Daniel’s 70 Weeks
Daniel 9:20–27 – Faithful: God’s Character, Our Calling – November 21, 2021
A reading of Daniel 9:20–27.
When an angel at the service of God tells you to do something, you should do it!
- Gabriel: “I have come out to give you insight and understanding” (9:22) + “Consider the word and understand the vision” (9:23).
- “Consider” implies work, study, effort.
- That fits this morning.
When you get to Daniel’s 70 Weeks and especially the 70th Week you get a dizzying array of opinions.
70 Weeks not the first time in Daniel God has given timeline of history:
- Chp 2—earthly destructive kingdoms . . . but then the rock which destroys all others and is an eternal kingdom.
- Chp 7. Beasts that lead to a final “little horn” who is global and opposed to God and his people—but the Ancient of Days and the Son of Man are the ones in charge with the kingdom to last forever.
- Chp 9. 70 weeks.
- Chp. 12. After working through all of the earthly kingdoms in chp 11. Get another vision of the end, this time glancing at the final resurrection, either “to everlasting life” or “everlasting contempt.”
- Each time different details, meant to read this layers of truth.
- Repetition that deepens understanding.
- See this same device in the book of Revelation—7 repetitions of the same timeline of history.
Series: “Faithful: God’s Character, Our Calling.” Emphasis this morning on God’s character. The one who promises and then fulfills.
Sermon: The Covenant Background, The Super Jubilee, The Seventy Weeks, The Seventieth Week
- The Covenant Background
Remember the context of Daniel’s 70 weeks.
- His prayer in 1st year Darius (9:1–19).
- “Perceived in the books” according to Jeremiah “seventy years” (9:2).
- Jeremiah’s prophecy: Jer 25:11–12.
- Why captivity? Because Israel broke the covenant.
Then he prays—modeled after a covenant prayer.
Daniel’s prayer modeled after Leviticus 26:
Then the land shall enjoy its Sabbaths as long as it lies desolate, while you are in your enemies’ land; then the land shall rest, and enjoy its Sabbaths. As long as it lies desolate it shall have rest, the rest that it did not have on your Sabbaths when you were dwelling in it.
“But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers in their treachery that they committed against me, and also in walking contrary to me, so that I walked contrary to them and brought them into the land of their enemies—if then their uncircumcised heart is humbled and they make amends for their iniquity, then I will remember my covenant with Jacob, and I will remember my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land. (Lev 26:34–35, 40–42)
Leviticus 26: the land is experiencing its “Sabbaths” (3x repeated in vv. 34–35). But then, “If they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers” (40).
- Confessing sins precisely as Leviticus told the Israelites to do, even to the detail of “confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers” (v. 40).
- Nothing accidental in the language.
- Verse 2: “word of YAHWEH”—USES COVENANT NAME FOR GOD
- Verse 3: “turned my face to YAHWEH ELOHIM”
- Only chp is God called Yahweh (vv. 2,4, 10, 13, 14,20).
- Verse 3 – At the time of the evening sacrifice — not just a timestamp but “that time-indicator is packed with years of yearning and longing and affection for Yahweh’s ordinances, a passion for the ‘means of grace’ of true Jerusalem worship. Sometimes what may seem incidental reveals a soul thirsting after God” (Davis, 125).
- Daniel’s isn’t EST or Greenwich Mean Time—He’s on COVENANT TIME.
One final—A COVENANT CELEBRATION TO GUIDE OUR INTERPRETATION
- The Super Jubilee
“Seventy weeks” is a crucial phrase.
- To us it can sound like a basic number: 468 or 497.
- But 490 has a COVENANT SIGNIFICANCE.
- Because of the COVENANT CELEBRATION in Leviticus 25.
- Year of Jubilee:
You shall count seven weeks of years, seven times seven years, so that the time of the seven weeks of years shall give you forty-nine years. Then you shall sound the loud trumpet on the tenth day of the seventh month. On the Day of Atonement you shall sound the trumpet throughout all your land. And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his property and each of you shall return to his clan. (Lev 25:8–10)
Already our minds should be racing.
- Note that opening sentence—V. 8.
