Daniel 9: Daniel's Seventy Weeks, Part 3
Jul 10, 2015
God determined in the divine court that it would take seventy weeks of years to accomplish five things. We have already covered the first three. The fourth is “to bring in everlasting righteousness.”
The goals listed in Daniel 9:24 are all related to each other, because all were accomplished by Christ’s death on the cross. There He dealt with the negatives such as transgression, sin, and iniquity. But He also brought in the positive side, “righteousness.”
We have already seen how the righteousness came by faith, with Abraham as the great example. Romans 4:3 says,
3 For what does the Scripture say? “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned [logizomai, “reckon, impute, account”] to him as righteousness.”
Therefore, it is by faith, Paul says, that the righteousness of Christ is reckoned to us. It is by faith in the promises of God, according to the New Covenant, rather than through the Old. Paul goes further to remind us in Romans 3:25, 26 (speaking of Jesus),
25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation [hilaskomai, “expiation”] in His blood through faith. That was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
In other words, Paul says, the crucifixion of Christ was the demonstration of God’s righteousness, because this was promised and prophesied throughout Scripture. The idea of righteousness has many applications, but in this case it means that God keeps His word. His New Covenant vows will be kept, even if men’s Old Covenant vows are continually broken.
The meaning of Daniel 9:24, “to bring in everlasting righteousness,” is obscure in itself without the enlightenment of Paul’s writings, but it is clear that the prophet linked it with the other accomplishments of the Messiah’s work on the cross. The cross expiated man’s transgression, sin, and iniquity, and also brought in everlasting righteousness, which is imputed to us by faith in His work on the cross.
Ferrar Fenton renders this phrase, “to bring forward eternal righteousness.” I believe this rendering is the closest to Paul’s interpretation, because “to bring forward” implies a historic and public demonstration of the righteousness of God.
The usual Hebrew word for “righteousness” is tsedeq (or Zadok). Another form of the same word is tsedeqah, which focuses on the outward works from a righteous heart. The word is often used of generosity that comes from a giving heart. No doubt Jesus used this word in Matthew 6:1, where He says, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them.” He was talking about giving alms to be seen of men.
So when Daniel prophesied that it would take seventy weeks to accomplish the work of bringing forward righteousness, the promise showed the generosity of God. This is expressed also in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son.” The generosity and benevolence of God came from a heart of Love.
Sealing up the Vision and Prophecy
Daniel 9:24 also says, that it would take seventy weeks of years “to seal up vision and prophecy.” To seal up has a variety of meanings. To seal can mean to secure or protect something in the sense of keeping it hidden. It is used in this sense in Daniel 12:9, where the words of prophecy were “sealed up until the end of time.” In that same sense, the book of Revelation shows the breaking of the seals in order to give us “revelation” and understanding of the prophecy.
Another meaning of sealing is when a document was to be signed by the king. Normally, he signed it in wax with his signet ring. Paul applies this meaning to the Holy Spirit in Ephesians 1:13, 14,
13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.
In this sense the Holy Spirit was the seal of God’s signet ring upon the written document promising us an inheritance. We were in need of this promise, because the (full) inheritance was being deferred until the time of the end. Hence, we received the Holy Spirit as a pledge, according to the law of pledges (Deuteronomy 24:6, 10-13). In this case the Holy Spirit was given as a pledge (collateral, security) on a loan.
As I wrote in Speech 7 of the Deuteronomy series, God had stripped Adam of his spiritual garment after he sinned in the Garden. God then gave him earthly garments as a substitute, limiting him to the earth until his debt (sin) was paid. But when Jesus paid that debt on the cross, the situation was reversed, and God then “owed” men their spiritual garments. God, however, chose to retain their garments in heaven, as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:1, 2, leaving us in our earthly garments, wherein we “groan.” Paul then tells us in verse 5 that God “gave to us the Spirit as a pledge.” It is the collateral on the garment that is now on loan to God.
Therefore, the Holy Spirit is the “pledge of our inheritance,” and the baptism of the Holy Spirit is the “seal” on the document wherein the promise is written.
So when we understand the purpose of a seal, we may see how Daniel 9:24 applies this term. This sealing was to be the final result of what Christ accomplished on the cross. Ferrar Fenton says, “to accomplish the vision and prophecy.” He understands the seal to be the end (or result) of the vision or prophecy of the cross. Seals, after all, were not applied to documents until the writing had been finished, or accomplished. So the Holy Spirit was to seal up that which Gabriel was prophesying in regard to the seventy weeks.
To Anoint the Most Holy Place
Daniel 9:24 reads, “and to anoint the most holy place” (NASB). The word “place” may be implied, but it does not appear in the text. The NASB translators believed that “the most holy” was a reference to the inner room of the temple, where the presence of God was to dwell.
However, Ferrar Fenton renders it, “and the Messiah—the Holiest of the Holy.” The Hebrew word for “anoint” is mashach, which is the root word (verb) for Messiah (noun), or “anointed one.” I do not know why Fenton turns the verb into a noun, or if he is justified in doing so. He obviously believes that the revelation was not about the room in the temple per se but the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
In the richness of the Hebrew language, of course, the Most Holy Place could be seen as a metaphor for (or manifestation of) the Messiah. So I believe that both views have merit. Insofar as anointing the Most Holy Place is concerned, we know from Exodus 30:26 and Exodus 40:9 that the Ark of the Covenant was anointed, along with all the temple vessels, when the tabernacle of Moses was consecrated. This had to be done before “the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle” (Exodus 40:35).
If “the most holy place” in Daniel 9:24 represents the Ark of the Covenant that was anointed at the original consecration, then it appears that Gabriel was prophesying of the consecration and dedication of the New Temple made of “living stones” (1 Peter 2:5).
5 You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Anointing this New Temple was yet part of the preparation for the moment when the glory of God would fill it. Perhaps in the sense of one’s calling, we could view Christ’s crucifixion as His anointing, which was then followed by the glory of God filling His New Temple in Acts 2:4.
But can we view the cross as Christ’s anointing? Baptism was an anointing, since it was administered “from above” through sprinkling or pouring (Isaiah 32:15; Joel 2:28; Ezekiel 36:25; 39:29). There were many baptisms or “washings” (Hebrews 6:2; 9:10), some of blood, some of water, and some of oil and even “fire.” All were pictured as coming down out of heaven upon the one being baptized.
So Jesus asked His disciples in Mark 10:38, “Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” He was referring to His anointing, calling, or baptism, and it was a specific reference to the cross, where He was to pay the price for the sin of the world.
It appears, then, that Gabriel was revealing once again the anointing of the Messiah, both as a Man and as “the Most Holy Place.” It was a veiled reference to the calling of the Messiah. His work was revealed in the earlier part of Daniel 9:24, but the manner in which He was to do it (that is, the cross) was veiled. If Gabriel had revealed it so that men could easily understand it, then the chief priests might have acted differently. But God often hides His purposes and blinds men’s eyes, so that the divine plan will be fulfilled.
Christ's death on the cross was His anointing, or calling. One might say that He was anointed by blood at that time in order to prepare for the anointing of the Spirit that would come later. It took seventy weeks of years to bring this divine purpose to its climax.
This is part 45 of a series titled "Studies in the Book of Daniel." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones