Daniel's 70th Week

When Daniel attempts to understand Jeremiah's prophecy of seventy years for the completion of "the desolations of Jerusalem" (Dan 9:2), the angel Gabriel's answer only adds to his confusion. Whereas Jeremiah speaks of 70 years, the angel Gabriel speaks of 70 weeks that has been decreed for Daniel's people!

Unbeknownst to Daniel, Jeremiah's prophecy of 70 years will commence soon (Jer 25:8-13; 29:10) and be be fulfilled with the complete destruction of Jerusalem and the 70 year exile of the Jews.

The angel Gabriel's message of "seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and holy city" (Dan 9:24), allotted time for six specific purposes:

1. To finish the transgression (Dan 9:24)

Providing a nuance in the meaning of sin, transgression describes the action of overstepping the boundary of God's word. It is a distinction that God makes and indicates that guilt is more than just disobedience. "To finish the transgression" is to bring to end this willful act of overstepping the limits of God's moral law and behaving in a profane manner.

2. To make an end of sin (Dan 9:24)

With the same thought of "to finish the transgression", sin, which is the disobedience of God's word, will come to an end. Taken together, this suggests that human beings will be unable to sin!

3. To make atonement for iniquity (Dan 9:24)

Many take the use of "atonement for iniquity" with a meaning of Jesus Christ's sacrifice for the expiation and propitiation of mankind's sin. However the Hebrew term here for the English translation of "atonement" is "kaphar," which places a greater emphasis on propitiation. With this emphasis, "kaphar" speaks more of satisfying God's holy anger towards sin, and the use of "iniquity" adds to the meaning of sin the nuance of hatred towards God. In the context of bringing an end to transgression and sin, there is the suggestion that this is only possible when the cause is removed. "Kaphar" points to the appeasement of God's total wrath and judgment of sin with the death of a sinful unrepentant human being and his complete removal from God's presence (Lev 26:1-33; Ezek 5:13).

4. To bring an everlasting righteousness (Dan 9:24)

With the elimination of iniquity, transgression and sin, an everlasting righteousness is the result. This seems possible when only glorified human beings are present.

5. To seal up vision and prophecy (Dan 9:24)

The Hebrew behind "to seal up" can be better understood as "to make an end." The sealing up of vision and prophecy meant that they would come to an end by the seventieth week. In reference to God's response to Daniel's appeal to His lovingkindness, the end of the 70th week would usher in God's Divine Kingdom and the fulfillment of His divine covenants (i.e. Abrahamic and its subsets the Land, King and New).

6. To anoint the most holy place (Dan 9:24)

Anointing the Most Holy Place has its basis in Exodus 29:44-45 where God consecrates the Tabernacle; it is the space that is sanctified, set apart, and devoted to God. In context of the 70 weeks, it is significant to recognize that the Temple exists before the Divine Millennial Kingdom. When considering that 70 weeks was allotted for six specific purposes, where five appear to occur in the 70th week, it appears likely that this anointing occurred in the last week as well.

Daniel's prophecy of the 70th week is significant for two reasons:

1. God affirms that His Kingdom will come after 70 weeks which will include judgment and the fulfillment of His covenant promises (Dan 9:24).

2. God reveals a timeline.

a) When the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem is announced, Jerusalem will be rebuilt in 7 weeks (Dan 9:25).

b) 62 weeks later, Messiah the Prince will arrive and afterwards be cut off (Dan 9:25-26).

c) The 70th week appears discontinuous and does not follow the 69th week. Like Daniel's 7 and 62 weeks, the 70th week represents a period of seven years. It begins with the emergence of the "one who makes desolate" (Dan 9:27) who makes a covenant with perhaps Jewish Believers and midway breaks the covenant and descrates the Temple.

Of Daniel's prophecies (a) cannot be archaeologically confirmed, because Jerusalem has been the site of numerous conflicts; however, (b) have been fulfilled precisely on time with Jesus Christ's crucifixion in 33 A.D.; to learn how time was calculated for 7 and 62 weeks, see the article Seven and Sixty Two Weeks.