Daniel 9:24-27 — The 70 Weeks Prophecy

(Photo: John Snyder/Wikimedia Commons)

Dan 9:24-27

Daniel was burdened with the promise of Jeremiah’s prophecy that the Babylonian captivity and judgment against the Jewish people and the city of Jerusalem was to be for 70 years, which was ending, and that God had promised to redeem His people back to their land.  Gabriel was sent to  reveal to him that God’s plan of redemption would span the rest of “this world’s” history, and that the present return to Judah and Jerusalem would not be the restoration of the Kingdom of God to Israel, but that it would be at a set future time, connected with the death of the Messiah, wars to come until the end, the Antichrist, the suffering of God’s people, and a final Day of the LORD (YHVH).   Then, the Kingdom of God (YHVH) would be restored to Israel, and to all the Gentiles. (Acts 1:1-11)

For those reading and studying Daniel, the vision of Ch 8 that Daniel did not fully understand regarding the antichrist kingdom (Dan 8:22-27), Gabriel is now giving Daniel the ability to comprehend it better by telling him that those events of the time of the end are connected with this prophecy in Dan 9:24-27.  And this prophecy is connected with the word given to Daniel in Ch 10 about great war in the last days; and with the wars of the King of the North/Antichrist in Ch 11, and the abomination that brings desolation ; and, in Ch 12, the great tribulation, the salvation of Israel, and the resurrection of the dead.  God has given us to see the end from the beginning, and we can look back on the beginning from the end.  Each dream and vision in the book adds information to the first dream of King Nebuchadnezzar in Ch 2.  We also have Yeshua’s Olivet Discourse in Mt 24, Mk 13, and Lk 21; we have 1Thes 4, and 2Thes 2; and we have the book of Revelation.  All these shine light back on Daniel.

Daniel was blessed by God to hear the executive command in 536 BC by Cyrus,  the King of Persia, for the Jews to return to their land and to rebuild the Temple in the city of Jerusalem, which set in motion the count-down of the first seven weeks, or 49 years, of the 70 weeks, or 490 years.  It seems from the Scriptures that the emphasis is given to Cyrus and to his decree for both the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem, and the foundation of the Temple. (Is 44:28Ezra 1:1-85:136:1-142Chron 36:19-23)  Without control of the city, access to the Temple would be contested and hindered – and it was — even as we see in our own day with the Temple Mount in eastern Jerusalem. (Ezra 4:1-5)   Most of the Jewish people then, and now, have not chosen to return to the land which YHVH God will give as an everlasting possession to the full remnant from all the tribes of Israel that will be the “all Israel [that] shall be saved”.

Darius the Great, in 520 BC, confirmed the initial proclamation of King Cyrus, by the Word of YHVH, and saw to it that the mission was carried out.  It took the LORD Himself to actually compel the work on the Temple/House and the city to be completed. (Ezra 6:14-15Hag 1:1-15Zech 1:1-17Neh 2:1-8)  Without the Lord, we can do nothing!  By His grace we accomplish His will.  If He is for us, who can prevail against us!?  To God be the glory!

While Daniel was primarily concerned with God keeping His promise to return the Jewish people back to the Land of Israel, despite all her sins, but in accord with God’s righteousness and mercies, the answer he received went way beyond that “small matter” and heavy burden he was carrying.  The prosperity connected with the return to the land would not mean that further chastising and judgments would not come.  The whole issue of putting away sin, transgression, and iniquity is God’s purpose, not merely that we should confess that we do sin and thank Him for forgiving us.  God has final redemption in His heart and mind!  This ‘math problem’ of the 70 Weeks bridges the Tanach/Old Testament with the New Testament, prophesying the timing of the coming of Messiah – the Seed of the woman on Earth, the Son of David, and the Son of Man from Heaven — and His being “cut off” for the sins of His people, and of the whole world.  This cosmic event on Earth is the center-piece of the whole of history! (1Cor 11:26Rev 13:81Pt 1:17-21Is 53Lk 23:34)

v 24  There are six objectives which Gabriel gave that would be accomplished by the coming of the Messiah, who would be “cut off, and have nothing”.

