By Kenneth L. Gentry Jr
Daniel 9:24 introduces the prophecy of the Seventy Weeks. This
prophecy is greatly loved in certainly eschatological circles. But it is
A major reason for the confusion is that too many leap over the first
verse of the prophecy and set about trying to install gaps in the more
exciting part in verses 26–27. When they do so, they should be prepared
to sing Elvis Presley’s “I Slipped, I Stumbled, I Fell” because that is
precisely what they will do. So before we can get into interpreting the
meaning of the prophecy, we have to recognize its own stated rationale
which is found in verse 24.
Daniel 9:24 states the prophecy’s overriding, glorious expectation:
“Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to
finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make
reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to
seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.”
These six infinitival phrases are the prophecy’s main point. They are
three couplets containing two parallel matters each. They effectively
serve as the heading of the following explication in verses 25–27. The
“know therefore and understand” statement in verse 25 begins that
explication. Unfortunately, too few populist “prophecy experts” take the
time to “know therefore and understand.”
The general view of Daniel 9:24 among non-dispensational evangelicals is that “the six items presented . . . settle the terminus ad quem
of the prophecy,”  noting that they have to do with events
surrounding Christ’s first advent and his redemptive work. In my next
installment on Daniel 9 I will show how this is so, but for now I am
simply noting another peculiarity of the dispensational system.
Dispensationalists differ dramatically for other evangelical
approaches to the passage. They hold that these events are “not to be
found in any event near the earthly lifetime of our Lord.”  Rather
their peculiar eschatological system leads them to expect that “God will
once again turn His attention in a special way to His people the Jews
and to His holy city Jerusalem, as outlined in Daniel 9:24.”  Thus,
these prophetic events are still off in our future — almost 2000 years
after Christ (so far!).
As usual, dispensationalism re-orients biblical prophecy to fits its
system’s unusual demands. Postmillennialism, however, can easily read
the prophecy and see it functioning quite nicely without leaping over
parts, installing gaps, reinterpreting statements, and other such
So in our study so far, we have already seen that dispensationalism
employs this passage as a key foundation stone to their whole
eschatological enterprise — despite the warning from OT scholars
regarding this prophecy’s great difficulty. Your system is not strong
when you found it on such a difficult text. And now we are noting that
though most evangelical scholars see the prophetic goal as focusing on
Christ’s redemptive labor in verse 24, dispensationalists remove the
whole expectation to thousands of years after Christ’s first century
labor. In fact, they have to leap over that truly foundational work of
Stay tuned for our next installment. We will focus on the proper meaning of Daniel 9:24.
 Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary on Daniel, 201.
 Robert Culver, Daniel and the Latter Days, 155.
 Charles C. Ryrie, Basic Theology, 465.