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Questions On Doctrine


Relation of Seventy Weeks of Daniel 9 to 2300 Days of Daniel 8



Seventh-day Adventists seek to tie Daniel 9 to Daniel 8. On what basis do you hold (1) that the 2300 days (evenings-mornings) of Daniel begin at the same time as the seventy weeks of years of Daniel 9; and (2) that the seventieth week is already entirely fulfilled? (3) Since you so hold, what then is your interpretation of Daniel 9:27?


Inasmuch as these questions center chiefly in Daniel 9, let us survey the chapter briefly in order to get the over-all picture, and thus have the necessary background for the answers. This prophecy of the seventy weeks of years is one of the most fascinating and vital to be found in the entire prophetic Word. It deals with God's plan for the redemption of man, and foretells the time of the first advent of Christ, as the Messiah, also the time of His death, when He made a complete, vicarious atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world.

The seventy-weeks prophecy has to do with the Jews, the Holy Land, the Holy City, and the sanctuary—the nerve center, truth center, Temple center, and then the rejection center of the Lamb of God by His ancient people. Note the setting: Darius the Mede


was on the throne. Daniel was praying and interceding with God concerning the tragic condition of His back-slidden and disobedient people, and the desolation of Jerusalem and the sanctuary (verses 3-19).

1. Daniel 9 the Key that Unlocks Chapter 8.—The prophetic symbols of Daniel 8:2-14—namely, the "ram" as Medo-Persia, the "goat" as Grecia, and the "exceeding great" horn as the terrifying power that would succeed, which was Rome—had all been explained by Gabriel, the celestial messenger, in verses 15 to 26. That is, all except the symbolic time element involved in the 2300 days, with the events marking their close and the time of their beginning.

Because of Daniel's sudden illness as the vision of chapter 8 was being explained to him, Gabriel had been unable to explain this remaining time feature—the 2300 days of verses 13, 14, and 26. The dread prospect of the terrible persecution to come upon the people of God evidently caused the aged prophet suddenly to faint and become ill (verse 27). So the explanation broke off precipitately at that point.

This unexplained portion, it will be observed, pertained to the "sanctuary and the host," which were to be "trodden under foot" for 2300 "days" (evenings mornings), with special events to occur at their close (verses 13, 14, 26). It involved a persecuting power that was to stand up against the Prince of princes and that was to practice and prosper against the people of God, but that would finally be broken without hands.

This revelation profoundly impressed the prophet and, as noted, might well have been the cause of his illness. Chapter 8 closes with certain questions still unanswered.


Later, as Daniel meditated on the vision and its relationship to the condition of his people, he pleaded earnestly with God for the termination of Israel's captivity and their return to Palestine. His prayer brought a speedy answer, for Gabriel was sent to bring him comfort and to unfold the plan of God more fully.

Gabriel had previously explained to Daniel all but the time portion of the symbolic vision of chapter 8. Now he reappears to complete the explanation in literal terms (Dan. 9:21, 22) and to clarify this remaining part. The angel uses the arresting words, "Consider the vision." This expression provides the key to the explanation, for the term "vision" appears ten times in chapter 8. But it is to be noted that in Daniel 8 and 9 two Hebrew words, chazon and mar'eh, differing somewhat in meaning, are used in the original Hebrew text. In the English translations only one word, "vision," has been used to express these slightly variant thoughts, and as a result, the exact intent of the original has not always been perceived.

2. Term May Connotate Different Concepts.—The Hebrew words for "vision" may be significant. It is possible that when the word chazon is used, the reference is to the vision as a whole. On the other hand, where the word mar'eh is employed, the reference could be to the particular things seen and heard in the chazon.* One feature seen in the over-all chazon was the "two thousand and three hundred days" of
*The slight difference in the Hebrew words was indicated in a translation of the Bible in 1764 by Anthony Purer. Chazon he rendered vision," but mar'eh he translated as "appearance."


Daniel 8:14. This special scene is referred to as "the vision [mar'eh] of the evening and the morning" (verse 26).

When the angel Gabriel, "whom I [Daniel] had seen in the vision [chazon] at the beginning" (Dan. 9:21), returned to complete his explanation of the vision, he directed Daniel's attention specifically to the vision (mar'eh) when he said, "consider the vision [mar'eh]" (verse 23).

It will be remembered that according to Daniel 8:26, 27, it was the mar'eh "of the evening and the morning" that Daniel did not understand. It was not the vision as a whole, for all but the scene of the evening and the morning had been explained.

