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Daniel 9, 70 weeks Prophecy #1

Is the last half of 70th week still ahead?


                             by

                        Ralph Woodrow



"Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy
city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins,
and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in
everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and
prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.  
"Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the
commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah
the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks:
the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troubled
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 abominations he
shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that
determined shall be poured upon the desolate" (Daniel 9:24-27).

This great prophecy pertaining to Daniel's people 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 4:4-6: "I have appointed thee a day for a year, a
day for a year:"

While Christians are generally united in the belief that the
"seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks", that is, 69 weeks
(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 huge gap of "2,000 years"
or so separates the 70th week from the other 69 weeks that
measured unto Messiah. The fulfilled interpretation is that no
gap is to be placed between the 69th week and the 70th - that 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
will allow them to offer sacrifices in a "rebuilt" temple at
Jerusalem for seven years, but after three and a half years he
will break this covenant and cause the sacrifices to cease. 


The fulfilled interpretation, on the other hand, is that the 70th
week refers to Christ and that the causing of the sacrifices to
cease was accomplished at Calvary when Christ became the final
and perfect sacrifice for sins.

What differences exist here! One says the 70th week is future;
the other says it is fulfilled! One says there is a huge gap
between the 69th and the 70th weeks; the other requires no gap.
One says the 70th week pertains to Antichrist; the other to Jesus
Christ! In view of such glaring differences, both of these
interpretations can not be correct.

We believe the fulfilled interpretation is the correct view; that
the 69 weeks measured "unto Messiah"; that in the midst of the
70th week - after three and a half years of ministry - he was cut
off in death; that this sacrifice, being the perfect sacrifice,
caused other sacrifices to cease in God's plan. Let us now notice
step by step - all of the basic parts of the 70 weeks prophecy
and how these things were fulfilled.

1. JERUSALEM WAS TO BE RESTORED. We have already seen the
scriptures that explain this.

2. THE STREET AND WALL WERE TO BE REBUILT IN TROUBLOUS TIMES. We
have seen in the book of Ezra some of the troubles that
confronted the people in those years of rebuilding.

3. THE MOST HOLY WAS TO BE ANOINTED. We believe this reference is
to Jesus Christ. Gabriel announced to Mary: "The HOLY thing that
shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God" (Lk.1:35).
Peter referred to him as "the HOLY ONE" (Acts 3:14). John
referred to him as "the HOLY ONE" (1 John 2:20). Even demons had
to recognize him as "the HOLY ONE of God" (Mk.1:24).
David spoke concerning Christ: "Neither wilt thou suffer thine
HOLY ONE to see corruption" (Acts 2:27). In Revelation 3:7 he is
called "HOLY" and the heavenly creatures rest not from saying:
"HOLY, HOLY, HOLY" before this one "which was, and is, and is to
come" (Rev.4:8).

From the going forth of the commandment to restore and
build Jerusalem unto Messiah was to be 483 years. When this time
was fulfilled, those who knew this prophecy, were expecting the
appearance of the Messiah, that is, the Christ. (Christ is the
Greek form of the Hebrew word Messiah.) Thus when John came
baptizing, "the people were in EXPECTATION, and all men mused in
their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ or not" (Lk.
3:15). John plainly told them that he was not the Christ - he was
only the forerunner. When Jesus appeared on the scene, John
cried: "Behold the Lamb of God"! The time had now come that Jesus
should be "made manifest to Israel" (John 1:29-31). He was then
baptized and when he had prayed, "the heaven was opened. And the
Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and
a voice from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee
I am well pleased" (Lk.3:21,22).

He had appeared to Israel right on time! Thus Jesus, in evident
reference to the time prophecy of Daniel, said: "The TIME is
fulfilled"(Mk.1:15) and as the Messiah, the Christ, the "anointed
one", he preached the gospel. When he entered the synagogue of
Nazareth, he announced: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he hath ANOINTED me" (Lk.4:18-22). Acts 4:27 mentioned
Jesus as the "holy"one that the Lord "ANOINTED." And Peter
mentioned that "God ANOINTED Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy
Ghost... who went about doing good, healing all who were
oppressed of the devil" (Acts 10:38).

Daniel's prophecy revealed that the time period unto the Messiah
would be 69 weeks (483 years). This measured to the time when
Jesus was baptized and anointed to begin his ministry as the
Messiah, the Christ, the "Anointed One."

4. MESSIAH WAS TO BE CUT OFF. The 69 weeks (7 plus 62) were to
measure unto Messiah "and AFTER" the 69 weeks "shall Messiah be
cut off." Now "AFTER "69 weeks does not and cannot mean "in" or
"during" the 69 weeks! If Messiah was to be cut off AFTER the 69
weeks, there is only one week left in which he could have been
"cut off" - the 70th week! - after three and a half years of
ministry.
The term "cut off" implies that Messiah would not die a natural
death; he would be murdered! So also had Isaiah prophesied using
an equivalent word: "He was cut off out of the land of the
living" (Isaiah 53:8).
The details about how Messiah was "cut off" are given in the
gospels.

