70 Weeks - Part 2
from eParousia #7, August, 2003
month we will continue our study of Daniel 9 and the prophecy of
the 70 "weeks." We saw that the Hebrew term translated
"week" in the New American Standard Version means a unit
of 7. Contextually we determined that the 70 week prophecy represents
490 years (70 "weeks" of years). The decree from Artaxerxes
to Nehemiah in 444 BC started the countdown, and 69 "weeks"
or 483 years were completed at the triumphal entry of Christ into
Jerusalem, after which He was crucified.
look again at the text of Daniel 9:24-27 as we continue our study:
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.
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.
after the sixty-two weeks 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.
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.
69 weeks of years had transpired up to the crucifixion of the Messiah,
Jesus. From the time the "commandment was given" to restore
and rebuild Jerusalem unto "Messiah the Prince" was 483
years. However, the number of years determined on Daniel's people
was 490 years (70x7). Did the final seven years, or the final "week,"
immediately follow the death of Messiah?
scholars see the final 7 years immediately following the first coming
of Christ, terminating the 490 years around AD 35. Others see the
completion of the 490 years as yet future, terminating with the
Second Coming of Christ. Which is the best interpretation of this
text? We can answer that question by looking at the text and the
the Hebrew word order, a more accurate and literal translation of
verse 26 would read:
the sixty-two sevens, the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing,
and the city and the sanctuary will be destroyed by the people
of a prince who is to come, and his end shall come with a flood;
the war shall continue to the end; destruction is decreed.
that it is the prince who is to come who is the subject of the last
clause, and it is his end that will come with a flood,
not the end of the city. Therefore, clearly it is this same prince
who is to come who is the object of verse 27, not the Messiah as
some would want us to believe. The "one who makes desolate"
of verse 27 is a future leader who will confirm a covenant (treaty)
with many people for 7 years. After 3-1/2 years, in the middle of
the "week," he will put a stop to the temple sacrifices
and set up what Jesus called the "abomination of desolation"
first thing we need to notice is that Gabriel's revelation in Daniel
9:24-27 is in direct response to Daniel's request. Daniel's plea
was for God's face to shine once again on the desolate sanctuary
(9:17). In his own words his prayer was "on behalf of the holy
mountain of God," i.e., the temple mount in Jerusalem (v. 20).
It had been in ruins for 70 years and Daniel was praying for its
information revealed to Daniel by Gabriel discloses that a further
period of seventy "sevens" of years, i.e., 490 years,
has been determined in the divine plan for Daniel's people and the
holy city. The end result will be an ultimate completion of desolations,
this time not after 70 years but after 490 years. Following this
period everlasting righteousness will be introduced and peace will
be restored to the holy city (v. 24).
the heart of Gabriel's message is the fact that "even to the
end there will be war; desolations are determined… until a
complete destruction is poured out on the one who makes desolate"
(vv. 26, 27). There is a parallel here with the previous desolation
of 70 years during the Babylonian captivity. At the end of it Jerusalem
was restored. So also, during the last seven of the 490 years "there
will be war… desolations are determined." After that
all will be well; complete restoration will follow. This did not
happen immediately after the crucifixion of Jesus.
second thing we notice as we look at the context is that the other
prophetic chapters in the book of Daniel all lead to the same conclusion
- the crushing of the ruler of the final kingdom of men and the
establishment of the Kingdom of Messiah:
the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom
which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left
for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these
kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever. (Daniel 2:44)
the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms
under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints
of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom,
and all the dominions will serve and obey Him. (Daniel 7:27)
he will magnify himself in his heart, and he will destroy many
while they are at ease. He will even oppose the Prince of princes,
but he will be broken without human agency. (Daniel 8:25)
will pitch the tents of his royal pavilion between the seas and
the beautiful Holy Mountain; yet he will come to his end, and
no one will help him. (Daniel 11:45).
then, is the proper time for the end of the 490 years in Daniel
9? Clearly, it is the same end to which all the other prophetic
chapters in Daniel direct us - the end of the age marked by the
return of Jesus to establish the Kingdom. It is disturbing to the
prophetic unity of Daniel to recognize in chapters 2, 7, 8, and
11-12 the "end" marked by the destruction of the final
kingdom and the coming of Messiah, but to place the "end"
in chapter 9 in AD 35. To place the completion of the 70 “weeks”
immediately after Christ ignores the perfect harmony of each of
the prophetic passages in Daniel. In each passage the eschatological
tyrant comes to an end at the hands of the Messiah. And chapter
9 follows the same pattern. The desolator is annihilated at the
completion of the seventieth week. The week will terminate when
"destruction is poured out on the desolator" (Dan. 9:27).
No such event occurred in AD 35. AD 35 cannot be the terminus for
the 70 weeks. The proper terminus is the time of the arrival of
the Messiah at the Second Coming. In this way the prophetic harmony
of Daniel is preserved.
the 490 years must run until the Kingdom is established, desolation
comes to an end, and Jerusalem is restored, there must be a gap
between the 69th and 70th week. Gabriel's striking presentation
of the 70 weeks in the form 7+62+1 (vs. 25-27) allows for the possibility
of the gap and suggests that the periods may not be necessarily
connected. Moreover, the gap principle is established by the other
chapters of Daniel. In chapter 11 a gap must exist somewhere between
the reference to history (four kings yet to arrive in Persia - 11:2)
and the description of Antichrist in verse 21 onwards. All systems
of interpretation recognize a gap in this chapter. In chapter 8
a gap must exist between the reference to Alexander as the notable
horn and the subsequent description of Antichrist.
one week, a seven-year period, has yet to transpire. We know that
to be true because Israel has not as yet received the fulfillment
of the promises given to them, namely "everlasting righteousness."
As Robert Van Kampen wrote:
divine King of Israel, the Word of God incarnate, 'came to His
own, and those who were His own did not receive Him' (John 1:11).
That rejection triggered Israel's most terrible curse, the great
scattering of her people throughout the world that began in AD
70. Most of Israel did not receive their King. Some of the Jewish
religious leaders even accused Him of casting out demons by the
power of Satan, 'Beelzebub the prince of the devils' - and by
that act they committed the unpardonable sin (Matt. 12:24, 31).
And because Israel rejected her Redeemer and King, Jesus Christ,
God extended His kingdom to the Gentiles to make the nation of
Israel jealous (Rom. 11:11)." (The Sign, page 92).
of Israel's rejection of their Messiah and King, the clock stopped
at the end of the 69 weeks. It is important to understand that God
has not forgotten Israel and will not forsake them but will fulfill
His promises to them. In Romans 11 God tells us, "But by their
[Israel's] transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to
make them jealous" (v. 11). Then in verse 23 He states, "And
they [Israel] also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will
be grafted in; for God is able to graft them in again." And
then in verse 26 God gives the promise that "all Israel will
be saved." And so the interlude between the sixty-ninth and
seventieth week has given salvation to the Gentiles, in order to
make Israel jealous. And there is a day coming when God will restart
the clock for Israel and fulfill His promise of "everlasting
righteousness" to them.
read more on the seventieth week of Daniel and see the timeline
in chart format, click here.
article was originally published through eParousia,
Sola Scriptura's monthly end-times e-newsletter.