The Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks - 11
Daniel 9:27 continues to trace events as they would unfold after “the going forth of” Artaxerxes’ “command” - “Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week...” The offering of Christ was necessary to make sure the covenant which God had made with Abraham-
- Romans 15:8 “Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers” - Genesis 12:2 “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
The final week of Daniel 9:27 is divided into two halves. At the beginning of his ministry, we are told in Mark 1:14, “Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 and saying, ’The time is fulfilled’.” - in other words, Israel’s wait for Daniel 9’s “Messiah the Prince” was over.
- The first part of the final “week” was the mortal ministry of Jesus leading up to the crucifixion. Most modern scholars prefer 30 AD for the “cutting off” or crucifixion. The end of the 490 years from Artaxerxes Longimanus’ decree, in his seventh year and carried out by Ezra (chapter 7) was 3½ years after the crucifixion, in 34 AD.
Daniel 9:27 - “...in the middle of the (last) week He (Messiah the Prince) shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering (in the temple worship)...” The work of Messiah “in the middle of the week” was to be “cut off” to provide the “blood of the covenant” and salvation from sin and death - see Zechariah 9:11.
- But by the end of that final “week”, Jesus had been exalted by God and could properly be called Messiah the Prince - Psalm 110:1; “angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him” - 1 Peter 3:22.
The signal for the cessation of animal sacrifices was the death of Jesus and the tearing open of the veil in the most holy place of the temple - Matthew 27:51. “The offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” - Hebrews10:10 - fulfilled what the animal offerings pointed forward to - the role of Messiah the Prince.
- But those who failed to recognize the significance of the crucifixion did not cease to offer animal sacrifices in the temple. They did not understand that the law of Moses was only a foreshadowing of Christ’s sacrifice - Hebrews 10:1. This was shown by the fact that “these same sacrifices” had to be “offered continually year by year.”
The annual repetition of sacrifices was “a reminder of sins every year”, showing that the animal sacrifices could not purge the worshippers of “consciousness of sins”. Therefore, “it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins” - verses 2-4.
- So the animal sacrifices continued until “the people (armies) of the prince” - “we have no king but Caesar!” - John 19:15 - who was first Nero and then Vespasian, destroyed the temple and the city - Daniel 9:26.
Afterwards, God, “who rules in the kingdom of men” - Daniel 4:25 - made the land desolate, the former inhabitants either killed or deported. He then permitted the spreading over the land of the various shrines around the Promised Land, of which in Jerusalem alone it is said that there are 158 churches and 73 mosques, not to mention those of other religions about the countryside. More next time, God willing.