Daniel's Seventy Weeks

Read Daniel 9:20-27


The chronology of Israel’s future is outlined in this prophecy. It is also another instance of the truth and accuracy of the Scriptures. “Heaven and earth shall pass away,” “Thy Word is truth.” As the great image of Nebuchadnezzar and the vision of Daniel’s beasts foretold the history of the Gentile world, so Daniel’s prophecy of the seventy weeks foretells the history of the Jewish people. The entire prophecy has to do with Daniel’s people and their holy city—Jerusalem. 

Prior to this remarkable vision, Daniel had been studying prophecy (see Dan. 9:2). The Jews were captive in Babylon. Daniel saw that the prophetic word indicated that this captivity would last for seventy years (see Jeremiah 25:11). Daniel was taken captive when he was very young. Now, he was an old man and he knew that those seventy years were almost finished.

In preparation for the return of the Jews to their own land, Daniel commences to pray, supplicate, and repent for the sins of his people (see Dan. 9:20). While he was praying in this fashion, the great angel Gabriel gave him this vision now under consideration. This vision is a look down the vista of the ages of Daniel’s people and Daniel’s City, Jerusalem. Daniel 9:24-27 contains the contents of this remarkable prophecy.

[Explain the Hebrew term “weeks” (Cp. Gen 29:26-28)] The same word is used in the Hebrew for a week of seven days or a week of seven years. It is obvious then from the context that what is meant by a “week” is really seven years. The entire time period involved is exactly seventy weeks or 490 years (see Dan. 9:24).

Notice that this period is divided into three lesser periods (see Dan. 9:25-27):

    (1) A period of seven weeks = 49 years

    (2) A period of sixty-two weeks = 434 years

    (3) A period of one week = 7 years


The Three Periods

What happened in each one of these periods? If we can determine when this period began we can trace prophecy in history. Our text clearly defines the start.

The First Period - (See Dan. 9:25): “From the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem.” Artaxerxes issued the commandment to build Jerusalem on the 14th of March, 445 B.C. (This is history now, see Nehemiah 2). For the next seven weeks or forty-nine years, the returned remnant built the city-walls and sanctuary in troublous times (see Dan. 9:25 along with the books of Ezra and Nehemiah). 

The Second Period - The second period is of sixty-two weeks or 434 years. At the end of this period, Daniel says that certain things will happen. What are they?  

(1) Messiah, Prince, shall appear (see Dan. 9:25, and Luke 4:18-19). [Describe the Lord’s entrance into Jerusalem riding on the colt of a donkey] See Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-39, Matthew 21:1-9, and John 12:12-18. Quote also Zechariah 9:9:

“Rejoice greatly o daughter of Zion; shout o daughter of Jerusalem; behold thy king commeth unto thee; he is just, and having Salvation; lowly, and riding upon a colt, the foal of a donkey.”  

The Lord presented Himself to His people in the way that the prophetic scriptures said that Messiah would, but instead of crowning Him they crucified Him. Historians give the date of His entrance into Jerusalem as exactly 483 years or sixty-nine weeks of years from the commandment of Artaxerxes (see Dan. 9:26).

(2) Messiah would be cut off and have nothing (i.e. No regal glory or crown). The Gospels tell us that, “He came unto his own and his own received him not.” He presented Himself as King and Messiah. The People said, “Away with Him, we will not have this man to reign over us.” Pilate asked, “Shall I crucify your King?” They replied, “We have no king but Caesar.” So we know that Messiah was cut off and was deprived of His Kingdom.

(3) Daniel 9:26b: “And the people of the prince shall come and shall destroy the city and the temple, and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end wars and desolations are determined.” Did this happen? [Describe what happened in the year A.D. 70 - Titus] 

The Third Period (The Final Week) - The expression, “the time of the end” is found often in Daniel and elsewhere in the Holy Scriptures. It means and refers to the last seven years, the Tribulation, in which God shall deal with the Jews. This is still future, the seventieth week. The period of time in which we live, known as the Dispensation of Grace, or the Church Age, is also described by some as, “The Great Parenthesis.” 

When this period of waiting closes, the prince spoken of in Dan. 9:26 shall appear. He is the great Roman leader of the last days, called in Revelation 13, “The Beast,” because he is the embodiment of every evil principle in all the empires of the world. 

When he appears, he will pretend to be the friend of the Jews, making a covenant with them for seven years (see Revelation 6:1). Dan. 9:27 says: 

“He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week = (seven years) and in the midst of the week (3½ yrs.), he shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured out upon the desolator.” 

In the midst of the week (3½ years), he will break the covenant and demand that all worship of Jehovah cease: “The abomination of desolation.” 

The next three and one half years is what is known as the “time of Jacob’s trouble.” During this time the Jews will be brutally persecuted and the Gentiles will feel the judgment of God (22 judgments, 42 months). The Book of Revelation from chapter 6 to chapter 19 deals with and describes the events that take place in heaven and on earth during the seventieth week of Daniel. We will describe some of these events in future talks.



We could not close this meeting without challenging your heart. In the past few Sundays we have tried to show you the accuracy and the trustworthiness of the Bible, which is God’s Word. God’s word has never failed – all prophecy in the past has been fulfilled. On this basis, we are confident that all future prophecy will also be fulfilled.

In light of this, how have you been treating Him and how are you now treating Him?

    Urge: Full repentance from sin.

    Urge: Full surrender and consecration for believers.


The Interpretation of Daniel 9:24 

At the end of 490 years, Israel’s transgression will be finished. Their sins brought to an end, because their Messiah will have made reconciliation or atonement for iniquity. The long period of Israel’s offerings under the heel of Gentiles will be completed. Then everlasting righteousness will be brought in—the Millennium. Then, finally, the vision and prophecy will be sealed up (i.e. all will be fulfilled), so that vision and prophecy will no longer be needed. 

Last of all – the most Holy will be anointed. This refers to the Shikinah glory returning to Jerusalem when the people are gathered back in their own land and Jehovah’s Temple is rebuilt. The glory has been missing ever since the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. It did not return to the temple built by Zerubbabel, nor was it in the temple of Herod. It will return when Israel’s mourning shall be ended and, as a repentant people, they will be brought back to God.