Daniel’s Seventieth Week – Daniel 9:24-27

 
I mentioned last week that I deliberately chose not to study all of Daniel’s seventy weeks at one time. I have my reasons: First, under the circumstances of last week, we might have lost our attentions by the time we reached the seventh week, long before we got to the seventieth. And then there is the fact that the first sixty-nine are very different in nature and purpose to the last week. We were also able to take care of some of the preliminaries such as the six point purpose for Gabriel’s visit. We also looked at the interpretational problem of the “weeks” – meaning weeks of years, rather than days.

One thing that I didn’t deal with thus far is the first seven weeks.
“Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.” These seven weeks are a period of 49 years, but why are they separated from the sixty-two weeks? I can’t tell you the specific reason, something which lays only in the heart of Almighty God, but when we temporarily leave out the mention of the “threescore and two weeks,” we tie together the seven weeks and the street and wall being built in troublous times. It is believed by most fundamentalist scholars that this first seven weeks refers to the time that was taken to get Israel re-established in their land, under Nehemiah and Ezra. And if you will remember the books of Nehemiah & Ezra you will recall that it was a struggle to get settled. The Syrians fought against the Jews tooth and nail, just as they have been fighting ever since. Nehemiah and his friends had work with a sword in one hand, or at least on their hip, and with a trowel in their other hand. And on a couple of occasions they were even forced to suspend their reconstruction labors in order to prove to the unbelievers that they had royal permission.

Following the initial seven weeks, sixty-two weeks passed and then came the cutting off of the Messiah. That was 434 years after the rebuilding of the Temple or 493 years after Persian permission to start the reconstruction process. That the Lord Jesus died in the required framework of time, there is no doubt whatsoever. He was cut off – died – actually crucified, but not for Himself. His death was as a vicarious substitute for those whom He intended to save.

Now we come to the next chapter of this marvelous story.

Leading up to the seventieth week.
Verse 26 – “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary…” After the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus, as decreed by God, the city of Jerusalem was to be destroyed. “Christ came unto his own, but his own received Him not,” they certainly didn’t deserve NOT to be destroyed.

We need to notice, that this verse does not say that the coming wicked prince would destroy Jerusalem. No, the specific wording is that “the people of the prince that shall come” would do it. Getting ahead of myself just a little bit, it must be said that this wicked prince is the Antichrist. But the Antichrist was not in the world in Jesus’ day nor in 70 AD when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans. The Romans were/are the people of that Prince which is still yet to come.

Daniel began to learn about the Romans and eventually about the Antichrist back in chapter 2. In Nebuchadnezzar’s vision there was a reference to a kingdom of iron and clay which would be destroyed by the Lord before the establishing of God’s eternal kingdom. Then in chapter 7 Daniel was given a vision about four dreadful beasts. The fourth beast was described as incredibly evil and powerful. “The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.”

After that, in Daniel 8, even more information was given about this little horn – through another historical character, much like the eventual antichrist. “And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land. And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them. Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered. Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.”

Further explanation was given in that chapter. “The great horn that is between his eyes is the first king. Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power. And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.” This little horn of whom Daniel heard earlier, is the prince of the people who destroy the city and temple after the cutting off of the Messiah.

But the prophecy of Daniel 9:26 is not of the Antichrist, but of the people of the Antichrist. In 70 A.D. Titus, the Roman, swept down upon the land of Palestine, destroying the city and sanctuary, carrying away, once again, many of the people of Israel. That destruction was like the destruction of a tsunami – the scouring of the land like a flood. And between the time of Jesus’ crucifixion and Titus’ destruction of Israel, Jehovah turned his back upon Israel. For the last 2,000 years the Lord has been bringing in sheep from His other fold – His gentile fold. Unto the end of the war desolations are determined upon Israel.

But there is another verse in this prophesy.

The Seventieth week.
“And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” The first thing that we have to do here is determine to whom the pronoun “he” refers. Following the general rules of grammar, we step back to a previously mentioned person, and we come to the prince of the people who destroyed Israel. This one who confirms and breaks this covenant, is the little horn – the Antichrist. But then who is the “many” of this verse? That is open to conjecture, but there is no question in my mind that it is Israel.

For a period of one week, seven years, this wicked prince will establish a treaty with Israel. Another name for this 70th week is “The Tribulation.” The Antichrist will promise to protect Israel against her neighbors and much of the rest of the world. But in the midst of that week he will not only break his treaty, but will shame his former friends and personally desecrate their place of worship – the rebuilt temple.

Our Lord Jesus did some teaching about the tribulation and about the destruction of the temple under Titus. This was in Matthew 24 – “And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” Along with many other details Jesus said, “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:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:…. For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened…. Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” In Matthew 24:15 the Lord Jesus refers to the same incident which takes place in the middle of the week, at the 3½ year mark.

Gabriel and Christ Jesus aren’t the only ones to teach us about this seventieth week. The Apostle John in Revelation 11, speaking about other events of the Tribulation period refers to forty and two months – 3½ years. In Revelation 12 we are told about tribulation and some degree of divine protection for a time, and times and half a time – once again for 3½ years.

Then in Revelation 13 we have more information about the Tribulation and particularly the last half. “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear.”

To summarize things, there are/were 70 weeks from the time of Daniel, during which God will deal with Israel. The first 69 weeks expired at the crucifixion – they are obviously history. But at that time, the Lord broke the succession of weeks, delaying the last week for a very long time. After the crucifixion of Christ, Israel was put on the shelf, as thankfully, the Lord’s attention turned toward saving Gentile sinners. At the time which the Lord has determined to switch back to Israel, the redeemed of the Lord will be translated, and the seven-year Tribulation will immediately begin, lasting one week. The primary purpose of the Tribulation will be to bring Israel to her knees before her God. The problems and trials of that week will begin slowly, but at the middle point, the Tribulation will become the Great Tribulation. But the rest of the unbelieving world will not simply be witnesses. Those seven years will bring natural and supernatural disasters the magnitude of which Hollywood block-busters are made. And if you are not a child of God when the tribulation begins, then I’m afraid that I have no assurance that you will ever be given repentance and faith to be saved.

The Lord has been extremely gracious toward us in providing us this little key-hold through which we can look into the future. And for us that future is not very far away. And the application ought to be – repent before God, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.