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Bible Commentaries

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible
Daniel 9

 

 

Verse 1

This chapter recounts the prophecy of the seventy weeks, probably the most debated portion of the whole prophecy. The chapter has four divisions: (1) Daniel comes to understand that the "seventy years" of Israel's captivity are about to end (Daniel 9:1-2); (2) his fervent prayer that God will indeed bless and restore Israel to Palestine (Daniel 9:3-19); (3) Gabriel interrupts his prayer in order to show Daniel things to come (Daniel 9:10-23); and (4) the prophecy of the seventy weeks (Daniel 9:24-27).

Chapter Orientation (Daniel 9:1-2)

Daniel 9:1-2

"In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus of the seed of the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans, in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of years whereof the word of Jehovah came to Jeremiah the prophet, for the accomplishment of the desolations of Jerusalem, even seventy years."

Daniel himself was a prophet, indeed one of the greatest of the prophets, yet when he eagerly desired to know more of God's will, he gave diligent attention and study to the prophets who were before him. What a remarkable contrast is here with the behavior of some of our present day religious leaders who pretend to be in constant communication with God Himself over every petty little thing confronting them, even their budget problems! The great avenue of communication established between the Father in heaven and his earthly children is still that of the Word of God, namely, the holy Bible. How did Daniel acquire that knowledge that the "seventy years" of the Babylonian captivity were about to end? He read it in the prophecy of Jeremiah, as follows: "For thus saith Jehovah, After seventy years are accomplished for Babylon, I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place" (Jeremiah 29:10).

Here is also something especially important regarding prayer. God had indeed promised Israel to restore them to Palestine after the "seventy years" were ended; nevertheless, Daniel considered it most important to offer this impassioned prayer to God with the most earnest supplications and petitions that God would indeed fulfil his glorious promises to the people. The prayers of God's people are a constant necessity for the reception of those great blessings which God Himself has already promised.

By Daniel's mention of the "books" in this passage, it is quite evident that many of the Old Testament books were at that time in existence. A little later he mentioned "the curse" from the Deuteronomy 28. The critical conceit that would interpret "the books" here as the completed canon of the Old Testament (with a view to preventing Daniel's prophecy from being considered a part of the canon) is merely another groundless, unproved, and ridiculous assertion.

"Darius ... who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans ..." (Daniel 9:2). This monarch, Darius the Mede, the son of Ahasuerus, is still unknown by name to history and to the monuments; but that is no argument against Daniel,

"Belshazzar's name was also likewise unknown to the monuments, until the discovered memorials of Nabonnaid fully continued Daniel's record. But the poor critics have not yet learned their lesson; and they will continue to doubt the Word of God until some day to their eternal loss they will find out their complete defeat as well as the wickedness of their destructive work."[1]

As a matter of fact, the very text here gives evidence of the secondary nature of Darius' kingship, thus providing the probable reason why the monuments ignored him.

"After pointing out the near unique structure of the original language here, especially the Hophal; Keil declared that, `It shows that Darius did not become king over the Chaldean kingdom by virtue of a hereditary right to it, nor that he gained the kingdom by means of conquest, but that he received it from the conqueror of Babylon.'"[2]

Thus we have additional confirmation of some of the conclusions reached in our study of Daniel 6:1, above.


Verse 3

"And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. And I prayed unto Jehovah my God, and made confession, and said, Oh, Lord, the great and dreadful God, who keepeth covenant and lovingkindness with them that love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and have dealt perversely, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even turning aside from thy precepts and from thine ordinances; neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, that speak in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land."

DANIEL'S MARVELOUS PRAYER (Daniel 9:3-19)

Daniel here confessed the sins of Israel as progressing from mere wickedness and transgression to outright rebellion against God; also, it should be noticed that he included himself as partaker of the sins of the people and with them equally guilty before God. It was this general wickedness of Israel which had by no means abated during the "seventy years" captivity that actually moved Daniel to prayer. "The Exile had not produced the expected fruits of repentance; so that, although Daniel did not doubt the promise of God, namely, that the people would be returned; yet his concern appeared to be the blessings God had promised after their return."[3]

Notice the mention of the prophets having spoken to, "our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people." Why are not the priests mentioned here? Simply because, at the time when Daniel was written, namely, in Babylon shortly before the termination of the Captivity, there was no officiating priesthood of God's people in Babylon. This was definitely not the case in the days of the Maccabees, the period in which critics have vainly supposed this prophecy was written. As a number of other factors in this prayer also indicate, this refutes the false allegations of the late-date fad.

