The Seventy Weeks (Part 1)

The Seventy Weeks (Daniel 9:24-27) I. In the last few chapters of the Book of Daniel, God showed Daniel a number of events that would occur before God finished dealing with natural Israel. DAN 12:7. A. This season is called “...the latter days” (DAN 10:14; HOS 3:4-5; JER 23:20) and includes the historical events of the Books of Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther. B. These latter days are the post-Babylon era of Israel which culminate in the Roman destruction of Jerusalem, the desolating of Judea and the scattering of the Jews. C. They stand in contrast to “...the former days...” (ZEC 8:10-12) which preceded the Babylonian captivity during which former prophets warned them of the dire consequences of their sins but were disregarded. ZEC 1:4; 7:7, 12 c/w 2CH 36:15-16. D. The post-Babylon prophets to Israel include Daniel, Zechariah, Haggai and Malachi but also John the Baptist, Jesus Christ and some N.T. prophets. LUK 7:28 c/w JOH 1:31; MAT 15:24; 23:34. E. Mark the phrase, “...scatter the power of the holy people...” (DAN 12:7). 1. Israel was meant to be a holy nation, conditionally. EXO 19:5-6; DEU 26:18-19. 2. Collective national sin defiled her identity, pre-Babylon. ISA 1:21-23; JER 2:3. 3. Yet after her punishment in Babylon, her identity was graciously cleansed according to God's promise. ISA 1:24-26; ZEC 8:2-3. 4. But regaining their holy identity would not exempt them from God's judgments if they corrupted themselves in the post-Babylon era since their terms of survival were reinstated to “ at the first” (JER 33:4-11), i.e., conditionally under promise of certain and irremediable cursing for gross, aggravating sin. DEU 28:15-68. II. The prophecy of the seventy weeks came in the waning days of the Babylonian captivity when the kingdom was taken from the Chaldeans by the Medo-Persians. DAN 5:31 c/w DAN 9:1. A. Daniel “...understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem” (DAN 9:2). c/w JER 25:11-12; 29:10. 1. Mind that the books from which Daniel got understanding about God's plan were obviously Scripture, not footnotes, fables or fantasies. 2. Mind that the understanding obviously came from reading. c/w EPH 3:4. 3. Jesus said of Daniel's prophecy, “...whoso readeth, let him understand...” (MAT 24:15). 4. Like some of Paul's writings, there are here “...some things hard to be understood...” (2PE 3:16): not ALL things, and not impossible---just hard. B. This knowledge prompted Daniel to fast and pray, confessing national sins and his own sins. DAN 9:3-19. C. In response, God dispatched the angel, Gabriel, to give Daniel skill and understanding. DAN 9:20-23. 1. Gabriel had previously been sent to make Daniel understand a troubling vision of future events. DAN 8:15-27. 2. The significance of Gabriel should not be overlooked. a. The only other times his name comes up are when he appeared to Mary and Zacharias. LUK 1:19, 26. b. The priest, Zacharias, as a teacher of the law (MAL 2:7) was likely familiar with the importance of Daniel's prophecy given uniquely by Gabriel. c. That the same Gabriel who clearly declared to Daniel the time of Messiah's The Seventy Weeks 8-5-12 Page 1coming should appear again near the appointed season (c/w LUK 3:15) should have caught Zacharias' attention! III. Some observations about the prophecy: A. Messiah is central to the prophecy: it measures to Him, details His work and cutting off, and presents the awful aftermath of His cutting off. B. It is the only O.T. prophecy that provided a specific timeline to the Messiah of promise. 1. The timeline has a definite starting point, “...from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem...” (v. 25). 2. NOTE: the beginning of this divine timer is not from the beginning or the completion of any building, nor from any other mark; it is from the decree. C. The timeline is determined upon Daniel's people and holy city: Jews and Jerusalem. 1. determine: To put an end or limit to; to come to an end. 1. trans. To put an end to (in time); to bring to an end; to end, conclude, terminate. 2. This set the future extent of God's dealings with Israel: the end of this timeline of seventy weeks which is here called the consummation (v. 27). a. consummation: The action of completing, accomplishing, fulfilling, finishing, or ending. b. By comparing v. 26 with v. 27, the consummation is the end of the war. c. The end of the war during which Jerusalem was destroyed completed Gabriel's prophecy. 3. NOTE: Even if one assigns the 70th week to the Second Coming of Christ (as many do), the prophecy still demands a termination point. So how can there be a glorious Jewish millennium after that? D. The prophecy blends together four things in close proximity to each other at a future season: the arrival of the longed-for Messiah, the cutting off of Messiah, the cessation of (Mosaic) sacrifice and oblation, and a horrific destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in a desolating war. 1. That such things were so associated must have been enigmatic. 2. “...We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever...” (JOH 12:34). “What is this “cutting off” of Messiah?” 3. Did not Jeremiah say that in Messiah's days, “...Judah shall be saved, and Jerusalem dwell safely...” (JER 33:15-16)? “What is this destruction and desolation?” 4. Did not Jeremiah also say of Messiah and His days, “Neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before me to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually” (JER 33:18)? “What is this cessation of sacrifice and oblation?” 5. The concerned might well have been asking themselves things like, “What manner of time could Gabriel have been implying?” 1PE 1:11. E. The timeline has three divisions: seven weeks, threescore and two weeks, the last (70th) week. 1. Reason, chronology and comparative study demand that these are not weeks of seven solar days but weeks of years. a. Israel had long ago been familiarized with this principle. GEN 29:27-28; LEV 25:8; NUM 14:34. b. Considered lineally, the prophecy thus brackets 490 years of time. c. However, the unit of time under consideration here is a heptad of years, of which there are 70 required to fulfill the prophecy's details. The Seventy Weeks 8-5-12 Page 22. The divisions basically represent: a. Seven weeks for the rebuilding program during troublous times. b. Threescore and two weeks of history that culminate in the coming of Messiah. c. One week during which Messiah is cut off. F. Messiah is cut off “...AFTER threescore and two weeks...” This is very important. G. “The covenant” is confirmed with many for one week during which sacrifice and oblation is made to cease by the same person who confirms the covenant. v. 27. H. After Messiah is cut off, a prince brings destruction and desolation by war. v. 26. I. Overspreading of abominations make desolation. v. 27. 1. Jesus Christ made specific reference to this in the Olivet prophecy where He warned His disciples to therefore flee Judea. MAT 24:15-16. 2. The parallel account shows that this refers to armies compassing and hedging in Jerusalem. LUK 21:20-21 c/w LUK 19:42-44. J. Something (“that”) determined “...shall be poured upon the desolate” (v. 27). K. In review, the following must take place within the 70 weeks of this prophecy: 1. Jerusalem and its wall would be rebuilt. v. 25. 2. The temple would also be rebuilt, since there is a sanctuary destroyed. v. 26. 3. Messiah the Prince comes. v. 25. 4. The most Holy is anointed. v. 24. 5. Messiah is cut off. v. 26. 6. Transgression is finished. v. 24. 7. An end is made of sins. v. 24. 8. Reconciliation is made for iniquity. v. 24. 9. Everlasting righteousness is brought in. v. 24. 10. Vision and prophecy is sealed up. v. 24. 11. Sacrifice and oblation are made to cease. v. 27. 12. Messiah confirms the covenant with many for one week. v. 27. 13. A prince comes whose people destroy and desolate Jerusalem, etc. v. 26. 14. Something determined shall be poured upon the desolate. v. 27.

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