There can be no mistake as to this identification of "the vision." S. R. Driver, the noted critic (The Book of Daniel, 1936, pp. 133), recognized this, and wrote concerning "the vision at the beginning" (Dan. 9:21) that it refers to "viii. 16." The chapter 8 usage and the chapter 9 tie-in appears inescapable, and the identical theme of the two chapters becomes self-evident. What follows in chapter 9 is therefore not a new and independent vision, but is the continuing literal explanation of the symbolic "vision" of chapter 8.*

We would stress this point, that in chapter 9 Gabriel was not introducing a new line of prophecy. He was simply continuing and completing his interrupted explanation, picking up the thread just where he had

*Numerous Bible students recognize Daniel 9 to be a continuation of Daniel 8, and when commenting on "whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning (Dan. 9:21), refer back to Daniel 8:17, 27. Among these may be listed Chr. Wordsworth, T. Robinson, Matthew Henry, William Hales, Thomas Scott, F. C. Cook, The Cambridge Bible, the Critical and Exegetical Bible, etc.


laid it down in his previous appearance to the prophet, recorded in chapter 8. His last words, on the former occasion, had been to the effect that "the vision" (mar'eh) of the 2300 evenings-mornings was "true," and that the period involved was to extend over "many days," far into the future.

In the light of these facts, which seem to us to be conclusive, Seventh-day Adventists—along with many scores of scholars of former days—definitely believe that Daniel 9 furnishes the key that unlocks the time feature of Daniel 8—the 2300 year-days. To us the two chapters appear to be inseparable, and must be so understood if there is to be any explanation of the time feature of Daniel 8:14, 26.

Daniel 9 was obviously given to provide advance knowledge of the timing of Jesus' anointing as the Messiah—"Christ" denoting "anointed" in the Greek, and thus matching the Hebrew Mashiach—preparatory to His public ministry. And Keil, with many others, identifies mashiach nagid as Christ.* The allusion here is not to His incarnation or birth, but to His anointing at the time of His baptism, for it was then that He was anointed by the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:37, 38) and was manifest as the Christ, of Messiah. Thus Andrew said to his brother Peter, "we have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ ["anointed," margin]" (John 1:41).

*Numerous theologians through the centuries have recognized "Messiah the Prince," of Daniel 9:25, to be Jesus Christ our Lord. For example: In the Church Fathers, Clement of Alexandria (Stromata i. 21); Tertullian (Answer to the Jews 8); Origen (De Principiis); Julius Africanus, etc.; in the commentaries: Calvin, Matthew Henry, Clarke, Scott, and T. Robinson; Westminster Commentary, and Gray's Christian Workers' Commentary; and among expositors or translations: Newton, Wieseler, Delitzsch, Von Orelli, Fenton, Young, Knox, K.J.V., and Douay.


3. "Determined" Means "Allotted," "decreed'" "Cut Off."—Gabriel turns immediately to the time feature of the vision, and declares, "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people [the Jews] and upon thy holy city [Jerusalem]" (verse 24). The Hebrew word chathak, translated "determined," appears nowhere else in the Bible; consequently it is not possible to bring other Biblical usages of this word to bear on the present passage in clarifying its meaning. 

The 1832 edition of Gesenius gives the meaning of chathak as "determine," "to destine," and in Chaldee "to cut," "decide." But the 1846 edition renders it "to cut" "to divide," also "to decree," "to determine." The Student's Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary of 1914 gives "to cut, to decide, to determine, to decree," and Rotherham in his Emphasized Bible stresses the meaning "divide." He then proceeds to show that the seventy-week period was divided into seven weeks, sixty-two weeks, and one week. Still further usage is seen in Brown, Driver, and Briggs, A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament, page 367; compare Koehler and Baumgartner, Lexicon in Veteris Testamenti Libros, volume 1, page 343, giving schneiden ("to cut"), entscheiden ("to decide").

These three meanings—"to cut," "to decide," and to determine"—appear in the ancient translations of the Old Testament into Greek. The LXX, translated at Alexandria, probably in the second century B.C., gives chathak in Daniel 9:24 as ekrithesan, i.e., "adjudged," "determined." On the other hand, the Greek translation made by Theodotion in the second century A.D. (usually published in modern editions of the


LXX) renders chathak by sunetmethesan, to "cut off," "cut short." (See also Liddell and Scott, Greek-English Lexicon, vol. 2, p. 1726.) The Vulgate uses the verb abbreviare, "to cut short." Hitzig renders it "appointed"; others, "destined," or "apportioned."

The R.V. and the A.R.V. give "decreed," and the Preacher's Homiletical Commentary, as well as Strong in his Exhaustive Concordance, stresses the Chaldee meaning, "to cut off," or "to cut in pieces."

The various meanings of this Hebrew word have real significance. The seventy-week period was definitely "allotted," or "apportioned," to the Jewish people, during which time certain specific things were to be accomplished. And in God's plan this period was "decreed," or "determined," for this purpose. But the word chathak also has the meaning "cut off," as indicated in so many of the lexical authorities. The expression "cut off" is significant, for that which is cut off is "seventy weeks." This, of course, is time; so it is time that is "cut off." Just as a piece of material is cut off from a roll of material, might it not properly be said that the seventy-week period is cut off from a longer period of time?

