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Daniel 9: Prophecy Of The Messiah

The King James Version (KJV) is mostly used in these lessons. Click here to access the KJV online.
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We have restored on the WLC website, in the Scriptures quoted the Names of the Father and Son, as they were originally written by the inspired authors of the Bible.  Click here to download the Restored Names Version (RNV) of Scripture.  The RNV is a non-WLC resource.  -WLC Team

Many are losing faith in Yahushua. How can we know for sure that Yahushua was really the Savior of the world? We can be sure by comparing His life with Old Testament Bible prophecy. The strongest of which is found in Daniel chapter 9.

“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, and to anoint the most Holy.”Daniel 9:24. Let's study this wonderful prophecy.

Seventy Week Cut Off From The 2300 days

These are the first words the angel uttered to Daniel in imparting to him that instruction which he came to give. Why did he thus abruptly introduce a period of time? In the vision of Daniel we see that Daniel at the close of the chapter did not understand the vision. The time in some parts of his vision were clearly explained. It could not have been these parts which he did not understand. We therefore inquire what it was that Daniel did not understand, or what part of the vision was left unexplained.

In that vision four prominent things are brought to view: the ram, the he-goat, the little horn, and the period of 2300 years. The symbols of the ram, the he-goat, and the little horn were explained, but nothing was said respecting the period of time. This must therefore have been the point that he did not understand. The other parts of the vision were of no avail while the application of this period of 2300 days was left in obscurity.

If this view of the subject is correct, we should naturally expect the angel to begin with the point which had been omitted, namely, the time. This we find to be true in fact. After citing Daniel’s attention to the former vision in the most direct and emphatic manner, and assuring him that he had now come forth to give him understanding, he begins with the very point there omitted: “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city.”

Cut Off From the 2300 Days

But how does this language show any connection with the 2300 days, or throw any light upon that period? We answer: The language cannot be intelligently referred to anything else. The word here rendered “determined” signifies “cut off,” and no other period is given in the vision here referred to from which the seventy weeks could be cut off, except the 2300 days. How direct and natural, then, is the connection. “Seventy weeks are cut off.” Cut off from what? – The 2300 days, most assuredly.

The word “determined’ in this clause is a translation of the Hebrew nechtak, based on a primitive root defined by Strong as meaning “to cut off, (i.e., fig.) to decree – determine.” Taking the basic and simpler definition, we have “seventy weeks are cut off for thy people.”

If cut off, it must be from some whole larger than itself – in this case from the 2300 years of the prophecy heretofore discussed.

Why, then, it may be asked, did our translators render the word “determined,” when it so obviously means “cut off”? The answer is, They doubtless overlooked the connection between the eighth and ninth chapters, and considering it improper to render it “cut off,” when nothing was given from which the seventy weeks could be cut off, they gave the word its figurative instead of its literal meaning. But, as we have seen, the definition and context require the literal meaning, and render any other inadmissible.

Seventy weeks, then, or 490 days of 2300, were allotted to Jerusalem and the Jews. The events which were to be consummated within that period are briefly stated. The transgression was to be finished, that is, the Jewish people were to full up the cup of their iniquity, which they did in the rejection and crucifixion of Yahushua, and end of sins, or sin offerings, was to be made. This took place when the great offering was made on Calvary. Reconciliation for iniquity was to be provided. This was accomplished by the sacrificial death of the Son of Yahuwah. Everlasting righteousness was to be brought in, the righteousness which our Master manifested in His sinless life. The vision and the prophecy were to be sealed or made sure.

By the events which were to occur in the seventy weeks, the prophecy is tested. By this the application of the whole vision is determined. If the events of this period are accurately fulfilled, the prophecy is of Yahuwah, and will all be accomplished. If these seventy weeks are fulfilled as weeks of years, then the 2300 days, of which these are a part, are so many years.

In Scripture a day in prophecy represents a year. (Numbers 14:34, Ezekiel 4:6).

To Anoint The Most Holy

According to the prophecy the “most holy” was to be anointed. The Hebrew phrase qodesh qadashim, here translated “most holy” is a term used freely through the Levitical books to characterize things and places, but is nowhere applied to persons, unless by exception in this verse. While it is used in the Old Testament and its Greek equivalent in the New, to distinguish the holy place in the tabernacle, it is by no means confined to this usage. It is also used to characterize many articles connected with the holy service of the sanctuary, such as the brazen altar, the table, the candlestick, the incense, the unleavened bread, the sin offering, the trespass offering, every devoted thing, and the like, but never to persons connected with that service.

