Seventy Weeks of Daniel

 •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 10
This period is taken from an important prophecy in Daniel 9:25-2725Know 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. 26And 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. 27And 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. (Daniel 9:25‑27). The seventy weeks are divided into three parts, namely, seven, sixty-two, and one. We shall see in the sequel that “weeks of years” are evidently intended. The first period of seven weeks refers to the building of the street and the wall, or moat, in troublous times, of which times an account is found in the book of Nehemiah. The second period of sixty-two weeks extends to the times of Messiah the Prince, after which He should be cut off and have nothing (margin)—nothing of His Messianic glory. To reconcile with this the dates of history, it must be noticed that these weeks do not date from the commandment to build the temple (which was in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, Ezra 1:11Now 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, (Ezra 1:1)), but from the commandment to restore and build the city of Jerusalem, which was given in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes (Neh. 2:11And 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. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence. (Nehemiah 2:1)).
The date commonly given for this is B.C. 445; but Usher gave 455, and Hengstenberg and others contend that this is the true date. Hengstenberg shows in his Christiology how the mistake arose. Vitringa rectified the date, and Kruger, by an independent inquiry, also proved that the old date was wrong. Some hieroglyphic inscriptions in Egypt have shown that Artaxerxes was associated with his father in the twelfth year of the reign of Xerxes, and this information confirms the date given by Usher and others.
We start then from B.C. 455
7 weeks are 49 years
62 weeks are 434 years
Deduct 455 B.C.
28 A.D.
Add 1 year to adjust the eras B.C. and A.D. 1 A.D.
29 A.D.
The year A.D. 29 is the date now commonly given for the crucifixion. It is generally agreed that the Lord lived on the earth thirty-three and a half years, but if He was born B.C. 4, and was crucified A.D. 33 (as given in the AV), He must have lived here 37 or 38 years; hence there must be a discrepancy somewhere. Early Christian writers appealed confidently to a document called “The Acts of Pilate,” which, though now considered spurious as far as Pilate is concerned, must have been an early writing, and this points to the date A.D. 29 for the crucifixion. Clement and Origen place the destruction of Jerusalem as forty-two years after the crucifixion. The destruction was in A.D. 70, which confirms the date of the latter as not later than 29. The definite time may be Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem, about a week before the last passover, agreeing with “Thy King cometh unto thee” in Zechariah 9:99Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. (Zechariah 9:9).
It is judged however by some that the sixty-nine weeks reach only up to Messiah the Prince as entering on His ministry; after which (indefinitely) He was cut off: and therefore the sixty-nine weeks should end at least three years earlier. This is probably the true view, though it may be impossible now to precisely adjust dates.
This leaves the last week of the seventy. The rest of the prophecy in Daniel 9:2626And 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. (Daniel 9:26) agrees with the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, and foretells a determined period of desolation till war against it will end. Then verse 27 takes up the outward circumstances of the last week, which is future, though probably one half of it has been, for faith, fulfilled in the ministry of Christ. The prophecy is concerning Israel; the present period (during which the church is being formed) comes in parenthetically, and occupies no part of the seventy weeks. The last week, in agreement with the above, will occupy a period of seven years.
Daniel 9:26-2726And 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. 27And 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. (Daniel 9:26‑27) speak of “the prince that shall come,” who shall confirm a covenant with the many for one week. He will no doubt be the head of the resuscitated Roman Empire: this is confirmed by Revelation 17:9-129And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. 10And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. 11And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. 12And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. (Revelation 17:9‑12), in speaking of a kingdom that “was, and is not,” and shall come. This head makes a covenant with Israel for seven years, but breaks it in the middle of the week; causes the sacrifice and the oblation to cease; and dire desolation by the Assyrian closes the scene. See ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION. The most momentous events will take place during the latter half of the week, as detailed in the Revelation. This will be a period of three and a half years, and if this interpretation is correct, we might expect to find such a period definitely mentioned. And so it is: the period of three and a half years is pointed out no fewer than seven times, as follows:
Thus the half week is given in years, 3½; in months, 42; and in days, 1,260.
As already stated, the church does not appear in the above: it has nothing to do with times and seasons—they belong to Israel and to the earth. The church is heavenly, and its hope is the coming of the Lord according to His promise to present it to Himself, and this He may do at any moment. He said, “Surely I come quickly:” to which the response of the church is, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”
Seeing however that the Lord Jesus is referred to in the Seventy Weeks, not only in His being “cut off,” but also in His coming again to subdue His enemies, to bless His ancient people Israel, and to establish His kingdom on earth, it becomes His saints to study such a prophecy as this, and to be assured that nothing can happen to hinder or set aside the purposes of God: all is being ordered, and is hastening on to the time when the Lord Jesus will be acknowledged on earth as King of kings and Lord of lords.