Daniel 9 - A True Biblical Interpretation
Written and compiled by Rabbi Bentzion Kravitz
The book of Daniel is filled with Messianic illusions and calculations that even left Daniel pondering their meanings. Additionally, a large proportion of the book is written in Aramaic rather than the traditional Hebrew adding to the complexity of these biblical texts.
The ninth chapter has been of interest to both Jews and Christians.
The message of a merciful God communicated in verse 18, “for not because of our righteousness do we pour out supplications before You, but because of Your great compassion.” has been a foundation of a Jews personal and spiritual relationship with God.
Christians on the other hand tend to focus of verses 24 -26. The following is the Christian translation of those verses:
24) Seventy weeks are determined upon your people and upon your holy city, 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.
25) Know therefore and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again with plaza and moat but in troubled times.
26) Then after sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off but not for himself and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.”
Many Christians assert that these passages are a prophecy that predicts the exact dates that the Messiah will come and also die. They believe that Jesus fulfilled these predictions.
Before examining these verses, it is important to point out that: 1) Based on the Hebrew original and context, Jews have very valid reasons for rejecting the Christian interpretation, and 2) the New Testament authors never quote these passages and calculations as a proof-text.
To understand this chapter we must begin with an explanation of the term “weeks.”
Daniel chapter 9 uses the Hebrew word (שבעים ~ Shavuim) to represents a period of time multiplied by seven. For various reasons this word is translated as “weeks” and means a multiple of seven years rather than a multiple of seven days.
- a) We see a similar use in the verse, “You shall count~ שבע שבתת השנים) seven Shabbaths of years), seven years seven times… forty-nine years.” Leviticus 25:8
- b) A Shabbath is a period of seven days and shares the same Hebrew root for the word
- c) Normally the plural of week would be (שבעות ~ Shavuot) in Daniel it uses the masculine “ים” ending for ( שבעים~ Shavuim) similar to (years ~ שנים) This indicates that (שבעים~ Shavuim) is referring to a multiple of seven years
- d) Both Jews and Christians agree that this is referring to a multiple of years.
- 1) In Ezra 1:1-4, King Cyrus issues a proclamation (קול ~ Kol) and writings (מכתב ~ Mechtav) granting the Jews permission to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple.
- 2) Ezra 6:12-13, King Darius issues a decree (טעם ~Taim) granting permission to rebuilt the Temple.
- 3) Ezra 7:11-16, Artaxerxex, issues a decree (טעם ~Taim) granting permission to rebuilt the Temple. (Artaxerxex is a Persian title of royalty and can refer to different leaders. This is similar to the way Pharaoh is the title of rulers of Egypt)
- 1) 70 years of subjugation (Jeremiah 25)
- 2) 70 years till they return to the Jerusalem (Jeremiah 29)
- 3) 70 years of the destruction of Jerusalem (Daniel 9).
(שבועה~Shevuah) that means “week”.
Therefore in Daniel chapter 9, each week is a period of seven years.
Christian polemicists interpret these passages in the following way. These passages are being spoken by Daniel after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem by the evil Babylonian empire. At some point after the destruction, there will be a “decree” issued to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. Starting from the issuing of that decree, 7 and 62 weeks totaling 69 weeks of years (483 years), will pass and then the Messiah will come and in that same 7 year period “week” he will be cut off, but not for himself, but for the sins of mankind. Then the city and sanctuary will be destroyed. Christian assert that their calculation proves that Jesus fulfilled this prophecy to the exact day.
After the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem any Jews that survived the Babylonian slaughter were exiled from their land. Daniel, for example lived in Babylon. Eventually, the Babylonians were conquered by the Persian Empire.
Christians claim that the decree mentioned in Daniel 9:25 was issued by the Persian King Artaxerxes in the year 444 BCE, based on Nehemiah 2:1-8. These passages speak about the king giving Nehemiah “letters” (אגרות ~ Iggrot) for safe passage and permission to rebuild the Temple.