5. "TO FINISH THE TRANSGRESSION", or literally, "to finish
transgression." As Jesus was dying, he cried: "It is FINISHED."
At Calvary, Jesus finished transgression by becoming sin for us.
No future sacrifice can ever finish transgression; it was
finished at Calvary (Heb.9:15). "He was wounded for our
TRANSGRESSIONS" (Isaiah 53:5).

6. "TO MAKE AN END OF SINS." Here the basic thought is repeated.
If we understand the glorious significance of what was
accomplished at Calvary, we know that here there was truly an end
made of sins.
Jesus, who came "to save his people from their sins ",
accomplished this when he "put away sin by the sacrifice of
himself" (Mt.1:21; Heb.9:26). "It is not possible that the blood
of bulls and of goats should take away sins... But this man,
after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever... hath
perfected for ever them that are sanctified... And their sins...
remember no more" (Heb.10:4-17). The old system of sacrifices
could never make an end of sins, but Christ - by the sacrifice of
himself - did make an end of sins, even as the prophecy had said!
John announced him as "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the
sins of the world" (John 1:29). "Christ died for our sins" 
(1 Cor.15:3). He "bare our sins in his own body on the tree" 
(1 Peter 2:24) and "hath once suffered for sins"(3:18). "He was
manifested to take away our sins" (1 John 3:5). This "end of
sins" was accomplished at Calvary.
All of this does not mean, of course, that right at this point
men quit sinning. This was not the case. But what the scripture
does mean is that at Calvary the eternal sacrifice for sin was
made, so that any and all - past, present, or future - who will
be forgiven of sins will be forgiven because our Lord's death
almost 2,000 years ago made an "end of sins"!

7. "TO MAKE RECONCILIATION FOR INIQUITY." The word reconciliation
used here is the same word that is used so frequently in the book
of Leviticus where it is rendered "to make atonement." This, too,
was part of our Lord's redemptive work. Surely "reconciliation"
is a present reality - because of Calvary! Jesus, "our merciful
and faithful high priest" made "RECONCILIATION for the sins of
the people"(Heb.2:17). "Having made peace through the blood... to
RECONCILE all things unto himself... and you, that were sometimes
alienated... hath he RECONCILED... through death" (Col.1:20-22;
Eph.2:16).
"God was in Christ, RECONCILING the world unto himself, not
imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us
the word of RECONCILIATION "(2 Cor.5:19). Plainly, "recon-
ciliation for iniquity" was accomplished by Jesus, for he "gave
himself for us, that he might redeem us from all INIQUITY" (Titus
2:14), and "the Lord hath laid on him the INIQUITY of us all"
(Isaiah 53:6).

8. "TO BRING IN EVERLASTING RIGHTEOUSNESS:" This too was
accomplished by the redemptive work of Christ! The great
redemption chapter of Isaiah 53 had prophesied: "My righteous
servant shall make many RIGHTEOUS:" Paul put it this way: "By the
righteousness of one... shall many be made RIGHTEOUS... unto
eternal life by Jesus Christ" (Rom.5:17-21). He who came "to
fulfil all righteousness" (Mt.3:15) and who "loved
righteousness, and hated iniquity", was "anointed" of God (Heb.
1:9) and made unto us wisdom, and RIGHTEOUSNESS, and
sanctification, and redemption" (1 Cor.1:30). "Who his own self
bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to
sins, should live unto RIGHTEOUSNESS" (1 Peter 2:24). "Even the
RIGHTEOUSNESS of God... through the redemption that is in Christ
Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith
in his blood to declare his RIGHTEOUSNESS for the remission of
sins" (Rom.3:21-26). "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who
knew no sin; that we might be made the RIGHTEOUSNESS of God in
him"(2 Cor.5:21). "Everyone that doeth RIGHTEOUSNESS is
born(begotten) of him" (1 John 2:29).
Taking all of these verses into consideration, we ask: Did Christ
in his coming to earth provide righteousness through his
redemptive work? All Christians acknowledge that he did. We ask
then: Was not this righteousness that he brought in everlasting?
Of course. Surely no Christians would deny that the righteousness
of Christ is "everlasting righteousness."
"By his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having
obtained ETERNAL REDEMPTION" - everlasting righteousness - "for
us" (Heb.9:12). This eternal or everlasting righteousness is
contrasted to the old sacrifices under the law which were only
of a temporary nature. But Christ, once for all time, offered
himself - thus providing, as the prophecy of Daniel had said,
"everlasting righteousness."

