DISPENSATIONAL THEOLOGY OF RUSSELL EARL KELLY, PHD
15. PROPHECY: DANIEL 9:: THE 70 WEEKS
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DANIEL 9: 70 WEEK PROPHECY

by Russell Earl Kelly, PHD

www.tithing-russkelly.com/theology

August 6, 2008

 

PERSIAN KINGS:

 

539-538 BC: Persia conquered Babylon;

Cyrus the Great and Astyages the Mede co-regents

539-530: Cyrus defeated Astyages

538: Darius the Mede ruled Babylon for Cyrus; Dan 5:31; 9:1-2; son of Ahasuerus

537: Cyrus’ decree for return; Ezra 1:1-4

536: first captives return; end of 70 years

530-522; Cambyses II

522-486: Darius I the Great

515: 2nd temple completed; Ezra 6:14

485-465: Xerxes; book of Esther

464-423: Artaxerxes; Ezra and Nehemiah

457: decree gives money for sacrifices; Ezra 7

445: decree to rebuild walls; Neh 2

423-404: Darius II; Neh 12:22 and Malachi

404-331: Artaxerxes II, Artaxerxes III, Arses, Darius III

 

Dan 8:27 … I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.

 

The only part of the vision from Daniel 8 which had not been explained concerned the time of 8:13-14 concerning when the desolated sanctuary would be restored.

 

Dan 9:1        [538 BC; Darius the Mede]

Dan 9:2 … the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.

 

Daniel is trying to fill in the details of the visions of chapter 2, 7 and 8. He thought that the time period of the vision in 8:13-14 might somehow relate to the 70 year prophecy of Jeremiah 25:11-12.

 

Dan 9:11 … transgressed thy law …therefore the curse is poured upon us

 

Daniel understood that the 70 years of Babylonian captivity had been God’s curse on national Israel for disobeying his Laws in Deuteronomy 28 and 29.

 

Dan 9:18 … we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies.

 

Daniel approached God to ask for His mercy by faith alone because Israel had no righteousness of its own to merit restoration.

 

Dan 9:19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.

 

Daniel asked God to restore national Israel because (1) Israel’s reproach for its sin was making Israel’s God look bad and (2) God had made unconditional promises that his mercy would not be withheld forever towards his favored nation.

 

Dan 9:23 … understand the matter, and consider the vision.

 

Daniel’s guess that the visions concerned the 70 years of Babylonian captivity was wrong. The vision concerned a two-fold or a three-fold fulfillment of future desolations would be progressively worse and which would end in the consummation of all things.

 

Dan 9:24a Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people [national Israel] and upon thy holy city:

 

The Hebrew “seventy sevens” does not fit if translated as 70 days, 70 weeks or even 70 years. Scholars generally agree that it means “70 weeks of years” --- “490 years.”

 

The entire “490” period clearly must be interpreted as a time period which refers only to “thy people,” national Israel and “the holy city,” Jerusalem.

 

Dan 9:24b

A. to finish the transgression

B. to make an end of sins

C. to make reconciliation for iniquity

D. to bring in everlasting righteousness

E. to seal up the vision and prophecy, F. to anoint the most Holy.

 

Six things will be accomplished within the period of the “490” and will end when the “490” period ends. The explanation of these six events depends on one’s basic hermeneutics, or principles of interpretation.

 

Most churches came into existence and formed their eschatology (theology of last day events) between AD 135 and 1948 when there was no such nation as Israel. Literal hermeneutics had long been replaced with “spiritualization” and allegorical hermeneutics. The church was almost universally called “spiritual Israel” and the unconditional promises previously made only to national Israel had been re-interpreted as being fulfilled by the church. They interpreted the 490 prophetic “years” as God’s last chance effort to redeem Israel as a nation. God permanently abandoned that nation shortly after Calvary.

 

Beginning in the mid 1800s even before the rise of early Zionism a few theologians revived the literal principle of prophetic interpretation. They were scorned and ostracized but persisted in their bold predictions that Israel would again be restored as a nation which God would again favor in the last days.  Prominent among these were Darby, Kelly, Larkin, Scofield and Chafer. These taught that only the 69th week ended during the time of Christ. When Israel ceased to exist as a nation the fulfillment of the 70th week was of necessity put on hold during the Church Age. The 70th week will be fulfilled during a period of tribulation and Great Tribulation before the second coming of Christ in glory in Revelation chapter 19.

 

Dan 9:25a  from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem

 

The 490-year prophetic time period was to begin when a king’s commandment was issued which allowed Israel to “restore and build Jerusalem.”

 

There are three notable decrees to consider in order to determine which best fits the prophecy. In 538 BC Cyrus issued a decree which allowed the Jews to return from Babylon (Ezra 1:1-4). In 457 Artaxerxes issued a decree which provided funds for Temple sacrifices and equipment (Ezra 7). And in 444 Artaxerxes issued a decree which enabled Nehemiah to rebuild the wall and gates in Jerusalem.

