This prophecy of the Seventy Weeks, however, is of such importance, that a separate study is demanded in an Analysis of Prophetic truth. While Daniel 9 is complete in itself, it follows chapter 8, supplying further details, just as chapter 8 supplements 7; and it will be wise to retain what we have already seen for our present help. Daniel’s increasing concern has been regarding the prophetic future and that which concerns the little horn and his own people. He has taught that past history foreshadows future events, and we are therefore prepared to find that a seventy-year period of Jerusalem’s desolation and Israël’s captivity has a corresponding period of seventy-times-seven associated with Israël, Jerusalem and desolation. Chapter 9 is in itself a considerable theme, but, as Daniel 9 to 12 forms a section of the book, it will perhaps be wise to exhibit the general structure of the passage before entering into detail.
Daniel 9 to 12 as a whole
A 9:1. First year of Darius.
B 9:2-19. Fasting. Daniel understood.
C 9:20-23. The man Gabriel. Daniel, ‘greatly beloved’.
D 9:23-27. ‘I am come to shew thee’.
A 10:1. Third year of Cyrus.
B 10:1-3. Fasting. Daniel understood.
C 10:4-21. The man clothed in linen. Daniel, ‘greatly beloved’.
D 11 and 12. ‘I will shew thee’.
It will be seen in the above structure (members D and D) that chapters 11 and 12 are a further expansion of the seventy weeks and the abomination of desolation spoken of in Daniel 9:23-27. Chapters 11 and 12 have, in addition, an interrelated correspondence, which we hope to show in its proper place.
We return now to Daniel 9, knowing at least that we are still pursuing the one theme of the book, the time of the end; though we may differ from others in our understanding of the true approach to that end, the ultimate theme is unaffected. In the fulness of time Christ came, whether we name the year A.D. 1 0r 3 B.C., or refrain from assigning a date at all. And so Christ will come again at the end of the seventy weeks, whether they be weeks of days, or weeks of years, or, as some believe, of both. Whether we are able to compute the time or not, He will surely come.
To enable the reader to follow the theme without confusion, we divide our study into four sections:
- The prophecy of Jeremiah (Dan. 9:1,2).
- The prayer of Daniel (Dan. 9:3-23).
- The principle of computing prophetic times.
- The prophecy of the seventy weeks.
The Prophecy of Jeremiah
Daniel himself was a prophet, to whom had been granted the spiritual ability to see the meaning of Nebuchadnezzar’s vision’s, and to witness the two visions dealing with the end of the indignation. It is with this event, linked with Jeremiah’s prophecy, that Daniel 9 opens. We have in Zechariah’s positive proof that the ‘time of indignation’ and ‘the seventy years’ of Jeremiah refer to the same period:
- ‘O LORD of Hosts, how long wilt Thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which Thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years?’ (Zech. 1:12).
From Isaiah 10:5 we learn that the Assyrian is the rod of the Lord’s anger: ‘and the staff in their hand is Mine indignation’. The Assyrian is sent against ‘an hypocritical nation … to tread them down like the mire of the streets’ (Isa. 10:6). The Assyrian nation does not, however, intend to be of service to the Lord: it is but fulfilling its own schemes of conquest:
- ‘Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the Lord hath performed His whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks’ (Isa. 10:12).
We are prepared by our previous studies to find that the indignation accomplished against Jerusalem by the Assyrian is a foreshadowing of ‘the last end of the indignation’, a future period alluded to in Isaiah 26:20. This period is in mind in Daniel 9:
- ‘In the first year of his (Darius’) reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplished seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem’ (Dan. 9:2).
Among the passages written by Jeremiah that Daniel would have read Jeremiah 25:11:
- ‘And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years’.
Another passage that would have attracted Daniel’s attention is Jeremiah 29:1-10:
- ‘To all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon … For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform My good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place’.
A further passage that would have been of help to Daniel is found in Jeremiah 27:7:
- ‘And all nations shall service him (Nebuchadnezzar, verse 6), and his son, and his son’s son (Belshazzar), until the very time of his land come: and then many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of him’.
The Proclamation of Cyrus
Another item that bears upon this part of our study is found in Daniel 9:1:
- ‘In the first year of Darius, the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans’.
Sir H. Rawlinson has shown that the name Ahasuerus is, like Pharaoh, an appellative, meaning ‘Venerable King’, and not used exclusively of any one monarch. Similarly the name Darius, according to Professor Sayce, means ‘The Maintainer’, an appellative of more than one king, rather like the English ‘Defender of the Faith’, which belongs to no one monarch in particular. It is considered by those who have made chronology their study that the Darius of chapter 9 is the Cyrus of chapter 10; the reader will find Appendixes 50 (vii. 5) and 57 of The Companion Bible (www.levendwater.org) helpful in this connection. It would be an unwarranted digression here to enter into the arguments concerning the genealogy of the kings of Persia; but we do feel that our readers should realize the importance of the conclusion that the Ahasuerus of Esther 1:1, the Artaxerxes of Ezra 6:14 and Nehemiah 2:1, and the Darius of Daniel 5:31 represent the same person under different names. The king married Esther, whose son is the Cyrus of Scripture.
It is most interesting to see that Daniel’s prayer in chapter 9 concerning the restoration of Jerusalem is dated in the first year of the king under whose edict the restoration was commenced.
We must now consider, together with Daniel 9, the opening words of Ezra 1:
- ‘Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put is also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and He hath charged me to build Him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all His people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israël, (He is the God,) which is in Jerusalem. And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beast, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem’ (Ezra 1:1-4).
The Proclamation of Artaxerxes
Before we are fully prepared to continue our study of Daniel 9 there is one further proclamation to be brought into line. We read in Nehemiah 1:1:
- ‘It came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace’.
This twentieth year of Artaxerxes (see Neh. 2:1) dates as forty-two years from the beginning of the Babylonian servitude, thirty-five years from Jehoiachin’s captivity, twenty-three years from the destruction of Jerusalem, and twenty-five years from the beginning of the desolations (see The Companian Bible – www.levendwater.org).
There are three periods of seventy years that must be kept separate, if we are to avoid confusion: the Servitude, the Captivity, and the Desolations. The servitude began in the first year of Nebuchadnezzar, and ended with the decree of Cyrus just quoted. The Captivity is dated by Ezekiel as from the eight year of Nebuchadnezzar, when Jeconiah was carried away captive. The Desolations commenced with the last siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, and are the subject of Daniel’s prayer in chapter 9. While, therefore, Daniel is associated with the seventy years’ desolation, Nehemiah is connected with the seventy years’ captivity:
- ‘The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire’ (Neh. 1:3).
The effect of this report upon Nehemiah is very similar to the effect of Jeremiah’s words on Daniel; to appreciate the parallel, Daniel 9 and Nehemiah 1 should be read together.
