29 The Book of Daniel- Chapter 9
Daniel was a young Jew who was taken to Babylon as a prisoner circa 605 BC. He was emasculated (2 Kings 20:18), and trained in the Babylonian civil service, where he served God first, but also the king of Babylon at least till around 537 BC or about 68 years. David Jeremiah relates he was 14 to 17 years old when he was taken to Babylon, meaning he was still active at the age of 82 to 85 in 537 BC.
597 BC was the time of the great uprooting of the nation of Judah, which included the bulk of four tribes- Judah, Benjamin, Simeon, and Levi plus remnants of the other so-called “lost tribes” to Babylon. In 612 BC, the Babylonians and the Medes (modern Kurds) had attacked the capital of Assyria, Nineveh, and taken and destroyed it. Assyria had been the reigning nation of the ancient world for two centuries and had carried off the northern kingdom of Israel in 722 BC.
Assyria was a terrorist nation whose people delighted in flaying (skinning) their enemies alive, making pyramids of human heads, and driving tall stakes in the ground with their wriggling enemies on the other end, the stake carefully placed through their abdomen to prolong their suffering. Nineveh was destroyed as predicted by the minor prophet Nahum in 2:6: The gates of the rivers are opened, and the palace is dissolved. A flood washed away part of Nineveh’s wall, and their enemies poured in. The ruins of this pagan capital were lost to history, and many believed Assyria was a myth of the Bible, until the remnants of Nineveh were rediscovered in the late 1840s opposite the city of Mosul on the Tigris River in what is now Iraq. ISIS was said to have destroyed their remains, when they controlled Mosul.
Circa 605 BC, Nebuchadnezzar appeared at the gates of Jerusalem. The evil king of Judah, Jehoiakim, was bound in bronze chains to be carried off to Babylon along with some of the vessels of the house of the LORD (2 Chronicles 36:6,7), taken to prove the Babylonian gods were greater than YHWH of Judah. Jehoiakim agreed to pay tribute and kept his throne. Members of the royalty including Daniel, Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael, the latter three, better known as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, were also sent to Babylon as eunuchs for the royal court. Jehoiakim paid tribute for three years, but hearing that Babylon would attack Egypt, he, apparently, decided to wait to see who won. Circa 598 -597 BC, Nebuchadnezzar appeared again before Jerusalem. Jehoiakim threw open the gates to him, but Nebuchadnezzar executed him and threw his body to rot outside the walls of Jerusalem. Jeremiah (36:30) had predicted Jehoiakim’s body would be cast out to the heat of the day and the frost of the night. This had also been noted in Jeremiah 22:18-19 He (Jehoiakim) shall be buried with the burial of a donkey, dragged and cast out beyond the gates of Jerusalem. In Judah, this desecration of a corpse without a proper burial was considered a dreadful fate, especially for a king. It appears Nebuchadnezzar placed Jehoiakim’s son, Jehoiachin, on the throne, but then had second thoughts and carried him off to Babylon instead. He also carried off all the treasures of the house of the LORD and articles made for the temple. Per 2 Kings 24:14 Also he carried into captivity all Jerusalem: all the captains and all the mighty men of valor, ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths. None remained except the poorest of the people of the land. 15 And he carried Jehoiachin captive to Babylon. The king’s mother, the king’s wives, his officers, and the mighty of the land he carried into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon. 16 All the valiant men, seven thousand, and craftsmen and smiths, one thousand, all who were strong and fit for war, these the king of Babylon brought captive to Babylon. In Jeremiah 24, the LORD shows Jeremiah two baskets of figs, one with luscious figs first ripe, and another with very bad figs, so bad they cannot be eaten. He then relates that the good figs are analogous to the people he has sent to Babylon, and the bad figs are the residua left behind, i.e. the good figs are the ones who make up a vibrant nation, whose children would be brought back, the bad figs are the dregs who are left behind. The rabbis say the fig tree represents political Israel; the vine, spiritual Israel.
Nebuchadnezzar changed the name of the king’s uncle to Zedekiah and made him king in Jerusalem. Ezekiel was taken to Babylon at this time. Nebuchadnezzar also defeated Egypt per 2 Kings 24:7, but did not take the kingdom of Egypt at this time.
