Daniel’s 70 Weeks


John Hoole - July 24 & 31, 2011




(Click on all charts, photos and graphs for larger version)


         In our last lesson we saw that the Old Testament prophets had great difficulty understanding all the prophecies that were given with regard to the coming Messiah.  In 1 Peter 1:10-11, Peter tells us they did not understand that the Messiah would first suffer which would be followed by the glories of kingship.  The reason they had such difficulty was because the Old Testament prophets failed to consider there might be more than one coming that was being addressed by their prophecies.


The Old Testament prophets understood many characteristics of the coming Messiah.  They described Him as the "Servant of the Lord" (Isaiah 32:13; 42:1).  They saw Him as the "light to the nations" (Isaiah 42:6).  And they had diligently sought to discover in their prophetic writings the appointed time for the Messianic Advent (His coming).  Peter tells us they consolidated all they knew into one event and could not fully understand how it was possible.  They also endeavored to understand the timing and circumstances that would surround His coming.


They saw the mountain peaks of prophecy very clearly, but failed to understand that between the mountains in the foreground and those behind, there was a valley of significant size and distance.  They did not see the valley of the “Church Age” between the 1st and 2nd comings of Christ.


The Bible portrays the Church as a distinct body of believers which was not present on earth during the Old Testament period and was never the subject of Old Testament prophecy.


Just at the end of our last lesson, we began looking at how the Old Testament prophets skipped completely over the “church age” right in the middle of their prophecies.  We looked at several examples last week.  Let’s review a few of them again.  I think you will see that skipping over the “church age” is the rule, not the exception, for Old Testament prophets.


Probably the clearest example of this principle is found in Isaiah 61:1-2.  This passage was quote by Jesus in Luke 4:17-21.  Let’s read Luke’s account first, where we find Jesus reading from the scroll of Isaiah in the synagogue


Luke 4:17-21 NIV


17     The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

18     "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed,  

19     to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." 


Jesus closes the scroll and hands it back to the attendant.  As He reads the book of Isaiah, Jesus ends his reading by doing a strange thing.  He doesn’t stop at the end of a sentence, but at a comma.  It goes on to say they sat there staring at Him.  He then adds, “This day is the scripture fulfilled in your hearing.”




It is because the next phrase, “And the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn” was not fulfilled at the moment Christ read these words.  They would not be fulfilled for more than 1900 years. God’s day of vengeance will occur during the Tribulation period.  But this prophecy in Isaiah skips entirely past the age in which we now live, and does so within one sentence.


By this single act of Christ, He, the infallible Interpreter of Scripture, laid down the principle of the “gap interpretation.”  It is like God put a big parenthesis around the church-age, setting it apart from what He was prophesying about the Jews, and the rest of the world.


The description, The Great Parenthesis, is not my creation.  I take it from a book by the same title written by Dr. Harry A. Ironside, who passed away in 1951.  This book has recently been reprinted.  It is 130 pages in length.  That should tell you that this idea of the Old Testament prophets skipping over our age, is not something that happened just 2 or 3 times.     Ironside writes an entire book on this topic.  So let’s look at a few more examples.

Joel 2:28-31 NIV


28     And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.

29     Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.


30     I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke.

31     The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.


Most of you will recognize part of this passage, as being what was quoted by Peter on the Day of Pentecost.  Peter says that verse 28 & 29 were fulfilled on that day.  But verses 30 & 31 can be identified as definitely speaking of events which will happen during the time of the Tribulation.


Isaiah 9:6-7 (NIV) is very familiar to most of you.


6       For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:…..


                   …….and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

7       Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever…….


The whole Christian community rejoices in the knowledge that Christ came as a child nearly 2000 years ago.  But a gap of at least 19 centuries is represented by the very first colon.  “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given” speaks of Bethlehem.  All that follows speaks of the future Millennial reign, where Jesus will be sitting on the throne of David in Jerusalem.


Zech 9:9-10 NIV


9       Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.


10     ….and He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth. 


Verse 9 speaks of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem.  In the New Testament, you can read about it in Matthew 21:1-11.  On the other hand, verse 10 looks ahead to the Millennium, when Christ reigns for 1000 years.


