The 70th Week of Daniel.
By L.R. Shelton.
My prayer is that our gracious Lord by His Spirit will open the eyes of our understanding to give us light and knowledge upon this blessed portion of His Word which speaks both of the .'goodness and the severity of God" (Romans, 11,22). It speaks of God's GOODNESS because in it we have the great prophecy concerning the work of our Lord Jesus Christ in bringing the grace and mercy of God to His people by His substitutionary work on the cross. And it sets forth the SEVERITY of God against the sins of the Jewish nation in rejecting and crucifying the Lord of glory.
The Scripture containing this GREATEST PROPHECY EVER FULFILLED is one of the most marvelous and most important in the Word of God. That which is of most supreme interest in this portion is the divinely recorded TIME MEASURE, starting from the return of the Israelites out of Babylonian Captivity down to the culminating event of all prophecy and all history, even unto "Messiah," and to His being cut off and having nothing.
In the first part of Daniel 9, Daniel has been praying and confessing both his sins and the sins of his people Israel; because he had understood by books the number of years, whereof the Word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, the Prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolation of Jerusalem, (chapter 9 verse 2). In answer to Daniel's prayer came this great prophecy that we desire to look into. With your Bible in hand, let us read together the account of the answer to Daniel's prayer beginning at verse 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; yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision from the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. 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 Matthew, and consider the vision. Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon the 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. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and 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. 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. 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 the abomination he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate."
Before we go any further, let me state my reason for bringing this series of messages. First, that I might GLORIFY my Living, Triune God in Christ who has Himself set before us this GREATEST PROPHECY EVER FULFILLED that He might be glorified both in His GOODNESS in sending Christ to die for His people, and in His SEVERITY in bringing the Jewish nation to a state of desolation and wrath because of their rejection and crucifixion of the Lord of Glory.
Second, that we might set before you the CENTRAL THEME of God's Word THE CROSS OF CHRIST that God came down to reconcile us unto Himself by the sacrifice of His only Begotten Son at Calvary. This prophecy sets this forth; it presents our Savior and Mt. Calvary. It gives us in detail, that in His being cut off for His people He would make an end of sins by Himself becoming the sin offering for His people, that He would make reconciliation for iniquity so that poor sinners could be reconciled to the Holy God; and that He would bring in everlasting righteousness so that His people for whom He died would have a right standing before God in Him.
The third reason for bringing this series of messages is to show that THESE SCRIPTURES HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH AN ANTICHRIST who is supposed to come in the future, which from that time till now would have been about 2500 years. Neither does it set before us a TRIBULATION period at some future date wherein the Jewish nation will play an important role. No, these things are based upon a wrong interpretation of the 26th and 27th verses of Daniel 9. What these verses refer to is the desolation brought on the Jewish nation by Titus, the Roman General, in A.D. 70, and is confirmed by our Lord Himself in the Olivet Discourse as recorded in Matthew, 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21. All of this we will refer to again and look into in detail in later messages.
Let us now set before you briefly the things contained in this GREATEST PROPHECY that we will be studying in the weeks to come. This greatest prophecy pertaining to Daniel's people, their sanctuary and the city of Jerusalem is linked with a time period of seventy weeks. Bible students recognize that these seventy weeks or 490 days are symbolic of years each day representing a year, that is 490 years.
It was this same year for a day principle that was used in Numbers 14,34. Because of unbelief, the Israelites were to wander for 40 years in the wilderness, a year for each day that the spies were absent searching out the land. This same scale was used in Ezekiel 4,4 thru 6, "I have appointed thee each day for a year."
Now we know that this interpretation is true because it has already been fulfilled. From the going forth of the Commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince (verse, 25.) was 69 weeks or 483 years. I said this was fulfilled because it was 483 years from the time that King Cyrus gave this decree for the Jews to go out of Babylonian Captivity to the baptism of the Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ, by John the Baptist in the river Jordan,
Now while Christendom is generally united in the belief that the seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks (that is 69 weeks or 483 years), measured unto Messiah; concerning the final week of the Prophecy, the 70th week, there are two entirely different interpretations that are held today, the FUTURIST interpretation and the FULFILLED interpretation.
The FUTURIST interpretation is that a gap of 2000 years or so separate the 70th week from the other 69 weeks that measure unto the Messiah. The FULFILLED interpretation is that no gap is to be placed between the 69th and the 70th week, for the 70th week followed the 69th in logical sequence.
The FUTURIST interpretation is that the 70th week refers to the antichrist who will make a covenant with the Jews. This covenant, they say, will allow the Jews to offer sacrifices in a "rebuilt" temple at Jerusalem for seven years, but after three and a half years the antichrist will break this covenant and cause the sacrifice to cease and then will come the great tribulation period, and the Jews will suffer greatly under the antichrist.
The FULFILLED interpretation, on the other hand, is that the 70th week refers to the time when Christ would make and open the covenant to many, make an end of sins, make reconciliation for iniquity, bring in everlasting righteousness, and cause the Jewish sacrifices commanded of God in the Old Testament to cease; by Himself becoming the final and perfect sacrifice for sins.
The FUTURIST interpretation causes us to look for an antichrist, and gives him honor and glory; while the FULFILLED interpretation causes us to look back to a crucified, risen, exalted Lord, who accomplished the Father's will in bringing in everlasting salvation and gives Him all the honor and glory.
The FUTURIST interpretation holds out a false hope to Israel after the flesh and to the Jewish nation in telling them that they are still God's chosen nation, and that in spite of their continued unbelief they will be brought back into the land, build the temple, and be accepted of God and protected by Him in a so called tribulation period of seven years. The FULFILLED interpretation shows that there is no respect of persons before God, that the only hope for the Jews as well the Gentiles today or in any other day, is the hope of the Gospel of the grace of God. The only hope held out to anyone is in the laying down of arms of rebellion against God in repentance, and turning from sin to a holy God by faith in Jesus Christ who gave Himself as the sacrifice for sinners at Calvary.
The reason Satan has beclouded these verses to the minds of so many is because they spell the doom of the Jewish nation nearly 2000 years ago. These verses teach us that God prophesied to Daniel that the Jewish nation would finish the transgressions during these 70 weeks (or 490 years) and that they would be cut off from God as a nation because of their sin. Our Lord confirmed this in Matthew,23,32,35,36,38, saying, "Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. . . that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth. . . and all these things shall come upon this generation. . . for behold, your house is left unto you desolate."
