The Timing Blocks of Daniel 9
(Daniel 9 Commentary – Part Five of Five)
“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.” (Daniel 9:25).
There are translation challenges relative to the timing in this verse. In the ancient Hebrew, a “Hebrew accent,” called an athnach, was between the words “seven” and “sixty-two.”
This led to translation variations in Greek (OG and Theodotion) and later in the Hebrew Masoretic text. One expositor actually inserts periods of time between the 7–62–1 weeks, spreading the “70 weeks of years” out over 673 years.
Context demands that we see a 490-year period broken into 49–434–7 contiguous periods or years. The Shemita cycles and Jubilees are then in evidence, tied to Daniel’s review in Daniel 9:1.
The question as to why it begins with a 7-week period or 49 years is important. The 70-year captivity related to desecration of Sabbatical years and, in turn, Jubilee years as previously discussed. This 7-week division is a reminder of the absolute need to reestablish that key provision in the covenant relationship. From that we can forward apply 62 plus 1 more Sabbatical cycles and 10 full Jubilees. The “seven” week is a divine 7 Shemita, then Jubilee, restorative reminder. The Jubilee is a symbol for the “covenant restored.”
At 7 plus 62 or 69 weeks of years, or 483 years, from the decree, is Messiah the Prince. There are in turn key “timing points” in the life of Christ. His birth, baptism and death are highlights that dates have been calculated for (with some minor variation). The evidence, as previously discussed, for a 458 B.C. decree noted here, would place the 483 years at 26 A.D. This would coincide with the time of Christ’s baptism. This is generally assigned as the point for the inauguration of His earthly “ministry.”
The word the KJV translates Messiah from is mashie, which actually means the “anointed one.” This would support the time of the descent of the Spirit/dove on Him (Luke 3:22). That would affirm the imagery when His baptism occurred.
“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; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined” (Daniel 9:26).
“And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself:” (vs 26)
“And after” (aharay) or following the 62 weeks the Messiah or “anointed one” will be cut off. Most expositors who see this as a Messianic prophecy tie this to the “anointed leader” of verse 25.
There is a difference of interpretation regarding whether this verse’s “after” alludes to the very end of the 62 weeks or a period following. Since in the previous verse it notes that the anointing of Jesus is at the time the 69 weeks ends, the word “after” or “following” applies to later.
First, the “anointed one” would come (v 25), then He would be “cut off.” His coming would be immediately at the end of the 69 sevens, but how much later He would be “cut off” is not yet specified. To this point, it is reasonable to expect that His death would ensue relatively soon. The next verse shows when.
“The verb translated ‘cut off’ is the common verb for ‘cut’ (karat). It can be used literally (Exod 4:25; 1 Sam 5:4; 1 Kgs 5:6; Job 14:7) or figuratively. The word is used figuratively for eliminating, removing, or destroying something (e.g., Deut 12:29; Josh 7:9; Ps 37:38), often specifically referring to being ‘cut off’ in death (e.g., Gen 9:11; Exod 31:14; Jer 9:21; 11:19). Here it is used as one of the Old Testament prophecies for the crucifixion of Christ (cf. Isa 53:8, which uses a synonym, gazar).”
Sixty-nine of the seventy weeks have passed when Jesus is anointed. The implication is now made that Christ’s death is during the 70th week. This will be shown in the next verse.
“not for himself” appears to be mischaracterized in the KJV. It is a Hebrew idiom meaning “and will have nothing.” The noun “ayin” is used and means “nothing.” This means: Christ’s earthly ministry from outward appearances seems to have been in vain. “All the disciples forsook him” (Matthew 26:56), “we trusted that it had been he” (Luke 24:21), “despised and rejected of men” (Isaiah 53:3). The Messiah seems to have had no kingdom or powerbase to wield authority when He died.
“and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary;”(vs 26)
This phrase has created many colorful to its interpretations. First, there is a couplet in verse 25 – “Messiah the Prince.” In verse 26a, the “Messiah is cut off.” Finally, here in 26b, the “prince that shall come.”
In the phrase, “the people of the prince,” Archer has concluded that the wording is best translated, “the people of a prince who shall come will destroy both the city and the sanctuary.” That takes away the ambiguity of the Hebrew expression. First, we are dealing with the time the Messiah is “cut off.” Destruction comes because of apostasy of His people within the context of Christ’s death, after the 69 weeks!
