DANIEL 9:24-27 (Matt Corbitt)
Daniel 9:24-27 is a prophetic outline regarding the future of the Jewish people and the state of Israel. The fulfillment of this prophecy takes place many years after Daniel’s initial vision. In its proper context, the vision outlined in the selected verses is God's revelation to Daniel concerning the exile of the Jews and their return to Palestine and national identity. Portions of the prophecy have come to pass: however the church age has caused a perceived disturbance in the chronological flow. This paper interprets the prophetic meaning of each verse in the selected material, providing the identity of Daniel’s audience and the holy city as well as meanings for specific prophetic phrases pertaining to Messiah, national desolation, the end of sin, and the provision and acceptance of salvation by the Jews.
“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.”
Who Does Daniel 9:24-27 Address?
While the bible was written for Christians today, it is important to note that not all scripture is written about or to the New Testament church. Most of the prophecies in the Old Testament were written to and for the Jewish people and Christians would be remiss to interpret them any other way. The prophecy delivered to Daniel by Gabriel in Daniel 9:24 is one such prophecy. Daniel prayed specifically for the Jewish people, and God responded specifically regarding the Jewish people. It is important to note that Daniel had no concept of Christianity, since Christendom would not occur for thousands of years. In context, Daniel 9:24 references his (Daniel’s) people and his (Daniel’s) "holy city", meaning the Jewish people and the city of Jerusalem, which were Daniel’s roots and heritage. It is important to remember that the Jewish people and the city of Jerusalem were still important to God and dear to His heart. Even backslidden, God still had a plan for restoration (Walvoord 1971, 220).
God’s Mercy and the Finish of the Transgression
God did not intend to leave Israel in their backslidden state. Verse 24 indicates that God intended their rebellions to end; there was a plan for restoration. "Piel" is the verb form of the root word "Kala". Kala means "to finish" as in to bring to an end or close. Verse 24 reads, "...to finish the transgression ..." Therefore, the meaning of "finish the transgression" means to bring to close the end of Israel's sinful and backslidden lifestyle (Walvoord 1971, 221).
The remainder of verse 24 speaks of salvation through God for the Jews. God places a specific time frame (seventy weeks) for the sin to end and to bring reconciliation and righteousness through Christ specifically for the Jewish nation. According to this passage, at the end of the allotted time, the prophecy would be fulfilled and the most holy would be anointed.
"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."
Christ and the Rebuilding of Jerusalem
The command to rebuild Jerusalem was given in 445 BC. The streets were actually rebuilt in 396 BC. (Walvoord 1971, 226)
The “Messiah the Prince” referenced in verse 25 clearly refers to Jesus Christ, though the Jews did not believe Him to be messiah. Isaiah calls him “the prince of peace” (Isaiah 9:6) and the Jews expected the Messiah to bring peace to their nation. In addition, the Jews were looking for only one Messiah and the only one who fits all requirements of messianic prophecy (including Daniel 9:25) is Jesus Christ.
"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."
Christ and the Great War
It is perhaps best understood that Christ gained nothing at the time of His crucifixion (Walvoord 1971, 230). This is perhaps the reason Christ referenced Psalm 22 just before His death. Christ, not for His sins, but for the sins of others, gave His life on the cross. "Messiah be cut off, but not for himself" is Daniel's expression of Jesus dying for humanity.
Christ is one of two princes mentioned in verse 26. The other prince is one that relies on an army to destroy Jerusalem. The phrase, “people of the prince that shall come" identifies Roman people who, along with their emperor, are hostile to the Jewish people (Walvoord 1971, 230).
This hostility culminates into a major battle that ends in great desolation. The desolation of the land of Palestine will continue till the “end of the war.” The ‘great war’ is purported to be Armageddon at which point Christ will re-establish Israel as a nation (AST 2015, 11).
“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.”
Tribulation: the Time of Jacob's Trouble
The last week of Daniel is known as the Great Tribulation. This time is generally accepted as being seven years long. The first three and one half years are not particularly bad for the Jewish people; however, things take a turn for the worst during the latter end of the allotted time.
Tribulation or "the time of Jacob's trouble" begins when the Anti-Christ reveals himself and makes a covenant with Israel, masking behind peace. This seven year time frame is considered the most desolate in the history of the Jewish nation. However, there are positive aspects that arise out of the tribulation. One such positive is the final acceptance by the Jews of Jesus as the Christ (AST 2015, 12).
The prophecy found in Daniel 9 illustrates God's love and favor toward Israel. Many of Daniel’s prophetic writings about the Jews and the ‘holy city’ Jerusalem have been fulfilled, lending credence to those that are still pending. Since the prophecy of Daniel, the Jewish people have indeed formed a nation again, although the time of the Gentile's is still evident. The church age is quickly coming to an end as the prophecy edges toward complete fulfillment.