Dr. S. Lewis Johnson begins a short series within his exposition of Daniel that focuses on the meaning of the Hebrew phrase, "the seventy sevens." In this first message, Dr. Johnson explains the temporal meaning of the term in its scriptural context.
[Prayer] Father, we turn again to Thee with anticipation as we consider the ninth chapter of the book of Daniel. We thank Thee for the information that is contained within it and again we pray that it may have its spiritual impact upon our lives, enable us Lord to learn and profit and by Thy grace manifest the truth in our lives, in our daily contact with the world in which we live. We ask that we may have understanding of the future in accordance with the things that are written in Thy word. Give us understanding tonight and we pray Lord for each one present that the ministry of the word may have fruitful impact and result in their lives. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.
[Message] We are turning to Daniel chapter 9 and looking tonight in the first of series of several studies in the prophecy of the seventy sevens. It is undoubtedly true that this is one of the great prophecies of the Old Testament, perhaps one of the most important in all of the word of God. So, Edward Denny, a student of prophecy once called it “the backbone of prophecy.” Some interesting things have been said about it by some of the older commentators as well. John Owen, one of the greatest of the Puritan theologians said that “Because this prophecy sets forth the time and coming of the Messiah, it justly has esteemed the racks and tortures of the rabbis.” And an old interpreter of the prophecy said that “It is a passage of a 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.”
One of the interesting incidents that happened in the 18th century concerned this as well. Jeb Orton who was a preacher in the 18th century described some of the things that happened as they touched this particular prophecy. He wrote in the last century that is the 17th, he was living in the 18th. There was a public dispute at Venice between a Jew a convert from Judaism concerning the sense of this prophecy. And so, a noted rabbi was chosen as moderator of a conference in which they would discuss this. A great many of the Jews were present. The Christian Jew urged his arguments against the Jews with so much force that at length according to Jeb Orton, that the rabbi finally said let’s shut up our books, for if we go on examining this prophecy any further we shall all become Christians. It cannot be denied that the time of the messiah’s coming has already passed. But, whether Jesus of Nazareth be the person I cannot determine. The consequences of this, according to Mr. Orton, were that several Jews were converted and one of them a very learned man wrote a large book against the Jews, in the preface of which he tells the story as the means of his conversion. So, when he wrote his book against the Jews, it was not just against the Jews because they were Jews but against the doctrines that they were teaching concerning the Messiah.
Now, we have been saying that since we are in the latter part of Daniel, and dealing with chapter 9 tonight that we are in the section of the book of Daniel which was written by Daniel in Hebrew, not in Aramaic. And consequently since it is written in Hebrew that the prophecies have primary reference to the Nation Israel. We shall see that particularly tonight because the prophecy of the seventy sevens is a prophecy that pertains directly to the Nation Israel. So far, Daniel has been giving us a kind of grand outline of the times of the Gentiles. That is the period of time from 605 BC to the time of the Second Advent.
And then the king shall come and establish his kingdom upon the earth. Israel, of course, at the present time is in captivity and consequently, their place and the prophetic word is a place of discipline while God is unfolding his plans with reference to the Gentiles. Daniel, a man, maybe summed up in two or three words. In the first place, there is a preparation, for the prophecy given in the first two verses and then rather a lengthy prayer of Daniel’s. If we were not studying Daniel prophetically, it would probably be wise to expound this particular prayer in more detail but since we are concentrating on the prophecy of the book of Daniel, we’ll just make a few comments concerning it in a moment or two. But then, beginning at verse 20 through verse 27, prophecy is the keyword. And so if we can think of preparation, prayer, and prophecy, we have a brief summary of the contents of Daniel chapter 9.
Let’s turn now and look at the situation of the prophecy of the seventy sevens and therefore we look at verses 1through 23. And I want to read verses 1 and 2 and then we’ll read verses 3 through 19 and finally I want to say a word about Daniel’s problem as we approach the prophecy of the seventy sevens . Daniel chapter 9 and verses 1 and 2,
“In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of Median descent, who was made king over the kingdom of the Chaldeans — in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, observed in the books the number of the years which was revealed as the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the Prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.”
