Introducing Daniel 9:24-27
God gave us numerous end-time passages in his Word in order that we would be able to understand the end times, not so that we would be confused all the way until his second coming. Most of the concepts presented in this book are not difficult to understand. The most difficult of these prophecies and concepts, Daniel’s seventy ‘sevens,’ is presented in this section. It is more difficult to grasp because it is a prophecy that deals in numbers and time in context to historical events. If you have never heard of this prophecy before, I recommend you take some time to read through this section and familiarize yourself with the prophecy. It will be frequently referenced, and a basic grasp on the prophecy is essential to understand the concepts presented in this book.
Daniel was a Jewish prophet who lived during the time of Israel’s exile in Babylon. He lived to see Jeremiah’s prophecy fulfilled, the prophecy that Israel’s exile would last seventy years. During his time in exile, he received profound insight on God’s plan for his people, the people of Israel. This plan included the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem, the unveiling of the Messiah, the death of the Messiah, the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, the arrival of an evil man who would persecute the Jewish people and put a stop to their religious rituals, and the death of this evil man. These are just a few of the events about which Daniel received revelation.
Daniel must have been utterly baffled when he received this prophecy. In his lifetime, his people were finally able to return to the promised land. God revealed that the Beautiful city would be rebuilt and the Messiah would come. This prophecy was looking good for the Jewish people, until Daniel received revelation that the Messiah would be killed. Not only that, but foreigners would yet again invade Jerusalem and destroy the temple. The situation only worsened as Daniel received the final part of this particular prophecy: not only would the Messiah be killed and the city destroyed, but an evil ruler would come, and the Jewish people would again be subject to horrific treatment. What was going through Daniel’s mind as he saw his countrymen return to the land of Israel after such a long exile? In light of such a joyous occasion for the people of Israel at the time, Daniel’s prophecy contained a lot of bad news. However, the prophecy he received also declared that by the end of the appointed time period, God would put an end to sin and bring in everlasting righteousness for his people. Daniel must have been confused how this would be possible when the Messiah would be killed and an evil ruler come in his stead.
Daniel’s seventy ‘sevens’ or Daniel’s seventy ‘weeks’ prophecy is the backbone of all other prophecies related to the time period of Jesus’ second coming. Sir Robert Anderson in his book “The Coming Prince” investigated this prophecy found in Daniel 9:24-27[i]. This presentation of Daniel’s seventy ‘sevens’ is based on Anderson’s detailed research. Daniel 9:24-27 packs an enormous amount of information into just four verses, spanning a total of 490 years (70 x 7 = 490). (A ‘seven’ is a seven-year period of time. Each year is 360 days.) Some of the pieces of the prophecy have been fulfilled, while other aspects have a yet future fulfillment. These verses discuss two main characters: the “Anointed One, the ruler,” and “the ruler who will come.” These two designations do not refer to the same person. The Anointed One is Jesus, the Jewish Messiah. The ruler who will come is the anti-Christ, or the man of lawlessness.
Daniel 9: 24-27: 24Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy Place. 25Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. 26After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. 27He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.
Chapter 2: Prerequisites for the Fulfillment of the Prophecy
Daniel’s seventy ‘sevens’ prophecy begins with Daniel 9:24. This verse lists six different prerequisites for the fulfillment of this prophecy that will be a reality by the end of the 490 years, or seventy ‘sevens.’ Let’s begin unpacking this prophecy, starting with the first verse:
Daniel 9:24: 24Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy Place.
A ‘seven’ represents a seven-year period, so seventy “seven-year periods” is equal to a total of 490 years. This prophecy begins by establishing a 490-year prophetic time period for the people of Israel and the city of Jerusalem. Within these 490 years, God will accomplish the following six things:
- finish transgression: Israel will no longer be a rebellious nation. The Bible records the history of the people of Israel. They are a people chosen by grace, not because they began as holy people; on the contrary, they were constantly rebelling against God and transgressing his laws. There is coming a day when they will stop turning their backs on God. This part of the prophecy has not yet been fulfilled, because as a nation, Israel has not accepted Jesus as their Messiah.
- put an end to sin: Israel will walk in holiness, purity, and righteousness. They will no longer be bound by sin. Both as a nation and at the individual level, Israel will be pure and blameless. Although some Jewish people have accepted Jesus as their Messiah, the full fulfillment of this miracle will happen within one generation in proximity to Jesus’ return, but it has not happened yet.
- atone for wickedness: Every Israeli living during the fulfillment of this prophecy will accept their Messiah’s atoning sacrifice, thus wiping away their sin. All of Israel’s sin will be forgiven and remembered no more. They will be a holy people. Although Jesus has already made the sacrifice necessary to provide this atonement, Israel as a nation has not yet accepted this free gift. By the end of this prophecy all of Israel will be saved, exactly as Paul prophesied in Romans 11:26.
