Chapter 6

Israel’s “Seventieth Week” Begins -2

In other words, that the Tribulation has nothing to do with the Church and instead, has everything to do with the Nation of Israel.

Let’s begin with the prophecy given to Daniel during Israel’s captivity in Babylon.

Seventy years earlier Daniel and his people had been carried away captive by the armies of Nebuchadnezzar, and Jerusalem was destroyed (2Chron.36:17-21). However, from his understanding of the book of Jeremiah Daniel knew that these “desolations” were to last only for a period of seventy years (Jer.25:11; Dan.9:2), and thus, believing that the divine judgment must be nearing its close, Daniel was praying for an understanding as to the future of his “city” and his “people” (Dan.9:3-19). While in prayer, the angel Gabriel delivered this response to Daniel.

“Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times. And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself…” (Dan.9:24-26)

Therein Daniel is instructed that God has allotted unto Israel a time-period consisting of seventy weeks in which God has vowed He would complete a miraculous work in the Nation. Okay, now let’s take a closer look.

First, let’s consider the measure of time. The Hebrew word for “weeks” is shabua, meaning literally a “seven”. Hebrew traditions include a week of seven days, a week of weeks, a week of months, and a week of years. A good example is when Jacob was told that he must fulfill Rachel’s “week” before he could marry her which meant serving her father for seven years (Gen.29:27). In the same way the word shabua used here refers to “years of sevens” or “seven-year periods” and therefore the allotment of time in this prophecy is a period of four hundred and ninety years (70 X 7 = 490).

Secondly, we must recognize that the 70 “weeks” are not contiguous. Rather than one period of 490 consecutive years, verse 26 includes an explicit interval between the 69th and 70th weeks. There are 483 consecutive years (69 weeks) to the time when “Messiah shall be cut off” and a remaining 7 years (the 70th week) reassigned to the future. This final yet-future event will be fulfilled during the Tribulation, and thus is the explanation for the Tribulation.

Thirdly, let’s consider the historical date scheduled to begin the countdown of this allotment of years. Gabriel identifies the event as “the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem” which did occur years later (445 BC) when King Artaxerxes of Persia gave the decree to Nehemiah to return to and rebuild Jerusalem (see–Neh.2:1-8). Scholars calculate the 69 years starting March 14, 445 BC and ending April 6, 32 AD when Jesus was presented as “Messiah the King” to Israel (Luke 19:28-44).

Fourthly, note the six items that have yet to be completed, and the fact that they are still pending after 2,000 years demonstrate that the time-periods are not contiguous:

  1. to finish the transgressions;
  2. to make an end of sins;
  3. to make reconciliation for iniquity;
  4. to bring in everlasting righteousness;
  5. to seal up the vision;
  6. to anoint the Holy of Holies

[To read about this subject in more detail refer to “Daniel’s Prophecy of The 70 Weeks” by Alva J. McClain]