The Book of Daniel

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The Book of Daniel
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  Adam Richards Bible 450 January 27 th , 2013 Daniel‟s Seventy Sevens  Daniel was a young, Jewish man living in Judea until the Babylonians conquered the Jewish homeland and led them into captivity. Daniel found favor in the Lord‟s eyes, and God used him as a mediator to reveal some of the greatest prophecies found in the Holy Bible. Daniel‟s most notable prophecy was the prophecy shown to him by the archangel Gabriel, the  prophecy of the “ Seventy Sevens ” . The contents of this prophecy have received study from theologians and scholars for centuries. From the rebuilding of Jerusalem, to the crucifixion of the Messiah, and to the time of Jacob‟s Trouble, Daniel lays out exactly what is going to happen in regards to the Jewish people. The interpretations of Daniel 9:24-27 have differed over the years,  but through sound, systematic theology, proper interpretation skills in regards to context, and by factual, historical evidence, we can understand God‟s plan for his chosen people.  Daniel 9:1 tells the reader that Darius, the son of Xerxes, is in his first year as king and is ruling over the captive Jews. History tells us that the first year Xerxes ruled as the Median King was 538 B.C. By using internal evidence from the Bible, through deductive reasoning we come to the conclusion that 538 B.C. was his first year in rule. We know Daniel was taken to Babylon during the, “Last Days of Judah”  and that the Jewish captivity was to last only 70 years according to Jeremiah‟s prophecy recorded in Jeremiah 25:11 -12 1 . 605 B.C. is the traditional   1  11  Jeremiah 25:11- 12 “   This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years. 12 “But when the seventy years  are fulfilled, I will punish the king of Babylon and his nation, the land of the Babylonians, [a]   for their guilt,” declares the  L ORD , “and will ma ke it desolate forever. ” NIV 1984  date scholars accept for the start of the Babylonian Captivity. 2  Daniel was great in the aspect that he recorded everything and paid attention to details. He names off the ruler, usually at the  beginning of the chapter which gives the reader the data to conclude specific dates. The reason the date 538 B.C. needs to be established is to pinpoint when the decree of the “Seventy Sevens”  starts. Does the decree to rebuild the temple and Jerusalem start immediately after the Jews are allowed to go back? If not, when? These questions must be answered to properly interpret Dan iel‟s prophecy.   Daniel 9:24 reads, “‟Seventy Sevens‟ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy.” What Daniel is being told by Gabriel, informs the reader exactly what is going to happen in regards to Jewish History and Salvation History. What needs to be analyzed here is, “ What is the exact meaning of “Seventy Sevens?” Modern En glish translations use the word , “weeks.” Does this mean that the time frame Daniel is describing is literally in weeks? The illustration this paints is a literal week consisting of seven days, but here this is not the case. One must resort back to the Hebrew to get a better understanding on the word. “ Shabua ” is the Hebrew word used in verse 24 that literally translates to “  sevens.” With this now in mind, the next question is whether or not, in context it should be, “days of years” or, “weeks of years.” Groups like the Seven Day Adventist like to use the, “Year  - Day” theory. This simply states that each day should be taken exactly as a year. When looking at passages in Revelation, most notably Revelation 12:6 3 , we can see where this theory simply does not work. The Apostle John is told something by Jesus in the aspect of literal, 24 2  Stephen R. Miller; The New American Commentary Daniel VOL. 18  (B&H Publishing Group), 43. 3   Revelation 12:6 “ The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days. ” NIV 1984    hour days. Proper exegesis here shows that, in fact each day is a day, not a year. The Jews during this time frame would have known exactly what “seven s ” of years meant because of the  structure of their Jewish calendar. 4  Leviticus 25:3-4 5  gives a great example of this when talking about “weeks of years.” Also, the symbolism of the captivity can help the reader in coming to a proper method to understand the “seventy sevens.” 2 Chronicle s 36:21 6  says that the Jews will be taken away from the land so that it can rest for 70 years. Dr. Alva Mcclain states that it should be, “evident” that the Sabbatic calendar had been violated for 490 years and that this alludes to Daniel‟s 70 weeks prophecy. Dr. Mcclain says, “How appropriate therefore, that now at the end of the judgment for these violations the angel should be sent to reveal the start of a new era of God‟s dealings with the Jews.” 7   Lastly, look at how “seventy sevens” is used in the pass age. It can easily be understood that multiplication was needed, and even Daniel knew this. The decree in year‟s ends up being 490 years. This is done by proper exegesis, Biblical support, and by analyzing the literary context. The next couple of things that need to be addressed are the events Gabriel told Daniel would happen. Gabriel talks about Daniel‟s “people” and “Holy City”. Scholars across the board agree that his people are the Jews and that the Holy City is Jerusalem. The first event stated is, “to finish transgression.” A transgression is  a disobedient act against a divine law. At first, one might think this was completed at Christ‟s crucifixion. Stephen R. Miller says that, 4  Dr. Alva J. McClain; Daniel’s Prophecy of The 70 Weeks ( Michigan: Zondervan Publishing Home, 1940), 18. 