Daniel’s 70 Weeks: Redemption in 70 Sevens

Daniel's 70 Weeks - Part1_Chapter4

“Seventy weeks [shabuwa] are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city.”  Daniel 9:24a

I have no idea what an angelic visitation would be like, but I can imagine it would be a truly amazing experience. We learn in Daniel 9:23 that at the very beginning of Daniel’s supplications to YHWH, the angel Gabriel was dispatched with the prophecy of 70 weeks (shabuwa) in part because Daniel was “greatly beloved” of YHWH. Can you imagine what it would be like to hear that? Wow!

In any case, Gabriel begins his explanation of this wonderful prophecy by summarizing a series of events that will transpire during this 70 week period.

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. (Daniel 9:24)

Sevens
Before we look at the prophesied events during this 70 week period, it is important to briefly explain the word “weeks” in a little more detail. As used in the text of Daniel 9 quoted above, the word “weeks” is actually the Hebrew term shabuwa, and it literally means seven or a period of seven. As we learned in chapter 2, shabuwa comes from the Hebrew root shaba, which means to swear or make an oath. Based upon my studies and my limited knowledge of Hebrew, I understand that shabuwa as it is used in several instances in Daniel 9 is a rather unusual plural masculine form of the word. Later, in our exploration of this prophecy, we will learn the amazing reason the plural masculine form of shabuwa was chosen by YHWH.

At this point, suffice it to say we need to try not to add our own presuppositional biases to our interpretation of the prophecy. Shabuwa simply means seven or a group of seven. By using the English term “week” to translate it, we have inadvertently added a calendric bias to our point of view. To you and me, a week implies a period of seven days of calendric time. Many then extrapolate this “week” to a literal seven-day or seven-year period of time . At this point we have no way to determine whether this is a valid premise, so for the sake of accuracy, just keep in mind that “70 weeks” in the most literal, reasonable sense simply means “70 sevens” (70 x 7). What those 70 sevens are meant to be measured in—days, weeks, years, or some other period of time—is yet to be determined.

For accuracy’s sake, as we move forward in our investigation of Daniel 9, I will be gradually replacing the word “weeks” with sevens and shabuwa, its original Hebrew equivalent. My hope is that by the end of this book you will think of this prophecy in its Hebrew context of shaba (sware) and shabuwa (sevens) or an oath of sevens.

Seventy weeks [shabuwa] 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. (Daniel 9:24)

An Overview of the 70 Sevens
So our first glimpse of this wonderful prophecy is an overview of the events that would transpire during a period of time described as 70 sevens. This is where our preliminary review of Daniel 9:1–23 really becomes valuable to us, allowing us to understand that this prophecy was given within the context of Daniel’s prayers to YHWH on behalf of his people and the holy city. More specifically, Daniel saw the “holy city” in terms of the “holy mountain,” where YHWH’s “desolate sanctuary” had once been built by a people singled out among all the nations of the earth to serve YHWH in a special way. A central part of that calling was the sacrificial service given to Moses and carried out in the holy mountain located in Jerusalem.

Daniel’s perspective here cannot be emphasized enough: without YHWH’s presence, Jerusalem and the holy mountain are just a piece of real estate. Don’t ever lose sight of that important fact. Daniel saw Jerusalem not primarily in terms of a city for his people to return to, but as a city for YHWH to return to, where Daniel’s people had the privilege of serving Him. But in order for YHWH to return to Jerusalem and the holy mountain, the Jewish people had to first return from captivity and rebuild the temple. This goal is in fact the central focus, yes, the driving factor behind the Jewish people’s desire to return and build Jerusalem.

70-Sevens-goals400Six Milestones that Changed the World
Let’s turn our attention to those events which the angel Gabriel tells Daniel will take place within or during the 70 weeks, expressed in six goals set out by YHWH. We will deal more fully with these six goals at the end of this book, but briefly, let’s recapitulate each one in light of the context of Daniel 9:1–23.

As we explore each of these six goals, I remind you to consider them in light of Daniel’s intercessory prayer and the forgotten covenant of Daniel 9:1–23, because they cannot be separated from this context.

And now, O Lord our God, that hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten thee renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly. O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us.

Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord’s sake. O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies.

O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.