The building of Jerusalem was started and halted several times and there are actually three additional decrees mentioned earlier in the Bible.
We will see later that it is significant that in these verses there are four different words used to describe these proclamations and none of them match the Hebrew word used in Daniel 9 which is (דבר ~ Devar) that means “word.”
With four different proclamations, there is no historical justification to choose the one mentioned in Nehemiah 2 and there is no reliable source stating that it occurred exactly in 444 BCE. It seems that Christian picked this passage out of convenience and assigned it this specific date, because if you start at 444 BCE and count 69 weeks of years (483 years) you reach 39 CE. Whatever their reason for choosing Nehemiah’s reference and attributing it as having occurred in 444 BCE it is still 7 years off from the year 32 CE when Jesus supposedly died.
This 7-year discrepancy is resolved by Christian theologians who redefined the definition of a “year.” They claim that prophecies like Daniel’s are to be understood in “Prophetic years” that have 360 days rather than 365 ¼ days. The argument that Daniel might be speaking to Babylonians who may have had a 360 years is unsubstantiated and refuted by the fact that this passage is spoken in Hebrew to Jews who had a different calendar than and Babylonians who spoke Aramaic.
One Christian attempt to prove this concept of Prophetic years is from the New Testament:
“They will tread underfoot the holy city for 42 months, and they will prophesy for 1260 days.” Revelations 11:2-3
By dividing 1260 (days) by 42 (months) you get 30 days per month, they claim that each month is 30 days and a Prophetic Biblical year would therefore be being 360 days (30x12=360).
An additional proof-text utilizes the events surrounding the flood. The following verses are quoted to show how biblical months were periods of 30 days,
“the water prevailed upon the earth 150 days” Gen 7:24 and
the flood started on,
“the 17th day of the second month” Gen 7:11, and ended on,
“the 17th day of the seventh month.” Gen 8:4.
They argue that by taking this exact 5-month period and dividing it into 150 days you will see that there must be 5 months of 30 days each and therefore a year would be 360 days.
The Christian argument continues that the difference between a solar year of 365 ¼ days and the so-called prophetic year of 360 days is what caused the 7-year discrepancy in their interpretation of Daniel 9 and the resolution of the problem is accomplished by converting the time period from “biblical” years to solar years.
They argue that by multiplying 360 days by 483 years (69 weeks of years) you get 173,880 prophetic days. To convert this to solar years you divide the 173,880 days by 365 1/4 (days) and you will get 476 years. 444 BCE plus 476 years will give you the year 32 CE, which they claim is the year that Jesus not only made his triumphant entry into Jerusalem (Messiah’s arrival) but was also crucified (cut off).
Before explaining why this line of reasoning is absolutely false and simply an act of desperation to resolve their 7-year miscalculation, we must explore the correct meaning of Daniel 9 and the concept of a Jewish calendar year.
TRANSLATING DANIEL CORRECTLY
It is essential to a correct understanding of Daniel 9, to point out that it is incorrect to read this passage as if it were speaking about the Messiah.
This may appear obvious to Christians since their translations have the word “Messiah” mentioned twice in this chapter; however, this is the result of a blatant and intentional mistranslation of the Hebrew word (משיח ~ Moshiach”).
This word literally means “anointed” and is an adjective as in the 1 Samuel 10:1-2 where the word clearly means an act of consecration. It is not a personal pronoun that refers to a particular individual called “The Messiah.” The word (משיח ~ Moshiach”) is used throughout Jewish scriptures no less than 100 times and refers to a variety of individuals and objects. For example:
Priests: Leviticus 4:3
Kings: 1 Kings 1:39
Prophets: Isaiah 61:1
Temple Alter: Exodus 40:9-11
Matzot ~ Unleavened Bread: Numbers 6:15
Cyrus ~ a non-Jewish Persian King: Isaiah 45:1
Even in Christian translations, the word Moshiach is translated 99% of the time as “anointed.” The only exception is twice in Daniel 9 verses 25 and 26. This inconsistency is even more blatant since Christian translators translate the word (משיח ~ Moshiach) as “anointed” one verse earlier when it is used in Daniel 9:24. In this instance, it is referring to anointing the innermost chamber of the Holy Temple is known as the “Holy of Holies,” (קדשים קדש ~ Kodesh Kedoshim). It is incorrect to translate this, as some missionaries do, to mean the “most holy one” in an attempt to have this refer to the Messiah rather than a place.