In Nehemiah two things reach a crisis. As the king’s cupbearer, Nehemiah held a high office, for, in effect, he stood between the king and possible death by poisoning. To have appeared at all distraught in the royal presence might have proved fatal; for he might have fallen under suspicion and have been executed immediately. So, when the king comments upon his sad looks, we read: ‘Then I was very sore afraid’ (Neh. 2:2). Nehemiah then tells the king of the condition of the city of Jerusalem, and the king asks, ‘For what dost thou make request?’ Then we read, ‘So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said unto the king’ (Neh. 2:4,5).
We pause a moment to observe this true conception of prayer. In Nehemiah’s day ritual was of divine institution; and place, time and attitude in prayer were ordained by law. But Nehemiah was no formalist, for true prayer is ever above all forms. Without any apparent interval, a prayer winged its way into the presence of a greater King than Artaxerxes and deliverance followed.
One other point of interest is contained in Nehemiah 2:6. Nehemiah requests of the king that he may be granted leave of absence to go into Judah and rebuild the city of Jerusalem. The king replies to Nehemiah (the queen also sitting by him), ‘For how long shall thy journey be, and when wilt thou return?’ The queen here mentioned in the parenthesis is none other that Esther, who had already been instrumental in the deliverance or her people as recorded in the book bearing her name. The presence of the queen here is one of the links in the working out of God’s purpose. Under Mordecai, Esther saved Israël; here presence here evidently influenced Artaxerxes, and her son, Cyrus, has his own place in the scheme, as we have seen.
We now turn our attention to the disposition of the subject matter as indicated by the structure, which without undue elaboration is as follows:
PRAYER OF DANIEL (Daniel 9:3-19)
A 9:3. Daniel’s face set unto the Lord God.
B 9:4. Prayer and confession.
C 9:4-5-. Covenant-keeping God. We have sinned.
D 9:-5-10. Rebellion a 5. Rebellion. b 6. Disobedience to message of prophets. THE PROPHETS c 7-9. Righteousness belongeth unto the Lord. Confusion belongeth unto us. Mercies belong unto the Lord. a 9. Rebellion. b 10. Disobedience to message of prophets.
D 9:11-14. Curse a 11. The curse, as Moses said. b 12. Confirmed words. THE LAW a 13. The evil, as Moses said. b 14. Watched evil.
C 9:15. Covenant kept of old by God. We have sinned.
B 9:16-17. Hear prayer and confession.
A 9:-17-19. The Lord’s face to shine upon the Sanctuary.
Daniel’s prayer centres round the fact that Israël’s terrible desolation is the outcome of rebellion against the word of God, sent from time to time through the prophets, and is but the fulfillment of the curse and the oath, written in the law of Moses long before.
God evidently keeps His word, and Israël have most surely merited their punishment. Yet Daniel reminds himself that God not only watches over the evil perform it, but in the mighty deliverance of Israël from Egypt in days gone by, He was true to His covenant promises, even though Israël had failed. The prayer, therefore, while a confession of Israël’s sin, reminds God of His covenant relationship with the people and the city.
There is a beautiful progression in prayer. At first Daniel speaks of his people without any term of association with the Lord. He speaks of our kings, our princes, our fathers, and the people of the land; of the men of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and of all Israël near and far. Not until we reach the tenth verse is any link established; there Daniel speaks of the Lord our God, and again in verses 13, 14 and 15. In verse 15 a fuller claim is made; this rebellious people are ‘Thy people’. In verse 16 the desolate city is ‘Thy city’, ‘Thy holy mountain’; and ‘Thy people are become reproach’. In verse 17, Daniel is ‘Thy servant’, and the desolate temple ‘Thy sanctuary’. Then it all comes pouring forth. Reverse is abandoned. Before this covenant-keeping God, Daniel pours out his petition:
- ‘O my God, incline Thine ear, and hear; open Thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by Thy Name: for we do not present our supplications before Thee for our righteousness, but for Thy mercies. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for Thine own sake, O my God: for Thy city and Thy people are called by Thy Name‘ (Dan. 9:18,19).
The limits of such a work as this Analysis compel us to omit much of spiritual value, and so refraining from further comment on Daniel’s prayer, we turn our attention to:
The Principle of Computing Prophetic Times
How many different ways of computing the seventy weeks of Daniel 9 have been put forward by earnest men of God? We do not know, but there are many; and the fact that such diversity exists must humble us before the Lord. Differences of opinion exist as to where the reckoning begins, where the reckoning ends, wether the ‘weeks’ are weeks of days or of years, and whether the prince that shall come be Titus (A.D. 70) or the beast of the Apocalypse. Most affirm that there is now only the last week of Daniel 9 to be fulfilled; while others believe that the seventy weeks are literal weeks of days all yet future. Facing this monument of human failure and contradiction it seems at first an act of impertinence on our part to step forward and make even a tentative suggestion. Yet it is impossible avoid the subject, and, therefore, with every recognition of the faithfulness and ability of others, we humble place on record the way in which we have been led by scriptural principles to a conclusion in the matter.
The first principle that demands recognition is that which deals with the ‘lo-ammi‘ periods of Israël’s history. For the benefit of those who may not know the meaning of this term we state that is has reference to Hosea 1:9 ‘Call his name Lo-ammi: for ye are not My people’. The principle we have in mind is that those periods when Israël are out of favour — and so ‘lo-ammi‘ — are not reckoned in the prophetic calendar. So far as God’s scheme of time is concerned, such periods do not exists. They are, however, reckoned in the calendar of the world, and consequently must be taken into account.
There were five occasions when the Lord ‘sold’ His people into the hands of their enemies, and for these five periods the prophetic clock stopped and time was unrecorded. These periods are all found in the book of Judges:
- MESOPOTAMIA 8 years Lo-ammi (3:8).
- MOAB 18 years Lo-ammi (3:14)
- CANAAN 20 years Lo-ammi (4:3).
- MIDIAN 7 years Lo-ammi (6:1).
- PHILISTINE 40 years Lo-ammi (13:1)
- Total 93 years
Of course no time can be reckoned ‘lo-ammi‘ that is not concerned with the whole nation; raids and bondage that affected only some of the tribes are not included. See article LO–AMMI.
The first principle, therefore, that we must observe when computing prophetic periods is that which allows for the non-reckoning of ‘lo-ammi‘ periods. This applies in both directions; we cannot allow a period of time to be excluded while Israël is a nation before God, any more than we can allow a period to be reckoned when Israël is temporarily set aside. This we shall finds compels us to include the Acts of the Apostles in the seventy weeks, and also compels us to exclude the period when Jerusalem was still unbuilt in Nehemiah’s day.
The Seventy Weeks
- ‘Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city’ (Dan. 9:24).
If we understand the word ‘week’ to mean seven days, we have a period of a little more than one year and four months to consider, and of this a smaller period is occupied in building and restoring Jerusalem, certainly a short time for such an operation. When, however, Daniel wishes to make us understand literal weeks, each of seven days, he adds the word ‘days’:
- ‘I Daniel was mourning three full weeks’ (literally, weeks of days’) (10:2).
- ‘Till three whole weeks were fulfilled’ (literally, weeks of days) (10:3).
