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Three Questions for Understanding Daniel 9
03-13-2017, 09:28 AM (This post was last modified: 03-13-2017 09:31 AM by rako17.)
Post: #1
Question Three Questions for Understanding Daniel 9
There are two common views about Daniel 9: One is that Daniel was making a prediction about the future, and the second is that the book was really written in the 2nd c. BC and described contemporary events. The questions below rely on the premise that Daniel was making a prediction.

Question 1. What led Daniel to conclude 490 years were given for the Redemption and the Anointed One? Or, why were specifically 490 years given for the apocalyptic, apparently Messianic events?

A simple answer is that the angel told him. However, Maimonides suggested that an angel being did not literally fly down from the sky while Daniel was praying and fully conscious, but that the prophecy came through his "active intellect":
Quote:All this passed in a prophetic vision. Do not imagine that an angel is seen or his word heard otherwise than in a prophetic vision or prophetic dream, according to the principle laid down:–“I make myself known unto him in a vision, and speak unto him in a dream” (Num. xii. 6)... it was in a prophetic vision that the angel spoke to him and “set him upon his knees.” Under such circumstances the senses cease to act, and the [Active Intellect] influences the rational faculties, and through them the imaginative faculties

https://madlik.com/2016/12/09/its-just-a-dream-vayetze/

In any case, it appears that there is an inner meaning to the years. The Lord had previously decreed through Jeremiah seventy years for Jerusalem's captivity. Those weeks were based on the number of years Judah had not left the fields fallow, in violation of the commandment on following a seven year cycle for leaving the fields empty one year out of the cycle. And at the period's end, Jerusalem was blessed with an end to its captivity.

When it came time to determine the number of years until the apocalyptic events of Daniel 9, a seemingly related figure was given - seventy weeks of years. It looks like there is an analogy with Jeremiah's weeks that led to a blessing for Jerusalem.

I thought of one answer: Jeremiah prophesied his 70 years of desolation because Judah had violated the Lord's commandments by not leaving the fields fallow. The 70 years seemed to be a time of punishment, after which Judah's sins were cleansed. The number 70 could refer to completion, based on the meaning of number 7 as completion (eg. 7 days of the world's creation).

If an analogy is drawn with Daniel 9, then it might seem that there was also some punishment involved. Had Judah also committed some sin for which the 70 times 7 years was imposed? Nothing like that is mentioned in the text directly. But it's also questionable - if Judah had been scattered during Jeremiah's time for failing to leave the fields occasionally fallow, perhaps they had been doing the same during the time Daniel counted for his 70 weeks of years, and thus the same issue of leaving the fields fallow lay unresolved?

To sum up: Daniel was contemplating Jeremiah's 49 year prophecy about Jerusalem's desolation that ended with its restoration, and then Gabriel came and gave a prediction about 490 years involving Jerusalem's rebuilding and Messiah/"Anointed One" the Prince that ended with the Temple's and city's desolation. So the "490 years" does not look like a totally random number, but seems to have an important meaning and relationship to the "49 years". It's also curious how the two prophecies have a kind of converse symmetry regarding Jerusalem's and the Temple's fates: Jeremiah predicts the city's captivity and return, whereas Daniel predicts the city's rebuilding and desolation.

Question 2. How to explain that the prophecy starts out by saying that it's a prophecy of extreme blessings, but then says that the "Anointed One" will be cut off and the Temple desolated, which sounds quite negative?

It appears to be a promise of blessings, since eg. Maimonides says it predicted Messiah's arrival. The angels says that the prediction includes: sealing up of prophet, anointing of holy places, "an end of sin, ... to forgive iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness". If one sees an analogy with Jeremiah's weeks that led to a blessing for Jerusalem, it looks like Daniel's prophecy should result in blessing too.

Normally, with a promise of blessing, one would expect that if one acts rightly and fulfills the promise's conditions to receive its blessing, that the blessing would be a positive one. Yet strangely the promise of eternal righteousness, sealing up prophecy, and reconciliation of sin ends in seeming misfortune, like the Temple's desolation and an anointed one being cut off.

