This is a major key to prophecy and is the lynchpin connecting Old and New Testament prophecy, preparing us for the New developments. It establishes the postponement of the Kingdom (crucial to relating Old Testament prophecy and the Church Age). It also proves that despite the delay, the Kingdom will be established and Israel will be fully restored. It is a Masterpiece of Prophecy. The end-time prophecy of Jesus (the Olivet Discourse) depends and builds upon it. It gives a countdown to the Kingdom!
Now Tiberius Caesar began ruling as co-emperor with Augustus in AD 12 and ruled alone from AD 14-37. Now the word used for his ‘reign’ is ‘hegemonia’ (rulership or leadership), not ‘basileia’ (the word that is usually used for a king’s ‘reign’, which certainly would have been used to describe his sole-reign from AD 14). Thus his ‘hegemonia’ began in AD 12 and his 15th year was AD 26. So John the Baptist started announcing the Messiah at the very time Daniel had predicted the start of the time of Messiah’s Coming to Israel!
Thus Daniel predicted that the time of ‘Messiah the Prince’ starts after 483 years (fulfilled in the ministry of John starting in AD 26) and ends after 490 years (fulfilled in the death of the Messiah Jesus in AD 33). Since we know that Jesus’ ministry lasted 3.5 years (AD 29-33), we can conclude that John’s ministry was also 3.5 years (AD 26-29). This is confirmed by the 7 years of the Tribulation (likewise divided in two halves) which as we shall see is a rerun of these 7 years.
The death of Christ in AD 33 is widely accepted, and is also confirmed by secular historical writings that describe the supernatural darkness that covered the world at that time. Moreover only AD 30 and 33 satisfy the criteria of a Friday full moon as required for the Passover in the year of the Cross. However, some prefer AD 30 because it has been popular to believe that Christ was born in 4 BC, because it was thought that Josephus gave this date for Herod’s death. Since Jesus was about 30 when He started His ministry of 3.5 years, this would give AD 30 as the year of the Cross. However recent scholarship has shown that Josephus has been misinterpreted, and that Herod’s death was in 1 BC, and Christ’s birth was in 2 BC (which confirms 33 AD for the Cross, since there is no year 0).
This agrees with the consistent witness of the Church Fathers who had access to better information. This is all well documented in the revised edition of Finegan’s ‘Handbook of Biblical Chronology’. In conclusion, we have good evidence that John’s ministry began in AD 26, and the Cross was in AD 33. This means that the 7 years predicted by Daniel as the time of ‘Messiah the Prince’ (AD 26-33) was fulfilled in the 7 years of the messianic ministry of John and Jesus.
Sometime after the 483 years - after Messiah’s Presentation begins, He is to be killed for us: "And after the 62 weeks MESSIAH shall be cut off - but not for himself" (v26). We have seen that at the end of the 62 weeks the Messianic ministry would begin. Now we are told that sometime later, at the end of this ministry the Messiah would be killed, not for His own sins but for ours. In fact, we now know that it was after seven years, at the end of the 70 Weeks in AD 33, that Messiah was killed (as v24 implied). We know from the Feasts and Seasons described in John’s Gospel and from Luke 13:7 that Jesus ministered for three and a half years. So John must have ministered for the three and a half years before that, typified by Elijah’s ministry (James 5:17). (This pattern of the 70th Week divided into 2 halves is confirmed when we see it repeated in the 7-year Tribulation, when the 70th Week is rerun). The prophecy is strangely silent about these seven years of Messiah (Daniel’s 70th Week) after which the Kingdom should have been established. These most important years are left blank, except for the mention of Messiah’s substitutionary death at their end.
According to v24, by the end of the 70th Week (AD 33), Jesus Christ should have died for our sins and established the Kingdom. He did die and establish the New Covenant in His Blood, and He was ready to establish the Kingdom that year and fulfil the prophecy of the 490 years, but something happens to delay this, which is anticipated in the prophecy in v26.
First: “Messiah will be cut off but not for himself” (KJV) could also be translated: “the Anointed One will be cut off and have nothing” (NIV) or as the Living Bible puts it: “the Anointed One will be killed, His Kingdom still unrealised.” For some reason the Kingdom does not come after 490 years!
