Daniel 9 24-27 promises the Messiah within 500 years.

Excerpt: The essence of the Daniel 9 24-27 prophecy is that, within 500 years from the restoration of Jerusalem, and therefore before the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, the Messiah would arrive.  While both the Liberal-Critical and Dispensational interpretations of Daniel 9 24-27 substantially remove Jesus from the prophecy, the Historical-Messianic interpretation finds the fulfillment of this prophecy in Christ; 2000 years ago. This confirms that God knows the future precisely, conclusively proves Jesus Christ to be the true and only Messiah, and affirms the truthfulness of the Bible.


490 years
Seventy Weeks of years

To summarize the messianic-historical interpretation, the decree of Artaxerxes in 478/7 restored Jerusalem to the Jews.  In AD 26 or 27, 483 years later, Jesus was baptized.  Three or four years later, in AD 30 or 31, He was crucified.   Another approximately three or four years later, in AD 33 or 34, the exclusive role which Israel played in the plan of God came to an end.  The period from 26/27 to 33/34 is seven years, with the crucifixion “in the middle of” these seven years.  Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD, after the end of the seventy sevens.

This interpretation has been dominant over the centuries, but has, in recent centuries, been replaced by the Liberal Critical and the Dispensational views of Daniel.

DANIEL 9:24 GOALS

The fulfillment of the goals is discussed in When will the Daniel 9:24 goals, set by for the 490 years, be fulfilled?  In summary:

The first two goals, namely “to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins do not mean that a complete and utter end will be made of sin.  In the context of the prophecy these goals given to Israel to fulfill.  They were to show their loyalty to God when the Messiah appears.  But Israel failed.

According to the New Testament the third and fourth goals—“to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness”—were fulfilled by Christ’s death.

The fifth goal—“to seal up the vision and prophecy”—is understood as that the events of the final week, particularly the Cross, would validate the Old Testament promises of the coming Messiah.

The sixth goal— “to anoint the most Holy” —refers to heaven itself.  Christ’s death was a great victory over evil, and as we read in Revelation 5 and 12, Satan was cast out of heaven as a result (Rev. 12:5, 7-9).

A GOOD FIT

While objections can be raised against all four of the major interpretations of Daniel 9 24-27, the historical-messianic interpretation is not subject to the difficulties encountered by the other systems.  It recommends itself as the most adequate of the major interpretations.  The exact date of the crucifixion and of the end of the 490 years remains uncertain, but compared to the difficulties facing the other interpretations, the relative uncertainty of the chronology of the life of Christ and the events of the early church appears to be insignificant.

RELIABILITY OF DANIEL

The essence of Daniel 9 24-27 is that, within 500 years from the restoration of Jerusalem (after the Babylonian captivity), and therefore before the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, the Messiah would arrive.  It is understandable that the Talmud places a curse on those who attempt to compute the seventy weeks of Daniel (Sanhedrin 97b (Soncino ed.), p. 659).

Liberal scholars suppose that Daniel was compiled in the second century BC, as history written in the form of prophecy, but the events predicted by Daniel 9 24-27 were fulfilled more than 100 years later.  Copies of Daniel have been available to the Qumran sect (Dead Sea Scrolls) more than 100 years before the crucifixion.  The accurate fulfill­ment of the prophecy is therefore compelling support for the argument that Daniel is true prophecy written in the 6th century BC.

It is an irrefutable fact that Jesus Christ, the Messiah, began his public ministry 483 years (69 weeks) after Artaxerxes’ first decree.  Furthermore, the specifications of the prophecy find exact and complete fulfillment in the Christ-events of 2000 years ago.  This prophecy particularly points to His death:

(1) The nature of that death—murdered (cut off)
(2) His experience in that death—abandoned and rejected (not for himself), and
(3) The results of His death—atonement and everlasting righteousness

SUPPORTS OUR FAITH

A person who accepts Jesus Christ as the fulfillment of this prophecy is astounded by the mathematical exactness of the prophecy, received five hundred years prior to those tremendous events that changed the entire course of human history.  Daniel 9 24-27 confirms that God knows the future precisely.  It conclusively proves Jesus Christ to be the true and only Messiah.

It affirms the truthfulness and reliability of the Bible when predicting future events.  This gives confidence that we will one day see God with our own eyes.  The things that we read about in the Bible are really true.  There is a wonderful future ahead of us.

MEANS TO AN END

Daniel did not pray for a messiah or for the goals in verse 24.  He prayed for Jerusalem and the temple.  But the prophecy includes a Messiah and the goals because that was Jerusalem’s purpose.  Jerusalem was to be rebuilt to receive the Messiah.  490 years were awarded to Israel to fulfill the goals in 9:24 through the Messiah,.  Israel would be restored, but as a means to an end.  The Messiah was the means and the goals were the end.  To remove these goals from Israel and Jerusalem is to remove the reason for Israel’s election.

