DANIEL’S PROPHECY OF SEVENTY WEEKS
The true understanding and interpretation
Daniel 9:24-27 KJV 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.
(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. (26) 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.
(27) 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.
The Beginning and Ending of the 70th Week
A specific interpretation of Daniel’s 70 weeks is an important linchpin for the pre-tribulation rapture crowd. They even consider it to be the most important prophecy in the Bible, particularly for their doctrine. The Scofield-deluded, dispensational, pre-tribulation interpreters generally devise a way to have the crucifixion of Jesus as the end of the 69th week with the 70th week transform into a future tribulation era that is usually correlated to the revelation. Since most commentators have a different concept of the correlation of the 70th week to the revelation, there are various understandings and interpretations of John’s book.
For the record, it is my opinion, based on the work of Dr. Steven Jones, that Jesus was born in 2 BC and was crucified on April 3, 33 A.D. the 69th week ended in April 26 AD with the Sabbath year beginning a few months later in September. The crucifixion of Jesus was also the preparation day for Passover where the sacrificial lambs were killed. This would also include Jesus who was the sacrificial lamb for everyone who has ever lived on planet Earth. The 70th week of Daniel spans from April 26 to April 33 A.D. as a point of reference Sabbath years actually began in September for those years.
Putting the revelation argument aside for a moment let’s look at the interpretations of Daniel’s 70 weeks. I have read several interpretations but not all of them. Most of them have different and varied dates for the birth and crucifixion of Jesus. Likewise these commentators give several starting dates to begin the 70 weeks.
Gabriel told Daniel the start of the 70 weeks would be a decree or permission to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. The original Cyrus decree was issued in 534 BC which was 566 years before 33 AD which would have been 76 years to early. Almost a century ago some Bible scholars formed a theory claiming that Cyrus actually lived in the 450’s BC rather than the 530’s. Their supposed proof postulated that some of the kings in the Persian king list were actually the same king going by different names or titles therefore moving history forward almost 80 years. However, a recent archaeological discovery with complete names of all the Persian kings has proven their theory to be false and that Cyrus actually lived during the 530’s BC and his first decree was issued in 534 BC.
However, there was a 2nd decree issued 76 years later than the decree of Cyrus and this is the actual decree that begins the 70 weeks or 490 years. This was issued by Artaxerxes in 458 BC and this date is precisely 490 years prior to 33 A.D. which can be verified in the book of Ezra 7:11-13.
Ezra 7:6-7 KJV This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given: and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the LORD his God upon him. (7) And there went up some of the children of Israel, and of the priests, and the Levites, and the singers, and the porters, and the Nethinims, unto Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king.
Ezra 7:11-13 KJV Now this is the copy of the letter that the king Artaxerxes gave unto Ezra the priest, the scribe, even a scribe of the words of the commandments of the LORD, and of his statutes to Israel. (12) Artaxerxes, king of kings, unto Ezra the priest, a scribe of the law of the God of heaven, perfect peace, and at such a time. (13) I make a decree, that all they of the people of Israel, and of his priests and Levites, in my realm, which are minded of their own freewill to go up to Jerusalem, go with thee.
Two Kings Named Cyrus
Xerxes died in 465 BC in the first year of his successor Artaxerxes was the year 464 BC. Josephus tells us in his writings that Artaxerxes had another name. This name was Cyrus but the Greeks called him Artaxerxes. This dual name could be prophetic. The original Cyrus issued the first decree allowing the Jews to return to Jerusalem and build the second Temple. 76 years later Artaxerxes basically did the same thing. This may be the reason past historians consider them to be the same person.
Since the pre-tribulation rapture group insists that the 70th week is a future occurrence during which the events of the revelation are fulfilled, they also insist that their preconceived interpretations of the revelation are revealed in the 70 week prophecy. Daniel 9:26 which speaks about ”the people of the prince that shall come” is transform into the so-called antichrist or beast who is not a future event but is the papacy of the Roman church.
Daniel 9:27 speaks of the covenant being confirmed for one week. In the middle of the week He i.e. God will cause the sacrifice and the oblation to stop. This did not actually happen in the temple in Jerusalem but was a decree issued by God. This was the date that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and was named the Lamb of God taking away the sins of the world. At that point, from God’s perspective, sacrifices were no longer necessary because the New Covenant had been instituted.
Judah had failed to enact 70 rest years which is the reason God sent them into captivity for 70 consecutive years. This can be seen in 2 Chronicles 36:20-21.
2 Chronicles 36:20-21 KJV And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia: (21) To fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years.
This judgment was specified in Leviticus 26:34-35 where God said he would exile them from the land for the sin of not respecting the sabbatical years. During the period of “threescore and two years” (62 years) as written in Daniel 9:26, Judah kept the majority of the rest years but never even one Jubilee was honored, which meant their debt to the law of God continued to add up. It has been said that God’s solution for this particular issue (and many others) was to send the Messiah to pay the debt by sacrificing his own blood at the end of the final week. Jesus was sent as the mediator of the new covenant. One of the missions of Jesus, as the Messiah, was to teach mankind how to enter into God’s Jubilee rest. The coming Millennium will be the seventh “thousand year era” of creation and will be God’s Jubilee rest.
A reading the KJV version of Daniel 9:26 appears to indicate the Messiah would arrive after 69 years, Jerusalem would then be destroyed seven years later with the Messiah being killed as well. An army of the prince would destroy the temple and the city and the Messiah would be left with nothing at all. It is possible Daniel could have understood the prophecy in this manner, but history paints a different picture in the above description did not happen.
Daniel 9:26 KJV 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 Brenton Septuagint And after the sixty-two weeks, the anointed one shall be destroyed, and there is no judgment in him: and he shall destroy the city and the sanctuary with the prince that is coming: they shall be cut off with a flood, and to the end of the war which is rapidly completed he shall appoint the city to desolations.
The Septuagint translation gives a slightly different version than the KJV. The “anointed one shall be destroyed” rather than “Messiah shall be cut off” ending with “there is no judgment in him” versus “but not for himself”. In other words, the Septuagint understands this to mean that the coming Messiah would be mistreated and judged falsely, which we know to be true.
The Septuagint translation also makes Daniel 9:27 much clearer and understandable. The KJV appears to make the Messiah responsible for the stopping of the sacrifice and the oblation along with the overspreading of abominations and making a desolation. The Septuagint simply says the sacrifice and drink offering will be taken away and the temple itself will be made desolate. To be desolate needs to be deserted or absent of something. It can also mean to be astonished, appalled, astounded, or awestruck. Many people indeed were astonished at the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple.
Daniel 9:27 KJV 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.
Daniel 9:27 Brenton Septuagint And one week shall establish the covenant with many: and in the midst of the week my sacrifice and drink-offering shall be taken away: and on the temple shall be the abomination of desolations; and at the end of time an end shall be put to the desolation.
The “many” does not refer to a handful or even a large group of people but is to be contrasted with “the one person” or one individual. In Romans 5:16-18, Paul shows that one man’s sin (Adam) affected the many and one Man’s righteous act (Jesus) also affected the many. Therefore the many is everyone except the one.
The flood is not a literal flood but a metaphor as in Proverbs 27:4. It is similar to saying Jerusalem was conquered by a flood of soldiers.
Proverbs 27:4 NLT Anger is cruel, and wrath is like a flood, but jealousy is even more dangerous.