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What are the Seventy Weeks of Daniel, A Students Perspective
by Charles Fincher
04/20/11
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What are the Seventy Weeks of Daniel?
A Students Perspective
Charles W. Fincher

Introduction

What are the seventy weeks of Daniel? Why is this so important to us today?

I have approached this subject as would an archaeologist using the many tools of the trade to see what lays buried beneath the surface. Then after bringing to light the treasure that was buried, try to see what connection can be made from the time when the treasure was buried until, the time of its discovery by me.

From my digging into the matter, the more I dug, the more confused I became! “What was I thinking when I let my pastor pick out my research topic for this class?” It’s a good thing I trust him, I muse as I shake my head!

I attacked the topic by first reading the book of Daniel from the New King James version of the Bible. I found this version made it much easier to read than the regular KJV. I was able to get an overview of the topic before going in with the small shovels and hand trowels and brushes.

Then as I sought to know more, I grabbed Mr. J. Dwight Pentecost, my first text book from Biblical Interpretation I class, Things to Come. On more than one occasion I have found this book most helpful in matters of the correct interpretation of the scripture.

Then I added to the tools I had planned on using, Mr. John F. Walvoords’ book, Daniel, The Key to Prophetic Revelation. His insight has been most helpful.

Next I had close at hand a copy of a book by Mr. Paul N. Benware, Understanding End Times Prophecy. I found his charts of great value in helping to visualize the events surrounding the prophecy of Daniel.

I also grabbed my copy of Mr. Norman L. Geisler, A Popular Survey of the Old Testament. I was able to glean some helpful information from his writings.

The final tool I used in my archeological expedition of this topic was the Internet. Many sites came up as a result of the search for the seventy weeks of Daniel, but the problems posed by this tool are, that because of the lack of my experience in knowing what is and is not sound doctrine, I found it difficult to know what was the correct information to use and trust!

I have a general feel for what the truth is supposed to feel and look Like, but for the sake of this expedition and the resulting paper of my findings, I have chosen to use the afore mentioned authors and sources only, they have proven themselves trustworthy over many decades.

The more I read on the subject, the more confused I became, but after letting the information get sifted through the sifting screen of the Holy Spirit and that of sound academic principles and the correct method of Biblical interpretation, I was able to after many days start to form an opinion based upon the factors at hand using the various tools within my tool bag.

The following is the result of my excavation of Gods prophecy given to Daniel in chapter nine of the book that bears his name.

Overview of the seventy weeks

According to Walvoord, this is the best definition of what the Seventy weeks of Daniel are.

“The seventy weeks of Daniel, properly interpreted, demonstrate the “distinct place of the Christian church and Israel in the purposes of God. The seventy weeks of Daniel are totally in reference to Israel and her relation to Gentile powers and the rejection of Israel’s Messiah. The peculiar purpose of God in calling out a people from every nation to form the church and the program of the present age are nowhere in view in this prophecy.” [1]

This is what I understand what Mr. Walvoord to mean by his statement. He has over the years been able to shorten his definition; I still have to use many words with my limited understanding of the subject! Besides, anyone who knows me knows that I am a story teller; I have not learned how to be brief yet!

In the grand plan for the ages, God has chosen a people for Himself, the Jews. Upon their rejection of His son, Jesus as their Messiah, He then turned to the Gentile nations and called out a new people, the “church”.

Upon the church being taken to heaven at the start of the Tribulation, He then returns to the Jews to fulfill His covenants with them.

In Daniel’s prophecy, the Jews and the church must be kept separate at all times as per the principal of the Sine Qua Non.

In matters regarding the numbers used within this prophecy, I can make no claim at having grasped their importance; I can only repeat what others have concluded from their studies of the topic.

A formula has been established to help understand this. One way to think of this is to rename the prophecy, the “Seventy - Sevens” of Daniel, not the seventy weeks of Daniel.

We as Americans understand that a week is seven days long, but in this instance, we assume incorrectly. There are problems with the translation of the Hebrew and Aramaic languages into English.

The Jews were in trouble with God for not keeping the Sabbath and the Sabbatical year, every seventh years was a time of restoration and of leaving the land fallow. (Ezekiel 20: 16, 18-20) [6]

Since they had failed to obey God, He chose to punish them. For each of the seven years they had failed to obey Him, He would in turn put to their charge one year. So for each Sabbath not observed, God now made a year of Sabbaths, (1 day = 1 year) as their punishment.

The land was to lay desolate during that time. The prophet Jeremiah foretold of the events that took place. (Jeremiah 25:11) [6]

Mr. Walvoord has this to say on the subject of the desolation to come.

“Jeremiah had prophesied, “This whole land shall be a desolation, an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.” [2]

Using the chart on page 286 of Mr. Geisler [3] we see clearly that in the first part of Daniels prophecy starting at 606 B. C., we have the start of the Babylonian captivity.

This ended when the Jews were allowed to return back to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple under the leadership of Nehemiah with the sanction of the Medo-Persian kings, 536-444 B.C.

