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Old Fundamental guys on Daniel's 70 weeks

Matthew Henry

                         DANIEL'S 70 WEEK PROPHECY



Because of the popular fundamentalist teaching today of Daniel's
70 week prophecy (Daniel 9) it is needful of me to put in clear
print that the OLD fundamental teachers of the 17th, 18th and
19th centuries, DID NOT TEACH OR BELIEVE (most of them) what the
majority of fundamental prophets now teach, which leads into a
completely fancy and wrong idea, that Jesus will return in TWO
PHASES - one invisible and secret and the other open and
glorious. The idea that Daniel's 70th week is yet for the FUTURE
has led to some serious FALSE Bible prophecy, expounded by modern
"prophets" with such popular books as "Taken" and "Left Behind."

The Old fumdamental teachers had no difficulty with understanding
Daniel 9, and that this 70 week prophecy had already been
COMPLETELY fulfilled, and had nothing to do with the fancy
prophecy ideas of modern fundamental prophets.

Keith Hunt

Entered on this Website 2009



MATTHEW HENRY BIBLE COMMENTARY

The difficulties that arise about these seventy weeks are:

(1.) Concerning the time when they commence, and whence
they are to be reckoned. They are here dated from the going forth
of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem, v.25. I
should most incline to understand this of the edict of Cyrus,
mentioned, Ezra 1:1. for by it the people were restored; and
though express mention be not made there of the building of
Jerusalem, yet that is supposed in the building of the temple,
and was foretold to be done by Cyrus; (Isa. xliv. 28.) He shall
say to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built. That was, both in prophecy
and in history, the most famous decree for the building oŁ
Jerusalem; nay, it should seem, this going forth of the
commandment, (which may as well be meant of God's command
concerning it as of Cyrus's,) is the same with that going forth
of the commandment mentioned, v. 23. which was at the beginning
of Daniel's supplications. And it looks very graceful, that the
seventy weeks should begin immediately upon the expiration of the
seventy years. And there is nothing to be objected against this,
but that by this reckoning the Persian monarchy, from the taking
of Babylon by Cyrus to Alexander's conquest of Darius, lasted
about 130 years; whereas by the particular account given of the
reigns of the Persian emperors, it is computed that it continued
230 years. So Thucydides, Xenophon, and others reckon. Those who
fix it to that first edict, set aside these computations of the
heathen historians as uncertain and not to be relied upon.
But'others, willing to reconcile them, begin the 490 years, not
at the edict of Cyrus, (Ezra 1. 1.) but at the second edict for
the building of Jerusalem, issued out by Darius Nothus above 100
years after, mentioned, Ezra vi. Others fix on the seventh year
of Artaxerxes Mnemon, who sent Ezra with a commission, Ezra vii.
8-12. The learned Mr.Poole, in his Latin Synopsis, has a vast and
most elaborate collection of what has been said, pro and con,
concerning the different beginnings of these weeks, with which
the learned may entertain themselves.

(2.) Concerning the period of them; and here likewise in-
terpreters are not agreed. Some make them to end at the death of
Christ, and think the express words of this famous prophecy will
warrant us to conclude, that from this very hour when Gabriel
spake to Daniel, at the time of the evening oblation, to the hour
when Christ died, which was towards evening too, it was exactly
490 years; and I am willing enough to be of that opinion. But
others think, because it is said that in the midst of the week,
the last of the seventy weeks, he shall cause the sacrifice and
the oblation to cease, they end three years and a half after the
death of Christ, when, the Jews having rejected the gospel, the
apostles turned to the Gentiles. But they who make them to end
precisely at the death of Christ, read it thus, He shall make
strong the testament to the many; the last seven, or the last
week, yea, half that seven, or half that week, (namely, the
latter half, the three years and a half, which Christ spent in
his public ministry,) shall bring to an end sacrifice and
oblation, Others made these 490 years to end with the de-
struction of Jerusalem, about thirty-seven years after the death
of Christ; becuase these 70 weeks are said to be determined upon
the people of the Jews, and the holy city; and much is said here
concerning the destruction of the city, and the sanctuary. 

