Daniel 9 prophecy

Chapter 9 in the book of Daniel continues the record of history, and the dreams, visions and revelations that God gave through His prophet. This chapter covers a period under the rule of Darius the Mede who conquered Babylon.  (All bold are my emphases added. Square brackets [ ] indicate meanings of words. King James Version Easy-Reading Bible (KJVER) used.)

Daniel 9:1 In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus [538 B.C.], of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans;

God told Jeremiah that the nation of Judah (the kingdom of Israel had already been conquered due to their idolatry) would be taken into captured by the Babylonians (Chaldeans) and taken into captivity for 70 years (Jeremiah 25:11) after which God would restore them and return them to Jerusalem (Jeremiah 29:10). Daniel was living in exile and I suppose it was only natural to want to know when the exile would end. God enlightened him through divine knowledge but it was a lot more than just an answer to that simple question.

Daniel 9:2 In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations [ruin] of Jerusalem.

Daniel then prayed earnestly for Jerusalem, his people and himself; that God would forgive their sins and restore his people.

Daniel 9:20, 21 And while I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God; 21 Yea, while I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel [an angel], whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly [come] swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation [offering].

Gabriels_revelation_to_Daniel

Daniel 9:22, 23 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give you skill and understanding.  23 At the beginning of your supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to show you; for you are greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.

The following prophecy has been hotly debated over a long period of time. This relates primarily to what is called the 70th week of Daniel, the last week in a series of 70 weeks. These 70 weeks are not the 70 years of the exile in Babylon but something else. The different interpretations generally roughly agree on the meaning of first 69 weeks but enormously disagree on the placement in time of the last week, the 70th week. The historical interpretation puts that last week back in the past and futurists put it in the distant future.

Daniel 9:24 Seventy weeks [sevens] are determined upon your people and upon your holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

The word ‘weeks’ is translated from the Hebrew word שָׁבוַּע shabuwa`, which literally means ‘sevened,’ i.e. a week (of years). Therefore it means 70 x 7 years = 490 years. But note at the end of this period everlasting righteousness must be established.  That is the righteousness that only Jesus Christ can offer by His death on the Cross. It cannot be the beginning of some millennial kingdom, which is what I was first taught. That makes no sense, because when Jesus said on the Cross “It is finished,” (John 19:30) He literally had finished the work of our salvation (if you have repented and accepted his free gift). It has already been accomplished. We don’t need to wait for some future millennial time, as the futurists teach.

The following is what Sir Isaac Newton commented (my emphasis added):

Now the dispersed Jews became a people and city when they first returned into a polity or body politick; and this was in the seventh year of Artaxerxes Longimanus, when Ezra returned with a body of Jews from captivity, and revived the Jewish worship; and by the King’s commission created Magistrates in all the land, to judge and govern the people according to the laws of God and the King, Ezra 7:25.  There were but two returns from captivity, Zerubbabel’s and Ezra’s; in Zerubbabel’s they had only commission to build the Temple, in Ezra’s they first became a polity or city by a government of their own. Now the years of this Artaxerxes began about two or three months after the summer solstice, and his seventh year fell in with the third year of the eightieth Olympiad; and the latter part thereof, wherein Ezra went up to Jerusalem, was in the year of the Julian Period 4257. Count the time from thence to the death of Christ, and you will find it just 490 years.1

Therefore 70 weeks = 490 years from the year Julian 4257 = 456 BC. That takes you to 33 AD (as there was no year zero). You get the year of Christ’s death and resurrection.

For more than 35 years I believed the following verse just dovetailed into the previous separating the seventy weeks into 3 separate periods. But it has its roots in the futurist interpretation, which coming from the Jesuits, one ought to be suspicious about. I now see it differently and Isaac Newton’s comments helped to shake me out of a sort of “blindness” to the true meaning.

Daniel 9:25a Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem to the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks:

This seems to be saying there are two periods preceding the arrival of the Messiah, not his death, like in the previous verse. The two periods are 7 weeks = 7 × 7 years = 49 years and 62 weeks = 62 × 7 years = 434 years. Note, this verse does not say until his death or until ‘reconciliation for iniquity’ or ‘to bring in everlasting righteousness’ like the verse 9:24 says. No it is quite specific and yet worded differently.

