Daniel 9 foretells a seven-year period in Israel’s future that is commonly called the Seventieth Week of Daniel. The chapter begins by telling of Daniel’s understanding that Israel’s time of captivity in Babylon was coming to an end (Dan 9:2). As Daniel prayed, he confessed his sins and those of the nation. Israel had not been faithful to their God, but Daniel knew that their God is forever faithful. Therefore, Daniel asked God to hear, forgive, and be merciful to His people (Dan 9:19). And as Daniel prayed, he was interrupted by the angel Gabriel:
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 speaking, he prophesied of a far-future time that would include the arrival of the promised Messiah. He told that it would happen after 69 weeks and would be followed by a final seventieth week.
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.
The Meaning of the Prophecy
First, understand that the word “week” in the Hebrew mind signifies the number “seven.” This goes back to the creation week when God created everything in six days and rested on the seventh. God set the pattern for life as a cycle of seven. To the ancient Israelites, a “week” meant 7 in the same way that we understand “dozen” to mean 12. Therefore, the prophesy of “seventy weeks,” in Daniel 9:24, means “70 sevens.” This was the amount of time (years) determined to complete God’s work of redemption of Israe:
Dan 9:24 Seventy weeks [seventy sevens] are determined upon thy people [Israel] and upon thy holy city [Jerusalem], 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.
Now, keep in mind that 70×7 = 490 years. The angel Gabriel was telling Daniel it would be 490 years until God’s righteous kingdom would be set up.
Sixty-Nine Weeks [sevens] Fulfilled
Sixty-nine weeks (69×7=483 years) of this 70-week prophecy were fulfilled in Jesus’ first coming when He was “cut off” (a Hebraism for “killed”), “but not for Himself” (for us – a substitutionary atonement). The 483-year time period (69 weeks) was precisely fulfilled on the day when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey heading toward the cross. That is the day we call Palm Sunday.
The prophecy began with the decree of Artaxerxes:
Dan 9:25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and to build Jerusalem [Ezra 7:11-26, 9:9) untill Messiah the Prince There shall be seven weeks [7-sevens = 49 years] and sixty-two weeks [62 sevens = 434 years]; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times.
Dan 9:26 And after the sixty-two weeks [the 62 weeks in their land, which is after the 7 weeks of rebuilding] Messiah [Jesus] shall be cut off, but not for Himself…
The Seventieth Week
In verse 26, the words of Gabriel shift dramatically. He began to speak of “the prince who is to come” during the Seventieth Week of Daniel, which is the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jeremiah 30:7), also known as the seven-year Tribulation.
Dan 9:26-27 And after the sixty-two weeks [69 weeks] Messiah [Jesus] 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 [one seven = seven years]; But in the middle of the week [3 1/2 years] 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.
The prince Gabriel spoke of is the Antichrist, the one-world leader, who will confirm a seven-year covenant. This seven-year period is the 70th week of Daniel. It is the tribulation of the Jews that God will use to call a believing remnant to Himself. It is the end times about which the book of Revelation prophesies.
This chart shows the first 69 weeks (483 years), beginning with the decree of Artaxerxes and fulfilled on Palm Sunday. Then a gap, followed by the last 70th week, the final 7-year period yet to come.
The entirety of this prophesy is about God dealing with His covenant people Israel.
A Gap in the Timeline?
The gap, shown in the chart, covers the time of the Church Age, the Body of Christ, which began after the cross and will end with the Rapture. The Body of Christ is distinctly different from the Nation of Israel. It is comprised of all who have trusted in Jesus, have been saved by Him, and have received the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The Church Age is also called the “time of the Gentiles” — another indication of its distinction from the Nation of Israel.
During the Church Age, Christians are in a covenantal relationship with God through the New Covenant established in Christ. Christians are not under the Old Covenant that God made the Nation of Israel. Yet we know there remain to be fulfilled prophecies and covenantal promises that God gave to Israel.
The Seventieth Week
God is faithful, and He will fulfill all of the prophecies and all of His promises that He made to the nation of Israel — beginning with the Seventieth Week of Daniel. Jesus will usher in this time period by opening the seal judgments in Revelation 6. Only Jesus is worthy to open the seals. He alone will determine when this period of judgment and wrath will begin.
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, Matt 24:21), the judgment and wrath of God will begin to be poured out when Jesus opens the seals. This explains why a pre-wrath view of Rapture (suggesting the Church will be raptured after the first 3 1/2 years), is not biblical. (Read: Why a Pre-Trib Rapture?)
The Church, the Body of Christ, is not appointed to wrath (1 Thess 5:9). The entire seven-year period will be God’s fulfillment of the prophecy given to Daniel and His judgment on the Nation of Israel — all with the purpose of God’s bringing a remnant of people (believing Israel) to Himself. Then He will begin fulfilling His covenant promises to Israel by ushering in the Millennial Kingdom of righteousness with King Jesus ruling over all the earth. (Read: What are the Four Views of the End Times? A Pre, Post, and Amillennial Chart)
Hosea 5:15 I will return again to My place Till they acknowledge their offense. Then they will seek My face; In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.”
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
Read also: What are the Four Views of the End Times? A Pre, Post, and Amillennial Chart
Articles about the Book of Daniel
What About the Beasts of Daniel 7? — A Different Perspective
What is the Metal Man Statue of Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream in Daniel 2?
Daniel and His Friends in the Hall of Faith (Hebrews 11)
What is the Seventieth Week of Daniel?
Daniel Overview and Outline
But If Not …the Faith of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Daniel 3)
Might the United States be in Prophecy? Great Britain and Russia? (Daniel 7)
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