The 70 Week Prophecy of Daniel 9

The 70 Week Messianic Prophecy – Daniel 9:24-27

“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.”

And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”

The Most Compelling Prophecy of the Messiah’s Passion

The 70 week prophecy in Daniel 8 and 9 is the most astounding messianic prophecy in Scripture. It takes the issue of Christ’s deity beyond doubt, showing that only Jesus could be the long-awaited Messiah.

It is important to see that this prophecy is an explanation and expansion of the longer 2300 day prophecy. The word “determined” in the prophecy (“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people…” Daniel 9:24) means allotted, decreed, or cut off. Therefore, this time period, beginning at the same time as the 2300 day period, is to be cut off from it.

There are six messianic issues in Daniel 9:24 that could only be fulfilled by the Messiah:

  • Finish the transgression
  • Make an end to sins
  • Make reconciliation for iniquity
  • Bring in everlasting righteousness
  • Seal up vision and prophecy
  • Anoint the Most Holy

Another meaning of this prophecy is that 70 weeks were determined upon God’s people to see whether they would turn from their rebellious ways and accept their mission to announce the Messiah to the world.

Reckoning the Prophecy

Scholars throughout the ages have used the day-year principle. “I have appointed thee each day for a year” (Ezekiel 4:6). “After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even 40 days, each day for a year…” (Number 14:34).

This entire prophetic period begins from the “going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem.” Jerusalem was destroyed in 587/586 BC. The Medes and Persians overthrew Babylon in 539 BC, and the Persian king, Artaxerxes, passed a decree in 457 BC that allowed the Jews to return to their homeland to rebuild Jerusalem (Ezra 7:12-13).

7 weeks plus 3 score and 2 weeks would pass before Messiah would come.

1 score = 20
3 score = 60
3 score and 2 weeks = 62
62 weeks x 7 days per week = 434 days or years
7 weeks = 49 days or years
434 years + 49 years = 483 years to Messiah from 457 BC

This lands us at 27 AD, allowing for the conversion from BC to AD being one extra year. Messiah means “the Christ” (John 1:41), and this in turn means the “Anointed One.” In 27 AD the Holy Spirit anointed Jesus at His baptism (Luke 3:21). Referring to this prophecy not long after His baptism, Jesus said, “The time is fulfilled” (Mark 1:15).

The first 69 weeks of the prophecy ran out in 27 Ad at Jesus’ baptism. One week, or seven years, remained to complete the 70 week prophecy. According to the prophecy, in the middle of that week all animal sacrifices would cease when type met antitype and Jesus was crucified (cut off). Three and a half years from Jesus’ baptism in 27 AD takes us to 31 AD. Jesus was crucified on the Passover in that year just as prophesy predicted. This event was confirmed with the tearing of the veil in the Jewish Temple, signifying the end of the sacrificial system.

If 27 AD is the end of the 69 weeks (7 weeks and 3 score and 2 weeks), then 34 AD marks the end of the full 70 weeks allotted to Israel. This amount of time was given to the Jews to determine whether they would turn from their rebellious ways and accept their mission to announce the Messiah to the world. They wouldn’t, and this was confirmed right on time when the Jews stoned Stephen, one of the most powerful and Spirit-filled Christian leaders. This action sealed the Jew’s national doom and commenced the preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles.

The Popular Displacement of the Last Week of Daniel 9 into the Future

Some modern prophetic interpretations destroy the unity of the 70 week prophecy by breaking the last week off and transporting it into the future. They apply it to the Antichrist, who will arrive at the end of the Christian dispensation some time in the future. These interpretations are all based on the Catholic teaching of Futurism.

The problem with this interpretation is that Daniel 9:24 predicts specific things that will happen at the end of 70 weeks:

  • Finish the transgression
  • Make an end to sins
  • Make reconciliation for iniquity
  • Bring in everlasting righteousness
  • Seal up vision and prophecy
  • Anoint the Most Holy

Jesus fulfilled each of these particular things at his death, as we’ve talked about above. Jesus so completely fulfills each of them by His death that it is nonsensical to tear this week from the end of the prophecy and throw it to the end of time. It is tantamount to making a simple interpretation complicated.

James Rafferty nails it when he says, “If anyone, Biblical scholar or student of Bible prophecy, would like to attempt an application of the 70-week prophecy to some other place or person than to Jesus Christ they will also need to tackle the task of finding a way to atone for the transgression, sin and the iniquity of the world in some other way that through the life and death of Jesus Christ.”

To deny that this prophecy relates to the first coming of Christ is not only illogical, but takes away the weight of the Bible’s most powerful messianic prophecy. Many of the reformers, including John Wycliffe, Martin Luther, and even the scientist Isaac Newton believed that the 70th week of the Daniel 9 prophecy related directly to the first coming of Jesus, His crucifixion, and the rejection of the Jewish nation.