13.—Corrected Version of Gabriel’s Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks
“Seventy heptades have been decreed relatively to thy people and to thine Holy City, for finishing the transgression, and for causing to cease from sin-offerings; and for covering iniquity, and for causing to come in a righteousness of ages, and for sealing the vision and prophet, and for anointing the Holy One of holy ones. Know therefore and understand: from the issuing of a command for causing to return and for building Jerusalem unto the Anointed Prince (shall be) seven heptades, and sixty and two heptades: she shall return: and the broad wall and the breach shall be built, even in the straitness of the times. And after the sixty and two heptades, the Anointed One shall be cut off, though nothing (will be) in him; and the prince’s people who come in shall destroy the City and the Holy, and the end thereof (shall be) with a sweeping away; and unto the end of the war desolations are decreed.
“And he shall confirm a covenant for many one heptade; and half of the heptade he shall cause to cease sacrificing and offering; and because of an overspreading of abominations (there shall be) a desolating even to destruction: and that decreed shall be poured out upon the Desolator” (Dan. 9:24–27).
In the twenty-fourth verse Daniel learned that there were six particulars to become accomplished facts before an army should be given to the Roamano-Greek Babylonian Little Horn, against the evening and morning sacrifice for the suppression of it, and the destruction of the holy city and people, and the consequent abolition of the Mosaic law and constitution. These important particulars may be thus ordinarily presented:
1. The perfecting of Judah’s transgression;
2. The causing to cease from sin-offerings;
3. The covering of iniquity;
4. The bringing in a righteousness of ages;
5. The sealing the vision and prophet;
6. The anointing the Holy One of holy ones.
1. In Chapter 8 the reason assigned for the standing up of the “king of a fierce countenance” against Judah in the latter time of the northern and southern kingdoms of the Goat is, “so as to cause transgressors to fill up their measure”, which I take to be the meaning of kh’ hahthaim haph-pohshim, rendered in the English version, “when the transgressors are come to the full”. This is not true in fact. The transgressors in Judah had not filled up their measure in the latter time of the reign of the kings of Syria and Egypt, when the Roman power stood up in their place against Judah. This is evident from the Lord’s denunciations in which he said to them a hundred years after, “Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers, ye hypocrites” (Matt. 25:32). The Roman power was allowed to overshadow Judah as a means of bringing their rebellion against Yahweh to a head, or to perfect it, according to Gabriel. Every reader of the apostolic writings must be familiar with the way this was accomplished. The Lord Jesus appeared among them as “The Heir” of the Kingdom and throne of David; and they said, “Come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance” (Matt. 21:38). They arraigned him before the tribunal of the Little Horn on a charge of high treason against it, because he claimed to be the King of the Jews, and therefore spoke against the imperial rights of Cæsar. But Pontius Pilate, the Horn’s representative in Judea, apprehending no danger, would have acquitted him with release, knowing that for envy they had delivered him. But he could prevail nothing; for the rebels cried out, saying, “If thou let this man go thou art not Cæsar’s friend; whosoever maketh himself a King, speaketh against Cæsar”. “Behold your King!” said the governor. “Away with him, away with him”, they cried; “crucify him!” The astonished Pilate exclaimed, “Shall I crucify your King?” But, “the Chief Priest answered, We have no king but Cæsar”. Thus was the first particular of Gabriel’s word accomplished. Judah’s rebellion was perfected within a few hours of the expiration of the seventy times seven years from the passover of the 20th year of the reign of Artaxerxes, Ram-king of Babylon.
2. The next thing was to cause to cease from sin-offerings. This did not seem to put a stop to the evening-morning sacrifice; for that was not effected till about thirty-five years after the end of the seventy heptades. It was to cause them to be ceased from by those who should partake in the righteousness to be brought in through the covering for iniquity. We read of no more sin-offering being presented by the apostles, who had been made clean through the word spoken to them by Jesus; nor did they enjoin sin-offerings upon those who received their teaching. “By the” Abrahamic or “Second Will, they were sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once”; “for by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified”; so that, having thus obtained a permanent remission, “no more offering for sin” was needed. Hence they were superseded by Messiah’s sacrifice, though they continued to be offered by the rebels.