"To a man who still remembered the kings and princes in Jerusalem (as did Daniel), this language is natural;

"but in the age of Antiochus Epiphanes (the Maccabean period) this language would be absurd and meaningless."[4]SIZE>


Verse 7

"O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of face, so at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are afar off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee. O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee. To the Lord our God belongeth mercies and forgiveness; for we have rebelled against him; neither have we obeyed the voice of Jehovah our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even turning aside, that they should not obey thy voice: therefore hath the curse been poured out upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God; for we have sinned against him."

"The curse ... and the oath ..." (Daniel 9:11). This is evidently a reference to Leviticus 26:14 and to Deuteronomy 28:15, especially the latter where the "oath" is mentioned.


Verse 12

"And he has confirmed his words, which he spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil; for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem. As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil has come upon us; yet have we not entreated the favor of Jehovah our God, that we should turn from our iniquities, and have discernment in thy truth. Therefore hath Jehovah watched over the evil, and brought it upon us; for Jehovah our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth, and we have not obeyed his voice."

JERUSALEM IN RUINS

Even the most casual attention to this prayer reveals that Daniel's concern was centered upon the devastated state of the city of Jerusalem. Here in the prayer, Daniel said, "Under the whole heaven" there does not exist another example of the kind of ruthless destruction that had been poured out upon Jerusalem. Not merely here, but a second time afterward in this prayer we have reference to the ruins of Jerusalem and to "thy holy mountain," a Jewish designation of the destroyed temple (Daniel 9:16). Also, "sanctuary" (Daniel 9:17) carries the same meaning.

Let the Bible student note the significance of this. Is the situation that was extant when Daniel uttered this prayer to be identified with the days of Antiochus Epiphanes and the Maccabean wars? Indeed no! Antiochus did not destroy the city of Jerusalem; and, although he desecrated the temple, he did not destroy it; and therefore, we have here another proof of the utter absurdity of the impossible theory that this prophecy was written in the Maccabean period. Even a novice in Bible study should know better. If the writer of Daniel had lived in the days of Antiochus, it would have been impossible for him to have regarded the mined state of Jerusalem and the temple as being "unique under heaven."[5]


Verse 15

"And now, O Lord our God, thou hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten thee renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly. O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, let thine anger and thy wrath, I pray thee, be turned away from thy city of Jerusalem, thy holy mountain; because for our sins and for the iniquity of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are round about us. Now therefore, O our God, hearken unto the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake. O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousness, but for thy great mercies' sake. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God, because thy city and thy people are called by thy name."

This prayer reaches an amazing intensity and fervency in the final clauses. Note also the repeated references to the destroyed temple and the devastated city. Also, of interest is the basis of Daniel's prayer:

(1) the previous blessings of God are mentioned;

(2) the persistent sins of the people are repeatedly confessed;

(3) it is admitted that the reproach which has fallen upon Israel is of their own sinful deeds and entirely their fault;

(4) not any righteousness either of the people or of Daniel are alleged as grounds for the requests uttered, but "the righteousness and mercies of God" are pleaded as the grounds of hope. Surely, this is one of the greatest prayers ever spoken.

We shall pass over the nonsense in which critical enemies have tried to find out where Daniel got the terminology used in this prayer. Sure enough, there are certain phrases and expressions which are common to many who came both before and after Daniel; but there is nothing of any importance to be gained from such comparisons. As to the problem which must be solved when two writers used similar expressions, as to which one of them was "the original"; it is usually impossible to know. Keil alleged that in some of the similarities between Daniel and other writers, "Daniel did not borrow from Ezra or Nehemiah; but they borrowed from him! This is beyond doubt."[6]


Verse 20

"And while I was speaking and praying, and confessing my sin, and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before Jehovah my God for the holy mountain of my God; yea, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. And he instructed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee wisdom and understanding. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment went forth, and I am come to tell thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision."

GABRIEL INTERRUPTS THE PRAYER

It is of interest that from the place where Gabriel was when God's commandment reached him, it evidently required some time, even at the velocity which the flight of an angel might attain, for Gabriel to reach Daniel. There are glimpses here of things mortals cannot know.

The instructions of Gabriel to "understand the vision" should evidently be applied to a vision previously written in Daniel; because, in the prophecy of the seventy weeks about to be imparted to Daniel by Gabriel, it does not appear to be by means of a vision at all. "This revelation was not communicated to Daniel in a vision, but while he was in the state of natural consciousness."[7]

Daniel mentioned the precise hour of Gabriel's touching him, "about the time of the evening oblation." That means about the time of the evening sacrifices; but of course, there were no "evening sacrifices" by God's people while they were captives in Babylon. Nevertheless, Daniel had observed the times of the prescribed sacrifices by engaging in prayer as seen here. Furthermore, we may in all likelihood suppose that this was a regular habit, marking Daniel's well-disciplined, godly life.


Verse 24

"Seventy weeks are decreed upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy. Know therefore and discern, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem unto the anointed one, the prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: it shall be built again, with street and moat, even in troublous times. And after the threescore and two weeks shall the anointed one be cut off, and shall have nothing: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and even unto the end shall be war; desolations are determined. And he shall make a firm covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease; and upon the wing of abominations shall come one that maketh desolate; and even unto the full end, and that determined, shall wrath be poured out upon the desolate."

THE FAMED PROPHECY OF THE SEVENTY WEEKS

There is not a single word in this prophecy that is not disputed; and we shall note some of these opinions; however, in the overall sense, there is not anything very hard about this prophecy. First we shall notice some of what we hold to be impossible interpretations of it.

(a) The critics who deny the trustworthiness and dependability of the holy Bible refer this prophecy to Antiochus Epiphanes in the Maccabean period about the year 160 B.C. The desolation is caused by Antiochus, and the anointed one is Onias III; and the passage is robbed of any reference whatever to the Messiah. "The objections to this type of interpretation are so serious that it cannot possibly be regarded as correct."[8]

(b) A second school of interpreters (the dispensationalists) has many shades of beliefs; but generally, they deny that the six things to be accomplished in Daniel 9:24 were achieved by Christ in his First Advent. They interpose a gap between the 69th and 70th week and suppose that at the 2nd Advent of Christ, following the Church Age, the Christ will return and the seventieth week will resume at that time. The Scofield Bible gives a general presentation of this interpretation. We cannot possibly accept such notions about this prophecy, principally because they nullify the great work of Christ in his atoning death, burial and resurrection. Also, Christ gave his blood for the church (Acts 20:28), which is ample proof of the absolute necessity and importance of the Church. Such premillennial theories as these are guilty of downgrading the Church and of stripping it of its genuine place in the economy of redemption.

THE TRUE INTERPRETATION

As Keil said, "Most of the church fathers and the older orthodox interpreters find prophesied here the appearance of Christ m the flesh, His Death, and the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in A.D. 70."[9] That this is indeed the true interpretation is plainly indicated by the words of Jesus Christ who definitely applied "the abomination" spoken of by Daniel as an event that would occur in the siege of Jerusalem, as prophesied by Christ repeatedly in Matthew 24; Mark 13; and Luke 21. Furthermore, Christ warned the Christians that, "When therefore ye see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place, then let them that are in Judea flee unto the mountains" (Matthew 24:15,16). Many Christian commentators have pointed out that the Christians indeed heeded that warning. Eusebius tells how the Christians fled from Jerusalem when the Romans most unpredictably lifted their siege, a fact that even Josephus noted.[10] No Christian is said to have lost his life in the final destruction of Jerusalem.

Now, for the believer in Christ, one such indication from our Lord and Redeemer is worth more than thousands of human opinions. Since, therefore, Jesus Christ himself related this vision to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, that settles it; and we may therefore reckon the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 A.D. as an event that was indeed accomplished within the prescribed "seventy weeks" of this vision. That is what these verses actually say.