To make the matter certain, the angelic visitor declares that on the first day of Daniel’s fasting his words had been heard and the angel sent, but that for ‘one and twenty days’ he had been withstood. This carefulness on Daniel’s part is one argument in favour of the view that ordinary weeks of days are not intended in Daniel 9. A further argument is that Daniel had been occupied with prophecies that dealt with a period of seventy years, and the angelic announcement of the seventy weeks seems but an expansion.
Another argument in favour of the years interpretation is provided by the Scriptural treatment of the last week. It wilt be observed that this last of the seventy weeks is divided into two parts:
- ‘He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease’ (Dan. 9:27).
Now Daniel refers more than once to a peculiar period at the time of the end:
- ‘A time and times and the dividing of time (7:25).
- ‘A time, times, and a half’ (12:7).
- ‘Let seven times pass over him’ (4:16).
A consultation of the margin of Daniel 11:13 will show that ‘times’ may be synonymous with ‘years’. If that is so, then a time, times and a half may be a prophetic and cryptic way of describing three and a half years. This being just half the seven-year period exactly meets the requirements of Daniel 9:27.
We have, however, clearer evidence in the book of the Revelation:
- ‘A time, and times, and half a time’ (Rev. 12:14).
This is the period during which the woman is nourished in the wilderness. In Revelation 12:6 we read:
- ‘They should feed her there 1,260 days’.
It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that 1,260 days, and a time, times, and a half, are periods of the same duration.
There is evidence in Scripture of the recognition of a year of 360 days. For example, it is computed that between the seventeenth day of the second month, and the seventeenth day of the seventh month is 150 days (Genesis 7 and 8), a computation which supposes a month of thirty days. Dividing 1,260 days by 30 we have 42 months, or three and a half years. Now Scripture speaks of a period of 42 months, and places it in such proximity to that of 1,260 days as to remove all doubt as to the length of the prophetic year:
- ‘The holy city shall they tread under foot 42 months’ (Rev. 11:2).
- ‘My two witnesses … shall prophesy 1,260 days’ (Rev. 11:3).
We have already seen that Revelation 13 speaks of the time when the fourth beast of Daniel 7 shall be in power; and if Daniel 9 speaks of the same power and period, we may expect to find here some confirmation:
- ‘He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week (a period of 7 years): and in the midst of the week (after a period 0f 3,5 years, 42 months or 1,260 days) he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease’ (Dan. 9:27).
- ‘And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue 42 months’ (Rev. 13:5).
That the Hebrew language can refer to ‘sabbaths of years’ is shown in Leviticus 25:8, where a period of forty-nine years is also called ‘seven sabbaths of years, seven times seven years’.
These things furnish sufficient proof that the final week of Daniel 9 is a period of seven years. And if the last week be a week of years, it follows that the seventy weeks are also weeks of years, so that the seventy weeks ‘determined’ represent a period of 490 years.
When does the period of 490 years commence?
After revealing to Daniel a prophetic period of 490 years marked off on the divine calendar, the angel proceeds to divide the number of years up in a rather strange way. We first learn that during the 490 years the following events are to be fulfilled:
- ‘To finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness … and to anoint the most Holy’ (Dan. 9:240.
The angel next proceeds to give further light upon this time by saying that the period from the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of Messiah the Prince will be 7 weeks and 62 weeks, and that after the 62 weeks have elapsed the Messiah will cut off. We found it useful when speaking of ‘lo-ammi‘ periods to use a simple illustration to make the matter clearer. It may be of service to use the same method here. [Suppose a motorist is being directed to a certain destination and that, instead of being told that his goal is 69 miles away, he is told that it is 7 miles and 62 miles away. If after that somewhat cryptic statement, a remark is added about some feature in the road that marks a junction, the obvious thing for the motorist to do would be to travel the first seven miles and then look for some change. If at the end of 7 miles of rather bad country lane the car emerged into a new, well-made road which continued for the remaining 62 miles, he would realize the reason for dividing the distance. Moreover, if he had been told that at the end of 62 miles he would come to a cross, he would look for it at the end of 62 miles of new road, for so the direction had indicated].
Now it must be obvious that when the angel speaks of 7 weeks as distinct from 62 weeks, he has some special reason for it. The angel also speaks of the building of the wall and the street of Jerusalem as an event related to the time periods with which his message deals. The Companion Bible in Appendix 58 – www.levendwater.org gives the history of Nehemiah and Ezra. It is much too long to quote here, but we give two extracts to prove our point. We must leave our readers to test the matter further by consulting that appendix for themselves.
- 455 B.C. Nehemiah 1:1-2:8. Hanani’s report in the month of Chisleu leads to the ‘going forth of the commandment to rebuild Jerusalem’ (Dan. 9:25).
- 454 B.C. By Artaxerxes in his twentieth year.
- 407 B.C. Nehemiah obtains leave of absence (Neh. 13:6), and returns to be present at …
- 405 B.C. This ends the ‘seventh sevens‘ from the going forth of the commandment in 454 B.C.
This, then, is the first spaced covered, the building of the wall corresponding to the several miles of bad road in the illustration. We now arrive at the most important feature of our discussion, and one that we have seen canvassed in no other work on Daniel. It follows from the logical application of the ‘lo-ammi‘ principle. The question is whether or not the 490 years set apart for the achievement of God’s purpose in Israël, begin at the going forth of the proclamation to rebuild Jerusalem. To this question expositors give an affirmative answer, but the ‘lo-ammi‘ principle demands a negative one. We read in Nehemiah:
- ‘The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire’ (Neh. 1:3).
Do these expressions describe Jerusalem as in favour or in desolation? There is only one answer. Nehemiah saw in these events the fulfillment of the curse threatened by law and prophets:
- ‘If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations’ (Neh. 1:8).
Daniel also uses terms that imply ‘lo-ammi‘ conditions. Jerusalem is ‘desolate’ (9:2); Israël are ‘driven’ (verse 7); the curse is poured upon them (verse 11); the visitation upon Jerusalem is unprecedented (verse 12). And in verse 16 there is anger and fury and reproach.
The seventy sevens cannot commence until Jerusalem is rebuilt and the curse removed; this makes clear the reason for the division of the years into seven sevens and sixty-two sevens. The seven sevens of 49 years represent the time occupied in the rebuilding of the wall and street of Jerusalem by Nehemiah in time of trouble, and the period ends at the dedication of the temple (Ezra 6:16-18).
To revert to our illustration, the period covered by the building of the wall up to the dedication of the temple corresponds with the first 7 miles of country road. At the dedication of the temple at the end of the seven sevens the ‘lo-ammi‘ period ends; the new high road is reached. It is then a distance of 62 miles to the Cross; or, leaving the illustration, an unbroken period of 62 sevens to the time of ‘the Messiah the Prince’. Those who include the 49 years of rebuilding, include a period when Israël was ‘lo-ammi‘, and they have no alternative to excluding from their reckoning the whole period of the Acts of the Apostles. But it is quite certain that Israël were not set aside as a people until Acts 28, so that the period of the Acts must be included.
