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Contents:


  1. Sir Isaac Newton :: Chapter 10. Of the Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks.
  2. Select a book of the Bible
  3. Daniel’s 70 Weeks: The Precision of Prophecy – Chuck Missler – Koinonia House

First, we might argue that we should confine ourselves to grammatical-historical interpretation in the narrowest possible sense. We should determine only what the passage expressed in its original context. We should rigorously confine ourselves to what people could be expected to know in Daniel's lifetime. All appeals to dates long after Daniel's time are illegitimate. Even if Daniel by a special work of the Spirit was given more information about the future, only what is expressed in the text, that is, what is potentially available to the ordinary godly reader, is part of the record.

Let us call this approach "narrow" interpretation. Second, we might argue that Daniel 9 should simply be interpreted in the light of the entire canon of the Bible, or perhaps even in the light of whatever extra-biblical information that we can obtain about fulfillment. No particular interest need attach to the limitations of the original circumstances of writing. Let us call this approach "canonical" interpretation.

Third, we might argue that biblical interpretation, properly understood, includes more than the "narrow" approach. It should reckon with the original situation and the limitations of knowledge at the time; but expecially in the case of prophecy, it should also take into account what we know of later fulfillment. Each of these approaches offers attraction and possible liabilities.

I prefer the second, "middle-of-road" approach. It maintains the importance of the original situation on the one hand, and on the other it allows for the importance of progressive revelation and later additions to the canon. Suppose, then, that we choose the middle way. Do we just mix together, willy-nilly, the "narrow" form of grammatical-historical exegesis with the "canonical" approach?

This could mean that we simply appeal to whichever approach justifies our favorite views. We need more rigor than this. One way of introducing rigor would be to say that both approaches narrow and canonical must be applied to every text. In order to have historical control, we ask that the canonical approach build on, not undermine, the results of the "narrow" approach.

Now we come back to the question, What is "grammatical-historical exegesis"? This key phrase has a certain looseness. Sometimes it has merely designated the "narrow" approach. Sometimes, I suspect, people have used it loosely, when they had in mind all of the "middle-of-the-road" approach.

But many times, at least, the "narrow" approach is what people have in mind. Even if we want to use the key phrase "grammatical-historical" more broadly, we must somehow retain room for the narrow approach, or else we have quite thoroughly evaporated the meaning of "grammatical-historical. In short, the narrow approach is not all there is. But it is a part, even an important part. Moreover, I believe it has a special role in dispensational interpretation. Dispensationalist interpreters have laid particularly heavy stress on the importance of grammatical-historical interpretation of OT prophecy.

They have complained that nondispensationalists illicitly read the NT back into the OT. In our terminology, their complaint says that nondispensationalists have confused or mixed canonical interpretation with "narrow" interpretation. But when it comes to Dan , things change. Dispensationalists have almost uniformly adopted the date of B. Hence, there is a need to assess carefully what results when "narrow" interpretation is applied to Dan Let us then ask what information Daniel 9 gives us, when interpreted "narrowly" against its original historical context. It is important first that we know when Daniel was written, and this is itself debated.

I cannot hope to deal with this debate in full, so I will simply assume following conservative interpreters that Daniel was written in the sixth century B. Under this assumption, Meredith G. Kline has given a strong argument that Daniel points clearly to the decree of Cyrus. First of all, as Kline points out, several factors in the immediate context of Daniel 9 lead one to expect that this decree will be issued not long after Daniel's prayer. The text of Daniel 9 is a single unit with three main parts.


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Dan introduces the setting for Daniel's prayer. Dan gives the contents of the prayer. The final section, , includes as its main part Gabriel's announcement to Daniel about the 70 weeks. Dan indicates that Daniel's prayer takes place "in the first year of Darius son of Xerxes. In any case, the year in question is the first year of Cyrus's reign, B. Now Jeremiah had prophesied that after 70 years Babylon would be punished by conquest Jer and the nation of Israel would be restored Jer ; Daniel saw that Jeremiah's 70 years were nearly at an end.

