The 70 Weeks of Daniel

The 70 Weeks of Daniel

The ninth chapter of the book of Daniel contains one of the most outstanding prophecies in the Bible, as it deals with both the first and second comings of Jesus Christ. The chapter opens with Daniel praying fervently on behalf of his people, the Israelites, who at that time (about 538 BC) were relocated captives of the Persian Empire.

The archangel Gabriel appears and informs Daniel that he has come to give Daniel “skill and understanding.” Then Gabriel tells Daniel to “understand the matter, and consider the vision.” "Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city [Jerusalem], to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up [fulfill] vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy [Jesus]" (Daniel 9:24).

The Hebrew word translated “weeks” in the King James Bible and some other versions is shabuwa, which literally means “seven.” Strong’s Greek/Hebrew Dictionary gives this definition: “literal, sevened, i.e. a week (specifically, of years).” So these 70 weeks are actually 70 times seven years. Some modern versions of the Bible state this “70 weeks” in simplest terms: 490 years. As we read the rest of the prophecy and understand its fulfillment, it becomes obvious that “seven years” is the correct interpretation of “week” in this passage.

”Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince [Jesus], there shall be seven weeks [49 years] and sixty-two weeks [434 years]; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times. And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself.” (Daniel 9:25-26).

This 69 weeks or 69 times seven years equals 483 modern calendar solar years.

Before this time prophecy that Daniel received can be charted out we have to take a look at what calendars are being used to measure time. For example, many Bible experts use the Modern Solar Calendar that is 365 ¼ days in a year. Then there is the Jewish Lunar Year Calendar that is 360 days in a year.

Using the Jewish Lunar Calendar that is used in the Bible it says in Revelation 11:2, and 13:5, that the duration of the Great Tribulation is 42 months, that is 3-1/2 years. In Revelation 11:3 and Revelation 12:6 the Great Tribulation is 1,260 days. If we take the 1,260 days and divide it by 3½ years, we end up with 360 days in a year.

Then you have Daniel 7:25, 12:7, Revelation 12:14 that give a time period for the Great Tribulation as time (1 Year) times (2 years) and half a time (1/2 year) equals 3-1/2 years. So three and a half years works out to exactly to 1,260 days, or exactly 42 months of 30 days for each month. In simple terms, 483 modern solar years = 476 Jewish Biblical Lunar years.

Command to Restore and Build Jerusalem

Nehemiah was the Jewish cupbearer to the Persian king Artaxerxes Longimanus, the fifth king of the Persian Empire. According to Nehemiah’s account in chapter two of his book, it was in the king’s 20th year on the throne that Nehemiah was granted permission to supervise the reconstruction of the walls of Jerusalem. Dating this event to our present calendar has been done quite precisely due to astronomical records kept by the Persian Empire.

The 20th year of King Artaxerxes and the year this command to restore and build Jerusalem is fixed with a fair amount of certainty at 445 b.c. Several other decrees issued by Artaxerxes and his predecessors had allowed the Jews to return to their homeland and rebuild their temple.

If we now add 476 Jewish Lunar years to 445 BC, we arrive at the year 31 AD. However, the first day of 31 AD would be the end of the 476 years so to fit in with the prophecy Jesus death would have had to happen somewhere in the year 30 AD. Most sources state that Jesus was crucified around 30 AD., but some place it as early as 29 AD and others as late as 33 AD. The year 30 AD being predicted over 500 years previously in the book of Daniel as the year when “Messiah shall be cut off” is a remarkable date to arrive at.

The prophet Isaiah, writing in about 700 BC, explains how it would be that the Messiah would be cut off [killed], but not for Himself:

“For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was stricken. … When You make His soul an offering for sin. … My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities” (Isaiah 53:8,10-11). Jesus died for us, to atone for the sins of the whole world, not because He Himself was guilty of any sin or crime.

There are indications that the Jews of Jesus’ day were expecting the Messiah to come around that time, as Luke records that “the people were in expectation, and all reasoned in their hearts about John, whether he was the Christ or not” (Luke 3:15). Could this prophecy from Daniel be the cause for this expectation?

Returning to Daniel’s revelation, the angel continues: "And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined" (Daniel 9:26b).

Forty years after Jesus was crucified, in 70 AD, the Roman legions under general (and future emperor) Titus–a “flood of ungodly men” (Psalm 18:4)–burned Jerusalem and took the temple apart stone by stone to get the gold leaf that had melted and run into the cracks, just as Jesus had prophesied of the temple in 30 AD: “Not one stone shall be left here upon another” (Matthew 24:1-2).

Where are the Missing Last Seven Years?

