Daniel’s Seventy Weeks
Part 4 of a series on Prophetic Subjects
Sir Edward Denny, that eminent Bible teacher, once observed that Daniel’s seventy weeks formed the the backbone of prophecy. It is feared that some students of prophecy have a skeleton which has suffered curvature of the spine!
The Book of Daniel, which was authenticated by our Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 24:15), is a remarkable prophecy, and deals specifically with the end times. Daniel had addressed God, confessing his sins and those of his people, and while still “speaking in prayer” the man Gabriel came to him to inform him that he had been sent to give Daniel skill and understanding (Dan. 9:21-22). Daniel was designated “a man greatly beloved,” and to him there was an unfolding of divine purpose.
In Daniel 9:24-27, there is presented the outline of God’s intention regarding Daniel’s people. “Seventy weeks (or, seventy sevens) are determined upon thy people, and upon the holy city.” The seventy weeks are divided thus: “From the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks” (vs. 25). The going forth of the commandment was given by Artaxerxes, king of Babylon, as recorded in Nehemiah two. This relates to the building of the wall and the city of Jerusalem in troublous times. A perusal of the Book of Nehemiah will readily reveal the conditions obtaining when this work was acomplished.
Seven weeks (or 7 x 7s) make a total of 49 years. From the accomplishment of building the walls and the city till the entry of Christ through its gate riding upon an ass and the colt of an ass (Matt. 21:9) was 62 x 7 or 434 years. Adding both together gives a period of 483 years. Daniel, it will be remembered, was informed that 70 weeks or 70 x 7; that is, 490 years were determined upon his people and upon his holy city. There is, therefore, one week or 1 x 7; that is, seven years still to be fulfilled before this prophecy is complete.
When the 69 weeks were fulfilled, Messiah was cut off and had nothing (vs. 26).
It is important to distinguish between the two “princes” alluded to in this passage. The first is Messiah, the Prince; the second, “the prince that shall come, “The people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city (Vs. 26).
It would be wise to remember that there are two essential factors for the end times: first, the Jew must be back in the Land of Emmanuel, this was made possible through the Balfour Declaration; second, the Roman Empire must be restored. It may be that this second factor is beginning to take shape. Each of these communities will have a leader, as can be ascertained from an examination of Revelation chapter 13. There allusion is made to two beasts. The first of these is seen coming up out of the sea. Since the Book of the Revelation is a figurative book we feel justified in using the divinely given symbolism to determine the meaning of this picture. In Revelation 17:15, we read, “The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are people, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.” Out of the disturbed conditions of the nations, the head of the Revived Roman Empire will arise. Compare Daniel 2:31-49 with Daniel 7. In the former, an outline of Gentile Imperialism is given in the image which Nebuchadnezzar saw. Note the deterioration in the character of the metals, from gold to iron, and even to clay. In the latter passage, the beasts signify the character of the empires.
The second beast of Revelation 13 is seen coming out of the land. This is the anti-Christ of the coming day. It should be noted that the first beast has seven heads and ten horns. The seven heads, it is intimated, are the seven hills upon which Rome stands: Palestine, Nicrinal, Aventine, Coclisan, Virninal, Esqualine, and Janiculen (Rev. 17:9). The ten horns (horns denote power) are the leaders of the ten nations which make up the ten kingdom confederacy of Western Europe (Rev. 17:12). In the image of Daniel two there are ten toes part of iron and part of clay coalesce. The second beast has two horns like a lamb, but speaks like a dragon. The duplicity which characterizes this beast is detected when ever he opens his mouth. Many medical specialists ask their patients, “Let me see your tongue,” so whenever this beast shows his tongue there is no difficulty in determining his identity.
These two leaders who are satanically inspired will make a covenant for one week, or seven years. The apostate part of Jewry under the leadership of the anti-Christ will, for political reasons, especially for protection against the threat from the north, make a covenant with the head of the Revived Roman Empire. It is clear from Revelation 17:8, that the Roman Empire will revive. We learn that “the beast which thou sawest, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdiction” is only a symbol of Rome in its different phases. The Roman Empire existed when Christ was born, “it was,” for under Caesar Augustus a decree was issued that all the world should be taxed (Luke 2:1). That Empire long has ceased to exist; but it will be resuscitated when God’s prophetic clock again begins, and that will be consequent upon the coming of Christ to take out of this world His own.
In the midst of the week; that is, after three and a half years have run their course, the covenant is not broken as suggested by some, but the sacrifice and oblation is commanded to cease; that is, idolatry is introduced and worship to God ended. See Revelation 13:12-18. The covenant which is made is designated “a covenant with death and an agreement with hell” (Isa. 28:15-18).
This covenant with death shall be disannulled, and the agreement with hell shall not stand (Isa. 28:18). The Lord has a “mighty and strong one, which as a tempest of hail and a devouring storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand.” The framers of this covenant have thought themselves safe from the overflowing scourge” that would pass through, and, like the ostrich, they would bury their heads in the sand, and say, “It shall not come unto us; for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves” (Isa. 28:15).
During the first half of Daniel’s last week there shall be the opening of the seven sealed book. In the opening of the first four seals, there is the description of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. First, there is a bloodless conquest and a phase of peace which is short-lived. This is followed by war, in the train of which comes famine, death, and hell. The fifth seal reveals the souls of them that were slain for the Word of God and for the testimony which they held, crying out for vengeance on those earth dwellers of the Apocalypse. Under the sixth seal there is darkness, the sun refuses to shine, and the stars fall; that is, potentates of time are robbed of their prestige and position before men. Through the breaking of the seventh seal, judgment paves the way for the commencement of the seven trumpet judgments and finally for the vial of judgments.
The latter half of Daniel’s seventiethtieth week is that period which is designated “The Great Tribulation.” Numerous Scriptures indicate the duration of this time of severe trouble for the people of God’s choice, the Jews. In that parenthetical part of Revelation (chap. 12:14) the time is limited to “a time, and times, and half a time.” In Daniel 7:25, it is alluded to as “a time, and times, and the dividing of time.” In Revelation 11:2, that same period is “forty and two months.” See Revelation 13:5. It is a period confined to “a thousand two hundred and threescore days” (Rev. 11:3; 12:6).
This period of tribulation, lasting for three and a half years, and referred to by our Lord in Matthew 24:21, will have no equal in the history of the past, nor shall there ever be anything to touch it in the years of the future. By restricting the days to one thousand two hundred and threescore, the elect will be saved; otherwise, “there should be no flesh save-ed” (Matt. 24:22).
It is our intention to discuss The Great tribulation in the next paper.