Bible: What Does Daniel 9-10 Teach Us About the Seventy "Weeks" Prophecy and Angelic Warfare?
Prayer for Israel
Daniel's Prayer for His People
The following events occur during the first year of Darius (Gubaru; see Gleason Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, 383-385) [v. 1].
Note the structure of Daniel's book with reference to his dealings with the kings whom he served: Nebuchadnezzar (chap. 1-4), Belshazzar (chap. 5, 7-8) and Darius (chap. 6, 9, 11-12), and Cyrus (chap. 10).
Daniel records his understanding that, according to Jeremiah's prophecy (25:11; 29:10), God "would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem" (v. 2).
He, therefore, devotes himself to prayer for his people—mostly a confession of their sin—as his preparations strongly show (v. 3).
Emphasizing God's merciful relationship with obedient worshipers, Daniel addresses Yahweh in a most reverent manner (v. 4; cf. Neh. 1:1-12).
First in importance, he confesses Israel's sinfulness toward God and their disobedience toward the prophets (vv. 5-6).
Because of the widespread unfaithfulness of God's people, "shame of face" abounds among them wherever they abide (vv. 7-8).
On the other hand, Yahweh has shown righteousness in banishing the people (v. 7), as well as mercy and forgiveness in refraining from total judgment (v. 9).
Second, Daniel focuses on the theme of their disobedience to God's prophets and their consequent punishment according to the Law (vv. 10-13a; cf. Deut. 28:15ff).
He acknowledges the people's failure to pray for repentance and enlightenment; disaster from the righteous Yahweh results (vv. 13b-14).
The Messenger of the LORD
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A Speedy Answer to Prayer
Addressing the LORD as the mighty Savior of Israel, Daniel again does not hide the nation's sin (v. 15).
Distraught, the prophet fervently intercedes for his people before God, pleading that He would hear and respond favorably to his prayer for mercy: "Avert Your wrath from Jerusalem and Your people, and cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary" (vv. 16-19).
He fully realizes Jerusalem's dependence on Yahweh's "great mercies" for her survival (v. 18).
Daniel's prayer receives an extraordinarily speedy answer; in fact, the prophet expresses amazement at how quickly God sent Gabriel (vv. 20-23; cf. 8:16ff).
Even "while I was speaking in prayer," Daniel says, the angel appears before him (vv. 20-21). By his words ("at the beginning . . . "), Gabriel suggests that God was "just waiting" for someone to "set his face" toward Him.
In response to the saint's prayer, Yahweh quickly dispatches a messenger to give the needed wisdom (vv. 22-23).
The Seventy "Weeks" Prophecy
Next, Gabriel reveals the famous prophecy of the "seventy weeks" (vv. 24-27).
Verse 24 provides a general outline of monumental spiritual events that would occur in Israel's future.
The ''seventy sevens" most certainly refer to four hundred ninety years; otherwise, the prophecy is nonsense and falls to the ground.
Both the people of Israel and the city of Jerusalem play major roles in history.
[The following comments illustrate the concept of “week.” To acquire the younger daughter (Rachel) as wife, Jacob must serve Laban seven more years (vv. 25-28).
The latter two verses contain an expression—“fulfill her week”—that aids in prophetic interpretation.
“Fulfill her week” clearly equates with seven years; thus, each day is one year.
At the end of this “week,” Jacob finally joins with his beloved (v. 30a), and then serves Laban seven more years (v. 30b).]
The End of the Sixty-Ninth "Week"
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The Parenthesis in Time
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The Sixty-Nine Weeks
Verses 25-26 deal with the first sixty-nine weeks (of years) [483 years].
"The going forth . . . to restore and build Jerusalem" happened c. 445 B.C. during the reign of Artaxerxes.
Calculating the years (454 minus 483) brings the time in history to the day Christ rode into Jerusalem!
[In this writer’s opinion, Dr. Floyd Nolen Jones’ work supersedes that of Sir Robert Anderson, though both theories are of inestimable value here; cf. Luke 19:42].
Messiah is killed ("cut off") after the sixty-ninth week, but before the seventieth.
The Romans ("the people of the prince who is to come'') will destroy Jerusalem, her people, and her temple in A.D. 70.
Dispensationalists interpret the time between verses 26 and 27 as a parenthesis during which the Church Age occurs; with verse 27 the seventieth week begins.
Most definitely, "the prince who is to come (v. 26)," a Roman leader, makes a covenant with Israel--an agreement they expected to last seven years (''one week").
However, he will break it off after three and one-half years (a very significant figure often mentioned in the book of Revelation), and stop the Jews from continuing their sacrifice rituals in the newly established temple.
This Roman leader will then set up the "abomination of desolation" (see 11:31; 12:11; cf. Matt. 24:15), which stays in place "until the consummation . . . is poured out," i.e., Jerusalem's judgment is completely spent.
The Cross of Christ
The Cross and the Kingdom
Six infinitive phrases comprise the actions of the Jews and Jesus:
(1) to "finish the transgression" alludes to the culmination of all sins—the crucifixion of Christ;
(2) to "make an end of sins" refers to Jesus' expiation of sins by His sacrifice;
(3) to "make reconciliation for iniquity" suggests the patching up, better, the restoration of right relations which Christ will undertake at His return to Earth at His Second Coming;
(4) to "bring in everlasting righteousness" pictures the start of the Lord's kingdom on Earth;
(5) to "seal up vision and prophecy" may mean that all the prophecies about Messiah must be protected, but will come to pass at the right time; and
(6) to "anoint the Most Holy" refers either to the consecration of the new temple or of Messiah Jesus as the new king.
Angels vs. Demons
While serving Cyrus the Persian, Daniel receives yet another vision (v. 1).
Undoubtedly motivated by what he sees, the prophet mourns, fasts and refrains from using anointing oil for three weeks, but leaves the reason undisclosed (vv. 2-3).
One day (the prophet specifies it as the twenty-fourth of Nisan) he witnesses one more vision—considering his description, he probably saw a Christophany—while standing on a bank of the Tigris River (vv. 4-6).
[If the one who revives the prophet after his fainting spell (vv. 7-10) is the same person whom he sees in the vision, then the man whom Daniel sees may simply be an angel.
This latter speaker claims to have required Michael's help to fight the kings of Persia (v. 13)].
Yahweh's conclusions about Daniel—that he is greatly beloved, that he is one who desires to know God's mysteries, that he is humble, and that he is one who prays effectively—comfort the petrified prophet (vv. 11-12).
[Verse 13 presents a few enigmas:
First, who is the "prince of the kingdom of Persia?"
If he withstands this angel for twenty-one days, he must also be in angelic form. He may be Satan or a powerful demon; and
Second, what connection, if any, does Daniel's three-week fast have with the twenty-one day angelic battle?
Perhaps the heavenly warfare produces calamities on Earth among Daniel's people].
The angel announces the purpose of this vision: to reveal to the prophet the distant future of Israel (v. 14).
After supernaturally strengthening the man of God, again emotionally spent (vv. 15-19), the angel informs him that he (that is, the angel) must return to the fray with the prince of Persia (v. 20).
Before leaving, however, he tells the prophet the contents of the "Scripture of Truth" (v. 21).
Here chapter ten blends into the next section, as the angel refers to battles he has fought alongside Michael, the archangel (cf. 11:1).
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