The Seventy Weeks of Daniel

posted Apr 1, 2020, 11:57 AM by Basic Bible Doctrine

Israel’s Prophetic Time Table

The prophecy of the seventy weeks was given to Daniel by God while Daniel was in the Babylonian captivity (Daniel 9:1; 2 Chronicles 36:21-23; Ezra 1:3-5; 6:3-5). Daniel was concerned for his people who were nearing the end of their seventy-year captivity. In Daniel’s vision he was reassured that God had not forgotten His chosen people. The angel Gabriel told Daniel that God would bring Israel back into their land and would one day set up the messianic kingdom. What was unexpected for Daniel, was the revelation that all of this would not be fulfilled at the end of current seventy-year captivity in Babylon, but at the end of the future seventy-week period described in Daniel 9:24-27. It is at this point that the angel Gabriel reveals to Daniel God’s time-frame of the seventy weeks of years as a framework for Israel’s history. [The diagram and calculation below provide an explanation of this time-frame.]

Calculation of Daniel’s 70 Weeks of Years

69 weeks × 7 years per week × 360 days per year = 173,880 days
March 5, 444 B.C. + 173,880 = March 30, A.D. 33 (Gregorian Calendar)
444 B.C. to A.D. 33 = 476 years
476 years × 365.2421989 days per year (Gregorian) = 173,855 days
+ days between March 5 and March 30 = 25 days
Total = 173,880 days
Rationale for 360-Day Years
1/2 week—Dan. 9:27
Time, times, 1/2 time—Dan. 7:25, 12:7; Rev. 12:14
1,260 days—Rev. 12:6, 11:3
42 months—Rev. 11:2, 13:5
Thus: 42 months = 1,260 days = time, times, 1/2 time = 1/2 week
Therefore: 1 month = 30 days; 1 year = 360 days

Daniel’s prophesied period of time was to begin with “the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem” (Daniel 9:25). The only decree that matches this is the one that Artaxerxes, King of the Medio-Persian Empire, issued to Nehemiah (Nehemiah 2:1-8). Nehemiah started rebuilding Jerusalem on March 5, 444 B.C. This began the countdown of the first sixty-nine weeks of years that culminated in Christ’s Triumphal Entry on March 30, A.D. 33 (Luke 19:28-40). This is why any biblically literate Jew would have to know that Messiah the Prince would be cut off after the sixty-nine weeks of years (Daniel 9:25-26). Jesus was crucified a few days later. Jesus of Nazareth is the only One who could have fulfilled that prophecy. He did fulfill that prophecy just as the Bible predicted.

This is one of the dozens of prophecies that Christ fulfilled literally at His first coming and we can know for certain that Jesus is the Messiah promised in the Old Testament.

Future Prophetic Fulfillment

In the same way that every prophecy was literally fulfilled by Jesus of His first coming, so will the hundreds of prophecies related to His second coming be fulfilled literally. In fact that final week of years in Daniel’s prophecy has yet to be fulfilled. There has been, thus far, about a 2,000-year postponement of the fulfillment of the final week of years in Daniel’s prophecy. But it too will be literally fulfilled just like the first sixty-nine weeks of years were literally fulfilled.

The seventieth week of Daniel is the basis in the Bible for a future seven-year period known as the Tribulation. This era follows the rapture of the Church and will be a time of unparalleled suffering and turmoil. The seven-year period of Daniel’s seventieth week provides the time span to which a whole host of items are associated. Some of those descriptive terms include: tribulation, great tribulation, day of the Lord, day of wrath, day of distress, day of trouble, time of Jacob’s trouble, day of darkness and gloom, and wrath of the Lamb.


Luke tells us that at the time of Christ’s first coming there was a group of Jewish people in the temple “who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38). When Jesus the Messiah was presented to them, even though a baby, they received Him. Yet the majority of the nation rejected Jesus. Those who received Him were looking for Him, apparently, because they knew His time was coming near.

Paul tells Church Age believers that we are “to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age.” But that’s not all. He says that while we are doing that we are to be “looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus” (Titus 2:12-13). Unlike the Jews of the Old Testament we do not have a specific timeframe for when Messiah will return. That is why the New Testament tells us to always be ready. We are to always be ready by looking every day, every hour, every minute, and every moment for the return of our Savior.

Learn more . . .
By reading » The Seventy Weeks of Daniel [PDF] [article by Thomas Ice]]