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DANIELS PROPHECY OF SEVENTY SEVENS

The book of Daniel is a great source of wisdom for believers and can be a book of guidance in several areas such as integrity, boldness, and servitude. Daniels writings continue to serve us today over 2500 years later. The prophecy of the seventy weeks (or seventy sevens) in the ninth chapter of Daniel is just a fragment of his text yet is vital to the understanding of eschatology because some of the events are still future even for today. There are many views and interpretations offered for the understanding this prophecy. The length of the weeks has been debated as well as the dates and the fulfillment of the prophecy itself. So much difficulty is present because of the abundance of information about so much future rests within only four verses. Even though the difficulty is evident there are several points that we can know and take from Daniels prophetic revelation. Francisco was correct about the difficulty of Daniels Seventy Sevens, There is no more intricate problem in Old Testament study than the interpretation of Daniel 9:24-27. There are some who would have the student think that there is an easy solution, but one must beware of oversimplification of the issues involved. A passage that lends itself to varied opinions so readily must be approached with caution, and handled with precision as well as reverence1. The revelation itself is found in Daniel 9:24-27: 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. 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. 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;
Francisco, Clyde T. "Seventy weeks of Daniel." Review & Expositor 57, no. 2 (April 1, 1960): 126-137. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed October 9, 2010). 126
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desolations are determined. 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.

Daniel received the revelation during his captivity in Babylon under the reign of Darius the Mede (Ahasuerus) about 538 B.C. Back tracking to the beginning of chapter nine, Daniel had examined the prophecy of the prophet Jeremiah (Jer. 25:11-12; 29:10) and understood that the nations exile was coming to a finish. Daniel trusted the authors of Scripture from the past; he understood that God had spoken to them and gave them His Words. Daniel knew that it had been nearly seventy years since the captivity began. Daniel was probably a young teenager, approximately 15 or 16 years old in 605 B.C. when the captivity began. Now that 67 years had passed the elderly Daniel was looking ahead and anticipating the coming promise and return to the promise land; a godly example to everyone to always be hopeful of the Lords return for His church. He faithfully began to pray and repent for the sins of his nation, as well as himself, asking the Lord to hear them and forgive them for their wickedness (vs. 3-19) which brought them into captivity. The angel Gabriel then brought Daniel a message. Beginning in verse 24, Gabriel declares, Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city to be rebuilt. Knowles correctly notes, The seventy sevens will give time for the rebuilding of Jerusalem, for people to put their lives in order and to await the Anointed One, their Messiah. 2 The word weeks (Shabuwa`) literally means seven, or period of seven. It can be days or years but, it must be understood as years; plainly seventy sevens of years. One week would then be seven years. Other views of this interpretation understand the word weeks as approximate

Knowles, A.. The Bible guide (1st Augsburg books ed.) Minneapolis, Augsburg. (2001). 350.

lengths of time or as symbolic lengths of time. However the best and most harmonizing approach is to account for weeks as literal years. Hence, an individual can understand the length of times easier by multiplying 70 times 7 thus there is literally 490 years (70x7=490) decreed. These 70 sevens will be broken down into three parts and explained as we go on through this passage. The seventy weeks were decreed or literally to divide or to determine. God had determined seventy weeks (490 years) for Israel and for their city to be restored. It must be established when this decree occurred, according to Scripture, to determine when the start of the seventy sevens began. The most popular dates for the beginning decree are either Ezra in 458 B.C. or Nehemiah in 445 B.C. In Nehemiah 2:1-8, King Artaxerxes gave the decree to Nehemiah to return to Jerusalem to, as Nehemiah said, that I may rebuild it (vs. 5), and so Nehemiah began rebuilding the city, particularly the walls. Wiersbe concludes, Artaxerxes decreed that Nehemiah could return to rebuild the walls (Neh. 2). This was in 445 B.C., and it is the decree Dan. 9:25 is talking about3. The date of Ezra is often rejected because Ezra was specifically sent to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple (Ezra 1: 1-3). However, in 9:9 he does imply the rebuilding of more than just the temple. Aside from the difficulty with semantics in the beginning, the decree starting from 458 B.C. overall harmonizes the best with the entirety of the prophecy, especially at the ending of the prophecy. The decree of seventy sevens was revealed for several reasons. Daniel writes a list of six goals given by the angel Gabriel in verse 24: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
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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

Wiersbe, W. W. Wiersbe's expository outlines on the Old Testament (Da 9:2027). Wheaton. Victor Books.

(1993).

