Seventy Weeks

By Charles H. Welch

The orthodox interpretation of the prophetic period ‘The seventy weeks’ of Daniel 9, makes the sixtyninth ‘week’ end at the crucifixion, leaving but one ‘week’ to be accounted for. This of necessity rules out the Acts of the apostles, although it is true to say that Israel were not set aside at the crucifixion, but about thirty-five years (or five ‘weeks’) after, namely at Acts 28.

The prophecy of Daniel 9 is read by many as follows:

The 69th week ended just before the crucifixion of Christ, and therefore the final seven years are all that remain to complete the number, and these are entirely future and are found in the Book of the Revelation.

We would draw special attention to an interpretation (we believe the true one), in which a certain principle is enunciated, viz., that prophetic times do not take into account the periods when Israel are ‘Lo-ammi’ (not My people, Hos. 1:9). In The Companion Bible, page 70 of the Appendixes, will be found a table showing the various ‘Lo-ammi’ times that must be deducted from the number of anno mundi years before we can arrive at God’s time periods. At the conclusion of this table the note runs, ‘By noting the Lo-ammiperiods, many other important details will come to light’.

We believe the following investigation is directly in line with this suggestion. First, let us establish from the Scriptures the principle that God’s prophetic times take no account of Israel’s captivities or cast off periods, but only of the times of their recognition. The classic example is that which arises out of the comparison of 1 Kings 6:1 with Acts 13:20. According to 1 Kings 6:1, the temple was commenced in the 480th year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, while Paul in Acts 13:17-22 gives the period under the Judges as 450 years. When we extend Paul’s time period to include that covered by 1 Kings 6:1, we find a difference of 93 years:

Wilderness Wandering (Acts 13:18)
Period of Judges (Acts 13:20)
Saul’s Reign (Acts 13:21)
David’s Reign (1 Kings 2:11)
Solomon’s First Three Complete Years (1 Kings 6:1)
Deduct -- Solomon’s Computation (1 Kings 6:1)    -
Total to account for

We find by examination and the recognition of the principle referred to above, that there is no discrepancy, and that both accounts are exactly right, the one in 1 Kings 6, omitting the periods when Israel were ‘Lo-ammi’, the other in Acts 13 giving the entire period of the judges, without reference to the position occupied by Israel. The ninety-three years are made up as follows. Israel were captive under:

Chushan (Judges 3:8)
8 years
Eglon (Judges 3:14)
18 years
Jabin (Judges 4:3)
20 years
Midianites (Judges 6:1)
7 years
Philistines (Judges 13:1)
40 years
93 years

We learn therefore, that to obtain the number of years as from God’s standpoint, when dealing with Israel, we must subtract the periods when Israel are not recognized by the Lord as His people. (See also The Companion Bible note on 1 Kings 6:1, p. 456; and appendix 50, p. 56).

Number in Scripture (by Dr. E. W. Bullinger) draws attention to another period of 70 x 7, which is obtained by the application of this same principle.

From the dedication of the Temple to Nehemiah’s return in the 20th year of Artaxerxes (Neh. 2:1)
560 years
Deduct the 70 years’ servitude in Babylon (Jer. 25:11,12; Dan. 9:2)
70 years
490 years

We draw particular attention to the fact that the 70 years’ servitude is reckoned as a Lo-Ammi period.

We now pass to the next consideration, Daniel 9 itself:

‘Seventy sevens are severed off
thy people and upon thy holy city

a To make an end of transgression.

b To seal up sins.

c To make atonement for iniquity.

a To bring in aionion righteousness.

b To seal up prophetic vision.

c To anoint the Holy of Holies.

Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to rebuild Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and three-score and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall even in troublous times. And after sixty-two sevens shall Messiah be cut off, and shall have nothing’ (Dan. 9:24-26 author’s translation).

(1) 7 x 7 = 49

(The Angel keeps these figures distinct).