One pivotal clause in verse 24 was not fulfilled when Jesus was crucified: “to bring in everlasting righteousness.” One look at the world today and it is obvious that everlasting righteousness has not arrived. When Jesus died on the cross He made “an end to sin” for those who believe and receive Him as their Savior, but everlasting righteousness will not reign on earth until after Jesus returns, beginning with His initial 1,000-year reign known as the Millennium. The last of the 70 “weeks” of Daniel, the last seven years (also known as the 70th week), is yet to be fulfilled. Don’t be left in darkness or caught unprepared–find out when and how!

What makes this prophecy so remarkable is that it is a specific time prophecy that deals with both the first and second comings of Jesus Christ. As explained in the portion of that prophecy that had to do with Jesus’ first coming (69 of the 70 “weeks”) was fulfilled with absolute accuracy. This part explains the portion that has to do with His second coming–specifically the last seven years before His return. All but one of the 70 “weeks” of Daniel’s prophecies had to do with Jesus’ first coming. The “week” mentioned twice in verse 27 is the remaining “week”–the remaining seven years.

He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week (seven years): and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation [offering] 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. (Daniel 9:27 KJV).

The word “he” refers to “the prince who is to come” (verse 26), and since the Antichrist is also referred to as “the prince of the covenant” in Daniel 11:22, we know that the “he” in this verse is the Antichrist. The signing of this covenant will mark the start of the Antichrist’s seven-year reign and the last seven years before Jesus returns.

This covenant is mentioned several other times in the Scriptures. Because it is called a “holy covenant” in Daniel 11:28,30, it appears to be some sort of religious pact, at least in part–quite possibly one that tackles the thorny issue of religious coexistence between Jews, Muslims, and Christians, and by which Jerusalem will be declared an international city with free and equal access guaranteed to people of all faiths. It appears that this will also clear the way for the Jews to finally be able to rebuild their temple on Jerusalem’s Mount Moriah and reinstitute animal sacrifices on its altar.

But in the “midst of the week”–or three and a half years into the seven-year covenant period–the Antichrist will renege on the agreement:

And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate. (Daniel 11:31 KJV).

This is a key Scripture because it tells us that at this point, three and a half years after confirming the seven-year covenant, the Antichrist will forcibly enter the Jewish Temple (the “sanctuary of strength”), which would have to have been built by then, as it does not exist now. He will put an end to the daily sacrifice and the false prophet, the Antichrist's chief aide, will place in the temple area something called the “abomination of desolation.” (Revelation 13:11-18)

Over 500 years after Daniel gave this prophecy, Jesus referred to it in His dissertation on the signs of His second coming and of the end of the world as we know it:

When you see the “abomination of desolation,” spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place [the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem] … then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. (Matthew 24:15,21).

So what exactly is this “abomination of desolation”? Jesus said we would see it “standing” in the Jewish Temple. Daniel 11:31 says the Antichrist’s forces will “place” it there. Daniel 12:11 says that it will be “set up.” We find out in the book of Revelation that the abomination of desolation is an image of the Antichrist himself (Revelation 13:14-15), who the Bible also refers to as “the beast” (Revelation 13:1-7).

The false prophet who deceives the world will make an image to the Antichrist (Revelation 13:11-14) and place it at the site of the rebuilt Jewish temple (Daniel 11:31). This image which the prophet Daniel referred to as the “abomination of desolation,” will “speak” and somehow have power to cause those who refuse to worship it to be killed (Revelation 13:14-15).

A new world cashless economic system will be set up in which nobody will be able to buy or sell without the 666 Mark of the Beast as described in Revelation 13:16-18. This could possibly be in the form of an RFID Chip implant, but at this point of course we’re not sure of the exact technology to be used. Some will refuse to worship the Antichrist or receive his mark, but the Lord will take care of them (Revelation 12:6,14).

Back to Daniel 9:27: The Antichrist will rule “even until the consummation.” The Hebrew word that is translated “consummation” here comes from the root kalah, which can mean either “complete” or “consume, destroy utterly.” It is unclear which meaning is intended–whether it refers to the last aspect of the prophecy being fulfilled or the utter destruction of the Antichrist and his forces–but both fit because they happen at the same time. The prophecy will be completed and the Antichrist destroyed shortly after the second coming of Christ, in the wrath of God at the Battle of Armageddon.

Verse 27 continues: “and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” The wrath of God will be poured upon the Antichrist and his followers, but meanwhile God’s saved children will be safely home in heaven, enjoying the marriage feast of the Lamb, who is Jesus (Daniel 12:11-12; Revelation 14:9-10; chapters 15-16; 19).

The first 69 “weeks” happened just as Daniel’s prophecy said they would. We have no reason to doubt that the last “week”–the last seven years–will not also happen as predicted here in this amazing passage.