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Daniel 9:25  (King James Version)
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<< Daniel 9:24   Daniel 9:26 >>


Daniel 9:24-27

What good is understanding the Seventy Weeks Prophecy? First, on chronological grounds, it destroys three of false Christianity's holidays surrounding Jesus: Christmas, Good Friday, and Easter. Second, it puts Christ's ministry and the founding of the church in their proper historical context, helping explain and vindicate the Bible. Third, it enhances our understanding of prophecy and helps us to watch for the correct world events as the end draws closer. Christ gave us the true signs of His coming, so we do not have to look for the false sign of Antichrist's treaty with the Jews.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
'Seventy Weeks Are Determined...'



Daniel 9:24-27

Daniel 9 opens with Daniel at the "tender, young age" of 87. He knew from Jeremiah's writings that the desolation of Jerusalem was prophesied to last for 70 years, and they had been fulfilled. Since God is faithful, Daniel knew that it was time for God to act. So he prayed to God, confessing on behalf of the nation and beseeching God to turn away His anger toward Jerusalem, even though the nation deserved everything that had happened and much more. He asks God, because of His great mercy, to hear, to forgive, to listen, and to act on behalf of His people (Daniel 9:4-19).

In response, the angel Gabriel comes to Daniel and gives him a prophecy (Daniel 9:20-23). God does more than just give the command for Jerusalem to be rebuilt: He actually outlines what He would do to solve Israel's problems once and for all. The problems, of course, were sin and rebellion against God—unbelief—and so His response to Daniel is a promise that these things would be overcome. God, through Gabriel, tells Daniel that "seventy sevens" (of years; 490 years) had been decreed, and when that span of time ran out, some truly remarkable things will have happened, to say the least.

Daniel 9:24 shows the scope of what God will accomplish by the time the seventy sevens of years are complete:

Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.

God presents six elements that He will accomplish within the 490 years. It is His outline for what will happen in order for Daniel's people to be spiritually restored. In verses 25-27 He tells, in general terms, how that will happen:

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 shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times. 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. Then [H]e shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week [H]e 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.

Verses 26-27 show that all six of verse 24's elements will be accomplished through the arrival of the Messiah, His being cut off, and His confirming the New Covenant with many. Though much could be written about each of these six, Adam Clarke's Commentary summarizes them:

I. To finish (to restrain) the transgression, which was effected by the preaching of the Gospel, and pouring out of the Holy Spirit among men.

II. To make an end of sins; rather, "to make an end of sin-offerings"; which our Lord did when he offered his spotless soul and body on the cross once for all.

III. To make reconciliation ("to make atonement or expiation") for iniquity; which he did by the once offering up of himself.

IV. To bring in everlasting righteousness, that is, "the righteousness, or righteous ONE, of ages"; that person who had been the object of the faith of mankind, and the subject of the predictions of the prophets through all the ages of the world.

V. To seal up ("to finish or complete") the vision and prophecy; that is, to put an end to the necessity of any further revelations, by completing the canon of Scripture, and fulfilling the prophecies which related to His person, sacrifice, and the glory that should follow.

VI. And to anoint the Most Holy, "the Holy of holies." . . . Here it means the consecration or appointment of our blessed Lord, the Holy One of Israel, to be the Prophet, Priest, and King of mankind.

Notice in particular the fifth element, "to seal up vision and prophecy." What it means is to make an end of vision and prophecy by fulfilling it. In other words, when the seventy sevens are finished, the visions and prophecies will all be wrapped up. What is not certain is the scope of the phrase "vision and prophecy." It may refer to just those found in the book of Daniel, or it could refer to all the visions and prophecies given to that point. What is significant is that, at the end of the 490 years, a majority, if not the entirety, of the Old Testament prophecies will have had their fulfillment.

David C. Grabbe
Finishing the Week



Daniel 9:24-27

These four verses are not only prophecy, but they are also poetry. A poet can take a bit of license, especially with form. Hebrew poets (and angelic ones) are no different, and one of their favorite devices was contrast. They would take subject A and contrast it with subject B, as in Proverbs 15:18: "A wrathful man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger allays contention."