3. A third item to be accomplished before the passing away of the seventy heptades, or periods of seven years, was the covering of iniquity. The verb rendered thus is khahphar, to cover, or overlay, to hide. Hence, khaphporeth, a cover, and therefore applied to the cover of the Ark of the Testimony in the Most Holy Place of the Temple, called the Propitiatory, because propitiation or expiation was made for sin by sprinkling it with the blood of the sacrifices. It was also called the Mercy Seat. A good conscience is without shame or fear. Transgression of law, or sin, converts a good conscience into a bad one, and develops shame and fear. Before he sinned, Adam’s conscience was good; he was naked, but not at all ashamed, or afraid of the presence of the Elohim: but immediately after, his conscience being defiled, shame and fear caused him to hide himself, because he was uncovered. This teaches us that sin needs to be covered. Adam felt this, and undertook to cover his own sin in the best way he could devise, being ignorant of the manner in which sin is covered by divine appointment. But the Lord God stripped him of his own device, which did not recognize the principle of blood-shedding in the covering of iniquity. He taught Adam to shed the blood of a lamb, and to cover his nakedness with its skin. This was the lamb slain at the foundation of the world, and represented him who is the Lamb typically slain from the foundation of the world. Adam and his wife were in this way clothed by Yahweh Elohim; and being thus clothed, their iniquity was expiated or covered.
The only Sin-Covering from the Fall to the resurrection of Jesus the world had ever known, was typical; or a yearly covering of sin that represented the covering foretold by Gabriel. The patriarchs, prophets, and others, who Abrahamically believed the things covenanted to the fathers, and were dead, had died with no other covering for their sins than could be derived from the pouring out of the blood of bulls and goats. But “It is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins “(Heb. 10:4); their sins therefore remained uncovered and unexpiated; and as “the wages of sin is death”, if the expiation of the seventy heptades had never been effected, they would never have risen from the dead to eternal life. Hence, speaking of the covering efficacy of Christ’s death, Paul says, “For this cause he is the Mediator of the New (or Abrahamic) Covenant, that by means of death for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant (the Law) they which are called might receive the promise of the everlasting inheritance” (Heb. 9:15): and Isaiah says, “For the transgression of my people was he stricken”. Thus, the death and resurrection of the Mediator, and therefore Representative Testator, of the Covenant made with Abraham, brought it into force; so that the already dead who had while living believed the things promised in it, obtain a covering of their sins, the effect of which they will experience after rising from the dead to possess them for the age.
4. If Messiah the Prince had not been cut off for his people “a righteousness of ages”, the fourth item of Gabriel’s word, could not have been brought in. Faith in the things of the Kingdom could not have been counted for righteousness to life in the future ages of glory without a propitiatory or mercy seat, sprinkled with blood. The cutting off of Jesus provided this indispensable kaphporeth, or cover for sin: so that he being slain and raised from the dead, the means of a sinner’s justification, styled, “The righteousness of God”, was brought in or completed within the period appointed.
Here then were the victim and the covering provided by Yahweh—a victim of expiation for the sins of the faithful; the faithful who believed the promises covenanted to Abraham and David:—a covering garment to hide their sins in putting on the victim by immersion into his name. Thus invested or clothed upon, they are in Christ, who of God becomes to them thus, “Wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption”.
When these things should be effected, sin-offerings, and the evening-morning sacrifices, which were merely typical, could well be dispensed with. In relation then to the taking away of the tahmid, and the destruction of the holy city, Daniel would perceive their accomplishment posterior to the fulness of the seventy heptades of years. Hence all those speculations that make Antiochus the Little Horn, and his oppression of the Jews, and defilement of the temple, and so forth, the fulfilment of chapter 8:11, 23, 24, are entirely inadmissible, and altogether unworthy of a grave or respectful attention.
5. The fifth particular to come to pass before the passing away of the heptades was “the sealing of the vision and prophet”. We are informed that in the early days of Samuel, “The word of Yahweh was precious”, for there was no open vision; and in Jeremiah it is said, “They speak a vision of their own heart”. To speak the word of the Lord is for a prophet to speak what the Lord impresses upon his brain. We perceive before we speak; hence, to reveal our perceptions is to speak what we see, or, to speak a vision. When a man speaks impressions made upon him by the Lord, and the Lord confirms what he speaks, he speaks “an open vision”, and the confirmation is the sealing of it. “Bind together the testimony; seal instruction among my disciples.” This was done in the ministrations of the Lord Jesus. He spoke an open vision, instructing his disciples; and his instructions the Father sealed, by the signs and wonders that accompanied them.
