How Daniel’s Prophecy of 70 Weeks Connects to the End Times

Contributing Writer
How Daniel’s Prophecy of 70 Weeks Connects to the End Times

The 70 weeks in Daniel give us a detailed prophecy concerning the first and second coming of the Messiah. As with any discussion of biblical prophecy – especially concerning the end times, the rapture, and the second coming of Jesus – there can be various interpretations of what it means. This prophecy of the 70 weeks in Daniel is no different.

For clarity’s sake I am going to present my answer to this question from the position of believing in a pre-tribulation rapture of the church, a seven-year period on the earth known as the tribulation and the return of Christ and his literal 1,000 year reign on the earth. This aligns with the view of premillennial dispensationalism.

Where Do We See Daniel Mention the 70 Weeks?

“Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place” (Daniel 9:24).

Chapter 9 of Daniel begins with Daniel making a calculation of how long his people are supposed to be in exile based on the prophecy of Jeremiah. This leads Daniel to pray.

“Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes” (Daniel 9:3).

The prayer Daniel prayed was one of repentance to God for the sins of his people of Israel and Judah. As Daniel was praying, God sends the angel Gabriel to deliver a message to Daniel. It is here where Daniel receives the prophecy regarding the 70 weeks. 

How Long Is 70 weeks?

The term weeks refers to seven years or seven sevens. So for those who love math, and especially for those who don’t, the 70 weeks is a period that totals 490 years or seventy times seven. It is important to note that the ancient Jewish calendar was a 360-day calendar, not the 365 day one which we use today. I will highlight why this is important in a moment.

What Will Happen During the 70 Weeks in Daniel?

The 70 weeks of Daniel highlights six critical things that will happen by the end of this period.

1. To finish the transgression 

2. To put an end to sin  

3. To atone for iniquity  

4. To bring in everlasting righteousness 

5. To seal both vision and prophet 

6. To anoint a most holy place

While all these things will occur during this period of 490 years, this 490-year period is not consecutive, but broken up. Here is the breakdown, which you can read in Daniel 9:24-27.

7 Weeks + 62 weeks = 483 years. After the 69 weeks, there will be a gap before we arrive at the 70th week.

If you use a literal interpretation of the prophecy of the 70 weeks, then it begins with the declaration to rebuild the wall in Jerusalem. King Artaxerxes gave this decree in 444 BC. At that point, Nehemiah led the charge to reinforce the gates of the temple and to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, which took 49 years and equates to the first 7-week period. 

From this point forward, there would be another 434 years as Israel waited for the coming of the Messiah. Again, if you use a literal translation of the 434 years and consider the 360-day calendar, we mentioned earlier, this would bring us into the time of Jesus in 33 A.D. This part of Daniel’s prophecy was fulfilled in 33 A.D. when Jesus made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem.  

Where Do We Find Ourselves at the End of 69 Weeks?

“And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed” (Daniel 9:26).

By the time you get to the end of the 69 weeks, sin has been atoned for because of the sacrifice of Jesus, which is also a reference to him being cutoff, mentioned in Daniel. What we also see in verse 26 is the rejection of the Messiah by Israel and a mention of the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, which happened in 70 A.D. With these things complete, it opens that span of time before we get to the 70th and final week.  

What Do We Know about the 70th Week of Daniel?

The 70th week of Daniel brings us to the period known as the tribulation and brings a new character into the picture, namely the antichrist. The tribulation is the 7-year period which begins after the rapture of the church and ends when Jesus returns to earth again. During this time, the antichrist will rise to power and this will be a period of judgment on the earth. It will also be the time where God will turn his attention towards the nation of Israel. As Daniel mentions in this prophecy, the antichrist will make a treaty with Israel that will last for three and a half years and then he will break this treaty. 

“And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator” (Daniel 9:27).

Though the antichrist will come to power during this time, his reign will be short-lived. His end has already been decreed and will occur at the end of the tribulation. The event that will bring this 7-year period of tribulation to an end will be the return of Jesus at his second coming. When he returns, he will immediately judge the antichrist and after that, he will establish his millennial reign on the earth. When he does this, he will bring in an everlasting righteousness and anoint a most holy place, which will complete the 70-week prophecy in Daniel.

What Does This Mean for Us Today?

The 70 weeks in Daniel are one of the most important prophecies to study in the Old Testament. One reason is because it ties together so many other prophetic words we find in Scripture and helps us to see how God brings about what he declares in his word. 

With the study of any prophecy, it should always motivate you to do two things: one is to tell more people about Jesus, and two is to make sure you are living right before God. I know some people like to debate over prophetic interpretations, but that is not the reason God gave us these prophecies. The 70 weeks in Daniel are a reminder of the care God takes over his word. 

Right now, we sit somewhere between the end of the 69th week and the beginning of the 70th week. While no one knows when that 70th week will begin, as you watch the events happening on the earth, we know that the day is drawing closer. I encourage you to continue studying prophecy. Just don’t let the study of prophecy distract you from its true purpose. Let it motivate you to do more for the kingdom, especially as we watch the hour drawing near.

Photo credit: ©Getty Images/BrianAJackson

Clarence Haynes 1200x1200Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, and co-founder of The Bible Study Club.  He is the author of The Pursuit of Purpose which will help you understand how God leads you into his will. His most recent book is The Pursuit of Victory: How To Conquer Your Greatest Challenges and Win In Your Christian Life. This book will teach you how to put the pieces together so you can live a victorious Christian life and finally become the man or woman of God that you truly desire to be. Clarence is also committed to helping 10,000 people learn how to study the Bible and has just released his first Bible study course called Bible Study Basics. To learn more about his ministry please visit