Study 6: Ariel Ministries’ Messianic Bible Study # 067:


by Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum

© 1985, 2005 Ariel Ministries. All rights reserved. This manuscript is for your
personal use only. No part of this manuscript may be reproduced in any form, except
in brief quotation in a review or professional work, without written permission from the publishers.
Email: Homeoffice@ariel.org • Website: www.ariel.org.

This manuscript is republished by special permission of Ariel Ministries.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Each item is linked for your convenience

INTRODUCTION
I. THE DECREE OF THE SEVENTY SEVENS – DANIEL 9:24a
II. THE PURPOSE OF THE SEVENTY SEVENS – DANIEL 9:24b
A. To Finish the Transgression
B. To Make an End of Sins
C. To Make Reconciliation for Iniquity
D. To Bring in an Age of Righteousness
E. To Cause a Cessation of Prophecy
F. To Anoint the Most Holy Place
III. THE PROGRAM OF THE SEVENTY SEVENS – DANIEL 9:25-27
A. The Starting Point of the Seventy Sevens – Daniel 9:25a
1. Four Possibilities
a. The Decree of Cyrus
b. The Decree of Darius Hystapus
c. The Decree of Artaxerxes to Ezra
d. The Decree of Artaxerxes to Nehemiah
2. Two Valid Options
a. The Decree of Artaxerxes to Nehemiah
b. The Decree of Cyrus
B. The First Sixty Nine Sevens – Daniel 9:25b
1. The Seven Sevens or Forty Nine Years
2. The Sixty Two Sevens or Four Hundred Thirty Four Years
C. The Events Between the Sixty Ninth and the Seventieth Sevens – Daniel 9:26
1. The Messiah Would Be Killed: Daniel 9:26a
2. The Destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple – Daniel 9:26b
3. Continuing War – Daniel 9:26c
D. The Seventieth Seven, The Great Tribulation – Daniel 9:27
1. The Firm Covenant – Daniel 9:27a
2. The Cessation of the Sacrificial System – Daniel 9:27b
3. Idol Worship – Daniel 9:27c
4. The Completion of the Tribulation – Daniel 9:27d

RECOMMENDED READING

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Seventy weeks are decreed upon your people and upon your holy city.

~ Daniel 9:24a ~

One of the more famous prophecies within the Book of Daniel is found in chapter 9, verses 24-27. It is here that God spells out the timetable dealing with events that will both precede the Messiah’s First Coming and follow it.

INTRODUCTION

Daniel 9:1-23 provides the introduction to the Seventy Sevens prophecy found in verses 24-27. The background is given in verses 1-2, where Daniel states that he had been studying the Book of Jeremiah as well as some other prophets such as Isaiah. He knew from the study of these prophets that the Babylonian Captivity was to be seventy years. He also knew that the seventy years were nearly up. That much of the prophecy he clearly understood. What he misunderstood about the prophecies of Jeremiah, Isaiah, and perhaps others was that he thought the Messianic or Millennial Kingdom would be set up following the seventy years of captivity. He also knew from these prophets that the prerequisite for the setting up of the Kingdom would be Israel’s confession of her sins. Assuming that the Babylonian Captivity would be immediately followed by the Kingdom, Daniel prayed a prayer of confession for Israel’s sins in verses 3-19.

In verses 20-23, the angel Gabriel was sent to correct Daniel’s misunderstanding about the setting up of the Kingdom at the end of the seventy years of captivity. Gabriel came to reveal to Daniel the program of God that would bring in the Kingdom. In a play upon words, he informed Daniel that it was not going to be seventy years, but seventy sevens of years before the Kingdom would be established.

For a more comprehensive understanding, this passage will be broken down phrase by phrase.

I. THE DECREE OF THE SEVENTY SEVENS – DANIEL 9:24a

One of the greatest tragedies in biblical interpretation is that the Hebrew word used here, shavuim, has been translated as weeks. That interpretation would require the use of the Hebrew word shavuot. The word shavuim simply means “seven” and could refer to seven of anything. The context must be studied to determine the content. Just as the English word “dozen” simply means twelve of anything such as a dozen apples or a dozen eggs. In this context, obviously, it must be a seven of years, because Daniel has been dealing with years. He has been counting up the seventy years of the Babylonian Captivity, assuming that, after seventy years, the Kingdom was going to be set up. Clearly, Daniel has been thinking in terms of years. In the Hebrew text, there is a play upon words. Daniel is told that it is not “seventy years” but that “seventy sevens of years” must pass before the introduction of the Kingdom. In this passage, then, it means seventy sevens of years for a total of 490 years. The angel is telling Daniel that a 490 year period is decreed upon the Jewish people.