In sealing the vision of the seventieth heptade, the prophet by whom the vision was spoken, was sealed likewise. The confirmation of the vision was the confirmation of its prophet also. “Believe me”, said Jesus, “for the works’ sake.” In another place, he says, “The Father himself, who hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Have ye never heard his voice nor seen his form?”—the voice from the excellent glory, and the form of the dove? Multitudes had seen this, and were compelled to say, “This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world”. The sealing of the vision and the prophet go together, and are therefore placed together in Gabriel’s word; and have unquestionable reference to Jesus, who speaking of himself says, “Him has the Father sealed”.
6. The sixth and last of Gabriel’s specifications in this verse is the anointing the Holy One of holy ones. This personage was the Messiah, a name signifying an anointed one. There have been many anointed ones, but the one here referred to was to be pre-eminently such; and to be anointed within the limits of the seventieth heptade; that is, some time between the end of the sixty-ninth and the end of the seventieth, as appears from verse 25. Believing that Jesus is Messiah the Prince, we are at no loss where to place the anointing. Peter says, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power”; and Luke, after relating the particulars concerning it, says, that “Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age” (Luke 3:23; Acts 10:38). This fixes the baptism and anointing at three years and a few months before the crucifixion. Thus, “God anointed him with the oil of gladness above his associates” (Psa. 45:6). He is therefore the Holy One of those holy associates, or the Holy One of holy ones, as I have rendered the text; the Most Holy, or Holiest of All.
Having specified these six things to be accomplished before the expiration of the seventy heptades, Gabriel proceeded to specify the commencement of them. He stated that to Mashiach Nahgid, the Anointed Prince, should be “seven heptades, and three-score and two heptades”, that is, sixty-nine. This period extended to the proclamation of Messiah the Prince being at hand; that is, to the beginning of John’s preaching, who said that he came baptizing in water that he might be made manifest to Israel (John 1:31), which manifestation is styled “his coming” (Acts 13:24). Sixty-nine heptades of years, calculated from this announcement, gives 483 years and nine months; that is, it carries us up to the twentieth year of the reign of Artaxerxes, Persian King of Babylon, when Nehemiah, his cup-bearer, received commandment to go and restore and build Jerusalem, and set up the wall. How Nehemiah executed this work is fully detailed in the portion of scripture that passes by his name.
This commandment of Artaxerxes did not issue till 114 years after Gabriel’s visit to Daniel, who might still be ignorant of the commencement of the “many days” of the vision he had seen in the third year of Belshazzar’s reign. He would not understand that the 2,400 and the seventy Heptades began at the issuing of the commandment; when that authorization for the restitution of Jerusalem and the Wall should be granted, he could not, and, it is probable, that even Gabriel himself was unable to tell. All they knew was, that it would be 483 years to the proclamation of repentance, because Messiah the Prince was in the midst of Israel, and about to appear; but whether 483 years from the first year of Cyrus, or from more than a hundred years afterwards, they did not know.
It may be remarked, here, that there were four decrees, or commands, promulgated by kings of the Ram Dynasty, in favour of Judah and Jerusalem. The first was in the first year of Cyrus, two years after Gabriel’s visit; and authorized the Jews to return to Palestine and rebuild the temple (Ezra 1). This was seventy years after Jehoiakim’s rebellion against Nebuchadnezzar, in the first of Cyrus’s sole reign, in b.c. 540.
The second decree (Ezra 6:1) was issued by Darius the Persian, eighteen years after; that is, in the second of his reign, enforcing that of Cyrus, being seventy years from the burning of the temple, in the 19th of Nebuchadnezzar, b.c. 592. The temple was finished four years afterwards, in the sixth of his reign (Ezra 6:15), answering to seventy years from the twenty-third of Nebuchadnezzar, when 745 persons were carried captive to Babylon.
The third decree was promulgated in the 7th of Artaxerxes, for the restoration of the Commonwealth of Judah (Ezra 7:7, 11–26). This was fifty-three years after the temple was finished, and seventy-one from the decree of Cyrus—b.c. 469.
The fourth decree was thirteen years after, in the 20th of Artaxerxes, b.c. 456 years and 9 months. This was for the building of the broad wall and the setting up of the gates of Jerusalem (Neh. 2:1).
From these chronological data the reader will perceive that the last decree is the only one from which the Seventy Heptades of the 2,400 evening and morning, or day of Judah’s troubles can reasonably be commenced; for the others all fall short of the proclamation of “the King of the Heavens having approached” by many years. The 20th of Artaxerxes may, therefore, be regarded as the established terminus a quo, or point of depature in the calculation of the time.