Someday verse 10 will be done just as literally as verse 9.  But between the 2 predictions there is this same great parenthesis of time.


By now you should be able to see that the idea of a great parenthesis is not isolated case.  The Old testament prophets, in most if not all cases, skipped over the Church Age.  That is, they skipped over the 2000 years from the birth of the Church on the Day of Pentecost until now.


Most of the examples we have looked at concerning the parenthesis,…relate to Abraham’s seed.  Isaiah’s prophecies focus mainly on the Israel and their Messiah.  Ezekiel spoke of the restoration of Israel to their own land as well as the Millennial land.  Zechariah was most concerned about the events that will take place in Israel at the 2nd coming of Christ.


Today, we begin to look at one prophetic revelation given to the prophet Daniel.  We will look at others written by this prophet later in our series.  No portion of the Old Testament unlocks the mysteries of God's prophetic plan for Israel and the nations as much as the book of Daniel.


         •  In chapter 2, we have the colossal image of the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar.


         •  Chapter 3 has the even the of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace.


         •  Chapter 5 records the "handwriting on the wall" at the feast of King Belshazzar.


         •  Chapter 6 tells of Daniel in the lion's den.


         •  Chapter 7 has Daniel's vision, similar to Nebuchadnezzar's, except from God's view.


         •  Chapter 12 speaks of the Great Tribulation followed by the resurrection of O.T. saints.


In our lesson today, we will spend most of our time looking at another amazing prophecy which also includes the “great parenthesis”.  We find it in Daniel 9.  Mostly it is referred to as “Daniel’s 70 Weeks.”


Daniel 9:24-27 provides the indispensable chronological key to much of Bible prophecy.  This prophecy concerns both the beginning and ending of what is called, "the desolation of Jerusalem."  That is, it extends from the Babylonian conquest to the second advent (2nd coming) of Christ, their Messiah.


Perhaps the best-known and most widely discussed of Daniel's prophecies is his vision of the seventy weeks..  This vision presents the most precise prophetic time line available for the future.  In the sixth century before Christ, Daniel outlines Israel's future.  He revealed the exact date of Israel's rejection of Jesus Christ as the Messiah.  And he described the features of the coming Antichrist.


By this time, Daniel was getting up in age – approximately 85 – 90 years.  It was most likely the year 538 B.C.  We find him studying the prophecies recorded by Jeremiah.  How do we know all this?  In the first 2 verses of this chapter, Daniel tells us when he wrote this chapter.


Daniel 9:1-2 NIV


1       In the first year of Darius son of Xerxes (a Mede by descent), who was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom-

2       in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years.


Let me show you a timeline of part of Old Testament history.  On it, I depict some Old Testament prophets, foreign kings and kings of Israel/Judah.


We know that the children of Israel were taken into captivity by Babylon in 606 B.C..  At that time Nebuchadnezzar was king of Babylon.  And Jehoiakim was king of Israel.  In that conquest by Nebuchadnezzar, many young Jews were transported to Babylon, among them, Daniel and his 3 friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.  As a side note, I find it interesting that we know Daniel by his Hebrew name, but his three friends mostly by their Babylonian names.








         Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah


At that time, these four were probably in their teens, or early 20’s.  And now it was the 68th year of the captivity.  That makes it 538 B.C. as you can see on the chart.


By the time Daniel writes the prophecies in chapter 9, the Babylonians had just been conquered by the Medes and Persians.  Daniel says, in the verses we just read, it was the first year of the reign of Darius, who was a Mede.  He tells us that this is when he was reading the prophecies of Jeremiah.


Jeremiah was a contemporary of Daniel, but older - maybe 25 years older.  He was not taken to Babylon, but remained in Israel.  Ezekiel was another prophet that was taken to Babylon, but taken 20 years later, in 586 B.C.  It was in that year that Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem.  Ezekiel, Jeremiah and Zechariah were priests from the tribe of Levi.