Therefore, in Daniel the passages should be correctly translated as:
Daniel 9:24 “Until an anointed prince” and not as “Until Messiah he prince.”
Daniel 9:25. “an anointed one will be cut off” and not as “the Messiah will be cut off.”
Additionally, in verse 25 there is no definite article (Hey ~ ה) before the word (משיח ~ Moshiach) and it is incorrect to translate this as “the Messiah” or “the anointed one” as if it were speaking about one exclusive individual. When translating correctly as an “anointed individual” the passages could be referring any one of several different individuals or objects that were anointed and not necessarily “the Messiah.”
A careful examination of Daniel 9 will lead to a clear understanding of exactly to whom and what this chapter is referring.
An additional mistake made by Christians is the translation of 7 and 62 weeks as one undivided unity of 69 weeks. The Christian version makes it sound as if the arrival and “cutting off” of the “Messiah” will take place sixty-nine weeks (483 years) after a decree to restore Jerusalem. They add the 7 and 62 weeks together and have one person (the Messiah) and two events occurring towards the end of the 69th week.
Actually, according to the Hebrew, the 7 and 62 weeks are two separate and distinct periods. One event happens after 7 weeks and another event after an additional 62 weeks.
Simply put, if you wanted to say 69 in Hebrew you would say “sixty and nine.” You would not say “seven and sixty-two.”
Furthermore, in Daniel, it is written: “7 weeks and 62 weeks rather than “7 and 62 weeks.” The use of the word “weeks” after each number also shows that they are separate events. The use of the definite article (ה ~ Hey) that means “the” in verse 26, “and after the 62 weeks shall an anointed one be cut off,” is sometimes deleted in Christian translations, but it's presence in the Hebrew original clearly indicates that the 62 weeks is to be treated as a separate period of time from the original 7 weeks.
The correct translation should be:
“ until an anointed prince shall be 7 weeks (49 years),” “then for 62 weeks (434 years) it (Jerusalem) will be built again but in troubled times.” Then after (those) the 62 weeks shall an anointed one will be cut off.” Daniel 9:24-25
Two separate events and anointed ones, 62 weeks (434 years) apart.
Christians also incorrectly translated the Hebrew (v'ayn Lo ~ לו ואין), at the end of Daniel 9:26. They translate it that he will be cut off “but not for himself,” as if it refers to someone being cut off not for himself but cut off for us and indicating a form of vicarious attainment.
However, nowhere in the Jewish bible are these words translated as “not for himself.” The Hebrew means “and he will be no more” literally “and no more of him” and indicates the finality of his demise. A similar usage of (v'ayn Lo ~ לו ואין), can be found in Jeremiah 50:32 where it is translated “no one”.
“The proud one shall stumble and fall, with no one to raise him up ( מֵקִ֑ים לו ואין ).
Here it refers to the demise of Babylon and has the same connotation that after the identified individual’s demise there will be no one to continue his rule.
Interestingly the Hebrew word (kares ~ כרת) translated as “cut off” biblically refers to someone who has sinned so grievously that they are put to death by heavenly decree as a divine punishment for their own transgressions.
An awareness of these eight mistranslations is essential to understanding the ninth chapter of Daniel. To recap:
- (קדשים קדש) mean “holy of holies” not the “most holy one”
- (דבר ~ Devar) that means “word” not decree.
