The Seventy Weeks Timeline in Daniel

 

The prophecy about the 70 weeks in Daniel is very important for our time too.

First let's read the scriptures that talk about those 70 weeks.


Daniel 9:24-27

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.” NKJV

There are several explanations of how those 70 weeks go as described in Daniel 9.
The most common explanation is that the first 69 weeks end during the time Jesus was on earth and the last week is yet to come in the end times.
Those last 7 years are often referred to as 'the great tribulation'.
It has never become clear to me how this is achieved. In Daniel and Revelation we read about a period of 1260 days when the Antichrist is in charge and Israelites and Christians are persecuted.

As time went by something changed in the way I viewed how those seventy years have gone by. Progressive insight I will say.
I will try to explain that below.
If you have been studying about the seventy weeks in the book of Daniel, you probably already know that it is not literally 70 weeks of 7 days.
It is about 70 “sevens”.
The seventy weeks are 7-day weeks, but according to the year-for-a-day principle, they are 490 years. Most Bible scholars agree.

So Daniel is told that, in that period of 70 (year) weeks, sin will be closed and iniquity will be atoned for.
In verse 26 we read that "the Messiah will be cut off, but it will not be for Himself" (free according to KJV).
We as Christians know that only Jesus can atone for sins.
Jesus died for our sins. Yet sin in the world is not yet closed. This will only come to pass when Jesus returns at the end of those 70 (year) weeks.

Those seventy weeks are divided into three periods.
The first period lasted 7 weeks, the second period lasted 62 weeks and then there is a final period of one week.
In that first period Jerusalem was restored and rebuilt.
In the next 63-week period, Jerusalem will continue to be restored and rebuilt.
Then there remains a final period of one week, a week of seven years.

It is important for us to know more about this period, especially because this is still to come.
The last seven years are not over yet.
We know this because what Daniel writes in chapter 9 vers 24 has not yet happened:

… the transgression has not yet ended
… the sins are not yet ended
… the reconciliation for iniquity has not been made
…an everlasting righteousness has not yet been brought


When does that last (year) week start?

Not everyone agrees on that. That is not surprising because there are always many differint opinions about what is written in the Bible.
Many people think differently about what will happen at the beginning, middle or end of those last seven years.
A large movement thinks that the church will be raptured at the beginning of that last (year) week. Others think this will happen at the halfway point and still others, including me, think that the church will meet the Lord in the sky at the end of those last seven years.
For a long time I also thought that the last 7 years are yet to come. But now that I studied the texts in Daniel with fresh view, I started to have more and more doubts. I wondered, could that last week of the 70 weeks already have started when Jesus was living on earth?
Why does verse 26 say:


Daniel 9:26

And AFTER the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off

Something that comes after a previous period happens in the next period.
In all translations it says that the Messiah will die AFTER the (7+62) 69th week. I think that this happened in the 70th week.
That 70th week, in my train of thought, already started at the time Jesus stayed here on earth.

The text of Daniel gives room for several explanations.

Daniel 9:26-27

“And after the sixty-two weeks (so in the 70th week) 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.” NKJV

Messiah shall be cut off AFTER the 69th (year) week. Also, 'someone' will cause the sacrifice and offering to cease. And that happened or will happen in the first or second half of that 70th week of the year. (Jesus did that in the first part of the last seven years, the Antichrist will do that the beginning of the last 3 1/12 years.) 

There has never been another anointed one or Messiah who was cut off while there was nothing against Him but Jesus. For me and for many others it is clear who the first person refers to in this text.

In the first sentence of verse 26, ‘the Messiah’ is the subject.
In the second part, the subject is 'the people'.
There is also someone called a prince. That prince is the leader of the people who will destroy the city and the sanctuary.
Who the "he" is who will confirm (or make heavy) the covenant for many, is difficult to determine.
Is it the Christ or the Antichrist?
The same question can be asked about when the sacrifices will be ended.
Did that happen when Jesus died and the veil in the temple tore from top to bottom?
Or is that going to happen at the beginning of the last 3 ½ years by the hands of the Antichrist?
In my opinion both are possible. 

Again. The Messiah, or the Anointed One, will be cut off AFTER the 69th (year) week, this is IN the 70th (year) week. The 70th (year) week contains the last seven years of the seventy weeks (=490 years) that have been determined by God to end sin and bring eternal righteousness. So, if that 'he' is Jesus Messiah who has stopped the sacrifice halfway through the 70th week, then there are still 3½ years left and these still have to be fulfilled.

Prophecies often have multiple layers of fulfilment. That may be the case here in Daniel 9:27 as well. Suppose the first layer was fulfilled by Jesus then the second layer will be fulfilled by the anti-Jesus, or the Antichrist. The Antichrist will also put an end to the sacrifices and offerings at the beginning of the last 3½ years. Incidentally, a temple, or a place of sacrifice, must first be built. 

It is generally agreed that the "destroyer" is the Antichrist. When we read Matthew 24:15 and 2 Thessalonians 2:4, we see clearly that this is indeed the Antichrist. 

 The view that the 70th week of the year is divided in two, is not the mainstream explanation. But the most accepted explanation ignores the fact what is clearly stated:

'And AFTER the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off'

Another point why it might be possible for the 70th week to be split in two is because in Revelation we read nothing about a period of seven years (the last seven of the seventy weeks of years), but only about the last 3½ years before the return of Jesus. 

As mentioned at the beginning of this article: Most scholars say that the entire last week of the year is yet to come. They say there will be peace for the first 3½ years and most likely the temple will be rebuilt during that time. But halfway through those seven years, the Antichrist will set himself in the temple to show himself that he is a god. When he does, the sacrifices will cease. At that time the great tribulation will begin. 

