Daniel’s 70 weeks is a prophecy about the future of Jerusalem and the coming of the Messiah. There are several interpretations of this prophecy. Many believe that the last part of the 70 weeks will be accomplished near the end of time.
Daniel receives 70 week prophecy
One day Daniel read the book of Jeremiah ( Jeremiah 25:11 ) and understood that the Jews’ exile would last for 70 years, then they would rebuild Jerusalem. Then Daniel prayed to God, asking for forgiveness for the sins of his people ( Daniel 9: 2-3 ). While he was still praying, the angel Gabriel appeared and gave him an important message .
The angel said that 70 weeks were decreed to end sin and transgression, remove guilt, establish justice, fulfill all vision and prophecy and anoint the most holy ( Daniel 9:24 ). The 70 weeks would be divided into:
- 7 weeks– starting from the order to rebuild Jerusalem – Daniel 9:25
- 62 weeks– the Anointed One (who in Hebrew is Messiah) would come and be killed at the end of that time, then Jerusalem would be destroyed and there would be many wars – Daniel 9:26
- 1 week– this week the “ruler to come” will make a covenant with the Israelites but will break it in the middle of the week, end the sacrifices and place the “terrible sacrilege” in the temple – Daniel 9:27
Find out here: who is the antichrist?
What does 70 weeks mean?
No one knows for sure what the correct interpretation of this prophecy is. The Hebrew word translated “week” means “seven”, in the sense of seven periods of time, which can be days, months, years … Therefore, some people think that 70 weeks is 70×7 years (490 years).
On the other hand, the 70 weeks may have a completely different meaning. God has a different concept of time than ours ( 2 Peter 3: 8 ). There are many different calculations to explain the 70 weeks, but all use a lot of speculation and none can be confirmed.
See here: what is eschatology?
According to the information we have, we can divide the prophecy into three parts:
- Prophecies Fulfilled– Jerusalem was rebuilt when the Israelites returned from exile; Jesus, the Messiah came and was killed; Jerusalem was destroyed again in 70 AD
- Prophecies that we do not know if they have been fulfilled– we do not know who the “ruler to come” is, whether or not he has already made an alliance with Israel, or what the “terrible sacrilege” is
- Prophecies still to be fulfilled– sin is not over yet, justice has not yet been established everywhere and not every vision and prophecy has been fulfilled
See also: what is the Great Tribulation?
We may not fully understand the 70 week prophecy but we can see that God is at work. The fulfilled parts of the prophecy give us hope , because they confirm that God will end sin and establish justice. As promised, Jesus came and he will finish his restoration work. – 2 Peter 3: 14-15