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Daniel 9:24 Seventy weeks are decreed upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy.
Several direct biblical prophecies have already been fulfilled, some in the distant past some in the recent past. This gives us faith that the remaining ones (and there are a great many) will come to pass as well. This entry is part of a series of studies on fulfilled prophecies. They are also being posted on my main blog and can be accessed using the tag: prophecy fulfilled. This will be an ongoing project. I will add links to my Thus Say The Prophets and Noahide Nazarene homepages as the studies are written.
Previously I touched on this prophecy when we looked at what Master Y'shua revealed about the then-future destruction of the Holy Temple as recorded at Matthew 23 and 24. As I noted there, the Master elucidates Prophet Daniel's prophecy concerning the "abomination of desolation." As in many cases, there are prophecies woven within prophecies, each dependent on those proceeding it. Much of Daniel's prophecy in chapter nine came to pass in 70 CE. The remainder will in due time. In this study we will look at those elements of Daniel's prophecy that have already been fulfilled.
There is some debate about the meaning of this prophecy. Most of what I understand from it is harmonious with the traditional commentary of the Jewish scholar Rashi which I will cite throughout.Dan. 9:20 And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God;
21 Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.
22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.
23 At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to show thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision
This is an important point. Some say we should "just trust God" and not concern ourselves with prophetic studies. Others say we were given intellects to understand and that everything will be understood through careful study.
Both are partially true. We are told that those who study the prophecies will be blessed:Rev. 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
We are told that:Amos 3:7 Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.
However we are also told:I Cor 1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
And related to this:I John 2:26 These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.
27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
Balance is obviously required. This is shown here by Daniel. Sincerely desiring to understand these things he sought HaShem. He scoured the Scriptures for intellectual understanding, he sacrificed to God and did everything he knew to do to demonstrate his humility and sincerity before God that he might receive instruction and enlightenment.
The same is true today. Many people are certain that they "know" what the Bible teaches and what the prophets foretell. Often this certainty is based on what they have heard from others. But much of what people "know" to be true is not. We should all follow Daniel's example: Seek the truth diligently and with an open mind for the what the Scriptures actually say and what HaShem will reveal.Daniel 9:24 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, and to anoint the most Holy.
Rashi interprets: Seventy weeks [of years] have been decreed: on Jerusalem from the day of the first destruction in the days of Zedekiah until it will be [destroyed] the second time.:
to terminate the transgression and to end sin: so that Israel should receive their complete retribution in the exile of Titus and his subjugation, in order that their transgressions should terminate, their sins should end, and their iniquities should be expiated, in order to bring upon them eternal righteousness and to anoint upon them (sic) the Holy of Holies: the Ark, the altars, and the holy vessels, which they will bring to them through the king Messiah. The number of seven weeks is four hundred and ninety years. The Babylonian exile was seventy [years] and the Second Temple stood four hundred and twenty [years].
Daniel's prophecies need to be considered as a whole unit. In his fourth chapter Daniel explains that the 'Tree of Israel' was 'banded' or placed on hold due to its transgressions and to fulfill the Sovereign Will of HaShem. Daniel is here giving more detail of God's ongoing dealings with His people.
As I always say, when studying the prophets if the passage makes sense literally and fits the general flow of prophecy, take it that way. This prophecy for the most part does (and completely when read in light of the New Testament prophetic revelations). Note that the events being revealed here are happening to purify people Israel and set them on the right path in order to advance that the Great Prophecy (the establishment of God's Kingdom by the coming Moshiach).
As Rashi says: "... The number of seven weeks [of years] is four hundred and ninety years. The Babylonian exile was seventy [years] and the Second Temple stood four hundred and twenty [years].Daniel 9:25 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.
Rashi interprets: And you shall know and understand from the emergence of the word: From the emergence of this word, which emerged at the beginning of your supplications to tell you, you shall know to understand [how] to restore and build Jerusalem.:
until the anointed king: Time will be given from the day of the destruction until the coming of Cyrus, king of Persia, about whom the Holy One, blessed be He, said that he would return and build His city, and He called him His anointed and His king, as it says (Isa. 45:1): "So said the Lord to His anointed one, to Cyrus etc." (verse 13): "He shall build My city and free My exiles, etc.:
seven weeks: Seven complete shemittah cycles they will be in exile before Cyrus comes, and there were yet three more years, but since they did not constitute a complete shemittah cycle, they were not counted. In the one year of Darius, in which Daniel was standing when this vision was said to him, seventy years from the conquest of Jehoiakim terminated. Deduct eighteen years from them, in which the conquest of Jehoiakim preceded the destruction of Jerusalem, leaving fifty-two years. This is what our Rabbis learned (Yoma 54a): "For fifty-two years no one passed through Judea." They are the fifty-two years from the day of the destruction until they returned in the days of Cyrus. Hence, we have seven shemittah cycles and three years.:
and in sixty-two weeks it will return and be built: i.e., the city with its streets.:
and moat: Heb. וְחָרוּץ. They are the moats that they make around the wall to strengthen the city, which are called fosse in French, ditch or moat.:
but in troubled times: But in those times they will be troubled and distressed, for in the subjugation of the kings of Persia and the heathens, they will burden them with harsh bondage. Now although there are sixty-two weeks and four years more that remain from the eighth week, whose beginning, viz. the three years, was included in the fifty-two years of the duration of the exile, those four years were not counted here because here he counted only weeks, and you find that from the beginning he started to count seventy weeks, and at the end, when he delineated their times and their judgments, he counted only sixty-nine, proving that one week was divided, part of it here and part of it there; and he mentioned only whole weeks.:
but in troubled times: They will be troubled in those times.