Daniel did not know until this very moment, while he was reading the prophecies of Jeremiah, that their captivity was prophesied to last 70 years.  He now realizes that they are 68 years into a 70-year captivity. If you want to know precisely where Daniel was reading in the book of Jeremiah, it is Jeremiah 25:11-12, and 29:10.  We will look closely at Jeremiah 25 in a moment.  Daniel recognizes, from reading Jeremiah 29:10-14, that the restoration depended on national repentance.  The verses that follow in Daniel 9 tell us that Daniel drops to his knees and begins to pray and intercede for the sins of his country and his people.  He confesses their sins, and implores God to restore the people’s relationship to Him, and to restore of the holy city, Jerusalem, and the Temple.


Daniel 9:3-5 NIV


3       So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.

4       I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed: "O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands,

5       we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws.


The prayer of Daniel continues through verse 19.  While Daniel was offering his petition to the Lord, the answer was already on the way by means of the heavenly messenger, the angel Gabriel.


Daniel 9:21-22 NKJV


21     ...while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering.

22     And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, "O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand.


The angel Gabriel gives Daniel a timetable of coming events that would especially affect Israel.  The angelic message given to Daniel is known as the vision of the 70 weeks.  This mathematical revelation gave the Jews the exact time at which to expect the coming Messiah.  It also prophesied His death and foretold the coming destruction of Jerusalem following His crucifixion as well as the rise of the Antichrist and the establishment of Christ’s coming kingdom on earth.


Now, let’s read this great prophecy.


Daniel 9:24-27 NKJV


24     Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy.

25     Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall,  Even in troublesome times.

26     And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined.

27     Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate."


Sir Edward Denny, a respected 19th Century student of prophecy, referred to the vision of the 70-weeks as the backbone of prophecy.


Chuck Missler, a well-known evangelist today, says: “This is the most important prophecy in the Bible.”


Jesus emphasized this prophecy in a session with his disciples in what many call the “Olivet Discourse” which is found in Matthew 24 & 25.  Jesus quotes Daniel, and focuses on this key prophecy.  This prophecy helps our understanding of other prophecies.


This prophecy is so amazing that some have tried to post-date Daniel.  In other words, they argue that it must have been written after many of the events about which it speaks.  Yet, the book of Daniel is one of the most authenticated books in the Bible.


Before getting into the details of this prophecy, there are a few things we should note about this entire prophecy given to Daniel.


1.      The entire prophecy is concerned about Israel, and Jerusalem.




Daniel 9:24 NKJV


24     Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy.


Verse 24 tells us that it is directed towards……


                   •  Daniel’s people - the Jews


                   •  Daniel’s holy city – Jerusalem.


This needs to be kept in mind.  It is an obvious statement, but some try to shoehorn people not mentioned here.  All 70 weeks, including the last week, is prophecy about only Israel.  The prophecy is Jewish from beginning to end.  Gentiles are not the focus of this prophecy, even in an indirect way, and the dispensation of the Church is completely hidden from view.  Some try to include the Church among the people in this prophecy.  But the church is not included here.  This is a prophecy about the people of Israel and their capitol city, Jerusalem.


The second thing we need to note is:


2.      There are two different princes mentioned in this passage.


         The first is named:


                   a)      Messiah the Prince  (vs. 25, 26)


         The second is described as…..


b)      The prince that shall come.  (vs. 26)  We will see later that this “prince that shall come” in none other than the Antichrist.


The single reference to any Gentile says "the people of the prince that shall come."  This is a prince and a people who are not of Israel.  And this single reference proves the Antichrist will not be an Israeli.  We will say more about these later.


3.      The beginning of the 70-weeks is definitely fixed.


                   Verse 25 says that it will begin when the command is given to restore and rebuild Jerusalem.


4.      The end of 7-weeks and the 62-weeks will be marked by the appearance of the Messiah.


                   Again, that is found in verse 25.


5.      Following the first 69 weeks, two things will occur.


                   a)      The Messiah the Prince will be “cut off.”


                   b)      Jerusalem will again be destroyed by the people of the “prince that shall come.”


Both of these are found in verse 26.  Also keep in mind that these events occur after the 69th week but before the 70th week.


6.      After these two important events, we come to the last, or 70th week.


Its beginning will be clearly marked by the establishment of a “covenant” or treaty.  This treaty will be between the “coming prince” ( the Antichrist) and the Jewish nation for “One Week.”


7.      In the middle of this 70th week, the Antichrist will break his treaty.


                   Verse 27 tells us this will be indicated by two acts of the “prince that shall come.”


                            a)      He suddenly orders the Jewish sacrifices to cease.


                            b)      He will, in anger, commit an abominable act in the Temple.


8.      The end of the 70th week will usher in a time of great blessing for Israel.


                   Six blessings are mentioned in verse 24.


Now, let’s look at the 70 weeks.  We know, in hindsight, that it cannot refer to 70 literal 7-day weeks.  That would be approximately 1 1/3 years.  None of the 6 prophecies mentioned in Verse 24 were fulfilled in that short of time.


What six things am I talking about?  Let's read verse 24 once more.


Daniel 9:24 NKJV


24     Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make atonement for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy.


 There are six grammatical infinitives in this verse that tell us when the 70 weeks will be fulfilled.


         1.      To finish the transgression.


         2.      To make an end of sins.


         3.      To make atonement for iniquity.


         4.      To bring in everlasting righteousness.


         5.      To seal up vision and prophecy.


         6.      To anoint the most holy place.


The first three of these six goals have to do with the sin of Daniel's people, Israel.  The basis for dealing with Israel's sin was provided during the first coming of Jesus when He died on the cross and rose again.  He paid the price for the sins of the entire human race.  The second group of three goals has to do with God's righteousness.


Looking at the six goals of this prophecy, we find that some of them are yet to be fulfilled in their entirety.  Therefore, we know from these six goals that our Lord set for Israel will have their complete fulfillment in a yet future time.


Theologian David Cooper states:


"Therefore, this twenty-fourth verse of our chapter, read in the light of the various predictions of the prophets, is obviously a forecast of the establishment of the kingdom of God upon earth in all its glory."


G. H. Lang echoes Cooper's thoughts when he concludes:


"We have now before us an outline of the whole prophecy.  And, after considering the statement of results which are to follow God's disciplinary dealings, we cannot but conclude that the close of the Seventy Sevens must coincide with the end of the present order of things and the beginning of the Coming or Millennial Age."




Let me say at the very beginning of our study of this phrase that practically every Bible scholar that I have read agrees that the 70-weeks of Daniel 9 are in reality speaking of 70 “weeks of years.”  In other words, the 70 weeks represent weeks of 7 years each – or a total of 490 years.


I don’t want you to take the word of some theologians, or even my words.  But I would rather take you through the Scriptures and show you the logic of such a position.


The word in Hebrew – SHABUA – which is translated “week” really means “seven.”  The prophet is speaking of groups of seven – a heptad if you will.  Again, the NKJV Bible has the first phrase of Daniel 9:24 as "Seventy weeks are determined for your people and your holy city."


         The NIV renders it:  "Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for your people and your holy city."


NLT has it:  "A period of seventy sets of seven has been decreed..."


The angel announced to Daniel that 70 “sevens” were determined upon the people of Israel.  But sevens of what.  It is sort of like saying in English: “I went to the store to buy a dozen.”  Unless I add more information, you still don’t know what I bought.  Until I tell you more, you only know how many.  In Daniel 9, the context must tell us “seventy sevens” of what.


Let’s look again at verse 2.


2       in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years.


This verse tells us that Daniel had been reading the prophesy of Jeremiah who mentions that the length of the Babylonian captivity would be limited to 70 years.


As I mentioned earlier, Daniel was reading Jer 25:11-12 NIV.


11     This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.

12     "But when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will punish the king of Babylon and his nation, the land of the Babylonians, for their guilt," declares the LORD, "and will make it desolate forever.


This is one of two places where Jeremiah tells us the length of the captivity.  (29:10)




There may have been more than one reason why God delivered them into captivity, but one reason is found in 2 Chronicles 36:20-21 NKJV


20     And those who escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon, where they became servants to him and his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia,

21     to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths. As long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years.


The seventy years of captivity were years of God’s chastening for not allowing the land to have its Sabbaths every 7th year.


Ex 23:10-11 NIV


10     For six years you are to sow your fields and harvest the crops,

11     but during the seventh year let the land lie unplowed and unused.


