Bible Studies Index | Pauline Bootcamp Index | TGF Home Page

1997 TGF Bible Conference Series
The Five Great Prophetic Clocks of Scripture

The Clock of Weeks: The Seventy Sevens of Daniel

P. W. Dennis, 1997

Abstract: The Seventy Sevens of Daniel divided into 7 sevens, 62 sevens, and 1 seven comprise the third prophetic clock. When correlated with the clocks of the preceding sessions, this clock gives a precise timing for all of God's dealings with elect Israel, beginning with the decree of Artaxerxes to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and ending with the millennial phase of Israel's eternal earthly empire. New information, stemming from beating this clock against the preceding 2 clocks, includes the following: Daniel's Seventy Sevens implicitly include 40 years in addition to the explicitly stated "490 years" of the Seventy Sevens, approximately 7 years to complete the Second Generation after the death of Messiah at the close of the 69th Seven, and 33 years to begin the Third Generation of which the 70th Seven is the last seven years.

I. Outline

A. Importance of prophecy of 70 weeks
B. Purpose of revelation to Daniel
C. The Seventy weeks of Daniel - Dan. 9:23-27
D. Relation to "clocks of feasts, generations, scrolls and dispensations"
E. Chronological considerations

  1. Meaning of the phrase "weeks"
  2. Terminus a quo
  3. Excursis on identification of Persian Kings
  4. Terminus ad quem
  5. When is clock of weeks "ticking?"
  6. Dating considerations
  7. Detailed timeline

F. Summary/Conclusions

II. Importance of 70 weeks

A. Certainly one of the important passages prophesying first advent of Christ.

B. The seventy weeks provide the chronological framework/foundation for God's timeline for ushering in the consummation of elect Israel.

C. Demonstrate that Mid-Acts provides the only intelligible basis for understanding the chronology of the prophecy.

D. The history of contradictory and unintelligible interpretations of the Seventy Sevens have even been used by unbelievers to cast ridicule on Christianity. E.g. Rabbi Isaac ben Abrahams, Sepher Chizzuk Emuneh (Book of the fortress of the Faith) an apologetic work for Judaism against Christianity. Arguments recognized by French atheists, such as Voltaire.

E. In my experience I have encountered one person of reformed Baptist persuasion, who, when I had made reference to Dan. 9, responded with reluctance to use Dan.9 because its interpretation was "controversial." It is a sad day when one of the strongest passages in Scripture is ignored because it is "controverted!"

III. Purpose of revelation to Daniel

A. Provides details of God's plan for the consummation of Israel's eternal earthly kingdom. Two advents of Christ to Israel. Sufferings of Messiah and the glory which should follow.

B. Denoted in Daniel as "the end" (ha qetz); referred to by Christ in Matt. 24; mentioned by Paul in 1 Cor. 15:24. Cf. also Appendix A: Visions of Daniel.

IV. The Seventy Weeks in Daniel

A. Main text: Dan. 9:24-27:

1. Verse 24: Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city,

a. seventy weeks- (shabuyim shibyim) [Note: the two words are the same in Hebrew text, differing only in vowel pointing]; the Hebrew is literally "seventy sevens," suggesting that "sabbatical" might be the idea]

b. upon thy people and upon thy holy city] the years are only counted as long as Israel constitutes a distinctive people in the mind of God and the city is considered HOLY.

c. The time period is not continuous time but the passing of 70 recognized sabbatical years;

d. Another interesting fact is that the 70 weeks are precisely 10 Jubilees (= 10 x 49). The significance of this is that a Jubilee will mark the resurrection of elect Israel. Further, the number 10 signifies the perfection of Divine order.

e. Results of 70 weeks are:

This phrase never used of a person, hence cannot be Christ as covenantalists claim. Clearly this is the millennial sanctuary.