WHAT THE PROPHECY SAYS

Note that six things are to be accomplished within the seventy weeks:

1. To finish transgression.

2. To make an end of sins.

3. To make reconciliation for iniquity.

4. To bring in everlasting righteousness.

5. To seal up vision and prophecy.

6. To anoint the most holy. (as in Daniel 9:24).

"To finish transgression" is a reference to the fairness of Israel's sins culminating in their rejection of the Messiah. As a result of that "finishing" of their transgressions, they were judicially condemned and hardened, their city and religious economy destroyed, and the people scattered all over the world. For almost 2,000 years they disappeared as a nation; and, even with the revival of a modern "Israeli" today, it has no legitimate connection whatever with ancient Israel.

"To make an end of sins ..." This was accomplished when Christ "condemned sin in the flesh." Only in Jesus Christ has there ever been any such thing as the absolute forgiveness of sins. This line alone makes it certain that Christ's coming is here foretold.

"To make reconciliation for iniquity ..." "This means `to pardon, to blot out by means of a sin-offering, to forgive.'"[11] Here is a certain reference to the atonement for human transgression wrought by Jesus Christ on Calvary, as a result of which "reconciliation of men to God" could occur. This is precisely the thing that restored the broken fellowship between man and his God. We are indebted to Thomson who tells us that the word used here, "`To make an atonement,' is the technical word used fifty times in Leviticus for the offering of atoning sacrifice."[12]

"To bring in everlasting righteousness ..." The only righteousness our poor world ever saw was the righteousness wrought by Christ. He is indeed "the righteousness of God"; there cannot possibly be any other source of it. The notion that this bringing in of everlasting righteousness could pertain to any other person that Christ is impossible of acceptance. This righteousness came from above; it did not rise out of the earth; Jesus brought it.

"To seal up vision and prophecy ..." We regard this as a figure referring to the confirmation of the ancient prophecies by their most marvelous fulfillment in the events of the ministry of Jesus Christ. Some 333 prophecies of the Old Testament pointing to the coming of Jesus Christ were most circumstantially fulfilled in his life, death, resurrection, etc.

"To anoint the most holy ..." This is so obviously a reference to Jesus Christ that we still marvel that the expression Most Holy is not capitalized, as in KJV or as in Douay which reads it, "Saint of saints may be anointed." As we noted above, however, every word of this prophecy is disputed, and even Keil did not allow that this expression can refer to a person, making it a reference to some thing, not a person. Keil could not have so misunderstood this if he had consulted 1 Chronicles 23:23, where without the article (the basis of Keil's rejection) the phrase applies to an individual. "It is indeed applied most frequently to persons: to Aaron (Exodus 40:13), to Saul (1 Samuel 10:10), and to David (1 Samuel 16:3);"[13] Therefore the ancient renditions of this place are correct. "This understanding of it was accepted by the Jews, and the old Syriac translates this text, `To the Messiah, the Most Holy.'"[14]

The shenanigans of the critical community regarding the interpretation of this anointing were discussed by Keil. He noted that they refer all of this to the times of Maccabees or a little earlier, alleging that the "anointing" here refers to the consecration of the altar of burnt-offering which was restored by Zurabbel and Joshua, or to the consecration of the altar following its desecration by Antiochus Epiphanes. Keil stated categorically that, "None of these interpretations can be justified."[15] To begin with, there were not any anointings during the era of the 2temple! "According to the definite uniform tradition of the Jews, the holy anointing oil did not even exist during the times of the second temple!"[16]

These six things therefore pertain exclusively to the times of the First Advent of Christ and the setting up of his eternal kingdom.

Daniel 9:25 advances the prophecy by giving the "terminus a quem" for the seventy weeks, namely from the date of the commandment to restore and to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. This of course was somewhat subsequent to the end of the Babylonian captivity; and the difficulty is compounded by our ignorance of just exactly when that commandment went forth. It is not even known if this means the commandment "from God" or by some kingly edict. There are several proposals as to just exactly when we should begin counting the seventy weeks. There is another problem. The weeks, understood as "weeks of years" theory is widely accepted and generally taken for granted; and yet it has not been actually proved. The nearest thing we have to proof that these 490 days should actually be understood as 490 years derives from the fact that Christ identified this prophecy as reaching to 70 A.D., which definitely favors the day for a year understanding of it.

The big message in Daniel 9:25, from Daniel's viewpoint was that God definitely promised that "The city shall be built again ... in troublous times." For a city that had already lain in desolation for the better part of a century, this must have been welcome news indeed to the grieving prophet.

The whole seventy weeks were not to pass before Messiah came; that event would occur at the expiration of 69 weeks, interpreted by many as 483 years. Here again is the difficulty of any certainty as to what part of Jesus' life is reached by this calculation. His anointing (baptism) took place in A.D. 26; his death, burial, and resurrection in April of A.D. 30. Added to the uncertainty as to the "terminus a quem", it is almost impossible to be dogmatically certain as to the exact times specified. Nevertheless there is great utility in the prophecy.

Thomson calculated the starting point of the "seventy weeks" as 445 B.C., relating it to a positive command for Nehemiah to build "the walls." Allowing this, the 490 years would bring us to 32. A.D. (about the time, but not exactly the time, of Christ's Ascension); and the sixty-nine weeks would bring us to A.D. 25 (about the time of Christ's baptism, that is, his anointing).[17] No one can fail to be impressed with how nearly these calculations correspond to sacred occasions in the life of Our Lord. Allowing for the fact, that the seventy years of Israel's captivity turned about to be only about 68 or 69 years, one can see that such calculations as these commend themselves to many people.

Daniel 9:26 begins with the statement, "After the threescore and two weeks"; and the interesting thing is that there has been no previous mention of any "threescore and two weeks." There is a mention of the seven weeks and three-score and two weeks (69 weeks); and therefore it is hard to resist the conclusion that perhaps a word has fallen out of the text here, thus making the meaning to be, "Now after the sixty nine weeks." Some scholars have raised the question of a defective text here; and we are not personally able to evaluate such claims. Nevertheless, it is perfectly clear that the 69th week takes us to "The Prince" who can be none other than the Christ. The cutting off of "the prince" followed quickly upon the appearance of Christ in his ministry; and although the destruction of Jerusalem which is mentioned in Daniel 9:26 as something to be accomplished within the seventy weeks, it is not necessary to suppose that the seventieth week needed to be extended unduly to reach the actual terminal date of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Christ indeed prophesied the total destruction of the city repeatedly, declaring that not one stone should be left on top of another within the temple complex itself, that her enemies would come and cast a trench about her and dash her little ones in pieces within her. True to the language of all the prophets, what God (or Christ) prophesied would happen was spoken of in the past tense, as something already done. That is why the destruction of Jerusalem was to be accomplished (in that sense) within the actual terminus of the seventy weeks.

It is apparent that in this interpretation, we have ignored altogether the "sixty and two weeks," there being no way that we can discover any meaning in them. That they are indeed a part of the seventy weeks, and that they do not constitute a gap and an extension of the seventieth week to some far off end of time appearance, has been discerned by many scholars.

The destruction of Jerusalem is here plainly included in the seventy weeks; and we have interpreted this to mean that within that time, Christ indeed condemned the city to total destruction, a prophecy actually fulfilled nearly forty years after Christ spoke. "Even unto the end ..." would appear to be a reference to the end of the Jewish nation. That there could also be overtones of the final termination of human probation in this is also freely admitted.

Now, the prophecy in Daniel 9:27, to the effect that Christ should make the covenant firm with many for one week is a clear reference to the public ministry of Jesus Christ. It is here called "a week," indicating a seven year period; but with this limitation! He the Messiah was cut off "in the midst of the week," that is after three and one half years, which corresponds exactly to the facts. The further references to the destruction of Jerusalem, "the flood," and "the war," etc. are prophecies of the great tribulations that should overwhelm Jerusalem at the times when her doom was executed by the armies of Vespasian and Titus in the year 70 A.D.

CONCERNING THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION

Jesus Christ interpreted this as an event that would be openly visible to all, saints and sinners alike; he associated it with the destruction of Jerusalem; and in the light of the fact that the destruction of that city was itself a type of the final holocaust on the eternal Judgment Day, and that many of the conditions existing in God's Israel prior to that event would also be manifested a second time in the New Israel prior to final Judgment, it appears that a second abomination of desolation shall occur in the final days of Adam's race on earth.

