The Seventy ‘Weeks' of Daniel in the light of
later revelation is the subject of this short study.
A most comprehensive and inspiring statement appears in Daniel 4:32, viz: "The Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomsoever He will."
God had promised that some day He would give the world rule to His Son –Psa. 2:6-8, and it was concerning Israel's restoration and kingdom under their Messiah that Daniel was inquiring –Dan. 7-27. Israel was nearing the end of their 70 years' captivity in Babylon, and Daniel wondered if this fact would be the signal for Israel's complete deliverance from Gentile rule. God's answer to Daniel was this prophecy of the Seventy-Sevens (or heptads) commonly termed the Seventy Weeks and recorded in Dan. 9:24-27. The period of time indicated in the vision would reach up to the complete establishment of God's Kingdom of righteousness over all the earth –Dan. 2:44; Dan. 7:27; Dan. 9:24; Dan. 12:1-13.
The whole setting of the Seventy Seven's concerns the people of Israel, their city, their temple, and their coming Messiah. It is most important to note this in order to grasp the truth regarding the fulfilment of Daniel's prophecy.
The prophecy of the Seventy Sevens of Daniel does not directly concern the Church of today, the Ecclesia, called in the New Testament – "The Body of Christ" –1 Cor. 12:12; Eph. 1:23; Phil. 3:20. A careful and connected study of the New Testament Scriptures reveals that, only in Paul's letters do we find the call, the destiny, and the particular truth pertaining to the believers of today – Rom. 16:25; Eph. 3:1-11. To Paul it was given by God "to complete the word of God" Col. 1:25. Paul was used of God to reveal the divine secrets relating to the Gentiles. These operate during the period when the nation of Israel is temporarily set aside through unbelief –Rom. 11:11-29. To Daniel the prophet, as well as to the writers of the first five books of the New Testament, viz: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and the Acts, it appeared that the Seventy Sevens would flow on without a break in time. To Paul, however, it was later revealed that a long interval would elapse between the fulfilment of the sixty-ninth seven —fulfilled in our Lord's day —and the last or seventieth seven. This last one Paul designated the "indignation period," in which "the man of lawlessness would be revealed" –2 Thess. 2; and he places it at the end of this age –2 Tim. 3:1-5. Our Lord's great prophecy concerning "His presence and the conclusion of the eon" –Matt. 24:3 (Concordant Version), refers also to this feature of Daniel's prophecy –Matt. 24:15.
The books of the New Testament are not arranged in our Bible in the time order in which they were written, with perhaps the one exception of the book of The Revelation, given to the apostle John on the isle of Patmos. Revelation may well have been the last book written, and it is quite significant that all Paul's epistles are grouped together in our Bible following the first five books, which five deal principally with Israel, their king and their kingdom, (Rom. 15:8) – "to confirm the patriarchal promises" – (CV). Thus the book of Revelation appears set off by itself at the very end! It is especially noteworthy that the book of Revelation exhibits Hebrew characteristics throughout. Its use of imagery, symbology, phraseology, and idioms are all clearly Hebraic.
The definite divine connections with the Old Testament Scriptures – and particularly with Daniel's prophecy are shown throughout Revelation. Paul, as already stated "completes the word of God" –Col. 1:25, disclosing to us in his epistles, the hitherto secrets which complete the divine purpose, and which until now were completely "concealed from the eons in God" –Eph. 3:9 CV. It could be said that:-
"The apostle John in the book of Revelation completes that portion of the word of God covered by the Seventieth Seven. The scope of Revelation spans the final seven years of Daniel's prophecy."
In Luke 21:24 our Lord foretold that "Jerusalem would be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled," and Paul in Rom. 11:25 tells us that the nation of Israel was not cut off permanently – but only "blinded for a season"– Acts 13:11.
The Old Testament, particularly the book of Isaiah, abounds with references to a national restoration by God. He restores Israel to their own land. See Is.11: Is.12: and Is. 62 in particular.
