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The 70 weeks of Daniel

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

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Daniel 9:24-27

In the first year of King Darius’ reign, Daniel studied the prophecy of Jeremiah and came to the conclusion that the seventy years of exile were coming to an end. He prayed, interceded, and fasted in sackcloths and ashes, to seek the Lord’s will. 

While Daniel was still praying, angel Gabriel appeared to him in a vision, saying that the Lord had answered his prayer. In Daniel 9:24-27, angel Gabriel gave a profound end-time prophecy from the Lord.

In this article, I will walk you through the prophecy of the 70 weeks of Daniel. This interpretation is based on a pre-millennial, pre-tribulation rapture position. 

24 Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy Place. V 25 Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench but in times of trouble. V 26 After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. V 27 He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple, he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him (Read the rest of Daniel 9 on your own).

Daniel 9: 24-27

Verse 24, seventy sevens

Seventy ‘sevens’ refer to seventy weeks of years i.e. 490 years. Your people refer to Daniel’s people i.e. the Jews. Your holy city refers to Daniel’s holy city i.e. Jerusalem. This prophecy is for the Jews and Jerusalem. The entire duration of the prophecy is 490 years. At the end of 490 years, there will be no more sin, transgression, and wickedness and there will be everlasting righteousness. The vision and prophecy will be sealed, and the Most Holy place of the temple will be anointed. 

Verses 25-26, Part 1

The prophecy has a starting point and an ending point. The starting point is from the time a decree was given to rebuild Jerusalem. The ending point will be the second coming of Christ as will be explained later.

The prophecy has two parts. Verses 25 to 26 spelled out Part 1. It started with the issuing of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem in 445 BC and ended with the first coming of Christ in 33 AD.

From the decree to rebuild Jerusalem to the first coming of Christ will be 7 X 7 plus 62 X 7 years i.e. 49 + 434 i.e. 483 years. The decree to rebuild Jerusalem was given by King Artaxerxes Longimanus to Nehemiah in Nehemiah 2:8-9 in 445 BC. The first coming of Christ as Messiah was on Palm Sunday in 33 AD. Zechariah prophesied this around 500 BC, Zechariah 9:9. 

 445 BC to 33 AD is 478 Gregorian/ Roman/ solar years, based on 365 days per year. However, the Jewish lunar calendar is based on 360 days per year. 478 Gregorian/ Roman/ solar years is equivalent to 483 Jewish/ lunar years. 

Jerusalem was rebuilt in times of trouble amidst opposition from the Samaritans. On Good Friday, 33 AD, Christ was killed (cut off). In 70 AD, Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed by the Romans. Wars and more wars had continued unabated ever since. 

Hence, the first 483 years of Part 1 as spelled out in verses 25 to 26 were fulfilled by the first coming of Christ. 

Verse 27, Part 2

Part 2 is prophesied in verse 27.  The last 7 years of world history remain unfulfilled. The ‘He’ of verse 27 is the antichrist. The starting point of Part 2 will be the signing of a peace treaty between the Jews and the Arabs, brokered by the antichrist. In the middle of this 7-year, the antichrist will set up the abomination of desolation in the future third temple. Part 2 will ends with the second coming of Christ at the culmination of world history. 

Between Part 1 and Part 2 is an interlude called the church age, and we are now living in this interlude for the past 2000 years.

God stopped the prophetic timer at the 483rd year. of the prophecy. The clock will start ticking again after the rapture, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. 

The antichrist will allow the Jews to rebuild the third temple and resume the temple sacrifice. In the middle of the 7 years, he will set up his image in the Most Holy Place and force the Jews to worship him. This image will be called the abomination of desolation, Mathew 24:15. The Jews’ refusal to worship the image will trigger off intense persecution by the antichrist in the last 3 1/2 years of world history. This is called the great tribulation. 

In 174 BC, Antiochus Epiphany IV erected a statue of Zeus in the Most Holy Place, splashed swine blood on the altar, and desecrated the second temple. The future antichrist will desecrate the third temple in the same way during the tribulation. Jesus Christ will come back from heaven on a white horse and defeat the antichrist in the battle of Armageddon., Revelation 9:11 and following. He will set up His millennial kingdom on earth and fulfill the seventy weeks prophecy of Daniel, Rev. 20:4 and following.

Please note that the rapture and the second coming of Christ are two separate events. 

“And may I have a letter to Asaph, keeper of the royal park, so he will give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel by the temple and for the city wall and for the residence I will occupy?” And because the gracious hand of my God was on me, the king granted my requests”.

Nehemiah 2:8-9

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey

Zechariah 9:9

So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel, let the reader understand

Matthew 24:15

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

I saw the heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it is called Faithful and True. In righteousness, he judges and makes war.

Revelation 9:11

I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus, and for the word of God, and such as didn’t worship the beast nor his image and didn’t receive the mark on their forehead and on their hand. They lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

Revelation 20:4

Application

The Bible has given us sufficient information on how the world will end. The future is not looking optimistic. More troubles will break out as we move closer and closer to the end of world history. The covid 19 pandemic had already taken a toll on every one of us. The dust of the pandemic has not even settled and war broke out in Ukraine! We are truly in uncharted territories. If this war gets out of control and nuclear war breaks out, millions of lives will be wiped out in a matter of seconds! Whether you believe in a pre, mid, or post-tribulation rapture, one thing is for sure. Christ’s second coming is not too far away. Are you ready for His return? Have you accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior? Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart. Come to Christ. With a simple prayer, confess your sin, accept Him as your Lord and Savior, and surrender your life to Him. You will be saved and even if anything happened, you will have eternal life.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your word to us today. We know that Your second coming is not that far away. We know that You are in control of world events. We pray that the war in Ukraine will not get out of control but will come to an end soon. We pray that You will protect the people of Ukraine. We pray for the soldiers, the civilians, the refugees, and all others. May Your mercy and grace be upon all the people of Ukraine. Help us to surrender our lives to You because our future is in Your hand, in Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.