Daniel to the Nines – by Mordechai

~Daniel to the Nines~

Daniel 9 is one of the top two passages in the missionary arsenal. Although Isaiah 53 is their favorite go-to passage, there’s enough ambiguity that some Jews still do not seem to see Jesus in the text. With Daniel 9, though, we appear to have a clear date for his arrival and, possibly, his crucifixion.

Here’s how the King James Version (KJV) has the passage (verses 24-26), and although the KJV alters the text a little bit, it’s still a good source for our specific purpose today:

“[24] Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. [25] Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. [26] And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself…”

In my experience, Christians will present this verse to declare that the Messiah had to arrive before the destruction of the Second Temple and usually stop there. Presumably because there is math involved and because we need to establish timelines, it’s not a passage many wish (or are able) to discuss in depth. Therefore, we need to examine this as simply as possible to determine if Jesus fits the passage, assuming we accept the Christian assertion that this speaks of the Messiah.

It’s important to understand that many prominent Christian apologists (such as Dr. Michael Brown) understand that the seventy “weeks” terminate with the destruction of the Temple in 70CE, which is how normative, classical Judaism understands the timeline as well. With that as our common ground, let’s examine the passage again:

“…from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks”

Summarily, 483 years after a given starting point, the Messiah (literally, “anointed one”) will arrive.

“And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself…”

And after a period of 434 years will this person be killed.

Again, for this article we are not dealing with translations or punctuation. Often the Christian who presents this passage will have little familiarity with Hebrew to understand the difference. Our goal is to clarify the passage using their understanding.

If we use the KJV, we see that although the period discusses a 70 “week” period (490 years), there appears to be some ambiguity: where do the 62 “weeks” in verse 26 belong? Are they the same 62 “weeks” from verse 25 or are they a different set? If we were to say that they are different than the previously-mentioned 62 “weeks,” then we have two serious problems.

First, this interpretation would suggest that the Messiah (who arrives after 69 “weeks” and dies after another 62 “weeks”) should have lived 434 years before dying. Should the Christian insist that this speaks of Jesus, then either he was born well before Herod (from Matthew 2) or the census of Quirinius/Caesar Agustus (Luke 2), or that he died well after the destruction of the Second Temple.

The second complication is that if this is a legitimate reading of the text, then we have a period of time much longer than 490 years (7 weeks + 62 weeks + 62 weeks + 1 week = 924 years), and the angel clearly told Daniel that it would be only 490 years, ending with that horrible time in 70CE.

Another possible reading is from the NIV, which reads, (verse 26) “after the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death….” The use of the word “the” before “sixty-two” indicates that these sixty-two are the same as the previous sixty-two (which is actually consistent with the Hebrew text, by the way). We then have two more questions to consider regarding the Christian view.

One question is simple: If these are the same 62 weeks, why does verse 25 combine them with the seven weeks? Verse 26 doesn’t say “after the sixty-nine weeks,” or even “after the sixty-two weeks and seven weeks;” it only mentions the sixty-two. This suggests that there are in fact three distinct periods making up the full 70 weeks: seven weeks, sixty-two weeks, and one week.

The second question is a little more complex. As stated above, Jews and most Christians agree the 490 years ends in the year 70. However we look at the timeline (69 and the same 62 or 69 and a new 62), the anointed one is to be cut off immediately before the final week commences, meaning that this anointed one should have died about the year 63. However, no one will say that Jesus lived that long: conservative estimates have Jesus dying before the year 35.

Thus, according to Christian readings of the text, we have a serious conundrum. Christians would have to argue that either A) Jesus was born 400 years before the gospels say he was, B) Jesus lived more than 400 years and was still alive when the Temple was destroyed, or C) that Jesus died in the year 63CE.

However we look at it, Jesus could not have been the subject of Daniel 9.

-Mordechai

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10 Responses to Daniel to the Nines – by Mordechai

  1. Pingback: Daniel 9 and Basic Maths. – Menashe's Blog

  2. Mordechai, i see the point. I just want to know how the Judaism interpret this prophecy? What is the traditional Jewish view of this intriguing oracle?

  3. Sophiee Countermissionary says:

    Gean, in a nutshell — Daniel is warning the Jews who are returning from a 70 year exile in Babylon, that they have a period of time after the return from Babylon to avoid a second, longer exile. If they do not heed his words, there will be a second exile. The timeframes are “book-ended” by two different “messiahs.” The first one is Cyrus, who Isaiah even calls “G-d’s messiah” in the bible and the second is one who is evil and is killed around the end of the second Temple period. I wrote a blog post on this topic. https://nojesus4jews.weebly.com/sophiees-blog/daniel-9-two-messiahs-none-the-messiah

    • Sister Sophiee, your article on Daniel 9 in your blog is the best explanation i ever read. Thank you for the teaching! I have a question though. Yeshua applied this text to the last days of tribulation on Jerusalem (Matthew 24:15). Do you think what had happened in AD 70 can happen again in the future? We may consider the current situation of possibility to build the third temple and prevalent transgression of Torah in Israeli society today. Is it possible to see Daniel 9:24- “Seventy weeks [of years] have been decreed upon your people and upon the city of your Sanctuary to terminate the transgression and to end sin, and to expiate iniquity, and to bring eternal righteousness, and to seal up vision and prophet, and to anoint the Holy of Holies.” as an overall statement and the subsequent three verses are the explanations of the statement? Then, where is the hope of glory of verse 24? Daniel 9 ends with doomed message without further indication of restoration of the Jewish people and the holy city! When the holy of holies will be anointed then? Why not just kings, prophets, or priests are anointed, yet it says ‘Holy of Holies’ are anointed?
      Is it possible that the prophet Yeshua complemented the Daniel’s vision in his discourse of Mt 24 and 25?

