THE 70 WEEK PROPHECY OF DANIEL


Daniel 9:24-27 is one of the most misinterpreted passages in Bible prophecy today. Virtually all your hear today about end time events hinges on the correct interpretation of these few verses. I will present what I believe to be the correct interpretation, which is quite different from what you generally hear.

Dan 9:24

This verse sets the goals of the 70 week prophecy of Daniel.

(A) "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city,"

- This sets the time period at 70 weeks. It is generally accepted here that you must use the day = year prophecy formula (Num 14:34, Ezek 4:6), yielding a time period of 490 years from start to completion.

- The word determined here actually means "cut off". This 70 weeks are cut off from, or begin at the same time as, the larger 2300 day (year) prophecy of Dan 8:14, which has as it's focus the cleansing of the sanctuary in heaven, the beginning of Judgment. So both the 70 week (490 year) and the 2300 day (year) prophecy begin at the same date. Note that you can not arbitrarily apply the year for a day principle in one case and not another, you must remain consistent. Dan 8:26 strongly hints that the 2300 day prophecy in verse 14 is not just 2300 days, but many days more than it literally indicates. This would also support using year instead of day.

(B) "to finish the transgression (rebellion),"

- Meaning to the Jews: end your transgression of (rebellion against) God's Law and return to obedience.
- Alludes to the victory of Jesus Christ over transgression at the cross.

(C) "and to make an end of sins,"

- Meaning to the Jews: repent from sin.
- Alludes to the victory of Jesus Christ over sin at the cross.

(D) "and to make reconciliation for iniquity,"

- Meaning to the Jews: Atonement for sins through sacrificial temple ceremonies (symbolic of Jesus).
- Alludes to the reconciliation for iniquity by Jesus Christ at the cross.

(E) "and to bring in everlasting righteousness,"

- Alludes to the death of Jesus the Messiah at the cross making everlasting righteousness available to all with faith. Without His death at the cross we are all condemned to the second death. By His death on the cross, the requirement of the Law was met and His everlasting righteousness established. Psa 119:142

(F) "and to seal up the vision and prophecy,"

- To complete Jesus' divine mission according to the prophecy, at the exact appointed times. The exact date of Jesus' baptism was predicted by Daniel and every prophecy about the crucifixion, including Daniel's which gave the exact date, was sealed (fulfilled) during the 70 weeks.

- Included in this is the 2300 day (year) prophecy of Dan 8:14. Because Daniel predicted the historical events of the 70 weeks with complete accuracy, we can also trust that the 2300 day (year) prophecy is just as accurate.

(G) "and to anoint the most Holy."

- As the earthly temple was anointed in Lev 8:10-11, so the heavenly temple was anointed by Jesus as he assumed the role of our High Priest, on his return to heaven. Also, Jesus himself was anointed as the Messiah at His Baptism (Mat 3:16, Mark 1:9, Luke 3:21).

So verse 24 has set the goals of the 70 week prophecy of Daniel. The twofold focus of the prophecy: first on the Jews reconciling themselves with God within the appointed time (490 years), and second, Jesus being baptized and paying the price of sin at the cross for us and becoming our High Priest. Note that there is nothing in verse 24 referring to the millennial kingdom, or the antichrist, or a seven year tribulation and there is nothing to indicate the 490 years are anything but a continuous period of time that ended in 34 A.D.

Dan 9:25

(A) "Know therefore and understand, that"

(B) "from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem"

- There were actually four commands issued that can be located in scripture and must be considered:

(1) Ezra 1:1-14, 1st year of Cyrus, dated to 537 B.C.
(2) Ezra 6:1-12, 2nd year of Darius dated to 520 B.C.
(3) Ezra 7:1-27, 7th year of Artaxerxes dated to 457 B.C.
(4) Neh 2:1-8, 20th year of Artaxerxes dated to 444 B.C.

DECREE DATE 69 WEEKS
483 YEARS
70 WEEKS
490 YEARS
Ezra 1 537 B.C. 54 B.C. 47 B.C.
Ezra 6 520 B.C. 37 B.C. 30 B.C.
Ezra 7 457 B.C. 27 A.D. 34 A.D.
Neh 2 444 B.C. 40 A.D. 47 A.D.

