Daniel’s Prophecy of the 70 Weeks
Seventy years of exile had gone by and we come to the point to countdown the years to the Messiah’s coming. This chapter will deal entirely with Daniel’s prophecy of the 70 Weeks and the coming of the Messiah and the second destruction of Yerushalayim and the Temple.
There is a great deal of misunderstanding and misconception as to how to count these seventy prophetic weeks or 490 years in Daniel’s prophecy of the 70 Weeks and hence, who is the one who shall make a firm covenant with many for one week and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.
Many scholars have taken the view that this will be the anti-messiah short before the return of the real Messiah. They base this stance on the understanding that there is a time-gap of about 2,000 years in Daniel’s prophecy of the 70 Weeks, namely between the destruction of the city by the Romans and Messiah’s return at the end-time, and more specifically between v. 26 and v. 27 of the prophecy. As this study will prove, that could not be the case.
Insert: some important notes to understand numbers when counting years:
1. When an approximate number is reported, it is rounded off, i.e. 130 (from high to the low number); however, when an exact or important number is given, i.e. 69, it is recorded as 7 and 62 (from low to the high number);
2. Cardinal number – the number of elements in a mathematical set; denotes a quantity but not the order; ordinal – the number designating place in an ordered sequence. When counting years, a distinction must be made between i.e. “the king reigned 20 years from 450 until 430 BC” (cardinal numbers) and “in the seventh year of the king” (ordinal number). In the former, the numbers are exclusive; in the latter, the numbers are inclusive.
3. In reckoning years from B.C. to A.D., one year must always be omitted; for it is obvious, that from B.C. 1 to A.D. 1 there were not two years, but one year. B.C. 1 ought to be described as B.C. 0, and it is so reckoned by astronomers, who would describe the historical date B.C. 445, as 444; the calculation is to be: -457 + 1 + 483 = 27 A.D. and when counting from A.D. to B.C. then it is to be like this: 27 – 1 – 483 = – 457. The Julian calendar does not include the year 0, so the year 1 BC is followed by the year 1 AD. Years prior to the year 0 are represented by a negative sign. Historians should note that there is a difference of one year between astronomical dates and BC dates. Thus, the astronomical year 0 corresponds to the historical 1 BC, and year -100 corresponds to 101 BC, etc.
4. The Julian calendar is used for all dates up to 1582 Oct 04. After that date, the Gregorian calendar is used. Due to the Gregorian Calendar reform, the day after 1582 Oct 04 (Julian calendar) is 1582 Oct 15 (Gregorian calendar).
5. Also, note that Hebrew reckoning is inclusive, i.e. a fraction of a day or night constitutes a whole day or night.
6. Last but not least, the Biblical months have either 29 days or 30 days since the astronomical day has 23 hours and 56 minutes and 4 seconds, the month: 29.5306 days, and there are 360 days in a biblical year: 360 x 46=16,560 days and there are 365.2422 days in a solar year. If time is reckoned only by the astronomical day, this will lead to a shift of the beginning of the year and Passover from spring to winter. In order to avoid this shift, the Creator, not men, adds a thirteenth month to the year by commanding us to observe the barley in the Land. If the barley is in the aviv, the outgoing year has twelve months. If not, then an additional month is intercalated.
With that being said, let us continue with the prophecy of the 70 Weeks. Historian William H. Shea has noted that the text of Dan_9:25-27 forms a chiasm. This chiastic structure of Daniel’s prophecy of the 70 Weeks the present author considers to be crucial for decoding the prophecy and which also helps see the prophecy on a layer about the first coming of the Messiah and also to understand who is the one who made a covenant with many for one week. The common and most spread understanding is, as already stated, is that this will be the “antichrist.”
The chiasm is a type ABC…CBA chiastic structure. The ABC…CBA chiastic structure is used in many places in the Torah. This kind of chiastic structure is used to give emphasis to the inmost concept, i.e., C, the concept that appears either twice in succession or only appears once. Also, it shows that the other ideas are all leading up to the middle idea or concept. The idea behind this type of structure is to point the reader to the central idea, that of C-statement.
We will see that the ABCD…DCBA chiastic structure of Dan 9:24-27, William Shea discovered , will give us the confirmation that the one who shall make a firm covenant with many for one week was the Messiah, the Anointed One (not the anti-messiah, as commonly misinterpreted), who came to put an end to the transgression. Let us read Daniel’s prophecy of the 70 Weeks:
Seventy sevens are decreed for your people and for your set-apart city,
to put an end to the transgression, and to seal up sins,
and to cover crookedness, and to bring in everlasting righteousness,
and to seal up vision and prophet, and to anoint the Most Set-apart.
A. Dan 9:25a, Yerushalayim Built: Know therefore and discern, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Yerushalayim
B. Dan 9:25b, Anointed One: unto the anointed one, the prince, shall be seven sevens, and threescore and two sevens:
C. Dan 9:25c, Yerushalayim Built: it shall be built again, with street and moat, even in troublous times.
D. Dan 9:26a, Anointed One: And after the threescore and two sevens shall the anointed one be cut off and shall have nothing.
C. Dan 9:26b, Yerushalayim Destroyed: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end of it shall be with a flood, and even to the end shall be war; desolations are determined.
B. Dan 9:27a, Anointed One: And he shall make a firm covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease;
A. Dan 9:27b, Yerushalayim Destroyed: and upon the wing of abominations shall come one that maketh desolate; and even unto the full end, and that determined, shall wrath be poured out upon the desolate.
