What is the 70 week prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27?
One of the most important ways to prove the Bible is true and that He can predict the future is to note His claim as follows: “I [am] God, and [there is] none else; [I am] God, and [there is] none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times [the things] that are not [yet] done.“ Isa.46:9,10. So we need to look at one of His prophecies.
Two texts with potent meanings are: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” Mark 1:15 and “when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law” Gal.4:4.
In view of the above two texts a major question is are there any significant time periods mentioned in the Bible? The answer is yes. It is important to know in both Daniel and Revelation there is much symbolism and some of it relates to time. The following two paragraphs describe a symbolic time which is the one alluded to in Mark 1:15 and Galatians 4:4
Seventy Weeks are Determined
Daniel 9: 24-27 states, “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, 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. Know therefore and understand, [that] from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince [shall be] seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof [shall be] with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.
Day for a Year
In order to understand this prophecy one must recognize the day for a year principle. Critical to this understanding are these to two texts: “After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, [even] forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, [even] forty years” Numbers 14:34 and “I have appointed thee each day for a year.” Ezekiel 4:6.
Bible scholars beginning with Jewish scholars as early as 132 AD down through many other students of the scriptures including Martin Luther and Sir Isaac Newton, one of the greatest names in the history of human thought, clear down to our time have recognized this concept of interpretation of Bible prophecies.
Events at the end of the French Revolution helped Bible scholars realize the prophecy of Daniel 9: 24-27 had been precisely fulfilled. There were four decrees given in regards to rebuilding Jerusalem. The first was by Cyrus, the king of Persia, in 538 B.C. The second was by Darius 1 Hystapes of Persia about 519 B.C., basically confirming Cyrus’ decree. The third was by Artaxerxes king of Persia in 457 B.C. in his 7th year and the fourth was also by Artaxerxes in his 20th year.
The first two decrees only authorized the rebuilding of the temple. The third decree was the most comprehensive and authorized the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem. This decree also authorized the appointed of magistrates, judges, and reestablished Jewish laws as the base of government and gave the Jewish nation more sovereignty. The fourth decree given to Nehemiah in Artaxerxes 20th year helped to fulfill the decree given to Ezra in 457 B.C. The third decree with its comprehensive nature, including the allowance of full autonomy to the Jews, the reestablishment of Jewish laws and sovereignty, is the only decree that fits exactly into the prophecy of Daniel 9.
The dates for the decrees of Artaxerxes are well known and historically secure by four lines of evidence. (1) Greek historians, (2) Ptolemy’s Canon, (3) The Babylonian business tablets, and (4) The Elephantine papyri from Egypt.
Cause the Sacrifice or Oblation to Cease
Historical evidence is clear. Jesus began His ministry in 27 AD and was crucified 3 ½ years later in 31 AD thus fulfilling the statement “in the midst of the week He shall cause the oblation and sacrifice to cease.” For centuries the Jews had slain the Passover lamb on Nisan 14, a Friday at 3 pm. Jesus was crucified on the Passover Friday and died at 3 pm.
John the Baptist had declared in John 1:39 “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” When that Lamb was slain there was no longer a need for sacrifices and oblations.
It no doubt would be of interest to some that Jews For Jesus, also known as Messianic Jews, printed a book telling how a number of Jews came to believe in Jesus as the Messiah. Four of those folks described how the prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27 played an important role in convincing them that Jesus was the Messiah. He became the Lord of their lives.
This prophecy was written about 538 BC. Some may wonder about how we can be so sure of that date. We can for three reasons. The first is due to the writings of ancient historians. The second is archeological findings. And the third is the Dead Sea Scrolls.
What a wonderful God we serve. Among the many prophecies He gave about the Messiah He gave one that specified the exact time of Jesus’ ministry and crucifixion. What tremendous evidence He has given of His foreknowledge and of the inspiration of the scriptures
Donald E.Casebolt, MD