2. Verse 25,26.

a. 69 weeks unto "anointed prince" or "Prince Messiah." This phraseology suggests that the 69th sabbatic year is marked by Christ's baptism with water by John, and baptism of the Spirit. More below.

b. Messiah cut off after the 62 week (of the 7+62), i.e. after 69th week.

c. Sanctuary and city defiled by the "coming prince" = "the little horn"

d. His (the little horn) end is with a flood

e. Remark on translation of 9:25: "the street shall be built again and the wall" -

Hebrew is (Hebrew font unavailable)- (she) will return and (she) will be built, street (fem) and wall (f/m).

(Hebrew font unavailable) is presumably masculine but according to BDB cannot be discerned with certainty. But it appears that the structure of the sentence is an "alternation" both verbs are listed, then the two subjects. An English analog would be, "farmer and banker, plows and loans"

3. Verse 27.

a. Little horn makes covenant with the many for the one week (the last or 70th seven)

b. This is the a quo of the 70th week.

c. In the midst of the week (the time, 2 times and a dividing of a time), the covenant is broken, abomination of desolation set up.

d. End of 70th week results in the consummation and the judgment upon the "little horn"

e. Some covenantalists make "coming prince" = Christ. This is not only heretical but it ignores all rules of grammar, especially the issue of antecedent. A principle that needs to remembered is that the antecedent must be based on THE ORIGINAL TEXT, because the translation is usually rearranged to produce smooth English.

The antecedent is the one closest in the "hearing/speaking" of the original audience. For example the correct word order for 9:26-27 is:

And after the-sevens seventy and two, (he)-will-be-cutoff, (namely) Messiah, and there is nothing to-him and the city (fem.) and the holy-place (masc.) (he)-will- destroy, (namely) people-of the-coming-prince, and his-end in-the-flood, and unto- end war decreed desolation. 27: and he-confirmed a covenant...

Some comments on the "notation:"

a. Word order is preserved except within the hyphenated word groupings

b. The verbs are translated according to their gender and number, the subject of a verb is identified by the (namely) tag. Remember the noun follows the verb in Hebrew.

Clearly the masculine antecedent of his-end, and he-confirmed is the-coming-prince.

B. Relation to other visions.

1. Antichrist (=little horn, vile-person, etc.); the abomination of desolations; judgement of antichrist, and the establishment of the eternal earthly kingdom are the constant themes of these visions. These major textual clues show that the visions relate to one series of events, not many different ones. Cf. Appendix A for summary.

2. Dan. 2:31-45: Colossus of Gentile dominion over Israel. (1) Babylon; (2) Medo-Persia; (3) Greece; (4) Rome; (5) 5th empire of Antichrist (toes and feet, infusion of demonic seed, nephelimic offspring (v.43)) is during 70th week/3rd generation. judgement of 5th empire ushers in millennial phase of eternal earthly kingdom (v.44).

3. Dan. 7 Vision of the 4 Beasts. Beast with 10 horns = 10 toes of Daniel 2. Empire of Antichrist=the little horn.

Judgment poured out on beast, eternal earthly kingdom established.

4. Dan. 8 Vision of he-goat. Appearance of antichrist (v.9). The 2300 days until the sanctuary is vindicated.

5. Dan. 10-12. Details of the 70 weeks. Explicitly refers to the vision of chapter 9 (v.14); and that it is for the latter days. Latter days of what? The 70 weeks! The 70 weeks end with resurrection of Israel (12:2).

V. Relation to clocks of feasts, generations, scrolls and dispensations.

A. Clock of generations:

1. 1st generation: Deut. 1:35 called this evil generation

2. 2nd generation

a. Isa. 53 generation in which Christ is "cut off"

b. Isa. 66:7-8

c. Luke 17:25; Acts 2:40; Matt. 11:16; 17:17.

3. 3rd generation

a. Psa. 24:3 - generation which sees the Lord of Glory enter the gates of Jerusalem.

b. Isa. 66:7-8. cf. above

c. Matt. 24 esp. v.34; Luke 21.

B. Clock of feasts: Lev. 23

1. Fullfilled in 2nd generation:

a. Passover Passion of Christ the Lamb
b. Unleavened bread Christ's burial
c. First fruits Christ's resurrection
d. Pentecost.

2. To be fulfilled in 3rd generation:

a. Trumpets
b. Atonement
c. Booths.