Our interpretation has required only 62 sevens; so that there is still scope remaining. From A.D. 29/30 to 63/64, the usual dates now given for the Crucifixion and Acts 28 respectively, is a period of 35 years; this accounts for five sevens. Three sevens, therefore, remain for the future, and these are dealt with in the book of Revelation:
- seven seals.
- seven trumpets.
- seven vials.
The final ‘seven’ is concerned with the Beast, the False Prophet, Antichrist and Babylon, as we read in Daniel 9.
The prophecy of the seventy weeks of Daniel 9 is divided into three parts, each of which is devoted to an explanation of events associated with one of the great time-periods of prophecy. This can be seen more easily if set out as follows:
A1 9:24. SEVENTY SEVENS. a Finish transgression. b Make an end (chatham) of sins. c Make atonement for iniquity. a Bring in everlasting righteousness. b Seal up (chatham) vision and prophecy. c Anoint the Most Holy.
A2 9:25,26. SEVEN SEVENS and SIXTY-TWO SEVENS. a The City. — Restoration. b The Messiah. — Coming. c Seven sevens and sixty-two sevens. c After sixty-two sevens. b The Messiah. — Cut off. a The City. — destroyed.
A3 9:26,27. THE ONE SEVEN. THE MIDST OF THE SEVEN. a Desolation decreed (shamem). End of Desolator. b Covenant made. c One seven. — 7 years. c Midst of seven. — 3.5 years. b Covenant broken. a Desolation decreed (shamem). End of Desolator.
‘Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city‘. — The word ‘determined’ means ‘to cut off’, and the passage indicates that God has set apart this period of time in which He will accomplish His purpose for the people and the city. At first there appears to be an undue repetition in the words of verse 24: ‘to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity’. But on examination the verse is found to be both true, like all Scripture, and prophetic.
‘To finish’ is a translation of kala which means ‘to restrain’, or ‘shut up’, as in a prison: ‘Zedekiah … had shut him up’ (Jer. 32:3). As a substantive it is translated ‘prison’ as in 1 Kings 22:27; 2 Kings 17:4 and eight other places. ‘The transgression’ that is to be ‘shut up’ or ‘imprisoned’ has already been spoken of in Daniel. Pesha, ‘transgression’, and pasha, ‘transgressor’ occur in Daniel only in 8:12, 13, 23 and 9:24. To read these occurrences in their contexts is of itself sufficient indication that the period of the last seven of Daniel 9 is the setting, and also what ‘transgression’ is to be ‘imprisoned’:
- ‘The little horn … magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression … the transgression of desolation … in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full’ (Dan. 8:11-13,23).
In Daniel 9 and Matthew 24:15 it is ‘the abomination‘ of desolation’; here it is ‘the transgression of desolation’. This refers to the violation of the temple and its sacrifices, and the desolation, once more, of Jerusalem. The day, however, is fixed when this desolation shall for ever cease, and the Desolater be imprisoned. It does not require great perception to see here a forecast of the incarceration of the Beast, the False Prophet and Satan as revealed in the Apocalypse.
‘To make an end of sins‘ — The word ‘chatham‘ occurs again in the sentence: ‘to seal up the vision and prophecy’. Job uses the expression: ‘my transgression is sealed up in a bag, and thou sewest up mine iniquity’ (Job 14:17). In Deuteronomy 32:34 the Lord is quoted as saying: ‘Is not this laid up in store with Me, and sealed up among My treasures’, and goes on to speak of the day of vengeance.
In Daniel 12:4 there is a paronomasia, ‘shut up’ being satham, and ‘seal’ being chatham, and this is repeated in verse 9, ‘shut up’ being there ‘close up’. It appears that the sense of ‘sealing’ here is not so much that of confirmation as of ‘closing’ or ‘shutting up’. The one other reference to ‘sealing’ in Daniel is in connection with the den of lions (6:17), and the object of that sealing is given: ‘That the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel’.
‘To make reconciliation for iniquity‘. Here the word is kaphar, and means ‘to make atonement’. This is vital. This is precious. It belongs to no one section of the redeemed. In spite of what certain words in the English translation may from s superficial reading appear to teach, atonement belongs to both Old and New Testaments. This vital theme is too vast to be dealt with here, but we have devoted some space to it in the series entitled REDEMPTION – www.bereanonline.org
Thus end the first three blessings that are to come. Three more follow as a sequel:
- ‘To bring in age-abiding righteousness’.
- ‘To seal up the vision and prophecy’.
- ‘To anoint the Most Holy’.
Righteousness is to be the characteristic of Jerusalem and her people at the time of the end:
- ‘Thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city’ (Isa. 1:26).
- ‘A King shall reign in righteousness’ (Isa. 32:1).
- ‘For Zion’s sake will I not hold My peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness’ (Isa. 62:1).
It is not easy to arrive at an understanding of the words, ‘to seal up vision and prophecy’. Some think that their purport may be that vision and prophecy will have finished their work and be no more needed. The statement may mean that God will set His seal to vision and prophecy and all will be fulfilled. Or, as Daniel 12:4 indicates, a sealing up of the prophecies until the time of the end may be foreshadowed. Malachi is called in Rabbinical writings, ‘The Seal of the Prophets’ because, with him, Old Testament prophecy comes to an end. At present, however, we feel it wise to refrain from expressing a decided opinion as to the true interpretation, and we think that our readers will hold with us, that rather than risk the perpetuation of error it is better thus to refrain.
‘To anoint the Most Holy‘. In Scripture the words translated ‘Most Holy’ are never used of persons, but always of things dedicated to God. They should be rendered ‘Holy of Holies’, and refer to the cleansing of the sanctuary spoken of in Daniel 8:14.
These six items cover the restoration that is to take place, but events of great magnitude occur before the goal is reached — events that revolve around the persons and work of Christ and Antichrist:
- ‘From the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah (an Anointed One) the Prince shall be 7 x 7 and 62 x 7: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after 62 x 7 shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself’ (Dan. 9:25,26).
Some of our readers may have noticed that we did not trouble to show that this prophecy was accurately fulfilled. As to this it is common knowledge that the received date for the 20th year of Artaxerxes is 454 B.C., and 62 x 7 or 434 years + 7 x 7 or 49 years after 454 B.C. brings us to A.D. 29/30, the received date for the Crucifixion, but when we faced the involved accounts of Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon and others, and the evidence of the Behistun Rock that must be unravelled before 454 B.C. could be arrived at, we felt that little good would be accomplished by the survey, and it is contrary to our principle to accept any testimony without investigation.
Let it be quite clear, however, that we implicitly believe that Daniel 9 is correct; whatever may be proved or fail to be proved from secular history. It would not, for instance, shake our faith in the slightest if some archaeological discovery called for another readjustment of dates; no one, however learned, would be prepared to go into the witness box and declare on oath the exact number of years after Christ this present year called A.D. 1960 really is. From Adam to Christ, chronology is constant in Scripture. Since then God has written no chronology in Scripture, and seeing that the calendar of the period after Christ is so muddled and involved, it is questionable whether God has not intentionally frustrated the attempts at forecasting prophetic dates.
