Book of Daniel Bible Study Chapter 9 Part 3

Daniel’s 70 Weeks

 

By I Gordon


We looked last time at Daniel’s 70 weeks – something that has been called the backbone of Bible prophecy. The angel Gabriel had been sent to Daniel to give him an exact timetable for when to expect the one that all of Israel for centuries had waited for… the Messiah! We saw that God had decreed or cut off 490 years to deal specifically with the nation of Israel to end their rebellion and sin and bring about everlasting righteousness. In the last study we saw the first 69 ‘sevens’ (or 483 years) ended on the day when Jesus rode into Jerusalem and for the first time allowed the masses to worship Him as the Messiah King.

 

This study will carry on and complete our look at Daniel chapter 9. We will look at the three events that are said to occur between the 69th and 70th seven and then examine what Daniel 9 teaches concerning the all important final 70th week of Daniel. Lots to do… so little time. Let’s go!

 

A shocking announcement about the Messiah…

 

Daniel 9:26a ‘After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing.’

 

We saw in Daniel 9:25 that the exact timing for the coming of the Messiah was given. Now, imagine if you will if you were Daniel. Imagine the excitement mixed with sadness that would have come through hearing this. Firstly, the immense excitement and joy that the Messiah was coming at an exact time and that God had a plan to redeem Israel and bring in the everlasting righteousness that he had just been told about. But there would have been sadness that Daniel himself would not live to see that day and that the coming was 483 years away.

 

Well, that statement by Gabriel would have knocked his socks off but nothing would have prepared Daniel for what Gabriel would now reveal – The Messiah would die! I don’t think that this would have entered into the heart of Daniel… that the one that Israel had waited centuries for would come and be executed? Cut off? Have nothing? Why? How? ‘The Messiah is to be our deliverer’ Daniel would have thought. ‘How can he be killed?’ ‘What does that mean for Israel?’ Of course, this is precisely what Isaiah the prophet had declared by the word of the Lord. The 53rd chapter of Isaiah is emphatic not only concerning the death of Jesus but also the reasons for it. Consider the following:

 

Isaiah 53:5-10  But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.  (6)  We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.  (7)  He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.  (8)  By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken.  (9)  He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.  (10)  Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.

 

Three events between the 69th and 70th week of Daniel

 

Daniel 9:26 ‘After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.’

 

As we can see from the above text, Daniel 9:26 gives us three specific events that have been decreed to occur between the end of the 69th ‘seven’ (483 years) and the start of the final ‘seven’. That there is a time period gap[1] between these is quite evident in the text[2]. Three events are said to occur AFTER the 69th ‘seven’ but they are not included in the 70th ‘seven’ which is the subject of the next verse. Let’s have a look at these three events.

 

  1. The Messiah will be cut off.
    ‘The Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing’
    This is what we have briefly looked at above but note a couple of extra things – Firstly, the word for ‘cut off’ is ‘karath’. It means to cut down or kill and is the same word used in Lev 7:27 for the death penalty. There is no doubt that this prophecy tells us that the Messiah would be executed. Secondly, the Bible says that He ‘will have nothing’. The Hebrew can also mean ‘but not for Himself’ and that is how it is translated in many Bibles. The Messiah would die… but He wouldn’t die for Himself. He would die for others. Amazing prophecy!
     
  2. The Destruction of Jerusalem
    ‘The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood’
    The second event decreed is the destruction of Jerusalem[3]. Remember, this occurs after the end of the 69th week yet before the start of the 70th week. And yet this event occurred 40 years after Jesus was crucified. Again this shows that God ‘stopped the prophetic time clock’ with Israel’s rejection of their Messiah. The text says that the people of the coming ruler will destroy the city and the sanctuary. Note that it is the people not the ruler who do this. The ruler’s coming is said to be still future. We know from history that it was the Roman army that destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD after a 4 year long siege on the city.[4] This ruler or ‘prince’ will be discussed later, but for now it is important to see that this coming ruler will be from the area held by the Roman Empire.[5]
     
     
  3. Continued War
    War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.’
    The third and final decree for the gap between the 69th ‘seven’ and before the start of the 70th ‘seven’ is ongoing war and desolations for Jerusalem. Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem! The most fought over city! From the time that Babylonians destroyed it in 586 BC it has been held by Greeks, the Romans, the Moslems, the Crusaders… and the conflict goes on today. Israel is back in the land but is there peace? There have been significant wars already since they became a nation again such as the war of Independance in 1948-49, the 6-day war of 1967 and the Yom Kippur war of 1973. And the ongoing terrorism, suicide bombers and world pressure upon Israel continue. The decree given by Gabriel is that war would continue right to the time of the end and history has verified that to be true.[6]

 

The coming prince

 

Daniel 9:27 “He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.”

