Daniel 9 - The Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks

Turn in your Bibles to Daniel 9:20;

 

Now while I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God, 21 yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering. 22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand. 23 At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision:

 

24 “Seventy weeks[a] are determined

For your people and for your holy city,

To finish the transgression,

To make an end of[b] sins,

To make reconciliation for iniquity,

To bring in everlasting righteousness,

To seal up vision and prophecy,

And to anoint the Most Holy.

 

25 “Know therefore and understand,

That from the going forth of the command

To restore and build Jerusalem

Until Messiah the Prince,

There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks;

The street[c] shall be built again, and the wall,[d]

Even in troublesome times.

 

26 “And after the sixty-two weeks

Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself;

And the people of the prince who is to come

Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.

The end of it shall be with a flood,

And till the end of the war desolations are determined.

 

27 Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;

But in the middle of the week

He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.

And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate,

Even until the consummation, which is determined,

Is poured out on the desolate.”

 

May God bless the reading of His word.

 

Let us pray.

 

Here in the second half of Daniel 9 God sends Gabriel to explain to Daniel His plan for Daniel's people and for God's holy city, Jerusalem. In Gabriel's preamble to the prophecy of the seventy weeks, he tells Daniel;

 

O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand. 23 At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision:

 

As I have mentioned before, the depth and specifics of the prophecies given to Daniel testify to God's love for him. God literally imparts His high level plan for all peoples, not just the Jews to Daniel and Daniel faithfully sets down those prophecies as well as the experiences of his life as a testimony of the trustworthiness and faithfulness of the Living God.

 

God has placed Daniel at a nexus to the great civilizations of the ancient world and has used his faithfulness and the faithfulness of his comrades, Meshach, Shadrach and Abed-nego as a testimony of the faithfulness and power of the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob. It is only fitting that God would reveal to Daniel the unfolding of the future, as he was in a position to pass this knowledge to not only his people but to those gentiles whom he was over as well.

 

The prophecy of the 70 weeks is perhaps the clearest blueprint of God's intentions concerning His chosen people, their Messiah and their ultimate falling away and then restoration.

 

In verse 24 Gabriel tells Daniel;

 

“Seventy weeks[a] are determined

For your people and for your holy city,

To finish the transgression,

To make an end of[b] sins,

To make reconciliation for iniquity,

To bring in everlasting righteousness,

To seal up vision and prophecy,

And to anoint the Most Holy.

 

This is not only from whence we get the name for this prophecy, but it also shows God's ultimate intentions. There are appointed 70 weeks for Israel, Daniel's people, and for his holy city, Jerusalem. In these 70 weeks, transgression will be finished, sins will be made an end of, there will be reconciliation for iniquity, everlasting righteousness will brought in, vision and prophecy will be sealed up and the Most Holy will be anointed.

 

This is God's agenda, the main outline of what He will accomplish in this time that started beginning of transgression and the start of sin in the Garden of Eden.

 

The end of the seventy weeks which God has determined for Israel and Jerusalem coincide with what is referred to as the Day of the Lord. That time which the Apostle John writes about in the book of Revelation.

 

Gabriel tells Daniel in verse 25;

 

25 “Know therefore and understand,

That from the going forth of the command

To restore and build Jerusalem

Until Messiah the Prince,

There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks;

The street[c] shall be built again, and the wall,[d]

Even in troublesome times.

 

The date which the angel speaks of is well known, as long as we make sure that we use the right date according to what Gabriel explicitly says. There are two earlier dates where first Cyrus decrees the rebuilding only of the Temple, as recorded by the prophet Ezra and then there is a second decree to rebuild the temple, supporting Cyrus' original decree by King Artaxerxes. But they are decrees to build the temple, where Gabriel explicitly tells that Daniel that the 70 weeks starts from “... from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem.”

 

Also notice that we don't jump from there right to 70 weeks.

 

No, there are only “7 weeks and sixty-two weeks,” or 69 weeks from the starting date until “Messiah the Prince.”

 

You've heard me say many times over the years that the religious leaders knew to be looking for the Messiah at the time of Jesus' incarnation because of Daniel's prophecies. This is the fundamental prophecy from that was used to set that date.

 

We have a known start date, “the going forth of the command to rebuild Jerusalem,” which is recorded by Nehemiah. In Nehemiah chapter 2 we read;

 

And it came to pass in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, that I took the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had never been sad in his presence before. 2 Therefore the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This is nothing but sorrow of heart.”

 

So I became dreadfully afraid, 3 and said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ tombs, lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire?”

 

4 Then the king said to me, “What do you request?”

 

So I prayed to the God of heaven. 5 And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it.”

 

6 Then the king said to me (the queen also sitting beside him), “How long will your journey be? And when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.

 

7 Furthermore I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, let letters be given to me for the governors of the region beyond the River,[a] that they must permit me to pass through till I come to Judah, 8 and a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, that he must give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel which pertains to the temple,[b] for the city wall, and for the house that I will occupy.” And the king granted them to me according to the good hand of my God upon me.

 

From history we know that the month of Nissan in the 20th year of the reign of Artaxerxes correlates to sometime around the 5th of March, 444 BC in our modern calendar.

 

Next we need to understand that the “weeks” that Gabriel is speaking of are not actual weeks but groups of 7 years. So there would be 483 years from the going forth of the command to Messiah the Prince.

 

Even if you're not good at math, if we use a Julian year of 365 days, that would put Messiah the Prince at 43 AD, which is about 10 years too late to have been fulfilled by Jesus.

 

But wait.

