The Wonder of Daniel's 70 Weeks Prophecy
The Wonder of Daniel's 70 Weeks
While there are 16 dedicated books of prophecy in our Scriptures, though prophecy is evident throughout many of the books of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Though it is important to know the purpose of prophecy and the role it plays in our Scriptures: why is it there?
The most primary purpose of prophecy is to prove that God is true, and by effectively doing so hundreds of times throughout the Bible no man can plead ignorance in the coming day of judgement. Prophecy displays undeniable proof that Yahweh is God, that He has efficacy in the world, that the Scriptures are His word, and that His promises are kept: time and time again, beyond any iota of doubt.
This explanation for prophecy is one provided by Yahweh Himself in Isaiah, when he challenges the pagan idols to prove that they are gods through a test of prophecy:
Isaiah 41:22 Let them bring them forth, and shew us what shall happen: let them shew the former things, what they be, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare us things for to come. (KJV)
Of course the idols all being products of vanity they are unable to accomplish this feat which is certainly a small thing for the Almighty God. This purpose for prophecy is again expressed in the New Testament, where in the parable of the wealthy man and Lazarus, the former pleads with Abraham to let him warn his brethren concerning the danger of forthcoming chastisement – but Abraham reminds him that Moses and the prophets are there to teach men that God is true.
Luke 16:29-30 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. (KJV)
We also see here that the resurrections of the Christ and His Gospel stand as yet another proof for God.
This is the purpose of prophecy and there are hundreds throughout Scripture, many of which consisting of both a near (temporal) and far (transcendental) vision. Essentially, the ‘near vision’ represents a more immediate dimension which will be fulfilled in short time and prove that the prophet is true and sent from Yahweh. Then the prophecy also contains a layer of a more ultimate transcendental fulfillment, which cannot be fulfilled immediately, and when it is accomplished much later will further glorify God. This ability for Yahweh God to weave the fabric of history in order to rhyme and be bookended in this way is truly awe-inspiring.
If men could understand the identities at play in Scripture then they would be able to interpret prophecy pragmatically, and no one would ever have any so-called “crisis of faith”. But because Judeo-Christians generally lack the Scriptural and historical understanding to interpret most of prophecy due to their deceptions and blindness, it is a common theme for them to entirely ignore it by postponing it to some ambiguous future date. This is widely known as “futurism”, where prophecies are pushed farther away into the future so that men shunning obligations for Christian conduct can feel comfort and security in this society. Many times will the prophecies be interpreted in laughable and “science-fiction” esque manners, which leaves anyone looking in from the outside shaking their head. The Scriptures always provide the pragmatic identification of symbols and themes – for example it is obvious that the locusts of Revelation 9 are men for anyone who has read the book of Joel.
Going further than this, some even have the audacity to discard explicit promises found in the prophets, so that they themselves can better justify lies such as the concept of “Spiritual Israel”.
But these are all deceptions, and prophecy was understood by our ancestors to be living and vigorous: showing the validity of God as history actively progressed. Historicism was the only valid interpretation to early Christians, and remains to be, even though a small inkling of futurism is necessary even in valid historicism.
It is a fact that many of the prophecies found in the Old Testament played out in real time, and concerning the Revelation, John was told that the things being spoken of were to begin to happen immediately. Indeed they have unfolded over the past period of 2000 years – and we are now present in Mystery Babylon where we also await deliverance. It wasn’t until when the Catholic Church was seeking to hide itself from Christian accusations during the reformation that the perverse deceptions of preterism and futurism as they are seen today were formed. But these concepts are nothing more than devices fabricated by the enemies of God to trivialize scripture, pacify men, and relieve themselves of persecution.
Most of Biblical prophecy has been fulfilled, this is a fact, and one of the most awe-inspiring prophecies of Scripture is one which those same enemies of God distaste so much that they will often cover it with a black cloth. They will do this because not only does it prove God to be true without a doubt, but also that Christ is the Messiah, and that there can be no other.
