The Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks - 2
The prophet Daniel and his fellow Jews were waiting for the restoration of Israel’s golden age under David and Solomon.
- In response to Daniel’s prayer, God sent more information than he was looking for concerning the promised Messiah the Prince.
The Septuagint Greek translation (LXX), produced in the 3rd century B.C., calls “Messiah” in Daniel 9:25 Christos = Christ, same as in the New Testament.
- Like the Hebrew “Messiah,” “Christ” also means “the anointed one”, occurring more than 40 times in the LXX, referring to various anointed ones, including both the high priest, e.g., Leviticus 4:5, and the promised king, e.g., Psalm 132:17, whose office will be combined in David’s promised son - Psalm 110:1-4; Zechariah 6:12-13.
Daniel learned that the promised Messiah the Prince would appear 69 weeks after a commandment to restore and build Jerusalem - Daniel 9:25.
- Unexpectedly, the prophecy omitted any mention of Messiah’s overcoming Israel’s enemies, or sitting on the throne of David. Instead, the role that Messiah was to perform at the predicted time included some puzzling details and some other disturbing matters that he was not looking for.
At that time, Messiah was going to -
- (1) finish the transgression, (2) make an end to sins, (3) make reconciliation for iniquity, (4) bring in everlasting righteousness, (5) seal up the vision and prophet, and (5) anoint the Most Holy - Daniel 9:25.
- To “make reconciliation for iniquity” or “to atone for wickedness” - NIV, links with “When You make His soul an offering for sin” - Isaiah 53:10 - thus connecting the Seventy Weeks prophecy with the redemption of mankind from sin and death.
Some later Jewish writings show that there was an understanding that Messiah would successfully plead on behalf of Israel for God to forgive their past waywardness.
- Jonathan ben Uzziel who studied under Hillel during the 1st century BC, wrote, “And thou shalt take the consecration-oil, and anoint the tabernacle, and all that is therein, and shalt sanctify it, on account of the crown of the kingdom of the house of Jehudah [Judah], and of the King Meshiha [Messiah], who is to redeem Israel at the end of the days” - Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan ben Uzziel, p.577.
The Christian versions render the fifth phrase in Daniel 9:24, “seal up the vision and prophecy”, while the Jewish JPS version, “based on the Masoretic text”, says “seal up the vision and prophet”, with which the LXX agrees. To seal is a figure of speech for the act of finishing or bringing to a conclusion, as the placing of the king’s seal on a decree concluded the process of issuing it, e.g., Esther 8:8.
- So the end of the seventy weeks would bring the fulfilling of Daniel’s vision to a conclusion, being performed by Messiah the Prince in his role as “the prophet” like Moses - Deuteronomy 18; John 1:21.