Dr. S. Lewis Johnson continues his exposition of the meaning of the prophetic phrase, "the 70 Sevens." Emphasis is given to the actual timeline of the prophecy in history.
[Prayer] Father, we are thankful for the ministry of Thy word and for the opportunity to study again in the prophecy of Daniel. We remember that it was the subject of study by our Lord Jesus Christ as he in his human nature pondered the word of God, and we thank Thee for the privilege of reading and studying after the Prophet Daniel, who inspired by the Holy Spirit has given us a fore view of the Times of the Gentiles.
We rejoice in the light that Thou hast given to us, and we thank Thee Lord that it enables us to face the daily affairs of our lives. We pray that the lessons that we learn from the study of this prophecy may be helpful to us in our day-by-day Christian living. And we also thank Thee for the insight that is given, and we look forward to the future and the fulfillment of the total program which Thou hasten — Thine own infinite wisdom devised for this globe upon which we are living. We rejoice in the hope that we have of the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ of the Kingdom and of the eternal ages, which we shall spent in Thy presence.
We pray Lord Thy blessing upon us as we study tonight. Give us understanding in this very difficult, but important prophecy of the 70 sevens. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
[Prayer] We are turning tonight to Daniel chapter 9 and verse 24 through verse 27 for the second of our series of studies in the prophecy of the 70 sevens. In the introduction to the message last week, I commented upon the fact that this was one of the most important prophecies in the word of God. So, Edward Denny, who was a fine student of the Bible called it the backbone of prophecy. And then, I made reference to John Owen, who may have been the greatest of the English theologians. And Mr. Owen said that because this prophecy sets forth the time and the coming of the Messiah it has “justly esteemed the racks and tortures of the rabbis.” Another old interpreter says that this prophecy is a passage of great importance containing such a prediction of the time, the purposes and consequences of the coming and death of the Messiah, his rejection by the Jews and the destruction of their temple, city and nation as cannot be equaled in the Old Testament.
So, we are looking at one of the important sections in the Bible. It is not easy, and consequently, it requires a good bit of concentration if we are to gather from it the things that will most help us and enable us to understand the prophetic word. There was a seminary student who, commenting upon prophecy said that “prophecy distresses people from the present.” And he was a young man going through seminary and also he had a church and said that he did not teach prophecy very much for that reason, that it was a distracting thing and turned men aside from the present to the future. And the professor very wisely said, “Well, I must say there is a whole lot of distraction in the Bible because the Bible is full of the prophetic word.”
We have been saying with reference to the Book of Daniel that it contains information concerning Israel’s relation to the times of the Gentiles, and particularly in this section of the Book of Daniel, which is written in Hebrew. Remember, and I’ve been repeating this because I do think it is important that the first chapter through the fourth verse or third verse of the second chapter is written in Hebrew because that opening section has to do with the Nation Israel. Beginning at chapter 2 verse 4 through chapter 7, the prophet writes in the language of Aramaic, the language of the gentiles in that area. And so consequently, that section has primarily to do with the prophetic word from the standpoint of the Gentiles, but beginning again in chapter 8, he returns to Hebrew and therefore we expect and we find when we study the Book of Daniel that the last chapters of the book have to do with the Nation Israel primarily as their relation to the times of the Gentiles is set forth.
Remember, the expression “the times of the Gentiles” is an expression that has to do with the period of time from the destruction of Jerusalem in approximately 605 BC, and it begins at that time and goes on to the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus to the earth. So, we are living in the times of the Gentiles, and the prophet has told us that there will be four great world empires. And we have attempted to identify them as the Babylonian, the Medo-Persian, the Grecian and the Roman. And the Roman Empire is one that has continued as the basic world empire even down to the present day. Daniel prophesies that there will be a restoration of that Roman Empire in that universal rule over the in-habited earth of the future. So we are concerned primarily with Israel’s relation to the times of the Gentiles, that long period of time in which government is not in the hands of the nation Israel, but in the hands of the Gentiles.
