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Sabbath School Lessons on Daniel
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About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 11: God's Timetable *
Introduction: Last week we studied about Daniel's vision of
reconsecrating (cleansing) the sanctuary. Daniel had been a captive
and a foreigner for most of his life. His fondest hope was to have
his country and the sanctuary rebuilt so that the Jewish people could
go home and properly worship God again. Hold that thought while we
jump into our study of Daniel 9!
- The Prayer
- Read Daniel 9:1-3. When was Daniel praying? (The first
year of King Darius. The Bible Knowledge Commentary
identifies this as 539 B.C. - 66 years after Daniel had
- Do you remember Darius?(Read Daniel 5:30-31. Darius,
the Mede, followed Belshazzar as ruler when the Medo-Persians defeated the Babylonians. This tells us that
Daniel's prayer follows in time his vision of chapter
8. Compare Daniel 8:1.)
- What is Daniel praying about? (Now here is a surprise
- Daniel is praying about Jeremiah's prophecy
( Jeremiah 29:10)that the destruction of Jerusalem and
the captivity of the Jews would last for only 70
years. Since Daniel is 66 years into his exile, we
can understand why he is praying about this topic.)
- Read Daniel 9:4-19. On what basis does Daniel ask God to
consider and do something about His promise regarding
Jerusalem? ( Daniel 9:18:God's mercy. Daniel 9:19: God's
- What got the people into trouble?
- Have the captives learned their lesson?
- Have you learned lessons about obedience to God?
- In Daniel 9:19 Daniel asks God to forgive His people.
Can Daniel confess the sins of others? (Consider 1
John 5:16-17 and Job 1:4-5.)
- The Answer
- Read Daniel 9:20-21. Who shows up? (Gabriel - the angel
who came to see him before. We previously learned that
Gabriel stands in the presence of God and gave to Mary
God's message about Jesus.)
- How do you like the timing of God's response?
(Gabriel left heaven when Daniel began his prayer and
arrived while he was still praying!)
- What time of day did Gabriel show up? (The time of
the evening sacrifice.)
- What "evening sacrifice" is Daniel talking
about? (Daniel was so focused on the sanctuary
service that he "tells time" based on when the
evening sacrifice would have taken place. Of
course, no sacrifice is taking place on earth
because the sanctuary was destroyed long ago.)
- Read Daniel 9:22-23. Understanding about what? What is the
topic on which Daniel needs greater understanding?
(Clearly the topic of the sanctuary in the vision of
Daniel 8. Daniel is thinking and praying about the
sanctuary. The last time Gabriel spoke to him (Daniel
8:26) it was about the sanctuary service. But, Daniel did
not understand then. ( Daniel 8:27) So, Gabriel picks up
where he left off last and continues his prior discussion.
An interesting point is the Hebrew word used for the
vision in Daniel 8:26, 8:2 7 and 9:23 is the same root
word: "mareh." Thus, Gabriel's insight and understanding
about the "vision" in Daniel 9:23 is about the same vision
spoken of in Daniel 8:26 & 27.)
- Interpreting the Vision
- Read Daniel 9:24. "Seventy `sevens'" is an odd term. What
do you think a "seven" means? ("Seven" would logically
refer to a week. A week has seven days. Thus, Gabriel is
speaking about 70 weeks.)
- How long is seventy weeks? (Seventy weeks would be
about a year and a third (1 1/3).
- Read Daniel 9:25. Who do you think is the "Anointed One?"
(See Acts 10:37-38. This refers to the Messiah - Jesus.)
- Considering that the general time frame is from the
time of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem, to the time
of Jesus, could we be talking about a little over one
year? (No. Just as in Daniel 8, these 70 weeks are
clearly symbolic(1 day = 1 year). Thus, 70 times 7
(490 days)most likely means 490 years. This
strengthens our prior conclusion that the 2,300 days
of Daniel 8:14 symbolizes 2,300 years.)
- Consider again Daniel 9:24-25. What happens during this
490 years? (Time is given to the Jewish people and
Jerusalem to "finish transgression, put an end to sin, to
atone for wickedness and to bring in everlasting
- How could the Jewish people put an end to sin and
bring in everlasting righteousness? (They could not.
This provides further evidence that the "Anointed
One" is Jesus. Jesus guaranteed the end of sin and
eternal life for the righteous.)
- Read Daniel 9:26. What does it mean for the Anointed One
to be "cut off?" (Sounds like death. Compare Genesis 9:11
and the Messianic prophecy of Isaiah 53:8.)
- Let's look more closely at these numbers that we see in
Daniel 9:24-27. How many time periods do you see? (Three.
The total, 490 years (70x7) is found in verse 24. The
first division of this is 49 years ("seven sevens") and is
found in verse 25. The second division is 434 years
(62x7) is found in verses 25-26. The last division is
seven years ("one `seven'") and is found in verse 27.
Together these add up to 490 years or seventy "sevens".)
- What happens during the 49 years? (It appears this
refers to the rebuilding of Jerusalem.)
- What happens at the end of the 483 years (49+434)?
(The Anointed One comes ( Daniel 9:25). While there
were three decrees to rebuild Jerusalem, the various
commentaries have relatively small differences in the
starting dates. The SDA Bible Commentary pegs the
decree to rebuild at 458/457 B.C. (Artaxerxes decree.
See Ezra 7:1-26.) Starting with 457 B.C., the 483
years brings us to 27 A.D. - the year of Jesus'
baptism and the beginning of His public ministry.)
- What happens during the seven years? ( Daniel 9:26
tells us that after the 483 years the Anointed One
will be "cut off" and Daniel 9:27 tells us that the
Anointed One will put an end to sacrifice and
offering in the middle of the "seven." Continuing
with our time-line from 457 B.C. to 27 A.D., an
additional 3-4 years (middle of the seven) brings us
to 31 A.D. - the year of Jesus' crucifixion.
Gabriel's description makes sense because Jesus'
crucifixion ended the need for the animal sacrifices
in the rebuilt sanctuary in Jerusalem.)
- How do you understand ( Daniel 9:27)the
"confirm[ing]" of the covenant for the rest of
the "seven?" (In Matthew 21:43-45 Jesus predicts
that the kingdom of God will be taken away from
the Jewish officials who rejected Him and given
to others - which, as we see in Acts, included
Gentiles. The SDA Bible Commentary notes that 34
A.D. (7 years after 27 A.D.) marked the stoning
of Stephen and the beginning of sharing the
gospel with Gentiles. See Acts 7&8.)
- How do you understand the Daniel 9:26 reference
to destroying the "city and the sanctuary?"
(Rome destroyed Jerusalem and the rebuilt
sanctuary in 70 A.D. This fits the description
of the "ruler who will come." Psalms 79:1
prophecies that the temple is "defiled" by those
who reduce Jerusalem to rubble - thus fitting
the "abomination that causes desolation.)
- How would you feel if you were Daniel hearing this message
from Gabriel? (Just as I hear good news, I then hear
terrible news. The sanctuary will be rebuilt and then
- How do you feel, thousands of years later, to read
Gabriel's interpretation of the vision? (It gives me
additional proof that: a) God is in charge of history; b)
Jesus was the predicted Messiah; and, since Jesus came the
first time just as prophesied, c) That God will keep His
word for Jesus' Second Coming!)
- Friend, Jesus is coming again! Are you ready? Have you
confessed your sins and relied upon God's mercy for your
- Next Week: When Kings Go to War.
* Copr. 2004, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.