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70 Weeks Prophecy (Part 1) - Dan 9:24 (Part A)

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I. The importance and significance of the 70 weeks prophecy (Dan 9:24-27).

1. The 70 weeks prophecy is one of the most important prophecies of the coming of the Messiah.
2. It is the only prophecy in the Bible that pinpoints the exact year that the Messiah would appear.

3. The prophecy also foretold of the following:
A. The rebuilding of the second temple
B. The coming of Messiah
C. The death of the Messiah
D. The propitiatory work of the Messiah
E. The end of Jewish sacrifices
F. The destruction of Jerusalem
G. The end of the nation of Israel
H. The end of prophecy

4. The 70 weeks prophecy confirms the infallibility of scripture because of its miraculous fulfillment.
5. Many unbelievers doubt the authenticity and authority of the book of Daniel because of the amazing accuracy of its prophecies.

A. Unbelieving skeptics have claimed that the book of Daniel was written in the 1st half of the second century BC.
i. "Because its religious ideas do not belong to the 6th century BC, numerous scholars date Daniel in the first half of the 2nd century BC and relate the visions to the persecution of the Jews under Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175–164/163 BC)." (The Book of Daniel, Encyclopedia Briannica, 4-21-20)
ii. "Daniel is one of a large number of Jewish apocalypses, all of them pseudonymous. The stories of the first half are considered legendary in origin, and the visions of the second the product of anonymous authors in the Maccabean period (2nd century BC)." (Book of Daniel, Wikipedia, 4-21-20)

B. The Jews hold that the book of Daniel is inspired scripture, but they will not admit that Daniel was a prophet and do not group his book with the prophets because the 70 weeks prophecy foretold of the exact year of Christ's appearance which they deny.
i. "...the Jews in general acknowledge that this book [Daniel] was written by the influence of the Holy Spirit, but not by prophecy; they, without any foundation, distinguishing between the Holy Spirit and prophecy. And so Maimonides says (g), it is the general consent of their nation, that this book is among the holy writings, but not among the Prophets; nor will they allow Daniel to be a prophet: the reasons they give are frivolous; what seems to have induced them to degrade him is the manifest prophecy of the time of the Messiah's coming in this book, which sometimes they are obliged to own is fixed in it." (John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible, Introductory comments on the book of Daniel).
ii. "Some of the Jewish rabbin are loth to acknowledge him [Daniel] to be a prophet of the higher form, and therefore rank his book among the Hagiographa, not among the prophecies, and would not have their disciples pay much regard to it. One reason they pretend is because he did not live such a mean mortified life as Jeremiah and some other of the prophets did, but lived like a prince, and was a prime-minister of state; whereas we find him persecuted as other prophets were (ch. 6), and mortifying himself as other prophets did, when he ate no pleasant bread (Dan 10:3), and fainting sick when he was under the power of the Spirit of prophecy, Dan 8:27. Another reason they pretend is because he wrote his book in a heathen country, and there had his visions, and not in the land of Israel; but, for the same reason, Ezekiel also must be expunged out of the roll of prophets. But the true reason is that he speaks so plainly of the time of the Messiah's coming that the Jews cannot avoid the conviction of it and therefore do not care to hear of it." (Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible, Introductory comments on the book of Daniel)

II. Preliminary thoughts
1. Just prior to Daniel receiving this marvelous prophecy, he had been fasting and praying to God (Dan 9:3).
2. He had been confessing his sin and the sin of his people (Dan 9:5-6).
3. He admitted that God was righteous in punishing their wickedness (Dan 9:7-8).
4. He begged God for His mercy (Dan 9:16-18).
5. While Daniel was making his supplication to God, He sent the angel Gabriel to him to give him skill and understanding and the vision of the 70 weeks prophecy (Dan 9:20-23).
6. Let this be a lesson to us that if we want to get understanding of the word of God, we must diligently seek the Lord in humble prayer and confession of sin (Pro 2:1-6; Pro 28:5; Jam 1:5-6; Dan 10:12).

III. The prophecy

1. Dan 9:24 - "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy."

A. The angel Gabriel told Daniel that "seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city" (Dan 9:24).
i. The 70 weeks are "weeks" of years, or 70 seven year periods called heptads.
ii. This fact can be deduced by the following:
a. It was far more than 70 literal weeks from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem until the Messiah came.
b. Prophecy is spoken in similitudes (Hos 12:10).
(i) Similitude n. - 1. A person or thing resembling, or having the likeness of, some other person or thing; a counterpart or equal; similarity. 3. A sign or symbol; the symbolic representation of something. Obs. b. A comparison drawn between two things or facts; the expression of such comparison; †a simile. c. A parable; an allegory. Chiefly in Biblical use, after L. similitudo.
(ii) Therefore, prophecy is often spoken in allegorical terms and in terms that bear a likeness to something else.
(iii) It is therefore reasonable to suspect that terms specifying a space of time would be used in a non-literal manner.
c. The scripture elsewhere uses a day-for-a-year formula.
(i) Israel was made to wander in the wilderness for 40 years because they searched the promised land for 40 days and refused to take it because of their unbelief (Num 14:34).
(ii) Ezekiel had to lie on his left side for 390 days to represent the 390 years of the iniquity of Israel, and then he had to lie on his right side for 40 days to represent the 40 years of the iniquity of Judah, each day for a year (Eze 4:4-6).
(iii) Israel was told to number sabbaths of years which were defined as seven year periods (Lev 25:8).
1. From sabbath to sabbath is a week.
2. Therefore sabbaths of years is equivalent to weeks of years.
d. It is for these reasons that the 70 weeks in Daniel's prophecy are 70 seven year periods (490 years).

B. Within the 70 weeks (490 years) eight things would happen (Dan 9:24):
i. The people of Israel would cease to be a nation.
ii. The holy city Jerusalem would be destroyed.
iii. The transgression of the Jews would be finished.
iv. An end of sins would be made.
v. Reconciliation for iniquity would be made.
vi. Everlasting righteousness would be brought in.
vii. The vision and prophecy would be sealed up.
viii. The most Holy would be anointed.

C. Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people - the people of Israel (Judah) would cease to be a nation.
i. Gabriel told Daniel that seventy weeks were determined upon thy people.
ii. Determined ppl. - 1. Terminated, ended. (last used in 1581) 2. Limited, restricted: a. as to extent; 3. Decided, settled, fixed; decided or resolved upon. 4. Appointed, ordained; fixed beforehand. 1500 Wycket (1828) 3 The chosen+shalbe made whyte tyll a tyme determined.
iii. "Thy people" were Daniel's people, the nation of Israel (Dan 9:20).
iv. In other words, as a nation, Israel's days were numbered (Mat 21:43).
v. As a nation, their existence was limited to 490 years after the decree was made to rebuild Jerusalem after the Babylonian exile (Dan 9:24-25).

D. Seventy weeks are determined...upon thy holy city - the holy city Jerusalem would be destroyed.
i. Jerusalem was the holy city (Neh 11:1).
ii. Jerusalem had been destroyed 68 years earlier by the Babylonians.
a. The Babylonian captivity lasted 70 years (Dan 9:2).
b. The 70 weeks prophecy was given to Daniel in the 1st year of the reign of Darius over the Chaldeans (Dan 9:1-2).
c. This was in 459 BC, two years before Cyrus' decree for the Jews to return to Judea to rebuild Jerusalem in 457 BC (Philip Mauro, The Wonders of Bible Chronology, p. 100).
iii. Therefore, at the time of Daniel's vision Jerusalem lay in waste.
iv. Jerusalem would be rebuilt at the beginning of the 70 weeks (Dan 9:25) and it would be destroyed by the end of them (Dan 9:24).
v. This happened in 70 AD (more on this later).