- (משיח ~ Moshiach”) means “anointed” not “Messiah” verse 23
- (משיח ~ Moshiach”) means “anointed” not “Messiah” verse 24
- “seven weeks and sixty-two” means two events one at 7 weeks and the other 62 weeks later not one event after a cumulative 69 weeks
- (Hey ~ ה) mean “the”
- (V'ayn Lo ~ לו ואין) mean “will be no more” not “not for himself”
- (kares ~ כרת) means death to a transgressor that cuts off their relationship to God.
JEWISH CALANDER YEARS
In addition to theses these eight mistranslations Christians, as mentioned above, manipulate their calculation of the 69 weeks in Daniel 9 in an attempt to have them coincide with the arrival and death of Jesus in Jerusalem.
Christians based their understand with a belief that the starting point of the prophecy begins in 444 BCE with the decree issued by King Artaxerxex (Ezra 7:11-16). Sixty–nine weeks (483 years) would bring you to 39 CE. This is 7 years off the commonly accepted date of 32 CE being the year Jesus was put to death. As mentioned above they attempt to resolve this issue by transforming “prophetic years” into solar years. The problem is that according to Jewish tradition and scriptures there is no such thing as a prophetic year of 360 days.
Jewish scripture clearly teaches that the Jewish calendar is both Solar and Lunar. As early as Genesis 1:14, which deals with the creation of the sun and the moon, we are told that “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years”. Both luminaries are used to determine our calendar.
A solar year is 365 1/4 days and a lunar year is 11 days shorter, 354 days long. Unlike the Gentile’s year where the length of the months is set by convention rather than a relationship to the lunar calendar, a Biblical Jewish calendar must coincide with both the sun (for seasons) and the moon. When God, commanded the people of Israel to sanctify the months he established the month that the Exodus took place as the first of the months. Exodus 12:1. God also commanded us to observe Passover in the springtime as it says,
“Observe the month of springtime and perform the Passover for God, for in the month on springtime God took you out of Egypt.” Deut 16:1.
In other words, a biblical calendar must coincide the months with the seasons creating a Solar-Lunar calendar.
There is an eleven-day difference between a solar and lunar year. If Jewish holidays were established solely by a lunar year, the holidays would move further and further away from their original seasons. This happens all the time with the Muslim Lunar calendar with Ramadan falling in a variety of seasons. A biblical Solar/Lunar calendar corrects this by adding a 13 month leap year approximately every 4 years. Some years have 12 months and the leap year has 13. The fabricated “prophetic year” of 360 days could not exist because it would not allow Jewish holidays to coincide with both months and seasons.
Now we can return to the beginning of Daniel 9 and establish the correct starting point for Daniel’s prophesy.
The Christian major error in establishing the starting point of Daniel's prophecy is caused by their mistranslation of the verse, “Know therefore and discern that from the going forth of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem.” Daniel 9:25
Since their translation asserts that the starting point of this prophesy is from the issuing of a certain decree to rebuild Jerusalem, they incorrectly assume that it is the decree of King Artaxerxex. However, as mentioned above, there were several different decrees made concerning returning and rebuilding Jerusalem.
In Daniel 9:25 the original Hebrew used the word (דבר ~ Devar) which is significantly different from a human decree. The word (דבר ~ Devar) refers to a prophetic word. In the beginning of Daniel 9 verse 2, this word is used when Daniel says that he wants to understand “the word of the Lord to the Prophet Jeremiah.”
As mentioned above, in all the passages that mention some form of decree or proclamation concerning Jerusalem, none of them use the Hebrew word (דבר ~ Devar).
The correct translation of Daniel should be:
“Know therefore and discern that from the going forth of the word to restore and rebuild Jerusalem.” Daniel 9:25
Therefore, the correct starting point of Daniel’s prophesy must be associated with the issuing of a prophetic word and not a human decree.
The word (דבר ~ Devar) is used at the beginning of Daniel chapter 9. A careful reading of the beginning of this chapter clarifies the correct meaning of the reference to the “word to restore and to build Jerusalem” mentioned in Daniel 9:25.
