Decoding Daniel - an in depth Bible study of the book of Daniel

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Daniel 9

Outline and Background - Daniel 9

Prompting of Daniel's Prayer - Daniel 9:1-3

Particulars of Daniel's -Prayer  Daniel 9:4-15

Petition of Daniel's Prayer  - Daniel 9:16-19

Power of Daniel's Prayer - Daniel 9:20-23

The Seventy Sevens - Daniel 9:24

The Coming of Two Princes - Daniel 9:25-27

Decoding of the Seventy Sevens

The Anointed One Cut Off

Application of Daniel 9

Decoding of the Seventy Sevens

Around the turn of the twentieth century, Sir Robert Anderson of Scotland Yard, in The Coming Prince, decoded Daniel’s “Seventy
Sevens.” In a chronological diagram of the history of Judah, Anderson observed three eras of seventy weeks. He dated Israel’s entrance into Canaan as 1585 B.C., the kingdom established under Saul as 1096 B.C., Judah’s servitude to Babylon as 606 B.C., and the Mystic Era beginning with the restoration of Jerusalem as 445 B.C.

490 years From Canaan to Kingdom
490 years From the Kingdom to Servitude
490 years Mystic Era of Seventy Weeks

This writer dates Israel’s entrance into Canaan as 1406 B.C., the kingdom established under Saul as 1050 B.C., Judah’s servitude to Babylon as 605 B.C., and the Mystical Era beginning with the restoration of Jerusalem as 444 B.C. Anderson’s three eras of seventy weeks are questionable, but his calculation from the restoration of Jerusalem to the Messiah being cut off is extremely helpful.

Gabriel’s prediction is concerned with the seventy weeks that begin in 444 B.C., and the exact time that the Anointed One (Messiah) would be cut off (His rejection by Israel and crucifixion on the cross). Consequently, Christ would not acquire the messianic kingdom envisioned in the OT during His first advent.

The seventy sevens are “weeks” (seven-year periods), totaling 490 years of prophetic time for the Jews. Gabriel divided this time into three parts:

1. Seven sevens (7 x 7 = 49 years)
2. Sixty-two sevens (62 x 7 = 434 years)
3. One seven (7 years)

It took 49 years to rebuild Jerusalem, which occurred in troublesome times according to the book of Nehemiah. Then 434 years later, the Messiah, the Ruler, was cut off. The total is 483 years. Using a solar year to calculate when the Messiah would be cut off, one arrives at A.D. 38. By all reckoning, Christ died before A.D. 38. Thus, there must be a different way of making this calculation.

Verse 25 predicts that the event, which triggers the 490 years, would be a decree permitting the Jews to restore and rebuilt Jerusalem. History tells us there were four different decrees relating to Jerusalem. Cyrus (Ezra 1:2-4), Darius (Ezra 6:3-12), and Artaxerxes (Ezra 7:12-26) issued decrees concerning the rebuilding of the Temple (Ezra 1, 6, 7); and Artaxerxes decreed that Nehemiah could return to rebuild the walls (Nehemiah 2:8, 13-15). Gabriel’s indicator as to which decree is the starting point for counting the 483 years is that “it will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble.” Chapters 3-6 of Nehemiah are about the rebuilding of the walls and Jerusalem in “times of trouble.”

The date of Artaxerxes’ decree to rebuild Jerusalem is given in the biblical record as “in the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes,” which is March/April of 444 B.C. (Nehemiah 2:1).

Christ’s death occurred on Friday, Nisan 14 in A.D. 33 (Friday, April 3, A.D. 33, on the Gregorian calendar). The common Jewish practice was to reckon from the first day of the month. Nisan 1 was March 5, 444 B.C., and from this date to Monday, March 30, A.D. 33 (the day of the Triumphal Entry on Nisan 10, A.D. 33, the day the Passover lambs were selected) is 173,880 days. When the period between these two dates is calculated, using the prophetic year of 360 days, one arrives at 173,880 days.

69 x 7 x 360 = 173,880 days
March 5, 444 B.C. to March 30, A.D. 33 = 173,880 days

See Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ for a more detailed explanation of this calculation.

