To fully comprehend what will happen to Israel at the end of the age, it is critically important to read and interpret an amazing prophecy from the book of Daniel. Without this one prophecy, God’s dealings with Israel as explained in the Bible could not be completely understood. In fact, if this prophecy was overlooked or ignored, many of the other prophecies dealing with the end times would become obscure or impossible to interpret. Although it is brief and pertinent, Daniel’s prophecy of the Seventy Weeks contains a tremendous amount of important information that actually helps make many other prophecies fit together to create a coherent picture of the last days. In just a few short verses found within the ninth chapter of Daniel’s book, the Lord gives us what is possibly the most significant prediction concerning Israel within the entire Bible. Not only does this prophecy give us an understanding of where Israel is headed in our day, but it also provides a framework into which the whole of end times prophecy can be placed.
In the opening verses of Daniel chapter 9, the prophet is portrayed as having read from the writings of his earlier but still contemporaneous prophet, Jeremiah (see Daniel 9:2 and Jeremiah 25:8-11). Daniel clearly knew of the importance of being aware of the other writings of the prophets. He also wanted to understand God’s plan for Israel, but he realized that he couldn’t possibly know everything on his own. For instance, even though Daniel lived through Israel’s destruction and scattering as the result of the Babylonian attacks, he didn’t realize until after he had read Jeremiah’s words that the Lord had promised that a remnant of believers would be allowed to return to Israel at the end of 70 years.
So fascinated was Daniel at discovering this information that he sought the Lord with great prayer and supplication in hope that God would reveal additional details of this prophecy. After Daniel had prayed and confessed his own sin and the sin of his people, the angel Gabriel came to him with a message directly from the Lord. This is what Gabriel said:
“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, 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.
“Know, therefore, and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah, the Prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
“And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself; and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary, and the end of it shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
“And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week; and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolator.”
This is an incredible prophecy with wide-ranging implications for the future of Israel and the world. It turns out that Gabriel revealed to Daniel much more than what he had ever dreamed of asking from God. Ironically, the angel didn’t tell him any more details about the 70 year period governing the scattering and captivity of Israel by Babylon, but he did reveal an exciting new prophecy involving the number 70. Gabriel talked to Daniel in this prophecy about a broader period of “Seventy Weeks”, which God has set aside for all his remaining dealings with the Jews.
The proper interpretation of Gabriel’s entire message hinges on an understanding of what that one distinctive phrase in this prophecy really means: Seventy Weeks. The most crucial fact to understand is that the word translated as “week” in the English translations of the Bible is in reality the Hebrew word for “seven”. In other words, Gabriel was not just describing a period of 70 weeks as some translations from the Hebrew would lead us to believe, but something much different. Daniel literally was told that 70 sevens would be the length of time given for all of Israel’s future destiny to be fulfilled…[read entire article]