Exactly what was this "abomination of desolation?" Notice that there are two things in this, namely, abomination, and desolation.

The abomination referred to the gross pollution of the "holy place," a reference to the temple sanctuary, or more properly, the Holy of Holies itself. This was to be the signal that indicated the approaching "desolation," thus it is said that the desolation was to come upon the "wing" of abominations (note the plural), indicating that the desolations would be a direct result of the gross pollution of the holy place.

What happened? The Jewish people requested that a robber, named Barabbas, should be released to them instead of Christ (Mark 15:11); and it was appropriate that the consequences of such a choice should have been received by them making it. Josephus devotes twenty pages to a description of the sordid details of how a band of ruthless outlaw robbers took complete charge of the city, along with the entire temple complex, long before the Romans came, and who committed wholesale barbarity, rapines, plunderings, and murders, "over 12,000 of the nobility being brutally put to death, along with countless thousands of the common people. They even filled up the Holy of Holies itself with dead bodies! The robbers fell upon the people as upon a flock of profane animals and cut their throats in what place soever they caught them!"[18] Josephus commented on this thus: "I cannot but think that it was because God had doomed this city to destruction, as a polluted city, that he cut off those great defenders, namely, the nobility."[19] In this connection Josephus also related how:

"There was a certain ancient oracle of those men (the Jews), that the city should be taken and the sanctuary burnt, by right of war, when a sedition should invade the Jews, and their own hands should pollute the temple of God."[20]

Bickersteth's discerning comment on this is that, "Their outrages against God were the special cause of the desolation of Jerusalem ... theirs was the abomination that filled up the measure of their iniquities and caused the avenging power of Rome to come down upon them and crash them."[21] Thus the Jews made the holy place desolate morally; and the Romans made it (and the city) desolate by their ruthless destruction of them.

Almost certainly, here is the portion of this prophecy that may be applied to the end of all things culminating in the Final Judgment. Just as the Old Israel finally turned totally against God; so also shall it be in the final days of the New Israel when "the times of the Gentiles have been fulfilled." Revelation 16 describes a time when the moral environment of the whole earth shall be corrupted in a near-total degree. It is of that period that Jesus asked, "When the Son of Man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth" (Luke 18:8). In Christ's multiple prophecy of the end of the world (Matthew 24:9-11), Christ warned that the ordinary upheavals of history such as wars and rumors of wars, floods, earthquakes, famines, etc. were not to be understood as "signs" of the end. The significant thing was what was happening among God's people themselves! When the time comes that the Church herself has forsaken the fundamentals of her faith in Christ, the abomination that makes desolate shall again appear in the "holy place," in the last instance of it, in the Church herself. There are many shameful developments in the visible Christendom of our own times that are frightening!

All of this prophecy appears to this writer as clearly understandable except the matter of the 62 weeks which we cited above. What ever this may mean, granted that it could indeed be a faithful record of the sacred text, we have been unable to discover any means of arriving at a scriptural explanation of it. There remains the strong possibility that "the sixty two weeks" was not originally a reference to a period of sixty-two weeks (no such period having been mentioned previously in the whole Bible), but rather to the "seven weeks and threescore weeks and two weeks" just mentioned in the previous verse, namely, the 69 weeks. Certainly, we are justified in the rejection of the irresponsible millennial views that are imported into the passage. Some things are simply not revealed; and, as far as we can discern, the matter of these alleged 62 weeks is one of them.

One thing stands out - these seventy weeks were about to be completed, as indicated by Christ's reference to the abomination that makes desolate, which was soon to be fulfilled. This was clearly stated by Christ. Therefore, when Christ charged the Pharisees with being weather prophets who were nevertheless unable to "discern the signs of the times" (Matthew 16:3), it was most likely that one of the signs the Pharisees could not discern was that of the "seventy weeks" of Daniel approaching their termination.

 


Copyright Statement
James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Daniel 9:4". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/daniel-9.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

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Wednesday, October 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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