Daniel's Seventy Weeks
I. Daniel 9:20-27
A. Many ideas have been attributed to what was predicted by Gabriel in this prophecy and when these things would take place.
B. I will not claim to be an expert on these matters, but I would like to examine this prophecy in detail so that we may all understand better what Gabriel was discussing.
II. Historical Context
A. Because of Israel’s apostasy, Jeremiah foretold that the Jews would be held captive in Babylon for 70 years - Jeremiah 25:12; 29:10
B. This prophecy came true - Daniel 9:1-2
C. Why seventy years?
1. II Chronicles 36:21 - Until the land enjoyed its Sabbath rest.
2. The Old Law required that the ground not be plowed every seventh year - Leviticus 25:1-7
3. Apparently, the Israelites ignored this commandment.
a. There is no record of it being followed prior to the captivity
b. It was prophesied to occur - Leviticus 26:33-35
4. If each year of captivity represents a violation of the Sabbath year rest, then the captivity represented 490 years of neglecting God’s law.
D. While the captivity looked back 490 years, the prophecy given to Daniel looks forward 490 years to the coming “Anointed One” who would make an end to sin - Daniel 9:24
1. Daniel, at the time of this prophecy stood at the half-way point between two eras
E. Daniel, knowing that the prophecy of Jeremiah was about to end, prayed for his people - Daniel 9:1-2
1. He confessed the sins of himself and his people and asked that God restore Jerusalem and rebuild the temple - Daniel 9:16-17
2. While Daniel prayed, God answered his prayer by sending Gabriel with an answer.
3. A decree would be going forth to restore Jerusalem and rebuild the temple - Daniel 9:25
4. However, something more important would be coming — The anointed one.
III. The Messiah’s Mission
A. Dealing with sin
1. He would make an end of sins
a. Matthew 1:21 - Jesus (“savior”) would save his people from sin.
b. I Corinthians 15:3 - He died for our sins
c. Galatians 1:4 - Gave himself for our sins
2. He would reconcile iniquity
a. Matthew 20:28 - Jesus came to give his life as a ransom for sin
b. Ephesians 1:7 - forgiveness through his blood
c. Colossians 1:20 - reconcile all things to himself through his sacrifice
3. He would bring in righteousness
a. II Corinthians 5:21 - He took on our sins so we might have righteousness
b. I Peter 2:24 - We were healed by his strips so we might live for righteousness
4. Daniel prayed for forgiveness for Israel, and what an answer he received!
a. Christ’s coming did not end sin in the sense of eradicating it from the world.
b. Rather, Jesus introduced a system that permanently solved the problem of sin for mankind.
c. Hebrews 9:26 - Jesus died once, for all. He will never have to return to repeat the events at Calvary.
5. Isaiah 53 uses the same words (transgression, sin, and iniquity) to describe the Messiah’s work in dealing with this problem.
a. Isaiah 53 is frequently quoted in relationship to Jesus’ first coming.
b. The sin that Jesus dealt with was during his first coming, not waiting to be resolve at some future date.
c. Hebrews 9:23-28 - It was only done once
B. Bring in everlasting righteousness
1. Paul shows that Jesus brought this era of righteousness into effect - Romans 3:21-26
2. This righteousness is brought to the people through the gospel - Romans 1:16-17
C. Vision and prophecy would be sealed
1. “Sealed” means to be brought to a conclusion
2. The prophecies of the Old Testament were about the Messiah and the Christian era - I Peter 1:10-12
3. With the completion of the New Law, the need for prophecy ended - I Corinthians 13:8-13
4. God would stop sending prophets into the world - Zechariah 13:2-3
5. Claiming to prophecy will cut you off - Matthew 7:21-23
D. The Most Holy will be anointed
1. Most Holy is referring to God
2. Jesus, the Son of God, came to this world in human form - John 1:1-4,14
3. Anointing was used to dedicate something to God. In other words to declare it holy.
a. Example: I Kings 19:16 - a king and a prophet
b. Example: Exodus 28:41 - a priest
c. Interestingly, the Christ functions in each of these roles
(1) Acts 3:30-22 - A prophet
(2) Hebrews 3:1 - A priest
(3) Matthew 21:5 - A king
4. It was prophesied that the anointing would be by the Spirit of God - Isaiah 61:1
a. Fulfilled at Jesus’ baptism - Matthew 3:16-17
b. Confirmed by the apostles - Acts 10:38
5. The meaning of “Christ” and “Messiah” is “anointed”
E. He would make a firm covenant
1. Hebrews 8:7-9 - The old covenant would be replaced with a new one
2. Hebrews 9:15 - A mediator of a new covenant
F. Sacrifice and offerings would end
1. With Jesus’ sacrifice, the sacrifices of the Old Law ended - Hebrews 10:8-10
2. Jesus nailed the Mosaic law to the cross - Colossians 2:14
3. He abolished the division between Jew and Gentile - Ephesians 2:13-17
IV. Daniel’s prophecy not only told the Israelites what would happen, it also told them when it would happen.
A. The beginning point is placed at the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem.
B. The length would be 70 weeks or 490 days. It is generally agreed that each day of the prophecy would represent one year.
