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Were the Seventy Weeks Fulfilled in the First Century ?

By Todd Dennis

(1995; New Material Added in 2006)

Rabbi Judah (Main Compiler of the Talmud)
"These times were over long ago" (Regarding Daniel's prophecy - Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 98b and 97a)


What were the consequences for the generation that rejected Jesus?
Was the desolation of A.D. 70 foretold by Christ?

     In Daniel, chapter nine, the angel Gabriel told Daniel that there were "seventy weeks" determined upon the people of Israel as a nation. Verse 26 shows that the completion of this seventy week period would specifically bring the destruction of the city and the sanctuary of Jerusalem. Jesus Christ, in describing the sinfulness of the Jewish leaders in Matthew 23, closed by saying that upon that generation would come all of the righteous blood shed since Abel's. These two prophecies are directly related to one another. Christ, also in a display of the judgment that would come upon the nation, told them, "behold, your house is left unto you desolate." This is the same language that is used in Daniel chapter nine referring to the completion of the seventy week period.

     First, we must realize when the desolation occurred. Dispensationalism teaches that it will be during a future seven year tribulation period, in which God will finish his dealings with the 'nation of Israel.' Jesus Himself, however, said that judgment would come upon that generation to which He was speaking. (cf. Olivet Discourse)

   Having seen that one is only a 'Jew' if he is born again (Rom. 2:28,29), we know that the only 'nation of Israel' after Christ is the body of born-again believers (See Who are 'God's Chosen People'). In Matt. 21:43, when Christ confronted the Jewish leaders with the inflammatory news that the kingdom of God was being taken away from them and given to a nation bringing forth fruits, he was identifying that coming completion of God's dealings with the nation of Israel 'after the flesh'. Seeing that the judgment was to come upon that generation, what became of this last generation of Second Temple Judaism?

     In fulfillment of the prophecies of Daniel chapter nine, and the prophecies of Jesus Christ in the New Testament, the judgment of God came upon that unprofitable nation in the seven year war, highlighted by the destruction of Jerusalem ('A.D. 70' History: Josephus' War Archive).  This was when the city of Jerusalem was besieged and utterly destroyed, left so desolate that only hyenas are said to have lived within its walls.  This is the very judgment which was promised for disobedience in Leviticus 26, Deut. 28, I Kings 9, II Chron. 7, and many other places.  Matthew 24 and Luke 21 date this destruction as being the desolation of the entire Jewish nation from A.D. 66-73, with the destruction of Jerusalem at the three and one-half year point.

     There is another point of view which places the final seven years during the ministry of Jesus into the calling  of the Gentiles.  This "AD30 Preterism" point of view is gaining ground on the Internet.  It has a lot to offer, returning the focal point of Bible prophecy to Calvary, which is where it belongs.    

     The Matthew 24 reference identifies the destruction of the city and the sanctuary as occurring, first of all, very soon to the day of his prophecy.  In Matthew 24:34, Christ says," Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled." Many say that the word generation does not refer to time, but to the type of people involved. Interestingly, many Futurists cite Matthew 23's usage of the word generation has reference to that then living, while the same word in Matthew 24 is said to refer to a generation forward in time thousands of years. 

Jesus Christ said to the high priest, in Matthew 26:64, "Hereafter shall ye see the son of man... coming in the clouds of heaven'. In Matthew 16:28, He says, ' There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in His kingdom.'   Besides this, it just so happens that everything that Christ said would come upon that generation, did!  This literal statement by God implies that the fulfillment of the judgments of Daniel 9 would occur within the space of that living generation, can be substantiated in other ways.  A reference of Matthew 24:15 with Luke's account links the destruction of Jerusalem as occurring when that generation would see the city surrounded by an army.   It reads here, "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judea flee unto the mountains." Using the same command for the people in Judea to flee, Christ says, in Luke 21 reads, in verse 20, "And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed about with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh." And to identify what the purpose for the desolation is, we are told, in verse 22, "For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled."

     If, indeed, the indignation of the Lord was poured upon the 'desolate' Jewish nation in A.D. 70, what becomes of the prophecies in Daniel 9:24-27 which identify the completion of the unprofitable nation as happening at the end of the seventy weeks, when the city and the sanctuary were destroyed? Are we to understand that this seventy week period was fulfilled at the destruction in A.D. 70?  Keep in mind that the seventy weeks were determined upon Daniel's "people and holy city", and that by the end of the seventy weeks, the city and the sanctuary would be destroyed.

