The Prophecies of Daniel (Daniel 9:24-27)

One of the most fertile fields premillennialists and dispensationalists find in the Bible for their theories is Daniel chapter 9, verses 24 through 27. In order to fit everything into the dispensationalist calendar, the original temple of Solomon is scheduled to be rebuilt by restored Israel. The intensified interest in this topic is the result of unwarranted and sometimes absurd speculations that have been spurred by the current events in the Middle-East.

Read the speculations of Mr. Hal Lindsey, author of the book, “The Late Great Planet Earth.’ This is taken from his book, pages 44 and 45.

“There remains but one more event to completely set the stage for Israel’s part in the last great act of her historical drama. This is to rebuild the ancient Temple of worship upon its old site. There is only one place that this Temple can be built, according to the law of Moses. This is upon Mount Moriah. It is there that two previous Temples were buiolt: the first was built by Solomon 3000 years ago, the second was built by the returning Babylonian exiles 2400 years ago. This one was completely refurbished by Herod the Great later on in an effort to win the favor and acceptance of the Jews. The second Temple was totally destroyed by Titus and the Roman Legions in A.D. 70.

“There is one major problem barring the construction of a third Temple. That obstacle is the second holiest place of the Moslem faith, the Dome of the Rock. This is believed to be built squarely in the middle of the old temple site.”

Where does Lindsey get the idea that there is to be a third Temple built? He certainly does not get it from the Bible. If Lindsey and other millennialists would simply stop when they get past the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70 they would be right. But they take passages from the Bible that were fulfilled in that great calamity and apply them to yet another reconstruction project for the Temple.

Much of what they get is from Daniel chapter 9. Beginning with verse 24 the text says the angel Gabriel was speaking with Daniel in answer to Daniel’s prayer.

“At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision: ‘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. 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. 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. 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.

Now the millennialists interpet this as follows:

“Daniel’s prediction also indicates that a prince would rise up from among the people who destroyed the second Temple (who were the Romans in A.D. 70) and that he ‘would make a firm covenant’ with the Jewish people. This treaty would guarantee the religious freedom to reinstitute the old ‘sacrifices and oblations’ of the Law of Moses.

“This ‘prince’ must be a revived form of the ancient Roman Empire...” (Ibid., page 46).

Please consider this section of prophecy and see if you can possibly extract such strained interpretations from it. We begin with verse 24.

The setting is a visit to Daniel by the angel Gabriel. Daniel had prayed to God, confessing the sins of the people (9:1-19). At the beginning of his prayer the angel Gabriel had been sent to Daniel. He explains the vision of “Seventy Weeks” as a period of time in which several things must take place.

First, notice that the vision dealt with Daniel’s people (the Jewish people in exile) and their city (Jerusalem.) Second, observe is the numeric value seventy. Seven is used in the Bible as a symbol of perfection or completeness. The vision does not require a literal meaning of seventy weeks. The dispensationalists even symbolize the weeks, making them become years.

Leon Wood wrote, “The word for ‘weeks’ is simply ‘sevens’. The word itself does not designate the units of time involved...they are to be understood as years...” A Commentary on Daniel, page 247. One has as much right to interpret the “sevens” as any given quantity as to interpret it as a unit of years. The sevens are a total of seventy weeks or seventy “sevens.” No matter what meaning one puts on it, the text is clear in representing it as a complete unit. That is what seven signifies, completeness.

Verse 24 shows that there is to be a first, a finishing of transgression, and an end of sin, and third a reconcilliation for iniquity. The purpose God assignes to this period of seventy sevens is that the effect of sin might be reversed. Whatever is meant by finishing transgressions, and the two other expressions, is to be accomplished within this period of time.

The term “finish” signifies restrain. The very respectable Edward Young, one of the most authoritative scholars of Old Testament prophecy, wrote: “The interpretation to finish or complete does not seem justifiable. The original is difficult, but a good case can be made in defense of the present translation, ‘for restraining the transgression’.” The Prophecy of Daniel, page 198.

