Although the Jewish Scriptures evaluated the book of Daniel differently from the Christian Old Testament, by placing it in the Writings instead of with the major prophets, it remains a book of apocalyptic visions. Chapter nine begins with Daniel grappling with the prophetic prediction in Jeremiah 25:11-12, which declares that the Jews would serve the king of Babylon in captivity for seventy years. Now that the seventy years were almost at the end Daniel, in penitential prayer and confession, is petitioning Yahweh on behalf of his people. While in prayer, the angel Gabriel approaches Daniel to give him understanding concerning the future history of the Jewish nation under the illustration of seventy weeks. In Daniel 9:24-27, the account of the seventy weeks is unfolded. This discourse of Gabriel’s interpretation to Daniel concerning these four verses remains one of the most controversial topics among scholars. For, if Daniel 9:24-27 is misunderstood then any exegetical effort will be made to bend all other prophetic Scripture passages in order to compensate for that misinterpretation. However, if these verses are correctly understood, then all prophecy will fall into place without any contextual gymnastics. Therefore, an accurate interpretation of these seventy weeks is fundamental to building a solid understanding to the fulfillment of prophecy in the Bible. This paper will examine from a dispensational view the details of the seventy weeks prophecy, the start and end times of the seventy weeks, the division within the seventy weeks, and the divine purpose intended to provide a basis for building a solid foundation.
The Details of the 70 Weeks Prophecy
Beginning with the presupposition that the Bible (original manuscript) is inerrant and therefore infallible is the cornerstone to interpreting the details of Bible especially prophecy. Any inconsistency in history or science must been viewed as “not yet revealed” rather than contradictions which can lead to error or even worse, the abandonment of faith. Matthew 22:29 states, “But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God” (ESV). This may well be the case with many scholars who, like the Sadducees, study the word of God but do not know the word of God. Prior to chapter 9: 24-27 Daniel had studied the prophecy of Jeremiah and took Yahweh at his word. Therefore, he was given understanding into the future events of Israel’s blessing. The details of this encounter foretell the coming and dying of the Messiah, the destruction of the Temple, the rise of an evil ruler (Antichrist) at the end of the age, and the second coming of the Messiah.
According to Daniel 9:26, “after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing”(ESV). This verse alludes to the coming Messiah, the Prince, as well as foretells his death. The sixty-two weeks consist of 434 years from the decree by Artaxerxes I,...