This is Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy:
Daniel was a prophet of the captivity in Babylon, and he was praying regarding the prophesied 70 years that Jerusalem would lay in ruins, as they were revealed unto Jeremiah. Daniel prays as he anticipates the rebuilding of Jerusalem, and after admitting the faults and sins of Israel and Judah, he prays for mercy from the Almighty. Yahweh sends the messenger Gabriel to answer Daniel’s prayer – and not only does Gabriel comfort Daniel that the city will be rebuilt – but he explains to Daniel why it’s being rebuilt: it’s being rebuilt in order to pave a way for the Messiah.
This is the prophecy in full:
Daniel 9:24-27 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. 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. 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. 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 will examine it verse by verse:
Daniel 9:24 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.
Firstly – it can be established in Scripture (primarily here and elsewhere) that a day in prophecy often represents a year, and therefore a prophetic period 70 weeks amounts to 490 years. Daniel is being by Gabriel told that the rebuilt Jerusalem and remnant nation surrounding it will allow the Messiah to make an end of sin in roughly that amount of time. (It is no coincidence that this same messenger Gabriel appears to be the one who would later announce the advent of the Messiah to Mariam the mother of Christ!) The very purpose of returning to Jerusalem and rebuilding it is identified here as a means to ‘finish the transgression’ and ‘anoint the most Holy’, and this can be seen implicitly in other prophets as well, such as in cursory readings of Haggai and Zechariah.
The reason why this rebuilding of Jerusalem is a Messianic prerequisite is because the Messiah needs to live a perfect life as an unblemished lamb, and this will include things such as Him presenting Himself to the temple three times a year. There are also many other peripheral prophecies at play.
Israel and Judah who have been divorced at this time are paving the way for their own reconciliation, and the means by which this was accomplished by Christ is identified here in Daniel nearly over 450 years before it happened.
- To finish the transgression: the transgression is the state of divorce between Christ and Israel – and its annulment was accomplished by Christ as the death of the Husband releases the wife from the penalty of the Law. (Romans 7, Gal 4:5, et al). Christ cried out on the cross “it is finished!”
- To make an end for sins: This is a legal end of sins, but not a physical end as sin is still inevitable among men. The difference is that now men have propitiation in Christ and therefore if the seed of Abraham is in you then your sin is not imputed to you any longer. We are now dead in Christ, and consequently we are also alive in Him. (1 John 3:9)
- To make reconciliation for iniquity: Christ reconciled divorced Israel to Himself and these were the lost sheep whom He was prophesied to regather in places such as Isaiah 53 and Ezekiel 34. Paul chose to call his ministry one of reconciliation for a reason (2 Cor 5:18). As Paul had written in Ephesians chapter 2, “16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby”, or in Colossians chapter 1, “20… having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”
- To seal up the vision: Now where we see the word seal in Greek, it often means to ‘ensure’ or ‘make it sure’. It’s not “covered up” in this instance, as many would jump to assume in this verse. The NAB uses the word ‘ratified’.
- To anoint the most holy: There’s allusions to Christ’s anointing in Zechariah, and Christ – Christos (Χριστός) – literally means anointed in Greek.
The very purpose of the Messiah has been described in detail, but now the timing adds yet another dimension:
Daniel 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.
It says here that the weeks of the prophecy would not begin until “the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem”, and not only the temple or the walls. This is important, and it dates the beginning of the prophecy to the time of Ezra, around 458 BC.
69 weeks: We read in Daniel that from that time “unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks”. That is 69 prophetic weeks, and therefore represents 483 years.
We should acknowledge that dates in ancient history are sometimes complicated to determine, as much of it depends on how men want to rectify the reigns of kings. Discrepancies can result between different chronologies based on whether the first year of the king is counted inclusively or simply counted forward from the time of coronation. While minute at first, this will eventually build up and result in exponential differences between different reckonings as large periods of time progress in the chronology. With that said, while we may be off our estimate here by a short handful of years, the window of time is nevertheless clear and evident through the historical records which survive and remain available to us.
Ezra receives his commission around 458 BC – adding 483 years brings us to 26 AD – Luke 3:1 tells us that Christ began His ministry during the 15th year of Tiberius Ceaser – which was 28 AD.
This is a near exact spot on timing for the beginning of the Messiah’s ministry as we’ve just determined it. How could anyone but God ever give such a perfect window?
