Daniel 9 – The Seventy Weeks of Daniel
A. The prayer of Daniel.
1. (1-2) Introduction: Daniel’s reason for prayer.
In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the lineage of the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans; in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the LORD through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.
a. Understood by the books: Daniel 9 is one of the most amazing and significant prophetic passages in the Bible, and it begins with Daniel’s understanding and application of prophecy.
i. Daniel understood something from reading the words of God’s prophets. Prophecy is meant to be understood – perhaps not in every detail, but certainly in its main points.
ii. Daniel understood this by the books – the specific words recorded in God-inspired books. Daniel couldn’t read 2 Timothy 3:16, but he did believe the truth of it: All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
iii. “These verses show Daniel as a diligent student of Scripture who built his prayer life on the Word of God.” (Archer)
iv. “Oh! That you studied your Bibles more! Oh! That we all did! How we could plead the promises! How often we should prevail with God when we could hold him to his word, and say, ‘Fulfill this word unto thy servant, whereon thou hast caused me to hope.’ Oh! It is grand praying when our mouth is full of God’s word, for there is no word that can prevail with him like his own.” (Spurgeon)
b. The number of years specified by the word of the LORD through Jeremiah: Daniel knew that effective prayer comes out of knowing and praying both God’s word and our present circumstances. His study of prophecy showed him a specific number – the 70 years described in Jeremiah 25:11-13 and Jeremiah 29:10, and his knowledge of the times led him to know those passages applied to his time.
i. “And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. ‘Then it will come to pass, when seventy years are completed, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity,” says the LORD; “and I will make it a perpetual desolation. So I will bring on that land all My words which I have pronounced against it, all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah has prophesied concerning all the nations” (Jeremiah 25:11-13).
ii. For thus says the LORD: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place (Jeremiah 29:10).
iii. It is important to note that Daniel regarded these as real, literal years. They were in no way understood as symbolic years.
iv. Daniel was undoubtedly also familiar with Isaiah’s prophecies concerning Cyrus (Isaiah 44:28-45:4). He must have been encouraged to see a man named Cyrus rise in power over Persia.
c. That He would accomplish seventy years: Daniel believed that God would accomplish seventy years of captivity, yet he prayed passionately that God would do what He promised to do. Daniel knew that God’s promises invite our prayers and participation. They do not exclude our prayers and participation.
i. “Nothing, therefore, can be better for us, than to ask for what he has promised.” (Calvin)
ii. This principle is repeated in many passages. 2 Peter 3:12 indicates that there is a sense in which we can hasten the Lord’s coming by our holy conduct and godly lives; we can also hasten the Lord’s coming through evangelism because Paul says that God’s prophetic focus on Israel will resume when the fullness of the Gentiles has come in (Romans 11:25). This means that we can also hasten the Lord’s coming through prayer, even as Daniel asked for a speedy fulfillment of prophecy regarding captive Israel (Daniel 9). We can also pray Even so, come, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:20). If we want Jesus to come soon, there is something we can do about it.
iii. But a second important reason is that Daniel asked God, in His mercy, to take the earliest of all possible starting points (Daniel’s abduction) for determining the beginning of the 70 years. There were three waves of captivity:
· 605 B.C. – Jerusalem was attacked and Daniel and other captives were taken to Babylon.
· 597 B.C. – Jerusalem was attacked and treasure was taken from the temple.
· 587 B.C. – Jerusalem falls and the nation was exiled.
iv. Daniel wanted to prevail in prayer, asking God to take the earliest possible starting point to determine the 70 years. He wanted God’s mercy to come to Israel 18 years earlier rather than 18 years later.
d. In the first year of Darius: This was still three or four years before 70 years had passed from 605 B.C. This was not too soon for Daniel to begin praying. Daniel had the foresight to look ahead three or four years and to begin praying.
e. The word of the LORD through Jeremiah: Even in God’s eternal decrees, God has an essential role for people to play. God’s plan of the ages is declared, yet Jeremiah made a prophecy; Daniel made a prayer, and Cyrus made a proclamation
i. “Too often our interest in the prophetic Scriptures is of a curious and speculative nature, or else we conclude that God will carry out His sovereign purpose no matter what we do, and so we do not concern ourselves with those matters.” (Strauss)
ii. By his tribal heritage or family history Daniel was not uniquely qualified for a ministry of intercession. He did not belong to a priestly family like Ezekiel and he wasn’t a career prophet like Isaiah or Jeremiah. Yet like all of us, he could pray.
iii. In fact, Daniel’s calling and station in life made it less likely that he would be such a man of prayer. He was a high government official who almost certainly had a busy schedule – yet he took time and energy to pray.
iv. “Do not, I pray you, get into the habit of neglecting the assembling of yourselves together for prayer. How often have I said, ‘All our strength lies in prayer’! When we were very few, God multiplied us in answer to prayer.” (Spurgeon)
2. (3) Daniel’s preparation for prayer.
Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.
a. I set my face: This implies determination in prayer. Daniel had a goal to reach through prayer, and he approached God as a man who would not be denied. He did this because he was rightly convinced that his prayer was in the will of God, and knew it was not motivated by any selfish desire.
b. To make request by prayer and supplications: Daniel wasn’t passive as God’s prophetic plan unfolded before him. In his approach to God he made a request, asking God to perform His promise in the way that Daniel thought would bring God most glory.
i. “We ask but little, and God gives it.” (Spurgeon)
c. With fasting, sackcloth, and ashes: This reflected Daniel’s humble heart in approaching God. Fasting, sackcloth, and ashes are emblems of humiliation and mourning.
i. Daniel was determined to do whatever it took to get this job done in prayer. He “left nothing undone that might possibly make his prayer more effective or more persuasive.” (Walvoord)
3. (4-15) Daniel confesses the sin of his people, and glorifies the goodness and righteousness of God.
And I prayed to the LORD my God, and made confession, and said, “O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments, we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments. Neither have we heeded Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings and our princes, to our fathers and all the people of the land. O Lord, righteousness belongs to You, but to us shame of face, as it is this day; to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those near and those far off in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of the unfaithfulness which they have committed against You. O Lord, to us belongs shame of face, to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, because we have sinned against You. To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him. We have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in His laws, which He set before us by His servants the prophets. Yes, all Israel has transgressed Your law, and has departed so as not to obey Your voice; therefore the curse and the oath written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against Him. And He has confirmed His words, which He spoke against us and against our judges who judged us, by bringing upon us a great disaster; for under the whole heaven such has never been done as what has been done to Jerusalem. As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us; yet we have not made our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities and understand Your truth. Therefore the LORD has kept the disaster in mind, and brought it upon us; for the LORD our God is righteous in all the works which He does, though we have not obeyed His voice. And now, O Lord our God, who brought Your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and made Yourself a name, as it is this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly!”
a. O Lord, great and awesome God: Daniel began his prayer where we all should – by recognizing the greatness and goodness of God. Sometimes we approach God as if He were a stingy person who must be persuaded to give us anything. But Daniel knew the problem was not with God. God keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him.
i. Daniel’s prayer was remarkable for both its understanding and earnestness. Many pray with understanding but not earnestness; others are earnest but have no understanding in prayer. The two together are a powerful combination.
ii. “Oh! That our prayers could get beyond praying, till they got to agonizing.” (Spurgeon)
b. We have sinned and committed iniquity: As Daniel confessed Israel’s sin he prayed as if he were as bad as the rest of Israel. This was a confession of we, not they. In this sense, they prayers never really reach God; genuine we prayers see self correctly and see our fellow saints with compassion.
i. Daniel’s confession of sin might seem phony until we realize how passionately and completely he is focused on God. Compared to God, even the most righteous among us falls far short.
ii. “I firmly believe that, the better a man’s own character becomes, and the more joy in the Lord he has in his own heart, the more capable is he of sympathetic sorrow; and, probably, the more of it he will have. If thou hast room in thy soul for sacred joy, thou hast equal room for holy grief.” (Spurgeon)
c. Righteousness belongs to You, but to us shame of face: Daniel knew that Israel’s sin was not God’s fault; God was utterly righteous and blameless. Any shame of face belonged to Israel, not to God.
i. It would be easy to complain to God about Israel’s problems. Daniel didn’t think for a moment that God was too hard on Israel; he knew God was completely righteous and any failure was on Israel’s side.
ii. Instead of complaining, Daniel confessed. During times of great revival among God’s people, the Holy Spirit always brings a deep conviction and awareness of sin. When that is responded to rightly, confession is appropriately made. J. Edwin Orr gives a good principle to govern confession: “If you sin secretly, confess secretly, admitting publicly that you need the victory but keeping details to yourself. If you sin openly confess openly to remove stumbling blocks from those whom you have hindered. If you have sinned spiritually (prayerlessness, lovelessness, and unbelief as well as their offspring, criticism, etc.) then confess to the church that you have been a hindrance.”
iii. Genuine, appropriate confession will be sincere, specific, and thorough. Orr describes how in the 1952 revival in Brazil a woman in a crowded church confessed, “Please pray for me, I need to love people more.” The leader told her gently, “That is not a confession, sister. Anyone could have said it.” Later in the service the lady stood again and said, “Please pray for me. What I should have said is that my sharp tongue has caused a lot of trouble in this congregation.” The pastor leaned over to Orr and whispered, “Now she is talking!”
iv. This is praying from a low place, and very effective. Football players try to hit their opponent low, because they gain leverage from coming in low. Our prayers are leveraged when we come to God humbly and lowly.
d. We have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God: Daniel did not make the slightest excuse for Israel’s sin. He knew the fault belonged to Israel and Israel alone. We are prone to make excuses for our sin and often even make excuses in our “confessions.”
e. He has confirmed His words… As it is written in the Law of Moses: Daniel realized that even in His judgment against Israel, God was totally faithful to His Word. He promised that curses would come upon a disobedient Israel (in passages like Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28) and they did.
f. All this disaster has come upon us; yet we have not made our prayer before the LORD our God: As Daniel confessed his sin and the sin of Israel, he remembered the sin of prayerlessness. Even when they faced great trial and calamity, Israel still did not make their prayer before the LORD. When we sense trial or difficulty, it should drive us immediately to prayer – when we are not so driven, it should be a wake-up call to the coldness of our heart.
g. Who brought Your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand: As Daniel prayed he remembered that the LORD delivered Israel from Egypt. He remembers the Old Testament standard of God’s power, the deliverance from Egypt. The New Testament standard of God’s power is the resurrection of Jesus (Ephesians 1:19-20).
4. (16-19) Daniel asks God to forgive and to restore Jerusalem.
“O Lord, according to all Your righteousness, I pray, let Your 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 a reproach to all those around us. Now therefore, our God, hear the prayer of Your servant, and his supplications, and for the Lord’s sake cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary, which is desolate. O my God, incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and see our desolations, and the city which is called by Your name; for we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies. O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name.”
a. Let Your anger and Your fury be turned away from Your city Jerusalem: After his confession of Israel’s sin and God’s great righteousness, Daniel simply asked God to mercifully turn His kind attention to Jerusalem and the temple (cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary). He also asked that God would do this without delay (do not delay for your own sake).
i. Daniel prayed as a patriot – but a patriot more of the Kingdom of God than the Kingdom of Israel. We should pray with similar patriotism for the Kingdom of God. “Let it never be said that the Church of God has no feeling of patriotism for the Holy City, for the Heavenly Land and for her glorious King enthroned above. To us, Christian patriotism means love to the Church of God.” (Spurgeon)
ii. Daniel asked for all this according to all Your righteousness. It was as if Daniel prayed, “LORD, I’m not asking You to do anything against Your righteousness. I’m praying this to advance Your righteous glory.”
b. Cause your face to shine: This was the heart of Daniel’s plea. He knew that God’s people needed much, but all their need could be summed up in this: they need God’s face to shine upon them.
i. “Oh, that we might learn how to pray so that God should be the subject as well as the object of our supplications! O God, thy Church needs thee above everything else! A poor, little, sick, neglected child needs fifty things; but you can put all those needs into one if you say that the child needs its mother. So, the Church, of God needs a thousand things, but you can put them all into one if you say, ‘The Church of God needs her God.’ ” (Spurgeon)
c. For the Lord’s sake cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary, which is desolate… Do not delay for Your own sake: Daniel’s prayer was consumed with the glory of God, not primarily with the benefit of man. His purpose in prayer was to see God’s work accomplished and His cause glorified.
i. It isn’t wrong to pray for our own needs. Jesus invited us to ask, give us this day our daily bread. At the same time, we need to have an even greater passion for the glory and benefit of God than for our own needs.
ii. This also speaks to purity of motive in Daniel’s prayer. Sometimes we pray for God to do a great work so we can be known as great workers for God. We need to pray for the sake of the LORD’s cause, both in our words and heart.
d. We do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies: Even before the time of the New Testament, Daniel prayed on firm New Testament ground. His confidence wasn’t in his goodness, but in God’s goodness.
i. This is what it means to pray in the name of Jesus. Those aren’t words we tack on to the end of a prayer, but they should express the fact we are praying in merits and righteousness of Jesus, not our own.
ii. Daniel was not great because he prayed. He was great because his prayer was the necessary expression of great trust and dependence on God. Many religious people spend countless hours in prayer but it achieves nothing because it is not rooted in the goodness and righteousness of God. Self righteous or self trusting prayer is of no power before God. “One of Satan’s most subtle delusions is that he succeeds in getting hundreds of thousands of men to trust in prayer, apart from faith in the shed blood of Jesus.” (Talbot)
e. O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Daniel prayed like a great wrestler, eager to gain an advantage. He sensed God’s openness to each request and he responded with many rapid requests.
i. “Follow up your advantage; build another prayer or the answer that you have. If you have received a great blessing, say, ‘Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him; because he has heard me once, therefore will I call again.’ ” (Spurgeon)
ii. “Cold prayers ask God to deny them: only importunate prayers will be replied to. When the Church of God cannot take ‘No’ for an answer, she shall not have ‘No’ for an answer. When a pleading soul must have it; when the Spirit of God works mightily in him so that he cannot let the angel go without a blessing, the angel shall not go till he has given the blessing to such a pleading one. Brethren, if there be only one among us that can pray as Daniel did, with intensity, the blessing will come.” (Spurgeon)
B. Gabriel brings the answer to Daniel’s prayer.
1. (20-21) Daniel’s prayer is interrupted by an angelic visit.
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, 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.
a. While I was speaking in prayer: This dramatic answer to prayer came even as Daniel prayed. Jesus said, your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him (Matthew 6:8). Whenever there seems to be a delay in answer to prayer, there is reason for the delay. When it is right to do it, God can answer prayer immediately.
i. Sometimes God answers prayer even before we pray. It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear (Isaiah 65:24).
b. Being caused to fly swiftly: This is one of the few places in the Bible where we are told that angels fly. Gabriel came quickly because there is no great distance between heaven and earth.
c. The time of the evening offering: This was a special time of day, when Moses offered the Passover lamb (Exodus 12:6) and when Jesus was crucified (Matthew 27:45).
i. As a young man in Jerusalem, Daniel often saw the smoke rising from the temple at the time of the evening sacrifice.
2. (22-23) Gabriel announces that he has come to bring Daniel an answer to his prayer.
And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand. 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:”
a. I have now come forth to give you skill to understand: In his prayer, Daniel didn’t ask for understanding. His prayer demonstrated that his heart was close to God’s heart, so as a friend, God revealed many things to Daniel (John 15:15).
i. Daniel studied the passage in Jeremiah, but still didn’t understand much. In this case, understanding came more through prayer. “All students of the word will tell you that when the hammers of learning and biblical criticism have failed to break open a flinty text, oftentimes prayer has done it, and nuggets of gold have been found concealed therein. To every student of the word of God who would become a well-instructed scribe we would say, with all the means which you employ, with all your searchings of the commentaries, with all your diggings into the original, with all your researches among learned divines, mingle much fervent prayer.” (Spurgeon)
ii. “Luther affirmeth that he oft got more spiritual light by some… ardent prayer than ever he could do by the reading of many books, or by the most accurate meditation thereupon.” (Trapp)
b. For you are greatly beloved: Both Daniel and the Apostle John (John 13:23) were noted for their love-relationship with God. Both Daniel and John were also noted for receiving amazing prophetic messages.
i. Daniel had just considered a set of “sevens” upon the nation of Israel – the 70 years of promised captivity prophesied by Jeremiah. It was as if God said through Gabriel, “Now I will show you some ‘sevens’ that will really amaze you.”
ii. Daniel illustrated the principle that when we seek God diligently, we often receive even more than we ask for.
C. The prophecy of the Seventy Weeks.
1. (24a) Seventy weeks are determined for the Jews and Jerusalem.