 

We come now to the last verse in Daniel 9 and it thrusts us into the future. Verse 26 spoke of three things that occurred leading up to this final seven years (known generally as Daniel’s 70th week). Now we see from the text how this final seven years will begin… it says that ‘He will confirm a covenant with the many for one ‘seven’’. The ‘He’ takes us back to the last person mentioned which was the ‘ruler who shall come’ in verse 26. This is the coming ruler proceeding out of the area that was formally the Roman Empire. In Christian circles this coming one is generally called by a different title – the antichrist.

 

From verse 27 above, we learn the following points:

 

  • He shall make a covenant with the many – in the context of Daniel’s prophecy ‘the many’ are from the nation of Israel. Daniel’s 70th week begins then when a coming ruler will make a covenant with the nation of Israel for 7 years. Not all will go along with this covenant but ‘the many’ will accept it. This coming ruler must then be in a position of high power at this time to be able to establish and guarantee this peace agreement.

  • He will break this covenant at the mid-point – in the middle of the seven years (or after 3 ½ years) the coming ruler (antichrist) will break this agreement and put a stop to the Jewish sacrifice and offerings. Jesus spoke specifically of this event warning all in Judah to flee for their lives at this point. (Matt 24:15-22)

    This event is also recorded in more detail by the Apostle Paul who wrote exactly what will happen at this time:
    Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.”(2 Thes 2:3-4)

    This coming ruler, this man of sin, will no longer allow any worship of any God or person apart from himself! He will literally put himself in a rebuilt Jewish temple and declare himself to be God. How deceived can one be? He will start off politically and then acquire military power but even this won’t satisfy him. His overall desire is that of Satan his master who desired to place himself above God’s throne and to be worshipped as God. (See Isaiah 14:12-15)
     
  • He will set up the ‘abomination of desolation’ – David Guzik writes: “Abominations translates an ancient Hebrew word (shiqquwts) that is connected to horrific idolatry (Deu_29:17, 1Ki_11:5-7, 2Ki_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.”

    Specifically, the abomination refers to an image or idol that is setup in the temple to take the place of God. At the mid point of the 7 years the antichrist will setup such an abomination and desolate the coming Jewish temple. This image is mentioned in
    Revelation 13:14-15 “Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived.  (15)  He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed.”

    And as mentioned earlier, Jesus said that when this occurs, there is one thing that the Jews should do - run.[7]
  • The desolation lasts until the coming ruler is destroyed – This period of wrath will only last for a limited period of time. We know from Daniel that this ruler will have power only for the final 7 years – of which the last 3 ½ years is the period of intense persecution for the Jewish nation and all those that worship the true God. This period of time in which the antichrist is given power is confirmed in other scriptures such as Rev 11:2-3, 12:6, 13:5, Dan 7:25, 12:11. In all cases the scripture is clear that there are two 3 ½ years periods that comprise the final 7 years – Daniel’s 70th week. But thank God that the antichrist’s time is limited and this one who will cause such desolation ‘the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendour of his coming.’

 

Conclusion

 

What amazing prophecy Daniel chapter 9 gives us! I haven’t been able to do it justice and entire books could (and have!) been written on it. Yet even in the last two short studies we have seen a prophecy that stretches from the time of Nehemiah and comprises the exact day of the coming and execution of the Messiah, the destruction of the second temple, the ongoing wars surrounding Jerusalem, and even includes events still future for us with the final coming world leader who will desecrate the third temple and proclaim himself to be God. No wonder Gabriel told Daniel to understand this prophecy. No wonder Jesus spoke about it. No wonder Mathew told his readers to understand it!

 

As I said, I haven’t done it justice here but I do hope that you will continue to study and understand this key portion of prophetic truth!  

