At the time of Daniel, the number seven (and consequently seventy) meant something like “forever” or “an undisclosed number of times.” This vision of Daniel’s might have been saying that Israel’s transgression was looking like it might last forever. But – and this is a big but – it would most certainly not last forever. At the end of what seems like forever there will be “an end to sin” and “everlasting righteousness.” This is a classic word from the prophets of Israel – hellfire and brimstone followed by restoration and renewal.
Did you notice mention of Gabriel? You know, the Angel Gabriel who announced the coming of Jesus? What a wonderful peek into the anticipation of this season, that something – someone – better is on the way! Hurry up, little baby! The world is waiting!
While I was speaking, and was praying and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God on behalf of the holy mountain of my God— while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen before in a vision, came to me in swift flight at the time of the evening sacrifice. He came and said to me, “Daniel, I have now come out to give you wisdom and understanding. At the beginning of your supplications a word went out, and I have come to declare it, for you are greatly beloved. So consider the word and understand the vision: “Seventy weeks are decreed for your people and your holy city: to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place. Know therefore and understand: from the time that the word went out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the time of an anointed prince, there shall be seven weeks; and for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with streets and moat, but in a troubled time. After the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing, and the troops of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed. He shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall make sacrifice and offering cease; and in their place shall be an abomination that desolates, until the decreed end is poured out upon the desolator.”