Then as the prophecy in v26 continues, there's another strange development. Instead of Messiah establishing the Kingdom we find: "and the people (the Romans) of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood and until the end of the war desolations are determined" (fulfilled in the war of AD 66-73 when Rome destroyed Jerusalem and scattered Israel to the nations). Something has gone terribly wrong! Such destruction and judgement on Israel could only mean Israel will reject her Messiah! (This could not have been said explicitly without spoiling their freedom of choice). So the Kingdom could not come at the end of the 490 years!
But how will God fulfil the prophecy of 490 years, as He must?
Praise God Who: "changes the times and the seasons" (Daniel 2:20-22). God did something special with the last 7 years on Israel's Timetable, about which, so far, the prophecy has been silent. Because they rejected their King and Kingdom, He officially cut them off (Luke 13:4-8, Acts 7), stopped their clock and cancelled their last 7 years (AD 26-33, the time of Messiah’s Presentation). This is why the 7 years, AD 26-33 are blotted out of v26. He will give them a second chance by letting the 7 years (Daniel’s 70th Week) run again for Israel at the end of the age, after which Christ returns to establish the Kingdom and is received by a believing Israel. The difference is that these are 7 years of Tribulation under antichrist, rather than 7 years of Grace under Christ. In the first 7 years Christ presented Himself as King, but in the last seven years antichrist will present himself as king.
Both seven-year periods divide into two halves, where things that begin in the first half come to their climax in the second half. Thus v24 will still be literally fulfilled, because the Kingdom will be established after 490 years on Israel’s clock. However before the final 7 years on Israel’s clock run, the 2000 years or so of the Church-Age are inserted which delay the coming of the Kingdom. So there is a GAP between the two sets of 7 years filled by the Church-Age (not mentioned because it is a Mystery).
The precedent and type for this is the dreams of Pharaoh in the time of JOSEPH (Genesis 41) where 7 lean cows eat 7 fat ones and 7 thin, blighted heads of grain eat up 7 good heads. This referred to 7 prosperous years being EATEN UP by 7 years of famine and affliction which came after. So the 7 blessed years of John and Christ were 'eaten up' (blotted out) on Israel's calendar and replaced by 7 years of TRIBULATION by the end of which the Kingdom must be established. Joseph is a type of Christ and his brothers are Israel. The brothers rejected Joseph as their leader and 'killed' him.
They did not come to him in the first 7 years but in the years of Tribulation (‘the time of Jacob's trouble' - Jeremiah 30:7); they realised their trouble was due to their sin against Joseph and were repentant. After testing them, Joseph revealed himself to his brothers in the 7 years of Tribulation and they were reconciled. Likewise, Jesus will reveal Himself to Israel and they will be reconciled and receive Him as their King.
v26,27 describe 2 consequences of Israel’s rejection of her Prince.
(1) The first judgement came to that generation:
"the people of the prince who is to come (the Romans) shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it (the city) shall be with a flood (an overwhelming invasion) and until the end of the war desolations are determined”(v26). This took place over a 7-year period from AD 66-73.
(2) The second judgement is the coming of a future prince: ‘the prince who is to come’, who is of the Roman Empire (for v26 says that his people are the ones who destroy Jerusalem and the Temple) His destructive activities against Jerusalem and the Temple also take place over a 7-year period (the Tribulation - Daniel’s 70th Week). They are described in v27 and identify him as the anti-christ. This shows that the antichrist will be the head of a Revived Roman Empire. There is a contrast between two princes (who both aspire to be world-rulers). There is the Jewish ‘Messiah the Prince’ (the Christ) and the Roman ‘prince to come’ (the anti-christ). Because Israel rejected her true Messiah-Prince after 7-years of grace, she must endure life under the false Messiah-Prince for the 7-year Tribulation. Thus the cause of the Tribulation is Israel’s rejection of her Messiah and the rerunning of Daniel’s 70th Week.
After v26, the prophecy jumps forward to these last seven years for Israel. After introducing the Roman prince in v26 as an important figure yet to come, v27 tells us more about him:
"Then (after an undisclosed period of time) he (this must be the last person mentioned - 'the prince who is to come', the antichrist) shall confirm a covenant (peace-treaty) with the many (the majority in Israel) for ONE WEEK (7 years!)."