Chapter 9 begins as follow:
“I Daniel considered (or contemplated) in the books the number of the years which the word (דבר ~ Devar) of G-d came to Jeremiah the Prophet that would accomplish to the destruction of Jerusalem.” Daniel 9:2
Here Daniel uses the word (דבר ~ Devar) when pondering the number of years that Jeremiah had spoken about. Jeremiah had twice prophesied concerning a 70 year period.
Once Jeremiah said:
“and these nations shall serve the King of Babylon 70 years and it shall come to pass when seventy years are accomplished that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation ... and make it an everlasting desolation.” Jeremiah 25:11-12
This prophesy states that Babylon would dominate Israel for a total of 70 years.
Jeremiah also says:
“After 70 years are accomplished to Babylon, I will take heed of you and perform My good word towards you in causing you to return to this place.”
This prophesy states, that after the 70 years, in addition to the end of Babylonian domination, the Jews would also return to Jerusalem from the Babylonian exile.
There are two Jeremiah prophesies concerning: 1) subjugation and 2) return to Jerusalem.
Jeremiah’s 70 years start from the initial subjugation of Jerusalem by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. This took place 18 years before the destruction of Jerusalem, as demonstrated by the following passages,
We know that the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem in the 19th year of King Nebuchadnezzar. As it says:
“In the 19th year of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuzaradan the chief executioner was in service of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem… and destroyed the Temple of God.” Jeremiah 52:12-13
The 19th year means that 18 full years had already been completed. Nebuchadnezzar started to subjugate Jerusalem in the first year of his rule; this can be derived from the following verses;
“in King Yehoyakim’s third year (three completed years) Nebuchadnezzar came to besiege Jerusalem.” Daniel 1:1
“in the fourth year (three completed years) of Yehoyakim which was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar.” Jeremiah 25:1
These verses demonstrate that Nebuchadnezzar started to besiege Jerusalem in his first year and the destruction of Jerusalem took place in his “19th” year. Therefore, 18 complete years had passed from the beginning of the siege until the destruction of Jerusalem. During these 18 years, Jerusalem was laid siege and completely surrounded.
Scriptures also indicate that the 70 years of Jeremiah were completed with the advent of Cyrus the King of the Persian Empire. As it says:
“Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled.” Ezra 1:1-3
“Those who survived the sword he exiled to Babylon, where they became slaves to him and his sons until the kingdom of Persia began to reign. This was the fulfillment of the word of God to Jeremiah until the land would be appeased of its Sabbatical years, all the years of its desolation it rested, to the completion of 70 years. In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, upon the expiration of God’s prophesy spoken by Jeremiah. God aroused the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia and he issues a proclamation… to build God a Temple in Jerusalem.” 2 Chronicles 36:20-23
In addition to the Babylonian rule ended in fulfillment of Jeremiah 25:11-12, Cyrus also gave permission, in fulfillment of Jeremiah 29:10, to the Jews to return to Jerusalem, as it says;
“Whoever is among you all his people, let his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord G-d of Israel.” Ezra 1:4
It is important to remember that from the beginning of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, 18 years before the fall of Jerusalem, until the fall of the Babylonian Empire, when Cyrus came into power, 70 years had elapsed. By subtracting the 18-years of subjugation before the destruction of the First Temple from the total of 70 years we are left with 52 years. This proves that King Cyrus rose to power and fulfilled Jeremiah’s prophesy 52 years after the destruction of Jerusalem.
This plays an essential role in understanding Daniel 9. Daniel yearned not only for the Babylonian Empire to cease 70 years after the subjugation of Jerusalem; he yearned to see the return to Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the Temple.
When Daniel begins speaking in chapter 9 it is in the first year of Darius the Median. This Darius is mentioned earlier in Daniel 6:1 and called the Mede so that he would not be confused with Darius son of Achasverous the Persian, who was born later during the days of Haman and Esther.