We are not waiting today for the temple to be rebuilt today, simply so that it can be destroyed, as it has already happened! Also, by the end of this period, the 'sacrifice and the oblation' (Dan 9:27) were to cease. This, too, was accomplished in A.D. 70. We are not waiting today for the sacrifices to start again, simply so that they can stop, as this has already happened! In further confirmation, Daniel 9:24 lists six specific things would be accomplished by the end of this period, all of which have been fulfilled. In confirmation of the fulfillment, it reads, "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to:"

1. "To finish the transgression,"
- This was fulfilled. (Luke 11:47-51 ; Matt 23:29-32; Matt 21:33-45)

2. "Make an end of sins,"
- This was fulfilled. (John 1:29; Matt 1:21; Acts 10:43; Hebrews 9:14,26; 10:12, 11:3)

3. "Make reconciliation for iniquity,"
- This was fulfilled. (Romans 5:8,10; II Cor 5:18-21; Hebrews 2:17; Col 1:12-20)

4. "Bring in everlasting righteousness,"
- This was fulfilled. (Romans 3:25,26; Romans 14:17 (Isa. 51:8) ; Hebrews 9:12; II Thess 2:16; II Cor. 1:30; 9:9)

5. "Seal up vision and prophecy,"
- This was fulfilled. (Isaiah 6:9,10; Matthew 13:14,15; John 12:39-41; Acts 28:25-27;  Hebrews 1:1-2; John 1:1; II Peter 1:19-21)

6. "Anoint the most holy (or holy place)."
- This was fulfilled. (Matthew 3:15-17; Luke 4:18; Acts 4:26,27; 10:38; Hebrews 9:22-24)

 [Note that all of these verses are looking at Calvary for fulfillment... prior to AD70.  Score six for "AD 30 Preterism"]

Christ, in response to the question of how many times a man should forgive his brother (Matthew 18:22), responded by saying, "until seventy times seven," which is the exact amount of time (490 years) in Daniel's "weeks prophecy". Considering that the end of that prophecy foretold desolation upon the Jerusalem and the nation, perhaps Jesus implied that there was an end to God's patience with His Israel. If this was indeed Christ's intent, then this declaration serves as one of His most chilling notices of Israel's impending destruction-by-fire.

     These passages then lend credence to the idea that the desolation of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 fulfilled the prophecies of Daniel chapter nine -- directed particularly against the perverse generation that rejected the Lord. Christ judged that nation with desolation, and took away the kingdom of God and gave it to a nation bringing forth fruits (Matthew 21:43) -- which is the nation of believers. The "days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled" spoken of can be no other than the fulfillment of Daniel's seventy weeks with the Desolation of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Therefore, it appears that the desolation of Palestine in A.D. 66-73 was the natural fulfillment of Daniel's 70th week, And the end of any temporal 'Nation of God'.

The story does not end there, though.

So far, the view has been solely on the natural and outward show of the coming desolation as it relates to the historical arc of Israel's history.    However, there is much more involved in this prophecy than simply the record of a single event that took place thousands of years ago in a far-flung corner of the world.   Though it is very easy to read the Bible as being about "them," I believe that we are intended to take the matters therein to heart, recognizing how our very own lives are revealed in the events of long ago.

In the case of the seventy weeks, we need to look within and see the work of conversion that belongs to each who call upon the name of the Lord.   A more detailed exhibition of this process will come later, but for now, take another look at the elements of Daniel's prophecy, and recognize how we must each pass through such tribulation to enter the kingdom.  The results of this time of trouble for Israel -- and for us -- bring the following results:

1. "To finish the transgression,"
2. "Make an end of sins,"
3. "Make reconciliation for iniquity,"
4. "Bring in everlasting righteousness,"
5. "Seal up vision and prophecy,"
6. "Anoint the most holy (or holy place)."

DANIEL'S SEVENTY WEEK PROPHECY COMPLETELY FULFILLED BY AD70, TAUGHT BY MEN COMPLETELY WITHIN THE "ORTHODOX" REALM:

Foto de la libreríaChronological Treatise on Daniel's Weeks

Benjamin Marshall
"Second Generation Modern Preterist"
(1725)

Wherein is evidently shewn the Accomplishment of the Predicted Events, As Especially Of the Cutting Off of the Messiah after the Predicted VII Weeks and LXII Weeks, according to the Express Letter of the Prophecy, and in most exact Agreement with Ptolemy's Canon ; So Also Of the Destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, in the LXXth, or separate One Week, in the Litteral, Obvious, and Primary Sense

1. "To finish the transgression,"
- This was fulfilled. (Matt 21:33-45; Matt. 23:32,35,36,38; Luke 11:47-51; 1 Thess. 2:14-16)

