DANIEL CHAPTER 9
DANIEL’S VISION OF THE SEVENTY WEEKS
In the first year of Darius son of Xerxes (538 B.C., the same year in which the events of Daniel 5 took place when Belshazzar was having his party and the handwriting appeared on the wall), who was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom (Babylon fell to the Medo-Persians)-- 2in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel (now in his mid 80’s), understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the Lord given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. (Daniel was reading what the Lord had revealed to Jeremiah, an older contemporary of Daniel in Jer. 9:2, 25:11-12 concerning Israel’s captivity in Babylon which lasted from 605-538 B.C. He understood that the 70 years of prophesied captivity were coming to an end and the people Israel could go back and restore Jerusalem.)
This is what the Lord says: "When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place.  For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you," declares the Lord, "and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the Lord, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile."
3So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting (fasting demonstrates Daniel’s attitude as he pleaded with God - rather than taking the time to eat. Prayer is clearly the position of a beggar coming into the presence of a king.), and in sackcloth and ashes. (This discovery sent Daniel to his knees in prayer for his people and we will see he begins pleading the promises of God.)
If we were to plead the promises of God, what would that look like?
1 John 5:14-15
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us--whatever we ask--we know that we have what we asked of him.
2 Tim. 1:7
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
A.C.T.S. – Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication.
4I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed:
ADORATION AND WORSHIP
"O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands,
CONFESSION OF OUR SINFULNESS
5we (Daniel includes himself among those who sinned against the Lord) have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. 6We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.
CONFESS THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD
7 "Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame--the men of Judah and people of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. 8O Lord, we and our kings, our princes and our fathers are covered with shame because we have sinned against you. 9The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; 10we have not obeyed the Lord our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets. 11All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you. "Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you.
Might we be seeing the judgments of God upon a nation covered with shame?
12You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing upon us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem. 13Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster (not merely the 70 years of captivity, much more prophetic judgment is to come. See Deut 28:64, 2 Chron 7:19-20) has come upon us, yet we have not sought the favor of the Lord our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth. 14The Lord did not hesitate to bring the disaster upon us, for the Lord our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him.
15 "Now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong. 16O Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our fathers have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us.
17 "Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, O Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. 18Give ear, O God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. 19O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name."
20While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the Lord my God for his holy hill-- 21while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice. (about 3:00 P.M.) 22He instructed me and said to me, "Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. 23As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore, consider the message and understand the vision:
The prophecy referred to as the “seventy weeks of Daniel” is recorded in Daniel 9:24-27. It establishes the timing of both the First and Second Coming of the Messiah. It clearly teaches the supernatural character of the Bible. It confirms that Jesus was the promised Messiah. It also teaches that a terrible time of “great tribulation” still lies ahead during that period of time known as Daniel’s 70th week. And as a result, this prophecy is often called the backbone of prophetic truth.
Daniel 9:24-27 "Seventy 'sevens'(One “seven” is seven years, therefore 70 x 7 = 490 years. Originally it could have referred to days, weeks or years, but hindsight and Dan 12:11, Rev 11:2,3 12:6,14 13:5 demonstrates it refers to years.) are decreed for your people (Daniel’s people - Israel) and your holy city (Jerusalem).
In other words, a specific period of 490 years have been marked out for the following six prophetic events related to Israel to be fulfilled.
- to finish transgression(Probably refers to the end of the apostasy of the Jews against God, specifically, to end the rebellion and rejection of Jesus as their Messiah. The Jews will open their hearts to Messiah before the 490-year period ends, at the Second Coming of Christ, before the Millennium.),
- to put an end to sin(Israel’s sin, missing the mark with God, will be ended when the Jews accept Jesus as the Messiah.),
- to atone for wickedness(to cover or reconciliation, especially for the nation Israel, through the death and resurrection of Jesus. The atonement occurred on the cross but has not yet been applied to the Jewish nation and will not until they accept Jesus as their Messiah.),
- to bring in everlasting righteousness (the return of the Messiah will bring in the Millennial kingdom for the nation after the 70 “sevens” are complete.),
- to seal up vision and prophecy(to fulfill the vision of the 70 weeks and to bring all prophecy concerning the nation Israel to its fulfillment. The prophecies of suffering have been fulfilled at the First Coming. The prophecies concerning the glory of the kingdom are to be fulfilled at the Second Coming.) and
- to anoint the most holy(if a place – anointing of the millennial temple, if a person – anointing of Jesus as the Messiah when Israel embraces him).
