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Daniel's 70 Weeks Gap Or No; Jews Only?  

Daniel 9:1-2, 21-27 KJV

In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans;  In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.

21 Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. 23 At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision. 24 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. 25 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. 26 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 thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. 27 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 desolate.

Daniel 9:1-2, 21-27 NKJV

1 In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the lineage of the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans— in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the Lord through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.

21 yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering. 22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand. 23 At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision:

24 Seventy weeks are determined
For your people and for your holy city,
To finish the transgression,
To make an end of sins,
To make reconciliation for iniquity,
To bring in everlasting righteousness,
To seal up vision and prophecy,
And to anoint the Most Holy. 

Page 2 

25 “Know therefore and understand,
That from the going forth of the command
To restore and build Jerusalem
Until Messiah the Prince,
There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks;
The street shall be built again, and the wall,
Even in troublesome times.

26 “And after the sixty-two weeks
Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself;
And the people of the prince who is to come
Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.
The end of it shall be with a flood,
And till the end of the war desolations are determined.
27 Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;
But in the middle of the week
He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.
And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate,
Even until the consummation, which is determined,
Is poured out on the desolate.”

Daniel 9:1-2, 21-27 NASB

1 In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of Median descent, who was made king over the kingdom of the Chaldeans— in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, observed in the books the number of the years which was revealed as the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namelyseventy years.

21 while I was still speaking in prayer, then the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision previously, came to me in my extreme weariness about the time of the evening offering. 22 He gave me instruction and talked with me and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you insight with understanding. 23 At the beginning of your supplications the command was issued, and I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed; so give heed to the message and gain understanding of the vision. 24 Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place. 25 So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. 26 Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. 27 And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the  middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who ag]">]makes desolate.”   

This article has been a long time coming and will be presented in several parts. By the time it is finished I think you will have gained great insight into this controversial passage of prophetic Scripture. Biblical scholars have debated Daniel 9, particularly Verses 24-27 (Page 3) since the beginning of the Church Age. The interpretations are many and diverse so why would I even want to attempt to tackle this passage as eminent Bible scholars more qualified than me have wrestled with it and written their opinions in a large volume of books. Why not just accept their work as completed thesis?  

In my 45 years of Christian ministry and studying this passage countless times as well as having read a plethora of commentaries, I always felt something was missing or the interpretations were not exactly true to the original Hebrew. Recently in my study and research for this article, I read several articles from unknown authors, that is, they are not considered or recognized as the more prominent prophetic scholars, that impressed me with the way they approached and interpreted the text of Daniel 9, so in this article I will share some of their insights along with my own exegesis. 

So you will not become bored or weary with a long series of articles, I will limit each article to five pages or less (However web pages are a continuous flow without page separations, but I will note the page numbers). 

The primary concerns with Daniel 9 are (1) is there a gap in time between the ending of the 69 weeks (seven sevens and sixty-two sevens) and the last one week, The Hebrew word for weeks is shabua and literally means a sevened. Therefore, a week here means 7 years so 70 weeks is 490 years. We also know from Genesis 29 that Jacob served Laban (his uncle) for one week or seven years in order to take Laban's daughter, Rachel, for his wife. The Bible is clear that a week in Daniel 9 is seven years not a literal seven days. 

When Daniel said he understood from reading Jeremiah's prophecy (See Jeremiah 25:11) 70 years were determined for his people (the Israelites or Jews), the vision he was given by the angel Gabriel was a longer period, namely 70 weeks of years totaling 490 years. Both biblical and secular history prove this to be true.  The main point of contention debated by the scholars is as stated, is there a gap after the 69 weeks of years (483 years) that is now almost 2000 years if dated from the time Messiah Jesus is crucified (cut off in Verse 26) in either 30 A.D. or 33 A.D. depending when the terminus a quo (the beginning) for a decree to start the 490 years is issued. We shall look at that in more detail later. 

(2) the other important issue is, does the prophecy concern only the nation of Israel or the Gentiles as well and particularly the Church?  We can reach an understanding easily as the text is very clear the prophecy pertains to the Israelites or Jews only (there is much debate whether Jews are Israelites or if the term is strictly a religious connotation, even the Jewish Rabbi's debate the issue).

Look back up at Verse 24 - "Seventy Weeks have been determined for your people and your holy city" (the third concern of the prophecy is that it is for the city of Jerusalem, not New York, London, Paris or any other Gentile city).  Who were Daniel's people?  In Daniel 1 , Daniel and his three friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, are referred to as the exiles or captives from Judah, which along with the tribe of Benjamin and some priests from the tribe of Levi, made up the Southern divided kingdom of Judah (the Northern kingdom of Israel was composed of the other 10 tribes, which the Assyrians totally destroyed in 722 B.C.).  The Jews have historically been associated with the tribe or kingdom of Judah. Therefore, it is scripturally correct to refer to Daniel's people as the Jews, even our Lord when He hung on the cross was called by the Romans the King of the Jews. 

(Page 4) Daniel's people in Daniel 9 are the Jews! Therefore, the prophecy concerns the Jews and only the Jews, not the Gentiles or the Christian Church and as mentioned the holy city is Jerusalem. If we are going to solve the mystery or solution to the correct interpretation of this controversial chapter, we must look for the fulfillment among the Jewish people and the city of Jerusalem. 

It is not the purpose of this paper or article to address the squabble among the different eschatological schools of thought regarding Daniel 9:24-27, namely the Historicists, the Preterists, and the Futurists. The Historicists and Preterists believe the passage was fulfilled with the First Advent of Christ with some variations while the Futurists believe in the gap theory, that is, the last week (the 70th week) has been pushed out to the end-time seven-year tribulation and is yet future.  They do so in order to promote their dispensational pretrib rapture of the Church. 

Again, it is not the purpose or intent of this article to promote or prove a rapture of the Church, whether pretrib, midtrib or posttrib. My intent is to settle if possible the time when Daniel's 70 weeks are fulfilled and to what people.  If the 70 weeks of years (490 years) ran consecutively from the time the decree was issued to begin the period of years and ended with the crucifixion of Christ in 30 or 33 A.D., then a seven-year end-time tribulation period with an Antichrist coming on the scene is in question. A rapture of living saints (that is what the term rapture means while the resurrection deals with the dead saints coming to life) is taught in the New Testament Scriptures.  There will be a rapture of living overcoming saints at the end of the age so whether or not there is a literal tribulation period of seven years or an Antichrist is not the issue with Daniel 9 for it has nothing to do with a rapture of the Church. It is about what happens to the Jewish people and the holy city - Jerusalem. However, if there is a gap between the 69th and 70 Week then a literal seven-year tribulation comes into focus along with the doctrine of the Antichrist as well as the rapture of the Church at the Second Advent. These thing we will explore in this article. 

See you next time for Part 2.