Daniel’s 70 Weeks of Years

“Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place. Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time. And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed. And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.” Daniel 9:24-27

Last week we looked at verses from Isaiah that indicated the Messiah would be born to a virgin and so come into this world as a child, but when? Was Israel just supposed to wonder and always be on the lookout for the Messiah? God did not tell them right away but during the Babylonian exile it was revealed to Daniel the timing for the arrival of the Messiah.

What is translated in English as weeks is actually the Hebrew word שָׁבוּעַ  (šā·ḇûaʿ) which really means sevens similar to the English word dozed which means twelve. So while the Hebrew word can mean a week it can also mean any period of seven. In this case it refers to seventy sevens of years, or 490 years. But Daniel divides the 490 years into three periods as follows: seven weeks (49 years) plus sixty-two weeks (434 years) plus one week (7 years).

Starting in 445 B.C. when Artaxerxes issued a decree to Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:1-8) we have a period of 49 years that it took to rebuild the city of Jerusalem the we had a period of 434 years that takes us to around 30 to 33 AD which most scholars think is the time of the crucifixion.

Contrary to what some might think the Jews were well aware of this timing and were looking for the Messiah in the first century. So the timing of Jesus’ birth, ministry and death all fit with Daniel’s prophesy. Daniel is very clear that the anointed one, Messiah, would be cut off, killed, after the sixty-two weeks ended.

Many Jews believed that the Messiah would come and reign forever on the throne of David. Daniel on the other hand tells us a different story. He predicted the death of the Messiah hundreds of years before the event. Eve modern critics who seek to date Daniel from around 100 BC still have to explain how even a hundred years before the event, Daniel got the timing right.

And the last seven years in Daniel’s prophesy? That is in the future. John takes up the final seven years of Daniel’s prophesy in the Book of Revelation. We get in trouble when we try to put God on our time frame. God does not exist in time but is the creator of time. He sees the beginning and the end as one event. We see time as always moving forward and linear. So to us such a large span of time as the already 2,000 years since Jesus birth, life and death seems like an eternity.  To God it is but an instance.

Have a blessed day,

David

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About dwwork

The name of this blog is taken from 1 Peter 3:13 - “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience. This verse became special to me over ten years ago when I was asked to teach an adult Sunday school class on Christian apologetics. This interest grew over the years to the point that I took some graduate level classes in apologetics. I think the best way to be prepared to give and answer to everyone who asks is to know scripture. It is my hope that through these short devotionals the reader will become more familiar with each verse. I have tried when possible to make them personal hoping in some small way to show that God’s word written over two thousand years ago is still relevant today. In the writing of these short devotionals I have been able to better understand how God’s word impacts my life. It is my hope that you too will come closer to our Lord Jesus and develop a closer relationship with Him. Finally, if the reader finds anything in conflict with scripture please let me know. God’s word is the final authority always overrules anything I might write. David
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