Now, you can see from this that Daniel is a student of the prophetic word. It is the Book of Jeremiah that he studies and from Jeremiah he has learned the length of time of the captivity of the Jews. Now, since he was in the midst of the captivity of the Jews this of course was something in which he was very much interested. I’d like for you to turn to Jeremiah chapter 25 and let me read a few verses. Jeremiah chapter 25. Read verses 9 through 11. The prophecy reads,
“‘Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will send to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against the land and against its inhabitants and against all these nations round about; and I will utterly destroy them and make them a horror and a hissing, and an everlasting desolation. ‘Moreover, I will take from them the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstone and the light of the lamp. And this whole land shall be a desolation and a horror, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.”
So, Daniel learned from the study of this prophecy that the captivity of the Nation Israel would be seventy years. And that’s what he means when he refers here to the fact that he observed in the books the number of the years, which was revealed as the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the Prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely seventy years. Chapter 29 of the Book of Jeremiah has a couple of verses that touch on those, too, so let me read verse 1 and then verse 10. Now verse 1 he says,
“Now these are the words of the letter which Jeremiah the Prophet sent from Jerusalem to the rest of the elders of the exile, the priests, the prophets and all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon again, (he refers to the exile. And verse 10,) Thus says the Lord, when seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill my good work to you to bring you back to this place.”
So, Daniel then begins this chapter by pointing out that he has come through the study of the scriptures to understand that it will be a seventy-year captivity. There is a great deal of practical application of course of this and it is obvious I am sure what that should be for each of us. Even prophets must study the word of God and many of the things that Daniel knew were things that he had learned from pondering holy Scripture. If prophets need to ponder and study holy Scripture, how much more ought we? Well, Daniel follows this now with a prayer. And the prayer begins in verse 3 and incidentally we have here an illustration of the fact that though Daniel knows that the captivity is going to be seventy years and though he knows that at the end of the time God is going to restore Israel, he nevertheless prays about it. Now the reason for that is that Daniel understood that prayer was a means to the accomplishment of the divine purposes.
There are people who argue because we know that things are predetermined by God; that is, he has a decree that governs all things, and because we know that predestination is taught in the Scriptures, that election is there, that is an argument against prayer. And since prayer is taught in the Scripture therefore that teaching must be wrong. The prophets and the apostles would not have followed that reasoning, for they speak about the things that are going to come to pass and then they pray about them, for they understood that prayer was the means for the accomplishment of the God’s purposes. So, Daniel prays.
There are beautiful illustrations of this. I wish I had time to turn to them. But, in the 36th chapter of Ezekiel lays one specific one and it is in various other places as well in which the Lord says, I want you to know that this is going to come to pass and I want you to pray about it. Very interesting, because this is the king of thinking that we have in the bible, so it is biblical thinking to think about God accomplishing his purposes but he accomplishes them by the prayers of his saints.
Now, let’s look at the prayer of Daniel,
“So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed and said, “Alas, O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and loving kindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments, we have sinned, committed iniquity, acted wickedly and rebelled, even turning aside from Thy commandments and ordinances.
“Moreover, we have not listened to Thy servants the prophets, who spoke in Thy name to our kings, our princes, our fathers and all the people of the land. (Notice how in his prayer he begins with confession that’s not a bad pattern in prayer.) Righteousness belongs to thee, O Lord, but to us open shame, as it is this day–to the men of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those who are nearby and those who are far away in all the countries to which Thou hast driven them, because of their unfaithful deeds which they have committed against thee. Open shame belongs to us, O Lord, to our kings, our princes and our fathers, because we have sinned against Thee. (And so, he mentions the different classes of people in Israel who are guilty of the sin.)
“To the Lord our God belong compassion and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against thee; nor have we observed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in His teachings, which He set before us through His servants the prophets. Indeed all Israel has transgressed Thy law and turned aside, not obeying Thy voice; so the curse has been poured out on us, along with the oath which is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, for we have sinned against Him.
“Thus He has confirmed His words which He had spoken against us and against our rulers who ruled us, to bring on us great calamity; for under the whole heaven there has not been done anything like what was done to Jerusalem.
“As it is written in the law of Moses, all this calamity has come on us; yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD our God by turning from our iniquity and giving attention to Thy truth. Therefore the LORD has kept the calamity in store and brought it on us; for the LORD our God is righteous with respect to all His deeds, which He has done, but we have not obeyed His voice.
