Daniel’s 70 Weeks is NOT 70 Years!
Previously, I wrote an 11-part series on the end times and how Jesus explained the end times protocol. In it, I addressed a number of events and presented an overall timeline of those events, much of it based on Daniel 9.
Today, there is a great deal that is taught and accepted by many as biblical fact. The problem though is that it is fairly easy to debunk these theories. Whether it’s Ronald Weinland, Harold Camping, Steve Fletcher, Dewey Bruton, or someone else entirely, the proof is always found in going back to what the Bible actually says/means.
With the individuals mentioned above, they all have at least one thing in common (or more). They believe they know/knew when Jesus was returning to this earth. Beyond this, most have stated when the Tribulation is to begin and in fact, they have stated that it has begun already. A few of them also agree that the Abomination of Desolation referred to in Daniel and by our Lord in Matthew 24 has occurred.
Unfortunately, for these individuals, they base their findings on faulty logic. The biggest problem I find is that they simply ignore what the Bible teaches, allegorizing things to suit them. Even though the Bible clearly teaches from our Lord’s own mouth, that only the Father knows the day or hour of His (the Son’s) return, these Bible teachers find a way to circumvent that to make it say something else entirely. In effect, they are changing the meaning of Jesus’ words. Let them be accursed if they are unable or unwilling to see their error.
But another problem has to do with the amount of time indicated in Daniel 9. It seems that many of these Bible teachers believe that the 70 “weeks” in Daniel 9 actually means 70 years. I can see why they are confused and I’d like to see what I can do to set the record straight even though I’ve already dealt with this.
In the first part of Daniel 9, we see Daniel who had been busy studying the book of Jeremiah. There, he learns that the 70 years of captivity is almost done. As can be expected, Daniel became thoroughly excited and immediately turned to the Lord in prayer. Much of chapter 9 is a record of how he prayed. Let’s look at the first few verses of Daniel 9.
In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of Median descent, who was made king over the kingdom of the Chaldeans— 2 in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, observed in the books the number of the years which was revealed as the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.
I’ve added emphasis here on the words “seventy years” to show that yes, while reading the book of Jeremiah, Daniel surmised that the period of seventy years was nearly over. Daniel had obviously read God’s promise in Jeremiah 29:10, which clearly states, “For thus says the LORD, ‘When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place.”
It couldn’t be anymore clear. Daniel understood that God stated the captivity in Babylon would be for a total of 70 years. That time was almost complete. So, Daniel immediately turned to prayer and praise (cf. Daniel 9:3-19). Here, Daniel opens his heart to the Lord, acknowledging that Israel deserved what God had given her. Daniel praised God for His will for the nation of Israel and confessed not only Israel’s sin, but Daniel confessed his own sin as well. In effect, he was acting as a priest for the nation.
In verse 19 going into verse 20, we see that while Daniel was still praying, Gabriel, the Archangel, brings a response directly to Daniel from God’s throne. It was a very encouraging response. Notice Gabriel gives Daniel the highest possible comment in verse 23. “At the beginning of your supplications the command was issued, and I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed; so give heed to the message and gain understanding of the vision.” To hear that he was “highly esteemed” must have been amazing for Daniel!
Gabriel then immediately goes into an explanation, which includes a point of clarification for Daniel that relates to Israel. Verse 24 of Daniel 9 provides us with Gabriel’s explanation and clarification.
“Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place.”
Please note that I have bolded the first two words because they are very important. Gabriel does not say “seventy years.” He clearly states what the translators have said to be “seventy weeks.” The problem is that the original word in Hebrew does not translate to weeks, but to “sevens.” Gabriel actually said, “Seventy sevens have been decreed for your people…”
This makes a huge difference. As I have explained previously in my 11-part article, the word “sevens” is similar to the English word “dozen.” We know that a dozen equals 12, but it doesn’t tell us twelve of what.
If my wife asked me to go to the store and pick up a dozen, I would have no idea what she meant. Does she mean a dozen eggs? A dozen donuts? A dozen loaves of bread? In order for me to complete the mission, I would need to know what the dozen is referring to, so I would naturally ask her, “A dozen what?” She would then tell me that it was indeed a dozen eggs she wanted and I would head down to the store to buy the eggs.
It is the same thing here in Daniel 9. Gabriel is really giving a bit of a play on words. In essence, as Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum points out (“Footsteps of the Messiah”), Gabriel is essentially saying, “Daniel, it’s not 70 years, but 70 SEVENS of years.”
What does Gabriel mean by that? On one hand, the immediate captivity in Babylon would end after the 70 years spoken of by Jeremiah ended. However, Jerusalem itself would be trod under foot by Gentiles for a period of 70 SEVENS of years. It is then a matter of multiplying 70 times seven to arrive at 490 years total.
In the end then, Daniel learned that the entire period of time that Israel would be undermined by Gentile nations would be for a total of 490 years. For a complete explanation of how the 490 years break down (where they start, etc.), please see my 11-part article series, starting with Part 1.
Entry filed under: israel, Judaism, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, second coming. Tags: 490 years of daniel 9, 70 sevens, 70 sevens of years of daniel 9, 70 weeks, 70 years of jeremiah, dewey bruton, harold camping, ronald weinland, steve fletcher.