Zedekiah also rebelled again Nebuchadnezzar despite Jeremiah’s warnings. Per Josephus, Zedekiah related the prophets could not get their act together. Jeremiah 32:4 (God speaking to Jeremiah) “and Zedekiah king of Judah shall not escape from the hand of the Chaldeans, but shall surely be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon, and shall speak with him face to face, and see him eye to eye; 5 then he shall lead Zedekiah to Babylon… Jeremiah 34:4 (God speaking to Zedekiah through Jeremiah) “And you shall not escape from his (Nebuchadnezzar’s) hand, but shall surely be taken and delivered into his hand; your eyes shall see the eyes of the king of Babylon, he shall speak with you face to face, and you shall go to Babylon.” Ezekiel 12:13 (God speaking of Zedekiah through Ezekiel) “I will also spread My net over him, and he shall be caught in My snare. I will bring him to Babylon, to the land of the Chaldeans; yet he shall not see it though he will die there.”
Apparently, Zedekiah ridiculed the prophets for not getting there stories straight. Both said he would go to Babylon, but Ezekiel said he would not see it. How could that be? Zedekiah was captured on the plains of Jericho after Jerusalem fell. 2 Kings 25:6 So they took the king (Zedekiah) and brought him to the king of Babylon at Riblah and they pronounced judgment on him. 7 Then they killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, put out the eyes of Zedekiah, bound him with bronze fetters, and took him to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar had denounced him as an ungrateful wretch for rebelling against the man who made him king, and Zedekiah had sworn loyalty to him by the God of the Bible.
So Daniel was taken to Babylon in 605 BC to become the most powerful Babylonian state official after Nebuchadnezzar a few years later. Ezekiel was sent with the “good fig” captives circa 597 BC, and Jeremiah was the prophet in Jerusalem until it fell in 586 BC, and then to Egypt, and on to Ireland?
The book of Daniel is a chronological historical account encompassing his life for 68 years for the first six chapters. Thereafter, in the last six chapters, he has four prophetic dreams which are not in chronologic order encompassing the future. The greatest of these is chapter 9 on the 70 weeks prophecy with the first 69 weeks giving the date of the Messiah’s first arrival in Jerusalem in the first century AD, most likely to the day. So, on to Daniel 9.
First year of the reign of Darius- about 539 BC
Verse 2 – Jeremiah – 70 years in the desolations of Jerusalem
Jeremiah 25:11 ‘And this whole land (Judah) shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon 70 years. 12 Then it will come to pass when 70 years are completed, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity,’ says the LORD: ‘and I will make it a perpetual desolation.”
Jeremiah 29:10 For thus says the LORD: After 70 years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place (Jerusalem).
2 Chronicles 36:21 to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths. As long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath to fulfill 70 years.
These seem to be the key passages on the 70 years. Leviticus 25 seems to explain part of this. 2 (God speaking to Moses) “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land which I give you, then the land shall keep a sabbath to the LORD. 3 Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather its fruit; 4 but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to the LORD. You shall neither sow your field nor prune your vineyard. 5 What grows of its own accord of your harvest you shall not reap, nor gather the grapes of your untended vine, for it is a year of rest for the land. 6 And the sabbath produce of the land shall be food for you: for you, your male and female servants, your hired man, and the stranger who dwells with you.’”
In other words, they could eat whatever the land provided in season, but they could not store it. There is no evidence that Israel ever gave the land its sabbath rest from the conquest of the Canaanites circa 1406 BC to the Babylonian captivity. Even today, I have read that Jewish farmers in Israel do not give their land a sabbath rest. Instead, on the sabbath year, they sell it to a Christian or Muslim with the proviso that it must be sold back at the end of the year. They let the Christian or Muslim grow a crop that 7th year.
Letting a field grow fallow for a year (sometimes up to five) allows the nutrients to be re-established. It also breaks the life cycle of crop pests. It enhances fertility, so it is a good idea. In Leviticus 25:21, apparently for the Jubilee of 50th year, the LORD promised that the land would produce in the sixth year of the seven seven-year cycles enough for three years to include the Sabbath year followed by the Jubilee year in which crops were also not grown.