“And now, O Lord our God, who hast brought Thy people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand and hast made a name for thyself, as it is this day–we have sinned, we have been wicked. O Lord, in accordance with all Thy righteous acts, let now Thine anger and Thy wrath turn away from Thy city Jerusalem, Thy holy mountain; for because of our sins and the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Thy people have become a reproach to all those around us.”
So, he prays in the light of the fact that the people around about Jerusalem are saying some rather evil things about their God, the Lord Jehovah, because of the activities of the children of Israel. This is of course, what people always say about us when we say that we are believers in Jesus Christ and our lives do not measure up to the teaching of the word of God. They love to say, they talk about believing in Christ, they talk about being Christians, but look at their lives. So, Daniel continues,
“So now, our God, listen to the prayer of Thy servant and to his supplications, and for Thy sake, O Lord, let Thy face shine on Thy desolate sanctuary.
“O my God, incline thine ear and hear! Open thine eyes and see our desolations and the city which is called by Thy name; for we are not presenting our supplications before Thee on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Thy great compassion.
“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.”
Daniel was an old man at this time and it is rather interesting that he prays like this. George Muller often prayed late in his life that God would not allow him to become a wicked old man. And what he meant by that was that he would age with grace, because it is often true that Christians when they get old become crotchety and cranky. But, you can see from Daniel’s prayer that he is not that kind of person. So, he is the prime minister and he prays for the nation, he acknowledges his sin before the Lord even fasts and seeks the face of God in order that God may answer his own purposes with action.
Now, Daniel had a little bit of a problem here because the date of the prophecy is said to the first year of Darius, the son of Ahasuerus of Median descent. Now, if you go back and study the life of Ahasuerus and the time in which he lived, this was about the 69th year of the captivity. Now, Daniel has been given these great prophecies in chapters 2 and then particularly chapter 7 and 8 and this has produced some problems for him. When you look again at the last verse of chapter 7, when he received the prophecy of the four beasts, we read, at this point, the revelation ended, as for me Daniel my thoughts were greatly alarming me and my face grew pale and I kept the matter to myself. So, he was disturbed by what he saw.
Now, look at the last verse of the 8th chapter. Then I, Daniel, was exhausted and sick for days. Then I got up again and carried on the king’s business; but I was astounded at the vision, and there was none to explain it. So, here is Daniel having received two great visions and the great revelation concerning the future. It is near the end of the seventy years of the captivity and so far as Daniel knew at the end of the seventy years of captivity Israel would be restored to the land, and they would enter in to the blessings of the covenant of God. But he has been told here that he lived under the reign of Babylon, he has been told that there are going to be three world empires before the final consummation of things. And so you can see how he was perplexed over this because with only 18-20 or 24 months left, Daniel so far as he understood from the perspective of prophecy that he had there would have to rise three more great world empires in that shorter time. So, he was very much puzzled by that. He knew that the seventy years of captivity was drawing to an end, he thought that at that time Israel would be restored to their prominence and blessing, but he also now has been told there would be four world empires before the coming of the kingdom of God. So, Daniel to put it in our terms, has a problem.
Now, in answer to that problem, we have the revelation of the prophecy of the seventy sevens. For in this prophecy now Daniel will be given some temporal information, which will enable him to understand that the rise and fall of the empires is not within the next 18 months to two years, but rather is going to take place over rather lengthy period of time. So, we turn now to well I did not read verses 20 through 23, but let’s read those verses and then we’ll look at verse 24.
“Now while I was speaking and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God on behalf of the holy mountain of my God, that’s Jerusalem, while I was still speaking in prayer, then the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision previously, came to me in my extreme weariness about the time of the evening offering. And he gave me instruction and talked with me and said, ‘O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you insight with understanding. At the beginning of your supplications the command was issued, and I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed; so give heed to the message and gain understanding of the vision.’”
This is interesting, in that it takes about three minutes to read those words of Daniel’s prayer or roughly that. And Gabriel says at the beginning of the supplication, he was given a command to come and he arrives while Daniel is still speaking, so from this we may gather the scientific conclusion, it takes about three minutes to come from heaven to earth.