Seventy weeks [of years] are determined for Daniel’s Jewish people and for their holy city, Jerusalem:
1.  to finish transgression:  rebellion and unfaithfulness of Israel against YHVH and covenants
2.  to make an end of sin:  no more sinning; God will dwell among His holy people
3.  to make atonement for iniquity: to forgive them, and to take away their sinful nature
4.  to bring in everlasting righteousness:  as the result of the first three, and God is justified
5.  to seal up vision and prophet:  Yeshua is THE Prophet:  any other person claiming to be a prophet on a par with Jesus, or who establishes another religion or worldview, is a false prophet; YHVH is God and King of His people
6.  to anoint the Most Holy:  the altar and Temple is forever sanctified unto the only true God

God is working even now to bring about a separation of light from darkness; truth from lies; holy from profane; pure from defiled; those who love Yeshua above all from those who do not; life from death.  He will accomplish all this founded upon the sacrifice of the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ/Yeshua the Messiah, on the cross in Jerusalem, to take away the sin of the world forever and ever.  Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!  Yeshua’s sacrifice fulfilled in the flesh in real-time what God foreordained before the foundation of the world, and is the foundation of the New Covenant, and enabling God to righteously fulfill His heart’s desire towards Israel, the nations, and to born-again believers.

v 25  Gabriel is telling Daniel to consider and understand that there would be the command to restore and build Jerusalem, and that there would be 7 weeks (49 years) and 62 weeks (434 years) until Messiah the Prince.  The city would be rebuilt, even during troublesome times.  There was much opposition to the restoration work being performed (see Ezra and Nehemiah).

v 26a  After the 62 weeks, Messiah will be cut off, and have nothing.

When Yeshua died on the cross, it seemed as if the expected and promised redemption had failed.  Even His disciples did not believe fully until they saw Him alive after His resurrection, and even moreso, after they were baptized in the Holy Spirit. (Lk 24Mk 16:14Acts 4:33)  Notice that Gabriel is saying that “after the 62 weeks”, 434 years — not after 69 weeks, 483 years — Messiah would be cut off.  This indicates to me that there is a meaningful gap of years between the first 49 years (7 weeks) and the other 434 years of the 62 weeks.

The birth and the death of Messiah was to be before the destruction of the second Temple, which occurred in 70AD.  At the time of Daniel, that 2nd Temple had not yet been built.
–7 + 62 weeks = 69 weeks = 483 years of reckoning from the time of “the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem” until His being “cut off”/sacrificed sometime after the 62 weeks.  (There is also Talmudic confirmation that Yeshua’s death was 40 years before the destruction of the Temple:  http://www.windowview.org/hmny/pgs/talmuds.30ce.html )

Yeshua was born before the death of King Herod the Great, who died in 4 BC.  For those who place Yeshua’s birth either earlier than 5 BC, or later, and who place His sacrificial “cutting off” after 30 AD, upon whatever basis, they either are not taking the death of Herod into account, or are not taking the age of Yeshua into account.  Yeshua was baptized in 26 AD when He was about 30 years old, and His public ministry was for 3 1/2 years.

v 26b  “And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.”

Most commentators who have written about this while the Book of Daniel was closed up and sealed have rationally taught that the “people of the prince who is to come” is speaking of Romans, and of a Roman antichrist, since the “Romans” destroyed the 2nd Temple and the City of Jerusalem in 70 AD, and they were ruling over Judea.  I do believe that it speaks of the Antichrist to come, but we have also seen from our study of Daniel that Rome is not the fourth kingdom or beast:  Rome is not the Antichrist kingdom; nor is a Roman the Antichrist.  At the time of the Roman Empire’s rule in Judea during the generation of Messiah, they were not using Italians to rule the people in their widespread kingdom, but locals whom they thought would be easier to recruit and to control the populations.