- 49 years and then the year of Jubilee.
- What if we had 10x49?
- That must be the super-Jubilee. Yes, exactly!
- Blessings of the Jubilee: “Liberty” (ἄφεσις, see Luke 4:18), Atonement, Rest, Abundance, Debts Forgiven
The fact we start this passage with a symbolic number pointing to a Super Jubilee helps us interpret the rest of the passage.
- Gives expectation that numbers is SYMBOLIC, not precise calculation.
- Be different if prophecy was “67 weeks” or “72 weeks.”
Now this conviction about the symbolic number is confirmed when we recognize what happens by the end of these 490 years:
- “To finish the transgression”
- “To put an end to sin”
- “To atone for iniquity” – Or, “to cover [fr. כפר] iniquity.” These three opening phrases seem to point to a total remedy for sins, nothing incomplete or partial.
- “To bring in everlasting righteousness” – A “righteousness” (fr. צֶ֣דֶק) to last “forever” (עֹֽלָמִ֑ים).
- “To seal both vision and prophet” – Confirming the words of Jeremiah, Daniel, all the prophets.
- “To anoint a most holy place” – See the margin: “Or thing, or one.” It could be the temple but it could also be the Messiah.
In the Super Jubilee, what will it be like? A time where the the great problem of sin has met the great Salvation of Jesus Christ.
Sense in which this is true at Christ’s first coming. That’s what “justification” promises! But true in a whole new way at Christ’s second coming.
What do we possess in Jesus?
- Something worth raising a trumpet for!!
- Justification means all these things—forgiveness, righteousness, prophesies fulfilled
- The Seventy Weeks
Announced in 9:24. Then divided in curious fashion:
- 70 = 7 + 62 + 1
- When does the clock start? “Going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem” (9:25).
- Lots of ink spilled—most logical point is decree of Cyrus (2 Chr 36:23).
- Next event on this weeks calendar? “The coming of an anointed one, a prince” (9:25). Who is this? Depends on when he arrives.
- Translation question: Is it 7 weeks and then anointed one or 7+62 and then anointed one? See this comparing two Bible translations:
ESV: “Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time.” (Dan. 9:25)
NASB: ““So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.” (Dan. 9:25)
On this, NASB has taken the better path. The anointed prince comes after 7+62 weeks.
And then . . . it gets really interesting.
REMEMBER WHO IS SAYING THIS!
- Same Gabriel who will announce to Mary she would give birth to the Christ
- Christ = Anointed
- Maybe it was Gabriel who told shepherds: “Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).
- The promise of Christmas is there in Daniel’s 70 weeks!
- The Seventieth Week
At verse 26 it says, “After the sixty-two weeks,” which is after the 62+7 weeks, right? Everything in verses 26 and 27 is happening “AFTER” the 69 weeks have passed.
Walk through and then try and get the understanding. FOUR KEY EVENTS:
FIRST, THE ANOINTED ONE IS CUT OFF.
- Verse 26 – “An anointed shall be cut off and shall have nothing.”
- Verb is karat, which can be “cut off” like kill or it can be used to “cut” a covenant.
- When Jesus was killed he was cutting a covenant.
- Remember at the Lord’s Supper:
And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” (Luke 22:20)
SECOND, PEOPLE OF THE PRINCE TO COME DESTROY THE CITY
- “PRINCE TO COME” – Back to that “Man of lawlessness” we met at the end of chp 7. “A little horn” (7:8) who opposes God and the people of God (7:25). Tries to change time and God’s law (7:25). But destroyed in a moment when the Ancient of Days is ready.
- “PEOPLE OF THE PRINCE” connected to him.
- These are ones destroy Jerusalem and the temple in AD 70.
- This would be shocking to Daniel once the reality set in.
- He had lived through the Babylonian captivity, 70 years where Israel punished for their sin.
- The promise was for the city to be rebuilt (Verse 25).
- But now: “People of the prince who is to come” destroy it once again.
- You can see why the timing of this prophecy is so important.
- 70 years captivity ending, Daniel prays for restoration.
- Gabriel comes and says, “It’ll happen. But this isn’t the final triumph you’re waiting for. More to come. More hardships. More judgment. THEN the end.”