And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before YHWH my God for the holy mountain of my God . . . (Daniel 9:15–20, emphasis mine)

Do you see the connection between Daniel’s prayer and the six messianic goals Daniel was given by the angel Gabriel in reply? Daniel confessed his people’s sins, iniquity, and wickedness and pleaded with YHWH to forgive them without delay. Shortly thereafter, the angel Gabriel gave Daniel a vision which explained exactly when that forgiveness and reconciliation would come. In summary, Gabriel showed Daniel that concerning his people and the holy city, from YHWH’s perspective, it would take 70 weeks to finish the transgression, make an end of sins, make reconciliation for iniquity, and bring in everlasting righteousness.

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. (Daniel 9:24)

Let’s focus in on this a moment. In chapter 2, “The Forgotten Covenant,” we saw that the “covenant and mercy” mentioned in Daniel 9:4 is in fact a reference to the covenant made with Abraham that in his seed all nations of the earth would be blessed. We learned earlier that the apostle Paul explained that this covenant made with Abraham was indeed confirmed by YHWH “in Christ” 430 years before the law was given. In Zechariah 9 we learn that this blood covenant brought salvation and deliverance from the pit. And in Acts 3:25–26, it is this covenant of the promised seed, made with Abraham, that confirms that the promised Messiah was brought forth for the purpose of “turning away every one of you from his iniquities”:

Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities. (Acts 3:25–26, emphasis mine)

Whether Daniel or Zechariah fully understood it or not, we now know in hindsight that YHWH became flesh in the person of Yeshua so that He might indeed reconcile the seed of Abraham and in a larger context all the descendants of Adam (all nations of the earth) to Himself by the shedding of His blood on our behalf. A few verses are sufficient to explain this:

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth. As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water. (Zechariah 9:9–11, emphasis mine)

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit. (1 Peter 3:18)

For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. (Hebrews 9:26)

Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. (Galatians 3:19–20)

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus [Yeshua—Salavation of YHWH]: for he shall save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21)

Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)

But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God. (Hebrews 10:12)

And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. (1 John 3:5–6)

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

The sum of the matter is that Yeshua came to redeem Israel (and all mankind) from their sins, just as Daniel prayed for and just as YHWH promised from the very beginning.

Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities. (Acts 3:25–26, emphasis mine)

It is an indisputable New Testament fact that Yeshua came to reconcile all the world to YHWH. Indeed, it is equally clear that He accomplished His purpose. But where does that leave us in terms of the overreaching redemptive message of the 70 sevens in regards to Daniel’s people and the city of Jerusalem? Was this prophecy only a bridge between the Old and New Covenants? Was its only purpose to describe those earth-shattering events of the first century, or does it also span the past two thousand years to a yet-future date when Daniel’s people and the city of Jerusalem will be restored, as described in so many other wonderful Old and New Testament passages?

Rest assured YHWH does indeed keep His word, but as we saw in Book I, The 13th Enumeration: Key to the Bible’s Messianic Symbolism, He doesn’t always carry out His purposes in the manner in which we expect. Often our expectations are based upon our limited worldview, and therein lies the problem. YHWH sees the end from the beginning, but we cannot even see tomorrow clearly.

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto YHWH, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith YHWH. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:7–9)

The Jewish believers of Yeshua’s day believed He had come to establish the messianic kingdom in their generation. Those of faith were ready, but YHWH was not. You see, they didn’t understand the full implications of YHWH’s covenant with Abraham. That covenant promised that through Abraham’s seed, all nations of the earth were to be blessed. That blessing was initialized when Yeshua paid the price for the sins of both Jews and Gentiles. That promise took on new importance when the apostle Paul was commissioned by Yeshua on the road to Damascus.

I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew . . . I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? (Romans 11:1–2, 11–12)

As we turn our attention to a more detailed exploration of the prophecy of 70 weeks in Part II: Countdown to the Messiah, please remember the underlying messianic context of this wonderful prophecy. Daniel 9 is first and foremost a prophecy about the coming of YHWH’s anointed Redeemer. As Revelation 19:10 reminds us, it is Yeshua who is the true “spirit of prophecy,” and no place in the Bible exemplifies that better than Daniel chapter 9 and the prophecy of 70 sevens.

 “. . . for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Revelation 19:10

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Author’s Note on Free Book Download:
This was an excerpt from my book Daniel’s Seventy Weeks: The Keystone of Bible Prophecy. You are welcome to download a free copy of the book from most digital retailers by clicking on the links below. If you would like to be notified of new blog articles or upcoming book releases consider subscribing to my blog. Blog subscribers will always be able to download my current and upcoming digital books for free. Rest assured I won’t spam you nor share your email,  Just every week or so I’ll share with you my love for Biblical history and Bible prophecy. I hope you’ll join the adventure!

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