Most of those involved in the crucifixion of the Lord, and in the destruction of the Temple and of Jerusalem were of the 10th Legion – mostly comprised of Syrians and Arabs.  These are the very peoples who have always had a grievance with the Jewish people and with them living peaceably in the promised land and the holy city of Jerusalem, and are today nearly all Islamic. (Neh 4:7-8)   This is consistent with all of the other prophecies, dreams, and visions recorded for us in Daniel’s book.

v 26c  “The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined.”

Until the end there will be devastating wars and desolations concerning Jerusalem.  The Messiah has come, but peace not yet, except in the hearts of those who believe in Him.  There is war until the end. (Ps 2:2,9110:1Mt 10:32-43Mk 13:5-8Jn 14:25-27)

v 27  “Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week (the 70th week; the last 7 years); but in the middle of the week (at 3 ½ years) he shall cause to cease sacrifice and offering (note: both with and without blood).  And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate (the abomination of desolation), even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate.”

The “he” here is referring back to the “prince who shall come” – the Antichrist, whose people were the ones who destroyed the city and the sanctuary.  He is the final king of the final beast kingdom of iron mixed with clay.  As we have seen throughout Daniel, these people are those related, whether in the flesh or in the spirit, to those who have an everlasting hatred of the Jewish people and Israel, and who live in the Middle East surrounding Israel.  They are nearly all Islamic/Muslim today. This “he” – the little/small horn – will confirm a covenant for seven years (not make a covenant, but affirm an existing one), but will break this covenant, or treaty, in the middle of the agreement.  He will cause the sacrifices [in the holy place; a third “temple”] to cease, and will commit the abomination of desolation, which brings about the final one-half week/3 1/2 years/42 months/1260 days to consummate the cleansing of the Temple and of the people, as has been determined. (Hos 5:15Mic 5:1-3Zech 12:10-14Acts 3:17-21Mt 24:3-22Mk 13:14-232Thes 2:1-12Rev 1314)  The Day of YHVH will bring and end to the “abominable beast” and the false prophet, and the entire image of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream will come crashing down, utterly and irreparably destroyed forever by the Stone from Above!

Think of examples of sports clocks, penalty box, work week:  real time vs playing or working time.  A 48-minute basketball game may take 2 hours to actually be played out.    “Time-out” is the present situation for the 70 weeks plan of redemption. The gap between the 69th week and the 70th is not reckoned, even while the game or work or war goes on.  The time clock continues to run while the gospel goes out to anyone and the evil one is deceitfully spreading his lies.  This time is not being reckoned in the 490-year plan for Israel/the Jewish people and for Jerusalem, even though “life goes on, and time goes by”.  When the Antichrist confirms a covenant or a treaty with covenant-breakers, the time will start again for the final stretch.  Let us fight the good fight of faith, and finish the race!  This also shows that Jacob’s Trouble has not yet happened, and that the present return of the Jews back to Israel is not yet the full-fillment of the many prophecies regarding that.  When the fullness of the Gentiles comes in, then all Israel is saved, and the Kingdom will be restored to Israel.  The time of the Gentiles is “running” as long as Jerusalem is being trampled down by the Gentiles. The Millennial Kingdom restores God’s order.

Finally!  Praise the Lord!  Anyone’s only hope of salvation is through believing in the name of the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, and that God raised Him from the dead. (Rom 10:9-13)

Different assumptions of chronology and dating cause discrepancies in determining the dates.  It seems from Scripture that the beginning of the seventy weeks began with the decree of Cyrus, King of Persia, in 536 BC, followed by a break of about 16 years before the decree was re-affirmed by Darius in 520 BC, and building of the Temple and city re-started and completed. (Is 44:28Hag 1Ezra 6:1-12)

2Chr 36:22-23Ezra 1:1-44:12Hag 1:4Lev 25:8-10   Cyrus gave the decree, which he acknowledged as being from YHVH.  He proclaimed a Jubilee – liberty to the captives and a return of their property — and the end of the first of the 7 weeks/49 years marked the beginning of the next Jubilee.
Is 44:2845:1-13   Prophecies about Cyrus, the LORD’s anointed, before he was born!  Cyrus would make the decree and proclaim liberty for the captivity of Israel.
Ezra 6:1-15Neh 2:1   a halt in the work during troublous times, but Cyrus’ decree was confirmed by Artaxerxes (Darius the Great ?) in 520 BC.

