The Sevenfold Seal of the Vision and the Prophecy
Seventy weeks (70 x 7) 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.
Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build
Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks:
the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two
weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: 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.
This prophecy displays the full convergence of the biblical
meaning of the Number Seven with the ideas of
completion (finish the transgression, make an end of sins),
sanctification (anoint the most Holy), and
the sealing of the Divine revelation (the vision and the prophecy of the Holy Bible).
It is the crown jewel of all prophecies concerning the coming of Christ, the redemption He sealed with His blood
when He was "cut off" for our sins on the Cross, and the completion of the inspired documents that became
the books of the Holy Bible. It also integrates the symbolic meaning of the Number Seven with the
actual flow of history recorded in both biblical and secular sources. It stands at the
apex of a series of judgments and prophecies God gave through the prophets
Moses, Ezra, Nehemiah, Jeremiah, Haggai, Zechariah, and others that are all based
on the Number Seven and its multiples.
The fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy in Christ is declared throughout the New Testament.
It is the heart and soul of the Gospel which proclaims God's reconciliation for iniquity accomplished
through the death of His Messiah (Col 1:18-21):
For it pleased the Father that in him [Jesus] should all fullness dwell; 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:
Time and Eternity met in the Cross of Christ. Daniel's prophecy touches both the "last days" of Christ and
the "last days" at the end of time. It connects the final judgment destined for the last day with Jesus,
"the Lamb slain before the foundation of the worl" (Rev 13:8). At the Cross, He took upon Himself the
Divine Judgment waiting to be revealed to every man in the Last Day, thereby freeing now all who
believe in Him from the death-grip of sin and giving them entrance now into His everlasting Life.
This brought the end into the middle of Time,
the Cross at the center of the Circle. He is the Everlasting Way, "the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Heb 13:8).
His death ended the old order of things, and brought in new life and holiness for all believers.
Thus the Bible marks the time of His death as "the end of the world" and relates it
directly to the judgment that follows every man's death (Heb 9:26-28):
but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by
the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment,
so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many.
Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth (Rom 10:4). By His death
He put an end to sin, and He is the everlasting righteousness prophesied by Daniel above.
It is of utmost significance that the word translated as "cut off" is
karat - - which is the word that
God used every time He made a covenant, as in Ezekiel 37:26:
Moreover I will make (karat) a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an
everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will
set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.
Christ's death on the Cross sealed the "vision and the prophecy" in three ways.
First, it literally sealed the New Covenant with his blood. Second, it fulfilled all that
was prophesied of him, as he himself declared (Luke 24:44-45):
And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I
was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the
law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their
understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them,
Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead
the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his
name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
Third, the Holy Word itself was completed shortly after His death, never to be changed,
as it is written in the last verses of the last book of the Bible (Rev 22:18-19):
For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy
of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the
plagues that are written in this book. And if any man shall take away from
the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of
the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
All these are the fulfillments of Daniel's prophecy in the
atonement wrought by Christ on the Cross. It is a magnificent prophecy of the core Gospel Message,
given six centuries before Jesus was born. But it also has a time element that predicted when
this fulfillment would occur, based entirely on God's application of the Number Seven throughout Scripture.
The Time of the Fulfillment
But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has
come near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside
the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it; for these are days of vengeance,
to fulfill all that is written. Alas for those who are with child and for those who
give suck in those days! For great distress shall be upon the earth and wrath upon this
people; they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led captive among all nations; and Jerusalem
will be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. Ė The Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 21:20-24)
Danielís prophecy frames the time for its fulfillment with the statement
"seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city." This literally reads "seventy sevens" because the
Hebrew word for "week" is just the word for "seven." Essentially all commentators, both Jewish and Christian,
have understood this as seven "weeks of years" following the pattern of
a day for a year
that God used when He established the sabbatical year, which also plays an essential role in the historical
unfolding of this prophecy. Some modern translations interpret it this way for the reader,
such as the RSV which has "Seventy weeks of years are determined." Others, such as the NIV, avoid interpreting
it at all and translate it as "seventy sevens are decreed."
The pattern of this prophecy spans the entire Biblical revelation. It is founded on
the Days of Creation, the Fourth Commandment, and the law of the Sabbatical Year, which is just an
amplification of the seventh day Sabbath on a higher scale. God linked this pattern to His judgments
in Leviticus when He gave the Prophet Moses a series of warnings of the calamity that would befall the
Jews if they continued to rebel against His rule. Each warning was magnified seven times, culminating
in the complete destruction of Jerusalem. Though many violations of Godís laws were listed along
with the warnings, the primary crime cited was the failure to obey the sabbatical year (Lev 26:28-35):
And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me;
Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise
you seven times for your sins. ... And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will
draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.
Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your
enemies' land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths. As
long as it lieth desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it.
The fulfillment of this prophecy, called the Babylonian Exile, is an undisputed fact of history.
It began in 606 BC when God allowed Nebuchadnezzar to capture Jerusalem and deport many of the Jews,
including the Prophet Daniel, to Babylon (Dan 1:2). It reached its zenith in 586 BC with the
utter destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple and the exile of most of the remaining Jews.