 

Nehemiah 2:8 And a letter unto Asaph the keeper of the king's forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the palace which appertained to the house, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall enter into. And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me.

 

While the decrees of Ezra focus on the Temple and its supplies, the decree in Nehemiah 2 is the only one which mentions rebuilding the wall in fulfillment of Daniel 9:25a.

 

Dan 9:25b … unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks [7 weeks of years], and threescore and two weeks [62 weeks of years] [total 69 weeks of years=483 years]: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

 

The prophecy states that 69 (7 + 62) weeks of prophetic years (69 x 7 = 483 years) would reach to the time of Messiah. Using the decree of Nehemiah 2 to start at 445-444 B C and subtracting it from 483 yields AD 38-39 (when one year is added to allow for no year “0.”

Although this should be close enough to prove that God’s hand was in the prophecy, the prophecy can be even more precise.

 

In 1894 Sir Robert Anderson wrote The Coming Prince. He argued that the Hebrews used a calendar of 360 days with twelve 30 day months. He then multiplied 483 years times 360 days to conclude that there was 173,880 days involved. Sir Robert was on the right track but he would have reached the same conclusion from studying ancient calendar calculations.

 

The Jews were forced to add extra days to their calendar in order to keep the Passover lined up with the third full moon of the new year and springtime in the third month. Because of the lunar cycle they alternated 29 and 30 day months. They also added an extra month 4 times every 11 years and later 7 times every 19 years. This would give them 365 days year. Other surrounding nations made very similar adjustments.

 

The extra 5 days per literal year would move AD 38-39 back to the correct years of AD 31-32 which are historically accurate (173, 880 divided by 365.25 times = 476 years) (476 minus 445-444 BC = AD 31-32).

 

There is always at least a one year gap in Bible chronology due to the inconsistent methods of dating time from accession years and actual reign years of kings. Most theologians date Christ’s death at either AD 30 or AD 33 with a one year margin.

 

Mark 1:14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,

Mark 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

 

Gal 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law.

 

The Jews were expecting that the prophecy of the Messiah would soon be fulfilled in the first century. It is probable that Daniel’s 70-week prophecy was in view.

 

Dan 9:26a And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself…

 

The prophecy says that Messiah will be “cut off” “after” the 69 weeks had been fulfilled (7 + 62). It does not say how long afterwards and it does not say that the 70th week involved the Messiah being cut off in the middle of the 70th week as many teach.

 

Matt 23:38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.

Matt 23:39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

 

Although it is most likely that the cutting off occurred at Calvary when the veil of the Temple was ripped, it is also possible that the cutting off occurred when Jesus pronounced desolation upon Israel.

 

Dan 9:26b … 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.

 

Almost everybody agrees that 9:26b refers to pagan Rome, Titus Vespacian and  the destruction of the Jerusalem and the Temple in AD 70.

 

***The sequence of events is extremely important. The literal biblical order is (1) the 69th week ends between AD 30-33, (2) Messiah is cut off between AD 30-33, (3) Jerusalem and the temple are destroyed in AD 70 and (4) the 70th week begins and ends after AD 70.

 

Those who teach that the 70 weeks were Israel’s last chance to accept its Messiah end the entire 70-week period with the events immediately surrounding Calvary between AD 30-34. They then teach that 9:26b is an out-of-sequence parenthetical description of the events of AD 70. They then teach that national Israel is henceforth completely out of the scope of biblical prophecy and the Church has replaced it as “spiritual” Israel.

 

The interpretation that the Church has replaced national Israel is wrong for many reasons: (1) Scores of God’s unconditional promises to Israel as a nation have not been fulfilled. (2) There are too many differences between national Israel and the Church to blend them into one. (3) The prophecies of Daniel 2 and 7 concerned nations which affected Israel and there are no grounds for a change to a spiritual nation. And (4) Daniel 9:24 does not allow for a change from national Israel to the Church.

 

Dan 2:44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.

 

There is an essential gap between Daniel 2:40 and 2:41-45 caused when Israel ceased to be a nation on earth.  The teaching that Daniel 2:44-45 refers to the Church cannot possible be correct because the Church began when pagan Rome was at its peak of power from Daniel 2:40. It did not begin when the kingdom was weak and divided.

 

Dan 7:23 Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.

… gap …

Dan 7:24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.

 

There is also an essential gap between Daniel 7:23 and 7:24 caused when Israel ceased to be a nation.  On the one hand Daniel 7:23 ends with pagan Roman at its very peak of power under one emperor and, on the other hand, Daniel 7:24 describes a much later time after the powerful power had been divided into ten kings of varying authority.

 

Dan 9:26a And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself …

… gap …

Dan 9:26b … 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.