This concept, in this particular case, is recognized by certain Biblical authorities. Barnes, when commenting on verse 24, states: "The meaning would seem to be, that this portion of time—the seventy weeks—was cut off [italics his] from the whole of duration, or cut out of it, as it were, and set by itself for a definite purpose." Still further, the Pulpit Commentary on this verse agrees with this thought, for it remarks: "It means 'to cut off.' It may thus refer to these weeks being `cut off' from time generally; hence 'determined.'"


With this recognition of the significance of the use of "cut off," we might well inquire, Is the seventy-week period "cut off" from time in a general or in a specific sense? We need to remember that in the symbolic vision of Daniel 8, reference was made to the 2300-day period. This was left unexplained. If Daniel 9 is the explanation of this unexplained portion of the vision, the explanation would inevitably have to deal with time. But the only prophetic time mentioned in the vision of Daniel 9 is the seventy weeks. Could we not logically conclude, then, that when Gabriel deals with the seventy weeks, or 490 years, he is explaining the first part of the 2300-days prophecy? This period (490 years) was allotted to the Jews with their sanctuary on earth; the remainder of the period (2300 years) would then reach into the Christian church period, with the sanctuary in heaven.

This concept—that the 490 years are cut off from the 2300-year period—seems to be the only consistent conclusion. That the seventy-week period is cut off from time is indicated by the two quotations just given. And the time from which it is "cut off" seems to be the period mentioned in the vision of Daniel 8, namely, the 2300-year period. William Hales (A New Analysis of Chronology, 1833, vol. 2, p.517) came to this conclusion over a century ago:

This chronological prophecy . . . was evidently designed to explain the foregoing [chapter 8] vision, especially in its chronological part of the 2300 days.


With this concept, scores of scholars in various communions in many lands, from the time of Johann Petri, of Germany, in 1768 onward, were in full but independent agreement.

4. Seventy "weeks of Years" Indicated by Context and Usage.—The word translated "weeks," in Daniel 9:24, is shabu'im (singular, shabua'). Shabua' simply denotes a unit of seven, and may designate a period of either seven days or seven years. The intent must be determined by context and usage. In post-Biblical literature, also, the meaning "seven years" can be clearly demonstrated.* Hebdomas, the LXX translation of shabua', is used for a period of seven days and also for a period of seven years. The intent in the LXX must also be determined by context and usage. It is to be observed that this latter usage can be demonstrated in classical literature as early as the sixth century B.C. (see Liddell and Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, under hebdomas).

We are accordingly led to conclude, in harmony with a host of scholars, that in Daniel 9:24-27 the
*As to "weeks of years" note the following from Jewish writings:

1. On "he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week" (Dan. 9:27),  Midrash Rabbah reads " 'Week' represents a period of seven years."—
Lamentations, Soncino ed., p. 65, note 3.

2. On "seventy weeks are determined" (verse 24), the Talmud reads, "This prophecy was uttered at the beginning of the seventy years captivity in Babylon. From the restoration to the second destruction is said to have been 420 years, making in all 490, i.e., seventy weeks of years."—Nazir 326, Soncino ed., p. 118, note 6.

3. On "he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week" (verse 27), the Talmud says, " 'One week' in Dan. ix means a week of years."—Yoma 54a, Soncino ed., p. 254, note 6.

4. On "seventy weeks"—i.e., seven times 70 years—J. J. Slotki states, "the cryptic phraseology may have been suggested by the seven-year cycle of Lev. xxv. The expression 'week of years' occurs in the Mishnah (Sanh. v. 1)."—Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, p. 77.

5. Isaac Leeser writes, "Ancient Jewish writers thought that the second temple stood 420 years, which, with the 70 years of the Babylonian captivity, make 490." —The Twenty-four Books of the Holy Scriptures (1853), on Dan. 9:24, 25, p. 1243, note 47. Leeser also refers to Rashi and other commentators as recognizing "year-weeks" (note 48). On the "threescore and two weeks" (verse 25) Slotki says, "Jerusalem will be a fully restored city during a period of 434 years."—Op. cit., p. 78.


prophet used shabua' to designate a period of seven literal years. The following are, to us, compelling reasons:

a. Shabua' occurs six times in Daniel 9:24-27. In each case the noun is without qualification. Elsewhere in the book of Daniel shabua' occurs only in chapter 10:2, 3. In these latter references the meaning is clearly "a period of seven days," for the verses are describing Daniel's fast—obviously of three literal weeks. But it is to be particularly observed that shabua', as here used, is qualified by the word yamin, "of days," which is indicated in the K.J.V. margin as "weeks of days." Now the very fact that Daniel, the inspired writer, felt that qualification was necessary when merely a week of seven days was indicated, surely suggests that when he used the word without qualification, as in Daniel 9:24-27, he meant a period of seven years. And the LXX follows the same pattern, in this respect, as does the Hebrew. It has hebdomas standing alone in Daniel 9:24-27, but qualified by "of days" in Daniel 10:2, 3. The distinction and the intent are obvious.

b. It has been noted (see Question 24) that a characteristic feature of symbolic prophecy is to give the component time periods, not literally, but in symbolic form. And it has been further demonstrated that Daniel 9:24-27 is a continuation of the literal explanation of the symbolic vision that was begun in Daniel 8:19-26. Now, inasmuch as Daniel 9:24-27 is a portion of the literal explanation of the symbolic vision, we would logically expect the time elements likewise to be given in literal terms. Such is the case if shabua' is here given the obvious meaning of "seven years."