- bring in everlasting righteousness: Not only will they cease living in sin, but the people of Israel will forever live in righteousness, never again turning their backs on Jesus. They will be the first nation of completely righteous people.
- seal up vision and prophecy: There will be no more prophecies given regarding the Jewish people, because they will begin to walk in their promises.
- anoint the Most Holy Place: The Most Holy Place, or “Holy of Holies” behind the veil in the temple in Israel will be anointed. This means that by the end of the 490 years, there must be a temple in Israel. It has not yet been rebuilt, but it certainly will be rebuilt according to this prophecy.
This prophecy provides great hope for the people of Israel. God has not given up on Israel. Although they have rebelled against God since the beginning of their history, God is still pursuing them. He is wooing them, and he is going to win them by his great love. This love story between God and Israel reveals God’s incredible mercy that he pursues people even in their sin and rebellion.
Jesus’ First Coming and the Destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70
The incredible promises of Daniel 9:24 are followed by two verses that relate historical events. Here, we must take a look at the divisions of time within the seventy ‘sevens.’ If seventy ‘sevens’ is 490 years, then how many years is seven ‘sevens’? It’s forty-nine years. How many years is sixty-two ‘sevens’? It’s 434 years. Daniel 9:25 states that after the word goes out to rebuild Jerusalem—or as the NKJV states, “from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem”—until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes (NKJV says, “Messiah, the Prince”), there will be seven seven-year periods (7 x 7=49) and sixty-two seven-year periods (62 x 7=434). This gives us a total of 483 years (49 + 434 = 483 years). 483 years is seven years short of the full 490-year (seventy ‘sevens’) prophecy. This is what Daniel prophesied regarding this 483-year time period:
Daniel 9:25: 25Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble.
The command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem was made by King Artaxerxes (pronounced ahr-tuh–zurk-seez). This decree can be found in the Bible in the book of Nehemiah. King Artaxerxes gave permission and a written decree to Nehemiah that enabled him to rebuild Jerusalem. This decree gave Nehemiah safe passage back to Judea and provided Nehemiah with the timber he needed to complete his task (Neh. 2:4-7).
From the day King Artaxerxes wrote the decree to rebuild Jerusalem until the walls of Jerusalem were built (including the streets and a trench), there were exactly forty-nine years to the day. The rebuilding of the wall is the seven ‘sevens’ of this prophecy. Nehemiah 4 explains how this rebuilding was done during a time of trouble. The people of the surrounding nations plotted against the Jews. They did not like the idea of Israel rising up again as a nation and becoming a potential threat to their countries. The Jews had to be ready for an attack at any moment.
Four-hundred thirty-four prophetic years after the rebuilding of the wall was the very day that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey fulfilling the sixty-two ‘sevens’ of this prophecy, while simultaneously fulfilling the Messianic prophecy found in Zechariah 9:9.
Zechariah 9:9: 9Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
Up until this point Jesus had repeatedly said that it was not yet his time to be revealed. Jesus knew exactly what signal he was sending the people of Israel: he was signaling to all Israel that he was the Messiah that they had been waiting for. Israel recognized their Messiah and welcomed him with palm branches and exuberant praise saying, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” and “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” (Mark 11:9-10) Many Jews had probably heard of the seventy ‘sevens’ prophecy and could have recognized that their Messiah was going to be revealed on that very day. This prophecy is astounding in its exactness. It was fully fulfilled to the very day. The precise fulfillment of this prophecy and all other prophecies concerning Jesus’ first coming teach us that prophetic Scriptures are meant to be taken literally. Every passage of Scripture that hasn’t been perfectly fulfilled will be fulfilled in the future.
Daniel 9:26 focuses on two events that will occur after the seven ‘sevens’ and the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ following Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on a donkey, but before the final ‘seven.’ The first event was the death of the Messiah. Many people in Israel believed their Messiah would immediately establish his kingdom on the earth. After Jesus was murdered, they abandoned their Messiah, believing some kind of mistake had been made about his identity. Surely the Messiah would not allow himself to be killed! However, Daniel prophesied long before Jesus appeared on the earth that he would be killed. His death was the first of two events listed in Daniel 9:26. In A.D. 70, several decades after Jesus’ crucifixion, Rome invaded Jerusalem, ransacking the city and destroying the temple. That was the second event.
Daniel 9:26: 26After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.