Here we see Daniel’s 70th Week (the last 7-years before the Kingdom comes). It is marked by the activity of the antichrist. The starting point for these seven years of Tribulation is a peace treaty he makes with Israel as part of his rise to world-power. This agreement may promise Israel protection, allowing them to worship in a rebuilt Temple.
"But in the middle of the Week (after 3 and a half years, at Mid-Tribulation) he will bring an end to sacrifice and offering.”
He will break this covenant, invade Jerusalem and stop their Temple worship. “And one who causes desolation (either antichrist or his assistant - the False-prophet, see Revelation 13) will place abominations on a wing of the Temple...”This is the ‘abomination of desolation’ that Jesus refers to in Matthew 24:15.
Antichrist will utterly defile the sanctuary of God by putting an idol of himself on the pinnacle and in the holy-of-holies of the rebuilt Jewish Temple and demand that everyone worship him. This desolation will continue: “...until the end (of the 70th Week) - the time God has set, to pour out judgement on this evil desolator.” This time is limited to 3.5 years, after which antichrist and his kingdom will be destroyed. This must be accomplished by the Return of the Messiah-King, Jesus at the end of the 7 years to deliver His people and to establish His Kingdom thus fulfilling the 490-year prophecy. This agrees with prophecies in Daniel 2 and 7.
There are two 7-year judgements upon Israel for her 7-year rejection of Christ (AD 26-33). The first ( v26), was fulfilled in AD 66-73, exactly 40 years later. This was a forerunner of the second (v27) - the future Tribulation. They have interesting parallels. Both increase in severity with time. Both see a Roman invasion of Jerusalem half-way through the 7-years, followed by a desecration or destruction of the Temple. The second-half is a time of Great Tribulation and by the end of 7-years the nation of Israel is at the point of extinction. In the Olivet Discourse, Jesus basically expounds and expands upon this prophecy of Daniel.
In so doing He predicts the invasion of Jerusalem in AD 70 (Luke 21:20-24, c.f Daniel 9:26) and the parallel invasion in the Tribulation (Matthew 24:15-22, c.f. Daniel 9:27). In so doing He brings out another similarity - that in both cases a way of escape will be made for believers just before destruction hits. Because of these similarities many think these are identical events but there are also clear differences. The invasion in Luke results in desolation and captivity in the nations for a long period of time (v24). Thus, He predicts an invasion well before the End of the Age in line with Daniel 9:26. On the other hand the invasion in Matthew results in the desecration (not the total destruction) of the Temple and it happens just before Christ’s Return (v22-31). Thus He also predicted a 2nd invasion very near the end, in line with Daniel 9:27.
Jesus also warned of these coming Roman judgements in Luke 23:26-31: “As they led Him away, they laid hold of a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, who was coming from the country, and on him they laid the cross that he might bearit after Jesus. And a great multitude of the people followed Him, and women who also mourned and lamented Him. But Jesus, turning to them, said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For indeed the days are coming in which they will say, `Blessed are the barren, wombs that never bore, and breasts which never nursed!' Then they will begin to say to the mountains, "Fall on us!" and to the hills, "Cover us! For if they do these things in the green wood (in a time of grace), what will be done in the dry
(in a time of judgement)?"
Between v26 and v27, Daniel’s prophecy jumps 2000 years or so. It is a good example of a Prophetic Gap. The connecting link is Rome and the Roman Prince, identified by the phrase: ‘the people of the prince to come’. At the end of the first run of Daniel’s 70th Week, Israel rejected Christ as their ruler, saying that "Caesar is our King" and the Roman army destroyed Jerusalem soon after (v26). Appropriately, the last 7 years open with Israel receiving the antichrist as ruler. v26 describes him as the Coming Prince whose people destroyed Jerusalem in AD 70. This shows he is head of a Revived Roman Empire. v27 describes the continuing judgement and destruction that will come on Israel through Rome for rejecting Christ and accepting the wrong ruler, but at the end of it they will be ready to accept the true Christ (v24).
