We are now in a position to diagram what the skeptics and critics
do to the Book of Daniel and its prophecies.
The earliest the Book of Daniel can have been completed (by Daniel) is 535 B.C.
The latest the Book of Daniel could have been compiled is admitted to be 167 B.C.,
because most importantly, the book is known to have been in circulation in the Maccabean period,
and is independently quoted and referenced by various authors in that time.
Finally, it was already translated into Greek (the LXX) by about this time (167 B.C.)
It is said by critics to cover events up to the Maccabean period
and is said to have been written to encourage Jews in that time of persecution.
Skeptics date the book at the latest possible point for two basic reasons:
(1) Prophecy is impossible as an axiom.
(2) All the contents posed as prophecy can be assumed to be historical,
and be dated to before this time (167 B.C.),
which is how the critics explain why the book appears to be an accurate prophetic book.
However, the flaws with these axioms are obvious.
The most glaring problem is that Axiom (2) can really only explain
the contents of Daniel chapter 8, and perhaps some of 11 and 12.
The prophecy of Daniel chapter 2 remains a massive stumbling block to
skeptics, because it appears to predict the Roman Empire, which would
then again be a prophecy, so Axiom (1) fails.
The solution for critics is to simply eliminate one Empire (the Roman), and pretend that
the Greek Empire counts for TWO Empires.
That is, Alexander himself is one whole kingdom (the "Third Empire"),
and all the Greek rulers who followed count as the "Fourth Empire".
The "Iron Legs" move over to position 3, and so Empires 3 and 4
are squeezed into the spot just before the latest possible date that
the book can be given.
Voila! The Emperor has no Pants!