Newton commented (my emphases added):

Nehemiah came to Jerusalem in the 20th year of this same Artaxerxes, while Ezra still continued there, Nehemiah 12:36, and found the city lying waste, and the houses and wall unbuilt, Nehemiah 2:17, 7:4, and finished the wall the 25th day of the month Elul, Nehemiah 6:15, in the 28th year of the King, that is, in September in the year of the Julian Period 4278. Count now from this year threescore and two weeks of years, that is 434 years, and the reckoning will end in September in the year of the Julian Period 4712 which is the year in which Christ was born.2

The city and wall took 8 or 9 years to rebuild so the first 7 week period of 49 years does not apply to that rebuilding period as is often stated in studies of this chapter. However we are told that the Temple in Jesus time (under Herod the Great, therefore an extension of the 2nd Temple) took 46 years to build (John 2:20). When Jesus visited the Temple at the first Passover of his ministry it was said that the place had by then been under construction for 46 years. The work was not entirely finished until 63 AD, only 7 years before the destruction of the entire Temple in 70 AD. But this Temple is not mentioned in the text in Daniel 9:25, only the street and the wall. It may be the reason some interpreted the 7 week period (7 × 7 years =49 years) as a reconstruction of the city where they have implicitly included the 2nd Temple. Isaac Newton suggests that this 7 week period (49 years) is applied to the period prior to Christ’s Second Advent.

Using the date when Nehemiah finished rebuilding the wall in the Julian year 4278, 434 years later means Christ’s birth was in 1 B.C., by my reckoning.

On the seven week period Isaac Newton commented (my emphases added):

Know also and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to cause to return and to build Jerusalem, unto the Anointed the Prince, shall be seven weeks. The former part [62 weeks] of the Prophecy related to the first coming of Christ, being dated to his coming as a Prophet; this being dated to his coming to be Prince or King, seems to relate to his second coming. There, the Prophet was consummate, and the most holy anointed: here, he that was anointed comes to be Prince and to reign. For Daniel’s Prophecies reach to the end of the world; and there is scarce a Prophecy in the Old Testament concerning Christ, which doth not in something or other relate to his second coming. If divers of the antients, as Irenæus, Julius Africanus, Hippolytus the martyr, and Apollinaris Bishop of Laodicea, applied the half week to the times of Antichrist; why may not we, by the same liberty of interpretation, apply the seven weeks to the time when Antichrist shall be destroyed by the brightness of Christ’s coming? 2

By that Newton means the Second Advent of Christ in His triumphal return to rule as king.

Daniel 9:25b the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

Under Nehemiah the wall of the city was rebuilt and the times were troubled for sure.

Daniel 9:26a And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off [killed], but not for Himself:

Jesus died for the lost, not for himself, but us who trust in Him. This occurred sometime after the 62 weeks period. It does not mean it happens exactly at the end of it. Above it seems to indicate his arrival, his birth. Jesus is born, not as a king of the Jews, not to take military power, but he is cut off, for our salvation, not for Himself. And Jerusalem is destroyed.

Daniel 9:26b and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.

Note: Of verse 9:26, between the first part (a) and the second part (b), there is the word ‘and’ after “but not for Himself:” where ‘Himself’ is a reference to the Messiah. This indicates a different person is intended in what follows. The ‘people of the prince’ were the army of Vespasian the Roman Emperor who came and conquered Judaea. Under Christ’s sovereign will, General Titus pulled apart the Temple in 70 A.D., the Jews were sent into exile and hence the temple worship was terminated. And the land was ravaged by wars. This was still the Messiah’s doing, even though He used the Roman armies.

Daniel 9:27a And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week:

‘He’ here refers to Jesus the Messiah, not the AntiChrist. The Hebrew grammar requires it be the Messiah, who is the subject of the preceding verse (v.26).  See verse 9:26a above. He, Jesus, confirms the covenant (Galatians 3:17)—fulfilling the Law (Romans 10:4)—with many, but not all, in Israel. Compare to what Daniel prayed,

Daniel 9:4 …. O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love Him, and to them that keep His commandments.

This event occurred in the last week of 7 years, which is divided into two 3½ year periods. In the first 3½ year period Jesus Christ preaches around the land of Judaea. This is the period of His ministry on Earth.

