Daniel's Seventy Weeks

By Bob Lowry

"Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place. Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time. And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed. And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator." Daniel 9:24-27
The seventy-week prophesy in Daniel 9:24-27 has been a subject of debate since it was written. The beginning of v. 24 says "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people...", and then names six things determined upon "thy people," the nation of Israel. We think of a "week" as being a seven-day period of time. But in the prophecy a week means a week of years, or a seven-year period of time (1 "week" = 7 years).

In Daniel 9:24 God is foretelling there will be a seventy-week, that is, a seventy times seven-year period, or 70 x 7 = 490 years, of judgment determined against Israel regarding the six matters named in v. 24.

Daniel 9:25 and 27 mention three time periods of "weeks": 7 weeks and threescore and two weeks (62 weeks) in v. 25, and 1 week in v. 27. In terms of years, those are the same as 49 years (7 x 7 = 49), 434 years (7 x 62 = 434 years), and 7 years. These time durations add up to the 70 weeks of v. 24, that is, 490 years, respectively.

The first time period of 7 weeks, or 49 years, began in the year 445 BC, when king Artaxerxes gave Nehemiah permission to re-build Jerusalem. Re-building took 49 years, until 396 BC (445 - 49 = 396).

The prophecy then says in v. 26 that threescore and two more weeks later, i.e. 434 years later, "shall Messiah be cut off." That is, 434 years after finishing re-building Jerusalem, Messiah is cut off. That period of time runs from 396 BC to AD 38 (396 - 434 = -38, meaning 38 years after the birth of Jesus, or the year 38AD). When quirks of the calendar such as leap years are considered, that 434 year period actually ended in the year AD 32.

Jesus was killed by crucifixion in AD 32. His death precisely fulfilled 69 weeks, or 483 years (7 x 69 = 483), of the original 70-week (490 year) prophecy. Messiah being cut off in v. 26 refers to the death of Jesus Christ (followed closely, of course, by burial and resurrection — He lives today!) The death of Jesus is how we know that 69 weeks of the 70-week prophecy have passed.

What was not revealed to Daniel in the prophecy was that the seventieth week, or the final 7 years of the prophecy, did not begin at the crucifixion of Jesus. An interval of time is underway right now, after the 69 weeks, between the death of Jesus and the beginning of the 70th week. We are currently in that interval of time, known as the Church Age. To date the Church Age has lasted 1,984 years (2016 - 32 = 1984). The 70th week, or last 7-year period, is the time of Tribulation and is still in the future. We do not know, even Jesus does not know, when it will begin. It begins when Antichrist signs and is able to bring about a treaty of peace between Israel and the nations of the world, Daniel 9:27.

To complete God's timeline, three more segments of time occur after Daniel's seventieth week, after the seven years of Tribulation. First there is a 75-day interval of renovation of the earth from the damages wrought by the seal, bowl, and trumpet judgments of the Tribulation. That is followed by the 1,000-year millennial earthly reign of Jesus, which in turn is followed by the timeless eternity of the new heaven and new earth.

The Judgment seat of Christ is the believer's judgment, at which the works (not the sins) of Christians are judged for motive and appropriately rewarded. This judgment will take place in heaven during Daniel's seventieth week, while the seven years of judgment of sin (the Tribulation) occur on the earth. The Great White Throne Judgment is the judgment of non-believers in Jesus, and that occurs 1,000 years later at the end of the Millennial Kingdom.

Our prayer is that this overview of the prophecy of Daniel and future time helps your understanding of God's calendar.

Image Credit: Buecherwum_65; untitled; Creative Commons

TagsBiblical-Truth  | Controversial-Issues  | End-Times  | God-Father  | Theological-Beliefs

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Published 6-27-16