The Signs of the Times (27): 70 Weeks

editor - 23 December 2018

‘Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy.’
Daniel 9:24 (NKJV)

Daniel prays on the basis of God’s word and holds on to God’s word. The Lord answers by giving further teaching and insight into the prophetic future of the people of Israel and the holy city of Jerusalem. The vision of the 70 weeks is given to Daniel, and it would be good to once again take the numbers of this vision literally. Why not? And to carefully try to place them into a historical framework.

In the NIV the ’70 weeks’ are called ‘seventy sevens’, which is a good place to start. These 70 sevens are divided up this way: 7+62=69+1=70. These sevens begin to be counted from the moment the word went out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. That order was given by king Artaxerxes in the month Nisan in the twentieth year of his reign, according to Nehemiah 2:1. According to some researches, this fell on March 14, 445 BC.

What kind of sevens is this talking about? They are days that should be regarded as years. Numbers 14:34 says: “…For forty years—one year for each of the forty days you explored the land—you will suffer for your sins…” And Ezekiel 4:6 says: “…and bear the sin of the people of Judah. I have assigned you 40 days, a day for each year…”

So the days of the 70 weeks can be regarded as years.

Now we do the math! The NKJV says in verse 25: “…from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, (the only time in the Old Testament that the name Messiah is mentioned is in this verse and in verse 26!) there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks.”

So, 69 weeks. 69×7 years= 483 year. What kind of years are these? There are four options: the lunar year of 354 days, the calendar year of 360 days, the solar year of 365 days, and the Julian or astronomical year of 365 and a quarter day.

We find the key in Genesis 7:11-24 and 8:3-4. There we can read that the 5 months starting on the 17th day of the 2nd month to the 17th day of the 7th month are counted as 150 days, which comes to 30 days per month. This means it’s speaking about a calendar year (or a prophetic/biblical year) of 360 days.

In the normal chronology that we use in the Western world there are 475 years of 365 days each between 445 BC and 30 AD. And if you add the year 30 AD, there are 476 years. If you multiply 476 with 365 days, it equals 173.740 days. Add 119 leap years and it equals 173.879 days. Divide 173.879 by the 360 days of a prophetic/biblical year and you get 483 years, minus one day! In this way, the 69 ‘year-weeks’ of 7 years each, lead to 483 years. This means the Messiah, the Christ, made His triumphal entry on the back of a donkey and a colt (Matthew 21:1-11) on April 2, 30 AD, to be crucified in Jerusalem a few days later. This is according to Clarence Larkin, the writer of ‘Dispensational Truth’ in 1918.

Then there is one ‘year-week’ left, and these still unfulfilled 7 years will be fulfilled right before His return, Larkin believes. But even then, when you don’t know from what point in time you should start counting, you won’t know when those 7 years will be over. You can only know for sure by looking back afterwards.

Prophetic numbers in the Bible are not there for nothing. It’s best to take them literally. This is also true for the book of Daniel, Ezekiel and the book of Revelation. But we must be extremely careful and cautious, and always be prepared to correct our insights. And using calculations to predict future events is not what we should do. “He said to them: ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority.’” (Acts 1:7) “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.” (Matthew 24:42) My father used to say: ‘Watch the signs, but do not start to calculate’.

“…those who are wise will understand…”, says the man clothed in linen to Daniel in chapter 12:10. Let’s always say this prayer when studying the Word of God: Lord, give us wisdom with divine light by Your Holy Spirit!


The Signs of the Times
Many people are afraid of the future. Will the turmoil in the world lead to World War III? Or is there still hope? What do the ancient prophecies of the Bible teach us? Are we at the beginning of the end of this world? Or are we approaching a new beginning? Could Israel be a sign of hope? In this new series Rev. Willem Glashouwer looks at 52 of the many signs of the times that are mentioned in the Bible. The English edition of ‘The Signs of the Times’ will be published by Christians for Israel International in the coming months.

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