Sir Robert Anderson used the older dating system and calculated from March 14, 445 B.C. to April 6, 32 A.D., which was also the Tenth of Nisan that year, the day Christ might have presented Himself at Jerusalem.

Some conservative scholars use the earlier decree of Cyrus and arrive at the possible time of Christ’s birth in 5/4 B.C. Others use the decree of Darius and arrive at the possible date of Christ’s baptism in A.D. 26.

Liberal scholars, who claim that Daniel was written in the bitter days of the Jews’ persecution by Antiochus IV Epiphanes, have proposed various starting dates. One begins the 490 years on the day Jeremiah announced the future restoration of Jerusalem. This one counts seven sevens (49 years) from 586 B.C. to 538 B.C., and arrives at an anointed one, a prince, who is Cyrus the Great. Then the sixty-two sevens (434 years) represent the period during which Jerusalem was to be rebuilt while experiencing many troubles. At the end of that time, the anointed one that is cut off is the beloved and honored High Priest Onias III, an event of great significance to the Jews (2 Maccabees 3:1, 3-40; 4:7ff., 23ff.).

Overall, liberal scholars reject any application of the prophecy to the Messiah of the NT. Note that 483 years from 586 B.C. is 103 B.C., and the date Onias was murdered is 171 B.C. Such erroneous calculations often occur in calculations that attempt to keep “the anointed one” from
being Christ Jesus.

This writer believes Artaxerxes’ decree to rebuild Jerusalem triggers the counting of the 483 years, which ends on the date of the Triumphal Entry, March 30, A.D. 33. Why? Because on this day, the outcomes of Christ’s first advent and of the nation were fixed, just as Gabriel predicted.

As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you” (Luke 19:41-44).

Jesus expected the Jews to know the day of His bringing peace, for it was predicted to the very day in the prophecy of the seventy sevens. The Jew’s failure to study prophecy was tragic!

Jesus was declared Israel’s King on the day of the triumphal entry as the crowds shouted, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the King of Israel!” (John 12:13).

However, Jesus would receive no crown, except a crown of thorns! He was cut off from David’s throne and the kingdom was not restored to Israel at that time.

Early the next day, Jesus cursed the fig tree (symbolic of Israel) for not bearing fruit (cf. Matthew 21:18-20; Mark 11:14) and made His way to the Temple, where He drove out the merchandisers, while quoting Jeremiah 7:11: “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a ‘den of robbers’” (Matthew 21:13).

Significantly, Jesus had quoted only a portion of the prophecy in Jeremiah; the Jews should have known what followed and should have repented on the spot.

But I have been watching! declares the LORD. Go now to the place in Shiloh where I first made a dwelling for my Name, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of my people Israel.
While you were doing all these things, declares the LORD, I spoke to you again and again, but you did not listen; I called you, but you did not answer. Therefore, what I did to Shiloh I will now do to the house that bears my Name, the temple you trust in, the place I gave to you and your fathers. I will thrust you from my presence, just as I did all your brothers, the people of Ephraim (Jeremiah 7:11-15).

The destruction of God’s dwelling place (at Shiloh by the Philistines in the days of Samuel) and the destruction of the Temple (at Jerusalem in 586 B.C.) foreshadowed the destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70. On the evening of the day following His triumphal entry, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives overlooking Jerusalem and foretold its destruction.

When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled (Luke 21:20-24).

“For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written” applies specifically to Gabriel’s prophecy, and generally to other predictions in the OT. The cited events during the Passion Week clearly establish that the Jews had rejected Jesus as their King and He had rejected Israel before the morning of the day after the Triumphal Entry (Nisan 11). He had been cut off, and left with nothing, before His crucifixion on Friday (Nisan 14). He had been selected as the Passover Lamb by the people on the tenth of Nisan according to the Scriptures (Exodus 12:1-11).

Bible Studies by Bob Conway

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Book of James

Life and Passion of Christ

The Holy Spirit

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Life of the Apostle Paul

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