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One of the most important prophesies concerning Christ and His work on the cross is found in Daniel 9:20-27. However, because of its importance, this same prophesy has become a subject of much controversy and misunderstanding.
(Before we start our study, you may find the timeline of our study to be of value. You can download it for free in any of three formats: .pdf .jpeg .pptx) (Also, please keep in mind the dates used in this study vary from source to source. I have given only approx. dates to help us understand the meaning of this prophecy. The dates shown do not reflect partial years.)
Let’s take a few short minutes with prayer and an open mind examine this wonderful prophesy that helps us to understand all that our Lord accomplished when He gave Himself for us…
Dan 9:20-27 (KJV)
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 shew [thee]; for thou [art] greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision. 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. 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. 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.
Dan 9:20-27 (KJV)…
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;
Our text begins with Daniel in prayer. What were the 3 subjects of his prayers?
- Daniel tells us that he was confessing his personal sin. Apparently, his heart was being burdened about the need for an unhindered relationship with His Lord.
- He also was praying for the sins of his nation. Israel failed their Lord miserably as the nation of God. In response, the Lord allowed the Babylonians to overtake their land, overtake their temple and cause the worship of Jehovah to cease.
- The temple, the central point of worship was located in Jerusalem. In Daniel 9:16, we find that the “holy mountain of God” is referring to the Jerusalem area. One of Daniel’s greatest requests was for the Lord to restore the land area where His worship used to take place. (Dan 9:16-17)
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 shew [thee]; for thou [art] greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.
The Lord sent the angel Gabriel to answer Daniel’s prayer even while he was praying! What a gracious Lord that we serve. Gabriel’s visit blessed Daniel in several ways….
- He informed me – He would instruct and direct Daniel
- He talked with me – He would communicate with Daniel acting as God’s spokesman
- He gave skill – He would make Daniel an expert concerning the message he would give.
- He gave understanding – He would give Daniel discernment of the message
What did the angel’s intervention prove to Daniel? He was loved greatly!
24) Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city,
Here, we find the beginning of the 70 week prophecy. Daniel is told that the Lord has decreed a “70 week” period of time to accomplish six Divine acts. What is meant by the 70 week time period? In Hebrew the term for “weeks” refers to groups of seven. When we do the math we find that this time period will be 490 (70×7) but it could be speaking of 490 days or years. We are not told specifically. However, in the context of the Bible we have some significant clues….
- In a previous message to Daniel, the Lord describes the period of time that Israel would be under Babylonian captivity as 70 units of YEARS (not weeks) in Daniel 9:2. It is safe to assume that Daniel’s mind was running in “the year mode” not “day mode”.
- Also, the 7 YEAR cycle was a very familiar cycle of time for Jews. In Lev 25:1-4 the Lord gives the Jews a cycle of 7 years for the Sabbatical rest for the land.
- But the proof positive that this prophecy was speaking in years and not days or weeks is found in its fulfillment. As the events of our prophecy unfold, we will see that it will be fulfilled within a 490 year period.
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 is told that these are the 6 acts that God would be completed in 490 years:
- Finish the transgression – “To restrict, limit, or cease” Christ’s death on the cross brought an end to transgression (sin). His sacrifice resulted in a sinless eternity in His presence for Christians. This eternity will begin with the resurrection of the believer’s bodies. (Rom 6:22, John 8:34-36) No longer will transgressions be committed.
- Make an end of sins – “To complete, fulfill, bring to end” Christ’s death supplied the needed payment to fulfill the sin debt that we owe to the Father. With His death He brought our spiritual indebtedness to an end. (1 Pet 1:18-20, Matt 26:28)
- Make reconciliation for iniquity – “to cover, to pacify” Christ’s death brought peace to sinful man that was a war against God. He accomplished this through the covering of our sins with His blood. (Roms 5:10, 2 Cor 5:18-20)
- Bring in everlasting righteousness – “To cause to enter” Through His death, Christ has supplied everlasting righteousness to those who have sinned against God. (2 Cor 5:21, Rom 3:21-26) This righteousness is eternal in nature. Christ paid the price for all our sins past present and future, therefore the righteousness He supplies cannot be undone… it is eternal.
