This passage strongly reaffirms my faith in Scripture being the word of God and Jesus being our Lord and Savior. This prophecy at the end of Daniel 9, from what I hear, has actually led many Jewish people to faith in Jesus as the Messiah, because it predicts specifically when the Messiah would come.
Now, I’m going to warn you, this is not going to be a sermonette for Christianettes. There is some depth here. This passage is kind of complicated. We’re going to have to do some math and study a little history and notice a couple Hebrew words. But it’s nothing too difficult. It’s all understandable if you’ll just put some effort into it. So I’m asking you to do some work with me here for bit, to open your Bible and look at the text for yourself and stay awake and stay attentive and think with me. And if you’ll do that I really believe that you’ll be blessed by this passage as I have been blessed by it.
Date of Writing
First thing we need to understand is that Daniel 9 said all this long before the time of Jesus. We know this was not stuff that Christians later added into the text of Daniel. And there are several convincing evidences of that. Here’s just a couple:
- Many fragments of the book of Daniel that date to 100 B.C. were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran. Now, we didn’t find chapters 9 or 12 of Daniel among the much decayed manuscripts. But the other chapters that we did find were virtually identical to the manuscripts of Daniel that date after the time of Jesus, assuring us the book of Daniel before the time of Jesus read the same.
- Also, there’s an ancient Jewish writing called the Testament of Levi that originated in about 146 B.C. that contains basically a Jewish commentary on the section of Daniel 9 that we’re going to look at. It contains a Jewish interpretation of this 70 week prophecy and this anointed one to come. That indicates that the ancient Jews long before the time of Jesus were familiar with this passage.
So virtually every scholar, even those that do not respect the Bible as the word of God, admit that Daniel, including ch9 as we have it, was written sometime in the B.C. times, before Jesus ever walked the earth.
Let’s get a little context for this passage.
Who is Daniel? Daniel was a Jewish captive in the land of the Babylonians. When he was a youth in Judah in around 605ish B.C. the Babylonian armies under king Nebuchadnezzar conquered Judah and Jerusalem. He was one of the good looking and intelligent youths of nobility taken captive on that occasion and transferred to Babylon to be educated in the Babylonian language and literature and then made a servant of king Nebuchadnezzar.
Daniel 9:1 tells us that the events of this chapter took place during the first year of the reign of Darius the Mede, which historically brings us to 538,537 B.C. So Daniel is an old man now. He has been in exile in this foreign land for almost 70 years.
Daniel 9:2 says, “in the first year of his [Darius’] reign, I, Daniel, observed in the books the number of the years which was revealed as the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.” Now, what that means is Daniel had a copy of the scroll of the prophet Jeremiah. And he was reading the scroll of Jeremiah, and he read to Jeremiah 25:11 and Jeremiah 29:10 where Jeremiah specifically told the people of Judah that they would be in captivity for 70 years and then God would bring them back to their land. And Daniel counts the years he’s been in Babylon and he realizes “We’re almost out of here! We’re going to be brought back to our homeland soon.”
Now, why 70 years of captivity for the Jewish people? Why not 60 or 80? There was a reason for this exact time frame. Let’s look at why.
- Let’s go to Leviticus 25:1-5, “The Lord then spoke to Moses at Mount Sinai, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you come into the land which I shall give you, then the land shall have a sabbath to the Lord. Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its crop, but during the seventh year the land shall have a sabbath rest, a sabbath to the Lord; you shall not sow your field nor prune your vineyard. Your harvest’s aftergrowth you shall not reap, and your grapes of untrimmed vines you shall not gather; the land shall have a sabbatical year.” So God told them to let the land lie fallow every 7th year.
- Now, turn over to Leviticus 26 where God warns them about what will happen when they become disobedient to Him and neglect this command. Leviticus 26:33-35, “You, however, I will scatter among the nations and will draw out a sword after you, as your land becomes desolate and your cities become waste. Then the land will enjoy its sabbaths all the days of the desolation, while you are in your enemies’ land; then the land will rest and enjoy its sabbaths. All the days of its desolation it will observe the rest which it did not observe on your sabbaths, while you were living on it.” So God told them, “The land will get its Sabbath rests one way or the other. Either you let it rest every 7th year or I’m going to kick you out of the land and it will get its rest. But the land will get its Sabbath rests one way or the other.”
