THE

 

SEVENTY WEEKS

 

OF

 

DANIEL'S PROPHECY.

 

By

 

J. SLADEN.

 

------

 

 

The following letter was sent to the Editor of the Rock in September, 1897, and was written by the late Robert Govett, Pastor of Surrey Chapel, Norwich:-

 

"Shall I briefly present to you some objections which I entertain against the common view of the seventy weeks? (Dan. 9: 20-27).

 

1. The prophecy regards Danielís people of Israel (vv. 1-19) and the city of Jerusalem (vv. 20, 24).

 

2. It is the discovery of prophetic truth made by an angel (vv. 21, 22). Now angels are specially commissioned to aid Israel. The first notice of an angel occurs in connection with Hagarís trouble (Gen. 16: 7; 21: 17). And Hagar represents the covenant of Sinai (Gal. 4: 25).

 

3. The Jews are the people of the letter (2 Cor. 3.), and the prophets of Israel are first to be interpreted literally. Only if literal interpretation introduce absurdity may we turn to figurative.

 

ĎWeeks,í then, are to be taken literally, of seven days each (Lev. 12: 5; Num. 28: 26; Jer. 5: 24; Dan. 10: 2, 3).

 

4. It is a prophecy, I suppose, of the false Christ, who shall arise to deceive Israel. He is spoken of in Daniel 8., before the seventy weeks, and after them (Dan. 11.).

 

He shall make a covenant with Israel for one week, and in the midst of the week shall break his covenant, causing the sacrifices of the Temple to cease, and setting up the Ďabomination of desolationí on the Temple (vv. 27); at which moment Christís Jewish disciples are to flee with headlong speed out of Jerusalem (Matt. 24: 16-24).

 

The literal half-week is seen in Revelation 11: 7-11, when the two Ďprophets,í Enoch and Elijah, are slain at Jerusalem by the false Christ. For three days and a half their dead bodies lie in the broad place of Jerusalem (the Haram es Scheriff).

 

6. The ĎAnointed Oneí slain at Jerusalem is not the true Christ. Only in this chapter, and here twice over, is the Hebrew word translated ĎMessiah the Prince,í and ĎMessiahThis it is, I believe, which has led so many to suppose the prophecy to be uttered concerning our Lord. Instead of Ďbut not for himselfí it may be rendered Ďand no one for himThe law of Genesis 9: 6 shall not be accomplished in his murder. When anointed kings were cut off, David slew the slayers (2 Sam. 1. 4.).

 

7. Has the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem yet been given? I think not. (1) Cyrus commanded the rebuilding of the Temple of Jerusalem (Ezra 1: 2-4). (2) Nehemiah was commissioned to build the wall of Jerusalem; apparently, as security for the Holy House then built (see Neh. 2: 8, 17; 6: 1, 2, 15).

 

Will the Lordís people search and see?"

 

R. GOVETT.

 

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The writer of the present pamphlet seeks to throw additional light on this subject, and to prove from Scripture the points raised in Mr. Govettís letter.

 

The ordinary view supposes the prophecy to relate to the time of the crucifixion of our Lord, and supposes the seventy weeks to be seventy weeks of years, i.e. 490 years.

 

It is supposed to count from the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king (Neh. 2: 1), about 446 B.C., and to foretell the date of the crucifixion of our Lord, sixty-nine weeks of years, or 483 years after.

 

But there is nothing in the Hebrew to suggest that the seventy weeks are seventy weeks of years. No translator has ever ventured to translate the two Hebrew words, signifying "seventy weeks" by "seventy weeks of years." It is a supposition on the part of the interpreter of the prophecy.

 

The Hebrew word for "week" is Shabua.

 

This word is never applied to sevens of years, unless it is followed by Shanim, the Hebrew word for "years."

 

If the seventy weeks are literally "weeks of days," then the common interpretation, which makes them "weeks of years," is overturned.

 

That the "seventy weeks" mean "seventy weeks of days" is proved by all the occurrences of the word Shabua, or "week."

 

"The feast of weeks" (Exod. 34: 22),

 

"Seven weeks shalt thou number unto thee: begin to number the seven weeks" (Deut. 16: 9).

 

"Thou shalt keep the feast of weeks" (Deut. 16: 10). ďIn the feast of weeks " (Deut. 16: 16).

 

There is no difference in these texts in the Hebrew phraseology; therefore, unless the word Shanim (= "years") is inserted in the text, there is absolutely no authority for assuming that the seventy weeks mean seventy weeks of years. They are, therefore, seventy weeks of days, i.e. a period of about one year and eighteen weeks.

