Daniel's 70 Weeks
Daniel Chapter 9 contains the most amazing prophecy concerning the time of the coming of the Messiah. Various man-made interpretations have obscured the beauty and clarity of this awesome prophecy, which gives the exact date of the coming of the Messiah. This prophecy equals the suffering Servant Prophecy of Isaiah 53. It leaves no margin for dispute concerning the identity of the Messiah – Jesus. It predicts:
- The date of his coming,
- His inauguration of the New Covenant,
- His death and the destruction of Jerusalem following his death.
- The destruction of Jerusalem following His death.
Daniel was given a revelation of a 490-year period following a decree to rebuild Jerusalem. He predicted that in the last part of this 490-year period the Messiah would be killed and make a covenant.
Daniel calls the 490-year period “70 weeks” i.e. 70 periods of 7 years. This pattern of a day representing a year and seven days representing seven years is also found in Ezekiel 4:5.
The first seven weeks, i.e. the first 49 years – years 1 to 49
The next sixty two weeks i.e. the next 434 years (62×7) – years 50 to 483
And the seventieth week (the last seven years) – years 484 to 490 .
(49 yrs +434 yrs +7 yrs = 490 yrs)
Daniel’s 490 year time period begins from the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem.
The prophecy is recorded in Daniel chapter 9:24 – 27)
24* “Seventy weeks (weeks of years) are determined upon your people and upon your 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 (the Messiah).”
Paraphrase: The Messiah will
- come within 490 years of a certain decree to restore
and rebuild Jerusalem)
- finish the transgression
- put an end to sin
- atone for wickedness
- seal up vision and prophecy
- bring in eternal righteousness.
25a “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 sixty two weeks.” (i.e. 69 weeks of years i.e. 69×7 = 483 years)
Paraphrase: The Messiah will come 483 years after a decree is issued to restore and rebuild Jerusalem.)
25b “the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.”
Paraphrase: Though Jerusalem will be rebuilt, it will know troubled times and not be in great prosperity.
26a “And after (the) sixty two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself”
Paraphrase: Since the sixty-two weeks come after the first seven years, this means after 69 weeks of years i.e. after 483 (69 x7) years, the Messiah will be cut off on behalf of others. This is a reference to His sacrifice on our behalf.
26b “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.”
Paraphrase: After the Messiah is cut off an invading prince will destroy Jerusalem and the Temple. (Within a generation After Jesus’ death the Roman army conquered Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple)
27* “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for (during) one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, “
Paraphrase: In the middle of the last seven years of the 490-year period He (the Messiah) will make a covenant with many and put an end to sacrifice and offerings and the Temple Mount will become defiled until the end by the abomination of desolations. (Daniel 9:24-27) This is a clear prophecy of the New Covenant. In the inauguration of the New Covenant Jesus actually echoes these words: “This is my blood of the new covenant which is shed for MANY.” (Mark 14;24)
27b “and on the wing of the Temple he will set up (or will be set up) an abomination that causes desolation until the end is decreed an poured out upon him (it).”
Paraphrase: After the cutting off (death of the Messiah) an abomination will be set up on a side of the Temple making it uninhabitable by Jews and desolating the Temple area. This will remain until the end. The Dome of The Rock established Islamic worship on the Temple Mount since the 7th century and makes it impossible for the Temple to be restored. It is the abomination that makes the Temple area desolate.
The Time of counting of the 70 weeks (490 years) begins with a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. In 454 King Artaxerxes I (474-433) issued a decree in the twentieth year of his reign (Nehemiah Chapter 2). 454 BC is therefore the year that the 490-year clock begins
454 BC + 490 brings us to 35 AD.
(There is no zero A.D. – the year after I B.C. is 1 A.D.)
The last 7 years of the 490 cycle are from 29 to 35 A.D. Jesus was born 2 BC and was killed “cut off” AD 32, exactly in the last week as Daniel prophesied. His death was followed by the destruction of Jerusalem as both He and Daniel predicted.