- Now, look at II Chronicles 36:20-21 talking about when the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem., “Those who had escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon; and they were servants to him and to his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia, to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its sabbaths. All the days of its desolation it kept sabbath until seventy years were complete.” So they were in captivity for 70 years because that’s the number of years that they neglected to let their land rest when they were commanded to. Now, if they were to let the land rest every 7th year and they didn’t do that 70 times, then how long had they been ignoring God’s instructions? What’s 70 x 7? 490. For 490 years they’d been disobedient to God. So the 70 year captivity period looked back on 70 sets of 7 years, 490 years of sinful disobedience.
- Now, hang on to that number (70 7s or 490) because we’re going to see it again.
Back in Daniel 9, when Daniel sees from Jeremiah’s scroll that the exile is to last just 70 years and he knows that time frame is about up, in v3-19 he prays to God and he says, “God, we’ve been sinful and rebellious. You were so patient with us through the years. You kept sending us prophets. You kept warning us. But we wouldn’t listen. You are right and just sending us into this captivity. We deserve to be here. But God please forgive us. Please keep Your word and bring us back to the land.”
God immediately answers Daniel’s prayer. Let’s pick up at 9:20. “Now while 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 in behalf of the holy mountain of my God, while I was still speaking in prayer, then the man Gabriel [an angel, same angel that would later come and announce the birth of John the Baptist to his father Zacharias and announced the birth of Jesus to Mary], whom I had seen in the vision previously, came to me in my extreme weariness about the time of the evening offering. He gave me instruction and talked with me and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you insight with understanding. At the beginning of your supplications the command was issued [Notice the speed of prayer. It travels much faster than the speed of sound. As soon as Daniel opened his mouth to start praying, God had already heard the whole prayer and commanded Gabriel to go to Daniel with this message. And Gabriel says to him], and I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed; so give heed to the message and gain understanding of the vision.”
And the message from God through Gabriel to Daniel and through Daniel to us begins at v24. Let’s take it piece by piece.
v24, “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place.“
So who is this prophecy concerning? It has to do with your people, Daniel, the Jews, and your holy city, that is Jerusalem. The prophecy has to do with the Jews and Jerusalem.
6 things are going to accomplished among the Jews or at Jerusalem – transgression will be finished, sin made an end of, iniquity atoned for, everlasting righteousness brought in, vision and prophecy sealed up, and the most holy place anointed. The first 4 things sound like what Jesus accomplished on the cross at Jerusalem. On the cross He “finished” (or literally “shut up”) transgression and “made an end” (or literally “sealed up”) sin and “made atonement for” (or literally, “covered”) iniquity (John 1:29; Hebrews 9:26; 10:11-14; I John 2:2). And in doing so He brought us everlasting righteousness. We can stand forever before God now as righteous without any sin on our account because of His atoning death. The 5th thing to be accomplished is, “to seal up vision and prophecy.” I think the idea is that when this period of time is complete the sealing up of vision and prophecy to be understood at a later time will be done. In other words by the end of this period of time vision and prophecy will be open to be understood, not like visions and prophecies given to Daniel. In Daniel 12:4 Daniel is told to conceal the words he’s heard in a vision and seal up the book until “the time of the end”, that is until the end of the Old Testament era and beginning of the age of the Messiah (cf. Dan. 8: 17-19; I Cor. 10:11). The instruction to Daniel to conceal the words and seal up the book means it’s not ready yet to be understood. But notice the difference in Revelation 22:10. An angel tells John, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.” Come the NT era, vision and prophecy are to be understood. And then the last thing in the list to be accomplished is “to anoint the most holy“. The word “place” is not in the Hebrew text. The Hebrew doesn’t specify the most holy what. If it’s “the most holy one,” it would refer to the anointing of Christ (cf. Acts 10:38). If “place” is the idea, then it probably has reference to the anointing of the church with the Holy Spirit after Jesus’ ascension back to heaven (Acts 1:4-8; 2:1-4,16-18,33,38,39; 4:31; 5:32). The church is pictured as the most holy place or the temple of God in this last age of time (I Cor 3:16-17; II Cor 6:16; Eph 2:20-22…). So the events of v24 really sound like the work of Jesus among the Jews at Jerusalem.