Troublous times: These troubling times are seen in Nehemiah and Ezra, as the surrounding nations were significantly adversarial towards the Judeans, Benjamites and Levites who had returned to rebuild Jerusalem. But regardless of their adversity – the city is eventually built. This is giving reassurance to the people that no matter how much adversity they faced, that the city and temple will be rebuilt – because it has to happen – it has to pave a way for the Messiah so that God can keep His promises to Abraham. The prophets Haggai an Zechariah gave similar words of comfort years later when the temple was actually being built. As the years progress, wars are raged around Palestine but Jerusalem herself is never destroyed.
Yahweh has made Himself a wall of fire around Jerusalem until its purpose in the Messiah can be fulfilled. (Zech 2:5)
Daniel 9:26 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.
The threescore and two weeks don’t indicate an immediate expiry, but that this will happen sometime after the date. Any precise reason for its mention appears to be lost to us, but was likely more relevant for the people at the time.
Cut off but not for himself: Christ died for sake of His people, so that He could marry Israel to Himself again and keep the promises which He made to Abraham. He is the man of sorrows, the suffering servant of Isaiah 53 who was “wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Peter noted in his first epistle that the just had died for the sake of the unjust (1 Peter 3:18).
He didn’t die to redeem Himself for anything He did, but for what us, Israel, (the woman), did. As Yahweh told us in Isaiah that He would redeem us without money (52:3), and promised in Hosea that He would betroth us to Him again (2:14-23) – the only legal way of doing that would require His death.
People of the prince: Throughout this entire prophecy the Messiah has been referred to as “the Prince”, and the people of the prince in this verse are the people of that same Messiah. It is told that they will destroy the city of Jerusalem after the Messiah dies, and in 70 AD the Romans did just that. It is perfectly acceptable to identify the Romans as the people of the prince, because they were Trojan Judahites from the Zerah Branch of Judah who were fulfilling the role of kinsman avenger.
Paul recognized and understood Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy, and since the Messiah had already been cut off in his lifetime he was also awaiting the imminent destruction of Jerusalem. Paul logically identified the Romans as the principle “people of the prince” capable of carrying out the task given the political circumstances at the time. This was why Paul says in his epistle to the Romans that they will bruise Satan under their feet shortly (16:20), and he was ultimately correct in this estimation. (It could be conjectured that the specifics were even shown to Him by Christ – 2 Cor 12).
Paul elsewhere identified the Edomites in Jersualem as Satan, in places such as 2 Thessalonians 2, and as vessels of destruction in Romans 9. His reference to them here as Satan is perfectly acceptable, and it is clear in Revelation 2:13 that a portion of these Edomites and other admixed peoples had fled to Pergamos after the destruction of Jerusalem.
Flavius Josephus noted that all the noble peoples left Jerusalem in between the two sieges, and he described the vile character of those who remained. Josephus also wrote elsewhere concerning Essenes being Judahites by birth, and the Idumean heritage of the Herods, among other matters.
Judeo centric commentators are simply unable to connect the Trojan Romans with Christ, because they love antichrists more than they love Jesus, but the context here has not changed. The Prince here is still Christ, and the “people of the prince” are in effect His kinsman avengers.
Desolations: Christ told His opponents that He was to leave their house to them desolate (Matt 23:38), and so it was.
Jeremiah was told that Jerusalem was a broken bottle nation never to be restored (Jer 19:1-11), and the purpose of the 70 weeks nation was only temporary providing a means so that the Messiah could be ushered in and make a remission for errors.
Simply put, the 70 weeks nation never represented any permanent restoration. Once Christ accomplished His mission, there was no longer a reason for Jerusalem to remain any longer and espeically in light of the aforementioned prophecy from Jeremiah.
It is seen in Malachi that in later times the Edomites would return to rebuild the desolate places, and this has indeed been recently fulfilled. What that teaches us is that if anyone dwells in Jerusalem today, they are certainly not Israel.
Neither does the presence of Edomites in Jerusalem make it inhabited, for the same reason that a bastard in Ashdod does not make the city inhabited in the eyes of God (Zech 9:6).
Daniel 9:27 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.