Now, you can see what preachers do when they sit looking at the Bible. There is another interesting things about this, notice the words of verse 22. “And he gave me instruction and talked with me and said, ‘O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you insight with understanding.’” Does that remind you of anything? Well, there is a passage over in the New Testament in which the Lord Jesus, speaking in the Olivet Discourse says this, “Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of through Daniel the Prophet.” In what chapter does that appear? Well, the 9th chapter of the Book of Daniel: “The desolation, the abomination of desolation spoken of through Daniel the prophet standing in the holy place, let the reader understand.” You see, our Lord studied this chapter 2. He was a student of this chapter and furthermore even uses the words that the angel Gabriel gave to Daniel. Give heed to the message and gain understanding of the vision. That ought to be incentive for us to study Daniel chapter 9. We are studying chapters that our Lord Jesus studied most intimately and intensively while he was here on the earth.
Looking now at the design of the seventy sevens in verse 24, now this is the prophecy that is to give Daniel understanding of his problem,
“Seventy weeks have 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.”
Now, essentially what he says is this. Say this generally and then we’ll talk about the details. He says seventy weeks, now whether those are weeks of days, weeks of weeks, weeks of years, we’ll see that in a moment, talk about that in a moment, but he says seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city for the accomplishment of six things. In other words, at the end of the seventy-week period, whatever it is, six things will have taken place. They will be, 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. So, seventy weeks at the conclusion of which these six things will have taken place.
Now, of course, we have to ask ourselves the questions, which will enable us to understand more specifically what he is speaking about. And the first of them is what is meant by the seventy weeks? Seventy weeks. Now in the Hebrew text at this point, we have only something like seventy sevens, so we don’t have any help really from the Hebrew text itself. It says simply, seventy sevens. Later on I would like to, if we possibly have time, I would like to spend a night on the interpretation of some who have taken a different interpretation from the one that I will take– that is a non-premillennarian interpretation. And I would like to speak a little bit more in detail about the understanding that they claim enables them to understand this chapter. But, this happens to be a place where those who take a different viewpoint simply say the seventy weeks is a very indefinite number and does not refer to anything specifically.
Now, we do not have any help from the Hebrew text itself. That is, if we looked at the text itself all it would say would be seventy sevens. So, we have to say sevens of what? So, we really could say what we have here is seventy heptads. That’s a period of seven. Or seventy heptomads, but I think it is simple to say seventy sevens, don’t you? Seventy sevens.
Now is this a seven of a day? Well, experience will let us know that 490 days was not sufficient for the fulfillment of this prophecy. Even those who disagree with the premillennarial interpretation and take an amillennarian interpretation will agree that the 490 days would be meaningless in this context. So, it must be seventy of something else than days.
Well now, what has Daniel been speaking about? Well, let’s look back at chapter 9; verses 1 and 2. In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of Median descent, who was made king over the kingdom of the Chaldeans — in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, observed in the books the number of the years which was revealed as the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the Prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years. So, since we are determining the seventy sevens from the context, there is evidence that Daniel is thinking about years.
Now turn to chapter 10; verses 2 and 3. “In those days, I, Daniel, had been mourning for three entire weeks I did not eat any tasty food, nor did meat or wine enter my mouth, nor did I see any ointment at all until the entire three weeks were completed.” Now, in verse 2 and 3 here you do not see it in the New American Standard Bible, they have given us a more of a paraphrastic translation here. But the word “days” is added in the Hebrew text. Now, that is plain from just reading what the translation has here that he is speaking about three weeks of days. But, it is in the Hebrew text.
Now, if the days is here in chapter 10; verses 2 and 3, and it is not in chapter 9; verse 24 and Daniel has been speaking about years in Daniel chapter 9, then it would seem to logically follow that we must understand that seventy sevens to be seventy sevens of years. In other words, 490 years is the period of time. So, Daniel would then be saying seventy sevens or seventy weeks of years. 490 years has been decreed for your people and your holy city to accomplish these six things. So, at the end of the 490-year period of time, what he is saying is that these six things will have been accomplished. Now, we don’t have time to look at this in more detail, but I suggest that if you have time that you go back and look at Genesis chapter 29 and specifically the words that have to do with Laban and verses 27 through 30 and you will see another use of the same Hebrew expression for years. And then also in Genesis chapter 41; verse 25 through verse 27, we have another instance of this, so it is not something unusual to say that the seventy sevens are likely to be seventy sevens of years, that would be 490 years.