 

Remember when we were talking about years with the last prophecy, we found that the Jewish “prophetic year” was only 360 days.

 

360 days times 69 times 7 (because these are weeks of years) equals 173,880 days.

 

When we divide that by 365 days for a Julian year we get 476.38 years. Which places the end of the 69 weeks in March or April of 33 AD (because we have to add 1 because you go from 1 BC to 1 AD).

 

Given that we know that Jesus' crucifixion took place sometime between 29 AD and 36 AD there are only two years when the passover occurred on a Friday at dusk, as described in the Bible. These are:

 

Friday, April 7, A.D. 30

Friday, April 3, A.D. 33

 

Because we know that Jesus' ministry spanned approximately 3 ½ years, the 30 AD date does not fit., leaving only the Friday, April 3, 33 AD as the date when the Messiah redeemed His kingdom unto Himself and five days before that, on Palm Sunday, He was hailed as Messiah with His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on the colt of an ass.

 

In verse 26 Gabriel describes this circumstance perfectly, he tells Daniel;

 

26 “And after the sixty-two weeks

Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself;

And the people of the prince who is to come

Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.

The end of it shall be with a flood,

And till the end of the war desolations are determined.

 

Don't be confused, Gabriel's reference to “after the sixty-two weeks” means the seven weeks and sixty-two weeks referenced in verse 25.

 

So literally, Gabriel is telling Daniel that Messiah the Prince will be recognized and then he will be “cut-off, but not for Himself.” The Net Bible and other translations translate the section “but not for Himself” as “will be cut off and have nothing.” The Net Bible explicitly calls out the King James translation and says;

 

The expression have nothing is difficult. Presumably it refers to an absence of support or assistance for the anointed one at the time of his “cutting off.” The KJV rendering “but not for himself,” apparently suggesting a vicarious death, cannot be defended.

 

Interestingly, the translation of “the people of the prince who is to come” is widely supported even though it could just as easily be translated as the troops of the invading leader, or as the New Living Translation puts it “a ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple.”

 

Gabriel goes from the destruction of the Temple to a time when sacrifices are being made again, and while the words “Then he shall,” or something similar occur in all English translations, the words simply don't appear in the Hebrew. While I am not a Hebrew scholar, it seems entirely possible to simply state that a covenant with many will be confirmed for one week, because the “he shall” that we read in the English is simply not there. Thus;

 

27 Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;

But in the middle of the week

He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.

And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate,

Even until the consummation, which is determined,

Is poured out on the desolate.”

 

Could simply read;

 

Then a strong covenant with many for one week….

 

The same is true of the later part where it could just as easily read;

 

But in the middle of the week the sacrifice shall desist …

 

The unlinking of this verse to the actions described in verse 26 could be important because we know that the events that happen in verse 27 have not yet occurred, though the events of verses 24-26 have.

 

 

Indeed Sir Lancelot Brenton, who translated the Septuagint into English, translates verse 27 in a very similar manner as I am suggesting seems legitimate. His translation of this passage simply reads;

 

And one week shall establish the covenant with many: and in the midst of the week my sacrifice and drink offering shall be taken away: and on the temple shall be the abomination of desolations; and at the end of the time an end shall be put to the desolation.

 

And suddenly we no longer have the difficult link between those who destroy the Temple in 70 AD and the desolations which will occur half way through the 70th week.

 

Literalists who believe that the 70th week described by Gabriel to Daniel has not yet occurred believe that there is a hidden period of time between the 69th and the 70th week. It is a great mystery that was not revealed to the prophets of the Old Testament. It is the mystery of the Church and God's redemptive work among “the world” or the gentiles.

 

The same events, the covenant, the reinstituting of the sacrifice and then its disruption in the middle of the final seven years are all seen and testified to by the Apostle John in Revelation almost 700 years after Daniel wrote this prophecy.

 

If you confess Jesus as Lord then this final week is the one which we need to be watching for expectantly. Daniel does not give us any hints about God's treatment of His church, because the church is a mystery and stays that way until after Jesus' death and resurrection.

 

I don't care if you're a pre-tribulationist, a mid-tribulationist, or a post-tribulationist, we need to be watching prayerfully for the beginning of the 70th week. Watchman Nee wrote that a true Christian is filled with the constant expectation of Jesus' imminent return. It is He Who will pour out His wrath and judgment against all those rebel and sin against God.

 

Let us take the accuracy of the prophecy we looked at in chapter 8 as well as the accuracy of Gabriel's prophecy as concerns the 69th week as an indication of the inevitability of the coming 70th week.

 

Let us be constantly vigilant for the resumption of the sacrifice and for the one who facilitates such a thing, as He is the Antichrist.

 

Let's not cease our work of making disciples of all the nations. Rather, let the 70th week be our inspiration to reach out to as many people as we can before that final week starts

 

And if you have never confessed Jesus as Lord, I simply want to remind you that in both Chapter 8 and Chapter 8 we have very concrete examples of accurate prophecy hundreds of years before they were fulfilled.

 

I beg with you fervently to humbly seek God's favor, that He might resurrect you and keep you from the wrath which He will pour out upon those who desecrate His holy city and sanctuary.

 

Whether Jesus returns during your lifetime, or you die and go to meet you Creator, one simple truth remains the same, you are a sinner and the penalty of sin is death, which is eternity in that place which Jesus refers to ash “the outer darkness, where there is crying and gnashing of teeth.”

 

If you earnestly seek Him, He will not only reveal Himself to you, but He will resurrect your spirit which is currently dead in its trespasses and sins and give you the faith to confess Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead.

 

Won't you cry out to Him today?

 

 

Let us pray.  

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