Seventy Weeks of Daniel
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by Todd Dennis
In Daniel, chapter nine, the angel Gabriel told Daniel that there were "seventy weeks" determined upon the people of Israel as a nation. Verse 26 shows that the completion of this seventy week period would specifically bring the destruction of the city and the sanctuary of Jerusalem. Christ, in describing the sinfulness of the Jewish leaders in Matthew 23, closed by saying that upon that generation would come all of the righteous blood shed since Abel's. These two prophecies are directly related to one another. Christ, also in a display of the judgment that would come upon the nation, told them, "behold, your house is left unto you desolate." This is the same language that is used in Daniel chapter nine referring to the completion of the seventy weeks.
In fulfillment of the prophecies of Daniel chapter nine, and the prophecies of Jesus Christ, the judgment of God came upon that unprofitable nation in the seven year war, highlighted by the destruction of Jerusalem. This was when the city of Jerusalem was besieged and utterly destroyed, left so desolate that only hyenas are said to have lived within its walls. This is the very judgment which was promised for disobedience in Leviticus 26, Deut. 28, I Kings 9, II Chron. 7, and many other places. Matthew 24 and Luke 21 date this destruction as clearly being the desolation of the entire Jewish nation from A.D. 66-73, with the destruction of Jerusalem at the three and one-half year point.
A reference of Matthew 24:15 with Luke's account links the destruction of Jerusalem as occurring when that generation would see the city surrounded by an army: Mat.24:15-16, "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judea flee unto the mountains." Using the same command for the people in Judea to flee, Christ says, in Luke 21:20, "And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed about with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh." And to clearly identify what the purpose for the desolation is; verse 22, "For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled."
Keep in mind that the seventy weeks were determined upon "thy people and thy holy city", and that by the end of the seventy weeks, the city and the sanctuary would be destroyed. This was fulfilled in A.D. 70. We are not waiting today for the temple to be rebuilt today, simply so that it can be destroyed, as it has already happened! Also, by the end of this period, the 'sacrifice and the oblation' (Dan 9:27) were to cease. This, too, was accomplished in A.D. 70. We are not waiting today for the sacrifices to start again, simply so that they can stop, as this has already happened! In further confirmation, Daniel 9:24 lists six specific things that would be accomplished by the end of this period, all of which have been fulfilled. In confirmation of the fulfillment, it reads, "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to:"
1. "Finish the transgression," - This was fulfilled. (Luke 11:47-51 ; Matt 23:29-32; Matt 21:33-45)
2. "Make an end of sins," - This was fulfilled. (John 1:29; Matt 1:21; Acts 10:43; Hebrews 9:26)
3. "Make reconciliation for iniquity," - This was fulfilled. (II Cor 5:18-21; Hebrews 2:17; Col 1:20; Romans 5:10)
4. "Bring in everlasting righteousness," - This was fulfilled. (Romans 3:25,26; Hebrews 9:12; II Thess 2:16; II Cor. 9:9)
5. "Seal up vision and prophecy," - This was fulfilled. (Hebrews 1:1-2; John 1:1; II Peter 1:19-21)
6. "Anoint the most holy (or holy place),"- This was fulfilled. (Matthew 3:15-17; Luke 4:18; Acts 4:26,27; 10:38)
Interestingly, Christ, in response to the question of how many times a man should forgive his brother, responded by saying, "until seventy times seven," which is the exact amount of time in Daniel's seventy weeks. The implication being that there was an end to Christ's patience with His nation. Christ fulfilled the covenant that they broke well over 490 'times'. That is not necessarily to say that Christ was saying after 'seventy sevens' we should not forgive, but that, simply, "seventy weeks (were) determined upon (Daniel's) people."
Therefore, we can see that the desolation of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 fulfilled the prophecies of Daniel chapter nine, against the perverse generation that rejected the Lord and his Anointed. Christ judged the nation with desolation, and took away the kingdom of God and gave it to a nation bringing forth fruits (Matthew 21:43), which is the nation of believers. The "days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled" spoken of can be no other than the fulfillment of Daniel's seventy weeks with the Desolation of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Therefore, the desolation of Palestine in A.D. 66-73 was the fulfillment of Daniel's 70th week, and the end of any temporal 'Nation of God'.
