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Barnes on Daniel 9 #6

The 70 week Prophecy

                         ALBERT BARNES ON DANIEL 9

                          THE 70 WEEK PROPHECY #6

Continued from previous page:

It is true that it cannot be shown that this was a period of
exactly "half a week," or three years and a half after the
ascension of the Saviour, but, in a prophecy of this nature, it
was a period that might, in round numbers, be well expressed by
that; or the whole might be properly described by "seventy
weeks," or four hundred and ninety years, and the last portion
after the appearing of the Messiah as one of these weeks. There
has been much needless anxiety to make out the exact time to a
month or a day in regard to this prophecy - not remembering its
general design, and not reflecting how uncertain are all the
questions in ancient chronology. Compare the sensible remarks of
Calvin on ver.25. When this occurred; when the apostles turned
away from the Hebrew people, and gave themselves to their labours
among the Gentiles, the work of "confirming the covenant" with
those to whom the promises had been made, and to whom the law was
given, ceased. They were regarded as "broken off" and left, and
the hope of success was in the Gentile world. See the reasoning
of the apostle Paul in Rom. xi. Jerusalem was given up soon after
to destruction, and the whole work, as contemplated in this
prophecy, ceased. The object for which the city and temple were
rebuilt was accomplished, and here was a proper termination of
the prophecy. It was not necessary, indeed, that these should be
at once destroyed, but they were henceforth regarded as having
fulfilled the work designed, and as being now left to ruin. The
ruin did not at once occur, but the sacrifices thenceforward
offered were without meaning, and the train of events was
constantly preparing that would sweep away city and temple
together. I suppose, therefore, that this last "one week"
embraced the period from the beginning of the ministry of the
Saviour to that when the direct and exclusive efforts to bring
the principles of his religion to bear on the Hebrew people, as
carrying out the design of the covenant made by God with their
fathers, and confirmed with so many promises, ceased, and the
great effort was commenced to evangelize the heathen world. Then
was the proper close of the seventy weeks; what is added is
merely a statement of the winding up of the whole affair, in the
destruction of the city and temple. That occurred, indeed, some
years after; but at this period all that was material in regard
to that city had taken place, and consequently that was all that
was necessary to specify as to the proper termination of the
design of rebuilding the city and the temple.  

And in the midst of the week. 

The word here rendered "in the midst" -(Heb.)--means, properly,
half, the half part, Exod. xxiv. 6; Numb. xii. 12; then the
middle, or the midst, Judg. xvi. 3. The Vulgate renders it, "in
dimidio;" the Greek...Hengstenberg, "the half." Lengerke, "die
Halfte;" Luther, "mit-ten." The natural and obvious
interpretation is that which is expressed in our translation, and
that will convey the essential idea in the original. It refers to
something which was to occur at about the middle portion of this
time, or when about half of this period was elapsed, or to
something which it would require half of the "one week," or seven
years, to accomplish. The meaning of the passage is fully met by
the supposition that it refers to the Lord Jesus and his work,
and that the exact thing that was intended by the prophecy was
his death, or his being "cut off," and thus causing, the
sacrifice and oblation to cease. Whatever difficulties there may
be about the precise time of our Lord's ministry, and whether he
celebrated three passovers or four after he entered on his public
work, it is agreed on all hands that it lasted about three years
and a half - the time referred to here. Though a few have
supposed that a longer period was occupied, yet the general
belief of the church has coincided in that, and there are few
points in history better settled. On the supposition that this
pertains to the death of the Lord Jesus, and that it was the
design of the prophecy here to refer to the effects of that
death, this is the very language which would have been used.     
If the period of "a week" were for any purpose mentioned,
then it would be indispensable to suppose that there would be an
allusion to the important event - in fact, the great event which
was to occur in the middle of that period, when the ends of the
types and ceremonies of the Hebrew people would be accomplished,
and a sacrifice made for the sins of the whole world.  

He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease. 

