By Karen Thompson
Fourth in a Four-Part Series
Friends, this is the final installment in our four-part series on the subject of Daniel’s 70th week. We’ve been studying the phrase that so many eschatologists use when discussing end time doctrine—“Daniel’s 70th week.” In this post, we finally learn its meaning. This post is lengthy, yet what I originally wrote was nearly 6,000 words. Too long for a blog post. So I trimmed it down to nearly half that length. Many of my supportive arguments have been dropped; I left just enough to make my case. I hope you are enlightened by Daniel’s vision of 70 weeks just as Daniel was. Enjoy!
The Angel Gabriel Visits Daniel
Dan. 9:20 And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God; 21 Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. 22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. 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.
While Daniel was in the middle of praying his prayer of repentance, he was interrupted by a special visitor—the angel Gabriel. In response to Daniel’s prayer, Gabriel came with a message to give Daniel the understanding for which Daniel was seeking.
Dan. 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.
Gabriel announced, “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city….” How interesting! Daniel is in the middle of a prayer to God about Jeremiah’s 70-year judgment being fulfilled so the exiled Jews could go back to Jerusalem, and here Gabriel shows up with a message about yet another judgment involving the number 70! The time of this judgment is 70 “weeks.” At the end of the 70-week judgment, God’s ultimate will and plan for the children of Israel would be fulfilled! In verse 24, Gabriel outlined what would take place when the 70 weeks is fulfilled. Let’s break it down by phrases. First, Gabriel began by saying:
“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city”: It’s important to note that the events of the 70 weeks are about what will happen to “thy people” and the “holy city,” which is to say the Jewish people and Jerusalem. The 70 weeks are all about the Jewish people and Jerusalem!
“To finish the transgression”: The Hebrew word for transgression is pasha and it means “to rebel or revolt.” At the end of the seventy weeks, Israel’s rebellion toward God will have come to an end.
“To make an end of sins”: The whole nation of Israel will repent of its sins and get right with God. Zechariah 12:10–11 tells us how a spirit of repentance will fall on them: “…and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him … In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem.” This is also very interesting. Daniel is in the middle of praying a prayer of repentance for the entire nation, and Gabriel shows up to tell Daniel that after this 70-week judgment, the entire nation will, indeed, repent of its sins.
“To make reconciliation for iniquity”: The word “reconciliation” is the Hebrew word kaphar and it means “to cover, purge, make an atonement.” Israel’s sins will be atoned collectively as a nation.
“And to bring in everlasting righteousness”: When Israel’s rebellion toward God has come to an end and they repent of their sins, they will become that righteous and holy nation. It will be an “everlasting righteousness,” meaning it will never end. This is talking about the Jewish people and Jerusalem being holy and set apart to rule and reign in righteousness with our Lord.
“And to seal up the vision and prophecy”: All the prophetic words and visions spoken about Jerusalem and the children of Israel will be sealed up at this time. This means all the visions and prophesies will be fulfilled and come to pass.
“And to anoint the most holy”: Some think that “most holy” means Jesus, but Jesus is never referred to by that term. Some think this is talking about the temple in Jerusalem. It must be rebuilt, cleansed, and purified after Antichrist’s desecration.
70 Segments of Sevens
Gabriel told Daniel, “seventy weeks are determined for your people” (v. 24). Seventy weeks comes to one year and four and a half months. Did Gabriel really mean that God’s plan for Israel would be accomplished in less than two years? Obviously not, since 70 weeks have already come and gone long ago and it’s never come to pass. So what is up with that? Actually, seventy weeks does not mean 70 actual weeks as we know a week to be. The word for week here is the Hebrew word Shabuwa, and it simply means “segment of seven.”
There is another place in the Word of God where the word “week” is used to denote a span of seven years. In Genesis chapter 29, we read about the story of Jacob falling in love with Rachel, the youngest daughter of Laban. Jacob made an agreement with Laban to work for him for seven years in exchange for his daughter Rachel’s hand in marriage.
On the wedding night, instead of sending Rachel to the wedding tent to spend the night with Jacob, Laban sent his oldest daughter, Leah, wearing a veil over her face to hide her identity. When Jacob discovered the ruse the next morning, he confronted Laban. Laban justified his actions by saying it wasn’t customary to marry off the youngest daughter before the eldest daughter. Laban then said to Jacob, “Fulfill her week, and we will give you this one also for the service which you will serve with me still another seven years” (v. 27). Here we see Laban describing seven years as a “week.”
In conclusion, we are dealing with years, not weeks or months. So 70 weeks should be calculated as 70 times 7 which totals 490 years. At the end of 490 years, Israel will have experienced the fulfillment of God’s covenant promise for Israel to be that holy and set apart nation.