6. to anoint the most holy place Miller states, These six goals will not all be fulfilled until the arrival of the future kingdom of God4. The first goal is to finish transgression. Seventy sevens have been decreed for the rebuilding of Jerusalem to finish transgression. This implies that Israel needed to repent for their wickedness against God; to stop their current actions and to return to Him from their previous rebellions. The next goal seems very similar or that it could possibly be a repeat (synonym) of the first goal, to put an end to sin. However, the phrase to put an end implies more of completeness to sin and its effects. The discontinuing of sin altogether would require that the Lord return with His kingdom. The third goal to atone for wickedness refers to the covering of sins to a satisfying of the holy wrath of God. This immediately brings to mind the Messiah Jesus Christ and the work completed on the cross at Calvary. Hebrews 10:12 shouts this from the New Testament about Jesus Christ, But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. The fourth goal for the restoring of Jerusalem is to bring in everlasting righteousness. This is only able to be accomplished because of Christs substitutionary atonement on the cross and will occur after the duration of the seventy sevens is complete. Smith expounds, This righteousness is called everlasting because (1) it originated in the eternal counsel of God; and (2) it has eternal duration5. The fifth goal is to seal up vision and prophecy; literally to seal, affix a seal, seal up. The prophecies will be finished, fulfilled and no longer necessary upon the return of Christ and His eternal kingdom. The sixth and final goal in verse 24 is to anoint the most holy. There is debate

Miller, Stephen R.. Daniel (New American Commentary, vol. 18). Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 1994. Smith, J. E. The Major Prophets. Joplin. College Press. (1992). (Da 9:24)

259.
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over whether the anointing is to a person (Christ) or to the most holy place as it is translated by the NASB. Smith believes that it is likely Christ, The centrality of Christ in the verses which follow, however, suggests that the most holy is a person, viz., Christ. He was anointed by the Holy Spirit at his baptism6. I, nevertheless, believe that this anointing is referring to the new future temple. Every temple that was build for Israel in the past was destroyed; I would therefore lean towards the thought that anointing this refers to is the millennial temple that is mentioned in Ezekiel 40-48. In verse 25, the angel Gabriel told Daniel to know and discern; to know and be wise and prudent with the information given. The time of the seventy sevens would begin from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. As I discussed above this best harmonizes with 458 B.C. and the decree given to the prophet Ezra in 7:11-26. Artaxerxes, king of kings, to Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, perfect peace. And now I have issued a decree that any of the people of Israel and their priests and the Levites in my kingdom who are willing to go to Jerusalem, may go with you (Ezra 7:12-13). The Israelites then began to move toward Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the city began. Daniel then writes that the seventy sevens would continue until Messiah the Prince (NASB); most other translations use the literal title, Anointed One, the ruler. This is the title and role that Gabriel uses to describe the then future work of the Savior Jesus Christ; He is Messiah the Prince. Daniel specifies that the seventy sevens (490 years) would begin from the decree of the rebuilding unto the Messiah. Throughout the next three verses he begins to divide the 490 years into three periods 7 weeks, 62 weeks and the 70th week. Seven weeks of years would be 49 years, the sixty-two weeks of years would be 434 years and the seventh week of years would be 7 years.

Smith, J. E. The Major Prophets. Joplin. College Press. (1992). (Da 9:24)

The first seven sevens (49 years) began at the decree in 458 B.C. and continue for 49 years until 409 B.C. This period of 49 years is counted as the rebuilding and restoration period of Jerusalem which includes the rebuilding of the temple and the city itself as well as the city walls during the time of Nehemiahs ministry. One interesting thought is that the acceptance of the decree beginning with Ezra is that the events that occur during the time of Nehemiah are also included in the 49 years of rebuilding; the two prophets were contemporaries (Nehemiah 8:9). Daniel was told by Gabriel, It (Jerusalem) will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. Daniel might have wondered why more distress was approaching in the future rather than simply restoration and blessings. The times of distress probably refers to the great troubles that Nehemiah encountered while rebuilding the walls and the gates around the city in chapter 4 of Nehemiah, this would have been included in the 49 years. Next, the period of the sixty-two sevens (434 years) began after the reconstruction of Jerusalem and spanned for 434 years. There was no time lapse between these two periods of weeks. The second period concluded with the coming of the Messiah Jesus Christ (vs. 25); a total of 483 years have passed (7 years + 434 years = 483 years). From the decree to rebuild Jerusalem to Christs first coming, until Messiah the Prince (vs. 25), the first 69 weeks passed. After the 69 sevens were completed, Daniel wrote, the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing. This occurred in 30 A.D. at the crucifixion, which was obviously after the end of the 69 sevens. The term cut off (Karath) literally means to cut off, cut down. This refers to the physical destruction of the Messiah. He will be destroyed and have nothing seems to refer to earthly conditions because the One who is supposed to rule the kingdom of Israel is discarded when He is cut off. Jamieson explains, the time of His entering Jerusalem on an asss colt, His only

appearance as a king, and six days afterwards put to death as King of the Jews.7 Jesus taught this when He agreed, the Son of Man must suffer much and be rejected (Mark 9:12). When Jesus died, he gave his mother away for someone else to care for (John 18:26-27), He died owning nothing, and abandoned by all, yet for all. Daniel continues, the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The people will destroy the city and the sanctuary. Daniel receives horrific news that the future temple that is yet to be built will be destroyed by the people of the coming prince. But who exactly are these people and who is the coming prince? The temple and Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D. by Ancient Rome. Knowles explains, The city of Jerusalem and the temple will be destroyed a judgment carried out by the Roman armies of Titus in AD 708. Daniel finishes verse 26, its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. The word end is used twice in this section implying that great final destruction is imminent. He describes this destruction of the city and the sanctuary with the figure of speech, as a flood. One can imagine the swift and leveling destruction that a powerful flood causes upon a city. The Roman army brought this upon the city of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Jesus described this desolation during His triumphal entry into Jerusalem as He wept and said, For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation (Luke 19:43-44). The temple to this day is still destroyed.

Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., Fausset, A. R., Brown, D., & Brown, D. A commentary, critical and explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments (Da 9:26). Oak Harbor. Logos Research Systems, Inc. (1997).
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Knowles, A. The Bible guide (1st Augsburg books ed.),. Minneapolis. Augsburg. (2001). 350.

The ancient Romans are referred to here as the people of the future Roman Empire of the Antichrist. Daniel refers to the future kingdom of Rome as the fourth kingdom in chapter 7, Thus he said: 'The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it (vs. 23). This is not the same prince as Messiah the Prince of verse 25. This prince (Nagiyd) is the ruler or leader who will come to reign in the future as the Antichrist. It is in this section of verse 26 that there is a shift from past 1st century prophecy to future apocalypse yet to be fulfilled. The first two periods have occurred and Jerusalem and the temple have been put to destruction, but what about the last week of years? What about the seventieth week? This period is still a future event that is yet to occur. Nevertheless, Daniel writes important details about these final looming 7 years with still remain. The 70th seven does not immediately proceed after the first 69 sevens. Verse 26 teaches that the Messiah Jesus Christ would be cut-off after the 62 weeks implying a gap of unspecified time. This passage does not read during the 70th week. The cutting off or crucifixion of Jesus Christ is sandwiched between the 62 sevens and the still yet to come 70th seven. The Church Age fills this presently 2000 year gap since the cutting off of Jesus Christ. The Premillennial view of the end times explains that the rapture will occur removing Christs church from wrath of the Lamb (Revelation 6:16). The last seven years is also known as the Tribulation Period, the phase which Jesus referred to as great distress. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until nowand never to be equaled again. (Matthew 24:21). Walvoord accurately explains, This seven-year period will begin after the Rapture of the church (which will consummate Gods program in this present Age)9.
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Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (Da 9:27). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books. (1983).

According to verse 27, the 70th week of years will begin with a firm covenant between the Antichrist and with the many. These many people are Israel who will be deceived and follow the Antichrist. He is the future prince who is to come (vs. 26). He will establish a firm (Gabar) literally a strong or powerful, covenant with Israel for one week or 7 years. Unfortunately, the deceiving prince will break the covenant in the middle of the week; this would be at about 3 years after the start of the seventh seven. The breaking of the covenant will include prohibiting sacrifice and grain offerings. This could either mean that Israel has restored some forms of the Levitical structure of laws and rituals and the Antichrist will prohibit them or that he will prohibit any type of worship other than that which is offered to himself. Daniel speaks about the Antichrist in 11:36-37, he will, do as he pleases, and he will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will speak monstrous things against the God of gods; and he will prosper until the indignation is finished, for that which is decreed will be done. He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the desire of women, nor will he show regard for any other god; for he will magnify himself above them all. Jesus taught that the deceiving prince will come in the Gospel of Matthew, when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place But the end of the seventieth seven will come at the second coming of Jesus Christ with His kingdom to reign for 1000 years. The seventy sevens will not be fulfilled until that time. The end will occur when until the end that is decreed is poured out on him." (NIV). Revelation 19 describes Gods judgment on the Antichrist as he will be thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone (19:20). The seventieth seven, the final 7 years of Daniels revelation are still in the future. Only those who are not a part of Christs church will experience the destruction which will be caused by

the coming prince-the Antichrist. The past sixty-nine sevens accurately came and went and humanity can expect that the promised 7 years of tribulation will be fulfilled as Biblically explained. Daniels prophecy was written and preserved for those after his time to know and discern (vs. 26).

Bibliography Francisco, Clyde T. "Seventy weeks of Daniel." Review & Expositor 57, no. 2 (April 1, 1960): 126137. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed October 9, 2010). 126 Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., Fausset, A. R., Brown, D., & Brown, D. A commentary, critical and explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments (Da 9:26). Oak Harbor. Logos Research Systems, Inc. (1997).

Knowles, A. The Bible guide (1st Augsburg books ed.),. Minneapolis. Augsburg. (2001). 350.

Miller, Stephen R.. Daniel (New American Commentary, vol. 18). Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 1994. 259. Smith, J. E. The Major Prophets. Joplin. College Press. (1992). (Da 9:24)

Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (Da 9:27). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books. (1983).

Wiersbe, W. W. Wiersbe's expository outlines on the Old Testament (Da 9:2027). Wheaton. Victor Books. (1993).