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Sabbath School Lessons on The Gospel, 1844, and Judgment
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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 37 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 7: 70 Weeks *
Introduction: Last week, after studying Daniel's prayer that his
people to be returned to their home and their sanctuary rebuilt, we
learned that Gabriel came immediately to give Daniel an answer. An
answer straight from the throne of God! We could not help it - we
"peeked" ahead a few verses to see what Gabriel had to tell Daniel.
This week we will revisit those same verses and then try to
understand what they mean. Let's dive in!
- 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.)
- Daniel 9:24, according to Strong's, uses the Hebrew
word "chathak" which means "to cut off." The NIV
translates this "decreed" and the KJV translates it
"determined." Does that make any sense to you?
(Consider this modern application: The boss "cuts
off" further discussion when he decides (determines
or decrees) what to do. Look a little deeper at this
because there is another angle. Since Gabriel is
explaining to Daniel what the 2,300 day ( Daniel 8:14)
prophecy of Daniel 8 means, we can reasonably
understand the "70 weeks" prophecy to be a part of
("cut off") the 2,300 day prophecy.)
- 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 the 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
predicts that the temple will be "defiled" by
those who reduce Jerusalem to rubble - thus
fitting the "abomination that causes
- 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
destroyed again! Worse, the Messiah will be "cut off and
will have nothing!" Argghh!)
- Building the Reality
- Read Ezra 7:1 and Ezra 7:6-7. What do we learn about
Ezra? (He is a Bible scholar and teacher.)
- What was his relationship to the King Artaxerxes? (He
had the king's favor because the king gave him
everything he asked.)
- What was his relationship to God? (He also enjoyed
the favor of God.)
- Read Ezra 7:8 What you think that Ezra had asked of King
Artaxerxes? (To go back to Jerusalem and rebuild.)
- Read Ezra 7:11-19. What do you think is being referred to
in verse 19 when it says "all the articles entrusted to
you for worship in the temple?" (I think these are the
articles for worship in the temple that had been taken by
the Babylonians when they destroyed the temple. The
temple furnishings are being returned.)
- Read Ezra 7:20-23. Do these verses actually say that they
are rebuilding the temple? (Not exactly. Verse 23
authorizes them to do "with diligence for the temple of
the God of Heaven," "whatever the God of Heaven has
prescribed." One commentary (A Commentary, Critical and
Explanatory, on the Old and New Testament) commented that
"the commission related exclusively to the rebuilding of
the temple and not the walls" of the city.)
- Read Ezra 4:6-8 and Ezra 4:11-12. What is the complaint?
(The Jews are rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem.)
- Read Ezra 4:13-16. What is the argument that Rehum is
making? (That if the Jews rebuild the walls of the city of
Jerusalem, they will rebel, defend the place and not pay
- How does this tend to show that Artaxerxes issued a decree
to rebuild the temple, rather than the walls of Jerusalem?
(It shows that the Jews had authority to come and rebuild.
Further, it reinforces the idea that their authority was
to rebuild the temple, God's sanctuary, and not rebuild
the walls of the city. That is ostensibly why Rehum is
complaining to the authorities about what is going on in
- What does this show us about the accuracy of Daniel's
vision? (This shows that the first phase of what
Daniel saw in vision is being fulfilled.)
- Read Ezra 4:17-21. Does Rehum win?
- What, exactly, is the result? (Read Ezra 4:24. The
building is stopped. By the way, according to
Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the Old Testament,
the Darius referred to in Ezra 4:24 is NOT the Darius
the Mede of Daniel 5, 6 and 9.)
- Notice what actually was stopped. Was Rehum telling
the truth? ( Ezra 4:24 says they stopped work on the
temple. Thus, it appears that Rehum might have been
saying that they were unlawfully rebuilding the walls
of the city in order to get the rebuilding of the
- When you have been doing God's work, have you
ever had people lie about you?
- 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!)
- The dates that I have given are subject to debate. Do you
think this makes any difference? (Assume that the precise
dates of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem, Jesus' public
ministry and His crucifixion are subject to debate. Moving
these dates around a little bit does not change the
incredible accuracy of Daniel's vision. Instead of being
caught up in a debate over precise years, we can take
confidence in the big picture of the amazing timing and
accuracy of this 70 Week prophecy.)
- Friend, there is a God who knows the future and who knows
your future. Will you serve Him with confidence?
- Next week: 1844 Made Simple.
* Copr. 2006, 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.