Another thing to keep in mind is that a year in the Scriptures is not 365 days, as in our calendar. A year in the Scriptures is 360 days, with 30 days per month. This can be seen by comparing Scriptures. For example, by comparing Genesis 7:11 and 8:4 with Genesis 7:24, a period of five months is also a period of a hundred and fifty days. Thus, 150 days is the same as five months, with 30 days per month. What is true historically in the Old Testament is also true prophetically in the New Testament. For instance, Revelation 12:6 mentions a period of a thousand two hundred and three score days. While in Revelation 11:2-3 and 13:5, these thousand two hundred and three score days are the same as forty and two months. This makes it exactly 360 days to a year, twelve months to a year, with 30 days per month. Therefore, the Seventy Sevens is a period of 490 years.

The Hebrew word for decreed means “to cut off” or “to determine.” Throughout his book, Daniel has been dealing with the theme of the Times of the Gentiles, the lengthy period that began with Nebuchadnezzar’s destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. and will end with the close of the Tribulation and the Second Coming of the Messiah. Daniel was the prophet who was given lengthy and detailed revelation concerning the nature of the Times of the Gentiles, and it was Daniel who revealed that the Times of the Gentiles would undergo a history of four Gentile empires. In the Seventy Sevens passage, Daniel is told that a period of 490 years is decreed or is being cut out of the Times of the Gentiles to bring about the final restoration of Israel.

One final note concerns the center of the program of the Seventy Sevens that is decreed upon your people, Daniel’s people, the Jewish people, and upon your holy city, Jerusalem. The center of the program of the Seventy Sevens is specifically the Jewish people and the Jewish City of Jerusalem. A very important thing that must be noted is that the program of the Seventy Sevens has nothing to do with God’s plan and program for the Church. Rather, the Seventy Sevens program concerns Israel.

II. THE PURPOSE OF THE SEVENTY SEVENS – DANIEL 9:24b

to finish 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.

The purpose of this 490 year period that God has decreed upon the Jewish people is for the accomplishment of six things. The first three things are negative, undesirable elements that are going to be removed during the program of the Seventy Sevens. The second three things are positive, desirable elements, which are to be effected during the program of the Seventy Sevens. Indeed, the three positive elements are responses to the three negative elements. For example, the first negative element is responded to by the first positive element; purposes one and four go together. The second negative element is responded to by the second positive element; purposes two and five go together. Finally, the third negative element is responded to by the third positive element; purposes three and six go together, as well.

A. To Finish the Transgression

The first purpose is: to finish transgression. The word to finish is a Hebrew word that means “to restrain firmly,” “to restrain completely,” “to bring to completion.” The word transgression is a very strong word for “sin.” It is a word that literally means “to rebel.” In the Hebrew text, it has a definite article “the.” It is not merely to finish transgression, but to finish the transgression, to finish the rebellion. It refers to one specific act of rebellion, one specific act of transgression, to bring it to a finish, to bring it to completion. The one specific transgression in this context is the rejection of the Messiahship of Yeshua (Jesus). The finishing of this one transgression is seen in Isaiah 53:1-9 and Zechariah 12:10-13:1

In this first purpose, sin is to come under control so that it will no longer flourish; specifically, Israel’s sin of the rejection of the Messiahship of Yeshua. Israel’s national sin is now to be firmly restrained, to be brought to completion, so that it is no longer true. The same point is brought out in Isaiah 59:20 and Romans 11:26. The first purpose, then, is to bring to an end Israel’s national transgression: the rejection of the Messiahship of Jesus.

B. To Make an End of Sins

The second purpose is: to make an end of sins. The Hebrew word translated to make an end means “to seal up” or “to shut up in a prison house,” “to be securely kept,” “to be locked up,” “to be prevented
from roaming at random.” The Hebrew word for sins is one that means, “to miss the mark” and refers to sins in daily life. Sins, then, would be put to an end or taken away.