- Seal up the vision and the prophecy – “Make an end” Christ’s first coming brought to fulfillment the OT prophetic Scriptures. Jesus was the promised Messiah of the OT (Matt 5:17-18, Heb 10:3-12) His life and work is the complete purpose and subject of the NT Scriptures. The OT look ahead to Him. The NT looks back and records His life.
- Anoint the most Holy – Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit at His baptism. This anointing publically declared that He was the prophet, priest and king that had been sent by God. He was the true Messiah. (John 8:28 – Prophet; Heb 6:20 – Priest; Matt 27:11 – King)
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:
Here, Daniel is told that from the command to restore Jerusalem given by Cyrus to the beginning of the Messiah’s ministry would be a total of 69 weeks (groups of 7) years making it a total of 483 years:
- From Cyrus, Medo/Persian ruler decree to rebuild Jerusalem (Isa 44:28) –457 BC
- To Christ’s earthly ministry began at His baptism (Matt 3:13) – 26 AD
3. Equals 483 Years
[shall be] seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
But please note these 69 weeks is broken up into two groups. One group of 7 and the pother group of 62. Why are these years broken up? There was a major event that took place after the first 7 weeks (groups of 7) years in other words, 49 years. Cyrus’ decree was fulfilled with the completion of the Jerusalem streets and walls This took place in Nehemiah’s day.
- From Cyrus, Medo/Persian ruler decree to rebuild Jerusalem (Isa 44:28) – 457 BC
2. To The walls finished during Nehemiah’s work (Neh 7:1) – 407 BC
3. Equals 49 Years
26) And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself:
Please notice that after the 62 week time period the Messiah would be “cut off”. This is speaking of the crucifixion of Christ. He was crucified not because of his own sins, but for the sins of His people for whom He would die. If we remember, the end of the 62 week time period was 30 AD (the beginning of Christ’s public ministry). The beginning of the 62 week time period was the completion of the walls of Jerusalem.
- From the wall finished during Nehemiah’s work (Neh 7:1) – 407 BC
- To the beginning of the Messiah’s ministry (His baptism) (Matt 3:13) – 26 AD
- Equals 434 years
This verse tells us that the Messiah’s crucifixion would take place sometime following 26 AD. Christ was crucified in 30 AD which fits perfectly to this prophecy.
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 we have the result of the rejection and crucifixion of Christ being described. The invasion of Israel by the Roman army is being described. “The prince” is describing their leader Titus. By the time the invasion would be complete, Titus would have utterly destroyed physical Jerusalem and it would be left physically and spiritually desolate. This event would take place in 70 AD, 36 years after the completion of this entire prophecy.
Jesus speaks of this same invasion in Luke 19:42-44. This event is commonly described as “the abomination of desolation” in Matt 24:15 and is described in Luke 21:20 as Jerusalem being “compassed about with armies”.
27) And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week:
Here we find the events of verse 26 being restated and expanded upon in verse 27.
The “He” of verse 27 refers back to “the Messiah” of vs 26. Please notice the two subjects we read about in verse 26 are “the Messiah” and “the people of the prince”. If the angel was referring to “the people of the prince” he would have used the plural pronoun “they” and not the singular “he”. However, since the pronoun he uses is singular it must be referring back to a singular subject of the previous verse, in other words…. “the Messiah”.
Also, please note that “he” does not refer back to “the prince”. Why? “The prince” is not used as a subject in that verse, it is used as an adjective describing “the people”. The most logical and clear reference for “He” is clearly “the Messiah”.
