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Today’s study is going to center upon the prophecy given by the prophet Daniel. It is found in Daniel 9:24-27. Some refer to this prophecy as the “God’s Prophetic Clock.”
Literally, it is God’s time clock upon the nation of Israel that brings an end to the age of humanity’s rule over the earth, and the beginning of the rule of God, or the 1,000-year reign, or the millennial reign of Christ.
Further, it is the cornerstone of Messianic prophecy as it establishes the first and second coming of the Messiah. And so, my purpose today is to give you an overview and how this prophecy has been and will be fulfilled.
Why 70 Weeks?
It should be noted, that this prophecy was given as a result of God’s punishment for Israel’s continued disobedience to God and to His word. And because of this, He sent them into captivity in the land of Babylon for 70 years.
This is what God’s word confirms through the prophet Jeremiah in 2 Chronicles 36:21, where he said that it was “To fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths. As long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years.” (2 Chronicles 36:21)
What is interesting is that while Israel had committed great sin in the worship of idols, during the reign the kings, it was the law of the Sabbath, or more specifically, the Sabbath rest for the land that they had continued to break.
The question was, why wait so long if they had been transgressing God’s holy laws throughout this time. I believe this was a foreshadow of a greater prophecy and what God desired to do. In other words, the Babylonian captivity was the turning point in the history of the kingdom of God.
And so God waited until the 70th Sabbatical year was over to pronounce judgment and bring the full force of Babylon upon the Jews and Jerusalem, culminating with the destruction of the Temple and the city.
And so, 70 years of captivity were determined upon the Jews for the 70 Sabbatical years they transgressed. This totaled 490 years in all, or 70 groups of 7 years, which was the time frame between each Sabbatical year.
What should also be noted is that after the Babylonian captivity, Israel never fully recovered as a nation, and its form of government set up by God through the rule of a king through the line of David never again materialized.
And what this prophecy points out is that Israel will be restored, and at its head will once again be a King from the line of David, the Messiah, the King of King and the Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ, and He will rule over the whole world from His throne in the New Temple in the Jerusalem for 1,000 years.
And this is what this prophecy is pointing to, and the events that will lead up to its fulfillment.
“Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, 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.” (Daniel 9:24)
Verse 24 lays out the purpose of the prophecy, and therefore it is important to understand.
The angel Gabriel comes to Daniel after he had prayed for Israel. Gabriel said that “seventy groups of seven” will take place before God will put an end to sin and bring everlasting righteousness, which is actually a two part fulfillment.
But before we get there, it is said that 70 weeks are determined, that is, God had set them out specifically for this purpose. And so 70 weeks, or more literally, “seventy-sevens,” which according to the Hebrew text indicate 70 weeks of 7 years, or 490 years.
Further, this time period was not for humanity as a whole, but rather “for your people,” Daniel’s people, which would be the Jewish people and the nation of Israel, and “your holy city,” which is Jerusalem.
The purpose then of these years was two fold. The first three have to do with the problem of sin that infects the whole of humanity, and the last three have to do with God’s righteousness and the fulfillment of the prophecy.
Notice the first is to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, and to make reconciliation, or atonement for iniquity. This was accomplished through the coming of Jesus, whom the prophecy identifies and the Messiah the Prince. It was Jesus’s death upon the cross that made this part of the prophecy possible.
The prophet Isaiah of the coming Messiah, whom he called God’s righteous servant, foretold this saying, “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:5-6)
The second purpose of this prophecy is found in the last three that are listed, or to bring in everlasting righteousness, that is, to restore God’s original design, to seal up vision and prophecy, or to consummate and fulfill God’s purpose through the Messiah, and to anoint the most holy place, or to consecrate through the Messiah’s presence the Temple of God in Jerusalem.
And so, it begins with Jesus’s death on the cross to make provision for our sin, transgressions, and iniquity, but Israel’s acceptance of this sacrifice will not be realized until they repent at the end of the seventy weeks, in conjunction with Jesus’s second coming.
In plain language, in this prophecy God would put an end to Israel’s rebellion against Him, that is, put away their sins and pay the penalties these sins have accrued in a person’s life through the death of Jesus, the Messiah. And then at the end of this prophecy, or at the end of the 70 weeks, the prophecy reveals that God will bring the Jewish people into a state of perpetual righteousness, fulfill the remaining prophecies, and anoint the Temple.
“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.” (Daniel 9:25)
While history records several returns after their Babylon captivity, the one where it was commanded to restore and build Jerusalem was in 444 BC, when the Persian king Artaxerxes issued a decree allowing the Jews to rebuild Jerusalem as brought out in Nehemiah’s request to rebuild the city, along with the wall and Temple (Nehemiah 2:1-8).
Now, we are introduced here to the 70 weeks being separated into three separate time frames.