Daniel’s’ prophecy predicts
- the rebuilding of Jerusalem and its second destruction
- the coming of the Messiah before its second destruction
- the Messiah making atonement for sin
- the Messiah’s (1st) coming will not bring a golden age for Jerusalem, but on the contrary, Jerusalem will suffer from the hands of imperial powers until the end of the age.
- Something will be placed on a wing of the Temple Mount that will make it desolate (The Dome of the Rock has desolated (i.e. made unclean and worship impossible on the Temple Mount since 688 A.D. until today.)
The time line according to Daniel commences with a decree to restore and build Jerusalem. The Bible records several decrees from the Persian Kings, which permitted Jewish return to their land..
Ezra & Nehemiah record 4 decrees by Mede & Persian Kings permitting Jewish exiles to return from Babylon
1) The first was issued by Cyrus in the year 536 BC is recorded in Ezra 1:1
2) The second was issued by Darius in the year 419 BC recorded in Ezra 4:24; 6-12
3) The third was issued by Artaxerxes in the year 458 BC is recorded in Ezra 7:7-28
4) Artaxerxes issued the fourth in the year 454 BC is recorded in Nehemiah 2:1-17
Decree #1 by Cyrus was a permit to build the Temple (Ezra Chapter 1)
Decree #2 by Darius was a permit to continue building the Temple
Decree #3 by Artaxerxes was a permit to continue building the Temple (Ezra chapter 7)
Decree #4 by Artaxerxes in the year 454 to restore and build Jerusalem (Neh. 2:5)
Artaxerxes decree to rebuild Jerusalem was issued in 454 BC is the only one that is a permit to build the City of Jerusalem. the others all have to do with the rebuilding of the Temple. It is therefore from this decree that Daniel’s 490-year period begins.
490 years after this decree in 454 BC takes us to 35 AD. The ministry of Jesus was approximately from 29- 32 AD. It took place in the last seven years of Daniel’s 490 years Jesus was cut off (crucified ) exactly as Daniel in the last seven years of the 490 years.
This view is supported by Julius Africanus – the late 2nd century historian who influenced Eusebius and early Christian writers. Many renowned chronologists such as Bishop Ussher, Walvrood, Dwight Pentecost, Unger and most present day bible chronologists agree with this interpretation of Daniel.
The Messiah was to be cut off and make a covenant after 69 periods of 7 years and before 70 periods of seven years; i.e. between 483 and 490 years after Artaxerxes decree.
454 BC + 483 = 30 AD
454 BC + 490 = 37 AD
The 70th week of Daniel’s prophecy is 30 A.D – 37 A.D. Jesus died between 30 and 37 AD – exactly as Daniel predicted! The prophecy is not about the Antichrist, as many have falsely taught. It is about the true Messiah Jesus. It is not about a future event in history but about an event that has already taken place – the greatest event in history.
It is simply false teaching to say that Daniel’s 490-year prophecy remains to be fulfilled in the future. Any end time theory based on the notion that this period is not fulfilled should be dismissed immediately.
This is one of the most amazing prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah – Yeshua. He fulfilled it to the letter.
- the exact date of His crucifixion,
- that He would come to atone for our sins,
- bring a covenant (i.e. the New Covenant);
- that He would die and
- that His death would be followed by a further desolation of Jerusalem and of the Temple Mount.
How sad that this great prophecy, which more than any other points to the identity of the real Messiah, and explains why the Messiah’s coming did not bring in the glorious age has been obscured by the teaching of Lacunza, Darby, Scofield etc.
The main objection that Jewish people have to the Messianic claim of Jesus is that He did not bring the glorious age. However, Daniel’s prophecy clearly predicts that the Messiah’s work would be followed by an invasion of the city and a period of desolation for the city. Which is exactly what happened after the death of Jesus when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem.