Seventy Weeks (Daniel)


Daniel was told that his prophetic “words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end.” (Daniel 12:9).  This is because the prophecy is preserved awaiting fulfillment at the time of the end. (Very Important to understand God’s use of words: it does Not say “the end of time” or the “end of the world,” but the “time of the end” – remember the context is still referring to the visions Daniel had received – it was the “time of the end” of the Old Covenant Hebrew people and Jewish age (Dan. 10:14)).  In a significant distinction, God told the Apostle John in his first century Book of Revelation, NOT to seal the words!  Verse 22:10 – “And he said to me, ‘Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand.’” 

Notice the important difference.  The “time of the end” had finally come in the first century when John wrote the book of Revelation.  Prophecy was sealed in Daniel’s time and opened in the first century.  It was future to Daniel but current to John.  This “time of the end” had referred to the end of the Old Covenant Jewish age.  It was consummated and fulfilled in the New Covenant age and the one eternal Kingdom consisting of the reunited heavenly realm (unseen realm) and the earthly realm in the church (seen realm) (Eph. 1:10).

Around 537 BC, about 2500 years ago, the nation of Israel was in captivity in Babylon.  Daniel knew that God had previously decreed a 70 year period of captivity (Daniel 9:1-2; Jeremiah 25:11-12; 29:10).  Since Daniel and the first captives were deported to Babylon around 605 BC, he was aware that Jeremiah’s prophecy was nearing the finishing point (605 BC – 70 years = 535 BC)

Cyrus captured Babylon in 539 B.C.  The book of Daniel was written shortly afterwards (the vision in chapter 10:1 was received in the third year of Cyrus about 537 BC).  The edict of Cyrus in 539 BC allowed Jewish exiles to return to Judah and rebuild the temple (Ezra 1:1-2).  This was led by Sheshbazzar and is called the “First Return.”


(Daniel 9:24)   “24 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.” 

  1. The angel Gabriel gave Daniel the insight to understand what God had determined for the Jews.  Part of that vision was the prophecy of a future “seventy weeks.”  This involved 70 “sevens,” or seventy weeks of seven years each (Daniel 9:24-27).  This period of 490 years (70 * 7) was determined or fixed for the Jews and for Jerusalem.
  • The primary purpose of this “time” system was to reveal when the Messiah would come to Israel.  The other purposes were regarded as redemption and were determined and described as follows: (1) to finish transgression, (2) to make and end of sin, (3) to atone for sin, (4) to bring in everlasting righteousness, (5) to seal up the vision and prophecy, and (6) to anoint the Most Holy.


(Daniel 9:25)  “25 now therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times.”

  1. The angel told Daniel that the total time of “seventy weeks” or 490 years was subdivided into three separate time periods.  They are:

(1) An initial period of “seven weeks” (7 * 7 = 49 years)

(2) A period of “sixty two weeks” (62 * 7 = 434 years), and

(3) A final period of “one week” (7 years, which also states will be broken in the middle). 


(Daniel 9:26-27)  “26 And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.  The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined.  27 Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.  And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate.”  

The prophecy said that after the 69th week (62 + 7 = 69) a few things would occur.  It did not say exactly when, but it said “after.”  It does not even say that all of the events would necessarily occur during the 70th week, although I believe they all did.  It also does not give the full timing of all of these events, but it does say that all of them would be completed before the end, or the consummation of the 70th week.  These predicted items in verse 9:26 are:

  • (1) Messiah cut off for others, not Himself.
  • (2) The people of the prince shall destroy the city.
  • (3) It shall end like a flood of destruction.
  • (4) Desolations are determined or preordained until the war ends. 

The other predicted items in verse 9:27 are:

  • (5) Confirm a covenant with many for one week.
  • (6) In the middle of the week bring an end to sacrifices and offerings. 
  • (7) Abominations and desolations until the predetermined consummation of the war.

I believe to be both the biblical and historically correct view, draws us back to the scriptures themselves to see how the times were given to Daniel as three separate time periods, and to also ask the question of why record them in that way:

(1) An initial period of “seven weeks” (7 * 7 = 49 years)

(2) A period of “sixty two weeks” (62 * 7 = 434 years), and

(3) A final period of “one week” (7 years, which also states will be broken in the middle). 