Now, the second thing that we need to understand is the meaning of the word decreed. We read seventy weeks or 490 years, let’s think about that, have been decreed for your people and your holy city, decreed. Now, literally this Hebrew word means “to sever off, to cut off,” so if you sever off something, you take it out of something else. You might have a slab of meat and you may cut off some of the meat so you would be taking off something from that particular meat. When he says seventy weeks have been severed off what is he been speaking about.
Well, in the prophecy up to this point in the Book of Daniel he has been being talking about the times of Gentiles. He has been talking about from 605 BC to the second advent of the Lord Jesus Christ in the future. A period of time of approximately 2,500 years plus we don’t know how long this will last. So when he says seventy weeks or 490 years have been cut off or severed off, we had to understand from the time of Gentiles in order to accomplish these specific things. So in other words, in the midst of the program for the gentile nations, there is also a program with reference to the Nation Israel and it is a 490-year period of time.
Now the next thing that we need to notice about verse 24 is this. Seventy weeks have been severed off for your people and your holy city. In other words, this prophecy has to do with the Nation Israel and the national Israel alone. Now that is important. What we are talking about now is something that pertains to the Nation Israel. Now, If we start thinking about the Gentiles at this point then we will run astray, we will go astray and we will not understand this prophecy. So having said this very generally now, 490 years has been severed off from the times of the Gentiles for your holy city and for your people, Daniel now deal with the details. It is almost as if he says there is a 490-year period of time in which something is going to take place, and I will now tell you precisely what these things are.
It is like a person who wants to sell you an automobile or sell you anything else. He might say, isn’t that a beautiful machine? Now let’s look at the features of it that are particularly good. And so here he is looking now at the details and these are the six things that are going to come to pass on the earth through this 490-year period of time.
The first thing, to finish the transgression. Now, what is meant by that? The word finish is a word that really means “to shut up.” It was used of, to restrain in prison. In fact the word alah, is very similar as you can see to kele, which means prison. So to restrain is to shut up. So to finish the transgression is to shut up the transgression and in the context, since it pertains to as he says your people and your holy city. What he means is that at the end of the 490-year period of time, Israel’s rebellion will be finished.
Now will you know there is another other thing too. It says to finish “the transgression.” What is “the transgression”? What is ‘the transgression of the Nation Israel. Well, the transgression of the Nation Israel is obviously the crucifixion of the Messiah. In fact, that’s “the transgression” of the Gentiles. That is really ‘the transgression’ of all of us ideally. That’s ‘the transgression’ of humanity to crucify the Messiah. So he says at the end of this 490-year period of time the transgression will be finished; restrain, shut up.
Now further details are given. He says to make an end of sin. In Hebrews it is literally to seal up sin. So it is like restraining sin by putting it in safe custody. This is the word that is used back in chapter 6 and verse 17 in connection with the lion’s den. The king sealed with it with his own signet ring. And so the sealing here is a sealing in the sense of the restraint of sin putting it in safe custody so there is no further sinning. So the transgression is finished, that is there is an end to Israel for rebellion against the Lord. Sin itself is restrained, sealed up.
Third, he has to make atonement for iniquity. The Hebrew text says simply “to cover.” The Authorized Version translates it to make reconciliation to make atonements probably a little better. Now, why is that at the end of the 490-year period of time? Was it not at the first coming of the Lord Jesus that reconciliation was made for iniquity or atonement was made? Well, yes. But what he is talking about is the application of the atonement to the city and the nation.
Now the application of the atonement to the city and the nation did not take place at the First Advent. More true, there was a remnant, the apostles and others, five hundred people, but so far as the nation itself was concerned and so far is the city of Jerusalem was concerned they rejected the Lord. Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem how often would I – Jerusalem rejected him. The nation rejected him. Now, when he says to make atonement for iniquity he is talking about the application of the cross to Israel. You remember the incident in Genesis chapter 21, where Hagar is sent away with Ishmael and just as Ishmael was about to perish, so is Hagar remember the Lord appeared, the angel of Jehovah and said “Hagar, I am going to do this for you and am going to do this for Ishmael” and then she lifted up her eyed and looked and behold there was a spring or a well over there.