5  Leviticus 25: 3- 4 “ 3 For six years you shall sow your field, and for six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its fruits, 4 but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to the L ORD . You shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard.”  ESV 2001 6   2 Chronicles 36:21 “ The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah. ” NIV 1984   7  Dr. Alva J. McClain; Daniel’s Prophecy of The 70 Weeks ( Michigan: Zondervan Publishing Home, 1 940),20.    “transgression against God did not cease after the crucifixion of Christ but will end with His return.” 8    Next, the scripture says, “to put an end to sin.” Again this was not done at the cross, but will be the reality during Christ‟s Millennial Kingdom.  Immediately following, Gabriel says that wickedness will be atoned for. Here this was completed at the Cross. In hindsight this is obvious,  because Jesus‟ blood atoned for the entire world‟s sin upon acceptance of Him. The last three statements made by Gabriel can be categorized together. The angel states that everlasting righteousness will be brought in, vision and prophecy will be sealed up and that the most holy will be anointed. Unlike the church today, Daniel did not have the book of Revelation to use as a reference. Revelation 20 lines up with what Daniel was being told, and the common synopsis is that this part of the prophecy will be fulfilled during Christ‟s millennial reign. There will be no need for prophecy when Christ rules the world, Jesus will be appointed King over the entire world from the Father, and sin will not exist anymore because of our new bodies, given to us by the Lord.  Now that the scriptures have been explained and we know how to count the 70 weeks  properly, when does the prophecy start needs to be the next concern. With the date of the  prophecy being recorded in 538 B.C. we can now start to look into history on the beginning of this fascinating prophecy. Stephen R. Miller states in his book that there are four major views on when the prophecy of the “seventy sevens” started and what events took p lace during the decree. The first view holds that the decree to rebuild Jerusalem started in 586 B.C . The first “seven sevens” consists of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem. During these 49 years in regards to this view, the only things that happened were Je rusalem‟s destruction and the end of the Babylon captivity. Exactly the opposite of what the prophecy declares to happen, Jerusalem to be restored. This evidence right 8  Stephen R. Miller; The New American Commentary Daniel VOL. 18  (B&H Publishing Group), 260.  here raises questions on this view. The 490 years end with the death of Antiochus IV in 164 B.C. Faults with this view include, no event in which God‟s Kingdom ruled on earth, Antiochus  IV did not stop sacrifice for three and a half years, and Joshua was not the Messiah evidently. Onias III was not the Messiah as well. Both of which are propo sed to be the “Anointed One.”  Christ and only Christ fit these criteria given by Gabriel. A Second view Miller describes hold the view that the decree started in 538 B.C. when Cyrus allowed the Jews to return home, the next 62 “sevens” are finished with Christ‟s first advent, and the last “ seven ”  is a unspecified time period ending with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Mathematics shows that the time periods definitely do not fit the times periods described in the Biblical Texts. This view gives the preterists some support for their theology. Again, the fault here is that there is no event in when God‟s kingdom came and ruled on earth. Preterists hold that the Church is God ruling on Earth, but this again is bad exegesis. A third view Miller talks about holds that the specific time periods in the prophecy are symbolic time frames. It holds that the first “seven sevens” starts in 538 B.C. with Cyrus‟ decree and ends with Christ‟s birth. The next “62 sevens” starts with the time of Christ and ends with  the persecution done by the Anti- Christ. Finally, the last “seven” consists of all the events in Daniel 9:26-27. 9  The time periods are, again messed up. Proper interpretation leads the reader to  believe that they are literal years, compiling to be 490. Also, the events are mixed up and not in chronological order in regards to the text. Strained interpretations of other biblical texts in 9  Daniel 9:26- 27 “ 26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: 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. 27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominatio’ns he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
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