The Mystery of the “Seventy Weeks” in Daniel 9, Chapter XIX

As we have said, this prayer of Daniel is truly ahistorical prayer. It is also very particular and unique. Daniel stands here praying at the crossroads of God’s covenant dealings; he stands at the dawning of the morning of the day of Christ, the acceptable year of the LORD. Yes, it is really the cry for the daybreak of the final fulfillment of God’s promises, as they are all yea in Christ, and in Him Amen to the glory of God (II Cor. 1:20). 

Daybreak, the light of God to shine in this benighted world in the face of Jesus Christ. Time for the people who sat in the darkness of the shadow of death to see a great light (Is. 9:2Matt. 4:14-16). Forsoothe, what could all the types and shadows accomplish, yes, what did they accomplish toward the finishing of the transgressions, making an end of sin? 

Yes, watchman, what of the night?! 

Watchman, there is no real sacrifice of animals; none of the burnt-offerings and sin-offerings can really take away one sin, nor can it cleanse the conscience (Heb. 8:6-8). God Himself finds fault with this entire typical and merely symbolical ministry in the worldly sanctuary. Did not the Holy Ghost proclaim clearly and loudly that the way into the most holy place was not made manifest yet (Heb. 9:8)? 

Had not the best reformation which Hezekiah could institute to restore the Old Testament Passover really been of no avail? And must the same not also be said of the reformation of Josiah (II Chron. 31:2-21II Chron. 34:3-17)? These two attempts could not and did not ward off the divinely destined destruction of the kingdom, nor did it prevent the sacking of Jerusalem and the temple by the Babylonian armies under Nebuchadnezzar. And what is so painfully true is that Satan knew the reason why these sacrifices were to no avail. Did not Satan point out the weakness and the sinfulness of the Old Testament priesthood, as represented by the high priest Joshua standing at the altar (Zech. 3:1)? It all cried for a better Priest, really a king priest, God’s Servant, the BRANCH, Messiah. Yes, Satan and all his hosts knew it and they made war in heaven; Michael and his angels must war before God’s throne in heaven with the Dragon and his angels. 

Justice must be satisfied! Only then shall the heavens rejoice and they that dwell therein. Then shall all the angels of God sing: Glory to God in the highest, and peace among the men of God’s good-pleasure! (Rev. 12:7-10). There must be a better covenant based upon better promise. There must be a complete and full end the transgression and sin! And it must be announced before all heavens, before all the demons in hell, before all the angels before God’s throne, and before all the saints in the Ministry of reconciliation: “It is finished” (John 19:30II Cor. 5:19-21). 

Truly, if ever a man lived and experienced the utter failure of all salvation by the deeds of the law, for Israel as a people, it was the prophet Daniel. Even as Joseph’s heart ever cleaved to the land of the promise, in Egypt, so Daniel’s heart clung to the place of God’s rest in Jerusalem, praying three times a day facing a city and a temple which were not, but which would one day be rebuilt; it would be the beautiful city of which Isaiah speaks when he says, “O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colors, and lay thy foundations with sapphires, and I will make thy windows of agates and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders with pleasant stones, and all thy children shall be taught of the LORD, and great shall be the peace of thy children” (Is. 54:11-13). 

Now we must keep sharply before our minds that Daniel prays this great prayer in this spiritual context, as a prophet of God, who by the Spirit of Christ is inquiring diligently and searching out the sufferings to come upon Christ and the glory to follow. In his prayer he is not at all interested in the realization merely of Israel in the earthly land of Canaan, but he is concerned about the sins, the backslidings and the great transgressions of Israel, which are such that they are an utter disregard of all that Moses and the prophets have spoken. They are mostly willful sins of disobedience. They are such that the “curses” spoken of by Moses and predicted by him have been brought upon Israel in the just judgment of God. 

And this explains the intensity of Daniel’s prayers and supplications to the LORD, the God of heaven! 

He prays according to the promised mercies of God spoken of by Moses in Leviticus 26:40-42: “If they confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers . . . if their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they accept the punishment of their iniquity—then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember: and I will remember the land.”

Truly Daniel prays a well-founded petition, based upon great and precious promises!

For these Daniel prays! 

