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Keys to Understanding the 70 Weeks of Daniel

Adapted from Mark Hitchcock:

Daniel 9 (NKJV)

1 In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the lineage of the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans—  2 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 the desolations of Jerusalem.

  • Daniel knew from Jeremiah that this 70 year period is almost done

3 Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.  4 And I prayed to the Lord my God, and made confession, and said, “O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments, 5 we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments.

  • God didn’t abandoned Israel when they abandoned Him – no “replacement”
  • Daniel still prayed even though God already said what He was going to do
  • Daniel prayed according to God’s will; we know His will by His Word
  • “God do what you said you would do…”

19 O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name.”  20 Now while I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God, 21 yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering. 22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand. 23 At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision:

  • Right when Daniel began to pray, God dispatched Gabriel
  • Daniel will be given the greatest view of the future ever given to man

Scope : 70 Weeks – “Seventy sevens”

Dan 9:24 “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.

  • Heptads – groups of sevens… 70 sets of 7
  • Weeks, months, days years? Daniel is already thinking in “years” (70  years of captivity

Jeremiah 25:11 (NKJV) 11 And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.

Jeremiah 29:10–11 (NKJV) 10 For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

  • V. 11 – be careful taking verses from OT and applying to us today; this was to Israel

2 Chronicles 36:20–21 And those who escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon, where they became servants to him and his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia, 21 to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths. As long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years.

  • In Judaism, till the ground  except 7th day Sabbath, 7th year Sabbath year, no planting
  • They had to trust God that He would give them enough to not plant the 7th year
  • Israel disobeyed and robbed God of that year, and disobeyed
  • They stole 70 of those years from God, so God sent them into exile for 70 years to get His time back
    • 70 stolen years, once every seven years = 490 years
  • God will get what is His one way or the other (we give it, or He takes it)
  • Now God is telling Daniel what the NEXT 490 years are going to hold
  • So we know “seventy sevens” in Daniel is YEARS
    • 490 years
    • 7 years x 70
    • 360 day Jewish calendar

Dan 9:24 “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.

  • The 490 years have to do with the Jewish people and the city of Jerusalem, not the church. The archangel Gabriel told Daniel this time period is “for your people [Israel] and your holy city [Jerusalem]” (9:24).

Daniel 9:24 tells us the purpose of these 490 years is to accomplish six divine goals. The first three have to do with man’s sin, and the last three have to do with God’s righteousness.

  1. “to finish THE transgression”  (definite article)
    1. Israel’s rejection of God culminating in killing Jesus
    1. To “finish the transgression” implies a national conversion of Israel
  2. “to make an end of sin”
    1. Israel’s return to God and the Messiah
  3. “to make atonement for iniquity”
  4. “to bring in everlasting righteousness”
    1. Amill: how has this been fulfilled? (they say the first three points above have been fulfilled in Christ’s first visit; how about the last three?)
  5. “to seal up vision and prophecy”
    1. Amill: how is this fulfilled?
    1. Rev 16:17 “It is finished”
  6. “to anoint the most holy place”
    1. Amil: how is this fulfilled? What place on earth is the “most holy place”?

Christ’s death on the cross at His first coming made provision for sin, but Israel’s application of this sacrifice will not be realized until the people repent at the end of the 70 weeks.

First 69 Weeks

Dan 9:25 “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.

This passage breaks up those 70 weeks into seven weeks and then sixty-two weeks for a total of 69 weeks.

  • Since verse 25 calls out two groups of time as “seven weeks,” and then “sixty-two weeks” we understand them to cover a period of 49 years and 434 years.
  • Since the command to build and restore Jerusalem came in 444 B.C., the 49 years end in 395 B.C. which corresponds to the time that the last of the Old Testament books was written. It also corresponds to the end of the ministries of Ezra and Nehemiah.
  • The remaining 434 years when added to the 49 years equals 483 years, which take us to the last week in which Jesus died. This prophecy is primarily about the death of the Messiah and the future seven years of tribulation.

The divine prophetic clock for the 70 weeks or 490-year period began ticking on March 5, 444 B.C. when the Persian king Artaxerxes issued a decree allowing the Jews to return, under Nehemiah’s leadership, to rebuild the city of Jerusalem .

Nehemiah 2:1–8 (NKJV)  1 And it came to pass in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, that I took the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had never been sad in his presence before. 2 Therefore the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This is nothing but sorrow of heart.” So I became dreadfully afraid, 3 and said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ tombs, lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire?” 4 Then the king said to me, “What do you request?” So I prayed to the God of heaven. 5 And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it.”  6 Then the king said to me (the queen also sitting beside him), “How long will your journey be? And when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time. 7 Furthermore I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, let letters be given to me for the governors of the region beyond the River, that they must permit me to pass through till I come to Judah, 8 and a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, that he must give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel which pertains to the temple, for the city wall, and for the house that I will occupy.” And the king granted them to me according to the good hand of my God upon me.