And these events, v24 says, are all going to happen in a time frame that my version calls “seventy weeks.” Now, we have to ask the question, what does he mean by weeks? This Hebrew word is shabuwa, seventy shabuwas. A shabuwa was simply a unit of seven. And it could be a unit of seven days or a unit of seven years. In order to know what the Hebrew word shabuwa is referring to you need a referent. It’s kind of like the English word dozen. If I said, “Yeah, I just picked up a dozen the other day.” You’d say, “A dozen what? A dozen eggs, a dozen donuts, what kind of a dozen?” Well, the Hebrew word shabuwa was like that. It just meant a set of seven, like the word dozen means a set of 12. So to understand what shabuwa is referring to in a passage we have to look at the context. What’s the context of Daniel 9? If you remember the Jews were kicked out of their land for how long? 70 years. And why? Because of 490 years of neglecting God’s command to give the land a rest every 7th year. Another way of saying 490 is seventy sets of seven, right? This captivity that they are in is looking back on 70 sets of 7 years of disobedience to God. And now Gabriel says “Here’s what’s going to happen concerning you Jews and your city over another 70 sets of 7.” So I think our context leads us to understand this as shabuwas of years, not days. Another indication that this is years and not days is later in 10:2 right after this passage, Daniel says, “I was weeping, I was mourning for 3 shabuwas of days.” In the Hebrew text he clarifies there 3 shabuwas of days. And I think it implies that he wasn’t talking about shabuwas of days before. But now here in ch10 he is. Before in ch9 he was talking about shabuwas of years. But then when he gets into ch10 he clarifies that he’s now talking about shabuwas of days. Also, we will see as we go here that understanding this as years and not days makes perfect sense. The 70 7s here equals 490 years.
So v25 talks about 69 of these 7s. You see in v25 where it mentions 7 7s and 62 7s. What’s 7+62? 69. So 69 of the 7s are talked about in v25.
v25, “So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.“
Notice the first phrase, “from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem…” That’s the starting point of our 70 7s. When was a decree issued to restore and rebuild Jerusalem? There are a few different decrees that were issued when the Jewish people were allowed to go back to their land. They’re mentioned in the book of Ezra. The first decree is in Ezra 1 by king Cyrus, but it’s not a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. It’s just a decree that says the Jews can move to Jerusalem if they like and rebuild the temple, not the city. And then a second decree is in Ezra 6. It’s issued by King Darius, but it’s basically just a reaffirmation of King Cyrus’ decree. It just has to do with rebuilding the temple, but nothing else. But then there is this one in Ezra 7 that authorizes more than just building the temple. 7:11, Now this is the copy of the decree which King Artaxerxes gave to Ezra the priest, the scribe, learned in the words of the commandments of the LORD and His statues to Israel: “Artaxerxes, king of kings, to Ezra the priest…” And we won’t read it all for time’s sake. But in the decree Artaxerxes tells Ezra basically that he has every resource available to him to furnish and beautify the temple of God and to keep the sacrifices and worship going there like commanded in the Law of God. And then Artaxerxes said this in the decree. Look at 7:25-26, “You, Ezra, according to the wisdom of your God which is in your hand, appoint magistrates and judges that they may judge all the people who are in the province beyond the River, even all those who know the laws of your God; and you may teach anyone who is ignorant of them. Whoever will not observe the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgment be executed upon him strictly, whether for death or for banishment or for confiscation of goods or for imprisonment.” So that was a decree saying that they could pretty much be their own sovereign nation again. They could self-govern. They could appoint their own magistrates and judges and have their own laws and judge offenders and even administer capital punishment. And Ezra appears to have understood this authorization from King Artaxerxes to include permission to restore and rebuild the city, because look at Ezra 9:9 in a prayer of Ezra. He says, “for we are slaves; yet in our bondage our God has not forsaken us, but has extended lovingkindness to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us reviving to raise up the house of our God, to restore its ruins and to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem.” So apparently Ezra understood that King Artaxerxes would now allow the rebuilding of the city.
