Daniel 9
Daniel's Prayer and the 70 weeks


From the main page for this chapter, d09, you may link to various notes on this page. Or just read the notes here.

1 - Weeks
   Instead of "weeks," the NIV has the word "sevens" with a footnote: "Or "weeks." The Hebrew words are similar but distinct. Instead of "sevens," "weeks," shabua, is correct and is more clearly a symbolic time of seven literal years. The events predicted, including rebuilding the temple (v25), could not have happened in 70 literal weeks. The REB correctly interprets the text and reads "seventy weeks of years."
    Why would the Holy Spirit inspire Daniel to use the term "seventy weeks" instead of the simpler, 490 years? Consider these three reasons:  To compare with the similar probationary time of 70 years as noted earlierto highlight the critical, one-week ending section of the prophecy, and to confirm the connection between the 70 weeks and the 2300 days of chapter 8. Incidentally, these two terms and others noted in the Bible would have been recognized by contemporary readers as symbolic. They were not shown the way literal times were normally expressed.
Text about the 70 weeks
Three probationary
Connection intended
by the word "week"
 24  Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city. . . .
 25  . . . from the going forth of the commandment . . . unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks. . . .
 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. . . .
Preparation of chosen people to be faithful. Captivity in Babylon 70 years To compare the 70 probationary weeks of years to be ready for the Messiah with the probationary 70 years of captivity. The people had not tried to be godly and obedient in Jerusalem. They were given a chance to do so in captivity. je2913.
Preparation for mission as chosen people 70 weeks of years. To highlight the critical, final week for confirming the covenant. In accepting Jesus as the anointed Messiah mt0307 believing Jews would allow Him to confirm the covenant in them mt2337.
Preparation of all people for atonement cleansing after 2300 yrs. (evenings and mornings) To compare the symbolic week of covenant restoration to the literal week when God had provided the relationship of harmony and peace which had been broken by sin. In one week God created this earth ge0201. Each day was called "evening and morning." ge0105. Both time concepts originate in the story of creation.
 24  Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy 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 [rather "prophet"], and to anoint the most Holy.
2 - Finish transgression, end sins
   Transgression means rebellion against God. The word "sin," seems to indicate less intentional wrong which, in the NT, is "missing the mark."

3  - "To seal up" hatam
    "To bring to an end" is another translation for the Hebrew word, hatam in v24. Following this idea:
Our first reason for this choice is that one of the objects of the action (things that were to be brought to an end) is "prophet" not "prophecy" (Hebrew, nabî) as substituted by the translators. "Seal up" doesn't work for "prophet" but, "brought to an end," the other meaning of hatam does.
Also, the word "prophet" appears in the text without an adjective giving it a more generic sense. Stephen, as we can see, was the last of the prophets who appealed to Israel as a people. The line of prophets came to an end with the end of Stephen's ministry. The end of  "vision" implies this, too pr2918, la0209.
And hatam is translated in the same verse as "to make an end" [of sin].
Alternatively we may consider that Daniel (the prophet) and his vision were sealed in the sense of being found authentic (true).

4 - Six actions cut off or determined for Daniel's people and his holy city
To finish transgressions
To put away sins
To Atone for wickedness
To Bring in everlasting righteousness
To bring an end to vision and prophet
To anoint the most holy
 24 . . . and to anoint the most Holy
5 - What or who is the "most holy" here?
   The term "most holy" in Hebrew is qodesh qodeshim and is not elsewhere in the Bible used to describe a person. It describes the altar in ex2937, other sanctuary furniture in ex3026ff, le2405ff, certain offerings in le0203, le0701ff, nu1809ff,  the most holy place of the sanctuary in ex2633f, and what our verse in Daniel may most directly refer to the whole temple/sanctuary ez4312. The sanctuary system describes the ministry of Christ. See the comment about "sanctuary and host" at da0813. Before services began in the wilderness tabernacle, the sanctuary was anointed and the priests, representing Christ, were anointed for service there.
   The process of Jesus' anointing for ministry began with His baptism, continued with His life on earth and culminated with His inauguration in heaven at Pentecost. Thus the place as well as the person was anointed. See re0509b. His confirmation and exaltation continue to the end of the thousand years. Beyond that, we have much to learn!
   As just noted, preparation for ministry in the sanctuary in heaven is prefigured by the process of preparing Aaron for priesthood in Leviticus re0509t. The Hebrew grammar specifies "the most holy" place. In describing it, we describe the person it represents.
 25  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.
6a - Know therefore and understand
  Rabbis after the time of Christ have pronounced a curse on anyone who would attempt to calculate the dates of this chapter. - Talmud Sanhedrin 97b, Soncino ed., p. 659.
6b - Restore and build
    The phrase is "to restore and to build Jerusalem." To "restore"  would be different from "to build" since both are mentioned. Other permissions to return were for building the temple or the walls. A full restoration would include reestablishing the government. Rebuilding street and wall would go along with a new government. The "street" could mean the plaza or the place where the law makers gathered.
    Some people look at the work in the time of Nehemiah when the wall was completed. The authorization, however, doesn't fit ne0205. The decree of Artaxerxes, on the other hand, provided everything to reestablish the city of Jerusalem. Restoration of the civil government would be expected in restoration of the city, but there's more. The decree was as complete a restoration as one could possibly expect. It provided for both spiritual and civil authority. It covered the needs of the Jewish temple ezr0723. It called for appointing magistrates and judges, and for punishment of crime implying a police force ezr0725. And it even included the carrying out of the covenant mission of converting people of other kingdoms!
    Did they accomplish all that Artaxerxes had authorized? No. Nehemiah finished the "city" and, as far as I know, they neglected to share the truth they knew about the Creator God which was their commission from Him.
 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. 7 - Not for himself
    "and no one will take his part" (REB).  "and no one belonging to . . . him" (Amplified Bible). "Is not to/for him" (literal translation). Conclusion 1: "He was alone" mr1427, mr1533f, . Or conclusion 2, also a correct translation of the Hebrew: "Not for Himself." From this we infer that He did not die for His own sins 1pe0318. The second seems to fit better with the situation in Daniel and in the grand plan of salvation surrounding the cross. 

