DANIEL’S 70 WEEKSby Chuck Missler

To fully appreciate the remarkable significance of the following passages of scripture, it is essential to realize that the Book of Daniel, as part of the Old Testament, was translated into Greek prior to 270 BC, almost three centuries before Christ was born. This is a well-established fact of secular history.

The Septuagint

After his conquest of the Babylonian Empire, Alexander the Great promoted the Greek language throughout the known world, and thus almost everyone – including the Jews – spoke Greek. Hebrew fell into disuse, being reserved primarily for ceremonial purposes (somewhat analogous to the use of Latin among Roman Catholics).

In order to make the Jewish Scriptures (what we call the Old Testament) available to the average Jewish reader, a project was undertaken under the sponsorship of Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285-246 BC) to translate the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek. Seventy scholars were commissioned to complete this work and their result is known as the "Septuagint" ("70") translation. Therefore, the Book of Daniel existed in documented form almost three centuries before Christ was born.

Gabriel’s Zinger

It is recorded in the Scriptures that Daniel (originally deported as a teenager, though now near the end of the Babylonian captivity) was reading in the Book of Jeremiah and made a discovery. He understood that the seventy years of servitude were almost over and he began to pray for his people. The Angel Gabriel interrupted Daniel’s prayer and gave him a four-verse prophecy that is unquestionably the most remarkable passage in the entire Bible: Daniel 9:24-27.

These four verses include the following segments:

9:24 The Scope of the Entire Prophecy;
9:25 The 69 Weeks;
9:26 An Interval between the 69th and 70th Week;
9:27 The 70th Week.

The Scope

"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 Place (Daniel 9:24)."

The idiom of a "week" of years was common in Israel as a "sabbath for the land," in which the land was to lie fallow every seventh year. It was their failure to obey these laws that led to God sending them into captivity under the Babylonians. Note that the focus of this passage is upon "thy people and upon thy holy city," that is, upon Israel and Jerusalem (it is not directed to the Church). The scope of this prophecy includes a broad list of things which clearly have yet to be completed.

The First 69 Weeks

A very specific prediction occurs in verse 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."

This includes a mathematical prophecy. As we have noted in previous articles, the Jewish (and Babylonian) calendars used a 360-day year; 69 weeks of 360-day years totals 173,880 days. In effect, Gabriel told Daniel that the interval between the commandment to rebuild Jerusalem until the presentation of the Messiah as King would be 173,880 days. The "Messiah the Prince" in the King James translation is actually the Meshiach Nagid, "The Messiah the King." (Nagid is first used of King Saul.)

The commandment to restore and build Jerusalem was given by Artaxerxes Longimanus on March 14, 445 BC. (The emphasis in the verse on "the street" and "the wall" was to avoid confusion with other earlier mandates confined to rebuilding the Temple.)

During the ministry of Jesus Christ there were several occasions in which the people attempted to promote Him as king, but He carefully avoided it saying: "Mine hour is not yet come" Then, one day, He meticulously arranges it. On this particular day (Palm Sunday) He rode into the city of Jerusalem riding on a donkey, deliberately fulfilling a prophecy by Zechariah that the Messiah would present Himself as king in just that way:

"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass (Zechariah 9:9)."

Whenever we might easily miss the significance of what was going on, the Pharisees come to our rescue. They felt that the overzealous crowd was blaspheming, proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah the King. However, Jesus says: "I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out (Luke 19:40)."

This is the only occasion that Jesus presented Himself as King. It occurred on April 6, 32 AD. When we examine the period between March 14, 445 BC and April 6, 32 AD, and correct for leap years, we discover that it is 173,880 days exactly, to the very day!

The Interval

There appears to be a gap between the 69th week (verse 25) and the 70th week (verse 27):

"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 (Daniel 9:26)."

The sixty-two "weeks" follow the initial seven, so verse 26 deals with events after 69th week, but before the 70th. These events include the Messiah being killed and the city and sanctuary being destroyed.

As Jesus approached the city on the donkey, He also predicted the destruction of Jerusalem:

"For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation (Luke 19:43-44)."

The Messiah was, of course, executed at the Crucifixion. The city and the sanctuary were destroyed 38 years later when the Roman legions under Titus Vespasian leveled the city of Jerusalem in AD 70, precisely as Daniel and Jesus had predicted. In fact, as one carefully examines Jesus’ specific words, it appears that He held them accountable to know this astonishing prophecy in Daniel 9: "because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation."

The 70th Week

There is a remaining seven-year period yet to be fulfilled. This period is the most documented period in the entire Bible. The Book of Revelation, Chapters 6 through 19, is essentially a detailing of that climactic period.

We are being plunged into a period of time about which the Bible says more than it does about any other period in human history – including the time when Jesus walked the shores of the Sea of Galilee or climbed the mountains of Judea. Examine the scriptures for yourself and you will discover that the Bible is as relevant and accurate today as it was two thousand years ago.

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