Gabriel does the same with this prophecy. It is composed of two similar contrasts that we will label A1/B1/A2/B2. Verses 25-26a = A1. Verse 26b = B1. Verse 27a = A2. Verse 27b = B2. The verses below are formatted this way to help in understanding the prophecy. This is very important because if it is not heeded, one will credit Antichrist with things that should be credited to the true Messiah.

Introduction: 24 Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.

A1: 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 shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times. 26a And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself;

B1: 26b 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.

A2: 27a 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.

B2: 27b 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.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
'Seventy Weeks Are Determined...'



Daniel 9:24-27

Daniel the prophet receives an intriguing prophecy from the archangel Gabriel in this passage, known as the Seventy Weeks Prophecy, for Gabriel gives a seventy-week time frame for the coming of the Messiah. He divides the first sixty-nine weeks into two periods, the first of seven weeks and the second of sixty-two weeks.

The prophecy shows that the Messiah would die, "but not for Himself." That is in perfect agreement with the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ! He gave Himself to redeem us from our bondage to sin and death (Galatians 1:3-5; Ephesians 2:1).

Next, the prophecy says He would "confirm a covenant with many." Is this not what He did? Did He not become the Mediator of a new and better covenant (Hebrews 9:15)? When He instituted the new symbols for the Passover, Jesus says about the wine, "For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins" (Matthew 26:28; see Mark 14:24).

Then Gabriel prophesies that the Messiah would bring to an end to the need for ritual animal sacrifices and offerings. The writer of Hebrews plainly states, "For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins" (Hebrews 10:4). Christ's sacrifice was much more effective: "Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption" (Hebrews 9:12).

The angel says the Messiah would accomplish this "in the middle [midst, KJV] of the week." Obviously, its primary meaning refers to the middle of the seventieth week, or literally, three and a half years, the exact length of Christ's ministry. However, as we have seen, God fulfills His prophecies perfectly. Not only did Jesus' ministry last for three and a half years, but He also died on a Wednesday, the exact middle day of a week!

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
'After Three Days'



Daniel 9:24-27

Seventy Weeks Prophecy
(Daniel 9:24-27)
Decree and Year Leader(s) of Return Year of Messiah's Appearance
[Decree Year + 483 Years (7 days/week x 69 weeks)]
Significant Biblical Event
Of Cyrus in
538 BC
Sheshbazzar
(Ezra 1:1-11)
Zerubbabel
(Ezra 2:1)
55 BC None
Of Darius in
520 BC
No Return
Work Resumed on Temple
(Ezra 5-6)
37 BC None
Of Artaxerxes I in
457 BC
Ezra
(Ezra 7:1-10)
AD 27 Jesus' Baptism
Beginning of Christ's Ministry
Of Artaxerxes I in
444 BC
Nehemiah
(Nehemiah 2:4-11)
AD 40 None

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
'Seventy Weeks Are Determined...'



Daniel 9:24-27

The Seventy Weeks Prophecy is perhaps best known for its descriptions of the future Beast. However, because of the poetic, non-linear style in which it is written, many are erroneously waiting for the Antichrist to make a peace treaty with the Jews for seven years. This misunderstanding results from the fact that the descriptions of the Messiah and the Beast are interwoven in verses 26-27. The Messiah is described in the first halves of verses 26 and 27, while "the prince who is to come" (the figure commonly known as "the Beast," "vile person," and "little horn") is described in the latter parts of the same verses (see "Seventy Weeks Are Determined . . ." Forerunner, December 1994.)

But in the first half of verse 27, it is the Messiah who is prophesied to "confirm a covenant with many for one week." Recall that Jesus told His disciples, "This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many," and Hebrews 9:28 confirms this connection: "Christ was offered . . . to bear the sins of many." So, even though it is not specifically called the new, eternal, or perpetual covenant in Daniel 9:27, as it is in other places, this is the covenant that is being described. This covenant radically alters the lives of those making it, for under its terms sin is forgiven, the Holy Spirit is given, God's laws are internalized, eternal life is granted (because it gives us personal, experiential knowledge of the Father and the Son; see John 17:3), and there are more instances of divine grace than can be counted.