Daniel 9:24 shows that a new spiritual economy will be in existence at the completion of this time period. We have already identified this as being the 'New Covenant' of Jesus Christ, which was but a fulfillment of the Old Covenant of promise. The only way the goals of the seventy weeks can be accomplished is through judgment, and that not only upon a national scale, but a personal. There is no finishing of transgressions, end of sin, or reconciliation for iniquity without personal judgment. Jesus Christ declares, in John 10:39, "For judgment am I come into the world." Hebrews 9:22 reads, "And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission." Numbers 35:33 reads, "...the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it." This includes transgression and sin. Put in other words, there is no reconciliation for iniquity, end of sins or righteousness without the judgment of the shedding of blood. The born-again believer possesses these traits, but only AFTER He places his sin upon Christ for judgment! Jesus Christ was judged for our sins, on an individual basis. This necessity of judgment is true for 'Israel after the flesh' as well, if Daniel 9:24 is going to accomplish what it says it is. Therefore, the seventy weeks of Daniel closes with the ending of the 'Old' Covenant (Heb 8:13 - Christ confirmed the covenant), and the national relationship between God and 'Israel after the flesh', ushering in the personal relationship with Jesus Christ, for there is "no other name under heaven that is given whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). It cannot be referring to a national relationship, for we know that salvation is only on a personal basis.
On the national scale, Israel 'after the flesh' was told in Exodus 23, Leviticus 26, Deut. 28, Joshua 7, and I Kings 9 (among others) that if they obeyed God, he would give them temporal peace, but if they disobeyed, he would destroy their city and their sanctuary, and that he would use other nations to do so. II Chronicles 7:19-21 specifies the destruction of the city and the sanctuary as specific signs of God's judgment. Therefore, ANY destruction of "the city and the sanctuary", by themselves or others, including that spoken of in Daniel 9:24-27, is a sign of God's judgment against the nation, and his removal of his Spirit from among them, as he promised he would do.
The kings of Daniel 2, and the image of Nebuchadnezzar have been fulfilled, at A.D. 70, as Christ said (Luke 21:22). We have also proven that the seventy weeks of Daniel chapter nine have been fulfilled, which is the sole basis and purpose of the seven-year tribulation period in the future. God is finished dealing with any 'Israel of the flesh', and is not going to give them another opportunity at some future date, as they were but a shadow of Christ's 'heavenly kingdom'. All men must be saved by Jesus Christ, as he said in John 14:16. Therefore, there is no future seven year tribulation period.
Daniel 11 is an important chapter, as well, because it shows the prophecy of chapter nine in greater detail, so we can see more clearly all of the activities and kings involved with the Seventy Weeks. Inherent in this historical outlay is the Abomination of Desolation. This abomination is a part of Daniel's Seventy Weeks, and the two cannot be separated. In fact, we can deduce from Daniel 9:27 that the abomination of desolation is to be found in Daniel's last seven-year period.
Many teach that this "abomination of desolation" is a man. Are we to understand this as being the Anti-Christ? It cannot be, for a number of reasons. One major reason is that the term "Antichrist," as being the title for a certain person, is unbiblical. John, in fact, identifies 'anti-Christ' as a thing, not a man (I John 4:3). Specifically addressing, no doubt, the common misconception that the term "Anti-Christ" refers to any one person, John declares that there "are many antichrists" (I John 2:18), and that antichrist is anyone "that denieth the Father and the Son" (I John 2:22).
We also know that "Anti-Christ" is not the abomination of desolation, according to numerous Scriptures: In Daniel 11:31, we read, "...and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate;" Daniel 12:11 says, "..the abomination of desolation set up.;" Mark 13:14 states, "But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation... standing where it ought not..." All of these verses name the abomination using terms that are translated as being gender neutral, describing the abomination as an 'it', and not a 'he'. In fact, clarifying what this abomination is, we read in Daniel 8:13, in the context of the taking away of the daily sacrifice - which is consistent with the term 'abomination of desolation', "How long shall be the vision concerning... the transgression of desolation..?"
It is important to note here that the abomination is a transgression accomplishing something. This is made clear by Daniel 11:31, which claims that "they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate." This implies that something is accomplishing desolation. The very abomination is making something desolate. What, in reference to our texts, is made desolate? Daniel 9:26 refers specifically to desolations of the city and the sanctuary. Christ, when speaking to the chief priests and Pharisees, told them, "behold, your house is left unto you desolate" (Matt 23:38). This is an interesting declaration, in reference to when this abomination of Daniel 9 & 11 actually occurred, as Christ specifically reveals the time in which this was to take place, which we will see shortly.
Seeing the gender neutral references to the abomination that maketh desolate, many turn to II Thessalonians 2:3, which seemingly describes it as a man. But is the son of perdition / man of sin the same as the 'transgression of desolation'? If not, what is it this "man of sin who will set himself up" as being a God? Again, thanks to Daniel chapter 11, we can see a more complete exposure of the Seventy Weeks, and we can tell who is the son of perdition.
Daniel 11:31 reads, "and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate." Who is they? We know that it is not the abomination itself, for the it of Mark 13 referred to as the abomination cannot set itself. Somebody must have set this abomination, which we have seen is not a man. In Daniel 11:36, with the same context of the abomination being set up, we have mention of a king. Who is this king? It is not the abomination, that is for sure. This king, however, is the one that is identified as being the one to "exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god" in verse 36, who shall "prosper" till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done."