The rerun of Daniel’s 70th Week (the Tribulation) has many parallels with the 70th Week cancelled by God (AD 26-33). One opens with the presentation of Christ to Israel, the other with antichrist. Satan tempts each man with world-power mid-way through the 7 years. One rejects, one accepts. At this point both are filled with supernatural power to fulfil their missions- one (possessed) by satan, the other (anointed) by God, launching them to prominence requiring everyone to decide to believe or reject them. At the close of both Weeks Israel has a decision to accept or reject her Messiah. The first time she says ‘no’, but the second time she will say ‘yes’. The first 70th Week ended with the death of Christ (v26), but the second Week finishes with the destruction of anti-christ (v27). The first time the only first 3 points of v24 were fulfilled, the second time the last 3 will be also.
This chronology of Daniel’s prophecy differs from the better known calculation done by Sir Robert Anderson. He takes 445 BC (the royal command to Nehemiah in the 20th year of Artaxerxes) as the starting point and uses years of 360 days. He views the 69 Weeks as ending at Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem in 32 AD, and the 70th Week as postponed because of Israel’s rejection. The effective differences with the interpretation that I propose (which derive from the insights of Sir Edward Denney) are subtle but important. See my book ‘End-Time Prophecy Part 1’ for a detailed explanation why the Anderson interpretation clearly fails.
I have come to see Denney’s view as superior for the following reasons:
(1) It is generally accepted that the Cross was in AD 33 (or 30) but it was certainly not in AD 32. For this reason H.Hoehner has adapted Anderson’s dates by a year (from 444 BC - AD 33 ).
(2) The Year-Length in use by Israel at that time was the luni-solar year which approximates to our solar year in average length. When Daniel spoke of 490 years, it must be assumed this referred to the standard year used by Israel, NOT the Gentile (Babylonian) TIME of 360 days. Israel’s clock does not run according to ‘Times’. Had God intended to measure the 490 years in ‘Times’, He would have said so, as He did for Nebuchadnezzar’s 7 ‘Times’ in Daniel 4.
This is confirmed by the context of the prophecy at the close of the 70 years in Babylon (Daniel 9:1-3), a measurement based on the number of sabbatical years that Israel had failed to rest the Land (2Chronicles 36:20,21) - hence the reference to ‘Weeks’ (Sevens of Years) in the prophecy. These years were clearly Jewish luni-solar Years, not Times. God was saying:“The 70 years are about to end and now I am measuring out 70 sevens of years for Israel leading up to your full restoration through the Messiah.” The assumption has to be that the kind of years that God used in this prophecy to measure Israel’s future history leading up to the Messiah were the years God Himself had given to Israel to use as the basis of their Calendar and the Feasts of the Lord, namely lunar-solar years, which they still use to this day. If God intended to use a different kind of year (such as the Time), He would have made that clear as He does in other situations when the 360 day Time is being used. Thus Anderson’s use of this unusual year length of 360 days is unjustified and is a great weakness of his interpretation.
It is true that there are special situations in the Bible when God clearly does use the Time, as in the year of the Flood and in the Tribulation (in Daniel and Revelation) - both of which were times of world-wide judgement. However to call it a ‘prophetic year’ (as if it was the year generally used in prophecy) is totally misleading.
(3) The death and resurrection of Christ must happen on a Jubilee. In fact at the end of 490 years it happened at the end of a Great Jubilee.
(4) God’s offer of the Kingdom to Israel was genuine. Therefore, had Israel accepted, the Kingdom would have had to have been established later in AD 33 (the year of the Cross), fulfilling the 70 Weeks prophecy on time. This requires the 70 Weeks to end in AD 33. When Israel failed the 70th Week was cancelled to be rerun as the Tribulation.
(5) The start of Daniel's Seventy Weeks: "The commandment (‘dabar’ = ‘word from God’) to restore and build Jerusalem."
POSSIBILITIES: There are 4 to consider, but I believe the decree in 458 BC is the correct one.
(A) The Decree of Cyrus 536 BC (Ezra 1:2-4).
This concerns the Temple alone - it does not mention Jerusalem as such. Now Isaiah 44:28,45:13 seems to include Jerusalem in his decree but actually it is God who speaks His purposes to Cyrus, Jerusalem and the Temple and all four of these decrees are manifestations of this. However the part of it that came through Cyrus clearly concerned the Temple alone.
