By Kenneth L. Gentry Jr
Despite its popularity, Daniel 9:24–27 is little understood by most
populist prophetic “experts.” And because of those “experts” misleading
their enthusiastic followers, too many within the evangelical church
today totally misunderstand what the Seventy Weeks prophecy is all
In our last study, I noted that dispensationalist writers see Daniel
9:24 as pointing to issues regarding Israel at sometime in our future.
Whereas most other evangelicals recognize that it is highlighting
first-century events surrounding Christ’s earthly work. But now I must
show why that is the case.
Be aware that the six infinitival phrases in verse 24 are actually
three couplets. Each couplet has parallel parts the mutually reinforce
each other. Now let’s consider those three couplets.
The First Couplet
The Seventy Weeks will witness the finishing of the transgression.
As noted in the verses preceding the prophecy, Daniel’s prayer of
confession regards Israel’s sins (Da 9:4ff) and the prophecy’s focus is
on Israel (Da 9:24a). Consequently, this finishing the transgression
has to do with Israel’s finishing, or completing, her transgression
against God. Israel finishes her transgression during Christ’s earthly
ministry, when she rejects him and demands his crucifixion (Mt 21:37–38;
cf. 21:33–45; Ac 7:51–52).  Barnabas (ca. late first
century) states: “The Son of God therefore came in the flesh with this
view, that He might bring to a head the sum of their sins who had
persecuted His prophets to the death.” 
The first couplet’s second part directly relates to the first: After
finishing the transgression against God in rejecting the Messiah, now
Israel’s sins are sealed up (NASB marg.; chatham). The
idea here is, as Payne observes, to seal or to “reserve sins for
punishment.”  Because of Israel’s rejecting her Messiah, God reserves
punishment for her: the temple’s final, conclusive destruction, which
God reserves from the time of Jesus’ ministry until AD 70 (Mt 24:2, 34).
The sealing or reserving of the sins indicates that within the “Seventy Weeks” Israel will complete her transgression, and with the completing of her sin by crucifying Christ, God will act to reserve (beyond the seventy weeks) her sins for judgment.
The Second Couplet
The third result (beginning the second couplet) involves “reconciliation for iniquity.”  The Hebrew word kaphar
is the word for “atonement,” i.e., a covering of sin. It refers to
Christ’s atoning death, which is the ultimate atonement to which all
temple rituals look (Heb 9:26 ). This also occurs during his earthly
ministry — at his death. The dispensationalist prefers to interpret this
result as application rather than effecting. He sees
it as subjective appropriation instead of objective accomplishment: “The
actual application of it is again associated with the second advent as
far as Israel is concerned.”  “This final atonement, while based on
the past work of the Messiah, will be effected for the national remnant
of Israel only in the future.”  But on the basis of the Hebrew verb,
the passage clearly speaks of the actual making reconciliation (or atonement).
Because of this atonement to cover sin, the fourth result effects everlasting righteousness,
i.e., the final, complete atonement establishes righteousness. This
speaks of the objective accomplishment of righteousness, not its
subjective appropriation. Christ effects this within the seventy week
period, as well (Ro 3:21–22a).
The Third Couplet
The fifth result (the first portion of the third couplet) has to do
with Christ’s ministry on earth, which begins at his baptism: he comes “to seal up vision and prophecy.” This means that Christ fulfills (and thereby confirms) the prophecy (Lk 18:31; cf. Lk 24:44; Ac 3:18). 
Finally, the seventy years are for the following goal: “to anoint the Most Holy.” This anointing [mashach]
speaks of the Christ’s baptismal anointing. I would argue this for the
following reasons: (1) The overriding concern of Daniel 9:24–27 is
Messianic. The temple they build after the Babylonian Captivity will be
destroyed after the seventy weeks (v 27), with no further mention made
of it. (2) In the following verses the Messiah (mashiyach,
“Christ,” “Anointed One”) is specifically named twice (vv 25, 26). (3)
The “most holy” phraseology speaks of the Messiah, who is “that Holy One
who is to be born.”  Isaiah prophesies that Christ will fulfill the
ultimate redemptive Jubilee (Isa 61:1–2a; cf. Lk 4:17–21). At his
baptismal anointing the Spirit comes upon him (Mk 1:9–11). This
introduces his ministry, of which we read three verses later: “Jesus
came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying,
‘The time is fulfilled [the sixty-ninth week? ,
and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel”
(Mk 1:14–15). Christ is pre-eminently the Anointed One.
1. Mt 20:18–19; 23:37–38; 27:11–25; Mk 10:33; 15:1; Lk 18:32; 23:1–2;
Jn 18:28–31; 19:12, 15; Ac 2:22–23; 3:13–15a; 4:26–27; 5:30.
2. Barnabas 5.
3. J. B. Payne, “Goal of Daniel’s Seventy Weeks,” 111.
4. The definite article, which occurs before “transgression” and “sins,”
is lacking here. There it referred to the particular situation of
Israel; here it considers the more general predicament of mankind.
5. Heb 1:3; 7:27; 9:7–12, 26, 28; 10:9–10. See also: Jn 1:29; Ro 3:25; 2 Co 5:19; 1Pe 2:24; 1 Jn 2:2.
6. John F. Walvoord, Daniel, 222. Cf. Paul Benware, Understanding End Times Prophecy, 169.
7. Price in Wesley Willis, Issues in Dispensationalism, 149.
8. Walvoord seems to slip by allowing this prophecy to cover “the
cessation of the New Testament prophetic gift seen both in oral prophecy
and in the writing of the Scriptures.” Walvoord, Daniel, 222. This,
however, does not occur in either the first sixty-nine weeks (up to
“just before the time of Christ’s crucifixion”) or in the seventieth
week (the future great tribulation), the periods which he claims involve
the 490 years. Walvoord, Prophecy Knowledge Handbook, 258. Yet he
specifically says that the “six major events characterize the 490
years.” Walvoord, Daniel, 251.
9. Lk 1:35; cf. 4:34, 41. See also: Mk 1:24; Ac 3:14; 4:27, 30; 1 Jn
2:20; Rev 3:7; He is called the “anointed one” (Ps 2:2; Isa 42:1; Ac
10. Interestingly, in the first century arifses a widely held belief
that a ruler from within Israel is to arise “at that very time,” i.e.,
during the Jewish War. Tacitus, Histories 5:13: “The majority
were convinced that the ancient scriptures of their priests alluded to
the present as the very time when the Orient would triumph and from
Judaea would go forth men destined to rule the world. This mysterious
prophecy really referred to Vespasian and Titus.”
11. Ps 2:2; 132:10; Isa 11:2; 42:1; Hab 3:13; Ac 4:27; 10:38; Heb 1:9.
Vanderwaal denies the Messianic referent of this passage, preferring a
Maccabean priestly referent. Vanderwaal, Hal Lindsey and Biblical Prophecy, 37.