Secondly, who are/were the “people of the prince”? They were the Jewish people – Daniel’s people. But how are they seen as the “destroyers?” Before we answer that, it is imperative to recall the metaphors that are being used, beginning with verse 24. Jerusalem represents God’s people, the temple, His church. In the context of being “cut off,” who cried for His crucifixion and proclaimed “his blood be on us and our children”? The Jewish people (Matthew 27:25).
It is even more pointed: “But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.... Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified” (Matthew 27:20, 22). Christ’s own people, the “people of the prince” destroyed their own theocracy, church, and forever lost the distinction of being God’s people!
- “Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof” (Matthew 21:43).
- “Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate” (Matthew 23:36-38).
“and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined”(vs 26)
The “end” refers to the final judgment against the “city” – God’s people and “sanctuary” – God’s church. The ultimate end is God’s wrath against apostate rebellion, which then includes the literal end to the city and temple.
“Flood” is a figure emphasizing the magnitude of the destruction (Isaiah 8:7-8, 28:2). In Daniel 11:10, 22, 26 and 40 it is both literal and figurative. That word “end” or qes is used twice. Contextually, this noun describes the finality of these two distinct missives.
- The end of the Jewish people, as God’s people, occurred at the Cross. It was such a curse that the designation as God’s “special people” (“the people of the prince”) terminated. Christ said that it would be given to “another nation.”
“When Caiaphas rent his garment, his act was significant of the place that the Jewish nation as a nation would thereafter occupy toward God. The once favored people of God were separating themselves from Him, and were fast becoming a people disowned by Jehovah. When Christ upon the cross cried out, ‘It is finished’ (John 19:30), and the veil of the temple was rent in twain, the Holy Watcher declared that the Jewish people had rejected Him who was the antitype of all their types, the substance of all their shadows. Israel was divorced from God. Well might Caiaphas then rend his official robes, which signified that he claimed to be a representative of the great High Priest; for no longer had they any meaning for him or for the people. Well might the high priest rend his robes in horror for himself and for the nation.”
- The desolation of Jerusalem as a city came in 70 A.D. when the temple was burned, never to rise again. That brought to an end the visible imagery of Israel’s center of God’s presence. This fulfilled the minor application of Matthew 24:15, Mark 13:14 and Luke 21:24: “Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the time of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled.” Then the New Jerusalem will come on the scene and eternity will have begun. A rise again of the Jewish temple or that nation as a people is not in prophecy. This would introduce another “gap” for the prophecy to be completed for spiritual Israel!
The phrase “unto the end of war desolations [plural] are determined” means that they are decreed. The setting portrays that God has foretold this outcome by prophetic decree. An end will come to Daniel’s people – it is a divine prophecy. Though God’s people are given the opportunity to repent and give up sin, the Jewish nation will cease. Desolation is the ultimate end. Nothing is left. That word (desolation) is used often in Daniel 8–12. Its use ties to abominable acts. It is God’s final executive judicial act:
||Sin against Sabbath
It will occur – divine decree
God’s reaction – “abomination”
God’s reaction – “abomination”
God’s reaction – “abomination”
To transgression of 8:13
The first part of the next chapter deals with continued imagery of this mareh vision. The “probation” answers Daniel’s prayer for mercy and restoration. The picture of a Messianic death and loss of divine favor of His people gradually sank into his mind. In Daniel 10:1 he distinctly notes that the meaning of this mareh vision was finally understood. But – not until he prays again for three weeks and has a second encounter with Jesus (10:2-9). Verse 1 is a summation of what occurred after verses 2-9. “I understand the vision [mareh].”
As in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21, all this imagery is of a minor application to the Jewish people. These prophecies fast forward to earth’s final history. That will be seen in the next verse!
“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” (Daniel 9:27).
It would have been best to divide this verse into two verses after the word “cease.” Let’s analyze further.
To understand this continuing flow of thought, one must contextually refer to the previous verse. The graph, once again, outlines the structural timing of events.
Here is where speculative conclusions have led to inappropriate “gaps” in chronology that unfortunately has opened up “gaps” in understanding.
We already know that at 483 years Jesus was anointed (that would be 26–27 A.D.). Also, His death came after that – fulfilled within the gospel stories. Within that context we have moved into the last week of years. This is the final Sabbatical cycle of the 70. All are couched in a covenant restoration theme! And – that is exactly how this verse begins.
