"O L-RD, Who are my power and my strength and my refuge in the day of trouble, to You nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, 'Only lies have our fathers handed down to us, emptiness in which there is nothing of any avail! Can a man make gods for himself, and they are no gods? 'Therefore, behold I let them know; at this time I will let them know My power and My might, and they shall know that My Name is the L-RD".
Jeremiah 16:19-21

by Sophiee

Daniel 9 is a favorite missionary “proof text.” They badly mistranslate it so it seems to fit Jesus. Want proof?

The word “moshiach” appears 34 times in the Jewish bible but most Christian translations only translate it as “messiah” in Daniel 9. So when Cyrus is called G-d’s messiah (moshiach) they conveniently translate the word as “anointed one”.

Most Christian translations put the word “the” in front of “messiah” so it seems not only like a singular messiah (there are really 2 in the chapter) — but as if it is the one and only messiah (Jesus). The word “the” does not appear in the text!

There are further distortions — in punctuation and in trying to manipulate the timing. . .

tells of two messiahs and two separate time-frames (not 70 “weeks” but 62 “weeks” and seven plus “weeks”). There are two separate time frames and two messiahs (anointed ones). The first anointed one (messiah) was Cyrus. He is actually identified as such in the T’nach (Jewish bible). The second is not so easily identified — the second messiah ushered in the second exile and the destruction of the 2nd Temple — possibly the Emperor Titus, or the high priest Yannai (both were messiahs). . .

One key to understanding Daniel 9 is to realize that when Jews are told of future events (“do this and such and such will happen”) they are usually a warning. If the Jews repent and follow the mitzvot (instructions in the Torah) then the possible “curse” can be avoided. Daniel 9 is exactly this scenario. All negative warnings CAN be prevented if the warnings are heeded.

Between the first messiah (Cyrus — who gave forth the word to rebuild Jerusalem) and the second messiah (Titus? Agrippa? Yannai?) there is an opportunity for Jews to avoid a second diaspora — exile. If Jews do not avoid the second exile then the second messiah will come and he will foreshadow the second exile. All of this, unfortunately, came to pass. The second messiah came, Jerusalem fell and the Jews were exiled from our land.

Most translations distort Daniel 9. They use the word “the” in front of the word “messiah” even though the word “the” does not appear. They translate “moshiach” as “messiah” even though elsewhere in their translations they translate the word moshiach as “anointed one.” They make the time period seem to be one time frame when it is actually two separate time frames that book end the warning given by Daniel.

Let’s start with Daniel 9:2 in the Artscroll Stone Edition translation (a more modern Jewish translation):

9:2 In the first year of his (Darius son of Ahasuerus) reign, I, Daniel, contemplated the calculations, the number of years about which the word of HaShem had come to the prophet Jeremiah, to complete the seventy years since the ruin of Jerusalem. 2. I set my face toward the L-rd, G-d, to beseech (with) prayer and supplication, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes.

So Daniel tells us WHEN. It is in the 1st year of Darius’ reign.

Daniel’s vision was two-fold. The first was that from the word to rebuild Jerusalem (the beginning of the end of the Babylonian exile) Jews were given a specific time in which to properly behave and avoid the “curse” of a second, much longer exile. This is why the vision of Daniel is in two parts. The first messiah (Cyrus) and the beginning of the period in which Jews can repent and return to G-d and thus avoid the second exile and then the second half of the vision which says what will happen if the Jews do not heed the warning.

Both parts of the vision came to pass. The issue (which is a non-issue for Jews) is “who was the second messiah?” Was it Titus? Was it Alexander Yannai? From a Jewish POV it does not really matter who this second messiah was since he was evil and the “curse” of the second exile came to pass. The focus on “who” this messiah is misplaced and fairly unimportant. The focus is that the second exile and other portions of the vision came to pass.

The Artscroll footnotes are useful:

9:24 Lit., “seventy weeks,” this phrase refers to seventy times seven years – or 490 years. This refers to the seventy years of exile that have passed sine the Destruction of the First Temple (Sophiee’s note: see 9:2-3 quoted above) until this vision and the entire 420 year period of the Second Temple (Rashi).

9:25 The “shavuim” refer to full seven-year periods. The prince of this verse is Cyrus, who gave permission to rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple. He ascended to the throne fifty-two years (seven full septets plus three years) after the exile has begun. From then until the second destruction of Jerusalem was 438 years, or sixty two septets and four years (Rashi).

9:26 I.e., Agrippa, the last Jewish king, at the end of the second Temple era. After his death, the prince of this verse – the Roman Titus, would command the destruction of the Temple, which will not rebuilt until after the War of Gog and Magog in messianic times (Rashi).

9:27 The Roman emperor would make a treaty with the Jewish nation for seven years, but for the second half of the term the Romans would violate that covenant and impede the Temple service. The “mute abomination,” i.e. a temple idolatry, was erected by the emperor Hadrian on the Temple Mount (Rashi).

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