One only has to read the great redemption passages of
Romans, Corinthians, Colossians, Ephesians, and Hebrews to see
how an "end" of transgressions and sins, "reconciliation for
iniquity", and "everlasting righteousness" were all accomplished
at Calvary by our Lord Jesus Christ!
In view of this, we see no basis for the futurist teaching that
none of these things have yet been fulfilled, but are to be
linked with a supposed seventieth week at the end of the age! To
teach such is contradictory and tends to take away from the glory
of that great redemption of Calvary which so beautifully and
completely fulfilled these prophecies!

9. "TO SEAL UP VISION AND PROPHECY", or literally, "to seal up
vision and prophet." The use of the metaphor "to seal" is derived
from the ancient custom of attaching a seal to a document to show
that it was genuine (See 1 Kings 21:8; Jer.32:10,11; cf.John
6:27; 1 Cor.9:2). Christ "sealed" Old Testament prophecy by
fulfilling what was written of him.

Repeatedly we read concerning him: "... that it might be
fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets." Acts 3:18 says:
"Those things which God before had showed by the mouth of all his
prophets, that Christ should suffer he hath so fulfilled." Truly
Jesus fulfilled what was written in the visions and prophecies of
the Old Testament concerning him, and thus he "sealed" them
showed that they were genuine. "They are they", he said, "which
testify of me" (John 5:39). "All the prophets and the law
prophesied until John" (Mt.11:13), then John presented Jesus as
he that was to be "made manifest to Israel." Jesus was the one
that was to come - and we look for none other. He is the
fulfillment of vision and prophecy.

10. "HE SHALL CONFIRM THE COVENANT." When Jesus instituted the
Lord's supper, representative of his shed blood for the remission
of sins, he said: "This is my blood of the new testament
[covenant), which is shed for many for the remission of sins"
(Mt.26:28). The word "testament" here and the word "covenant" are
translated from exactly the same word in the New Testament. "How
much more shall the blood of Christ... purge your conscience from
dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the
mediator of the new testament [covenant]" (Heb.9:14, 5).
Jesus is called the "mediator of the new covenant" (Heb.8:6), the
"messenger of the covenant" (Mal.3;1), and his shed blood is
called "the blood of the everlasting covenant" (Heb.12:24). Our
Lord Jesus is the one who confirmed the covenant through his
redemptive sacrifice at Calvary. And how beautifully this
harmonizes with what we have already seen.

11. "HE SHALL CAUSE THE SACRIFICE AND THE OBLATION TO CEASE."
This too was fulfilled in the death of Jesus Christ. In the Old
Testament, as we have mentioned, sacrifices were repeatedly made.
Each of these was but a mere type looking forward to the time
when the perfect sacrifice, the Lamb of God, would be offered.
Once this would be accomplished, God would no longer require or
accept any other sacrifice.

The perfect sacrifice was Jesus Christ. The old system of
repeated sacrifices (types) could only end at Calvary - when
Christ became the perfect, eternal, and final sacrifice (See Heb.
9 and 10). In addition to Calvary's sacrifice, "there remaineth
no more sacrifice for sins" (Heb.10:18,26).

For a few more years, the Jews continued their sacrifices, but
these were not recognized by God. Such cannot be termed
sacrifices in the true scriptural sense of the word, for the
death of Christ provided the perfect, and therefore, the final
sacrifice for sins forever.
Further proof that this was fulfilled in Christ is seen in the
time element, for the prophecy said that sacrifice would cease in
the middle of the week - the 70th week. This was when Christ
died, for the 69 weeks measured unto Messiah and his death came
after a ministry of three and a half years.
That this was the length of our Lord's ministry may be seen by a
study of the gospel according to John in which mention is made of
four Passovers that occurred during our Lord's ministry: John
2:13; 5:1 (IN this verse the feast is not mentioned by name.
However, by taking John 4:35 about the 'four months' into
consideration, it is possible to determine that this was the
feast of the Passover (See Boutflower, page 208); 6:4; 13:1.
Eusebius, a Christian writer of the fourth century, pointed these
things out: "Now the whole period of our Saviour's teaching and
working of miracles is said to have been three-and-a-half years,
which is half a week. John evangelist, in his Gospel makes this
clear to the attentive (Eusebuis, The Proof of the Gospels, bk,8,
chapter 2).
And so, after three and a half years of ministry as the Christ,
the anointed one - Jesus was cut off in death, in the middle of
the 70th week of seven years. As Augustine said: "Daniel even
defined the time when Christ was to come and suffer by the exact
date."