ISRAEL FAILED

Daniel must have been very sad to hear that the Messiah would be killed and the city would again be destroyed.  In his prayer, he confessed that the destruction of Jerusalem in his time was the result of disobedience.  He must have realized that the prophesied destruction would also be the result of more disobedience.  And there is no mention of another restoration or reconstruction in the prophecy.  The prophecy ends in the accumulation of desolation and destruction.

If the Jews did not confirm their rejection of Jesus as the Messiah by the persecution of His Spirit-filled representatives, but rather accepted Jesus after His death, history would have been very different.

ISAIAH 53

The emphasis upon the Messiah and His experience ranks this passage alongside the other great Messianic prophecies of the OT that point to Him as the suffering servant of God (Ps 22. Isa. 53).  Daniel 9 24-27 complements Isaiah 53 by specifying when the Man of sorrow will arrive.  The following is an extract from Isaiah 53:

2 … He has no appearance that we should be attracted to Him.  3 He was despised and forsaken A man of sorrows … 5 He was pierced through for our transgressions … 6 … the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.  7 He was … afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth … 8 By oppression … He was taken away; … He was cut off out of the land of the living For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due? 9 … He was with a rich man in His death … He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth. 11  … the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities. … He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors.

Consider some parallels between Daniel 9 24-27 and Isaiah 53:

In both, the main character is “cut off”.  In Isaiah, He is the man of sorrows (v3, 8).

Both refer to the atonement.  One of the goals of the seventy weeks is “to make atonement for iniquity” (v24) while “the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him” (Is. 53:6).  He Himself bore the sin of many (Is. 53:11).

In both this Person has a relationship with “the many”.  In Isaiah “the many” are justified (v11) and in Daniel, He confirms a strong covenant with “the many” (v27).

CONCLUSION

There is no greater unfolding of the gospel provisions in all the prophetic Word than is revealed in Daniel 9 and in Isaiah 53.  The prophecy of Daniel 9 is precious because it sets forth Jesus Christ as our atoning sacrifice, made on Calvary 2000 years ago.   We are all sinners and do not deserve to live.  Through Him, through faith, we are justified from our sin.

ARTICLES IN THIS SERIES

(1) The 490 years extend God’s covenant with Israel.
(2)
When did the 490 years begin?

(3) Who is the Messiah, who is cut off?
(4)
Who is “he” who confirms the covenant (9:27)?
(5)
When are the Seven Last Years?
(6)
What event puts a stop to sacrifice (9:27)?
(7)
What is the complete destruction in verse 27?
(8)
What is the essence of the Daniel 9 prophecy? – CURRENT ARTICLE

See also:
Summary of all Daniel 9 articles
Dispensational Interpretation of Daniel 9

The “complete destruction” in Daniel 9:27c describes Jerusalem in AD70.

Jerusalem surrounded

Verse 27c says that a desolator will arrive shortly after a repulsive sin, which was the killing of the Messiah. The Poetic Pattern and the repetition of ideas from verse 26 identify the “complete destruction” in Daniel 9:27c as the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.

Difference in Translations

This describes undefined abominations and complete destruction.  The title of this article shows the NASB.  The KJV reads:

and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate

Notice the difference in the final words of the two translations:

In the KJV translation, desolations are poured on the desolated one which, in the context, seems to refer to the city Jerusalem, which is destroyed in verse 26.

In the NASB, desolations are poured out on a desolator which, in the context, refers to the people who destroy the city (9:26).  The NASB thereby seems to refer to the destruction of the Roman Empire.  It thereby introduces a concept not mentioned by the previous verses.

Destruction of Jerusalem repeated

For the reasons below this destruction (desolations) in 9:27 is the same as the destruction mentioned in the previous verse (9:26), namely the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70:

(1) In the Poetic Pattern of the prophecy, this is the destruction of Jerusalem.  (See Daniel 9:27 The Covenant.)

(2) The events in the Daniel 9 prophecy are described in the form of a chiasm.  A chiasm is a literary structure in which the last item corresponds to the first, and the second to last item corresponds to the second, etc.  In the chiasm of Daniel 9, the desolation in the last part of Daniel 9 corresponds to Jerusalem.   (See Poetic Parallelism and Chiasm in Daniel 9)

Phrases repeated

(2) The last part of 9:27 repeats the main words and concepts from the last part of verse 26, which describes the destruction of Jerusalem.  Below verses 26 and 27 are compared:

MESSIAH CITY
26 Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.
27 And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”

Key phrases from verse 26 are repeated in verse 27:

Both verses refer to desolations (Strong number H8074) that are decreed (Strong number H2782).  The NASB in v26 reads “desolations are determined” and in v27 “desolate … one that is decreed”.

Both verses use water as a symbol of the force of destruction.  In verse 26 desolations will come with a flood, while they are poured out in verse 27.

