Daniel’s 70 Weeks
This basic prophetic article is based on the Angel Gabriel’s message to Daniel in response to Daniel ‘s confession and concern for Israel’s future as found in Daniel 9.
An understanding of this will help us better understand the Book of Ezra as we try to explain it in messages to come.
The purpose of this article is not to satisfy idle curiosity, but to help us get the overall picture of God’s prophetic timetable. I will not attempt to set dates concerning the return of Christ. Jesus repeatedly told us in Scripture that no man knows the time of Christ’s return. We are simply to be ready for His imminent return. The Apostle Paul expected Jesus to return in his own lifetime. I Thessalonians 4:15 Bible believing Christians have been expecting Jesus to return in their generation for the past 2000 years. That expectation and excitement seems to have accelerated in the last century.
While Daniel was praying to God, confessing his sins and the sins of his beloved nation, Israel; no doubt, confused and depressed by the prophecies God had given him in Daniel 7 and 8 of the Gentiles powers that would rule in the centuries ahead, and grieving for his beloved people Israel, still banished from their homeland; God answered by sending the angel Gabriel to him with a special announcement. God promised to give Israel 70 more weeks of history. Literally, that is 70 sevens of years or 490 years.
A Week of Years
A week of years is a period of seven years. This is not something we pull out of thin air. The Hebrew word for seven is shabua. The word means a unit of measurement of seven just as our word dozen is a unit of measurement for twelve.
In Genesis 29:16-28 we learn that Jacob worked for Laban for seven years in exchange for Laban’s youngest daughter, Rachel. At the end of seven years of work, Laban tricked Jacob by giving him Leah, his oldest daughter. Though this upset Jacob, he loved Rachel so much that he fulfilled another “week of years” to have the woman he most loved. So when Gabriel in Daniel 9 is speaking of a week of years, he is referring to a period of seven years.
This 490 year period of Israel’s history would include Christ making reconciliation for iniquity and conclude by Christ bringing everlasting righteousness to this earth. This 490 year period of Israel’s history would begin with a king’s decree to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. According to Nehemiah 2:1, Artaxerxes gave that decree in the month Nisan in the twentieth year of his reign. He reigned in Persia from 465 to 425 BC. So the twentieth year of his reign was 445 BC.
You can read the text of that amazing decree in Ezra 7:11-26.
Gabriel’s announcement divides the seventy weeks of years into three groups.
The first 7 weeks of years, or 49 years takes us to Malachi and the end of the Old Testament.
The next 62 weeks of years or 434 years takes us through the 400 silent years between the Old and New Testament and through the years of Christ’s life and ministry on this earth. So adding 49 and 434 gives us a total of 483 years or 69 weeks of years. These are all in the past. Messiah the Prince, the Lord Jesus Christ, would be cut off or die; but not for His own sins. Jesus came into the world and died for our sins.
So since 445 BC, the year of Artaxexes decree to rebuild Jerusalem, 483 of the 490 years of Israel’s history have been fulfilled with only seven more years to go before everlasting righteousness will be ushered in.
Sitting on the Side Track
When Israel publicly rejected Jesus, their Messiah; God switched Israel from the main track of prophecy to a siding and brought a new train, The CHURCH, composed of born again Jews and Gentiles, on to the main track.
Israel, as a nation, has been on a siding ever since. The clock has temporarily stopped ticking for her. When the Church, composed of regenerated Jews and Gentiles, is raptured from this earth, the Church will be removed from the main track of prophecy and Israel will be switched from the siding back on to the main track. Luke 21:24 and Romans 11:25-27 speak of this side-tracking of Israel for the present. With the removal of the Church to Heaven, the final seven years prophesied by Gabriel will start ticking away. Unconverted Jews will find themselves in the Tribulation along with all unbelievers alive at that time.
The Abomination of Desolation
The Tribulation will begin with Anti-Christ appearing and making a covenant of peace with Israel. Daniel 9:27 After 3½ years, Anti-Christ will enter the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem and desecrate it, claiming that he alone is God to be worshipped. Daniel 9:27 Matt. 24:15-22 II Thessalonians 2:3-4 The final 3½ years of the Tribulation will be known as The Great Tribulation. God’s wrath will be poured out on the world like nothing anyone has ever seen.
Note these veiled references to the final 3 ½ years of the Tribulation.
Rev. 12:6, 1,260 days = about 3 ½ years
Rev.12:14 time, times, half a time.= 1 year,2 years, ½ year =3 ½ yrs
Rev. 13:5 42 months= 3 ½ years
Martyred for Christ
A remnant of Israel converted to Christ during the Tribulation will endure martyrdom at the hands of the Anti-Christ. At the end of the seven years of Tribulation, Jesus will return in glory, destroy His enemies and bring in the Millennial Kingdom of everlasting righteousness, thus fulfilling Daniel’s final Seventy Weeks of Jewish history.
Will you be left behind?
Those Jews and Gentiles who receive Christ as Saviour in this Church Age of Grace will be raptured from this earth and thus escape the awful Tribulation that lies ahead for those left behind.
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