“And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week:”(vs 27)
The antecedent of “he” is “prince.” This prophecy notes that Jesus, in the final week of redemptive history, will “confirm” the covenant. “Confirm” is gabar. It is in the hiphil tense that is causative. Paraphrased: “He will cause the covenant to be confirmed/affirmed” during this last week (cf. Psalm 12:5). The covenant is a “transaction” between God and man. Initially, the Messianic part was in view during Daniel’s prayer. Then a decreed promise by heaven in Gabriel’s message was given (vs 24).
This was all based on the blood of the Cross – when the Messiah would be “cut off.”
“And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words” (Exodus 24:8).
“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant” (Hebrew 13:20).
The promise of the completion of that covenant was given in 9:24c: “and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” The prophecy was timing fixed but people conditional. That is where the next few words are so elevating.
Messiah the Prince affirms the covenant (berit) completion with “many.”
“‘Many’ does not imply a limited atonement. Rather, it points to the messianic covenant as one that will include many peoples from many nations, not just Israel. Similarly … [rabab], ‘many,’ occurs five times (Is 52:14, 15; 53:11, 12 [twice]) in the fourth Suffering Servant Song (Is 52:13–53:12) and designates the beneficiaries of the Servant’s sacrificial atonement and resurrection. Jesus alludes to those verses in Isaiah and Dan 9:27 when he speaks of giving his life as ‘a ransom for many’ (Mt 20:28) and of his blood ‘poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins’ (Mt 26:28; see also Rom 5:15).”
This fulfills Jeremiah’s prophecy: “And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” (Jeremiah 31:34). This will “finish sin and atone for iniquity” – but conditioned upon Gabriel’s imperative action by God’s people.
- “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised)” (Hebrews 10:19-23).
- When that relational condition is met, the everlasting covenant is activated.
“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more” (Hebrews 10:16-17).
“with many for one week” (vs 27)
The covenant completion is accomplished during that 70th-week period. All is to be finalized in that last week or seven years. But there is a unique caveat:
- Jesus completed the divine portion of that covenant agreement in the first three and a half years of that week.
- Man did not.
- There remained three and a half years for the ratification of its provisions promised in Hebrews 8 and 10.
That means that when the Messiah was “cut off” or died it would have been in the middle of that week and the clock would have been stopped because God did not have a holy people who would help vindicate His character and finish the covenant agreement. Only at a later time, when a “tarrying time” (Appendix I) ends, could those three and a half years be completed.
That is why Revelation 10 and 11 are such vital eschatological documents. Angel Jesus, in future tense, prophesies that “time will soon be no longer delayed” (Revelation 10:6). The next timing prophecies are in 11:2-3 – three and a half years! That is when the 490-year prophecy is completed and the holy covenant, redemptive bond is final. As we have now seen, there is a gap in time till the purpose of this prophecy is completed, called a “tarrying time”: “For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry” (Hebrews 10:36-37).
“and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease,”(vs 27)
The imagery of a major terminus is in view. When did all the sacrifices end? When did all the oblations of cereal and wine offerings cease? When type met antitype at the Cross. At Calvary came the plaintive cry that reverberated throughout the universe: “It is finished” (John 19:30). At that moment a visual fulfillment of the end of a Holy and Most Holy Place came:
- “And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom” (Mark 15:38).
- Through Jesus, man had direct access to God’s throne, and we could legally call God “our Father.”
- The “family of God” was assured – but still awaited the completion of that final week, when man’s part would consummate.
A “holy people,” who would vindicate the character of God (qodesh nisdaq – holiness adjudicated – Daniel 8:14) was still pending. Understanding that tie means everything to a balanced grasp of end-time prophecy.
“When the loud cry, ‘It is finished,’ came from the lips of Christ, the priests were officiating in the temple. It was the hour of the evening sacrifice. The lamb representing Christ had been brought to be slain. Clothed in his significant and beautiful dress, the priest stood with lifted knife, as did Abraham when he was about to slay his son. With intense interest the people were looking on. But the earth trembles and quakes; for the Lord Himself draws near. With a rending noise the inner veil of the temple is torn from top to bottom by an unseen hand, throwing open to the gaze of the multitude a place once filled with the presence of God. In this place the Shekinah had dwelt. Here God had manifested His glory above the mercy seat. No one but the high priest ever lifted the veil separating this apartment from the rest of the temple. He entered in once a year to make an atonement for the sins of the people. But lo, this veil is rent in twain. The most holy place of the earthly sanctuary is no longer sacred.”
