A Remarkable Prophecy
By Elder Joe Holder
We now come in our study of Daniel to one of—if not the single—most remarkable prophecies in the Old Testament, the seventy weeks prophecy that Gabriel revealed to Daniel. God willing we shall linger for some time in our study of this prophecy. It strikes at the heart of who Jesus is and of what He accomplished during His Incarnation, His brief time of living as both God and man in His created universe.
A Remarkable Prophecy
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
see in the closing verses of the ninth chapter of Daniel one of the most
remarkable prophecies to be found in the Old Testament. Bible scholars suggest
that the Old Testament contains over two hundred fifty prophecies of Jesus’
coming, of God Incarnate. Of that number, whatever it really is, this prophecy
stands alone in its specific reference to the time when He would come. Other
prophecies refer to what He would do, just as this passage outlines His work in
atoning for the sins of His people, but they do not measure the precise time of
that coming as this passage does.
Occasionally Old Testament Biblical prophecy measures years by a reference to
days. For example, when Israel refused to enter the land of Canaan for forty
days, God warned them that their forty day rebellion had resulted in forty years
of wilderness wandering, a judgment against their stubborn refusal to obey Him.
(Numbers 32:13) Further, in Daniel 10:3 Daniel writes of a three week fast,
using a different Hebrew word that literally means “weeks of days.” If the
seventy week prophecy we now study refers only to literal weeks, why did Daniel
choose a different Hebrew word and not the literal “weeks of days” word? The
simplest translation of the Hebrew word in Daniel 9:24 is “sevens;” “Seventy
time sensitive prophecy must respect the whole measure of time prophesied, or it
loses its integrity, a point typically overlooked and violated by contemporary
theologians who embrace dispensational theology.
To separate any of the seventy weeks from the whole is to compromise and to
wholly corrupt the integrity of the prophecy. It would be no different than me
claiming to be six feet six inches tall, when people who know me know well that
I stand at around five feet seven inches tall. How could I claim to be six feet
six inches tall? I could use the same illogical rationale as the
dispensationalists use when interpreting this seventy week prophecy when they
disjoint the seventieth week from the first sixty nine. I could claim to be
five feet six inches tall, but then disconnect the last inch of my height from
the tape measure and reconnect it at the six-six point on the measure.
Before we explore the details of the prophecy, including the point at which the
prophetic clock begins and ends as stated in the angel’s revelation to Daniel,
we need to fully examine the specific accomplishments that “Messiah the Prince”
shall accomplish according to the prophecy.
Gabriel reveals six specific things that are to be accomplished before the end
of the seventy week time of this prophecy.
1. …to finish the transgression
2. …and to make an end of sins
3. …and to make reconciliation
4. …and to bring in everlasting
5. …and to seal up the vision and
6. …and to anoint the most Holy.
The prophecy naturally groups into three
1. Eliminate the sin problem.
2. Establish righteous peace
between God and His people.
3. Finish OT prophecies regarding
the nation of Israel and the finished work of Jesus.
vary widely in their interpretation of these six accomplishments. Some
commentaries indicate by “…to finish the transgression…” Gabriel intended to
tell Daniel that his own beloved people would so offend God and reject His Son,
God Incarnate, that God would forever turn from them and reject them from future
blessings. They would cease to enjoy the privileges of God’s favored nation and
fall under severe divine judgment. In fact this occurred with their rejection
of Jesus whether this prophecy indicated that point or not. Matthew 23:34-39
affirms this point in Jesus’ own words; Paul corroborates the point in the
eleventh chapter of Romans.
prefer an interpretation of the six accomplishments that unite in the
finished—successful—work of the Lord Jesus Christ in atoning for the sins of His
people. Let’s examine each point.
finish the transgression. John Gill explains this
phrase as follows:
to make an end of sins. This point follows closely
upon the first. Again I quote from Gill.
to make reconciliation for iniquity. How can sin be
finished and ended when people, even God’s own beloved children, continue to
sin? (1 John 2:1-2) How can we be reconciled to God while yet living in our
sinful flesh? The answer cannot be found in us or in anything we think or do.
It can be seen only in the finished and victorious work of the Lord Jesus Christ
on our behalf. (Romans 5:6-10)
to bring in everlasting righteousness. When we appear
in heaven in our resurrected, sinless, and glorified bodies, we shall understand
and enjoy “everlasting righteousness.” Until then our experience of
righteousness is temporary. While John (1 John 2:1-2) admonishes us to “…sin
not…” he also addresses the obvious point. Try as we might, reach whatever
goals we might, in the end we shall sin. Our righteousness shall never be
all-encompassing and everlasting. Only the imputed righteousness of our Lord
Jesus Christ so endures that we may rightly describe it as “everlasting.”
to seal up the vision and prophecy. The primary focus
of Old Testament prophecy was on the coming Messiah, God Incarnate. (Isaiah
7:14) “Immanuel” means “God with us.” All of those prophecies find their
fulfillment in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ and His coming, His first
coming. John the baptist is described as the last prophet in Scripture. Though
in a limited sense gospel ministers may be viewed as prophets, they are so in a
restricted sense, not in the same sense as the Old Testament prophets. Once the
primary object of their prophecies comes in fulfillment of their prophecies
there is no longer a reason for their existence and ministry.
to anoint the most Holy. Dominant contemporary
commentaries interpret this phrase as a reference to the most holy place, the
temple in Jerusalem. In this interpretation they ignore Jesus, the “most Holy”
Person to ever inhabit Planet Earth. Once more I cite Gill’s views as affirming
a more central and obvious truth in the passage. “…or it may be best of all to
understand this of the Messiah, as Aben Ezra and others do; who is holy in his
person, in both his natures, human and divine; sanctified and set apart to his
office, and holy in the execution of it; equal in holiness to the Father and the
Spirit; superior in it to angels and men, who have all their holiness from him,
and by whom they are sanctified; and of whom the sanctuary or temple was a type;
and who was anointed with the Holy Ghost as man, at his incarnation, baptism,
and ascension to heaven; and Abarbinel owns it may be interpreted of the
Messiah, who may be called the Holy of holies, because he is holier than all
accomplishments set forth in these six prophecies are not presented as desirable
or as possible, but as certain completed works. All six works must be completed
within the seventy consecutive weeks, or the prophecy loses all its integrity.
We can no more dissect one of the weeks from the other sixty nine than we can
claim that five of the six prophecies were fulfilled, but not all six. For the
prophecy to maintain its integrity, its distinct supernatural character, all six
events must be accomplished within the consecutive seventy weeks. We shall
examine the prophecy and historical records to see how these events and the time
prophesied were fulfilled.