Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans;CHAPTER 9 The Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks
1. The time and occasion of Daniel’s prayer (Daniel 9:1-2)
2. The prayer (Daniel 9:3-19)
3. The answer and the prophecy of the seventy weeks (Daniel 9:20-27)
Daniel 9:1-2. It was in the first year of Darius, of the seed of the Medes, that Daniel understood by the sacred writings of his people, especially by the prophecy of Jeremiah, that the end of the years of the captivity was at hand. The promises in the Word of God led him at once to seek the face of the Lord and he poured out a wonderful prayer in His presence.
Daniel 9:3-19. It has three parts: Daniel 9:4-10 : Confession of the failure of his people and acknowledgment of God’s covenant mercies. Daniel 9:11-14 : The deserved curse as written in the law of Moses. Daniel 9:15-19 : Pleadings for mercy to turn away His anger and to remember His city, Jerusalem and His people. Throughout this prayer we read how completely he identified himself with the sins, the failure, the shame and the judgment of the people of God. This is remarkable. As we have seen from the first chapter, he was brought to Babylon when quite young and belonged even then to the believing, God fearing element of the nation. Yet he speaks of the nation’s sins, their rebellion, their transgressions of the law and their wicked deeds as if they belonged to him. Of all the Bible characters Daniel appears as the purest. The failures of Abraham, Moses, Aaron, David and others are recorded, but Daniel appears with no flaw whatever in his character. As far as the record goes he was a perfect man. Of course he too was “a man of like passions” as we are, and as such a sinner. Yet this devoted and aged servant with such a record of loyalty to God and to His laws confesses all the people’s sins and the curse and shame, which came upon them, as His own.
Daniel 9:20-27. The prayer was not ended. How near heaven is may be learned from Daniel 9:20-27. Heaven is not far away, for there is no space and no distance with God. When Daniel began his confession and humiliation the Lord called Gabriel and instructed him what he should tell the praying prophet, and then Gabriel was caused to fly swiftly through the immeasurable space, and before Daniel ever reached the “Amen” the messenger stood before him and stopped his prayer. What blessed assurance! The moment we pray in the Spirit and in His Name our voices are heard in the highest heaven.
We give a corrected text of the great prophecy, perhaps the greatest in the entire prophetic Word.
Seventy weeks are apportioned out upon thy people and upon thy holy city to finish the transgression and to make an end of sins, and to cover iniquity, and to bring in the righteousness of the ages, and to seal the vision and prophet, and to anoint the holy of holies. Know therefore and understand: From the going forth of the word to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem unto Messiah, the Prince, shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks. The street and the wall shall be built again, even in troublous times. And after the sixty-two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, and shall have nothing; and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary, and the end thereof shall be with overflow, and unto the end war, the desolations determined. And he shall confirm a covenant with the many for one week, and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease and because of the protection of abominations there shall be a desolator, even until the consummation and what is determined shall be poured out upon the desolator (Daniel 9:24-27).
The literal translation of the term “seventy weeks” is “seventy-sevens.” Now, this word “sevens” translated “weeks” may mean “days” and it may mean “years.” What then is meant here, seventy times seven days or seventy times seven years? It is evident that the “sevens” mean year weeks, seven years to each prophetic week. Daniel was occupied in reading the books and in prayer with the seventy years of Babylonian captivity. And now Gabriel is going to reveal to him something which will take place in “seventy-sevens,” which means seventy times seven years. The proof that such is the case is furnished by the fulfillment of the prophecy itself Now seventy-seven years makes 490 years.
What is to be accomplished. Daniel 9:24 gives the great things which are to be accomplished during these seventy-year weeks or 490 years. They are the following: (1) To finish the transgression; (2) To make an end of sins. (3) To cover iniquity, (4) To bring in the righteousness of ages; (5) To seal the vision and prophet; (6) To anoint the Holy of Holies.
It must be borne in mind that these things concern exclusively Daniel’s people and not Gentiles but the holy city Jerusalem. It is clear that the finishing of transgression, the end of sins and the covering of iniquity has a special meaning for Israel as a nation.
Now, these seventy year-weeks are divided into three parts. The first part consists in seven weeks, that is seven times seven, 49 years. During these 49 years the street and the wall of Jerusalem was to be rebuilt and the complete restoration accomplished. The reckoning of this time begins in the month Nisan, 445 B.C., when the command was given Nehemiah 2:1-20. Then follows the second division consisting of 62 weeks of years, that is sixty-two times seven, 434 years. At the close of these 434 years, or 483 years reckoned from the month Nisan in 445 B. C., Messiah the Prince should be cut off and have nothing. Messiah the Prince is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. Here then is a startling prediction of the death of Christ, the Messiah rejected by His people and not receiving the kingdom which belongs to Him as the Son of David. The sixty-two weeks, or 434 years, expired on the day our Lord rode into Jerusalem for the last time; during that week He was crucified. (For full proof see The Coming Prince, by Anderson, and our book on the Prophet Daniel.)
Then we have a remarkable prediction concerning the fate of Jerusalem after the nation rejected the Lord Jesus Christ: “And the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with an overflow, and unto the end war, the desolations determined.” Who is “the prince that shall come?” Expositors have erred seriously in making of this prince the Lord Jesus Christ. This prince is not our Lord. It is the little horn predicted in Daniel 7:1-28 to rise out of the Roman Empire in the time of the end, when the Roman Empire is revived politically and has its ten horns. Therefore “the people of the prince that shall come” are the Roman people. Here then is a prediction that the Romans were to take the city and burn the sanctuary. How literally this has been fulfilled! And all this was revealed when the Roman Empire was not yet in existence. Such are the marvels of divine prophecy. After that there are to be wars and desolations for Jerusalem and the Jewish people. It is the same that our Lord predicted when He said: “They shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations” Luke 21:24.
But all this leaves seven years, that is one week, unaccounted for. We have up to now 483 years, and there are to be 490 years. The last week of seven years is still future. The course of the Jewish age was interrupted. It is an unfinished age. Between the 483 years which ended when the nation rejected the Lord of Glory and the beginning of the last seven years of the Jewish age, this last year-week is this present age, the unreckoned period of time during which God does His great work in sending forth the gospel of His grace to the Gentile nations, to gather out of them a people for His Name. This age of grace is still on but it will end some day when God’s purpose is accomplished. Then the true Church will be gathered home to glory and the Lord will turn again to His people Israel and the last week of Daniel will pass into history. During these seven years the Prince that shall come, the little horn of Daniel 7:1-28, will enter into a covenant with the Jewish people. Not with all of them, for there is a remnant of godly Jews who will not accept this one (indicated by the expression the many”--see correct translation). In the middle of the week he breaks that covenant and the result will be the great tribulation, the time, times and half of a time, 1,260 days, 42 months of Daniel 7:1-28 and Revelation 13:1-18. When this great tribulation ends the Lord Jesus Christ comes back and the great things mentioned in Daniel 9:24 will be accomplished.