(B) The Decree of Darius 518 BC (Ezra 6:1-3).
This just renews Cyrus’ Temple Decree.
(C) Artaxerxes Decree in his 7th year. 458 BC (Ezra 7:11-26). This clearly had a Divine origin as the word ‘commandment’ implies (v6,27). The later Decree by Artaxerxes in 445 BC was in response to Nehemiah’s request rather than a direct ‘word from God.’ Moreover the Bible emphasises this decree by:
(1) having a chapter devoted to it, with a detailed copy given
which shows it to fit Daniel’s prophecy.
(2) it is central to the book of Ezra-Nehemiah for all its events originate from it.
(3) its date is emphasised strongly (v7-9).
(4) it is the only bit of Ezra in Aramaic not Hebrew.
Now on the surface this decree seems to emphasise the Temple and thus it does not qualify, but a closer reading shows clearly that this decree included the rebuilding of city and its administration. It empowered him to ordain laws, and set magistrates and judges with authority to punish. So Ezra was authorised to restore the common-wealth and the means were placed at his disposal to enable him to do so. This must be the decree to rebuild and restore Jerusalem and this is seen to be Ezra's understanding of it. Ezra 1-6 describes the rebuilding of the Temple before Ezra, except for a parenthesis in Ezra 4:6-23 where in describing resistance to this work Ezra then also describes the resistance he faced in his time. This section shows that the group that returned with Ezra attempted to restore the walls but this attempt was thwarted by the Samaritans (Ezra 4:11,12,23). This attempt must have been made under Ezra in 458 BC, for the decree granted him exactly these extended powers (7:18, 25; 9:9).
(D) Artaxerxes 445 BC in his 20th year (Nehemiah 2).
This gave Nehemiah permission to rebuild the walls). Many believe this is the decree because it emphasises the walls but as we have seen a previous attempt had been made on the basis of the earlier decree. It was the failure to implement that decree that upset Nehemiah and he gained permission to assist in accomplishing the work undertaken by Ezra which had been retarded. So this was not the originating decree but a renewal of the earlier one.
Therefore Daniel's 70 Weeks start in 458 BC, and Ezra 7 even tells us the Decree was made on Nisan 1st which was APRIL 3rd 458 BC. Therefore we can quickly see that 490 years later takes us to APRIL 3rd AD 33, the Day of Christ’s Resurrection when He was ready to establish the Kingdom had Israel been ready.
Further thoughts on the 70 Weeks. The 70th Week is clearly still in the future (Daniel 9:27) and so seems to be divided off from the other 69 Weeks. However the prophecy implies that all 70 Weeks are all together as one unit (v24) with the Messiah bringing Salvation and the Kingdom at the end of the 70th Week (His time starting after 69 Weeks). The failed attempts to make the first 69 Weeks stand alone in measuring the time up to the Cross, confirm that all 70 Weeks should be kept together as one unit. What we have here is a classic prophetic paradox. On one hand, the 70th Week should run straight after the 69th. On the other hand, it is yet future! How can both be true? Rather than choosing one over the other as most interpretations do, let us proceed on the basis that both are true, even if this initially seems impossible!
As we have shown, the starting date for the 70 Weeks is clearly marked in Ezra 7 as Nisan 1, in the 7th year of Artaxerxes.This was without doubt April 3rd, 458 BC (Gregorian Calendar). Measuring forward 69 Weeks (483 Jewish luni-solar years) takes us to the last day of the 69th Week: April 4th 26AD. This means the 70th Week, the Time of Messiah, began on April 5th AD 26 with the ministry of John the Baptist. The seven messianic years are in two halves (3.5 years of John the Baptist followed by 3.5 years of the ministry of Jesus Christ). The 70th Week of Messiah is 7 true solar years which close on April 3rd, AD 33, the very day of His resurrection! It is also of note that: 490 true solar years from April 3rd, 458 BC end on April 1st 33AD, the day of the Cross!
