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Seventy Weeks

The prophecy in Daniel concerning the Messiah

 

 

Daniel 9:24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city,…

 

The 70 week prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27 pin-points the first coming of the Messiah and is one of the most misinterpreted prophecies in the bible. Let’s consider this vision of Daniel.

 

The vision of the 70 weeks is a part of the larger vision, the 2300 day vision.

 

Begin at Daniel 7, Daniel was given visions about Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome and Christ final victory. The vision was explained to Daniel. But Daniel was still troubled.

 

Continues in Daniel 8, two years later, the visions returned to Daniel as he was shown the ram, the goat, 4 horns and the little horn.

 

Daniel heard the question: how long shall the vision be concerning the daily sacrifice, the transgression of desolation….Daniel 8:13

 

The answer:

Daniel 8:14 And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.

 

The explanation was given by Gabriel to to Daniel in vs16-26. The vision is about the end time vs17 & 19. But Daniel didn’t understand. For the ending of this prophecy was given but the beginning was not. He was greatly troubled and felt sick.

 

On to the first year of Darius the Persian king, as the 70years of captivity prophesized by Jeremiah nearing the end, Daniel confessed his sins and sins of Israel and prayed to the Lord for his people. At the end of his prayer, as an answer, Gabriel returned to finish the explanation of the 2300day prophecy.

 

Daniel 9

21 Yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the former vision, being caused to fly swiftly, came near to me and touched me about the time of the evening sacrifice.

22 He instructed me and made me understand; he talked with me and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give you skill and wisdom and understanding.

 

In most translations, vs21 is cross-referenced to Dan 8:16. As we recall, Dan 16-26, Gabriel explained the symbols of the ram, goat, the horns and explained the vision is for the end time. Daniel understood none of that. For the time prophecy to be understood, now the starting point must be given.

 

23 At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.

24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, 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 seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

….

 

70 week prophecy was the beginning portion that was cut-off from the 2300day prophecy.

 

Now that we have the background, let’s consider the content of the prophecy…

 

Daniel 9: 24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, 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 seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

 

Verse 24 plainly states the 70 weeks or 490 days are determined, set as probation period upon the Israelites and the city of Jerusalem, to make an end of their sins, transgression and iniquities (the Israelites went to the Babylonian captivity because of their constant rebellion against the LORD), to bring in everlasting righteousness, to fulfill this prophecy and to anoint the Messiah. This alludes the ancient messianic prophecies that the messiah would die on the cross, pay for our sins and establish the everlasting righteousness.

 

There is no limit to God’s mercy. But there is a limit to God’s patience. While He’s infinitely merciful, He can not allow sins to go on continuously in our lives. As we have seen in the cases of the flood, with Sodom and Gomorrha and many other stories told in the Bible, God set a deadline for the people to repent before He carries out His judgment. Here God set a period of probation of 490 years for the Israelites to repent of their sins and welcome in the Messiah.

 

We apply the principle in time prophecy, 1 prophetic day = 1 year.

 

Ezekiel 4:6 And when you have fulfilled the days for Israel, lie again, but on your right [and south] side, and you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days. I have appointed you one day for each year.

 

We saw the Israelites wandered in the wilderness 40 years for the 40 days of their unbelief. This principle ‘a day for a year’ applies for every time prophecy in the Bible. It works to perfection. We can not arbitrarily apply it. We must be consistent. So the 70 weeks or the 490 days is 490 years.

 

 

25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

 

Here Gabriel began to explain the vision to Daniel: the 70 week prophecy begins with the decree to restore Jerusalem and to Messiah shall be 69 weeks.

 

First let’s consider the starting point: there are 4 occurrences in the Bible about the decrees to rebuild Jerusalem:

 

a. Ezra 1:1-14, 1st year of Cyrus, dated to 537 B.C.
b. Ezra 6:1-12, 2nd year of Darius dated to 520 B.C.
c. Ezra 7:1-27, 7th year of Artaxerxes dated to 457 B.C.
d. Neh 2:1-8, 20th year of Artaxerxes dated to 444 B.C. 

 

We know from Levitical priesthood laws, when a man reaches the age of 30, it can become a priest. That was the case with Jesus. Jesus was 30 was He was baptized to begin His ministry as the Messiah. The year was 27AD established in Luke 3:1 the 15th year of Tiberius.

 

This puts the beginning of the prophecy at 457BC. So as stated in verse 25, from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem at 457BC to the beginning of Messiah’s ministry at 27AD is 69 prophetic weeks or 483 literal years. Notice there is no year Zero.

 

26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.

 

Notice the 70 week prophecy is chopped up in 3 slices: the first 7 weeks, 62 weeks and last week. Here verse 26 states after the second slice, the 62 weeks, the Messiah shall be crucified for our sins. The detailed date of crucifixion is given in the next verse. And people of the prince, the Roman army commanded by Titus used by the Messiah will come and destroy the city of Jerusalem and the Temple. At 70AD, as a result of rejection of the Messiah by the Jews, the Roman army crushed the Jewish rebellion and destroyed the city and the Herodian Temple in a destruction described by historians as a swift ‘flood’. And they will be left desolate until the end of time. Jesus predicted the same in His own words.

 

Matthew 23

37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.

39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

 

Luke 13

34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!

35 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

 

Also in

Revelation 1: 7Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

 

On to verse 27…

27 And 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, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

 

Jesus and disciples preached this message of salvation exclusively the Jews for 7 years. Some apply this verse to the anti-Christ and 7 year tribulation. We can see it is clearly taken out-of-context.

 

Matthew 26:28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

 

Romans 15:8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:

 

Notice Jesus even restricted the disciples to preach to the gentiles at the time.

Jesus personally came to save the lost sheep of Israel. He was trying to do everything He possible could to call them to repentance. The time for the gentiles to hear the gospel had not yet come at that time.

 

In the middle of the week, at 31AD, Jesus our Passover lamb made the ultimate sacrifice for sin. Since that point, sacrifice and sin offerings are no longer required or have any merit with God. The temple in Jerusalem will remain desolate until the final judgment.

 

The speculation that the Jews will try to rebuild the temple and resume the sacrifice is irrelevant. Jesus has already made the ultimate sacrifice.

 

The stoning of Stephen was recorded in Acts 7:59 marked the end of the 70 week prophecy: 457BC-34AD. This marked the first Christian martyr. Because of the ultimate rejection of Jesus and His message preached by His followers. The gospel was no longer preached to the gentiles.

 

Acts 13:46 Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.

 

Romans 1: 16For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

 

As a result of their rejection, the unbelieving Jews were cut-off, the believing gentiles are grafted in.

 

Romans 11

19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in.

20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:

21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.

 

Also illustrated in parables of the fig tree, the wedding feast, the husbandmen and vineyard…told by Jesus.

 

But God’s grace is not shut away from the Jewish people. God’s blessing and promise are based on the condition of our obedience. We all can become the children of God by faith and become the spiritual Israel.

 

Galatians 3: 29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

 

So in conclusion, the 70 prophecy accurately predicts the Messiah’s ministry, His baptism, crucifixion and the close of probation to the nation of Israel.

 

What we just saw is the Historicist interpretation that the prophecies are fulfilled as history progresses. And this prophecy is a part of the 2300 day prophecy for the end time.

Other interpretations on the 70 weeks are the Preterist interpretation and Futurist interpretation. The Preterist interpretation is that all the biblical prophecies took place in the past and the anti-Christ had already come in the past. The Futurist interpretation says the anti-Christ has not yet come and will come in the future.

 

Both interpretations are incorrect and were inspired by Jesuit interpretations as counter-acts to the Protestant Reformation.