538 BC - Daniel’s Vision of Seventy Weeks of Years: His Confession of Prayer for Himself and Israel
1 In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans;
-This vision was seen about a year after the one in Daniel chapter 8. The unique glory of this chapter and of this prophecy is that this alone foretold the time of the Messiah’s appearing and the very year of His crucifixion. This chapter will detail Daniel’s third vision, the seventy weeks of years (490 years), and their application to Israel.
2 In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.
-This seventy years has nothing to do with the seventy weeks of years which Daniel will see in the vision in the latter part of the chapter (verses 24-27). The information of this verse did not come about through visions but through the Scriptures which God had already given to Jeremiah. Daniel read the revelations of Jeremiah. By thoroughly studying this prophecy, he understood the number of years of exile. The information of seventy years of captivity followed by a restoration is recorded in Jeremiah 25:11-12; 29:1, 5-10; 2 Chronicles 36:21.
3 And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:
-Daniel was seeking God for the deliverance of Israel from this seventy-year captivity as was promised by The Lord. His prayer was based upon the “books” i.e., the Bible (Leviticus 26; 2 Chronicles 36; Jeremiah 25; 29).
4 And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;
-There is a reference here to Deuteronomy 7:9 from which the latter clause is quoted verbatim. This particular chapter in Deuteronomy exhibits God’s love for Israel and hence, as that love is His plea, Daniel appeals to it. As well, one should now note the evidence of careful acquaintance with the preceding Scripture.
5 We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments:
-Daniel includes himself in this confession of wrongdoing. “…even by departing from your precepts and from thy judgments:” defines what sin is. It is departing from the Word of God. As it was then, so it is now. It is summed up in the word “rebellion.” And rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft.
6 Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.
-Judah had suffered seventy years of captivity because she would not listen to the one true prophet, Jeremiah, who was raised up by The Lord. They, rather, heeded false prophets.
7 O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee.
-“…but unto us confusion of faces,…” refers to shame. Sin always brings shame, and only God can take it away.
8 O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee.
-The Lord will only accept from a truly repentant heart i.e., “…we have sinned against thee.” because all sin, in one way or the other, is directed against God.
9 To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him;
-Mercy will always be shown and forgiveness will always be tendered if the individual, irrespective as to what has been done, will only humble himself before God.
10 Neither have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets.
-Once again, the Word of God is held up as the guideline for all living. It is called “…the voice of the LORD, our God,…”
11 Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him.
-When a curse is promised for certain action, it will be done according to God’s Word, just as reward is granted for obedience.
12 And he hath confirmed his words, which he spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem.
-God will always confirm His Word and curse those who sin and bless those who obey (Galatians 6:7-8). His attitude in this respect does not change from the Old Covenant to the New. That we are presently under grace, and God does not look at sin as He once did, is a facetious idea indeed. God’s attitude toward sin has never changed, and in fact, cannot change.
13 As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth.
-The idea of this verse is Judah would not repent, although repeatedly warned before the judgment. They also would not repent after the judgment. “…and understand thy truth.” Means that the truth here is extended to its fullest meaning, God’s supreme reality. God, being God, implies necessarily that every word of promise or threatening He utters is true. Veracity and faithfulness are equally involved in Jehovah being God.
14 Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the LORD our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice.
-The idea is what the Lord had done is the right thing to have done, and His righteousness is vindicated in judgment on sin that refuses to be repented of.
15 And now, O Lord our God, that hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten thee renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly.
-The phrase, “…and hast gotten thee renown, as at this day;…” is an exact quotation from Jeremiah 32:20 as in the original text. The short phrase “thy people” tells us that Israel, even in apostasy and dispersion, was considered the chosen people of God in the sense of the promises made to the patriarchs and prophets of old, they still fit this category. However, this designation has to do only with the promises and covenants and in no way specifies salvation.
16 O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us.
-In effect, Daniel is asking that the anger of The Lord which, has been poured out for the last seventy years on Jerusalem and your people, be abated. The appeal is made to God’s righteousness because now the seventy years were nearing their end, and God’s righteousness is involved in the time not being exceeded.
17 Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake.