Sir Isaac Newton wrote that in Christ’s death on the Cross He confirms the covenant, all the promises that had gone before Him, and fulfills the payment of sin as only He could do on that cross. Only by a sinless man’s sacrifice could mankind be redeemed. Of a certainty He died for those who repent of their sins. This occurs at the moment in time of His death on the Cross, which occurred at the end of the first 3½ year period, which is the middle of the last week.

It is quite perverse to substitute Christ for the AntiChrist in this verse.

Daniel 9:27b and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation [offering] to cease,

Again the ‘he’ here is Christ. Jesus in His death causes the Jewish sacrifice to cease because He pays the price for our atonement finally and totally forever. There now is no longer any need for the annual atonement rituals. The veil of the Temple is rent in two (Mark 15:38). There is no record of the Ark of the Covenant ever being returned to the Holy of Holies after the return from the Babylonian exile. But because Jesus is our Mediator there was no need of the Ark nor the Temple. And there was no longer any need for a priesthood. After that the Romans came and eliminated the Temple worship anyway.

Isaac Newton (my emphasis added):

And in half a week he shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease; that is, by the war of the Romans upon the Jews: which war, after some commotions, began in the 13th year of Nero, A.D. 67, in the spring, when Vespasian with an army invaded them; and ended in the second year of Vespasian, A.D. 70, in autumn, Sept. 7, when Titus took the city, having burnt the Temple 27 days before: so that it lasted three years and an half.3

That was for a period of 3½ years, the second half of the week.

Daniel 9:27c and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

The overspreading of abominations is the description for the false gods of the Romans that He (Jesus Christ) brings into the land making it desolate because they rejected their Messiah.  The word translated as ‘overspreading’ has the meaning ‘covering,’ covering over the land.

So this whole prophecy is about Christ, his return and the destruction of Judah. The abomination of desolation that Daniel speaks (Daniel 9:27; 11:31; 12:11) of and Jesus mentions in Matthew 24:15 is one of these Roman gods, Jupiter Capitolinus. Under General Titus in the year 70 A.D. the Jewish Temple was destroyed, pulled apart, stone from stone, as predicted by Jesus in Matthew 24:2. In 135 A.D. (the 16th year of the Emperor Hadrian), the Romans placed the abomination by building a Temple to Jupiter, on the site where the Temple of God in Jerusalem had stood.

Solomon built the temple on the threshing floor David bought. The Dome of the rock is the highest point of the temple mount. Threshing floors were never built on hills, but in curved valleys, like directly under the Al Kas Fountain. Under the dome of the Rock, was where the Fortress of Antonia stood. In 135 AD, Hadrian filled in about 50 feet of earth over top of where the temple stood and enlarged the temple mount and built a temple of Jupiter where we see the Dome of the rock today. In 325 AD Constantine tore down the Temple of Jupiter and assumed Hadrian built the temple of Jupiter on top of the spot where the temple of Solomon once stood. Constantine built an octagon church on the site. In 700 AD the Muslims found the foundations of Constantine’s octagon church and built the dome of the Rock we see today.4

In that sense the abomination of desolation that Daniel speaks of remains on the Temple mount in Jerusalem to this day. Though it was imperative to heed Jesus’ warning for those who lived in Judea back then (Matthew 24:15-21) it is incumbent on us today to be vigilant as times are growing darker again.Timeline Daniel 9In the following video a Hebrew language expert explains why the ‘he’ in verse 9:27 must be Christ and not the AntiChrist.

References

  1. Isaac Newton, Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel, and the Apocalypse of St. John, Chapter X, pp. 30,31, produced by Greg Alethoup, Robert Shimmin, Keith Edkins and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team. Release Date: October 15, 2005 [EBook #16878] under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online.
  2. Ibid. p.31.
  3. Ibid. pp. 31,32
  4. The Temple in Jerusalem over the threshing floor which is presently under the Al Kas fountain.