2. "Make an end of sins,"
- This was fulfilled. (John 1:29; Matt 1:21; Acts 10:43; Hebrews 9:12-14,26; 10:9-14)

3. "Make reconciliation for iniquity,"
- This was fulfilled. (Romans 5:8-11; II Cor. 5:17-21; Hebrews 2:17; Col 1:12-21)

4. "Bring in everlasting righteousness,"
- This was fulfilled. (Romans 3:21-26; 4:13; 5:17,18; 9:30,31; 14:17 (Isa. 51:8) ; Hebrews 9:12; II Thess 2:16; I Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 9:9)

5. "Seal up vision and prophecy,"
- This was fulfilled. (Matthew 13:14,15 (cf. Isaiah 6:9,10); 17:5; John 1:1; 12:39-41; Acts 7:37; 28:25-27;
Romans 1:1-2, 3:21, 16:25-26; Ephesians 2:11-17; 3:3-6; Colossians 1:26; Hebrews 1:1-2; I Peter 1:9-11; II Peter 1:19-21)

- "blindness"(Is 8:16; 29:11; Daniel 8:26; 12:4; Matt 13:03-23; 22:29; Luke 24:44-47; John 12:37-41; Acts 3:17; 13:27; 28:23-29; Rom 9:32-33; 11:7-10,25; I Cor 1:22-23; 2:6-8; II Cor 3:14; I Pet 2:7-8; Revelation 10:4; 22:10)

6. "Anoint the most holy (or holy place)."
- This was fulfilled. (Matthew 3:15-17; Luke 4:18; John 1:32; Acts 2:32,33,38,39; 4:26,27; 10:37,38,44,45; Hebrews 9:22-24 / Not Physical Temple -
Acts 7:48-49)

Note that all of these point to Calvary for fulfillment... not AD70.  Score six for "AD 30 Preterism", and all within a fully "orthodox theology"!  See Also Benjamin Blayney, David Chilton, Hugo Grotius, Thomas Hayne, Origen, Gregory Sharpe, Herbert Thorndike // Daniel's Seventy Weeks Study Archive

What do YOU think ?

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Date:

29 Nov 2003

Time:

07:42:53

Comments

What I dont understand is the 490 years. Is this to be understood literally or not. Could someone please make sense of this? Paul Little plittle@agrowingfamily.org


Date:

06 Dec 2003

Time:

16:24:00

Comments

The 'Seventy Weeks" or 490 years of Daniel's prophecy is devided as follows. Sixty nine weeks" or 483 years from Cyrus gave the command for the Jews to return and rebuild Jerusalem in 538 BC until Judaea offically bacame a part of the Roman province of Syria in 55 BC. This was the beginning of the "Fourth Kingdom" during which the Messiah was to come. The first half of the 70th week or 3.5 years was from the 15th year of Tiberius 29 AD to 33 AD. This is the period that Jesus preached and declared the new covenant until he was "cut off". The final half of the 70th week or 3.5 years was from Cestius entered the temple on October 28, 67 AD until The Second Coming of Christ on May 10, 71 AD. The war was actually from 67-74 and not 66-73. Jerusalem and the temple was actually destroyed in 71 AD and not 70 AD.


Date:

18 Feb 2004

Time:

06:28:44

Comments

So, are you saying the second coming has already happened? What about the christians being caught up in the sky to be with the Lord?


Date:

15 Mar 2004

Time:

02:07:15

Comments

this explanation is not the only one. I am not knowledgable enough in this to go into it much myself, but by simply looking around this site you can find out what is meant. For instance, the gentleman above believes the 70 weeks began in 538bc, and, I assume, that there is a gap of a little while until Chirst came and then started the last 7 years. (Forgive me if I am misrepresenting this) However, another view, which you will find all over this site and other preterist sites, is that the 70 weeks (weeks of years) began with the Artaxerxes decree in 457bc. That would actually lead one to 3.5 years after the crucifixion (490 years later), when the gospel was freed to go to non-jews. It fits perfectly with the time reference given in Daniel as well as with the purposes for the vision in Daniel: "that he would understand." The view deserves serious attention. As far as the Second Coming, yes, Preterists believe that has already happened. Before you call them crazy (I say them simply because I am not completely persuaded of any of these views yet, to be dogmatic. However, I have found a great deal to be lacking with the Futurist view and lean more towards atleast a partial preterist view) take some time to study literary styles of the Old Testament, apocalyptic language used in the Bible, etc. Just try to avoid the people that scream heresy on either side and try to read your Bible for yourself.I have found a great deal of validity in much of the preterist position so far. Personally, for so long I just assumed that the futurist view WAS the Christian view. It was/is popular and is taught by a huge number of Christians today. You will learn that it was not taught in its present form until the last 200 years or so. While that may be true, that certainly does not make a case either way. A solid case can only be made through and by scripture. Therefore, I would encourage you to take everything you hear with a grain of salt and test everything with scripture. If something does not make sense, that's ok. Just keep seeking truth and don't simply accept anyone else "neat little systems" without testing them critically. Sorry for rambling on...


