“The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing you couldest reveal this secret. 48 Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon.”
Daniel Chapter 9
Seventy Weeks and the Messiah
Daniel 9:1-2 “In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans; 2 In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.”
Here we find Daniel in the first year of the reign of Darius the Mede (Daniel 5:30-31), so obviously this is the first year after Babylon has fallen. This being the case, we find that chapter 8 and 9 are very close together in time.
Daniel had been studying the book of Jeremiah, and understood from the study of it that God was going to leave the Jews in captivity 70 years, then punish Babylon for their iniquity. (Jeremiah 29:10, 14; 25:11-13) But he also understood from prophecy, that it was going to be the Medes and Persians that would destroy Babylon and avenge the destruction of the temple (Jeremiah 51:11) also that they would ultimately be the ones to let the Jews return to their homeland and restore their worship in the temple. (Isaiah 45:1-5, 13)
It is interesting to note that Daniel did not think it below himself to study the books of other prophets even though he was a highly regarded prophet himself.
NOTE: More prophecies regarding the downfall of Babylon by the hands of the Medes. (Isaiah 13:1-5, 17-22)
Daniel 9:3 “And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:”
We can see from this verse that Daniel most earnestly set himself to seek the Lord in prayer, and with an attitude of humbleness he hoped for his prayer and supplications to be heard. How do we come before the Father when we pray to Him?
Daniel 9:4-14 “And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his Commandments; 5 We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from your precepts and from your judgments: 6 Neither have we hearkened unto your servants the prophets, which spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. 7 O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto you, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither you have driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against you. 8 O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against you. 9 To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him; 10 Neither have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. 11 Yes, all Israel have transgressed your law, even by departing, that they might not obey your voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him. 12 And he has confirmed his words, which he spoke against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven has not been done as has been done upon Jerusalem. 13 As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand your truth. 14 Therefore has the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the LORD our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice.”
Thus far in Daniel’s prayer we can understand a few key points as follows;
- He acknowledges/confesses the sin and apostasy of his people and ranks himself with them, even though he was living a godly life (not self-righteous).
- Admits that they have not heeded the council of His prophets or walked in His laws. Also have not turned back to God in their affliction for the course pursued.
- It is because of their rebellion, or trespass/sin, against God that they are in captivity.
- God is righteous/just or lawful, in His dealing out of punishment and in all His works for they have not obeyed His voice.
We see that the Jews were in captivity because of their rebellion or sin against God. So God allowed them to go into captivity and be afflicted to turn them back to him. But in light of this knowledge they still refused to come back to Him and continued in their sin. This is one reason for Daniel’s confession.
Daniel 9:15-19 “And now, O Lord our God, that have brought your people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and have gotten you renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly. 16 O Lord, according to all your righteousness, I beseech you, let thine anger and your fury be turned away from your city Jerusalem, your holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and your people are become a reproach to all that are about us. 17 Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of your servant, and his supplications, and cause your face to shine upon your sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake. 18 O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by your name: for we do not present our supplications before you for our righteousnesses, but for your great mercies. 19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for your city and your people are called by your name.”
Let’s look in point form once again at what we can learn from the remainder of Daniel’s prayer;
- He now appeals to God, that all the renown that had accrued to the Lord’s name, because of the wonderful works manifested among them from the deliverance of His people from Egypt, would all be lost if He should abandon them to perish.
- He pleads to God’s mercy, to turn from His fury against His (God’s) city Jerusalem, His holy mountain, which has become a reproach because of their iniquities.
- Asks God to have His face to shine upon the sanctuary which is desolate.
- Daniel asks for these to be restored from their desolation, not for their sakes or glory but for the name of the Lord and for His sake (to exalt the name of Jehovah), because of His great mercies.
- He then asks the Lord to hear his prayer, to forgive their ways, hearken and do/restore, do not defer it, for God’s sake and His city (which is called by His name), and His people which are also called by His name. Basically so God’s name can once again be exalted above the heathen.
