The 70 Weeks Prophecy (Dan 9:24-27)
I was asked today when the 70th week of Daniel's prophecy took place. I have briefly covered the 70 weeks prophecy in sermons before, but I have not yet preached a thorough sermon series on the topic, so hopefully this blog will fill the void until that time. The 70th week of Daniel's prophecy (Dan 9:24-27) began when Christ was baptized and entered into His public ministry, and it officially ended seven years later.
Before we get into interpreting Daniel's 70 weeks prophecy, it's important to understand that the "weeks" in the prophecy are weeks of years -- in other words, each week equates to seven years (Lev 25:8). This day-for-a-year formula is elsewhere used in scripture (Num 14:34; Eze 4:6).
The first step in determining the timing of the fulfillment of the 70th week is understanding that the prophecy consists of three segments: 1) the first seven weeks - 49 years - (Dan 9:25); 2) the next 62 weeks - 434 years - (Dan 9:25), and 3) the last week - 7 years - (Dan 9:27). The first seven weeks was the time it took to rebuild the city and the temple which happened during "troublous times" (Dan 9:25) -- see the book of Nehemiah for a description of the troublous times the Jews had while rebuilding. The next 62 weeks was the second period in Israel's national existence after they returned from Babylon and rebuilt Jerusalem. It was 69 (7+62) weeks (483 years) from the time the commandment was given by King Cyrus to rebuild Jerusalem (Ezr 1:1-2) "unto the Messiah the Prince" (Dan 9:25). "Messiah" means "Christ" (Joh 1:41) which means "God's anointed" (Act 4:26 c/w Psa 2:2). Jesus was anointed with the Holy Ghost at His baptism (Mat 3:16 c/w Act 10:37-38). Therefore, the 70th week began at Christ's baptism.
There were six things that were prophesied to happen within the seventy weeks (Dan 9:24). Christ fulfilled them all during the 3.5 years of His public ministry which culminated in His death. Let's see how they were each fulfilled during Christ's ministry.
1) Finish the transgression (Dan 9:24). - Israel's transgression against God and His prophets would finish and culminate with the crucifixion of their Messiah (Mat 23:29-36).
2) Make an end of sins (Dan 9:24). - Christ made an end of sins when He died on the cross for the sins of His elect (Heb 9:26; Heb 10:12).
3) Make reconciliation for iniquity (Dan 9:24). - Christ reconciled the elect to God by His death (2Co 5:18-19).
4) Bring in everlasting righteousness (Dan 9:24). - Christ gave eternal life and righteousness to His elect when He died for them (2Co 5:21; Rom 5:19; Rom 6:23; Heb 10:14).
5) Seal up the vision and prophecy (Dan 9:24). - Christ wrote the New Testament (covenant) in His blood (Heb 9:15-17; Heb 13:20) and inspired the apostles to write it down (Joh 14:26; Heb 2:3). After the writing of the NT, there was no more prophecy (1Co 13:8-10).
6) Anoint the most holy (Dan 9:24). - Christ, the most holy, was anointed at His baptism (see above).
Making an end of sins, making reconciliation for iniquity, and bringing in everlasting righteousness all happened when Christ died on the cross and rose again. Messiah would be cut off (crucified) after the second period of 62 weeks (Dan 9:26). Therefore, Christ was crucified during the last week, the 70th week. Christ confirmed the new covenant with His elect during the 70th week, and then He was cut off in the midst of that week (after 3.5 years) at which time the sacrifices for sin ceased to be offered (Dan 9:27) because Christ was the final and only effectual sacrifice for sin (Heb 10:11-12).
The official end of the 70 weeks happened 3.5 years after the death and resurrection of Christ. At that time, God was officially done with the people of Israel and the city of Jerusalem (the holy city) (Dan 9:24). Jesus identified the abomination of desolation (Dan 9:27) as the Roman armies surrounding and invading Jerusalem in 70AD (Mat 24:15 c/w Luk 21:20). The destruction of Jerusalem happened about 40 years after the death of Christ. Whereas the official end of the Jewish nation happened at the end of the 70th week (3.5 years after Christ's death), the experiential end of the Jewish nation happened about 40 years later in 70AD when the Roman armies destroyed Jerusalem. It seems that God in mercy gave the nation an additional 40 years to repent before He destroyed them.
Lord willing, I will expound upon this most fascinating and important prophecy of the coming of Christ and the end of the Jewish nation someday in a sermon series. It shouldn't take more than a "week" or so to get to it.