The ninth chapter is very simple so far as its outline is concerned because the Prophet opens with a prayer, and a prayer that has to do with the Nation Israel. And consequently, he confesses their sin, he calls upon the Lord to remember them, he says in the 19th verse, O Lord hear!, O Lord forgive!, O Lord listen and take action for Thine own sake, O my God do not delay because Thy city and Thy people are called by Thy name. And then in answer to this prayer, Daniel is given this wonderful prophecy by the man Gabriel concerning the future. So this then is the answer to the prayer that Daniel made with reference to the future of the nation.
Now, we saw last time as we began verse 24 that what Daniel was saying was simply this, that 70 weeks of years, and we identified that as 70 weeks of years or 490 years has been decreed for your people and your holy city to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint The Most Holy Place. In other words, the 490-year period of time that Daniel is given in his prophecy is designed to result in these six things. Finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint The Most Holy Place, Daniel of course having been told that 490 years would result in this for the Nation Israel.
These are great things. Finish the transgression, make an end of sin, to make a reconciliation for iniquity, and certainly these have to do with the Nation Israel primarily; to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, no longer necessary for that, and to anoint The Most Holy Place, that is the place of the temple. These were great hopes for a nation that was in captivity. So, naturally the question that Daniel might have would be, well, when does the 490 years begin? And then is it an unbroken period of time, once it begins does it continue without interruption, and when does the 490-year period end? Now, that is not all specifically stated here, but this is what Daniel will be interested in surely if he were told by the Lord in answer to his prayer. At the end of 490 years, Israel is going to have all of these blessings. Well, he would ask. First of all, when do the 490 years begin? When do they end? And are the 490 years consecutive years? Or is there perhaps a gap within them? These are the questions that would surely come to the prophet’s mind.
Now, the structure of this little section of the prophecy of the 70 sevens is something like this. In verse 24, Daniel is told in general what would take place at the end of the 490 year period of time; the six things will come to pass. But then in verse 25, verse 26 and verse 27 he is given the details that is the details of the accomplishment of these six things. So, we are looking now at the details.
Last week, we looked at the overall picture of what would transpire at the end of the 70 weeks. We looked at the six things. For those of you underprivileged, who are unable to be here last week that is what we said, that at the end of the 490-year period of time these six things would take place. So, now he is going to fill in details. It’s just as if you were to go to buy an automobile and you’ve decided, you would like to have a Cadillac Seville and you walked into the sales room, and the salesman saw you and thought he might make a sale. He would take you over and have you take a look at the automobile. And you would look around the automobile observing the beauty of its lines and the various other things that might appeal to you. And then if you’ve manifested any interest, no doubt, from that time on you would look at the details. Well, that is what we have here. We have in verse 24, the general look at the Cadillac Seville and now the details, the machine in verse 25 and verse 26 and verse 27.
So, we began tonight with verse 25 in which we have the seven weeks. “So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there will be seven weeks and sixty and two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.” Notice verse 25, first of all, he says you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty and two weeks or sixty nine weeks.
I will just put this little diagram, I looked at the diagram and I think it may be more complicated than the Bible, [laughter] but perhaps I can explain to you what I mean by this. 538 BC is the time of Daniel, that is the time when he receives this prophecy, the time of the prophecy of the 70 Sevens. You notice that 25th verse says at the beginning, “so you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem.” So, the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem is the beginning of the 490-year period of time.