 

It will be granted that the expression "seventy weeks" cannot mean both seventy weeks of days and seventy weeks of years, otherwise prophecy would be guesswork. The literal interpretation is seventy weeks.

 

An example may serve to clear up the matter. Genesis 29: 20: "Jacob served [Laban] seven years [Shanim] for Rachael." He then demanded her as his wife. "And Laban gathered together all the men of the place and made a feast." In the morning Jacob finds that Laban has deceived him by bringing him Leah. He complains, and Laban replies, "Fulfil her week [of days] and we will give thee this [Rachael] also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years [Shanah]. And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week [or wedding feast of seven days]: and he gave him Rachael his daughter to wife also." So there were two weddings and two feasts of seven days each, the second beginning when the first had ended. Here there is a clear distinction between a week of days and a week of years. That the '"week" means a wedding feast of seven days we see in the case of Samson. He is to be wedded, and makes a feast. "And Samson said unto them . . . if ye can certainly declare it me within the seven days of the feast" (Judges 14: 12). "And she wept before him the seven days, while their feast lasted: and it came to pass on the seventh day, that he told her" (Judges 14: 17).

 

So Jacob did not wait for Rachael seven years, but seven days only, and after that he began the seven years of service for her a second time. In Genesis 29: 27, it is literally "fulfil her seven" - "thou shalt serve with me yet seven years [Shanim] after," where the same Hebrew word is employed to express "seven" in both cases.

 

This is precisely similar to the use of the word in Daniel 9., only the word seventy is used. "He would accomplish seventy years [Shanah] in the desolations of Jerusalem" (9: 2). "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people" (9: 24), where the same Hebrew word is employed to express "seventy" in both cases, literally "seventy sevens." Also in 9: 25, "seven weeks" or seven sevens.

 

There is no authority whatever for inserting the word "Shanah" for "Years," as is the case in Daniel 9: 2.

 

In Daniel 10: 2, 3 "three weeks of days" is twice mentioned. This confirms the argument that seventy weeks in Daniel 9: 24 are literally seventy weeks. Indeed, no translators, whether of the Authorised or Revised Version, or any other, have ventured to translate the two Hebrew words which literally mean seventy sevens, by seventy weeks of years, but simply seventy weeks, so that the insertion of the word "years" has no authority; but it has been introduced by the interpreters of the prophecy, who have assumed that it refers to the First Advent of Christ the Messiah, and this in order to make their views plausible or even possible.

 

The Hebrew words translated by "unto the Messiah the Prince" may be properly rendered "up to an Anointed Leader." The Hebrew word translated "Messiah" occurs thirty-seven times in the Old Testament, and it is translated thirty-five times by "anointed" and only twice by "Messiah," and those only in Daniel 9: 25, 26, the verses in question.

 

The Hebrew word is spoken of Saul in 2 Samuel 1: 14, 16, "the Lordís anointed." Also of Josiah, "the anointed of the Lord" (Lam. 4: 20).

 

In the context of Daniel 9: 25, 26 it properly refers to the Antichrist, or False Christ, who is to be an Anointed Leader.

 

There is no definite article in the Hebrew. The person spoken of is one out of many anointed princes; he is not the God-anointed Man Christ Jesus, for his character is evil, and he breaks the covenant which he makes, with many of Israel, and causes the sacrifices of the temple to cease.

 

Daniel in the preceding chapters has been foretelling how the kingdoms of earth would be ruled by a Gentile supremacy till the God of heaven should set up a kingdom which should stand for ever (Dan. 2: 44).

 

Chapter 3. narrates how Nebuchadnezzar, who was the first Gentile who was entrusted by the God of heaven with this supremacy, set, up an image of gold, and commanded universal worship on penalty of the burning fiery furnace to all those who should disobey. Herein he was a foreshadowing of the Antichrist. But God delivered His faithful servants from the fury of the fire, which so astonished the king that he commanded all nations to respect the God of Israel.

 

Nevertheless, his pride was not abased, in spite of Danielís counsel: so "there fell a voice from heaven, saying, 0 king ... to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee. And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall he with the beasts of the field ... until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will" (Dan. 4: 31, 32).

 

Belshazzar was another type of the Antichrist. "And thou ... hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this; but hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven (Dan. 5: 22, 23). Thy kingdom is divided."

 

Darius, who succeeds him, demands that no prayer or petition be made to God or man for thirty days, save to himself, under penalty of death in the den of lions. On Danielís deliverance from the den of lions, Darius repents, and confesses the God of Daniel as the living God and steadfast for ever, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and His dominion shall be even unto the end. So Darius was permitted to continue in his kingdom.

