Daniel 9 and the 70 Weeks, Pt. 2

April 24, 2013 at 2:11 PM

(c) Study-Grow-Know Ministries, 2013

(c) Study-Grow-Know Ministries, 2013

I previously wrote the first part of a short series on Daniel 9 and the 70 weeks that are highlighted in that chapter.  You can refer back to that article by following this link:  Daniel 9, Pt. 1

We noted that Daniel began chapter 9 by telling us that he had been studying the book of Jeremiah and realized that the 70 years of captivity for Israel had almost run its course.  Because of this, he fell to his knees to seek God.  While praying, Gabriel appeared to him to explain things that he otherwise would not have known.

Since Daniel was thinking in terms of years, Gabriel’s words to him were almost a play on words.  In effect, Gabriel was saying, “Daniel, it’s not seventy years, but seventy sevens of years.”  The Hebrew word shābûá in the text literally means “sevens” or more precisely, “a period of sevens.”  Had the Hebrew word meant “weeks,” (as translated) the text in the original language would have been shavuot.

Based on this then, Gabriel is saying in 9:24 that a total of “70 periods of sevens have been decreed for your people.”  The reference to “your people” here is an obvious reference to the Jewish people, or Israel since they were also the ones in captivity at that time in Babylon.  Daniel’s concern was for “his” people, the Jews.

If we take 70 and multiply it times seven, we arrive at 490.  Since the entire context of chapter 9 is years (Daniel 9:2), we can rightly determine that 490 is referencing years here not literal weeks.

If there are 490 years in total during the time period highlighted by Gabriel, it is important to know when the time period begins and when it will end.  Verse 24 not only points out the length of time (490 years), but also explains what is supposed to occur during that period of time and there are six events mentioned by Gabriel.

  1. to finish the transgression
  2. to make an end of sin
  3. to make atonement for iniquity
  4. to bring in everlasting righteousness
  5. to seal up vision and prophecy, and
  6. to anoint the most holy place

So, according to God, the purpose of the 490 year period is to accomplish the above things (as listed in verse 24).  The question then is have these things been happened yet?  The short answer is no, they have not been brought to fruition yet.  That should be easy to see if we remember that these relate to Israel, the nation, or the Jewish people.  None of this has anything to do with the Church at all.  How could it?

Has Israel stopped sinning?  No, as she remains in unbelief.  Has atonement for iniquity occurred?  Yes, through the death and resurrection of Jesus, though Jewish people do not believe in that.

Has everlasting righteousness been brought to bear on Israel?  The obvious answer is again, no.  Neither peace or righteousness exists within the nation of Israel.  She has been and is being regathered in unbelief (Ezek. 20:33-38; 22:17-22; 36:22-24; 37:1- 14; Isa. 11:11-12; Zeph. 2:1-2 and Ezek. 38- 39).

The other items above also refer to things that have not occurred yet.  Most of these things refer to what will exist during the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ once He returns at the end of the Tribulation period of the future.

In verse 25, Gabriel points out the specific beginning point for the 490 years.  While there are several possible historical beginning points, the one that is most likely is the decree to rebuild Jerusalem given by Artaxerxes Longimanus in 445 B.C.  This was when Nehemiah began rebuilding the wall surrounding Jerusalem.  Other decrees were given, but not carried out.

We need to remember also that on God’s calendar, there are 360 days per year, not the 365 days per year we now use.  In doing the math (and thankfully, someone has done it*), this takes us back to March 14, 445 B.C.

Notice also in verse 25, Gabriel tells what will happen from that beginning point and during the first seven “weeks” immediately followed by the second set of “weeks” or sixty-two “weeks.  It is interesting here that even though Gabriel broke them up into a period of seven sevens followed by sixty-two sevens, there is no gap at all between these two periods.  The one set follows the other set without a break.

Gabriel is really saying that once the decree is given, the restoration would begin on Jerusalem during the first forty-nine years (7 periods of seven).  That period is followed immediately by the 434 years (62 periods of seven), which takes history right up to the Messiah.

Again, the math has been done* and if we count exactly 483 years from the starting point (49 + 434), we arrive at the Triumphal Entry of Jesus.  It took place in A.D. 32.  If 483 years have taken place, then what about the final week of seven sevens (7 years)?

Is there a gap between the weeks?  If so, how does that come into play?  Are we still in that gap?  When will the gap end?  How much of the “weeks” still remains in human history?

Next time, we will discuss verse twenty-six and if space permits, verse twenty-seven to learn the answers to these and other questions.  Understanding these verses accurately allows us to gain a correct, literal (not literalistic), interpretation of how the weeks of years breaks down and what it means for this world.  Join me then.

* Sir Robert Anderson as recorded in “The Most High God,” by Renald Showers

Entry filed under: israel, Judaism, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, second coming. Tags: , , .

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