In this chapter, it is one of the few scriptures in the bible that gives an actual time frame in the prophecy. In this Daniel is looking at the prophecy of Jeremiah, who said that Israel would be in bondage to the Babylonians for 70 years, which at this point are almost over. Daniel is praying and confessing the sin of the people, who have become very comfortable being in bondage to the Babylonians, and are not ready to be freed. The Angel Gabriel comes to shed light what is going to happen to the Jews, which is who the prophecy is about.
Daniel 9:24 says, “Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy Place” “Seventy sevens, which is most likely referring to weeks in the sense of years, even though there are some scholars who do believe that this could be an infinite amount of time. I believe that it is in years, so to look at it as 490 years, are set for the Jews to bring righteousness to the Holy City. This time frame will be broken up, it does not all happen at once. So 490 years has been set aside for “your people and your holy city”, the people that this is referring to is the Jews, and the holy city is Jerusalem, although there are some scholars that believe that the people that they are referring to are “spiritual Israel” and the holy city is heavenly Jerusalem, but this is not supported. By referring to the Jewish people it is an answer to Daniels prayer directly.
Moving on, it then says to finish transgression, wish could be taken to mean either “to complete, at an end, finished, accomplished, spent” (Miller, pg. 259) or “shut up, restrain, withhold” (Miller, pg.259). Either of this would work, but it is looking at the next phrase that gives us a better understanding that it is probably referring to “to finish”. The transgressions that they are talking about is mans sin against God, this did not end with the crucifixion of Christ, it will not end until the return of Christ. Putting an end to sin, and then to atone for wickedness. Putting an end to sin is just that, the end of sin. Atoning for the wicked is those that are guilty of a crime and to wipe that out.
The “everlasting righteousness” is the end of the 490 years, this is when all is set right and Christ has come back. This is the eternal reign. The “sealing up vision and prophecy” is that every true, God-ordained prophecy, will be complete. There will not be any that have not been fulfilled at this point. There will be no more prophecy after this because Christ will be revealed, and there is not a need for it anymore. To “anoint the Most Holy” is referring to making the holy city, Jerusalem, the city that it is intended to be. Not in the ruin that is was then, or the divided city it is now. This could also be taken as a literal reference, as a future temple that will be built, as described in Ezekiel.
In review, Daniel 9:24 is a timeframe of what is to come, and what must happen before the return of Christ. An exact amount of years is given, which a rare thing to find in the bible, as well as a list of rebellion ending, sin stopping, crime ending, completing of all God-given prophecies, and the anointing of the Holy City.
Daniel 9:25 tells us “Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench but in times of trouble. The start of this verse tells us that it is important; by saying “know and understand” Gabriel is telling Daniel to pay attention.
The first two sections of the seventy sevens will end with the coming of Christ. Out of the three decrees, the decree of Cyrus, the decree of Artaxerxes to Ezera, and the decree Artaxerxes issues to Nehemiah, only the last one actually specifically refers to the rebuilding of Jerusalem. Although there are scholars for each of the decree who believe that is the correct one, and it is not too far of a stretch to assume that the other two would allow for the Jews to return to Jerusalem.
The decree to rebuild the city, which was in ruins at this time, “with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble.” This is not talking about building a trench, as in a moat, because it would not make sense to build something like that around Jerusalem, but what it was probably talking about was a, “trench cut into the rock outside the city walls in order to increase the exterior height of the wall” (Miller, pg. 267). The term, “but in times of trouble” most have taken to believe as the struggles that were had under Nehemiah’s government when Jerusalem was being rebuilt.
Next, we have Daniel 9:26, “After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.” This is after Jerusalem has been reconstructed in the first 49 years, and then there was the passing of the 434 years passed, a few major events would take place.
Jesus has come, as we saw in Daniel 9:25, but now He is “cut off”, that we can take literally, and we all know to be true, the anointed one was crucified. When it refers to having nothing, I personally take that from the people’s perspective, in that everything that Jesus had done in his years on earth were for nothing. He is now dead and has been turned away by his disciples. The next part of this verse is extremely important, Daniel is being told that the city is going to be destroyed again, not by the Babylonians, but by the Romans, and this tells us that they are the people of the ruler who will come in the seventieth seven, as the antichrist. So, here we are told clearly that the antichrist has the European-Roman tie.
“The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.” The flood does not mean a literal flood with water, but a flood of destruction that swept over Jerusalem. Two of the major views that I have found on this are if the end is referring to when the Romans destroy the city in A.D. 70 or the destruction that will take place in the end times. War has been spoken until the end, which could make sense in both views, there was obviously was when the city was destroyed, as well as we know there will be war in the final times.
“He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven,whom’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him” Daniel 9:27, the final seven years are left for the future, this is where the gap between the sixty-ninth year stops, and then the coming of Christ, which is know as one of the most momentous events, at the end of the final seven.
He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ This is referring to the Antichriwhois making an agreement with, and this is where there is some differences of opinions. Some think that this is the unbelieving Jews, while others think that it is with the true believers, but it is most likely with the Jewish people as a whole, as the Israel nation. What this treaty is, we do not know, but a good guess would be that it includes protection, along with other stipulations, with the way the world is going right now, it is not hard to imagine that this is too far fetched of an idea. This will supposed to be for seven years, but half way through the agreement. This is when the persecution of believes will become even more intense, he will demand that worship of God is stopped, and eventually that the citizens will give their alliance to him before God.
The temple will be changed into something that will cause offense to Jews, but this is not going to last forever, the prophecy will ring true and the Antichrist, along with his followers will be judged harshly, while the Messiah will come back as promised.
These verses spell out what will happen, Christ will come, He will die, the Holy City will be destroyed, a ruler will come, cause mass destruction and sin, but the true king will come back as promised. The kingdom of God will reign forever.
Ford, D. (2007). In the heart of daniel: An exposition of daniel 9:24-27. New York: iUniverse.
Owusu-Antwi, Brempong. “An Investigation of the Chronology of Daniel 9:24-27.” Order No. 9428816, Andrews University, 1993. In PROQUESTMS ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global, http://search.proquest.com/docview/304107487?accountid=12085.
Miller, Stephen R. The New American Commentary. Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 1994.