 

Afterwards the character of the Gentile supremacy to the end was revealed to Daniel, culminating in the lawlessness of the Little Horn, who makes war with the saints and prevails against them. Here the Little Horn is identified with the Wild Beast of Revelation 13: 4-7; and in his doom - "his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame" (Dan. 7: 11) - he is identified with the Man of Sin, the Lawless One of 2 Thessalonians 2: 3-8, and the Wild Beast of Revelation 11: 30.

 

A further view of the Antichrist is given in Daniel 8. Now "he shall stand up against the Prince of Princes [Sar Sarim]; but he shall be broken without hand" (Dan. 8: 25). The "Prince of Princes" is the Lord Jesus Christ, who personally destroys the False Christ "with the brightness of His Presence" (2 Thess. 2: 8). The False Christ in Daniel 9: 25, 26 is not called Sar, but Nagid, a leader.

 

Again, after, Danielís prayer for Jerusalem and the people of Israel, the angel Gabriel is sent to give him skill and understanding about the vision of the Antichrist in Daniel 8: 23-26. His word to Daniel was: "Consider the matter, and understand the vision" (Dan. 9: 23, R.V.). Then the angel gives in the next verses the explanation of the vision, which Daniel was distinctly informed related to the time of the end (Dan. 8: 17, 26). This completely overturns the idea that Daniel 9: 24-27, commencing with "seventy weeks," etc., foretells the First Advent of Christ, and establishes the statement that the Anointed Prince or Leader is the Antichrist.

 

Afterwards Daniel saw another vision. The interpreter informs him, "Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people [of Israel) in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days" (Dan. 10: 14).

 

Further details of the Antichrist are given in Daniel 11. and 12. They relate to Israel at the time of the end, and the destruction of the Antichrist, by whom "the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination which maketh desolate set up" (Dan. 11: 31; 12: 12). This is connected plainly with Daniel 9: 27, proving again that "the Prince that shall come" is the False Christ. This is confirmed by our Lordís prophecy on Mount Olivet, "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:) ... For there shall arise False Christs, and False Prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders" (Matt. 24: 15-22).

 

The command, then, "to restore and to build JerusalemĒ is to take place in a future day. It was not given, as commonly supposed, in Nehemiahís day.

 

The city of Jerusalem was "then large and great" (Neh. 7: 4). When he first came to Jerusalem in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, "he viewed the walls of Jerusalem, which were broken down, and the gates thereof consumed with fire" (Neh. 2: 13). He commenced at once to repair the gates and to build the wall. The wall was finished in fifty-two days (Neh. 6: 15). At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem Nehemiah gave thanks in the House of God (Neh. 12: 40).

 

This House of God had been built and dedicated (Ezra 6: 16) some seventy years previously, before Nehemiah came to Jerusalem.

 

At the command of Artaxerxes Ezra went up from Babylon to Jerusalem "to beautify the House of the Lord which is in Jerusalem" (Ezra 7: 27). This was only twelve years previous to Nehemiahís visit. Nehemiah built the wall and repaired the gates of Jerusalem to keep the House of God from destruction by enemies. Nothing is said about restoring or building Jerusalem itself. After the seventy yearsí captivity in Babylon the Jews obtained favour from the rulers of the world, "Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia" (Ezra 6: 14). During their reigns the temple was rebuilt and beautified, and in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes Nehemiah was sent to build the walls of Jerusalem and to repair its gates, not to build the city, for it was already "large and great" (Neh. 7: 4).

 

What, then, is the design of the seventy weeks? To point out the times of the False Christ. Daniel 9: 24-27 is an interpretation by Gabriel of the vision in chapter 8: 17-27. It refers to the times of the Antichrist, "who will stand up against the Prince of Princes, but he shall be broken without hand." This agrees with Paulís testimony of the Man of Sin. "And then shall the Wicked One be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the breath of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His Presence" (2 Thess. 2: 8).

 

Before the coming of Christ to Israel and Jerusalem the False Christ is to come (Matt. 24: 24). Israel will receive him as Messiah. So Christ foretold to the Jews. "I have come in My Fatherís name, and ye receive Me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive" (John 5: 43).

 

The coming of Christ to Jerusalem is for the destruction of the False Christ (compare Rev. 19: 19, 20 with Zech. 14: 1-4 and 2 Thess. 2: 3, 4-8). The False Christ comes first. The design of the interpretation of the vision is to point to the time of the coming of the False Christ, who denies that men are sinners, and denies the atoning work and righteousness of the True Christ, and hardens the Jews in their unbelief of the prophets of old, and especially of the prophecy on Mount Olivet of the True Christ as recorded in Matthew 24: 4-28; and thus he deceives them so that they receive him as their Messiah,

 

At the close of the sixty-nine weeks, i.e. of one year and seventeen weeks from the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem, the False Christ is cut off,

 

This is the meaning, then, of Daniel 9: 24.