  • From the time the countdown began until the coming of Messiah will be 69 sets of seven, or 483 years.
  • This exact period of time, which is 173,880 days, is the precise number of days that elapsed from March 5, 444 B.C. until March 30, A.D. 33, the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem for His triumphal entry (Luke 19:27-44). 

Luke 19:27–44  But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.’ ” 28 When He had said this, He went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 And it came to pass, when He drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mountain called Olivet, that He sent two of His disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here. 31 And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you loosing it?’ thus you shall say to him, ‘Because the Lord has need of it.’ ” 32 So those who were sent went their way and found it just as He had said to them. 33 But as they were loosing the colt, the owners of it said to them, “Why are you loosing the colt?” 34 And they said, “The Lord has need of him.” 35 Then they brought him to Jesus. And they threw their own clothes on the colt, and they set Jesus on him. 36 And as He went, many spread their clothes on the road. 37 Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, 38 saying: “ ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the LORD!’ Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.” 40 But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.” 41 Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, 44 and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

  • “You don’t even know your own Scripture! You’ve been waiting 173,880 days FOR TODAY and you just missed it!”
  • 69 Weeks is done… now there is a pause/timeout/gap/interlude for the Church

Interval – Church Age

Dan 9:26 “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.

  • When Israel rejected Jesus Christ as her Messiah, God temporarily suspended His plan for Israel.
  • There is a gap, therefore, or parenthesis of unspecified duration, between the sixty-ninth and seventieth sets of seven.

Is there really a GAP/Interlude here?

  • Amills say PreTribs just insert this here to fit their ideas…
  • But.. there are already gaps: 
    • 69 weeks ends in 33 AD with Jesus triumphal entry
    • It’s a few months until “Messiah is cut off”
    • It’s 40 years until Jerusalem is destroyed
  • The Interlude is a necessity because there is no way you can fit Daniel 9:27 into anything historical (though they try)
    • Analogy Football: timeouts, quarters, half time (pauses, clock stops)

70th Week – AntiChrists Treaty & Final 7 Seven

Dan 9:27 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.”

  • Pretrib rapture argument: Church was not presenting in the 1st 69 weeks, why would they be present in the 70th?


  • God’s prophetic clock for Israel will begin to run again after the church has been raptured to heaven.
  • That’s when the Antichrist will come onto the scene and make a seven-year covenant or treaty with Israel (9:27).
  • Who is “He”? Amills say Jesus. But who is the subject in the previous verse? When did Jesus destroy Jerusalem? Jesus was cut off… how is He now making covenants? Why would Jesus be making covenants with the Jews?  Doesn’t make sense
    • Did Jesus rise from the dead, make a covenant with Israel, the break the covenant and end sacrifices then go back to Heaven? If “he” is Jesus, then what’s all the desolation business about?

In order for the “prince who is to come” to make a Covenant with Israel, what has to exist? ISRAEL!

  • Israel did not exist for 1900 years…
  • When Daniel wrote this, Israel was in exile, the land was desolate
  • When John the Revelator wrote, Israel was desolate
  • Israel has been exiled for almost 2000  years for rejecting Jesus, and while God builds His church
  • Israel’s existence today is a miracle of sovereignty beyond dispute


Dan 9:27 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.”

  • 1 week = 7 years
  • To STOP the sacrifice you have to have what? A temple!
    • So there would have been time for the Temple to be rebuilt and sacrifice reinstituted
  • In one of the great double-crosses of all time, the Antichrist will break or terminate the covenant with Israel at its midpoint (after three-and-a-half years) and set up an abominable, sacrilegious image of himself in the rebuilt temple of God in Jerusalem
  • Matthew 24:21 (NKJV)  For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.
  • Revelation 13:14–15 (NKJV)  And he deceives those who dwell on the earth—by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. 15 He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.


At the end of the seventieth set of seven years, God will slay the Antichrist (Daniel 9:27). This will mark the end of the 70 sets of seven and the beginning of the 1000-year reign of Christ.

* * * * * * * * *

God’s answer to Daniel’s prayer in Daniel 9:24-27 went far beyond the restoration of the people of Israel from Babylon. His answer looked into the future, all the way to Israel’s ultimate and final restoration under Messiah. If the first 69 weeks and the “gap” have happened exactly as God said, then the 70th week is a sure deal as well.

Daniels 70th Week is the most comprehensive and remarkable prophecy in all Scripture. It is a key to understanding Revelation and prophecy in general.