This initial post on this Theological Views blog, of Daniel’s 70 Week Prophecy (Dan 9:24-27) is chosen to be the first because of the natural and foremost place that it has in my venture in Biblical Research. It was in the endeavor to share this great prophecy with others who did not fully understand it, and/or interpret it accurately, that I found myself, while in the midst of my undergraduate University Theological studies, having to fully undertake the study of this prophecy as virtually a doctoral dissertation assignment. This therefore launched me into, what I’ve seen is the captivating and exciting world of scholarly Biblical research and it also has literally come to lay the foundation for my "Theological Views" and approach to Bible study by the precise, exegetical approach and methods that had to be mastered and exercised in accurately interpreting this prophecy. Therefore it has come to be that most, if not all the other entries in this blog, owe their development to the research that was done on this Prophecy. And I greatly thank God for all of this. The result of this study is to be officially released in a forthcoming book entitled: The Biblical Interpretation of Daniel’s 70 Weeks, but what follows in this blog is a foretaste of these findings. Here succinct summaries of these findings are given, but much more detailed and documented analysis and explanations will be available in that forthcoming book.
A worthwhile and beneficial, detailed supporting study of this prophecy can be found in the 1995 book: The Chronology of Daniel 9:24-27, by (then) Doctoral Candidate Brempong Owusu-Antwi (Ph.D.).
(The full Table of Content, and Listing of Illustrations and Tables of this work is given below. Available for purchase at the ATS Store). Of the many valuable contributions of this book, one of the most special is found in the way in which the various interpretations of this prophecy by other Christian writers are fully accounted for and documented with virtually every accepted variable interpretation mentioned, documented and analyzed. The 436-page book makes use of over 900 such, and other pertinent, references (see its 46-page bibliography) and cites them in over 1,400 footnotes (over a total of 144 pages (reduced font)). All of these specifications to emphasize that the book is indeed well researched and documented. As such, it is indeed worth adding to one’s Christian library, and also worth the study.
As it is almost, if not, unanimously recognized in the Christian World, the Seventy Weeks of Daniel is a foundational cornerstone in the Christian Faith. Depending of course on the method, results and application of interpretation, it can come to build an immovable foundation for: (1) one’s faith in Jesus Christ as the Messiah and son of God, (2) one’s doctrinal framework, and (3) one’s theological background for prophetic interpretation. It was because of these crucial reasons, that an extensive study of this prophecy was done, and the following succinct summary preview is given. As it was said above, for more information, you can buy the forthcoming book which will be announced on this blog when it is published. (To freely support its eventual publication, please do complete the related pre-publication survey poll on this page).
Daniel 9:1 - In the first year of Darius, the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed [lineage] of the Mede, who was caused to be made king over the realm of the Chaldeans.--
The Seventy Weeks Prophecy was given to the Prophet Daniel during the first year of the conquering king of Medo-Persia, the mysterious "Darius the Mede" (Dan 9:1). This up-to-now unidentifiable, and “denounced” by some to be grossly erroneous, even “fictitious”, monarch is now, -by linguistic and historical provisions and facts, identified as being Cyrus the Great himself; and this is inclusive of the information/argument from added research that Cyrus may have given over Babylon in a temporary placeholding-reign to his ‘son’ (and/or nephew) Cambyses II. The official reckoning would have still been done according to the regnal years of Cyrus a.k.a “Darius the Mede”.
Daniel's Prayer (Dan 9:2-19)
The prophecy of the 70 Weeks was given as a response to Daniel’s great prayer of confession and repentance (Dan 9:3-19) it was indeed in the same first year of King Cyrus of 538/537 B.C., which was the 69th year of Israel’s 70-year judgement captivity, that God began to act favorably towards Israel in order to fulfill His promise of restoration which He had spoken through the prophet Jeremiah (Jer 29:10-13).
Daniel 9:24 - Seventy Weeks [490 years] have been cut off for your people and for your holy city, For the purpose of putting a restraint on the transgression of rebellion. And thus then sealing the sin. And thus then making atonement for iniquity. And thus then causing the everlasting righteousness to be brought in. And thus then also sealing vision and prophet. And thus then also anointing a Most Holy Place.