The Date of the Decree to Rebuild Jerusalem
Now we must figure out when the 70 weeks began. Daniel 9:25 tells us when the clock starts ticking: “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem….” The clock starts ticking on the 70 weeks when the command is given for Jerusalem to be rebuilt. Many make the mistake of thinking the clock started ticking when the Medo/Persian King Cyrus gave the decree that the exiled Jews could go back to Jerusalem. The mistake is that Cyrus never actually made a decree for Jerusalem to be rebuilt. His decree was for the “temple” in Jerusalem to be rebuilt.
Let’s look at the decree of Cyrus in Ezra 1:1–4: “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem.” Very clearly, the decree of Cyrus was to rebuild the temple, not to rebuild Jerusalem.
Who then gave the decree to rebuild the city of Jerusalem? It was King Artaxerxes who gave the command. The story is told to us in the book of Nehemiah. The book starts out with Nehemiah, a Jew and the king’s cupbearer, saying he received a report from his friend and fellow Jew, Hanani, who had just returned from Jerusalem. Nehemiah asked Hanani the condition of the Jewish people in Jerusalem. Hanani reported, “The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire” (Neh. 1:3). When Nehemiah heard this, he became distraught for his brethren in Jerusalem.
Nehemiah chapter two starts out with Nehemiah serving the king his wine. The king noticed that Nehemiah looked depressed and asked him what was wrong. Nehemiah said he had just heard of the dire condition of his brethren at Jerusalem. The king asked Nehemiah what he could do for him. Nehemiah said, “If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers’ sepulchres, that I may build it” (v. 5). The king granted Nehemiah’s request and sent him to Jerusalem to rebuild the city. The king gave Nehemiah a letter to Asaph, who was the keeper of the king’s forest, to give him timber to make beams with which to repair the walls and gates of the city. (Neh. 2:5–9) As you can see, King Artaxerxes is the one that gave the command to rebuild Jerusalem, and so that is when the clock starts ticking on the 70 weeks.
Three Segments of Time
Dan. 9:25 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. 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. 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.
Gabriel divided the segment of 490 years into three segments of time: 7 weeks, 62 weeks, and 1 week. During each of these segments of time, certain events will take place.
First Division of Time: Seven Weeks
Verse 25 gives us the first two segments of time: “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.” Bible scholars agree the first segment of time will be 7 weeks (or 49 years) and the second segment of time will be 62 weeks (or 434 years).
The first segment of time of 7 weeks, or 49 years, began when the commandment to restore the city of Jerusalem was given. From the time the commandment was given to restore Jerusalem until the city was actually restored was 49 years. About the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem, it says, “the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.” The book of Nehemiah tells us that literally came to pass because Jerusalem’s neighboring nations did not want Jerusalem to be rebuilt and created all sorts of obstacles. The was, indeed, built in “troublous times.”
Second Division of Time: Sixty-Two Weeks
The timetable for the next segment of time is in verse 26a: “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself.” The word “score” is a Middle English word that means the number 20. So when it says threescore and two weeks, it means three times twenty, which comes to 60, plus 2 weeks making it 62 weeks. Multiply the number 62 by 7 and you get 434 years.
The second segment of time of 434 years would come to an end when Messiah was “cut off.” The Hebrew word for “cut off” is karath, and it means “to cut off, cut down, eliminate, to kill.” Christian Bible scholars agree this refers to the Messiah being crucified.
The late author Grant R. Jeffrey in his book titled Apocalypse: The Coming Judgment of the Nations, deciphered the exact dates of the 70-weeks prophecy. Mr. Jeffrey first clarified and confirmed the length of the prophetic year is the lunar year of 360 days. Many make the mistake of using a solar calendar year which has 365.25 days. Revelation 12:6 confirms that the lunar year is being used when John tells us three and one half years come to 1,260 days, when divided by the number 30 (which is the length of the lunar month) comes to 42 months which is 3 ½ years, confirming the lunar year of 360 days. Plus, the Jewish people use the lunar calendar. So, clearly, we are to use the lunar year when interpreting biblical prophecy.
Nehemiah 2:1 tells us when the conversation between Nehemiah and King Artaxerxes occurred: “And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king.” King Artaxerxes gave Nehemiah the decree to rebuild Jerusalem in the month of Nisan, in the 20th year of his reign, but what day was the decree given? Mr. Jeffrey explained that according to the Talmud, if there is not a specific date of the month given, then the first day of the month is used. Mr. Jeffrey said that according to the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, UK, the first day of Nisan in the 20th year of King Artaxerxes’ reign was March 14, 445 BC.
So the command was given to restore and rebuild Jerusalem on March 14, 445 BC. The first division of weeks was seven weeks, or 49 years, in which Jerusalem would be rebuilt “even in troublous times.” Following the first division of time of seven weeks, or 49 years, there was a second division of time of 62 weeks, or 434 years. The combined total of these two periods of time equals 483 years. Mr. Jeffrey calculated that 483 years equals 173,880 days (483 X 360 = 173,880 days).