(3.) Concerning the division of them into seven weeks, and sixty-
two weeks, and one week; and the reason of this is ashard to
account for as any thing else. In the first seven weeks, or
forty-nine years, the temple and city were built; and in the last
SINGLE WEEK CHRIST PREACHED THE GOSPEL, by which the Jewish
economy was ntaken down, and the foundation laid of the gospel
city and temple, which were to be built upon the ruins of the
former.

     But, whatever uncertainty we may labour under concerning the
exact fixing of these times, there is enough clear and certain to
answer the two great ends of determining them. 

First: 

     It did serve then to raise and support the expectations of
believers. There were general promises of the coming of the
Messiah made to the patriarchs; the preceding prophets had often
spoken of him, as one that should come, but never was the time
fixed for his coming until now. And though there might be so much
doubt concerning the date of this reckoning, that they could not
ascertain the time just to a year, yet by the light of this
prophecy they were directed about what time to expect him.  And
we find, accordingly, that when Christ came, he was generally
looked for, as the Consolation of Israel, and redemption in
Jerusalem by him, Luke ii. 25,38. There were those that for this
reason thought the kingdom of God should imediately appear; (Luke
xix. 11.) and some think this was it that brought a more than
ordinary concourse of people to Jerusalem, Acts ii. 5. 

Secondly:

     It does serve still to refute and silence the expectations
of unbelievers, who will not own that Jesus is he who should
come, but still look for another; this prediction silenced them,
and will condemn them, for reckon these seventy weeks from which
of the commandments to build Jerusalem we please, it is certain
that they are expired above 1500 years ago; so that the Jews are
for ever without excuse, who will not own that the Messiah is
come, when they are gone so far beyond their utmost reckoning for
his coming. But by this we are confirmed in our belief of the
Messiah's being come, and that our Jesus is he, that he came just
at the time prefixed, a time worthy to be had in everlasting
remembrance.


2. The events here foretold are more plain, and easy to be
understood, at least to us now. Observe what is here foretold:


(1.) Concerning the return of the Jews now speedily to their own
land, and their settlement again there, which was the thing that
Daniel now principally prayed for; and yet it is but briefly
touched upon here in the answer to his prayer. Let this be a
comfort to the pious Jews, that a commandment shall go forth to
restore and to build Jerusalem, v. 25.  And the commandment shall
not be in vain; for though the times will be very troublous, and
this good work will meet with great opposition, yet it shall be
carried on, and brought to perfection at last; the street shall
be built again, as spacious and splendid as ever it was; and the
walls even in troublous times. Note, as long as we are here in
this world, we must expect troublous times, upon some account or
other; even then when we have joyous times, we must rejoice with
trembling; it is but a gleam, it is but a lucid interval of peace
and prosperity; the clouds will return after the rain; when the
Jews are restored in triumph to their own land, yet there they
must expect troublous times, and prepare for them. But this is
our comfort, that God will carry on his own work, will build up
his Jerusalem, will beautify it, will fortify it, even in
troublous times: nay, the troublousness of the times may by the
grace of God contribute to the advancement of the church. The 
more it is afflicted, the more it multiplies.

(2.) Concerning the Messiah and his undertaking. The carnal Jews
looked for a Messia that should deliver them from the Roman yoke,
and give them temporal power and wealth. Whereas they were here
told, that the Messiah should come upon another errand, purely
spiritual, and upon the account of which he should be the more
welcome.

[l.] Christ came to take away sin, and to abolish that. Sin has
made a quarrel between God and man, had alienated man from God,
and provoked God against man; that was it that put dishonour upon
God, and brought misery upon mankind, that was the great
mischief-maker. He that would do God a real service, and man a
real kindness, must be the destruction of that. Christ undertakes
to be so, and for this purpose he is manifested to destroy the
works of the devil. Be does not say, to finish your
transgressions and your sins, but transgression and sin in
general, for he is the Propitiation not only for our sins, that
of the Jews, but for the sins of the whole world. He came ,
First, to FINISH THE TRANSGRESSION; to restrain it; (so some;) to
break the power of it, to buise the head of the serpent that had
done so much mischief; to take away the usurped dominion of that
tyrant, and to set up the kingdom of holiness and love in the
nhearts of men, upon the ruins of Satan's kingdom there; that,
where sin and death had reigned, righteousness and life through
grace might reign. When he died he said, It is finished; sin has
now had its death's wound given it; like Sampson's, Let me die
with the nPhilistines; Animamque in vulnere ponit - He inflicts
the wound and dies.

