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DANIEL ix. 24.
Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people, and upon thy
holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.
Our text is one of the many found in the word of God, which prove the authenticity of the Scriptures, gives us a powerful weapon against Judaizing teachers, and meets the infidel on his own ground -- the history of the world.
It sets a seal to prophecy that it is true, and shows that the prophets were inspired.
It gives incontestable evidence against the Jew, and proves that Jesus of Nazareth was the true Messiah.
It unlocks the wonderful vision of Daniel's four kingdoms; also the vision of the ram, the he-goat, and the little horn.
It brings to view the great blessings of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, reveals the exact time of its accomplishment, and shows the source of the gospel, proclaiming good news to lost man, even in anticipation of that important era when the Gentiles should be fellowheirs with the Jews in faith.
It establishes the wavering, and gives hope and confidence to the tried and tempted child of God, that he will fulfil all his promises, according to the letter and spirit of his word.
This text furnished Simeon, Anna, Nathaniel, and
others, with a strong faith that they should see the con solation of Israel.
By this text the high priest convinced the council of the necessity of putting to death Jesus.
“ Then gathered the chief priests and Pharisees a council, and said, What do we ? for this man doth many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him; and the Romans will come, and take away both our place and nation.”
“ And one of them, named Caiaphas, being high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, nor consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. And this spake he not of himself, (not his own prophecy;) but, being high priest that year, he prophesied (from Daniel's seventy weeks; for there is not another prophecy in the Old Testament which shows what year Christ should suffer) that Jesus should die for that nation; and not for that nation only, but that, also, he should gather together in one the children of God, that were scattered abroad,” John xi. 47–53.
The high priest argues that Jesus must die for the people.
The seventy weeks shows that the Messiah must be cut off at the close of the last week, and not for himself. Also Peter had occasion to say in his epistle, “ Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you, searching what, or what manner of time, the spirit of Christ, which was in them, did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow," 1 Peter i. 10, 11.
Where was the exact time of Christ's sufferings prophesied of but in Daniel's seventy weeks? Again, to this Christ alludes when he says, “ My time is not yet fully come ; and, “Then they sought to take him, but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet
" that is, the seventy weeks were not yet fulfilled, John vii. 8, 30. Märk tells us, xiv. 41, “ The hour is come; behold, the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.”
The seventy weeks were now being fulfilled. And then, at last, when Jesus had completed his work, when the fulness of time had come, he finished transgression, and made an end of sin: he then cried, “It is finished, and gave up the ghost.” The seventy weeks ended, our text was fulfilled; Christ had now become the end of the law for righteousness, to every one that believeth; he that knew no sin had become sin for us, and Death had struck his last blow that he would ever be able to give the Son of God. Daniel's vision is now made
- the Messiah cut off, the time proved true, as given by the prophet Daniel.
Now, ye infidels, can this be priestcraft? And, ye Judaizing teachers, is not this the Christ? Why look ye for another?
I shall now take up the text in the following manner : I. I shall show what is to be done in seventy weeks.
II. When the seventy weeks began, and when they ended.
1. The text tells us, “ Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city;” that is, upon the Jews, who then were the people of Daniel, and also in Jerusalem, which then was called the “holy city.” The first question which would naturally arise on the mind, would be, What for to do? The text and its context must tell us.
1st. “To finish the transgression.” When was transgression finished ? I answer, At the death of Christ. See Heb. ix. 15, “And for this cause he is the Mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” Isaiah liii. 8, “ For he was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgression of my people was he stricken.”
2d. “ And to make an end of sins.” This was also performed at his death. See Heb. ix. 26, “But now once in the end of the world hath he appeared, to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” And 1 John'iii. 5, “ Ye know that he (Christ) was manifested to take away our sins.”
3d. “And to make reconciliation for iniquity.” Was this also performed at his death? Yes. See Col. i. 20, “ And having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things to himself.”. Heb. ii. 17, “Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren; that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.”
4th. “And to bring in everlasting righteousness." “This must be by Christ's obedience," says the objector, “ and cannot be at his death.” Not so fast, dear sir; let us hear the testimony. Romans v. 21, 66 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord.” And, “ By the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” Again, see Phil. ii. 8, “ And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." Paul says, “ I do not frustrate the grace of God; for if righteousness came by the law, then Christ is dead in vain ;” evidently showing, that by Christ's obedience unto death, he brought in everlasting righteousness.
5th. “ To seal up the vision and prophecy.” What does " to seal up” mean? I answer, It means to make sure, certain, unalterable. Consult Esther iji. 12, viii. 8. Solomon says, “ Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm ;” that is, make me sure in thy love, and certain by thy power. John says, “ He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true." John jii. 33. Paul to Rome, xv. 28, “When I have performed this, and sealed to them this fruit;” that is, made sure the contributions. . Again, to Timothy, 2 Epistle, ij. 19, “ Nevertheless, the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his." Therefore the death of Christ would make Daniel's vision sure; for if a part of the vision should be exactly fulfilled, as to time and manner, then the remainder of the vision would be accomplished in manner and time, as literally as the seventy weeks had been.
6th. “ And anoint the Most Holy.” The Most Holy,
in this passage, must mean Christ; for no human being can, or ought to claim this appellation, save him whom God hath anointed to be a Savior in Israel, and a King in Zion. See Acts x. 38, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power." Also, Acts iv. 27, “For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done." Heb. i. 9, “ Therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows."
It will next be requisite to inquire, When was Christ anointed ?
I answer, When the Holy Ghost descended upon him, and when he was endued with power from on high to work miracles. See Isa. lxi. 1, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek: he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.”
After Christ was baptized by John, and after being tempted of the devil forty days in the wilderness, he went in the spirit into Galilee, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as his custom was, and he stood up to read. They. gave him the book of Isaiah. When he opened the book he found the passage which I have just quoted. After reading it he shut up the book and sat down. He then began to say unto them, 6 This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears," Luke iv. 1—21. This passage plainly proves that Christ was anointed on or before this day.
Other things were to be done in the seventy weeks, such as, The cutting off of the Messiah, but not for himself. This can mean nothing less than the crucifixion of Christ. See Luke xxiv. 26, 46, “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory ? ” “ Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day." Rom. v. 6, “For when we were without strength, in due