Date:

15 Mar 2004

Time:

02:23:30

Comments

one more note about this...(from the guy who just wrote that last one). The popular view of the Futurist today is that after the 69 weeks, when the Jews rejected Jesus, there was inserted a gap or parenthesis. That gap is an indeterminate amount of time in which the "church" is here. This gap was not forseen. The rapture will then take the church away, ending this gap and shortly thereafter the final 7 weeks will resume. This is basically a pretrib futurist view. Now then, my point is that I believe the 70 weeks need be concurrent without a gap for the sake of the prophecy. If they are not, then it can hardly be assumed that the prophecy would have helped Daniel actually understand anything. Now, I know there are arguements surrounding this, and I don't mean to answer then here. I am simply suggesting that the 70 weeks should be seriously considered as having to be concurrent. I generally hear arguements against this from pretrib's who must have a gap or else there system falls. However, before I simply agree to anything they say, I must take some things into account. They generally claim quite boldly that they are the ones who interpret scripture literally. If I have to hear then say that one more time I am going to choke. Either there are various interpretations of what literal means or some people are not taking the word literal, literally. This same group will say that the 70 weeks are now over 2000 years, that the 1000 years spoken of in Revelation is an actual 1000 years (though the use of such numbers including 1000 are very often figurative; that is, are we to assume that God owns no more than the cattle on 1000 hills? PS. 50:10). However, they then see that the time frame references in Matthew 24 and Revelation are NOT meant to be understood in the most obvious way. And then they interpret locusts as attack helicopters and but then have no problem suggesting that a future battle for the world will take place on horse back and with bows and arrows...but some say the bows and arrows are guns and missles and who knows what. Of course, again, not each and every pretribber believes each of these things, but if you read some Lindsey, LaHaye and Tommy Ice, you will see what I mean. My only point is that you should make sure you are persuaded of a doctrine that you believe the Bible says clearly and not in what someone speaks or writes persuasively. To believe someone, in this case, because they claim to be the only people who interpret scripture literally, would be ridiculous. Especially given the interesting ideas of literalness. In this case I wish that pretrib's would let go of that arguement and simply argue for there own interpretation WITHIN each context. Anyways, rambling again...but maybe this will help someone.


Date:

17 Mar 2004

Time:

16:36:02

Comments

all other commentaries were doing guess games even the prince of expository teaching G Campbell Morgan done so. the only end daniel was talking about is the end of that period. Again jesus spoke about it in Mathew 24. the words of people standing here will see this, is sufficient time limits and precise time table to give us the true interpretation of this prophecy. this view in my estimate is the most accurate one. Pastor Jamal Bishara


Date:

18 Apr 2004

Time:

18:51:21

Comments

If the Nation of Israel was destroyed, what in God's name is that in Palestine today? Why has she arisen from the dust? What is her purpose today?


Date:

18 Apr 2004

Time:

18:52:36

Comments

If the Nation of Israel was destroyed, what in God's name is that in Palestine today? Why has she arisen from the dust? What is her purpose today?


Date:

13 May 2004

Time:

18:08:07

Comments

The first comment above gives the first half of the 70th week ending in 33 A.D. and the second half of the 70th week beginning in 67 A.D. leaving a GAP of 34 years in the middle of the week! Every preterist view requires this gap (which they do not admit is possible) or a major cram job to fit the death of Christ and the destruction of Jerusalem in one “week”. The dispensational view, though requiring a longer gap, at least has a reasonable explanation for it, and the text (Dan 9) does imply a separation between the 69th and 70th weeks.


Date:

20 May 2004

Time:

18:33:59

Comments

The author of the article doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Never once does he show how the 490 years gets him to A.D.70! That’s because preterists can’t defend their view with the math. No matter how hard they try, preterists cannot make the numbers add up! It doesn’t matter where you start the time line, everyone agrees that the Lord’s death and the destruction of the city (Jerusalem) occurs after the 69th week. Preterists say they both occurred in the 70th week. But these two events occurred nearly 40 years apart! Thus they must either admit a gap in the middle of the week (which they say cannot be) or else cram 40 years into seven! Neither option will do. Therefore preterism is clearly a false theory. Incidentally, every other non-dispensational view has this same insurmountable problem. The dispensational view sees a divinely appointed gap or postponement between the 69th and 70th weeks. They gladly admit it, and provide sound explanations for it.