Understanding this, we can now see real significance in certain
New Testament statements which also speak of a definite
established time at which Jesus would die. For example, we read:
"They sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because
his hour was not yet come" (John 7:30). In John 2:4, Jesus said,
"Mine hour is not yet come." On another occasion, he said, "My
time is not yet come" (John 7:6). Then just prior to his betrayal
and death, he said, "My time is at hand" (Mt.26:18), and finally,
"the hour is come" (John 17:1; Mt.26:45).
These and other verses clearly show that there was a definite
time in the plan of God when Jesus would die. He came to fulfil
the scriptures, and there is only one Old Testament scripture
which predicted the time of his death - the prophecy which stated
that Messiah would be cut off in the midst of the 70th week - at
the close of three and a half years of ministry! How perfectly
the prophecy was fulfilled in Christ!

But those who say that the confirming of the covenant and causing
sacrifices to cease in the midst of the 70th week refers to a
future Antichrist, completely destroy this beautiful fulfillment
and are at a complete loss to show where in the Old Testament the
time of our Lord's death was predicted.

The prophecy of Daniel 9 stated that Messiah would confirm the
covenant (or would cause the covenant to prevail) with many of
Daniel's people for the "week" or seven years. We ask then, when
Christ came, was his ministry directed in a special way to
Daniel's people - to "Israel" (Dan.9:20)? Yes!

John introduced him as he "that should be made manifest to
ISRAEL" (John 1:31). "I am not sent", Jesus said, "but unto the
lost sheep of the house of ISRAEL" (Mt.15:24). And when he first
sent out his apostles, they we re directed: "Go not into the way
of the Gentiles... go rather to the lost sheep of the house of
ISRAEL" (Mt.10:5,6).

The first half of the "week", the time of our Lord's ministry,
was definitely directed toward ISRAEL. But what about the second
half - the final three and a half years of the prophecy - was it
also linked with Israel? Did the disciples continue to preach for
the duration of the remaining three and a half years (as Christ's
representatives) especially to Daniel's people - to Israel? Yes,
they did!
Jesus had told the disciples to go into all the world and preach
the gospel to every creature (Mk. 16:15; Mt.28:19; Acts 1:8), YET
- and this is significant - after Christ ascended, the disciples
still at first preached only to Israel! Why? We know of only one
prophecy which would indicate that this was to be the course
followed. It is the prophecy of the 70 weeks which implied that
after the death of Messiah there would still be three and a half
years that pertained to Israel!

Bearing this in mind, we can now understand at least one reason
why the gospel went "to the Jew first" and then later to the
Gentiles (Rom.1:16). Peter preached shortly after Pentecost: "Ye
are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant... unto you
first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you,
in turning away every one of you from his iniquities" (Acts 3:25,
26). "It was necessary that the word of God should first have
been spoken to you" (Acts 13:46).

In person, Christ came to Israel during the first half of the
"week" - three and a half years. Through the disciples - for the
three and a half years that remained - his message still went to
Israel, "the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with
signs following"(Mk.16:20). In a very real sense of the word, the
ministry of the disciples was a continuation of the ministry of
Christ.
Then came the conversion of Cornelius which completely changed
the missionary outreach, outlook, and ministry of the church.
Though the New Testament does not give an exact date when this
happened, apparently the time for special exclusive blessing upon
Daniel's people had drawn to a close. The gospel which had gone
first to the Jews was now to take its full mission - to be
preached to all people of all nations!

This time of changeover was marked by a number of supernatural
events. Cornelius received a heavenly visitation. An angel
appeared to him and told him to call for Peter "who shall tell
thee words whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved" (Acts
11:14). God showed Peter a vision which caused him to know that
the gospel was now to go to the Gentiles and not to Israelites
only. All of these things were timed perfectly - showing that
God's hand was accomplishing a definite purpose.
Returning to Jerusalem, Peter explained what had happened. "When
they heard these things, they... glorified God, saying, Then hath
God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life"(Acts
11:18). From this very point, more and more, there was a turning
to the Gentiles with the gospel message. God's measurement of 490
years pertaining in a special way to Israel had obviously been
completed.
And finally,

12. THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM AND THE TEMPLE. This part of the
prophecy was not dated within the framework of the 70 weeks as
was the time of the appearance of Messiah to Israel, the time of
his death, etc. Nevertheless, living on this side of the
fulfillment, we know that the predicted destruction found
fulfillment in 70 A.D. when the armies of Titus brought the city
to desolation.

With Adam Clarke we say: "The whole of this prophecy from the
times and corresponding events has been fulfilled to the very
letter." (Clarke's Commentary, note on Daniel).

                            ...................

Yes, the Old Bible Commentaries like Adam Clarke, Albert Barnes,
Matthew Henry, and some others, all CORRECTLY understood the
prophecy in Daniel chapter 9, the coming of the Messiah and the
final destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

TO BE CONTINUED


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