Secondly:

     To make an end of sin, to abolish it, that it may not rise
up in judgment against us, to obtain the pardon of it, that it
may not be our ruin; to seal up sins, (so the margin reads it,)
that they may not appear or break out against us, to accuse and
condemn us. As when Christ cast the devil into the bottomless
pit, he set a seal upon him, Rev. xx. 3. When sin is pardoned, it
is sought for, and not found, as that which is sealed up.

Thirdly:

     To make reconciliation for iniquity, as by a sacrifice to
justify the justice of God, and so to make peace, and bring God
and man together; not only as an Arbitrator, or Referee, who only
brings the contending parties to a good understanding one of
another, but as a Surety, or Undertaker, for us. He is not only
the Peace-Maker, but the Peace. He is the Atonement.


[2.] He came to bring in an everlasting righteousness. God might
justly have made an end of the sin by making an end of the
sinner; but Christ found out another way, and so made an end of
sin as to save the sinner from it, by providing a righteousness
for him. We are all guilty before God, and shall be condemned as
guilty, if we have not a righteousness wherein to appear before
him. Had we stood, our innocency would have been our
righteousness, but, being fallen, we must have something else to
plead; and Christ has provided us a plea; the merit of his
sacrifice is our righteousness; with this we answer all the
demands of the law; Christ has died, yea, rather, is risen again.
Thus Christ is the Lord our Righteousness, for he is made of God
to us Righteousness, that we might be made the Righteousness of
God in him. By faith we apply this to ourselves, and plead it
with God, and our faith is imputed to us for righteousness, Rom.
iv. 3,5. This is an everlasting righteousness for Christ, who is
our Righteousness, and the Prince of our peace is the everlasting
Father. It was from everlasting in the counsels of it, and will
be to everlasting in the consequences of it. The application of
it was from the beginning, for Christ was the Lamb slain from the
foundation of the world; and will be to the end, for he is able
to save to the uttermost. It is of everlasting virtue, (Heb. x.
12.) it is the rock that follows its to Canaan.


[3.] He came to seal up the vision and prophecy, all the
prophetical visions of the Old Testament, which had reference to
the Messiah; he sealed them up, he accomplished them, answered to
them to a tittle; all things that were written in the law, the
prophets, and the psalms, concerning the Messiah, were fulfilled
in him; thus he confirmed the truth of them as well as his own
mission. He sealed them up, he put an end to that method of God's
discovering his mind and will, and took another course by
completing the scripture-canon in the New Testament, which is the
more sure word of prophecy than that by vision, 2 Pet. 1. 19.
Heb. 1. 1.


[4.] He came to anoint the Most Holy, himself the Holy One who
was anointed, that is appointed to his work, and qualified for it
by the Holy Ghost, that oil of gladness which he received without
measure above his fellows; or, to anoint the gospel-church, his
spiritual temple, or holy place, to sanctify and cleanse it, and
appropriate it to himself; (Eph. v. 26.) or, to consecrate for us
a new and living way into the holiest, by his own blood, (Heb. x.
20.) as the sanctuary was anointed, Exod. xxx. 25. He is called
Messiah, (v. 25,26.) which signifies Christ; Anointed, (John 1.
4l.) because he received the unction, both for himself and for
all that are his.