C. "Beating" of Seventy Weeks against the clock of generations and feasts, yields the following progressive revelation of details:

1. Information from generations:

2. Adding feasts yields:

3. Adding Daniel's information of the weeks

D. Clock of scrolls (Session IV).

E. Clock of dispensations (below).

VI. Chronological considerations.

A. Meaning of the phrase "sevens."

1. Literally spans of 7 years. We know this from many verses which number the half-week in 1260 days. The nominal Jewish year was lunar (not solar); 12 months of 30 days = 360 days/year. Thus the times, two times and a dividing of time = 3-1/2 years = 3.5 x 360 days = 1260 days.

time + two times + dividing of time = 12 + 24 + 6 months = 42 months
  = 360 + 720 + 180 days = 1260 days

In fact the following references show the weeks are literal seven years:

a. 1260+ days: Dan. 7:25; 9:27; 12:7,11,12. Cf. Appendix A.

b. 42 months: Rev. 11:2; 13:5

2. Comments on usual arithmetic presuming decree went out in 444 B.C. (as most commentaries state): They try to make the 69th week work out by making every year = 360 days. But even for a Jew the average year is 365 days because of the intercalary month every 6 years. Paragraph A.2 is relevant here if the weeks are required to be passage of sabbatical years because every 7 years would = 360 (7) + 30 (the intercalary month).

3. They are sabbatic years. Law of sabbatic years: Lev. 25:1-13.

4. In fact, the punishment of the desolations of Jerusalem was imposed so that land could enjoy its sabbaths, 2 Chron. 36:21. Each year of the desolations corresponds to a sabbatic year that was not kept. In other words, Israel had failed to keep 70 sabbatical years. This was 490 (= 70 x 7) years of time annum mundi. This curse was foretold in Lev. 26:34,35

5. Daniel would have understood this. He had just understood (cf. Dan. 9:2) the years of the desolations from studying in the scroll of Jeremiah, Jer. 25:12. He thus understood how the 70 years of desolation related to the failure to keep the sabbatic years. And it is in this very context that Daniel receives the instruction through Gabriel (Daniel's angelic lord and tutor) of the 70 sabbatic years which are decreed to usher in Israel's eternal hope.

6. One other datum: Daniel uses phrase weeks of days in Dan. 10:1

7. The following references show that the Jews after the return observed the sabbatical years

a. Antiq. 11.8.5 - request to Alexander for no tribute in the 7th year.

b. Antiq. 12.9.5

c. Antiq. 13:8.1

d. Antiq. 14:10.6 - exemption of Jews to tribute during sabbatical years during reign of Julius Caesar.

e. Wars 1.2.4

8. Known examples of Sabbatic years [cf. Whiston]

a. 2 Kgs 18:29; Isa. 37:30. Siege of Jerusalem during reign of Hezekiah.

b. Reign of Zedekiah - Jer. 34:8-17; 37:21; 38:9.

c. Darius Hystaspes - Hag. 2:15-19

d. Neh. 8; 10:28-31.

e. Judas Maccabeus: 1 Macc. 6:49,53; Jos. Antiq. XII.9.5 - explicitly stated to be a sabbatic year.

f. Antiq. XIV.2.2.

g. Antiq. XIV.16.2 - An important reference. Explicitly stated to be a Sabbatic year. This is when Sosius was sent by Marc Antony to assist Herod the Great in capturing Jerusalem. This occurred in 37 B.C. according to secular historians. Since the Jewish year begins in April this implies that either 38 B.C., 37 B.C. or 36 B.C. could be part of the Sabbatic year as these years could overlap the Sabbatic year.

h. The understanding is that 70 sabbatical years must pass before the prophetic vision is competed.

2. Issue of the extra 30 days: 1290 versus 1260. Does this indicate the presence of an intercalary month? These occur every 6 years, so within 7 years at least one and maybe two would occur. No conclusions, just a datum, for future reference. May be useful for resolving synchronization.

