Daniel's Seventy Weeks (Dan. 9:24-27)

William Arnold III

24 Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place.

25 So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.

26 Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.

27 And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.

Most scholars who believe in a future literal Tribulation hold that the sixty-nine sevens (7x7 + 62x7) in verse 25 refer to sixty-nine sevens of years and were the time leading up to the coming of the Messiah. After this time Messiah was cut off (v. 26) or killed. Since the prophecy began describing a period of 70 sevens then that still leaves one seven year period to be fulfilled. This has been understood to be the Great Tribulation. At the beginning of the seven year period, the Antichrist will establish (or confirm) a covenant with many, but in the middle of this period he will renege and break his covenant, causing sacrifice to stop (v. 27). Since this prophecy was given to Israel (v. 24), "the many" has been understood to refer to Israel. When we look at other prophecies about the Antichrist, it seems that he will begin on good terms with Israel and will even allow them to have sacrifices once again. But after 3½ years he will take them away and declare himself to be God and require everyone to worship him instead. This is what is called the "Abomination of Desolation."

Concerning the first 483 years (69x7) some scholars have calculated the fulfillment of this to the very day when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. Revelation speaks of the second 3½ years of the Tribulation as 1,260 days and as 42 months (Rev. 11:2,3; 13:5). This would give us a 360 day year instead of our 365¼ day solar year. If the 483 years in Daniel 9 are to be understood the same way then that would come out to 173,880 days (483x360). To convert this into our solar years, we divide by 365.25 and get 476.05 (173,880 / 365.25). According to my Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia, the commandment of Artaxerxes I to Nehemiah to rebuild Jerusalem (Dan. 9:25) was in 444 BC. (This is also recorded in Nehemiah 2) 476 years - 444 BC = 32 + 1 (because 1 BC to 1 AD is one year, there is no year 0) brings us to 33 AD which is the year many scholars date the crucifixion (for various other reasons). The triumphal entry of our Lord into Jerusalem was just a few days before the crucifixion. However, even if we are not positive on some of these dates, the time frame is close enough that it is obvious that Jesus fulfilled the prediction.

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