This means that the 490 years come to a fitting climax at the death and resurrection of Christ. The 490 years of Daniel 9:24 speak of a Great Jubilee Cycle (10 Jubilees) and so it is a great confirmation that the greatest Jubilee of all (even the fulfilment of all Jubilees - the Cross and Resurrection) took place at the end of a Great Jubilee Cycle. Whereas if the Cross was only after 483 years this would not be true. Only the death and resurrection of Christ form a fitting climax to the 70 Weeks and the calculation works to the very day! In fact the first three of the six supreme messianic accomplishments that v24 tells us should be achieved by the end of the 70th Week were fulfilled at the Cross. Thus we see that by letting all 70 Weeks run their course we get an impressive prophecy of what the Messiah would accomplish in His First Coming, at the climax of the 490 years, and it accurately predicts this to the very day!
However, we must also admit there is much in the prophecy that has not been fulfilled in the 490 years from 458 BC - 33AD, and that the events of the 70th Week are still in the future (v27). How can the prophecy of v24 be fulfilled when the 490 years have passed and the Kingdom not yet established?
It was Sir Edward Denney who discerned the brilliant solution. According to v24, Jesus Christ was ready to fulfil the whole prophecy in 490 years which involved purchasing our salvation and establishing His Kingdom of righteousness on earth (the suffering and the glory). However Israel’s rejection of Him as their Messiah-King meant that although He could fulfil the Salvation aspects in His First Coming by His death and resurrection (and did so on time), He was unable to establish His Kingdom at that time. This is indicated in Daniel 9:26: “He shall be cut off, but have nothing”, that is, His Kingdom shall be unrealised.
Thus He fulfilled the first 3 (Salvation) aspects of v24, but He will only fulfil the second 3 (Kingdom) aspects at His 2nd Coming at the end of the future 70th Week described in v27.
How can the 70th Week be past and future, fulfilled and unfulfilled? How can we explain this paradox?
The solution is simple: the 70th Week has come and it will come again. It has run, and it will run again at the end. When Israel rejected the King and Kingdom after 7 years of grace, God chronologically cancelled those 7 years (the 70th Week) in order to rerun them at the end of the age as the 7 year Tribulation. He had given Israel 490 years on her clock to fulfil His purposes, but when she rejected Him at the end of the 70 Weeks, God stopped her clock and rewound it 7 years. Meanwhile He brought in a new Body, the Church, for the Church-Age. When the Church Age is ended by the Rapture, Israel’s final 7 years (the 70th Week) will rerun as the Tribulation. Thus the Messianic Kingdom was postponed 2000 years (40 Jubilees) because of Israel’s rejection (just as their entry into the Promised land was postponed 40 years because of unbelief).
These two sets of 7 years concerning Israel are prefigured in Typology by the two periods of 7 years Jacob had to work for a wife and by Joseph’s 7 years of plenty and famine:
*The 7 years of prosperity came first, but Israel did not come to Joseph (Jesus) in that time. The dreams show the 7 lean years that came later as eating up the 7 fat years, a perfect description of the what happened to the 70th Week of Grace being replaced (eaten) by the 7 year Tribulation. It is only in the 7 lean years that Israel comes to Joseph (Jesus) and He is revealed to them, and they find salvation through Him.
*Jacob worked 7 years for His wife (Rachel), but at the close of the 7 years he did not obtain her, but another (Leah) came to Him instead. So He had to fulfil another 7 years for Rachel. When the original 7 years ran without fulfilling his purpose, he did not give up on Rachel, but instead reran the 7 years for her. He gave her another Week (of years) of work in the place of the original Week. The first 7 years were not wasted, but as far as Rachel (Israel) was concerned the first 7 years failed to achieve their purpose and so the 7 years for Rachel were run again. The original 7 years were cancelled (as if they had not run) as far as the reckoning for Rachel was concerned. His love for Rachel meant he was willing to run these 7 years again.
This action of God involved both judgement and mercy:
The judgement was that the Kingdom was taken from one generation of Israel and given to another, so that it was postponed. Moreover in place of 7 years of grace under Christ, Israel will have to suffer 7 years of Tribulation under antichrist (v27), which was prefigured by the 7 years of initial judgement (AD 66-73) that happened to that same generation (v26). The prophecy clearly links these two judgements together as a dual outworking of the rejection of the Messiah in v26. In the Olivet Discourse Jesus interprets Daniel’s prophecy giving more detail about these two judgements that come as a result of their rejection of Him as Messiah (Luke 21, Matthew 24).