This is the reason our Lord gave such a detailed warning in Matthew, Mark 13 and Luke 21 to His disciples and followers; so that they would be warned and therefore flee from the city of Jerusalem before His judgments fell in A.D. 70. He said, "When you shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter there into. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled" (Luke 21, 20 thru 22).
What were these things that were written? They were the prophecies given to Daniel about the destruction of his people, the Jews, their city and their temple, which took place in A.D. 70. Matthew, 24,15 thru16 also reads, "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,) then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains."
Our Lord saw this judgment coming for He knew the true word of prophecy, "For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy" (Revelation, 19,10). This is what made Him weep over the city of Jerusalem as He went into it the last time before His crucifixion, "If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace' but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation" (Luke 19,41 thru 44).
Again when He went out of the city of Jerusalem the last time, He cried, "Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate" (Matthew, 23,37 thru 38).
These then are the main things we will be looking into in this series of messages on the GREATEST PROPHECY EVER FULFILLED, the coming and cutting off of the Messiah, and the destruction and desolation of the Jewish nation, her city and temple, which is the GOODNESS and the SEVERITY of God.
In our first message in this series on Daniel 9, 20 thru 27, we gave you an overall view of this GREATEST PROPHECY EVER FULFILLED by showing you that in it we see both the GOODNESS of God in sending Christ, His dear Son, to die for His people; and His SEVERITY in bringing the Jewish nation to a state of desolation and wrath because of their continued sin in rebellion against Him, and their sin of rejecting and crucifying the Lord of Glory.
These Scriptures in Daniel 9 are very explicit that this work of the GOODNESS of God and the SEVERITY of God would be done in a framework of 490 years, or seventy weeks of days—a year for a day—reaching from the time that King Cyrus of Persia gave the decree for the Jews to go out of Babylonian captivity (Ezra 1,1 thru 4,) unto the baptism of Christ, the Messiah, by John the Baptist in the river Jordan, This was 483 years, and then into 3 and one half years of the 70th week, when He should be cut off for His people.
Now in our present message we will seek to give a verse by verse exposition of this GREATEST PROPHECY EVER FULFILLED beginning at verse, 24. Listen now as we proceed! The seventy weeks (or 490 years) as we explained in our last message were determined upon the people of Daniel who were the Jews, upon their city, and upon their sanctuary or temple. THIS IS WHAT THIS PROPHECY IS ALL ABOUT, God's dealings with the Jewish nation, with the Jewish people' with the city of Jerusalem and the Jewish sanctuary or temple in a framework of 70 weeks or 490 years. And the central figure, the One who stands out above all, is Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ of God. Let us keep this in mind.
You will notice that the first 49 years or seven weeks according to verse,25 were spent in rebuilding the city of Jerusalem, its walls and temple in very troublous times which was accomplished under Zerubbabel, Joshua, Ezra and Nehemiah as recorded in the Books of Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai and Zechariah.
It is marvelous to me to see God's hand of providence in moving to fulfill this prophecy. You see God had given to the Prophets, Jeremiah and Isaiah, the exact length of time that the Jewish nation would stay in Babylonian captivity and when and by whom they would be released from this captivity. Jeremiah gives us in his prophecy, chapter 25,11thru 12, these words, "And this whole land shall be a desolation. And an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the Lord."
Then in Isaiah 44,26thru 24,3, Isaiah sets forth in prophecy that God would raise up King Cyrus of the Persians to conquer Babylon, set His people free, and decree that the people should go back to Jerusalem to rebuild. Listen to these words' "Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof, that saith to thee, Be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers, that saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure; even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid." As we have already stated, this prophecy and its fulfillment is recorded in Ezra 1, 1 thru 4 and 2nd Chronicles, 36,22 thru 23.
Now I want you to notice the word, "DETERMINED" in verse,24 and 27. The word means, having ascertained, having calculated, having fixed precisely, having settled conclusively in one's mind what he is going to do; he has resolved to carry it out. This is precisely what our God has done in this prophecy. He determined that there would be 490 years in which certain things would happen and then He did them. This period of time would stretch from the going forth of the Jews out of Babylonian captivity to the cutting off of Messiah upon upon the cross in the 70th week or in the last seven years.
We have already looked at one of them in verse 25, that there would be the building of Jerusalem again, its streets, walls and temple in troublous times. Then would follow a period of 441 years or 63 weeks in which there would take place these things recorded in verse, 24, (1) to finish the transgression, (2) to make an end of sins (3) to make reconciliation for iniquity, (4) to bring in everlasting righteousness, (5) to seal up the vision and prophecy, (6) to anoint the most Holy One, and then, of course, the things set forth in verse, 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 determinedshall be poured upon the desolate.
It is very essential to a right understanding of this prophecy to keep in mind that these things of verse 24 & 27 were to be fulfilled and now have been fulfilled by Christ being cut off in the middle of the 70th week. And what followed immediately after this? His resurrection from the dead, and His ascension into heaven and the utter desolation of the Jewish nation in A.D. 70.
Let us now look at each of these SIX THINGS in detail that are recorded in verse, 24, and then following we will consider the things recorded in verse, 27.
First "TO FINISH THE TRANSGRESSION." What does this mean and to whom does it refer? Listen now! The transgression of Israel had long been the burden of the messages of God’s prophets. It was for their transgressions that they had gone into captivity, and that their land had been made a desolation for seventy years. Daniel himself had confessed this, saying in verse, 11 of his prayer, "Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us." But here in verse, 24 the angel Gabriel revealed to Daniel the distressing news that the full measure of Israel's transgression was yet to be completed; that the children were yet to FILL UP the iniquity of their fathers, and that, as a consequence, God would bring upon them a far greater desolation than that which had been wrought by Nebuchadnezzar. For, "to finish the transgression" could mean nothing less or other than the betrayal and crucifixion of their promised and expected Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.