Therefore, from the chiastic structure of the prophecy of the 70 Weeks we understand that the one who shall make a firm covenant with many for one week is the anointed one, the prince, in theme B coupling with the second theme B: And he shall make a firm covenant with many for one week and it is the same Anointed One who shall be cut off and shall have nothing, that is the Messiah in theme D, because all themes A, B, and C point to the central theme D: the anointed one be cut off and shall have nothing. This simple chiasm without any doubt reveals that the Messiah is the one who made the Covenant with many, not the false messiah, because theme D does not couple with the second theme C or the second theme A.
A document titled 11Q13 was found in cave 11 at the Dead Sea and as translated by James Scott Trimm, speaks of a Messiah. 11Q13 Col. 4-9 quotes Isa_61:1-2 but substitutes “the year of Melchizedek’s favor” for “the year of YHVH’s favor” thus identifying the Melchizedek figure with YHWH in this passage. Per 11Q13, this Melchizadek figure “shall atone for all the Sons of Light” thus “releasing them from the debt of all their sins” in a fulfillment of the true meaning of Yom Kippur in Lev_25:13 and “establish a righteous kingdom.” Melchizadek is then identified in the document with the Messiah who is “cut off” in Dan_9:26. This makes the seven years in the prophecy of the 70 Weeks in Dan_9:24-27 to tie in with the “year of favor” of Isa_61:1-3 and thus as the ultimate fulfillment of Lev_25:13 in the Year of Jubilee when each one will return to his possession.
The Spirit of the Master Yehovah is upon Me, because Yehovah has anointed Me to bring good news to the meek. He has sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim release to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound, to proclaim the acceptable year of Yehovah, and the day of vengeance of our Elohim, to comfort all who mourn, to appoint unto those who mourn in Tsiyon: to give them embellishment for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. And they shall be called trees of righteousness, a planting of Yehovah, to be adorned. (Isa 61:1-3)
This document, which is part of the Dead Sea Scroll, speaks indirectly of the anticipation in the first century Judea of the Messiah to come in about that time frame. It also confirms that Daniel’s prophecy of the 70 Weeks does indeed speaks of the Messiah despite the lack of Messianic interpretation of the sages. Later on in this study, we will once again read Isa 61:1-3 and the prophecy which the Messiah has left for us to discern.
In Jer_11:2-4, the prophet Yirmeyahu was sent by YHVH to Israel with a warning of the curse in Deu_27:26 for those who do not establish the words of Torah. Yirmeyahu prophesied to Israel that this curse would come upon them in the form of the seventy year Babylonian captivity (Jer_25:9-12, Jer_26:6-7). But Yirmeyahu also prophesied to the people that at the end of these seventy years, He would bring them back into the land (Jer_29:10). In connection with this return Yirmeyahu speaks of a Renewed Covenant or more properly translated: Covenant of Renewal in Jer_31:31-34. At the end of this seventy year of curse, we reach the time of the prophecy in Daniel 9.
In the first year of Dareyavesh the Mede who just defeated Babylon, Daniel studied Yirmeyahu’s prophecies and became concerned that Israel had not repented with the coming of the seventy years to end (Dan_9:1-2) and that if Israel still did not repent, Elohim would punish them seven times more according to the curse of Lev_26:18. Daniel prayed for Israel, because he knew that in exile Israel had failed to repent and which was even worse he knew that they had blended in Babylon as their fathers did in Egypt.
While praying, Gavri’el (El is Severe) the messenger of YHVH came with the message that Israel would indeed fall into a 490-year curse in Dan_9:24-27. Daniel knew that seventy years of curse times seven was 490 years and that that was the fulfillment of the curse Leviticus 26. Within these 490 (70×7) years, Gavri’el explained that 483 years were allotted for the rebuilding of Yerushalayim until the Messiah (Dan_9:25), and 434 years of them for the Messiah to be “cut off, but not for himself” (Dan_9:26).
Why would the Messiah come seven years before the end of the 490-year curse? The understanding of the present author concerning the prophecy of the 70 Weeks is that in order for the curse to end, the people of Israel would have to repent and turn back to Torah. This repentance would need to manifest itself by the keeping of the Sabbath of the Land (the reason why they were exiled in the first place) but in order for the people to do this, they would need seven years for repentance prior to the Covenant.
In other words, they would have to start keeping a complete Sabbath of the land cycle 483 years into the 490 year curse, if they were to enter the Covenant of Renewal at the end of the 490 years. Thus YHVH was to send the Messiah after 483 years from the command to restore and build Yerushalayim in order to call the people to repentance. Yeshua the Messiah was born much earlier than the end of the 483 years, but He was “given”, which means His ministry started after 483 years. As the Covenant people failed again to observe the Sabbatical years, the curse continued seven times seven more until the Restoration of all matters by the Messiah as YHVH spoke through the mouth of the prophet, (Dan_9:24, Act_3:21).
Dan_9:25 in the prophecy of the 70 Weeks shows that the countdown of the 7 + 62 sevens would start on the day when permission is given to reconstruct the city of Yerushalayim. When was the command to rebuild Yerushalayim issued?
Three Persian kings issued decrees in reference to the Yehudim which resulted in four returns of the exile. This is found in Ezr_6:14 which identifies each of the kings in order of their reign as Koresh, Dareyavesh, and Artahshashta, as it is written:
And the elders of the Yehudim were building, and they were blessed through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zekaryah son of Iddo. And they built and finished it, according to the decree of the Elah of Israel, and according to the decree of Koresh, and Dareyavesh, and Artahshashta king of Persia.