[5] In order to all this, the Messiah must be cut off, must die a
violent death, and so be cut from the land of the living,
as was foretold, Isa. liii. 8. Hence, when Paul preaches the
death of Christ, he says that he preached nothing but what the
prophets said should come, Acts xxvi. 22,23. And thus it behoved
Christ to suffer. He must be cut off, but not for himself, not
for any sin of his own; but, as Ceiaphas prophesied, he must die
for the people - in our stead, and for our good; not for any
advantage of his own; the glory he purchased for himself was no
more than the glory he had before, John xvii. 4,5. No, it was to
atone for our sins and to purchase life for us that he was cut
off.


[6.] He must confirm the covenant with many. He shall introduce
a new covenant between God and man, a covenant of grace; since it
had become impossible for us to be saved by a covenant of
innocence. This covenant he shall confirm by his doctrine and
miracles, by his death and resurrection, by the ordinances of
Baptism and the Lord's Supper, which are the seals of the New
Testament, assuring us that God is willing to accept of us upon
gospel-terms.  His death made his testament of force, and enabled
us to claim what is bequeathed by it. He confirmed it to the
many, to the common people; the poor were evangelized, when the
rulers and Pharisees believed not on him, or, he confirmed it
with many, with the Gentile world. The New Testament was not
(like the Old) confined to the Jewish church, but was committed
to all nations; Christ gave his life a ransom far many.


[7.] He must cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease: by
offering himself a sacrifice once or all he shall put an end     
to all the Levitical sacrifices; shall supersede them, and set
them aside; when the Substance is come, the shadows shall
be done away. He causes all the peace-offerings to cease, when he
has made peace by the blood of his cross, and by it confirmed the
covenant of peace and reconciliation. By the preaching of his
gospel to the world, with which the apostles were intrusted, he
took men off from expecting remission by the blood of bulls and
goats, and so caused the sacrifice and oblation to cease. The
apostle to the Hebrews shows what a better priesthood, altar, and
sacrifice, we have now, than they had under the law, as a reason
why we should hold fast our profession.


(3.) Concerning the final destruction of Jerusalem and of the
Jewish church and nation; and this follows immediately upon the
cutting off of the Messiah, not only because it was the just
punishment of those that put him to death, which was the sin that
filled up the measure of their iniquity, and brought ruin upon
them, but because, as things were, it was necessary the
perfecting of one of the great intentions of his death. He died
to take away the ceremonial law, quite to abolish that law of
commandments, and to vacate the obligation of it. But the Jews
would not be persuaded to quit it, still they kept it up with
more zeal than ever, they would hear no talk of parting with it,
they stoned Stephen (the first Christian martyr) for saying that
Jesus should change the customs which Moses delivered them; (Acts
vi. 14.) so that there was no way to abolish the Mosaic economy
but by destroying the temple, and the holy city, and the
Levitical priesthood, and that whole nation which so incurably
doted on them; this was effectually done in less than forty years
after the death of Christ (actually it was done exactly 40 years
after the death of Christ; Jesus dying in 30 A.d. and the
destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 A.D. by Titus and
the Roman armies - Keith Hunt) and it was a desolation that could
never be repaired to this day. And this is it which is here
largely foretold, that the Jews who returned out of captivity
might not be overmuch lifted up with the rebuilding of their city
and temple, because in process of time they would be finally
destroyed, and not as now for seventy years only, but might
rather rejoice in hope of the coming of the Messiah, and the
setting up of his spiritual kingdom in the world, which should
never be destroyed. 

