An Overview of the 70 Weeks of Years Described by Daniel

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Welcome back, my fellow sojourners!  Yesterday we examined God’s plan for the Gentiles.  Today we will begin a 4-day treasure hunt into perhaps the most stunning four verses of prophecy in the entire Bible!  Understanding these four verses, God’s timeline for the Jews, is the foundation to understanding other prophecy.  So pull out your metal detectors and let’s search for gold!

Today we’re going to outline Daniel 9, so why not look up the passage and follow along!

  • Secret of Prophecy (verses 1-19). Daniel was a man of prayer, and these verses contain Daniel’s petition before the God of Abraham.  In it, Daniel repents on behalf of his people for their sin and rebellion, then he acknowledged the righteousness of God.  Ultimately, he asked God to turn away His anger and wrath, and to act on behalf of His people.  The secret is that God gave Israel a man bold and faithful enough to petition the Lord for mercy.  Had Daniel not been faithful, I wonder whether or not God would have set His plan for Israel into motion.
  • Setting of Prophecy (verses 20-23). Verse 21 indicates that the angel, Gabriel, came and spoke to him at the time of evening offering, a very sacred time for Jews.  Remember, the Jews had been in captivity for about 70 years at this point, and most had long forgotten Jewish rituals and traditions.  But not Daniel!  There he was, offering up his sacrifice of prayer to God.  While he was praying, God dispatched His special messenger angel to speak to Daniel!  Being committed to prayer, I bet Daniel recalled Isaiah 65:24: “It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.”
  • Sense of Prophecy (verses 24-27). This is the answer to Daniel’s prayer.  Verse 24 references “seventy weeks.”  However, it is important to know that the Hebrew text is referring not to a week as we know it, but to a week of years…7 years.  Scripture talks of seven Sabbaths of years (eg – Leviticus 25:3-9).  The idea of Sabbath was initially illustrated by God’s creative acts.  He created the world in six days then took a Sabbath rest.  The prophet, Daniel, clearly understood a week of years to be seven years.  But let’s define a year.  By studying the chronology of Noah’s flood and the history of the Jewish calendar, we know that a historic year is 360 days.  Examples that confirm that are:
    • Revelation 13:4-7 references 42 months. We understand that to be half of the seven-year Tribulation (3 ½ years).
    • Revelation 12:13-14 speaks of a time, times and half a time, translated to mean a year, two years and a half a year…3 ½ years.
    • Finally, Revelation 12:6 identifies 1260 days as the length of half the Tribulation. 1260 days/3.5 years = 360 days per year!
  • Sequence of Prophecy (verses 24-27). Verse 24 is the summary statement, indicating 70 weeks in order to accomplish 6 things among the Jewish people: 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.

Sixty-nine weeks of years (483 years) are described in verse 25, referencing a decree which we will study later this week.  Then, we learn that after the “seven and sixty-two” (69) weeks of years (483 years), the Messiah will be cut off.  We will see later that God pressed the pause button in this verse!  However, as described in verse 27, a covenant will be made for another week, the 70th week!  We’re going to study that “prophetic pause,” so stick with us for more details of that later this week!

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