Now, the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem is the decree of Artaxerxes, and I could have put underneath that and probably should have Nehemiah chapter 2, verse 1 through verse 8, and I am going to ask you, if you will, to turn over to the Book of Nehemiah. The Book of Nehemiah chapter 2, and let’s read a few verses here beginning with verse 1, Nehemiah chapter 2. That is page 684 in the New American Standard Bible, and it is just after the Book of Ezra, it is in the Old Testament and it is just before the Book of Esther. I have given your chance to find it because I would like for you to read this. I will give you an idea of what you do when you study the Bible a little more seriously than just reading it devotionally. Nehemiah chapter 2, verse 1 through verse 8,
“And it came about in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, that wine was before him, and I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence. So the king said to me, ‘Why is your face sad, though you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of heart.’ Then I was very much afraid and I said to the king, ‘Let the king live forever! Why should my face not be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ tombs, lies desolate and its gates have been consumed by fire. Then the king said to me, ‘What would you request?’ So I prayed to the God of heaven. This isn’t a solid prayer, and here is his opportunity. And I said to the king, ‘If it please the king, and if your servant has found favor before you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it. Then the king said to me (the queen sitting beside him), ‘How long will your journey be, and when will you return?’ So it pleased the king to send me and I gave him a definite time. And I said to the king, ‘If it please the king, let letters be given me for the governors of the provinces Beyond the River, that they may allow me to pass through until I come to Judah, and a letter to Asaph, the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the fortress which is by the temple for the wall of the city, and for the house to which I will go.’ And the king granted them to me because the good hand of my God was on me.”
Now, from this we can see that the decree going forth to rebuild and restore Jerusalem was given by Artaxerxes and the time is March 5, 444 BC. So, that is the beginning of the 490-year period of time. That is the beginning of the seventy weeks of years. From the — as Daniel says in verse 25 — from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there will be seven weeks and sixty and two weeks, or 69 weeks. So, the seven weeks, or rather the beginning is 444 BC.
Now notice also in verse 25 that he says that this time from the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem is to be seven weeks, and remember the weeks mean weeks of years, we discussed that last year. So, that would be — seven weeks would be 49 years, and then 62 weeks would be 434 years. Would it not? And 434 plus 49 would be 483 years. You can do all of that in your head; don’t need your computer for that. So, notice, the Bible doesn’t say much about the seven weeks, it just says seven weeks and then sixty and two weeks or 69 and all. I don’t know really why that is so, why the seven weeks are distinguished from the 62, except to say this, that while it took Nehemiah only 52 days to rebuild the walls of the City of Jerusalem when he got there, it was a remarkable achievement, it must have taken considerably longer period of time to clear up the debris around the City of Jerusalem, which had been gathered, which had gathered there over a lengthy period of time. So, since nothing much is said about it, we will just offer that as a guess that the 49 years was taken to rebuild the City of Jerusalem and clean it up. So that was March 5th 444 BC. Now, the 69 weeks then cover a period of time from 444 to March 30, 33 AD.
Now this is the way this is computed. The weeks of the prophetic year or the years of the prophetic year are 360 days, not 365. Now the reason for that is that when the Bible speaks about, for example, a half of the year of — the half of the last week, which would be half of seven years, it describes it as 1260 days. In addition, when that 1260 days is expressed in months, it is 42 months. So the Bible gives indication and there are other indications as well that the year was computed on the basis of 360, not 365 days. So 69 weeks is 69 weeks of years, 360 days.
Consequently from 444 BC to AD 33 is 476 years. That equals — did you do this in your head too? 173,855 days, and since there are some days from March 5th to March 30th we add 25 days and we have 173,880 days from the time of the decree of Artaxerxes to Messiah the Prince according to that 25th verse. So, we divide 173,880 days by 360 days a year, and we come to 483 years, which is of course the 49 plus the 434. And the 483 divided by seven, which is of course because these are seven weeks of years, we have 69 weeks of years thus QED. We know then that from the decree to rebuild and restore Jerusalem, the decree of Artaxerxes, the end of the 483 years, the 69 weeks is March 30, 33 AD.
Now, this computation may be off a little bit, but this has been done by some who have studied this in some detail, this happens to be the figure of Dr. Harold Honer of Dallas Seminary in the New Testament Department, who has written a paper on this subject in Bibliotheca Sacra a few years ago. So that what Daniel then is giving us here is the means by which a student of Daniel might know the time of the Messiah’s coming. So let’s read the verse again. Then after sixty and two weeks, the Messiah — well, I have read the 25th verse, so you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, 444 BC, until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks or 69 weeks of years or 483 years, it, Jerusalem, will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.