As we look through his prayer it is not hard to see the anguish of heart, humility, and earnestness that Daniel entreats the Lord with.
Why was he so distressed? He misunderstood the meaning of the cleansing of the sanctuary in chapter 8 and the releasing of the Jews from captivity, thinking that the two events were to expire at the same time. This would then place both events further down in the future and thus his plea to forgive their ways, hearken and do/restore, do not defer as the temple on earth was the symbol of God’s presence with Israel, but also with the promise of salvation through the Messiah who was typified through the services practiced.
Daniel 9:20-23 “And whiles I was speaking, and 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, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. 22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give you skill and understanding. 23 At the beginning of your supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to show you; for you are greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.”
Whilst Daniel was praying Gabriel, whom he had seen in the vision at the beginning (Daniel 8:16-17) came and touched him at the time of the evening oblation, about 3pm. Notice in verse 23 that Gabriel’s commission was given at the start of Daniel’s prayer. So his prayer had been answered before he had even finished. Friends the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (James 5:16) But notice the speed at which Gabriel covers the distance from heaven to earth, no more than a couple of minutes.
Gabriel goes on to give Daniel some encouragement and comfort by telling him that he is greatly beloved, what a privilege and honour. We too can have the privilege and honour of having the love of God bestowed upon us and be called the sons of God and adopted into the family of God. (1 John 3:1, Romans 8:14-17)
So why has Gabriel come? Gabriel tells Daniel that he has come “to show thee...give thee skill and understanding...understand the matter”. Understand what matter? Consider the vision. If we go through chapter 9 we find no vision for Gabriel to give Daniel skill and understanding about. So we must go back to chapter 8 and consider what it was that he did not understand of the vision given there. If we go through this vision we find that he understood the ram, he goat, and little horn, for the interpretation was given him. But the cleansing of the sanctuary with the 2300 days he neither understood it nor was given the interpretation of it, and Daniel’s prayer emphasizes this point.
So we find that Gabriel has come to give Daniel the understanding of the 2300 days and the cleansing of the sanctuary (or understanding of the judgment as we have seen that the cleansing of the sanctuary refers to the judgment).
Daniel 9:24 “Seventy weeks are determined upon your people and upon your holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.”
Seventy weeks - 1 week = 7 days, therefore 70 weeks = 490 days, 1 prophetic day = 1 literal year Ezekiel 4:6, Numbers 14:34, thus 70 prophetic weeks = 490 literal years.
NOTE: One of the most notable proofs of the day year principle is that the prophecies have actually been fulfilled on this principle, a demonstration of its correctness from which there is no appeal.
Determined - (chathak, Hebrew) to cut off. So the 70 weeks/490 years are to be cut off from something larger, obviously the 2300 days/years.
Upon thy people and upon thy holy city - That is upon the Jews, Daniel’s people, and upon Jerusalem. So all that is mentioned in this section is related to the Jews themselves and not other groups of people. This understanding helps in the interpretation of the symbols involved.
Now we have a list of events to take place during the 70 week period;
To finish the transgression - During this time, the Jews would fill up the cup of their iniquity, they would reach the limit of transgression to which God could no longer forbear. Because of this ongoing apostasy they would be rejected as God’s chosen representatives on the earth. This they did in the rejection of the Son of God Himself. See Matthew 21:33-46.
Make an end of sins - The Hebrew word ‘chattah’ here translated ‘sins’ denotes either ‘sin’ or ‘sin offering’. Leviticus 4:3 is an example of its use in both senses in a single verse. “Let him bring for his SIN...a young bullock...for his SIN OFFERING.” The same Hebrew word is used in both instances. This is a common usage through the Levitical books and elsewhere in the Old Testament. It can therefore be used in the sense of sin offerings in Daniel 9:24 because an end of sin offerings was made at the cross, this is seen also in verse 27 causing the sacrifice and oblation to cease, and also Colossians 2:14. Thus this is a reference to the ending of the sacrificial sin offerings which met their antitype in the death of Christ on the cross.
