The prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27 should be treated as a whole, but let’s start with verse 24. This verse and the entire prophecy is a picture. And make no mistake; it is a picture of Jesus.
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. Daniel 9:24
The fascinating thing about this prophesy is that it leaves little room for doubt. It specifies exactly how many years until Christ – Seventy weeks, or 490 years. And if there is anything in this prophesy that declares our Christ, it is verse 24.
1) To finish and put an end to transgression – This is clearly referring to the redemptive work of Jesus on the cross. He put an end to transgression through the sacrifice of his spotless blood. And just as he states in John 19, “It is finished”, so it was. No longer would animal sacrifices be needed. Jesus put an end to sin and death.
2) To seal up and make full measure of sin – Christ has taken away our sins. The words “seal up” infer to take away, cover, or hide. John Gill in his commentary on this verse says, “ ‘to seal up sins’; which is expressive of the pardon of them procured by Christ; for things sealed are hid and covered, and so are sins forgiven”.
3) To purge away and make expiation and reconciliation for sin – expiation means to remove guilt through the payment of the penalty (Holman Bible Dictionary). Christ has purged away our guilt by his precious blood and paid the price so that our Holy God can be in right relationship with His people. A price must be paid for sin so we can be reconciled to God and this prophesy is telling us that Christ is coming to do just that.
4) To bring in everlasting righteousness – So now the fullness of what Christ has done comes to us. We receive everlasting righteousness through Christ.
“he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” Hebrews 9:12-14
All sacrifices until Christ were of animals and temporary. Now, with Christ the ultimate shedding of blood has purified us and given us eternal redemption and righteousness. It is not temporary, but eternal. A once and for all atoning that never ends. We are eternally found righteous through Christ.
5) To seal up vision and prophesy and prophet – John Gill says of this phrase, “not to shut it up out of sight; rather to set a mark on it, by which it might be more clearly known; but to consummate and fulfil it: all prophecy is sealed up in Christ, and by him; he is the sum and substance of it; the visions and prophecies of the Old Testament relate to him, and have their accomplishment in him;”. All the prophecies of the Old Testament are fulfilled in Christ. He sealed them with his coming. There is no one else coming – Christ is the vision, the prophesy, and the prophet.
6) To anoint the Most Holy – this refers to Christ. However, there are some translations, such as the NIV, that use the words, “to anoint the most Holy Place”, which would imply Jerusalem or the temple. Looking at the experts we find our answer. Adam Clarke explains, “And to anoint the Most Holy … signifies in general, to consecrate or appoint to some special office. Here it means the consecration or appointment of our blessed Lord, the Holy One of Israel, to be the Prophet, Priest, and King of mankind.” While John Wesley elucidates, “This alludes to his name Messiah and Christ, both which signify anointed.” James Dixon writes, “to anoint the most Holy (“place” has been added by some versions, not in the Hebrew. The term was applied most frequently to Persons.) This last phrase likely refers to the anointing of Christ as our Intercessor in the Holy of Holies in Heaven.”
Just to keep us on track, the whole of the verse is about Christ. It lists out six actions that all refer to him. And this is my primary point. If we get sidetracked by the nuances in words that refer to a city or temple, then we can miss what the text is saying and to whom it is referring. I know this seems small, but as with many things – they start small and end up being a huge canyon. Christ is the focus of this prophesy, and he is found everywhere you turn in verse 24.