Interpreters often assume that Daniel 9 predicts the same crisis as Daniel’s other prophecies. This article discusses the differences between the prophecies and concludes that Daniel 9 deals with Israel specifically, and with the 490 years allocated to her, while the other prophecies deal with all nations and covers the full period from the time of Daniel to the Return of Christ.
Many interpreters argue that the “2300 evening morning” of Daniel 8 and the “time, times and a half” of Daniel 7 and 12 describe the same crisis as the last 3½ years of the 490 years allocated to Israel in Daniel 9. This is done on the basis of the similarities:
In both sacrifices cease. In Daniel 9 sacrifice and oblation cease, while in Daniel 8 “the continual burnt offering was taken away”.
Sacrifices cease for more or less the same length of time:
In Daniel 9 sacrifices cease in the “midst” of the last seven years. It is then often assumed that the sacrificial system is reinstated at the end of the last seven years, even though Daniel 9 says nothing about it. Sacrifices therefore “cease” for more or less 3½ years. This is then interpreted as the same as the 3½ times (time, times and a half) in Daniel 7 and 12.
In Daniel 8 the sanctuary is cleansed 2300 “evening morning” after the daily sacrifice is taken away (8:11, 14). Interpreters often interpret the 2300 “evening morning” as 2300 sacrifices, of which there were two each day, which then converts the 2300 “evening morning” into 1150 days, which is roughly 3 years and 2 months, which is again more or less 3½ years.
In both destruction is predicted: In Daniel 8 “the place of his sanctuary was overthrown” while in Daniel 9 “the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary”.
A different crisis.
In spite of the evidence above it is proposed here that Daniel 9 does not refer to the same crisis as the other prophecies. This proposal is based on the following evidence:
Absent from Daniel 9
The following, found in the other prophecies, are absent from Daniel 9:
(1) In the other prophecies the saints are persecuted (7:25; 8:24; 11:33; 12:7). In Daniel 9 only the messiah is persecuted..
(2) In Daniel 8 the sanctuary will be restored after the prophesied destruction (8:14), but there is no mention of this in Daniel 9. Daniel 9 ends in chaos and desolation.
(3) In the other prophecies kings (beasts 7:17 and horns 7:24) precede the evil power. No such kings are mentioned in Daniel 9.
(4) The other prophecies end in the “time of the end” (8:17), with the destruction of the evil one (7:26; 8:25; 11:45), the return of Christ and the eternal kingdom (2:44; 7:18, 27; 8:25 (without human agency, compare 2:45); 12:2), the resurrection of the dead (12:2) and “everlasting life” (12:2).
None of these are found in Daniel 9. There is no indication in Daniel 9 that this vision goes to the “time of the end”. Daniel 9 ends with “desolate, even until a complete destruction” (9:27).
[Note: Some translations end 9:27 with destruction on the one who makes desolate (NASB, GNB), but that is an interpretation. There is nothing in the original about a desolator that is made desolate. The KJV, YLT and other translations end Daniel 9 simply with complete desolation on the desolate one.]
Absent from the other prophecies
The following, found in Daniel 9, is absent from the other prophecies:
The destruction of the city (9:26);
The killing of the Messiah;
The following are further differences between Daniel 9 and the other prophecies:
(A) What happens to the temple is different: In Daniel 9 the temple is destroyed (9:26) while in the other chapters it is not destroyed; only profaned by taking away the continual (11:31).
[Note: The “cast down” of the place of his sanctuary in 8:11 should not be understood literally, because the stars and the truth are also “cast down” (8:10, 12). In contrast to Daniel 8, Daniel 9 does not use symbols. It has been received in clear, literal language.]
(B) The sequence of events is different: The prophecy in Daniel 9 promises the restoration of the temple, but also predicts that it will again be destroyed. It says nothing about another restoration. The sequence is rebuild-destroy. In the other prophecies the sequence is reversed, namely desecrate-restore (8:14).
(C) The time periods are different. One could possibly argue that the time, times and a half, which is found elsewhere in Daniel (7:25; 12:7), is equal to half of the last seven years, but the 490 years, 49 years, 434 years and 7 years are not found elsewhere in Daniel and the 1290 days and the 1335 days (12:11, 12) are not found in Daniel 9. If the 2300 “evening morning” (8:14) is converted to 1150 days, it is equal to 3 years and 55 days, which still does not equal to anything in Daniel 9. Why would the time periods vary from 1150 days (8:14) to 1260 days (7:25 and 12:7) to 1290 days and to 1335 days, if they all refer to the same period?
(D) Daniel 9 is a literal prophecy; the others are symbolic. The time periods in the other prophecies are all given in a symbolic context, and form part of long range prophecies. Daniel 9 uses no symbolic language, and the last 7 years are seven literal years.
(E) Daniel 9 focusses specifically on the Jewish nation, the Holy City, and the sanctuary (9:24), while the other prophecies predict a series of heathen empires and kings. The horns in Daniel 7 and 8 are preceded by beasts (kings 7:17) and horns (kings 7:24). Daniel 11 also describes the preceding empires and kings, but in more literal terms. There are no preceding empires or kings in Daniel 9.
Daniel 9 therefore does not describe the same crisis as the other prophecies.