Remembering that the particular significance that the word determined possesses, in reference to the desolation of A.D. 70, and the direct correlation between this 'man', and the desolation of the city and sanctuary itself (as opposed to one who had perished a few years prior, in Nero), we can deduce that this king is directly related to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD70, which he must be, according to the context and chronology of Scripture. Matthew 24, in connection with Luke 21, shows that "when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation is nigh." We have seen the significance of this in relation to the abomination, but this also pinpoints the son of perdition as being, most likely, the one who led the armies into Jerusalem, and placed the abomination that maketh desolate, while magnifying himself above every god. Therefore, knowing that Christ emphatically declared the fulfillment of these events as being within that generation (we know, in hindsight, that it is specifically A.D. 70 - Matthew 24:34), this 'king' must be Titus, who fulfills all of the Biblical requirement of this man, including the time-frame of his appearance. Were we left to such deduction and theorizing (which all Futurists are, of course, by the very nature of speculation regarding events not yet taken place), we might simply rest upon our inability to actually pin-point these events historically. History, however, does substantiate this theory as Josephus claims that, upon taking the temple, the Romans worshipped Titus and declared him to be a god (See Wars, VI, VI, 1). The Romans, of all peoples, were polytheists, and, as we saw with the declaration towards Herod's deity (Acts 12:22), gladly deified those whom they considered great and mighty men. To declare that the Romans did not deify Titus, at this point, is an untenable position.
Now that we have identified the 'man of sin' of relation to the 'determined indignation' let's go back and identify the abomination that maketh desolate. We know that all content contained in Daniel's seventy weeks has been fulfilled (Luke 21:22). This includes the king, as well as the abomination that maketh desolate (Matthew 24:34)! God has completed his work with the former nation of Israel (Matthew 21:43; Romans 9:6), and has forsaken any man-made house for his tabernacle, but now inhabits the body of every believer. Knowing this, we must remember that the abomination of desolation stands in the temple of God. God having shown us that there will never again be any such building, and that the body of the believer is now God's temple, we know we must look to the past to answer this question.
The 'indignation' determined that must be accomplished, which is mentioned in relation to the 'king', is the same indignation that will be poured upon 'the desolate' of Daniel 9. This is the Daniel 11 account of the abomination that is placed, and the king who exalts himself are both parts of the same event: "the end of the war (where) desolations are determined" (Daniel 9:26).
Therefore, trusting the clear words of Christ, and not denying their fulfillment in that generation, we look at the desolation of Jerusalem, in A.D. 70, for the answer to this question. Doing so, and not manufacturing a way out of the emphatic words of Christ, we can clearly identify the abomination that maketh desolate. Matthew 24:15 reads that the abomination of desolation will stand in the holy place or, in other words, the sanctuary of Herod's temple in A.D. 70. Daniel 11:31 tells us that the abomination was placed by the army that Luke 21:20 tells us were compassed around Jerusalem. This would be the Roman army that placed the abomination that maketh desolate in the 'sanctuary of strength'. History identifies that the Roman army, once inside the temple walls, placed the golden images of the Roman eagle all around the temple area, and even, it is stated, inside its walls. In the Book, History of the Christian Church, p. 398, Schaff states, quoting Josephus from Wars of the Jews, VI, VI, 1; "The Romans planted their eagles on the shapeless ruins, over against the eastern gate, offered their sacrifices to them, and proclaimed Titus Imperator with the greatest acclamations of Joy."
He finishes his thought by writing, "Thus was fulfilled the prophecy concerning the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place." Does the Bible anywhere support the idea of the Roman eagles as being the 'abomination that maketh desolate'? In the account of Matthew 24:28, Jesus Christ, upon describing the scene in A.D. 70, including the abomination, states, "For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together." In Daniel 9:27, the same event is described, and it is stated, "and for the overspreading of abomination he shall make it (city and sanctuary) desolate." Interestingly, the Hebrew word that describes the abomination as "overspreading" is used only once in the entire Testament, and is defined as being, "an edge or extremity; specifically of a bird or army; a wing.." So the abomination is overspread like a wing... possibly the very wings of the Roman ensigns that filled the house of God. Did the Holy Spirit choose this specific word for possibly this specific description? Perhaps, and perhaps not. At any rate, the placing of this abomination, as we have seen, clearly refers to A.D. 70, and not some future 'tribulation period'. This is substantiated by Christ's plain declaration that the prophecies of Daniel's seventy weeks would be fulfilled in their lifetime. Matthew 23:38, as we saw, shows the prophecy of Christ that the house would be desolated.. all of which was to occur, according to Christ, to that generation (Matt. 23:36; 24:34), as we know it did. Therefore, the Abomination of Desolation was placed in A.D. 70 by Titus, who allowed it to be placed, and himself to be worshipped as God.