Daniel’s Prayer for His People (539 B.C) Daniel 9
- He studies the prophecies of Jeremiah (25:11-12; 29:10)
- He discovers that the period of exile is approaching an end9:25 from the time of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the coming of the Messiah there will be seven weeks (49 years) and threescore and two weeks (62 weeks or 434 years). Adding 49 and 434, one arrives at a figure of 483 years, all but seven of the 490 years involved in the seventy weeks. Note the following table:
- 606 B.C. some captives taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar
- 9:24 seventy weeks = seventy sets of seven years (each day of a week equals a year) = 490 years
- Daniel was one of them
539 B.C The decree of Cyrus for the return of the Jews…exactly 70 years after Daniel was taken captive (Ezra 1:1-2)
538 B.C. The taking of Babylon by Darius and Daniel’s visitation by Gabriel
457 B.C. The decree of Artixerxes Longimanus in the 7th year of his reign to build the city of Jerusalem (cf. Ezra 7:13-26)
444 B.C. The decree of Artixerxes to restore and build Jerusalem in the 20th year of his reign (cf. Nehemiah 1:2-8)
4 B.C. Birth of Jesus
33 A.D. Crucifixion of Jesus
Calculating from 444 B.C. to 33 A.D., one arrives at 478 years rather than the 483 years required. However, this is due to our reckonings, which are based upon the solar year of 365 days; whereas the Jewish calendar was based upon lunar years of 360 days. When the two calendars are adjusted, and one must do so for accuracy, a difference of about eight years will be discovered. Allowing an additional year for the transition from B.C. to A.D., the date of 33 A.D. is the date at the end of the sixty-ninth week when Christ is cut off (v. 26).
Daniel 9:1-We move forward in time again...to the first year of the reign of Darius the Mede. This is the same Darius as in chapter 6. The first year of his reign was 538 B.C., 67 years after Daniel had been taken to Babylon.
Daniel 9:2-Daniel had been reading from “the books” that the "completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years" was drawing close. This prophecy is found in the book of Jeremiah (25:11-12; 29:10).
Daniel 9:3-19-With this new revelation, Daniel began to pray and fast before the Lord God. He is mindful that God keeps His covenant and gives lovingkindness to those that obey Him (:4). However, he confesses that Judah had sinned and not kept the covenant…and with that being so, God was righteous in His judgment (:5-12). In fact, God had intended for His judgment to shock them into the reality of their sin…so that they would repent. But they did not do so (:13). So, he prays that God will remember His great works among them in the past (:14-15) and will forgive them…but not for their own sake, but "for Thy sake, O LORD" (:16-19).
- That He would accomplish seventy years: If Daniel believed that God would accomplish seventy years of captivity, then why did he pray as passionately as he did in Daniel 9? Daniel knew that God's promises invite our prayers and participation; they don't exclude our prayers and participation.
- "Nothing, therefore, can be better for us, than to ask for what he has promised." (Calvin)
- This principle is repeated in many passages. 2 Peter 3:12 indicates that there is a sense in which we can hasten the Lord's coming by our holy conduct and godly lives; we can also hasten the Lord's coming through evangelism because Paul says that God's prophetic focus on Israel will resume when the fullness of the Gentiles has come in (Romans 11:25). This means that we can also hasten the Lord's coming through prayer, even as Daniel asked for a speedy fulfillment of prophecy regarding captive Israel (Daniel 9). We can also pray Even so, come, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:20) If you want Jesus to come soon, there is something you can do about it!
David Guzik :: Study Guide for Daniel 9,
Daniel 9:20-23-Gabriel appears to him and explains in more detail the vision he had earlier.
Daniel 9:24-"Seventy weeks" (lit.-"seventy sevens", or "490"...it is clear that this refers to years in 9:2). During that time frame several things will happen…
- "finish the transgression"-to end the apostasy of the Jews
- "make an end of sin"-atone for sin, or seal up sin in the sense of judging it
- "make atonement for iniquity"-refers tp the death of Christ and His provision of forgiveness (Zechariah 12:10; Romans 11:26-27)
- "bring in everlasting righteousness"-the Millennium kingdom of Christ (Jeremiah 23:5-6)
- "seal up vision and prophecy"-complete all that God had foretold would happen to Israel
- "anoint the most holy place"-the anointing of the Holy of Holies in the Millennial Temple
Daniel 9:25-The "seventy sevens" will begin with a decree. This command was given by Artaxerxes Longimanus in March 14, 445 B.C. (Nehemniah 2:5). Earlier, Cyrus had authorized the rebuilding of the Temple in 538 B.C. (2 Chronicles 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-4).