Make reconciliation for iniquity - Reconciliation for iniquity was to be provided. This was accomplished by the sacrificial death of Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:18-21)
Bring in everlasting righteousness - Everlasting righteousness was what our Lord manifested in His sinless life, and by His life, death, and resurrection Christ has made everlasting righteousness available to all who accept it by faith. (1 Corinthians 1:30)
Seal up the vision and prophecy - By the events which were foretold to occur during the 70 weeks, the prophecy was to be tested. By this single test the accuracy of the entire prophecy is to be determined. If the events of this period are accurately fulfilled then the prophecy is of God and will all be thus accomplished. When Christ began His ministry He began by preaching that the “time was fulfilled” thus He recognised that He had arrived on the scene at exactly the right time as prophesied hundreds of years before. (Mark 1:15)
Anoint the most holy - kodesh ka-doshim is the Hebrew phrase used here. This term is used freely through the Levitical books to characterise things and places, but is nowhere applied to persons. Thus this is not a reference to the coming Messiah or “anointed one” but is associated with the temple and its services. We see from Exodus 28:41; 30:25-30 and 40:9-13 that the earthly sanctuary with all its furniture and priests had to be “anointed” before any ministration could commence, to set it apart as holy and sacred for the work that was to be conducted there. In chapter 8 we have already seen that the earthly sanctuary is a pattern/shadow or type of the true in heaven itself. So all the services and offerings of the earthly pointed to the true, which was Christ Himself. Therefore, once Christ came, the typical or earthly was no longer needed and the heavenly or real were now to be used for the actual salvation of mankind. So the reference to anointing the most holy then refers to this service of inauguration which took place after the fulfilment of the types by Christ on the cross. (Psalms 45:6-7, Hebrews 1:8-9) The sacrifice of lambs was replaced by the sacrifice of Christ, and the ministration of human priests is replaced by the ministration of Christ Himself.
Daniel 9:25-26 “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. 26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.”
From the going forth - Here Gabriel is giving us the understanding of the starting date of the two-fold prophecy.
Commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem - This commandment to restore Jerusalem, which was at the time in ruins, is the event which marks the starting date of this period. Cyrus gave the Jews permission to return and build a temple, but did not say anything respecting the city itself. (Ezra 1:1-4) This decree was in 536 B.C. This decree Darius renewed when the Jews were hindered by their enemies, and he provided means for the expense of finishing the temple. (Ezra 6:1-12) This decree was made in 519 B.C. But Artaxerxes added to the work of Cyrus and Darius the full restoration of the city to its ancient privileges, and the re-establishment of the law of God as the law of the city; and he authorized the rebuilding of its walls. (Ezra 7:11-26; 9:9) This decree was made in 457 B.C. So we are forced to take this decree of Artaxerxes, because it was this decree that commenced the full restoration of Jerusalem. The other two decrees were stepping stones to the final decree which completed the other two by giving full restoration, this is why we see all three mentioned in Ezra 6:14.
Unto the Messiah the Prince - Messiah is the Hebrew word for ‘anointed one’ or in Greek ‘the Christ’. So this prophecy is pinpointing the time when Jesus would become the anointed one or Messiah. This took place at His baptism when He was anointed with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 10:38, Luke 3:21-22; 4:18)
Seven weeks - This time period equals 49 yrs, remember a day = a year in prophecy. It took the Jews 49 yrs to complete the task of rebuilding Jerusalem even during troublous times [read the books of Ezra and Nehemiah for this history], which would place the completion date at 408 B.C. and this is true according to history. “On this point, Prideaux (Connexion, Vol. 1, p. 322) says: ‘In the fifteenth of Darius Nothus ended the first seven weeks of Daniel’s prophecy. For then the restoration of the church and state of the Jews in Jerusalem and Judea was fully finished, in that last act of reformation which is recorded in the thirteenth chapter of Nehemiah, from the twenty-third verse to the end of the chapter, just forty-nine years after it had been commenced by Ezra in the seventh year of Artaxerxes Longimanus.” As quoted by Uriah Smith in Daniel and the Revelation pg. 201.