It is generally agreed among Jewish, Catholic, and Protestant, scholars alike that if shabua' on Daniel 9:24 has the meaning "seven years," then seventy shabu'im clearly indicates a period of 490 years.

5. Subdivisions of a Single Over-All Unit..—There is first a general statement of the length of the period, and then the particulars of the manner of accomplishment. The seventy weeks, collectively, was divided for emphasis onto three unequal segments—7 weeks, 62 weeks, and 1 week, giving a total of 70. An important development or event was connected with each part. These, we believe, were but subdivisions of a single chronological unit, the three parts following one another without a break. (Our reasons will be developed on Question 26.)

Note the situation: Jerusalem was on captivity and the sanctuary, or Temple, in ruins. Then came the "commandment," or issuance of a series of decrees, to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. According to Ezra 6:14 this commandment involved three progressive and interrelated decrees, given on sequence by Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes.* That of Cyrus (who gave the order simply to restore the Temple) was issued on 537 B.C.; that of Darius Hystaspes (who confirmed the order and continued the work of Temple restoration) was probably given on 519 B.C.; and finally, the climactic decree went forth on 457 B.C., on the seventh year of Artaxerxes Longimanus, who sent Ezra to Judea with new privileges and prerogatives. (See the accompanying diagram on page 280.)
*It took the three decrees—of Cyrus, of Darius, and of Artaxerxes—to implement the "commandment" of God (Ezra 6:14). But when 457 B.C. came, the "commandment" of God was complete. We consequently believe that 457 B.C., the seventh year of Artaxerxes, is the beginning date of the prophetic period referred to in Daniel 9:24.


The Temple was finished on 515 B.C., on the sixth year of Darius (Ezra 6:15). But it was not until 457 B.C. that the authorization was given for the complete restoration of the city. This looked forward to the Jewish state's receiving full autonomy, with provision for enforcing its own laws—subject, of course, to the overlordship of the Persian Empire (Ezra 7:11-26). It therefore took all three decrees, and particularly that of Artaxerxes, to complete and to constitute the "commandment" or purpose of God.*

The initial seven weeks (or 49 years) saw the streets and the walls of Jerusalem rebuilt. The additional 62 weeks (or 434 years) reached to the time when Messiah should appear. This 62-week period was, in contrast, a rather quiet or silent stretch of years, including the time between Malachi, last of the prophets, and John the Baptist, herald and baptizer of the Messiah. It was, significantly, a period when there were no special prophetic communications from God to the people.

But the initial seven weeks of years, together with the 62 weeks, were to be considered as an uninterrupted chronological unit of 69 weeks (Dan. 9:25), and were to be without a break or gap. That is a total of 69 "weeks" of years (making 483 years) leading up to the final week of seven years, in the midst of which Messiah would be "cut off."
*As to 457 B.C. being the seventh year of Artaxerxes, and therefore the determinative date, see Siegfried H. Horn and Lynn H. Wood, The Chronology of Ezra 7 (1953). (The detailed support for this date will appear under Question 27.)


Click for a Diagram of the 70 weeks in a new window.


The 483 years (69 "weeks"), it will be seen, reach to the anointing of Jesus as the Messiah by the Holy Spirit at His baptism (Luke 3:21, 22). We believe that He began His public ministry in A.D. 27, following His anointing (Mark 1:14; Luke 4:18; Acts 10:38; Heb. 9:12). But the seventy weeks of years were not to close until the atoning death of Christ had occurred (see Section 9), resulting in six specific developments—indicated by the six consecutive clauses of verse 24. These were: (1) the Jews were to finish their transgression through the rejection of Jesus as the Messiah, (2) the Messiah was to make an end of sin offerings, (3) He was to make reconciliation for iniquity, (4) He was to bring in everlasting righteousness, (5) the vision was to be sealed or authenticated, and (6) the most holy was to be anointed.

But it was "after" the 69 weeks of years—yet within the last or seventieth week of years—that Messiah would be "cut off," which is the focal point of this prophecy. And we believe that when our Lord ascended into heaven, and the Holy Spirit descended as the signal of Christ's inauguration as heavenly Priest, there remained not one of these specifications of Daniel 9:24 that had not been fully accomplished.