The word "he," in this place, refers to the Messiah, if the
interpretation of the former part of the verse is correct, for
there can be no doubt that it is the same person who is mentioned
in the phrase "he shall confirm the covenant with many." The
words "sacrifice" and "oblation" refer to the offerings made in
the temple. The former word more properly denotes bloody
offerings; the latter offerings of any kind - whether of flour,
fruits, grain, &c. See these words explained in the Notes on Isa.
i. 11,13. The word rendered "cease" means, properly, to rest
(whence the word Sabbath), and then in Hiphil, to cause to rest,
or to cause to cease. It conveys the idea of putting an end to -
as, for example, war, Psa. xlvi. 9; contention, Prov. xviii. 18;
exultation, Isa. xvi. 10. Gesenius. The literal signification
here would be met by the supposition that an end would be made of
these sacrifices, and this would occur either by their being made
wholly to cease to be offered at that time, or by the fact that
the object of their appointment was accomplished, and that
henceforward they would be useless and would die away. As a
matter of fact, so far as the Divine intention in the appointment
of these sacrifices and offerings was concerned, they ceased at
the death of Christ - in the middle of the "week." Then the great
sacrifice which they had adumbrated was offered.  Then they
ceased to have any significancy, no reason existing for their
longer continuance. Then, as they never had had any efficacy in
themselves, they ceased also to have any propriety as types--for
the thing which they had prefigured had been accomplished. Then,
too, began a series of events and influence which led to their
abolition, for soon they were interrupted by the Romans, and the
temple and the altars were swept away to be rebuilt no more. The
death of Christ was, in fact, the thing which made them to cease,
and the fact that the great atonement has been made, and that
there is now no further need of those offerings, is the only
philosophical reason which can be given why the Jews have never
been able to rebuild the temple, and why for eighteen hundred
years they have found no place where they could again offer a
bloody sacrifice. The sacrifice and the oblation "were made, as
the result of the coming of the Messiah, to "cease" for ever, and
no power of man will be able to restore them again in Jerusalem.
Comp. Gibbon's account of the attempt of Julian to rebuild the
temple at Jerusalem: "Decline and Fall," ii. 35-37. 

