Darius was made rule of Babylon by Cyrus. The year is 539 or 538. Daniel was taken captive in 605, so he is 80+ years old. This is 12 years after the vision recorded in chapter 8.
“Scriptures” or literally “writings” which were considered sacred and the word of God. This indicates there was an identifiable set of books that the Jews considered inspired including Jeremiah’s.
“Word of the Lord given to Jeremiah” is support for verbal inspiration. The prophecies were the very Word of God.
The Hebrew literally says there will be seventy years “to completely fill up the desolations of Jerusalem.” The length of “seventy years” comes from Jeremiah 25:11-12 and Jeremiah 29:10. Jeremiah 25:11 was given by Jeremiah in 605 BC (Jer. 25:1) the same year as Daniel’s captivity.
The first captivity was in 605 BC:
605 BC – 70 years = 535 BC (If you count 605 as a year it is now 536 which is the year the foundation for the Temple was laid according to Ezra 3:1, 7, 8). Ezra 1:1-2 is Cyrus’ words in 538 so it took about 18-24 months for the people to Get organized, leave, travel, settle and begin to lay the foundation
The destruction of the Temple occurred in 586:
586 BC – 70 years = 516 BC (which is the year the Temple was completed, Ezra 7:15)
“I understood” indicates in the first year of Darius that Daniel “understood”
Prophecy Guidelines we can learn from Daniel:
- Daniel took the prophecy literally
- Daniel knew God would fulfill it and complete it
- Daniel understood the number 70 to be a literal 70 years
- Daniel knew God was watching and waiting for the time he had predicted
- Daniel was the master of dream interpretation and was gifted at unraveling symbolism. But, Daniel did not use these skills to “interpret” or “unravel” a literal number.
In Daniel 9:21 Gabriel, the angel from the early vision in 8:15, came “in swift flight” or, maybe a better translation, “in my extreme weariness” as it is in the NAS because:
- It is a better, more natural translation of the Hebrew
- Gabriel is described as a man, and men don’t fly
- Rarely do angels have wings and normal angels never fly.
- Daniel is extremely weary from fasting
Time of the evening sacrifice would be between 3:00-4:00. This is the time of prayer and Daniel had been praying at this time. Notice there had been no evening sacrifice since 586 BC and it is
now 538 BC. So, 47 years after the Temple was destroyed and 67 years after Daniel last saw a sacrifice offered in Jerusalem he is still reckoning time according to the Temple services.
Gabriel came to “instructed” Daniel and to give him “insight” and “understanding.” Gabriel will provide an answer to Daniel’s prayer.
The “I” used by Gabriel in 9:23 to refer to himself is emphatic meaning it is an important fact that “I” was the one sent. This is the same angel who told Zechariah, “I stand before God,” in Luke 1:19.
Since Gabriel is really there this is really no a vision, but a visitation and appearance of an angel. Remember when Peter was let out of prison by an angel and thought it was a vision but it was not. It was instead real time and real location.
Daniel is said to be “highly esteemed” which means someone who is desired or counted precious. Plus, it is in the plural which intensifies “highly esteemed.”
Daniel is told to “consider the message” which means to consider the words being spoken.
Daniel is also told to “understand the vision” which translates the word mar’eh as “vision,” but it also means “appearance” and refers to the appearance of the revelation in the message (NOT the appearance of the angel Gabriel.) So, “message” and “vision” (mar’eh = “revelation”) refer to the same thing and would mean, “Consider the words and understand the revelation”
The Full Prophecy
First 69 sevens
Events between the 69th seven
and the 70th seven
Two major views of interpretation:
- Christological (centered on Jesus Christ)
- Non-Christological (not centered on Jesus Christ)
Non-Christological has two views:
A) Liberal, critical view – assume Daniel is a forgery written around 165 BC during Macabean Revolt. They say that the writer, pseudo-Daniel, confuses the 70 years of captivity with 70 sevens. This means that Gabriel was speaking of the seventy years that Jeremiah spoke about and that Daniel began to pray about, but when Gabriel began to speak of the future Daniel got confused. This means whatever they were talking about has already been fulfilled with the return from captivity. Even the early Jewish and Christian writers saw this fulfilled in 70 AD.