On the other hand, in the case of anointing for service, the term is applied to the tabernacle itself, as well as to all its vessels. Exodus 30:26-29. In Daniel 9:24, a case of anointing is specified in the prophecy. Consistent with the uses of “most holy” pointed out above, there is every reason to believe that in this verse the anointing of the heavenly tabernacle is predicted. The tabernacle was anointed for the typical service, and true to pattern, it is most appropriate that the heavenly tabernacle should be anointed for the anti-typical, or real, service as our High Priest enter upon His gracious working of ministering in behalf of sinners.

In Daniel 8:14, we saw that a time came when the earthly sanctuary gave place to the heavenly, and the priestly ministration was transferred from the one to the other. Before the ministration in the earthly sanctuary began, the tabernacle and all the holy vessels were to be anointed. Ex. 40:9, 10. The last event of the seventy weeks where brought to view therefore, is the anointing of the heavenly tabernacle for the opening of the ministration there.

Daniel 9:25-27: “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. 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. 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, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”

Seventy Weeks Subdivided

The angel now related to Daniel the event which is to mark the beginning of the seventy weeks. They were to date from the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem. Not only is the event given which determines the time of the commencement of this period, but also those events which take place at its close.

Thus a double test is provided by which to try the application of this prophecy. But more than this, the period of seventy weeks is divided into three grand divisions. One of these is again divided and the intermediate events are given which were to mark the termination of each one of these divisions. If we can find a date which will harmonize with all these events, we have beyond a doubt the true applications, for none but that which is correct could meet and fulfill so many conditions.

Let the reader now take in at one view the points of harmony to be made, that he may be the better prepared to guard against a false application. We are to find at the beginning of the period a commandment going forth to restore and build Jerusalem. To this work of restoration seven weeks are allotted. As we reach the end of this first division, seven weeks from the beginning, we are to find Jerusalem restored in its material aspects, the work of building the street and the wall full accomplished. From this point sixty-two weeks are measured off. As we reach the termination of this division, sixty-nine weeks from the beginning, we are to see the manifestation of the Messiah before the world. One week more if given us, completing seventy. In the midst of this week the Messiah is to be cut off, and to cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease. At the expiration of that period which was allotted to the Jews as the time during which they were to be the special people of Yahuwah, we naturally look for the going forth of the blessing and the work of Yahuwah to other people.

Beginning of Seventy Weeks

We now inquire for the initial date which will harmonize with all these particulars. The command respecting Jerusalem was to include more than mere building. There was to be restoration. By this we must understand all the forms and regulations of civil, political, and judicial society. When did such a command go forth? At the time of these words were spoken to Daniel, Jerusalem lay in utter desolation, and had thus been lying for many years. The restoration pointed to in the future must be its restoration from this desolation. We then inquire, when and how was Jerusalem restored after the seventy years’ captivity?

There are four events which can be taken as answering to the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem. These are:

  1. The decree of Cyrus for the rebuilding of the house of Yahuwah, 536 BC. (Ezra 1:1-4.)
  2. The decree of Darius for the prosecution of that work which had been hindered, 519 BC. (Ezra 6:1-12.)
  3. The decree of Artaxerxes to Ezra, 457 BC (Ezra 7.)
  4. The commission to Nehemiah from the same king in his twentieth years, 444 BC

Dating from the first two of these decrees, the seventy prophetic weeks, or 490 literal years, would fall many years short of reaching even to the Christian Era. Beside this, these decrees had reference principally to the restoration of the temple and the temple worship of the Jews, not to the restoration of their civil state and policy, all of which must be included in the expression, “To restore and to build Jerusalem.”

These two decrees made a beginning of the work. They were preliminary to what was afterward accomplished. But of themselves they were altogether insufficient to meet the requirements of the prophecy, both in their dates and in their nature. Thus falling short, they cannot be brought into the discussion as marking the point from which the seventy weeks are to begin. The only question now lies between the decrees which were granted to Ezra and to Nehemiah respectively.

The facts between which we are to decide here are briefly these: In 457 BC, a decree was granted to Ezra by the Persian emperor Artaxerxes Longimanus to go up to Jerusalem with as many of his people as were minded to go with him. The commission granted him an unlimited amount of treasure, to beautify the house of Yahuwah, to procure offerings for its service, and to do whatever else might seem good to him. It empowered him to ordain laws, set magistrates and judges, and execute punishment even unto death; in other words, to restore the Jewish state, civil and ecclesiastical, according to the law of Yahuwah and the ancient customs of that people. Inspiration has seen fit to preserve this decree, and a full and accurate copy of it is given in Ezra 7. This decree is recorded not in Hebrew, like the rest of the book of Ezra, but in the official Chaldaic, or Eastern Aramaic. Thus we are referred to the original document by virtue of which Ezra was authorized to restore and build Jerusalem.