 




[1] Ever watched the last part of a basketball game? I watched one the other day. I turned on the TV and saw that there was only 10 minutes to go in the game so I thought I would sit down and watch the remaining 10 minutes. Well, 20 minutes later I was still watching that same game! How does that work? Well, as things get down to the nitty-gritty the coaches tend to use quite a few ‘timeouts’. This is especially true if the game is close. What that means is that even though there may be only 5 minutes left on the official clock the coach can call a time out and the time is stopped. They can then discuss the next play with the team and then the team will go back on the court and the time will be started again.

 

God’s prophetic time clock stopped after Jesus rode into Jerusalem. That was the end of the 69th ‘seven’ and Jesus told them in Luke 19:39 that they had missed the time of their visitation and that judgment now lay ahead for that nation. God stopped Israel’s prophetic time clock. He introduced the church so that the gospel could go to all nations. But there is still time to be run on Israel’s clock! There is one ‘seven’ that still remains (7 years) in which God will again deal specifically with the nation of Israel to fulfill all that He has promised them in this Daniel 9 prophecy and in many other prophecies. But that time is going to be the most difficult time ever known to the Jewish nation (and they have known a lot of hard times!) Jeremiah called it ‘the day of Jacob’s trouble… but he will be saved out of it’ (Jer 30:7)

 

[2] The Bible Knowledge Commentary states:
“According to Dan_9:26 the Anointed One was not “cut off” in the 70th “seven”; He was cut off after the 7 and 62 “sevens” had run their course. This means that there is an interval between the 69th and 70th “sevens.” Christ’s crucifixion, then, was in that interval, right after His Triumphal Entry, which concluded the 69th “seven.” This interval was anticipated by Christ when He prophesied the establishing of the church (Mat_16:18). This necessitated the setting aside of the nation Israel for a season in order that His new program for the church might be instituted. Christ predicted the setting aside of the nation (Mat_21:42-43). The present Church Age is the interval between the 69th and 70th “sevens.”

Amillenarians teach that Christ’s First Advent ministry was in the 70th “seven,” that there was no interval between the 69th and 70th “sevens,” and that the six actions predicted in Dan_9:24 are being fulfilled today in the church. This view, however, (a) ignores the fact that Dan_9:26 says “after the 62 ‘sevens,’” not “in the 70th ‘seven,’” (b) overlooks the fact that Christ’s ministry on earth was three and one-half years in length, not seven, and (c) ignores the fact that God’s six actions pertain to Daniel’s “people” (Israel) and His “Holy City” (Jerusalem), not the church.”

 

[3] Several amazing events are recorded in the Jewish Talmud that tell us that the Jewish leaders knew for 40 years before the destruction that the temple was going to be destroyed. Several supernatural events occurred that pointed and spelt out the coming doom for the city and the temple. One example concerning the temple doors opening of their own accord is recorded below:

“The next miracle, which the Jewish authorities acknowledged, was that the Temple doors swung open every night of their own accord. This too occurred for forty years, beginning in 30 CE. The leading Jewish authority of that time, Yohanan ben Zakkai, declared that this was a sign of impending doom, that the Temple itself would be destroyed. The Jerusalem Talmud states:

''Said Rabban Yohanan Ben Zakkai to the Temple, 'O Temple, why do you frighten us? We know that you will end up destroyed. For it has been said, 'Open your doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour your cedars' '' (Zechariah 11:1)' (Sota 6:3).

 

Please read the entire document here: http://www.windowview.org/hmny/pgs/talmuds.30ce.html

 

[4] In 66 AD the Jews revolted against the Roman reign and took Jerusalem. Titus then lay siege against the city to cut off all food and water. Josephus, the Jewish historian of the time, was used as a mediator. He records that 1,100,000 Jews died through starvation and war during this siege. The Roman army broke through in 70AD and burned the city and temple to the ground. It was reported that later Titus refused to accept a wreath of victory for his ‘achievement’ saying that ‘there is no merit in vanquishing a people forsaken by their God’. 

 

[5] This ruler or prince is the coming antichrist. He will come from the area of the Roman Empire. We generally think of the Roman Empire as Western Europe today but it should be noted that historically the Roman Empire had both a western and eastern leg. The eastern leg comprised of countries now known as Iraq and Syria. Sorry to throw that extra spanner in the works!

 

[6] Of course, Jesus said the same thing. In Luke 19:20-22 He said “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

 

[7] And a place will be setup for the Jews to flee to. This is recorded in Rev 12:6 where it says The woman (Israel) fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days (3 ½ years – the second half of Daniel’s 70th week).