Summary: All religious books claim to be the word of God, but prophecy sets the Bible apart as having God’s seal of authentication. This section looks at the 70th week of Daniel.
The 70th Week (Part 5 of 6)
Look again at Daniel 9:
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 62 weeks comes after the 7 weeks in verse 25. 69 weeks have passed leaving the 70th week to be fulfilled after Messiah arrives. Let’s take some time to look at the significance of the last week. Those who believe that Jesus’ triumphant entry is the fulfillment usually believe that the final week is the tribulation period spoken of in the book of Revelation. This viewpoint believes that verse 27 above refers to the anti-Christ. The anti-Christ will make a firm covenant with Israel as a sign that the Tribulation Period has begun. During the middle of the week (or 3 ½ years), he will break the covenant by ending Israel’s sacrifices. The abomination will be a polluted sacrifice (probably a pig) in the temple and then will be rejected by the people. He will then make all-out war against Israel marking the second half of the Tribulation Period. This requires a temple in Israel; therefore many believe that the temple will be rebuilt. Add to this Amos 9:11 which says that the tabernacle will be rebuilt as in the days of old.
The second view takes Jesus’ baptism as the starting point. Jesus served for 3 ½ years and was cut off. In Daniel 9:26 we are told that after 62 weeks, Messiah shall be cut off. Instead of meaning that Messiah was cut off immediately after 62 weeks, this viewpoint claims that it could refer to the following week which would be Jesus’ ministry. The second half of the verse foretells of the destruction of Jerusalem and then verse 27 goes back to subject of Messiah. Instead of ‘he’ referring to the anti-Christ, ‘he’ refers back to the Messiah. After 3 ½ years Messiah will be cut off and He will bring an end to sacrifices and offerings. Jesus’ was the perfect sacrifice and once He made atonement for sin with His own blood, there was no longer a need for sacrifices. Therefore it is argued that it was Christ that made an end to sacrifices through redemption and not the anti-Christ through betrayal. Historically both points have been argued. Earlier we looked at this quote from Julius Africanus in 190b.c.
It is by calculating from Artaxerxes, therefore, up to the time of Christ that the seventy weeks are made up, according to the numeration of the Jews. For from Nehemiah, who was despatched by Artaxerxes to build Jerusalem in the 115th year of the Persian empire, and the 4th year of the 83rd Olympiad, and the 20th year of the reign of Artaxerxes himself.
After giving what he thought to be an accurate calculation for the 490 years he stated:
…[these] make up in all the 70 weeks.
Eusebius made this statement in the 4th century:
Now the whole period of our Savior’s teaching and working of miracles is said to have been three and a half years, which is half a week. John the evangelist, in his Gospel makes this clear to the attentive.
Of course John does not spell this out. Eusebius draws this conclusion based on what he is expecting. That does not mean he is wrong, however, there are early church fathers who disagree. Irenaeus, who is earlier than both of these and only one generation separated from the Apostle John who wrote the gospel of John states a different view:
…in which [temple] the enemy shall sit, endeavoring to show himself as Christ, as the Lord also declares: “But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, which has been spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place...
But when this Antichrist shall have devastated all things in this world, he will reign for three years and six months, and sit in the temple at Jerusalem
Which also he shall do in the time of his kingdom: he shall remove his kingdom into that city, and shall sit in the temple of God, leading astray those who worship him, as if he were Christ. To this purpose Daniel says again: “And he shall desolate the holy place; and sin has been given for a sacrifice, and righteousness been cast away in the earth, and he has been active, and gone on prosperously.” ... And then he points out the time that his tyranny shall last, during which the saints shall be put to flight, they who offer a pure sacrifice unto God: And in the midst of the week, he says, the sacrifice and the libation shall be taken away, and the abomination of desolation shall be brought into the temple: even unto the consummation of the time shall the desolation be complete. Now three years and six months constitute the half-week."