I believe the Bible and history concur that the 70 weeks were not a literal 490 consecutive years.  Instead, rather, they were a relative or indefinite period of time needed to fully accomplish the six objectives mentioned in Dan 9:24.

While the starting and end events were provided (commencing with the 539 BC decree by Cyrus and consummating in AD 70 with the destruction of the old covenant physical Jerusalem temple and “complete shattering of the power of the holy people” Dan. 12:7), the full duration of this 70 week period of time in total years was not revealed to Daniel.  Otherwise, Jesus was wrong when he stated that “no man knows the day or the hour” (Matt. 24:36).  If this was all one consecutive 490-year period, then the Jews would have been able to calculate the exact year of its fulfillment.  Instead, God gave Daniel certain events for the people to look for, which would signal when each of the three partitions (7 weeks, 62 weeks, 1 week) of the 70 weeks had been accomplished or were about to be accomplished. 

Daniel was given the signs for the people to watch for.  When those events occurred, it would indicate when one period of time ended and/or the next period began.  That is the same approach Jesus used.   That is why Jesus told His disciples to watch for the signs.  The signs would indicate when things were getting close to fulfillment.  When Jesus and John the Baptist proclaimed that “the time is fulfilled and the Day is at hand” (Mark 1:15; Matt. 3:2, 4:17), they were indicating that the end of the 69th week of Daniel 9 was happening.  The Second of the two periods was completing.  The final week had drawn near.  And that final week would not be over until the “complete end” of the temple in AD 70.


I believe the last (70th) week of seven years ranged from approx. AD 62-63 until AD 70.  You ask how can this be so?, and that is a good question.  I believe the Bible reveals to us that this last week was interspersed with a 40 year period (one generation) from the start of Jesus’ ministry in Mid-26 AD through Mid-AD 66 when the Roman-Jewish war commenced.  This 40 year period was provided for declaring, warning, calling to repentance and professing that Jesus Christ was Old Covenant Israel’s fulfilled Messiah, the Seed of David who was promised to come to sit on the throne and receive the Kingdom (Jesus’ resurrection was the sign which confirmed His message of “repent or perish” (as Jonah’s message was) to His 1st century generation was as He had promised (Matt. 4:17, 21:33-22:8, 23:32-38; Luke 11:29-32). 

One generation of grace before their promised judgment was given for the gospel to be preached to the diaspora of Old Covenant Israel scattered throughout the four corners of the Oikoumene (the known world = Roman Empire: Luke 2:1; Matt. 24:14; Rom. 10:18), to proclaim that Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the promised Messiah of Israel to that 1st century generation (Luke 11:29-32; Matt. 21:33-22:10, 23:31-39) – that the remnant of “true” Israel from the Old Covenant (OC) people would be saved (Rom. 4:16, 9:6-7, 10:12, 11:5).  In addition, while the remnant of Old Covenant Israel were being saved, the rest of the Jews rejected Jesus as their Messiah and “judged themselves unworthy of everlasting life” (Acts 13:46), and then the gospel spread and was poured out and greatly received by Gentiles throughout the entire empire. 

A major part of this 40 year transition period from the fading out and vanishing away of the obsolete Old Covenant, until the full consummation of the New Covenant (Heb. 8:13), was to break down the wall of separation between Jew and Gentile and make “one new creation” from the two (Eph. 2:11-22), until the mystery be fully revealed and realized of the Jew and Gentile in the same body (Eph. 3:3-6; Gal. 3:23-29; Isa. 11; Rom. 11:13-24), until the Gentiles being grafted into the olive tree were brought into “full equality” (one body) with the Jews, and once completed it is said that would be “all (true) Israel” being saved (We will do an in-depth study on this in eschatology Study Series 11: Study of Romans 11).  This one generation call and gathering was provided to that 1st century generation of Old Covenant Israel, of which the last 3 ½ years of “that 40 year generation” was the last ½ of Daniel’s 70th week when all of the promised wrath of God was poured out on Old Covenant Israel until “the power of the holy people was completely shattered” and the temple and city were completely destroyed (Dan. 9:24, 12:7; Matt. 24:2).

