Two Questions on Daniel

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T.A.G.

Puritan Board Freshman
Why do you think Daniel was not canonized until the writings?

And in Daniel 9 26And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall(BZ) be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come(CA) shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.(CB) Its[e] end shall come with a flood,(CC) and to the end there shall be war.(CD) Desolations are decreed. 27And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week,[f] and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering.(CE) And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until(CF) the decreed end is poured out on the desolator."

Coming from a Disspy background (not any more) can you help explain to me who is the people of the prince (Titus?), and what is the strong covenant for one week, and what is putting an end to this sacrifice (Christ work?)? I do not understand the last week.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
I don't know about your first question.

Re the second Q:-
The former part of the Daniel passage vv 24-26 is fairly straightforward. Daniel is being told about the times of Gentile domination and Gentile Empire domination ("the times of the Gentiles") over Israel, from the exile to the time of Christ, the closing of the biblical canon and the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. This was a return from exile but not in it's fullness, because of the sins of the people. Therefore the exile was extended in a sense from 70 years to 7 X 70 years.

The last half-week of years is somewhat mysterious. Read widely in Reformed literature on this passage if you wish to get a clearer idea of it. There isn't any hint of a supposed gap between the first half of the last week and the last half of the week as proposed by dispensationalists, although the last half-week may have a particular and then a progressive fulfillment beyond a simple 3 1/2 years, just as the 70 years prophesied by Jeremiah of the exile were in a sense extended by the less than glorious return of the exiles to a Land dominated by the world powers of the era.

The last half week seems to be taken up in Revelation but there it is expressed in different ways (e.g. 1260 days, 42 months, time, times and half a time) maybe to indicate its particular and then progressive fulfilment over a longer period of time and its extension until Christ makes a full conquest on the Earth through the Gospel (Revelation 19) and the times of the Gentiles come to an end.

The preterists would squeeze the mystical half a week of years into the first century along with Revelation 6 to 19. The futurists (dispensational and otherwise) would squeeze the mystical half a week of years and Revelation 6 to 19 into the future - many of them would put it in this century because they keep seeing these things round the corner and constantly believe we are in "the end times".

A historical preterist or pretero-historicist like myself would see signs that the mystical three and a half years and Revelation 6 to 19 is fulfilled progressively in broad brush strokes from the first century to the conquest of Christ by His Spirit, Word, Providence and Church in history, which complete triumph is yet future and yet not at the end of the world but in history.

Of course there will be things in the Bible, especially to do with predictive prophecy, which the Lord leaves deliberately difficult, so that no-one can be sure until nearer the event or after it.

This sentence in Daniel 9:27 should be referred to Christ rather than "the prince", Titus or the antichrist:-

And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering.(Daniel 9:27, ESV)

Keith Mathison's exposition of this passage in his book on "Postmillennialism" is good. Also Patrick Fairbairn's "The Interpretation of Prophecy" (BoT) is a good introduction to a Reformed understanding of predictive prophecy in the Bible.

I take a postmil rather than an amil view of these things.
 
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Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Some views on the "mystical" or non-mystical (?) time period of 3 1/2 years in Revelation which ties in with Daniel 9 :-

http://www.puritanboard.com/f46/what-mystical-3-1-2-years-revelation-49567/

A lot of preterists take it literally and put it somewhere in the first century, most notably the time period of the Destruction of Jerusalem.

Futurists - including dispensationalists - take it literally and put it in the future. The Dispensationalists do this with their notorious gap.

If we took a historical preterist and postmillennial approach to it, we could take it as having proximate and less proximate fulfillments. From a postmillenialist perspective the times of the Gentiles continues from the OT Captivity until Christ by His Spirit, Word and Providence, through His Church, largely makes the world the realm of the true spiritual Israel by converting the world.

Until that time the struggle with the Whore, the Two Beasts, and the Devil, continues in its unabated form. Christ continues to confirm the New Covenant with many, as He did while in His three and a half year earthly ministry.

The Seventy Weeks doesn't come to an end until the Jews are converted, all nations are converted as nations, the apostate Church is ended/converted, civil government bows the knee to Christ, ecclesiastical antichrists are silenced, and the Devil is fully locked away and his dungeon sealed.

That hasn't happened yet.

So for some reason the last half week of years of the Seventy Weeks was expanded, just as the 70 years of Captivity was multiplied in a sense by 7, so that when the Israelites returned from the Captivity they didn't enjoy the full benefits of autonomy but were dominated by Gentile Empires (the "Times of the Gentiles").
 
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Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Not everyone would conclude with the critics that "canonization" took/takes place by fiat from religious authority.

I would not say that the content of the OT was "canonized" in stages that correspond to the divisions of the Tanach, i.e. first the Law is recognized, then the early and latter Prophets, then lastly the Writings (but not before the Christian era began already). This view grows out of a rejection of Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, the rejection of predictive prophecy, and the view that Israelite religion is absolutely NOT unique, but is just another species of (ANE) religious expression.