A large controversy in the early church dealt with the fact that Jews and Gentiles were on equal terms under the New Covenant, since it made salvation available to anyone who is called and responds in faith. In fact, when the Messiah began confirming this covenant, Israelites in general did not want to have anything to do with Him. He came to His own, but His own did not receive Him (John 1:11-12).

After the leaders within Israel rejected Christ, the apostles began to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. Then, on the road to Damascus, Saul, renamed Paul, was appointed as the apostle to the Gentiles. Clearly, the prophecies regarding salvation for the Gentiles were coming to pass, showing that they were included in the New Covenant.

This is where we in the church are now. It matters not whether we are Israelite or Gentile—we are the firstfruits of God's spiritual harvest and already beneficiaries of a superior covenant with extraordinary promises.

David C. Grabbe
Finishing the Week



Daniel 9:24-27

The prophecy was given to Daniel by the cherub Gabriel late in the prophet's life. It was 538 BC, and the decree from Cyrus that the Jews could return to Judah had already been made or was about to be made. Earlier in chapter 9, Daniel had prayed, asking God for forgiveness of Israel's sins. The reason behind his prayer, though he does not specifically ask the question, is, "How long until You redeem us? When will Messiah come?" The Seventy Weeks Prophecy is God's reply.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
'Seventy Weeks Are Determined...'



Daniel 9:25

The starting point of the seventy weeks is stated in verse 25: a decree to rebuild Jerusalem. "The command" should be "a command." The Persian emperors made four decrees in all, so we have a choice of which one fits best with the facts. The only viable decree is the one made by Artaxerxes I in 457 BC. This is the return under Ezra the scribe (Ezra 7:1-10).

Gabriel splits the first sixty-nine weeks into seven weeks (forty-nine years) and sixty-two weeks (434 years). During the forty-nine years from 457 to 408 BC, Jerusalem was being rebuilt. After this time Jerusalem was a fully functioning trade center and fortress. This fulfills the prophecy exactly.

Adding the 434 years to 408 BC brings us to AD 27 (adding one year for passing over the non-existent year 0). During this year, John baptized Jesus and His ministry began. Luke records that "Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age" (Luke 3:23). Taking Luke at his word, if Jesus was within a few months of His thirtieth birthday, His birth must have occurred in 4 BC.

Many Protestants, using a 360-day "prophetic" year and quite a bit of calculation, begin on Nisan 1, 444 BC, and end up on March 30, AD 33, the day (they say) of Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem before His crucifixion. This fits neatly into their scheme, as the Passover in AD 33 occurred on a Friday, but they are two years off! Jeremiah's seventy years of captivity were seventy literal years, not 360-day years. Why should Gabriel's seventy weeks of years be anything else? Their method of calculation is contrived and confusing. They have forced the prophecy into conforming to their beliefs rather than following the simple sense of the Bible's words.

Besides, Christ was not proclaimed as the Messiah for the first time during His triumphal entry, but at His baptism. God the Father, not the people, publicly proclaimed Him to be the Messiah, "My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:16-17).

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
'Seventy Weeks Are Determined...'



Daniel 9:25-27

What is so amazing about the often neglected Seventy Weeks Prophecy is that, not only does it give us a clue to the day of Christ's death, it indicates the year of His death as well! Of course, it is not as simple as looking up a fact in an almanac, but enough information is available to discover the year very accurately.

From what Gabriel says in verse 25, the ending point is fairly plain: the revealing of the Messiah. But what is the starting point?

Historians know of at least four decrees made by the Persian emperors "to restore and build Jerusalem." Cyrus made one in 538 BC, Darius I made one in 520 BC and Artaxerxes I made two, one in 457 BC and one in 444 BC. Which one is the correct command?

All of them could fit the description in verse 25. All of them are concerned with restoring Jerusalem to its former function as the Jewish religious capital and trade center. But only one of them fits the time constraints, and this becomes clear when we work out the puzzle of the seventy weeks.

We have to do a little arithmetic to find the terminus for each of these decrees. The expression "seventy weeks" literally means "seventy sevens," and the year-for-a-day principle applies here (Numbers 14:34; Ezekiel 4:4-6). We must multiply seventy weeks times the seven years in a week of years, which equals 490 years. Gabriel, however, says it is only sixty-nine sevens "until Messiah the Prince." Thus, 69 x 7 = 483 years.

