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The seventy weeks were now being fulfilled. And then, at last, when Jesus had completed his work, when the fulness of time had come, he finished transgression, and made an end of sin: he then cried, “]t is tinished, and gave up the ghost.” The seventy weeks ended, our text was ful6lled; Christ had now become the end of the law for righteousness, to every one that believeth; he that knew no sin had become sin for us, and Death had struck his last blow that he would ever be able to give the Son of God. Daniel's vision is now made sure — the Messiah cut off, the time proved true, as given by the prophet Daniel.
Now, ye infidels, can this be priestcraft? And, ye Judaizing teachers, is not this the Christ? Why look ye for another?
I shall now take up the text in the following manner : I. I shall show what is to be done in seventy weeks.
II. When the seventy weeks began, and when they ended.
I. The text tells us, “ Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city;" that is, upon the Jews, who then were the people of Daniel, and also in Jerusalem, which then was called the wholy city.” The first question which would naturally arise on the mind, would be, What for to do? The text and its context must tell us.
1st. “To finish the transgression.” When was transgression finished ? I answer, At the death of Christ. See Heb. ix. 15, “And for this cause he is the Mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance." Isaiah liii. 8, “ For he was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgression of my people was he stricken."
2d. “And to make an end of sins.” This was also performed at his death. See Heb. ix. 26, “But now once in the end of the world hath he appeared, to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” And 1 John iii. 5, “ Ye know that he (Christ) was manifested to take away our sins."
3d. “And to make reconciliation for iniquity.” Was this also performed at his death? Yes. See Col. i. 20,“ And having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things to himself.” Heb. ii. 17,“ Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren; that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.”
4th. “And to bring in everlasting righteousness." “This must be by Christ's obedience,” says the objector,
and cannot be at his death.” Not so fast, dear sir; let us hear the testimony. Romans v. 21, “ That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord.” And, “By the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” Again, see Phil. ii. 8, “ And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and be. came obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Paul says, “ I do not frustrate the grace of God; for if righteousness came by the law, then Christ is dead in vain;” evidently showing, that by Christ's obedience unto death, he brought in everlasting righteousness.
5th. “ To seal up the vision and prophecy.” What does " to seal up” mean? I answer, It means to make sure, certain, unalterable. Consult Esther iii. 12, viii. 8. Solomon says, “ Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm;" that is, make me sure in thy love, and certain by thy power. John says, " He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true.” John jii. 33. Paul to Rome, xv. 28, 6 When I have performed this, and sealed to them this fruit;" that is, made sure the contributions. Again, to Timothy, 2 Epistle, ij. 19, “ Nevertheless, the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his." Therefore the death of Christ would make Daniel's vision sure; for if a part of the vision should be exactly fulfilled, as to time and manner, then the remainder of the vision would be accomplished in manner and time, as literally as the seventy weeks had been.
6th.' " And anoint the Most Holy.” The Most Holy, in this passage, must mean Christ; for no human being can, or ought to claim this appellation, save him whom God hath anointed to be a Savior in Israel, and a King in Zion. See Acts x. 38, “ How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power.” Also, Acts iv. 27, “ For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done." Heb. i. 9, “ Therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows."
It will next be requisite to inquire, When was Christ anointed ?
I answer, When the Holy Ghost descended upon him, and when he was endued with power from on high to work miracles. See Isa. Ixi. 1, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek: he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.”
After Christ was baptized by John, and after being tempted of the devil forty days in the wilderness, he went in the spirit into Galilee, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as his custom was, and he stood up to read. They gave him the book of Isaiah. When he opened the book he found the passage which I have just quoted. After reading it he shut up the book and sat down. He then began to say unto them, “ This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears,” Luke iv. 1—21. This passage plainly proves that Christ was anointed on or before this day.
Other things were to be done in the seventy weeks, such as, The cutting off of the Messiah, but not for himself. This can mean nothing less than the crucifixion of Christ. See Luke xxiv. 26, 46, “ Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?" “ Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day." Rom. y. 6, For when we were without strength, in due time (or according to the time of seventy weeks) Christ died for us.”
“ And he (Messiah) shall confirm the covenant with many for one wcek.” What covenant is this to be confirmed? I answer, It cannot be the Jewish covenant, for that was confirmed by Moses many hundred years before Daniel lived. There being but two covenants, it must of necessity be the new covenant of which Christ is the Mediator; Moses having been the mediator of the old, and Christ afterwards of the new. If these things are so, and the gospel covenant is meant by Daniel, then the time the gospel was preached by John and Christ is here called a week; for Christ himself preached more than seven days. Christ kept three passovers with the Jews after he began his ministry, and oefore he nailed the ceremonial law to his cross. This is strong evidence that a week is seven years, and that Daniel's 70 weeks are to be understood as meaning
Again, “In the midst of the week he should cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease," or, as all Hebrew
“In the last half of the week,” &c., is the more proper translation; and it is evident that this translation would harmonize with the other parts of the passage, “ the sacrifice and oblation to cease."
What sacrifice and offering is this, which the Messiah was to cause to cease? I answer, It must of course be that one offering and sacrifice for sin of which all other offerings and sacrifices were but types. It could not be the Jewish sacrifices and offerings, for two good of all the legal sacrifices from the days of Abel to the days of the Messiah. Let us hear what Paul says, Heb. vii. 27, “ Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's; for this he did once when he offered up himself.
1st. This is but one sacrifice, and the Jews had many. It does not say sacrifices; therefore it cannot mean Jewish sacrifices, nor offerings.
2d reason. The Jewish sacrifices and offerings did not cease in, nor even very nigh, the last half of the week in which the Messiah confirmed the covenant with many; and, even to the present day, they make oblations, if not sacrifices. It must mean that sacrifice and oblation which the Messiah was to make to God for sin, once for all. It must mean that sacrifice which is the antetype
See also Heb. x. 11, 12. “And every priest standeth daily ministering, and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins, forever sat down on the right hand of God.” Many more passages might be brought to show that all sacrifices and oblations which could take away sin, or in which God the Father could be well pleased, ceased in Christ's one sacrifice and oblation. But I have given enough to satisfy every candid, unprejudiced mind; therefore I shall,
II. Try to prove when the seventy weeks began, and when they ended.
The angel Gabriel tells Daniel, ix. 25, “ Know, therefore, and understand, that, from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem, unto the Messiah, the Prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.”
In this passage we have a plain declaration when the seventy weeks began: “ froin the going forth of the commandment." But what commandment ? we may inquire. I answer, A command that will finally restore the Jews froin their captivity under which they then were held in bondage; also to prepare the way for them to rebuild their city, repeople the same, and raise up the decayed walls, settle the streets, and cleanse the city of Jerusalem; and these things would be done in troublons times. So much is expressed or implied in the declaration of Gabriel, which I have just quoted.
Who would give the command ? is the next question. I answer, It must be a king who had power over the Jews to release and restore them. It must of necessity be a king over the Medes and Persians, or it would not be in agreement with the vision in the 8th chapter of Daniel; for he is expressly told by Gabriel that the ram