Please explain the “seventy weeks” prophecy recorded in Daniel 9.

Daniel 9:24-27 states, “Seventy weeks are determined upon your people and upon your holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself: and the people of the Prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”

Halley’s Bible Handbook explains that, “The Captivity, which was then drawing to a close, had lasted 70 years. Daniel is here told by the angel that it would yet be ‘70 weeks’ till the coming of the Messiah [see vs. 24]…The ‘70 weeks’ is generally understood to mean 70 weeks of years, that is, 70 sevens of years, or seven times 70 years, that is 490 years. It is as if the angel were saying, The Captivity has been 70 years; the period between the Captivity and the Coming of the Messiah will be seven times that long.

“Seven, the cycles of seven, sometimes have symbolic meanings; yet the actual facts of this prophecy are most amazing, as follows:

“The date from which that 70 weeks was to be counted was the decree to rebuild Jerusalem [see vs. 25]. There were three decrees issued by Persian kings for this purpose…The principle one of these was the 457 B.C. [given by Artaxerxes]. The 70 weeks is subdivided into 7 weeks, 62 weeks, and 1 week [see vs. 25]. It is difficult to see the application of the ‘7 weeks’; but the 69 weeks (including the 7) equal 483 days, that is, on the year-day theory, Ezek. 4:6, which is the commonly accepted interpretation, 483 years. This 483 years is the period between the decree to rebuild Jerusalem, as noted above, was 457 B.C. Adding 483 years to 457 B.C. brings us to 26 A.D., the very year that Jesus was baptized and began His public ministry. A most remarkable fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy, even to the year.

“Further, within 3½ years Jesus was crucified, that is, ‘in the midst of one week…the Anointed One’ [see vs. 25] was ‘cut off,’ ‘purged away sin and brought in everlasting righteousness,’ [see vs. 24, 26, 27].”

Overall, Mr. Halley’s calculations are correct. However, a correction must be made. He did not calculate the extra one year that is acquired when making the change from B.C. to A.D. Since there is no year 0, an additional year must be added to the A.D. year. Jesus was not baptized and began His ministry in A.D. 26—it was A.D. 27!

Our booklet Christ’s Resurrection Was Not on Sunday further explains: “…the prophet Daniel gave a prophecy he described as ‘seventy weeks’ (Dan. 9:24-27). In this prophecy, the Messiah was foretold to be cut off ‘in the midst of the week.’ Wednesday is literally the fourth, or middle day, of a seven-day week. So then, it was in the ‘midst of the week’ that Christ was ‘cut off.’ (It should be noted that this prophecy in Daniel was a foretelling of Christ also being ‘cut off’ in the midst of His ministry—after 3½ years [Fall A.D. 27 to Spring A.D. 31]—if the biblical application of ‘a day for a year’ is properly applied to the seventieth week of that prophecy.)”

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