If we add 483 years to each of the dates of the decrees, what do we find? (Remember to add one year for crossing the non-existent year 0.)

  • 538 BC + 483 years = 55 BC. No significant biblical event.
  • 520 BC + 483 years = 37 BC. No significant biblical event.
  • 457 BC + 483 years = AD 27. Jesus is baptized and begins His ministry.
  • 444 BC + 483 years = AD 40. No significant biblical event.

God made it easy! We have only one choice!

Verses 26-27 are very specific that the Messiah would work for three and a half years, half of a week, before being "cut off." When we add three and a half years to AD 27, we find that Christ's ministry ended in AD 31, the year of His crucifixion and resurrection.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
'After Three Days'



Daniel 9:24-27

God's annual holy days reveal that this is not the only "day of salvation"—that He is working with only a relative few right now, and the rest of mankind will have an opportunity for salvation either during the Millennium or after the Second Resurrection. Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and Pentecost hold great significance for the firstfruits who have already made the New Covenant, but they have little spiritual meaning for the Israelites who have not. Next, the Feast of Trumpets, the pivot point in the holy day calendar, is meaningful for firstfruits, for Israelites, and for all of mankind because it pictures the return of Christ to establish His Kingdom on earth.

After that are the holy days associated with the second harvest, the fall harvest—particularly the Feast of Tabernacles, which pictures the Millennium when the resurrected and glorified firstfruits will have responsibilities. Yet, the greater meaning concerns Israel. The remnant of Israel—those who survive Jacob's Trouble—will then have the opportunity to make the New Covenant, even though, as a nation, they will not be a part of the first resurrection.

The apostle Paul goes to great lengths to explain this phased approach to salvation, using the metaphor of an olive tree with natural branches, representing Israel, being broken off, and wild branches—Gentiles—being grafted in (Romans 9-11). To summarize, Paul explains that God will use the Gentiles, and by implication, those making the New Covenant now (including individual Israelites), to make the majority of Israel jealous, to bring her back to Him when she sees the spiritual blessings. Paul shows that God has not at all disowned Israel. Even in his day, a small believing minority of Israelites had been chosen by grace, of which Paul was a part.

Only the elect—whether Israelite or Gentile—have obtained God's favor at this time, while the rest of Israel has become callously indifferent to it. Israel was broken off the olive tree because of unbelief, and others were grafted in because of true belief. But, Paul warns, there is no room for pride, because if God did not spare the natural branches when they fell into unbelief, neither will He spare us if we do the same thing. Now notice Paul's conclusion:

For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins." Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. (Romans 11:25-29)

When Christ confirmed the covenant during the 3½ years of His earthly ministry, the covenant was not just for those alive at the time. The firstfruits have been making that covenant for nearly 2,000 years now. Similarly, there will be another 3½ years, finishing out that final week, during which Jesus will complete the confirming of the covenant. This will set the stage for the salvation of all mankind, but in particular the salvation of Israel.

If we use Jesus' earthly service as a guide, most of the 3½ years were spent in preaching and in preparing His servants. This is how He "confirmed" the covenant, even though it was not actually sealed until the end of the 3½ years, at that last Passover. If this pattern holds, it indicates that the final 3½ years of "confirming" will also consist of preaching to, and a rigorous and even violent preparation of, a remnant of Israel. Then, at the end, they will enter into the covenant.

At that final Passover, Jesus said that He would not drink the fruit of the vine again—that symbol of His shed blood and of the covenant—until He drinks it with His disciples (and, by extension, all of the glorified firstfruits) in His Kingdom (Matthew 26:29). That joyous occasion corresponds with the time when Israel will also drink of that cup of the New Covenant, but for the first time. That covenant, then, will be available throughout the Millennium and into the time of the Second Resurrection. The Seventy Weeks will have been fulfilled, but the effects will continue.

David C. Grabbe
Finishing the Week




Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Daniel 9:25:

Daniel 2:48
Daniel 9:24-27
Luke 2:25
Luke :
Luke :

 

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