We are currently in the final time gap between the 483 years and the final ‘seven.’ Daniel wrote of this time period: “The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.” We will remain in this time period until the time of the end, the last seven years, begins. Daniel 9:27 prophesies about events that will occur in the final ‘seven,’ completing the 490-year prophecy. The final ‘seven’ provides a timeline that anchors numerous end of the age passages. The word “final” in final ‘seven’ and the word “end” in end times do not refer to the end of humankind in the same sense that “doomsday” and “apocalypse” refer to the end in some modern depictions in fiction films and books. Although the coming of Jesus has different ramifications for Christians and non-Christians, the “end” actually refers to a beginning—the beginning of a new age with Jesus ruling and reigning in righteousness.
Daniel’s Seventieth ‘Seven’
Daniel’s seventieth ‘seven’ is the final seven years of the 490-year prophecy. It has not yet been fulfilled; therefore, it will occur in the future. The final part of the prophecy contains information concerning an evil man who will come upon the earth. “He” refers to the ruler mentioned in Daniel 9:26— the “ruler who will come.” This man is popularly referred to as the anti-Christ, also known as the man of lawlessness (2 Thess. 2:3).
Daniel 9:27: 27He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.
The activities and character of the anti-Christ is a broad subject. He appears many times throughout the book of Daniel in several visions. Examining the anti-Christ in depth is a task too vast in light of the goals this book is written to achieve. However, as we continue to study the anti-Christ, albeit in a limited way, it is helpful to lay out some simple yet important guidelines:
- Instead of making guesses about his identity, pray for the leaders of your country as well as the leaders of other countries.
- Instead of focusing on how evil he is, focus on the character of Jesus.
- Instead of living in fear about his coming on the earth, remember Jesus’ great power, authority, and sovereignty over all events that take place on the earth.
- Instead of figuring out all the details of the enemy’s plans, fix your eyes on Jesus and his amazing plans (Heb. 12:1-2).
At the beginning of the last ‘seven,’ the man of lawlessness will make a covenant with many. This is the only time in the Bible that this event is clearly and specifically mentioned. The Bible is silent on the specifics of how this will come to pass. Will this be a public or private covenant? What group or groups constitute “the many”? What are the provisions of the covenant that “the many” enter into? Christians who know these prophecies and are carefully watching the world scene may be able to catch this event occurring; however, it is also possible they will not. Consider how many covenants between countries and organizations and people happen on a regular basis. Even if Christians were able to correctly identify this covenant, identifying the man of lawlessness with 100% certainty would still be impossible, as he will be one of “many.” The Bible does not emphasize the covenant that is established at the beginning of the ‘seven.’
Daniel 9:26 predicted that the temple would be torn down, which occurred at the hands of the Romans in A.D. 70. The leader of this destructive rampage was Emperor Nero, who although was operating in the “spirit of the anti-Christ,” did not fully fulfill all prophecies related to the man of lawlessness. He was a type and shadow of the coming man of lawlessness. One of these unfulfilled prophecies concerns how the man of lawlessness will be killed. He has an “end that is decreed” for him. This is his end: Jesus will overthrow the man of lawlessness “by the breath of his mouth and destroy [him] at the splendor of his coming,” (2 Thess. 2:8).
Daniel 9:27 foretells of a rebuilt temple that will be desecrated by the actions of the man of lawlessness, rather than torn down as in A.D. 70. At Jesus’ coming, this future temple will be reconsecrated (Dan. 8:13-14). In addition to Daniel’s prophecy, Jesus also prophesied that the temple in Jerusalem would be torn down (Matt. 24:2). Later on in the same prophecy, he foretold that the temple would be desecrated by an abomination that causes desolation. This revelation again confirms that a new temple will eventually be built in place of the one that was destroyed. It must be rebuilt in order to be desecrated.
The Bible mentions the covenant with many one time; in contrast, the Bible mentions the events that occur in the middle of the ‘seven’—namely the setting up of the abomination that causes desolation in the Jewish temple—numerous times (Dan. 9:27; 12:11; Matt. 24:15; Mark 13:14). Daniel, Jesus, and Paul all discussed this event.
By the end of this final seven-year time period, every condition of Daniel’s seventy ‘sevens’ will have come to a complete and literal fulfillment. Every single living Israeli at the time will have turned to God and will have believed in their Messiah. From that point on they will remain faithful to Jesus.
Excerpt (Chapters one through four) from The Saints Go Up and the Wrath Comes Down: A Pre-Wrath Perspective on the End Times by Aaron Eggman
Note: A compelling alternate possible fulfillment of Daniel’s Sixty-Nine “Sevens” is presented in Charles Coopers book, “God’s Elect and the Great Tribulation” by Charles Cooper.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from: THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. (Underlining and added brackets are emphasis added by the author)
Those scriptures noted as (NKJV) are taken from: New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.(Underlining and added brackets are emphasis added by the author)
[i] Anderson, Sir Robert. The Coming Prince: The Marvelous Prophecy of Daniel’s Seventy Weeks Concerning the Antichrist. Trumpet Press. Kindle Edition.