The LORD also adds that if you do not obey me, per Leviticus 26:32 “I will bring the land to desolation, and your enemies who dwell in it will be astonished at it. 33 I will scatter you among the nations and draw out a sword after you; your land shall be desolate and your cities waste. 34 Then the land shall enjoy its sabbaths as long as it lies desolate and you are in your enemies’ land; then the land shall rest and enjoy its sabbaths. 5 As long as it lies desolate it shall rest—for the time it did not rest on your sabbaths when you dwelt in it.”
So now we have three dates; 1. 605 BC - Daniel and friends taken to Babylon.
2. 598 – 597 BC – Jerusalem captured & Good figs taken to Babylon
3. 586 BC-Jerusalem destroyed by Babylon.
Before I go further, I must define a year. At this time in 2020, it is 365.2422 days according to the internet. But ancient calendars from China, India, Egypt, Babylon, Assyria, Israel, Greece, Rome, and the Mayan civilization indicate a year was at creation, which I believe was about 6,000 years ago, 12 months of 30 days each, or 360 days. In other words the cycles of the moon were for months of 30 days each. Presently, the moon revolves around the earth in 29.53 days.
The Bible seems to point to 360-day years as well. For example, Genesis 6:11 In the 600th year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were open. 7:24 And the waters prevailed on the earth 150 days. 8:3 And the waters receded continually from the earth. At the end of 150 days the waters decreased. 8:4 Then the ark rested in the seventh month, the seventeenth day of the month on the mountains of Ararat. It appears that after 5 months of 30 days, the ark rested. The second month would have begun in September or October as this was before the calendar change of Exodus 12:2 when the seventh month became the first month and vice versa. Starting in September and using our present calendar, September to January would be 153 days; October to February would be 151 days.
Is there any other evidence? Why are there 360 degrees in a circle? I suspect this occurred in Babylon using a 360-day year long ago.
When Mohammed took Mecca circa 630 AD, he is said to have destroyed 360 idols around the Ka’aba. Why 360? I suspect there was an idol to pray to for each day of the year.
The Great Tribulation appears to be 1260 days in Revelation 12:6, 14. The anti-Christ is given authority for 42 months. 42 X 30 = 1260. The “little horn” is allowed to speak pompous words against the Most High for time and times (two times, not indefinite plural) and half a time, or 3 ½ times in Daniel 7:25 and also in Daniel 12:7. These verses represent the same period of time, the Great Tribulation, but Revelation 11:2 notes the Gentiles will control the holy city for 42 months or 1260 days, a different period of time, which overlaps the Great Tribulation. The two witnesses will prophesy for 1260 days, another different period of time that overlaps the Great Tribulation. I have 1260 days, 3 ½ times, and 42 months all referring to the same amount of time, measured by the ancient year of 360 days. The internet notes several nations changed their calendars in the seventh century BC. Is there any event which might have had significant repercussions and changed the length of the calendar then? Perhaps the account of Isaiah 38:8 when the sundial went backward ten degrees was the time, or about 701 BC, when an angel of the LORD slew 185,000 Assyrians per Isaiah 37:36. Something changed the Creation month and year, but the mechanism is unknown.
If it were 701 BC when the calendar changed, then 70 years of 360 days after 701 BC would be equivalent to 70 calendar years less 367 days (70 X 5.2422), or about 69 calendar years, after 701 BC.
So now what dates can we plug in to see if 70 Sabbaths makes any sense. Sir Robert Anderson who wrote The Coming Prince, in 1894. He was the chief of Scotland Yard, believed the desolations of Jerusalem would begin with the cessation of all agricultural activity, which I agree with. Hence, the desolations would have started per 2 Kings 25:1 when the Babylonian army began the siege of Jerusalem in the ninth year of the reign of Zedekiah, the tenth day of the tenth month. Wikipedia relates this began in December of 589 culminating in the destruction of Jerusalem in either 587 or 586 BC.
