Series: Thru the Bible
70 weeks have been determined for your people Pt. 2
We are continuing on in Daniel 9:24-27 employing the same method we began with last week.
As I told you then, I believe these 4 verses are talked about, debated about, commented on and written about more than any other portion of the Old Testament.
They are often referred to as the 70 weeks of Daniel.
In my studies, much of these interpretations are focused more upon the timing of the events than upon the events they represent.
With this in mind we have begun working through the passage statement by statement, prediction by prediction and then looking with OUR vantage point 2,500 years laters to determine if there are any events in history which precisely fit these predictions. The closer they fit, the most certain we can be of our interpretation.
Of course even in this there is some room for error. Much of it however is SO extraordinary that even if we miss the precise event, we know we will not miss the person for all prophecy is the testimony of Jesus. Even prophecies which reveal things about the antichrist, the beast, the false prophet or even the devil himself – all reveal things about Jesus because what happens in regard to these persons come from Who He is!
Last week we covered the first two claims in verse 24, using four translations to examine the text – the NET, the Homan, the KJV and the ESV cover the gamut of possible translations.
Let’s read the passage in the NET and then pick up where we left off…
“(24) Seventy weeks have been determined concerning your people and your holy city to put an end to rebellion, to bring sin to completion, to atone for iniquity, to bring in perpetual righteousness, to seal up the prophetic vision, and to anoint a most holy place.
(25) So know and understand: From the issuing of the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until an anointed one, a prince arrives, there will be a period of seven weeks and sixty-two weeks. It will again be built, with plaza and moat, but in distressful times.
(26) Now after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one will be cut off and have nothing. As for the city and the sanctuary, the people of the coming prince will destroy them. But his end will come speedily like a flood. Until the end of the war that has been decreed there will be destruction.
(27) He will confirm a covenant with many for one week. But in the middle of that week he will bring sacrifices and offerings to a halt. On the wing of abominations will come one who destroys, until the decreed end is poured out on the one who destroys.”
Remember that the use of the phrase ‘have been determined’ – greatly implies a judicial decision. God has adjudicated the case of His people Israel– their future and the fulfillment of His greatest promises to them and the world.
The bullet-point of the claims are that by the end of the 70 weeks:
- Put an end to rebellion – bring the rebellion to an end – to finish the transgression
- To bring sin to completion – to put a stop to sin – to make an end of sins – to put an end to sin
- To atone for iniquity – to wipe away injustice – to make reconciliation for iniquity – to atone for iniquity
- To bring in perpetual righteousness – to bring in everlasting righteousness –
- To seal of the prophetic vision – to seal up vision and prophecy – to seal up the vision and prophecy – to seal both vision and prophet
- To anoint a most holy place – to anoint the most holy place – to anoint the most Holy – to anoint a most holy place
The first two points we covered last week clearly pointed to Jesus and almost without question to His earthly ministry during his incarnation.
They dealt with bringing the rule or dominion of sin and the law to an end.
The next two are:
- To atone for iniquity
- To bring in perpetual righteousness
Now of course these seem more than obvious.
I have had a sordid relationship with the word ‘atone’ for some time. I had no problem with its use in the Old Testament with the inferior sacrifices of bulls and goats, but to use it in regard to Jesus’ blood always bothered me. That was primarily because the primary meaning of the word atone simply means to cover, however there are different means and effects of covering.
Traditionally I have used the example of sweeping our sins under a rug as it were. It isn’t like the room has been rid of the problem, it is only loosely concealed. A parent entering the room could easily tell there was a bulge under the rug, though they may not know it is dirty dishes and half eaten pieces of pizza from the last few weeks, they know whatever it is they will not like it.
At any rate, my studies of the word atone, from years ago, left me with an impression not too dissimilar to that image. Upon re-examining the word with the advantage of a word study aid I have come to a far better understanding of the word.
As it turns out atonement under the old covenant was not quite like that example illustrates it.
I am going to read to you Spiros Zodiaties’ explanation of the word.
The Hebrew word for atone is kāp̱ar.
“It is a verb meaning to cover, to forgive, to expiate, to reconcile.
This word is of supreme theological importance in the Old Testament as it is central to an Old Testament understanding of the remission of sin.