We need to recall the significance of how God had recorded the listing of the 70 weeks given to Daniel, as well as to keep in perspective the entirety of the Bible and its unified message, which includes the words and promises of Jesus to His generation.

  • First, God speaks through the angel that the 70 weeks would consist of 7 + 62 + 1 weeks, and of that last 1 week, it is shown to be broken in the middle, which would be 3 ½ years, twice.  It is of great importance that we seek to understand what the Holy Spirit is wanting to say to us by recording it like this.  If this 70 weeks period was meant to simply mean one consecutive unbroken chain of 490 years, then why did He not simply say that?  Why did He specifically have the weeks broken out like this?  I think the answer fits the proposal I put forth.

What is the key event after the end of the 69th week?  It is the crucifixion/resurrection/ascension of the Messiah.  This occurred in AD 30.  He is “cut off” à crucified/resurrected/ascended.  Jesus, the Messiah was the final sacrifice and offering for our sins, “once at the end of the ages,” as it says in Heb. 9:26.  Even though the Old Covenant Jews continued the custom of animal sacrifices and offerings for another forty years, Christ’s death and resurrection ended the Old Covenant requirements of the law (Col. 2:14).  It no longer had any value and acceptability to God and was as of that point now obsolete. (Heb. 8:13, 9:26, 10:9-10; 1 Peter 3:18). 

 The New Covenant system could not be completely consummated, nor all six of the promises and purposes of Daniel 9:24 be entirely brought in and wholly realized, until the old system was utterly removed at the “time of the end” (Dan. 12:4).  It is important to notice in that verse that it never said it was the “end of time” –> it was the time of the end –>  the time of the end of the Jewish Old Covenant age.


The first part of the establishing of the new covenant eternal Kingdom was to be predominantly to and for the Jews.  It was specifically to give that generation of Jews the covenant message that Jesus is the promised Messiah and salvation is in Him.  This was promised through the Prophet Jeremiah (Jer. 31:31-33).  During Jesus’ earthly ministry He fulfilled many OT prophesies which were promised to Israel, including parts of Daniel’s prophecies.  This was the period of time between AD 26 – 30 (the end of the 69th week). 

However, there was also to be another 1 week (7 years) of ministry to the Jews, split in the middle according to Daniel’s prophecy.  This I see was to occur at the end of the “one generation” of grace, commencing from AD 62-63 and split with the last 3 ½ years being from mid-AD 66-70, when the wrath of God would be poured out on Old Covenant Israel, “…even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate.”  Culminating the “seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city” (Dan. 9:24a) in the complete destruction of the temple and Jerusalem in AD 70.

The New Covenant biblical message of covertly tying Jew and Gentile into unity in one spiritual body was designed and developed into world history (John 4:22; Eph. 3:3-6, 9; Col. 1:26-27; 2:2; 4:3; Rom. 3:19-23; 15:26-27).  The entire prophecy spanned over this 7 + 62 + 1 weeks, with the last week of 7 years being split into two 3 ½ year periods (the last 3 ½ years (AD 66-70) after the “one generation” (AD 26-66) of grace granted the Jews, from AD 66-70).  The complete fulfillment of Daniel’s 70 weeks consummated in AD 70, with the Parousia of Jesus in AD 66 when He raised the righteous dead, rescued/raptured the righteous living, then pouring out the wrath of God ending in AD 70 with the end of the obsolete Old Covenant Mosaic system and people, having completely destroyed the city of Jerusalem and the temple.  