10. Summary: The understanding is that 70 sabbatical years must pass before the prophetic vision is completed.

B. Division of the time into three periods. 7+62+1.

1. Regarding the splitting of 69 weeks into 7 + 62. Speculation: The first 7 may be related to rebuilding of the temple. This is also suggested somewhat by John 2:20 where it is stated that 46 years were required to build the temple.

2. Existence of a gap between the 69th and 70th weeks already understood by the Kingdom saints: 1 Pet. 1:11; Acts 1:6,7. This is also based on remarks above that in the Jewish way of understanding there can be gaps in which Sabbatic years are not counted. Thus, we see that:

3. The presence of a gap is in NO WAY RELATED to the dispensation of the mystery. It is not even a hint that the mystery was being "revealed in Hebrew scripture," (in some "veiled" way). (Gap of course includes Body program, but Old Testament is silent to mystery Rom. 16:25; Eph. 3:4-11; Col. 1:24-27). Again, a gap is understandable in purely Jewish terms.

C. Terminus a quo

1. Issuing of decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem: Dan. 9:23

2. Issued by Artaxerxes in the 20th year of his reign. This is in the time frame 456-450 B.C. Neh. 2:1,7-9.

D. Excursis on identification of Persian Kings.

1. Principle of Scripture judges secular history never reverse

2. Secular history can inform the text of Scripture

3. See Charts in Appendix B.

E. Terminus ad quem of 70 weeks is the millennium. Some Biblical data:

1. Resurrection occurs after the 70th week. Dan. 12:13

2. Millennial kingdom set up when stone cut out without hand crushes 5th empire. Dan. 2:35,44

F. When is clock of weeks "ticking?"

1. Since the prophecy consists of 70 sabbatic years, it is a clock that depends on:

a. Ceremonial sabbatic years to be in place, and thus

b. It also requires Israel be a distinctive people in the mind of God.

2. One obvious and immediate consequence of 1.b is that the clock cannot be ticking during the dispensation of the mystery, when there is neither Jew nor Gentile.

3. 1.a is independent of question of ammi/lo-ammi ("my people"/"not my people").

4. Remark: If the seventy sevens are, per se, seventy intervals of seven years of chronological time (annum mundi) and which tick while Israel is a distinctive nation then about 5 years "ticked" after Christ's death and resurrection. Further, once we ascend to the 3rd Heaven, then Israel is again a distinctive nation (144,000 of 3rd generation born in a day), yet the 70th sabbatic year does not begin. 33 years anni mundi will tick before the start of the 70th sabbatic year.

5. Remark: If the sabbatic years are understood as milestones, with the time measured between the observation/celebration of the sabbatic years, then we have the following chronology:

a. Sixty-nine sabbatic years transpire unto the annointing of Christ by the baptism with Holy Spirit. Matt. 3:13- 17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21,22;4:1; John 1:32-34

b. Christ is crucified after the 69th sabbatic year.

c. Approximately 5 years transpire from Christ's ascension (Acts 1) to the blasphemy by the Jerusalem (Great) Sanhedrin, at the stoning of Stephen (Acts 6-7). Details below.

d. Conception of Body dispensation and Fall of Israel. Paul saved (almost immediately), Acts 9. The Body dispensation has now been conceived. Israel is fallen. Note: Acts 9-13 is the gestation period of the Body dispensation. Acts 13 marks the "birth" (first public manifestation) of the "good news of the mystery."

e. Point: The next sabbatic year does not count. Nor do the 6+ years which have transpired after the 69th week.

f. Point: The sabbatic years are like "threshold counters." If they are not crossed they don't trigger. The 70th sabbatic year did not occur due to the start of the Body dispensation.

g. After our ascension, the 3rd generation begins.

h. 33 years of annum mundi time transpire.

i. Antichrist signs the covenant with the many.

j. Tribulation temple is dedicated (it was built during the 33 year interval). It is clear from Rev. 11:1 that the temple is already built before the 7 trumpets of Revelation. It is measured, hence in existence, before the 1260 days of testimony by the two witnesses.

k. Ceremonial and sacrificial worship re-established.

l. Year of temple dedication is declared (or actually is a sabbatic year).

m. Last seven years now flow uninterrupted.

n. Events which usher in millennium transpire. Judgement of antichrist; resurrection of elect Israel. Dedication of millennial temple (Ezekiel resurrected and presides over the dedication ceremonies.)

o. Millennium begins on the 10th great Jubilee of Daniel's vision.