For those unfamiliar with the term, "shemittah cycles" are periods for restoration or remission of debts. This prophecy therefore is explaining how Israel (the Jewish people) will (did) receive forgiveness from HaShem for the sins that lead to their Babylonian captivity and their restoration -- at the hands of Cyrus -- to Eretz Israel. That restoration was to the Land however as a nation they remained occupied and under Gentile domination until 1948. It is therefore obvious that these prophecies have yet to be fulfilled in their entirety. HaShem is still active as He was in the past working out the salvation and restoration of Israel. Remember that the Northern Kingdom of Israel fell before the Babylonians due to unfaithfulness to HaShem. Here it is being explained to Daniel (and to us) how the people will be restored to Eretz Israel (their eternal beloved homeland). How sadly ironic that some groups -- like the Seventh Day Adventists -- misuse this presentation of divine reciprocity and forgiveness to suggest that HaShem has abandoned His people at the very point of their restoration! As Paul says, God forbid that should ever happen (Romans 11:1)!
In my study The Destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 CE I share information on how HaShem used Cyrus of Persia to bring the people back to Jerusalem for a partial restoration. Babylon was defeated by Medo-Persia and Cyrus was used by HaShem to free the Jews and return them home to Jerusalem. HaShem anoints people to carry out his Will (Dan 4:17). This is what Daniel and Rashi are discussing here.
By the time the Jews were back in Jerusalem only 69 of the 70 "weeks" had passed. One remained.
As Rashi says, the temple was restored and so on as foretold, and those days under Cyrus and those that followed under Rome were indeed 'troubled times.'Daniel 9:26 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.
Here lies the crux of contradiction between most Christian expositors and Jewish ones: "...shall Messiah be cut off..."
Most Christian students of the prophecies agree with Rashi here that Daniel is pointing to events that took place during the first century CE during the actions of Titus. When they read the world "Messiah" here (Mashiyach in the original) they understandably conclude the reference is to Jesus. Based on this interpretation great stress is placed on this verse as evidence for Jesus as Messiah in the Hebrew Scriptures.
Here's what Rashi says about this verse:Rashi explains: And after: those weeks.:
the anointed one will be cut off: Agrippa, the king of Judea, who was ruling at the time of the destruction, will be slain.:
and he will be no more: Heb. וְאֵין לוֹ, and he will not have. The meaning is that he will not be.:
And:Rashi continues:the anointed one: Heb. מָשִׁיחַ. This is purely an expression of a prince and a dignitary.:
What does Moshiach mean in this verse? That's the question.
Like so many words, the world moshiach must be understood in the context of its usage. Words commonly have different meanings in different contexts. This is confirmed by Strongs:Word Origin: Hebrew, Noun Masculine
anointed, anointed one
of the Messiah, Messianic prince
of the king of Israel
of the high priest of Israel
of the patriarchs as anointed kings
KJV Word Count (Mashiyach #4899):
as anointed 37
as Messiah 2
A "moshiach" therefore is one anointed for some task and, as Rashi says, is generally honorific rather than specific.
In this case, there is nothing in the text specifying the Moshiach. Its a matter of interpretation. Those hoping to find direct references to Master Y'shua in the Tanack (the Hebrew Bible) understandable hope to find one here, however when we consider the as yet unfulfilled portion of this prophecy, the general flow of the prophetic time table under consideration and what the Moshiach is going to accomplished... I have to agree with Rashi.
Despite this ongoing controversy however, the meaning of this prophecy was fulfilled: The dates were correct. Cyrus freed the Jews and returned them to Jerusalem and then, after "69 weeks" Jerusalem and its Holy Temple fell as Daniel (and Master Y'shua) foretold.Rashi continues:and the city and the Sanctuary: lit. and the city and the Holy.:
and the people of the coming monarch will destroy: [The monarch who will come] upon them. That is Titus and his armies.:
"... the city and the Holy," i.e. the city of Jerusalem and the Holy Temple.
