Today’s topic is Daniel’s seventy weeks otherwise known as the coolest messianic prophecy in the whole bible.
“Seventy weeks (literally “sevens”) are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place. Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time. And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed. And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.” (Daniel 9:24-27)
Seventy weeks that are decreed and a week here refers not to a “week of days” but rather a “week of years” that is seven years. Seventy weeks then would be equivalent to 490 years. Next we are told when the seventy weeks are to begin. It says “from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem”. In Nehemiah 2:1-5, we read that “in the month of Nisan, in the 20th year of King Artaxerxes”, which is estimated to be March of 445 BC, Nehemiah was allowed to return from Babylon and to rebuild Jerusalem. If we assume that this occurred on the first day of the month of Nisan, the seventy weeks would have begun on March 14th of 445 BC. From March 14th of 445 BC, we read that there shall be seven weeks and then sixty-two more weeks for a total of 69 weeks, until an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. 69 weeks would be 69 x 7 years or 483 years and since this was written in a Jewish context and the Jews used the lunar calendar where one year was 360 days, 483 years is equivalent to 483 x 360 days or 173,880 days. After 173,880 days an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. What does this refer to? It sounds a lot like Jesus’ crucifixion.
We read in Luke 3:1 that Jesus’ ministry began in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius, which we know to be AD 29. We also know that Jesus’ ministry lasted for three years, which would mean that the Passover on which Jesus was crucified was in AD 32. With the help of lunar charts, we can determine that Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem would have occurred on April 6th AD 32. It turns out that there are exactly 173,880 days between March 14th 445 BC and April 6th AD 32 proving that through Daniel, God specified the exact day on which Jesus would arrive in Jerusalem to be offered up as a sacrifice for our sins. Considering that Daniel wrote this in the sixth century BC, that’s pretty impressive and supernatural.
You may be wondering about the 70th week and that actually is separate from the first 69 but what we call the church age and is referred to in Revelation as the tribulation. At the end of that week, God will finally do what he promised to do in Daniel 9:24, which is finish the transgression, put an end to sin, atone for iniquity, bring in everlasting righteousness, seal both vision and prophet, and anoint the most holy place. You better believe that. As spot-on as God was about the first 69 weeks, he can be trusted with what will happen at the end of the 70th.