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The Seventy Weeks of Daniel

The Seventy Weeks of Daniel 9:24-27

 

A.  SCRIPTURE:

“Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place”.

 

“So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.”.

 

“Then after the sixty-two week the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the Prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.  And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined”.

 

And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate”.

 

B. MAIN FEATURES OF THIS PROPHECY

·         It concerns Daniel’s people, Israel, and Daniel’s city, Jerusalem (v. 24)

·         Two princes mentioned:

1.    Messiah (v. 25)

2.    Prince to come (v. 26)

·         Time period is specified at 70 weeks (v. 24) (Each week is 7 years)

1.    As a unit (v. 24)

2.    As a division of 3 periods: 7 weeks, 62 weeks, and 1 week (v. 25 and 27)

·         Specified beginning of the 70 weeks (v. 25)

·         Messiah appears at end of 69 weeks (v. 25)

·         Destruction of city and sanctuary by people of prince to come (v. 26)

·         Covenant made between Israel and the coming prince at the beginning of last week (v. 27).  This covenant is broken mid-week (v 27)

·         At end of the 70 weeks, Israel will have everlasting righteousness (v. 24)

 

C. TIME MEASURE INDICATED BY 70 WEEKS

·         Jewish concept of week:

1.     The Hebrew word for “week” is shabua and literally means a “seven” (We should disassociate any English concept of week with the concept intended by Gabriel.)  Then, in Hebrew, the idea of 70 weeks is “seventy sevens”.

2.    The Jews were familiar with a “seven” of both days and years.  “It was, in certain respects, even more important” (Alva J. McClain, Daniel’s Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks, p. 13).

3.    Leviticus 25:2-4 illustrates the above fact.  Leviticus 25:8 show that there was a multiple of a week of years.

·         Remembering what has been previously said, there are several reasons for believing the 70 weeks mentioned in Daniel are 70 sevens of years.

1.    Daniel had been thinking in terms of years and multiples of seven earlier in the chapter (Dan. 9: 1-2).

2.    Daniel knew that the Babylonian captivity was based on violation of the Sabbatic year, and since they were in captivity for 70 years, evidently the Sabbatic year was violated 490 years (Lev. 26:32-35, II Chr. 36:21, and Dan. 9:24).

3.    The Context is consistent and makes sense when we understand the 70 weeks as years.

4.    Shabua is found in Daniel 10:2-3.  Context demands it to mean “weeks” of days.  it is literally “three sevens of days”.  If Daniel meant days in 9:24-27, why don’t we find the same form of expression as that in chapter ten?  Obviously, years are meant in chapter nine.

D.  LENGTH OF PROPHETIC YEAR

·         The calendar year used in the Scriptures must be determined from the Scriptures themselves.

1.    Historically – Compare Genesis 7:11 with Genesis 8:4 and the two of these with Genesis 7:24 and Genesis 8:3.

2.    Prophetically – Many scriptures refer to the Great Tribulation under various terms, but all have a common denomination of a 360-day year.

ü  Daniel 9:27 – “Midst” of the 70th week (obviously 3 1/2  years).

ü  Daniel 7:24-25 – “A time and times and the dividing of time (literally 31/2 times).

ü  Revelation 12:13 – “A time and times and half a time”.

ü  Revelation 12:6 – “A thousand two hundred and three score days” (1260 days or 3 1/2 years).

 

E.  BEGINNING OF 70 WEEKS

·         The key to this is in Daniel 9:25 (decree).

·         Suggested decrees which are incorrect.

·         Cyrus 536 ……………..Ezra 1:1-2, 4:1-5

·         Darius…………………..Ezra 6:1-8, 12-14

·         Artaxerxes…………….Ezra 7:11-13, 20, 27

·         But the keys to these three are not found.

·         Only possible decree.  Nehemiah 2:1-8 – Artaxerxes

·         Date:

1.    “In the month Nisan (March), in the 20th year of Artaxerxes the king”.

2.    Artaxerxes’ accession was in 465 B.C., therefore Nehemiah 2:1 is definitely fixed at 445 B.C.

3.    There is no date specified, so according to the Jewish custom, the date is understood as the first day of the month.

4.    March 14, 445 B.C. is our corresponding calendar date.

F.  WAY-MARK OF THE FIRST SEVEN WEEKS

·         It took 49 years to restore the city (v. 25)

·         The close of Hebrew prophecy and of the Old Testament canon in Malachi is noteworthy, marked 49 years after 445 B.C.

G.  TERMINAL DAY OF THE 69 WEEKS

·         Reduction of weeks to days gives:

1.    69 weeks x 7 years x 360 days = 173,880 days

2.    173,880 days from March 14, 445 B.C. give the date of April 6, 32 A.D.

·         The exact and final date, according to many calculations by Sir Robert Anderson in The Coming Prince (p. 127), was April 6, 32 A.D.  he states, “The Julian date of the 10th Nisan was Sunday the 6th of April, A.D. 32.  What then was the length of the period intervening between the issuing of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem and the public advent of “Messiah the Prince,” – Between the 14th B.C. 445, and the 6th of April, A.D. 32?   The interval contained exactly and to the very day 173,880, days or seven times sixty-nine prophetic years of 360 days, the first sixty nine week of Gabriel’s prophecy.”

·         Proof in terms of our Calendar.

1.    445 B.C to 32 A.D. is 476 years (B.C. 1 to A.D. 1 is one year).

2.    476 x 365 days                     =  173,740 days

Add for leap years                           116 days ( 3 less in 4 centuries)

March 14 to April 6                           24 days (inclusive)

                                                   173,880 total days

  

·         Terminal event of 69 weeks:

1.    Offer of King and the Kingdom.  Note: The above date was the same day the Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9 (Compare Luke 19:28-44)

2.    Two events occur after the 69 weeks and before the 70th.

ü   Messiah is “cut off” (crucified).

ü  The city and sanctuary are destroyed (Titus’ destruction of Jerusalem, 70 A.D.).

·         No matter how you figure the dates (even if you don’t accept Sir Robert Anderson’s exact dates) the Messiah had to come before the destruction of Jerusalem.

 

Source:  Copied from “Evidence that demands a Verdict”, Josh McDowell, pp 178 -181)