“Seventy weeks are determined
For your people and for your holy city,
a. Seventy weeks are determined: There is almost universal agreement among Bible scholars and commentators that this refers to seventy sets of seven years, or weeks of years.
i. In ancient Hebrew, weeks simply refers to a unit of seven. The Hebrew word here is often used to mean a unit of seven days, but it may also be used for a unit of seven years.
ii. “The Jews had Sabbatic years, by which their years were divided into weeks of years, as in this important prophecy, each week containing seven years.” (Clarke)
iii. Genesis 29:15-28 is an example of using this ancient Hebrew word (shabuwa) for both seven days and seven years in the same context.
b. For your people and for your holy city: The seventy weeks were focused upon Daniel’s people (the Jews) and his holy city (Jerusalem).
i. Unless the church has become Israel, it is not in view here. Talbot calls the seventy weeks “God’s calendar for Israel” in the sense that it does not focus on the Gentiles or the church.
2. (24b) What will be accomplished in the seventy weeks.
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.
a. To finish the transgression: This says that transgression itself will be finished. Taken literally, this means establishing an entirely new order on earth, with an end to man’s rebellion against God.
i. “The culmination of appointed years will witness the conclusion of man’s ‘transgression’ or ‘rebellion’ against God – a development most naturally entered into with the establishment of an entirely new order on earth. This seems to require nothing less than the inauguration of the kingdom of God on earth.” (Archer)
b. To make an end of sins: Taking these words at face value, this means not only the end of the guilt of sin, but an end of sin itself. It means to “seal up” or to “restrain” sins. This looks to a new, redeemed world.
c. To make reconciliation for iniquity: Man’s iniquity must be reconciled to God’s justice and holiness. This work was clearly accomplished at the cross.
d. To bring in everlasting righteousness: One might take this in an individual sense, but there have always been righteous individuals. Taking the statement at face value, this means a new order of society brought in by the Messiah.
e. To seal up vision and prophecy: This speaks of both the ending and fulfillment of prophecy, concluding the final stage of human history and culminating with the reign of the Son of God.
i. “It must include his enthronement.” (Archer)
f. To anoint the most holy: Taken at its simple, literal meaning, this refers to a place, not a person. There is a most holy place – the most holy place of the temple – that will be anointed and blessed.
i. Taken as a whole, Gabriel made a remarkable announcement to Daniel. He told him that each of these amazing things would happen within the period of seventy weeks.
ii. Looking back in history, we can only say these things are already fulfilled if we ignore their plain, literal meaning and give them a spiritualized meaning that replaces their plain meaning. Some believe that these promises were fulfilled generally in the spread of the Gospel over the centuries, but this belief neglects the plain and simple meaning of these words.
3. (25) The course and dividing of the seventy weeks.
“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.
a. From the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem: Here Gabriel revealed to Daniel the starting point for the seventy-weeks prophecy. There was a command to restore and build Jerusalem in history that started this specific period of time.
i. The Bible presents four possible decrees that might fulfill this description:
· Cyrus made a decree giving Ezra and the Babylonian captives the right to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple in 538 B.C. (Ezra 1:1-4 and 5:13-17).
· Darius made a decree giving Ezra the right to rebuild the temple in 517 B.C. (Ezra 6:6-12).
· Artaxerxes made a decree giving Ezra permission, safe passage, and supplies to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple in 458 B.C. (Ezra 7:11-26).
· Artaxerxes made a decree giving Nehemiah permission, safe passage and supplies to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the city and the walls in 445 B.C. (Nehemiah 2:1-8).
ii. Only the last of these four decrees was a command to restore and build Jerusalem. The first three each focused on the temple, not on the street or on the wall.
b. Until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks: Gabriel’s message to Daniel was simple and striking. 483 years – that is, 69 units of seven years – would pass from the time of the command recorded in Nehemiah 2:1-8 until the appearance of Messiah the Prince.
i. Some say the 483 years were completed at the time of Jesus’ birth (5 or 4 B.C.). There is little chronological support for this date.
ii. Some say the 483 years were completed at His baptism, at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry (if dated at A.D. 26). This is possible if one begins with the earlier decree of Artaxerxes, and figures with our present measurement for years (365.25 days to a year) instead of the ancient measurement of years (360 days to a year).
iii. Some say the 483 years were completed at the triumphal entry of Jesus (if dated at A.D. 32). Sir Robert Anderson’s significant work The Coming Prince followed this argument in great detail.
· Anderson, using a 360-day year (which Israel used in Daniel’s day), calculated 173,880 days from the decree to the triumphal entry, fulfilling the prophecy to the day. “It is customary for the Jews to have twelve months of 360 days each and then to insert a thirteenth month occasionally when necessary to correct the calendar.” (Walvoord)
· The year A.D. 32 (based on Luke 3:1) for Jesus’ death is controversial (most chronologists favor A.D. 30 or 33). But recent attempts have made some case for the date: “A recent article attempts to give credence to the date of A.D. 32; cf. R.E. Showers, Grace Journal, XI (Winter, 1970), pp. 30ff. The evidence presented is worthy of notice.” (Wood)
· “No one today is able dogmatically to declare that Sir Robert Anderson’s computations are impossible.” (Walvoord)
iv. Some say the 483 years were completed at the exact time of the crucifixion. This is a minority opinion. Most who find the date near this time also see it belonging to the Triumphal Entry, which happened seven days before the crucifixion.
c. Until Messiah the Prince: Taking Anderson’s calculations as reliable, we see a remarkable fulfillment of prophecy. A Gentile king made a decree and 483 years later to the day, Jesus presented Himself as Messiah the Prince to Israel.
i. In our mind a Prince is a good step lower than a king. In the Hebrew vocabulary, “Prince” has more the idea of “strong, mighty ruler” than “son of a king and heir to the throne.”
ii. “There was only one occasion in our Lord’s earthly ministry on which He is depicted as presenting Himself openly as Zion’s King, the so-called ‘Triumphal Entry,’ recorded in each one of the Gospels and fulfilling Zechariah 9:9 and Psalm 118:26.” (Newell)
· On that day, Jesus deliberately arranged the event to present Himself as Messiah (Mark 11:1-10).
· On that day, Jesus welcomed praise (Luke 19:38-40) instead of quieting it (Luke 5:14 and 8:56).
· On that day, Jesus made special reference to the importance of that day (Luke 19:41-42).
iii. This prophecy is so specifically fulfilled that it has been a significant testimony to many. “Others of the Jewish [scholars], by the evidence of these words, have been compelled to confess that Messiah is already come, and that he was that Jesus whom their forefathers crucified.” (Trapp)
d. The street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times: This indicates that the rebuilding of the streets and wall of Jerusalem would happen in the first seven weeks mentioned. Then would follow another 62 weeks of years until the coming of Messiah the Prince.
i. The seventy weeks are divided into three parts:
· Seven weeks – 49 years, until the city and its walls are rebuilt.
· 69 weeks (7 plus 62), 483 years from the decree, until Messiah the Prince appears.
· A final 70th week to complete the prophecy.
4. (26) What happens after the first sixty-nine weeks.
“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.
a. After the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off: The Biblical term cut off is sometimes used to describe execution (see Genesis 9:11 and Exodus 31:14). Gabriel told Daniel that the Messiah will be cut off for the sake of others, not for Himself.
i. “Able chronologists have shown that the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ occurred immediately after the expiration of 483 prophetic years, of 360 days each, from the time of Artaxerxes’ order.” (Ironside)
ii. Strangely, many able commentators simply ignore these numbers. “The numbers are symbolic and not arithmetical.” (Baldwin)
iii. Cut off is a poignant description of Jesus’ earthly life up to and including the cross. “Born in another man’s stable, cradled in another man’s manger with nowhere to lay his head during his life on earth, and buried in another man’s tomb after dying on a cursed cross, the Christ of God and the Friend of the friendless was indeed cut off and had nothing.” (Heslop)
b. Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary: After the Messiah was cut off, Jerusalem and her temple would be destroyed again by an overwhelming army (with a flood). Most all Bible scholars and commentators agree that this was fulfilled in the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.
c. The people of the prince who is to come shall destroy: The destroying army is made up of the people of the prince who is to come. This coming prince is described more in Daniel 9:26.
5. (27) The events of the seventieth week.
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.”
a. He shall confirm a covenant: The “he” Gabriel described is the prince who is to come mentioned in the previous verse. If we know that the prince’s people destroyed Jerusalem in A.D. 70, then we know this coming prince has his ancestral roots in the soil of the ancient Roman Empire.
i. Therefore, the prince who is to come will in some way be an heir to the Romans, even as the final world government is an heir to the Roman Empire (Daniel 7).
b. He shall confirm a covenant with many for one week: The coming prince will make a covenant with Israel for the final unit of seven years, completing the seventy weeks prophesied for the Jewish people and Jerusalem.
i. Covenant with many: The word many here is a specific reference to Israel, not a general reference to a group. The ancient Hebrew says, “covenant with the many.”
