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"Seventy Weeks"
Daniel 9:1-27

Wednesday Evening Home Bible Study
February 28, 2007

Theme: God gives Daniel insight into the schedule of events that will follow after his people's return to their land.

Daniel read the Scriptures during the first year of the reign of King Darius of Media-Persia; and made a remarkable discovery. The time of God's judgment upon the Jewish people—the time predicted in Jeremiah 25:11-12 and 29:10-14—was coming to an end. The seventy-year captivity began in 606 B.C.; and was ending with the decree of Cyrus that the people be returned in 536 B.C. (see Ezra 1:1-4). Daniel was encouraged by this to pray; and he prays one of the greatest prayers of intercession recorded in the Bible—a prayer that received an answer even as he was praying. The angel Gabriel is sent to him at the end of the seventy-years, to tell of another “seventy” yet to come.

This is the third of Daniel's four prophetic visions. It's specific focus is on God's program for His chosen people, the Jews, in the times to come. Because it is specifically “Jewish” in nature, it doesn't mention many of the details about the end-times that are given to us in the New Testament.


A. This occurred in the first year of Darius (538 B.C.).

B. Daniel read from many books; but particularly from Jeremiah 25:11-12, and 29:10-14. Daniel's prayer may inspired by the prayer mentioned in Jeremiah 29:12.


A. Daniel set his face to pray for his people. Note the humility with which he presents himself to God in prayer.

B. Daniel's prayer consisted of:

1. Worship (v. 4).

2. Confession (vv. 5-11a).

3. Admission of God's justice (vv. 11b-15).

4. A plea for mercy (vv. 16-19).

C. Note throughout how this righteous Daniel owns the guilt of his people. This is a true “intercessory” prayer.


A. Gabriel (the angel mentioned in Dan. 8:16; and also in Luke 1) came to him swiftly. He came to give Daniel further understanding (vv. 20-23). Note how God affirms his love for Daniel.

B. Daniel is given the details of what would yet happen to his people after their return to their homeland. The figure used is of “seventy-weeks”--each week representing seven years.  (See the chart, “Overview of the 'Seventy Weeks' of Daniel 9”, by going to the link at the bottom of this page).

C. The object of the seventy-weeks is described in verse 24; describes the full completion of the redemptive work of Christ and the restoration of the temple on earth. It involves six specific purposes which will be achieved by the end of the seventy-weeks—six purposes which will fulfill God's prophetic agenda for the Jewish people. The first three deal with the negative aspects of the sins of Israel, and the last three deal with the positive fulfillment of the promises of God toward them. They include:

1. The finishing of transgression (that is, the transgression that brought the judgment of captivity upon the Jewish people).

2. The making an end of sins (that is, to bring about a full judgment of it).

3. The making of reconciliation for iniquity (which expresses full atonement for sin; which points to the atoning work of Christ).

4. The bringing in of everlasting righteousness (a fulfillment of the promise of Jeremiah 31:31-


5. The sealing up of vision and prophecy (that is, the completion of God's prophetic revelation).

6. The anointing of the Most Holy (which implies the rebuilding and sanctifying of the future temple in Jerusalem).

D. Verse 25 describes the first sixty-nine of the seventy weeks. Note that they are split into seven and sixty-two weeks.

1. The first seven begins with the command of King Artaxerxes in 445 B.C. To rebuild Jerusalem (Neh. 2:1-10); and presumably end with the completion of that work forty-nine years later. This is a work that, we're told, will be carried on “even in troublesome times” (v. 25)—which are certainly described for us in the book of Nehemiah.

2. The latter sixty-two describe the 434 year period after the completion of the rebuilding of the city. It culminates in the entry of Jesus into the city of Jerusalem to die for us. We're told that, at the end of this period, “Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself . . .” (v. 26).

E. An undisclosed intermediate period occurs between the end of the first sixty-nine weeks and the beginning of the last week. This last week will involve the career of the antichrist, and is called elsewhere in Daniel's book “a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time” (Daniel 12:1).

1. It is preceded by the “people of the prince who is to come” destroying the city of Jerusalem again (v. 26). The people being referred to are the Romans; and they destroyed the city in 70 A.D.

2. After an undisclosed period of time, the prince himself (who is of the Roman empire; see Daniel 7:23-25) shall arise and confirm a seven-year covenant with the Jewish people. But he will break the covenant in the middle of this seven-year period and will bring an end to sacrifice and offering (v. 27). The details of this are described for us in Revelation 13.

Overview of Seventy Weeks (PDF chart)

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