Along with this, there are two other statements concering sin. Daniel is told also that there would be an end made of sins and reconcilliaion for iniquity. These three terms are comprehensive. They tell us of the one thing that has brought separation between God and mankind (Isa. 59:2). And the prophet is told that during this period of “seventy weeks” all of that will be changed. When Jesus died on the cross, He shed His blood “for the remission of sins” (Matt. 26:28). Through Him alone is reconcilliation with God possible (Col. 1:19-21).

The fourth thing mentioned is “to bring in everlasting righteousness.” This is a reference to the results of Christ’s atonement. That which began as “everlasting righteousness” began when Jesus paid the price for man’s transgressions. The Hebrew writer tells us, “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh” (Heb. 10:20).

Fifth, there was to be a seal set upon vision and prophecy. This means that when the seventy weeks were completed the need for visions and prophecies would cease. At the end of the New Testament age prophecy and all other means of divine revelation ceased, just as Paul promised. He said to the Corinthians, “But whether there be prophecies, they shall cease...” (1 Cor. 13:8). They ceased when the New Testament was completed.

Sixth, the Most Holy was to be anointed. This is an obvious reference to Jesus, the Christ. The term “Messiah” is the Hebrew equivalent of the Greek word Christ and means “the anointed.” Can anyone miss the fact that this is a reference to the time when Christ came and fulfilled each and every stipulation the angel Gabriel mentioned to Daniel?

Now look at verse 25. It begins by “Know therefore and understand...” Daniel was to understand that from the time the order was issued to rebuild Jerusalem until “Messiah, the Prince” was to come, there would be seven weeks, then sixty two weeks. Cyrus issued the order to rebuild Jerusalem in 539 B.C. This was prophesied by Isaiah in his prophecy, chapter 44, verse 18 and chapter 45, verse 13. The work of rebuilding Jerusalem was to be done during the first seven week period. Then a period of sixty two weeks would pass before the Messiah comes. Next we read the description of the rebuilding that takes place. The streets and walls would be build in troublesome times.

Verse 26 tells of the Messiah would would be “cut off.” The Messiah, Jesus Christ was crucified for the sins of the world. Notice that Gabrial assures Daniel that it was not for himself, that is not for the Messiah. Jesus did not die for sins he committed -- he died for the sins of others. Also in this verse mention is made of a prince over people. These people were to come and destroy the sanctuary, the Holy Place in the Temple. Then desolations would set in.

Verse 27 affirms that this prince of the people would make a covenant with many for one week. Keep in mind that this is symbolism being revealed by an angel to an inspired prophet. In the middle of this week the prince will put an end to sacrifice and offering and then “on the wings of abomination would make desolate.” There is only one true meaning to all this. It has nothing to do with us today, nor with the state of Israel, the Middle-East conflict, or the end of time. Just as Lindsey admits, the Roman Army laid seige to Jerusalem in A.D. 68. Two years later the city fell and was utterly destroyed. This is the one week mentioned in this prophecy. The sacrifice and offering was ended during the week. With the Temple and the city destroyed, there was no way the Jews could offer their sacrifices and offerings according to the Law.

The description fits the historical fact of Rome’s conquest and destruction of Jerusalem. Jesus had warned His disciples, “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near” (Luke 21:20). When Jesus died on the cross, He fulfilled the first four prophetic items Gabriel gave Daniel. When the New Testament was completed, the fifth item was fulfilled, and when Jerusalem fell, the whole prophecy of Daniel 9 came to its fulfillment.

Yet this doesn’t satisfy the millennialists speculators. They want yet a fulfillment of this. The most glaring discrepancy is seen in their calculations. They want the first 69 weeks to end at the time of Christ’s death. But the one week then stretches into over two thousand and still counting years.

If, after reading this, you have questions or remarks to make about it, contact us:

Back to Religious Issues