      • Sophiee Countermissionary says:

        I’m glad the blog post was informative. You mentioned Matthew 24 — to whit “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel…” This appears to be referencing Daniel 9:27, which is speaking of idolatry put into the Temple by the emperor Hadrian.

        The abomination in Daniel is a reference to an idol and idolatry.

        Daniel 9 was a warning to the people. All negative visions are given to be avoided: heed the warning and the bad things do not happen. Even when bad things do happen that are foreseen eventually G-d will return the Jews to the land and eventually the messiah will come, there will be world peace, global knowledge of G-d and so forth.

        You asked about anointing the holy of holies. You are speaking of Daniel 9:24: “Seventy septets (שָׁבֻעִ֖ים / shavuim) have been decreed upon your people and upon your holy city to terminate transgression, to end sin, to wipe away iniquity, to anoint the Holy of Holies.”

        The Holy of Holies, as its name implies, was the most sacred part of the entire Temple.

        This was a room in the Temple.

        A real room.

        Daniel is speaking of a room, not a person. This has nothing to do with Jesus or any other person.

        The קֹדֶשׁ הַקֳּדָשִׁים‬ / kodesh ha-kodesh / Holy of Holies was 20 cubits long, 20 cubits wide, and 40 cubits high. The floor, walls, and ceiling were gold. A rock was in the room. On the rock rested the אָרוֹן קׄדֶש‬ / aron ha-kodesh — the ark of the covenant. The ark was not part of the second Temple.

        The vision Daniel had was a warning — indeed the Temple would be rebuilt (this was the Second Temple) — but it would be built in troubled times. The Jews had 490 years in which to avoid a second, longer, exile if the turned to G-d. All negative visions of the future are warnings — the negative can be avoided (this is why the warning is given).

        Between the rebuilding of the Temple by the Jews who returned from Babylonian Exile to the exile of the Jews by the Romans in the first century CE the Jewish people had an opportunity to avoid the second exile. If they did not listen to Daniel’s warning the exile would happen.

        And it did happen.

        Eventually the messiah will come and the true messianic prophecies of peace, return of the Jews to Israel, global knowledge of G-d will happen. I just heard today that there are more Jews in Israel than in any other country in the world — very good news!

        The true messianic prophecies will come to pass eventually. Daniel 9 is not “alone” — it is part of the book of Daniel, which is part of the entire Jewish bible. Daniel 7:27 – “And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under all the heavens will be given to the people of the exalted (high) holy ones; its kingdom is a perpetual kingdom, and all dominions will serve and obey [it].”

        “For the children of Israel shall remain for many days, having neither king, nor prince, nor sacrifice, nor pillar, nor ephod nor teraphim. Afterwards shall the children of Israel return, and seek the L-rd their G-d and David their king, and they shall come trembling to the L-rd and to His goodness at the end of days.” Hoshea / Hosea 3:4 -5.

        You asked “Is it possible that the prophet Yeshua complemented the Daniel’s vision in his discourse of Mt 24 and 25?” — the answer is “no.” Rabbi Michael Skobac spoke at length about Matthew 24 and the video is found on YouTube. I hope you find it useful. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXN_F75UPWA

        • Thank you sister for this detailed explanation. A couple of questions remain:
          1. According to Daniel 9:24- “Seventy septets (שָׁבֻעִ֖ים / shavuim) have been decreed upon your people and upon your holy city to terminate transgression, to end sin, to wipe away iniquity, to anoint the Holy of Holies,” the Holy of Holies will have to be established in the established temple, right? Then, the third temple has to be established before the Holy of Holies in the third temple is anointed, right? However, verse 25-27 (which obviously explains about what will happen during the SEVENTY SEPTETS) only talks about the desolation of the temple. Where is the establishment of the temple and anointing of the Holy of Holies? Moreover, in the history of Israel, the Holy of Holies has ever been anointed? What does it mean to anoint the Holy of Holies?

          2. Where is the promise of termination of the sin in the verse 25-27? Aren’t we missing something here?

  4. cpsoper says:

    Muddying the water, Mordechai? Unlike your illustrious namesake.

    444 BC Nehemiah receives edict to rebuild wall, (which Zerubabbel was falsely accused of but did not from Cyrus after his decree c 538BC, Ez.4.12-13, which pertained to Temple alone).

    Years are counted as 360 days, at least in the New Testament (Rev.11.2,3)

    7×7=49
    62×7=434
    49+434=438
    483 X 360/365.25 = 476
    476-444= 32 AD

    • cpsoper Was Isaiah a false prophet when he said that Cyrus will give the word to build the city? (Isaiah 44:28; 45:13) And I am sure you noticed that in the Jewish Bible a year cannot be 360 days. If it would be then the holidays would not coincide with the agricultural cycle.

      1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

  5. Dina says:

    Following.

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