Daniel’s 70 Weeks by David Cloud
May 26, 2015, Way of Life
|Daniel’s “70 week” prophecy is one of the most amazing and important prophecies in Scripture. A Book that foretells the future in detail with perfect accuracy is obviously a Divine Book!
“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. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall beseven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. 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. 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 itdesolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate” (Daniel 9:24-27).
The 70 weeks are weeks of years, or 490 years. This is evident by the fulfillment.
During this 70 week period, God’s judgments upon Israel will be completed and Christ will return to establish the kingdom. The angel tells Daniel that the prophecy pertains to his own people, the Jews, and to the holy city, which is Jerusalem (Dan. 9:24).
The first 69 weeks (483 years) lasted from the time that the commandment was given to “restore and build Jerusalem” after the Babylonian captivity to the time of Christ’s “cutting off.”
There were two commandments by Persian kings pertaining to the rebuilding of Jerusalem. First, there was the commandment in 536 BC by Cyrus for Zerubbabel to build the temple (Ezra 1:1-3). Second, there was the commandment in 444 BC by Artaxerxes for Nehemiah to rebuild the walls and the city (Neh. 2:1-8). Since Daniel 9:25 speaks particularly of the rebuilding of the city streets and wall, it appears that Artaxerxes’ commandment is the one that began the 69 weeks.
There are several difficulties in determining the exact dates involved. Two of these are as follows: First, Jews and Babylonians and Persians used different calendars with different months. The Julian or Roman calendar that we use today is different. This is why it is difficult to know exactly what years by our calendar Christ was born and died. Second, the Jewish and Persian calendars were 360-day years instead of the 365-day years on our Roman calendar. This means that the 483 years (69×7) of Daniel 9 was 173,880 days or 476 of our years.
By some reckoning, Artaxerxes’ commandment to Nehemiah was in 445 BC and by other reckonings, it was 444 BC. Sir Isaac Newton set that date at 457 BC, and this date was placed in the margin of the King James Bible beginning in 1701.
Sir Robert Anderson, a lawyer and an investigator with Scotland Yard and a brilliant Bible student, concluded that the commandment was given March 14, 445 BC and Christ entered Jerusalem on the donkey April 6, 32 AD. He documented this position in his 1895 bookThe Coming Prince.
From our perspective 2,500 years later, it is difficult to know the exact dates of the prophecy, but the important thing is that the Jews of that day knew how to figure these dates, and they had no excuse for not knowing exactly when Messiah the prince would come or what would happen when He came.
Daniel’s prophecy describes four great events that occurred after the commandment to rebuild Jerusalem.
First, the street and walls were rebuilt. This was completed in 7 weeks or 49 years (Dan. 9:25). The commandment to rebuild Jerusalem was given in 444 BC. The walls were completed the next year, and work apparently continued on the rebuilding of the city for another 48 years. This was accomplished “in troublous times,” as we see in Nehemiah. The 49 years might coincide with the final prophetic message delivered by Malachi to end the Old Testament revelation and to begin the “400 Silent Years” until the coming of Christ.
Second, 69 weeks after the commandment, Messiah the Prince came and was “cut off, but not for himself,”meaning that He died on the cross for man’s sins (Dan. 9:25-26). His death was substitutionary. The 69 weeks (483 years by Jewish calendar and 476 years by Roman calendar) ended when Messiah came as prince. This was when Christ entered Jerusalem on the donkey a few days before the crucifixion and was acclaimed as “the King that cometh in the name of the Lord” (Zech. 9:9; Lk. 19:37-38).
Third, the city and temple were destroyed (Dan. 9:26). This occurred in A.D. 70 at the hands of the Roman armies under the generalship of Titus.
Fourth, there will be wars and desolations until the time of the end. This is a perfect description of the last 2,000 years of Israel’s history, and it also describes what will happen to Israel just before the return of Christ. Even today, though Israel is back in the land, she has no peace, and she will have no peace until she repents and receives her Messiah, Jesus.
The final week, or seven years, of Daniel’s prophecy remains to be fulfilled (Dan. 9:27), and it is this period that Jesus describes in Matthew 24. Between the 69th and 70th weeks (between Daniel 9:26 and Daniel 9:27) is the church age, which is called a “mystery” because it was not revealed to the Old Testament prophets (Eph. 3:3-6). The church age is like a valley that the Old Testament prophets did not see between the peaks of the first and second coming of Christ. Paul describes the church age as the time of Israel’s blindness in Romans 11:25-27.
The final week (seven years) of Daniel’s prophecy is divided into two parts (Dan. 9:27). At the beginning of the seven years, the Antichrist will make a false peace covenant with Israel. It is probably at this time that the Jewish Temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem. Mid-way through the seven years the Antichrist will break this covenant and exalt himself as God. Compare 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4. This event marks the beginning of the 3.5 years of the Great Tribulation. Jesus calls this event “the abomination of desolation” (Mat. 24:15).
Revelation 6-19 describes the same period of time (the final “week” of Daniel’s vision) and Revelation also divides the time into two 3.5 year periods.
During the first half of the Tribulation, the two witnesses of Revelation 11 will preach for 1,260 days, or three and a half years (Rev. 11:3).
During the second half, the Antichrist will rule for 42 months, or 3.5 years (Rev. 13:5), and converted Israel shall flee into the wilderness for 1,260 days, or 3.5 years (Rev. 12:6).