B) Conservative amillennial view – most cannot make any sense of these verses and are left to mock those who find a literal fulfillment coming in the future. Some consider the sevens to be periods of years, while others consider the 70 sevens to mean an indefinite period of time. Very few see the sevens as referring to days. There is no interpretation that can accomplish any of these predictions in 490 days. So, they conclude that we don’t really know what seventy sevens mean and again mock anyone who claims to understand the meaning. They may go to numerical representations such as 7 is God’s number for his work, completion, perfection. With this they end by saying this means the fullness of God’s completed work!! Which of course leaves the verse uselessly hanging. Some read the first 69 sevens as literal reaching to the time of Jesus, but then spiritualize the 70th seven. Others see the 70th week occurring in 70 AD when Jerusalem fell, thus ending the days of the Jews. A classic case of a bad example is the view that the first 7 sevens extend from Cyrus until Jesus Christ, the 62 sevens cover the time from Christ until the anti-Christ. It is during this time the “city is rebuilt” (the church) and it is done “in times of trouble” (persecution). The last seven then is when “the Anointed One is cut off” and Christ allows the church to go through the tribulation with the anti-christ. The problems with a view like this:
- Extremely and totally subjective
Inconsistency of interpreting some things like Cyrus as literal,
but the city as the church????
- Christ and the Church, which are always victorious, are now seen as defeated by the anit-christ.
- The “sevens” are unevenly distributed and interpreted. The first period has “sevens” that last 80 years; the second period has “sevens” that last 30 years; the third “seven” is either 7 years or unknown.
Christological Interpretation – is also diverse. All agree the prophecy hinges on Jesus, the Messiah and the nation of Israel. All agree that the first 69 weeks are literal. The unity breaks down in interpretation of the 70th week.
C) Amillenialist consider the 70th week to have occurred immediately after the 69th week and so has already been fulfilled.
D) Future - Others consider the 70th week to be separated from the 69 weeks and yet future.
In Daniel 9:24 the word “weeks” or “sevens” is the Hebrew word that refers to a period of 7. In this case 7 years. The use of the word “decreed” means that this period of time has been determined and indicates these years and these events are part of God’s total plan. They will happen just as he has declared. This declared period of 490 years is for:
- Your people (Israel)
- Your holy city (Jerusalem)
Chapters 2, 7 and 8 address the Gentiles. Daniel 2:4 the writing switches from Hebrew to Aramaic. It is now being written in Hebrew again.
There is no way, no room, no hermeneutics that can connect these verses to the church. There is no way Daniel is thinking these words mean anything other than the people of Israel and the city of Jerusalem.
This declared period of 490 years will accomplish these six things:
- Finish transgression – finish means to bring to an end. Israel’s apostasy and transgression against God will come to an end during this period.
- Put an end to sin – may mean to take away sin, bring sin to final judgment or seal up sin. The sealing up sin would be similar to locking it in prison. Sin is removed and caused to be ineffective.
- Atone for wickedness – or, to make reconciliation for iniquity. This is mentioned in
2 Corinthians 5:19
- Bring in everlasting righteousness – occurred on the cross or at the second coming of Christ. Jeremiah 23:5-6 and Isaiah 11:2-5 speak of this character of the Messiah’s kingdom
- Seal up vision and prophecy – “seal up” means no more is to be added. Concerning what has been prophesied will be fulfilled.
- Anoint the most holy – some claim this was the Temple of Zerubbabel or to the rededication of the Temple by Judas Macabeus. Some even try to connect this to the New Jerusalem of Revelation 21:1-27. Some say it is Jesus at his first coming. The literal understanding of this in the context of the first five would be the seating of Jesus in the Temple at his Second Coming.