I. WHAT DOES THIS SIGNIFY?
The command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem here referred to was given to Ezra by Artaxerxes, king of Persia, 457 B.C. Ezra 7:1-28.
A careful study of Ezra and Nehemiah will show that not less than four decrees were given to build the house, walls, etc., of Jerusalem. But the one here referred to by Daniel was to restore Jerusalem. This commission given to Ezra was to reorganize the children of Israel at Jerusalem, restore their judges and magistrates as at the first, and beautify the house of the Lord. It evidently is the one referred to. In Daniel’s vision the week of years is used. This was in common use among the Jews in Daniel’s time. The seventy weeks equal four hundred and ninety years. Measuring 490 years from 457 B.C., when the command was given, they extend to A.D. 33. In other words, just 490 years lie between 457 B.C. and A.D. 33. However the work of restoring all things did not begin until the middle of the year 457, which runs the 490 years to the fall of A.D. 33, or about the middle of that year. The seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks, which were to reach to Messiah the Prince, equal 69 weeks or 483 years. Reckoning 483 years from 457 B.C. would bring us to A.D. 26. But the real work of restoring Jerusalem did not commence till the middle of the year 457 (Ezra 7:8), which would bring the 483 years or 69 weeks to the middle or latter part of A.D. 26, when Christ was baptized and anointed. It might be well right here to observe that the common account called Anno Domini began when Christ was four years old. The 483 years–69 weeks–were to reach to Messiah the Prince. The question arises, When did Jesus become Messiah the Prince? Messiah (Hebrew), Christ (Greek) means anointed. The anointed one.
How was Jesus anointed?
“God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power.” Acts 10:38.
When did this anointing take place?
“Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son.” Luke 3:21, 22.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor.” Luke 4:18.
Here is where Jesus became the anointed one, Messiah the Prince, and began His earthly ministry. This is what is meant in Daniel’s vision by the words, “to anoint the most Holy.” The sixty-nine weeks–483 years–extended to this time. There yet remains one week or seven years, to fulfill the 70 weeks or 490 years. That week extends from the baptism and anointing of Christ in A.D. 26 to about the middle or fall of A.D. 33.
II. WHAT WAS TO TAKE PLACE IN THE MIDST OF THIS LAST WEEK OR SEVEN YEARS?
“And after threescore and two weeks, shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself.” Dan. 9:26.
“And in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abomination he shall make it desolate.” Ver. 27.
WHAT HAS THIS REFERENCE TO?
It has reference to the death of Christ. It will be seen in Ver. 25 that the sixty-nine weeks, which were to extend to Messiah the Prince, the “anointing of the most Holy,” were divided off as follows: “Seven weeks, and three-score and two weeks.” The first seven weeks or 49 years extended from 457 B.C. to 408 B.C. This, no doubt, was the time that it took to complete the walls, streets, etc., of the city which Daniel says were finished “in troublous times.” From 408 B.C., when the first seven weeks ended, to the anointing of the most Holy was just threescore and two weeks. After this, or in the midst of the last week of the seventy, Messiah was cut off. Just three and one-half years after Jesus was anointed and entered His ministry He was cut off–crucified for the sins of the whole world, in the midst of the last week.
III. WHAT WAS ACCOMPLISHED BY CHRIST’S DEATH?
1. “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people.”
The Jews ceased to be God’s chosen and special people. Christ’s blood was shed for the sins of the world. He broke down the middle wall between Jew and Gentile and made them both one in Him, in which “there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free.” Col. 3: 11.
2. “And upon thy holy city.”
The moment Christ died, Jerusalem lost its sacredness. No longer did God regard it the holy city. The hour had now come when no longer at Jerusalem would they worship the Father, but in every place the true worshipers would worship God in spirit and in truth. John 4:20-24.
3. “To finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins.”
Christ by His death accomplished all this. He “put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” Yea He “hath washed us from our sins in his own precious blood,” and “the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
4. “And to make reconciliation for iniquity.”
Hear the fulfillment: “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” Rom. 5:6-11.
“And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.” Col. 1:20-22.
5. “And to bring in everlasting righteousness.”
This signifies a complete deliverance from sin, and a supply of grace to serve God in holiness and righteousness all the days of our life. Yea, the grace of God which appeared unto all men teaches us to “live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world.” Titus 2:11, 12.
6. “He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.”
The sacrifices and the oblations of the law were but types of Christ and His great redemption. Sacrifice generally signifies slaughter. Oblation–offering or present. So Christ offered His body and presented it to God for a sacrifice to atone for the sins of the whole world. He was given as a sacrifice and oblation. His offering was perfect, and brought eternal redemption to the world. Hence, when He expired on the cross, the sacrifice and oblation of the law ceased to be accepted of God. They were but types and now were all fulfilled.
7. “And for the overspreading of abominations,he shall make it desolate.”
This refers to the “worldly sanctuary.” Christ in His personal ministry began building the temple or new covenant sanctuary–the church of God. Just before He expired on the cross, He cried, “It is finished.” His death completed the house of God, “which is the church of the living God,” “in which ye are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” The instant the new covenant sanctuary was thus completed, “the vail of the temple [in Jerusalem] was rent in twain from top to bottom.” Mat. 27:51.
God moved out of that earthly building, nevermore to dwell in temples made with hands. Their great house at Jerusalem was left desolate. Matt. 23:37, 38.