Israel not only had a Sabbath every seventh day, but also a Sabbath of years every 7th year.  This is known as the “week of years.”


What we learn from 2 Chronicles is the Israelites had disobeyed God in this regard for 490 years.  For that length of time, they had continued to till the ground without giving it any rest.






For that reason, the land was to be left idle for 70 years to make up for this sin.  The land was allowed its Sabbaths of rest while the people were removed from it.  The Sabbatical year had been violated for 490 years -- or 70 weeks of years.


How appropriate that now, at the end of the judgment for these violations, the angel should be sent to reveal the start of a new era, in which God would again deal with the Jews over an equal number of years --- namely 490 years…..or 70 weeks of years.


I think Daniel understood the prophecy given to him by Gabriel as referring to “weeks of years.”  Everything he was reading in Jeremiah, and the reason for the Babylonian captivity, .involved multiples, or groupings, of seven years.


Let’s look at another passage which speaks of 7’s of years, or “weeks of years,” or “sabbaths of years.”


Leviticus 25:8-10 NIV


8       Count off seven sabbaths of years--seven times seven years--so that the seven sabbaths of years amount to a period of forty-nine years.

9       Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land.

10     Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each one of you is to return to his family property and each to his own clan.


The year of jubilee was every 50th years, and was scheduled to be the year following 7 sevens (Sabbaths) of years.  Or, to say it another way, "A Sabbath of Sabbaths of years."  A Sabbath of Sabbaths of years plus one equals 50 years.  Every fiftieth years was a "Year of Jubilee."


Let’s look at one more Passage where a week is said to equal 7-years.  Some of you will remember that Jacob worked 7 years for his father-in-law in order that he might be granted his daughter in marriage.


Genesis 29:15-28 tells about Jacob’s love for Rachel.  Rachel’s father agreed to let her marry Jacob if he would work for him for seven years.  In verse 27, Laban, Rachel's father, says:


Genesis 29:27-28 NKJV


27     Fulfill her week, and we will give you this one also for the service which you will serve with me still another seven years."

28     Then Jacob did so and fulfilled her week. So he gave him his daughter Rachel as wife also.


This verse specifically identifies one week as referring to seven years.


I am convinced that Daniel is referring to 70 groups of seven years each.


The Commencement of the 70 weeks of years.


Daniel 9:25 provides the starting point for the chronological unfolding of the seventy weeks prophecy.


Daniel 9:25 NIV


25     Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree 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.


The angel Gabriel tells Daniel that he is "to know and understand" the message that follows.  The Hebrew word for "know" is a common word for knowledge or information.  However, the Hebrew word for "understand" has the notion of "to gain insight," "to comprehend," "to discern," or "to reach understanding."  In other words, Daniel was to learn and gain insight about the events leading to the completion of the seventy weeks.


We are told that the commencement of the 70 weeks is the decree given to "restore and rebuild Jerusalem."  So, when was this decree given.


There are at least three different decrees that are considered when attempting to identity the beginning of these 70 weeks.  And I am looking at decrees recorded in the Bible.  First, there was the decree of Cyrus in 537 B.C., recorded in Ezra 1:2-4, 6:3-5  The second decree was given by King Artaxerxes, found in Ezra 7:11-26, in 458 B.C..  The third is also by King Artaxerxes in 444 B.C., as recorded in Nehemiah 2:1-10, 17, 18.


It is clear to me that of all the options available, the only decree that specifically fits the statements in Daniel 9:25, is the one by Artaxerxes given in 444 B.C.  Why?      Because first two edicts relate to rebuilding the Temple.  Only decree #3 speaks specifically of Jerusalem and its walls and gates.  It is obvious that it was here that Nehemiah received the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, from King Artaxerxes.


Nehemiah 2:1-8 NIV


1       In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before;

2       so the king asked me, "Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart." I was very much afraid,

3       but I said to the king, "May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my fathers are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?"

4       The king said to me, "What is it you want?" Then I prayed to the God of heaven,

5       and I answered the king, "If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my fathers are buried so that I can rebuild it."

6       Then the king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked me, "How long will your journey take, and when will you get back?" It pleased the king to send me; so I set a time.