In the midst of the week: The ministry of Christ is here dated to be 3.5 years, which is half of one week. In the middle of that week He will die, and when that happens it will cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease, because He is the final sacrifice and the Levitical priesthood is hence forward rendered mute.
A 32 AD crucifixion can be assured by comparing Luke 3:1 and the passovers as they are counted in the Gospel of John. In the Gospel of John there are three passovers mentioned, (and of course other feasts), and it is during the third that Christ is crucified. We know from Luke that Christ began His ministry around autumn of 28 AD, and counting the passovers in John this brings us to a crucifixion in spring of 32 AD. The relevant verses in John concerning the passovers are 2:13, 6:4, and 11:55.
What an amazing thing, that even the length of the Messiah’s ministry was foretold!
Sacrifice and oblation to cease: There’s no more reason for a Levitical priesthood, as we now have the Melchizedek priesthood (Hebrews 5:6). Unlike the Levites who had to make continuous sacrifices which never provided any permanent propitiation, Christ only needed to make the sacrifice once and never again, as Paul explicitly explains in Hebrews 9:25-26. This is also why Paul said in places such as his epistle to the Galatians that the works of the Law were done away with, which were the rites and practices connected with the Levitical priesthood.
After Christ was crucified, the sacrifices were rendered pointless and ceased in that sense, but they then ceased even further after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. They have not resumed since (except for a very short period during the later Jewish revolt), and there has been no sacrifices made in Jerusalem for 2000 years now.
The fact that the are still no faux sacrifices being made even to this day is made possible through the fact that Yahweh arranged history so that the overspreading of abominations would follow the desolation:
Overspreading of abominations: The abomination of desolation comes after the desolation, and we see it in the genitive case in the Gospels.
This abomination is nothing other than the muslims who came later years and their so-called dome of the rock which has ever since paralyzed the jews in Jerusalem from any attempts at building a “third” temple or resuming sacrifice.
Even until the consummation: The consummation here is the destruction of Jerusalem, but one may importantly observe a transcendental fulfillment here regarding the most ultimate consummation (the Second Coming), and therefore that Jerusalem will remain desolate even until the Second Advent. This again places anyone there today as frauds, as Jerusalem remains desolate in the eyes of God.
That determined shall be poured upon the desolate: This is the cup of Yahweh’s wrath, the destruction of Jerusalem then and the Lake of Fire tomorrow.
We can make some final notes that certain fools have claimed the last week of the prophecy to be speaking of a supposed singular “Antichrist” – despite the Scriptures plainly identifying Antichrists to be a collective entity much like the woman or bride of Christ.
There is no antichrist here.
Christ confirmed the covenant with many for one week: the Antichrist didn’t do that.
Christ caused the sacrifice and oblation to cease: the Antichrist didn’t do that.
And to say that “the Antichrist” confirms a covenant is patently ridiculous and even blasphemous. The entire idea of a “gap theory” is a cover for the crimes of the Edomites who slew Christ, and there is no doubt that their descendants today love and nurture this perverse theory.
Denying that the entirety of this prophecy concerns Christ denies His sacrifice. Period.
To summarize this awe-inspiring prophecy, it efficiently foretold the following:
In 483 years the Messiah is going to be born and this is the very purpose as to why you are going back to rebuild Jerusalem. This Messiah will make an end of sins, and make reconciliation with the lost sheep of the house of Israel. He will be anointed, and therefore you will call Him Christ. The city will be built and remain long enough for all this to happen, even through troublous times.
When the Messiah comes He will have a ministry for three and a half years and then He will die, but not for Himself.
When He dies, He will be the final sacrifice. There will be no need for sacrifices ever again.
After His death, Israelites will come and destroy Jerusalem, and the city will remain desolate.
This prophecy is incredible! Scripture reveals itself even further when this is combined with other awe-inspiring prophecies, such as how Zechariah told us that the Messiah’s name would be Yahshua (through Joshua the high-priest as a type) and that He would be called “THE BRANCH” (Nazarene). We can also consider the Psalms which told us in detail that He would be crucified and by whom, and many other inspired examples.
There is no doubt that Yahweh is God and that Yahshua is the Messiah.
Now that all this is accomplished, anyone who denies Christ as the Messiah is a fool, and it is they who are antichrist.