This then is a rather remarkable thing. The prophecy of Daniel then in effect has given the students of the Old Testament a specific temporal help for the determination of the time when the Messiah might be expected to appear so that the students of the Old Testament, if they had studied the prophecy of Daniel, should have been able to determine when the Messiah would come. The terminus a quo is the decree of Artaxerxes 444 BC; the terminus ad quem, or the end for which this has to do is 33 AD March 30.
Incidentally, that date is the date of our Lord’s triumphal entry into the City of Jerusalem. I’d like for you to turn to the New Testament for just a moment, and let’s read Matthew chapter 21 and a few verses there. Matthew chapter 21, because here we have Matthew’s historical account of the — well, I’d like to call it the untriumphal entry of the Lord because it was not a triumphal entry, except and so far as he was fulfilling the prophetic word. Now notice also as you read this prophecy in Matthew 21 that our Lord goes out of his way in order to let the spiritual in the City of Jerusalem know that he is fulfilling the prophetic word. And we read here, and when they had approached Jerusalem and had come to Bethphage to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied there and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to Me.”
Now you see, remember Zechariah had said that he would come in this way. I will turn to that passage in Zechariah, I should have had you turned to that first, but I was just having mercy on you in not asking you to find the Book of Zechariah as well as Nehemiah tonight. But Zechariah chapter 9 and verse 9 says this. “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O Daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” So, Zechariah had prophesied that when the King came He would come in that way. And this is what our Lord is doing. He is letting people know that he is fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah in his coming.
So verse 4, “Now this took place that what was spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled saying, say it to the daughters of Zion, Behold your King is coming to you, gentle and mounted upon a donkey, even upon a colt, the foal of a beast of burden. And the disciples went and did just as Jesus had directed them, and brought the donkey and the colt, and laid on them their garments, on which He sat. And most of the multitudes spread their garments in the road and others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them on the road. And the multitudes going out before Him, and those who followed after were crying out, saying, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest!’ And when He had entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, ‘Who is this?’ And the multitudes were saying, ‘This is the Prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.’”
This then is Messiah the Prince. And so when Daniel writes then that it will be 69 weeks until Messiah the Prince, this was fulfilled and the triumphal entry of the Lord Jesus Christ into the City of Jerusalem, Messiah the Prince.
Let’s turn to verse 26 now, and verse 26 is a kind of parenthesis as we shall see in just a moment, but let’s read now verse 26.
“Then after the 62 weeks, (now this means of course after the 69 because he said seven and then 62) then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.”
Notice the beginning of verse 26. It says, then after the sixty-two weeks. Now I’ve tried to show that here on this diagram as best I could. The 69 weeks began with a decree that end with a triumphal entry of our Lord Jesus Christ. Incidentally, if you have put this down on the diagram, you should put right under this the triumphal entry of the Lord Jesus under this date 33 AD. I forgot to put that in there. Triumphal entry, but notice that it says, after this. Now after this, he says three things are going to happen. Look at verse 26 carefully. Three things are going to happen then after the sixty-two weeks.
Now, the first thing that is going to happen is that the Messiah is going to be cut off. What does that mean? Well, I think most of us who have studied the Bible much at all would immediately say that has to do with the death of Christ. Incidentally, the Hebrew word that is used is the Hebrew verb karath. The Hebrew verb karath is a word that is frequently used of death in the Old Testament. It is not the word that is used in the passage in Isaiah chapter 53 although it is translated in many of our editions in that way. In chapter 53, in verse 8 of Isaiah and the great servant of Jehovah passage there we read, by oppression and judgment He was taken away; and as for His generation, who considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living. So, the word karath however means, “to cut off in death.”
So, here we have a prophecy then that Messiah the Prince when he comes after He has presented himself at the end of the 69th week he will be cut off. And I have put a little one right above the cross in order for you to note. This is the first thing in verse 26 that is going to take place and we just put the date here, this is an approximate date of April 3, 33AD, the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus took place, that is the first thing that is to happen after the 69 weeks are over. Then after the 69 weeks, the Messiah will be cut off, and have nothing. Isaiah said, “And who shall declare his generation.”