Both verses include the concept of completion.  Verse 26 refers to the end (of the city) (NASB).  Verse 27 similarly refers to a “complete destruction” (NASB), which is another way of expressing the end of the thing that is destroyed.

The similarity between the last parts of verses 26 and 27 implies that they refer to the same event, which is the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.

Abomination of Desolation

Jesus teaching
Jesus teaching

(3) Jesus associated the last part of 9:27 with the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.  He said:

Therefore when you see the Abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand) …” (Mat. 24:15)

Here Jesus by name refers to Daniel and to the “abomination of desolation”.  This phrase is used a number of times in Daniel.  It is not used in Daniel 9 in that format, but the last part of verse 27 does refer to both desolation and abominations.  It is, therefore, possible that Jesus was referring to the part of Daniel 9:27 that is discussed in this article.

What did He mean?  The parallel statement to Matthew 24:15 is Luke 21:20-23 (compare Mat 24:16-19).  Luke, writing to Gentiles, who were not familiar with the book of Daniel, interpreted Jesus’ reference to the abomination of desolation as the Roman armies surrounding Jerusalem.  See Little Apocalypse.

This provides tentative support for the conclusion that the last part of 9:27 refers to the events of AD 70.

Entire 9:26 repeated

The sequence in verses 26 and 27 therefore are:

The killing of the Messiah (“cut off” 9:26),
The destruction of Jerusalem (9:26),
The killing of the Messiah (“stop to sacrifice” 9:27) and
The destruction of Jerusalem (9:27).

This alternation between the Messiah and Jerusalem was already discussed under the heading Poetic Pattern

Verse 27 is, therefore, a repeat of verse 26 (NASB):

A: Messiah B: Jerusalem
26 Messiah cut off after the sixty-two weeks people … will destroy the city
27 he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week … in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction

Time Perspectives

490 yearsIf the termination of the sacrifices and the killing of the messiah is the same event, why is the one described as “after the 62 sevens”, (9:26) and the other as in the “midst of” the last seven (9:27)?  To understand this, think of the prophecy consisting of three divisions; each providing information from a different time perspective:

490 yearsVerse 24 announces the 490 years and sets the goals for that period.

483 years – Verses 25 and 26 describe events relative to the first 483 years, including the killing of the Messiah “after” this period and the consequential destruction of the city.

Final 7 years – Verse 27 describes the same events, but from the perspective of the final seven years.

What does the last part of 9:27 mean?

9:27c reads “On the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate” (NASB).  In other words, a desolator will arrive shortly after (on the wing of) abominations.  A desolator is a person; a destroyer.  An abomination is some repulsive sin.  The desolator in 9:27, therefore, arrives after some repulsive sin to make “desolate, even until a complete destruction”.

In the context, the repulsive sin is Israel’s rejection, first of its Messiah and later of the Holy Spirit.  The desolation refers to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans 40 years later.

Conclusion

The prophecy repeatedly moves back and forth between the Messiah and Jerusalem.  The Messiah and Jerusalem must not be separated.  The Daniel 9 prophecy promises the reconstruction of Jerusalem to receive the Messiah, but it also predicts the destruction of Jerusalem because it did not receive the Messiah.

The last seven years are mentioned between two references to the destruction of Jerusalem.  Those last seven years, therefore, must not be separated from the Christ-event 2000 years ago.

490 years

Articles in this series

(1) The traditional interpretation of Daniel 9 is Historical-Messianic, in which the 490 years is an extension of God’s covenant with Israel.

(2) The 490 years began with Artaxerxes’ decree.  The first 483 years ended with the arrival of the Messiah, namely His baptism in the 15th year of Emperor Tiberius.

(3) The Messiah who is cut off is our Lord Jesus Christ.  The people who destroy the city are the Romans. The prince in Daniel 9:26 is a supernatural force controlling that Empire.

(4) The prophecy’s Poetic Pattern alternates between Jerusalem and the Messiah. In this pattern, Jesus confirms the covenant in Daniel 9:27.

(5) Jesus confirmed God’s covenant for the Seven Last Years by His personal preaching and by sending His disciples to Israel ONLY for a few years after His death.

(6) Daniel 9 promises atonement for sin (9:24) through the killing of the messiah (v26), while he will put a stop to sacrifice (9:27).  In light of the New Testament, this messiah is Jesus Christ.

(7) The Poetic Pattern and the repetition of ideas from verse 26 identify the “complete destruction” in Daniel 9:27c as the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. – CURRENT ARTICLE

(8) The key message of Daniel 9 is that the Messiah will appear within 500 years after Jerusalem is given back to the Jews; before Jerusalem is destroyed in AD 70.

See also, the Summary of all Daniel 9 articles, including the Dispensational Interpretation of Daniel 9.  Another series identifies the Antichrist in the other prophecies of Daniel.