It is known, of course, that there will be sins in the Kingdom. The point of this passage is that, while there may be sin among the Gentile nations, in the Kingdom there will be no sin in Israel. This very same truth is taught in Isaiah 27:9; Ezekiel 36:25-27; 37:23; and Romans 11:27. This is also the point of the New Covenant in Jeremiah 31:31- 34, where Jeremiah clearly predicts that the day will come when all of Israel’s sins will be removed and all Israel will be saved, from the least to the greatest. It will not be necessary in the Kingdom for one Jew to say to another Jew, “Know the Lord,” for they will all know Him, from the least to the greatest.

The second purpose of the Seventy Sevens is to bring an end to sins in general in daily living in the nation of Israel. On one hand, He will deal with the one specific transgression, the rejection of His Messiahship; on the other hand, sinning daily in Israel will also cease.

C. To Make Reconciliation for Iniquity

The third purpose of the Seventy Sevens is: to make reconciliation for iniquity. The Hebrew word for reconciliation is a word that means, “to make an atonement.” This is the means by which the first and second purposes will be accomplished. The means by which Israel’s national sin of rejecting the Messiah will be removed and the means by which her daily sins will be removed is by atonement. The word iniquity refers to the sin nature. The program of the Seventy Sevens is a cleansing of Israel that will include the removal of all three things: first, the national sin of rejecting His Messiahship; secondly, sinning daily; and thirdly, dealing with the sin nature itself.

D. To Bring in an Age of Righteousness

The fourth purpose of the Seventy Sevens is: to bring in everlasting righteousness or more literally, “to bring in an age of righteousness.” This is the real meaning of the Hebrew word for everlasting. This age of righteousness is called the Messianic Kingdom or the Millennium. This is the same point made by Isaiah 1:26; 11:2-5; 32:17; Jeremiah 23:5-6; and 33:15-18.

The fourth purpose is to bring in an age of righteousness, to establish the Kingdom. Daniel thought the Kingdom would be set up immediately after the seventy years of captivity; now he is told that this will occur, not after seventy years, but after seventy sevens of years or 490 years.

E. To Cause a Cessation of Prophecy

The fifth purpose of the Seventy Sevens is: to seal up the vision and prophecy. The Hebrew word for seal up means “to seal up” or “to shut up,” “to cause a cessation,” “to bring completely to fulfillment.” The word vision refers to oral prophecy such as the prophecies of Elijah and Elisha. The word prophecy refers to prophecy found in written form in the writing prophets such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and in the twelve Minor Prophets. The fifth purpose of the Seventy Sevens is to cause a cessation of both oral and written prophecy, because the program of the Seventy Sevens will contain the final fulfillment of all prophecies. The function of all prophecies will cease at the Second Coming of the Messiah.

Because he is dealing with the Messianic Kingdom, another question is, “How is it that the Messianic Kingdom will fulfill all prophecies, since there are things concerning the time beyond the Kingdom or the Eternal State?” The thing to remember, however, is that the Eternal State is New Testament revelation; no Old Testament prophet ever saw beyond the Kingdom into the Eternal Order. From the perspective of the Old Testament and in light of the fact that no prophet ever saw beyond the Messianic Kingdom. When Daniel speaks about the sealing up of vision and prophecy with the Kingdom, he means that, insofar as Old Testament prophecy is concerned, everything will indeed be fulfilled.

F. To Anoint the Most Holy Place

The sixth and final purpose of the Seventy Sevens reads: to anoint the most holy. From the Hebrew, it should actually read “to anoint a most holy place.” It is not a most holy person, but a most holy place that is to be anointed. The most holy place is the Temple, not the First Temple of Solomon nor the Second Temple of Zerubbabel, and certainly not the Third Temple of the Tribulation. Rather, it is the Fourth Temple, the Temple of the Messianic Kingdom, built by the Lord Himself. It will be anointed as part of the program of Seventy Sevens.

III. THE PROGRAM OF THE SEVENTY SEVENS – DANIEL 9:25-27

A. The Starting Point of the Seventy Sevens – Daniel 9:25a

Know therefore and discern, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem.

As already stated in verse 24, the program of the Seventy Sevens not only concerns the Jewish people, but also the Jewish city of Jerusalem. Now Daniel is told that the Seventy Sevens will begin with a decree, one that involves the rebuilding of Jerusalem. The question is, “Which decree is this verse speaking about?” There are four possibilities usually given.