     Now, [1.] It is here foretold that the people of the prince
that shall come, shall be the instruments of this destruction,
that is, the Roman armies, belonging to a monarchy yet to come.  
Christ is the Prince that shall come, and they are employed by
him in this service; they are his armies; (Matt. xxii. 7.) or,
the Gentiles, who, though now strangers, shall become the people
of the Messiah, shall destroy the Jews. [2.] That the destruction
shall be by war, and the end of that war should be this
desolation determined. The wars of the Jews with the Romans were
by their own obstinacy made very long and very bloody, and they
issued at length in the utter extirpation of that people. [3.]
That the city and sanctuary should in a particular manner be
destroyed, and laid quite waste. Titus the Roman general would
fain have saved the temple, but his soldiers were so enraged
against the Jews that he could not restrain them from burning it
to the ground, that this prophecy might be fulfilled.  [4.] That
all the resistance that should be made to this destruction,
should be in vain; The end of it shall be with a flood. It shall
be a deluge of destruction, like that which swept away the old
world, and which there will be no making head against. [5.] That
hereby the sacrifice and oblation should be made to cease.  And
it must needs cease. 
     Christ refers to, Matt. xxiv. 15. When ye shall see the
abomi- nation of desolation, spoken of by Daniel, stand in the
holy place, then let them which be in Judea, flee, which is
explained, Luke xxi. 20. When ye shall see Jerusalem compassed
with armies, then flee. [7.] That the desolation should be total
and final; He shall make it desolate, even until the
consummation; he shall make it completely desolate. It is a
desolation determined, and it will be accomplished to the utmost.
And when it was made desolate, it should seem, there is something
more determined; that is to be poured upon the desolate: (v. 27.)
and what should that be but the spirit of slumber, (Rom. xi.
8,25.) that blindness which is happened to Israel, until the
fulness of th  Gentiles shall come in. And then all Israel shall
be saved.

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

NOTE:

HOW  TRULY  BEAUTIFULLY  PUT  BY  MATTHEW  HENRY.  WHEN  PUT  IN 
SUCH  WORDS  THE  WONDER  AND  GLORY  OF  THIS  PROPHECY  IS 
MADE  CLEAR  AND  PLAIN.  IT  IS  A  PROPHECY  ALTOGETHER  ABOUT 
THE  MESSIAH  TO  COME  AND  DELIVER  MANKIND  FROM  SIN,  TO 
ESTABLISH  A  NEW  COVENANT,  TO  BRING  TO  PASS  ALL  THAT  THE
HOLY  PROPHETS  FROM  THE  BEGINNING  HAD  FORETOLD,  THAT  A 
SAVIOR  WOULD  COME  TO  DELIVER  MAN  FROM  SIN. HE WOULD COME
TO ESTABLISH RIGHTEOUSNESS, TO MAGNIFY THE LAW (ISAIAH 42:21). 
AT  THE  SAME  TIME  BECAUSE  THE  JEWS  WOULD  NOT,  BUT  A 
RELATIVELY  FEW,  ACCEPT  HIM  AS  MESSIAH,  JERUSALEM  AND  THE 
TEMPLE  WOULD  BE  DESTROYED, THE  TEMPLE  RITUALS  WOULD  COME 
TO  AN  END.

THIS  PROPHECY  WAS  ALL  COMPLETELY  FULFILLED  IN  THE  FIRST 
CENTURY  A.D.  THERE  IS  NO  PART  OF  THIS  PROPHECY  YET  TO 
COME  TO  PASS. 

THIS  PROPHECY  HAS  NOTHING  TO  DO  WITH  SOME  ANTI-CHRIST 
MAKING  A COVENANT  WITH  JEWS  FOR  7  YEARS  AT  THE  END 
TIME.  IT  HAS  NOTHING  TO  DO  WITH  A  REBUILT  TEMPLE  IN 
JERUSALEM  AND  THE  JEWS  PERFORMING  ANIMAL  SACRIFICES,  AND 
THEN  IN  THE  MIDDLE  OF  THIS  7  YEAR  PERIOD,  THE  ANTI-
CHRIST  BREAKS  THE  COVENANT  AND  DEFILES  THE  TEMPLE.
ALL  OF  THAT  IS  FALSE  IDEAS  FROM  MODERN  FUNDAMENTAL 
PROPHETS,  WHO  HAVE  NO  UNDERSTANDING  OF  THE  PROPHETS  OF 
YOUR  BIBLE.

MATTHEW  HENRY  AND  OTHERS FUNDALMENTAL TEACHERS,  WAY  BACK, 
HAD  IT  CORRECT,  AND  HENRY  DOES  A  FINE  JOB  IN 
PROCLAIMING  THE  WONDERFUL  TRUTH  OF  THE  MATTER  TO  YOU. 

Keith Hunt   


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