The mercy is that God is giving Israel a second chance, and by the end of the 2nd run of Daniel’s 70th Week Israel will repent and Jesus will return to save her and destroy the antichrist on the final day of this 70th Week. As He fulfilled the first set of 3 Messianic accomplishments at the close of the 70th Week in His First Coming, so He will fulfil the second set of three Messianic accomplishments at the close of the 70th Week in His Second Coming. Therefore Israel’s rejection of Christ resulted in a delay, but not a denial of her final Salvation and Kingdom.
Thus v24 will be perfectly fulfilled at the end of the 70th Week and the detailed way this is accomplished is developed in v25-27. The prophecy describes Christ’s Coming, His Death, and His rejection by Israel resulting in judgement upon her instead of her receiving the promised Kingdom (v25,26). Then it describes the ultimate fulfilment of the prophecy at the close of a yet future (repeated ) 70th Week (v27), so that it will ultimately be fulfilled with Israel’s Salvation and Kingdom at the close of 70 Weeks, despite her initial unbelief.
Interpretations of the 70 Weeks tend to stumble over the paradox between v24 where everything is fulfilled on time (after 70 Weeks) by the Messiah, and v26,27 where the Time of Messiah comes and goes and instead of the Kingdom being established Israel comes under judgement and the Kingdom is delayed until a future 70th Week of Tribulation has run.
We have now resolved this paradox in the only possible way:
The 70th Week is cancelled and repeated again after the Church Age. Whatever was not fulfilled after the first run will be fulfilled after the second run. If Daniel 9:24 stood alone it would be a failed prophecy, but combined with v25-27 we see how it is being perfectly fulfilled, for even the delay and replay of the 70 Week due to Israel’s unbelief is anticipated in the prophecy. When v25-27 is allowed to interpret v24, we see that Messiah will fulfil the prophecy in 2 stages, the Salvation stage and the Kingdom stage, the Sufferings and the Glory, and indeed this dual outworking of God’s Plan is a general characteristic of Messianic Prophecy.
This interpretation accounts for all the aspects of the prophecy:
*It resolves the paradox showing how the Kingdom is established after 70 Weeks without dividing the 70th Week off from the 69 Weeks (this is where other dispensational interpretations fail).
*The 70 Weeks are seen to run as a unit. All the Messianic achievements are linked to the end of the 70th Week (v24), and are by nature Jubilee events happening on a Great Jubilee.
*The Complexity of the prophecy is due to the fact that God had predetermined a definite period of time to fulfil His purposes for Israel, but that she rejected the Messiah when He came at the close of that time, and God, who knew all this in advance (as revealed by this prophecy), had prepared His response, which was to discipline Israel and give her a 2nd chance later in such a way, that it would ultimately be fulfilled in the original predetermined time-period for Israel. Within this prophecy is hidden the Mystery of the Church-Age during which time Israel’s clock is stopped.
*Messiah is initially seen in His First Coming as the Prince, not the King (v25). The time of Messiah is defined as starting after the 69th Week and therefore it occupies the 70th Week. He is said to be cut off (killed) after the 69th Week (v26). Why does it not say ‘during the 70th Week’? Because as far as Israel was concerned that 70th Week would be cancelled (blotted out) and rerun again as the future Tribulation (v27).
*The judgements on Israel (past and future) are explained in terms of Israel’s unbelief concerning her Messiah. The Tribulation is the rerun of Daniel’s 70th Week. Israel’s suffering under the antichrist is the result of her rejection of the Christ. Yet He has not rejected her and will save her from antichrist at the end. Overall in this prophecy, God reveals His Sovereignty by declaring His Purposes for Israel and the very Timing of their fulfilment, as well as anticipating and describing every obstacle, and then showing how He will fulfil His purpose anyway and in the time-frame He allotted for Israel in the 1st place.