7       I also said to him, "If it pleases the king, may I have letters to the governors of Trans-Euphrates, so that they will provide me safe-conduct until I arrive in Judah?

8       And may I have a letter to Asaph, keeper of the king's forest, 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 upon me, the king granted my requests.


First, in this passage we find the direct reference to the restoration of the city (2:3,5) and of the city gates and walls (2:3, 8).  Second, Artaxerxes wrote a letter to Asaph to give materials to be used specifically for the walls (Nehemiah 2:8)Third, the book of Nehemiah and Ezra 4:7-23 indicate that the restoration of the walls was conducted in very troublesome and distressing times.  And this is exactly what Gabriel mentioned to Daniel - Daniel 9:25.  And fourth, no later decrees were given by a foreign king pertaining to rebuilding Jerusalem.


Now let’s look at these 70 weeks to see its importance in end-times prophecy.  The entire time-period involved is exactly specified as 70 weeks (vs. 24).  And these 70 weeks are further divided into four lesser periods.  And we are told a little about what will happen during each.


Those 4 sections start with the dividing of the 70 weeks. 


The first mentioned is 7 weeks in duration.


The second is 62 weeks.


The last week is divided into two groups of ½ week each.


First Period             - 7 weeks, or 49 years


Since the first seven weeks are separated from that which follows, to what does it refer to?  Without belaboring this point, since it is not a point of significant debate, this first segment refers to the time in which the city will be built, including walls, gates, moat and plaza, and doing it during troublesome times.


John Walvoord, former professor and then president of Dallas Theological Seminary, says: "The first seven weeks refer to the time of the rebuilding of Jerusalem."


It took a whole generation to clear out all the debris in Jerusalem and restore it to a thriving city.  The specific reference of streets by Gabriel again point to the time of Nehemiah.  It was a major effort by many people to the building of the city again.


Second Period       - 62 weeks, or 434 years


The next segment of time is the period of sixty-two weeks of years.  This segment is to follow the first, and together, they would be 483 years.  We are given no information to think or consider any gap between these two periods.  And there are no historical events that would lead to any conclusion than these are consecutive.  We are told that the 62-week period will end with the arrival of the Messiah.


Once again, look at Daniel 9:25 NIV


25     Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree 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.


Messiah the prince can be none other than the Jewish Messiah - Jesus the Christ.  Most theologians that take a more literal interpretation of the Bible agree that this event takes place on the Triumphal Entry of Jesus.


The 434 years between the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, is essentially the time between the Old and New Testaments.  There are more than 400 years between the ending of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament record.  The Bible contains nothing that occurred during this time, thus, they are sometimes called the "silent years."


Allow me to insert a couple of comments into Daniel's narrative.  Each time I have been in Jerusalem, we have visited a small chapel, called Dominus Flevit.  That name means, "He wept."  When Jesus came into Jerusalem just four days prior to His crucifixion, we have what is called "The Triumphal Entry" of Jesus.  This little chapel  is located on the ancient path from Bethany to Jerusalem, on which He would have been when entering the city that day.  And the Scriptures tell us that Jesus stops and weeps over the city.  And the words He spoke are recorded in Luke 19.


Luke 19:41-44 NKJV

41     Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it,

42     saying, "If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.

43     For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side,

44     and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation."


The fact of the matter is, they should have known when this event was going to happen.  The exact timing of it was given by Gabriel to Daniel in the Passage we are studying.  They had been given the precise date of this event, when the Messiah would arrive.  And Christ weeps over the city because they didn't realize the day of their visitation.  The Messiah had come, and most did not even realize it.


Textual reasons for the postponement of the 70th week


Notice again the words of Daniel 9:26.


Daniel 9:26 NIV


26     After the sixty-two 'sevens,' the Anointed One will be cut off 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.


Two events are mentioned in this verse, and we are told they occur after the completion of the second time period of 62 weeks of years.  But while they definitely occur after the close of the 62 weeks, nothing is said about how long after their closing.  The first thing mentioned is the "cutting off of the Messiah."


Robert Culver states:


"There can be no honest difference of opinion about that: the cutting off of Messiah is 'after' the sixty-two weeks.  It is not the concluding event of the series of 62 weeks.  Neither is it said to be the opening event of the seventieth.  It is simply after the seven plus sixty-two weeks."


