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Daniel’s seventy ‘sevens’ (Daniel 9:20-27)

March 31, 2013

The 70 weeks seem to signify a complete (wholesome) period after which the period of shame and disgrace decreed for Israel would end. This specified time period is in direct response to Daniel’s request for the shame (of exile) to be removed from his own people and nation, and for their lost glory to be restored (in a rebuilt Temple with revived corporate worship).

However, the very beginning of the count (of 70 weeks) starts from the decree of restoration (which in itself should signify the end of the exile!)! So it appears that these 70 weeks indicate a larger restoration and not merely a return that would signify the rebuilding of Ezra’s Temple, beginning with Cyrus’ decree sometime around 538 BC. Besides the words of Jesus and Paul clearly indicate that the fulfillment of Daniel’s 70 weeks (culminating in the abomination of desolation) is yet in the future (after their time).

Now if this is the case, we seem to get a clue about the value of the units that compose this period of 70 ‘sevens’.

Now, first, from the angel’s words we understand that the seventy ‘sevens (or units)’ work out as follows:

7 sevens + 62 sevens + 1 seven = 70 sevens

From the passage it appears that the 62 sevens seem to refer to the lifespan of the anointed one mentioned. Because verse 25 reads like this: Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the anointed one, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens’, and sixty-two ‘sevens’. And after verse 25 it continues in vs 26: After the sixty-two ‘sevens’, the anointed one will be cut off and will have nothing.

Here’s why I think the 62 ‘sevens’ could refer to the life span of an individual:

  1. The 69 ‘sevens’ (7+62) start from ‘the decree to restore’ (538 BC – no other date seems plausible) and ends after the anointed one is ‘cut off’, probably killed.
  2. Further the passage seems suggestive in relating this time period to two major events: a) the decree of restoration and b) the appearance of the anointed one (“until the anointed one, the ruler, comes”).
  3. Further the units for the 7 and 62 seem to be differentiated. So if the 62 ‘sevens’ are actually 62 ‘years’, then the 7 ‘sevens’ could be 7 times some other unit (will get to this shortly).
  4. There seems to be no specific significance for the number 62, except as a fairly good representation of an average human life-span.

So let us say this is the life-span of the anointed one.

If this is the case, then the last ‘seven’ will be the one which follows and puts and end to a number of details prophesied in Daniel and the New Testament as well. This last 7 will then be the period of the antichrist.

And if this is the case, then the only unit left, that makes the first set of  7 ‘sevens’ fit our calculation, should be something large that will account for the passage of several centuries from 538 BC down to our days (if we indeed anticipate the fulfillment of the words of Jesus and Paul mentioned in Scripture). And I think this could be a unit of 360 years each. So from 538 BC if one counts off seven times 360, we arrive close to our days. (Now there are a few precedents in Scripture where multiples of a determined time are decreed as punishment, for e.g., the 40 years of desert wandering were like that. Further in the prophets God has promised to let the land lie fallow for all the years the people never chose to give it its Sabbath rest – and strangely in our days the period of exile for the land seems to be over, another indication!).

And if all this is likely, then woosh we are probably very close!!!!

In a number of passages we see there is a direct conflict between antichrist and a certain individual who is eventually supplanted (before the final destruction caused by Satan and then followed by the ultimate redemption by Christ). Some of these are in Daniel and at least one other in II Thessalonians. I don’t find it too meaningful to see Christ succumb once more to the prince of darkness, there’s got to be another entity chosen for that.

It needn’t be unthinkable that we are indeed in the closing stages of history! 🙂

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