The minor prophet Haggai began his ministry in the summer of 520 BC. The Jews had returned to Jerusalem to build the temple, but work had stopped. Haggai encouraged them to begin again. In 1:5, Now, therefore thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways. You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourself, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes.
Haggai encourages them to restart the building of the temple. They do so, and on the 24th day of the ninth month in the second year of Darius per verse 2:10, Haggai relates from this day forward in verses 18-19, God will bless them. My ESV Study Bible puts this date at December 18, 520 BC, or about 69 calendar years for the desolations of Jerusalem. The temple was completed in 516 or 515 BC
Jerusalem was destroyed in 586 BC, but per Ezra 3:1, the altar to restart sacrifices to God was built circa Sept of 537 BC. I have seen the date also listed as 536 BC, and Daniel carried off to Babylon in 606 BC, so this could be about 69 years, but lacks the precision I would like.
If the seventy Sabbath years of 2 Chronicles 36:21 began in December of 589 BC, then when did God start His countdown? It must have begun 420 years earlier. If the calendar changed in 701 BC, then that would be about 113 years of 365.2422 or about 1.7 extra years by the old calendar of 360 days, or 114.7 creation years. Subtracting 114.7 from 420 yields 305.3. Adding that to 701 BC yields about 1006.3 BC. David was king of Judah beginning in about 1010 BC for 7 ½ years, becoming king of united Israel in about 1003 BC when he captured Jerusalem. So God started His countdown in about the midst of David’s reign in Judah, when God would have put David on the throne, had not the people demanded Saul, per Genesis 49:10.
Daniel 9:24 Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, (The Israelites will cease to sin during His millennium.) To make reconciliation for iniquity (the crucifixion), To bring in everlasting righteousness (the return of Christ to reign), To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy (Experts say this is to anoint the newly rebuilt temple, not Christ).
25 Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times.
So, Daniel had been praying about the return of the Jews to Judah and Jerusalem, knowing that the 70 years were about up. But instead he is told by Gabriel about 70 weeks (of years) in the future, when the Messiah would come. In verse 23, he is referred to as greatly beloved by God, just as John, the greatly beloved of Christ was given a look at the future in Revelation, an open book per Revelation 22:10, Daniel, the greatly beloved of God, was given a peek at the future, but Daniel is a closed book until the time of the end per Daniel 12:4. The publication of The Coming Prince in 1894 may well have begun the opening of Daniel, but not much seemed to happen for almost a century thereafter. It has opened much more in the last 20 to 30 years.
Back to the verses above. The Messiah will come 69 weeks after the order to rebuild Jerusalem. When did this order go out? Nehemiah 2:1 And it came to pass in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes… In verse 2:5-8, Nehemiah as the cupbearer to Artaxerxes requests to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the city, and the king grants his wish.
In the original language the construction of “in the month of Nisan” refers to the first day of Nisan. The twentieth year of Artaxerxes is more problematic in that some believe this was 445 BC; others 444 BC. The Pharisees and Sadducees at the time of Christ would have also been aware of this prophecy, but I strongly suspect they were using calendar years of 365 and a quarter approximately. Hence, 69 weeks of years would refer to 483 years beginning with 445 BC would be about 39 AD (Remember there is no year zero!); 444 BC about 40 AD. The elites in Jerusalem were likely confidently expecting the Messiah in this time period. Current scholarship dates the crucifixion to 32 or 33 AD. The elites believed Christ could not be the Messiah. He had come too soon! But 483 years X 360 days/ year equals 173,880 days divided by 365.2422 equals 476.068 years. If you begin with 1 Nisan (14 March) in 445 BC, the Messiah should have come on 6 April, 32 AD. If you begin with 1 Nisan (5 March) in 444 BC, He should have come on 30 March, 33 AD. The experts relate these two dates are both 10 Nisan, which was when the Passover lamb was taken for each household (Exodus 12:30) to be sacrificed on Passover, 14 Nisan. 10 Nisan was when Christ rode the donkey’s colt into Jerusalem, and the people proclaimed “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD (Matthew 21:9)!”
In his 2014 Blood Moons, Mark Biltz related there was a lunar eclipse or blood moon on both Passovers of 32 and 33 AD, with 32 being complete and 33 being partial.