As recognized by many Christian scholars, Jesus began His public ministry at the very beginning of the final or seventieth week of years, declaring "The time is fulfilled" (Mark 1:15). And in this final "week" of years, thus begun, He confirmed by His life and teachings, and ratified by His death, the everlasting covenant of grace God had made with the human family. Because of His death, resurrection, and ascension in the "midst" of the seventieth week, He did not remain


on earth during the second half of the seventieth week. But His message and mission continued to be preached for a little time (possibly three and a half years) to the Jews in Jerusalem by the first evangelists. Thus Israel's day of grace continued for a short space, and the seventy weeks ran their allotted course.

6. Messiah "Cut Off" by Violent Death.—The precision of the closing events of the seventy weeks is most impressive. The confirming of the covenant characterizes the seventieth week, with the cutting off of the Messiah "in the midst of the week." And even the place, or city, where the atonement was to be made is here revealed. Messiah the Prince, or the Anointed Prince* (Dan. 9:25; compare Acts 10:38) would come, not as a glorious conqueror and emancipator, but would be "cut off" (karath)** by a violent, vicarious death (compare Isa. 53:8). This is the word commonly used for the death penalty. This was "not for himself" (Dan. 9:26)—it was a substitutionary death. However, the margin reads, "and shall have nothing."*** It would be by judicial decree, or mob violence. And this would be in the "midst" (chasi) of the week (verse 27).

*We agree with Keil (C. F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Bible Commentary on the Old Testament, The Book of Daniel the Prophet, pp. 354, 355, 360), that there is only one who is at the same time both priest and king, after the order of Melchizedek (Heb. 5:6-10; 6:19, 20).

**The Hebrew word karath appears fully 180 times on the Old Testament. In most instances it is rendered "cut off," such as "evildoers shall be cut off" (Ps. 37:9), the "seed of the wicked shall be cut off" (Ps. 37:28; see also verses 9, 34, 38); also "destroy" (Ex. 8:9; 1 Kings 15:13) and "perish" (Gen. 41:36).

***On the clause "and shall have nothing" (Dan. 9:26, margin), many Hebrew scholars agree that the meaning is: He shall then possess nothing—no people, no place, no recognition no kingdom. He shall be deprived of everything. (Thus, Calvin, Ebrard, Kranichfeld, Kliefoth, Junius, Gaebelein, Morgan, Scofield.) Other renderings are: (1) "not for Himself"—but for others (Vitringa, Rosenmuller, Willett, Havernick, Bullinger); (2) "shall have no adherents" (Auberlen, Grotius, margin); (3) "there shall be none to help Him" (Vatablus); (4) "there shall not be to him"—no city, sanctuary, kingdom, or people (Pusey); (5) "it is not to Him"—His place as Messiah, which was not accorded Him (Keil). How well this accords with the declaration that He "came unto his own, and his own received him not" (John 1:11).


The Messiah was cut off by man for man. Such was the means whereby this prophecy was to be fulfilled.

And "midst," we believe, is punctiliar, designating a point at which something is to happen—that something being the death of Jesus Christ the Messiah, which we understand occurred in the spring of A.D. 31, just 3½ years after His anointing and the beginning of His public ministry. Even if A.D. 30 be taken as the crucifixion date, it is still in the middle of this last week of years. Jerome's Vulgate reads dimidio hebdomadis ("in the midst of the week"). That is likewise the rendering of the K.J.V., Ray, Boothroyd, Sawyer, Spurrell, Young, Rotherham, Knox, Rheims-Douay, and A.R.V., as well as Luther's German and the French of Martin and Osterwald.* Even the R.S.V., which here translates the Hebrew word chasi, as "for half of," in other places translates the same word as "in the midst of" (Joshua 10:13; Ps. 102:24; Jer. 17:11).

More than that, at the moment of Christ's death as the Lamb of God, all the typical sacrifices met their antitypical fulfillment. Their death knell was rung. The supernatural rending of the Temple veil (Matt. 27:50, 51) was Heaven's declaration that the typical Jewish animal sacrifices and oblations had ceased to have efficacy, and had forever ended in the plan of God. The way of access into the presence of God was opened through Christ (Heb. 10:19, 20). Man could now approach God directly, without the intervention of a

*Those who hold that Christ was crucified on the "midst" of the seventieth week include Keil, Pusey, Kliefoth, Jamieson, Faucett and Brown, Auberlen, Strong, Havernick, Hengstenberg, Hofmann, Delitzsch, Wright, Boutflower, Young, and many others.


human priest, because Christ, and Christ alone, constituted the new and living "way" (John 14:6). The fulfillment completely met the specifications of the prophecy that said, "He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease" (Dan 9:27).

The terminus of the seventieth week was not singled out as important. It would come after all six specifications were fulfilled. Numerous scholars have held that the rejection of the Jews, as God's covenant people, did not take place until the Jews stoned Stephen, the first Christian martyr (Acts 7:57-60). General persecution broke out upon the church (Acts 8:1) as the seventy weeks of years came to an end. The prophecy declared that the covenant was to be confirmed during the "one week" (Dan. 9:27). During the latter half of this prophesied seventieth week, the apostles preached the sacrificial death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ at Jerusalem, until the climactic sermon of Stephen, under the Spirit of God, ended in his martyrdom, when the message of the Messiah was finally rejected by the Jews (Acts 7).