In Lamentations, the "weeping prophet" Jeremiah recorded the detailed fulfillment of each and
every warning given in Leviticus. But God also gave Jeremiah the comfort of proclaiming His
promise that they would return after seventy years in Babylon (Jer 29:10-13):
For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years (10 x 7) be accomplished at
Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return
to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD,
thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me,
and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. Then you will call upon
me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me;
when you seek me with all your heart.
The fulfillment of this prophecy began in 538 BC when God raised up Cyrus, king of Persia,
and directed him to rebuild the Temple that had been destroyed (Ezra 1:1-2):
Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD
by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king
of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in
writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given
me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him a
house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.
As shown in the table the Old Testament symmetry
(Bible Wheel book, pg. 10),
these events divide the twelve books of OT History and the twelve books of the Minor Prophets
in exactly the same way, with the first nine being pre-exilic (before the Babylonian Exile)
and last three post-exilic (after return from the Babylonian Exile).
These divisions exhibit perfect radial symmetry on the Wheel with the nine/three
division falling between Spokes 14 and 15 on both Cycles 1 and 2, as discussed in the
section Symmetries of the Bible Wheel (Bible wheel book pg. 33).
We now are able to see the true wonder of the revelation given to Daniel by
the Lord of All History. In the year 538 BC Daniel discerned from the book of Jeremiah that
the seventy years of captivity in Babylon was about to end (Dan 9:2).
He was praying, confessing his sins and the sins of his people, and asking God for mercy when
the Angel Gabriel came and revealed God's master plan of the ages that culminated in the central
event of all history, the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ. The prophecy foretold that
Christ would appear 69 weeks, signifying 69 x 7 = 483 years, "from the going forth of the
command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem." The question then is to determine this date.
Most commentators believe it refers to one of two decrees given by Artaxerxes in either 457 BC
(Ezra 7:11-26) or 444 BC (Neh 2:1-8). The first date gives 457 BC + 483 years = 26 AD, which fits
very well with the beginning of Christ's earthly ministry that ended three and one
half years later with His death in 30 AD. Others, such as Anderson, use the 444 BC date coupled
with a "prophetic year" of 360 days to arrive at the exact day of Christís "triumphal entry" into
Jerusalem in 33 AD. While these calculations impressively demonstrate that the advent of Christ
occurred within the range of the prophecy, uncertainties in the starting date (457-444 BC)
and ending date (30-33 AD) and other issues cloud the clear proof of its Divine fulfillment.
This question has generated a huge volume of literature spanning the entire history of
the Church which, while fascinating, lies outside the scope of this article.
Thankfully, God designed Daniel's prophecy so that its fulfillment could not be hidden by the
"fuzziness" of human history, because the beginning and end points are determined beyond all dispute.
This means that even with the remaining historical uncertainties, the Book of Daniel predicted a
prophetic window of roughly 124 years (55 BC to 70 AD) in which all the events had to happen:
Menorah being carried by Jewish captives
carved in the Arch of Titus
One of the primary characteristics of the Bible is that the main things are the
plain things. God did not give us His Word simply to knot our brows. The fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy
is written in stone, specifically the stone "Arch of Titus" that was carved as a memorial of his
victory over the Jews in 70 AD. This fulfilled his prophecy that
the death of Christ would be followed by the complete destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple,
and that both of these events would happen sometime after the 483 years had elapsed since the command to rebuild:
And after threescore and two (69) weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself:
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.
The image carve in the Arch of Titus is extremely compelling. It represent more than just the fall of Jerusalem.
In it, we see the symbol of the sevenfold light of God's Word
being transferred from the Jews to the Gentiles, as Christ Himself predicted (Matt 21:43):
Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you,
and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
Thus the Light of the World was transfered from the Jews to all the nations of the world.
The salvation of Messiah came first to the Jews, and then to the Gentiles.
It is particularly striking that these events are marked by the Number 70,
since that is the number God used in the prophecy He
gave to Daniel, and it is the Number the Jews see as symbolic of the Gentile nations! They determined this from the
70 decendents of Noah's three sons
listed in Genesis 10. And so it is a most amazing witness to the Jews, that God did indeed fulfill all the words that He spoke to
them through the prophets. In closing, I will list a few of the most significant fulfillments of Daniel's prophecy in Christ for
- Prophecy in Daniel: to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins,
- Fulfillment in Christ: Hebrews 9:25-26 Nor yet that he should offer himself often,
as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;
26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once
in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
- Prophecy in Daniel: and to make reconciliation for iniquity,
- Fulfillment in Christ: 2 Corinthians 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
- Prophecy in Daniel: and to bring in everlasting righteousness,
- Fulfillment in Christ: Romans 3:21-22 21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
- Prophecy in Daniel: and to seal up the vision and prophecy,
- Fulfillment in Christ: Revelation 22:18-20 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the
prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues
that are written in this book: 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of
this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city,
and from the things which are written in this book. 20 He which testifieth these things saith,
Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
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