Steven Miller adds:


"After the reconstruction of Jerusalem in the first seven sevens (forty-nine years), another sixty two sevens (434 years) would pass.  Then two momentous events would take place.  First, the 'Anointed One' would be 'cut off.' "


Randall Price notes that "the events in verse 26: 'the cutting off of Messiah,' and of 'the people of the prince,' are stated to occur after the sixty-nine weeks."


To review, verse 26 begins with the phrase, "Then after the sixty two weeks,...."  The two things that are described following that statement are:


1.      The Messiah will be cut off.


2.      The people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.


All evangelical interpreters agree that the cutting off of the Messiah certainly refers to the death of Jesus on the cross.  And this fits perfectly with our understanding of what Gabriel told to Daniel.  Jesus was crucified four days after his arrival in Jerusalem.


The second event occurs after a longer delay following the ending of the period of 62 weeks.  The sanctuary that is destroyed must be the Temple.  The only time following the crucifixion of Christ where we know Jerusalem will be destroyed, happened in A.D. 70.  The city will never be destroyed again.


What we have here is the evidence of a gap between the 69th and 70th week of years.  As we have seen in the last several lessons, this seems to be the rule, not the exception.  This is especially true of Old Testament prophecies concerning the nation of Israel.  And once again the prophecy skips over the Church Age, something which was not mentioned in the Old Testament.


The Church Age began fifty days after the Resurrection of Christ on the Day of Pentecost, and it comes to an end at the time of the Rapture.  For the Church, that is the event we are waiting for.


This brings us to the last, or 70th, week of the prophecy.  And, according to the details given in Daniel 9:27, this period is broken into two segments.  At this point in time, the clock with regard to this prophecy will begin again.  Once again, the focus will be on Israel, not the Church, which will be gone.  One of the major reasons for the Tribulation is for God to work on Israel, until a large portion of them turn to Christ as their Messiah.


Daniel 9:27 NIV


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 on a wing [of the temple] he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him." 


We are told in this verse that the seven years will begin with the confirming of a covenant between the "Prince that will come" (i.e., the Antichrist) and the people of Israel.


Third Period         - ½ week, or 3½ years.


As we will discuss later, this is the first half of the coming Tribulation.  At the beginning of this period, the Antichrist (“the prince that will come”) will make a seven-year pact with Israel.


Fourth Period       - ½ week, or 3½ years.


This will be the last half of the Tribulation.  At the beginning of this period, the Antichrist will break his treaty with Israel, and will begin his terrible bloodbath of the Jews.


At the end of the last week, the true Messiah will come and establish his perfect kingdom, in what is referred to as the Millennium – for 1000 years.  We will spend much more time with the last of these 70 weeks.  That is, the 7-years known as the Tribulation.  We will have lessons on the Tribulation, the Antichrist, the mark of the beast, and many other topics occurring during these seven years.


There are some additional textual evidence in Daniel's prophecy that imply a gap of some duration.  Let’s look at the evidence.


1.      The first indicator of a gap is found in verse 24.


The fulfillment of the six items mentioned in verse 24 cannot be found anywhere in history.


         Note again what they are:


                   1.      To finish the transgression

                   2.      To make an end of sins

                   3.      To make atonement for iniquity

                   4.      To bring in everlasting righteousness

                   5.      To seal up the vision and prophecy

                   6.      To anoint the most holy place.


Also remember two additional things:


•  These great events have to do with the Jewish people and the city of Jerusalem.


•  They are all included within the scope of these 70 weeks of prophecy.


Now, if the whole 70 weeks are continuous (without a gap) then the 70 weeks must have ended no later than 7 years after the crucifixion.  In other words, somewhere early in the Book of Acts.  (The book of Acts records the first 20-30 years of the history of the Church)


Where in the history of the Book of Acts, for example, can you find any finishing of Jewish transgressions, or an ending of Jewish sins?  On the contrary, the transgressions of this chosen nation increases by leaps and bounds. Or where, in the period of Acts, can we find any “sealing up of visions and prophecies?”  Contrariwise, it is during this period that we find the greatest loosing of “visions and prophecies."  But, at the second coming of our Lord in glory, which will take place at the close of the 70th week, visions and prophecies will no longer be needed.