The implication of this is Messiah is going to be cut off and there will be nothing for him, and of course He did come in his First Advent in humiliation. And as a result, was crucified, was buried, rose again and went to the Father’s right hand. So far as the world is concerned, he had nothing. He obtained nothing. But of course we know he gained right and title to the whole of this universe by virtue of what he accomplished as the last atom in his death. So, that is the first thing. Messiah will be cut off.
But there is also some other things that are going to happen after the 69 weeks. What we read next, “And the people of the prince who is to come.” Now notice, the term prince is used here of someone else. This prince is the prince who is to come. He is not Messiah the Prince, but the prince who is to come. “The people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.” So, the second thing that is to happen after the 69 weeks are over with the triumphal entry of the Lord Jesus, first thing the crucifixion, second thing destruction of the City of Jerusalem.
Fortunately, from history we know when the destruction of the City of Jerusalem took place. Titus, Vespasian, with four Roman legions came and the City of Jerusalem was destroyed. Incidentally, Titus did not want the temple to be destroyed. But one of the soldiers threw some fire into the temple, caught some of the tapestries, and the result on fire, and the result was that the whole of the temple went up in flames. And the temple was a very, very expensively constructed temple with a lot of gold in it, and consequently when the fire of the temple became very hot the gold began to melt, and it melted and went down in between the stones of the temple according to tradition. And as a result of that, in order to obtain the gold, the soldiers and the others dug up all of the stones of the temple. And you remember, the Lord Jesus had prophesied in Matthew chapter 24 in the the Olivet Discourse that when the destruction of Jerusalem took place, “one stone would not be left upon another which would not be thrown down.”
So the fulfillment of the destruction of the city and the fulfillment of our Lord’s prophecy is the second thing that takes place following the 69th week. Crucifixion, then in 70 AD, you could put 70 AD after this the destruction of the city. The third thing that verse 26 tells us will happen after the 483 years is that there will be wars. And notice what it says. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. So, we could say desolating wars shall take place throughout the end — to the end of the age.
Now, this is a rather interesting thing because notice now, he hasn’t said a thing yet about the 70th week, but yet he has talked about the crucifixion, Messiah is to be cut off, he has talked about the destruction of the city of Jerusalem, and he has said that there will be wars to the end with desolations determined. So evidently from this prophecy there is a lengthy period of time between the 69th week and the beginning of the 70th week. We could determine that simply by noting what he says is going to take place, knowing from our vantage point of history, what we know about history, a great lengthy period of time is to take place between the 69th and the 70th week. This period, a gap, is something that is common in some of the prophecies of the word of God.
Now let me ask you to turn back to that Book of Zechariah. I shouldn’t have said I wasn’t going to make you do it, because I am going to make you do it. So turn back to Zechariah chapter 9 and I want you to see how in the prophetic word there is often a parenthesis, a kind of foreshortening of prophecy in which we have a prophecy concerning a narrow event and then a period of time not mentioned, but in the fulfillment of prophecy we know is there in the prophetic word. Zechariah chapter 9 and let me read verses 9 and 10 again,
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
Now, of course, we know that this took place at the First Advent of the Lord Jesus because he says — Matthew says as he records the triumphal entry that this is something that took place then, but then notice the 10th verse.
“And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the horse from Jerusalem; and the bow of war will be cut off. And He will speak peace to the nations; and His dominion will be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.”
