A STUDY OF DANIEL’S PROPHESIED SEVENTEITH WEEK
By Larry A. Smail
Movies have been made, and books have been written. One may hear television evangelists preaching on end time events hoping the listeners donate freely while they are in fear. The prophecies of the tribulation period find many people searching to understand.
The subject in this study is Daniel’s seventieth week prophecy often referred to as the tribulation period and/ or the great tribulation. Jeremiah, a prophet of Israel, called these years, in Jeremiah 30: 7, the Time of Jacob’s Troubles. Scripturally, Jacob’s name was changed to Israel by God. (Genesis 35:10) With that in mind one may better describe these latter days as the Time of Israel’s troubles.
We know Jesus’ words of Matthew 24: 21 stated, “For there shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no ever shall be.” Jesus was talking of the end of the age time frame.
In more recent history, we know of the holocaust which mainly fell upon the Jewish people. Millions of Jews lost their lives in those years under Adolph Hitler’s Third Reich. This World War 2 era event was horrendous, but those years immediately prior to the Messiah’s Second Advent will prove to be much worse! Yes, Jesus said that!
Prophetically speaking this final seven years of the seventieth week prophecy of Daniel will be directed towards the nation of Israel, and the Jewish people. However, the entire world will become engulfed in these latter days through wars; famines; pestilences; earthquakes, and terror…
This study will focus, mostly, with Daniel’s prophetic words, and a breakdown of those terrible times ahead. However, before we study those words a brief history of the events leading to the prophecy need to be detailed.
Events Leading to Israel‘s Captivity
The Jewish people prior to their captivity had drifted far from the knowledge of God. Their sins, and iniquities, were simply a part of everyday life. They, as a nation, had forgotten about God. As always, there were still a remnant, who remained faithful, but most had forsaken God. To chastise the nation, God allowed, or directed, the actions of King Nebuchadnezzar of the Chaldeans to invade Israel. Nebuchadnezzar was king of the Babylonian Empire. The capitol of this empire was Babylon. (Present-day Iraq.)
The king’s forces reached Jerusalem to lay siege on the city. In 587 B.C. Jerusalem, and other cities of Judah had been defeated. As a result of the military’s success, the temple, and the holy city of Jerusalem were in ruins. The gold, and silver vessels of the temple were carried back to Babylon. The Jewish people were killed, or lead off into captivity. Those captured included a young Jewish lad by the name of Daniel.
This young lad would become respected for his wisdom, and understanding of dreams. Daniel would live out his life under various Gentile kings. He would never return to Jerusalem. Daniel would become renowned in Babylon by his revealing of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the great image. (Daniel 2)
I believe, a brief explanation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream may help with later discussions. King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream of a great statue. However, he had forgotten this dream. With all his power he demanded his wise men to tell him what the dream was, and what the dream meant. A task impossible for man to do! Eventually, he was told of a Jewish man named Daniel with such an ability. Daniel prayed for wisdom.
Daniel, through divine help, told the king of the great image he had dreamed. The dream featured a huge statue with a head of gold; chest, and arms of silver; belly, and thighs of bronze; legs of iron; and feet, and toes of miry clay, and iron. A stone not carved by hand struck the image at the feet completely destroying the entire statue.
Daniel told the king that the statue’s golden head represented Nebuchadnezzar. (Nebuchadnezzar was king of the Babylonian Empire.) The silver chest, and arms represented the next empire to follow. This empire would be inferior to the king’s empire. (This would prove to be the Medo-Persian Empire. Daniel was still living when this empire took over.) The next empire would be the belly and thighs of bronze. (History tells us
this was the Greek Empire under Alexander the Great.) The following empire was to be the Roman Empire. This was the strong legs of iron. Rome ruled with an iron fist crushing all opposition! The empire to come consists of iron with miry clay. The latter day empire will be strong, but will face internal issues. (More on this later on.) This is the image’s feet, and toes.
A stone not cut by man hits the statue at the feet, and destroys this statue. The dream had all five of these represented empires blown away as if chaff in the wind. The stone is Christ at his second coming. At that time he will destroy the antichrist ruled, Gentile empire whatever it may be prove to be. Christ will set up an everlasting kingdom. This will be the fulfillment of the time of the Gentiles.
One important aspect of this for all to remember is the following: The empires listed above were all controlling over the Jewish people. Israel ceased to exist in 70 A.D. However, Israel is now back in existence. Israel had to become a nation again. That final empire will be over the nation. This is the future to be watched. This empire will be in place during the seventieth week of Daniel! This empire will be the one Christ will destroy at his second coming!