In Daniel 9:24, the time period of the prophecy is symbolically given as "70 Weeks," literally (seven 70's). Biblical numerology comes to show that this is given in this way to emphasized that this is a probationary period given to "Israel and Jerusalem" in which seven "perfect representations" of judgements (70) will come over Israel. It is then seen, through Biblical precedence that ‘one prophetic day symbolically represents one year’ [PDF]. It therefore is the equivalent of 490 years. Furthermore, this period of 490 years is said to have been "cut off" from a previously mentioned, but yet unexplained, prophetic period of 2300 prophetic days. (Dan 8:14; -see much more here/video). The chronology of the Seventy Week prophecy therefore comes to also establish the chronology for that 2300 day prophecy.
Then in the rest of verse 24, a list of six expected actions during this probationary period are given for Israel to seek to fulfill, and thus also have God ratify, each with its own distinct and specific meaning and fulfillment.
Daniel 9:25 - "Know therefore and cause yourself to understand, That from the start of a judicial matter. For the purpose of restoring and thus then also building Jerusalem. Until Messiah, the King. There shall be 7 weeks [49 years] and 62 weeks [434 years]. And so (in this way), it (Jerusalem) will naturally, and definitely, come to be restored, and then (as a result of this) it will also be built with public square and "decision-making;" (but in difficult times).
The reckoning of the chronology of the prophecy begins in verse 25 and its starting point is given as (accurately translated and interpreted) "the start of a judicial/legal matter for the purpose of restoring and thus then building Jerusalem . . ." . It is later said in this verse that as a result of this "matter" Jerusalem would come to be restored and thus built up with ‘its public places for courts and its judicial authority in "decision-making"reestablished.’ The distinct terms used in these phrase points out that the "restoration" of Jerusalem dealt specifically with the political aspects of the city while the building up dealt with its physical reconstruction. After an exegetically based, and historical, search and study, this "judicial/legal matter" is concretely identified as the "judicial/legal matter" which is recorded in Neh 8, namely the "Reading of the Law" for the first time to the now returned Jewish exiles. Now while this event, due to its present location in Neh 8, has led to the conclusion that it took place some 13 years after the return of the Exiles of Ezra in 457 B.C., further detailed and in depth study show that this passage was "transposed" by later scribes from its original location in the account and writings of Ezra, namely from between Ezra 8 and 9. It therefore took place in the fall of 457 B.C., on the first day of the 7th Jewish month to be exact (=the Feast of Trumpets (Lev 23:24; Num 29:1)), -(see the related Neh 7:73b and Neh 8:2, 13).
As for the prophesied "building" of Jerusalem, a study of the actual time period in the statements of adversity in Ezra 4:8-23, as supported by its agreement with events in the Persian Empire at that time as reported in Classical Greek histories, were made in regard of the exiles under Ezra and before the work of Nehemiah. It was made sometimes between 452-450 B.C. [and not ca. 448+ B.C.], during the revolt of the then Persian Governor "Beyond the River": Megabyzus.
The prophecy then indicates that at the end of, what works out to be, 483 years, a certain "Messiah, Prince/(sub-)Ruler" will make his appearance on the scene. This identity of the Messiah is clearly and rightfully assumed by Jesus Christ, and it is only publicly declared/revealed by Him after His baptism by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. (See also Luke 1:32; John 18:37). From the precise, uninterruptible chronology of the prophecy, which precisely began in the 7th Jewish month (i.e., Sep/Oct) of 457 B.C., the end of this 483-year period is to take place in Sep/Oct of the year 27 A.D. Then sometime after that chronological period’s ending, the Messiah is to make His official (public) appearance on the scene, as such.
The date for the baptism of Jesus and the start of His public ministry is conclusively/most objectively anchoredly indicated from by the date of the Passover revealed in John 2:20 which, when accurately translated (actually non-sequiturly), says (by the quasi-flummoxed Jewish leaders): “This sanctuary has stood built for 46 years...!!?”, is conclusively reckoned to be in the Spring of the year 28 A.D.
Then from the chronological data given early in the gospels of Luke and John, it can be further specifically determined that the Baptism of Christ had priorly taken place, actually, around the middle of that winter, earlier in that 28 A.D. year -[contra e.g., GC 327.1's ‘autumn baptism’], some ca. “2 months” (DA 144.3-145.1)/65 days (= 40 (Matt 4:1|DA 109.1ff, 114.1-2) + ca. 25 (John 1:29ff|DA 136.4-137.1ff)) leading up to that first ministering Passover visit (John 2:13ff).