Given the generally accepted age of 30 for Jesus (Luke 3:23) at His baptism in the 15th year of Tiberius (Luke 3:1) which can be independantly and firmly established as 27 A.D., only one of the decrees fits, that being the 3rd decree given in Ezra 7 in the fall of 457 B.C.* The others are either too early or too late to be the command referred to. The decree in Ezra 7 (vs. 23-26), permits civil and religious autonomy to be restored in Jerusalem in compliance with God's law, fulfilling Daniel's prophecy. So starting in the fall of 457 B.C. places the end of the 70 weeks, or 490 years, in the fall of 34 A.D., placing the year of the crucifixion, (which happened in the middle of the 70th week of Daniel), at the Spring of 31 A.D..

* See THE CHRONOLOGY OF EZRA 7, A REPORT OF THE HISTORICAL RESEARCH COMMITTEE OF THE GENERAL CONFERENCE OF SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS,1953, Prepared for the Committee by SIEGFRIED H. HORN, Ph.D., Professor of Archeology, Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, and LYNN H. WOOD, Ph.D., Sometime Professor of Archeology, Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, Review and Herald Publishing Association, Washington, D.C.

- Using this same starting date of the fall of 457 B.C. for the 2300 day (year) prophecy of Dan 8:14, you arrive at the fall of 1844 A.D. as the date for the start of Judgment in heaven (the cleansing of the sanctuary). In the Temple ceremonies of the Jews, this event occurred only once each year, at Yom Kippur, a type for judgment day. It has been underway in heaven since 1844 and continues at this moment. This is why at the second coming there appears to be no judgment - the Saints both living and dead meet Jesus in air (the rapture) and accompany him to the New Jerusalem in heaven, there to reign with Jesus for the 1000 years (John 14:2-3). For more information on the timing of the second advent rapture, see The truth about the rapture.

(C) "unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks:"

- After 69 weeks the Messiah will be anointed by God as such. This happened at the Baptism of Jesus by John when the Holy Spirit descended as a dove and God the father announced Jesus as his Son (Acts 10:37-38). The end of the 69 weeks is mentioned by Jesus in Mark 1:15 when He says "The time is fulfilled". Counting down 69 weeks of years (483) from the fall of 457 B.C. you arrive at the fall of 27 A.D. for the baptism of Jesus. Futurists generally try to tie this event to the triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Yet Jesus entry into Jerusalem was NOT when He was first recognized as the Messiah, except perhaps by the people of Jerusalem. God the Father and the Holy Spirit anointed him as the Messiah at his Baptism - the entry into Jerusalem pales in comparison to this holy event.

(D) "the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times."

- The rebuilding of Jerusalem would be rebuilt despite opposition. (Ezra 4:4,5 and Neh 4 + 6)

Dan 9:26

(A) "And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself:"

- Following the 62 weeks, the Messiah would be crucified for our sins. The 62 weeks, as we saw in verse 25 above, ended in His baptism. The exact time of the crucifixion is not specified here, but it is in verse 27. In effect, this is saying that the crucifixion will follow the anointing.

(B) "and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary;"

- Jesus is the prince that shall come. The unbelieving Jews through their rebellion against God and Roman rule, brought about the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem in 70 A.D. by the Roman general Titus, crushing the Jewish rebellion, fulfilling this prophecy. The unbelieving Jews had rejected the ultimatum contained in the 70 week prophecy, and their destruction and scattering in 70 A.D. was the result.

- Some think the prince that shall come may apply to Titus, who tried to protect the Temple, but his soldiers destroyed it anyway against his explicit orders. Titus did not confirm any covenant, however, Jesus did (see below) . 

(C) "and the end thereof shall be with a flood,"

- According to contemporary historians, the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple was swift like a flood.

(D) "and unto the end of the war desolations are determined."

- One interpretation continues to apply this to the war with Rome and the destruction of 70 A.D.

- It may also mean that until the end of the war with Satan and sin, Jerusalem and the Temple will be desolate (lack the presence of God), their house being desolate - Mat 23:38 and Luke 13:35. To date this appears to be the case. See also verse 27(C).

