To keep this article short, I’m going to assume you are familiar with this prophecy. If you’re not, please check out chapter 4 of my book available as a free downloadable PDF here at churchageisdifferent.com.
24 “Seventy weeks are determined
For your people and for your holy city,
To finish the transgression,
To make an end of sins,
To make reconciliation for iniquity,
To bring in everlasting righteousness,
To seal up vision and prophecy,
And to anoint the Most Holy.
25 “Know therefore and understand,
That from the going forth of the command
To restore and build Jerusalem
Until Messiah the Prince,
There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times.
26 “And after the sixty-two weeks
Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself;
And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined.
27 Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.
And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate.”
Why is this prophecy even here? What’s its purpose?
The answer to these questions is very important — and highly debated — yet I believe its understanding can be reached by average Joe believer. Please don’t get caught up in making a simple topic more and more complex just to show off your intellect. Nothing good comes from that.
I propose to you that its purpose, rather, is basic and straightforward.
Daniel was at the tail end of Israel’s exile in Babylon, hoping that the soon return to their land was THE final return that would usher in their Kingdom God promised them long before; what we call the Millennium.
Daniel’s prayer in verses 3-19 gives all the detail you need to see this, but first read Deuteronomy chapters 28 and 30. Now read Daniel’s prayer. He knew his people’s history. He knew why they were currently in exile. He knew what was required of them before their Kingdom could come.
[If you have time, or desire, check out some of these, too: Isaiah 11, 35, 54, 56; Jeremiah 31:27-40; Ezekiel 39:25-29; Hosea 14; Joel 3:18-21; Amos 9:13-15; Zechariah 8 and 10. I’m sure there’s many more!]
My paraphrase of the prophecy is this: “Daniel, you are going home in a couple years like I promised Jeremiah. But this return to the land isn’t the one where I establish your people into their promised Kingdom. But, out of my great love for you, I’m going to tell you when that will happen.”
God’s reply to Daniel was to give him insight and understanding as to this timing, which to me doesn’t make sense unless the above stated purpose is correct.
If we look at this prophecy like a flowchart, it would have to have a decision box. It cannot be Point A initial event/date straight lined to Point B ending event/date.
Why? Because at some point Israel as a nation had to either accept Jesus as her King/Messiah of that coming Kingdom or reject Him.
And the prophecy allows for that very thing as it stops or pauses in verse 26 at His Triumphal Entry. Acceptance would lead down one path and rejection down another. The prophecy had to be clear and precise yet have flexibility to fit either decision they made.
And it did!
Before we go there, though, please note that the option was for Israel to accept or reject His offer. It was not whether He was to die or not. Jesus had to die. The Messiah WOULD BE cut off. They just had to decide if it was to be at their hands.
Okay. Back to the flexibility.
The prophecy clock stopped or paused at Jesus’ offer of Himself as Messiah on Palm Sunday, not at his death or ‘cutting off.’ And that clock won’t start ticking again until verse 27 when a covenant is confirmed.
What I mean by that is the interim time that follows the ‘cutting off’ in verse 26 and before verse 27 is in black and white just like the rest of the prophecy. The same words are there regardless of the path they chose and had to portray what I would assume would have to be different events.
So the above words in green remain the same whether the blue path or the yellow path was taken. Could it be that if they would have accepted Him, maybe the events in verse 27 would have followed shortly after the 70 AD destruction mentioned in the latter part of verse 26?
Maybe. See Chart: God’s Purpose and Plan.
Obviously, we’ll never know for sure since it didn’t happen that way.
Once this foundation is laid, you can then see that the six things listed in verse 24 happen when the full window of time expires and the Kingdom comes. I get that they’re intricately connected to Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection – and wouldn’t have been possible without them, but since the point of the prophecy is what happens at the end of that time frame, then you can see that it’s speaking of when those things will be realized for them nationally, as God’s Chosen People.
Remember the Kingdom passages referenced earlier? Look at these as well: Isaiah 2, 11, 32, 35, 54, 56, 62, 65; Hosea 2:14-23; Joel 3:18-21; Micah 4; Zephaniah 3; Zechariah 8, 14:9-21. These could easily be summed up as the six things from Daniel 9:24 — Israel under their New Covenant in their long-awaited Kingdom!
And for the final proof of why I believe this understanding of Daniel’s chapter 9 prophecy is correct: the Kingdom is NOT here yet! Oh, I know. Folks say we’re the kingdom – oops, I mean ‘mystery kingdom.’ Nope. Paul mentions the Kingdom only a couple times in his epistles, and that’s only because we sealed Church Age believers have a guaranteed place in it when it arrives.
Did all those verses you just read look like today’s reality, today’s Israel?
Main point of the prophecy: when the Jewish Kingdom will arrive and what it will look like once it does.
Main proof of timing of the prophecy: it’s not here yet.
See my short video New Covenant and the Kingdom for a deeper look into this picture. The Kingdom of God chart might help, too.
So, just my thoughts. If you disagree, no problem. We’re all learning! God bless.