The intercessory prayer of Daniel addresses two main concerns: the sins of the people and the desolation of Jerusalem. Thus, God’s response deals with these two petitions. Through the work of the Messiah the people will be redeemed and the sanctuary will be anointed. The two specific petitions, however, are answered in ways that transcend the immediate historical horizon of Daniel: the work of the Messiah will benefit the entire human race.
Read Daniel 9:21-27. What work was to be done within the 70-week period? Why can only Jesus accomplish it?
- “To finish the transgression”. The Hebrew word for “transgression” (pesha‘) suggests the willful violations by an inferior against a superior (for example, Prov. 28:24). This word also occurs in the Bible with regard to open defiance of God by humans (Ezek. 2:3). Through the blood of Jesus, however, rebellion against God is quashed and humans are offered the merits that flow from Calvary.
- “To make an end of sins”. The verb carries the meaning of “to seal”, and here it means that sin is forgiven. Since the fall, the human race has been unable to live up to God‘s standards, but the Messiah will take care of our failures.
- “To make reconciliation for iniquity”. As Paul says: “For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross” (Col. 1:19-20, NKJV). Here, too, only Jesus can bring about this reality.
- “To bring in everlasting righteousness”. Christ took our place on the cross and thereby bestowed upon us the blessed condition of “being right” with God. Only by faith can we receive this righteousness that comes from God.
- “To seal up vision and prophecy”. When Christ offered Himself in sacrifice, the Old Testament prophecies that pointed to His atoning work were sealed up in the sense that they were fulfilled.
- “And to anoint the Most Holy”. The Most Holy mentioned here is not a person but a place. So the statement refers to the anointing of the heavenly sanctuary as Christ was inaugurated there as our great High Priest (Heb. 8:1).