This motivated the prayer of Dan , a prayer for restoration. Moreover, Jeremiah had also prophesied the fall of Babylon at the end of the 70 years Jer Babylon fell to Cyrus in The fall of Babylon also indicated to Daniel the nearness of the promised restoration. Gabriel's answer in Dan is to be understood as an answer to Daniel's prayer. This follows from the following considerations. The NIV actually translates, "an answer was given" , though the corresponding Hebrew word need not be as specific as the English word "answer.

If, now, Dan is the substance of the answer, the reader expects that it will touch on the restoration about which Daniel prayed, which is also the restoration about which Jeremiah prophesied. Jeremiah prophesied about a restoration in approximately Gabriel can be expected to give promises whose fulfilment would commence at the same time. In particular, the beginning point of the 70 weeks in Dan can be expected around This expectation is actually confirmed by the contents associated with the beginning point. And it corresponds to Daniel's prayer. He prays for the end of desolation for Jerusalem: "turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, you holy hill" ; "see the desolation of the city that bears your name" ; "making my request to the Lord my God for his holy hill" The logical conclusion from this language is that the beginning point of the 70 weeks basically coincides with the end of Jeremiah's 70 years.

That is, it occurs in B. One the other hand, a beginning point in B. It would not be quick enough to satisfy Daniel's urgency. And it would not be related to the basis of Daniel's prayer in Jeremiah's prophecy of 70 years. Thus far we have reasoned on the basis of information that would have been publicly available to Daniel and his contemporaries at the time when Daniel uttered his prayer. Now we need to ask, "Was there any decree issued shortly after this time, which might corespond to Daniel's expectations?


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In the first year of Cyrus kind of Persia probably B. The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Anyone of his people among you - may his God be with him, and let him go up to. And the people of any place where survivors may now be living are to provide him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem Ezra ; cf.

Thus it corresponds explicitly to Daniel's concern m praying on the basis of Jeremiah Dan Moreover, the restoration set in motion by Cyrus agrees with the description in Dan The decree given in Daniel is "to restore and rebuild Jerusalem" Dan Isaiah had prophesied that this was what Cyrus would do:. I will raise up Cyrus[ 7 ] in my righteousness: I will make all his ways straight. Now we have accumulated a considerable amount of material pointing to the conclusion that the beginning point in Dan was in Cyrus's decree. The crucial question is, what does narrow interpretation of Dacn do with this material?

Narrow interpretation asks what can legitimately be inferred from this text in its original context. What information existed in the environment at the time? By the time that Daniel's material was put in written form, Cyrus's decree had probably already been issued. If not, it was to be issued within a few months. The original addressees therefore potentially had 1 Cyrus's public decree; 2 the prophecy about Cyrus in Isa ; 3 the prophecies of Jeremiah indicating restoration after 70 years; 4 the literary context in Daniel 9, indicating that Gabriel's message was an answer to Daniel's prayer and therefore to Jeremiah's prophecy.

On the other hand, the original addressees knew nothing yet about Nehemiah and Artaxerxes's letter of Neh Neither Nehemiah nor Artaxerxes had even been born! Hence narrow interpretation must effectively exclude reckoning with Nehemiah's time. All the evidence actually available at the time would point interpreters to the conclusion that Dan refers to Cyrus's decree. No evidence then available leads to Nehemiah's time B.

Hence, the alternative is quite clearly posed: either follow narrow interpretation and choose the date B. But if the conclusion is so clear, how is it that some ever came to advocate the date of B. Well, there is an argument in favor of this date. We will examine it in a moment. But the argument has sprung up, I believe, in a context where the primary mode of interpretation was not really narrow interpretation. Rather, people used the full knowledge of the dates of various historical events subsequent to Daniel's time. The main argument for the B.

Cyrus's decree, it is said, touched only on the restoration of the temple. But the beginning point in Dan has to do with the restoration of the city. Hence we must look for the issuing of a decree having to do with the city, and specifically including the building of fortifications cf.

The wall building of Nehemiah, commissioned by Artaxerxes Neh , matches this requirement. In answer to this argument, we must first take up several points related to the scope of Cyrus's decree. The city represented the heart-beat and security of the land around; the temple represented the heart-beat and security of the city Jer Jeremiah prophesied desolation for the land, for the city of Jerusalem, and for the temple.