A careful study of the Seventy Sevens of Daniel 9:24-27 shows that this long period of time began in the 20th year of the king Artaxerxes 454 BC., –Neh. 2:1-5. Sixty-nine sevens terminated on the very day Christ offered Himself as Israel's King in Jerusalem, 29 A.D. Luke 19:37-38; Zech. 9:9.
The fulfilment of the sixty-nine sevens is clearly marked in the Scriptures –Luke 19:32-44. It was to be a period of exactly 173,880 days –69 sevens of years, or 483 years of 360 days each. The fulfilment, right on time then, adds special significance to the words of our Lord upon His rejection at Jerusalem by the nation, on this His SEVENTH and FINAL visit to that city, when He said, "If thou hadst known, even this thy day (this most special day), the things which belong to your peace." The New English Bible (1961), renders it: "When Jesus came in sight of the city (Jerusalem), He wept over it and said – If only you had known, on this great day, the way that leads to peace."
This was indeed a great day in their history, for it heralded the fulfilment of this long prophesied event! And our Lord adds: "But now they are hid from thine eyes," Luke 19:42. Darkness now falls upon Israel, and continues, (not forever) but, "until the eras of the nations (Gentiles), be fulfilled," Luke 21:24 (CV). Each passing day brings us nearer to the great climax – His glorious appearing! Titus 2:13.
Daniel Conceals! This statement does not mean that God's faithful prophet was deliberately hiding something from us. When Paul reveals, he was not just acting on his own. Rather, the Lord in His love and wisdom hid from Daniel certain things not then due, that He later on revealed to Paul.
Observe Daniel's humble confession, "I heard, but I understood not!" –Dan. 12:8. The Lord told Daniel to "Shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end." Dan. 12:4. Further, Daniel is instructed to "seal up (conceal), the vision and prophecy" –Dan. 9:24; and again in Dan. 10:14 we read that the vision is yet for many days, or as Fenton renders it, "The vision is yet at a distance."
That part of Daniel's vision concerning the coming of the Messiah, was fulfilled in our Lord's first coming – a distant time of almost 500 years. In His great prophecy, re. His second coming and the end of the eon, our Lord places the final fulfilment of Daniel's seventy-sevens at a much greater distance – a future event from his day.
Shortly before His rejection as King, our Lord had given the great prophecy, relating to His return, and "the end of the age," Matt 24. One of the chief signs or markers is stated in verse 15 as being – "The abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet."
For a time after His death and resurrection, it remained concealed. Not until Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles (Rom. 11:13) received from the Ascended Christ the further revelation regarding Israel's temporary casting-off –Rom. 11:15-25, and "the revelation of God's grace" –Eph. 3:1-9, and its sudden culmination, or the setting up of the "Man of Lawlessness," –2 Thes. 2:1-9, not until then was this final feature of Daniel's prophecy disclosed. This Paul aptly terms, "The Mystery (or Secret) of Lawlessness" –2. Thess. 2:7.
To Paul was committed many of God's secrets. In writing to the Corinthians concerning the resurrection of the dead, he declares, "Behold I show you a secret" –1 Cor. 15:51. Discussing Israel's present period of blindness in Romans, he writes, "For I am not willing for you to be ignorant of this secret" –Rom. 11:25. To Timothy, it is concerning the "secret of godliness " –1 Tim. 3:9, 16 and in 2 Thess. 2, it is re. "The Secret of Lawlessness," which secret is of particular interest to us now.
Paul In fact speaks of the believers under his special ministry as, "Stewards" of the mysteries of God –1 Cor. 4:1, KJV, or better, as in the Concordant Version, "Administrators of God's secrets, and Phillips Version renders it "Trustees of the Secrets of God."
