By T K Burk
All Bible teachers would agree that Daniel’s 70 Weeks is one of the most important prophecy messages in the Bible. However, the way in which they teach these weeks can vary considerably. For instance, those who teach the Dispensational view of prophecy believe all the prophesies pertaining to the first 69 Weeks were fulfilled during the First Century, but those concerning the 70th Week are not yet fulfilled and will not be until their alleged “antichrist” appears. To do this, they place a gap of time between Daniel’s 69th and 70th Weeks. They teach that the reason for this gap is because the Jews rejected Jesus and their unbelief caused Jesus to not fulfill all that was written of Him. As a result, God stopped His prophetic time clock until a period they call the “end time.” This makes their gap now more than 2,000 years wide and growing wider with each passing year. One of the chief problems with this view is that Daniel nowhere speaks of an interruption or a gap between any of his 70 Weeks. So, to place such a gap would be to add something to Daniel’s prophecy that is simply not found there.
Another difference comes from non-dispensationalist prophecy teachers. They believe Daniel’s 70th Week focused on the 70 AD judgment and destruction of Jerusalem and her Temple. However, for their position to be correct they must add a gap of 40 years between the first 3½ weeks and last 3½ weeks of Daniel’s final 70th Week. They get their 40-year gap by taking the end of Jesus’ ministry in 30 AD to the 70 AD judgment against Jerusalem and the Temple. Nevertheless, like the Dispensationalists, their gap theory cannot be supported with biblical evidence either. Though I do not agree with the non-dispensationalist’s view, I must say that their extra 40 years is more appealing than the Dispensationalist’s gap of over 2,000 plus years.
In both of these examples the reason for their gap theory is due to a misreading of the said purpose of Daniel’s 70th Week. Once that purpose is made clear, the proper chronological schedule of Daniel’s 70 Weeks falls easily into place.
The Bible tells us that the first 69 Weeks began with Cyrus giving the command to rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple (see Isaiah 44:28). It ended with the last Old Testament prophet, John the Baptist, baptizing Jesus in the Jordan (see Matthew 11:13; Luke 16:16). This baptism was not because Jesus needed His sins removed, but rather it acted both as an example to sinners that they must be Born Again of the water and the Spirit to enter the Kingdom (see John 3:5; Matthew 3:15-16), as well as the inaugural announcement that Jesus’ ministry had begun (Matthew 3:13-17). Upon close examination we find there is no mention of a gap of time that was to occur during the first 69 Weeks of Daniel’s prophecy. The Bible also gives no indication that the final 70th Week would not immediately follow the first 69. The only hindrance to the flow of the time in Daniels 70 Weeks is that the last 70th Week is said to be interrupted half way through by the cutting off of the Messiah. This disturbance agrees with the 3½-year length of Jesus’ ministry. The start of this last 70th Week began with Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan and it ended 3½ years later with Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection, and ascension.
Daniel divides his 70 weeks up in the following way:
7 WEEKS – Rebuilding the wall and the Temple
62 WEEKS – From the end of the first seven weeks to the time of the Messiah. An overview of these weeks was prophesied in Daniel 11. Many times you hear that there was “400 years of silence” that ended with the coming of John the Baptist. However, Daniel chapter 11 tells us that there was much going during that time. Some of these events are listed in the Apocrypha books of 1st and 2nd Maccabees.
1 WEEK – Set aside for the Messiah—Cut off in the Midst—Stopping the sacrifice—Fulfilling each of the six points prophesied in Daniel 9:24—Causing the destruction of the Temple and the City before that generation passed away. (40 Years—one 40-year generation—70 AD. This was fulfilled to the letter for Jesus was born around 4 BC, He was crucified in 30 AD, and His ministry lasted 3½ years, then 40 years after His crucifixion the Temple and city were destroyed.)
The context of Daniel’s 70th Week speaks of the expected timeframe for the coming of the Messiah and the tasks He would fulfill to prove His legitimacy. Since Jesus did accomplish all that was foretold within that last Week’s timeframe, there was no need of a gap placed between the 69th and 70th Weeks of Daniel. The judgment that came 40 years later against unbelieving Jews and their city was a result of the curse placed on the generation of Jews who killed Jesus and rejected His New Covenant. But, again, the 70th Week of Daniel is about Jesus fulfilling all that was prophesied of the Messiah, not about the consequent judgment that followed. I’ll speak more about this later.
One of the greatest testimonies of the inerrancy of the Bible is found in Jesus’ fulfillment of Daniel’s 70th Week. While under the inspiration of God’s Spirit, Daniel prophesied that six points would be fulfilled during a time period of 490 years (70 weeks). Thus, when these six points were completed the 70 Week prophecies would also be fulfilled. Here are those points with my notes appearing in [brackets]:
(24) Seventy weeks [490 years] are determined upon thy people [Jews] and upon thy holy city, [Jerusalem] [to accomplish six things]  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.
The timeframe for the fulfillment of these points is said to be 70 weeks of years, which is 490 years total. Please, take note that “490” is the same as “seventy times seven.” This 490 is the same number of times Jesus told Peter to forgive those who sinned against him (see Matthew 18:21-22). No wonder Jesus used this number; it was the exact amount of time God said He would forgive those rebellious to His covenant before bringing judgment upon them.