Daniel was confused because although he now witnessed that, with the advent of Darius the 70 years to the Babylonian subjugation were over in fulfillment of Jeremiah 25:11-12, Daniel had not yet seen the fulfillment of Jeremiah 29:10 that promised that after the 70 years the Jewish exiles would return and rebuild Jerusalem. He did not foresee that very shortly Cyrus world rule and fulfill this promise.
Daniel thought that perhaps, due to the sins of Israel the date had been delayed. This is why Daniel confesses for the sins of the people in verse 4-20 and says.
“Now I was still speaking and praying and confessing my sins and the sins of my people Israel and casting my supplications before the Lord My God about the holy mountain (the Sanctuary as seen in Isaiah 56:7) of my God.” Daniel 9:20
This explains why at the beginning of chapter 9 Daniel contemplated the number of years to the destruction of Jerusalem and not to the subjugation, as it says.
“I Daniel contemplated the calculations, the number of years about that which the word of God came to the prophet Jeremiah, to complete the 70 years to the destruction (לחרבות ~ L’Charvot) of Jerusalem.” Daniel 9:2
Daniel saw that the subjugation was over but he no only wanted to see the return to Jerusalem he wanted to know when the destruction would end with the building of the second Temple.
In fact, after one year of rule by Darius, King Cyrus took power and fulfilled Jeremiah 29 and allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem. But Daniel’s desire to understand the years of Jeremiah to the destruction of Jerusalem, resulting in the revelation of a new and additional understanding of Jeremiah:
There are now three different prophesies concerning 70 years.
Whereas the calculations of the first two begin with the subjugation of Jerusalem 18 years before its destruction, Daniel’s new insight into the 70 years of total destruction must be calculated from a different starting point, the date that Jerusalem was destroyed. In fact, starting from the destruction of the First Temple until the completion of the building of the second Temple was exactly 70 years.
Because of Daniel’s praying, confessing, and contemplating about the years to the destruction of Jerusalem, the angel Gabriel (verse 21), revealed to him and expanded prophesy of 70 weeks (490 years).
The starting point of this prophesy “that from the going of the word to restore and rebuild Jerusalem” Daniel 9:25, also begins from the Destruction of the First Temple.
The use of the Hebrew word (דבר ~ Devar) in both Daniel 9:25 and Daniel 9:2 also establishes that they share the same beginning point, the destruction of Jerusalem.
Starting from the destruction of Jerusalem we can now see the meaning of Daniel 9:24-26. From the Prophetic word (דבר ~ Devar) that refers to the destruction of the First Temple until an anointed Prince (the Hebrew (נגיד ~ nageid) is correctly translated as Leader), will be 7 weeks (49 years). As demonstrated earlier, from the destruction of Jerusalem until Cyrus was 52 years, this is within the 7th week (49 years and before the 8th week 56 years).
Cyrus not only initiated the rebuilding of the Temple (Ezra 1:1-3, Ezra 5:13, Ezra 6:3 and Isaiah 44:28), he is also called and identified as God's anointed, as it says,
“thus says the Lord to His anointed, Cyrus.” Isaiah 45:1
Remember there are two anointed subjects, one after 7 weeks and another after an additional 62 weeks.
The first “anointed” individual identified as a prince/leader in Daniel 9:25 is King Cyrus, who came 7 weeks of years after the destruction of Jerusalem. Then from Cyrus' Decree to rebuild Jerusalem, “it will be built again” for an additional 62 weeks (434 years). But “in troubled times,” Daniel 9:25, meaning under the foreign domination of the subsequent Persian, Greek and Roman rule. The Greek is mentioned in Daniel 11:2 and Roman alluded to in Daniel 1:30 where the word (כתים ~ Kittim) refers to the Roman capital of Constantinople)
Then in the 69th week (483 years) after the destruction of the First Temple and 1 week (7 years) before the destruction of the second Temple, an anointed one is cut off.
