Bible Study: Daniel 9 – The 70 Weeks

The book of Daniel is one of the most prophetic books in the old testament. It has been sealed until the time of the end. Undoubtedly, now is the time of the end. Therefore, let us not be hypocrites without discerning this time and let us unseal the book of Daniel.

(Dan 12:4) “But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”

(Luke 12:56) “Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how [is it] you do not discern this time?

The ninth chapter of Daniel is the prophecy of seventy weeks.

Introduction

(Dan 9:1-3) In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the lineage of the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans– in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the LORD through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.  Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.

The first year of king Darius 522 BC. The chapter is generally divided into Daniel’s prayer and the response to his prayer by angel Gabriel. The response is of prophetic nature. However, it is important for us to understand for what this response is for. The important clue is why he began to pray to the Lord: that is, 70 years of desolations of Jerusalem was accomplished

Prayer of Daniel

(Dan 9:4-19) And I prayed to the LORD my God, and made confession, and said, “O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments, we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments. Neither have we heeded Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings and our princes, to our fathers and all the people of the land. O Lord, righteousness belongs to You, but to us shame of face, as it is this day–to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those near and those far off in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of the unfaithfulness which they have committed against You. O Lord, to us belongs shame of face, to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, because we have sinned against You. To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him. We have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in His laws, which He set before us by His servants the prophets. Yes, all Israel has transgressed Your law, and has departed so as not to obey Your voice; therefore the curse and the oath written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against Him. And He has confirmed His words, which He spoke against us and against our judges who judged us, by bringing upon us a great disaster; for under the whole heaven such has never been done as what has been done to Jerusalem. As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us; yet we have not made our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities and understand Your truth. Therefore the LORD has kept the disaster in mind, and brought it upon us; for the LORD our God is righteous in all the works which He does, though we have not obeyed His voice. And now, O Lord our God, who brought Your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and made Yourself a name, as it is this day–we have sinned, we have done wickedly! O Lord, according to all Your righteousness, I pray, let Your anger and Your fury be turned away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain; because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Your people are a reproach to all those around us. Now therefore, our God, hear the prayer of Your servant, and his supplications, and for the Lord’s sake cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary, which is desolate. O my God, incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and see our desolations, and the city which is called by Your name; for we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies. O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name.

Daniel begins confessing the sins of his people. He requests God to turn His anger and fury away from His city Jerusalem and let His face shine on His sanctuary which is desolate and not to delay. In summary, Daniel prays God to change the desolations of Jerusalem.

Reply to Daniel’s Prayer

(Dan 9:20-24) Now while I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God, yes, 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. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand. At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision: 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

What are the 70 weeks determined for?
  • To finish the transgression
  • To make an end of sins
  • To make reconciliation for iniquity
  • To bring everlasting righteousness.
  • To seal up vision and prophecy
  • To anoint the Most Holy

Command to restore Jerusalem

It seems 3 kings had issued 4 times over a period of 94 years to restore Jerusalem. However, after closer look, that is not the case and one stands out as we see in the tabulation with Scripture references below.

Command to restore Jerusalem
CYRUS
(539 BC)

Command to build the house of God in Jerusalem by Cyrus on first year of his reign

(Ezra 1:1-3) Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also [put it] in writing, saying, Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which [is] in Judah. Who [is] among you of all His people? May his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem which [is] in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel (He [is] God), which [is] in Jerusalem.
DARIUS I
(521 BC)

Command to build the house of God in Jerusalem by Darius on second year of his reign
(Ezra 4:24) Thus the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem ceased, and it was discontinued until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.

(Ezra 6:8) Moreover I issue a decree [as to] what you shall do for the elders of these Jews, for the building of this house of God: Let the cost be paid at the king’s expense from taxes [on the region] beyond the River; this is to be given immediately to these men, so that they are not hindered.

ARTAXERXES I
(458 BC)

Command to adorn the house of God in Jerusalem by Artaxerxes on seventh year of his reign 

(Ezra 7:8) And Ezra came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. ….. (Ezra 7:21-23) “I, even I, King Artaxerxes, issue a decree to all the treasurers who are [in the provinces] beyond the River, that whatever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, may require of you, it shall be done diligently, [even] up to 100 talents of silver, 100 kors of wheat, 100 baths of wine, 100 baths of oil, and salt as needed. Whatever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be done with zeal for the house of the God of heaven, so that there will not be wrath against the kingdom of the king and his sons. ….. (27) Blessed be the LORD, the God of our fathers, who has put [such a thing] as this in the king’s heart, to adorn the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem,
ARTAXERXES I
(445 BC)

Command to restore and build Jerusalem by Artaxerxes on twentieth year of his reign 

(Neh 2:1) And it came to pass in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, that I took the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had never been sad in his presence before. …. (5) And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it.” …. (7-8) Furthermore I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, let letters be given to me for the governors of the region beyond the River, that they must permit me to pass through till I come to Judah, and a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, that he must give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel which pertains to the temple, for the city wall, and for the house that I will occupy.” And the king granted them to me according to the good hand of my God upon me. ….(17) Then I said to them, “You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach.”
Hence, the command to restore Jerusalem was fulfilled by Artaxerxes I in 445 BC and it was indeed restored during the days of Ezra and Nehemiah.