1. Four Possibilities

a. The Decree of Cyrus
The first possibility is the decree of Cyrus that was passed in 538-537 B.C. It is found in II Chronicles 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-4; and 6:1-5. Insofar as these three passages speak of it, it concerns the rebuilding of the Temple, but does not actually mention the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem.

b. The Decree of Darius Hystapus
The second possibility is the decree of Darius Hystapus passed in 521 B.C. and spoken of in Ezra 6:6-12. This is a reaffirmation of the Cyrus decree and also concerns the rebuilding of the Temple.

c. The Decree of Artaxerxes to Ezra
The third possibility is the decree of Artaxerxes to Ezra given in 458 B.C. and mentioned in Ezra 7:11-26. In this decree, permission is given to proceed with the Temple service, and it concerns only the Temple service.

d. The Decree of Artaxerxes to Nehemiah
The fourth possibility is the decree of Artaxerxes to Nehemiah that was passed in 444-443 B.C. and spoken of in Nehemiah 2:1-8. In its context, it is speaking about the rebuilding of the walls.

2. Two Valid Options

Although all of them in some way or another did contribute to the building of Jerusalem, only two are valid options: the first decree and the fourth decree. The first decree is the decree of Cyrus; the fourth decree is the decree of Artaxerxes to Nehemiah.

a. The Decree of Artaxerxes to Nehemiah
Most evangelical scholars today believe that the decree of which Daniel is speaking is the decree of Artaxerxes to Nehemiah. This was first popularized by Sir Robert Anderson, who wrote a book called “The Coming Prince.” Using a formula, he figured out carefully by counting off the number of years beginning with the decree of Artaxerxes to Nehemiah and terminating the 483 year period to the coming of the Messiah with the Triumphal Entry in A.D. 32. According to Sir Robert Anderson, this period stretched from March 14, 445 B.C. until April 6, A.D. 32.

However, Sir Robert Anderson made a few miscalculations. In light of the time of the Passover occurrences, it was impossible for the Crucifixion to have occurred in A.D. 32. Insofar as when the Passover occurred, there are only two options in that time span, and these would be A.D. 30 and 33. Later, Dr. Harold Horner wrote a book that corrected Sir Robert Anderson’s miscalculations, and he, too, begins with the decree of Artaxerxes to Nehemiah, beginning with March 4, 444 B.C. and terminating also with the Triumphal Entry on March 29, A.D. 33.

There are three problems with taking the decree found in Nehemiah to be the starting point. The first problem is that nothing in the Daniel passage requires the first sixty nine sevens to end with the Triumphal Entry. It only requires the period to end with the appearance of the Messiah at the First Coming. It is preferable to terminate the first sixty nine sevens with the birth of the Messiah rather than the Triumphal Entry. The second problem with the Artaxerxes-to-Nehemiah decree is that it is not really a decree. If Nehemiah 2:1-8 is read carefully, there is no decree. Instead, it only grants permission for Nehemiah to rebuild the walls. Building on the second problem, the third problem is that rebuilding the walls is not exactly the same as actually rebuilding the city.

b. The Decree of Cyrus
There are five reasons validating the view that the decree of which Daniel is speaking is the decree of Cyrus. The first reason is that this is a real decree; it is actually in the form of a decree.

The second reason is that this is the one given the same year as the vision of the Seventy Sevens. The year Daniel received the Seventy Sevens vision was the same year that Cyrus passed his decree.

The third reason is that this is the decree that is emphasized in Scripture. It was spoken of prophetically by Isaiah about 150 years before it happened (Is. 44:28-45:1, 13). In fact, Isaiah actually named Cyrus as the person who would issue this decree at least 150 years before it ever occurred. His prophecy is recorded in fulfillment four times: II Chronicles 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-4; 6:1-5; and 6:6-12. This is clearly the decree that is emphasized in Scripture.

The fourth reason is that the decree of Cyrus did include the rebuilding of the city. It is true that the four passages mentioned earlier did not actually mention the rebuilding of the city, only the rebuilding of the Temple. However, if Isaiah’s prophecies are taken literally, it would have included the rebuilding of the city. For example, Isaiah 44:28 and 45:13 clearly mentions that Cyrus would not only allow the Temple to be rebuilt, he would also allow the city to be rebuilt. Of course, it is silly to think Cyrus would allow the Temple to be rebuilt and then forbid anyone to live anywhere near the Temple by not allowing the city to be rebuilt as well.

