Part 2/Week 3: The Decree of 70 Weeks

“The seventy weeks’ prophecy is one of the most significant and detailed Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament. It is found in Daniel 9. The chapter begins with Daniel praying for Israel, acknowledging the nation’s sins against God and asking for God’s mercy. As Daniel prayed, the angel Gabriel appeared to him and gave him a vision of Israel’s future” (got

Daniel was a man of the Word and prayer. Although he didn’t have the full Bible (like we do today), he devoted himself to study what was available to him. Daniel 9:2 says, “In the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the LORD through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in desolations of Jerusalem” (NKJV).

I’ve always admired Daniel and his heart for the Lord and his people. Daniel included himself in the confession of the people’s sins. He realized he needed God as much as his people did. When Gabriel visited Daniel during this prayer, he told Daniel he was “very precious to God” (NLT); other translations say “greatly beloved” (NKJV), and “highly esteemed” (NASB1995). God’s heart toward Daniel reminds me of His heart toward David and all those who come to Him with a broken and contrite spirit (Psalm 51:17).

Fruchtenbaum says, “the angel came to reveal to Daniel the program of God which would bring in the kingdom. In a play upon words, he informed Daniel that it was not going to be 70 years, but seventy sevens of years before the kingdom would be established” (The Footsteps of the Messiah, p. 187).

“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.”

Daniel 9:24 (NKJV)

The first step in understanding this prophecy is to know that the word “week” doesn’t refer to an actual week, but rather a “period of seven.” A better translation would be, “seventy sets of seven.” In the context of Daniel 9, we can conclude that the “sets of sevens” are referring to “years” because of Daniel 9:1-2 which speaks of the 70 year Babylonian captivity. If you do the math, you’ll find the total number of years decreed is 490. These 490 years are determined specifically for the Jewish people.

Fruchtenbaum explains the six-fold purpose of the decree (The Footseps of the Messiah pp. 190-192). The first is to “finish the transgression.” The use of the definite article here shows us that it is speaking of a specific transgression, namely Israel’s rejection of the Messiah.

The second purpose is to “bring an end to sin.” The Hebrew meaning of “sin” suggests the “daily sins” of the people. Other prophetic passages point to the fact that in the Messianic Kingdom there will be no more sin in Israel (Isaiah 27:9; Ezekiel 36; Jeremiah 31:31-34, and Romans 11:27).

The third purpose is “to make reconciliation [or atonement] for iniquity.” The word for “iniquity” refers to the “sin nature.”

The fourth purpose is “to bring in everlasting righteousness.” As a result of these 490 years, God will usher in an age of righteousness for Israel. Fruchtenbaum says, “the program of the 70 sevens is a cleansing of Israel that will include the removal of three things: the national sin of rejection of Yeshua’s Messiahship, the daily sins, and the sin nature itself” (The Footsteps of the Messiah, p. 190).

The fifth purpose is “to seal up vision and prophecy.” It is interesting that the word “seal” means “to set a seal (like affixing a seal onto a letter), to seal up.” Spiros says it can also be used figuratively as in Daniel’s case. “Daniel’s vision of seventy weeks when fulfilled will seal up the prophetic vision” (CWSD notes on Daniel 9:24). Fruchtenbaum suggests that the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy will fulfill all Old Testament prophecies (The Footsteps of the Messiah, p. 192).

The sixth and final purpose of this decree is to anoint the most holy place. You will notice that the word “place” is in italics in your Bible (or not mentioned at all). Fruchtenbaum says Gabriel is speaking of the Millennial Temple “built by the Lord Himself, and it will be anointed as part of the program of seventy sevens” (p. 192).

“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.”

Daniel 9:25 (NKJV)

“The divine prophetic clock for seventy weeks, or 490-year period began ticking on March 5, 444 BC, when the Persian King Artaxerxes issued a decree allowing the Jews to return to rebuild Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:1-8)” (Hitchcock, The End, p. 68). From this date there would be seven weeks (equivalent to 49 years) and 62 weeks (434 years) for a total of 483 years until Messiah the Prince. This is fascinating to me because Gabriel includes a Messianic prophecy as part of the timeline. This is referring to Messiah’s first coming.

Hitchcock says, “this exact period of time [483 years] – 173,880 days [using a 360 day Jewish year for reference]- is elapsed from March 5, 444 BC, until March 30, AD 33 – the day that Jesus rode into Jerusalem for the Triumphal Entry (Luke 19:28-44). The precision of this prophecy is staggering! I call it the greatest prophecy ever given. It stands as a monumental proof of the inspiration of the Bible” (The End, p. 68).

“And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined.”