One possible explanation could be that reconciliation of sin could involve suffering or misfortune. For example, Isaiah 40 talks about how in the case of the Babylonian captivity, the captivity removed Israel's sin guilt:
Quote:Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is made amends for: for she hath received of the LORD'S hand double for all her sins.

Another answer could be that the ultimate blessing could be bittersweet. The Temple could be destroyed because of the national sins, but God could give spiritual, mystical blessings to those who like Daniel remain righteous and faithful.

Question 3. What makes Daniel conclude that the "Anointed One" or "Messiah" will be cut off and "be no more"?

The word "Messiah"/"Anointed One" does not necessarily mean the Davidic Messiah, since Cyrus was called an Anointed One, but the term is commonly used to refer to Davidic kings, like the Messiah would be.

Daniel 9 appears messianic because the 490 years are given "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." It also talks about "Messiah the Prince" and an "Anointed One". Daniel is in the section of the Tanakh/Old Testament called Ketuvim/Hagiographa, and it's the only place I know of where a date for the Messianic era is given. Talmud says:
Quote:"And the (voice from heaven) came forth and exclaimed, who is he that has revealed my secrets to mankind?.. He further sought to reveal by a Targum the inner meaning of the Hagiographa, but a voice from heaven went forth and said, enough! What was the reason?--because the date of the Messiah was foretold in it!"

Targum of the prophets, in Tractate Megillah 3a

Maimonides wrote in his Letter to Yemen that Daniel predicted the Redemption:
Quote:In your letter you have adverted to the computations of the date of the Redemption and R. Saadia's opinion on the subject. First of all, it devolves upon you to know that no human being will ever be able to determine it precisely as Daniel has already intimated, "For the words are shut up and sealed." (Daniel 12:9). Indeed many hypotheses were advanced by scholars, who fancied that they have discovered the date, as was anticipated in Scripture, "Many will run to and fro, and opinions shall be increased." (Daniel 12:9). That is, there shall be numerous views concerning it.
https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Epistle_t...Complete#3
Later in the letter he explained that this was "the reckoning of the period of the advent of the Messiah".

To be "cut off" is a term used in Tanakh to mean that someone is excluded or excommunicated. To "be no more" is a very rare term to be said of a person's fate in the Tanakh. The only place I found it was when it says that God walked with Enoch and then God took him away. This implies that God had a close relationship with Enoch, and that taking him away did not necessarily mean that he died, but that he vanished from the earthly realm, as if he was brought to heaven where God continued his relationship with him. This parallel with Enoch's fate seems to suggest a very close relationship between God and the anointed one mentioned in Daniel 9.
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03-15-2017, 12:30 PM
Post: #2
RE: Three Questions for Understanding Daniel 9
Hi Rako. I take the seventy weeks prophecy in Daniel 9 literally. It's not 490 years, it's 490 days. It begins with the rebuilding of the Temple and Jerusalem and ends with the death and resurrection of the Messiah. Isaiah confirms that prophecy is "sealed up", and not meant to be understood until it happens. Isaiah 29:11-12. "And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed: and the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned".
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03-15-2017, 01:26 PM
Post: #3
RE: Three Questions for Understanding Daniel 9
(03-15-2017 12:30 PM)susanblange Wrote:  Hi Rako. I take the seventy weeks prophecy in Daniel 9 literally. It's not 490 years, it's 490 days. It begins with the rebuilding of the Temple and Jerusalem and ends with the death and resurrection of the Messiah. Isaiah confirms that prophecy is "sealed up", and not meant to be understood until it happens. Isaiah 29:11-12. "And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed: and the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned".
Susan,
The context when Daniel made his prophecy was his meditation on Jeremiah's 7 weeks for Israel's captivity. Weeks in that context meant 7 year periods. Based on that, it appears that Daniel's weeks are also 7 year periods. The rebuilding of the Temple occurred in the 5th c. BC. 490 days after that, Messiah did not arrive, at least no such known contender.
Christianity, Talmud/Targums, Rashi, and Rambam all agreed that this time passed centuries long before the Talmud/Targums were written.