This appears to be a rather long time to accomplish the task of rebuilding. But if we understand the opposition they incurred from their enemies, and the incident of the Jews placing the poor of their own into slavery, also Haggai and Zechariah being raised up because of the Jews slothfulness in building the house of God, because they placed their own houses on priority instead of Gods, we can see how work started and stopped, started and stopped.
Threescore and two weeks - 62 weeks = 434 days = 434 yrs. The Messiah was to appear after the seven weeks and at the end of the sixty two weeks = 69 weeks in total. So if we take away 434 yrs from 408 B.C. or 483 from 457 B.C., we end at the date 27 A.D. remembering that there is no year zero. This was the date of the baptism of Christ. And if we look at Mark 1:14-15 we see that Christ started His ministry preaching that the time is fulfilled, what time? The only time can be the end of the 69 weeks/483 years. So Christ fulfils this prophecy exactly.
This is only 69 weeks, so there is yet another week to go to make up 70 weeks.
After threescore and two weeks - So after this time period which ended in 27 A.D.
Messiah be cut off - Some time after 27 A.D. Jesus would be crucified. The word cut off in Hebrew, karath, means to cut down or asunder, destroy, perish. This same word is used in Genesis 9:11 dealing with the destruction of the wicked by the flood. So it is clear this refers to the crucifixion of Christ, Isaiah 53:8, as He was cut off out of the land of the living.
Not for Himself - Jesus did not die for His own sins because He never sinned, (1 Peter 2:21-22) but for those of mankind. (1 John 2:2, 1 Peter 2:22-25, Isaiah 53:8-11) These texts show that Jesus died for our sins.
People of the prince, destroy city and sanctuary - Jesus is the Prince of the kings of the earth, Revelation 1:5. The king sent HIS armies to destroy the city, Matthew 22:7. This parable was a prophecy against the Jews for rejecting and killing the Son of God. So the people of the prince that destroyed the city of Jerusalem and the Sanctuary is a reference to those of which God used to gain His objective. Who was it that destroyed Jerusalem and the Sanctuary? It was Titus that destroyed the city and temple in 70 A.D. So this was fulfilled in 70 A.D. by Titus.
With a flood - This is a description of the overwhelming character of the end of the Jewish nation. See Isaiah 8:7-8 to see similar symbols to describe the destruction of the Jews under the Assyrians.
Desolations are determined - Marginal reading here is “it shall be cut off by desolations.” Thus the Jews were to be under continual desolations until the end of time, as we can see this before our eyes today.
Daniel 9:27 “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”
In verse 26 we see the reference to the Messiah being cut off after the 69 weeks, but have no real dialogue explaining the events of this nor any explanation of the 70th week. Here in verse 27 we find the opposite taking effect. The 70th week is specifically outlined with when the Messiah would be cut off. Let us continue and see.
He - This is obviously referring to the Messiah from the previous verse.
Confirm the covenant - This is a reference to the covenant made with the Jewish people from the time their forefathers were called to be God’s chosen representatives. The gospel message, which this covenant was pointing to, of the coming Messiah and promised seed were to be especially preached to the Jews, Matthew 15:24.
One week - 7 days = 7years. This was to be preached to Jews for a period of 7 years, 3 ½ yrs by Jesus and afterward by the apostles.
“Dr. Hales quotes Eusebius, A.D. 300, as saying : ‘It is recorded in history that the whole time of our Saviour’s teaching and working miracles was three years and a half, which is the half of a week [of years]. This, John the evangelist will represent to those who critically attend to his Gospel.’” As quoted by Uriah Smith in Daniel and the Revelation pg. 203.