It was to be at the appearing of "The abomination of desolation" that the faithful in Israel would be able to positively recognise the nearness of Christ's return. This same evil personage "the abomination of desolation," is called by Paul, "The Man of Lawlessness." The one who seats himself in the temple of God, even demonstrating (through lying signs and wonders) that he is God –2 Thess. 2:3-8. This all takes place in the middle of the last or seventieth seven of Daniel's prophecy of the Seventy weeks or sevens Dan. 9:24-27.
All of this, too, is in accord with Rev. 12:6, where the faithful in Israel are preserved during the 1260 days, a three and a half year period from the middle of the final or seventieth seven, just prior to our Lord's return to the Mount of Olives, His coming to the earth. Our Lord's coming "in the air" for the believers of this day of grace, for the church which is His body, will have already taken place –1 Thess. 4:14-18, 1 Cor. 15:51-53. Such have a prior hope in the Anointed One –Eph. 1:12 (Diag), they are Brethren beloved by the Lord, "seeing that God prefers you from the beginning for salvation" –2 Thess. 2:13, and we have the further assurance that, "God did not appoint us to indignation, but to the procuring of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for our sakes, that whether we may be watching or drowsing, we shall be living at the same time together with Him" –1 Thess. 5:9-10.
Concerning "the abomination of desolation," our Lord's words are, "when ye see . . ," they indicate the great importance of this event as being the signal for the beginning, or count down of all the day periods of Daniel's prophecy, viz: - the 1260 days, 1290 days, 1335 days and also the 2300 days. Repeatedly Daniel is told by the angel that the vision was concerning "The time of the End," "the end of this evil eon," also called in other Scriptures "the last days" –Dan. 8:26, 12:40-9,13 and 2 Tim. 3:1-5.
To Daniel himself, the Lord said, "but go thy way till the end be, for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days" –Dan. 12:13, and the previous verse says, "blessed is he that waiteth until the 1335 days." Undoubtedly the 1335 days pertain to Daniel's resurrection from the dead —his long rest period —and to his appearing in his own beloved land. These days must be still future, for Daniel still sleeps in death. But that glorious period draws nearer.
"Seal Up," is Daniel's instruction –(Dan. 9:24, and 12:4-9).
"Make Known," is the word to Paul –(Eph. 3:9. Rom. 16:25-27).
Note these examples from the third chapter of Ephesians.
• "By revelation the secret is made known" v.3;
• "that you may understand" v.4;
• "it was now revealed" v.5;
• "to enlighten all" v.9; and
• "that you may be able to comprehend" v.18.
The Colossian epistle of Paul, chapter one, continues in this same exalted sphere. "Filled with the realization of His will" v.9, "in all wisdom and understanding" v.9, "Increasing in the knowledge of God" v.10, "The secret hid from the eons – now made manifest" v.26, and "to whom God would make known" v.27, Little wonder then, that in writing to the Corinthians, Paul should make mention of "the abundance of the revelations" given to him, 2 Cor. 12:7.
The name Daniel, means "Judgment of God," and God's judgments upon Israel and the nations, is the main subject of Daniel's writing.
This is particularly true regarding "the time of the end," of which Daniel so frequently speaks, and is the very focus of his prophecy.
Paul's name means Pause, - an interval or parenthesis, and Paul's special evangel finds its sphere of operation now, during this period of time when God's judgments are withheld. When this era of God's grace ends, God's judgements will immediately follow, 2 Thess. 2:6-12.
It is significant that the "last days," are also mentioned in Paul's last letter. There in 2 Tim. 2, he gives us a most vivid description of what will be occurring in the last days of this evil eon. No modern reporter could give a more accurate, and up-to-date analysis, of world-wide conditions existing now. The end of the 490 years —the full period of Daniel's Seventy Sevens, will culminate in Israel's national restoration under their long looked for Messiah, Zech. 12:10, Matt. 24:30. The Seventy Sevens —all concern Israel, their capital city of Jerusalem, their sanctuary and their holy land. It does not concern the Gentiles, for all the six features itemised by Daniel in chapter 9 v. 24, deal exclusively with the prophet's own people.
