Pastor James J. Barker

Text: DANIEL 9:24-27


  1. I have been hearing some good preaching these past days. Pastor Gent mentioned that when we preach on Bible prophecy the emphasis should be on the Lord Jesus Christ.
  2. This sounds obvious but many preachers seem to lose sight of this.
  3. Many students of the Bible are familiar with the terms "tribulation" and "great tribulation" (cf. Matt.24:21; Rev.7:13,14). I believe the Lord will return before the tribulation for His saints, and return after the tribulation with His saints.
  4. However, many do not understand why the tribulation period will last for seven years, or why the second half is usually described as the "great tribulation" (cf. Scofield, p. 1337).
  5. The book of Revelation deals extensively with the tribulation period, beginning with the vial judgments in chapter 6, and concluding with the return of our Lord in chapter 19.
  6. There are several passages which indicate that the second three and a half years will be a time of severe judgment (cf. Rev.11:1-3; 12:6; 13:5).
  7. To properly understand the book of Revelation, and to properly understand Bible prophecy, one has to understand the book of Daniel (cf. Dan.7:25; 12:7).
  8. And the most important prophecy in the book of Daniel is Daniel 9:24-27. This passage is the key to understanding all Bible prophecy.
  9. Today we will study of this important prophecy.



    1. Daniel is told by the angel Gabriel, "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city…" (Dan.9:24).
    2. It is easy to understand "thy people" as the Jews (Daniel was a devout Jew), and "thy holy city" as Jerusalem (cf. Jer.30:7).
    3. But what about these "seventy weeks"? The Hebrew word, shabua (sha-boo-ah), literally means "seven." Gabriel literally was saying, "Seventy sevens are determined upon thy people."
    4. The Hebrews thought in terms of seven, much like we think in terms of ten. {Ten pennies is a dime; ten dimes are a dollar; ten years are a decade; ten decades are a century, etc.}
    5. But the Hebrews thought in terms of seven. Every seventh year was a sabbath rest year (Lev.25:1-7).
    6. Seven sevens (49 years) brought them to their year of Jubilee (Lev.25:8-12).
    7. Now that we are thinking in terms of sevens, let us look at seven reasons why Daniel’s seventy sevens refer to 490 years.
      1. Daniel had been thinking in terms of years, not days (Dan. 9:1,2; cf. Jer.25:11,12; 29:10; II Chron.36:21; Zech.1:12).
      2. Daniel understood that the Sabbatic years had been violated for 70 cycles (Dan.9:1,2; cf. Lev.26:34,35).
      3. God’s sovereign objective could not possibly be accomplished in 490 days. It would have to be 490 years.
      4. The "prince that shall come," i.e. the antichrist (Dan.9:26,27; cf. Dan.7:20-26), breaks his covenant with Israel in the midst of the 70th week. This final 3˝ year period is the "great tribulation" (Matt.24:21; Rev.7:13,14; cf. Rev.12:6,14; 13:5; Dan.7:25; 12:7).
      5. The Hebrew word shabua, translated "weeks" in Dan.9:24, is found in only one other passage in the book of Daniel (cf. 10:2,3). Here the context demands weeks of days, for it is unlikely that Daniel would have mourned and fasted for 21 years! Furthermore, the Hebrew word yamin (days) is added to "weeks" so that it literally says, "three weeks of days" (21days).
      6. It is the context which determines whether it is weeks of days or years (cf. Gen.29:27-30).
      7. It would be virtually impossible "to build Jerusalem" (Dan.9:25) and then see it destroyed again (9:26) within 490 days. Keep in mind these 70 weeks must include the crucifixion of Christ, as well as the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 AD (Dan.9:24,26; cf. #3 above).



    1. We can pinpoint the beginning of the 70 weeks – "from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem" (9:25). There were four commandments given by Persian rulers in reference to the Jewish nation, but it was the last one that Daniel is referring to here.
    2. There was a decree made by Cyrus in 538 BC (II Chron.36:22,23; Ezra 1:1-4; 5:13). Notice that permission was only given to rebuild the temple, not the city (II Chron.36:23; Ezra 1:35:13). But Dan.9:25 says, "to restore and to build Jerusalem."
    3. There was a decree made by Darius in 512 BC (Ezra 6:1-12), which confirmed the decree made by King Cyrus. Again, this decree only deals with the building of the temple (Ezra 6:5,7,8,12).
    4. The decree by Artaxerxes Longimanus in 457 BC (Ezra 7:7-28) provided finances for the temple. It does not mention rebuilding the city (Ezra 7:27).
    5. There was a second decree made by Artaxerxes in 445 BC (Neh.2:1-8), which granted permission for the Jews to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. Daniel’s 70 weeks extend from this point.
    6. The first 69 weeks stretch from this point (445 BC) to the day our Lord entered Jerusalem before His crucifixion (Luke 19:37-42; Zech.9:9).
    7. The 69 sevens equal 483 years of 360 days. Jewish calendars had only 360 days in the year (12 months of 30 days). Furthermore, the prophecy was given to Daniel in Babylon and the Babylonian calendar also had 360 days (12 times 30).
    8. The OT also teaches a 360-day calendar. The flood began on the 17th day of the second month (Gen.7:11). And the flood ended on the 17th day of the seventh month (Gen.8:4). That means the flood lasted exactly five months. We are told it was150 days (Gen.7:24; 8:3). Therefore, each month in their calendar had 30 days.