Thirteen years after this, in the twentieth year of the same king, 444 B.C., Nehemiah sought and obtained permission to go up to Jerusalem. (Nehemiah 2.) Permission was granted him, but we have no evidence that it was anything more than oral. It pertained to him individually, since nothing was said about others going up with him. The king asked him how long a journey he wished to make, and when he would return. He received letters to governors beyond the river to help him on his way to Judea, and an order to keepers of king’s forest for timber.

When he arrived at Jerusalem, he found rulers and priests, nobles and people, already engaged in the work of building Jerusalem. They were, of course, acting under the decree given to Ezra thirteen years before. Finally after arriving at Jerusalem, Nehemiah finished in fifty-two days the work he came to accomplish.

Now which of these commissions, Ezra’s Nehemiah’s constitutes the decree for the restoration of Jerusalem, from which the seventy weeks are to be dated? It hardly seems that there can be any question on this point. The answer is Ezra. The decree granted to Ezra in the seventh year of Artaxerxes, 457 B.C., is the point from which to date the seventy weeks. That was the going forth of the decree in the sense of the prophecy. The two previous decrees were preparatory and preliminary to this.

Harmony of Subdivisions

Will the dates harmonize if we reckon from the decree to Ezra. Let’s see. Our starting point then is 457 B.C. Forty-nine were allotted to the building of the city and the wall. The last act of reformation was indeed completed just forty-nine years after it had been first begun by Ezra.

So far we find harmony. Let us apply the measuring rod of prophecy still further. Sixty-nine weeks, or 483 years, were to extend to Messiah the Prince.

Dating from 457 BC, they end, in AD 27. What event then occurred? There is abundance of authority for A.D. 27 as the date of Yahushua’s baptism.

Here, again is indisputable harmony. But further, the Messiah was to confirm the covenant with many for one week. This would be the last week of the seventy, or the last seven years of the 490. In the midst of the week, the prophecy informs us, He should cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease. This Jewish ordinance, pointing to the death of Yahushua, could cease only at the cross. There they did virtually come to an end when the veil of the temple was rent at the crucifixion of Yahushua, though the outward observance was kept up until the destruction of Jerusalem, A.D. 70.

After three score and two weeks, according to the record, the Messiah was to be cut off. It is the same as if it had read: After three score and two weeks, in the midst of the seventieth week, shall Messiah be cut off, and cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease. Now as the word midst here means middle, the crucifixion is definitely located in the middle of the seventieth week.

Date of Crucifixion

Yahushua’s ministry began Autumn of A.D. 27 when He was baptized. It is not to be questioned that our Saviour attended every Passover that occurred during His public ministry, and we have mention of only four such occasions previous to His crucifixion (John 2:13; 5:1; 6:4; 13:1). This gives us three years and a half for His public ministry, and corresponds exactly to the prophecy that He would be cut off in the midst or middle of the seventieth week. As that week of years began in autumn of A.D. 27, the middle of the week would occur three and one half years later, in the spring of 31, when the crucifixion took place.

A.D. 31 being the middle of the last week, we have simply to reckon backward three and a half years to find where sixty-nine of the weeks ended and forward from that point three and a half years to find the termination of the whole seventy weeks. Going forward from the crucifixion three and a half years, we are brought to the autumn of A.D. 34, as the grand terminating point of the whole period of the seventy weeks. This date is marked by the martyrdom of Stephen, the formal rejection of the gospel of Yahushua by the Jewish Sanhedrin in the persecution of His disciples, and the turning of the apostles to the Gentiles. These are the events which one would expect to take place when that specified period cut off for the Jews and allotted to them as a peculiar people, should fully expire.

From the facts above, we see that, reckoning the seventy weeks from the decree given to Ezra in the seventh year of Artaxerxes, 457 B.C., there is perfect harmony throughout. The important and definite events of the manifestation of the Messiah at His baptism, the commencement of His public ministry, the crucifixion, and the rejection of the Jews and the preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles, with the proclamation of the new covenant – all come in their exact place, sealing the prophecy and making it sure.

This lesson was taken from the book "Daniel and Revelation" by Uriah Smith.

We have taken out from the original article all pagan names and titles of the Father and Son, and have replaced them with the original given names. -WLC Team