And for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it

The marginal reading here is very different, showing clearly the
perplexity of the translators: "Upon the battlements shall be the
idols of the desolator." There is great variety, also, in the
ancient versions in rendering this passage. The Latin Vulgate is,
"And there shall be in the temple the abomination of desolation."
The Greek, "And upon the temple shall be an abomination of
desolations." The Syriac, "And upon the extremities of the
abomination shall rest desolation." The Arabic, "And over the
sanctuary shall thera be the abomination of ruin." Luther renders
it, "And upon the wings shall stand the abomination of
desolation." Lengerke and Hengstenberg render it, "And upon the
summit of abomination comes the destroyer." Prof.Stuart, "And the
water shall be over a winged fowl of abominations." These
different translations show that there is great obscurity in the
original, and perhaps exclude the hope of being able entirely to
free the passage from all difficulties. An examination of the
words, however, may perhaps enable us to form a judgment of its
meaning. The literal and obvious sense of the original, as I
understand it, is, "And upon the wing of the abominations one
causing desolation" - (Heb.) - the word rendered "overspreading"
means, properly, a wing; so called as covering, or because it
covers - from (Heb.) to cover, to hide. Then it denotes
anything having a resemblance to a wing, as an extremity, a
corner, as (a) of a garment, the skirt, or flap, 1 Sam. xxiv. 4
(5), 11 (12); Numb. xv. 38, and hence, as the outer garment was
used by the Orientals to wrap themselves in at night, the word is
used for the extremity or border of a bed-covering, Deut. xxii.
30 (xxiii. 1); Ruth iii. 9. (b) It is applied to land, or to the
earth - as the earth is compared with a garment spread out, Isa.
xxiv. 16; Job xxxvii. 3; xxxviii. 13. (c) It is used to denote
the highest point, or a battlement, a pinnacleas having a
resemblance to a wing spread out. So the word (Greek) is used in
Matt. iv. 5. See Notes on that passage. 
It would seem most probable that the allusion by the word as
applied to a building would not be, as supposed by Gesenius
(Lex.), and by Hengstenberg and Lengerke, to the pinnacle or
summit, but to some roof, porch, or piazza that had a resemblance
to the wings of a bird as spread out - a use of the word that
would be very natural and obvious. The extended porch that
Solomon built on the easturn side of the temple would, not
improbably, have, to one standing on  the opposite Mount of
Olives, much of the appearance of the wings of a bird spread out.
Nothing certain can be determined about the allusion here from
the use of this word, but the connection would lead us to suppose
that the reference was to something pertaining to the city or
temple, for the whole prophecy has a reference to the city and
temple, and it is natural to suppose that in its close there
would be an allusion to it. The use of the word "wing" here would
lead to the supposition that what is said would pertain to
something in connection with the temple having a resemblance to
the wins of a bird, and the word "upon" (Heb.) would lead us to
suppose that what was to occur would be somehow upon that. The
word rendered "abominations" (Heb.) means abominable things,
things to be held in detestation, as things unclean, filthy
garments, &c., and then idols, as things that are to be held in
abhorrence. The word (Heb.) shik-kootz, is rendered abomination
in Deut. xxix. 17; 1 Kings xi. 5, 7; 2 Kings xxiii. 13, 24; Isa.
lxvi. 3; Jer. iv. 1; vii. 30; xiii. 27; xxxii. 34; Ezek. v. 11;
vii. 20; xx. 7, 8, 30; Dan. ix. 27; xi. 31; xii. 11; Hos. ix. 10;
Zech. ix. 7; abominable idols in 2 Chron. xv. 3 (in the margin
abominations); detestable in Jer. xvi. 18; Ezek. xi. 18, 21;
xxxvii. 23; and abominable filth in Nah. iii. 6.  It does not
occur elsewhere. In most of these places it is applied to idols,
and the current usage would lead us so to apply it, if there were
nothing in the connection to demand a different interpretation.
It might refer to anything that was held in abomination, or that
was detestable and offensive. The word is one that might be used
of an idol god, or of anything that would pollute or defile, or
that was from any cause offensive. It is not used in the Old
Testament with reference to a banner or military standard, but
there can be no doubt that it might be so applied as denoting the
standard of a foe - of a heathen - planted on any part of the
temple - a thing which would be particularly detestable and
abominable in the sight of the Jews. The word rendered "he shall
make it desolate"--(Heb.)--is "he making desolate;" that is, a
desolator. It is a Poel participle from (Heb.)--to be astonished,
to be laid waste; and then, in an active sense, to laywaste, to
make desolate.- Gesenius. The same word, and the same phrase,
occur in ch. xi. 31: "And they shall place the abomination that
maketh desolate," or, as it is in the margin, "astonisheth."
There, also, the expression is used in connection with "taking
away the daily sacrifices." The word would be more properly
rendered in this place desolator, referring to some one who would
produce desolation. There is great abruptness in the entire
expression, and it is evident that it was not the intention to
give so clear a prediction in this that it could be fully
understood beforehand. 

The other portions of the prophecy respecting the building of the
city, and the coming of the Messiah, and the work that he would
accomplish, are much more clear, and their meaning could have
been made out with much more certainty. But, in reference to
this, it would seem, perhaps, that all that was designed was to
throw out suggestions - fragments of thought, that would rather
hint at the subject than give any continuous idea. Perhaps a much
more abrupt method of translation than that which attempts to
express it in a continuous grammatical construction capable of
being parsed easily, would better express the state of the mind
of the speaker, and the language which he uses, than the ordinary
versions. The Masoretic pointing, also, may be disregarded, and
then the real idea would be better expressed by some such
translation as the following: - "He shall cause the sacrifice and
the offering to cease. And-upon-the-wing-the porch of the
temple--abominations! And a desolator!" That is, after the
ceasing of the sacrifice and the oblation, the mind is fixed upon
the temple where they had been offered. The first thing that
arrests the eye is some portion of the temple, here denoted by
the word wing. The next is something abominable or detestable -
an object to be hated and loathed in the very temple itself.     
The next is a desolator--one who had come to carry desolation to
that very temple. Whether the "abomination" is connected with the
"desolator" or not is not intimated by the language. It might or
might not be. The angel uses language as these objects strike the
eye, and he expresses himself in this abrupt manner as the eye
rests on one or the other. The question then arises, What does
this mean? Or what is to be regarded as the proper fulfilment?   