7. Scope of Sixfold Accomplishment.—Mention has been made concerning the prophesied six events that were to occur in the "midst" of that fateful seventieth week of years. These results all impinge upon the supreme event of our Lord's death (Dan. 9:25), and have to do with His first, and not His second, advent. The sacrificial death of the Messiah is foundational, and is the climactic event of this prophecy. And these six accomplishments grow out of that accomplished fact. Note them:


(1) To finish the transgression (verse 24). The thought in this phrase is that of bringing transgression to the full. The filling up of the cup of iniquity by the Jews was referred to by our Lord, who said, "Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers" (Matt. 23:32; compare Gen. 15:16). Their crowning sin was, of course, the rejection and the crucifixion of the Messiah. Thus the nation passed the line of no return. "Behold, your house is left unto you desolate," declared Jesus (Matt. 23:38). This fulfilled the Master's prophecy, "The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof" (Matt. 21: 43).

(2) To make an end of sins, or sin offerings (chatta'th; compare Lev. 4:3, 21, 24, 32). When the great offering was made on Calvary, and the Lamb of God, the true Sacrifice, was slain to take away the sin of the world (John 1:29), that brought to an end the ceremonial sin offerings. Daniel 9:27 says, "He shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease." The Temple veil was rent when Jesus died. At Calvary the ceremonial sin offerings ceased to have any efficacy, and soon they ceased entirely.

(3) To make reconciliation for iniquity. By the death of the Son of God, full sacrificial atonement was made for the redemption of a lost world. "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself" (2 Cor. 5:19). Peace was made through the blood of the cross (Col. 1:20). We were reconciled to God by the death of His Son (Rom. 5:10), and with the apostles we "rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received our reconciliation" (verse 11, R.S.V.).


(4) To bring in everlasting righteousness. The death of Christ did not immediately make all men righteous, but His sacrifice provided the means both to impute and to impart the righteousness of His sinless, holy life to the penitent sinner. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us" (Titus 3:5). And now we can "declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past" (Rom. 3:25). He came to "fulfil all righteousness" (Matt. 3:15). And in Him we have the assurance that righteousness shall soon fill the earth, and sin shall be banished forever, when He comes in glory with all His holy angels.

(5) To seal up the vision and the prophecy. This 70-weeks prophecy, focusing as it does upon the great sacrifice of our Lord, constitutes the very seal of all prophecy, for in Christ all history and prophecy converge. But in a specific sense this prophecy, this period of 70 weeks, constitutes the seal of the whole vision of the 2300 year-days. The sealing of the whole vision is additional evidence that the prophecy of Daniel 9 is a continuation of the literal explanation of the vision of Daniel 8.

(6) To anoint the most holy. The term "most holy" is used exclusively of things and places, and never of persons. Thus Dean Farrar (The Book of Daniel, 1895, p. 278) says: "Never once used of a person, though it occurs forty-four times." The K.J.V. in the margin reads, "most holy place." The rendering in the A.R.V., margin, is "a most holy place." Keil (op. cit, pp. 346, 348, 349) stresses the point that this is a "new temple," a "most holy place," the "establishment of the new holy of holies," where God's presence will be manifest.


And since Christ's ministry is in the heavenly sanctuary, not in the earthly, we take this to be an obvious reference to the anointing or consecration of the heavenly sanctuary preparatory to, or in connection with, Christ's coronation and inauguration as priest-king (Heb. 8:2; 9:23, 24)—following His atoning death, resurrection, and ascension, and preceding His mediatorial ministry in behalf of sinners.

In the earthly type, the tabernacle-sanctuary was also solemnly dedicated, and all its parts and instruments anointed with holy oil before the earthly services began (Ex. 30:26-28; 40:9). Similarly the great antitype, the heavenly sanctuary, was anointed and set apart for the heavenly services and the matchless ministry of Christ our great High Priest, in heaven itself (Heb. 9:23, 24). To this ministry He also was consecrated (Heb. 1:9; 7:28). So Christ came at the predicted time and accomplished the predicted things. He mounted to His mediatorial ministry by way of the cross, and was exalted as a Prince and a Saviour. Messiah the Prince (Mashiach Nagid), or "the anointed one" (Dan. 9:25, margin), refers, we believe, to Christ. From His crucifixion and resurrection He went to the seat of power at the right hand of God (Heb. 1:3; 8:1; 9:24; 12:2). The apparent defeat of the cross thus became a glorious, eternal victory.

This series of fulfillments, we believe, completely confirms this interpretation. In our understanding, the beginning and closing events of the seventy weeks of years thus harmonize with each other, and there is complete unity and harmony of all component subdivisions.