Obviously this being the 70th week it will begin at the end of the 69th which is 27 A.D. This period beginning with the baptism of Jesus when He was anointed with the Holy Spirit and finishing in 34 A.D. which at this time Stephen was stoned and the gospel went to the Gentiles. (Acts 7-8:4)
Midst of the week - Half of 7 = 3 ½. Remembering that Artaxerxes decree went into effect in the latter part of the year [the autumn or seventh month of the year by Jewish reckoning], this 3 ½ yrs added to 27 A.D. would then reach to 31 A.D.
Sacrifice and oblation to cease - The types and symbols of the Old Testament sanctuary service, that created a platform for the entire Jewish economy and practice, was to meet its fulfilment in the life, ministry, and death of Jesus Christ. After Jesus gave His life a ransom for many, we no longer needed to bring a lamb, as the Lamb of God (John 1:29) has been slain for all. The veil in the temple rent from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51) at the death of Christ signifying that these things were finished. 31 A.D. Christ was crucified.
For the overspreading of abominations - Due to the apostasy of the Jews they were rejected as God’s people. Their ultimate rejection was of the Son of God Himself. They had cried at His trial and crucifixion, that His blood was to be on them and on their children, and so it was to be.
Make it desolate - The Jewish nation was to be forever destroyed and scattered, never again to be the elect of God.
Until the consummation - This was to be the state of the Jewish nation until the second coming of Christ and the establishment of His kingdom, which is the focus of all these prophecies of Daniel. The ultimate end, the blessed hope, (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) the glorious appearing of our Lord and Saviour. (Titus 2:13)
That determined - That which has been decreed, that which has been determined by the choices of the Jews themselves, by their apostasy rather than repentance and restoration.
According to Matthew 23:34-37 the Jews were given many opportunities to follow God’s plan, but continually rejected the opportunities.
Shall be poured upon the desolate - The Jews were to suffer the vengeance of the offended God, according to all the light and warning and opportunity that they had had.
We leave this scene in the year 34 A.D. We know also that the 2300 year prophecy starts at the same time as the 70 weeks. There are only 1810 years left of the 2300, and simple mathematics will show us the ending date; 34 + 1810 = 1844 A.D. So the judgment work, in the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary, has been going on since 1844.
“The query may here arise how the days can be extended to the autumn of 1844 if they commence in 457 B.C., as it requires only 1843 years, in addition to the 457, to make the whole number of 2300. Attention to one fact will clear this point of all difficulty; and that is, that it takes 457 full years before Christ, and 1843 full years after, to make 2300; so that if the period commenced with the very first day of 457, it would not terminate till the very last day of 1843. Now it will be evident to all that any portion of the year 457 had passed away before the 2300 days commenced, just so much of the year 1844 must pass away before they would end. We therefore inquire, At what point in the year 457 are we to commence to reckon? From the fact that the first forty-nine years were allotted to the building of the street and wall, we learn that the period is to be dated, not from the starting of Ezra from Babylon, but from the actual commencement of the work at Jerusalem; which is not probable could be earlier than the seventh month (autumn) of 457, as he did not arrive at Jerusalem till the fifth month of that year. Ezra 7:9. The whole period would therefore extend to the seventh month, autumn, Jewish time, of 1844.” Daniel and the Revelation by Uriah Smith, pgs. 207, 208.
The exact date in the year 1844 for the Day of Atonement is October 22 according to the Karate Jew.
Friends this is a serious time when every work and every secret thing, whether good or evil, is brought into investigation, (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14) even the words we speak, (Matthew 12:34-36) for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. This judgment message is to go to all the world under the three angels message of Revelation 14:6-12. We need to be preparing for the soon return of our great and mighty God by confessing and forsaking our sins that we may find mercy (Proverbs 28:13) so we may be found ready to go home with Him for eternity.
We are told that the 70 weeks establishes the authenticity of the 2300 days, thus we can be assured that this date is correct and the entire prophecy will be fulfilled as exactly as the smaller segment of it was. Read Daniel's 70 weeks and 2300 day prophecy for a comprehensive study with even more date evidence.