And so, 70 CE: prophecy fulfilled.
There is however a remaining verse of this prophecy and it is very important! Just as the preceding prophecies came true, just as surely will the following.
It is at this point where I have some disagreement with Rashi based on the New Testament prophets, prophets not accepted by the Rabbis of course hence not considered even though Daniel is in complete accord.
There is an important break in the flow of this prophecy that needs to be seen.
The text reads: 26 And after threescore and two weeks shall [moshiach: the anointed reigning king] be cut off, but not for himself...
Most Christians again say this is Jesus who was "cut off" for our sins rather than for himself."
Like Rashi, I believe the prophecy here is that King Agripa will be/was removed from his throne for God's purposes (for the purification of the Jewish people and the advancement of the Kingdom).
In any case, the text continues: ... 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...
Like most Christian and Jewish teachers, I believe this is talking about Titus who later became head of the Roman state.
It is at this point that I see a crucial break both in Daniel's presentation but even more in future-history.
"69 weeks" have been fulfilled at this point but there remains 1 week yet to be completed in this prophecy. Daniel now reveals confidential information about that final "week."
The amount of time before this "week" occurs, the length of the time-break, is not specified in the prophecies. I am convinced that this interim period was the time of the Christian Church. This period is described by Prophet John in his presentation of the seven Church ages discussed in chapters 2 and 3 of his Revelation. This view is confirmed by respected scholars such Clarence Larkin and many others. This period occurs within and is the majority portion of the Time of the Gentiles referenced by Master Y'shua this way:Luke 21:24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
As I discuss elsewhere, in very general terms I estimate these periods as follows:
- The Church of Ephesus: 70 CE - 170 CE
- The Church of Smyrna: 170 CE - 312 CE
- The Church of Pergamos: From Constantine to Pope Boniface III: 312 CE - 600 CE
- The Church of Thyatira: Boniface III - Gregory VII (Hilderbrand) to the Reformation: 600 CE - 1520 CE
- The Church of Sardis: The Reformation to the Peace of Westphalia and beyond: 1520 CE - 1750 CE
- The Church of Philadelphia: The Church in revival: 1750 CE - 1914 CE
- The Church of the Laodiceans: 1914 CE - Present
We are living during the period of the Church of Laodecia and the Church is becoming ever more as John describes (Rev 3:14-19).
Lucifer offered Master Y'shua all the kingdoms of the earth if he would join the rebellion against HaShem (Matt 4:9). This rebellion is the ongoing war referenced in Daniel. It can also be argued prophetically that since Daniel shows the Roman Empire never actually fell (it just transformed) and will rise (is now rising as the EU) in the End Times, Master Y'shua may be seen here as confirming this portion of Daniel's prophecies.
"... and unto the end of the war desolations are determined."
As eventual victor in this ongoing war Israel will receive the Kingdom and through them HaShem will bless the entire world.
Of the time between 70 CE and the next event Daniel does not tell us and Master Y'shua plainly says that neither he nor anyone else other than God knows:Mark 13:32 But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.
This was because it was our decision. We had everything we needed to create a veritable earthly paradise, but we squandered everything we had been given. Germany and the Nazi Party moved to genocide the Jews and HaShem intervened and restored them to Israel. When he did that, the prophetic clock began to click.
Now back to Rashiand his end will come about by inundation: And his end will be damnation and destruction, for He will inundate the power of his kingdom through the Messiah, and until the end of the wars of Gog the city will exist.: cut off into desolation: a destruction of desolation.
Again, I see this differently and yet overall harmonious with what Rashi is saying. The prophecies regarding Gog of Magog are yet future and do not enter into our current discussion.
Titus destroyed Jerusalem and the Holy Temple: Prophecy Fulfilled.
Now we skip forward to the final verse of this prophecy:Daniel 9:27 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.
Who is "he"? From this verse we don't know, however armed with the New Testament teachings and Daniel's other writings it is obvious.Daniel 7:8 I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.
9 I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.
"He" is a different person than the one discussed earlier. He is the Little Horn Daniel foretold would emerge from the restored Roman Empire (the EU). He is the man of whom Prophet Paul said:II Thess 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
This is the man of whom Master Y'shua says:Mattew 24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
He is the Little Horn (Dan 7:20) the Man of Sin, Son of Perdition (II Thess 2:3), the Antichrist (I John 2:18): The Rex Mundi.
This section of this prophecy has yet to be fulfilled however the earlier sections have been. As the prophecies and the conditions for them continue to fall into place we can rest assured that Moshiach will establish the Kingdom of God exactly as the prophets reveal.
Stand firmly with Israel and the Jewish people!
Some things change.
Some things do not:Genesis 12:1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee:
2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
...we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews -- Master Y'shua at John 4:22
And here this study ends.
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