The 70 Weeks of Daniel - Survey of the Interpretive Views

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  • Topic: Book of Daniel, Prophecy of Seventy Weeks, Christian eschatology
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  • Published : May 29, 2011
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LIBERTY UNIVERSITY

THE 70 WEEKS OF DANIEL: A SURVEY OF THE INTERPRETIVE VIEWS

SUBMITTED TO DR. GARY E. YATES AS PARTIAL REQUIREMENT OF “OLD TESTAMENT ORIENTATION II” - OBST592_397_200920 LIBERTY BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY

BY ELKE B. SPELIOPOULOS

SATURDAY, MAY 9, 2009 DOWNINGTOWN, PA

TABLE OF CONTENTS FOCUS ---------------------------------------------------------- 1 INTRODUCTION ---------------------------------------------------- 1 THE SEVENTY SEVENS ------------------------------------------------ 4 INVESTIGATING INTERPRETIVE VIEWS OF DANIEL’S 70 WEEKS ---------------------- 5 Jewish vs. Early Christian Interpretative View ----------------------------------------------------6 Messianic vs. Non-Messianic Interpretative View ------------------------------------------------8 Traditional (or Historicist) vs. Dispensationalist View -------------------------------------------9 Sabbatical Year View ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 12 Key Considerations in Attempting to Interpret the Prophecy ---------------------------------- 13 To Whom Was Gabriel Addressing This Prophecy? ------------------------------------------- 14 Six Restoration Goals ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 14 Terminus a Quo ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 16 Terminus Ad Quem --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 21 Time of Daniel’s Writing -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 22 Extant Texts and TranslationDifficulties of Daniel --------------------------------------------- 23 Hebrew Text Difficulties and Grammatical Considerations ----------------------------------- 24 CONCLUSION ----------------------------------------------------- 28 BIBLIOGRAPHY --------------------------------------------------III

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FOCUS As Bible scholars can attest, prophetic writing in the Old Testament is abundant. Prophets of Israel and Judah through the centuries spoke of coming judgment but also of future restoration and ultimately the arrival of God’s kingdom on earth and with it His complete and perfect reign, restoring righteousness and justice. For believers today, especially those on the dispensational side of the theological divide, these prophecies continue to hold an immense draw, as many prophetic utterances made thousands of years ago are yet to be fulfilled, or at least believed to not yet have been ultimately fulfilled. Shelves in Christian bookstores, full of books on Bible prophecy, attest to the ongoing interest. Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy, as told in Daniel 9:24-27, is one of these prophetic passages and deemed to be of great eschatological significance. Yet, as this paper will show, learning the many facets of the debate surrounding this passage will ultimately guide students of Daniel into a very careful examination of the prophetic utterance that may or may not result in a clearly defined personal conviction and ultimately in the adoption of a particular eschatological viewpoint. As such, this paper will not attempt to find the definitive answer to interpreting Daniel’s Seventy Weeks prophecy, but rather will seek to equip the reader with insights allowing the development of his or her own interpretive standpoint based on the background information collected and insights gained. INTRODUCTION When discussion in Christian circles turns to topics concerning eschatology, invariably the 70 weeks prophecy, part of the Old Testament book of Daniel, enters the picture. Daniel, a student of the writings of the pre-exilic prophet Jeremiah, had come to the realization that if his assumption was correct that the 70 year exile period, which the Jewish people were 1

currently enduring in Babylon and which had been predicted by the prophet, was truly depicting a literal number of years, it was coming to an end. He had turned...
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