Summary: Fourth and final sermon in series on Christ’s coming from the perspective of the major prophets.
The Book of Daniel may well be one of the greatest proofs of the validity of the scriptures.
In several chapters Daniel maps out the course of human activity with amazing accuracy.
The rise and fall of world kingdoms were predicted by Daniel’s words so remarkably that one would think they were reading a history book and not a book of prophecy!
Because of the stunning foresight within the Book of Daniel it is claimed by its critics to have been written AFTER the events it describes.
However,there are at least three independent secular sources to authenticate that the Book of Daniel was written well before the birth of Christ.
A. Flavius Josephus, court historian for three successive Roman Emperors, records (Antiquities of the Jews XI, viii, 3-5) Alexander the Great receiving a copy of Daniel upon his annexation of Jerusalem in the autumn of 332 BC (immediately following his conquest of Tyre).
B. The Septuagint (LXX) was translated from Hebrew into Greek in the 3rd century BC. Daniel is included in the Septuagint version.
C. Daniel is also included in the Dead Sea Scrolls, dated from around 200 BC.
There is absolutely no way that Daniel could have been written "after the fact". He did indeed see what God saw - the future.
Do we see what Daniel saw? Why do we need to see what Daniel saw?
Be careful not to conclude that God was showing favoritism to Daniel. True, he had apparently been given the prophetic gift, but understand that this vision of seventy weeks in Daniel we’re about to disect was given to a man who lived a holy life and spent vast amounts of time in prayer.
When you read the book of Daniel you wonder what God could do in your life if you too practiced the level of dedication that he did.
Daniel 9:24-27 (NIV)
(24)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 rightesouness, to seal up the vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy.
(25)Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree 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. (26) After the sixty-two ’sevens’, the Anointed One will be cut off 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. (27) 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 on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.
We get the word "seven" from the Hebrew word in this passage - "heptad". It is a unit of measure which represented a collection of seven things.
This word is very similar in usage to our English word dozen. Any group of twelve things can be properly designated as a dozen. Any group of seven things in Hebrew could be designated a heptad.
It is clear from the passage that the sevens being discussed are groups of seven years.
Daniel was reading Jeremiah’s prophecy at the time he received this vision. Daniel 9:2 - "...I understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years."
Then Daniel begins to pray for his people (Daniel 9:3-19). God reveals to Daniel another period of seventy -but this would be seventy ’sevens’.
Seven has always represented completion or perfection in the Bible. Here God gives Daniel a panorama of His dealings with the Jewish nation. In the panorama we see the completion of God’s dealings with the Jews - hence the usage of sevens.
The sevens were divided into three parts and herein lies the amazing accuracy of the prophecy.
1. Seven sevens (7x7) or 49 years.
This period of 49 years begins with "the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem". This decree was made by the Persian king Artxerxes in 445 BC and is recorded in Nehemiah 2. From this decree until the close of the Old Testament lasted 49 years.
2. Sixty-two sevens (62x7) or 434 years.
If you add the first 49 years with this period of 434 years you come up with a period of 483 years. What would happen in 483 years according to Daniel’s prophecy? "The Anointed One will be cut off." (Daniel 9:26)