Dan 9:27

(A) "And he [Jesus] shall confirm the covenant with many for one week:"

- Some would claim that the "he" could not refer to Jesus since his ministry on earth was only 3 1/2 years in length. They try to apply this to the antichrist (the prince who shall come in verse 26) and a 7 year peace treaty (covenant) with the Jews. Note the following, verses in red were spoken by Jesus-

Rom 15:8 (KJV) Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:

1 Chron 16:13-18 (KJV)

13 O ye seed of Israel his servant, ye children of Jacob, his chosen ones.
14
 He is the Lord our God; his judgments are in all the earth.
15
 Be ye mindful always of his covenant; the word which he commanded to a thousand generations;
16
 Even of the covenant which he made with Abraham, and of his oath unto Isaac;
17
 And hath confirmed the same to Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant,
18
 Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance;

Psalms 105:8-11 (KJV)

8 He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations.
9
 Which covenant he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac;
10
 And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant:
11
 Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance:

Matt 10:5-6 (KJV)

5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:
6
 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Matt 15:21-24 (KJV)

21 Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.
22
 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.
23
 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.
24
 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

(NIV) Mat 26:28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

(KJV) Mark 10:45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

(NIV) Mark 14:24 "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many," he said to them.

- During this 70th week, the Gospel was preached only to the Jews.

- The event that ends the 70 weeks is the stoning of Stephen as found in Acts 7:59. At that point the Gospel was no longer preached exclusively to the Jews, Peter and Paul having been shown by vision to begin preaching to Gentiles (Acts 10 & 22:17-21). (See also Acts  11:18, 13:46, 14:27, 15:9, 18:6). The Jews are no longer the exclusively chosen people of God (Gal 3:28). See also the parable of Mark 12:1 and Luke 20:9. The original husbandmen (the Jews) of the vineyard are rejected, and replaced, never to tend the vineyard again. This does not mean they have been rejected as individuals. They can still be saved by faith in Jesus like anyone else. Promises made to the Jewish nation have been rejected by the Jews due to their unbelief, so the fulfillment of those promises will be made to those of faith, regardless of national origin (Gal 3:29).

- So the final week of the 70 week period left to the Jews continues unbroken from the baptism of Jesus in 27 A.D. thru to 34 A.D., to confirm and fulfill (seal up) the prophecy of Daniel.

(B) "and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease,"

- In the middle of the week, in 31 A.D., Jesus is crucified, bringing an end to the symbolic temple sacrifices, which were a type (shadow) of his sacrifice at the cross. This is confirmed by the tearing of the veil in the Temple at the instant of his death, exposing the most holy place (Mat 27:51, Mark 15:38, Luke 23:45) signaling the end of the typical earthly sacrificial priesthood and the begining of.the priestly ministry of Jesus. The fact that Temple ceremonies continued until 70 A.D. is irrelevant.

(C) "and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation,"

- The temple in Jerusalem will remain desolate, lacking the presence of God, until the end of time. (Mat 23:38-39, Luke 13:35)

- Whether the Jews rebuilt the temple or not is irrelevant. It will remain in desolation. In fact, rebuilding the Temple and a resumption of Temple sacrifices would be the ultimate manifestation of unbelief and a complete rejection of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. It would be an abomination.

(D) "and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate."

- This has an initial application with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 A.D. The Roman armies first surrounded Jerusalem in 66 A.D. and then withdrew for some unexplained reason. The believing Jews understood Mat 24:15 to apply to them and they fled the city at this opportunity. The Roman armies soon returned and laid siege to Jerusalem, resulting in it's fall in 70 A.D. At that time thousand of Jews were slaughtered, not one of them was Christian. So this part of verse 27 finds fulfillment in 70 A.D. It may also be interpreted that Jerusalem and the temple will remain desolate of God until the execution of Judgment on the wicked, beginning with the last 7 plagues. That is to say Jesus will not dwell with His people until He does so after the second coming when the righteous dead are raised and the living are transformed, and they all join Him in the clouds (Rev 21:22).