I have decided against the supposed command of Artaxerxes Longimanus around 445 BC, so long after Cyrus gave his.  And if there is a gap between the 7 weeks and the 62 weeks, then the math still does not match up.  Neither is he remembered in Jewish lore; but the Persian kings Cyrus and Ahaseurus, the king of Queen Esther, are.

–The first 7 sevens, or 49 years, coincides with Nehemiah’s work to restore Jerusalem and the Temple service.  There was a significant spiritual revival, which saw the cleansing of the Temple and the restoration of the Temple order and service. (Neh 7:112:4413:9)

–7 x 7 = 49 years
7 x 62 = 434 years (until Yeshua’s death in His 34th year of human
life; or, perhaps, until Yeshua’s baptism in 26 AD,
when He was revealed to Israel – Jn 1:29-36Mt 21:24-27
7 x 69 = 483 years

–The 70th “week of Daniel” (the last 7 years of the 490) is sometime after the death of Messiah, and also after the destruction of the second Temple and of Jerusalem that occurred in 70 AD, and begins with the Antichrist confirming a covenant with the unfaithful among the Israeli Jewish people (and with unfaithful New Covenant Christians approving, as part of the falling away). Consistent with other end-time prophecies, I believe that this last week of years brings the time of the Gentiles to a close, and then the Kingdom is restored to Israel.

What is important here, though, even if the precise calculation is still debated, is that the Messiah was to arrive near the end of the Second Temple period.  Jesus said that the Jewish leadership should have known the time of His visitation, and telling them that because they did not, their peace would be taken from them. (Luke 19:41-44; 12:54-56Gal 4:4)   This remains the state of things till today. The consummation of the six objectives is still future, but not that far distant.  The Word of God will be found to be true and accurate.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

If any of you readers know yourself, or know of someone else who knows, how to explain the first 69 weeks (483 years) of Daniel’s 70 Weeks prophecy, please let me know.  I do have some basic assumptions that I am looking for in the solving of this calculation, which I have yet to solve myself (even this teaching article shows some of the uncertainties in my thinking), or to find someone else who has:
1.  The prophecy is cut up into a 7-week period (49 years) and a 62-week period (434 years), and  the final 1 week period (7 years) that is still future (but not that much) as of this writing.  The prophecy specifically says that “after the 62 weeks Messiah would be cut off; therefore it seems that the calculation must not simply count 69 weeks, or 483 years, from the beginning date of the count-down.
2.  The periods are Sabbatical, and connected with Jubilees.
3.  Cyrus initiated the decree in 536 BC for the Jews to return from captivity and to rebuild the Temple, implying also that Jerusalem would also be rebuilt.  Daniel had prayed that the Lord would act quickly for His holy name’s sake that the city should be rebuilt. (Dan 9:19)  The process began, and then halted, and the Temple was not being diligently completed until the time of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah in 520 BC.

4.  Yeshua/Jesus was born before King Herod’s death, which is generally agreed to have been in April of 4 BC.  Yeshua began His public ministry when He was about 30 years old, and He ministered for 3 ½ years.  That puts Jesus’ birth in December, 5 BC, His baptism by John — revealing Him to Israel – in October, 26 AD, and His death in April, 30 AD.  Any other dating calculations (including astronomical) either do not take Herod’s time of death into account, or do not take Jesus’ age into account.

What is clear to me is that Messiah came and was cut off before the destruction of the second temple and of Jerusalem in 70 AD. The whole Book of Daniel brings us forward to the “time of the end” and the consummation of all of the dreams, visions, prophecies written for us in the book.

It is possible that my parameters are limiting me from seeing it satisfactorily explained otherwise. Has anyone sorted all of this out where the numbers add up, or subtract down?

This article originally appeared on Streams in the Negev, August 21, 2020, and reposted with permission.