It is proper, however, to mention that the usual reckoning of the b.c., answering to the 20th Artaxerxes, is 445 years. This would make the end of the 69 heptades five years after the crucifixion; and removing this event seven years later, as happening at the end of the 70th heptade. But by reference to my chronology at the end of Eureka, Vol. II., it will be found that the numbers indicating the duration of the reigns placed opposite the kings, and which I culled out of Rollin’s History, between the 20th Artaxerxes and the birth of Jesus, make exactly 455 years and 9 months. From the birth to the baptism (on the authority of Luke), was 30 years, making 485 and 9 months. This was 2 years and 9 months after the end of the 69th Heptade; and consequently so far advanced into the seventieth week. But the common reckoning is flagrantly erroneous in divers places, and of no authority where critical accuracy is desired.
Having indicated the beginning and ending of the 69 heptades, and divided them into successive portions of seven heptades and sixty-two heptades, Gabriel informed Daniel that the Messiah should be cut off after the sixty-two heptades had passed away. But, at this part of the revelation he did not tell him how soon after their termination the cutting off should transpire. He informed him, furthermore, that after the cutting off, destruction should come upon the City and the Holy by a people of the Prince, and that at the end of the destruction there should be a flood of evil, and unto an end of the war desolations were decreed. The cutting off, the destruction, and the desolations, were consecutive events, but not immediately so. Between the cutting off of Messiah and the destruction of the City and Holy were about thirty-eight years, and between the city’s overthrow and the war of the Romans against Barcochebas, was upwards of forty. This last war completely prostrated them. They had massacred hundreds of thousands of Greeks and Egyptians in cold blood; at length the Little Horn “stamped upon them”, after causing a loss to Judah of 580,000 on the field of battle in two years.
Having extended Daniel’s view to the destruction of the people of the Saints, by the Little Horn power (Dan. 8:24), that is, by the host or army that was given to it (Dan. 8:12) by the Prince, or Messiah (Matt. 22:7), against the rebels and the tahmid, Gabriel recalled his attention to the last of the Seventy Heptades; and informed him what the work was that should be accomplished by the Prince in the course of that seven years, from 483 to 490 of the period. “He shall confirm a covenant for many in the course of one heptade; and half of the heptade he shall cause to cease sacrificing and offering”. The covenant to be confirmed was the New, or Abrahamic, Covenant. This had been typically confirmed of God, concerning Christ, 430 years before the night of the departure from Egypt. Abraham’s sacrifices which were consumed by fire from heaven, represented, or pointed to, the cutting off of Messiah, the Prince, as the sacrifice, whose blood is the blood of the Covenant, “shed for many”. On the night on which he was betrayed, while eating the Passover with his disciples, Jesus said, “I even I covenant for you, as my Father hath covenanted for me, a kingdom; that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and may sit upon thrones, judging the Twelve Tribes of Israel” (Luke 22:29–30). He was made a covenant in confirmation of this promise, in being cut off as an expiation for the sins of Abraham and his heirs; and in so dying, to bring the covenant made for them into force. That covenant, or will, was like all other wills, which are of no force while the testator liveth. Messiah, the Prince, being the Mediatorial Testator, Yahweh’s representative in the affair, was the confirmer of the covenant for its many heirs; for if he had not voluntarily surrendered himself to death, all the work of the previous seven years would have been null and void. In dying and rising again he made it sure, having dedicated it with his blood. This is, therefore, the antitypical blood of the Abrahamic covenant, to the things of which all are entitled who believe them, and whose hearts have been sprinkled with it. It is for them the Prince confirmed the covenant with his own blood. They are the “many” referred to by Gabriel—Daniel, and the prophets, and so forth, among the number. “I will give thee”, saith Yahweh, in prophecy to his Son, “for a covenant of the people, to establish the land, to cause to possess the desolate estates” (Isa. 49:8). The promise of this gift was redeemed in the gift of a Son to Israel (Isa. 9:6), and the acceptance of him as the covenant purifier of his brethren. The covenant being confirmed, then, the land promised to Abraham and his Seed, and to all in them, will assuredly become the dwelling-place of glory, and they will possess it with all that is requisite to make it “the inheritance of the saints in light”.