The fact that there is no definite article indicates that this can refer to several different anointed subjects. King Agrippa the last King of Israel (Kings are considered anointed as it says in 1 Chronicles 11:3) who was killed during this time. It also refers to the last High priest (priests are anointed as seen in Leviticus 4) and the sacrifices (indicated in Leviticus 8:10-11). All three subjects were considered anointed and were cut off during the final week before the destruction of the second Temple.
“The people of the prince will come and destroy the city and the Sanctuary.” Daniel 9:26,
refers to the Roman legions of Vespasian and Titus who destroyed Jerusalem.
Additionally, the sacrificial system (that was anointed) ceased during this last week before the completion of the total 70 weeks of 490 years, as it says, “
“during half of a week he will abolish sacrifice and meal-offerings” Daniel 9:27
Historically during the years before the destruction of the second Temple, the Romans set up idolatry in the Temple fulfilling the final verse in Daniel 9 that says;
“upon wings of abomination shall come one who makes desolate until the decreed destruction is poured out desolator.” Daniel 9:27
The Romans, who are often symbolized by the Eagle Wings resting on their standards, would desecrate the Temple with idolatry; destroy the Temple that would remain desolate until the Roman exile is finished with the advent of the true Messianic age of complete peace, tranquility, and knowledge of God. Today’s exile is considered an extension of the Roman exile that has lasted more than 2,000 years.
In Daniel 9 the original 70 years are from the destruction of the First Temple until the building of the second. If they had returned whole-heartedly there would have been no need for the Second Temple to be destroyed and the events listed in verse 24 would have been fulfilled.
“Seventy weeks (490 years) are determined upon your people and upon your holy city, to finish the transgression and to make an end of sins and to make reconciliation for iniquity(atone for there past transgressions), and to bring in everlasting righteousness (Temple service that brings righteousness), and to seal up the vision and prophecy (fulfill the promises of the prophets and end the prophetic era) and, and to anoint the Holy of Holies (the Temple)” Daniel 9:24
The angel Gabriel reveals to Daniel this additional understanding of the 70 years extending them from 70 years to 70 weeks of years stretching the time span to 490 years that span from the destruction of the First Temple to the Destruction of the second Temple. This prophecy also included a description of events that would unfold if the Jewish people did not repent properly.
These are the 70 years for the first exile (52 years until Cyrus and 18 additional years to dedicate the second Temple) and 420 years of the second temple.
Although there appears to be a discrepancy in chronology between the Jewish and secular Gregorian calendars of 166 years (with the secular dates earlier) it is clear that Jewish record keeping is more reliable and consistent concerning these events. Babylonian calendars changed arbitrarily with every new Babylonian king and limited archeological discoveries often reflect their arbitrary chronology. (According to secular chronology 586 BCE is the year incorrectly associated with the destruction of the First Temple the Jewish)
This is how Daniel 9:24-26 should be correctly translated and understood:
24) Seventy weeks (490 years) are determined upon your people and upon your holy city, 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 Holy of Holies.”
25) Know therefore and discern that from the issuing of a word to restore and rebuild Jerusalem (starting from its destruction) until an anointed Prince (Cyrus) will be seven weeks (49 years) and then for sixty-two weeks (434 years) it will be built again with plaza and moat but in troubled times. (Persian, Greek, and Roman domination)
26) Then after the sixty-two weeks (483 years from the destruction of the First Temple) an anointed one (sacrifices, last Jewish priest and king) will be cut off and will be no more, and the people of the prince (Romans) who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. (in the 70th week 490 years from the destruction of the First Temple)
This is a brief explanation of Daniel chapter 9. Any attempt to apply this chapter to Jesus is erroneous and wrought with mistranslations and misinterpretations.
The precise prophecy of Jeremiah 25:11-12 predicts that the king of Babylon would be punished at the end of seventy years. Jeremiah 29:10 predicted the return to the land after seventy years.
“This whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. And it shall come to pass when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the Lord, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations” (Jer 25:11-12).
Later, Jeremiah added to this prophecy, “For thus saith the Lord, that after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the Lord: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the Lord; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive” (Jer 29:10-14).