Compiled from the writings of David Brandt Berg
The chapter opens with Daniel desperately calling out to God on the behalf of his people Israel, who at this time were captive slaves of the Persian Empire (about 538 B.C.; see verses 1–19).
“And while I was speaking, and praying, the man Gabriel being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation (worship). And he informed me and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding” (Daniel 9:20–22).
Daniel had been praying for God to save His city (Jerusalem) and His people (verse 19). The angel now appears to tell Daniel when and how God is going to save them. “Therefore” he says, “understand the matter, and consider the vision” (verse 23).
The actual prediction begins in the 24th verse and continues to the end of the chapter, verse 27. As in the other Daniel prophecies, we will first give the prediction and follow it with the interpretation.
Vision: “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy” (Daniel 9:24).
Interpretation: This word that’s translated “weeks” here in the King James Bible is the Hebrew word “shabua,” which literally means “seven.” Therefore, a little better translation of this would be “seventy sevens,” instead of “seventy weeks.”
As we proceed to read and understand the prophecy and its fulfillment, it becomes evident that these seventy sevens are seventy sevens of years, with each “week” representing a period of seven years, for a total of 490 years.
“Thy people,” Daniel’s people, were God’s people. So he says that as far as the history of God’s people is concerned, they’ve got seventy sevens yet to go to finish the transgression, make an end of sins, etc. As we proceed we will find exactly how this was to be fulfilled in seventy sevens.
Vision: “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks and threescore and two weeks (or 69 sevens): the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself” (Daniel 9:25–26a).
Interpretation: In 453 B.C., Artaxerxes Longimanus, king of the Medes and Persians, gave Nehemiah the commandment to go forth and rebuild Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:5). There were several other proclamations made by Persian kings to release the Jews from captivity and let them return to Israel to rebuild the temple, but the principal proclamation to rebuild the city of Jerusalem itself was made in 453 B.C.
The prophecy predicted that from the time of that proclamation unto Messiah the Prince shall be 69 sevens of years, or 69 times seven years, which is exactly 483 years. From 453 B.C., this would bring us to exactly 30 A.D., the very year of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ!
Though Jesus was 33 years old when He was “cut off,” modern historians date the birth of Jesus at 4 B.C., and his crucifixion in 30 A.D. This is because of a miscalculation on the part of the Catholic monk, Dionysius, who in the sixth century devised our present calendar system.
Therefore, Jesus actually began His ministry at 30 years of age (Luke 3:23), in the year 27 A.D., and was crucified, as we said before, in 30 A.D. So here we have the 69 sevens of years, or the 483 years, giving us the exact time of the Messiah’s crucifixion.
Now you notice that the prophecy divides the 69 weeks into two groups: one of seven weeks, and then 62 weeks. This was because the wall and city were built in the first seven weeks or 49 years. Then, after that, there were still 62 weeks, or 62 sevens of years, before the crucifixion of Christ.
It says, “Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself.” Isaiah, in another prophecy, tells why the Messiah was to be “cut off.” “For He was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken… when thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin my righteous servant shall justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities” (Isaiah 53:8,10–11; 750 B.C.). He died for us—not for Himself, but for the transgression of the whole world—for our sins.
When Jesus died on the cross in 30 A.D., He accomplished in Himself the promises of that 24th verse: He finished the transgression, made an end of sins, and made reconciliation for iniquity. As the apostle Paul said, “We were reconciled to God by the death of His Son” (Romans 5:10). And “He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Hebrews 9:26). He brought in “everlasting righteousness” through salvation (Romans 10:4).
Though Jesus accomplished all these promises in Himself, we as believers in Him do not fully possess them yet. We only have them now by faith, in the realm of the Spirit, and we will not possess them literally until Jesus returns.
For instance, it says that after “seventy weeks” the “vision and prophecy” will be “sealed up,” or completed. Paul said that now “we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come (Jesus), then that which is in part shall be done away” (1 Corinthians 13:9–10).
Therefore, we know that this seventieth week has not happened yet, because when it ends it will usher in perfection upon God’s people, which can happen only with the return of Christ. So this seventieth week is still in the future.
Vision: “Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined” (Daniel 9:26b).
Interpretation: After Jesus was crucified, do you know what happened to Jerusalem (“The city”) and the temple (“the sanctuary”)? In 70 A.D. the Roman legions came and burned Jerusalem to the ground, tore the temple down, and destroyed it! Over one million Jews were slain and 95,000 were taken as slaves.
Whether or not you agree with our interpretation of times and weeks, you cannot argue with the facts of fulfilled prophecy that show that the Messiah would come before the destruction of the temple and the city in 70 A.D.—40 years after Jesus’ death! This is only one of over 300 prophecies fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth, all written 4 to 15 centuries before His birth!
Micah 5:2, Isaiah 7:14 and 9:6 (750 B.C.) foretold that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem of a virgin, and was to be called “the Prince of Peace” who had been in existence “from everlasting.” His betrayal by Judas is seen in Zechariah 11:12–13 (500 B.C.) for “thirty pieces of silver”; His crucifixion in Psalm 22:16, 18 (1000 B.C.)—“pierced my hands and my feet”; and resurrection in Psalm 16:10—“will not leave my soul in hell.”
We still have that seventieth week yet to go, which will end with the second coming of Jesus Christ—this time not as a sacrificial lamb, but as a roaring lion to take over the world and rule it with a rod of iron.
Vision: He shall confirm the Covenant with many for one week (seven years): and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and 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” (Daniel 9:27).