The Jews would not be gathered under His wings, but filled up the cup of their iniquities by crucifying the Messiah. Their wickedness and abominations had reached to the full, and God forsook their house forever and left it desolate.
IV. THREE AND ONE-HALF YEARS OF THIS LAST WEEK CAME AFTER THE DEATH OF MESSIAH, SINCE HE WAS CUT OFF IN THE MIDST OF THE WEEK. WHAT WAS TO BE ACCOMPLISHED DURING THIS LAST WEEK?
“And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week. Ver. 27. This last week began with Christ’s ministry. The covenant is the new covenant in Christ Jesus. “Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” John 1:17.
The three and one-half years of Christ’s ministry were spent in delivering the principles of the new covenant. The same was dedicated with His blood, and came into force at His death. It is also a fact that the first three and one-half years after Christ’s death was a marked epoch in the spread of the gospel among all nations. Thus the covenant was confirmed with many.
V. WE HAVE SEEN THAT AT THE DEATH OF CHRIST, GOD MOVED OUT OF THE JEWISH SANCTUARY AT JERUSALEM AND LEFT IT DESOLATE. HOW LONG WAS IT TO REMAIN DESOLATE?
“He shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon
the desolate.” Ver. 27.
VI. WHAT IS MEANT BY THE CONSUMMATION, AND THE THING DETERMINED TO BE POURED UPON THE DESOLATE?
“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 unto the end of the war desolations are determined.” Ver. 26.
VII. WHAT DID JESUS SAY WITH REFERENCE TO THIS PROPHECY?
“And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said, As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.” “For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.” “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” Luke 21:5, 6, 20;
Luke 21:22, 24.
VIII. WHEN AND HOW WAS THIS FULFILLED?
Titus with his Roman legions came to Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and destroyed the city and the sanctuary, or temple. Thus “that determined was poured upon the desolate” sanctuary. The overspreading abominations of the Jewish people were thus avenged. “These be the days of vengeance,” “and wrath upon this people.” When the Romans destroyed the sanctuary, they also took away the daily sacrifice. The Roman legions who marched to Jerusalem, destroyed the city and sanctuary, and took away the sacrifice, which ceased to be accepted of God when Jesus expired upon the cross. The Romans also brought their ensigns and set them upon the ground of the temple where once God dwelt. They even worshiped their ensigns, swore by them, and offered sacrifice to them in the very place where sacrifice had been offered unto God. These ensigns were the banners of the army which did make desolate the temple and city.
Hence, this was “an abomination of desolation.”
IX. WHAT DOES JESUS SAY OF THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION THAT DANIEL PROPHESIED WOULD COME?
“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains: let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house: neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day: for then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.”
From the above we see clearly that Daniel’s vision reached a fulfillment at the destruction of Jerusalem. In fact, in Luke’s account he says: “When ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.” Luke 21:20.
X. WHAT IS THE REAL ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION?
It is the substitution of heathen worship for the worship of God. Thus when Antiochus defiled the temple, laid it waste, and substituted heathen worship in Jerusalem for the worship of God, when he took away the daily sacrifice of burnt offering to God, and offered swine’s flesh upon the altar in idol worship, he “set up the abomination of desolation.” Jesus foresaw that the Roman armies would do just what the little horn of Daniel had done: Set up heathen worship and sacrifice in the holy place, where God alone had been worshiped. So they did this very thing when Titus destroyed the city. Just so has popery and modern sectism set up heathen worship instead of worshiping God alone. The multitudes of sect Babylon are “mad on their idols.” This is an abomination of desolation.
XI. WHAT FURTHER DOES DANIEL SPEAK CONCERNING THIS?
In Dan. 11 several powers are brought into view. These extend right up to the coming of Michael.
“And at that time shall Michael
stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.” Dan. 12:1.
This refers to the coming of Christ during the reign of Imperial Rome. Following this “there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time.” This refers to the siege and final destruction of Jerusalem, for says Jesus, in speaking of that awful time, “There shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”
“ For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled…For there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations.” Luke 21:22-24.
This awful calamity which befell the Jews was prophesied in Deut. 28:50-57. “A nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor show favor to the young: and he shall eat the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy land, until thou be destroyed: which also shall not leave thee either corn, wine, or oil, or the increase of thy kine, or flocks of thy sheep, until he have destroyed thee. And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land: and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which the Lord thy God bath given thee. And thou shalt eat the fruit of thins own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters, which the Lord thy God hath given thee, in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee: so that the man that is tender among you, and very delicate, his eye shall be evil toward his brother, and toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the remnant of his children which he shall leave: so that he will not give to any of them of the flesh of his children whom he shall eat: because he hath nothing left him in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee in all thy gates. The tender and delicate woman among you, which would not adventure to set the sole of her foot upon the ground for delicateness and tenderness, her eye shall be evil toward the husband of her bosom, and toward her son, and toward her daughter, and toward her young one that cometh out from between her feet, and toward her children which she shall bear: for she shall eat them for want of all things secretly in the siege and straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee in thy gates.”
Here is prophesied a time when a foreign power would come to Jerusalem, laying siege to the city, overthrowing and destroying the same, casting down the sanctuary or temple, taking away the daily sacrifice, and placing the abomination of desolation on that once hallowed spot. This all took place when Titus with the Roman legions, came to the “pleasant land” laying it waste, and destroyed their city and sanctuary, in which awful siege and destruction Josephus tells us about 1,100, 000 Jews perished.
Thus we give a brief history of the worldly sanctuary.