When we are dealing with the statements of Scripture, however, we are on solid ground. The Lord rode into Jerusalem, and was acclaimed by the people as the Son of David, when it was near to Passover, and therefore in the month Nisan (Matt. 21:1-16), which is the same month in which the decree was issued by Artaxerxes (Neh. 2:1). ‘After’ the Messiah was to be cut off. ‘To be cut off’ implies death by violence e.g., ‘neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood’ (Gen. 9:11). The expression is, moreover, in constant use in the law where it is used of the cutting off of an offender from all covenant relations, and of the consequent bearing of his iniquity: ‘That soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him’ (Num. 15:31).
It is most blessedly true that when the Messiah was cut off it was, as the Authorized Version renders it, ‘not for Himself’, but the original of Daniel 9:26 does not justify that translation, for it says, ‘and have nothing’. Instead of a throne, He had a cross. Instead of many diadems, He wore a crown of thorns. Instead of a kingdom, He had a tomb. Of all the glories spoken of by the prophets, ‘He had nothing’! We are thankful for the earlier vision of Daniel 7 which reveals that in God’s own time He should be invested with sovereignty, but that meanwhile iniquity was to rear its head and make its final grasp at worldwide dominion before the end came.
We pause at verse 26 to consider the reference there to ‘The Messiah’, for while most commentators see in this term a reference to Christ, this interpretation has been denied. ‘The Jews of the Talmud age say, that the end of the Messiah was spoken of in the Book of the Chetubim arriving at this place; but how the latter generations turn off such a sence’; see R. Saddras and Rab. Solomon. In like manner, Isaiah 53 is interpreted of Hezekiah or even of the nation Israël, but thank God we have New Testament witness that ‘The Messiah’ Himself is the subject of that prophecy. In the time of our Lord, the name ‘Messiah’ was on the lips of the common people. The ignorant Samaritan woman knew that ‘Messiah cometh’ (John 4:25). Andrew told his brother, ‘we have found the ‘Messiah’, to which John adds for our benefit, ‘which is being interpreted the Christ’ (John. 1:41). Old Simeon expected to be spared long enough to see ‘The Lord’s Christ’ i.e. the Messiah (Luke 2:26), and when the angels announced the birth of the Saviour to the Shepherds, they spoke of Him as ‘Christ the Lord’, i.e. The Messiah (Luke 2:11). When the crowd of common people said, ‘If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly’ they make it clear that the common people as well as the Rabbins themselves used this title with knowledge. The paraphrase of Jonathan uses the title, ‘The Messiah’, in explaining 26 passages of the prophets concerning Him (see Buxtorf Lex. Chald. Col. 1270-2). Others, in order to retain their own theories, have interpreted The Messiah of Daniel 9, of Cyrus, of Xerxes, or Alexander the Great and even of Zedekiah.
One would have felt with Acts 4:25-28, that no child of God believing the Scriptures to be inspired could ever have put forward a teaching that necessitated the denial that Psalm 2:2 referred to Christ! The objection is based upon the fact that inasmuch as ‘The Lord’ of the Old Testament is the Saviour and the Christ of the New, then when we read ‘Against the LORD, and against His Anointed’, the Anointed cannot refer to Christ. But this places the apostles in a queer position. Those who quote Psalm 2 in Acts 4, were endued with miraculous gifts, and ‘with one accord’ they could quote Psalm 2, and comment immediately, ‘For of a truth against Thy holy child Jesus, Whom THOU HAST ANOINTED …’. The combination of ‘The Lord’ and ‘His Anointed’ apparently was no stumbling to them. Old Simeon also had no such problem, for he said without reserve, ‘The Lord’s Christ (Luke 2:26). If we can possibly allow a mistake to have crept into Luke 2:26 and Acts 4, are we, to be consistent, going to rule out Christ from Psalm 110, in spite of the fact that the Saviour Himself endorsed it? If the Messiah can be ruled out of Psalm 2, because the words occur ‘Against the Lord, and against His Anointed’ what shall we do with Psalm 110:1, ‘The LORD said unto my Lord’, and how shall we react to the Lord’s own question:
- ‘What think ye of Christ? whose son is He?’ (Matt. 22:42).
Shall we say that the Saviour Himself stood in need of correction? It is good to see that even the Pharisees did not adopt that attitude, and it is a sad thing to find a child of God taking such a line of teaching.
We return to Daniel 9, being convinced that ‘the Messiah’ here, is none other than He Who in fulness of time was born at Bethlehem, at the time indicated in this prophecy. In the text of Daniel 9:26 the Hebrew is ‘inverted’, reading: ‘And the people of the prince, the one that is to come, shall destroy the city and the sanctuary’, the intention being to connect the future prince with the word ‘confirm’ showing that neither Antiochus, Titus nor Christ can be that prince, who finds ‘his end’ in an overflowing destruction. Nowhere does Christ in the New Testament confirm a covenant for ‘a week’ wether or days, weeks of years. The covenant thus confirmed, is that of Antichrist with the Jews. The reference to the abomination of Desolation spoken by Daniel the prophet, in Matthew 24:15, is not exhausted by the destruction of Jerusalem under Titus, for, Daniel speaks of this ‘abomination’ in Daniel 11:31 and in Daniel 12:11, and these, especially the last, take us to the time immediately preceding the coming of Christ. Messiah was ‘cut off’ at the cross, but the prince that shall come, the false Messiah, shall come to his end, when the desolater himself shall be destroyed, as revealed in the Book of the Revelation. The destruction of Jerusalem under Titus in A.D. 70 is not recorded in the New Testament but the prophecy of Matthew 23:38 and 24:1-3 with Luke 21:20 clearly embraces the words of Daniel:
- ‘The people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary’ (9:26).
The focal point of Daniel 9:27 is the confirmation by this mighty prince, of a league. While the word berith usually refers to the covenants of God, it is used also in a lower sense. The word is used when the ‘league’ between king Asa and Ben-hadad, and the breaking of a ‘league’ between Ben-hadad and Baasha, are spoken of (2 Chron. 16:3). In Isaiah 28:15 it is called a ‘covenant with death and sheol’, and inasmuch as this awful covenant was made as a refuge from a threatened overflowing scourge, we can see that is speaks of the same prophetic period as does in Daniel 9:27. As the apostle Paul has declared, covenant breaking belongs to the time of the end (Rom. 1:31; 2 Tim. 3:3). Apostates shall forsake the holy covenant, and do wickedly against it (Dan. 11:30-32), and deceitful dealings even after a league has been made, are spoken of in Daniel 11:23.
Apparently, the little horn, the final Satanic king, will enter into an agreement with Israël at the opening of Daniel’s last week. At the expiry of 3.5 years he breaks his word, turns round upon the people and their worship, and attempts to blot out all sign and evidence of Israël’s God and worship. What has been going on in Russia (2018) is a faint foreshadowing of his policy:
- ‘He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate’ (Dan. 9:27).