49 years, or seven weeks: which was the time it took from the commandment by Artaxerxes to restore and build Jerusalem. Now, It has been recorded that the restoration of Jerusalem was completed 49 years later, which included the wall built under Nehemiah’s leadership, and the temple. The fact that it was the completion of the city as a whole is seen in the statement, “the street shall be built again and the wall.”
It was then another 434 years, or 62 weeks, that the Anointed One of God, the Messiah, the Christ, would appear, or as it says in our text, “Messiah the Prince.” And what is so amazing, and totally God, is the exact fulfillment of this.
Taking the date of the commandment to restore of build Jerusalem in 444 BC, using the Jewish 360-day calendar, theologians have added up the days, or 173,880 days, and found that this was the day that Jesus made his triumphant entry, which was soon followed by His death and resurrection.
And Jesus knew the significance of this day, as the people cried out, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord.” (Luke 19:38)
Then Jesus said to the religious leaders, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” (Luke 19:42-44)
They missed it, but this was something God knew and allowed so that the age of the Gentiles, that is, the age of the church, or what some have called “the age of grace,” could come, the age we are in today.
And this new age was then enacted through the death of the Messiah. We see this in the wording, “cut off, but not for Himself.”
“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.” (Daniel 9:26)
The wording “cut off,” is used within the sacrificial system and it meant the death of the animal being sacrificed. And so, Jesus was the sacrificial lamb that John the Baptist proclaimed that takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29).
This we see again looking at Isaiah prophecy of the coming Messiah as Isaiah goes on to say in verse 8, “He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was stricken.” (Isaiah 53:8)
After Jesus’s death and resurrection, the prince, that is, the ruler who is to come, his people, who would be the Romans, destroyed both the city and temple, which is what the Roman general, who later became a Creaser, Titus, did in 70 AD.
This would then make this new ruler, the Antichrist a part of the same Roman empire, or what many refer to today as the revised Roman empire, which fits into the last ruling kingdom from Daniel chapter 2, the feet of iron mixed with clay. Further, He will take on the guise of Christ, which is the meaning behind the word, “anti,” which is seen in using the same title as the Messiah, that is, the word “prince.”
And as we saw the last couple of weeks concerning the coming Antichrist, He will then usher in the last week, or 7 years, as pointed out in verse 27 with a covenant he makes with many, which would include both Jew and Gentile, and the Jewish and Islamic religion, who are both prominent in that area.
And so, between the 483 years, and the last seven years there is a gap, only because this part of the prophecy has yet to be fulfilled. This is what I mentioned earlier as the time of the church, or the church age. And the church age will end when Christ returns to rapture His bride, the church, which is part of the pre-wrath tribulation theory.
After all, since the church was not around for the first sixty-nine weeks from 444 BC to AD 33, it makes sense the church will not be here for the final week of years, especially since this time is given back to the Jewish people as God deals with His people once again.
And so, God’s prophetic clock for Israel will begin again when the Antichrist comes onto the scene and ratifies a seven-year treaty with Israel in Daniel 9:27.
“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.” (Daniel 9:27)
The covenant the Antichrist will bring will center around the Jewish people and the nation of Israel, which is at the heart of Daniel’s prophecy. Therefore it will most likely be both political and religious in nature. It will not only bring peace to the Middle East, which the world has yet to accomplish. But also it will be religious in nature, allowing the Jews to rebuild the Temple so that the Antichrist can sit upon the throne to proclaim himself as God, and to once again begin the sacrifices and offerings.
This is what is known at the wing of abominations. It points back to a Greek ruler who came in and overtook the Jewish nation. His name was Antiochus Epiphanes. He brought into Israel the Greek culture and forbid the Jews from sacrificing to the Lord God. And to make matters worse, he set up an altar to Zeus and commanded sacrifices to him.
And this is what the Antichrist does as He sets himself up as God after the first 3 ½ years as brought out in this prophesy.
Also, being both political and religious seen in that there must be peace between Islam and Judaism for this to take place, no easy task. But in 1 Thessalonians 5:3 it says that when the people say, “Peace and safety!” that is when sudden destruction will come, which Daniel states in this verse at the time the Antichrist will stop the sacrifices and will make desolate.
It is this last 7 year period that the book of Revelation looks at and calls the Great Tribulation (Revelation 2:22; Revelation 7:14), and Jesus of this times say, “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.” (Matthew 24:21)
And so, the 70 weeks of Daniel’s main purpose is to foretell the first coming of the Messiah, Jesus. 490 years after the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem in 444 B.C., which was fulfilled to the day. Then, the Messiah would die for our sins. After this, the city and temple will be destroyed, which is exactly what occurred in 70 AD.
The other purpose of these 70 weeks, was to reveal the last seven years, and how the Antichrist will usher it in, but at the end will become completely desolate, and as we know from the Bible, Jesus returns then as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords to rule and reign for 1,000 years.
Wednesday Evening Bible Study