Daniel 9:26 (NKJV)

Hitchcock says, “when Israel rejected Jesus Christ as its Messiah, God suspended His plan for Israel. There is a gap, therefore, or parenthesis of unspecified duration between the sixty-ninth and seventieth set of seven. During this parenthesis two specific events are prophesied in Daniel 9:26: The Messiah will be killed.. and the Temple will be destroyed” (The End, pp. 68-69). Of course, we know both of these events have been fulfilled. Jesus was crucified around the year AD 33, and the Temple and Jerusalem were completely destroyed in AD 70. Hitchcock goes on to say, “we are living in this gap between week sixty-nine and week seventy- it’s called the church age.”

The Antichrist is introduced in verse 26 as “the prince who is to come.” It appears from this verse that we can know his origin because he is associated with the people who destroyed the temple and Jerusalem in AD 70 (“the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary”). We know from history that it was Titus the Roman and his army who committed this atrocity. Therefore, it seems that the Antichrist may be of Roman descent.

“Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate”

Daniel 9:27 (NKJV)

This verse is a direct reference to the 70th week and marks the beginning of the tribulation (another name for Daniel’s 70th week). The Antichrist will “confirm a covenant with many for one week.” (one set of seven, or seven years). Fruchtenbaum says that the “many” refers to the leadership of Israel. He goes on to say that the Hebrew wording suggests the Antichrist does not “renew an existing covenant, but to make an original one containing strong guarantees” (The Footsteps of the Messiah, p. 196). The guarantees of this covenant seem to involve the building and/or service of a temple in Jerusalem because in breaking the covenant, he “brings an end to sacrifice and offering.”

The NLT version of the end of verse 27 says, “and as a climax to all his terrible deeds, he will set up a sacrilegious object that causes desecration, until the fate decreed for this defiler is finally poured out on him” (Daniel 9:27b NLT). We know this breech of the covenant happens “in the middle of the week,” or at the 3.5-year mark, halfway through the tribulation.

“When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on March 30, AD 33, the first sixty nine weeks of years (483 years) were fulfilled to the very day. Jesus knew the significance of it when He said to the people, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace” (Luke 19:42, NASB, italics added). He added these sobering words, “because you did not recognize the time of your visitation (Luke 19:44, NASB, italics added). Jesus emphasized “this day” and “the time” to the Jewish people because He stood before them fulfilling this astonishing prophecy. The time of visitation had come on the exact day prophesied, but they had missed it due to unbelief. Jesus is coming again someday, maybe very soon. there is a final, future “time of visitation” that will also occur right on time according to God’s timetable” (Hitchcock, The End, p. 70).

Week Three: Homework Reflections

Day One: Daniel, a Man of the Word

  1. Read Jeremiah 25:1-14. Daniel had read and studied Jeremiah’s words. Why did the people have to go into captivity? What insights do you see?
  2. Read Jeremiah 29:1-11. How does this passage speak to you in light of our study? How does knowing Daniel studied God’s Word inspire you to do the same?
  3. Read Nehemiah 2:1-8. How does this passage reveal the faithfulness of God in light of Daniel 9:25?

Day Two: Daniel, a Man of Repentance

  1. Read Daniel 9:1-23. How do you think knowing God’s Word (through Jeremiah’s prophecy) inspired Daniel to pray a prayer of repentance? Is there anything that stands out to you about his prayer?
  2. Read Nehemiah 9:1-38. This prayer takes place after they left captivity and started building the walls of the city. What similarities do you see in this prayer and Daniel’s prayer?
  3. Read Ezra 9-10. This was after the decree was given to rebuild the 2nd Temple. How does this prayer compare to the others? What do you learn in these three prayers about Israel’s sin and God’s faithfulness, righteousness and justice? What do these prayers tell you about Daniel, Nehemiah, and Ezra’s walk with God?

Day Three: Messiah the Prince

  1. Read Zechariah 9:9 and Psalm 118:26. What do these passages speak of?
  2. Read Luke 19:28-44. You will notice that this is a fulfillment of the Zechariah and Psalms passages mentioned above. Do you see hints of Jesus’ royalty/kingship in this passage? If so, what do you see?
  3. How do these passages relate to Daniel 9:25?

Days Four & Five: The False Covenant

  1. “While Daniel 9:27 presents the covenant that begins the tribulation form man’s perspective, Isaiah 28:14-22 views the covenant from God’s perspective” (Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of the Messiah, p. 198).
  2. Read Isaiah 28:14-22 and list everything God says about this false covenant the Antichrist will offer the Jewish people.
  3. Read Jeremiah 31:31-40. Compare this new covenant God makes with Israel at the end of the tribulation with the false covenant of the Antichrist.

2 thoughts on “Part 2/Week 3: The Decree of 70 Weeks

  1. I so enjoy reading these. Love the references to Hitchcock cause he is down the street from Al’s school and his son is our Spiritual Formation Director! I may have already told you this stuff as I find I repeat myself a lot😂😂😂 Love u! Keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

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