The fifth reason that the Cyrus decree is the one of which Daniel speaks is because it is clear from parallel passages that the Jews did rebuild the city. In fact, they rebuilt the city before Nehemiah ever came to rebuild the walls. In Haggai 1:2-4, the Jews were already living in private homes in Jerusalem seventy years before Nehemiah arrived, even though the Temple itself had not as yet been rebuilt. Certainly they would not dare to rebuild Jerusalem if they did not have permission to do so. According to Ezra 4:12, the city was being built even in Ezra’s day, and he preceded the time of Nehemiah.

It is not possible within the scope of this manuscript to deal with the details and problems of Persian chronology. For those interested in these details, a highly recommended work is by Dr. David L. Cooper titled, “The Seventy Weeks of Daniel.” Dr. Cooper shows how the Seventy Sevens can begin with the decree of Cyrus and it still works out to the time of the birth of the Messiah. Thus, the first 483 years–the first sixty nine sevens–terminated with the birth of Yeshua.

B. The First Sixty-Nine Sevens – Daniel 9:25b

unto the anointed one, the prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks:
it shall be built again, with street and moat, even in troublous times.

The program of the Seventy Sevens is then subdivided into three units: seven sevens, sixty two sevens, and one seven. The first sixty nine sevens is a combination of the first two subdivisions: the seven sevens and the sixty two sevens.

1. The Seven Sevens or Forty-Nine Years

The first subdivision is seven weeks or seven sevens, which is a total of forty nine years. This refers to the forty-nine year period that it took to rebuild Jerusalem. In regard to the rebuilding of Jerusalem, it speaks of the city as being built again, with street and moat, even in troublous times. The first subdivision of the Seventy Sevens, then, is the seven sevens or forty-nine years during which time Jerusalem was rebuilt. Only after forty-nine years was the rebuilding process brought to completion.

2. The Sixty-Two Sevens or Four Hundred Thirty-Four Years

The second subdivision of the Seventy Sevens is threescore and two weeks or sixty-two sevens, comprising a total of 434 years. Insofar as this passage is concerned, there was no break between the first and the second subdivisions of the Seventy Sevens. The sixty-two sevens immediately followed the seven sevens, or the 434 years immediately followed the forty-nine years. Combining seven sevens and sixty-two sevens gives a total of sixty-nine sevens; or combining forty-nine years with 434 years gives a total of 483 years. A total of 483 years will transpire from the time that the decree is issued until the coming of the Messiah, the prince. Hence, the first 483 years of the 490-year period comes to an end with the First Coming of the Messiah.

The expression: unto the anointed one, the prince, does not point towards a Triumphal Entry but only points toward His appearance. Thus, the reference is to His birth, not to His Triumphal Entry. From the decree to rebuild Jerusalem to the birth of Yeshua would be a total of 483 years. Regardless of whether you take the decree to be that of Cyrus or the decree of Artaxerxes to Nehemiah, the first sixty nine sevens must come to a completion before the year A.D. 70.

C. The Events Between the Sixty-Ninth and the Seventieth Sevens – Daniel 9:26

And after the threescore and two weeks shall the anointed one be cut off, and shall have nothing: 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 even unto the end shall be war; desolations are determined.

After stating exactly how many years would transpire before the First Coming in verse 25, Daniel is now told of events coming between the sixty ninth seven and the seventieth seven.

1. The Messiah Would Be Killed – Daniel 9:26a

And after the threescore and two weeks shall the anointed one be cut off, and shall have nothing.

While there was no gap of time between the first and second subdivisions of the Seventy Sevens, there is a gap of time between the second and third subdivisions. Notice how verse 26a begins: And after the threescore and two [62] weeks, after the second subdivision, certain things must occur before the third subdivision begins in verse 27. When he says, “after the sixty-two sevens,” he means after the conclusion of the second subdivision of the Seventy Sevens and before the beginning of the third subdivision. This phrase clearly shows that a gap of time exists between the second and third subdivisions, that is, between the sixty-ninth seven and the seventieth seven. In this gap of time, three events are to occur.

First, the Messiah would be cut off, and shall have nothing. The expression be cut off means “to be killed.” This occurred in A.D. 30, approximately thirty five years after the birth of Jesus. Furthermore, it says: and shall have nothing. The noun may mean “nothingness” to explain His state at death or the Hebrew term may also mean “but not for Himself,” meaning He did not die for Himself, but for others. That is probably the intent of the passage. The first thing that is to happen in this gap of time between the sixty-ninth seven and the seventieth seven is that the Messiah would be killed, not for Himself, but for others.