-Daniel is calling The Lord to the petition of the psalmist where Asaph said, “Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.” (Psalm 80:3) This has reference to the blessings of God.
18 O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies.
-God’s blessings are not given because we deserve them because in fact, we do not.
19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.
-Daniel repeatedly uses the title Adonai in saying, “O Lord, hear;…” These short sentences give a feeling of intensity to the prayer suitable to the circumstances.
Gabriel’s interpretation of the Vision of the Seventy Weeks
20 And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God;
-Daniel declared that Jerusalem has been called by God’s Name and has been chosen by God. Actually, it will be the capital of His eternal kingdom on earth (Psalm 2:6; 48:2; 87:2; 102:16; 132:13; Isaiah 2:2-4; Ezekiel 48; Zechariah 14).
21 Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.
-Once again, Gabriel is sent to Daniel’s side. The phrase “…about the time of the evening oblation.” referred to 3 p.m. which was the time of the evening sacrifice. However, this does not imply that those offerings were made in Babylon, but simply that, through the nearly seventy years that had intervened since the fall of Jerusalem, the sacred hour had been kept in remembrance and possibly as one consecrated to prayer.
22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.
-“...to give thee skill and understanding.” refers to the future of Israel and last-day events.
23 At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.
-The study of Bible prophecy was not ,for Daniel, a mere intellectual entertainment but moral and spiritual nourishment.
24 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.
-“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people…” actually means seventy sevens which translates into 490 years. This period of time has to do with “…thy people and…thy holy city,…” referring to the Jews and Jerusalem. The Second Coming of Christ and their acceptance of Him will finish the transgression. “…to make reconciliation (atonement) for iniquity,” refers to the fact that Israel will not only accept Christ at the Second Coming but will also accept what He did for us at Calvary. One can well imagine this moment, for they are the ones who crucified Christ. The phrase “…to anoint the most Holy.” has to do with the building of the Millennial temple even as described in Ezekiel Chapters 40-48 of his book.
25 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.
-If one is to notice in this Scripture, the seventy weeks of seven years is broken up into two periods. The one shall be seven weeks, which is 49 years, and the other will be three score and two weeks, which is 434 years totaling 483 years. “…that from the going forth of the commandments to restore and to build Jerusalem…” is the beginning of this 490 year period. However, from that time until it was actually finished was some 141 years. Actually, the clock stopped and started several times in this 141-year period, totaling some 49 years when the work was truly in progress, comprising the first seven weeks of years (49 years). The second block of time started at the end of the 49 years and ended with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ which was 434 years. Combining, as stated, the 49 years with the 434 years, brings the total to 483 years. The third block of time, which we will study in the last verse, will be the last week of years, totaling 7 years, which will make up the Great Tribulation Period, concluding Daniel’s prophecy of 70 weeks of years. Again, it must be remembered that these 490 years did not run consecutively. There were stoppages, as stated, in the first 49 years, then there has been a huge halt of nearly 2000 years from the time that Christ was crucified, which has not concluded yet. In other words, the last week of years (the seven years) is yet to come.
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; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
-The phrase, “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off…” gives us the exact time, even the very year, that the Messiah would be crucified. The words “cut off” refer to His crucifixion. “…but not for himself,…” refers to Jesus dying for mankind and taking upon Himself the penalty for mankind. In other words, Jesus did not die for crimes He had committed, but rather for the crimes mankind had committed. “…and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary;…” refers to the Romans who fulfilled this prophecy in AD 70. However, the prince, as used here, actually refers to the antichrist who has not yet come but will come from among the ten kingdoms yet to be formed inside the Old Roman empire territory. The next verse proves this.
27 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.
-“And he shall confirm…” refers to the antichrist. The phrase “…and in the midst of the week…” refers to 3 ½ years, at which time, the antichrist will show his true colors and stop the sacrifices in the newly built temple. At that time, he will actually invade Israel with her suffering her first defeat since her formation as a nation in 1948. “…even until the consummation,…” means until the end of the seven-year Great Tribulation period. The phrase “…and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” refers to all the prophecies being fulfilled regarding the great suffering that Israel will go through the last 3 ½ years of the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21-22).
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Scripture is in BLACK FONT
Words of Jesus in RED FONT
Notes in BLUE FONT