Al kanaph, ‘overspreading’, means ‘a wing’. Ginsburg, whose authority in matters of the Hebrew text is beyond our ability to confute, suggests that the true reading should be al kanno, ‘in its stead’ as we read in 11:7, where it is translated ‘in his estate’. If this reading be the true one, the passage would read:
- ‘He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and IN ITS STEAD shall stand in the holy place (see Matt. 24:15) the abomination that make desolate’.
Scripture uses the word ‘abomination’ for an idol. This blasphemy and wicked opposition lasts no longer than 3,5 years as Revelation 13:5 confirms:
- ‘Even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate (desolator)’ (Dan. 9:27).
Here is a reference to the future outpouring of the vials of wrath, ending with the consignment of the beast to the burning flame (Dan. 7:11 and Rev. 19:20). With this the prophecy of Daniel ends.
The Seventieth week of Daniel 9:27
- 3.5 years The covenant made with Antichrist. Period 42 months, 1,260 days or 3.5 years. The first Half.
- In the midst of the week the covenant broken.
- 3.5 years The Great Tribulation. The Abomination. The Man of Sin. Time, Times and a half. The Second Half.
Daniel, he certainly did not need any assistance from commentators to add together 7 and 62, yet most commentators IGNORE the fact that the angel said seven weeks AND sixty-two weeks, and put down straight away 69. By so doing the INCLUDE the years of distress during which the wall was in building, and allow no time after the Crucifixion to cover the period of the Acts, even though Israël were still a people before God, and their hope runs from one end of the Acts to the other (Acts 1:6; 28:20).
Two periods of time are in view in Daniel 9:24-26.
- The complete period of 70 x 7 years.
- The length of time that elapsed between the command to restore and build Jerusalem unto the Messiah.
When the angel resumes, in Daniel 9:26, he omits the 7 weeks of the wall building, and commences his reckoning from the 62 weeks. Now 62 from 70 leaves 8. The Acts of the apostles covers about 35 years or 5 x 7, this leaves 3 x 7 years for the future, and the last of these is the final ‘week’ in the midst of which the anti-christian Dictator will break the covenant made with Israël, and the three and a half years of Tribulation will commence.
We have devoted a fair moment of space to this prophecy because it not only reaches into, and helps to interpret, the Apocalyps, but it demonstrates the extreme importance of recognizing the lo-ammi period of Israël’s history, and where the prophetic clock stops, and where it resumes its timekeeping!
[Zie ook: het artikel ‘Daniel’s Prayer and the Seventy weeks’ – Juni 03 2011]
LO-AMMI – the ‘Not My People’ period
It is demonstrated from Scripture that Israël alone, with one exceptional case, are called ‘People’; the nations of the earth are never so called except in the plural — ‘peoples’. To one nation only has the title ‘My people’ ever been given and that is Israël. The exception is found in Titus 2:14, where the church [eclessia] is spoken of as a peculiar people — but that title is used while Israël themselves are ‘lo-ammi’, not My people. At Acts 28 Israël pass off the scene and the parenthetical dispensation of the Mystery begins.
This great dispensational feature indicated by the words lo-ammi we approach under the following headings:
- The testimony of Acts 13 to the lo-ammi period that was approaching.
- The Old Testament illustration provided in the book of Judges.
- The prophecy of Hosea, where the name lo-ammi occurs.
Acts 13 records the opening of Paul’s great missionary activity. A Jew who withstood the preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles is blinded and a Gentile is saved — an anticipation in dramatic fashion of the sequel found in Acts 28, where the nation is blinded and salvation sent to the Gentiles. Acts 13:16-41 is the record of Paul’s witness in the synagogue at Antioch, and it opens and closes with a reference to Israël which involves the recognition of the ‘lo-ammi’ principle. We give a condensed structure of this section:
A 16-21. Resume of Israël’s History. Lo-ammi period.
B 22-39. David, Salvation, Forgiveness.
A 40,41 Beware. Lo-ammi period threatened.
In order to understand the dispensational importance of Paul’s references to Israël’s history, we must turn for a while to the record given in two parts of the Old Testament, namely the book of Judges and the book of Kings.
Among the many items of dispensational importance in the book of Judges, one question of outstanding interest is the way in which Israël and Israël’s affairs influence the computation of times and dates. The question at first seems simple enough.
FIRST SERVITUDE — MESOPOTAMIA (Judges 3:8) 8 years.
OTHNIEL — REST (Judges 3:11) 40 years.
SECOND SERVITUDE — MOAB (Judges 3:14) 18 years.
EHUD — REST (Judges 3:30) 80 years.
THIRD SERVITUDE — CANAAN (Judges 4:3) 20 years.
DEBORAH AND BARAK — REST (Judges 5:31) 40 years.
FOURTH SERVITUDE — MIDIAN (Judges 6:1) 7 years.
GIDEON — REST (Judges 8:28) 40 years.
TOLA (Judges 10:2) 23 years.
JAIR (Judges 10:3) 22 years.
JEPHTHAH (Judges 12:7) 6 years.
IBZAN (Judges 12:9) 7 years.
ELON (Judges 12:11) 10 years.
ABDON (Judges 12:14) 8 years.
FIFTH SERVITUDE — PHILISTINES (Judges 13:1) 40 years.
All one has to do is to add up the periods of the judges’ rule and the intervening years of servitude, and the thing is done. As there is no better way of producing conviction than to try things out for oneself, we have done so with the result shown above.
It will be observed that we have put down all the periods concerned, wether they be period of servitude or of rest.
Turning now to the New Testament, we find that the apostle Paul has something to say about this period, and we therefore turn to Acts 13:16-22, in order to check our total.
WILDERNESS WANDERING (Acts 13:18) 40 years.
PERIOD OF JUDGES (Acts 13:20) 450 years.
SAUL’S REIGN (Acts 13:21) 40 years.
Ignoring, for the moment, the years in the wilderness and the reign of Saul, we observe that Paul’s statement regarding the period of the judges differs from our own conclusion by eighty-one years, a difference too great to be covered by the suggestion that the apostle is using round numbers when he says ‘about the space of 450 years’.
There are other checks, however, that we must take into account. Jephthah, who lived at the very period under discussion, tells us (Judges 11:26) that the disputed territory had been held by Israël for 300 years, dating from the end of the forty years’ wandering. Solomon also speaks very definitely about the number of years that intervened between the Exodus from Egypt and the year in which he began to build the Temple of the Lord. He speaks of this year as ‘the 480th year after the children of Israël were come out of the land of Egypt’, and the fourth year of his reign (1 Kings 6:1). If we compare Solomon’s period with that given by Paul in Acts 13, we find a difference of ninety-three years, which, again, is too great to be set aside as of no importance. In order to make this point clearer, we will set out Paul’s computation again, in conjunction with the period covered by Solomon’s account.
WILDERNESS WANDERING 40 years.
PERIOD OF JUDGES 450 years.
SAUL’s REIGN 40 years.
DAVID’S REIGN (1 Kings 2:11) 40 years.