    1. We have already determined that the "weeks" referred to here are weeks of years, not weeks of days. And we have determined that the seventy weeks commenced with the decree of the Persian king Artaxerxes, which gave the Jews permission to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple and the city.
    2. According to Sir Robert Anderson and other scholars, this would be in 445 BC.
    3. Now by studying this carefully, we can see that 69 weeks have already passed but the seventieth week has yet to begin.
    4. Scofield’s notes are helpful here. "The seventy weeks are divided…" (p. 914, 915).
    5. Let us look at this prophecy closely. I strongly believe that a proper understanding of this prophecy will help us to avoid many of the mistakes others are making concerning the timing of the rapture.
    6. In 9:25, we see that Daniel divides the 70 weeks. "Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem (445 BC) unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks…" (i.e., 69 weeks).
    7. This means one week is left. God stopped the time clock and one week remains. Daniel’s 70th week will be the seven-year tribulation period.
    8. It is obvious that there must be an indeterminate space of time after the 69th week because in 9:26, Daniel says, "the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary." This was fulfilled in 70 AD by Titus, the Roman general.
    9. This is very important. Not only does it indicate that there is a big gap between the 69th and 70th week, but it also indicates that "the prince that shall come" (i.e., the antichrist) will be from the same people as Titus, the Roman general. This means the antichrist will probably arise from the revived Roman empire.



    1. Some people have objected to this method of interpretation, claiming that putting such a gap between the 69th and 70th week is unwarranted. But actually, this is seen often in Bible prophecy.
    2. God reckons time with the Jews only when He is dealing with them nationally. Let us look at a few other examples of this.
    3. In Luke 4:16-21, we see that our Lord was in a synagogue reading from the prophet Isaiah (cf. Isa.61:1,2). But notice that He stopped in the middle of Isa.61:2. The end of verse 2 deals with the second coming of Christ, and there is a big gap between the two comings.
    4. Isa.9:6,7 has reference to both comings.
    5. So does Luke 1:31-33.
    6. Later on, the apostles recognized that God’s program with Israel was in abeyance while the Lord "first did visit the Gentiles," and after the church age would "return and rebuild again the tabernacle of David" (Acts 15:14-17).
    7. Peter quoted Psalm 34:16 but left out the prophetic portion – "to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth" (I Peter 3:12).
    8. Our Lord anticipated this gap (sometimes called "the great parenthesis") when He warned the Jews of the "abomination of desolation" (Matt.24:15). He said this would mark the "great tribulation" preceding His second coming (Matt.24:21-28).



    1. Two events are recorded after the first 69 weeks of Daniel 9. First, we see that the Messiah shall "be cut off, but not for Himself" (9:26). Messiah means "anointed one," i.e. the Christ.
    2. This is the great theme of both the Old and the New Testament (cf. Isa.53; Matt.20:28).
    3. The second prophecy to be fulfilled after the first 69 weeks concerns the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman army under Titus (Dan.9:26).
    4. Our Lord predicted this as the judgment of God because of their rejection of their Messiah (Matt.22:7; 24:1,2).
    5. Both our Lord in His Olivet Discourse, and Daniel here in chapter 9 connect the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD with the future tribulation.



    1. Daniel 9:25 and 26 have been fulfilled. Verse 27 awaits fulfillment.
    2. The "he" in Dan.9:27 is the antichrist. The direct antecedent is the "prince that shall come" in verse 26.
    3. Israel has rejected their true Messiah but soon they will embrace the false messiah (cf. John 5:43).
    4. He will be a phony man of peace (Dan.8:25; I Thess.5:3; Rev.6:2).
    5. "And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week…" (Dan.9:27). This is the peace treaty that Israel, the Arabs, the UN, and the US are trying to put together. No one has been able to pull it off but the antichrist will. And when he does, Daniel’s 70th week (the tribulation) will begin.
    6. "And in the midst of the week (three and a half years), he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease…" (9:27). Antiochus Epiphanes was a type of the coming antichrist. He slaughtered a pig in the temple and offered it up to Zeus (Dan.11:31).
    7. The apostle Paul says that the "man of sin" will "exalt himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God" (II Thess.2:3,4).
    8. By comparing Paul’s prophecy with Daniel 9:27 (and others), it appears that halfway through Daniel’s 70th week, the antichrist will double-cross the Jews and he will defile the temple.
    9. Martin Luther and many other Protestants taught that Paul was predicting the rise of the papacy. This interpretation seems very unlikely. First of all, the pope does not call himself "God" but the "vicar of Christ."
    10. Secondly, he does not sit in the temple of God, but sits in the Vatican. It is possible that as the end-time apostasy gets worse, the pope could fulfill these prophecies but it seems more likely that he is the second beast of Revelation 13 (the false prophet).
    11. Back to Daniel’s prophecy: "He shall make it desolate" (9:27; cf. Matt.24:15).
    12. The Jews will accept the antichrist as their saviour and will think they are entering the millennial kingdom. Unsaved Gentiles will think their "new age" has finally arrived, the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, a utopia on earth – no more Christians, no more Bibles, people can do whatever they please, etc.
    13. But alas, the Bible says, "For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them" (I Thess.5:3).
    14. It will be "a day of darkness and of gloominess" (Joel 2:2).


  1. We know that the events described in Dan.9:24-26 have been fulfilled.
  2. And since they have been literally fulfilled, we can expect the prophecies in Dan.9:27 to be literally fulfilled as well.
  3. These will culminate at "the consummation" (Dan.9:27), i.e. the second coming of Christ. Are you ready?

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