Continuing Daniel 9:26 “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; (Note: He was cut off or killed for us!) And the people (Rome) of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined.
The Messiah had to be killed, and it had to happen before the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the temple in 70 AD.
27 Then he (the prince who will come, i.e. the anti-Christ) shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate. Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is Is poured out on the desolate.
The seventieth week will begin when the anti-Christ confirms a covenant with many for one week. This most likely refers to Israel being the many. However, I cannot exclude the multiple nations of the European Union from which I believe the anti-Christ will arise. Likewise, the Club of Rome has suggested the world be divided into 12 segments: Europe, North America, South and Central America, Australia and New Zealand, Japan, China, Russia, India and Southeast Asia, the Muslim world, and Black Africa. Any of these or some combination thereof may be the many.
In the middle of the week is generally taken to divide the final week into two equal pieces of 1260 days, but I have problems with this. Per Daniel 10:11 “And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be 1,290 days. 12 “Blessed is he who waits and comes to the 1,335 days.
The daily sacrifice will be taken away when the anti-Christ sets up the abomination of desolation in the rebuilt Jewish temple. In Revelation 13:5 the anti-Christ is given authority for 42 months, or 1260 days, after which he is toast. Why the extra 30 to 1,290 days in verse 11 above. Because it takes 30 days to cleanse the temple when it has been desecrated. And then another 45 days. What’s this about? Christ returns after the Great Tribulation’s 1260 days. But the 70 weeks prophecy ends with the anointing of the Most Holy, apparently the temple. Christ has fulfilled the first 4 Mosaic Feasts- Passover (Christ was the Passover Lamb), Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits (of the grave), Weeks or Pentecost (when the church was born). Many believe the fifth Mosaic feast, Trumpets on Tishri 1(-2), will be the time of the rapture, though perhaps one of the Trumpet judgements in Revelation, perhaps both. The sixth Mosaic feast, Yom Kippur on Tishri 10, is when I suspect Christ will return to reign, not rapture. The seventh Mosaic feast, Tabernacles, lasting one week and beginning Tishri 15, is the feast of His millennium per Zechariah 14:16. Hanukkah, the Rededication of the Temple, and the Feast of Lights (Christ said He was the Light of the world, and His church also) is always 74 or 75 days after Yom Kippur. I suspect Hanukkah will end the final week of Daniel, likely on the last or 8th day, but perhaps the first or an in-between day. God does as He pleases! This precludes the final week of Daniel being two equal pieces of 1260 days.
So what about the rapture, the return of Christ for His church? I thought Trumpets was best or Tabernacles, or the day after the Feast of Tabernacles, but they have passed for this year. Perhaps next year? Or perhaps a different feast? Hanukkah is the rededication of the temple, and I believe it will end the final week of Daniel. However, it may be the time of the rapture, though an earlier year, of course. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that you are the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 2 Corinthians 6:16 … For you are the temple of the Living God… Hannukah is also referred to as the feast of Lights. Christ referred to Himself as the Light of the world in John 8:12. His followers became the light of the world after He returned to Heaven, though Matthew 5:14 seems to indicate this was true when they were with Him also. This year, Hanukkah begins at sunset in Jerusalem on 10 December and ends at sunset on 18 December. Chuck Missler frequently mentioned the feast of Weeks or Shavuot in the late spring as a possibility. Purim a month before Passover is the salvation of God’s people. So there are several possibilities. One that is particularly appropriate with the US Presidential election so close is the 17th day of the second month. Per Genesis 7:11, this was the month and day the Flood began. Per Exodus 12:2 the second month became the eighth month at the time of the Exodus circa 1446 BC. The Book of Jubilees, at least two thousand years old, states this was the month and day, that Adam and Eve sinned. I do not believe this is the beginning of Daniel’s 70th week, but the rapture is a possibility. My Jewish calendar for this year relates it begins at sunset in Jerusalem on 3 November. The US Presidential election begins earlier that day. If the rapture occurred on this date this year especially, I believe there would be absolute chaos in the US government, and America does not appear to be noted in the prophecies relating to the 70th or final week of Daniel.