The 70 weeks

Let us carefully understand what this 70 weeks is for. We need to remember, most of these are fulfilled in Christ to all who believe but some are not yet fulfilled in the world.

To finish the transgression

(Heb 9:15) And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

Christ is the mediator of the new covenant for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant.

To make an end of sins

(1John 3:9) Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.

Being born of God is an end of sin, for those who are born of God cannot sin. This is because, we now have His seed remaining in us. If you believe you have His seen within you and yet sin, may be you are not born of God yet. Repent.

To make reconciliation for iniquity

(2Cor 5:18-20) Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.

God reconciled us to Himself through Christ.

To bring everlasting righteousness.

(Rom 3:21-22) But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;

Righteousness of God is revealed through faith in Jesus Christ. We now have His righteousness in us through Christ.

To seal up vision and prophecy

(Matt 13:11-15) He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: ‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, And seeing you will see and not perceive;  For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.’ 

The visions and prophecies about the kingdom of Heaven were sealed through parables by which Christ spoke with the people.

To anoint the Most Holy

(Lev 6:25) “Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, ‘This is the law of the sin offering: In the place where the burnt offering is killed, the sin offering shall be killed before the LORD. It is most holy.

The sacrifice/sin offering is most holy according to the law. Jesus Christ is the sin offering who was sacrificed for our sins. He is the Most Holy.

(Luke 4:18-21) “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed;  To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Christ who is the Most Holy was anointed by God to preach the good news.

69 Weeks

(Dan 9:25-26a) 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. And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself;

The 70 weeks were split into 7 weeks and 62 weeks (which is 69 weeks) and the final 1 week. We had determined earlier that the going forth of the command to build Jerusalem was by Artaxerxes I in 445 BC. Hence, after 7 weeks it is (445 BC + (7 x 7 x 360) / 365.25) ~397 BC and then 62 weeks later it is (445 BC + (69 x 7 x 360) / 365.25)  = 31 AD (based on biblical 360 day/year count) – which is based on Sir Robert Anderson’s The Coming Prince book.

Hence, after 69 weeks i.e., 31 AD, which is also the historically most agreed date for the crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Messiah (who is Jesus Christ) was cut off (or killed, resurrected and ascended to Heaven to be seated at the right hand of God).

(Dan 9:26) 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.

After 69 Weeks

(Dan 11:22) “With the force of a flood they shall be swept away from before him and be broken, and also the prince of the covenant. 

(Nah 1:8) But with an overflowing flood He will make an utter end of its place, And darkness will pursue His enemies.

Here the flood represents the people being swept away, representing the scattering of Jews.

70 AD (Ref: wiki)

Here, we read 4 events happening after 62 weeks but before the final 1 week.

Events Notes
Messiah shall be cut off. Crucifixion, resurrection and ascending into Heaven in clouds which was fulfilled in 31 BC, not for Himself but for His people.
the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary The people of the prince (which is understood as the Romans), destroyed the city Jerusalem and the temple in 70 AD
The end of it shall be a flood The Jews scattered which was fulfilled in 70 AD.
And till the end of the war desolations are determined. At the end of the war, the city becomes completely desolate which is also in 70 AD.

70th Week

(Dan 9:27) 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.”

The prince who is to come, is the man of sin, shall establish a covenant with many for 7 years. We also notice the sacrifice and drink-offering is taken away. The question is, how can it be taken away on 70th week when the city and sanctuary is destroyed? The answer is, it will be rebuilt.

Events Future Notes
Establish covenant with many. Not yet happened
Sacrifice and drink-offering taken away Taken once away in 70 AD. Cannot happen again without the temple being rebuilt
Abomination of desolation on the temple Not yet happened Cannot happen without the temple being rebuilt
At the end-of-time an end shall be put to desolation Not yet happened

Hence, the next important event we are to look for is rebuilding the Temple. This does not mean God acknowledges and accepts the old Covenant but this is simply a sign for us to watch.