The phrase khatzi hasshahvua is very incorrectly rendered “in the midst of the week” in the English version. It is the accusative of time how long, and not a precise point of time. Khatzi signifies one-half, or one division of the whole seven years. Daniel was not informed which of the equal divisions of the last heptade was to witness the desisting from sacrifice and oblation, by divine authority. He might infer that it would be the end of the latter half of the heptade, as the causing to desist was the last incident revealed, included in the whole seventy sevens, or heptades of years. He might conclude that Messiah, the Prince, would not cause to desist from sacrifice and oblation till a covering were made for iniquity, and the righteousness of ages were brought in. This conclusion would have been correct; still he was left to inference, as Gabriel did not satisfy him on the point. We, however, are not left to inference. The prediction being long since an accomplished fact, we know that the khatzi referred to is the latter part of the seventieth heptade, and on the last day thereof, that is, of the crucifixion, which was exactly 490 years, or Seventy Heptades, from the month Nisan of the 20th of Artaxerxes, b.c. 456.
The verb shahvath, rendered cause to cease in the common version, signifies to desist as well as to cease. The common rendering has puzzled all who have attempted an interpretation of the text. Some have assumed that the Prince who sends his army to destroy the city is Titus; others, that he is Antiochus; and that consequently, as no personage is introduced into the text after him, Titus, or Antiochus, is the confirmer of the covenant, and the causer of the sacrifice and oblation to cease, when they took away the daily. Moses Stuart, that Prince of Blind Guides, says, it was “Antiochus dictated the firm league between himself and the Jewish apostates”! This is his interpretation of “He shall confirm a covenant for many”. But I will not waste time, ink, and paper, in refuting such nonsense; I will only add, that he says, Antiochus caused the sacrifice and the oblation to cease by violence over 160 years before Christ; while others affirm that Titus did it 73 years after his birth. These opinions result from a supposition, that causing the sacrifice and oblation to cease is the same thing as taking away the daily. But as we have seen, they are totally different events. The former was to happen within the 490 years; while for the latter, “no man knew the day and hour, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father” (Mark 13:32). Jesus, the Prince of the future kings of the earth, causing to cease from sacrifice and oblation is intelligible, in keeping with the time, and with the doctrine of the apostles, through which he caused all his disciples no longer to seek expiation and righteousness by the law and institutions of Moses.
A doctrine being introduced which was calculated to cause those of Judah, who received it, to cease from sacrificing and offering, the seventy sevens of years were fully accomplished. What now remained were the “days of vengeance, that all things which were written might be fulfilled” (Luke 21:22). The vengeance was “the judgment to come” on Judah, because of their having perfected their rebellion in rejecting Jesus as their king, and putting him to death. The city and the holy nation, their constitution and country, were to be desolated by an overspreading destruction, which was to prevail without mitigation until the end of the 2,400, after which preparation would be made for the avenging of the holy. This decree is expressed in those words of Gabriel, which have so puzzled and confounded all the critics, contained in the last verse of the ninth chapter. I will quote them as they ought to read: “And because of an overspreading of abominations there shall be a desolating even to destruction, and that decreed shall be poured out upon the desolator”. The things to be destroyed when the desolation should be consummated were the people and holy city; and the Desolator, the “king of fierce countenance, who shall stand up against the sar sahrim”, or the Commander-in-Chief of Judah, shall be broken by him, and so come to his end, with none to help him in a “time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation to that same time “(Dan. 8:23–25; 10:45; 12:1).
Since the “days of vengeance” which came upon Judah thirty-eight years after the ending of the seventy weeks, various “abominations” have rested like a kenaph upon the land. These have all been of a desolating character, such as the Romano-Greek, Persian, Saracen, and Ottoman abominations. Hence they have been kenaph shikkutzim, an overspreading of abominations, meshomaim, making desolate. The Holy is under this covering still. The 1290 years of abomination, the greater part of which has been Moslem, have passed away; and “that decreed” has been “pouring out, upon its desolator”, as Gabriel foretold. The Turk is the desolator pertaining to the Moslem abomination that still overspreads the Holy Land; and the day of his evaporation has arrived. The sixth vial has been pouring out upon him since 1820, and is visibly pouring upon him at this juncture. But when he goes down to the sides of the pit, the Russianized Latino-Greek Babylonian power will invade the land under Gog, the king of the north, and encamp against the Holy Mountain. The consummating judgments of the sixth vial will then fall upon him as the latter-day representative of the Little Horn of the Goat. His fate is therefore that of the fierce king, as Daniel hath described it.