At its most basic level, the word conveys the notion of covering but not in the sense of merely concealing. Rather, it suggests the imposing of something to change its appearance or nature. It is therefore employed to signify…the cancellation or “writing over” of a contract (Isaiah 28:18); the appeasing of anger (Genesis 32:20 ; Proverbs 16:14); and the overlaying of wood with pitch so as to make it waterproof (Genesis 6:14).
The word also communicates God’s covering of sin.
Persons made reconciliation with God for their sins by imposing something that would appease the offended party (in this case the Lord) and cover the sinners with righteousness (Exodus 32:30; Ezekiel 45:17; cf. Daniel 9:24).
In the Old Testament, the blood of sacrifices was most notably imposed (Exodus 30:10). By this imposition, sin was purged (Psalm 79:9; Isaiah 6:7) and forgiven (Psalm 78:38).
The offenses were removed, leaving the sinners clothed in righteousness (cf. Zechariah 3:3-4).
Of course, the imposition of the blood of bulls and of goats could never fully cover our sin (see Hebrews 10:4), but with the coming of Christ and the imposition of His shed blood, a perfect atonement was made (Romans 5:9-11).
So the idea of atonement was more than to cover over. Perhaps a better analogy would be to paint. If the color of a cabinet or the condition of its wood was offensive to a homeowner, there are cases when applying a coat of paint might take the offense away. What made the wood offensive would still be there, but it would remove it from sight, having been overlaid with something more appealing.
Even still, the word lacks the full punch of what Jesus did for us which is why I still have some difficulty in using it in relation to the unmatched power of Jesus’ blood.
I am not certain why the word atone was used in Daniel in reference to Jesus’ blood. As often as the word is used in Christian circles, it might surprise you that the word is only used ONE time in the entire New Testament in reference to Jesus’ blood and that is in Romans 5:11. Even then – that word was simply the poorly chosen word translators used. The actual Greek word in Romans 5:11 holds near to nothing in common with the Hebrew word for atone.
This word in Romans 5:11 is most often translated by the word reconciliation and with good reason! Jesus’ blood did not just cover over our sin with righteousness, leaving the sinner simply a sinner with a righteous coat. NO! The word reconciliation means a change from a state of enmity between persons to one of friendship. Between God and man it is the result of the redemption, the divine act of salvation, the ceasing of God’s wrath. In the NT, it means reconciliation. That is it means a restoration to divine favor by bringing about a change in man.
This is of course attested to throughout the New Testament regarding the New Covenant we have with God illustrating and proving that a groundbreaking, fundamental change has been brought about in those who know Him.
- We once were darkness – now we ARE light.
- We once were lost, we are now found.
- We once were dead, but now we ever live.
- We once were an strangers to God, now we are His beloved.
- We once were far off, we are now near.
- We once were blind, now we see.
- We once were an offense to God, now we ARE the righteousness of God. (We are not clothed in it, we have been MADE it)
So why the use of this word in Daniel?
Well if it were not for all of the surrounding statements regarding ending the dominion of sin, rebellion and the law, I would have assumed it was because God was talking to Daniel about the restoration of the physical temple in Jerusalem and the re-establishing of the sacrifices. That however, cannot be what this has in view.
Out of the entire range of possible meanings we listed above, the one that particularly applied to this verse in Daniel as well as verses like Exodus 32:30 and Ezekiel 45:17, is reconciliation with God for sins by imposing something that would appease the offended party (in this case the blood of our Lord Jesus) and thus cover the sinner with righteousness.
So now that we know what the word atone means, what is this word iniquity?
Well it is one of only four main words used for sin in the Old Testament. The word is ‛āwōn it is a masculine noun meaning iniquity, evil, guilt, punishment. The word does not carry all of these meanings in every place it is used, but rather represents the full spectrum of possible meanings in any one given place.
In the words of Spiros Zodiaties…
“The word indicates sin that is particularly evil, since it strongly conveys the idea of twisting or perverting deliberately.
The noun carries along with it the idea of guilt from conscious wrongdoing (Genesis 44:16; Jeremiah 2:22). The punishment that goes with this deliberate act as a consequence is indicated by the word also (Genesis 4:13; Isaiah 53:11).
The Hebrew word means sin or transgression in a conscious sense, as when David kept (consciously) from transgression or sin (2Samuel 22:24); Israel by choice returned to the sins their ancestors had committed (Jeremiah 11:10; 13:22).
This word for sin can also indicate the guilt that results from the act of sin: Moses prayed that the Lord would forgive the guilt and sin of rebellious Israel (Numbers 14:19); the guilt of the Amorites was not yet full in the time of Abraham (Genesis 15:16); God would remove the guilt of His people when they returned from exile (Jeremiah 50:20); the guilt of the fathers was a recurring phrase in the Old Testament (Exodus 20:5; 34:7).”
So this particular event will differ from those we already covered because those addressed the dominion and rule of the law and sin, but this one deals with the forgiveness and removal of the actual sins committed by the individual.
Isaiah addresses this very event in Isaiah 53:6-12,
“(6) All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. (7) He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth. (8) He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. (9) And they made His grave with the wicked— But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth. (10) Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. (11) He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities. (12) Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.”
So seventy weeks have been appointed for your people to…
- to finish the transgression – that is the dominion of the law
- to put an end to sin – that is to sin’s absolute power over man
- to wipe away evil, sins and injustice – that is to destroy sin in relation to the sinner and reconcile them to God.
I don’t know about you but I am excited about this prophecy!
Now the next and final one we will deal with tonight is…
- To bring in perpetual righteousness – to bring in everlasting righteousness.
Perpetual is ‛ôlām. It is a masculine noun meaning a very long time. Meanings can range from one lifetime to generations to time beyond this temporal existence where the idea of timelessness or infinite time moving forward would be in view. In this case it literally means eternal and ongoing.
Righteousness is often connected with the word justice which is a thought just covered above by the removal is INjustice.
The Hebrew word is ṣeḏeq it is a masculine noun meaning a right relation to an ethical or legal standard. In this case the standard is the character and person of God, so to be righteous does not just place you in right relation to a standard – it places you in right relationship to God- Who in Himself IS the standard!
That is why the New Testament is ALL ABOUT Christ being formed in you. Now that you ARE right with God, conduct your life here on earth in accordance with that reality. Allowing God’s way of thinking to own your heart so that you conform to His will in thought and action and so become Christ-like.
Whenever the idea of righteousness comes up I am almost always reminded of the passage in Isaiah which brings the whole thought into focus and is again a direct reference to what Gabriel is here pointing to with Daniel.
Isaiah tells us that righteousness is directly tethered to our thinking!
Isaiah 55:6-13,“(6) Seek the LORD while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. (7) Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.
(8) “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.
(9) “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.
(10) “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater, (11) So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
(12) “For you shall go out with joy, And be led out with peace; The mountains and the hills Shall break forth into singing before you, And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. (13) Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree, And instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree; And it shall be to the LORD for a name, For an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”
You hear that? We are being called upon to adopt God’s ways as our way by changing our thoughts to His thoughts.
The way we do this is by taking His word within us. Even as James tells us – to receive the engrafted word of God which is ABLE to save your souls!
The result is we stop producing sin and death illustrated by thorns and briars and begin to produce fruit unto righteousness.
So this part of the passage tells us that 70 weeks are determined for Daniel’s people to bring in an eternal change of heart. A time where rightness with God will be the new standard forever!
So let’s review…
- To finish the transgression – that is the dominion of the law
- To put an end to sin – that is to sin’s absolute power over man
- To wipe away evil, sins and injustice – that is to destroy sin in relation to the sinner and reconcile them to God.
- To bring in everlasting righteousness
The first three can easily be seen as accomplished in the death, burial and physical resurrection of Jesus. This last one could mean at least one of two things.
It could mean a state of everlasting righteousness beginning at it’s availability at the cross.
It could mean that time at the end of the age when all sin and evil are put away once for all in the lake of fire and we enter into the final and perfect age in which the scriptures say, “righteousness will dwell”.
Concerning this later possibility, both Isaiah and Peter have something to say.
Isaiah 51:6,“Lift up your eyes to the heavens, And look on the earth beneath. For the heavens will vanish away like smoke, The earth will grow old like a garment, And those who dwell in it will die in like manner; But My salvation will be forever, And My righteousness will not be abolished.”
2Peter 3:11-13,“Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, (12) looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? (13) Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”
At this point either is acceptable and on some level both are meant. However, only one is its primary meaning and since it shares the time period with the former statements I would assume it is when everlasting righteousness is available and able to be walked in.
To finish off this verse we need to examine the meaning of these last two statements…
“To seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.”
These can have at least two meanings. One which will only apply at the very end of this temporal earthly existence and one which was made true immediately upon the physical resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
We will explore these next week!