Spiritual Failure, Postponement, And Daniel 9 -- By: Ronald W. Pierce

Journal: Trinity Journal
Volume: TRINJ 10:2 (Fall 1989)
Article: Spiritual Failure, Postponement, And Daniel 9
Author: Ronald W. Pierce


Spiritual Failure, Postponement,
And Daniel 9

Ronald W. Pierce

TALBOT SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY
LA MIRADA, CALIFORNIA

Until recently, most interpretations of Dan 9:24–27 have treated the text in one of two ways. Those who take a more critical approach view it as a second century BC pseudepigraphic history chronicling the events related to the desecration of the temple by Antiochus Epiphanes in 167–164 BC.1 In contrast, those from a more conservative camp find here a distinctly Christian element. For them it is a sixth century BC prophecy, identifying more or less precisely2 the date of some event in the life of our Lord during the Roman era, perhaps with an extended eschatological dimension.3

In contrast to both approaches, this study understands the passage as a sixth century BC prophecy, but focusing on the postponement of the expected restoration caused by the poor spiritual condition of the remnant at the close of the exile. In the brief announcement by Gabriel, the captivity of Jerusalem is extended from the seventy years originally intended (Jer 25:1–13; 29:1–14), to seventy weeks of years, that is, 490 years.4 This results in a prophetic era beginning with the reign of Nebuchadnezzar and continuing through the era when the Medes, Persians, and Greeks respectively exercised varying degrees of control over the ancient Near East.5

However, its fulfillment comes neither during the Greek nor Roman occupations, but rather at the zenith of Israel’s independence under the Hasmonean kings Aristobulus I (104–103 BC) and his half-brother Alexander Jannaeus (103–76 BC).

Several factors in the immediate context point to this conclusion: (1) the specifically identified starting point for the seventy weeks (9:2) as the going forth of the word of Jeremiah in 605 BC; (2) the separation in the Hebrew text at 9:25 of the seven weeks which begin the prophetic era, from the sixty-two which follow them; (3) the literal fulfillment of the three distinct segments of the seventy weeks (9:24–27) in the reigns of Aristobulus I and Alexander Jannae-us; (4) the prayer of Daniel (You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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