Daniel Prior To The Seventieth Week Prophecy
As stated, Daniel was a wise man with the ability to interpret dreams. Of course, this ability was through God’s will. Daniel was, also, a man of great faith. In chapter 9, Daniel still living under Gentile rule, was now in the Persian Empire. The Babylonian Empire was defeated under King Cyrus the Persian. (Persia is present-day Iran.)
Daniel was lamenting over Israel’s sins; and iniquities. He was greatly saddened at this time of his life. He was not the young lad who was brought into Babylon under King Nebuchadnezzar years ago. Daniel had lived most of his life away from his homeland. The time frame of chapter 9 is under King Darius. Interestingly, Daniel had endured these kings, and was respected despite being a Jewish captive. This treatment of Daniel had to have been accomplished through divine intervention.
On this particular day while Daniel was in fervent prayer over his people,
and Israel, a visitation was to occur. Daniel’s prayers included fasting, and
supplications. He was grieving over the great sins of his people in the past. The Jewish people had been rebellious, and had worshiped idols. They had fallen so low in their past years that the sacrificing of their infants to the pagan god, Molech was a reality. Another major iniquity of the Jewish people was their failure to obey the law of the land’s sabbath. Every seventh year the Jews were to allow the land to rest. (Leviticus 25: 2-3, Exodus 23: 10-11) They didn’t do it. God was determined to get those seventh-year land sabbaths back. The prophecy of the seventieth week was about to occur. The stage had been readied.
The Seventieth Week Prophecy and Breakdown
The angel, Gabriel appeared to Daniel. (Daniel 9: 21 ) This was the very same angel who would appear to Mary to announce her part in the birth of Jesus. Remember, as stated, Daniel had been in deep prayer over Israel, and his people’s great sins. The Jewish people had been wicked, and rebellious. These actions lead to their captivity in the Babylonian Empire.
Gabriel’s appearance gave words of prophecy to Daniel. He was, also, giving Daniel some understanding over Israel’s future.
Daniel was told in verse 24, “seventy weeks of years were decreed to his people and the holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy.”
The best way to understand this prophecy of the seventieth week is to dissect each line with words of explanation. Gabriel spoke to Daniel in verse 24 saying, Seventy weeks of years are decreed to his people. Seventy weeks of years equals a total of 490 years. (Seventy times seven. Some translations word this as seventy sevens.) Some Biblical translations actually record the seventy weeks of years as 490 years. Note Daniel was told this time frame was to be on “HIS PEOPLE”. Daniel’s people were the Jews. Remember Daniel was one of the Jews captured from Jerusalem. So we know now that 490 years are determined to the Jewish people. (You may refer to these people as Jews, Hebrews; Israelites, or Israelis.)This time frame of 490
years is a result because of the Jews past sins, and iniquities against God.
This time was mandated by God to reconcile these people prior to an everlasting righteousness, and to complete prophecy. Also, note the prophecy states those 490 years will be upon the Holy City as well. The Holy City in scripture is Jerusalem. The end result of those years will be an everlasting righteousness and faithfulness, and completion of prophecy with the coming of the Messiah. (This is the second coming of Christ to restore all things to everlasting righteousness.)
Gabriel continued in verse 25, “Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler comes, there will be seven sevens, and sixty-two sevens. It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble.
Verse 25 has Daniel hearing of the time frame when the above prophecy will begin. Gabriel spoke of a commandment, an edict, or a decree. The commandment to rebuild Jerusalem starts the time clock of the 490 years.
The next part of the prophecy breaks down some of the years. Gabriel said seven weeks of years (Forty-nine years.) and includes another threescore and two weeks of years. ( 434 years.) One needs to add these years together and the answer equals 483 years. So, The years from the commandment to rebuild Jerusalem to the Anointed One being cut down is 483 years. There are seven years left to complete the prophecy. The permission to rebuild Jerusalem can be found in Nehemiah 2: 1-8. Some confusion may occur since King Cyrus, much earlier, issued a decree to rebuild the temple.(538 B.C.) King Artaxerxes 1 issued a decree to rebuild Jerusalem. Artaxerxes did his decree in 445 B.C. Note the differences.
Christ was crucified 483 years from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem. Jerusalem was rebuilt over these years, and the Jews had to be watchful for attacks from surrounding enemies.