Christ rendered the Jewish theocracy and all its ordinances obsolete. Paul struggled with Judaizers who couldn’t let go of these types, especially with the Galatians and Colossians.
- “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross … Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ” (Colossians 2:14, 17).
- “But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain” (Galatians 4:9-11).
A “new way” to the very portals of heaven had been opened. Gabriel now fast forwards to the apostasy once again. Repeating: It would have been best if this last part were even a new verse. This “desolations time” is reminiscent of destructive concepts in Daniel 8, 11 and 12. Already, the rebellion of the Jewish people has been predicted (vs 26). A desolating curse was to be on those people. Now something else is foreseen:
“and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation,”(vs 27)
The Hebrew phrases here are difficult. The words in the first phase, “overspreading of abomination,” are literally “and on the wing of the detested thing.” To best understand this, it is helpful to go elsewhere, where similar phrases are used in Daniel.
- “They shall place the abomination that maketh desolate” (Daniel 11:31).
- “The abomination that maketh desolate” (Daniel 12:11).
Putting all the expressions together, the NAS and NET translations capture this essence best: “on the wing of abominations, will come one who destroys.”
This still could allude to the desolation that lay ahead for the Jewish people in 70 A.D. But a greater issue is opened. Gabriel already noted that a “transgression would lead to desolation” (8:13). He also made clear that that would come at the “time of the end” – at the “appointed time.” Jesus also noted these issues related to a dual prophecy for 70 A.D. and the time when He comes the second time (Matthew 24:15-23, Mark 13:14-20, Luke 21:20-24).
For those assuming it was historical to Christ’s day, He pointed to Daniel to describe the abomination of desolation: “It is important to observe that this reference to ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ or ‘of desolation’ (as the Greek actually puts it), conclusively proves that Jesus himself regarded the fulfillment of the prophecy in Daniel as yet future rather than as having been completely realized in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, as the Maccabean date hypothesis supposes. This means that a genuine theological or doctrinal issue is at stake here; for if the hypothesis of complete fulfillment by Antiochus is correct, as many liberals insist, it raises a real question as to whether God the Son was mistaken in his understanding of prophecy and the theological interpretation of the OT.”
These “wings” bring to mind the swiftness of an eagle or falcon. The “wing” symbol is used in the Old Testament for swiftly attacking armies (Isaiah 8:8; Jeremiah 48:40, 49:22; Ezekiel 17:3, 7). This means that when the abomination, known to be forced dishonor of the Sabbath, comes, it occurs swiftly.
“The agencies of evil are combining their forces and consolidating. They are strengthening for the last great crisis. Great changes are soon to take place in our world, and the final movements will be rapid ones.”
Since Gabriel, here in chapter 9, has already described the Jewish rebellion, we are now fast forwarded to the desolation messages in Daniel 8–12 that solely refer to the end of time! This desolation relates to the “consummation” or final end (wead-kalah) of the 70 weeks of years. When is that? Daniel 12 tells us that the three and a half years would end with the deliverance of God’s people and a special resurrection.
Contextual evidence combining these chapters mean there will be a holy people – a remnant – who will be saved – and all detestable things (sin) will end. “For though thy people Israelbe as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness. For the Lord GOD of hosts shall make a consumption, even determined, in the midst of all the land” (Isaiah 10:22-23).
The abominations that are in view reflect the horror from the antichrist detailed in 11:30-45. Because he “commits abominations,” desolation “(God’s final executive curse) will come. “Abomination” is God’s reaction to something He wants mankind to see as filthy or loathsome (Hosea 9:10, Nahum 3:6). It will come out of Rome.
“and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate”(vs 27)
This phrase is best rendered “until the full/final end (kala) comes, pouring out desolation.” This is at the consummation or Second Coming (the contextual period Jesus declared in His Matthew 24 discourse for Daniel!).
During this terrible period of earth’s history God has “decreed” (determined) or ordered that the abominations will have an end. Insubordination will last only until God’s wrath is poured out on the rebels. That is described as a flood of judgment. It brings total destruction – desolation (7:9-11, 26; II Thessalonians 2:8; Revelation 19:19-21).
The latter part of verse 27 is seen as the very end of time when the work of the antichrist ceases.
- “He shall be broken without hand” (Daniel 8:25).
- “He shall come to his end, and none shall help him” (Daniel 11:45).