His prayer is, as it were, a storming of the gates of heaven. He asks and receives, he seeks and he finds, he knocks and it is opened to him. He is appealing to a merciful God, appealing to him to take reasons out of Himself to forgive and to cause his face to shine once more upon Jerusalem and the holy temple. He knows that the time has come on God’s time table. The clock of God is about to strike the hour, the appointed time of God’s salvation in Messiah, the Prince. We shall see more of this in subsequent chapters.

And Daniel may experience that God does not lie concerning His promised word through Moses inLeviticus 26:40-42. Heaven and earth may pass away, but every jot and tittle of God’s word shall come to pass. God is faithful (in covenant faithfulness) Who has promised. 

It is the hour of Daniel’s prayer! 

Before Daniel has finished his prayer, Gabriel comes to answer Daniel’s prayer with the Divine Disclosure and revelation concerning the fulfillment of the meaning of the “seventy years” of which Jeremiah spoke in Jeremiah 25:11, 12 of his prophecy. Not only Jeremiah’s prophecy is to be fulfilled, but the many prophecies which were being prophesied during the entire period, beginning with Isaiah. We see here the fulfillment of Isaiah 40:1, which is the keynote of all of the prophecies of Isaiah, as recorded in the chapters 40-66! For the very heart of all these prophecies we find in Isaiah 53. Here we read of Christ’s suffering for our transgressions, of His being raised for our justification, and of His glorification in the redeemed saints. 

The fulfillment of the promises, implied really in the seventy years of Captivity, are shown as fulfilled in the coming of Messiah. And this coming is symbolized in “seventy sevens,” the realization of the covenant of God according to the full counsel of God.

When Daniel’s prayer and supplications came before God in heaven, God heard the prayer of a righteous man which avails much. Fact is that, in this prayer, God hears the prayer of all His saints. Daniel’s prayer is an intercessory prayer not merely for himself, but it is a prayer for Israel, for the holy city, Jerusalem and for the people of His choosing (Dan. 9:18, 19). 

Daniel is a very godly man. He is called a man “of desires” as we have noticed. 

We almost hear Gabriel say of Daniel what God says in the most absolute sense about His only begotten Son: in Him is all my good pleasure (Matt. 3:17). The endearment shown to Daniel is really: a man much beloved! He is a man, according to the Hebrew, “of desires” (Dan. 9:23Dan. 10:19). He need therefore not fear, but may take courage that God has heard his prayer and will answer it. 

And then we notice that also in this case God shows that He is able and willing to do far above all that Daniel can ask or think (Eph. 3:20, 21). God will do this for His great Name’s sake. He cannot deny Himself. God is faithful to His own. And Daniel may rest assured. 

GABRIEL THE MESSENGER FROM GOD’S THRONE (Dan. 9:20-23

Daniel recognized this “man Gabriel.” Truly, he was not a real man, flesh and blood, born from a woman. He was one of God’s mighty angels, who came in the form of a man. It seems that Daniel sees him in a “vision.” In Daniel 8:16 Gabriel also appears in a “vision.” Daniel there saw a vision of the ram and of the rough goat, referring to world powers, Medo-Persia and Greece. 

Daniel recognized this angel as being Gabriel. Now when we study the Scriptures, we notice that Gabriel is the one angel with the very special task of pointing out the fulfillment of our salvation in the Messiah, the Christ of God. Such was his task here in Daniel. First he must foretell and explain the history of the world-powers, the last Pan- Asiatic power, and the first Pan-European world power, and Israel’s place in this great unfolding of God’s plan in world history, which is at bottom nothing but church history. It is the line of the coming of Christ, the birth of Christ as we read inMatthew 1:1-18. Secondly, Gabriel must unfold before the eyes of Daniel the central fulfillment of all God’s promises in the death and resurrection and glorification of Jesus Christ. 

This truth of the Gospel-story here we must clearly see. 

And, incidentally, we must not allow an exegetical juggling of dispensational-premillennialism to blind us for this very evident Gospel-content of the message of Gabriel to Daniel concerning the Mediatorial work of the Messiah of God, Who will be God’s Son in our flesh. 

We will attempt to show from careful exegesis that the entire meaning of the “seventy sevens” is that these cannot ever be correctly interpreted according to the “rule of faith,” the infallible Scriptures, unless we see that the “last week,” the “seventieth seven” is the Arch-Stone in the entire house of God. Those who refuse to see this in the symbolism of the “seventy sevens” reject the Stone laid in Zion, elect and precious, chosen of God. They fail to see the wonder-work of grace—and perish in their sins!