SOLOMON’S FIRST THREE COMPLETE YEARS (1 Kings 6:1) 3 years.
DEDUCT — SOLOMON’S COMPUTATION 480 years.
TOTAL TO ACCOUNT FOR 93
Let us now look back over the list of items given in the chronology of the book of Judges. We observe that there are five periods of servitude, varying in length from seven years to forty. Adding these periods together we have the following:
FIRST SERVITUDE (Judges 3:8) 8 years
SECOND SERVITUDE (Judges 3:14) 18 years
THIRD SERVITUDE (Judges 4:3) 20 years.
FOURTH SERVITUDE (Judges 6:1) 7 years.
FIFTH SERVITUDE (Judges 13:1) 40 years.
This is indeed a revelation. The very number of the years of Israël’s servitude is equal to the difference between the accounts of Solomon and Paul. If we look more attentively at Solomon’s statement, we find that he does not say that the total number of years that intervened between the two points was 480, but that ‘in the 480th year’ the Temple was commenced. The number is ordinal (480th), not cardinal (480), showing that while Paul was using the calendar of the world, Solomon was using the calendar of the Lord, and in that calendar no notice is taken of periods when Israël are in bondage. From this emerges a principle. When Israël are lo-ammi, time is not counted prophetically.
We must now review the book of the prophet Hosea, where the prophetic import of the name Lo-ammi is worked out.
Hosea. The restoration of Israël, symbolized and promised
The prophecy of Hosea follows those of Jonah and Amos so fas as chronological order is concerned, but stands at the head of the twelve minor prophets in the Hebrew canon. The name Hosea is the Hebrew word for ‘salvation’ and appears in chapter 1, in the promise:
- ‘But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will SAVE them by the LORD their God, and will not SAVE them by bow, not by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen’ (Hos. 1:7).
This promise might well be taken as the key promise of the prophecy. The word reappears in the closing section of the prophecy:
- ‘Thou shall know no god but Me: for there is no SAVIOUR beside Me’ (Hos. 13:4).
- ‘I will be thy king: where is any other that may SAVE thee in all thy cities?’ (Hos. 13:10).
- ‘Asshur shall not SAVE us; we will not ride upon horses: neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods: for in Thee the fatherless findeth mercy’ (Hos. 14:3).
The reader will not fail to observe how this last reference perfectly balances the first, even to the inclusion of the word ‘mercy’. This insistence upon the word ‘salvation’ and ‘save’ suggested by the name of the Prophet, is a feature that is noticeable in another grouping of the prophets in the Hebrew canon.
The term ‘prophet’ covers some books which are historical rather than predictive and opens with the book of Joshua, and closes with the book of the minor prophets considered as one book. The ‘prophets’ therefore of the Hebrew canon open with ‘Joshua’ the Salvation of the Lord, the Captain, and closes with ‘Joshua’ the Salvation of the Lord, the High Priest (Zech. 3). The whole prophetic section of the Old Testament being bounded by the name borne by THE Saviour, for ‘Jesus’ [Jehoshua] is but the Greek spelling of Joshua, as a reference to Acts 7:45 and Hebrews 4:8 will show.
A disquisition on such a theme as ‘the nature of God’ is naturally outside the scope of studies such as this, but none should be able to read the words ‘I will … save them by the LORD their God’ (Hos. 1:7) without being struck by its peculiar phraseology. It is ‘The LORD’ Who is the speaker, verse 4, ‘And the LORD said … I will avenge … I will break … And (God, the word supplied by the A.V.) said … I will no more … I will utterly … I will have mercy &c. and will save’. If the passage had read ‘I will save them by Myself’ it would have been readily understood. It must be remembered that of ‘God’, Absolute and Unconditioned’ we know, and can know nothing. He Himself is greater than all His names, and by His very nature Unnameable. In this verse in Hosea we see, as it were, God Himself, referring to Himself in the realm of the manifest and the conditioned. He is ‘Jehovah THEIR God’, Who in fulness of time became Man and was known as ‘The Man Christ Jesus’.
The opening chapters of Hosea (1 to 3) are chiefly characterized by the fact that the Prophet enacts in his own family life the message that he has to tell, and this is followed by another section (4-14) in which the Prophet, while still using symbol, speaks the message by word of mouth.
- ‘Go, take unto thee a wife’ (1:2). ‘Go yet, love a woman’ (3:1).
This is ‘the beginning of the word of the Lord BY Hosea’.
- ‘Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israël’ (4:1).
This is the continuance of the prophecy of Hosea.
The word translated ‘beginning’ is not the same as that found in Genesis 1:1. It is the Hebrew chalal, and is found again in the margin of Hosea 8:10, where the text reads ‘sorrow’. It may appear strange to the casual reader that a word can mean either ‘beginning’ or ‘sorrow’, but the fact is, that the idea of a ‘beginning’ is a derived meaning, the primary idea of chalal being ‘to perforate’, thence by stages ‘to lay open’, ‘to give access and so profane or defile’, and eventually ‘to begin’ in the sense of ‘opening’.
While a verbal connection between the word ‘beginning’ and the subsequent strange episode in the life of the prophet would not be evident to the English reader, Hosea, who was commissioned by God to ‘take a wife of whoredoms’ (Hos. 1:2) would scarcely fail to note the word ‘beginning’ was derived from the word meaning ‘to lay open, profane, defile’, and employed by Moses and other writers for the very pollution and profanation he was called upon to exhibit (Lev. 21:7,9,14; 19:29).
It does not necessarily follow that Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, was an immoral woman. It means that she was of ‘Israël’ as distinct from ‘Judah’, for Israël, that is the Ten Tribes, had become idolaters, having their own sanctuary at Beth-el. We have already learned about the ‘altars of Beth-el’ from the prophet Amos, and Hosea refers to Beth-el in 10:5 and 12:4 in a markedly contrasted manner.
The two marriage contrast into which Hosea entered, are highly significant, and must now be examined.
Hosea’s marriage contracts
A 1:2-. ‘Go take a wife of whoredoms’.
B 1:-2. Meaning, the departure of the land from the LORD.
C 1:3. Hosea takes Gomer.
D 1:4 to 2:23. e 1:4-9 The three children. a Jezreel ‘I will avenge’. b Lo-ruhamah ‘Not … mercy’. c Lo-ammi ‘Not My people’.
Prophetic significance. f 1:10 to 2:1. Prophetic import of the three names. f 2:2-22. Prophetic fulfillment of the three names.
D 1:4 to 2:23. e 2:23. The three children. a Jezreel ‘I will sow’. b Ruhamah ‘Mercy’. c Ammi ‘My People’.
A 3:1-. ‘Go yet, love … an adulteress’.
B 3:-1. Meaning, Israël who look to other gods.
C 3:2. Hosea buys her, with the price of a slave.
D 3:4,5. Prophetic significance. e1 3:4-. Many days. f1 3:-4. Abide … without a king etc. e2 3:5-. Afterward. f 2 3:-5-. Return … LORD …, and David their king. e3 3:-5. Latter days.