 

1. To finish the Transgression (of Israel).

 

2. To make an end of sins (by setting up the Kingdom of God according to Isa. 40: 1-5 and Rev. 11: 15).

 

3. To make reconciliation for iniquity (of Israel).

 

4. And to bring in everlasting righteousness (to Israel), according to Isaiah 9: 21. "Thy people shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever."

 

5. And to seal up vision and prophecy; or rather, to finish or to accomplish vision and prophecy. So the Vulgate: "et impleatur visio et propheta."

 

6. And to anoint the Holy of Holies (in Israelís temple), which had been defiled by the session of the False Christ in it (2 Thess. 2: 4).

 

This verse (Dan. 9: 24), then, refers not to the first advent of Christ, but to His second advent, which takes place simultaneously with the destruction of the False Christ, the Wild Beast from the Bottomless Pit (Rev. 19: 11-21). The Parousia or Presence of the False Christ in the temple of God in Jerusalem is previous to the manifested Presence of the True Christ, who comes down to earth to destroy him. (2 Thess. 2: 8).

 

"Know therefore and understand (the point of departure and calculation), from the going forth of the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem unto an Anointed Prince (or Leader) shall be (1) seven weeks, (2) and sixty-two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall (of Jerusalem), even in troublous times. And after the sixty two weeks shall the Anointed be cut off, and no one for him: and the people (Romans) of the Prince (or Leader) 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. And he (the Anointed Leader) shall confirm a covenant with the many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease, and on the wing of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that which is determined shall be poured (the seven Bowls, Rev. 16.) upon the desolator" (Dan. 9: 25-27).

 

The desolator is the False Christ, the seventh head of Revelation 17: 10: "when he cometh, he must continue a short space." This is the head "which had been slain to death" (Rev. 13: 3). The Anointed Prince cut off, and no one for him; that is, no one avenged his death. But the wound of his death was healed by the entry of the eighth head, the Wild Beast of the bottomless pit, into the lifeless body of the seventh head (Rev. 17: 8, 11). This is Satanís resurrection of his False Christ. He is permitted to open the bottomless pit and to let out the spirit * of the False Christ (Rev. 9: 2, 11). It is an imitation of the resurrection of Christ, by means of which Satan deceives the nations; for at this time he has been cast out of heaven into earth, and is unable to rise to heaven again (Rev. 12: 13). He has power to raise "another wild beast" (Rev. 13: 11), the False Prophet who causes an image of the first Wild Beast to be made, viz., "the Wild Beast which bath the wound of the sword, and came to life" (Rev. 13: 14). This is the Wild Beast or False Christ who destroys the two witnesses of the True Christ (Rev. 11: 7): "The Wild Beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them and kill them."

 

He makes a covenant with the two witnesses for one week. Probably the Passover week at Jerusalem. In the midst of the week, which he has covenanted to observe in peace, he breaks the truce, and overcomes the two witnesses when they are engaged with the paschal sacrifices, and seizes them and causes them to be crucified at Jerusalem. At the end of the half-week, viz. after three and a half days, the Spirit of Life from God enters into them, and they stand on their feet, and they ascend up into heaven in the cloud (Rev. 11: 11, 12). So the False Christ makes the sacrifice and oblation to cease. But judgment comes from God, and a tenth of the city of Jerusalem falls, and seven thousand men of name are slain. This is the second woe on the Wild Beast and his followers. The third woe is the out-pouting of the seven howls of wrath, which are poured out on the desolator, the Wild Beast (Rev. 16.). Then follows the consummation; the destruction of the Wild Beast and his armies in Revelation 19: 11-20, by the manifestation of the True Christ with His armies from heaven. This is the destruction of "the Wicked One, whom the Lord Jesus shall consume with the Spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the manifestation of His Presence "(2 Thess. 2: 8).

 

Afterwards the temple, where the Man of Sin sat (giving himself out to be the only God), which had been defiled by him, is cleansed and anointed, and the True Christ takes his place, the Lord of heaven and earth and King of Israel, welcomed by the nation of Israel as their Deliverer.

 

Then will be fulfilled the word of Christ, spoken before His death: "ye shall not see Me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord" (Matt. 23: 39).

 

J. SLADEN.