The Prophecy - Daniel 9:24-27 - Daniel's 70 Weeks
Old Testament Prophecy
24) Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place.
25) So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.
26) Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.
27) And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.
Vision and prophecy is to be sealed up. To one degree or another, one of the goals of the 70 week period is to seal up the vision and prophecies given to man by God. Because we have not reached the end of the 70th week yet, this prophecy remains partially, but not fully fulfilled.
This part of Daniel's prophecy seems to have several levels of fulfillment. Short term, long term, and everlasting term.
In chapter 8 Daniel is told "The vision of the evenings and mornings that has been given you is true, but seal up the vision, for it concerns the distant future." (Daniel 8:26).
In chapter 9 Daniel is told that to seal up vision is one of the six expected accomplishments to occur as a result of the 490 year prophecy. "Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy (Daniel 9:24).
In chapter 12 Daniel is told that the prophecy needs to be sealed up. But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge" (Daniel 12:4).
While this part of the prophecy was fulfilled in principle at Christ's first coming, it will be fulfilled in full at His return.(1)
When the Messianic age begins, God will, by accomplishing all that was promised through visions and prophecies, stamp His seal on what His servants had spoke.(2)
Some scholars believe that the end of this 49 Year Period (the first seven weeks) also brought with it the end of Old Testament vision and prophecy. The prophetic book of Malachi was written in this general time frame and ushered in around 400 years of prophetic silence. This period between prophecy from the Old Testament and the New Testament is often referred to as the Inter-testament Period.
To fulfill the promised prophecy.(3)
Sealing up vision and prophecy is sometimes interpreted as the end of revelation. On the short term fulfillment there was no more Old Testament prophets after the Messiah was cut off or crucified. Revelation that has come since that event has come through believers in Christ (writers of the New Testament). Long term fulfillment sees revelation coming through the King of King's as He rules during the Millennial Kingdom.
Now that Messiah has been "cut off" and the New Testament written there is no need for any more revelation. We have everything we need to guide us until the return of the Messiah.
Spiritual vision, prophecy and revelation did not end at the cross. One of the greatest revelations contained in the Bible (the Book of Revelation) was written several years (around 50) after the death of Christ based on a revelation given to John.
Vision and prophecy will be sealed up (Their functions will be at an end, for all will have been fulfilled).(4)
English versions follow the meaning “seal,” which may be understood in the sense of “ratify.”(5)
Both vision and prophet: while the second of these nouns is literally prophet, the context seems to require that it be taken to mean “prophecy”—the prophet’s message—and it should be so translated.(5)
God will seal up vision and prophecy. All that God through the prophets said He would do in fulfilling His covenant with Israel will be fully realized in the millennial kingdom. Until they are fulfilled, prophecies are “unsealed.”(6)
The future restoration of Israel and the ushering in of the Millennial Kingdom may also seal up vision and prophecy.(7)
The visions and prophecies about the future will be hard to understand and seem a little bit like a mystery to Daniel's people.
Some Jewish commentaries teach that Daniel (or scribes who wrote or copied the book of Daniel) was told to intentionally leave out some of the words from this prophecy to make understanding it hard as a type of seal to keep people out until the prophecy was to be fulfilled. This would also be meant to discourage the study of the end times or Messiah's second coming. Since Israel must go through the time of Jacob's trouble it is believed that an understanding of Israel's future would cause people to loose faith.
Here are some links that have been created to help move around inside of the Daniel 9:24-27 prophecy.
Other links of interest include:
1). John MacArthur Study Bible p.1218
2). RBC Ministries - Discovery Series The Daniel Papers - Daniel's Prophecy of 70 Weeks.
3). Artscroll Tanach Series - Daniel p.1261
4). The Coming Prince by Sir Robert Anderson.
5). Pter-Contesse, Ellington, John: A Handbook on the Book of Daniel. New York: United Bible Societies, 1993 (UBS Handbook Series; Helps for Translators), S. 253
6). Walvoord, John F.; Zuck Roy B.; Dallas Theological Seminary: The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983-c1985, S.1:1362
7). Randall Price writing for Israel My Glory a Friends of Israel publication: Feb/March 2000 p.21