It is evident by this disposition of the subject-matter, that these two marriage contracts entered into by the Prophet were intended to set forth in symbol the relationship of the Lord to Israël, their defection, the long period of their estrangement and their final restoration.
The names of the three children which were born were most certainly given because of their typical meaning. The name of the wife, Gomer, does not appear to have been chosen because of its meaning, but because of its association. Gomer was the name of the northern people, of Japhetic origin (Gen. 10:2). Some believe that from these descended the Cimerii, the ancestors of the Cymry or the Welsh. Israël by their sins and idolatry had put themselves in the position of the far-off Gentiles. The three children of this marriage were named by God’s instruction Jezreel, Lo-ruhamah and Lo-ammi (Hos. 1:4,6 and 9).
Jezreel. First it should be observed that there is in this name a paronomasia between Israël (Yisraël) and Jezreel (Yizraël). Then, it must be remembered that two words similar in sound, provide a further prophetic foreshadowing. The Hebrew word ‘to sow’ is zara, the Hebrew word ‘to scatter’ is zarah, so that the expressions ‘may God sow’ and ‘may God scatter’ appear very similar to the eye and ear in the original. Israël were to be ‘scattered’ among the nations (Lev. 26:33; Jer.31:10), but eventually they were to be ‘sown’ again in their own land (Jer. 31:27). The prophet Zechariah uses the word ‘sow’ with the meaning equivalent to ‘scatter’ (Zech. 10:9). The scattered tribes of Israël were known as ‘the dispersion’ (Ezek. 12:15; Joh. 7:35) and ‘the twelve tribes scattered abroad’ (Jas. 1:1) where the Greek word for ‘seed’ spora enters into the composition of the word diaspora ‘the dispersed or scattered.
In this name, therefore, of Hosea’s firstborn son, the whole of Israël’s history is compressed. They shall be scattered, but they shall at last be gathered. The names of the two children that followed are prophetic of the condition of Israël during this scattering, Lo-ruhamah meaning ‘not having obtained mercy’, L0-ammi meaning ‘not My people’. The ‘Lo-ammi‘ period of Israël’s scattering is of the utmost importance to the right understanding of the dispensational place of the Mystery and the church [ecclesia] of the One Body. Israël became ‘lo-ammi’ at Acts 28:28, when for the first time in history it could be said ‘the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles‘ independently of Israël. In God’s good time, a complete reversal will be made of all the conditions that are now associated with Israël’s blindness, which reversal is the subject of Hosea 2:23 — (1) ‘I will sow‘, Jezreel, the second meaning attached to the Hebrew name; (2) ‘I will have mercy’, removing the negative ‘lo’ from the name Lo-ruhamah; and (3) ‘My people’, removing the negative ‘lo’ from the name Lo-ammi. Great shall be the day of Jezreel when this blessed reversal takes place (Hos. 1:11).
The second relationship of Hosea is given in chapter 3. The word translated ‘friend’ in Hosea 3:1 is the Hebrew rea, which differs from the word translated ‘evil’ in the vowel points, and is usually translated ra. The LXX translators translate this verse ‘go yet, and love a woman that loves evil things, and an adulteress’. and it is in line with the true for which this symbol stands that these words should refer to the same woman — Gomer — who had acted unfaithfully even as Israël had done. We sincerely hope that by so concluding we have not said evil of an innocent person, and must of course leave the matter to the judgment of the reader, or, better still, to the judgment of ‘that day’.
The woman in view had evidently become seriously involved, for the price paid by Hosea was the price demanded for the liberation of a slave. The symbolism of this new marital transaction is then explained:
- ‘For the children of Israël shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: afterward shall the children of Israël return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and His goodness in the latter days’ (Hos. 3:4,5).
The interval of the ‘many days’ is to be characterized by a mutual ‘abiding’ or ‘waiting’. The woman was to ‘abide’ without further unfaithfulness, the man would abide and wait also. This waiting negative attitude is explaining by the sixfold negation of verse 4. Israël has had no ‘king’ since the days of their captivity. On the other hand, the very scattering among the nations has made it impossible for any foreign prince to rule over them. Since the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Israël have been deprived of the right to offer sacrifice, but since the days of their captivity they have never again fallen under the old spell of idolatry, they have had no priest in the true sense of the word, but neither have they teraphim.
The Bible student needs no explanation of these terms, except perhaps the last, teraphim. This word is variously explained, but always with a consciousness that much to do with its origin and intention is unknown. Dr. J.E. Shelley contributed a suggestive article to the Bible League Quarterly in 1939 in which he speaks of the ‘generations’ which compose the bulk of the book of Genesis, and suggests that these ‘ancestral tablets’ were called teraphim by association with Terah the father of Abraham, and says that ‘certain Jewish legends represent Terah as actually a maker of idols’. The word ‘teraphim’ occurs but six times in the English of the A.V. All the references, apart from Hosea 3, being found in Judges 17 and 18. The word occurs, however, fifteen times altogether in the Old Testament, being translated ‘image’ ‘idolatry’ and ‘idol’. It was the teraphim that Rachel stole and hid (Gen. 31:19-35). It was the teraphim that Michal placed in the bed vacated by David (1 Sam. 19:13,16). In 1 Samuel 15:23, Ezekiel 21:21 and Zechariah 10:2 it will be seen that the teraphim were consulted and associated with witchcraft and divination.
- ‘When the temple in Jerusalem was burned in A.D. 70 all the genealogical records of Israël’s tribes were utterly destroyed. There is no man among the Jews today who can prove definitely of which tribe he is, by giving his genealogical records’ (Dr. J.E. Shelley).
Israël had long been without a king, when they entered their lo-ammi condition at Acts 28. The last king to go at the destruction of the temple would have been their genealogical records. Since that date Israël has ‘waited’, and must wait until a priest stands up with Urim and Thummim — in other words, until the lord Himself returns. The words of Hosea 6:1,2 suggest that the period covered by this ‘abiding’ will be ‘two days’, which in the symbolical use of the term may cover the two thousand years that may intervene before their complete restoration. As we have no certain knowledge as to when this period actually started, it is useless to attempt to compute the date of Israël’s restoration, but we can read the signs of the times [1897 – 1967 – 1948 – 2018 … !!].
The return of Israël, with the confession that they will make, constitutes the closing chapter of this prophecy. All is graciously reversed. Instead of being lo-ammi and lo-ruhamah the fatherless find mercy (Hos. 14:3). Their backsliding is healed, and this restored people grow as the lily, have the beauty of the olive, the odour of Lebanon, with their fruit derived alone from the Lord.
Let those who treat the record of Acts 28 with scant concern, think again what the intervening two thousand years would have been like had no parenthetical dispensation come into being.
[By Charles H. Welch – Berean Expositor / London].
THE CHAPEL OF THE OPENED BOOK / LONDON
Om in het licht te stellen wat de Bediening van het Geheimenis
inhoudt, dat eeuwen her verborgen is gebleven in God, de Schepper
van alle dingen (Efeze 3:9).
Gerard J.C. Plas