Troublesome Topic: Summary of the Seventy Sevens of Daniel’s Vision

Daniel 9:26


After the 62 sets of seven,

the Messiah will be

cut off, and no [benefit] to him,

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and the people of a prince that is to come

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will destroy the city and the sanctuary,

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and the end shall come with a flood, (also, to the end of the war,

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desolations are decreed).

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After the almost full set of relevant activities has passed, the Messiah will be killed, and will appear to accomplish nothing,

then the followers

of another leader that is to come will destroy the city of Jerusalem and the temple, (and devastation has been decreed until the end of that war), but the end itself shall come with the force and unexpected suddenness of a flood.

Daniel 9:27


He will ratify a covenant

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with many for one set of seven, and in the middle of the seven

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he will cause sacrifice and offering to cease

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and above the extremity of abominations, the one who causes desolation [will come]

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until the complete destruction that has been determined is poured out on the one who desolates.


He will ratify a covenant with many that will bring about a complete set of relevant activity, and at the heart of that activity he will eliminated sacrifices and other offerings to the true God at the temple, and in an act which is nothing short of the pinnacle of abominations, the one who causes desolation will reveal himself to be what he truly is, until the complete destruction that has been decreed for him is poured out to desolate him because he is a desolator.

How was this vision an encouragement to Daniel?

The hardships mentioned in this vision are simply examples of struggles; they are not the only struggles that will come. The part about AD 70 and the part about Antiochus seem to be in reverse order – but don’t worry about it because time and timing are not a high priority in this vision. The switching of the order does not take away from symbolism or the prophecy. The true followers of God will always suffer opposition and sometimes persecution and death. But God is still at work and His plan for offering salvation to the human race is not altered by any human influences.

Daniel had become focused on the challenging situation he could see around him. We, likewise, tend to focus most of our attention or our problems. We should be encouraged in our hardships because, while we can only see our situation, God sees the big picture and wants to remind us that His plan will indeed be carried out. His plan will take time because wants to give each one ample opportunity to repent; even the evil rulers who are oppressing God’s people are given time to repent. The actions of men will not derail God’s plan, even the rebellious attitudes of Daniel’s countrymen that had caused him to be concerned.

Therefore, this was an encouragement to Daniel and is to us as well because it shows that God is still acting; His plan will be fulfilled, it cannot be derailed. Hardships are simply confirmations that God is at work because the more God works the more Satan resists.

There is one “seven” that is not described.

We know one more “seven” exists because it is part of 70, and because the others are 7 + 62 and add up to 69, not seventy. However nothing is described about that last “seven.”

Does the last “seven,” represent the “end times?”

The one remaining “seven” includes any activity which is lacking in order for the Messiah to fully establish His kingdom, to rule unhindered. The emphasis is on the activity of God and the retaliation by the enemy.

First of all this would include the activity of the Holy Spirit and the Church after Pentecost. We call this the age of the church. This era will include persecution and hardship like the other eras have, but it will also demonstrate that God is still fulfilling his plan.

Secondly, it will include continuing activity of God beyond our time and into the future. Some of the future will include more of the church age, but we don’t know how much more. Yes, the final acts of God’s intervention in human history will complete the process of establishing the reign of Jesus as uncontested king. Satan will be removed from among us; each one will enter his eternal reward (or eternal punishment), and then “the last enemy to be rendered powerless is death” (I Cor 15:26) because sin is the primary consequence of sin. We really don’t know very much more than that. What will happen after the age of the church is mostly a matter of guesses, and suppositions. There are only a few things we can be sure of.


1. This vision is focused on the activity of God in human history.

2. When God acts, Satan pushes back.

3. This vision does not help us nail down anything about the future. This vision does not help us know anything about the timing of anything. The remaining “seven” was left undefined for a reason; we should leave it that way.

4. If we look for the hand of God, we will begin to see more of what God is doing and He will give us more of a role to play in His great plan.

The next lesson is: This Was a Powerful Oath and a Tremendous Encouragement



The Hebrew says, “but not,” or “and nothing.” Translators have struggled to interpret this; some choose to say “and will have nothing,” others prefer “and will appear to accomplish nothing,” others “and will be no more,” while others choose “but not for himself.” I prefer the idea of “and will appear to have accomplished nothing” because it seems to fit better with the rest of what is being communicated. But we cannot say conclusively because some assumptions must be made.


“A prince that is to come” refers to a different prince, an evil ruler.


“Sanctuary” means the temple. Since it is clear that this refers to events after the death of the Messiah, and since the description of the destruction of the temple is clear, it must refer to AD 70 when the Romans, under Titus, destroyed Jerusalem and the temple.


The war being referred to here is likely the resistance of the Jews to the Romans.


This last clause is either a parenthetical clause or it should go earlier in the sentence, as demonstrated in the paraphrase column. Throughout that war things will be very difficult but then things will escalate to an abrupt termination.

6: "He will ratify a covenant"

The way this was fulfilled seems to have been that some of the ruling class of Israel went along with Antiochus and he made a covenant with them. We can assume that as part of that covenant they pledged him their loyalty and he promised to treat them well. Then he changed his mind and did whatever he wanted. Josephus says it this way: “pretending peace, he (Antiochus) got possession of the city by treachery… he ventured to break the league (covenant) he had made” (The Antiquities of the Jews, chapter 5, #4, year 168).


What is meant by “in the middle of the seven?” It can be the center in time, or more likely, the central point of the spiritually relevant activity that was going on. My paraphrase column expresses it as “at the heart of” which I believe to be the intent. Antiochus was opposing the worship of the God of the Jews. No act expresses that opposition better than the removal of the temple’s original altars, the building of a new altar dedicated to Zeus on which pigs were sacrificed every day.

8: “he will cause sacrifices and offerings to cease”

From Josephus’s history called, Antiquities of the Jews, we learn the following: “So he (Antiochus) left the temple bare; and took away the golden candlesticks, and the golden altar [of incense,] and table [of shew bread,] and the altar [of burnt-offering:] and did not abstain from even the veils… He forbad them to offer those daily sacrifices which they used to offer to God, according to the law. And when the King had built an idol altar upon God’s altar, he slew swine upon it, and so offered a sacrifice neither according to the law, nor the Jewish religious worship in that country. He also compelled them to forsake the worship which they paid their own God, and to adore those whom he took to be Gods; and made them build temples, and raise idol altars in every city and village; and offer swine upon them every day” (Antiquities, chapter 5, #4, year 168). So we see that Antiochus did indeed stop the sacrifices for a time; he even removed both altars from the temple and built his own altar in its place on which a pig was sacrificed each day.


Something needs to be added here because no verb is provided; “will come” is a logical choice. It is a broad term with many possible meanings. “To come out” is the idea here, expressed in the paraphrase column as “will reveal himself.”