Daniel 9:26 states, “After threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off.” This passage confirms these six points could not be fulfilled during the first 69 weeks, but instead occurs sometime during the 70th week. This special designation is the reason why the 70th week was specifically set aside from the other 69 weeks in Daniel’s prophecy. This 70 Week timeframe is explained as being “seven weeks” (forty-nine years), “threescore and two weeks” (four hundred and thirty-four years), and “one week” (seven years). These years added together equal 490 years or 70 weeks of years (see Daniel 9:25-27). In the midst of the last week, Daniel wrote that the Messiah was to be “cut off.” This is reference to Jesus being crucified 3½ years into His ministry. This cutting off of the Messiah (Jesus’ crucifixion) made way for all six points in Daniel 9:24 to be completely fulfilled.
The key question is: are the six points of Daniel 9:24 already fulfilled, or are they yet to be fulfilled sometime in the future? The only trusted source to answer this question is the Bible itself. From its pages we find that Daniel’s 70th week (7 years) spoke of what Jesus was to accomplish as Messiah. What is said of that Week ended when Jesus was crucified after ministering only 3½ years (3½ days into the final 70th week). Jesus’ 3½ year ministry fulfilled all six points of Daniel 9:24 in detail.
The repercussion from that generation’s killing of Jesus and rejection of His New Covenant brought about the prophesied “Abomination of Desolation.” This incident occurred 40 years afterward and needed no gap between Daniel’s 69th and 70th Week.
The timeframe for when the Children of Israel would be freed from Egyptian bondage was also foretold in the Bible (see Genesis 15:13; Exodus 1:11). Moses became their prophesied “savior” (see Exodus 3:10; Acts 7:25-36). Moses leading them out of Egyptian bondage fulfilled what was prophesied about the timeframe of their complete deliverance. However, the Children of Israel’s unbelief and rejection of God brought about the curse of God, which resulted in them wandering through the Wilderness of Sin for 40 years, which is one biblical generation (see Numbers 14:1-37; Hebrews 3:16-18). After the 40 years were completed, the unbelievers died off and the generation of believing Israelite’s was allowed entry into the Promise Land (see Deuteronomy 1:35-26; Numbers 14:24, Numbers 14:29-31). Thus, the 40 years of wandering in judgment was not the same thing as the promised deliverance by Moses. The Children of Israel’s unbelief caused that particular generation to be guilty of rebelling against God, which led them to suffer God’s curse.
Like Moses, Jesus was also called to deliver His people from bondage. This agrees with what the Angel told Joseph concerning Jesus’ birth: “thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). Jesus echoed that same purpose when He said, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). It was only after the unbelievers of that same generation rejected the New Covenant and crucified Jesus Christ that judgment came. Like the unbelievers of Moses’ day, this generation also lived in sin for 40 years after Jesus’ death (see Matthew 23:31-39; 23:31-39; Acts 2:40). When the 70 AD judgment did come (40 years after Jesus’ 30 AD crucifixion), the unbelievers of that generation were taken away, and the believers of that generation were left behind to live in God’s promise. This is like the judgment during Noah’s flood; the unbelievers were taken away in the flood, but the believers were left behind to live as God’s people on the earth (see Matthew 24:37-42;24:37-42; Luke 17:26-27).
Again, the emphasis of Daniel’s 70th week is about the then coming Messiah fulfilling all six points of Daniel 9:24 within their prophesied timeframe. Jesus did fulfill each of these within the period of the 70th Week. This thereby confirmed that Jesus was indeed the prophesied Savior. The same generation that saw these fulfillments also rejected and killed Jesus (see Acts 2:36). This is why Peter preached that his listeners should “save themselves from ‘this’ untoward generation” (see Acts 2:40). When those men heard him say they were guilty of crucifying their Messiah, they asked Peter what they must do to make that grave sin right (see Acts 2:37). This is the only account in the New Testament where an unsaved man or woman asks about the way to “be saved.” In answer, Peter said, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38). Peter not only warned them about God’s coming judgment against their “untoward generation” (see Acts 2:14-36), but he also told them the way they and others could be saved from God’s judgment through Jesus Christ (see Acts 2:39). Three thousand believed Peter and were baptized in Jesus’ name that day (see Acts 2:41). Their obedience to God’s word not only forgave them of their sins, but, if they kept that faith, it also saved them from the 70 AD judgment that came 40 years (one biblical 40-year generation) after the completion of Daniel’s 70th Week.
Daniel foresaw these 70 Weeks during the seventy years the Jews were in Babylonian captivity (see Jeremiah 25:11). This meant that Daniel foretold of the exact time when Jesus would be born and minister sometime during 606-536 BC. How could such accuracy not be divinely inspired? Daniel wasn’t prophesying about a coming antichrist. The focus of his message was on the first prophecy in the Bible, which is the promise of mankind’s Savior (see Genesis 3:15). This promise is the same focus of the entire Bible (see John 5:39; 1 Peter 1:19-20). The incredible accuracy found in Daniel’s prophecy not only gave those of Jesus’ generation evidence that Jesus was their true Messiah, but that same accuracy still proves that Jesus is mankind’s Savior today.
Copyright © 2013 T K Burk. All Rights Reserved.