We must at this point bring before our hearts and minds the similar words spoken by our Lord, the Messiah, to the leaders of the people, the scribes and Pharisees of His day as recorded in Matthew, 23,32 thru 35. After bringing such a railing accusation against them because of their sins, He said, "Fill ye up the measure of your fathers. . . that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth." In these words of Christ we find first, a declaration that the hour had come for them "to finish the transgression;" and second, a strong intimation that the predicted desolations were to come as a judgment upon that generation as appears by the words, "that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth." Then looking closely at Matthew,23,36 we find the awful doom pronounced upon the beloved city and people. Listen to this awful word of judgment! "Verily I say unto you, all these things shall come upon this generation." Then He added in verse, 38, "Behold, your house is left unto you desolate."
Surely there is nothing in all history comparable to the judgments that were poured out upon Jerusalem at the time of its destruction in A.D. 70, which was the finishing of the transgression and the great desolation of the Jewish people with the cutting off of them from the true olive tree (Romans, 11).
This awful judgment and desolation that awaited them was so upon our Lord's mind that His soul was made to cry out in anguish, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" (Matthew,23,37).
Yes, even when our blessed Lord was on the way to the cross He thought more of the sufferings that would come upon that generation because they were to "finish the transgression" than He did of His own sufferings upon the cross. In Luke 23,27thru31 these words of compassion, love and mercy are expressed. Listen! "And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him. But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck. Then they shall begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us. For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?" What He is saying here is this, Now if He—the innocent One, the green tree was made the object of such ill treatment and plunged into suffering, what will happen to those who are guilty, the dry tree, when judgment falls upon them, like it did, in A.D. 70 in the fall of Jerusalem?
My friend, are you beginning to see this great prophecy unfold before our eyes and the awful judgment of which it speaks? Let me warn you right here, if you fulfill your transgression against God, and bow not at His feet in repentance and trust His blessed Son for salvation from your sins, you too will be cut off in the day, "When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power" (2nd Thessalonians, 1,7 thru 9). Oh, my friend, have you found mercy in the hiding place which God has prepared in Christ from His wrath?
Let me repeat something right here that I stated in our previous message, no wonder Satan has blinded the minds of so many today as to the true interpretation of this prophecy concerning the 70 weeks of Daniel 9. He has done it because it reveals the SEVERITY of God, the judgment of God against sin, whether it be a whole nation or an individual. In this case it was the utter, complete cutting off of the nation of Israel, from which the nation, as such, has never and will never return. God gave them up as a nation in 70 A.D. Now certain of the Jews after the flesh will be saved in the only way any one can be saved, by repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. They can only be saved by The Deliverer who came out of Zion, the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself upon Calvary's mount for sin.
This is what is told us in the second thing mentioned in verse, 24 of Daniel 9 and it is that Messiah when He was cut off in the middle of the 70th week would make an end of sins by the sacrifice of Himself. This we will go into, the Lord willing, in our next message.
'Tis finished! the Messiah dies!
CUT OFF FOR SINS, but not his own
Accomplished is the sacrifice;
The great redeeming work is done.
Finished our vile transgression is,
And purged the guilt of all our sin;
And everlasting righteousness
Is brought, for all his people, in.
'Tis finished, all my guilt and pain.
I want no sacrifice beside.
For me, for me the Lamb was slain,
And I'm for ever justified.
Sin, death, and hell are now subdued
All grace is now to sinners given;
And lo! I plead the atoning blood,
For pardon, holiness, and heaven.
It has been the delight of my soul for the Holy Spirit to open my understanding to the great truths set forth in this 9th chapter of Daniel. There seems to be nothing in Scripture that surpassed Daniel's prayer as recorded in verses 1 thru19. It shows us the very heart of Daniel; his deep concern for the glory of the Lord his God; his hatred for sin and the need of confession before God of all the sins he and his people had committed; his concern for his people, the Jews, and their deliverance from Babylonian captivity; and sets before us a spirit of intercession that we should long to imitate. Listen to the closing remarks of his prayer as he pleads with God for mercy, "O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name, for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousness, but for thy great mercies. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God, for thy city and thy people are called by thy name" (verse, 18 thru 19).
Then in answer to Daniel's prayer the angel Gabriel was sent with a message of profound importance, such importance and with such effect upon Daniel that verse 2 & 3 of Daniel 10 tells us that he was left mourning three full weeks. What then was this message that so affected Daniel? It was a message of both of the GOODNESS and the SEVERITY of God. The goodness of God in sending Christ, His dear Son, to die for His people, and His severity or judgment in bringing the Jewish nation to a state of desolation and wrath because of their continued sin of rebellion against Him and their sin of rejecting and crucifying the Lord of Glory.
In our previous messages we have showed you that vs 24 thru 27 of Daniel 9 gives us the timetable of 490 years in which God was going to perform certain things and cause His GOODNESS and His SEVERITY to be manifested.
We have seen the first of the six things given in verse, 24 that would transpire in this period of 70 weeks of years or 490 years upon Daniel's people, the Jews, and upon the holy city Jerusalem. Today let us look at the second thing that was revealed to Daniel by the angel Gabriel that was to come to pass. When the transgression of the Jewish nation was finished, according to our Lord's own words of Matthew, 23,32,34,35,36 & 38; then was brought to pass the words spoken by Peter on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2,23 that Christ, who was delivered to the Jews by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, they took and by wicked hands crucified and slew. This constituted the crowning sin of Israel.
Paul confirms this in 1st Thessalonians, 2,16. In speaking of the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, who persecuted the Christians, who did not please God and were contrary to all men (verse, 15), adds in verse, 16 that because of this—the finishing of transgression—they filled up their sins alway, and for this the wrath of God is come upon them to the uttermost. This wrath of God did come upon them to the uttermost in A.D. 70 when the holy city, Jerusalem, was destroyed, the temple laid waste, the blood sacrifices ceased, the nation of Israel scattered among the nations of the earth and God cut them off from being His chosen nation. We know from Matthew, 21,43 that He gave the kingdom to a nation bringing forth the fruits of Christ which I Peter 2,9 declares is the True Israel of God, the Church of the living God. Listen! "Ye are a chosen nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light."