(2) 62 x 7 = 434

Daniel 9 opens with the recognition of the fact that Jerusalem was at that time ‘desolate’. Verse 7 speaks plainly of the people of Israel being ‘driven’, and verse 11 of the ‘curse’ being poured upon them. Verse 12 declares that the visitation upon Jerusalem was unprecedented ‘under the whole heaven’. Verse 16 speaks of ‘fury’ upon Jerusalem and ‘reproach’ upon Israel, and verse 17 speaks of the sanctuary being ‘desolate’. Clearly at this period Israel are ‘Lo-ammi’, and the time of the desolation of Jerusalem must not be reckoned in the 70 x 7 period which is ‘severed off’ upon Israel.

Now from what we have already learned, we shall find it impossible to commence the reckoning of this 490 years at a period when Jerusalem is still desolate and Israel ‘Lo-ammi’. Yet this is precisely what the accepted interpretation does. The 490 years are made to start from the going forth of the commandment to rebuild Jerusalem, in spite of the angel’s warning that the rebuilding would not be completed until another 49 years had gone by. Instead of the angel saying to Daniel that the 70 x 7 started in the 20th year of Artaxerxes when the commandment was given, he definitely says that from that date we may compute the coming of the Messiah, a somewhat different thing. From the date of the command unto the Messiah was 7 x 7 and 62 x 7, or 483 years, which period was divided by the angel into two, according as it was ‘Lo-ammi’ time or otherwise. The first period of 49 years must not be reckoned at the period severed off upon Israel, or else we shall involve ourselves in confusion.

Where shall we then commence the special period of 70 x 7 ? When Israel are received back into favour and the temple at Jerusalem again blessed. In the year 405 b.c., when the temple was dedicated at Jerusalem, the 70 x 7 began. It was to be the commencement of a period of ‘Ammi’ years, years when God recognized Israel as His people, a period of 62 x 7, or 434 years, which should reach to the coming of Messiah the Prince. While the crucifixion marks the close of the 69th seven from the going forth of the proclamation, we must remember that it is the 62nd from the dedication of the temple, and as this commenced the period of Israel’s restoration, the crucifixion marks the 62nd seven of the 70 sevens that were severed off upon Israel, leaving 8 sevens to run their course, instead of one as we have hitherto been taught.

We have shown, in other articles, the prominent position that Israel has in the Acts of the apostles, yet by following the orthodox view it appears that we are compelled to make a twofold error. First, in spite of the witness of Scripture to the contrary, a period of 49 years, wherein Israel and Jerusalem are out of favour, is introduced into a special period that necessitates Israel and Jerusalem being under favour and security, and it also compels us to blot out the whole of the Acts from this special period wherein Israel and Jerusalem manifestly are still receiving mercy. If the 69th seven ended at the crucifixion, there could be no place for Paul’s solemn and formal setting aside of Israel at the end of the Acts.

Readers will remember that a rectification was found necessary in the calendar, and that the date of the crucifixion is a.d. 29. This can be seen in Chart 50/vi on page 61 of Appendixes of The Companion Bible. From a.d. 29 to a.d. 63, when God finally set aside Israel through the words of Paul, we have 34 years, where, if we include both the years that began and ended the period, we have another five sevens which ran on after the crucifixion. The crucifixion being the 62nd seven, Israel becomes lo-ammi at the end of Acts, in the 67th seven, leaving three sevens to conclude the complete series of 490 years. We must not therefore speak of the ‘final seven years of Daniel 9’ as though they were all the years that are to run. It is true that the chief interest is centred in the final seven, for therein Antichrist and the Beast are active, but there are other things to be done before that.

There is a suggestive connection to be observed between the final three sevens and the seven seals, seven trumpets and seven vials that occupy the book of the Revelation. The following diagram, which shows the difference between the two interpretations, may be of help. It will be seen that the marvellous accuracy that has been pointed out regarding the time of the coming of the Messiah is not impaired. It is simply a matter, as it were, of shifting the whole period forward until Israel are a people before God. That period is at the close of the first division, the seven sevens. Since the setting aside of Israel in Acts 28, Israel have been ‘Lo-ammi’. Soon He that scattered them will gather them, and the ‘final three sevens’ will then run their course until the consummation foretold in Daniel 9, when prophecy shall attain its goal, sin shall be sealed and atoned for, righteousness be brought in, and God’s Holy Temple again anointed. (In the chart overleaf, Fig. 1 represents the orthodox view; Fig. 2 the view set forth in this article).

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