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70 Weeks Determined

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Sue Ann Ross, #96

Prof. Ken Bluemel, MA

ES410(11) Principles of Prophecy: Daniel

October 11, 2012

70-Weeks Determined

As Daniel was praying and confessing his sin and the sin of his people, Gabriel appeared and said to him, "Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given ...," (Daniel 9:22-23). Gabriel was talking to Daniel regarding his vision--the prophecy of the seventy weeks. Keep in mind that the prophecy of the "Seventy weeks are determined upon the people and upon the Holy City to finish the transgression ... and to anoint the most holy (place)," (24). There are six distinct events that need to take place for the fulfillment of the Seventy-Weeks (70-Weeks) prophecy. During the 70-Weeks period regarding the prophecy of the end times, where is Israel and what role did she play during the 70-Weeks? Is the end of the 69th week or the start of the 70th week mark Christ's death on the cross and His resurrection?

We need to understand the importance of 70-Weeks Prophecy to God. Gabriel speaks of it in Daniel 9:24, "Seventy sevens are decreed for your people and your holy city ...". Keep in mind that the context of this passage is directed to the Jewish people. The focus of the prophecy is the nation of Israel, and the city of Jerusalem. On Mount Sinai, God spoke to Moses and told him to speak to the Israelites and tell them that when they entered the land that He was about to give them, that they must observe the Sabbath. This meant that for six years they were to sow their fields, but on the seventh year the land was to rest. The Jewish people were told to count off seven sabbaths of years and then there was to be the year of Jubilee. God was very clear of His intention, "...until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah" (2 Chron. 36:21; Jeremiah 187-188). We also see it at the beginning of Chapter 9 during the first reign of Darius, son of Xerxes, Daniel understood the scriptures given to Jeremiah, "that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years" (Daniel 9:1-2). The Israelites blatantly ignored God. It was for this transgression that God allowed the Israelites to be held in captivity, and that their land and city would be in desolation for 70-Years (Anderson 69). Israel had broken their covenant with God. Even Daniel had confessed that all of Israel had transgressed God's law, had turned away from Him and had refused to obey (Daniel 9:11). This is also where Daniel states that the curse had been poured upon them. To make things worse for Daniel, the angel Gabriel reminded him that the full measure of Israel's transgression had still yet to be completed. When Daniel realized that Israel's sin had broken its relationship with God, he also realized the break in their relationship was represented by the exile. Daniel then turns to God to pray for his people to restore that relationship through a prayer of confession, apology and repentance (Longman 240).

After Daniel spoke with Gabriel, he began to pray and God whispered to him an answer telling him to consider the message and to understand the vision. Gabriel had given Daniel the insight and understanding to do so. From the message he had been given, Daniel knew that certain things had to take place in order to fulfill the prophecy, and anoint the most holy (Daniel 9:24). It is important to seek to make sense of what Gabriel was telling Daniel. The word "week" for the human finite mind is a week of seven 24-hour days. However, in Old Testament this will not work when trying to figure out the 70-Weeks Prophecy. The Hebrew word for seven is shabua, meaning a "unit of measure." For the 70-Weeks Prophecy seventy sevens means seventy-years (70-Years). In the context of Daniel, 9:21, it is obvious that Daniel had been reading in Jeremiah years--the 70-Year captivity of Israel. In fact, the 70-Year captivity was the specific penalty for Israel's violation of the 70-Sabbatical year covenant. Again, we need to refer back to 2 Chron. 36.21, "To fulfill the word ... until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths ...". J. Vernon McGee further explains it as, 1 week = 7 years; 70 weeks = 490 years; 70 weeks divided into 3 periods; 7 weeks--62 weeks--1 week (586).

Daniel knew two things about the 70-Weeks Prophecy. First, the restoration of Israel's Kingdom would not be something that would take place immediately--it would take time. Second, the prophecy must run its course--from the beginning of the 70-Weeks to completion. It could not be interrupted. It was also known by Daniel that the 70-Weeks period fit into the Times of the Gentiles, and would run concurrently with each other. They would also both come to an end at the same time--at the second coming of Christ. In Daniel 9:24, "Seventy sevens are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin ...". The "people" are Israel, and the "holy city" is Jerusalem (McGee 587).

During this 70-Weeks (or 490 years) there are six events that must be accomplished within a specifically marked period of time. These six events are closely related one to the other. It was by the cutting-off of the Messiah that the six things of verse 24 were to be fulfilled.

First, "To Finish the Transgression," refers to the Jew's rejection of God. In Hebrew the word "transgression" means or hints at the idea of rebellion. Here, we are talking about the rebellion of the Jews in their rejection of Jesus as their Messiah. To finish their transgression could only come with the betrayal and crucifixion of Christ (Daniel 11-12). Jesus said that he would not return until the Jewish people were willing to say, "... Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord" (Matt. 23:37-39). The Jews will open up their hearts to their Messiah--the Christian's Jesus--before Daniel's 490-Year period ends (Anderson 78-80).

Second, "To Make an End of Sins." This will witness an "end of sin" for the Jews. "Sin" refers to the sin in the daily lives of the Jews--immorality, dishonesty, etc. This time of the ending of sin for the Jews will occur at the time when the Jews accept Jesus as their Messiah at his second coming and His earthy reign of righteousness begins (Mauro 47).

Third, is "To Make Atonement for Iniquity," for the sins of Israel. This actually happened for the Gentiles when Christ died on the Cross and shed His blood on the cross for the sins of the world.

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