THIRD, “HE WILL MAKE A STRONG COVENANT WITH MANY FOR ONE WEEK.”
- Here you tap into that dizzying array of opinion. I’ll mention two.
- Dispensational Premillennial Position
- Famous for their “Gap” Theory or “Great Parenthesis.”
- You have verse 26 and then a gap until the 70th week.
- At this point it’s a 2000-year gap.
- Then you’ll get to the 70th week.
- That’s why it can feel a little funny sometimes when those who work the hardest to be precise to the thousandth place in the 69 weeks are content to add a 2000-year GAP in the name of being “literal.”
- They see V 27 as unbelieving Israel makes some kind of treaty with a resurrected Roman leader.
- In the 80s John MacArthur thought it might be Russia that Israel would form a treaty with. I’m not sure what he thinks now.
- Temple rebuilt and then 3 ½ years of tribulation, which starts halfway through the 70th week—remember a week is 7 years and not 7 days.
- For me, two problems with this view.
- Gaps are always last resorts.
- Not impossible, but always last resorts.
- The Dispensational Gap divides Verse 26 and verse 27 in a way where the text gives us no clue.
- There is also the idea that this “Great Parenthesis” is where the Church is.
- This seems to minimize God’s plan for the Church.
- The Church isn’t an accident—but it’s the outworking of God’s plan of salvation.
- A group called Progressive Dispensationalists talk in very different terms. Redefining this idea of a “Parenthesis.”
- A second problem with this view is the beginning of Verse 27.
- The claim is that the Man of Lawlessness will make some kind of treaty with unbelieving Israel.
- But many have pointed out that this isn’t what the Hebrew is getting at.
- A new covenant is not being made in Verse 27.
- A covenant that already exists is being MADE EFFECTIVE.
- One making covenant here isn’t Antichrist or Man of Lawlessness.
- It’s Jesus “the anointed one” who “cut” covenant in 70th week (V26).
- Then this covenant is made effective in the 70th week.
- The New Covenant is the reason “he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering.”
- At his death the veil torn in two.
- With his shed blood there is no longer any offering for sin—we have forgiveness in Jesus
- All that was significant about the temple was fulfilled in Jesus.
- Hebrews 9 speaks to this:
For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.
Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world.
But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. (Heb. 9:24–26)
FOURTH, ONE WHO MAKES DESOLATE COMES.
- This last part isn’t easy.
- In some ways what’s described here is what you’d expect with Jesus accomplishing what he did.
- The temple’s importance for sacrifices and especially sin sacrifices ended with Jesus.
- Israel’s refusal to acknowledge their Messiah + the Messiah’s finished sacrificial work = Temple needed to be destroyed.
- Prophecy here is what happens in AD 70.
- “Wing” is pinnacle of the temple.
- Desolated in AD 70.
- BUT — The “Desolator” would meet his end as well.
- Eventually the great Antichrist behind all such Desolators would meet his end.
SUMMARY OF SEVENTIETH WEEK:
- Describes the events of Jesus and the crucifixion
- Destruction of the Temple
- And this 70th week seems to continue until the great Antichrist meets “the decreed end.”
- We’re in that 70th week waiting for “the decreed end” of the “Desolator.”
- But it’s a “Decreed End!” — Hallelujah!
The picture we’ve seen here:
God’s Covenant Faithfulness—He makes promises and then keeps them.
A framework for all of history
- Restoration of Jerusalem
- After 69 weeks the Messiah was cut off and brought an end to temple sacrifices
- Destruction of the temple in AD 70
- Now we wait for “the decreed end” of the Great “Desolator.”
We appreciate Gabriel’s words even more at the end: “give you understanding” + “consider the word and understand” (VV 22, 23).
What God has done to save us.
- Plan of salvation.
- Jesus was sent as “an anointed one” to be cut off.
- To accomplish all those promises in V 24.
- But only in his death does this happen.
- Only in his death do we enter into the Super Jubilee to come.
- A time of liberty, forgiveness, rest, abundance.
But for now we must wait. We’re not home yet.
Prayer and Closing Song