Listen now, as we go into the second expression given in verse, 24 that Christ by His death "WOULD MAKE AN END OF SINS." It is a fact that the wrath of man is made to praise the Lord (Psalm, 76,10) and this is what happened at the cross. It was the wrath of the Jewish nation that put our Lord upon the cross, which inhuman deed finished their transgression. But it served also to the putting away of the sins of God's elect and to make an end of sins by the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ. Here we see the marvelous workings of God's wisdom in causing that the extreme sin of man should serve to accomplish eternal redemption, and so provide a complete remedy for sin. For the crucifixion of Christ, though it was truly a deed of diabolical wickedness on the part of man, was on Christ's own part the offering of Himself without spot to God as a sacrifice for sins (Hebrews, 9,14). Yes, it was at the cross that our Blessed Lord Jesus "offered the one sacrifice for sins forever" (Hebrews, 10,12).
Oh how precious is this gracious truth to my heart and I am sure it is gracious to the hearts of all of God's redeemed ones. It tells us that One was willing to make of Himself no reputation, to take upon Himself the form of a servant, to be made in the likeness of sinful flesh, to humble Himself and become obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (Philippians. 2,7thru8; Romans, 8,3). And I ask, For what reason? So that He might purge us from all our sins (Hebrews, 1,3); that He might purge our conscience from dead works to serve the living God (Hebrews, 9,14); that He might declare God's righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God (Romans, 3 ,25); that He might deliver us from the curse of the law upon our sin (Galatians, 3, 13); that He might deliver us from this present evil world (Galatians, 1,4); and that He might present us to Himself holy and without blemish having no spot or wrinkle, in the day of our glorification (Ephesians, 5,27).
We could multiply these Scriptures over and over again, but we have given enough to show that these words, "to make an end of sins" (Daniel, 9,24) were fulfilled in the death of our Lord, and this had to take place in the framework of the 70 weeks of years. In fact verse, 26 tells us that it was after the 69 weeks or 483 years that Messiah was to be cut off which would then put it in the 70th week. This fact we have brought out in our previous messages, that the 70th week of Daniel has been fulfilled and is not something we are to look for in the future.
The third expression used here in Daniel, 9,24 that the angel Gabriel said would be accomplished was that our Lord was "TO MAKE RECONCILIATION FOR INIQUITY." What a blessed gospel truth this is, that our Divine and human Substitute for sinners, the Lord Jesus Christ, has made reconciliation for our iniquity. You see, dear friend, the need for reconciliation arises from the fact that we by nature are not only a sinner, but also an enemy of God. It is because we are sinners that we are also enemies of God, and as an enemy we need to be reconciled to God.
I ask then these questions, Have you ever been justified before God in Christ, based upon His perfect righteousness? Have you ever been reconciled to God by the death of His Son? Have you ever stood before God as a guilty, lost sinner and had revealed to your heart by the Holy Spirit that you have been justified before God by the blood and righteousness of Christ? Have you ever known yourself to be an enemy of God in your mind by wicked works, and had revealed to your heart by the Holy Spirit that you have been reconciled to God because your sin debt was paid in full at the cross?"
Oh, these are very important questions, because only in the death of Christ as an atoning sacrifice has there been accomplished that which would both JUSTIFY you before God and RECONCILE you to God. Listen to Romans 5,8thru10 where both of these truths are brought out, "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life."
Follow us now because I want to show you the importance of this statement of prophecy in Daniel 9,24—this statement that our Blessed Lord would "MAKE RECONCILIATION FOR INIQUITY." You see, reconciliation has to do directly with the kingdom of God in that it signifies the bringing back those who were rebels and enemies into willing and loyal submission to God. In this connection, attention should be given to the great passage in Col. 1,12 thru 22 which shows that, as the result of the death of Christ, those who have "redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins" (verse, 14) are also "translated into the kingdom of God's dear Son" (verse, 13). How? On the basis of Christ "having made peace for them through the blood of His cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself." And the apostle adds, "And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death" (verse, 20 thru 22).
Listen now! It is certain then, that when Jesus Christ our Lord died and rose again, atonement for sin and reconciliation for the enemies of God were fully and finally accomplished as a Matter of historical fact. It is important then, and essential to a right interpretation of this prophecy here in Daniel 9,24 to keep in mind that atonement and reconciliation were to be accomplished, and actually were accomplished, within the measure of 70 weeks from the going forth of the decree of King Cyrus for the Jews in Babylonian captivity to return to Jerusalem.
You ask, "What does all this mean?" It means that the prophecy has to do with the great and eternal purpose of God to establish His kingdom and to bring pardoned and reconciled sinners into it as willing and loyal subjects of Christ, the King. Watch it now! And when the time drew near the kingdom was proclaimed by our Lord Himself and by His forerunner, John the Baptist, as being "at hand." Therefore, our Lord's own words, when taken in connection with the prophecy of Gabriel, are very significant. He said, "THE TIME IS FULFILLED and the kingdom of God is at hand" (Mark 1 ,15). This to me is proof positive that the 70th week of Daniel has already been fulfilled and is not to be looked for in the future.
Let me state it again, the more I go into this GREATEST PROPHECY EVER FULFILLED, I behold the GOODNESS of God in sending His only Beloved Son to die in the place of His people, and to rise again from the grave as our living Lord and King. Dear friend, do you know Him?
The Lord is Zion's King,
Let Zion in him trust;
'Midst friends and foes his goodness sing,
And of his mercy boast.
He rules on Zion's hill,
With laws of peace and grace,
Laws that bespeak his kindness still,
And human pride abase.
Let saints his scepter own;
His righteous laws obey;
Acknowledge him the Lord alone,
And walk the heavenly way.
In our previous messages on THE GREATEST PROPHECY EVER FULFILLED from Daniel 9, we gave an outline of verse, 24thru27 and what we believe the Holy Spirit had laid upon our hearts to bring forth from this great prophecy. We have shown that it had been revealed to the prophet Daniel that God had determined to show forth His GOODNESS and His SEVERITY upon his people, the Jews, and that this would take place in a framework, or measure of time, beginning with the return of the Jews out of Babylonian captivity. This time would be 70 weeks of days, or 490 years, a year for a day.
God showed Daniel through the angel Gabriel, that the greatest portion of this prophecy would be fulfilled in the 70th week or the the Lord from last 7 years and it would have to do with the Messiah, be crucified. or glory; and the Jewish nation would cause Him to cut off, in the middle of the 70th week, or after 3 and one half years of His earthly ministry.