Further corroborating evidence about the exact year of Christ’s baptism is then seen in Luke 3:1. -Contrary to a popularized erroneous claim , that specific year is not revealed by a convergence of the several reigns cited in Luke 3:1-2, for that convergence factually merely produces a wide range of years of: 27-33/34 A.D. Rather the precise year is obtained from the fact that it was also during the said “15th year of the authority of Tiberius.” (Luke 3:1) That is because the Greek term used in this verse to speak of the “authority” of Tiberius is not to be used and understood interchangeably with the term for “reign” as it is commonly done in Bible translations. An in depth study of the use of this word in the 630+ times that it occurs in other Greek works, clearly reveals that it has a specific meaning of referring to the “authority” or “power” that someone, or some entity, has in order to reign or have the supremacy and/or dominion. As such it is also a “power” that can be shared by two or more individuals or entities. Therefore, based on the documented history of Tiberius’s accession and reign as emperor, the beginning of this 15 year reckoning is from the time when Tiberius Caesar was made a co-emperor, and that by Consular law, by his adoptive father Emperor Augustus Caesar. However while that Consular Law was proposed and passed in the Senate sometime around October 23 of A.D. 12, it apparently was not formally put into effect until Tiberius’s actual return to Rome a little after the Roman’s New Year’s Day of January 13 A.D. So Tiberius’ ensuing 15th year therefore was from (some date in) January 27 A.D. to January 28 A.D. And it is towards the very end of that 15th year period, that Jesus was baptized. [The chronological chart at the end has been updated to fully indicate this newest/most accurate ‘January 28 A.D. baptism’ understanding].
(As the reference in Luke 3:23 to Christ’s approximate age is often, but falsely, used to try to determine the year of the beginning of Christ’s ministry, see this pertinent post on the actual year of Christ’s birth).
Now, succinctly stated: the manifest reconciling fact here between this more Biblically and objectively proven date of January 28 A.D. for Christ’s baptism and the prophetic chronological indicator in Dan 9:25 for an (exact) arrival on the scene of the Messiah 483 years after the start of the prophecy, thus in the Fall of October 27 AD. is in how closely the “forerunning” ministry of John the Baptist was “symbiotically” linked to that of the Messiah (e.g. Matt 17:10-13). In fact John the Baptist himself clearly states that ‘the whole reason/purpose of his ministry and his baptizing was so that the Messiah would be revealed to Israel’ (John 1:31, 33 =DA 109.3-110.1). And so, it appears that John began his ministry by first going on an extensive, itinerant preaching tour (Matt 3:1-4) and “then” (Matt 3:5a) he settled near Bethany to do baptisms, and it is then that the people who had heard his prior preaching went out to him to be baptized....and it was at that time, when also these tidings of John ministry had reached the region where Jesus lived ca. 75 miles away from Jerusalem/Judea in the Galilee region (Matt 2:19-23), that Jesus, and others in the region, traveled to where John was ministering. (DA 109.1). So, given the fact that John’s ministry did not involve miraculous signs (John 10:41; cf. 4:1), it probably took a while for his, thus “simple”, message to spread throughout Israel. Furthermore, it is evident that John ministry was started a long while before Jesus came on the scene at all as John had had time to assemble many “disciples”, some of which would immediately leave him to follow after Jesus upon John’s endorsement of Him (John 1:35-37; DA 138.4-5ff). And quite interestingly, in Luke 3:21, Luke uses very specific/deliberate (Greek) expression to (literally/accurately) say: “As a result of every-[only repenting]-one (Gk. apanta) being baptize (Gk. (aorist) infinitive (=main verb)), Jesus also was being baptized (Gk. passive (dependent) aorist participle-(of result/end)”, all strongly indicating that Jesus going out to John to be baptized was pointedly greatly dependent on when everyone else was being baptized.
So it is manifest that John had begun his “forerunning” ministry for a while before Jesus, and at first mainly as an itinerant preacher, and then John entered a non-itinerant phase of baptizing, and it is then that people now left there homes/locations to go out to him instead, and it is at that time that Jesus also did the same. So it pointedly was John’s (secondary) baptizing ministry which served as a “sign” to Jesus (See DA 109.1, cf. 109.3b).
Thus it is quite possible that John had begun, at God’s indication, preaching in October 27 AD., and then, perhaps distinctly, at God’s indication (John 1:33), began baptizing around January 28 AD, and ‘as a result’ of this news of, pointedly, this call to ‘go and be baptized by John’ also reached Nazareth, that Jesus then joined the flocking crowds to also be baptized, and was thus officially revealed as the Messiah. So it would be John’s Messiah-seeming (Luke 3:15ff; John 1:19-20ff) preaching start itself, in possibly October 27 AD, when he actually straightly announced the soon arrival of the (superior) Messiah (John 1:26-28, 30-31; Luke 3:16-17) which had timely fulfilled the prophetic chronological element in Dan 9:25. Then Jesus merely seamlessly complemented, and continued this Messianic Advent. Also, the allegorical, and timed, ‘repent or likewise perish’ (Luke 13:1-5) parable of Christ in Luke 13:6-9 (cf. Matt 21:18-19ff), told in the third (cf. John 7:2) and final year of Christ’s public ministry, shows that the (manifestly) 3.5, (inclusively reckoned: 4), years of ministry by John the Baptist and Jesus were indeed seamlessly, consecutively, conjoined. (Luke 3:8-9, 15-17; Matt 3:1-2||Mark 1:14-15 cf. Matt 17:10-13).