ii. With this covenant Israel will embrace the Antichrist as a political messiah, if not the literal Messiah. Jesus predicted this in John 5:43: I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive.
iii. Taking the description of what would be accomplished in the 70 Weeks from Daniel 9:24, we know that the 70 Weeks are not yet complete. Yet the events promised in the first 69 weeks are fulfilled, indicated that there is a lengthy “pause” in the 70 Weeks, between the 69th week and the 70th week. The 70th week will begin when the coming prince shall confirm a covenant with the Jewish people. These gaps or pauses in prophecy may seem strange to us, but they are common. Comparing Isaiah 9:6 and Luke 1:31-33 shows another significant pause or gap in prophecy regarding the coming of the Messiah.
iv. We can think of it in this way: God appointed 490 years of special focus on Israel in His redemptive plan. The years were paused by Israel’s rejection of Jesus. Now there is no special focus on Israel in God’s redemptive plan because this is the time of the church. God’s focus will return to Israel when the church is taken away (at the rapture) and the last seven years of man’s rule on this earth begin.
v. “The 70th week will begin when the Jewish people are restored in unbelief to their land and city; and among them will be found a faithful remnant, owning their sin, and seeking Jehovah’s face.” (Henry Ironside writing in 1911)
c. In the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering: The coming prince will break the covenant with Israel in the middle of the seven years, the final week (period of seven years).
i. The Book of Revelation sees this seven year period with both its halves as yet future (Revelation 12:6, 13-14; 13:5-9, 14-15). The middle of the week and the end of sacrifice had not yet happened in 90 A.D.
d. On the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate: The ending of sacrifice will come with abominations, followed by tremendous desolation.
i. Abominations translates an ancient Hebrew word (shiqquwts) that is connected to horrific idolatry (Deuteronomy 29:17, 1 Kings 11:5-7, 2 Kings 23:13). The idea is that the coming prince breaks the covenant and brings an end to sacrifice and offering by desecrating the holy place of the temple with a horrific idolatry.
ii. Jesus called this the abomination of desolation (Matthew 24:15) and indicated that it would be a pivotal sign in the Great Tribulation. Paul referred to the idolatry of the coming prince in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4.
e. Until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate: This breaking of the covenant and abomination of desolation has a promised consummation. Before the 70th week is completed, each of the things described in Daniel 9:24 will be accomplished and everlasting righteousness will reign.
The Seventy Weeks of Daniel
as Understood by Sir Robert Anderson in “The Coming Prince”
Daniel 9:24-25 says that from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem to the coming of the Messiah there will be 483 years.
7 + 62 “weeks” = 69 groups of seven years. 7 x 69 = 483 years
Anderson understood a prophetic year as 360 days. This is based both on ancient history and on Revelation 11:2, 13:5, 11:3, and 12:6 which indicate that 42 months – 3 ½ years – are equal to 1,260 days.
Therefore, 483 years x 360 days = 173,880 days
Artaxerxes started his reign in 465 B.C. The decree to rebuild Jerusalem was given on the first day of Nisan, in the 20th year of Artaxerxes. In our calendar system (the Julian calendar) that date is March 14, 445 B.C. (Nehemiah 2:1)
Jesus started His ministry in the 15th year of Tiberius (see Luke 3:1). Tiberius started his reign in A.D. 14, so Jesus’ ministry started in A.D. 29. Anderson believed that Jesus celebrated four Passovers during His ministry, one each in A.D. 29, 30, 31. and His final Passover in A.D. 32. With the help of lunar charts, we can calculate the exact date of ancient Passovers, so it is possible to calculate the exact day of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem as April 6, A.D. 32.
From 445 B.C. to A.D. 32. there are 476 years on the Julian calendar
(not 477 years, because there is no year zero).
476 years x 365 days = 173,740 days.
Adjusting for the difference between March 14 and April 6 adds 24 days.
Adjusting for leap years over a period of 476 years adds 116 days.
The total number of days from March 14, 445 B.C. to April 6, A.D. 32.
173,740 + 24 + 116 = 173,880 days.
According to his calendar, Daniel told us there would be 173,880 days between the decree and the arrival of Messiah the Prince.
Jesus said to the Jews of this day: If you had known, even you, especially IN THIS YOUR DAY, the things that make for your peace! (Luke 19:42). David said of this day in Psalm 118:24: THIS IS THE DAY which the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
©2018 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission