The Six Purposes of Daniel's 70 Weeks: Introduction

In Daniel chapter nine, the prophet wrote of “Seventy Weeks” that were pre-determined upon his people and his city.

"His people..." Daniel’s people are the Jewish people.

"His city..." Daniel’s city is Jerusalem.

In Daniel 9:21-24, the angel Gabriel speaks to Daniel and refers to Daniel’s people, the Jews. In Daniel 6:10, Daniel prays towards his holy city, Jerusalem.

We know the term seventy weeks is symbolic of seventy weeks of years, with each week being symbolic of one year, as when Jacob completed seven additional years of work for Rachel, it was said that he had fulfilled her "week."

The Bible declares six purposes for Daniel’s Seventy Weeks. This study will explore and discuss these purposes.

Although the timeframe and the purposes of the seventy weeks has been pre-determined to complete God’s plan for a specific race and a specific city (Daniel’s people [the Jews] and Daniel’s city [Jerusalem]), the purposes of the seventy weeks are relevant to and impact all people, both Jews and Gentiles.

This study is geared towards an integrated understanding of God’s Word (dovetailing related/companion scriptures), as opposed to forming “one verse” or “single premise” theology. 

Overview of the purposes of the 70 Weeks

Daniel 9:24 says, “Seventy Weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city to…” accomplish six things:

1.            Finish the transgression

2.            To make an end of sins

3.            To make reconciliation for iniquity

4.            To bring in everlasting righteousness

5.            To seal up the vision and prophecy

6.            To anoint the Most Holy

We understand from these things, that although the purposes of the seventy weeks have to do with God’s plan for all the peoples of the earth, the seventy-week timeframe itself is bound by a pre-determined and pre-appointed, fixed, timeframe that is inextricably linked to what is happening with Daniel’s people [the Jews] and Daniel’s city [Jerusalem].

We understand from the Seventy Weeks of Daniel, that by watching what happens with God’s great sign [the nation of Israel] we can discern and understand the signs of the times –Matthew 13:3.

There is controversy over the nation of Israel. This writer accepts that the physical nation of Israel, located in the middle east within the historical boundaries of the biblical country and ancient city of Jerusalem, is the fulfillment of many prophecies that God would gather his people Israel back to their land.

Some scholars believe the Seventy Weeks of Daniel concern what is happening with the Jewish people only while they are living in their land, and that is one of the reasons for the differentiation between the first 69 weeks and the 70th week. Many believe the gap represents the time the Jewish people were in exile—not living in their land (Israel). We accept that premise and will write further about it later in the study. 

70 Weeks Defined

The Bible has different types of language, literal, figurative, and symbolic, and what this writer calls ancient-descriptive, which is a literal description of something an ancient witness has never seen before and is describing as best they can, using the only vocabulary available to them. If there is no good reason to believe a verse or passage is figurative, symbolic, or ancient-descriptive, a literal understanding is in order.

Figurative language is explained within the context of the verse or passage in which it is used and should not be confused with symbolic language. The key to unlocking symbolic language is to compare other verses or passages in which the symbol has been used. The Bible interprets its own symbols.

To understand the passage in Daniel chapter nine, the Seventy Weeks need to be defined scripturally. We understand the Seventy Weeks are not referring to seventy “seven-day” weeks. Verse twenty-five makes that clear.

Genesis 29:27-28 gives the key to understanding the length of each Week: “Fulfill her Week...serve with me yet seven other years. Jacob did so and fulfilled her Week.” Thus, we see that, according to scripture, the Seventy Weeks in Daniel 9:24 can be interpreted as representing seventy weeks of years, with each “week” equaling seven years.

When we multiply each of the seventy years by seven, it comes to a total of 490 years (70 x 7 = 490).

The prophecy in Daniel 9:24-26 covers the time period beginning with the commandment to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem (and the city) up to the time of the crucifixion of Christ. Both history and Daniel 9:25 agree that the time period, from the proclamation to rebuild the wall to the crucifixion of Christ, equals 483 years, which according to Genesis 29:27-28, equals 69 Weeks.

But seventy weeks of years equals 490 years. Not 483 years. That means there is a total of seven years (one week) left that is yet unaccounted for.

The Seventy Weeks, that have been determined upon the people of Daniel (the Jews) and on their holy city (Jerusalem), are for a certain purpose. And they can only be fulfilled while the God's people Israel are living in their land. This has been the case since 1948 when the prophecy of a physical rebirth of the nation of Israel was fulfilled (Ezekiel 37). The Jews regained partial control of Jerusalem in 1967, but it wasn't until 1980 that Jerusalem was declared to be the capital of Israel. Even so, no one on the national scene recognized this until 2018, when amid international outcry, the United States recognized Israel's ancient capital by relocating the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Since then other countries have followed suit. 

Purposes of the Seventy Weeks

   We have seen that Daniels’s vision of the Seventy Weeks concerns only his people (the Jews) while they are living in his holy city (Jerusalem).

   The Seventy Weeks have been biblically defined as being weeks of years (as opposed to seven-day weeks) with each week equaling seven-years. But what is the purpose for the seventy weeks? Understanding this, adds a hitherto unplumbed depth to our knowledge of Bible prophecy.

   In Daniel 9:24, six purposes are given for the 70 Weeks. The 70 Weeks are ordained to:

•             Finish the Transgression

•             Make an end of sins

•             Make reconciliation for iniquity

•             Bring in everlasting righteousness

•             Seal up the vision and prophecy

•             Anoint the most Holy

Each purpose is intricately linked to the events of the as yet unfulfilled 70th Week and the part Daniel’s people and Daniel’s city play in end-time events, and indeed in the fate of the entire world.

Our next study will cover purpose number one: What does it mean to FINISH THE TRANSGRESSION?

Proceed to PURPOSE ONE Jocelyn Andersen: The Six Purposes of Daniel's 70 Weeks: Purpose One

Watch the Six Purposes of Daniel's 70-weeks video series.

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