Daniel 9:26 - Then after the 69 weeks [483 years] the Messiah will allow Himself to be cut off (i.e. be killed), although He will have no sin. And the people of the coming ruler (i.e., the unbelieving Jews) will cause the city and the sanctuary to be destroyed. This, their end, in that which overflows. And until this end of war, desolations will have been determined.
In verse 26, the theme of the ultimate tragic purpose of the coming of the Messiah is addressed and it is said that he would be "cut off and have nothing." Also terms which highlight the voluntary and sacrificial nature of this event are particularly used.
Then it is predicted, through various syntactical means, that: "... the people of the Prince/(sub-)Ruler (i.e., the Messiah) who is to come (i.e, the unbelieving Jews -cf. John 19:19-22) will cause the city and the sanctuary to be destroyed." This is a prediction that is fulfilled exactly in the developments in the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman armies under the command of, the then peace-seeking, Titus.
Daniel 9:27 - That is, He (the Messiah) will cause a covenant to prevail with the many believers for one week [7 years]; And in the middle of the week [after 3 ½ years]. He will cause (the meaning of) sacrifices and meal offerings (i.e. sin-offerings) to cease. But because of the most extreme of abominations, there is going to be a place that suddenly will (forcefully) be made to become desolate; And even before the utter end. Then that which has been determined, will be poured out on the place that is (already) desolate.
Then, as it is common and syntactically possible and supported in Biblical Hebrew, and as the events of Verse 27 clearly, self-evidently attest to, verse 27 goes over the events and predictions mentioned in Verse 26 but this time with more detail, elaboration and chronological precision.
The time of the Messiah’s public work towards the Jewish nation is specified to be during a period of 7 years. Then the atoning death of the Messiah mentioned in verse 26 is predicted to take place in the middle of that week, thus 3½ years after the Messiah had come on the scene. Therefore exactly in the Spring of 31 A.D. Using solely again the chronological information and indicators given in the Gospels, it can be concretely concluded that (1) the public ministry of Christ lasted for three full years from the Passover of 28 A.D., and ended when he was crucified, thus during the Passover of 31 A.D. Also like the language of the Prophecy allows for, the Messiah’s death would come to cause the Temple sacrifices and offerings to cease. This was done by first making void their spiritual meaning, and then eventually also ending them physically.
As Jesus immediately ascended to heaven after his resurrection, it may seem that there remains an unfulfilled 3½-year period of the prophecy, but as the Hebrew syntax which was used for the statement in verse 27 states that: ‘the Messiah would also cause a covenant to prevail,’ it is therefore fully allowed for this work to be done either directly and/or indirectly by the Messiah. And as several Biblical passages show, Jesus did indeed accomplish this prediction in this dual way by first actively doing it Himself in over 3½ years of public ministry, and then through His disciples’ ministry, after his death. This 2nd half period of the work of the disciples amongst, solely, the Jewish nation came to an abrupt and categoric end with the martyrdom of Stephen, and the resulting persecution of Christian believers that immediately followed. (Acts 8:1ff). For many theological reasons, the martyrdom of Stephen provides a strong thematic ending for the probationary period given to the Jews as seen by the nature, theme and content of his speech given to the Jewish Sanhedrin (Acts 7), and the many spiritual resemblances that were manifested in his ministry which strongly mirrored the work and message of Christ himself. It was mainly due to this strong testimony and no doubt, clear reminder, which also like Christ brought unanswerable reproach to the Jewish leaders and people, that Stephen was singled out to be the first one to be put to death among all the believers of that time during these initial 3½ years of preaching by the disciples.
Chronologically, the dating of Stephen’s martyrdom also precisely fits the chronology of the 70 Week Prophecy. This date is determined from the reckoning of the chronology of Paul’s ministry following his part in Stephen’s death and his soon conversion to the Christian faith. (Acts 8:1ff). From this carefully reconstructed chronology, which finds strong support in several dates and contemporary events in the Roman Empire, it is determined that the martyrdom of Stephen occurred in ca. the fall of 34 A.D.