8. Seventieth "Week" Confirms Covenant.—Two different renderings of Daniel 9:27 are current. One states that "he shall confirm the covenant" (K.J.V.); the other, taking "week" as the subject, reads, "One week shall establish the covenant" (LXX, Theodotion's Greek version). There appears to be about equal linguistic support for each rendering—one Hebraist referring to it as a fifty-fifty division of determinative evidence. The historic Protestant position applies the "he" to Christ.

The other translation, "One week shall establish the covenant," is based on Theodotion's rendering. And such a rendering has definite scholarly support. Zockler (Lange's Commentary, on Dan. 9:27) lists Havernick, Hengstenberg, Auberlen, Dereser, Von Lengerke, Hitzig, Rosenmuller, and Hofmann as regarding "one week" as the subject. Keil (op cit., p. 365) states that "many" hold this view, and lists some of the same names. Young names two who hold this view (The Prophecy of Daniel, p. 208). And Biederwolf (The Millennium Bible, p. 223), while not accepting the view himself, admits, "Many authorities take the word 'week' to be the subject of the sentence—'one week shall confirm the covenant to many.' "

This last week, we believe, was to be marked by the supreme event of the ages—the redemptive death of Jesus Christ. That which was accomplished during that final "week," or hebdomad, confirmed the new covenant, and caused the cessation of the entire system of sacrifices appointed for Old Testament times, by the offering of Christ as the once-for-all and all-sufficient sacrifice for sins.


Christ is the one who confirms the new covenant by His death. So, irrespective of the subject—"he" or "week"—Christ is the central figure in that seventieth week. And whether the emphasis is on Christ Himself, who confirms the covenant, or whether it is on the week in which tremendous events occur, centering in Christ and the transaction of Calvary which confirms the covenant, Christ remains the central figure of verse 27. This position gives to the last week of the seventy the importance it should have, and which the prophecy as a whole demands, inasmuch as all the predictions of verse 24 depend on the concomitant events of that last fateful week.

Another fundamental point in the text is that the duration of this covenant would not be merely "for" one week, but that the covenant would be, and was, confirmed forever at a historic point in this last hebdomad. And this covenant—God's everlasting covenant—was confirmed by the blood of the divine Son of God (Heb. 13:20), when He gave Himself for the sins of the world "in the midst of the week."

9. Terminus of Seventieth Heromad.—Expositors have long sought for some incontrovertible event to mark the close of the seventy weeks of years of verse 27. Not a few have suggested the stoning of Stephen (Acts 7). But this is variously dated as occurring in A.D. 32, 33, or 34. Others have considered the conversion of Saul (Acts 9), or the declaration, "Lo, we turn to the Gentiles" (Acts 13:46). The timing of these episodes, however, is not at all certain. In this 


connection the question arises, Is it really necessary to pinpoint some event as marking the close of the 70 weeks? No specific event is predicted in the prophecy, and it would therefore seem that no historic event is actually called for to indicate its close.

Consider the form and emphasis of this unique prophecy. In the 70 "weeks of years"—totaling 490 years, as generally conceded—the stress is not placed on the individual component years, as such, but upon 70 units of seven years. These units are commonly called hebdomads (from the Greek hebdomas, a group of 7), or heptads (with the same meaning). There are, as noted, 70 of these hebdomads in the prophecy, clustered into three groups—7, 62, and 1—together constituting the 70. The prophecy deals with events to occur in each of these major clusters, or divisions: The 7 hebdomads (totaling 49 years) and the 62 (equaling 434 years) together make 69 hebdomads (483 years), before coming to the seventieth hebdomad, or last unit of 7 years. Young has interestingly emphasized that the prophecy is "besevened" into these 7-year units, with certain things to take place in each major segment.

When so regarded, it will be seen that all 70 hebdomads are fully accounted for when the events of the "midst" of the seventieth or last hebdomad took place historically. The fraction of the seventieth hebdomad remaining after the death, resurrection, and ascension of our Lord was then no longer a matter of material consequence. The terms of the prophecy called for a cluster of seven events (six in verse 24 and one in verse 27), all to take place in the "midst" of


the last, or seventieth, hebdomad. And these all occurred at the scheduled time. But, we repeat, no predicted event is called for to mark the close of the last unit. The first 69 hebdomads reach to the manifestation of the Messiah, and the seventieth—the one remaining hebdomad—is accounted for as a unit by the events clustering about Calvary, occurring in its "midst." If some event were to take place at midday on a specified day, and it occurred at noon on that precise day, would not the expectation be perfectly fulfilled, irrespective of what happened during, or at the close of, the remaining half of the day?

Thus it was, we believe, with the seventieth hebdomad, or unit of 7, in the series of 70. The exact dating, or starting point, of the first hebdomad of the entire series of 70 has been established as 457 B.C. That is vital. And the beginning year of the last hebdomad (A.D. 27) is likewise known. Having these known factors, there can be no mistake in calculating the time of the events to occur in the "midst" of the seventieth hebdomad, which is the focal point of the entire prophecy.

