“Seventy weeks are determined for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophesy, and to anoint the Most Holy” (Daniel 9:24).
Six things are to be accomplished during this period of seventy weeks (or literally seventy sevens):
1. To finish the transgression:
(a) Some believe that this refers to the forgiveness of sins. This is possible. It does speak in context of “reconciliation for iniquity” (Daniel 9:24). The phrases – “to finish transgression” (Daniel 9:24), “to make an end of sins” (Daniel 9:24), and “to make reconciliation for iniquity” – may be synonymous phrases, repeating the same point in slightly different words. Also in context, the death of the Messiah is mentioned, “Messiah shall be cut off but not for himself” (Daniel 9:26). This sounds like Isaiah 53, “he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows… he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities… he bore the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:4, 5, 12). The writer of Hebrews said of Jesus, “he has put away sin by the sacrifice of himself… he… offered one sacrifice for sins forever” (Hebrews 9:26; 10:12).
(b) Others have set forth another possibility. God told Abraham that it would be four generations before the promised land would be given to them because “the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete (full KJV)” (Genesis 15:16). This same language is later used of Israel losing the land. They “filled up their sins” (1 Thessalonians 2:15-17, cf. Matthew 23:31-33). The context of Daniel’s seventy weeks concerns Jerusalem’s destruction (Daniel 9:26).
2. To make an end of sin:
The context does mention the forgiveness of sins. It speaks of “reconciliation for iniquity” (Daniel 9:24), and a Messiah “cut off, but not for himself” (Daniel 9:26). John said of Jesus, “Behold! The lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Jesus appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself (Hebrews 9:26 cf. 10:12).
3. To make reconciliation for iniquity:
Jesus did this. Romans 5:10 says, “We were reconciled to God through the death of His Son.” Romans 5:11, “We also rejoice in God through whom we now receive reconciliation” 2 Corinthians 5:18 says, “God… has reconciled us to Himself, through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.”
Three words have been used: (1) Transgression – “willful deviation from, and therefore rebellion against, the path of godly living” (Vine’s). (2) Sin – “missing the road or mark” (Vine’s). (3) Iniquity – “an offense, intentional or not, against God’s law” (Vine’s).
4. To bring everlasting righteousness:
Jesus came so that man could have a right standing, before God. Paul said, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ… for in it the righteousness of God is revealed” (Romans 1:16-17 cf. 10:3). “Now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets [including Isaiah 53; Daniel 9, etc.], even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ” (Romans 3:21-22) Christ is connected with “righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30). Christ died “that we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
5. To seal up the vision and the prophesy:
(a) The term “seal” sometimes carries the idea of a “stamp of approval”. See Esther 8:8.
This may refer to Messianic prophesy being fulfilled. God placing His stamp of approval on the prophesy. Jesus said, “all things must be fulfilled which are written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me” (Luke 24:44). David Vaugh Elliot commented, “Old Testament vision and prophesy were sealed in the sense of receiving the best possible stamp of approval: fulfillment” (Nobody Left Behind, p. 82).
(b) Another possibility is that “seal” is being used of completion. David Vaugh Elliot has written, “Jewish visions and prophesy were sealed up by coming to an end: All the prophets and the law prophesied until John (Matthew 11:13)” (ibid).
6. To anoint the Most Holy:
(a) Prophets (1 Kings 19:16), priests (Exodus 28:41), and Kings (1 Samuel 10:1, 16:3-4) were anointed under the Old Covenant. Such served as “a rite of inauguration and consecration to the offices” (Wayne Jackson, Daniel’s Seventy Weeks, p. 5). The context of Daniel 9 speaks of a “Messiah” (Daniel 9:25, 26). The term means “Anointed One”.
Jesus was anointed (Luke 4:18-19; Acts 10:38). He is prophet (Acts 3:20-ff), priest (Hebrews 3:1), and King (Matthew 21:5; Mark 15:2; 1 Corinthians 15:24-26).
(b) “It may be observed that some see the expression ‘to anoint the Most Holy” as a figurative reference to the establishment of the Lord’s church. Such a view is possible and does no injustice to the context, either immediate or remote” (Jackson, p. 5). “Others believers think the anointing of the Most Holy refers to the Holy Spirit filling the New Testament temple, that is, the church” (Elliot, p. 84). The reason for this view is that the literal language is not “Most Holy” but ‘Holy of Holies.” David Vaugh Elliot write, “This occurs about forty-five times in the Old Testament, albeit with grammatical variations. A study of these forty-five times reveals that the expression is always used to describe the tabernacle (temple) or things directly connected to it” (Elliot, p. 83-84).
(c) Another view is that this refers to Christ’s entrance into the true Holy of Holies, that is heaven itself (Hebrews 9:22-26). He anointed heaven with His blood.
One thing seems certain, this prophesy has to do with Christ. Watch the similar language between Isaiah 53 and Daniel 9:
Daniel 9 Isaiah 53
(1) Transgression (9:24) Transgression (53:5, 8, 12)
(2) Sins (9:24) Sin (53:10, 12)
(3) Iniquity (9:24) Iniquity (53:5, 6, 11)
(4) Messiah cut off (9:26) Cut off (53:8)