In Daniel 9:24–27, the beginning of the seventy weeks is marked by “the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem” (Dan. 9:25, NASB). The book of Ezra reports on three decrees that concern Jerusalem and the temple, but only the third, reported in Ezra 7:12–26, is the most effective one. The Persian King Artaxerxes I issued the decree in 457 B.C. It involves both the reconstruction of the temple and the rebuilding of Jerusalem as a political and administrative center (Ezra 7:25-26). In the Bible, only this decree is followed by thanksgiving that praises God for influencing the king (Ezra 7:27-28). Furthermore, only with 457 BC as a starting point do the seventy weeks (that is, 490 years) reach the time of Christ, the “Messiah, the Prince” of Daniel 9:25–27. Thus, the prophecy of the seventy weeks provides the precise event to date the beginning of the 2,300 evenings and mornings. They start in 457 B.C. and end after 2,300 years in A.D. 1844.
- If possible, get a more detailed explanation of the link between Daniel 8:14 and Daniel 9:24–27 and study the close connection between them. What should it tell us about the importance of the prophecy of Daniel 8:14 that it is so closely linked to such a major prophecy as Daniel 9:24–27?
- Ellen G. White wrote: “The subject of the sanctuary and the investigative judgment should be clearly understood by the people of God. All need a knowledge for themselves of the position and work of their great High Priest. Otherwise it will be impossible for them to exercise the faith which is essential at this time or to occupy the position which God designs them to fill.”— The Great Controversy, p. 488. What do you think she meant by this? Why are these things so important for us to understand?
- When talking about the little horn, the prophecies of Daniel 7 and 8 are dealing solely with Rome, and nothing else—not communism (as some have said in the past) or Islam (as some now say). How, though, do we remain faithful to our beliefs without causing undue hurt to others? Why must we show that our concern is with a system, not with the people caught up in it?