It seems to me that there can be no doubt that there is a
reference to the Roman standard or banners planted on some part
of the temple, or to the Roman army, or to some idols set up by
the Romans--objects of abomination to the Jews--as attracting    
the eye of the angel in the distant future, and as indicating the
close of the series of events here referred to in the prophecy.

The reasons for this opinion are, summarily, the following: 

(a) The place or order in which the passage stands in the
pro-phecy. It is after the coming of the Messsiah; after the
proper cessation of the sacrifice and oblation, and at the close
of the whole series of events the termination of the whole design
about rebuilding the city and the temple. 

(b) The language is such as would properly represent that.
Nothing could be more appropriate, in the common estimation of
the Jews, than to speak of such an object as a Roman military
standard planted in any part of the temple, as an abomination;
and no word would better denoto the character of the Roman
conqueror than the word desolator--for the effect of his coming
was to lay the whole city and temple in ruins.    

(c) The language of the Saviour in his reference to this would
seem to demand such an interpretation, Matt. xxiv.15: "When ye,
therefore, shall see the abomination of desolation spoken of by
Daniel the prophet stand in the holy place," &c. There can be no
reasonable doubt that the Saviour refers to this passage in
Daniel (see Notes on Matt. xxiv. 15), or that events occurred in
the attack on Jerusalem and the temple that would fully
correspond with the language used here. Josephus, for instance,
says, that when the city was taken, the Romans brought their
ensigns into the temple, and placed them over the eastern gate,
and sacrificed to them there. "And now the Romans," says he, 
"upon the flight of the seditious into the city, and upon the
burning of the holy house itself, and all the buildings round
about it, brought their ensigns into the temple, and set them
over against its eastern gate; and there they did offer
sacrifices to them, and there did they make Titus Imperator with
the greatest acclamations of joy." -- Jewish Wars, b. vi. ch.
vi.1. This fact fully accords with the meaning of the language as
above explained, and the reference to it was demanded in order
that the purpose of the prophecy should be complete. Its proper
termination is the destruction of the city and temple - as its
beginning is the order to rebuild them.  

Even until the consummation.  

Until the completion--(Heb.)  That is, the series of events in
the prophecy shall in fact reach to the completion of everything
pertaining to the city and temple. The whole purpose in regard to
that shall be completed. The design for which it is to be rebuilt
shall be consummated; the sacrifices to be offered there shall be
finished, and they shall be no longer efficacious or proper; the
whole civil and religious polity connected with the city and
temple shall pass away.  

And that determined.     

See this word explained in the Notes on vers.24, 26. See also
Notes on Isa.  x. 23. There seems to be an allusion in the word
here to its former use, as denoting that this is the fulfilment
of the determination in regard to the city and temple. The idea
is, that that which was determined, or decided on, to wit, with
reference to the closing scenes of the city and temple, would be

Shall be poured. 

The word here used means to pour, to pour out, to overflow - as
rain, water, curses, anger, &c. It may be properly applied to
calamity or desolation, as these things may be represented as
poured down upon a people, in the manner of a storm. Compare 2
Sam. xxi. 10; Exod. ix. 33; Psa. xi. 6; Ezek. xxxviii. 22;  2
Chron. xxxiv. 21; xii. 7; Jer. vii. 20; xlii. 18; xliv. 6.   

Upon the desolate.  

Marg., desolator. The Hebrew word (Heb.) is the same, though in
another form (Kal instead of Poel) which is used in the previous
part of the verse, and rendered "he shall make it desolate," but
which is proposed above to be rendered desolator. The verb (Heb.)
is an intransitive verb, and means, in Kal, the form used here,
to be astonished or amazed; then "to be laid waste, to be made
desolate" (Gesenius); and the meaning in this place, therefore,
is that which is desolate or laid waste--the wasted, the
perishing, the solitary. The reference is to Jerusalem viewed as
desolate or reduced to ruins. The angel perhaps contemplates it,
as he is speaking, in ruins or as desolate, and he sees this also
as the termination of the entire series of predictions, and, in
view of the whole, speaks of Jerusalem appropriately as the
desolate. Though it would be rebuilt, yet it would be again
reduced to desolation, for the purpose of the rebuilding--the
coming of the Messiah--would be accomplished. As the prophecy
finds Jerusalem a scene of ruins, so it leaves it, and the last
word in the prophecy, therefore, is appropriately the word de-