Now, when did King Artaxerxes give this decree? The text tells us plainly in Ezra 7:7. It says that Ezra and some of the sons of Israel and some of the priests, the Levites, the singers, the gatekeepers and the temple servants went up to Jerusalem in the seventh year of King Artaxerxes. 8 He came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king.” And Ezra came to Jerusalem with the decree from Artaxerxes. So the decree was given in 7th year of king Artaxerxes. Now, if you open up any encyclopedia or do some online research you can find lots of information on king Artaxerxes. He was a famous king. And you’ll find that he began his reign in the summer of 464 B.C. So the summer of 464 B.C. to the summer of 463 is the first year of his reign, and if you keep counting, the 7th year of his reign was from the summer of 458 to the summer of 457 B.C. So let’s put 458 B.C. as our starting point. That’s when the 490 year time clock starting ticking.
Now notice the next phrase in Daniel 9:25, “until Messiah the Prince“. The word for messiah literally means anointed. It’s an adjective. It means anointed. Kings and priests and prophets were anointed ones in ancient Israel. They were anointed with oil to symbolically represent that God had picked them and the Spirit of God would now be upon them to help them in this position. The word prince here, nagid, means ruler, chief, leader or king. So this could be translated “until the anointed ruler” or “until the anointed king” (cf. I Samuel 9:16; 10:1; 13:14; 25:30).
Next phrase, “until Messiah the Prince there will be 7 7s and 62 7s“. 7+62 is 69. So there will be 69 7s from 458 B.C. to the anointed king. Now, why didn’t he just say 69 7s? Why say 7 7s and 62 7s? What’s the purpose of that? Well, probably because it took 7 sets of 7 years, that is 49 years, to rebuild the city of Jerusalem with plaza and mote, like the end of v25 talks about. And then it was another 62 7s of years from that point to get to the Anointed King.
Now, what’s 69×7? Or you could just take 70×7, which is 490 and subtract a 7. You get 483. So Daniel is predicting a 483 year gap from 458 B.C. to the Anointed King. Now if you add 483 years to 458 B.C. you might at first come up with 25 A.D. and if you do it’s because you’ve overlooked the fact that you sort of gain a year when you pass from 1 B.C. to 1 A.D., because there is no year 0. I don’t know why. There’s just not. Between 1 B.C. and 1 A.D. is just one year. So when you keep that in consideration and do the math 483 years from 458 B.C. brings us to 26 A.D.
Now, let’s to turn to 26 A.D. in our New Testaments and see what happens. Turn to Luke 3. Luke 3:1 introducing the ministry of John the Baptists says, “Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar…” According to the ancient Roman writer Suetonius, Tiberius became co-emperor with Augustus in 12 A.D., and then sole emperor in 14 A.D. Rulers and people would typically count a ruler’s reign beginning from the earliest date possible, which in Tiberius’ case would be 12 A.D. 12 A.D. is the first year of his reign. 13 A.D. the second year. If you keep counting the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius is 26 A.D. Another way we know that this about 26 A.D. is here in Luke 3:23 where it says, “When He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age.” And when Jesus was born Herod the Great was still alive. You remember soon after His birth king Herod, according to the gospel of Matthew, ordered that the baby boys of Bethlehem be killed in an effort to kill the new born king. And Mary and Joseph fled with baby Jesus to Egypt until Herod died and then they returned to the land of Israel. Well, open an encyclopedia or do some internet research and you’re going to find that that Herod, called Herod the Great, died in 4 B.C. So Jesus must have been born no later than 4 B.C. I think probably in 5 B.C. So when he was about 30 years old and began His ministry it was 26 A.D.