It is also apparent from the wording of the prophecy of the Seventy Sevens, that the period indicated does not follow in an unbroken line. There are definite divine divisions, viz: Seven, Sixty two, and One, Dan. 9:25-29. The last one seems marvellously covered in detail in the book of Revelation. That entire prophecy is clearly stated in Rev. 1:1 to be occurring swiftly— with great rapidity.
The Greek word which in the KJV is incorrectly rendered ‘shortly,' has led many astray respecting the import and true interpretation of the prophecy. The book of Revelation does not cover the centuries of history past, but deals principally with a short period of time down at this end of the age. The whole setting of the book of Revelation particularly concerns Israel: both Daniel and Revelation deal much with the same theme.
Here in Daniel's prophecy re. the day-periods, 1260, 1290, 1335, and the 2300 days, we have the divine count down that leads up to the greatest event in human history since the crucifixion, the swift return of Christ as King. This is followed by the binding of Satan, Rev. 20:2; the destruction of the "man of lawlessness" 2 Thess. 2, and the deliverance of the remnant in Israel Rev. 12:6. In quick succession comes the restoration of the priestly service, the resurrection of the ancient worthies, including Daniel, Heb. 11:35-39, Dan. 12:12-13, Rev. 20:6. then follows the fulfilment of the vision of Dan. 8:13-14, and the full establishment of the Millennial Kingdom, Rev. 20, Acts. 3:19-21, Psa. 72, Isa. 35, 65:19-25.
While all of the Scriptures are for us, (the Gentiles), yet not all are about us. All are "written for our admonition" 1 Cor. 10:11. God never changes so far as His love, wisdom, justice and power are concerned, but God does change His dealings with men, and it is these very changes that reveal the depths of His character, Rom. 11:33, and the vast scope of his purpose. These changes in the divine operations, are but steps in the grand ascent towards God becoming "All in all," which is the ultimate purpose of the eons. 1 Cor.15:28.
Concerning the truth for today, our Lord instructs us to look to His special servant, Paul. Our Lord said "He is a choice instrument of Mine to bear My Name before the Gentiles" Acts 9:15. This was God's choice, and because of this, Paul reminds us in Rom. 11:13, "I am the Apostle of the Gentiles." This important fact is emphasized in scores of passages, Gal. 2:7-9, Eph. 3:1-11, Col. 1:24-27 and others.
In summing up, we note two other inspiring and encouraging statements concerning God's dealings with his servant Daniel. First, the words spoken by the Angel Gabriel, Dan. 9:22, "I am come to give thee skill and understanding," and the assurance of God's special interest Dan. 9:23, "Daniel, thou art greatly beloved!"
Today, through the evangel given to Paul, believers of this special period have had their hearts consoled, being united in love, and all the riches of the assurance of understanding, unto a realization of the secret of the God and Father of Christ, in Whom all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are concealed. Col. 2:2-3. To them God has given His spirit, and the spirit is searching all, even the depths of God! 1 Cor. 2:10 (CV).
Like Daniel, these believers also are greatly beloved of God, Who blesses us with every spiritual blessing among the celestials in Christ, Eph. 1:3, and graces us in the Beloved Eph. 1:6.
As Daniel was encouraged by the words, "Blessed is he that waiteth unto the 1335 days" Dan. 12:12, so today those who, like Daniel truly seek to serve the living and true God, will be waiting for His Son out of the heavens, Whom He appoints our Rescuer out of the coming indignation, 1 Thess. 1:9-10. For the believers of this special day of grace, all of this is because of their being in God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, - "Having perceived brethren, beloved of God, your choice by God." 1 Thess. 1:1-4. "According as He chose us in Him before the disruption of the world . . . in accord with the delight of His will, for the laud of His grace glorious," Eph. 1:4-6 (CV). And the Diaglott reads, "to the praise of His glorious beneficence."