Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy
In Daniel chapter 9 we will read about a 70 weeks prophecy given to Daniel. This prophecy is also known as the Messianic prophecy, as it predicted the coming of the Messiah to the very letter.
In Bible prophecy, we must take a prophetic day as a literal year. This principle has been proven to be the correct way of interpreting prophetic timelines, especially so in this prophecy as we have documented proof of the exact date in which Messiah Jesus was baptised and crucified. As we will discover in this study, this prophecy predicted the very year in which Jesus was baptised and crucified and also the very year in which probation for the Jewish nation ended.
When a literal year is taken for every prophetic day prophesied, then this prophecy spans over a literal period of 490 years, with a date set in the future, from the time when the prophecy was given, as the beginning of this prophetic period.
Lets read from Daniel 9:24-27 “ 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. 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. 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. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”
This prophecy is given to Israel as a nation, to show them that they have transgressed against God and His laws and that probation for the Jewish nation as a whole is to come to an end, at the end of this 70 weeks period, unless they repent and keep His commandments. Let quickly read a verse preceding this prophecy.
Dan 9:11 “Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him.”
Daniel spoke these words in prayer before the angel of the Lord appeared to him, showing him the vision of Israel’s mercy time that will come to an end. It is clear than, that the nation of Israel where facing the end of probation at the end of this 70 weeks period and that the repeated words desolate is showing towards the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD as part of the curse upon the nation, as was repeated in Matthew 23:37-39.
Lets examine it in more detail; “ 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”
Seventy weeks are thus given to the nation of Israel to correct their relationship with God and follow His commandments. Notice the last part of this verse; “and to anoint the most Holy”. Most Holy is written with a capital, therefore referring to Jesus. It is therefore correct to say that Jesus would be anointed during this 70 week period. It is also correct to say that this prophecy not only applies to the nation of Israel, but also to thy holy city, which is Jerusalem. The mandate given to Israel, is then to make and end of sins, make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, within this period of 70 weeks and to know that these effect of not abiding to these set rules, will mean judgement on Israel and Jerusalem.
Next we read; ” 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 verse gives the criteria that should be met before the prophetic timeline of this prophecy starts. The criteria is from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem…the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
It happened in the year 457 BC that king Artaxerxes gave the decree to rebuild Jerusalem, as it is written in Ezra 7:1-26. This prophecy reads that we must count seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks from the decree is given, until Messiah the Prince. The part; unto Messiah the Prince , is referring to the Messiah’s anointing (as Messiah means anointed one) the baptism of Jesus and the “ seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks” is 69 prophetical weeks, thus 483 literal years.
To see if this prophecy is accurate, we must count 69 weeks and ad it to the date 457 BC. With the day for a year principal, we calculate 69 weeks to be 483 literal years (69 X 7 = 483), ad it to 457 BC and we get 27 AD. Does the Bible confirm that Jesus was baptised in 27 AD?
In Luke 3:1 we read: “Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea…”.
Lateron in Luke 3:21 “Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,”. Jesus was therefore baptised in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, which is historically correct to be 27 AD.
Next we read; “ 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”.
We learn that after the threescore and two weeks mentioned earlier, therefore, after the first 69 weeks period, in a yet unspecified time, Messiah will be cut off, but not for himself, referring to His crucifixion. And then; 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. The prince is in reference to a political entity that will destroy Jerusalem.
This was fulfilled in 70 AD when the Roman prince Titus and his army destroyed Jerusalem, as was also prophesied by Jesus in Matthew 23:37-39 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.”
Following, we read; “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week”. One week is seven literal years. “and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease”. When Jesus was crucified, He did fulfil this verse as sacrifices and the oblation did cease forever, and it did happen in the midst of the week, 3 1/2 years after His baptism, in 30 AD.
We also learn from this verse that Jesus was to confirm the covenant for one week. Although He died in the midst of the week, His covenant was still to be confirmed for another 3 1/2 years after His crucifixion. Probation for the Jewish nation did not end right after the crucifixion of Jesus, but 3 1/2 years after that.
Many scholars claim that the end of probation, in other words, the end of the 70 weeks probation period given to the Jewish nation, ended with the stoning of Stephen. Others maintain that it did indeed happen around the same time as the stoning of Stephen, but that no specific incident can be related to it with certainty.
I do believe that the stoning of Stephen is most probably the end of probation for the Jewish nation. Consider the following verses:
Acts 7:57-60 “Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.”
These verses explain what happened to Stephen in his last moments leading up to his death. Before this incident, the audience to his speech was none other than the Jewish people themselves. In great boldness he explained to them that their fathers have drifted off from the path that God had prepared for them, and that judgement is eminent.
Acts 7:51-53 “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it”
It is interesting to note that before Stephen died, he kneeled and prayed for his persecutors one last time with Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. It was one last cry for help to the God of Israel not to let judgement fall on them, but to be merciful to them. But judgement was set and the time of probation was over, 70 weeks of mercy was up and in verse 57, just preceding his stoning we read “And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God“.
This incident was such a important incident that Jesus is seen in heaven, showing Himself to Stephen as both encouragement to him but also as the Judge of nations. Jesus is known to be seated at the right hand of God, from where He will come to Judge.
To conclude; we saw that this 70 weeks prophecy was fulfilled to the very letter. It began in 457 BC when the decree was given to Israel to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. At the end of the first 69 weeks, the Messiah was anointed in the river Jordan with His baptism. In the midst of the week, He made an end to sacrifices and oblations when He died for our sins once and for all, and probation to the Jewish nation ended 3 1/2 later with the stoning of Stephen.
This prophecy was fulfilled so accurately that no man may have any doubt about its real meaning and its real fulfilment. In Futurism, the study of end time events that depicts the coming Anti-Christ in the future with a rapture preceding it, the 70th week of this prophecy is dismembered from the rest of the 69 weeks and assigned to the very end, the time of tribulation. Maybe Futurism needs to be exposed for what it really is.