Chiasm of Daniel 9:25-27

CONCLUSION

The 70 weeks were 490 literal years that were a period of probation for national Israel:

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. 25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem [457 B.C., Ezra 7] unto [the coming of] the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks [7 + 62 =  69 weeks, 27 A.D.]: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. 26 And after threescore and two [62] weeks shall Messiah [the prince] be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of [Messiah] 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 [Messiah the Prince] shall confirm the covenant with many for one week [7 years]: and in the midst of the [70th] week [31 A.D.] he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease [be crucified as the lamb of God], and for [because of] the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

Note that unlike futurists, this interpretation does not find any reference to the Antichrist, or a 7 year peace treaty signed with the Jews, or a broken peace treaty / desecration of the Temple by the antichrist, or a 7 year tribulation. I think the evidence presented here shows that the focus of the 70 weeks of Daniel is a fixed 490 year ultimatum to the Jews and a prediction of the baptism and crucifixion of Jesus, as well as pointing to the start of judgment at the end of the 2300 years. Since the Jews did not repent of their transgressions, and rejected the Christ, their Temple and city were destroyed and the survivors scattered. So now the Gospel is preached to one and all, which began at the end of the 70th week, in 34 A.D.

Note this excerpt from the respected Presbyterian minister Matthew Henry's Commentary, dated 1708-1710:

The book of Daniel 9, Verses 20-27

An answer was immediately sent to Daniel's prayer, and it is a very memorable one. We cannot now expect that God should send answers to our prayers by angels, but if we pray with fervency for that which God has promised, we may by faith take the promise as an immediate answer to the prayer; for He is faithful that has promised. Daniel had a far greater and more glorious redemption discovered to him, which God would work out for his church in the latter days. Those who would be acquainted with Christ and his grace, must be much in prayer. The evening offering was a type of the great sacrifice Christ was to offer in the evening of the world: in virtue of that sacrifice Daniel's prayer was accepted; and for the sake of that, this glorious discovery of redeeming love was made to him. We have, in verses ( 24-27 ), one of the most remarkable prophecies of Christ, of his coming and his salvation. It shows that the Jews are guilty of most obstinate unbelief, in expecting another Messiah, so long after the time expressly fixed for his coming. The seventy weeks mean a day for a year, or 490 years. About the end of this period a sacrifice would be offered, making full atonement for sin, and bringing in everlasting righteousness for the complete justification of every believer. Then the Jews, in the crucifixion of Jesus, would commit that crime by which the measure of their guilt would be filled up, and troubles would come upon their nation. All blessings bestowed on sinful man come through Christ's atoning sacrifice, who suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God. Here is our way of access to the throne of grace, and of our entrance to heaven. This seals the sum of prophecy, and confirms the covenant with many; and while we rejoice in the blessings of salvation, we should remember what they cost the Redeemer. How can those escape who neglect so great salvation!

As you can see from the above quote, Matthew Henry, a Protestant writing in the early 18th century, knew nothing of a gap between the 69th and 70th week, and he knew nothing of a 7 year peace treaty with the antichrist in verse 27.

The futurist interpretation of this passage denies the prophecy of Jesus' baptism in verse 24. It also denies His crucifixion in verse 27 and applies it instead to the antichrist, in an astounding twisting of scripture. I submit the futurist's house is built on sand and will not stand scrutiny. They do not have a case, they have a relatively recent fairy tale designed to obscure the truth and spread confusion, whether they know it or not. The author of that futurist fairy tale is the Catholic Church, specifically a Spanish Jesuit priest by the name of Francisco Ribera (1537-1591). During the counterreformation he concocted the futurist interpretation to deflect reformist claims that the Papacy was the Antichrist of scripture. There is apparently no evidence that the futurist interpretation predates the Catholic counterreformation. It was intended as a smoke screen, and it still works today to a large degree.

See The Catholic Origins of Futurism and Preterism.

It is interesting to note that, generally speaking, the same people that advocate the pretribulation rapture also hold to the futurist interpretation of Dan 9:24-27. Both are spurious interpretations, fables, that only confuse and deceive. Again, I do not wish to offend anyone, I am simply trying to let you see through the smoke, and see the truth.


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