Related Reading

  1. Daniel 2
  2. Daniel 7
  3. Daniel 8
  4. Daniel 10-11
  5. Daniel 12
  6. Matthew 24
  7. The Revelation of Jesus Christ
  8. Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth
  9. Historical or futurist view of biblical prophecy?
  10. Observations upon the prophecies of Daniel, and the Apocalypse of St. John by Sir Isaac Newton
  11. Romanism and the Reformation by H. Grattan Guinness

About John Gideon Hartnett

Dr John G. Hartnett is an Australian physicist and cosmologist, and a Christian with a biblical creationist worldview. He received a B.Sc. (Hons) and Ph.D. (with distinction) in Physics from The University of Western Australia, W.A., Australia. He was an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award (DORA) fellow at the University of Adelaide, with rank of Associate Professor. Now he is retired. He has published more than 200 papers in scientific journals, book chapters and conference proceedings.
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4 Responses to Daniel 9 prophecy

  1. The book of Daniel is/was sealed up UNTIL knowledge is increased and people run to and fro… Daniel 12:4,10.

    The gap theory between 69th and 70th week is hundreds of years old when horse and buggy was still the norm for travel, and it took a century for knowledge to double. Today knowledge doubles in 2 years, and we travel to and fro by every means possible. As you can see the book of Daniel was still sealed up when the gap theory was invented.

    Today the 70th week is totally fulfilled. Titus made a covenant with the Roman Empire to squelch the Jewish rebellion in 66 AD. This started a 7 year war (one week) ending with the fall of Masada in 73 AD. This war is called the Roman-Jewish War or Jewish Uprising. In the middle of that week/war Jerusalem was decimated and the temple destroyed ENDING the daily sacrifices and offerings. They are ended today. There is no Scripture to indicate that they will ever return.

    As a result of the assumption and speculation surrounding Daniel’s 70th week we have the false unscriptural idea that the great tribulation is a 7 year period of time. We have the false idea that there is a mid point in the great tribulation in which the temple will again be destroyed and the daily sacrifices will again end. There is absolutely no Scripture to support this idea. Today the temple does not exist. Today the temple is not built with hands, and God’s people are the temple of the Holy Spirit. A physical temple may or may not ever be rebuilt. There is a temple that is measured in Revelation, but it’s nature of physical verse spiritual is not indicated. Not to mention… it appears to have been measured in heaven.

    Surrounding the nature of the destruction of the temple, Jesus warns, “Let no man deceive you.” Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21. Yet today we have a HUGE assumption, speculation, opinion, and conjecture mainstream thought that Daniel’s 70th week is somehow futuristic with a huge gap of time and no Scriptural support of the idea.

    The idea is important for those pushing a separation of the Jews and the church into two bodies of Christ Jesus. This is contrary to the Word of God…Ephesians 2:10-15, not to mention that there is only one body in Christ Jesus. The unpleasant tribulation gets pushed off on the Jews and the pleasant rose colored ideas are grabbed for themselves, such as the rapture. The truth often hurts, and any ideas that might cause a little pain and discomfort are rejected. Note the sole characteristic of the “stony” soil in the parable of the sower… it has the lack of mindset for tribulation and persecution..Mark 4:18. They simply didn’t sign up for that!

    What is truly amazing is that this false gap of time between the 69th and 70th week is foundational in major doctrines. How interesting that such major doctrines are built upon assumptions that cause divisions in the body of Christ. We are told to avoid such speculations…1 Tim. 2:23.

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    • I agree largely with what you write, but not all. The 70th week ended with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. There is no future 70th week of Daniel. There is no waiting for a pre-Trib rapture because the Jews and the Early Church already suffered great tribulation and the Church has suffered it ever since. One point of difference is that Jesus’ death on the cross has to be part of the last week of Daniel because He brings in everlasting righteousness. He is the one who ‘confirms the covenant with many for one week.’ You have general Titus as the ‘he’ who confirms a 7 year covenant. But the covenant is ‘only confirmed.’ It was the greatest covenant of all time; the one where God promises to redeem His people. And Jesus on the Cross said: “It is finished!”

      (I just found this comment in the spam box. Sorry for the delay in posting it.)

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  2. Stan Orr says:

    Professor Gideon,

    I really appreciate many of your articles and correct interpretation of prophecy but I must say that your views of Daniel’s prophecy in chapter 9 is missing some important points. First of all the 70 weeks prophecy is associated with the 2300 days prophecy of Daniel 8. The 70 weeks or 490 days or years in prophecy because a day = a year in bible prophecy is cut off from the period of 2300 days (years) of Daniel 8:14. Daniel 9:25 gives the starting point for the calculation of the 490 year period. “The going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem”.

    Daniel was show a vision of a Ram with two horns and He Goat from the west with a notable horn between its eyes (Daniel 8:3-5). The Ram represented Persia and the He Goat represented Grecia with the notable horn represented the first king of Grecia (Daniel 8:20-21). We know from history that the first king represented Alexander the Great. The prophecy shows that Alexander and his army would not only defeat the Persia but destroy them with fury. Although the Persia king offered terms of surrender Alexander was determine to destroy Persia perhaps to avenge the Persian failed invasion of Greece a generation earlier. The angel Gabriel goes on to say “Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven.” Again history tells us that Alexander the Great died in a drunken stupor at the age of 31, leaving his empire to “the strongest of his generals”. After many battles there was only 4 (Cassander, Ptolemy, Antigonus, and Seleucus) which divided the empire into four parts. Out of one of the horns came a “little horn” that which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land.

    The angel had stated that the Ram was great, the he goat very great and now a new power the little horn which was exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land. This little horn also attack and overcame the holy people and exalted himself against the Prince of the Host and took away the daily (Daniel 8:9-12). Not only that he cast the sanctuary to the ground practiced and prospered. (vs. 11-12). The little horn in this chapter and the same power as the little horn in Daniel 7 represent Rome in its two phases (Pagan and Papal). Pagan Rome did the same as the previous world powers with it conquest of the Grecian kingdoms of Egypt and Syria) and the pleasant land (Palestine including Judah). During this empire the Messiah was born, ministered and was crucified under the authority of Rome. Not only that but pagan Rome started the persecution of believers of Christ (Christian Church). Pagan Rome was succeeded by Papal Rome which pushed toward heaven and exalted itself above the King of Kings by casting down the Sanctuary to the ground.

    The Sanctuary on earth was destroyed by Rome in AD 70, but after the death, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ the earthly sanctuary ceased to have any relevance since type had met anti-type and then Jesus the true High Priest entered into the Sanctuary in Heaven to minister on our behalf. Hebrews 8.1-2. The papacy tried to intercept this truth by creating an earthly priestly ministry that took the people’s eyes from Christ the High Priest of the true Sanctuary which the Lord pitched and not man to the “man of sin” that claims to be the vicar of Christ and to be able to forgive sins.

    From here lets go back to the statement by Gabriel in Daniel 8:14 “unto 2300 days then shall the Sanctuary be cleaned”. We know from this statement that the cleansing of the Sanctuary would not be for 2300 years from Daniel’s time but here is not indication of when the start counting the years. That’s where Daniel 9 (70 weeks Prophecy comes in), the 70 weeks or 490 years are a part of the 2300 years that were specifically “cut off” for the Jews. Gabriel goes on to explain that from the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem to Messiah the Prince shall by 69 weeks or 483 years. The command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem was given by Persian king Artaxerxes in the year 457 B.C. from that date 483 years brings us to the year 27 AD, when Jesus was baptized in the Jordan and “anointed by the Holy Ghost”. Jesus Christ means Anointed Savior…Christ is the same as Messiah (Hebrew). THE LAST WEEK OF THE SEVENTY WEEKS COMPRISED THE MINISTRY OF JESUS. Jesus began His ministry by announcing “The Time is Fulled repent and believe the gospel” Mark 1:15. What “time” was He referring to? The time as recorded in the prophecy of Daniel’s 70-week prophecy. The prophet says the Messiah would be “cut off” and not for Himself in the mist of the last week! Jesus was crucified for the sins of the world 3 and one half years after 27 AD or in the mist of the seventieth week. This seventieth was the last week in the period assigned to the Jews so it extended for another 3 and one half years until they fully rejected the gospel in the stoning of Stephen which occurred right on time in A.D. 34. After 34 A.D. Saul of Taurus the persecutor of the followers of Jesus was converted and became Paul the Apostle to the Gentiles. The believers went everywhere preaching the gospel. On the Mount of Olives Jesus told his disciples that the Jewish Temple would be destroyed and that one stone would not be left standing. He also, warned the church members in Jerusalem to flee the city before the desolation and destruction in AD 70.

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