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Bible Dictionaries

Morrish Bible Dictionary

Seventy Weeks of Daniel

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This period is taken from an important prophecy in Daniel 9:25-27 . The seventy weeks are divided into three parts, namely, seven, sixty-two, and one. We shall see in the sequel that 'weeks of years' are evidently intended. The first period of seven weeks refers to the building of the street and the wall, or moat, in troublous times, of which times an account is found in the book of Nehemiah. The second period of sixty-two weeks extends to the times of Messiah the Prince, after which He should be cut off and have nothing (margin ) — nothing of His Messianic glory. To reconcile with this the dates of history, it must be noticed that these weeks do not date from the commandment to build the temple (which was in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, Ezra 1:1 ), but from the commandment to restore and build the city of Jerusalem, which was given in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes. Nehemiah 2:1 .

The date commonly given for this is B.C. 445; but Usher gave 455, and Hengstenberg and others contend that this is the true date. Hengstenberg shows in his "Christiology" how the mistake arose. Vitringa rectified the date, and Krüger, by an independent enquiry, also proved that the old date was wrong. Some hieroglyphic inscriptions in Egypt have shown that Artaxerxes was associated with his father in the twelfth year of the reign of Xerxes, and this information confirms the date given by Usher and others.

We start then from … … … … B.C. 455.

7 weeks are … … … … 49 years

62 weeks are … … … … 434 "


Deduct … … … … 455


Add 1 year to adjust the

eras B.C. and A.D. 1

29 A.D.

The year A.D. 29 is the date now commonly given for the crucifixion. It is generally agreed that the Lord lived on the earth thirty-three and a half years, but if He was born B.C. 4, and was crucified A.D. 33 (as given in the A.V.), He must have lived here 37 or 38 years; hence there must be a discrepancy somewhere. Early christian writers appealed confidently to a document called "The Acts of Pilate," which, though now considered spurious as far as Pilate is concerned, must have been an early writing, and this points to the date A.D. 29 for the crucifixion. Clement and Origen place the destruction of Jerusalem as forty-two years after the crucifixion. The destruction was in A.D. 70, which confirms the date of the latter as not later than 29. The definite time may be Christ's triumphant entry into Jerusalem, about a week before the last passover, agreeing with "Thy King cometh unto thee" in Zechariah 9:9 .

It is judged however by some that the sixty-nine weeks reach only up to Messiah the Prince as entering on His ministry; after which (indefinitely) He was cut off: and therefore the sixty-nine weeks should end at least three years earlier. This is probably the true view, though it may be impossible now to precisely adjust dates.

This leaves the last week of the seventy. The rest of the prophecy in Daniel 9:26 agrees with the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, and foretells a determined period of desolation till war against it will end. Then Daniel 9:27 takes up the outward circumstances of the last week, which is future, though probably one half of it has been, for faith, fulfilled in the ministry of Christ. The prophecy is concerning Israel; the present period (during which the church is being formed) comes in parenthetically, and occupies no part of the seventy weeks. The last week, in agreement with the above, will occupy a period of seven years.

Daniel 9:26,27 speak of 'the prince that shall come,' who shall confirm a covenant with the many for one week. He will no doubt be the head of the resuscitated Roman Empire: this is confirmed by Revelation 17:9-12 , in speaking of a kingdom that 'was, and is not,' and shall come. This head makes a covenant with Israel for seven years, but breaks it in the middle of the week; causes the sacrifice and the oblation to cease; and dire desolation by the Assyrian closes the scene. See ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION. The most momentous events will take place during the latter half of the week, as detailed in the Revelation. This will be a period of three and a half years, and if this interpretation is correct, we might expect to find such a period definitely mentioned. And so it is: the period of three and a half years is pointed out no fewer than seven times, as follows:

Daniel 7:25; "time, times, and dividing of times " (that the word 'times' refers to 'years' cf. Daniel 11:13 margin ).

Daniel 12:7; Revelation 12:14; "time, times, and half a time."

Revelation 11:2; Revelation 13:5; "42 months."

Revelation 11:3; Revelation 12:6; "1,260 days."

Thus the half week is given in years, 3½; in months, 42; and in days, 1,260.

As already stated, the church does not appear in the above: it has nothing to do with times and seasons — they belong to Israel and to the earth. The church is heavenly, and its hope is the coming of the Lord according to His promise to present it to Himself, and this He may do at any moment. He said, "Surely I come quickly:" to which the response of the church is, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus."

Seeing however that the Lord Jesus is referred to in the Seventy Weeks, not only in His being 'cut off' but also in His coming again to subdue His enemies, to bless His ancient people Israel, and to establish His kingdom on earth, it becomes His saints to study such a prophecy as this, and to be assured that nothing can happen to hinder or set aside the purposes of God: all is being ordered, and is hastening on to the time when the Lord Jesus will be acknowledged on earth as King of kings and Lord of lords.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Morrish, George. Entry for 'Seventy Weeks of Daniel'. Morrish Bible Dictionary. 1897.

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