Well, now that of course did not take place. That is something that takes place at the Second Advent. And so between verse 9 and verse 10 we have this length period of time between the First and Second Advents of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let’s turn back to the Book of Isaiah for another illustration of this. There are many of these in the Bible and I hope that I don’t have to go into great detail to convince you of something like this. But in Isaiah chapter 61 in verse 1 we read this,
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to prisoners; to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”
Now, all of that we know took place at the first coming of the Lord Jesus because he stood up in the synagogue in Nazareth and said this day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears, Luke chapter 4 about verse 18 and verse 19. But notice the next clause, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord and notice this next clause, and the day of vengeance of our God. Now that is something that did not take place at the First Advent. Later in the Book of Isaiah in chapter 63 he will point out that the day of vengeance is a reference to the Second Advent when the Lord Jesus comes in judgment. So we find them as pattern in the Bible, the Old Testament prophecies particularly. We frequently will have a period of time between prophecies concerning the first coming and the second coming. These prophecies will be written together, but from our vantage point as we look back we notice that there is a period of time or a gap. And we of course today are living in this particular parenthesis, or it is really not so much of parenthesis as it is an intercalation.
Now, in a parenthesis there is some relationship between the beginning and the end, but an intercalation is like halftime in a football game. The only reason that you have a halftime in a football game is in order to give the athletes an opportunity to rest a little bit, and also perhaps to give the audience a chance to rest a little bit. But there is no real connection between what goes on the field in halftime and what goes on the field during the halves before and after. So that the halftime in a football game of 20 minutes is an intercalation; it doesn’t have anything to do with what goes on there. And real good for all fans and trying to get up and go and get something to eat at that time because they don’t like to watch the bands and things like that, which doesn’t really have a great deal of relationship to Roger Staubach and the rest of, say, the Dallas Cowboys. That is an intercalation. Well, this is really what we have here in these prophecies. We have prophecy concerning the first coming and then a prophecy concerning the second coming, it is run together, but as history unfolds we notice that there is a lengthy period of time, a kind of intercalation. Now, that is what we have in the 26th verse.
Let’s move on to the 27th verse because we are just about near the end of our time. In verse 27 now, we are going to be told something about the 70th week. So everything is so far has had to do with the 69 weeks, and then the intercalation or the parenthesis between the 69th and the 70th week. Verse 27 says, “And He will make a firm covenant with the many for one week.” There is the 70th week; he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week. That is a very crucial thing to know what is meant by that little pronoun, he. Who is the he who will make a covenant with the many for one week? Well, now we have had reference in verse 25 to Messiah the Prince; that is a reference to the Lord Jesus Christ. Meshiach Nagiyd, Messiah the Prince.
But we also have reference in verse 26 to another prince. There we had reference to the people of the prince who is to come. Now, it is a rule of interpretation of literature, which all of you know, you may not know the rule but nevertheless it is a rule, which you generally practice and that is that a pronoun ordinarily will refer to what possible antecedent? Well, the rule is that the pronoun refers to the nearest antecedent, the nearest possible antecedent. Of course there are exceptions to this; we wouldn’t deny that there is an exception to a grammatical rule such as that. But ordinarily that is true;
Now if that is true, then to what does this he refer? Does it refer to Messiah the Prince or does it refer to the prince who is to come? Well, the prince who is to come is mentioned in verse 26. Messiah the Prince is mentioned in verse 25. So naturally and normally the he of verse 27 refers to the prince who is to come.
Who is the prince who is to come? Well, Daniel of course doesn’t tell us. Later on he will talk about the king. Now when he talks about the king he will describe him in terms that are very evil. He will say as a mouth speaking great things, like the little horns that we have studied in the previous chapters. He will also describe him in other ways so that if we are students of the Bible at all we will know that this individual who is called the king in chapter 11 is none other than antichrist. He is the little horn of Daniel chapter 7, and he is a little horn of Daniel chapter 8 according to my interpretation. He is the prince of chapter 11, and he is the prince of the people who are to come right here. He is the antichrist. So, what Daniel says is that the antichrist is going to make a firm covenant with the many for one week.
Now, we don’t know all the details of this covenant of course, and consequently we have to exercise prophetic imagination I presume, presume a little bit, so we — you understand that when we do this you are not to believe everything that I say. You should never believe everything that I say, but especially when we are inferring from Scripture. He says he is going to make a covenant with the many for one week. Now, he also says in the same breath, in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering and we then assume that this covenant has to do with the reestablishment of worship in the city of Jerusalem.