2. The Destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple – Daniel 9:26b

the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood.

In the Hebrew text, the word people has a definite article; it is the people, a specific people, who are the subject of the action. In other words, it is not the prince that shall come who will destroy the city and the Temple, but rather, the people of the prince that shall come. The point of verse 26b is that the nationality of the people and the prince that shall come are one and the same. The prince that shall come in this context is the Antichrist of whom Daniel has already spoken in chapters 7 and 8. By saying the prince, Daniel uses the article of previous reference, because he has spoken of him in the previous chapters. The prince that shall come, which is still future, is of the same nationality as the people who will destroy the city and the Temple. After the Messiah is cut off, the city and the Temple will be destroyed.

This occurred in A.D. 70, forty years after the death of the Messiah. It is known from history who the people are. The people who destroyed the city and the Temple in A.D. 70 were the Gentiles of
Rome, the Romans. Since the Antichrist must be of the same nationality as the people who destroyed the city and the Temple, it is revealed in this verse that the Antichrist will be a Gentile of Roman origin. It has often been taught that the Antichrist will be a Jew, but the teaching of the Word of God is that the Antichrist will be a Gentile of Roman origin.

Then he says: and the end thereof shall be with a flood, meaning that the end of Jerusalem and the Temple shall be the result of a flood. Whenever the figure of a flood is used symbolically, it always refers to a military invasion. Jerusalem was destroyed by a Roman military invasion, first under Vespasian and then under Titus.

3. Continuing War – Daniel 9:26c

even unto the end shall be war; desolations are determined.

For the remainder of the interval before the start of the seventieth seven, the Land will be characterized by war. This has certainly been true throughout the history of the Middle East. As a result of the wars, desolations are determined, a reference to the state of the Land as determined or decreed by God.

D. The Seventieth Seven, The Great Tribulation – Daniel 9:27

And he shall make a firm covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation
to cease; and upon the wing of abominations shall come one that makes desolate; and even unto the full end,
and that determined, shall wrath be poured out upon the desolate.

The seventieth seven, last seven, is the same as the seven years of the Great Tribulation. These seven years are subdivided in this verse into two equal halves of 3 years each. Elsewhere in Daniel and in Revelation, they are given different descriptive terms. Each half is referred to in three different ways: sometimes as “1,260 days” (Rev. 12:6); sometimes as “forty two months” (Rev. 11:2-3; 13:5); and sometimes as a time, times and half a time (Dan. 7:25). In all three cases, they are equal to two 3 1/2 year periods comprising this seven year period.

The starting point of the first subdivision of seven sevens was the decree to rebuild Jerusalem. Since the second subdivision of sixty two sevens immediately followed the first subdivision, there was no need for a sign that signaled the beginning of the second subdivision. And since that left a gap of time between the record and the third subdivision, it was necessary to provide a sign that will inaugurate the third subdivision.

1. The Firm Covenant – Daniel 9:27a

And he shall make a firm covenant with many for one week.

The starting point of the seventieth seven is when he makes a firm covenant. The pronoun he in verse 27 goes back to its nearest antecedent: the prince that shall come in verse 26. The he who makes a covenant in verse 27 and the prince that shall come are one and the same person, better known in evangelical circles as the Antichrist. The prince that shall come, or the Antichrist, will make a firm covenant. He will make it firm; he will make it strong. The Hebrew word does not mean “to renew an existing covenant” or “to make an original one containing strong guarantees. Exactly what it will guarantee will be made clear in the next section.

The starting point of the seventieth seven of Daniel, the Great Tribulation, is the signing of a seven year covenant. It will not be the Rapture that will begin the Tribulation. The Rapture will come some time before the Tribulation starts. It may come just before or it may come ten, twenty, thirty years or more before the Tribulation starts. While the Bible teaches that the Rapture will precede the Tribulation, it never says that the Rapture begins the Tribulation. Rather, the event that begins the Tribulation is the signing of the seven year covenant.

Furthermore, it says that the covenant is made with many; it is not made with all, but with many. The Hebrew text uses a definite article meaning “the many.” This is the leadership of Israel who will be empowered to sign covenants of this nature. The covenant is made for one seven. On one hand, the signing of the covenant begins the seven years of the Tribulation, but on the other hand, it is also signed for the specific purpose of being in effect for seven years.