The intermediate state indeed between the condition of the city
as seen at first and at the close is glorious - for it embraces
the whole work of the Messiah; but the beginning is a scene of
ruins, and so is the close. The sum of the whole in the latter
part of the verse may be expressed in a free paraphrase. "He, the
Messiah, shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease," by
having fulfilled in his own death the design of the ancient
offerings, thus rendering them now useless, and upon the
outspreading - upon the temple regarded as spread out, or some
wing or portico, there are seen abominable things - idolatrous
ensigns, and the worship of foreigners. A desolator is there,
also, come to spread destruction--a foreign army or leader. And
this shall continue even to the end of the whole matter - the end
of the events contemplated by the prophecy--the end of the city
and the temple. And that which is determined on - the destruction
decreed--shall be poured out like a tempest on the city doomed to
desolation--desolate as surveyed at the beginning of the
prophecy--desolate at the close, and therefore appropriately
called "the desolate."

After this protracted examination of the meaning of this
prophecy, all the remark which it seems proper to make is, that
this prediction could have been the result only of inspiration.
There is the clearest evidence that the prophecy was recorded
long before the time of the Messiah, and it is manifest that it
could not have been the result of any natural sagacity. There is
not the slightest proof that it was uttered as late as the coming
of Christ, and there is nothing better determined in relation to
any ancient matter than that it was recorded long before the
birth of the Lord Jesus. But it is equally clear that it could
have been the result of no mere natural sagacity. How could such
events have been foreseen except by Him who knows all things?    
How could the order have been determined? How could the time have
been fixed? How could it have been anticipated that the Messiah,
the Prince, would be cut off? How could it have been known that
he would cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease? How could it
have been ascertained that the period during which he would be
engaged in this would be one week - or about seven years? How
could it be predicted that a remarkable event would occur in the
middle of that period that would in fact cause the sacrifice and
oblation ultimately to cease? And how could it be conjectured
that a foreign prince would come, and plant the standard of
abomination in the holy city, and sweep all away -- laying the
city and the temple in ruins, and bringing the whole polity to an
end? These things are beyond the range of natural sagacity, and
if they are fairly implied in this prophecy, they demonstrate
that this portion of the book is from God.


So Albert Barnes ends his lengthy discourse on Daniel's 70 week

Quite a remarkable understanding for the most part. As Barnes
shows, it is one continuous prophecy, no "gaps" of thousands of
years in any part of it as some/even many, modern "fundamental"
teachers want you to believe with their end time prophecies,
which I have called "fundamental folly" - and which are truly
science fiction dreams including a two-phased return of Christ,
the first unknown, can happen any second they say, which is an
invisible coming, to catch away the saints (driving buses, flying
airplanes, driving taxis, holiday coaches, flying helicopters,
fighting fires, doing life and death surgery, driving school
buses packed with children, etc.), leaving passengers behind to
try and fend for themselves, while the saints are supposed to be
up in the sky with Jesus, then off to heaven for 7 or 3 and a 1/2
years, while all hell breaks loose on earth under the Beast power
and Nations of the East and North of the Euphrates river. Then
Jesus comes in visible form to establish the Kingdom of God on

The first part of this teaching is way off the wall, from planet
Pluto (which they say is not a planet now). And I could wish this
fundamental folly in prophecy was not real either, but the funny-
mentals keep pushing it. Such are they who are ever learning, but
never able to come to the knowkledge of the truth of the matter.

For those who have eyes to seek with, a mind to read with, some
common logic, you have read the truth of this matter from Matthew
Henry, Adam Clarke, and now Albert Barnes. 

Yep, those old fundamental guys had it correct. Will you be
willing to admit they were correct and the modern teachers are
out in left field, way off the track?

When you see the modern fellows are WRONG! Then you will be ready
to search many other "theology" areas and find they are very
wrong about other important Bible topics also. As you search the
Scriptures daily, you will come to find who the faithful teachers
of the Lord are, and who are the blind leaders of the blind, who
both fall into the ditch.

All the best in your searching,

Keith Hunt, June 24 2007

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