So what we are probably expected to believe from this is that the antichrist is one who is going to make a covenant with the Nation Israel, perhaps he is going to really settle the Israeli question, and to bring about a kind of agreement which Jimmy could not do, nor could Anwar do, in which there will be an opportunity for Israel again to have worship on the place where the temple has historically been.
We gather from other prophecies and the word of God that that temple is to be rebuilt. The rabbis say that only the Messiah could rebuild the temple. But you see anyone who could arrange a peace settlement like this and also make it possible for them to begin to restore the temple would in the minds of many of the Jews have all of the qualifications for being the Messiah, and consequently it might be expected that this antichrist would by virtue of his diplomatic skills be able to convince the Nation Israel that he really was the Messiah. So, a covenant is to be made in which the restoration of the worship, the ancient worship is going to take place in a restored temple perhaps, since we know from other passages that that temple is to be rebuild in the city of Jerusalem.
Now, we have agreed on and I will just read on and finish. Next week I want to — week after next, two weeks from tonight, I want to consider the amillennial interpretation of Daniel chapter 9, and when I do we will go over some of these things again. But I want to read the rest of this particular verse in order to just at least sum up what is to take place.
The covenant is to be made with many for one week, but in the middle of the week, that is according to the diagram here, after three and a half years of this 70th week which is a seven-year period of time, we describe it elsewhere in the Bible as the great — or as the period of the tribulation, the last half of which is The Great Tribulation. In the middle of the week, we read here, he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.
Now that particular sentence — is that kind of confusing to you? Well, it ought to be, because it has confused students of the Hebrew text for centuries, it is very difficult, that is to understand exactly what is meant. But let me sum it up by saying that in the 70th week there is to be the confirmation of a covenant made by the antichrist, in the middle of the week he will break that covenant, he will cause those sacrifices to cease and then Daniel prophesied that there will ultimately be a judgment poured out upon this desolator, this one who makes desolate.
Now the Lord Jesus, remember, referred to Daniel chapter 9 when he spoke about the abomination of desolation in the temple. And he spoke and said that when you see the abomination of desolation standing in the temple then flee, that was a reference to the establishment of an idol of antichrist and the call by this world leader for the worship of himself.
So let me sum up, then a just a sentence or two. The 490 years is to result in the six great blessings mentioned in verse 24. The last week, the seven years of the 70 weeks, that last week is still future. The events of verse 24 have not yet taken place, everlasting righteousness has not been brought in. Wars until the end have been prophesied and then the 70th week is mentioned in verse 25. Our Lord spoke when he was here of this as being a future thing, and Paul and 2 Thessalonians also speaks of this as being a future thing. So we gather then that the 70th week is a future period of time of seven years in which these great things are going to transpire. The key to determine when this 70th week begins is when the covenant is made. We are not yet in that period of time, though for the covenant has not yet been consummated.
Let me close by just asking you this question. Those of you who are here tonight and some who may be here for the first time, the great personal question is what is your relationship to Messiah the Prince? Is your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ? If your faith is not in the Lord Jesus Christ you may become an unwitting follower of the prince who is to come. And so we call upon you to remember that our Lord Jesus Christ was cut off at the end of the 69 weeks in order that forgiveness of sins may be offered to those who believe in him. We invite you to put your trust in him. Let’s close with a word of prayer.
[Prayer] Father, we are grateful to Thee for the privilege of the study of Thy word, and we thank Thee Lord for the insight that has given us into the future. It does seem to us Lord as if we are approaching the times when the 70th week of Israel may soon begin. Enable us to observe the signs of the times and be wise. Deliver us from curiosity and deliver us from mistakes. But enable us Lord to be submissive to the word of God and responsive to the ministry of the Holy Spirit within us. Enable us to be witnesses who are fruitful and useful to Thee. We pray in Jesus name and for his sake, Amen.