Now, what happened in 26 A.D. according to Luke ch3? Well, the prophet John started preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins and he was telling people (v16) “One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals“. Now watch Luke 3:21-22, “Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.” That event is described in Acts 10:38 as Jesus being anointed with the Holy Spirit and with power. So this was when our king was anointed. So in 26 A.D. we come to have our anointed king. Are you with me? Do you see how incredible that is? Several hundred years before the time of Jesus Daniel 9:25 said there will be 69 7s, 483 years from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem to the anointed king. And Jesus the King was anointed exactly 483 years from issuing of that decree.
But the prophecy doesn’t stop with that. Look at…
v26a, “Then after the sixty-two sevens the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing…”
First there’s 7 7s, 49 years to rebuild Jerusalem, then 62 7’s, which brings us to the anointed ruler, then the Messiah (anointed) will be cut off and have nothing. It doesn’t say when, except sometime after He’s anointed. Sounds like the Messiah is going to be killed. And sounds a lot like Isaiah 53:8, that great prophetic passage about the death of Christ, “He was cut off out of the land of the living For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?”
Then continuing in v26…
v26b, “and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood“.
Sounds like Jerusalem and the temple will be destroyed. And like the statement about the Messiah being cut off, it doesn’t tell us when this will happen, just that it will be sometime after He is anointed. The phrase “the people of the prince who is to come” would perhaps be more accurately rendered “the people of a prince who is to come.” This is not the Messiah. This is a ruler to come after the cutting off of the Messiah. The Messiah will be killed and then the people of some ruler to come are going flood Jerusalem and desolate it and its temple. And we know historically that that’s exactly what happened. It was the single greatest slaughter of ancient history. The city of Jerusalem was filled with maybe 2 million Jews from all over the world for the Passover holiday when the Roman armies under their commander Titus laid siege to the city. According to the 1st century historian Josephus, who was an eyewitness of the events, over a million Jews were killed, and 97,000 were taken captive as slaves and scattered all over the Roman Empire. The Romans threw firebrands into the temple and burned all that could be burned and melted the gold that ran down the mortar of the bricks and they over turned every single stone to get the gold, just as Jesus said they would in Matthew 24:2. Jesus told His disciples, “Do you see this wondrous temple, all these huge stones? I tell you that not one stone here will be left upon another.” That took place in 70 A.D.
And then the rest of Daniel 9:26…
v26c, “even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.”
There’s a striking similarity here with Jesus’ own prediction about the future in Matthew 24:6-7. “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes.” I think it means until the end of the world there will be wars and there will be many desolations. This world will never be a peaceful utopia.
Now, v27 we read about the 70th 7. It talked about 69 of 7s in v25. Now the first statement in v27 tells us about the 70th 7, in the middle of which we know from our vantage point in history was when “the Messiah was cut off”.
v27a, “And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week [one seven], but in the middle of the seven he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering“.
Think about what Jesus did over the next 7 years after He was anointed with the Holy Spirit at His baptism. He went about the work of making a new covenant with people. A covenant is simply a deal, a pact, a binding agreement. And God had a covenant, a deal with the Jewish people that He made with them a long time ago at Mt. Sinai when He brought them out of Egyptian slavery. It was a deal in which the people had laws to follow and God promised to do certain things for them if they followed the laws. Well, Jesus came to establish a new covenant between people and God. And when He began His ministry, He began the work of making that new covenant. His teachings were about the terms and promises of the new covenant and His miracles were confirmation that His words were true. His death made it possible and sealed it. His resurrection confirmed His identify and the validity of the covenant He preaches. Then His commission to the disciples to make more disciples and sending them the Holy Spirit and helping them in their mission was about bringing many into the new covenant with God. So for 7 years Jesus was at work in making His covenant firm with many Jewish people in Jerusalem.
Now listen again to v27, “And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week [one seven], but in the middle of the seven he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering“. What is the middle of 7? 3 1/2. How long was Jesus’ earthly ministry until His death? Ask about any scholar and they’ll say about 3 1/2 years. And when Jesus died on the cross in 30 A.D. after 3 1/2 years of ministry, that put a stop to animal sacrifice and grain offering as being things that God required of people. The death of Christ rendered the old covenant with its sacrificial requirements null and void. And also the death of Christ finally accomplished what the animal sacrifices could only illustrate but never really accomplish, and that is truly paying for sin in the mind of God. Remember how the prophecy began in v24, “70 7s have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness…” The sacrifice of Christ finally did that and brought a close to the sacrificial system of the OT.
Listen to Hebrews 10 beginning at v4, “For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. 5 Therefore, when He [Christ] comes into the world, He says, [and there’s a quotation Psalm 40. These words of the Psalm are put in the mouth of Jesus when He was on earth. This pictures Jesus on earth saying, “SACRIFICE AND OFFERING YOU HAVE NOT DESIRED, BUT A BODY YOU HAVE PREPARED FOR ME; 6 IN WHOLE BURNT OFFERINGS AND sacrifices FOR SIN YOU HAVE TAKEN NO PLEASURE. 7 “THEN I SAID, ‘BEHOLD, I HAVE COME (IN THE SCROLL OF THE BOOK IT IS WRITTEN OF ME) TO DO YOUR WILL, O GOD.'” In the mind of God animal sacrifices never really paid for the sins of men. What God wanted to pay for sin was the body of Jesus. Jesus said, “I have come to do your will O God.” Then beginning at v8 the Hebrew writer comments on that. He says, “After saying above, “SACRIFICES AND OFFERINGS AND WHOLE BURNT OFFERINGS AND sacrifices FOR SIN YOU HAVE NOT DESIRED, NOR HAVE YOU TAKEN PLEASURE in them” (which are offered according to the Law), 9 then He said, “BEHOLD, I HAVE COME TO DO YOUR WILL.” He takes away the first in order to establish the second. [Jesus took away the old sacrificial system and established the second better sacrifice.] v10 By this will [by the will of God that the body of Jesus be offered] we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” After 3 1/2 years of His ministry at His death Jesus fulfilled and took away the old sacrificial system. “There is no longer any offering for sin” (Heb 10:18).
The end of the 70th 7, 3 1/2 years after Christ’s death, brings us right to about Acts 8, where it says a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria and those who had been scattered went about preaching the word. That marks the end of the 70 7s, the end of the 490 years from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. Now, remember Daniel 9:24, “Seventy sevens have been decreed for your people, the Jews, and your holy city, Jerusalem…” The prophecy concerns the Jews and Jerusalem. And at the end of the 70th 7 the Jews and Jerusalem are not longer the primary focus. That’s when the gospel and the church began to spread outside of Jerusalem to regions beyond, to the Samaritans and then to the Gentiles.
And then the next statement in Daniel 9:27 further explains the eventual desolation of Jerusalem.
v27b, “and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction“
That’s talking about the destruction of Jerusalem that would happen at some unsaid time after the cutting off of the Messiah. Jesus quoted this language in Matthew 24:15 in talking with His disciples about when the Romans would come to destroy Jerusalem. He told His disciples, “Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains.” In other words, when you see the pagan Roman armies approaching this holy city it’s time to run (cf. Lk 21:20).
And then the last statement of the prophecy…
v27c, “one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”
“The one who makes desolate” is the Romans. And destruction will also be poured out on them. They will desolate Jerusalem and then they will be desolated, which is exactly what happened historically.
How did Daniel know all this would happen and exactly when many of these things would happen unless God really did give him this message? And that’s just one of the prophecies. When you consider this one and the many many others and you consider the empty tomb and the eye witness testimony, testimony the witnesses held firm to through torture and to the point of death, and when you consider what the secular writings of antiquity say about Jesus and you consider the wisdom of His teachings and how much sense they make out of life and when you consider the impact He has had on the world and so on… I think honest hearts concede that 2,000 years ago God became flesh in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. He lived a perfect life. He died for our sins. He rose from the dead. He ascended to heaven where He reigns as Lord of all with salvation to give. And He’s promised to one day come back to bring those who have submitted to His rule in their lives home, they will have eternal life, and to deal justice to those who have refused His rule in their lives. The only thing that matters in all the world is that we know Christ and do His will and lead our families to do the same and lead as many as we can to do the same. Passages like this, considered among the mountain of evidence that God has given us, should assure us that that is reality. God really did have a plan of salvation for us that He promised through the ages and that He carried out in Jesus.
– James Williams