We are now in verse, 24 of Daniel 9 wherein 6 things were determined to come to pass in this 70th week; and set forth before our eyes is both the GOODNESS of God and the SEVERITY of God. The GOODNESS of God is seen in sending His only Begotten Son to die, God is seen in the place of His people; and the bringing in utter desolation upon the very nation, the Jewish nation of whom it was said "To whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever, amen" (Romans, 9,4thru5). You ask, "And why such judgment against the very nation who was the depository of the truth of God, the only true and living God, and the very vehicle that God used to bring His Son into the world?"
The answer to that question lies upon the pages of the Old Testament wherein we find the Jewish nation continually rebelling against the only true and living God, His light, His knowledge, His Word, His prophets, His providence, His patience, His longsuffering, and living in a state of unbelief.
So in this time table of 490 years their transgression would be fulfilled and God would bring upon them all of the promises of wrath which had so carefully been laid before them in Leverse, 26, Deut. 28 and all the Prophets unto John the Baptist.
Now we have looked at the first three things mentioned in Daniel 9,24 that were determined upon Daniel's people, the Jews, and the holy city. namely, "to finish the transgression and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity."
Let us begin our study now at the fourth thing determined, and that is, that the Messiah was "TO BRING IN EVERLASTING RIGHTEOUSNESS." No prophecy of God could cause His people to rejoice any more than to know that the Messiah, the anointed of God, would bring in everlasting righteousness to a people who are nothing but hell deserving sinners. But this is just what our Blessed Lord did by His virgin birth, His holy life, His vicarious death, and His bodily resurrection from the grave.
Jeremiah prophesied of this bringing in of righteousness in Jeremiah, 23,5 thru 6 in these words, "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth...and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS."
Now to me, the most prominent feature of the kingdom of God is His righteousness which was brought in by the King, our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Listen how this is set forth in the New Testament. Matthew, 6,33 reads, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness..." Why? Because it is such a vital part of God's kingdom, as brought out in Romans, 14,17—"The kingdom of God is not in meat and drink; but righteous, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost."
Why are we to seek it? Because without this perfect righteousness we cannot be justified before a holy God. God demands a spotless righteousness before He will allow a sinner into His presence, and this perfect righteousness can only be found IN CHRIST This is set forth in such detail in Romans, 3,21thru26 where we are told that God has declared His righteousness, that He has set it forth by the redemption in Christ Jesus; and that He, an offended God, because of man's sins, can yet be just when He justifies a believing sinner who has trusted his soul in the hands of the Divine Substitute.
We can say then that a work of righteousness was to be done, and now has been done; for 1st Corinthians, 1,30, records that Jesus Christ has been made unto us "righteousness" by His cross work, and this is greatly confirmed in these words found in 2nd Corinthians, 5,21—"For God hath made Christ to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
Listen now as we go into the fifth thing that was determined upon the Jews as recorded in Daniel 9 which reads "AND TO SEAL UP THE VISION AND PROPHECY." I want you to pay particular attention to this "sealing up the vision and prophecy" for, if rightly understood, much light will be shed upon many Old Testament prophecies concerning the Jews. In fact I will admit that these passages of Scripture always puzzled me until l was able to see them in the light of Daniel 9,24.
Let us keep in mind what we have said many times before and it is this, that this prophecy has to deal with both the GOODNESS and the SEVERITY of God. And I do believe that in this expression, "to seal up the vision and prophecy" we have the severity of God upon the Jewish nation. Now, by comparing this prophecy with Isaiah, 6,10 we have set before us the statement that God would "seal up the vision and prophecy" to the Israelites after the flesh as part of the punishment they brought upon themselves. God said to Isaiah. "Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed" (Isaiah, 6,9 thru 10).
Isaiah the Prophet also brings this out in another prophecy "For the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes, the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered. And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed" (29, 10 thru 11).
These words of Isaiah along with the words spoken by Gabriel to Daniel in Daniel, 9,24 gives us a remarkably accurate description of the spiritual blindness of the people and their rulers in Christ's day, who, though they read the prophets every Sabbath day, yet because they knew not their voices, fulfilled them in condemning Him (Acts 13,27).
Let us keep in mind what is being said here, and it is this, that the vision and prophecy would be sealed up, that both vision and prophet—both eye and ear—would be closed up, so that "seeing they would see not and hearing they would hear not" (Isaiah, 6,10).
Let us go further. Two times in the New Testament our Lord applied this prophecy of Isaiah, 6,9 thru 10 to the multitude to whom He was speaking. In Matthew,, 13 when asked by His disciples why He was speaking to the people in parables, He said, "Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance, but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables, because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand" (Matthew, 13,11 thru 13). But our Lord does not leave us without an answer to these few words. No, He goes on in verse 14 thru 15 and gives the reason why this was being done. It was to seal up the vision and prophecy so that they would have no more light from God because their transgression against God was filled up.
Listen to what He says in verse, 14 thru 16! "And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive, for the people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them." But he adds to His disciples, "But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear" (verse, 16).
What our Lord is saying here and which fulfills Isaiah 6,9thru10 and our text in Daniel, 9,24 is this, that He would give the scribes and Pharisees and the host of multitudes that followed Him no more light, so that they would fill up their transgression in crucifying Him, thus bringing down the wrath of God on that generation. This is brought out so clearly in our Lord's words of Matthew,, 23,32,34 thru 36,38.
Again in John's gospel we have reference to this prophecy of Daniel, 9,24, "The sealing up of the vision and prophecy," and also in Isaiah, 6,9 thru 10; 53,1. Listen to John 12,37 thru 41, "But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him, that the saying of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, end hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. These things said Isaiah, when he saw Christ's glory and spake of him."
All of this is confirmed again by Brother Paul in Acts 28,24 thru 27, when he quotes from Isaiah, 6,9thru10 and shows that this darkness of heart, dullness of hearing, blindness of eyes had come upon the Jews of his day to the uttermost because they had filled up their transgression, and the sealing up of the vision and prophecy had taken place.