6. Israel, after the return from the Babylonian captivity, kept the feasts assiduously (recall, e.g. the over zealousness of the Pharisees to put a "hedge" around the law which resulted in the addition of "unbearable burdens"). Scriptural references: Neh. 8:14-18; 10:28-39; Ezra 3:4-5.

7. Relation to clock of Generations

a. Ending of 2nd generation and ushering in of dispensation of the mystery implies "stopping" of sabbatical clock.

b. Leadership of the Second generation is the evil generation which committed the unpardonable sin, viz. blasphemy against testimony of the Holy Spirit.

  1. Contrary to covenantalists who are BLATANTLY FALSE Israel is not cut off for crucifying Christ. For: (1) Christ forgave Israel on the cross; and (2) Christ himself states all manner of sin against the Son would be forgiven, but the sin of blasphemy against Holy Spirit would not. Peter's statement in Acts 3:17 underscores this.
  2. Acts 2 dispensationalists who start the "church" at Acts 2 are also BLATANTLY FALSE. Not only for their heretical notion that indwelling of the Holy Spirit first occurred at Pentecost, but for the same reason as the covenantalists. What sin did national Israel commit between the crucifixion and Pentecost which would result in Israel being set aside? None! In fact the question of the disciples and Christ's answer in Acts 1:6,7 underscores the fact that Israel is still in view.

c. Jerusalem Sanhedrin blasphemes implicitly in Acts 6. cf. Acts 6:7-14

  1. Location: occurs in Jerusalem (v.7) and in the Temple (note "this place" in vv.13-14).
  2. Certain members of the Sanhedrin knowingly induce certain men to bear false witness against Stephen claiming Stephen is blaspheming. Since Stephen is speaking by the power of the Holy Spirit, and manifesting the signs of the age to come (v.8), their false testimony is thus implicitly a blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Cf. also Acts 7:51.
  3. This was an official and a public act. Contrast treatment of Stephen with that of Peter and John in Acts:5:27-42
  4. Sidelight: Note also that Stephen did not teach contrary to the law! (v. 13)
  5. We know that Paul was not a knowing accomplice in the false witnesses against Stephen as he states in 1 Tim. 1:13, cf. also Acts 3:17.

8. Relation to dispensation of the mystery.

a. As stated above dispensation of the mystery lies in the gap between the 2nd and 3rd generation.

b. The gap in the prophetic record provides no clues to dispensation of the mystery. The dispensation of the mystery was held in total silence Rom. 16:25 until revealed to Paul.

c. Existence of gap in the weeks can be understood entirely in Jewish terms, especially when we note they must be recognized sabbatic years.

G. Dating considerations (see chart in section H below).

1. Christ was born about 5 B.C., thus 2nd generation ends about 35 A.D.

2. Fall of Jerusalem to Herod the Great in 37/36 B.C. is a sabbatic year (cf. Josephus mentioned above).

3. Thus 27/28 A.D. (=37/36 BC + 9x7 years) is a Sabbatic year = 15th of Tiberius Caesar (Luke 3:1). Christ is 31 or 32 (i.e. about 30 years of age, Luke 3:23). 27/28 A.D. is the 69th Sabbatic year after Artaxerxes decree. This is when Christ is anointed by Holy Spirit descending. This fits perfectly that unto Messiah (anointed) the Prince, will be 69 weeks.

4. 37/36 B.C. is the 60th sabbatic year of the prophecy. This implies 37 + 59x7 = 450/449 B.C. is the marker for the first sabbatic year. This implies decree of Artaxerxes could be located anywhere in the range: 456/455 B.C. to 450/449 B.C.

5. Note: Secular chronology places 20th of Artaxerxes about 446 B.C. This is clearly incorrect. Coregencies could easily result in this being shifted earlier. I know of one 2 year interval of coregency of Darius and Xerxes.