1. The time is divided into 3 segments
a. Seven weeks
b. 62 weeks
c. In the middle of the 70th week, sacrifice would end
d. i.e. a total of 486 ½ years.
C. The ending point would be the cutting off of the anointed one
D. So when did it occur?
1. There are three possible dates for the start
a. Zerubbabel led a group out of captivity in 536 B.C.
(1) However, 486 years from this would be 50 B.C., or 80 years prior to Christ’s death.
b. Nehemiah led a band back in 444B.C.
(1) However, 486 years from this would be A.D. 42, or 12 years after Christ’s death
c. In 457 B.C., Ezra took a group from Babylon to Jerusalem
(1) 486 years from this would be A.D. 30 — the year of Christ’s crucifixion!
(2) Ezra 7:6-7; 9:9 - Ezra and the people came for the rebuilding of Jerusalem (though not actually rebuilt until Nehemiah came 13 years later).
2. The 7 weeks (49 years) covers the rebuilding of Jerusalem
a. The walls would be rebuilt and the temple restored in troubled times - Daniel 9:25; Ezra 4:1-6
3. The 62 weeks added to the 7 weeks (483 years) or A.D. 26, the baptism of Jesus and the beginning of his ministry.
4. Then in the midst of the 70th week (3 ½ years later), he would be cut off or killed.
V. The consequences of rejecting the Christ
A. No matter how people wish to rewrite history, it remains a fact that Jesus was rejected and killed by his own people - John 1:11
B. Daniel prophesied the consequence of that rejection - Daniel 9:26-27
1. A prince that would come who would destroy the city and the temple like an overwhelming flood.
2. All has been determined, set in place by God, as a result of their rejection of the Christ.
C. Jesus explained this portion of the prophecy in Matthew 24:1-34, see Matthew 24:15
1. In A.D. 66, the Jews, who were subject to Rome, revolted against the empire and fought a bloody war with Rome for several years.
2. The prince was Titus, son and successor of Vespasian.
3. He overthrew the city of Jerusalem after a five-month siege in the summer of A.D. 70.
4. Jerusalem was burned (see Matthew 22:7) and the temple was destroyed (see Matthew 23:38). Not one stone was left upon another (Matthew 24:2).
5. J. N. Geldenhuys: Titus “overran the city with his army, destroyed and plundered the temple, and slew the Jews — men, women, and children — by tens of thousands. When their lust for blood had been sated, the Romans carried off into captivity all the able-bodied remnant of the Jews (for they had done away with all the weaklings and the aged), so that not a single Jew was left alive in the city or its vicinity. Only on one day in the year — the day of remembrance of the destruction of the temple — were they allowed to mourn over the city from the neighboring hilltops.”
6. This completed the “abomination of desolation” referred to by Daniel.
a. The city of David was desolated by the Roman army.
b. The Romans were abominable, idolatrous force.
c. Even the Jews recognized the destruction was a fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy. Josephus: “Daniel also wrote concerning the Roman government, and that our country should be made desolate by them.”
VI. How powerful is our God to foretell the future in such detail, to even establish the date of the events centuries in advance!
The Messiah’s Mission
To finish transgression, to make an end of sin
Matthew 1:21, I Corinthians 15:3, Galatians 1:4
To make reconciliation for iniquity
Matthew 20:28, Ephesians 1:7, Colossians 1:20
To bring in everlasting righteousness
II Corinthians 5:21, I Peter 2:24, Romans 3:21_26, Romans 1:16-17
To seal up vision and prophecy
I Peter 1:10-12, I Corinthians 13:8-13, Zechariah 13:2-3, Matthew 7:21-23
To anoint the Most Holy
John 1:1-4, 14; Isaiah 61:1, Matthew 3:16-17, Acts 10:38
He shall confirm a covenant with many
Hebrews 8:7-9, 9:15
He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering
Hebrews 10:8-10, Colossians 2:14, Ephesians 2:13-17
Daniels’ prayer was for the forgiveness of Israel’s sins (Daniel 9:16-17). The answer was not forgiveness of only Israel’s sins, but forgiveness of the sins of the whole world!
Hebrews 9:23-28; Isaiah 53