated by the context of Ezekiel 26:1-3 to just after the final fall of Jerusalem to Nebuchadnezzar in Nebuchadnezzar’s 18th Regnal year and before Nebuchadnezzar attacked Tyre. Ezekiel 28:3 portrays the King of Tyre imagining himself as wiser than Daniel. How could the King of Tyre be doing that unless Daniel had already been head of the wise men in Babylon since the 2nd Year of Nebuchadnezzar and by this time, some 16 years later, news of Daniel’s wisdom had reached Judah and Tyre?
- Ezekiel 14:14-20 also indicates that Daniel’s faithfulness had been noted by God. In the video so far, he has done little to merit being classified along with Job and Noah. On the other hand, following the correct timeline from the scriptures we find there is plenty of faithfulness that God would have noted. In the correct timeline Daniel would have already interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the image crushed by a stone. He would have demonstrated faith that God would answer him. He would have demonstrated his faith in God being able to preserve his life and that of his 3 companions. He would have also have thereafter remained faithful to God even though in a position of some authority as ruler of the Jurisdictional district of the capital, Babylon. All these actions would merit that classification.
This event alone highlights the severe problems caused by the timeline given by the video. It does not make sense and does not agree with the Bible record.
According to Daniel’s account of Daniel 2:1-49, he had already been made ruler of the jurisdictional district of Babylon. This was in the 2nd regnal year of Nebuchadnezzar. The fall of Jerusalem was some 16 years after this event. Now, being the district ruler of Babylon, he would have the authority to travel where he liked, including being able to visit his family if they were in Babylonia as well. If they were there, it is unlikely he would have waited some 18 years to visit them from when they were parted.
Time 00:33:20 – 00:47:00; Event: Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the image destroyed by a stone.
Serious Timing Error:
This event is portrayed in completely the wrong year. Its placement in the timeline of Daniel’s faithful life of service to Jehovah is highly inaccurately compared with the Biblical and the correct timeline. This event happened according to Daniel 2:1-49 in Nebuchadnezzar’s 2nd year, not Nebuchadnezzar’s 19th regnal year or later.
If one can ignore the glaringly wrongly presented year for the event, the actual portrayal of the dream of the image and its interpretation and aftermath from Daniel 2, is actually well portrayed.
Time 00:48:14 – 00:56:49; Event: Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the tree that is cut down. (Daniel 4:1-33)
No timing is suggested, but Biblical events, including Nebuchadnezzar’s final destruction of Jerusalem and his subsequent attack on Tyre in his 20th year, would indicate that the dream of the giant tree being cut down (like a Cedar of Lebanon) likely occurred after Jerusalem’s destruction in Nebuchadnezzar’s 18th year perhaps in the 20th or 21st year of Nebuchadnezzar. However, it could even have been after the siege of Tyre ended in his 32nd or 33rd Regnal year.
The actual portrayal of the dream of the image and its interpretation and aftermath is actually well portrayed as well.
Overall, this part 1 was severely let down by its obvious and not so obvious historical inaccuracies, and obvious artistic license. In the table below the reviewer is confident you can pick out the obvious arithmetical mistake in the Organization’s presentation.
Kings Of Judah
|Bible: Interval in Years to next event
|Bible: King of Babylon
|Event In Scripture
|Video Portrayal: Interval in Years to next event
|Jehoiakim 3rd Year
|(Accession 0th Year of Nebuchadnezzar)
|Daniel taken to Babylon
|End Jehoiachin's Reign
|Start of Jehoiakim 4th Year
|1st Year Nebuchadnezzar
|Jeremiah prophesies that serving Babylon would last 70 years
|End Jehoiachin's Reign
|End of Jehoiakim 6th year
|3rd Year Nebuchadnezzar
|End of Daniel's 3 year training
|3 years later (615/614 BC)
|End of Daniel's 3 year training*
|Jehoiakim 11th Year / Jehoiachin 3mths
|8th Year Nebuchadnezzar
|2 Kings 24:8-12
|Jehoiachin taken to Babylon
|End Jehoiachin's Reign
|Zedekiah 11th Year
|19th Year Nebuchadnezzar
|Jeremiah 52:6; 52:12
|Destruction of Jerusalem
|7 Years Later, 607 BC
|*7 years later after Daniel's training ends. Destruction of Jerusalem
Where did the missing 9 years go?
The Babylonian and Jewish year ran approximately from our month of April to our month of March the following calendar year, hence 598/7BCE, being 9 months of 598BCE and 3 months of 597BCE. ↑