If you will turn again to Isaiah, 6 you will find Isaiah asking the Lord a question in verse, 11, "Lord, how long?" How long will the darkness of heart, dullness of hearing, and blindness of eyes be upon the people? And here was the Lord's answer, "Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate, and the Lord have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land" (verse, 12).
All of this came to pass in A.D. 70 when Jerusalem was utterly destroyed—"Not one stone was left upon another" (Matthew,24,2); "The temple laid waste" (Matthew,, 24,15); "Great tribulation such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time" (Matthew, 24,21) came upon them, and those who did not die were scattered among the nations of the earth and cut off from before God as a nation. What an awful judgment came upon this most blessed of all nations! Why? Because of rebellion, unbelief and idolatry. And God's judgment is going to fall upon our nation like this someday unless there be a returning to Him in repentance, with broken hearts and contrite spirits.
I will say again as I have said before, no wonder this GREATEST PROPHECY that has ever been fulfilled has been so misinterpreted in our day by putting all of this in the future and applying it to an antichrist. Satan has tried to deceive the hearts of men concerning the Sovereign God of the universe who is both a God of love and mercy, and a God of wrath and judgment.
To every true follower of Christ, I extend this word of warning from Romans, 11,22, "Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God, on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, IF thou continue in his goodness, otherwise thou also shalt be cut off." May God have mercy upon us is my prayer.
As we go into this fifth message from Daniel 9 on THE GREATEST PROPHECY EVER FULFILLED, I want to once again call your attention to the word "DETERMINED" in verse 24 & 27. The word means, having ascertained, having calculated, having fixed precisely, having settled conclusively in one's mind what he is going to do; he resolves to carry it out. This is precisely what our God has done in this prophecy of the 70 weeks of Daniel 9.
He determined that there should be 70 weeks, 490 years, or a year for a day, in which certain things would happen, and they did happen. This period of time would stretch from the going forth of the Jews out of Babylonian captivity, because of the decree of King Cyrus, to the cutting off of Messiah upon the cross in the 70th week, or in the last seven years. Having determined to do these things in a framework of 490 years, God did it. Therefore the 70th week of Daniel is something that has already been fulfilled, and not something yet in the future.
The importance of all of this is that God set upon the pages of Holy Writ a certain time in which He would give the nation of Israel the opportunity to turn to Him in true repentance. He sent the holy prophets, year after year, down to John the Baptist, calling upon them to repent and turn to God in mercy. He even sent His only Begotten Son to offer them mercy and grace, but they would not hear the prophets nor God's Son, but sent Him back to heaven saying, 'We will not have this man to rule over us." Therefore God poured out His wrath upon the Jewish nation in A.D. 70 and no longer deals with them as a nation, but sends forth His gospel of grace into all the world unto His elect, called out from among both Jews and Gentiles, and is making for Himself a bride, His church, who shall dwell with Him for eternity.
Let us today for our study look at the last of the six things which the angel Gabriel told Daniel would come to pass in the 70 weeks of years which were determined "upon Daniel's people, the Jews, and upon the holy city, Jerusalem." This sixth thing spoken of in Daniel, 9,24 was, "TO ANOINT THE MOST HOLY."
Dear friend, in this expression, "to anoint the most Holy," we see again why this is the GREATEST PROPHECY EVER FULFILLED. It is because we have set before us the Holy One of God, the Messiah, the Anointed of God, the Christ who was appointed and anointed to accomplish the great work of redemption. This He did by the sacrifice of Himself. "For by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us" (Hebrews, 9,12).
But this was not all that He was anointed to do. He tells us Himself in Luke "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord" (Luke 4,18 thru 19). This He did in His 3 one half years of earthly ministry before He was "cut off for His people" according to Daniel 9,26. All of the four Gospels set this forth in detail—"How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him" (Acts 10,38)?
But this is not all this expression "to anoint the most Holy" means. It means also that by virtue of His resurrection, He was to be "anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows" (Hebrews, 1,9). That is, "God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2,9 thru 11,
It means that when "God raised him from the dead, he set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come, and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that fIlleth all in all" (Ephesians, 1,20 thru 23).
This expression also means that by virtue of the shedding of His blood and His resurrection, by virtue of His glorification at the right hand of the Father in heaven; He was to anoint the most holy place in heaven with His precious blood and turn the throne of judgment into a throne of grace for His people according to Hebrews, 9,22 thru 28.
But this is not all this expression "to anoint the most Holy" means. It means also that by virtue of His resurrection, ascension and glorification at the right hand of God the Father, He has also been anointed to send the gift of the Holy Spirit, in anointing the "Holy Place" which is ALL of His blood bought and blood washed children. This is so clearly brought out in many Scriptures. In John 14,16 thru 17 our Lord gave His disciples and us this promise, "I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him, but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you."
Peter in his message on the day of Pentecost said that this promise of Christ to His people was fulfilled and that He had sent the Holy Spirit in His anointing presence and power to fill His church. Listen to Acts 2,32 thru 33, "This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear."
You may ask the question, "What does this mean for the children of God?" Dear fellow believer, it means this, not only did Christ die for our sins and pay our sin debt in full, not only did He arise from the grave as our Justifier and Righteousness, not only did He ascend to the right hand of the Father as our interceding High Priest; but by virtue of all of this, He has given us of His Holy Spirit and we have been anointed as the holy temple of God by His Spirit. This right to bestow upon His people the Holy Spirit, and to anoint them with His own anointing, was His right by virtue of His condescension to become our Divine Substitute for sin.
I ask what greater blessing can God bestow upon us than this, that we as believers have an "anointing from the Holy One" indicating that this anointing renders us holy, separating us unto God as His very own? Listen to 2nd Corinthians, 6,16, "For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people."
What greater words could be spoken than these in 1st John 2,27, "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."
To the believer, all of this means that we have the Holy Spirit Himself who is our anointing, indwelling us and teaching us the things of Christ. Our Lord said in John 16,13 thru 15 that this would be the work which He would perform in us as we trust Him and look to Him to teach us of Christ. He will take the things of Christ and reveal them unto us; He will take of the riches of Christ and make them our's; He will show us the deep things of God. Listen to 1st Corinthians, 2,9 thru 10, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit, for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God."
