Daniel's Vision of the "Seventy Weeks"

posted Oct 21, 2016, 7:19 AM by Basic Bible Doctrine   [ updated Oct 30, 2016, 1:54 PM by Tony Tran ]
In chapter nine Daniel had a Vision of "Seventy Weeks" that were determined on his "People" (the Jews) and the Holy City (Jerusalem) to finish "their transgressions," and make an "end of their sins," and bring in "everlasting righteousness." Dan. 9:24. This Vision of the "Seventy Weeks" is the most important revelation in many respects made in the Scriptures. It set the date of the First Coming of Christ, and gives the length of the reign of Antichrist.
The date of the "Vision" is important. The first verse of the chapter locates it in the "First Year" of Darius the Median, or the same year as the "Fall of Babylon," B.C. 538. Daniel had been studying the Prophecy of Jeremiah, and learned from it that the 70 years of "Captivity" of his people were drawing to a close, for the "Captivity" began in B.C. 606, and 68 years had elapsed since then. Jer. 25:11. This discovery thrilled Daniel and he set his face toward God and poured out his soul in one of the most wonderful prayers recorded in the Scriptures. Verses 3-19. It is a model of confession, supplication and intercession. His prayer was interrupted by the appearance of the angel Gabriel, who had been sent at its commencement to give him "understanding in the matter." Vs. 20-23. Daniel was concerned about the end of the "seventy years" of the "Captivity," and doubtless Gabriel relieved his mind as to that, but Gabriel had something more important to reveal to Daniel and that was the period of "Seventy Weeks."
The purpose of Gabriel's visit was to show Daniel that while his people would be restored to their own land at the end of the "Seventy Years," that did not mean the restoration of their National Life, but was only the commencement of a longer period, which the angel called the "Seventy Weeks," that must elapse before they should again be in control of their own land. This period was "determined" upon Daniel's people, and upon the Holy City. This is very important. It discloses the fact that the "Seventy Weeks" have nothing to do with the Gentiles or the Church. It also discloses another fact that the "Seventy Weeks," or 490 years, only cover the period when the Jews are, by God's permission, dwelling as a people in their own land. It does not cover the present period of their Dispersion.
The Seventy Weeks
The expression "Seventy Weeks" should read "Seventy Sevens." Whether those "sevens" are days, weeks or years is to be determined by the context. The "Period" of the "Seventy Weeks" is divided into three periods of "Seven Weeks," "Sixty-two Weeks" and "One Week," and it was to be 7+62=69 weeks from the going forth of the "commandment" to Restore and Build Jerusalem Unto "MESSIAH THE PRINCE."
The date of the "commandment" is given in Nehemiah 2:1 as the month "Nisan" in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, which was the date of March 9th, B.C. 444 (Julian Calendar). The day when Jesus rode in Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem as "Messiah the Prince" was Palm Monday on the date of March 30th, A.D. 33. Luke 19:37-40. But the span of time between March 9, B.C. 444, and March 30, A.D. 33, is more than 69 literal "weeks." It is 444+33-1=476 years and 21 days. (We subtract one year because we do not count the year B.C. 0). What explanation can we give for this? It is clear to every careful student of the Word of God that there is a "Time Element" in the Scriptures. We come across such divisions of time as "hours;" "days;" "weeks;" "months;" "years;" "times;" "time and the dividing of time." To be intelligible and avoid confusion they must all be interpreted on the same scale. What is that scale? It is given in Num. 14:34. "After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days—Each Day FOR A YEAR, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years." See also Ezek. 4:6.
The "Lord's Scale" then is—"A Day Stands for a Year."
Let us apply this scale to the "Seventy Weeks." We found that the time between the "commandment" to restore and build Jerusalem, and "Messiah the Prince," was to be 69 weeks, or 69×7=483 days, or if a "day" stands for a year, 483 years. But we found that from B.C. 444 to A.D. 33 was 476 years, a difference of 7 years. How can we account for the difference?
We must not forget that there are years of different lengths. The Lunar year has 354 days. The Calendar year has 360 days. The Solar year has 365 days. The Julian, or Astronomical year, has 365¼ days, and it is necessary to add one day every 4 years to the calendar.
Now which of these years shall we use in our calculation? We find the "Key" in the Word of God. In Gen. 7:11-24; 8:3, 4, in the account of the Flood, we find that the 5 months from the 17th day of the 2nd month, until the 17th day of the 7th month, are reckoned as 150 days, or 30 days to a month, or 360 days to a year. So we see that we are to use in "Prophetical Chronology" a "Calendar" year of 360 days.
By multiplying 360 days (per year) with 483 years, we get 173,880 days, the exact number of days from Artexerxes's decree to rebuild Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:1-8), March 9, B.C. 444 (Julian Date), to Jesus Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Luke 19:37-40), March 30, A.D. 33 (Julian Date).
We must carefully notice that nothing is mentioned as occurring between the "Seven Weeks" and the "Sixty-two Weeks," and that Daniel was to understand that the latter followed the former without a break. That is, there is no break between the first seven weeks (49 years) and the sixty-two weeks (434 years).
We see from this that if the "Students of Prophecy" of Christ's day had been on the alert, and had understood Daniel's prophecy of the "Seventy Weeks," they would have been looking for Him, and would have known to a certainty whether He was the Messiah or not.
While there was no break between the "Seven Weeks" and the "Sixty-two Weeks," there is a break between the "Sixty-ninth" and "Seventieth Week," in which several things were to happen.
First we read that "Messiah Was to Be Cut Off, But Not for Himself." This refers to Christ's rejection and crucifixion. He died for others. Then we read that the people of the "Prince That Shall Come" shall destroy the City and the Sanctuary. This occurred in A.D. 70 by the Romans. Note that it does not say that the "Prince" will destroy the City and Sanctuary, but the "People of the Prince." Since the people who destroyed the City of Jerusalem and the Temple in A.D. 70 were the Romans, the "Prince" (Antichrist) must be a Roman Citizen. This does not mean that he cannot be of a different ethnicity or multi-racial, exhibiting characteristics of all four "Wild Beasts" as is described by the Apostle John in his vision, for Saul of Tarsus was a Roman citizen but ethnically Jewish. Antichrist in his uniqueness will be: 1) a Roman citizen; 2) an ethnic mosaic of the four people-group represented by the four "Wild Beasts" [Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome] on his maternal side; and 3) the flesh-and-blood Nephilim son of Satan himself on his paternal side.
We are then told that the desolation of the land of Palestine shall continue until the "End of the War" (Armageddon campaign). As this "desolation" still continues to the large degree we see that the "GAP" between the "Sixty-ninth" and "Seventieth Week" takes in the whole of this PRESENT DISPENSATION—THE CHURCH AGE.
The last "Week" (7 years) of the "Seventy Weeks" (490 years) Prophecy will take place at a future date, AFTER the Church is "caught out" or Raptured. That period, also referred to as the Tribulation, will begin WHEN ANTICHRIST ENTERS INTO COVENANT WITH ISRAEL and will end AT THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST.