This is the final post in the series about Daniel’s 70th week. In this post, we will look at the last portion of chapter 9, the verses that talk about the 490 years and how they are divided into three segments of time: 7 weeks, 62 weeks, and 1 week. The last week of time is Daniel’s 70th week, the only segment of time that has yet to be fulfilled. It is the week that is the most significant and tells us a great deal more information about the future end times Antichrist figure. You don’t want to miss this post, because it has the most important information in this series of Daniel’s 70th week. Keep reading!
DANIEL’S 70TH WEEK
By Karen Thompson
Fifth in a Five-Part Series
The angel Gabriel appeared to Daniel while he was praying about Jeremiah’s prophecy that said the exiled Jewish people living in Babylon could return to Jerusalem after 70 years had passed. Seventy years had already passed and they were still in Babylon, so Daniel was lifting this matter up to the Lord. While Daniel was praying about this 70-year prophecy, the angel Gabriel appeared before Daniel with a message from heaven about another period of time having to do with the number 70. He said to Daniel, “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” (Dan. 9:24). At the end of these 70 weeks (weeks of years), the Jewish people would be reconciled with God the Father! In the next verses, we learn the 70 weeks of 490 years would be divided into three segments of time.
The Date of the Decree to Rebuild Jerusalem
But the first thing we must figure out is 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 Cyrus gave the decree that the exiled Jews could go back to Jerusalem. The mistake in thinking the clock started ticking with the decree of Cyrus 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. And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that 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 to rebuild Jerusalem. The story is told to us in the book of Nehemiah. Nehemiah was both Jewish and the king’s cupbearer. The book of Nehemiah starts out with Nehemiah 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. He sent letters with Nehemiah to show to the rulers on the other side of the river so they would know Nehemiah had been sanctioned by the king. The king also 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. The king also sent with Nehemiah captains of his army and horsemen to accompany him and help him complete his task. (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. It 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
In the vision of the goat and ram, we learned that a man “understanding dark trickery and craftiness shall stand up … through his policy he shall cause trickery to prosper in his hand.” The man is Antichrist, and he will come up with the plan to solve the Middle East problem. The problem being all the Middle Eastern nations fighting with the nation of Israel. But his plan will not to honest and sincere. It will be a plan based on deceit and trickery. In this vision of the 70 weeks, we see both the plan and the trickery.
A key element 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”; we can assume the “with many” refers to other nations. He backs out of Israel and agrees to peace. Thus he will initiate a covenant of peace and then break it. That’s the trickery.
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….” Antichrist will stop the sacrifices. In order to stop sacrifices, that means there has to be a temple. Eschatologists guestimate that it is during the beginning of this seven-year period of peace that Israel will most likely rebuild the temple.
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.” What this is saying is that 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 beverage.” Elvin the policeman rolled his eyes and said, “Put the drink down, slacker. You know what to do. Move it forward!”
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