The question is asked, "What are some of these riches of Christ and deep things of God which are revealed unto us by the Holy Spirit who is our anointing?" Let us pray that the Holy Spirit will open to us these precious things. In 1st Thessalonians, 1,4, we read of one of these precious things, "Knowing, brethren, beloved, your election of God." Knowing our election of God! Is this not precious? Elected, chosen by the Father is Christ to salvation, to deliverance from all our sins, and this before the very foundation of the world! (2nd Thessalonians, 2,13 thru 14 and Ephesians, 1,4). Another precious thing revealed to us is that we were "predestinated to be conformed to the image of God's dear Son" (Romans, 8,29). And this was done for us before we were ever born. Also we know that this work shall be perfected in us because we have received of His Spirit who indwells us and changes us from glory to glory into His likeness in sanctification (2nd Corinthians, 3,18). We also have the precious knowledge that we have been adopted into the family of God, and have therefore become heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ (Romans, 8,16 thru 17). Yes, 'We have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." Is not all of this precious to our hearts?
Again the Scriptures speak of the blessed work of the Holy Spirit in effectually calling us to Christ with that Holy calling of grace (2nd Timothy. 1,9), in convicting us of our need of Christ under Holy Spirit conviction (John 16,7 thru 11), in His granting us repentance to the acknowledging of the truth (2nd Timothy. 2,25, Acts 11 ,18), in His giving us and working in us the faith of God's elect (Titus 1,1, Ephesians, 2,8 thru 9, Acts 18 ,27), in revealing to our hearts the suitableness of Christ for our sinful soul (Galatians, 1, 15 thru 16), and daily working in us "Both to will and to do of his good pleasure" (Philippians, 2,13).
Again, we have received of His divine nature (2nd Peter 1,4), of His divine love (Romans, 5 ,5), of His divine grace (Romans, 5 ,2), of His divine mercy (Titus 3,5), of His divine presence (Hebrews, 13,5), of His divine unchangableness (Hebrews, 6,17thru19), of His divine holiness (1st Corinthians, 1,2, Ephesians, 1,4), of His divine faithfulness (1st Thessalonians, 5 ,24), and even of His place of acceptance with the Father, because we read in Ephesians, 2,6thru7 that God by His Spirit "hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus."
The Holy Spirit also as our anointing reveals unto us the glorious things of Christ in that in the resurrection we shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump, and we shall be given a new body for this vile body of our humiliation, a body fashioned like unto Christ's glorious body and we shall forever be with the Lord in the endless eternity of praise, love and holiness (Philippians, 3,20 thru 21; 1st Corinthians, 15,52 thru 53).
But the greatest thing revealed unto us is the exalting of our Blessed Lord now and forever. In the Book of Revelation He is revealed as the Lamb of God whom we shall praise throughout eternity for His great work of redemption. Listen to Revelation, 7,9 thru 12! "I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, saying, Amen, Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen."
So we see then that the crowning thing spoken of in Daniel, 9,24 that the Prince, the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, would accomplish in the 70th week of Daniel, was that He would "ANOINT THE MOST HOLY." He Himself was the anointed of God, and by virtue of His work He has anointed His people with His Spirit.
I say again, no wonder Satan has deceived the minds of so many today in causing them to believe that the 70th week of Daniel is yet in the future, because this portion of Daniel 9 so glorifies and magnifies our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ in the work which He accomplished nearly 2000 years ago.
As we continue our study in Daniel 9, let us go on to verse, 25thru26 and see how the time table of 70 weeks of years unfold before our eyes, and how all the things mentioned in verse, 24 would be fulfilled in the earthly ministry of the Messiah, the Prince. All of this would be accomplished in the 70th week of Daniel, 9, or during the 3 and one half years of our Lord's ministry.
The thing we need to determine is, what was the event or occasion in the earthly lifetime of our Blessed Lord, the Messiah, the Prince, the Anointed, when the 69th week or 483 years ended and the 70th week or the last seven years of this prophecy began?
Now, we are told very definitely in verse, 25 that all of this would and could be understood by us, and that there would not and should not be any confusion as to when this prophecy began, and when it ended. This was the reason why the angel Gabriel was sent by God to Daniel in answer to his prayer (verse, 19); so that Daniel and all of God's people could understand God's mind and will in the Matter,
The very words themselves in verse25 thru 26 leave us in no doubt that the time of the beginning of this prophecy would be when the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem would go forth, and the children of Israel were allowed to go back to Jerusalem from Babylonian captivity.
This commandment or decree is recorded both in 2nd Chronicles, 36,22 thru 23, and in Ezra 1,1thru4. Listen to this decree "Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, [Jeremiah, 29,10], the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, the Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? The Lord his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem." This was the commandment to rebuild the city of Jerusalem with its temple and wall.
We know that this took place, as verse, 25 of Daniel 9 tells us, even "in troublous times" under Ezra the priest, as recorded in the Book of Ezra; under Nehemiah, the cup bearer to the king, as recorded in the Book of Nehemiah; under Zerubbabel, God's anointed, as recorded in the book of Zechariah; and all of this work was urged on by the prophets, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. Dear friend, all of this is a Matter of fulfilled Scripture in the Old Testament and took place in the first seven weeks or 49 years.
Then the next 62 weeks or 434 years are plainly shown in verse 25 thru 26 to be till the Messiah, the Prince, would come and this would take us to the end of 69 weeks or 483 years. To me there is nothing hard to understand about this if we will only let the Scriptures speak for themselves. And they do very plainly. Just as the starting point of this GREATEST PROPHECY EVER FULFILLED is clearly defined, so is the ending of it, verse 25 thru 26 tell us that there would be 69 weeks or 483 years to the coming of the Messiah, the Prince.
The question is asked then, At just what point in our Lord's earthly life did this prophecy take place? Just where did the 69th week end and the 70th week begin? When was the Messiah, the Prince, revealed unto Israel?
We have the answer in His very name, MESSIAH! The word "Messiah" means "THE ANOINTED ONE." This is what the word means in the Hebrew. So in the Greek he was called "the Christ," which means the same thing—"the Anointed One." Therefore we have only to ask, Where was Jesus presented to Israel as the Anointed One? There is only one answer—AT HIS BAPTISM IN JORDAN, Yes, it was at His baptism by John the Baptist in the river Jordan that our Lord was "anointed" for His ministry; for it was then that the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily shape as a dove. Peter bears witness of this in Acts 10,38,"God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power."
When did this take place? Let us read Matthew, 3,13 thru 17, "Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now, for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water, and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him, and lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
Here we have the Father bearing witness—"This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased;" and this was in fulfillment of Psalm 2,7 which reads, "I will declare the decree, the Lord hath said unto me, Thou are my Son; this day have I begotten thee." Yes, the Father bore witness in His anointing at His baptism that—"This is my beloved Son [my only begotten Son] in whom I am well pleased." Also in Psalm 2,2, Christ is set forth as God's "anointed."
John the Baptist is also a witness to Christ's anointing. Listen to his words in John 1,29 thru 34, "The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me, for he was before me. And I knew him not, but that he should be manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. [His anointing] And I knew him not, but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Spirit. And I saw and bare record that this is the Son of God."
Again, our Lord's own words bear witness of His anointing when He was presented to Israel at the waters of Jordan, After His baptism, upon His return to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, He came to Nazareth where He had been brought up, and going into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, He read from the prophet Isaiah these striking words, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed n e to preach the gospel to the poor." And after he had closed the book, he said, "This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears" (Luke 4,18,21). There the Lord declared Himself to be, at that time, the "Anointed One," that is, the "Messiah."
Therefore with this witness of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and of John the Baptist as the human instrument used of the Lord for Christ's anointing, we are shut up to this event in our Lord's earthly ministry as the time when the prophecy of Daniel, 9,25 was fulfilled. And what was the Prophecy? It was that Messiah, the Anointed, would be presented to Israel at the close of the 69th week or the termination of the 483 years.
It was when the Lord had been "anointed" with the Holy Spirit and had been "made manifest to Israel" by the testimony of John the Baptist, that the words of the prophecy unto "the Anointed One," the Messiah, were completely fulfilled. From that great and wonderful event down to the day of His death, He was constantly before the people in His Messianic character, fulfilling His Messianic mission, going about doing good, healing all that were oppressed of the devil, preaching the glad tidings of the kingdom of God, manifesting the Father's name, speaking the words His Father gave Him to speak, and doing the works the Father gave Him to do.
Therefore with all this clear evidence of Scripture, we understand that the 483 years or 69 weeks "Unto the Messiah'' terminated at the Lord's baptism when His ministry as "the Messiah" began.
This brings us now in our study to the very important question, When did the 70th week or the last seven years of this prophecy begin? Are we to understand, like so many teach today, that these weeks are not consecutive and that the last seven years are yet to be fulfilled in the future tribulation period? If this is so, then where is the point of the prophecy? To whom does it apply, and why would God send the angel Gabriel to give such a prophecy if we could not understand it?
But, dear friend, our God is not the author of confusion, but the One who gives His people light, knowledge and understanding. And so He does in this GREATEST PROPHECY EVER FULFILLED. He tells us plainly in verse, 26 that it was after the 69th week ended that the 70th week started and during this week, the 70th week, that Messiah was cut off, that is, He was slain as God's Substitute for His people at Calvary's cross.
You see, dear friend, our Lord's personal ministry lay entirely within the 70th week and to deny this is to deny the cross of Christ, for this is the whole focal point of this prophecy, Christ and His substitutionary death for sinners. This feature stands out above all others when we understand that it was by the cutting off of the Messiah that the six predicted things of verse, 24 were to be accomplished; that it was by the cutting off of the Messiah that the covenant with many (verse, 27,) was to be confirmed and the sacrifice and the oblation caused to cease; and that it was because of the cutting off of the Messiah that the devastating judgments foretold in the prophecy were to fall upon the city, the temple, and the people.
To me, dear friend, the prophecy given here in Daniel, 9 is one of marvelous unity. All its details CENTER AROUND THE CROSS.
In our last message, the Lord was pleased to open up to our hearts the definite time in our Lord's earthly ministry when the 69th week or 483 years of the prophecy given in Daniel 9,24thru27 was fulfilled. We saw from the Word of God that it was at His baptism by John the Baptist in the river Jordan that he was anointed and presented to Israel as their Messiah, the Prince of God.
This brings us now in our studies to the SEVENTIETH WEEK of Daniel 9, which was set off by itself, wherein the six things that were determined by God upon the Jews and their city, Jerusalem, would be performed. The 24th verse tells us that these six things were, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. We are told also in verse, 27 that it was during this 70th week, or last seven years, by the cutting off of the Messiah, that the covenant with many was to be confirmed and the sacrifice and oblation caused to cease; and that it was because of the cutting off of the Messiah that the devastating judgments foretold in this prophecy were to fall upon the city, the temple and the people.
Let us keep in mind that it was only during this 70th week, or the last seven years, that these things could be performed; and there was only One who could perform them—the Messiah, God's Anointed, the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, to teach, as many do today, that all of this is to be fulfilled by some future prince, the antichrist, and to separate the 70th week from the 69th week by a period of 2000 years is to do violence to this prophecy and to lead us astray in all other prophecies. As I have stated before, this corrupted interpretation seeks to rob God of his glory, the glory of His GOODNESS and SEVERITY; it robs Christ of His glory as the Messiah, the Prince, who came to perform the Father's will; it robs Christ of the glory of His cross, because it was by His being cut off at the cross that all of this was performed; and it robs the Holy Spirit of His glory for He is the author of this prophecy—it makes Him say what He did not say. Remember the words of Isaiah 42,8, "I am the Lord, that is my name, and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images."
Also, let us keep in mind that this prophecy, understood in its true light, sets aside the error that is taught today. The error that teaches that when Christ came the first time, His purpose was to set up an earthly kingdom among the Jews, yet they would not allow Him to set it up by their rejection of Him. Therefore, He turned to the cross as his alternate purpose. Dear friend, this is a lie out of hell! Why do I say that? Because this prophecy teaches, as well as the whole Bible, and especially the New Testament, that the purpose of Christ's coming into this world was to PUT AWAY OUR SINS BY THE SACRIFICE OF HIMSELF (1st John 3,5; Hebrews, 9,26; John 12,27).