2.      Secondly, we find evidence of a gap between weeks 69 & 70 recorded by the apostle Matthew.  We find it in Matthew 24 and Mark 13, where Christ quotes part of Daniel 9.


Daniel 9:27 NKJV, contains a peculiar expression:


And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate…..


The NAS version renders it:


And on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate…..


This same general expression occurs also in Daniel 12:11.


“…the abomination that makes desolate is set up….”             


The thing we should notices is that Daniel connects this abomination with the stopping of the daily sacrifices by the Jews.  He further indicates this takes place at the middle of the week, when the Antichrist breaks the treaty made with Israel.


Jesus refers to this same abomination in Matthew 24:15.  He warns His Jewish hearers to flee from their houses to the mountains ”…when (they) see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place.


Notice that this is not just an abominable act, -- namely the desecration of the Jewish temple, but an abominable person, who “stand” in the Temple (holy place)..


The reason for this warning by Christ is found in verse 21: For then will be great tribulation…..”  But, so they are not totally disheartened, Christ states in verses 29-30, that immediately after the tribulation of those days, they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and glory.  In quoting Daniel, Christ definitely links this 70th week with the future Tribulation time.




There are some theologians that take the position that what was prophesied by Daniel has been totally fulfilled.  These same people believe that there is not gap between the 69th and 70th week of years.  These would also teach that the idea of "prophetic gap" theories is a late development.


There are several early church fathers that would disagree with them.  I have mentioned in another series of lessons that we learn from historical writings that the apostle John had a number of disciples of his teaching.  Two men who sat at the feet of the apostle John were Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna and Ignatius, bishop of Antioch of Syria.


We also know that each of these men had people who became their disciples.  One of Polycarp's disciples was Irenaeus, who later became the bishop of Lyons (France).  Taking this one generation further, one of the students (disciples) of Irenaeus was Hippolytus.  And Hippolytus was more prolific in his writings.


Hippolystus is well-known as the first of the church fathers that wrote Bible Commentaries.  And one of the commentaries he wrote was on the Book of Daniel.  It is quite probable that much of what Hippolytus writes in this commentary was gained from the teachings of his spiritual mentor, Irenaeus.  So let me quote what both of these men wrote concerning Daniel's 70 weeks prophecy.




"And then he (Daniel) points out the time that his tyranny shall last, during which the saints shall be put to flight, they who offer a pure sacrifice unto God.  And in the midst of the week, the sacrifice and the libation shall be taken away, and the abomination of desolation [shall be brought] into the temple:  even unto the consummation of the time shall the desolation be complete."


Irenaeus definitely places this action in the future.  He did not believe these events had already occurred.




"Now Daniel will set forth this subject to us.  For he says, 'And one week will make a covenant with many, and it shall be that in the midst of the week, sacrifice and oblation shall cease.'  By one week, therefore, he meant the last week which is to be at the end of the whold world of which week the two prophets Enoch and Elias will take up the half.  For they will preach 1,260 days clothes in sackcloth, proclaiming repentance to the people and to all nations."


Hippolytus definitely believed in a gap between the 69th and 70th week of Daniel's prophecy.  The same is true of Irenaeus.  It is probable that Irenaeus presented the seed of an idea that found its full growth in the writings of Hippolytus.


Having quoted two early church fathers, let me make a couple of observations.  I have quoted them to show the idea a a prophetic gap had an early beginning in the church.  But, in the final analysis, iot really does not matter how many quotations of theologians I give.  What matters is whether or not it is in agreement with Scripture.  That is really all that matters.  Does it square with God's Word?


I think that sound biblical exegesis of Daniel 9:24-27 must lead to an understanding that the seventieth week is separated from the first sixty-nine weeks of years.  Because Israel failed to understand that day of their visitation, God has postponed the final week of years until the start of the 7-year Tribulation.  And in the parenthesis, God through Christ has place the Church, into which both Jew and Gentile can be made into a single body through the blood of Jesus Christ.