How Daniel 9:24–27 Helps Us Understand Mark 13:14–23

2016.01.16 - angel_danielI realize that not everyone shares my conviction of a premillennial and pretribulational understanding of what will take place in the future. I do, as does my church, and we have been working through the Olivet Discourse in Mark 13. For any curious readers, I would encourage being a Berean and looking up the verses referenced as you read through what follows below.

In Daniel’s day, Israel was being punished for 70 years by having been taken captive into Babylon (Dan 9:1–2; cf. Jer 25:11–12). This 70 years was a fitting punishment because Israel had apparently not allowed the land to rest for what would have totaled up to 70 years―a year of rest from farming every seventh year for 490 years (see 2 Chron 36:20–21 with Lev 25:1–7 and Jer 25:8–14).

In Daniel 9:3–19, Daniel repented on Israel’s behalf for the nation’s sins. In response to his prayer, God graciously sent Gabriel to give a message to Daniel about the future (Dan 9:20–23). Just as God was punishing Israel for how she had sinned for 490 years, Daniel was told of how God would deal with Israel for 490 years in the future (Dan 9:24–27). While some translations speak of “seventy weeks” in Dan 9:24 (e.g., ESV), others give the literal rendering, “seventy sevens” (e.g., NIV). The context of Daniel 9 implies that God has 490 years in view.

In Daniel 9:24–27, Gabriel announces that 490 years have been decreed to carry out six purposes that bring a definitive end to this age (Dan 9:24). He then breaks this 490 years into three sections and mentions some events that take place during their time. A “word” would come “to restore and build Jerusalem,” after which 49 years (seven “sevens”) would take place (Dan 9:25; cf. Neh 2:1–8). Then another 434 years (sixty-two “sevens”) would take place during which Israel would continue to rebuild Jerusalem (Dan 9:25). At the end of these 483 total years, there would be “the coming of the anointed one” (Dan 9:25), Jesus Christ, who would be “cut off” by His death on the cross (Dan 9:26).

Just as in Isa 9:6–7 and 61:1–2, there would be a gap in time between the events given in Daniel’s prophecy. 483 years of Daniel’s prophecy have gone by, but the final seven are yet to come, though all of these events are listed together in Daniel 9:24–27. What is yet to come is the final seven years in which the Antichrist shall come and destroy Jerusalem and its temple (Dan 9:26). Though the Antichrist actually makes a peaceful covenant with Israel at the outset of these seven years, he will break this covenant halfway through this time and terrorize Israel until these seven years end (Dan 9:27).

Dan 9:27 is the background to the parallel passages Mark 13:14 and Matt 24:15 and their prophecy of the coming “abomination of desolation.” Along with passages that prophesy the same events (2 Thess 2:3–4; Rev 13:14–15), it appears that the Antichrist will claim to be God, make a statue of himself, set it up in the temple in Jerusalem, and demand his followers to worship it. Mark 13:14–23 tells us what happens at this time.

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