Daniel - Lesson 11

By Stafford North


Background Information for the Teacher


  1. The student can explain what instigated Daniel's actions in chapter 9.
  2. The student can state the essence of Daniel's prayer in Daniel 9.
  3. The student can draw a chart to show the divisions of the prophecy in Daniel 9and can place on the chart significant elements of the prophecy.
  4. The student can state the connection of the message of the prophecy to the coming of the Messiah.


  1. Have a chalkboard or marker board ready or PowerPoint if you plan to use it.
  2. Have copies of the Review Quiz ready for the beginning of class.
  3. Have copies of the worksheet (student chart) ready to hand out at the beginning of the class.
  4. Be sure all students have Bibles and pens/pencils.
  5. Have cards ready to distribute with all the passages you want someone to read aloud during the lesson.


Daniel 9 tells of Daniel's hope and prayer that the Jews will be allowed to return to their homeland. It also tells of the prophecy Daniel is given in response which tells of the re-building of Jerusalem and its eventual destruction again.

Lesson Plan for Conducting the Class

Introduction: (about 10 minutes)

  1. Call or check the roll. Make necessary class announcements. If you like to start with songs, sing "Be Still and Know," "Have Thine Own Way, Lord," "Lord, Take Control," " Be With Me Lord." Have a prayer.
  2. Go through the Review Quiz and let the students give the answers. All should check their papers as you go. Encourage all to be ready for the Review Quiz over today's lesson to be given next week by using the worksheet.
  3. Review the objectives for today's lesson.

Learning Experiences: (about 25 minutes)

The year is now probably 538 BC. The Medes and Persians have conquered the Babylonian Empire and use Babylon as their capitol city. Have your Bibles open to Daniel 9 and be ready to answer questions.

1. The Occasion. Daniel 9:1-2. Q: What has Daniel been reading? A: The Scriptures. He has a collection of books from the Old Testament. Q: What has he learned from Jeremiah? A: That the captivity in Babylon would last for 70 years (Jeremiah 25:11 and 29:10.) Q: How many years since the first Jews were taken captive? A: Since Daniel and his friends were taken in 606 BC, some 68 or 69 of the 70 years have passed. The time is getting close.

2. Daniel's Prayer. Daniel 9:3-19. Q: With what two thoughts does Daniel begin his prayer? A: God is great and the Jews are sinners. Q: With what Bible book besides Jeremiah is Daniel acquainted? A: Deuteronomy where God states" curses" he will send on Israel if they are disobedient. (See Deuteronomy 28:63 as an example.) Q: What request does Daniel make of God? A: That He will turn his wrath away from Jerusalem, which means He will let the people return there. Q: As Daniel makes his case before God for the forgiveness and return, what reasons does he give God for doing this? A: Because of His great mercy and because it will be good for the name of God for His people to be restored. For His people to be away from their land and under the control of another nation is a mark against God. So Daniel pleads that for the sake of His own name, God will return his people. Q: Summarize Daniel's strategy in his prayer with God? A: He exalts God, and confesses the sins of the people. Then he tells God how right He was in sending them into captivity. Then he requests forgiveness for the people and asks God to allow them to return to Jerusalem.

3. Gabriel's Message. Daniel 9:20-22. Q: What message did Gabriel bring about Daniel's prayer? A: That Daniel was highly esteemed and that he had come to give Daniel insight and understanding about the situation.