Verse 26 continues, “After the sixty-two year sevens, the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler (Prince) who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come
like a flood. War will continue to the end, and desolations have been
decreed. Christ will be killed upon completion of the 483 years. Now, one must read the next part of the prophecy closely. At some future time a prince shall come from the people who will destroy the city, and temple. So, we know from history the temple, and Jerusalem were destroyed again in 70 A.D. We need to ask who the people were who destroyed the city? Again, from history we know the Romans under Titus did the deed. Also, of importance we now know something about the Antichrist of the latter days.
We can conclude a couple of probable truths with that statement. The best indicator may be some sort of a Roman confederacy. Could this be a European union with Rome playing a huge part? Europe has been trying to organize itself with a European United States for quite some time. They have had big problems with this plan. Could this be a sampling of the internal issues?
Another possibility of the worldly power is simply a Gentile Empire. The Romans were Gentiles. We know from Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of Daniel 2 that the final Gentile empire over Israel is prophetically the ten toes of the great image of the king’s dream. The ten toes were a mixture of iron, and miry clay. In other words, the last Gentile empire will be strong, but have major internal conflicts. Regardless, the ruler, president, prime minister, etc. who is in control at this time will be that prince, or ruler, who shall come from a Gentile source. (New world Order?)
These times will move fast much like the raging waters of a flood.
However, the prophecy stated a total of 490 years to complete the fulfillment. This allows for an additional seven years for the complete fulfillment of the prophecy. That seven years is the Seventieth week of Daniel. (We need to subtract the 483 years from the 490 years. Of course, that equals 7.)
Verse 27 states: “He will confirm a covenant with many for one seven. In the middle of the seven he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.”
The “he” with this verse is the prince who shall come. This person will
sign a treaty for seven years with Israel. Other nations will be signing as
well, but since the prophecy is dealing with Israel we can know that nation will be the main country involved. Israel will suddenly realize peace. The temple will be erected since we can see from the prophecy the man will break the treaty in three and half years and put an end to the Jews sacrificing, and offerings. Their needs to be a temple in Jerusalem in order to have sacrifices as per Old Testament laws. I have read of a pre-fabricated temple in storage in Israel. I haven’t confirmed this.
The Anti-Christ will set up an abomination in the temple. This may be something in regards to sacrificing a pig at the alter. The antichrist will declare himself god. This will last until the last three and a half years are gone. All hell will break upon the Jewish people at this time.
Christ in Matthew 24: 15 stated the following: “So, when you see standing in the holy city the abomination that causes desolation, spoken of by the prophet Daniel- let the reader understand.” Christ gives the book of Daniel credence. To deny Daniel’s accuracy is to be in unbelief.
The Seventieth Week in Simple Language
The following is this prophecy in simple terms to help understand it easier.
Verse 24…Four-hundred and ninety years have been prophesied concerning the Jewish people, and Jerusalem to finish their transgression, and to bring about the end and forgive their iniquities, and sins. When these years have been completed Jesus will return and set up his kingdom forever.
Verse 25…Understand that this 490 years will begin when permission is granted to the Jewish people to return and rebuild Jerusalem. These years will be troubled. In other words, Israel will be under Gentile control, and fearful of attacks.
Verse 26… At the completion of 483 years Christ will be crucified for no reason. The Gentile government at that time will be the forerunner of the future antichrist. These people will destroy the city, and temple. This will all happen fast with wars until the end of the 490 years.
Verse 27… The antichrist will sign a seven year treaty with Israel. the Jews will be permitted to begin sacrifices and offerings again. However, this will cease when the antichrist commits an abomination at the temple. Much desolations occur until that final seven years ends.
More Prophecies From Daniel and John
I believe there is the need to continue on with a few additional details from chapter 12 of Daniel, and Revelation. This information will add more information for the latter days prophecies.
Daniel 12: 1 states, “…And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time; but at that time your people shall be delivered… Remember Daniel’s people are the Jews.
In Daniel 12:7, the prophet recorded what he was told about the latter days. “It will be for a time, times and half a time.” This equals the three and a half years as mentioned earlier. (Also, see Daniel 12: 11.)
Daniel asked when shall this be. Daniel was told to, “Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up until the time of the end.”
The Book of Revelation states the same amount of time for the terrible times ahead. Revelation 11: 2-3 states: “…they (Gentiles)will trample over the holy city for forty-two months. And I will grant my two witnesses power to prophesy for 1,260 days…” Both of these time frames equal three and a half years.
In Revelation 13:5 John stated the following in regards to the antichrist. “and the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for 42 months.” Again, we see the three and a half years mentioned.
The disciples after the cross, and resurrection understood much of the prophecy of the seventieth week. However, they believed it would be in their lifetimes. Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, believed this, too.
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