In particular, Jeremiah's prophecy concerning 70 years of desolation speaks explicitly of restoration of the people to the land Jer , 14 , but is naturally interpreted to imply restoration of the city Dan , 16, 18 and of the temple Dan But we do not have the complete text of the decree here. Ezra , an alternate report of the decree, contains some details not recorded in Ezra Perhaps still more details exist that have not been included in either summary.

Josephus the Jewish historian reports the contents of Cyrus's letter to the satraps of Syria as follows:. King Cyrus to Sisines and Sarabasanes, greeting. To those among the Jews dwelling in my country, who so wished, I have given permission to return to their native land and to rebuild the city and build the temple of God of Jerusalem on the same spot on which it formerly stood.

Jewish Antiquities Thus Josephus maintains that Cyrus's decree included reference to the city, not merely the temple. Of course,Josephus may be conflating the decrees of Cyrus and Artaxerxes, but this would be just a supposition. Besides this, consider that the whole of Ezra has a heavy emphasis on the building of the temple and the restoration of worship.

We cannot be sure whether details concerning the larger concerns of the city have been omitted. But let us even grant, for the sake of argument, that Josephus was wrong and that Cyrus's decree contained no explicit word about the restoration of the city. Such a restoration of the city, at least on a humble level, would nevertheless be presupposed as an accompaniment to the restoration of the temple.

For one thing, there would have to be workers there in the city to engage in the restoration work on the temple. And the temple would make little sense without a body of priests to serve in it. Some priests would have to be settled in Jerusalem. Hence restoration of the city, not merely of the temple, was begun after the 70 years. To say that the restoration of the city had to wait until Nehemiah's time is a denial of the validity of Jeremiah's prophecy. Now the word "build" , applied to the building of Jerusalem occurs in Isa placed in Cyrus's mouth.

Hence, the claim that Cyrus was concerned only with the temple contradicts Isa and overlooks the obvious parallel between Dan and Isa By contrast, Dan and Isa were available. Dan and Isa were bound to be seen as linked. The information in Nehemiah was not available to promote an interpretation in the other direction. It is true that, after a number of years had passed, people would have been able to observe that the gates and walls of Jerusalem had not, in fact, been restored. But it would have taken a number of years before the difference between the small beginnings and what was potentially possible would have been driven home.

In the meantime, people were already in a position on the basis of Dan and Isa to draw their conclusions about the terminus a quo, the beginning of the 70 weeks. Narrow interpretation demands that we stay with the meaning in terms of that context, the context of Cyrus's decree, not a context a hundred years later. Information that we obtain later may supplement our understanding of a text, but should not be used to undermine the previous understanding. It should also be noted that there is evidence that Jerusalem was reinhabited as a consequence of Cyrus's decree.

Neh , 21, 23, 24, 25, 28, 29, and indicated that there were houses in Jerusalem before the start of Nehemiah's restoration project. Hence it appears that the restoration of the temple and of the city did take place roughly together. The old walls and the gates evidently remained in ruins until Nehemiah's time Neh ; , 13, But Walvoord's texts do not show what he thinks that they show. Let us begin with Nehemiah 2.

Nehemiah is almost entirely oriented to the question of the gates and walls of Jerusalem. The whole sequence of events begins with a report to Nehemiah that "the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire" If, in actual fact, Jerusalem had been completely uninhabited and without houses, the lack of houses would have been an added factor in the distress.

But no mention is made of such a circumstance. After this point Nehemiah's plans unfold in connection with his desire to rebuild the walls and the gates. Nothing is said right away about repopulating Jerusalem and building houses for the people. Nehemiah's project is expressed in general terms in as a project of "rebuilding," but in the light of and it is evident that the rebuilding need not encompass more than city walls and city gates and his own residence, Neh Then the text reports that Nehemiah "went to Jerusalem" and stayed there three days Evidently he regularly spent the night inside the boundaries of the city, since his night inspection began with him going out and ended with him coming in Reading between the lines, we can say that there was at least enough cleared space within the city for Nehemiah and those with him to lodge there.

