Gabriel’s 70 Weeks

Daniel 9:24 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.

Most translations use the phrase “Seventy weeks”. The New International Version uses the phrase “seventy sevens”. The New Living Translation indicates “seventy sets of seven”.

The first part of the time equation is straight forward. Shibim is the Hebrew word for the number 70.

The second word is a bit more complicated as we see it from a western perspective. The Hebrew word of “weeks” is shabua. Per Strong’s Concordance, shabua is defined as a period of seven (days, years), heptad, week. The term is plural for the number seven.

The math is straight forward. 70 X 7 = 490.

So, is it 490 days or 490 years for the prophecy to be fulfilled?

Daniel 9:1 In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, by descent a Mede, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans…

We know from Daniel 9:1, that Gabriel is visiting Daniel in roughly 539 BC. We can rule out 490 literal days pretty easily. Sin did not come to an end. Atonement for sin and everlasting righteousness did not come to be in a little over a year.

Christ was not due on the scene for at least 500 years. If this were the case, currently in the 21st century would be past the Millennial Kingdom and into a blissful eternity… hardly the case.

There is also the day-year or the year-day principle. The idea is a day represents a year of time. Scripture supports this idea with the several examples. God Himself uses this principle after the Exodus in Numbers 14.

Numbers 14:34 According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, a year for each day, you shall bear your iniquity forty years, and you shall know my displeasure.’

God instructed the prophet Ezekiel a day for a year on two separate occasions.

Ezekiel 4:5 For I assign to you a number of days, 390 days, equal to the number of the years of their punishment. So long shall you bear the punishment of the house of Israel.

Ezekiel 4:6 And when you have completed these, you shall lie down a second time, but on your right side, and bear the punishment of the house of Judah. Forty days I assign you, a day for each year.

Many liberal scholars will disagree. Some don’t think this passage in Daniel 9 is even prophetic. But the most likely answer is a 490 year time frame for this prophecy to be fulfilled.

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