Interpretation: Now we have that week that was left over, that seventieth week—which will be the last seven years of history.
This “he” that confirms the Covenant is the “prince that shall come,” of verse 26. His people, the Romans, destroyed Jerusalem. They were “the people of the prince that shall come,” who is the Antichrist, whose empire, according to other prophecies in Daniel 2 and 7, will be a revival of and continuation of the old Roman Empire in spirit.
This Covenant has to do with the city of Jerusalem, the rebuilding of the ancient Jewish temple that used to stand on Mount Moriah where the Dome of the Rock now stands, and restoration of the temple worship of blood sacrifice.
“In the midst of the week (at the end of 3½ years, leaving 3½ more) he shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease (in other words, stop religious worship), and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate.”
This ceasing of the “daily sacrifice” by the Antichrist is also predicted in Daniel chapters 8 and 11. In Daniel 8 it says, “by him (the little horn) the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down… (by) the transgression of desolation” (Daniel 8:11–14). Daniel 11:31 says, “Arms shall stand on his part, and they… shall take away the daily sacrifice, and… place the abomination that maketh desolate.”
This “Abomination of Desolation” is going to be the “Image of the Beast” or a demon-possessed idol of the Antichrist. It may have something to do with money. The monetary system itself is an idol; it’s the money god of mammon, an abomination of desolation which the world worships! Money, in a way, is the “image of the beast” of this world, the reflection of his power—the entangling idol of governments today. “Show me a penny. Whose image hath it?” They answered: “Caesar’s” (Luke 20:24).
According to Revelation 13, the present money medium will soon be replaced by a new “money” medium, a remarkable credit system in which every person in the world who belongs to the system will have a credit number, without which he cannot buy or sell (Revelation 13:7).
This number will be branded on each person: “a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads…that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the Beast (the world leader and his government), or the number of his name…for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred three score and six (666)” (Revelation 13:16–17).
Soon man will have a new monetary medium, and be branded by the Beast like cattle for the slaughter, and will be forced to worship the Beast and this image, or be killed!
The control center for this credit system will be the magical speaking Image of the Beast (probably the long-foretold super computer) which will be set up in the glorious holy mountain (Mount Moriah, Jerusalem) where the temple stood and the Mosque of Omar now stands. (See Daniel 11:45.)
Just look at how the world is being prepared for a mechanical god, an electronic brain, a computer deity, which they will then be willing to worship because it is their own creation, the work of their own hands. “They worship the works of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made” (Isaiah 2:8).
This idol of the Antichrist, this abomination of desolation, will be put right in the temple at Jerusalem to make the people worship it. They will also endeavor to do so in the very hearts of the people—the true temple of God, the spiritual temple of God.
They will succeed in those who knew Him not and were not truly His temple. But in His true temple, those true remaining believers, they will not set up the abomination, that worship of the Antichrist. As Jesus said, “The true worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in truth”—the temple of His Spirit, not the temple “at Jerusalem.” “And they (the true worshippers) shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand” (John 4:21–23; 10:29).
Vision: “Even unto the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate” (Daniel 9:27).
Interpretation: The Abomination will be placed in the temple in the midst of the week and will make desolate until the “consummation,” which in the Hebrew literally means “completion,” or the completion of the week.
Then, at the second coming of Jesus Christ, the wrath of God will be poured upon the desolate—those who have accepted the Antichrist as God and worshipped his image, which will bring desolation and abomination to all who believe in it.
Jesus said, “When ye shall see the Abomination of Desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet standing in the holy place where it ought not … then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:15,21 and Mark 13:14).
The first three and a half years of this dictator’s seemingly benign rule will be followed by three and a half years of a reign of terror called the Great Tribulation, under this demon dictator’s image and its false prophet, and an unparalleled worldwide persecution of both Jews and Christians!
According to the book of Revelation, it is during this time that the Gentiles will tread the Holy City under foot for “forty and two months”—“one thousand two hundred and threescore days”—while God’s witnesses shall prophesy in sackcloth with great power and wonders until they have finished their testimony. Then the Beast shall make war against them and kill them because their message has tormented those who dwell on the earth (Revelation 11:2–10).
The great red beast (Revelation 2:3) shall have power over all the earth for three and a half years, speaking great blasphemies and doing great wonders and miracles, so that all the world shall wonder after him and worship him, saying, “Who is like unto him, and who is able to make war with him?” (Revelation 13:4–8 and 2 Thessalonians 2:3–12).
The Antichrist and his forces will be all-powerful, so all-powerful they’re even going to think they can make war on God and His people—and that’s where they’re going to lose! God is going to protect us and keep us, at least a lot of us, if not most of us, supernaturally, miraculously, powerfully in many ways, and the message will get out all the more, in spite of everything they do! Then when it looks like we’re going to be really wiped out, Jesus comes and saves us—a happy ending to the story.
For then, Jesus said “immediately after the tribulation of those days” (at the consummation or completion of Daniel’s seventieth week), “then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven … 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 the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven” (Matthew 24:29–31; Mark 13:27).
Here at the end of this seventieth week we have the glorious second coming of Jesus Christ to “gather together” His church—the true believers. This gathering together involves first the resurrection of those saints who have died, and then the transformation of those believers still alive at His coming, both of whom, at that time will receive immortal bodies.
“For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God… (and) them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him” when He comes.
“The dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:14–17).
Copyright © March 1981 by the Family International