Contrary to some who have a basic grasp on the Book of Daniel, the “70 weeks” mention in this chapter has only some to do with the 70 year captivity of the Judeans from Judah. Once again be very cautious about trusting misleading information found on Wikipedia per almost anything scriptural.
Example: Here is what this “supposed authoritarian resource” says:
“The consensus among critical scholars is that chapters 1-6 of the Book of Daniel originated as a collection of folktales among the Jewish diaspora in the Persian/Hellenistic periods, to which the visionary chapters 7–12 were added during the persecution of the Jews under Antiochus IV in 167–163 BCE. The authors of the tales apparently took the name Daniel from a legendary hero mentioned in the Book of Ezekiel, and the author of the visions in turn adopted him from the tales.”
[From Wikipedia, Daniel 9, the free encyclopedia; emphasis mine]
Wikipedia uses dogma and misleading “authorities” trying to make a point that the Bible is A BOOK OF STORIES. Fundamentalists do a major disservice that inadvertently supports this Wikipedia philosophy by also identifying historical Bible events as “stories.” Call scripture for what it is…FACT, not a series of cute religious bedtime and Sunday school stories.
When speaking to true believers, those who strive to BE and LIVE (believe) a Christian life, we understand. But to the unbeliever, the unequally yoked church attender, or the church-only so-called Christian, the word story leaves much territory to wonder, rationalize, and justify wrong personal actualities.
Now to Daniel 9:
Daniel 9:2 is very specific about who the author is. Not some distant or future “add-on” to this incredible book. “I Daniel, understood the number of the years by books, which came of the Word of Jehovah to Jeremiah the prophet,…” [NKJV]. Daniel is a student of scripture. He is well read, especially of Jeremiah. In Daniel 9:2 he is probably referring to the passages found in Jeremiah 25 (*11 & 12) and chapter 29 (10-12).
*…this whole land shall be a ruin and a waste. And these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. [NKJV]
Daniel is specifically referring to the 70 year captivity of the Judean Jews. At the end of this chapter, we get a beginning glimpse of s future Jerusalem even today has yet to be fulfilled as a promise of God the Father.
At this point, Daniel goes deep into a prayer session with God. His prayer content and context references other bible scriptures (*future outcomes contained in past conditions put upon Israel by God) but that is not the discussion goal of this Daniel 9 article. Let’s look at Daniel’s prayer specifics. It is something we should learn to pattern. Not a prayer life of the Lord’s Prayer quoted in Matthew 6 and Luke 11. In these passages we are specifically instructed to go into our prayer closet, alone; not to stand or sit and pray aloud yet alone in unison. This would make for a very crowded prayer closet.
*EXAMPLE: Leviticus 26:40 – 42 This is a specific precondition for the redemption and return of Israel, not just the Judean Jews, but include from the “four corners of the earth” where Israeli Tribes and offspring now live. Most of these folks have lost contact with their chosen people identification given to them by God through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
If we jump forward to 9:21 we read that Daniel’s prayer was so earnest and intense that God sent the angel Gabriel to speak with Daniel…directly! But, let’s not stray. In Daniel’s prayer he includes…
- Israel not listening to God’s Words
- The unrecognized shame of Israel. Note that Daniel is not praying about the Jews of Judah but of his entire family of scattered Israeli Tribes.
- Rejection of the prophets sent by God to both the northern and southern kingdoms of Israel and Judah.
- He calls Jerusalem “the city that bears HIS (God’s) name.”
- Daniel pleads for God’s wrath against Israel (Jerusalem) to cease
- It is not a request (petition) owed to Israel but it is for the sake of God’s name.
We so often miss one of Daniel’s major prayer points. He is not asking this for the sake of Israelis, but according Daniel 9:18b…”For we do not present our prayers before You on account of our righteousness’s, but because of Your great mercies.” [NKJV] . Note the “WE” in Daniel’s prayer. He is not praying for himself but for his entire people of Israeli descent.
In verse 19 Daniel lists priorities…
- “For your sake (God);
- …on account of your righteousness;
- …for your city (Jerusalem);
- …for your people called by your name.”
Let’s back up for a moment to verse 19. Daniel says and pleads with God that He answer his prayer petition for “the city Jerusalem AND for ‘those who carry His name’.” Give serious consideration for those who call themselves Christian today. There are many who identify as Christian but do little to “carry His name” in his or her daily walk in public and in worship.
From verse 23 forward (Daniel 9:23+) we arrive at a fork in the road of prophecies; two roads (context) but the same content. This is somewhat scriptural speculation but consider this. We know that the Tribe of Judah (Jews by a shortened inference name) was in their 69th or 70th year of captivity in Babylon. It was about to end and King Cyrus of Persia (modern day Iran) would release them to return to their original homeland. Verse 25 no longer is talking about the 70 year Babylonian captivity but of a future yet to be completed return and building of Jerusalem; i.e. Daniel’s 70 7s.
The future of Jerusalem is now identified in Daniel’s prayer to be “built unto the Messiah the Prince.” God is never identified as the Messiah; Jesus is. God is never referred to as a Prince. Only Jesus is. So the parallel or fork in the road of prophecies is obvious. Judeans would be release after 70 years of Babylonian captivity but Jerusalem is destined to be the Kingdom of the Messiah Prince; Jesus. This is a reference to the future millennial reign. We will discuss that in part, in our next Daniel article. Prior to this verse, the Jerusalem under discussion was for the right of the captured Jews of Judah to return home.
Daniel 9:25 in the ESV puts it this way:
“Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time”.
The very next verse identifies (anti-Christ) as one who will destroy the city and the Temple. Bear in mind, Nebuchadnezzar had already done this several decades earlier.
The prince identified in verse 26 is lower case; not Prince as written earlier in chapter 9, but as prince of the people. We will pick it up at verse 26 in the next article. It is a discussion in and of itself.