In the two previous paragraphs, it is assumed that there is a huge gap between the 69th and 70th weeks. What is that assumption based on? It is explained that this time is the age of grace for the church of Jesus. Is there anything written somewhere in the bible about stopping the count of those 70 (year) weeks? 

I can not find it. 


A problem

From the time the word went forth to rebuild Jerusalem until the death of Jesus Messiah there is a continuous series of years and days. Why is there a sudden interruption until the end time? 

Is it logical that the clock stops after the 69th week and only starts running again at the end time? 

In the previous paragraphs I have gone along with the prevailing view that there is a long time between the end of the 69th week and the beginning of the 70th week. Or as I said earlier I thought there was an option of a gap between the 69th week and the last 3½ years. 

Actually, I've always found that a bit strange. Why has the clock, which is ticking the 70 weeks, stopped? In Daniel I can't find anything about stopping the clock after the 69th week. 

Then I came across a certain Mr. Lovik (1) on the internet. He showed that there is a possible explanation for the timeline without a gap between the 69th and 70th (year) week. I find his reasoning very logical and in line with what I read in the Bible. 

I will try to summarise his view of how it is possible that the clock has not stopped for a period of some 2,000 years.

As we have already seen, God sometimes uses a different calendar than the usual one.
The 70 weeks in Daniel are an example of this. 

70 Weeks are actually 70 weeks of years of 360 days adding up to 490 years.
God sometimes multiplies time. 

A good example is the story of the spies who explored for 40 days the land which was destined for Israel. The people believed the negative report of 10 spies.
They didn't believe God, but they believed the spies.
In that way the people rejected God. God punished the people by condemning them to remain in the desert for 40 years. A year for every day. 


Numbers 14:34

‘According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for each day you shall bear your guilt one year, namely forty years, and you shall know My rejection.’

Moses, on behalf of God, had told the people that the promised land was near. The people did not believe God and were punished for it. 

Jesus told the Jews that the Kingdom of God was at hand. The Kingdom of God was up for grabs for the Jews, but they did not believe God. They rose up against the bearer of the good news. They even crucified Him. 

The Jews rejected their Messiah. They did not believe God. When the people of Israel in their unbelief rejected Jesus as their King, they received divine punishment. 

What was their punishment?
Was that the same as in Numbers? A year for every day? 

At the time of Jesus on earth, the 69th (year) week came to an end.
That last (year) week of 7 years was not yet over.
7 Years of 360 days.
7 x 360 = 2520 days.
If we keep the principle of a day for a year, the punishment will be 2,520 years. 
When Israel was told to remain in the desert for 40 years, the time was counted from when they left Egypt. 

So the time already spent in the desert was subtracted from the total of the 40 years. Those 40 years started with the command to go out of Egypt. When did the prophesied 70 (year) weeks begin?


Daniel 9:25

“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;”

Most Bible scholars arrive at 457 BC when the word went out to rebuild Jerusalem. 

Because of the unbelief of the Jews, the remaining 2,520 days were converted to 2,520 years and a new countdown began. 

2520 days multiplied to 2520 years of 360 days makes 907,200 days. 

Daniel's 70 weeks of years become 360 weeks of years. 

To get an idea where that timeline of those 70 years will end up, we have to (temporarily) take a precise date as a starting point. 

It's not about that date, but more about the season.
If we set the beginning of the prophecy on Sept. 28 457 BC (That is the first day of the autumn season: the 10th Tishri) and we add 907,200 days to that day we arrive at an end date of July 22, 2028. 

The last seven years would then start in the fall of 2021. 

It sounds logical. Much more logical than the inexplicably large interruption in the 70 weeks. 

If this is correct, the temple will have to be rebuilt in the next three years, after which the Antichrist will be revealed. 

We live in exciting times. If this interpretation of the 2,520 years is correct, our Lord Jesus will come back in seven years and establish His Kingdom here on the earth. (Time of writing of this article: fall 2021)

Maranatha!



(There is much more to say and to think regarding Daniel 9. I do that in the Daniel-Revelation Parallels study Click here)



Attachments

These texts will tell us how many days and months there are in a year.


Genesis 7:11

‘In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. 12 And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights. NKJV 


Genesis 8:3-4

‘And the waters receded continually from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters decreased. 4 Then the ark rested in the seventh month, the seventeenth day of the month, on the mountains of Ararat.’ NKJV

From the 17th day of the 2nd month to the 17th day of the 7th month, according to the Bible, is 150 days. So this tells us that the Bible counts 30 days per month.
What about the months in a year?


1 Kings 4:7

‘And Solomon had twelve governors over all Israel, who provided food for the king and his household; each one made provision for one month of the year.’ NKJV 

 If you compare the above verse in with 1 Chronicles 27:1-15, you will see that a year has 12 months.

But now we have yet to see how the day-for-a-year principle is also a biblical principle.

Numbers 14:34

‘According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for each day you shall bear your guilt one year, namely forty years, and you shall know My rejection.’

Ezekiel 4:5-6

‘For I have laid on you the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days; so you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Israel. 6 And when you have completed them, lie again on your right side; then you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days. I have laid on you a day for each year.’

We have seen that a biblical month has 30 days and if you multiply it by 12 months you get 360 days. In all kinds of Bible studies this is called a prophetic year.

The 70 weeks are seven-day weeks.

(1) Link to the Youtube movie of Mr. CJ Lovik.Click here

Mr. Lovic places the rapture of the church and the great tribulation at the beginning of the last seven years.
I don't think this is right, I think the great tribulation starts in the middle of the last seven years and Jesus comes back at the end of those last seven years.
We'll know soon.
Despite that, the film is very interesting. The number 2520 appears to be important on several points. 


If you want to know more about the topic: Is the church going through the Great Tribulation. Click here