Verse 26 says, “And after threescore and two weeks [62 weeks] shall Messiah be cut off”; meaning that at the end of the second period, Messiah would be cut off, or crucified. Doing the math, Mr. Jeffrey said 173,880 days after the command to rebuild Jerusalem on March 14, 445 BC, would bring us to the month of Nisan, the 10th day, the year 32 AD. On the Gregorian calendar, it was April 6, 32 AD, Palm Sunday, when Jesus entered Jerusalem as the promised Messiah. He was rejected on the very day that ended the 69th week of Daniel’s 70-weeks prophecy. Astounding!
Sixty-nine of the seventy weeks have been fulfilled. One thing on which all Bible scholars agree is that there is only one week left of Daniel’s 70 weeks to be fulfilled. And if you didn’t already realize it, the events in the book of Revelation are the fulfillment of Daniel’s 70th week. The events of Revelation occur over a seven-year period of time! Daniel’s 70th week!
Third Division of Time: One Week
Dan. 9:26b …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. 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.
Now, we come to the description of what happens during the last segment of time which has not yet come to pass. Verses 26b–27 describe to us what will happen during Daniel’s 70th week. As with all of Daniel’s visions, the greatest portion of information is focused on the last days’ person of Antichrist and his activities. Verse 27 tells us that Antichrist will invade the city of Jerusalem and stop the sacrifices.
Let’s study these verses more in-depth. In verse 26, the word “prince” in the phrase “the people of the prince” is the Hebrew word nagiyd, and it means “leader, ruler, captain.” And the word “people” is the Hebrew word am, and it means “kinsman, compatriots, nation, or country-men.” Thusly, the phrase, “and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary” is referring to Antichrist, the leader, and his people, or army, will destroy Jerusalem and the sanctuary.
Antichrist Invades Like a Flood
The rest of that sentence says, “…and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined” (v. 26). Daniel describes Antichrist’s invasion of Jerusalem like a flood. Very often, the prophets used a flood to symbolize invading armies, because when they invade, they quickly flow into the land like a “flood,” spreading out and covering the whole area. In Revelation 12:15–16, the apostle John also used the flood symbolism to describe how Antichrist will try to destroy the Jewish people who flee.
The Covenant With Many
One of the key elements to the political maneuverings of Antichrist is in verse 27: “Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week.” After Antichrist invades Jerusalem, he will enter into some sort of seven-year covenant with “many.” Eschatologists assert that this covenant will be some kind of peace treaty, because Daniel 8:25 tells us that it is “by peace” that he will destroy many.
Let’s drop these verses into a present-day scenario. How would the international community react if Antichrist invaded Jerusalem today? Most likely, declarations of condemnation by world leaders would be made. There would be threats of sanctions and warships moved into position. Nations would make demands and follow it up with threats and ultimatums. In any event, Antichrist will most likely be forced to enter into this covenant because of pressure from other nations. It says he will “confirm a covenant with many,” so we can assume the “with many” refers to other nations. He backs out of Israel and agrees to peace. Thus begins the seven-year covenant of peace.
Eschatologists guestimate that it is during the beginning of this seven-year period that Israel will most likely rebuild the temple. The Bible doesn’t really tell us what will happen in order for the temple to be rebuilt, but eschatologists are confident it will be rebuilt.
Antichrist Ceases Temple Sacrifices
Now let’s look at the next portion of verse 27: “and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease….” In the midst of the week, meaning in the middle of the seven-year covenant, Antichrist will cause the sacrifice and oblation (offering) to cease. This is speaking about temple sacrifices and offerings being stopped when Antichrist invades Jerusalem three and one-half years into the covenant. This tells us that the Jewish people will have completed building a temple in the first half of the seven-year period. It would be impossible for Antichrist to stop sacrifices upon invading Jerusalem if there was no temple.
Antichrist Will Destroy Until Messiah Stops Him
Finally, the last portion of verse 27: “and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” The King James translation is difficult to understand. Here is the Amplified Bible: “…and upon the wing or pinnacle of abominations [shall come] one who makes desolate, until the full determined end is poured out on the desolator.” Jesus, the Messiah, comes and brings Antichrist’s reign of terror to an end.
At the end of this last week of seven years, the 70th week, Messiah will come and put an end to the kingdom of Antichrist. It will be the beginning of His own millennial kingdom. The completion of Daniel’s 70 weeks will mean the end of one thing and the beginning of another. The times of the Gentiles will have come to an end (a time when Gentile powers dominate Israel), and it will be the beginning of the nation of Israel and the Jewish people to be that holy and set apart nation representing God to the nations.
An email policeman named Elvin was patrolling the beach looking for slacker emails. He found one! He was lounging on a beach chair sipping a pina colada. Elvin barked, “What are you doing?” The email didn’t say a word. He simply lifted up his pina colada as if to say, “I’m enjoying this delicious summertime drink.” Elvin the policeman rolled his eyes and said, “Put the drink down, slacker. You know what to do. Move it forward!”
If you would like a free subscription to End Time Mysteries blog, sign up below.