Isaiah did not say that he was talking about the same book as Daniel. Daniel's Book says to "know and understand" the prophecy. Rashi and the Christians both propose basics for understanding this prophecy in Daniel 9. Even if the prophecy of Daniel 9 were sealed, it does not mean that it could not become unsealed after the events transpired, since Rashi and the Christians proposed their own interpretations.

I didn't find any rabbinical commentaries, but I did find some Christian ones:

Quote:The verse concludes with the words, "and to seal the vision and the prophet and to anoint the Holy of Holies". From this we learn that G-d will confirm this prophecy (vision) by means of the Messiah.
http://www.torahclass.com/archived-artic...bbi-baruch

Quote:When the Messianic age begins, God will, by accomplishing all that was promised through visions and prophecies, stamp His seal on what His servants had spoke.

Some scholars believe that the end of this 49 Year Period (the first seven weeks) also brought with it the end of Old Testament vision and prophecy. The prophetic book of Malachi was written in this general time frame and ushered in around 400 years of prophetic silence. This period between prophecy from the Old Testament and the New Testament is often referred to as the Inter-testament Period.

To fulfill the promised prophecy.(3)

Sealing up vision and prophecy is sometimes interpreted as the end of revelation. On the short term fulfillment there was no more Old Testament prophets after the Messiah was cut off or crucified.
Vision and prophecy will be sealed up (Their functions will be at an end, for all will have been fulfilled).(4)

English versions follow the meaning “seal,” which may be understood in the sense of “ratify.”
God will seal up vision and prophecy. All that God through the prophets said He would do in fulfilling His covenant with Israel will be fully realized in the millennial kingdom. Until they are fulfilled, prophecies are “unsealed.
http://www.jewishroots.net/library/proph...phecy.html
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03-18-2017, 05:08 PM
Post: #4
RE: Three Questions for Understanding Daniel 9
With this section of Daniel -- some believe that all of the 470 years have been completed and some believe that the last 7 years have yet To be fulfilled -- thus the 7 yrs of tribulation yet ahead for the Jewish people. And that would take place after the 'church' has been raptured out of the world and with Christ. That is what I believe. And a rebuilding of the temple is part of what will be happening before that.

Yes, they are 7 yr periods of time.
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03-21-2017, 02:39 PM (This post was last modified: 03-21-2017 04:25 PM by Splendor.)
Post: #5
RE: Three Questions for Understanding Daniel 9
(03-18-2017 05:08 PM)Sue D. Wrote:  With this section of Daniel -- some believe that all of the 470 years have been completed and some believe that the last 7 years have yet To be fulfilled -- thus the 7 yrs of tribulation yet ahead for the Jewish people. And that would take place after the 'church' has been raptured out of the world and with Christ. That is what I believe. And a rebuilding of the temple is part of what will be happening before that.

Yes, they are 7 yr periods of time.

( Daniel 9:24, NIV ) “Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy Place."

(Daniel 9:25, NIV) “Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble.

(Daniel 9:26, NIV) After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed."

(Daniel 9:27,NIV) " He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.”

Daniel's 70-sevens prophecy fulfillment begins with the edict of Persian emperor Artaxerxes Longimanus to rebuild Jerusalem sometime during the Hebrew month of Nisan in the 20th year of his reign, or around 445 BC (Nehemiah 2:1-8).

The 7-sevens refers to the time span of ( 7*7 = 49 ancient calendar years ) from the time in 445 B.C. when Longimanus' decreed that Jerusalem be rebuilt until the time Jerusalem was fully restored around 397 B.C. to her former glory before having been destroyed around 587 B.C.

The 62-sevens refers to the time span of ( 7*62 = 434 ancient calendar years that Jerusalem was fully restored in 397 B.C. until the time Jesus Christ presented Himself as the Messiah to the nation of Israel on Palm Sunday around 32 A.D.

The final time interval of the 70th-Seven may soon come in order to completely fulfill Daniel's 70th Week Prophecy!

“Love comes into being through useful service to others.”
― Emanuel Swedenborg
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