Daniel 9 Explained – List of Articles on the Four Interpretations

The following articles explain Daniel 9:

Overview of the interpretations of Daniel 9 – This article summarizes the main points from all the articles.

Overview Daniel 9 – This article serves as an introduction.  It explains the context and content of the prophecy, without interpreting it.

Translations differ with respect to whether the Messiah appears at the beginning or at the end of the 490 years. – Does the messiah appear after 49 years or after 483 years? The difference is due to assumptions with respect to punctuation. The original text does not have any punctuation.

Does Daniel 9 describe the same crisis as the other prophecies in Daniel? – – Interpreters often assume that Daniel 9 predicts the same crisis. This article discusses the differences between the prophecies and concludes that Daniel 9 deals with Israel specifically, while the other prophecies deal with all nations.

Jeremiah’s 70 years – The Daniel 9 prophecy was received soon after Babylon fell.  Where do we fit the 70 years of Babylonian rule in history?

Decree to restore Jerusalem
Decree to restore Jerusalem

Decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem – The 490 years of Daniel 9 begin with a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem.  Four Persian decrees are considered.  Cyrus did not restore Jerusalem as the national capital.  Darius simply confirmed Cyrus’ edict.  We have to choose between the two decrees of Artaxerxes.

Daniel 9: Prayer and Prophecy form a unit Daniel 9 consists of two parts; the prayer by Daniel, and the prophecy which Daniel received even while he was still praying.  The prayer and prophecy form a unit:  Daniel prayed for the covenant promise of covenant renewal.  The 70 Weeks prophecy confirmed that the covenant will be renewed.

The Covenant in Daniel 9 – Jeremiah’s Seventy Years shows that the Leviticus 26 covenant sequence of Disobedience – Exile – Confession – Restoration is the central theme in Daniel 9, and binds together prayer (confession) and prophecy (of restoration).

Covenant in Daniel 9:27 – During the last of the 70 weeks “he” will confirm the covenant.  This refers to God’s covenant with Israel.  Through the seventy weeks-prophecy, God extended His covenant with Israel for a further 490 years.  During those last seven years the Messiah will confirm God’s covenant with many from Israel.

Poetic Pattern and Chiasm – The prophecy lists 8 events, but not chronologically.  The prophecy alternates between two foci—Jerusalem and the Messiah.  The Jerusalem-events are in chronological order and the Messiah-events are in chronological order.

Stoning of Stephen – In the first few years after Jesus died, under God’s guidance, the gospel was preached only to Jews.  Christians continued to live like Jews.  The stoning of Stephen, two to four years after the Cross, was the end of God’s covenant with Israel, which is also the end of the 490 years promised by Daniel 9.

The Consistent Symbolical Interpretation – The major interpretations all understand the Daniel 9 prophecy to be literal, in contrast to the other prophecies in Daniel that are symbolic.   But in the Consistent Symbolical Interpretation, everything is symbolical.

Liberal-critical Interpretation of the 490 years promised by Daniel 9  – Daniel was written during the sixth century under the Babylonian Empire.  It contains predictions of later Empires. But liberal scholars do not accept that knowledge of the future is possible. They must show that Daniel was written after the events it predicts, including 490 years promised to Israel.

The following seven articles focus on Dispensationalism:

Dispensational Interpretation of Daniel 9

1.   Introduction to the Dispensational Interpretation – Daniel 9 grants Israel 70 cycles of 7 years each to achieve 6 goals. Jerusalem would be restored to serve as Israel’s executive capital and to receive the Messiah, but it is again destroyed because it did not receive the Messiah. Dispensationalism puts the last seven years immediately prior to the Return of Christ.

2. The Time indications in Daniel 9 – This article compares the time indications for the Seventy Weeks in Daniel 9 to the Dispensational interpretation.  Dispensationalism takes the second decree of Artaxerxes as the beginning of the Seventy Weeks.  But to fit Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the 490 years are interpreted as 360-day years.

3. Whose covenant is confirmed in Daniel 9:27; God’s covenant with Israel or the devil’s? – It is God’s covenant with Israel, for Daniel 9 follows the covenant pattern of Disobedience – Exile – Repentance – Covenant Renewal.  The 490 years, including the last seven, therefore are a renewal of God’s covenant with Israel.  This is confirmed by the phrase “confirm the covenant“.

4. Who confirms the covenant for seven years; the Messiah or the prince? It is either the Messiah that is killed or the prince who destroys Jerusalem.  The Poetic Pattern and the messianic nature of the prophecy indicate that it is the Messiah.  He is also the dominant figure in the previous verse, and as argued in the previous article, it is God’s covenant with Israel.

5. Is the last week the last seven years prior to Christ returns? – In Dispensationalism the last week is the last seven years before Christ returns.  But the Poetic Pattern and repetition of words indicate that the desolations are the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.  The last week, described earlier in verse 27, must, therefore, be prior to AD 70.

6. Daniel 9 and the Antichrist: Other Inconsistencies in the Dispensational Interpretation – Various other differences between the text and Dispensationalism Daniel 9 are identified, such as that Jerusalem will be rebuilt twice, that the Antichrist breaks his own covenant and that the sanctuary will be destroyed during the 490 years decreed for it.

7. When will the Daniel 9:24 goals, set by for the 490 years, be fulfilled? – Dispensationalism objects to the traditional Protestant interpretation of Daniel 9, as defended by this website, by claiming that Christ’s first advent did not fulfill the Daniel 9:24 goals for the seventy weeks (9:24).  How do we respond?

The following eight articles explain the Historical-Messianic Interpretation:

490 years1. Historical Messianic Interpretation – The Historical-Messianic interpretation is the traditional understanding of Daniel 9.  In this interpretation, the 490 years are an extension of God’s covenant with Israel, which was based on Israel’s Sabbath Year cycle.  Jesus confirmed God’s covenant with Israel during the last seven of the 490 years.

2. Daniel 9:25  – Daniel 9:25 identifies the starting point of the 490 years as the decree of Artaxerxes, and the end of the first 483 years as the arrival of the Messiah.

3. Daniel 9:26 Messiah cut off – The Messiah, who is cut off, is our Lord Jesus Christ.  The “people” refer to the Roman Empire.  The “prince” is a supernatural force representing the Roman Empire.

4. Daniel 9:27 The Covenant – The prophecy has a Poetic Pattern in which the focus jumps repeatedly back and forth between the two foci; Jerusalem and the Messiah. The prophecy is therefore not given in a strict chronological sequence. In this pattern, it is Jesus that confirms the covenant for seven years in Daniel 9:27.

5. Seven Last Years – Daniel 9:27 The Seven Last Years: Who is “he” who works during those seven last years and when are those seven last years?

6. He will put a stop to sacrifice – The prophecy of Daniel 9 says that this world’s sin problem would be solved (9:24) through the appearance (v25) and killing of the messiah (v26), while he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering (9:27).  In the light of the New Testament, this describes Jesus Christ.

7. Complete Destruction in Daniel 9:27 – This is the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, as indicated by the Poetic Pattern and chiasm structure, and as confirmed by the repetition of ideas from verse 26.  Verse 27c says that a desolator will arrive shortly after a repulsive sin, which was the killing of the Messiah.

8. Concluding Thoughts The essence of Daniel 9 24-27 is that, within 500 years from the restoration of Jerusalem, and therefore before the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, the Messiah would arrive. The prophecy finds its fulfillment in the Christ-events 2000 years ago and confirms that God knows the future precisely.