So, although various expositors (such as Hales, Tanner, Taylor, et cetera) suggest the martyrdom of Stephen as the closing event of the seventieth week and such might be quite reasonable—no historical mark is actually necessary, and possibly none can be pointed out with certainty. We therefore recognize the seventieth hebdomad as having its fundamental emphasis on the transcendent event of Christ's death, along with the six great corollaries, all clustered in the "midst" of the last hebdomad.


10. Further Woes to Fall Upon the Jews.—Next is foretold the appalling adversities to follow, after the close of the 70 weeks. These came as a consequence of the Jewish rejection of the Messiah, and involved the destruction of the Temple, the razing of the city of Jerusalem, the scattering of the Jewish people, and a succession of calamities sweeping over Jerusalem like a flood of desolation (Dan. 9:26). The exact time was not predicted, but the events would take place after the 70 weeks of years had closed, by A.D. 34. And it should be particularly noted that this tragic visitation was not one of the specified acts that were to mark the seventieth week—finishing the transgression, making an end of sins, making reconciliation, bringing in everlasting righteousness, sealing the vision, and anointing the most holy. It was the fearful aftermath and inevitable consequence of Israel's rejection of their Messiah.

The dread "abomination of desolation," spoken of by Daniel the prophet, was referred to by Christ Himself in His own great prophecy: "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand)" (Matt. 24:15-20; compare Mark 13:14). This is more fully explained by the words, "When ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh" (Luke 21:20). Hundreds of thousands were slain, tens of thousands sold into slavery, and war followed upon war.

11. Fearful Punishment Comes to Jerusalem.—Christ Himself, in foretelling the utter destruction and desolation to come upon Jerusalem because of her


mounting iniquities, declared, "Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation" (Matt. 23:36). These prophesied judgments upon Jerusalem and the Temple fell beyond the close of the 70 Weeks, but within the generation specified. They were the inevitable consequence of the supreme sin of Israel in their rejection of the Messiah. Thus their cup of iniquity was filled (verse 32). As our Lord looked into the immediate future, He wept over the city, saying:

If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation (Luke 19:42-44).

Beginning in A.D. 66, wars broke out between the Jews and the Romans, reaching their climax in A.D. 70. The Temple was no longer the dwelling place of God, and its earthly sacrifices had lost their significance. The Zealots were denounced by Josephus as the direct cause of the destruction (Wars iv. 3. 3). These sicarii ("assassins") desecrated everything that was holy, and their activities were characterized by atrocities, profanation, and violence. The consummation ended in utter destruction.

A few days before the A.D. 70 Passover, the Roman destroyers, under Titus, came to Jerusalem. They attacked the city and soon breached the wall. The city was overwhelmed. As the Temple precincts were entered, the daily sacrifices were stopped. The Temple was fired and destroyed, and the Jews ruthlessly 


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slaughtered—their blood, according to Josephus, flowing in streams down the steps. The desolater had come. The city and Temple were in ruins; the desolation accomplished.

12. Tie-In of 70 Weeks and 2300 Days—Because of the fact that the crucifixion of Christ in the midst of the week definitely proves the correct beginning of the 70 weeks, and because the 70 weeks were cut off from the 2300 days, we therefore hold that the two periods began synchronously at the full restoration of Jerusalem and the sanctuary-temple, and of the Jewish laws and government, in 457 B.C. Numerous other expositors have taken 457 B.C. as the determinative date. The late Dr. James Strong, of Drew Theological Seminary, English translator and reviser of Zockler (Lange's Commentary, on Dan 9:24-27), says: "The only 'command' answering to that of verse 25 is that of Artaxerxes Longimanus, issued in the seventh year of his reign, and recorded in the seventh chapter of Ezra, as Prideaux has abundantly shown, and as many critics agree."*

To this scores upon scores of scholars in various lands and of many faiths, from the time of Johann Petri, of Germany, in 1768 onward, were in full but independent agreement. (See historical evidence presented in Question 27.)
*Funck, Nigrinus, Bullinger, Cocceius, Sir Isaac Newton, Cappel, Horch Bengel, Petri were among the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Reformation and post-Reformation leaders who took the seventh year of Artaxerxes date (457 B.C.).

Early nineteenth-century Old World writers include Prideaux. Faber, T. Scott, A. Clarke, Cuninghame, Mason, Brown, Fry, White, Cooper, Homan, Keyworth, Addis, Horace, Digby, Keith, Habershon, Bickersteth Causing. And New World early-nineteenth-century expositors include Boudinot, R. Scott, Livermore, Wheeler, Shannon, Tyng, Hinton. Among more recent scholars may be listed Jamieson, Faucett and Brown, Rule, Pusey, Auberlen, Blackstone, Leathes, Tanner, and Boutflower.

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