You are on page 1of 2

The 70 weeks of Daniel 9 A Messianic Prophecy In 605 BC, Daniel and others in Jerusalem were taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar

r and his army and were then taken to Babylon. Here God called Daniel to be a prophet. The prophecies that God gave to Daniel are recorded in the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament. Our study will be on Daniel chapter 9 but we will begin by referring to chapter 8 in order to get the background. In chapter 8, Daniel has a vision of the rise and fall of nations. A ruler will arise that will pervert the worship of God, persecute God's people and desecrate the Sanctuary. The question is then asked: How long will the vision be, concerning the daily sacrifices and the transgression of desolation, the giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled underfoot? (vs. 13)*. The answer is given: For two thousand three hundred days [lit. evenings and mornings]; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed. (vs 14). The angel Gabriel gives a rather detailed explanation of the vision. But concerning the 2300 days he says: And the vision of the evenings and mornings Which was told is true; Therefore seal up the vision, For it refers to many days in the future. (vs. 26). Then follows Daniels reaction and the conclusion of the chapter: And I, Daniel, fainted and was sick for days; afterward I arose and went about the kings business. I was astonished by the vision, but no one understood it. (vs 27). Daniel obviously realized that the 2300 days referred to 2300 years. He is perplexed. Had not God, through the prophet Jeremiah promised (see Jer. 29:10) that the captivity in Babylon would last for only 70 years? In the first part of chapter 9, we find Daniel confessing the sins of his people under fasting and prayer. Then the angel Gabriel again comes to Daniel to give him insight. We will now turn to the words of Gabriel and study them in some detail. Daniel 9 Notes 23 At the beginning of your supplications the understand the vision What vision? There is no vision in chapter 9, so Gabriel command went out, and I have come to tell you, is here referring back to chapter 8, specifically to the vision concerning the 2300 for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the days that no one could understand. matter, and understand the vision: 24 Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy. 70 weeks = 490 days. If we follow the principle that a day represents a year (see eg. Num 14:34; Eze 4:6) it makes 490 years. The word translated determined also have the meaning of cut off. Cut off from where? From the 2300 days. Your people refers to the Jewish nation and the holy city to Jerusalem. People were to stop their rebellion, but through the Messiah the sin problem would be dealt with at its root. Only Messiah would be able to bring reconciliation and everlasting righteousness. The 70 week prophecy would also confirm the veracity of the vision and prophecy of chapter 8. In the desert, God asked the Israelites to build a sanctuary (Exo 25:8). When the structure was completed, everything connected with the sanctuary was anointed (Exo 40), before the regular services began. The services of the earthly sanctuary pointed toward Christ's ministry in the heavenly sanctuary. After Christ's ascension the Heavenly Sanctuary was inaugurated where he now serves as our High Priest, our mediator (Heb 1:3; 4:14-16; 8; 9). The decree that best fits the prophecy is the one given by Artaxerxes I in 457 BC and recorded in Ezr 7. The issue here is not so much building as restoring the functional infrastructure, such as appointing magistrates and judges. But they did begin to rebuild the city as well (Ezra 4:12), though the process was fraught with difficulties (Ezra 4; Neh 2-7). From this decree in 457 BC until the coming of the Messiah there would be 7 + 62 weeks = 69 weeks. This would equal 483 prophetic days i.e. 483 years. If we add things up (and take into account that there is no year zero) we reach 27 AD. Messiah means anointed. In 27 AD Jesus was baptized (Luk 3:1, 21) and he was anointed by the Holy Spirit that came over him in the form of a dove (Acts 10:38; Luk 3:22). Jesus now began his public ministry and proclaimed: The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel (Mark 1:15 cf. Gal 4:4). At some time after 27 AD the Messiah would be killed. Here is described the Roman army under the leadership of Titus that entered Jerusalem like a flood in 70 AD and destroyed both the city and the temple. Jesus predicted this event about 40 years earlier (see Matt 24; Mark 13 and Luke 21).

25 Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times.

26 And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined. * The New King James Version throughout.

27 Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.

The last week which represents 7 years, brings us from 27 AD to 34 AD. Earlier we found that the Messiah would die at some point after 27 AD. This verse goes into more detail. Here we read that it would happen in the middle of the 7 years which brings us to 31 AD. This is the year when Jesus, the lamb of God, died on the cross for the sins of humanity making the animal sacrifices that had been but a shadow of this event, useless (See eg. Heb 9). Then the verse again brings us forward to the destruction of Jerusalem by Rome in 70 AD. In Matt 24:15 and Mark 13:14 Jesus refers to this very text. The Roman power would develop over the years as Dan 2, 7, and 8 predicted, but even that power will finally come to an end. It will itself be made desolate.

But what happened at the end of the 70th week in 34 AD? The Jewish leaders waited for the Messiah, but when their Messiah came they rejected him and had him killed. In 34 AD they had Stephen stoned to death when he showed them that Jesus was the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecies and thus they confirmed their rejection. Those who believed in Christ were now persecuted and they spread around the message of the Messiah wherever they fled. About this time, Paul was also converted. He became known as an apostle to the Gentiles (Rom 11:13). Jesus, the Messiah came to save everyone, Jew and gentile alike, and those who commit their lives to Him become members of the true Israel of God (Rom 2:28, 29; Gal 3:26-29).