Moreover, one gate was open for traffic But, as might be expected in a partially rebuilt city, not yet inhabited to the full extent that it was before, another gate or way to the gate? Walvoord reads the negative features of Neh as if they were a comprehensive picture of the whole city. Nehemiah 2 mentions only one place blocked up with debris In this structure, A and A' refer to the same event: the sacrificial work of the anointed one.

Sections B and B' each have a single event in mind as well: the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple. Below we will contend that the seventy sevens of chapter 9 reach fulfillment in the vicarious death of Jesus Christ and in the destruction of the Jerusalem temple. Luke Third, no time gap is specified before the seventieth week, yet many Antichrist views require a gap of thousands of years. Such a passing of time has no textual warrant in Daniel 9. Just as we should not project a time gap between the seven sevens and the sixty-nine sevens, so we should not project a gap between the sixty-ninth and seventieth sevens.

He was taken outside the city gate and crucified, abandoned by his disciples and forsaken by the Father Matt. The seventieth week of Daniel, then, included the redemptive work of Jesus. The prophecy may seem outrageous, then, when it says the Jews will destroy Jerusalem and the temple! After the redemptive work of Jesus, the temple was destroyed in AD 70, and the Jews had a role in it. The seventieth seven, then, is divided in half, with the first three and a half years referring to the work of redemption. Just as the seventieth week in verse 26 consisted of the anointed one being cut off v.

For there will be great distress upon the earth and wrath against this people. In AD 70 the temple was destroyed. The seventieth seven—a period encompassing the work of redemption for the many, as well as the work of judgment against Jerusalem and the temple—had reached completion. It refers to a period of seventy sabbaticals or periods of seven years required to bring in the ultimate jubilee: release from sin, the establishment of everlasting righteousness and consecration of the temple. During the first seven sabbaticals the city of Jerusalem is restored.

Then for sixty-two sabbaticals there is nothing to report. Strangely, desecration of the temple similar to that by Antiochus Epiphanes in the Greek Empire is perpetrated by the Jewish people themselves, resulting in the destruction of Jerusalem. These events are fulfilled in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. He is the coming king. His crucifixion is the sacrifice to end all sacrifices and the basis of the New Covenant with the many. Duguid, James M. There is judgment. The Kingdom of God prevails.

Is your head swimming yet? I sympathize with you. Let me summarize. Perhaps that will help.

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Sir Isaac Newton :: Chapter 10. Of the Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks.

There are four major interpretations, with lots of variations within them. But this is only years, so these interpreters assume that Daniel was mistaken about chronology and the coming of the kingdom. The so-called "historical view" has the advantage of a close tie-in with the theme of Antiochus Epiphanes as clearly seen in chapters 8, A good case can be made that Antiochus is the initial focus of Daniel's prophecy though its proponents generally interpret Daniel's visions as historical narratives written after the fact as if they were predictive prophecy.

Baldwin writes:. A second view sees the time periods as symbolic, not literal. This is the view, for example, held by conservative amillennialist scholar E. Sixty-two Sevens from about BC to the first advent of Christ, "who alone," says young, "can be described as an anointed one, a prince. A third view, often held by premillennialist and dispensational interpreters, sees the 70 Sevens as literal time periods -- years -- with Christ's Coming as the end-point.

Key to this view is that you stop counting for "the time of the Gentiles. The final Seven years begin at the end of present age, with terrible tribulation for Israel and the world, during which the majority of Israel will be saved. The final Seven is terminated by Christ's coming and Kingdom, which will last 1, years. Also it arbitrarily skips counting years during the Church Age. Typical of this view would be Miller and Walvoord. A fourth view believes that the 70 Sevens are symbolic periods of time and are a prophecy of Old and New Testament church history from Cyrus' decree BC until Christ's return.

The details may vary, but this view typically holds that seven Sevens extend from Cyrus' decree until the coming of Christ, about years. The sixty-two Sevens extend from Christ's coming to persecution of the church by Antichrist at least 2, years. The final Seven seems to include the Great Tribulation and ends with Christ's advent. Keil and Baldwin hold this view. Baldwin sees the last Seven beginning with the first coming of Christ and extending until his Second Coming.

It's only fair, having taken you through the various issues concerning Daniel's Seventy Weeks and the various interpretations, to let you know where I come out -- and why. Let me begin by sharing that I courted my wife over jigsaw puzzles. I can remember lining up dozens of pieces of an uninterrupted blue sky and trying to fit each of the pieces to each other in each direction to see if I could make any of them go together.

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A few times I would put a couple of pieces together that almost fit, but ended up damaging the edges of both pieces. I can also remember putting together a puzzle only to find that a few key pieces were just missing. It was frustrating -- except that it afforded an excuse to spend a pleasant time with my girlfriend! I think Daniel's Vision of the Seventy Weeks is something like a puzzle with some of the pieces missing. Part of it seems clear enough, but we're missing something, like part of the vision is "sealed up" until the Last Days when it may be revealed.

I don't want to force pieces to fit that don't really fit. But some parts of the vision seem intelligible to me. I'm convinced that Daniel's numbers are not precise, literal numbers that come out exactly. So far I don't think that anyone has come up with a scheme to make all the numbers fit precisely.

Daniel’s 70 Weeks: The Precision of Prophecy – Chuck Missler – Koinonia House

Perhaps we need to get over our twenty-first century precision and be willing to round up or down a few years. I'm not sure the ancients were as precise as we are concerning such things, especially in the case of numbers that surely have some symbolic sense. Having said that, I think it's quite remarkable that the period from a decree to rebuild Jerusalem to the time when "the Anointed One will be cut off" a , that is, Christ's death on the cross, is so close to years -- not precise, but very close indeed! Anointed One. I believe that "the anointed one" in both verses 25 and 26 refers to Jesus the Messiah, not to an anointed high priest.

The reason I believe this is that both Jesus and Paul and the Book of Revelation see the "abomination of desolation" and Antichrist as a future event. While Antiochus Epiphanes is certainly a type of the Antichrist in the Book of Daniel, the figure that we see here and elsewhere in Daniel and the New Testament far exceeds him in wickedness and power.

Tribulation and Final Half-Week. I'm uncomfortable with the "gap theory" that leaves out the whole Church Age and skips directly to the Great Tribulation; perhaps I'd rather call this a missing piece of the puzzle that wasn't revealed to Daniel. The End. It is also clear to me that "the end that is decreed" refers to judgment by the Ancient of Days and his Christ, the Son of Man , , when Christ returns, the believers are raised, and the final judgment takes place. I think it's important that we have great humility concerning whatever interpretation we hold of Daniel's Seventy Weeks.

We shouldn't fight over it. We shouldn't discriminate against brothers and sisters who don't agree with our particular scheme. History is littered with many, many, many schemes to interpret Daniel. Who are we to be so proud and inflexible? Daniel Why do you think people fight with each other over the interpretation of difficult Bible passages? According to Romans , what should be our attitude towards those who disagree with us on the non-essentials of the faith?

Daniel Why do you think there are so many interpretations of Daniel's vision of the Seventy Sevens? What is your interpretation of the various key parts of the vision? This is a difficult passage. Nevertheless, it has several lessons for us disciples. Why do you think Daniel's visions and prophecies have been an encouragement to Christians throughout the centuries when they are undergoing severe persecution? Father, thank you for prophets who see things afar off. Thank you that you are bringing an end to the reign of terror brought about by the world, the flesh, and the devil.

Protect your people during times of persecution and help us to remain faithful to you. In Jesus' name, we pray. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. And on a wing [of the temple] he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.

TWOT comments: "However, it would seem equally strange for angels to grow weary but the action of this verb could perhaps be assigned to Daniel who may be wearied because of his praying and fasting cf. KD loc. Since seraphim and cherubim have wings and since angels appear with wings in Enoch 61, perhaps it would be best to accept the traditional translations--'fly swiftly'" TWOT Oswalt, TWOT Lewis, TWOT Speaking of the use of such numbers found in Qumran texts, Bruce says: "The figures given are schematic rather than material on which a chronologer could build with confidence" p.