 

Daniel 9:26a and 9:26b have the same gap as 2:40-41 and 7:23-24 caused when Israel ceased to be a nation. This gap is denied by many when they force the text to agree with their interpretation by making 9:26b out-of-sequence and parenthetical. However, if the literal translation is followed and if 9:26b is in its correct sequence of AD 70, then the 70th week must be after AD 70. The unfulfilled portions of Daniel 2:41-45; 7:24-27 and 9:26-27 must be fulfilled only after Israel again becomes a nation in the last days after 1948.

 

Dan 9:26b … 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.

….blend….

Dan 9:27a And he shall confirm [the] covenant with many for one week:

 

Matt 24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand).

 

The book of Daniel often gives a multi-dimensional aspect to its prophecies having more than one fulfillment.  Chapters two and seven jump from the days of pagan Rome to the last days when God will establish his kingdom on earth through national Israel. Pagan Rome dissolves into ten kingdoms which will be involved in last day events. Although chapter 8 is clearly is discussion of the Syrian King Antiochus IV Epiphanes from BC 170-165, its final verses (8:23-26) merge the king into a type of the antichrist of the last days which Jesus himself confirmed in Matthew 24:15.

 

Rev 13:2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. [Daniel 7]

Rev 13:3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.

 

Daniel 9:26b and 9:27a also merge types. The pagan Roman general who destroyed Rome in AD 70 is both an anti-type of Antiochus IV and a type of the future last-day antichrist of the 7 year tribulation period in Revelation.

 

“The” covenant (KJV) is actually only “a” covenant (NKJ, NAS, RSV, NIV) and does not refer to the Old Covenant. The nearest grammatical antecedent to the pronoun “he” in 9:27 is the “prince” in 9:26 who is clearly the pagan Roman leader who destroyed Rome in AD 70.

 

Jesus placed the “abomination of desolation” from Daniel 8 and 9 in the future and applied it to a future antichrist.  Since a future covenant between antichrist and Israel depends on the very existence of Israel, then the fulfillment of Daniel 9:27 can only occur after AD 1948. Therefore a future persecuting power in the final-type of both pagan Roman of Matthew 24 (AD 70) and the little horn of Daniel 8 (BC 170) will enter into a covenant with Israel for seven years. The details of this antichrist are found in Matthew 24, Luke 21, 2 Thessalonians 2 and Revelation 11-18.

 

Dan 9:27b … and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

 

The book of Revelation is divided into the same two sets of time periods described in Daniel – the 3 times, 42 months, or 1260 days. These correspond to the 70th week being cut in half by the covenant made with Israel by the antichrist beast.  Compare Daniel 7:25; 9:27; 12:6, 7; Rev 11:1-3; 12:6, 14; 13:5.

 

Antichrist rules as God inside the rebuilt Temple during the first half of the 7-year covenant with Israel. During the last half of the 7-year period great tribulation falls upon the earth. The second coming of Christ in glory will end the 70th week in Revelation 19 and begin the millennial reign of Messiah on earth in fulfillment of the many unconditional prophecies of the Old Testament.



HISTORICIST VIEW:

 

1.  The Church begins after the 70th week ends about AD 31.

 

2.  The 70th week ended God’s promises to national Israel about AD 31,

 

3.  Daniel’s prophecies include the Church.

 

4. The 70th week in Daniel 9:27 is out of sequence and occurs before the AD 70 destruction of Jerusalem in 9:26b.

 

5.  There is no time gap between the 69th and 70th week. Prophetic Israel ended; the Church began.

 

6. The 2000 year gap in a single prophecy is unbiblical.

 

7. The rebirth of national Israel in 1948 has no importance.

 

8. “He” of 9:27 refers to “Messiah” in 9:26.

 

9. The 70th week refers to national Israel’s last chance.

 

10. The “covenant” refers to the Old Covenant. Christ confirmed the Old Covenant, not the New.

 

11. The “middle of the week” refers to the crucifixion of Christ 3 years into His ministry

 

12. The last 3 years of the 70th week refers to the pause before God turned from Israel to the Church as spiritual Israel.

 

FUTURIST VIEW:

 

1.  The Church begins before the 70th week begins.

 

2. The 70th week will fulfill national Israel’s unconditional promises in the future.

 

3. The saints in Daniel are only Israelites

 

4. The 70th week of 9:27 is in sequence and literally follows the AD 70 destruction of the temple in 9:26b.

 

5. There is a time gap between the 69th and 70th week caused by national Israel disappearing.

 

6. The 2000 year “gap” began when Israel ceased to be a nation.

 

7. The rebirth of Israel in 1948 was essential before unconditional prophecies can be fulfilled.

 

8. “He” of 9:27 refers to “prince” in 9:26.

 

9. The 70th week ends with Israel’s Messiah being anointed.

 

10. The 70th week refers to a future covenant between antichrist and national Israel.

 

11. The “middle of the week” is when antichrist will break his 7-year covenant with national Israel.

 

12. The last 3 years of the 70th week of 9:27 refers to the Great Tribulation period in Revelation.

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