Also again in this verse, like in verse 26, following the death of the Messiah, the prediction in verse 27 turn to the results of the Jews rejecting the Messiah. It is here (literally) said, with more emphasis that :
"... because of the most extreme of abominations (i.e., the murder of the Messiah) there is going to be a place that will (forcefully) be made to become desolate (i.e. the Temple)."
This is a reference to the physical destruction of the Jewish Temple that is to come. Then the prophecy shows that there would be a period of time that would take place before the prophesied destruction, through a then-to-come war, but still the sealing of this future destruction was to be made during the uninterrupted time of the 490 years, as it straightly adds:
"And even before the utter end. Then that which had been (firmly) determined, will be poured out on the (place that is already) desolate."
Thus the probationary period of these 70 weeks/490 years came to as precisely fulfilled end. However, as literal Israel failed to meet the six requirements made back in the opening verse (24), then they were officially "demoted/removed" from their position as God’s chosen people and were "replaced" by the believers in, and followers of, the Messiah Jesus Christ. While many Christians today have trouble accepting that God could and/or has rejected literal Israel as His chosen people, this is the clear message that is given throughout the New Testament and is expounded upon in great detail by Paul in Romans 9-11 where he speaks of God’s Spiritually Enduring, (a.k.a. “New”), Israel.
|Summary of the Chronology of the 70 Weeks|
The correct and accurate interpretation and reckoning of the Seventy Week prophecy provides the Christian believer today with an unshakable basis upon which to base his or her faith in Jesus Christ and His life transforming teachings. It also demonstrates and substantiates the power of God in fulfilling His prophetic word and also His great authoritative control in the events of world history. As the song says: ‘He indeed has the whole world in His hands.’ This correct interpretation of this prophecy also helps to establish the correct theology and framework for the Bible Student for studying and interpreting end time prophecies. Therefore it is imperative for believers today to understand this 'Biblical Interpretation of the Prophecy' and, as stated before, if, after having read this succinct overview, you would like to have more details and further proof for the exegetical and chronological conclusions presented here, then do purchase the book when it is released. This here is merely an informative preview of the book. (Again, please do take part in the helpful survey poll on this page.)
 Dr. Owusu-Antwi’s book is available in some libraries and/or is obtainable through an interlibrary loan. (See e.g., in worldcat.org).
 Cf. 1905 JNL, GSAM 180.3-181.1; 524.2
 Again indifferently complacently & “blissfully”|ignoramusly|moronically, idiotically, yet innately/naturally/pridefully guilefully: “fluffly” (~=EW 36.2), -indeed just as per the indifferently profiteering so-called “work” of the SDA ‘dens of, moreover con artist, thieves’, (John 2:16|Matt 21:13|Ezek 13), reclaimed here by Doug Batchelor.
* I myself had priorly been claiming as an explanation for the evidentially incontrovertible gap between a baptism of Christ in late-Sep/early-October 27 A.D. and the start of his journeying right after coming out of the wilderness, ca. 20-25 days before the Passover of 28 A.D. that ‘the Holy Spirit probably did not drive Christ into the wilderness, for 40 days, in what was the significantly colder, even with possible snowfall, winter months. Weather information showed that the ca. 1250-1750 feet above see level Judean Wilderness had average temperatures ranging from only 6C (43F) to 11C (53F). (E.g. as, still validly applicable, this would be just like the ‘pro-Fall (Feast of Tabernacles) & contra-December (25)’ Christmas argument which points out that: shepherds at Christ’s birth were probably not having their flock of sheep outside, overnight, in late December. (Luke 2:8ff)). So I thus, at “best”, had had to (contra-Biblically) posit that Jesus had not gone to the wilderness “immediately” after His Baptism, but ca. 3-4 (winter) months later, in January or February of 28 A.D.
 Relatedly, and most interestingly enough, Judaism has a couple of independently recorded statements in their Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmuds that: ‘miraculous signs in the Temple ended 40 years before its 70 A.D. destruction’ (see here and here), which if, as correctly due, is reckoned inclusively, (indeed as Jewish people do), began to occur in 31 [and not 30] A.D., -which is the accurate year of when Jesus declared the Temple to be desolate of God’s presence. (Matt 23:37-38) [Prior to Him going to the Mount of Olives where He would elaborate on its coming utter destruction. Matt 24:1-2ff = Ezek 11:22; cf. DA 829.2a].