DUAL FULFILLMENT PUZZLE- These six prophecies for the nation Israel are still unfulfilled. The Jews are still in rebellion against God, they are still caught up in their sins, they are still refusing to accept the atonement for their iniquity, everlasting righteousness has not come upon the earth, all prophecy concerning the Messiah has not yet been fulfilled, and the most holy has not yet been anointed. Therefore, the 490 years are not consecutive and there MUST be a gap in the prophecy of the 70 sevens.
I also think some these promises were fulfilled in the first century – particularly the decree to finish transgression and to put an end to sin!
Hebrews 9:26-28 But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.  Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,  so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
THE FIRST COMING OF THE MESSIAH
25"Know and understand this: (In order to understand this prophecy, we are given a command to know the following.) From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One (Jesus the Messiah), the ruler (King Jesus), comes (the First Coming), there will be seven 'sevens,' and sixty-two 'sevens' (The amount of time elapsing between the start of the 70 sevens, and the cutting off of Messiah would be a total of 69 sevens or 483 years). It (Jerusalem) will be rebuilt with streets and a trench (moat or wall), but in times of trouble (Jerusalem was rebuilt during the first 49 year period by Nehemiah during times of opposition and distress).
The Babylonians began the destruction of Jerusalem in 606 and completed it in 586 BC. Daniel received this revelation almost 40 years later in 538 BC. However, the decree of Artaxerxes King of Persia, to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem did not occur until 457 BC. The starting point of the 490 years probably began when this decree to Ezra was issued in 457 BC and is recorded in Ezra 7:11-26 and Ezra 9:9. The Jews were authorized to launch a general rebuilding campaign, that included the temple, the city and the walls. An additional decree was also issued to Nehemiah to rebuild the walls in Jerusalem in 445 BC as recorded in Neh 2:1-8.
26After the sixty-two 'sevens,' the Anointed One(Jesus the Messiah) will be cut off (a clear reference to the crucifixion of Jesus in 32 AD) and will have nothing. (The Messiah came the first time at the end of 483 years and was crucified.)
Since the crucifixion in 32 AD and the destruction of the temple in 70 AD, there has been a ~2000 year gap, commonly called the church age, between the 69th and the 70th week. During this time the gospel is going out to the gentiles, until the gospel has reached every nation. The prophets of old did not know that there would be this prolonged intervening gap between the 69th and the 70th week. The prophets were like a person who looked down the corridor of history and saw two mountain peaks, seemingly pressed up against one another. The first mountain peak was the First Coming. The second mountain peak is the Second Coming. In reality, these mountain peaks were separated by a great valley which could not be seen. The valley represents the church age. In the future, this valley, this gap of time between the 69th and 70th week will be completed and Daniel’s 70th week will begin. At that time God’s prophetic clock will re-start and Daniel’s 70th week – the end times - will begin.
THE RISE OF THE ANTICHRIST
The people of the ruler who will come (the Antichrist is identified with the people of the Roman empire), will destroy the city and the sanctuary(Following the death of the Messiah, a prince of the Roman people will come and will destroy the city and the temple. Dual Prophetic Fulfillment: Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed the first time in 70 AD under the rule of Titus. The destruction of Jerusalem will occur again in the future under the reign of Antichrist). The end (of Jerusalem and the temple) will come like a flood (An overwhelming army of the Roman empire, Antichrist): War will continue until the end (in the last days), and desolations (due to wars and other forms of destruction revealed in the Book of Revelation) have been decreed.
WHEN WILL THE 70TH WEEK BEGIN?
27He(the ruler of the Roman people who will come, Antichrist) will confirm a covenant with many (of the Jews of Israel, and perhaps the surrounding gentile nations) for one 'seven'
When will Daniel’s 70th week begin? The catalyst, which will trigger the beginning of Daniel’s 70th week, will be a 7-year covenant between Israel and the Antichrist. Again, Daniel’s 70th week will begin when the Antichrist signs a seven-year peace covenant with the nation Israel guaranteeing her protection and safety from the surrounding nations.
THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION & THE SECOND COMING
In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering (At the beginning of Daniel’s 70th week, the Antichrist will allow the Jews to rebuild the temple and re-institute the Mosaic sacrifices. After the first 3 ½ years are completed Antichrist will double-cross the Jewish people. He will break the covenant and all sacrifices in the rebuilt temple will be stopped). And on a wing of the temple he (the Antichrist, now empowered by Satan, will march into the rebuilt temple and declare himself to be God. See 2 Thess 2) will set up an abomination that causes desolation (this idolatrous image of the beast will be set up in the temple and be the key event causing the desolation of the temple and the destruction of Jerusalem. Jesus referred to this event in Mt 24:15.) until the end that is decreed is poured out on him." (Toward the end of Daniel’s 70th week, Jesus will return the second time at the Rapture of the Church. Ultimately, Antichrist will be defeated at Armageddon and be thrown into the Lake of fire.)
The Bible also calls this seven-year covenant, a Covenant of Death. Isaiah, in a prophetic context of the end time, tells of Israel’s final apostasy and the pattern it will take.
Isaiah 28:15-16 You boast, "We have entered into a covenant with death, with the grave we have made an agreement. (We mistakenly believe) When an overwhelming scourge sweeps by, it cannot touch us, for we have made a lie our refuge and falsehood our hiding place." 16So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed.
Isaiah 28:18-19 Your covenant with death will be annulled; your agreement with the grave (a pact with sheol)will not stand. When the overwhelming scourge sweeps by, you will be beaten down by it. 19As often as it comes it will carry you away; morning after morning, by day and by night, it will sweep through."
The understanding of this message will bring sheer terror.
When the true identity of the Antichrist is revealed, they will understand what it means and it will bring sheer terror to the people. The signing of the covenant could occur almost overnight. The Jewish nation will think the covenant will be one of peace, safety and protection from the surrounding nations, but she will discover to her horror that the covenant of safety will be in fact a “Covenant of Death,” a “Pact with Sheol.”
The signing of the 7-year covenant may, or may not be, a conspicuous event which clearly identifies the Antichrist or when Daniel’s 70th week begins. So, in the beginning, his identity may not be as obvious as we would like. It may well occur behind the scene. But if we see a world leader signing a seven-year covenant regarding Israel’s safety, we should be alert to see if the birth pangs of the 70th week follow shortly. These birth pangs will be mild in comparison to what will follow during the second half of the week, the hard labor of the Great Tribulation.
THE APOSTASY – ISRAEL’S DEFECTION TO THE ANTICHRIST
The signing of the seven-year covenant at the beginning of Daniel’s 70th week in order to secure the nation’s protection also begins “The Apostasy.”
2 Thes. 2:3-4 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.
The Apostasy refers to Israel’s defection to Antichrist. Therefore, the apostasy is the total abandonment of God by the nation demonstrated by trusting in the Antichrist. Israel and the nations will embrace a counterfeit, Antichrist, abandoning and rejecting a covenant relationship with God and the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ. Many false christs and false prophets will arise showing great signs and wonders. The height of the apostasy will come at midpoint of Daniel’s 70th week when Antichrist proclaims to be God and demands worship leading many to actually bow down to him or his image. Deception and false teaching will increase until it culminates in the False Prophet and the Antichrist.
Matthew 24:23-24 At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it. 24For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect--if that were possible.
Their deception will be so convincing, it could almost, if it were possible (but it is not) to deceive the very elect. The Lord is clear with His warning to not go after them:
Luke 21:8 He replied: "Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am he,' and, 'The time is near.' Do not follow them.
Some in the professing church will apostate as well. They will rebel and revolt against God, and ultimately depart from the faith.
1 Tim. 4:1 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
Apostates deny the deity of Jesus. They also deny his humanity, atoning death and His Second Coming.
Jude 1:4 For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.
Be ready. Be prepared. Be watchful.
Matthew 16:1-4 (NIV)
1 The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven.
2 He replied, "When evening comes, you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,'
3 and in the morning, 'Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.' You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.
4 A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah." Jesus then left them and went away.