11And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days.” (Daniel 12:11)

  1. Daniel prophesied on the subject of seventy weeks of seven years regarding the nation of Israel and the coming Messiah.  This prophecy was fulfilled from the decree in 539 BC by Cyrus with a 7 week period (49 years) in which the temple was rebuilt; a 62 week period of time (434 years) during which Jerusalem was rebuilt and the land resettled “in troublesome times;” and the period of time where Messiah started His ministry in approx. AD 26 and then was “cut-off” (crucified/resurrected/ascended) after the end of the 69th week in AD 30.  A generation of grace was given for the outpouring of the gospel and the declaration that He was the Messiah promised through the OT prophets (from AD 26-66).  A remnant of the OC Jews turned to Christ in salvation, as well as believing Gentiles were grafted into the Olive Tree and brought to “fullness in equality” in Christ. 

While the actual starting date of Daniel’s 70th week (approx. AD 62-63) is not specified except by the listed signs they were to watch for, the middle of that week is clearly identifiable with the mid-AD 66 stopping of the daily temple sacrifice for Caesar – which was an act of war against Rome, and spurred the Roman onslaught against the Jews from the Spring AD 67 through AD70.  This 3 ½ year period would be the promised OC judgment of the pouring out of the wrath of God on OC Israel –> completing the “power of the holy people has been completely shattered” (Dan. 12:7b) (the completing of the “70 weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city”  Dan. 9:24a).  

  • In July of AD 66, Josephus records that the Jews rebelled and fought against Rome.  He reported that Jewish Zealots attacked Jerusalem and burned down the palace of the Roman ruler, Agrippa.  They also destroyed the palace of the Jewish High Priest, Ananias, and killed him because he supported Rome.  Additionally, they defeated some of the Roman combatants and terminated the daily temple sacrifices for Caesar and the Roman people.  Josephus wrote that this cessation of the daily sacrifice (August AD 66) was the true beginning of the Roman-Jewish War (see: Wars II. 17:2).  The Romans and the Jews considered it to be a declaration of war.  Later, all other sacrifices ceased as well when the Jews ran out of animals and priests in August of AD 70. 


  1. Jesus had given the Jews many signs and warnings that the end was coming upon them within their generation.  In April of AD 70, the Roman armies began the final attacks of the war.  It was finished in September.  All of biblical Judaism was totally destroyed and left desolate.  The Roman war was the tool that Jesus used to bring about the judgment that He had promised was coming (Luke 19:41-44).  This was also “the day of vengeance of God” à the part of Isaiah 61:2 which Jesus, over forty years earlier, did not quote while reading the scroll in the synagogue at that time (Luke 4:13-21). 
  • (Isaiah 61:2 – “To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn”).  The time of the end now came at the predetermined time. 
  • The transition between the Old Covenant age and the New Covenant age is sometimes called the “Eschaton” or referred to as the “Millennium.”  The changeover was finished at the collapse and destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.  The end times and the biblical last days are finished.  They are in the past, not in the future.  All of the references to the “last days,” or “last times,” or “last hour” in the New Testament refer to the time and generation of the apostles in the first century.  Those days were the last days of the Old Covenant Jewish system and age.  There are no exceptions. (See: Acts 2:17; 1 Tim. 4:1; 2 Tim. 3:1; Heb. 1:2; James 5:3; 1 Pet. 1:5, 20; 2 Pet. 3:3; 1 John 2:18; Jude 18).  The impact of this “millennium” upon the gospel, the Kingdom, and mankind in general, however, will be carried onward forever throughout human history.

The New Covenant spiritual Kingdom brought eternal peace with God for Christians.  From then on they were, are, and will be, true spiritual Israelites.  They are the “true” children of Abraham, and heirs to all of the promises that were given to Israel.  There is no future 1000 year “millennial” kingdom for the nation of Israel.  God has kept His Word.  The promise of peace, comfort, and blessings are for God’s spiritual Israelites.  They are given the Holy Spirit to be their indwelling Comforter for eternity. 


See also related “Topic Studies & Terms”:

Time of the End

Last Days

End of the Age (End of the World?)

Covenant (Old)

Covenant (old) (The “LAW” Was Only for Israel)

Heavens and Earth (Prophecy)

Heavens and Earth (Old)

Heavens and Earth (New)


For a more in-depth study see the related full “Study Series”:

Study Series 9 Lesson 1 The Book of Daniel Chpt 1-9