Does Daniel 9 describe the same crisis as the other prophecies in Daniel?

ABSTRACT

Jerusalem rebuildThe prophecies in Daniel 2, 7, 8, and 11 predict the same crisis, namely the Antichrist persecuting God’s people. But the prophecy of the 490 years in Daniel 9 is very different from those other prophecies. For example, while Daniel 9 deals with Israel specifically, and with the 490 years allocated to her, the other prophecies deal with all nations and all time from ancient Babylon to the return of Christ. Daniel 9, therefore, does not describe the same crisis as the other prophecies in Daniel. This conclusion argues against the critical and dispensational interpretations for, in those interpretations, Daniel 9:27 also describes the Antichrist.


DANIEL 2, 7, 8, and 11

The prophecies in Daniel 2, 7, 8, and 11 describe the same crisis and the same series of events:

Daniel chapter 2 predicts four empires. Each of them will be ruled by a single supreme king. The first was ancient Babylon. The fourth is followed by a “divided kingdom” (Dan 2:41) when the area will be divided between different kings. The divided kingdom will end with Christ’s return. He will set up the eternal kingdom (Dan 2:37-38; 44). Daniel 2 does not mention an Antichrist.

Daniel chapter 7 describes the same 6 phases but adds details. In particular, it adds that the Antichrist will rule during the “divided kingdom.” It symbolizes the Antichrist as the 11th horn-king that will grow out of the fourth beast. This Antichrist becomes a key figure in this chapter. It will only be destroyed when Christ returns.

Daniel 7 and 8 describe the physical appearance of their beasts in terms of heads, horns, wings, etc. Another article compares these descriptions and concludes that the two beasts in Daniel 8, which are explicitly identified as “the kings of Media and Persia” and “the kingdom of Greece” (Dan 8:20-21), are the same as the second and third beasts in Daniel 7. This means that the fourth dragon-like beast of Daniel 7 is the next empire, namely the Roman Empire. This further means that the Antichrist grows out of the Roman Empire

Daniel chapter 8 combines the fourth beast of Daniel 7 and the 11th horn that comes out of that beast (the Antichrist) into a single symbol; “a rather small horn which grew exceedingly great” (Dan 8:9).

Instead of beasts, Daniel chapter 11 describes a series of kings leading up to the Antichrist.

These four prophecies, therefore, run parallel to one another. Their main purpose is to predict and describe the Antichrist. Different schools of thought identify the Antichrist differently:

In the critical interpretation, it is Antiochus IV; a Greek king that persecuted the Jews in the second century B.C.

In the dispensational interpretation, it is an end-time tyrant.

In the traditional historical interpretation, it is an evil superpower that arose when the Roman Empire broke up in the fifth century A.D.

TIME, TIMES, AND HALF A TIME

Time, Times, Half a TimeAccording to Daniel 7:25, the Antichrist will persecute God’s people for “a time and times and half a time.” This is a very important period of time and is mentioned several times in different forms in Revelation:

      • The nations will tread under foot the holy city for 42 months (Rev 11:2).
      • God’s two witnesses will prophesy for 1260 days, clothed in sackcloth (Rev 11:3).
      • The woman (God’s people) will hide in the wilderness for 1260 days (Rev 12:6) and for “a time and times and half a time” (Rev 12:14).
      • The beast will be given authority to act for 42 months (Rev 13:5).

1260 DaysSince Revelation 12:6 and 14 describe the same event but as 1260 days and as “a time and times and half a time” respectively, these are two descriptions of the same period. (For a discussion of Revelation 12, see War in Heaven.) Therefore “a time and times and half a time” = 3.5 times or years = 3.5×12 (42) months = 42×30 (1260) days.

These time periods are always a time of persecution for God’s people.

DANIEL 9

In Daniel 9, God promises 70 weeks (490 years) to Israel (Dan 9:24). The prophecy divides the 70 weeks into three periods; 7 weeks, 62 weeks, and the last week (the last seven years). That last week is the crux of the prophecy but is described in only a single verse (Daniel 9:27). In both the critical and dispensational interpretations, the “time and times and half a time” of Daniel 7 are part of the last seven years of Daniel 9:27:

In the critical interpretation, all the prophecies in Daniel describe the crisis under Antiochus IV in the middle of the second century B.C. Consequently, both the “time and times and half a time” and the last week of Daniel 9 describe Antiochus’ time.

In the dispensational interpretation, Revelation 4:1 is the rapture and everything in Revelation after that verse happens during the last seven years of Daniel 9. Therefore, the “time and times and half a time,” mentioned later in Revelation (Rev 12:14), is part of those seven last years.

In both the critical and dispensational interpretations, therefore, Daniel 9:27 describes the same crisis as Daniel 7. This article, by listing (see below) the many differences between Daniel 9 and the other prophecies in Daniel, shows that that is not true.

SIMILARITIES

There are certain similarities between Daniel 9 and the other prophecies (in Daniel):

Sacrifices cease – In Daniel 9, sacrifice and oblation cease (Dan 9:27). Similarly, in Daniel 8, “the daily sacrifice was taken away” (Dan 8:11).

Time similarity – Sacrifices are stopped in the “midst” of the last week of Daniel 9:27. This divides these seven years into two periods of 3½ years each. It may then be argued that the “time and times and half a time” are equal to 3½ years and the same as one of the two 3½ year periods of the last seven years.

This argument may be refined as follows: If we assume that the sacrificial system is reinstated at the end of the last seven years, sacrifices would “cease” for 3½ years, which may be taken as equal to “a time and times and half a time.” One problem with this argument is that Daniel 9 does not say that sacrifices would be resumed at the end of the last seven years. On the contrary, it ends in chaos (Dan 9:27). 

Jerusalem destroyedDestruction – In both Daniel 9 and the other prophecies, destruction is predicted: In Daniel 8 “the place of his sanctuary was cast down” (Dan 8:11). In Daniel 9, “the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary”.

DIFFERENCES

However, the following shows that the differences between Daniel 9 and the other prophecies (in Daniel) are much greater than the similarities:

PRECEDING KINGS

In the other prophecies, kings precede the Antichrist. Daniel 2, 7, and 8 symbolize these kings as beasts and horns (e.g., Dan 7:17, 24). Daniel 11 describes them in more literal terms.

There are no preceding empires or kings in Daniel 9.

FOCUS ON ISRAEL

While the other prophecies predict a series of heathen empires and kings, covering all time from the time of ancient Babylon until the return of Christ (Dan 7:27; Dan 2:38, 44), Daniel 9 focuses exclusively on Israel and on the 490 years allocated to her (Dan 9:24).

JERUSALEM DESTROYED

In Daniel 9, the city will be destroyed (Dan 9:26). The other prophecies do not mention this.

PERSECUTION

In the other prophecies, God’s people are persecuted (Dan 7:25; 8:24; 11:33; 12:7). In Daniel 9, the Messiah will be killed (Dan 9:26) but it does not say that His people will be persecuted.

THE TEMPLE

In the other prophecies, the temple will be profaned by taking away the daily service (Dan 11:31) but it will remain standing. In Daniel 9, the temple will be completely destroyed (Dan 9:26).

[Note: The “cast down” of the place of his sanctuary in Daniel 8:11 should be understood symbolically because the stars and the truth are also “cast down” (Dan 8:10, 12).]

In the other prophecies, the temple is first desecrated and then restored (Dan 8:14). In Daniel 9, the sequence is reversed. The temple will be restored but again be destroyed. It does not mention another restoration. As stated, Daniel 9 ends in total chaos (Dan 9:27).

TIME PERIODS

The time periods are very different. The other prophecies mention 1290 and 1335 days (Dan 12:11, 12) and 2300 “evening morning” (Dan 8:14). Daniel 9 does not mention any of these periods. Instead, it mentions 490 years, 49 years, 434 years, and 7 years. And none of these are found in the other prophecies.

If the 2300 “evening morning” (Dan 8:14) are interpreted as 2300 sacrifices, of which there were two every day, thus interpreting the 2300 “evening morning” as 1150 days, it is equal to 3 years and 55 days and still not equal to anything in Daniel 9.

THE END

Time of the EndThe other prophecies end with:

      • The “time of the end” (Dan 8:17, 19, 12:4, 9),
      • The return of Christ (Dan 2:34-35),
      • The destruction of the Antichrist (Dan 7:26; 8:25; 11:45),
      • The eternal kingdom (Dan 2:44-45; 7:18, 27; 8:25 – without human agency, compare Dan 2:45), and
      • The resurrection of the dead, and “everlasting life” (Dan 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” (Dan 9:27).

SYMBOLIC

Daniel 9 is a literal prophecy using literal time periods. The last 7 years are seven literal years.

(We do not need a year-day principle to interpret the 70 weeks as 490 years. Israel had weeks of years in which every seventh was a Sabbath year (Lev 25:2-4). God made those weeks of years part of the covenant exile pattern (Lev 26:34-35; 43). Since the 70 weeks are an extension of God’s covenant with Israel, they simply are 70 of those weeks of years.)

In contrast, the other prophecies in Daniel are symbolic. They symbolize, for example, kings and empires with beasts and horns.

In fact, this implies that the “time and times and half a time” is also symbolic and, therefore, not equal to the literal 3½ years in Daniel 9:27. Those other prophecies cover huge time periods – from ancient Babylon until the return of Christ. By implication, the “time and times and half a time” symbolizes a very long time period.

CONCLUSIONS

There are differences between the prophecies in Daniel 2, 7, 8, and 11 but they describe the same series of events and the same crisis. But Daniel 9 is very different from those other prophecies in Daniel. This implies that Daniel 9 describes a different crisis. Therefore:

Since those other prophecies describe the Antichrist, Daniel does not describe the Antichrist.

And the 42 months in Revelation, which originates in Daniel 7:25 is not part of the last seven years.

Since, in the critical and dispensational interpretations, Daniel 9:27 does describe the Antichrist, this conclusion argues against those interpretations. But this conclusion is consistent with the historic-messianic interpretation in which Daniel 9:27 describes Jesus Christ in the first century A.D.

THE ANTICHRIST IN REVELATION

These conclusions can be extrapolated to the book of Revelation. Revelation symbolizes the Antichrist as a beast rising from the sea (Dan 13:1). That beast:

Was like a leopard,
and his feet were like those of a bear,
and his mouth like the mouth of a lion.
And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority
” (Rev 13:2)

These are explicitly the same four beasts as in Daniel 7; the lion, bear, leopard, and the dragon-like beast (Dan 7:4-7). Since Revelation’s beast receives something from each of them, it is implied that it arises AFTER these four beasts. Therefore, since both the 11th horn in Daniel 7 and the beast of Revelation come in time after those four empires, it is implied that Revelation’s beast is the same as the 11th horn in Daniel 7. This is confirmed by Revelation 13:5 which states that Revelation’s beast will persecute God’s people for 42 months. This is the same as the “time, times, and half a time” during which the 11th horn will persecute God’s people (Dan 7:25).

In other words, the Antichrist of Daniel is the same as the Antichrist in Revelation! This is an example of the many symbols in Daniel that are carried forward in Revelation. The little horn of Daniel 7, and its reign of “a time, times, and half a time,” in Revelation becomes the beast that reigns for 42 months.

But I am not aware of any clear reference in Revelation to the prophecy of Daniel 9. This is consistent with the historic-messianic interpretation because, in that interpretation, the 490 years were past history when God gave the prophecies in Revelation. 


SUMMARY

The prophecies in Daniel 2, 7, 8, and 11 run parallel to one another. They predict and describe the Antichrist that will arise out of the Roman Empire. It will persecute God’s people for “a time and times and half a time” (Dan 7:25). This is a very important period and is mentioned several times in different forms in Revelation (Rev 11:2, 3; 12:6, 14; 13:5).

In Daniel 9, God promises 70 weeks (490 years) to Israel (Dan 9:24). The last week (last seven years) is the crux of the prophecy but is described in only a single verse (Daniel 9:27).

In both the critical and dispensational interpretations, the “time and times and half a time” of Daniel 7 are part of those last seven years. In these interpretations, therefore, Daniel 9:27 describes the same crisis as the other prophecies in Daniel. However, there are many differences between Daniel 9 and the other prophecies in Daniel:

The following are in Daniel 9 but not in the other prophecies:

    • Destruction of Jerusalem (Dan 9:26);
    • Destruction of the temple (Dan 9:26); (In the other prophecies, the temple will be profaned but not destroyed.)
    • Killing of the Messiah (Dan 9:26);

The following are in the other prophecies but not in Daniel 9:

    • Preceding empires or kings;
    • Persecution of God’s people (Dan 7:25; 8:24; 11:33; 12:7).
    • Time of the end” (Dan 8:17, 19, 12:4, 9),
    • Return of Christ (Dan 2:34-35),
    • Destruction of the Antichrist (Dan 7:26; 8:25; 11:45),
    • Eternal kingdom (Dan 2:44-45; 7:18, 27; 8:25), and
    • The resurrection of the dead, and “everlasting life” (Dan 12:2).

Other differences:

    • While Daniel 9 focuses exclusively on Israel, the other prophecies predict a series of heathen empires and kings.
    • The other prophecies cover the time from ancient Babylon until the return of Christ. Daniel 9 focuses on the 490 years allocated to Israel (Dan 9:24).
    • In the other prophecies, the temple is first desecrated and then restored (Dan 8:14). In Daniel 9, the sequence is reversed.
    • The time periods are very different.
    • Daniel 9 is a literal prophecy using literal time periods. The other prophecies in Daniel are symbolic.

CONCLUSIONS

(1) The prophecies in Daniel 2, 7, 8, and 11 predict the same crisis, namely the Antichrist persecuting God’s people.

(2) Daniel 9 does not describe that same crisis. Daniel 9, therefore, does not describe the Antichrist.

(3) This argues against the critical and dispensational interpretations for, in those interpretations, Daniel 9:27 describes the Antichrist.


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