8 - People of the coming prince
    Who were they? First, who is the prince? We know that Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD under Roman Emperor Titus. That was future from the perspective of our text. Let's say Titus is the prince and see if it makes sense. Notice again the part of verse 26 we are dealing with. It says, "Messiah [shall] be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary." We were not expecting the people to destroy either city or sanctuary. The Roman soldiers would not likely have been called "people," but an "army" or a "host" as in chapter 8 da0812.
   Look at our verse again. We have two princes, each with a group of people. Messiah's death was not for himself but for all humanity, Note 7 above. Those who accepted the grace He offered were His people (implied in the verse). He is identified as "Messiah the Prince" in verse 25. So He was their Prince.
   The other group of people rejected the Messiah Prince. Their alternative? The hated Roman emperor. At Christ's trial before Pilate the mob cried, "Crucify Him." And the Jewish leaders shouted, "We have no king but Caesar!" jn1915. Caesar was a false God. Roman emperors claimed divinity. In their attempt to get rid of Jesus, they had chosen Satan who had wanted to be God. They had also chosen Satan in Barabbas mt2716ff. Since the rebellion in heaven, Satan has been the enemy of Christ re1207.
   Our text refers to "the people of the prince that shall come." Titus was a coming prince (later than Tiberius Caesar who ruled at the time of the crucifixion of Jesus) but beyond Titus, Satan was their coming prince. In fact Jesus, speaking of Satan, said, "the prince of this world cometh." jn1430! How was Satan a coming prince? After Jesus died as the lamb for our salvation, Satan began to work with "great wrath" knowing his time would be short re1212de.
   This leaves us with the question of how the people of the coming prince would destroy their own city and sanctuary. Historically, they insisted that they had the divine blessing and boldly rebelled against Rome. Earlier, Jesus wept for the city who had rejected Him, The people had made God's house (temple) a den of thieves and Christ had left it desolate. lu1946; mt2334ff. They were the city. As earlier in their history, they would destroy themselves is5001, ho1309. And they would fall ho1401, je3817, mt2445. In contrast, the redeemed will be "a city not forsaken." is6212.
------- People and their Princes ------
People Those who accepted Christ Those who rejected Christ
Prince as in Dan. 9 Messiah Prince Prince to come
Representative of prince - Titus (after Tiberius Caesar)
Prince Christ Satan
City New Jerusalem People claiming sovereignty of Jerusalem
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 [or "wing"] of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation [or "complete destruction"], and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate [literally, "upon a desolator."]

 . . . and upon the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator. RSV.

9 - The 70th week theory
Many Christians believe that the 70th week of this chapter is split off from the 69 and happens during the thousand years. This idea was suggested by a Jesuit priest and Scofield added it to his Bible notes. It was not a part of Catholic doctrine but helped turn the heat away from the church by placing the action of the horn power in the future instead of during the middle ages when it was most active. For this new theory to seem reasonable, one must read things into the text which are not there. Also one must ignore texts like Gal. 3:26-29 which declares that the promises of the Old Testament are no longer for a special class of people such as the Jews but are for New Testament Christians such as those to whom Paul was writing. Also note the completeness of the literary pattern of verses 24 -27.

10 - Sacrifice and oblation cease
    Does the Bible speak of a time when sacrifices ceased? John the Baptist proclaimed Jesus as the Lamb of God jn0129. God marked the end of the temple services when Jesus, as the Lamb, became the ultimate sacrifice. See mt2751. The symbolic sacrifices had met the reality which they had, for thousands of years, pointed forward to. The Jews continued to sacrifice until their temple was destroyed but it was a house desolate of the Saviour who had come mt2338. The text says that the Messiah would cause the sacrifices to cease.Praise God for His wonderful gift for our salvation!

11 - End of desolation
    We may read the verse to see two desolators. The "wing" or "overspreading" of abominations and the complete consummation indicate the final end of the conflict. In Revelation 19, we find the beast and the false prophet (medieval church and the force that supports her in the end time) tossed into the lake of fire re1920. The third member of the broken coalition re1613 is the dragon, Satan. He gets chained in the pit for a thousand years re2001. Then he, too, goes into the fire and is destroyed re2010b.
   Thus we may see the first desolator (the beast) continuing until destroyed in the final conflict with the Lamb re1714, 2th0208. The "decreed end" of the second (the dragon) begins with the chaining at that same time, although he is not destroyed until the end of the thousand years.
   The prophecy may have been fulfilled as a foreshadow in the destruction of Jerusalem by pagan Rome and in the punishment of Rome at the time of its fall.

Pattern indicating that the 70 weeks are not broken into two periods
Chiastic Literary Structure of Daniel 9:25-27

A look at the pattern of this key passage helps us understand why the death of the Messiah appears twice below: 26a and 27b. The pattern also implies that the 70th week is not separated from the rest.


Construction 25a  Command to restore and build Jerusalem
Messiah - time  25b  Until Messiah the Prince, seven and sixty-two weeks
Construction  25c Street and wall built in troubled times
Messiah - time  26a  Cut off after sixty-two weeks, but not for himself
Destruction  26b People of the coming prince will destroy city and sanctuary flood
Messiah - time 27a Will confirm covenant with many for one week
Destruction  27b  Sacrifices and oblations cease mid-week. Desolate. Consummation poured out

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