Daniel 9:26-This is a reference to the crucifixion of Jesus and the destruction of the Temple. The "people of the prince who is to come" is the Roman empire.
Daniel 9:27-The person referred to as "he" is the Antichrist who will rise out of the geographical area of the ancient Roman empire. He will make a pact with the Jewish people for half of a week (3½ years). Then he will break it and demand worship of himself and desecrate the Temple.
Here is a more extensive explanation of these verses…
- The prophecy of the Seventy Weeks.
- (24a) Seventy weeks are determined for the Jews and Jerusalem.
Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city,
- Seventy weeks are determined: There is almost universal agreement among Bible scholars and commentators that this refers to seventy sets of seven years, or "weeks of years."
- In ancient Hebrew, weeks simply refers to a unit of seven. The Hebrew word here is often used to mean a unit of seven days, but it may also be used for a unit of seven years.
- "The Jews had Sabbatic years, by which their years were divided into weeks of years, as in this important prophecy, each week containing seven years." (Clarke)
iii. Genesis 29:15-28 is an example of using this ancient Hebrew word (shabuwa') for both "seven days" and "seven years" in the same context.
- For your people and for your holy city: The seventy weeks are focused upon Daniel's people (the Jews) and his holy city (Jerusalem).
- Unless the church has become Israel, it is not in view here. Talbot calls the seventy weeks "God's calendar for Israel" in that it does not focus on the Gentiles or the church.
- (24b) What will be accomplished in the seventy weeks.
To finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.
- To finish the transgression: This means that transgression itself will be finished. Taken literally this means establishing an entirely new order on earth, with an end to man's rebellion against God.
- "The culmination of appointed years will witness the conclusion of man's 'transgression' or 'rebellion' against God - a development most naturally entered into with the establishment of an entirely new order on earth. This seems to require nothing less than the inauguration of the kingdom of God on earth." (Archer)
- To make an end of sins: Taking these words at face value, this means not only the end of the guilt of sin, but an end of sin itself. It means to "seal up" or "restrain" sins. This looks to a new, redeemed world.
- To make reconciliation for iniquity: Man's iniquity must be reconciled to God's justice and holiness. This work was clearly accomplished at the cross.
- To bring in everlasting righteousness: One might take this in an individual sense, but there have always been righteous individuals. Taking the statement at face value, this means a new order of society brought in by the Messiah.
- To seal up vision and prophecy: This speaks of both the ending and fulfillment of prophecy, concluding the final stage of human history and culminating with the reign of the Son of God.
- "It must include his enthronement." (Archer)
- To anoint the most holy: Taken at its simple, literal meaning, this refers to a place, not a person. There is a most holy place - the most holy place of the temple - that will be anointed and blessed.
- Taken as a whole, Gabriel made a remarkable announcement to Daniel. He told him that each of these amazing things would happen within the period of seventy weeks.
- Looking back in history, we can only say this things have each been fulfilled if we ignore their plain, literal meaning and give them a "spiritual" meaning that ignores their plain meaning. Some like to say that these promises are fulfilled generally in the spread of the gospel over the centuries, but this ignores the plain and simple meaning of these words.
- (Dan 9:25) The course and dividing of the seventy weeks.
Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times.
- From the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem: Here Gabriel reveals to Daniel the starting point for the seventy-weeks prophecy. There was a command to restore and build Jerusalem in history that began this specific time period.
- The Bible presents four possible decrees that might fulfill this description:
- Cyrus made a decree giving Ezra and the Babylonian captives the right to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple in 538 B.C. (Ezra in 1:1-4 and 5:13-17)
- Darius made a decree giving Ezra the right to rebuild the temple in 517 B.C. (Ezra 6:6-12)
- Artaxerxes made a decree giving Ezra permission, safe passage, and supplies to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple in 458 B.C. (Ezra 7:11-26)
- Artaxerxes made a decree giving Nehemiah permission, safe passage and supplies to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the city and the walls in 445 B.C. (Nehemiah 2:1-8)
- ii. Only the last of these four decrees was a command to restore and build Jerusalem. The first three each focused on the temple, not on the street or on the wall.
- Until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks: Gabriel's message to Daniel is simple and striking. 483 years - that is, 69 units of seven years - would pass from the time of the command recorded in Nehemiah 2:1-8 until the appearance of Messiah the Prince.
- Some say the 483 years were completed at Jesus' birth (5 or 4 B.C.). There is little chronological support for this date.
- Some say the 483 years were completed at His baptism, at the beginning of Jesus' ministry (if dated at 26 A.D.). This is possible if one begins with the earlier decree of Artaxerxes, and figures with our present measurement for years instead of the ancient measurement of years (360 days).
iii. Some say the 483 years were completed at the triumphal entry of Jesus (if dated at 32 A.D.). Sir Robert Anderson's significant work The Coming Prince follows this argument in great detail.
- Anderson, using a 360-day year (which Israel used in Daniel's day), calculates 173,880 days from the decree to the triumphal entry, fulfilling the prophecy to the day. "It is customary for the Jews to have twelve months of 360 days each and then to insert a thirteenth month occasionally when necessary to correct the calendar." (Walvoord)
- The year 32 A.D. (based on Luke 3:1) for Jesus' death is controversial (most chronologists favor 30 or 33 A.D.). But recent attempts have made some case for the date: "A recent article attempts to give credence to the date of A.D. 32; cf. R.E. Showers, Grace Journal, XI (Winter, 1970), pp. 30ff. The evidence presented is worthy of notice." (Wood)
- "No one today is able dogmatically to declare that Sir Robert Anderson's computations are impossible." (Walvoord)
- iv. Some say the 483 years were completed at the exact time of the crucifixion.
- Until Messiah the Prince: Taking Anderson's calculations as reliable, we see a remarkable fulfillment of prophecy. A Gentile king made a decree and 483 years later to the day, Jesus presented Himself as Messiah the Prince to Israel.
- In our mind a Prince is a good step lower than a king. In the Hebrew vocabulary, "Prince" has more the idea of "strong, mighty ruler" than "son of a king and heir to the throne."
- "There was only one occasion in our Lord's earthly ministry on which He is depicted as presenting Himself openly as Zion's King, the so-called 'Triumphal Entry,' recorded in each one of the Gospels and fulfilling Zechariah 9:9 and Psalm 118:26." (Newell)
- On that day, Jesus deliberately arranged the event to present Himself as Messiah (Mark 11:1-10)
- On that day, Jesus welcomed praise (Luke 19:38-40) instead of quieting it (Luke 5:14 and 8:56)
- On that day, Jesus made special reference to the importance of that day (Luke 19:41-42)
- iii. This prophecy is so specifically fulfilled that it has been a significant testimony to many. "Others of the Jewish [scholars], by the evidence of these words, have been compelled to confess that Messiah is already come, and that he was that Jesus whom their forefathers crucified." (Trapp)
- The street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times: This indicates that the rebuilding of the streets and wall of Jerusalem would happen in the first seven weeks mentioned. Then would follow another 62 weeks of years until the coming of Messiah the Prince.
- The seventy weeks are divided into three parts:
- Seven weeks - 49 years, until the city and its walls are rebuilt
- 69 weeks (7 plus 62), 483 years from the decree, until Messiah the Prince appears
- A final 70th week to complete the prophecy
- (Dan 9:26) What happens after the first sixty-nine weeks.
And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined.
- After the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off: The Biblical term cut off is sometimes used to describe execution (see Genesis 9:11 and Exodus 31:14). The Messiah will be cut off for the sake of others, not for Himself.
- "Able chronologists have shown that the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ occurred immediately after the expiration of 483 prophetic years, of 360 days each, from the time of Artaxerxes' order." (Ironside)
- Strangely, many able commentators simply ignore these numbers. "The numbers are symbolic and not arithmetical." (Baldwin)
iii. Cut off is a poignant description of Jesus' earthly life up to and including the cross. "Born in another man's stable, cradled in another man's manger with nowhere to lay his head during his life on earth, and buried in another man's tomb after dying on a cursed cross, the Christ of God and the Friend of the friendless was indeed cut off and had nothing." (Heslop)
- Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary: After the Messiah is cut off, Jerusalem and her temple would be destroyed again by an overwhelming army (with a flood). Most all Bible scholars and commentators agree that this was fulfilled in the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
- The people of the prince who is to come shall destroy: The destroying army is made up of the people of the prince who is to come. This coming prince is described more in Daniel 9:26.
- (Dan 9:27) The events of the seventieth week.
Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate.
- He shall confirm a covenant: The "he" Gabriel mentions is the prince who is to come mentioned in the previous verse. If we know that the prince's people destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A.D., Then we know this coming prince has his ancestral roots in the soil of the ancient Roman Empire.
- Therefore, the prince who is to come will in some way be an heir to the Romans, even as the final world government is an heir to the Roman Empire (Daniel 7).
- He shall confirm a covenant with many for one week: The coming prince will make a covenant with Israel for the final unit of seven years, completing the seventy weeks prophesied for the Jewish people and Jerusalem.
- Covenant with many: The word many here is a specific reference to Israel, not a general reference to a group. The ancient Hebrew says, "covenant with the many."
- With this covenant Israel will embrace the Antichrist as a political messiah, if not the literal Messiah. Jesus predicted this in John 5:43: I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive.
iii. Taking the description of what would be accomplished in the 70 Weeks from Daniel 9:24, we know that the 70 Weeks are not yet complete. Yet the events promised in the first 69 weeks are fulfilled, indicated that there is a lengthy "pause" in the 70 Weeks, between the 69th week and the 70th week. The 70th week will begin when the coming prince shall confirm a covenant with the Jewish people. These "gaps" or "pauses" in prophecy may seem strange to us, but they are common. Comparing Isaiah 9:6 and Luke 1:31-33 shows another significant "pause" or "gap" in prophecy regarding the coming of the Messiah.
- We can think of it in this way: God has appointed 490 years of special focus on Israel in His redemptive plan. The years were "paused" by Israel's rejection of Jesus. Now, there is no special focus on Israel in God's redemptive plan because this is the time of the church. God's focus will return to Israel when the church is taken away (at the rapture) and the last seven years of man's rule on this earth begin.
- "The 70th week will begin when the Jewish people are restored in unbelief to their land and city; and among them will be found a faithful remnant, owning their sin, and seeking Jehovah's face." (Henry Ironside writing in 1911)
- In the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering: The coming prince will break the covenant with Israel in the middle of the seven years, the final "week."
- The Book of Revelation sees this seven year period with both its halves as yet future (Revelation 12:6, 13-14; 13:5-9, 14-15). The middle of the week and the end of sacrifice had not yet happened in 90 A.D.
- On the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate: The ending of sacrifice will come with abominations, followed by tremendous desolation.
- Abominations translates an ancient Hebrew word (shiqquwts) that is connected to horrific idolatry (Deuteronomy 29:17, 1 Kings 11:5-7, 2 Kings 23:13). The idea is that the coming prince breaks the covenant and brings an end to sacrifice and offering by desecrating the holy place of the temple with a horrific idolatry.
- Jesus called this the abomination of desolation (Matthew 24:15) and indicated that it would be a pivotal sign in the Great Tribulation. Paul referred to the idolatry of the coming prince in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4.
- Until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate: This breaking of the covenant and abomination of desolation has a promised consummation. Before the 70th week is completed, each of the things described in Daniel 9:24 will be accomplished and everlasting righteousness will reign.
THE SEVENTY WEEKS OF DANIEL AS UNDERSTOOD BY SIR ROBERT ANDERSON IN THE COMING PRINCE
- Daniel 9:24-25 says that from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem to the coming of the Messiah there will be 483 years.
- 7 + 62 "weeks" = 69 groups of seven years. 7 x 69 = 483 years
- Anderson sees a prophetic year as 360 days. This is based both on ancient history and on Revelation 11:2, 13:5, 11:3, and 12:6 which indicate that 42 months 3 ½ years are equal to 1,260 days.
- Therefore, 483 years x 360 days = 173,880 days
- Artaxerxes started his reign in 465 B.C. The decree to rebuild Jerusalem was given on the first day of Nisan, in the 20th year of Artaxerxes. In our calendar system (the Julian calendar) that date is March 14, 445 B.C. (Nehemiah 2:1)
- Jesus started His ministry in the 15th year of Tiberius (see Luke 3:1). Tiberius started his reign in 14 A.D., so Jesus' ministry started in 29 A.D. Anderson believes that Jesus celebrated four Passovers during His ministry, one each in 29, 30, 31 and His final Passover in 32. With the help of lunar charts, we can calculate the exact date of ancient Passovers, so it is possible to calculate the exact day of Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem as April 6, 32 A.D.
- From 445 B.C. to 32 A.D. there are 476 years on the Julian calendar
- (not 477 years, because there is no year zero)
- 476 years x 365 days = 173,740 days
- Adjusting for the difference between March 14 and April 6 adds 24 days
- Adjusting for leap years over a period of 476 years adds 116 days
- The total number of days from March 14, 445 B.C. to April 6, 32 A.D.
- 173,740 + 24 + 116 = 173,880 days
- According to his calendar, Daniel told us there would be 173,880 days between the decree and the arrival of Messiah the Prince.
- David Guzik :: Study Guide for Daniel 9,
Daniel’s Vision of God (531 B.C.) Daniel 10
Daniel 10:1-It is 536 B.C. Daniel had not returned to Jerusalem to build the Temple along with those who left under Cyrus' decree (9:25; in 538 B.C.-cf. 2 Chronicles 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-4). He was in his middle 80's at this time and had responsibilities in the government that possibly prohibited him from going.
Daniel 10:1-4-After three weeks of mourning, Daniel had a vision...it was one that caused him great turmoil, but he knew what it meant.
Daniel 10:5-9-He was on the bank of the Tigris river when he had the vision. Other people were with him, but they didn't see the vision. He became pale and passed out. The other people ran away.
Daniel 10:10-13-An angel speaks to Daniel and tells him that his prayers were heard from the very beginning of his three weeks of mourning...however, he had been detained because he was battling against evil angelic forces that were trying to influence world affairs in Persia (:12-13)...but Michael came to his assistance.
- The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me: Since this prince is able to oppose the angelic messenger to Daniel, we know this is more than a man. This prince is some kind of angelic being, and we know he is an evil angelic being because he opposed the word of God coming to Daniel and stood against the angelic messenger.
- The word prince has the idea of a ruler or authority. This fits in well with the New Testament idea that angelic ranks - including demonic forces - are organized and have a hierarchy (Ephesians 1:21, Ephesians 6:12, Colossians 1:16, Colossians 2:15).
- Apparently, this was a demon of high rank that opposed the answer to prayer. On three occasions, Jesus referred to Satan as the prince of this world (John 12:31, 14:30, and 16:11).
- Withstood me twenty-one days: Since the angel was dispatched immediately and Daniel's period of prayer and self-denial was 21 days (the three full weeks of Daniel 10:2), we see that the answer to the prayer was delayed by the prince of the kingdom of Persia.
- The correlation between Daniel's time of self-denial and prayer and the duration of the battle between the angels and the prince of the kingdom of Persia establishes a link between Daniel's prayer and the angelic victory. Since the angelic victory came on the 21st day, we can surmise that if Daniel would have stopped praying on the 20th day the answer may not have come.
- "There may be hindering factors of which a praying Christian knows nothing as he wonders why the answers to his requests are delayed. Nevertheless, he is to keep on praying. It may be that he will not receive an answer because he has given up on the twentieth day when he should have persisted to the twenty-first day." (Archer)
David Guzik :: Study Guide for Daniel 10,
Daniel 10:14-Now this angel is going to tell him what will happen to the Jewish people in the latter days.
Daniel 10:15-19-The explanation of the vision that the angel gives Daniel reveals such harsh times for the Jewish people in the last days that he is physically overwhelmed. The angel touched him again (:16,18) and gave him strength.
Daniel 10:20-21-Daniel became aware that there were evil angelic forces who were seeking to control Persia...but that God had sent His angels to assure that His will would be accomplished. There would soon be a similar situation that would later arise in Greece. Daniel was now aware of what was happening.
Prayer: Father, I feel like Daniel after reading these chapters. On one hand, there is so much to comprehend concerning the last days that my brain hurts. Second, the apprehension of the persecution and struggle that will take place in those days is daunting. And finally, the realization that there is more going on than the eye can see…that there is a spiritual battle taking place…makes me feel helpless and powerless. Were it not for the confidence that comes from knowing that You are in control…I could become extremely fearful. But Your revelation and Your presence give me hope and peace. Keep me focused on You, Lord.