Why is Daniel subsumed in a category outside the latter Prophets? This is difficult to determine, nor can we say for certain whether he once WAS listed in that division, and could have been moved/removed, or why. It could have something to do with his being outside the land, a servant of foreign kings, and an exilic prophet (but so is Ezekiel). Perhaps it has to do with the fact that almost uniquely it contains lengthy portion in Aramaic (rather than Hebrew). But this too is neither unique, nor do all the Writing-books have such a feature.

Perhaps it has more to do with Ezra, and the final state of the books, which presumably he was largely responsible for. Note the final internal division (group iii below) of the books of the Writings:
Group I: The Three Poetic Books (Sifrei Emet)
1. Tehillim (Psalms) תהלים
2. Mishlei (Book of Proverbs) משלי
3. `Iyyov (Book of Job) איוב
Group II: The Five Scrolls (Hamesh Megillot)
4. Shir ha-Shirim (Song of Songs) or (Song of Solomon) שיר השירים (Passover)
5. Ruth (Book of Ruth) רות (Shavuot)
6. Eikhah (Lamentations) איכה (Ninth of Av) [Also called Kinnot in Hebrew.]
7. Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) קהלת (Sukkot)
8. Esther (Book of Esther) אסתר (Purim)
Group III: Other Historical Books
9. Daniel (Book of Daniel) דניאל
10. Ezra (Book of Ezra-Book of Nehemiah) עזרא
11. Divrei ha-Yamim (Chronicles) דברי הימים*​
(*taken from Wikipedia page Ketuvim - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia )

There, you see, he could have been one that carried the completed Daniel back from Babylon; and along with Chronicles (which is more than just a repeat of the Judean monarchical history: it is a theological interpretation of that history) which he very well may have been responsible for creating, completing, or editing, he is certainly mainly responsible for Ezra-Nehemiah.

But the idea that, for example, Psalms and Proverbs were not "canonical," or recognized as the Word of the Lord by believing saints going back to the earliest age they (or portions thereof) were recorded is simply not commensurable with our Lord's own attitude, or the attitude of the apostles about or unto revelation.


As to the interpretation of that passage, it is challenging but not past recognition. In my judgment, v26 stands alone, and describes the Messiah's (anointed One) rejection and death, followed by the consequence (the people of the prince who come and destroy).

v27 the recapitulates the same testimony (although I find the translation given above obscures rather than gives a good sense): Messiah comes and makes good the covenant promise, his ministry being about 3.5 years. When he is cut off midway, then the Desolator comes.

In this interpretation, which pretty well accords with EJ Young's view, the 70 Sevens are better understood as "prophetic periods or stages" rather than fixed and positive lengths of time, and back-to-back. The most compelling reason is that no truly satisfactory starting point and ending point, or intermediate break-point fixes precisely to the centuries between the exile and the Christ.

The important thing about the last "seven" then, is that it marks the Messiah's coming, and it only goes for half of it before he is cut off. This could indicate that the "last half" is never meant to be "counted up." Or it could refer to the 3.5 years that mark the Jewish Campaign of Vespasian-Titus, with a "generational reprieve" of 40 years, to give one last space for repentance. Or, thirdly, it could simply point to the fact that the initial ministry and death of Messiah only accounts for 1/2 of his mission, and the latter "half" is unending (kind of like the first divine Sabbath, Gen 2:2-3), or fulfilled in so different a way as that 3.5 of 7 doesn't do it justice by any human reckoning.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Thanks for that, Bruce.

Of course in connection with this, which is maybe intended by God to be somewhat mysterious anyway, is it the case that we're not sure if Jesus was crucified in A.D. 30 or A.D. 33?
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Richard,
I do not take the issue of the date of the crucifixion (and I've never heard of it being much of a theological issue) as making any difference.

I consider the angel's words, of the decree to retstore, is Cyrus', ca. 535 BC (Ezra 1:1-3; 6:3), that is: the end of 70 yr captivity.

This then would make the date of Jesus' crucifixion not less than 565 yrs from that date. So, we are not talking about a difference of a mere 3 yr "discrepancy" (from an assumed 490 yr fixed space). Since I do not accept discrepancies in true prophecy, and I accept Cyrus' decree as the starting point, I generally follow EJ Young's view, that the "sevens" are not at all a period of exact length, viz.490 back-to-back years, or some other usage of the rather "inexact" terminology of "sevens" (or is it "weeks" proper? see what I mean? interpretation starts right out the gate with the very words used); but rather describe three prophetic periods or divisions of time (that are likely best understood in terms of years) between the command of Cyrus, and Messiah's mission.
1) 7 sevens, that corresponds roughly to the time between the original command to rebuild the city and the temple, and its ultimate completion after many delays.

2) 62 sevens, that corresponds to a much longer interval, until all is in readiness for Messiah's mission

3) 1 seven, corresponding to Messiah's mission.​
And yes, I do think that God intended some additional "mystery" involved, and not a convenient date that Messiah might be pegged to. It was enough that people should see that he must be very "near".
 
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