A prophecy in Daniel 9 foretells of Israel’s future. We are told that Daniel understood, by reading the words of the prophet Jeremiah (Dan 9:2), that Israel’s time in Babylon was coming to an end. Jeremiah 25:11-12, and 29:10 told Daniel that Israel was to be in Babylon for 70 years. With the end of the 70 years near, Daniel cried out to God in a most beautiful prayer. He praised God, confessed the sins of his people, and petitioned God on the basis of God’s righteousness, mercy, and faithfulness. As Daniel prayed for God to hear, to forgive, and to be merciful to His people (Dan 9:19), he was interrupted by an angel;
Dan 9:20-22 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, 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. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand.
As the angel continued, he spoke of a period of 70 weeks and told Daniel that this time period would bring to completion all that which God had promised to them.
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: 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. 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.
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. 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.
So What is the Meaning of this Prophecy?
Is there a revelation in the period of 70 weeks. The word “week” in the Hebrew mind signifies the number seven. This goes back to the beginning when God created everything in six days and rested on the seventh. God set the pattern for life as a cycle of seven. The number seven indicates both completion and perfection (read: The Meaning of Numbers in the Bible). The “week” in ancient Israel meant seven in the same way that we perceive the word “dozen” to mean 12. Therefore they understood Daniel’s prophesy of “seventy weeks” (Daniel 9:24) to equal 70 sevens, or 490 years, just like we would understand 70 dozens to equal 70 x 12 or 840.
In retrospect, we know with certainty that Daniel 9:24-27 is precise in its timing of the 69 weeks (a week = 7 years) or 483 years. He tells of the time when the Messiah would be “cut off” (that’s a Hebraism for killed) and it is timed precisely to the day when Jesus presented Himself as the Lamb of God who would be sacrificed. We call that day “Palm Sunday,” the day when the Lord rode into Jerusalem on a donkey heading toward the cross.
The Sixty Nine Weeks Fulfilled
The 69 weeks of this prophecy (483 years) were fulfilled in Jesus’ first coming. But there is still one week (seven years) to be fulfilled. The entirety of this prophesy is about God dealing with His covenant people Israel. It was given to Daniel by the angel Gabriel, who is seen in Scripture as God’s messenger to His people. Gabriel spoke to Daniel in 8:15–26, 9:21–27 of the coming Messiah and, in Luke, he spoke to Zechariah and Mary with prophecies of the sons whom God would give them (Luke 1:11-38). Just as God brought forth those two promised sons, God will fulfill everything prophesied in Daniel.
A Gap in the Timeline?
There is clearly a “gap” in the timeline of this prophecy. The gap covers the time of the Church Age, which is about the Body of Christ.
The Body of Christ is distinctly different from the Nation of Israel. It is comprised of all who have trusted in Jesus, been saved by Him, and have received the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit. This time is also called the “time of the Gentiles” — another indication of its distinction from the Nation of Israel. During the Church Age, believers are in covenant with God through the New Covenant established in Christ. They are not under the Old Covenant that God made the Nation of Israel. And yet we must remember that there are covenantal promises that God made with the Nation of Israel that are yet to be fulfilled. God is faithful and He will fulfill them, beginning with the Seventieth Week of Daniel.
The Seventieth Week
Jesus will be the One who will usher in the Seventieth Week of Daniel by opening the seal judgments told about in Revelation 6. Although the severity of wrath will increase and culminate in what is called the Great Tribulation (the last 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation), the judgment and wrath of God will begin to be poured out when the Seventieth Week of Daniel commences.
Only Jesus is worthy to open the seals (Revelation 5:2-5). Only Jesus determines when this period of judgment and wrath begins. Understanding this explains why a pre-wrath view (suggesting a mid-Trib or slightly later Rapture), is not widely held. The entire seven-year will be God’s fulfillment of the prophecy given to Daniel. It will be judgment on the Nation of Israel with God’s purpose being to bring to Himself a remnant of people (believing Israel) and fulfilling His covenant promises to them. It is not judgment upon the Church, which is the Bride of Christ.
Daniel prophecied of a time that is yet to come. The 69 weeks were about Israel and the 70th will be also. The Church is an interval between the two time periods and Jesus will come for the Church, His Bride, and take us to be with Himself as judgment is poured out on the earth.
What is the Rapture and is it biblical?
Why a Pre-Trib Rapture?
Will the Rapture Occur at Pentecost (Shavuot)?
Does a Wedding Ceremony Have Prophetic Typology of the Rapture?
When the Church is Raptured, Will Animals be Left Behind?
Why Do We Believe in a Pre-Trib Rapture?
What is the Seventieth Week of Daniel?
Does 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 Suggest a Mid-Trib Rapture?
Verses about The Rapture: 1 Corinthians 15:52, 1 Thessalonians 1:10, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-15, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-5, 1 Thessalonians 5:9, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2, Titus 2:13, Revelation 3:10
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