2. The Cessation of the Sacrificial System – Daniel 9:27b

in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.

In the middle of the seventieth seven: he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease. After the first 3 1/2 years, the covenant will be broken; when it is broken, there will be a forced cessation of the sacrificial system. This same point is made in Revelation 11:1-2.

3. Idol Worship – Daniel 9:27c

upon the wing of abominations shall come one that makes desolate.

The word wing refers to the pinnacle of the Temple, and it is a Hebrew word that means “an overspreading influence.” This overspreading influence will be upon the pinnacle of the Temple. This specifically refers to the worship of the Antichrist, when he declares himself to be the one true god (II Thes. 2:3-4). The word abominations in Hebrew refers to “an image” or “idol,” meaning that an image or idol of the Antichrist will be set up in the Temple Compound on the pinnacle of the Temple itself. In other words, upon the overspreading influence of idol worship shall come one that makes desolate. The one that makes desolate is the Antichrist, who will cause desolations to fall upon the Jewish people. This is also spoken of in Daniel 12:11 and Matthew 24:15. The image itself is spoken in Revelation 13:14-15.

4. The Completion of the Tribulation – Daniel 9:27d

even unto the full end, and that determined, shall wrath be poured out upon the desolate.

The phrase even unto the full end is a Hebrew word that means “to finish” or “to complete.” To the end, to the finish, to the completion of the seventieth seven these desolations are determined. The word determined means “to be decreed beforehand,” because the events spelled out in Daniel 9:27 were already prophesied and decreed long before the Tribulation. This is seen in Isaiah 10:23 and 28:22.

The phrase also means that the Tribulation will not go a single day beyond its predetermined duration. It will end on the exact day. The same point is made in Matthew 24:22, where it reads: And except those days had been shortened or more literally, except those days had been cut short, no flesh would have been saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. Not that the Tribulation will last less than seven years, rather, that it will not be allowed to last a single day beyond its allotted time of exactly seven years, and no more.

In the last phrase, the word translated desolate can also be translated as “a desolator.” If taken to mean desolate, it refers to the Jewish people during the second half of the Tribulation, when wrath is poured out upon the desolate. If it refers to a desolator, it refers to the Antichrist and to his destruction at the Second Coming on the very last day of the seventieth seven.

It would be helpful to paraphrase this last verse to bring out its full meaning as the various phrases have been broken down. The first paraphrase is: “He shall cause to prevail a covenant with the many for one seven, and in the middle of the seven, he shall cause the sacrifice and the offering to cease; and upon the wing of the detestable things desolating, even unto the consummation and that determined shall wrath be poured out on the desolate.”

A second paraphrase would be as follows: “The Antichrist will cause sacrifice and offering to cease, and in their place he shall erect, even unto the end, causing an overspreading influence, a detestable statue in the Temple desolating in effect for the duration of the 3 1/2 year period in view. All the desolating activity God has determined beforehand will be poured out, making it desolate.”

All scriptures are in the American Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

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RECOMMENDED READING

If you enjoyed this Bible study, Dr. Fruchtenbaum recommends the following messianic Bible studies (mbs):

mbs 011: The Suffering Messiah of Isaiah 53
mbs 012: The Messiah of the Old Testament
mbs 013: What the New Testament Says About Jesus
mbs 014: Why Did the Messiah Have to Die?
mbs 025: Jesus’ Right to David’s Throne
mbs 028: The Olivet Discourse
mbs 032: The Baptism and Temptations of Jesus
mbs 035: The Three Messianic Miracles
mbs 036: The Three Sabbath Controversies Between Jesus and the Pharisees
mbs 044: The Transfiguration of Jesus
mbs 052: The Names and Titles of the Messiah
mbs 054: The Incarnation
mbs 056: The Triumphal Entry
mbs 060: The Upper Room Discourses
mbs 062: The Feasts of Israel
mbs 063: The Deity of the Messiah
mbs 065: The Servant of Jehovah
mbs 070: The Death and Burial of the Messiah
mbs 075: The Resurrection of the Messiah
mbs 078: The Present Work of the Messiah
mbs 094: The Sermon on the Mount
mbs 127: The Birth and Early Life of the Messiah
mbs 133: The Lordship of the Messiah
Also the Ariel Ministries’ series on Christology by Dr. Fruchtenbaum