4. The Response to Daniel's Prayer. Daniel 9:23-27. Gabriel now gives Daniel a prophetic glimpse of what will happen to the city of Jerusalem about which he has been praying. He does this by speaking to him of a period of time called in the NIV "seventy sevens" and in some translations "seventy weeks." The idea is that there are seventy periods of "seven" in length. Since there are seven days in a week, this has often been the wording. The actual length of a "seven," however is not specified, so many have said that each of the "sevens" is a period of "seven years." We will see as we examine the prophecy why that view is held by many. On your worksheet, fill in the items as we study this portion of the text. First, complete the statements on the worksheet that tell what will be accomplished by the end of the "seventy sevens: (1) to finish transgressions, (2) to put an end to sin, (3) to atone for wickedness, (4) to bring in everlasting righteousness, (5) to seal up vision and prophecy, and (6) to anoint the most holy. Q: To what might all of these be connected? A: To the work of the Messiah who, with His atonement for sins, will, in a sense, finish transgressions and sins and bring in everlasting righteousness. His work will complete the need for visions and prophecy which came to an end within a few years after His death, and His coming will, of course, see the anointing of the most holy. This prophecy tells about the future of Jerusalem including the coming to the city of the Anointed One. In a rather interesting turn, the disobedience of the Jews led to the first destruction of the city by the Babylonians and their general refusal to accept Jesus as the Messiah will lead to a second destruction, as pointed out in this prophecy. The use of "seventy" in the prophecy is also interesting because of the "seventy years" duration of the exile. Complete your chart as we ask some questions. Read Daniel 9:25-27. (Teacher: your completed copy of the chart is on a separate page.) Q: What is the beginning point for the "seventy sevens?" A: The decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. Write "decree" above the number 1 as the beginning of period 1. Q: Into how many sections are the "seventy sevens" to be divided and how long is each? A: Part 1 is seven "sevens," Part 2 is sixty "sevens," and that would leave Part 3 with one "seven." Put the numbers of "sevens" in the blanks under the line. Write the word "completion" in the blank above the number 2. Q: What event marks the end of the sixty two sevens and, thus, the start of the last seven? A: The coming of the Anointed One. Write"Anointed One" in the blank above the number 2 as the end of the second period and start of the third. Q: Some time after He comes at the end of the sixty-two weeks, what happens to the Anointed One? A: He is cut off. The word used here for "cut off" is associated with one's being "cut off" by the death penalty (Lev.7:20). Q: Then what happens to the rebuilt city? A: It is destroyed with a desolation. Above the number 3 write "desolation." Q: What is a New Testament reference to this prophecy? A: Jesus in Matthew 24:15 where, speaking of Jerusalem's coming destruction, He says, "But when you see the abomination of desolation, spoken by Daniel the prophet." Write Matthew 24:15 in the blank below 1 seven. Now we can seek to put some dates on these historical events. Two approaches generally have been used. (1) To regard the "sevens" as general time periods to suggest approximations of the lengths of time and the overall sequence of events.(2) To make each period of "seven" to represent seven years. We'll see how this develops as we go through some dates.Two dates are usually proposed for the time when the decree went forth to rebuild the city: (1) Cyrus' decree in 536 BC and (2) the decree of Artaxerxes in 457 BC, reported in Ezra 7-10, to resume the building. Record these two possibilities in the spaces shown. The end of the first period of seven sevens is probably a reference to the completion of the rebuilding. The date of this is uncertain. At the end of 7 plus 62 "sevens," the Anointed One comes. Later he is cut off. The final end of the city is in 70 AD. Now look at the two columns of dates. From 536 BC to 70 AD is a total of 606 years. If one takes the view of the general time periods, this fits fine because we simply have one period of about a hundred years for the rebuilding, then a much longer period until 26 AD when Jesus began His public ministry, and then a shorter time until 70 AD. In the other column, we start with 457 BC. If each of the "sevens" is seven years, then 7 x 7 is 49 and the rebuilding is finished in 408 BC, about the right time. If 69 "sevens" equal 69 x 7 we have 483 years. From 457 BC to 26 AD is exactly this number of years. Pretty interesting! Some take this approach and say the exact year for Jesus to begin His ministry is specified. If one takes the years that specifically, however, there is some problem as to how the time from 26 to 70 AD can be only one period of seven years. The prophecy of the seventy sevens is truly an amazing one. At the least, it gives a general picture of the history of Jerusalem from its rebuilding after the exile until its next destruction for another rejection of God. It is also remarkable because it relates the mission of the Messiah and tells us that his coming will be shortly before the second destruction of Jerusalem. Jesus speaks of this very prophecy as He also prophesies about the coming destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD. Take the chart for all of Daniel's prophecies and add this one in the fourth column. It runs from the time of the Medes and Persians to the time of the Romans. For the kingdom of God, put "Coming of the Anointed One."

Application: (about 1 minute)

Q: What are some things we should learn about our praying from the praying of Daniel? Pray often. Carefully plan our prayers. Include praise, confession, and requests. Reason with God about why He should do what we ask and base that reasoning on what is good for God and His name and His cause, not just our preference. Q: What will you learn from the prophecy of the seventy sevens?


  1. Study the worksheet for the Review Quiz next week,
  2. Read Daniel 10-12.

Daniel's Prophesy of the 70 "Sevens"

decree     completion                      Anointed One            desolation
    7 sevens               62 sevens                1 seven 
                                                                           Matthew 24:15
More general  More Specific

The decree to rebuild Jerusalem 

Beginning of prophesy

536 BC 437 BC

The end of the rebuilding 

Probable meaning of 7 "sevens"

unknown 408 BC

The end of the first 69 "sevens" 

Anointed One comes

26 AD 26 BC
Next destruction of Jerusalem 70 AD

70 AD

Application to Remember:

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