The stories of Nehemiah and Ezra come instantly to mind when I think of the Jews returning to their ancestral home. Even though the Jews were allowed to return to the land, they were still subjects of the gentile nations.

Following their return to Palestine, they were allowed free control of themselves as long as the Grecian kings approved of what they did.

It was also during this time, near the end of the Grecian rule, which you start hearing of Antiochus Epiphanes, a cruel and ruthless ruler. He desecrated the temple by sacrificing a pig on the alter! Do the words “Abomination of Desolation “come to mind?

There was much widespread persecution of the Jews, Antiochus demanded the Jews to forsake their God and worship him as god.

Now we have the Maccabees who took charge and revolted against Antiochus and his government. They won after many years and the temple was rebuilt and temple worship was resumed. It was at that time that the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah came into being.

This tasted for four hundred and eighty three years, by which time the Roman Empire had crushed the Greeks and made Palestine a province of Rome.

Now enter the Jewish Messiah! God chose to send His only Son, Jesus into history at this very time. The best figures have Jesus being born in 3-2 B.C.

Jesus came to the Jews, lived in their midst for thirty three years. Still they could not see that He was their long awaited Messiah!

Then on the Passover of His thirty third year, the Jewish leaders had Jesus put to death, the nation chose Caesar as their king and rejected Christ.

It was after this rejection; Jesus chose to allow the gentiles who believe in Him entrance into His kingdom.

He during His earthly ministry was calling out a bride for Himself. he “church and the Jews” are two different entities, each one with specific responsibilities and privileges.

From the time of the Babylonian captivity until the time that the Jews rejected their Messiah, sixty nine of Daniels seventy weeks have elapsed. Once the church was born in Acts 2, the countdown to week seventy was put on hold for an unknown amount of time.

It has been during this temporary halt to the countdown of weeks that has allowed the body of Christ to grow and flourish. We as the body of Christ are now in the fifth dispensation “grace”. [4]

During this time, the Jews have been dispersed from the land and persecuted for just being Jews! Hitler, Stalin, the Caesars of the Roman empire, the Roman Catholic church and countless other groups have sought to destroy Gods chosen people!

The dispensation of grace has been going on for over two thousand years! How much longer will it continue before Christ comes back for His bride?

The countdown and its resuming of the final week of Daniels prophecy will begin when the church is removed from the scene at the beginning of the Tribulation.

Mr. Benware on page 316 of his book, Understanding End Times Prophecy, gives an outline of the seventieth week of Daniel as a chart. [5]

Preface: The church is raptured.

1. Israel is protected. The Jews return to the land, temple worship is reinstated. This lasts for three and one half years.

2. Midpoint of the Tribulation, the Antichrist requires the Jews to worship him as god. The Abomination of Desolation takes place.

3. The Jews are now openly persecuted because of their failure to worship Antichrist. This lasts the remaining three and one half years of the Tribulation and is now called the Great Tribulation because of the severity of the suffering of unbelieving mankind.

Finale: (chose of word mine) Week seventy ends with the bodily return of Christ at the Battle of Armageddon. Then forty five days later, the Millennial kingdom is established where Christ will sit on the throne of David in Jerusalem and rule earth for one thousand years. (Daniel 12: 11, 12) [6]

Concluding Thoughts

While this prophecy does not apply directly to us as the body of Christ, it is important to know what will happen to the vine or olive tree that we are grafted into. The apostle Paul warns the Roman believers of this very thing in Romans 11: 13- 25. [6]

As world events and advances in technologies that can be used to bring about the control of the human race by the Antichrist, it should delight our hearts that the end of the church age is drawing to a close!

The next, immediate effect of this knowledge should cause us to fall on our face before a Holy God because of our own sin and that of not warning others of Gods impending wrath!

Upon our departure from earth, a great innumerable host will go into a Christless eternity! Have we warned them?

In this prophecy, we see, looking backwards in time, the providence of God. He has always had a people to call His own, starting with Adam and Eve, Noah and others of their time. The patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob helped start and enlarge the nation of Israel.

The nation of Israel turned their backs on His ways and as a loving father corrects his children, He punished them out of love and not spite, always giving them a way to return to Him.

He at long last, once they had rejected His Son, called out a new people, the gentiles!

The joy of the matter is this, in the kingdom to come, there will be no Jew or Gentile, we will be one body, all worshiping our Creator God and His Son, Jesus Christ!

Bibliography and Footnotes

1. Pentecost, J. Dwight, Things to Come, page 240, quoting Walvoord, bc. cit.
2. Walvoord, John F., Daniel, The Key to Prophetic Revelation, page 202, par. 2
3. Geisler, Norman L., A Popular Survey of the Old Testament, page 286, a
chart of the Times of the Gentiles
4. Scofield, C. I., Note 2 on Genesis 3:23, KJV study Bible.
5. Benware, Paul N., Understanding End Times Prophecy, page 316, chart,
Events of the Tribulation period.
6. King James Bible, Scofield Reference Bible, 1917 edition


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