Book of Daniel Bible Study Chapter Commentary 9
Daniel 9: Daniel's 70 Weeks Part 1
by I Gordon
 ↩ Chuck Missler calls it 'the most pivotal chapter in Bible prophecy'. Others have called it 'the backbone of Bible prophecy'. It is certainly a remarkable prophecy.
 ↩ It is totally unique as far as I know for one of the gospel writers to interject their own little instruction into the text. As Mathew wrote the gospel he believed that this sign of the coming of Jesus was so important that he should write something directly to the readers of his gospel and tell them that they needed to understand this! Note also what Mathew wrote - He didn't write 'Let the teacher understand' or 'Let the scholar understand' or 'Let the end times prophecy buff understand'... No, the Bible says let the reader understand. And that, my dear friend, means you!
 ↩ Gabriel is not said to be an archangel but is one of the highest ranking in the angelic realm. Michael, who is an archangel, is always seen in a warrior/protector role in connection with the nation of Israel. But if you have got a big announcement, send Gabe. Gabriel seems to be the one sent when announcements about the coming Messiah are made.
 ↩ This is obviously an example of a couple of scriptures that we should remember when praying:
Isaiah 55:8-9 'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the LORD. 'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'
Eph 3:20-21 'Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.'
 ↩ Daniel had seen from the prophecies of Jeremiah that Israel would be exiled for 70 years. But now God seems to be saying that the total fulfilment for Israel's restoration isn't going to be 70 years but 70 X 7 years! Where does God get these numbers from? Does He make them up? We know that 7 is God's perfect number and is the seal of God throughout scripture but is there anything else to this? Why would God multiply the whole length of the exile period by 7? One answer could be Lev 26:14-21. Please have a read. This lays out the punishment for disobedience as stated in the law of God. But then notice verse 18 - 21
'If after all this you will not listen to me, I will punish you for your sins seven times over . I will break down your stubborn pride and make the sky above you like iron and the ground beneath you like bronze. Your strength will be spent in vain, because your soil will not yield its crops, nor will the trees of the land yield their fruit. If you remain hostile toward me and refuse to listen to me, I will multiply your afflictions seven times over, as your sins deserve...'
So the question is, did Israel repent after the 70 years in exile? We know that Daniel did on behalf of his nation but even in his prayer Daniel stated (Dan 9:13) : 'Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us , yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth . '
It seems to me that Israel as a nation didn't repent but actually got quite comfortable living down in Babylon and while God would fulfil the prophecies of Jeremiah to bring them back after the 70 years, the entire punishment and restoration for that nation was not going to be 70 years but 70 X 7 years - 490 years!
 ↩ Some Bibles use the word 'weeks' instead of 'sevens' which is unfortunate. The Jewish believer and Hebrew Scholar Arnold Fructenbaum writes concerning Daniel 9:24:
"One of the greatest tragedies in biblical interpretation is that the word has been translated here as 'weeks'. This would require the Hebrew word shavuot. But the word used here is shavuim which does not mean weeks, but simply means 'sevens'. As such it could refer to seven of anything just as the English word "dozen" simply means twelve and can be twelve of anything... In it's context it obviously must be seven of years because Daniel has been dealing with years. He has been counting up the seventy years of Babylonian captivity... Daniel is told that it is not seventy years but that "seventy sevens of years" must pass before the introduction of the Kingdom"
 ↩ Aggh, that's Fructembaum, not Schwarzenegger. As mentioned above the former is a Messianic Hebrew Scholar where as the later is a previous Mr Universe, 'Govenator' for California, and slightly aging Hollywood action star. The former Arnold is very useful when looking at Bible prophecy and the Hebrew in Daniel 9 but not so good in action movies. The later Arnold has racked in millions from action movies but his knowledge of the Hebrew in Daniel 9 is severely lacking. I guess you could say that Arnold Fructembaum is the Arnold Schwarzenegger of scholarly Jewish believers when it comes to Bible prophecy.
 ↩ How many holy feasts did the nation of Israel have? That's right, 7. So how many were in the spring and how many in the autumn? That's right, 4 in the spring and 3 in the autumn. How many of the spring feasts did Jesus fulfil at his first coming? That's right, all of them. Passover, Unleavened bread, firstfruits and Pentecost were all fulfilled spiritually. But how many of the autumn feasts were fulfilled? That's right... none of them. They all await fulfilment in the return of Jesus. My point? Well, Jesus fulfilled Passover at His first coming by dying as the Passover lamb for our sins. And yet, there was an entirely different day that Israel celebrated as the day when their sins were atoned for. This was one of the autumn feasts called the 'day of atonement'. This will be fulfilled for the nation of Israel when, as a nation, they look to Jesus as the Messiah and have their sins atoned for. This will occur at the end of the tribulation (Daniel's 70th 'week') when Jesus returns. Read all about it in Zech 12 & 13.
 ↩ David Guzik writes concerning this decree:
'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. (Ezr_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. (Ezr_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. (Neh_2:1-8)
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.'
 ↩ It is beyond the scope of this study to go into the specific details like why the Neh 2 passage is the best starting point for the 490 year prophecy, why use a 360 day year or how to calculate the exact end point. But I would draw your attention to the following studies of Dr. Thomas Ice for more information if you are interested:
On where to start the 490 years from:
On where the 483 years ends:
On the division of the 7 sevens and 62 sevens:
 ↩ When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey the crowds proclaimed 'Hosanna, hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord'. This was a Messianic title from Psalm 118 which they were quoting. It is interesting to see what else Psalm 118 tells us. Right before this passage it says 'The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone.' Though these people proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah, the nation had already rejected the capstone of Israel. Again, after saying 'blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord' it carries on to say ' bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.' Though on this day, the 10th Nisan, the people proclaimed Him king, yet within 4 short days they would be calling for His death and the Lamb of God would be bound and sacrificed.