*Since the prophecy defines the Tribulation as the Repetition of the original 70th Week (the Time of Messiah), we can account for the timing of the Tribulation. Not only does it explain why it must be 7 years, but why it must be divided into 2 halves of 3.5 years (see v27, and other references in Daniel and Revelation to 1260 days, 42 months, etc).
In the 7 years of Grace, the first half of 3.5 years (April AD 26 -October 29) was the preparatory ministry of John the Baptist in the spirit and place of Elijah. In the rerun Israel again have a preparatory ministry, this time of Elijah himself (as one of the 2 witnesses), possibly countered by the false-prophet.
It is impossible to understand the scriptures relating John and Elijah if the cancellation and rerun of the 70th Week is not understood. God promised to send Elijah to Israel just before Messiah set up His Kingdom, but knowing Israel would reject it and that it would not be established at the First Coming, He held Elijah back, and sent John in Elijah’s place to fulfil His ministry. Instead Moses and Elijah were present on earth to witness the key events of His First Coming (they appeared on the Mount of Transfiguration and afterwards also as 2 men in white). This qualifies them to be the 2 witnesses of Revelation 11 for they will be able to give eyewitness testimony to Israel concerning Christ’s First Coming. Therefore Elijah will come to Israel just before the 2nd Coming to fulfil His prophesied ministry to Israel. In the rerun of the 70th Week, he must fulfil a parallel ministry to John’s ministry in the original 70th Week, calling people to faith in Christ. In particular his ministry must run for the first half of the Week (3.5 years)
and that is exactly what we read in Revelation 11.
In the 7 years of Grace, the events of the 70th Week come to their climax in second half of 3.5 years (October 29 - April 33) which was the ministry of Jesus Christ himself. This explains why His Ministry was 3.5 years. Likewise in the 7 years of the Tribulation, the events of the re-run 70th Week come to their climax in the second half of the Week, but instead of the 3.5 years of grace under Christ, they must suffer 3.5 years of Great Tribulation under the antichrist (because they rejected Christ). This is why Daniel 9:27 clearly divides the final 70th Week into 2 halves, with the 2nd half much worse for Israel than the first half, with it being dominated by the antichrist. Moreover in Daniel 9:27, the first half is characterised by the Jews having their Temple, where the prophetic ministry of Moses and Elijah is based for 3.5 years (Revelation 11).
*So in both runs of the 70th Week, as far as Israel is concerned, the first half is dominated by the prophetic Elijah ministry, and the second half is dominated by the anointed one (either the Christ, anointed by God as the fulfilment of His purposes, or the antichrist, anointed by satan as the fulfilment of his purposes).
*Both 70 Weeks close with a climactic Messianic manifestation on the final day of the 490 years (the Great and Manifest Day of the Lord). The first 70th Week closed with the Resurrection of Christ from the dead. The 2nd 70th Week will close with the 2nd Coming of Christ in power and glory to save Israel, destroy the antichrist, and establish His Kingdom on earth.
*Moreover both of these Great Days of the Lord’s Manifestation will be heralded by the same signs in the heavens during the two days immediately beforehand: “The sun will turn to darkness and the moon to blood before the Great and Terrible (Manifest) Day of the Lord” (Joel 2:31, Acts 2:20). On the day of the Cross there was the supernatural sign of the sun turning to darkness and the natural sign of the moon turning to blood (there was a lunar eclipse on April 1st AD 33), just before the Day of His glorious resurrection. Likewise just before the 2nd Coming the moon will turn to blood (lunar eclipse) and the sun will be supernaturally darkened (Joel 2:31, Acts 2:20, Matthew 24:29,30, Revelation 6:12).
*Moreover both have exactly the same number of days (2555). John started his ministry at the opening of the 70th Week, Nisan 1st or April 5th AD 26. The 70th week ended on the day of the resurrection April 3rd AD 33 (7 solar years). We have seen that this is the same number of days of the Tribulation revealed by Daniel and Revelation (1260+34+1260+1=2555). Moreover both 70th Weeks have a 40 day Epilogue (Acts1:3, Daniel 12:12).
Thus we see a perfect parallelism between the initial Time (7 years) of Messiah and the 7 year Tribulation, confirming their connection as both being Daniel’s 70th Week, one being the rerun of the other.