Now, it was there all along, but she was unable to see it. But as God gave her an illumination at that point, she saw what was there all along. That’s what is meant here. The application of the cross to Israel awaits the future. It’s the event spoken of in the Bible, “When they shall look upon him whom they have pierced and they shall mourn for him as one mourns for an only son.” And therefore 13th chapter of the book of Zechariah, just after saying that the text reads, “In that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and impurity.” Well that fountain was opened 2000 years before the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ, but it’s in the future that they see the fountain that has already been opened. So, when he says to make atonement, he is talking about the application of the atonement to the nation Israel.
The fourth thing, to bring in everlasting righteousness. Now our millennialists have a great deal of problem with this because its very difficult for them to explain this period of time now as a result of our Lord’s First Advent being a period of everlasting righteousness, and rightly so because it does not refer to the present period, it refers to the future to bring in everlasting righteousness is a reference to the coming of the kingdom of our Lord Jesus which he will bring at his Second Advent. In Jeremiah chapter 31, verse 33-40, is the explanation of the details of it.
The fifth thing that will take place is to seal up the vision and prophecy. Well, naturally if our Lord has come and the kingdom is established in their universal righteousness over the face of the earth there is no further need for vision and prophecy. Vision and prophecy take place when the Lord is absent, but when the Lord is present then of course vision and prophecy are sealed up and that will happen in the future.
And finally the sixth thing, to anoint The Most Holy Place. Well, the Most Holy Place was the temple. Always in the Old Testament, the Holy Place is reference to the temple with one exception 1 Chronicles chapter 23 and verse 13. Now he does not say The Most Holy Place because the temple is not yet built, but it’s to anoint The Most Holy Place. In other words, the temple that is rebuilt will be anointed as the central place for the worship of the Lord throughout the period of the kingdom age. Thus right here in the beginning now of the prophecy of the seventy sevens, we are told that there are 490 years severed off of the times of the Gentiles, six great things will take place as a result of that 490 year period of time. Then of course, the Lord Jesus will come and establish his kingdom upon the earth.
It’s a great prophecy. It’s a prophecy of course that finds it fulfillment in the future. This week as I was thinking about this particular message, I ran across a story about Leopold Cohn, who was a European Rabbi and came to this country and for many years served in this country as a very effective witness for the Lord Jesus Christ. But he was a European and a Rabbi and he had been studying the seventy weeks of Daniel and he came to the conclusion based on verse 26 that the Messiah had already come and his coming was to be before the destruction that had taken place in AD 70.
And so Mr. Cohn, as a Rabbi approached another Rabbi and asked him about this. He said, “Where is the Messiah? He is already come according to Daniel chapter 9.” And the Rabbi said to him, “Go to New York and you will find the Messiah there.” He meant of course simply that if you go to the New York, you’ll find life is whole lot better than it is over here in this European country. So, he sold most of his belongings and he bought passage to America and he came to this country and he said he wandered up and down the streets of New York City looking for the Messiah. And one day, as he was wandering up the streets, he heard singing coming from a building and he went in and he heard a clear gospel message and that night he received the Lord Jesus Christ as his savior. Shortly after, Mr. Cohn bought a stable, he swept out, set up some chairs, begin to hold gospel meetings and that was the first out reach of what has become the American Board of Missions to the Jews, which is carried on a very worthwhile work for Jewish people over a lengthy period of time. Mr. Cohn is now in heaven. I used to read things that he wrote in their publication. Well, it pays to study the word of God and it is clear from this prophecy that the Messiah has come, but a great future rests for the nation Israel at the conclusion of this 490-period of time.
Now we shall see in our next study that this 490-year period of time is divided up into three sections, seven weeks, sixty two weeks, and then one week. Or 49 years, 434 years and seven years. And Daniel’s prophecy will enable us to understand some further important things about the future. Let’s close with a word of prayer.
[Prayer] Father, we are grateful to Thee for the prophetic word and we thank Thee that it is by means of the prophetic word that we are steered and given hope and motivation and personal witness in testimony.
Lord, enable us to get beyond mere curiosity about the future and enable us to know the future as set forth in the word and then enable us Lord in the light of it, to be effective witnesses of Jesus Christ. Deliver us from lethargy and indifference and fear in the presence of the men of the world. We realize that we are the saints of the Most High, the children of God.
Oh God, give us boldness and enable us also to live in a way that will draw admiration from the world rather than reproach for the name of our God, we pray in Jesus name. Amen.