In verse 26, the work of the Messiah is described as “being cut off but not for himself” referring to His death on the cross. In verse 27, we now find Christ’s death elaborated upon. Through His death, He confirmed the covenant that had been made. The promise (covenant) to grant new life and the forgiveness of sins was made by God based upon the work of Christ on the cross (Heb 8:6-13, Matt 26:28, Jer 31:31-34, Rom 3:24-26)
and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease,
The Messiah’s crucifixion would take place “in the midst of the week”. In other words, 3 ½ years into the final week of the 70 week prophecy. Remember, the final week of our prophecy began in 26 AD with the baptism of the Messiah. He was crucified 3 ½ years later in 30 AD. This is exactly in the middle of the final 7 year period.
- From the beginning of the Messiah’s ministry (His baptism) (Matt 3:13) – 26 AD
2. To the crucifixion of the Messiah (Mat 27:, Mrk 15:, Lk 23:, Jhn 19:) – 30 AD
3. Equals 3 1/2 years
At His crucifixion “he shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease.” At His death, Christ brought an end to the OT ceremonial activities of worship. Remember all of these sacrifices (offerings involving shedding of blood) and oblations (bloodless offerings) were being performed to give the Old Testament Israelites a picture of the work of their Messiah that WAS TO COME. Christ had now come and died on the cross. They had seen His person and work take place before their eyes. Now they could look back upon the actual events of His life, they no longer need symbolic pictures of His work displayed before them. (Heb 10:10-18, Matt 5:17-18, Luke 24:44)
and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make [it] desolate,
The angel now turns our attention to more results of the crucifixion of our Lord. The spiritual desolation of Israel began shortly after the crucifixion of Christ when the gospel message began to be sent out to the Gentile nations (Peter’s visit with Cornelius – Acts 10:). The physical desolation of Israel was begun with the Romans empire’s occupation of Israel.
even until the consummation,
Both the spiritual and physical desolation of Israel was made complete (the consummation) at the invasion and destruction of the temple and city of Jerusalem in 70 AD. This was allowed to take place by God, as a judgment upon Israel for crucifying the Messiah.
In that sense, Christ and His rejection by the Jews was the basis of the 70 AD invasion and the desolation of the nation of Israel. (The Abomination of Desolation of Matt 24:15).
and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
The invasion by Titus had been appointed to take place by the Lord long before the event’s occurrence. We see that here in Daniel 9:, as well as Christ, prophesying of it in Matt 24:15 and Luke 21:20.
Although not mentioned specifically in Daniel’s prophecy, here are my thoughts about the ending event of the 70 weeks prophecy…..
The beginning of this 490 year timeframe was Cyrus’ decree to rebuild the wall, but what is the ending point? I believe it is probably, the beginning of the spiritual desolation of Israel. This took place when Peter visited Cornelius’ house and the gospel to the Gentiles was accredited in Acts 10:. Most Biblical chronologists date this event at 36 -37 AD. This would fit exactly into our 490 year time frame…
1. From Cyrus, Medo/Persian ruler decree to rebuild Jerusalem (Isa 44:28) – 457 BC
2. To the visit of Peter to the house of Cornelius, the accrediting of the gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 10:) – 33 AD
3. Equals 490 years
Again, I am very confident about most of this study because the Bible speaks plainly about these things. However, the above information about the ending of the 70 week period is my speculation only. Although I feel comfortable naming Peter’s visit to Cornelius as the end point, since it is not specifically mentioned in this prophecy, my thoughts must be taken “with a grain of salt”.
This prophecy in Daniel, made 490 years before it’s complete fulfillment proves that Jehovah God is the Almighty, Sovereign God that decrees, foreknows and controls all the events in the history of the world. This prophecy is just one of hundreds we find in the Bible that have been brought to completion exactly as the Lord said it would.
If you have any questions concerning the way of salvation please feel free to visit or call a Bible teaching church in your area. They will be happy to speak to you about the Lord Jesus and the salvation He graciously gives.
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Also, if you look at my blog page “How To Have A Relationship With God”. On this page, you will find several blog entries explaining the way of salvation.
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