Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | July 13, 2012

The Seventy Weeks of Daniel, by David Bower

Daniel as Prophet

The Book of Daniel is probably my favorite Old Testament book. The book is divided into two parts, the historic part and the prophetic part. The stories in the historic part are well known to anyone who attended Sunday School as a child.  Who among that group hasn’t heard about Daniel in the lion’s den or about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and the fiery furnace?

Although these stories dramatically illustrate the remarkable faith of Daniel and his friends it is the prophetic parts that have captured my imagination as an adult. The prophecies revealed to Daniel are likely the most far-reaching prophecies given in the Old Testament about the “Times of the Gentiles.”

The Times of the Gentiles

As you may recall our Lord mentioned those times in Luke 21:24b where He says, “Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” It is those times in which we are now living.

The Times of the Gentiles will come to an end at the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Church Age fits within the Times of the Gentiles and started at Pentecost and will end at the Rapture. The last seven years of the Times of the Gentiles are the same as the Tribulation, Israel’s last seven years of their third period of 490 years and will be a time of great judgment on the entire world.

Daniel in Babylon

A significant part of the story of Daniel is the reason for his living the majority of his life in Babylon. As hard as it may be to believe, his being in Babylon was Gods’ blessing on him and the other captives taken from Jerusalem in around 605 B.C. At that time Jerusalem was conquered by Nebuchadnezzar, an event which was the starting point for the Times of the Gentiles.

It was God’s plan to preserve His remnant by removing them from Israel and sheltering them in Babylon as His judgment fell on Israel. In Jeremiah 24:5-10 we are told of the Lord’s plan to preserve his chosen ones by removing them to Babylon for their own good and leaving the rejected ones to suffer in Israel.

What Happened to Israel?

The next reasonable question might well be why did God do this? We are told the reason in Leviticus 25:4, “But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the Lord. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards.” For the preceding 490 years Israel had failed to observe the seventh year sabbath and God was not going to overlook that mistake.

We find in 2 Chronicles 36:21 the following statement, “The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah.” This is the referenced verse in Jeremiah 25:11, “This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.”

It is estimated that Daniel was around 16 years old when he was taken to Babylon and lived there until he was somewhere between 90 and 100 years old.

A New Beginning

Daniel’s devotion to God and his faithfulness are well known to most of us who attend church regularly. What may not be so well known is the remarkable prophecy he was given when he was around 82 years old, the prophecy of the “seventy weeks.”

For the record, Israel’s next promise from God included the next 490 years that God would give Israel and this period of time would be known as the Seventy Weeks of Daniel. The purpose of that time period is specified in Daniel 9:24, “Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy.”

One of the interesting aspects of the revelation of the seventy weeks is the division of the weeks into two groups, one group of 483 years and one group of 7 years. We will start our study of the prophecy and its strange wording in the next blog.


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