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Friday, March 3, 2017

A Very Brief Summary of My View of the Chronology of Events in Daniel 9:24-27

by Michael J. Vlach

Daniel 9:24-27 is one of the most disputed passages in the Bible. I have counted around 18 different areas of dispute in these four verses. My intent here is not to exhaust the meaning of this passage or explain all its details or all contested areas. Instead, my aim is to present how I view the chronology of events in Daniel 9:24-27. This is more of a short statement of how I view the chronology of this text and not a full blown defense of it or an interaction with other views.

 But first here is the text of Daniel 9:24-27 from the NASB:

“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. 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. 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. 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 makes desolate.”

Here is how I view the chronology of events:

Daniel 9:24: In 538 B.C. Daniel receives prophetic revelation concerning six things that will occur as a result of a seventy weeks program (490-year period). Importantly, these six things are related “for your people and your city Jerusalem.” The context demands that this refers to Israel and the city of Jerusalem.

1.      “finish the transgression”
2.      “make an end of sin”
3.      “make atonement for iniquity”
4.      “bring in everlasting righteousness”
5.      “seal up vision and prophecy”
6.      “anoint the most holy place” [i.e. temple]

The first three of these have a basis in the first coming of Jesus but application of these to Israel will occur in the future. The final three will occur with Messiah’s kingdom in the future when it is established.

Daniel 9:25: The first sixty-nine weeks (483 years) expires in the early A.D. 30s with the ministry of Jesus the Messiah.

The starting point for this 490-year period is a decree to restore the city of Jerusalem which occurred according to Nehemiah 2:1-8 around 444 B.C.  From this decree to restore the city of Jerusalem around 444 B.C. until Jesus the Messiah and Prince there will be a 49-year period followed by 434-year period which together is 483 years. The 49-year period culminated in the building of the city with plaza and moat in spite of difficulties from opponents. Then the coming of Jesus (official messianic ministry including death) occurred in the early A.D. 30s, 483 years after the Nehemiah 2 decree.

Daniel 9:26: After the sixty-ninth week (483-year period), but before the seventieth week, the killing of the Messiah and the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans occurred. The killing of Jesus happened in the early A.D. 30s and the destruction of Jerusalem occurred in A.D. 70.

After 483 years (49 + 434 years) Jesus the Messiah will be cut off or killed and have nothing. He will not establish His kingdom at this time. This killing of Jesus the Messiah on the cross happens after the 483 years expires, not at the end of the 483rd year or in the beginning of the 484th year. Thus, there is a gap between the expiration of the 69th week and the start of the 70th week. Another event that occurs between the 69th and 70th week is the destruction of the city of Jerusalem and the Jewish temple by the Romans in A.D. 70. This proves that there is a gap between the end of the 69th week and the beginning of the 70th week since this event is occurring almost forty years after when the 69th week expired.

The Romans are the people from whom the coming evil Antichrist will come. The Antichrist is an evil prince who will come from the people of the Romans. This destruction of Jerusalem and the temple will come in quick and overwhelming fashion like a flood. This destruction is followed by continual war and desolations to the people of Jerusalem and Israel. This characterizes Israel’s situation indefinitely until the 484th year (70th week) begins.

Daniel 9:27: In the coming seventieth week of Daniel, which is still future from our standpoint in history, the coming evil prince [i.e. Antichrist]  from the people who destroyed Jerusalem (the Romans, v. 26) will make a seven-year covenant (i.e. one week) with the people of Israel. At the midway point (3.5 years) he will put a stop to Jewish worship in the temple and bring desolation to the temple. Yet he himself will be destroyed. God has decreed a destruction upon the Antichrist who brings desolation to the temple. This desolation of the temple in the seventieth week of Daniel is different than the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple predicted in Daniel 9:26 which occurred between the 69th and 70th week.

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