6. Christ is cut off about 29 A.D. This is after 69th week.

7. 34/35 A.D. would have been 70th Sabbatic year after the decree of Artaxerxes.

8. Stephen stoned shortly before 34/35 A.D. (70th week) and Paul saved about same time.

H. Detailed Timeline

1. Putting together all of the above data we get the following timeline of events
(not to scale):

VII. Summary/Conclusions

A. The timeline provided by the visions of Daniel are understandable. The seventy sabbatic years are literal and the timeline and its gaps can be given an intelligible explanation in solely Jewish terms. This is how the original audience understood the timeline, and thus, this is the meaning intended by the Holy Spirit. This is how Daniel, Peter and the kingdom saints understood the timeline.

B. The seventy weeks provide the chronological framework/foundation for God's timeline for ushering in the consummation of elect Israel. The 70 weeks span 530 years of chronological time of God's dealings with the Jewish dispensation. Chronological time during dispensation of the mystery is not included in and is totally independent of this clock. We conclude:

C. Mid-Acts dispensationalism provides the only intelligible basis for understanding the chronology of the prophecy. The gap in the weeks in no way hints at the dispensation of the mystery, though the dispensation of the mystery does occupy the gap, between the 2nd and 3rd generations and 69th and 70th sabbatic years.

Appendix A: Visions of Daniel

Daniel 7 Daniel 8 Daniel 9 Daniel 11 Daniel 12 Matthew 24
A little horn
(vv. 8, 20, 21, 24-26)
The little horn
(vv. 9-12, 23-25.)
The coming prince (v.26) A vile person (vv. 21-30)    
  The daily sacrifice taken away (vv. 11, 12, 13) The daily sacrifice taken away (v. 27) The daily sacrifice taken away (v. 31) The daily sacrifice taken away (v. 11)  
  Abomination of desolations set up (v. 13) Abomination of desolations set up (v. 27) Abomination of desolations set up (v. 31) Abomination of desolations set up (v. 11) Abomination of desolations set up (v. 15)
TIME: The midst of the week (1260 days) (v. 25) TIME: 2300 days (v. 14) TIME: The midst of the week (1260 days) (v. 27)   TIME: The midst of the week (1260, 1290, 1335 days) (v. 7, 11, 12)  
  The Sanctuary cleansed (v. 14) The anointing of the Holy of Holies (v. 24)      
Eternal earthly kingdom established (vv. 13,18)   Eternal earthly kingdom established (v. 24)      
The end (v. 26) The time of the end (vv. 17,19) The end (v. 26) The time of the end (v. 40) The time of the end (vv. 4, 9, 13) The end (v. 14)

APPENDIX B: Persian Kings

Pronunciation guide. x = ch in German "ach;" Theta is "th" in English "the;" c = ch in English "chin;" s = sh in English "she;" c = theta "r".

There is some indication that Artaxerxes is a throne name. Josephus indicates that Artaxerxes's name before his ascension to the throne was Cyrus. Also, Josephus indicates that Darius had another name among the Greek, but does not provide it.

"Ahasuerus is Xerxes"

Note: The Aramaic matches the Old Persian nearly perfectly, letter for letter, except for the final "a."

Each of these names contain the root word "xs" common to the word group meaning, king, kingdom, etc. Note that the Old Persian word for "king" (Xsaya-theta-iya) is preservedthe modern Persian word "Sah" (Shah).

Xerxes = OP Xsayarsa = "ruler over men"




Johannes Friedrich, Extinct Languages, (Barnes and Noble edition, 1993).
Edwin M. Yamauchi, Persia and the Bible, Baker, 1990.

Genealogy of the Persian Kings
Correction to Companion Bible Appendix. The following tree is based on Cylinder of Cyrus, Behistun Inscription, and narratives from Herodotus. All three of these are consistent. For more details see Medo-Persian Kings outline by P.W. Dennis.

(Italics indicate references to the Cylinder of Cyrus)

Bible Studies Index | Pauline Bootcamp Index | TGF Home Page