All this is at the “time of the end” just prior to the consummation (8:17, 12:4, 9). It is a “pre-determined end.”
That is when the final glorious victory of Christ will come in.
A literal end to the temple services came in the rending of the curtain at Christ’s death and the actual temple in 70 A.D. (fulfilling Mark 13:3). The curse goes even deeper. That city, in spite of a large Jewish presence, is today occupied by Muslims, Christians and Palestinians. On the temple mount is one of the most important mosques in Islam – the Dome of the Rock. That fulfills “Jerusalem will be trampled by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:24)! First literal, then spiritual, when a holy people – a remnant – emerges.
Deeper, however, are these prophecies. The Jewish theocracy not only was built on types and figures to define the plan of redemption and a messianic restoration, it prefigured the inauguration of a holy kingdom, with saints as citizens.
The prophecies open to the student elements of the final conflicts between good and evil. The “players,” the spiritual issues, the battles and God’s final victory are all choreographed. But of greatest value to God’s final remnant are the timing prophecies that add a fourth dimension to our understanding. Within that framework an element of urgency is given, leaving any preparation delay totally void of any excuse.
Many assume that the 490-year prophecy ended in 33 or 34 A.D. A direct calendaric counting would seem to confirm that date(s). But an analysis of the purpose of the prophecy is directly associated with specific “events.” This amazing narrative describes the end of redemption. The Jews as a nation ceased to be a chosen people before Calvary.
“The sheep gate was before Christ, and the path which led to the temple, and for centuries the victims had been conducted thither for sacrifice. The lambs that had been slain had been a representation of the great anti-typical sacrifice that in a few hours would be made for those who rejected his grace and compassion, the refusers of his offers of mercy. The only-begotten Son of the Infinite God would be led through the sheep gate as a lamb to the slaughter, while through the priests and rulers and through the common people would be manifested satanic attributes. For a few moments the Son of God stands upon MountOlivet, expressing the intense yearning of his soul that Jerusalemmight repent in the last few moments before the westering sun shall sink behind the hill. That daythe Jews as a nation would end their probation. Mercy, that had long been appointed as their guardian angel, had been insulted, despised, and rejected, and was already stepping down from the golden throne, ready to depart. But, O, that the rejecters of God’s mercy, full of zeal to sustain themselves in their own way, might yet turn from their man-made inventions, repent, and seek reconciliation with God! The shadows of twilight are beginning to gather, and, O, that Jerusalemmight know the things that belong unto her peace! But now the irrevocable sentence is spoken, because ‘she knew not the time of her visitation.’”
The gospel first went to the Jews, then outward (Acts 1:8).
“Mercy was extended to them, and their probation was lengthened [since it ended at the Cross as a nation, this extension was for individual Jews to respond first to the gospel call], until three years and a half after the death of Christ, when the apostles declared: ‘It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you; but seeing you put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.’”
It is imperative to grasp the “tarrying time” concept (see Appendix I). It is a key clue to unlock the terminal clock of prophecy. When another “holy people” emerge, they will be called “saints,” and are first represented by the symbol of 144,000 individuals.
Franklin S. Fowler, Jr., M.D.; Prophecy Research Initiative © 2010
EndTime Issues…, Number 113, December 2, 2010
Steinmann, Andrew E.; Daniel (Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis),pp. 471-473.
Miller, Stephen R.; The New American Commentary, vol. 18 (Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1994), p. 266.
Steinmann, op. cit., p. 472
Miller, op. cit., p. 267.
Whitcomb, John C.; Daniel (Chicago: Moody Press, 1985), p. 132.
Gaebelein, Frank E.; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, vol. 7 (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI), 1984, p 116.
White, Ellen G.; The Desire of Ages, p. 709.
Steinmann, op. cit., p. 449.
White, Ellen G.; The Desire of Ages, p. 756.
Gaebelein, op. cit., p. 118.
White, Ellen G.; Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 11.
Archer, Gleason L., Jr.; quoted in Gaebelein, op. cit., p. 118.
Hunt, David; A Woman Rides the Beast; quoted in Steinman, op. cit., p. 476.
Miller, op. cit., p. 273.
Collins, John J.; Daniel (Fortress Press, Minneapolis, MN – 1993), p. 358.
White, Ellen G.; The Signs of the Times, February 27,1896(emphasis added).
White, Ellen G.; The Review and Herald, March 10, 1896(emphasis added).