Date:

11 Sep 2004

Time:

00:56:29

Comments

An Israel established again in 1949 does not mean the Israel of God. If they go ahead and build a thrid temple and start sacrificing, will God accept those sacrifices now, even though Jesus did away with them? Of course not. What was destroyed was the sacrificial system and the old covenant age. Israel was JUDGED. That the country establishes itself once again does not necessarily mean anything.


Date: 26 Nov 2005
Time: 11:44:22

Comments:

I think you got something here! Thanks


Date: 11 Dec 2005
Time: 00:00:46

Comments:

To the writer of the initial article:

You certainly have some good points about the fulfillments in A.D. 70. But how do you know that A.D. 70 was not simply one fulfillment of Daniel and Jesus' words? How do you know that there isn't a more complete and ultimate fulfillment still in the future? Many prophecies in the Bible are fulfilled through multiple events. For example, Isaiah 7:14 had one fulfillment through Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz, but of course a much greater and more perfect fulfillment in Jesus. Another example is the that the sufferring servant passages are fulfilled in three ways, through Israel the nation, through the role of the persecuted prophet, and ultimately through Jesus. Would you dogmatically say that the A.D. 70 events are the ultimate and final fulfillment of Daniel and Jesus' words? If you do, you just might be too narrow in your understanding of biblical prophecy. After all isn't there a very real sense in which some of the six things predicted in Daniel 9:24 have further need for fulfillment?

Also, might this explain why the preterist seventieth week doesn't work? The ultimate and more perfect fulfillment may still be in the future.

Glenn - Louisville


Date: 11 Dec 2005
Time: 00:08:21

Comments:

By the way to all of you who have been reading this page, try the decree of Artaxerxes in 444B.C. given to Nehemiah to rebuild Jerusalem from its ruins as your starting point for the seventy weeks. Neh. 2 fits perfectly with Dan. 9:25. Remember when your calculating, to compensate for the fact that the Jewish calendar had only 360 days. If your no good with math, I'll help you out. 444 B.C. plus 483 is A.D. 39, but you have to subtract 7 years to compensate for the Jewish calendar. That lands you on about A.D. 32. We of course know that this is very close to the time of the triumphal entry and the cross. This math is just too perfect. Any other view falls short. The other views on this page do not compensate for the 360 day calendar which would have been Daniel's frame of reference.

Glenn - Louisville


Date: 11 Dec 2005
Time: 00:26:07

Comments:

Also, if you read Daniel 9:26 carefully, it doesn't necessitate that the temple be destroyed in the seventieth week. It just says that it will happen after the 69th week. If one allows for a break in the 69th and 70th week between Christ's first and second coming (which, by the way, the break between Christ's comings is a surprise in itself), then it could be truly said that Herod's temple was destroyed after the 69th week but not during the 70th. Could not the temple that stands in the 70th week be different from Herod's? So again I ask, might the events of A.D. 70 be a partial fulfillment, but not a perfect and complete fulfillment?

What if we are not looking at a "yes" or "no" question regarding fulfillment? But rather a "yes" and "YES!" "Yes" to A.D. 70, but "YES!" to a future fulfillment where sin is completely abolished, prophecy is truly sealed up, and Christ kingdom is established forever.

Glenn - Louisville


Date: 12 Jan 2006
Time: 11:59:51

Comments:

Why do everyone assume that the Jewish calendar is 360 days? Our calendar is 354 days. However, every two to three years an extra month is added to align the festivals with the agricultural crops. This additional month brings the average year to 365 1/4 days.

Rabbi Cohen


Date: 12 Feb 2006
Time: 15:19:24

Comments:

For Scriptural support of the partial fulfillment theory that I advocate above, How bout the entire OT? Fulfillment that occurs in stages is a MAJOR theme in the OT. One would upon first hearing many OT prophecies assume that every aspect of a particular prophecy would be fulfilled at relatively the same time. However, in the passages below, one can see that these prophecies spoke of both Christ's first coming and second coming in the same breath:

Gen. 49:10-12
2 Sam. 7:13-16
Isa. 9:1-7; 11:1-11; 52:13-59:21; 61:1-11(cf. Lk. 4:16-19)
Zeph. 2:13-3:20
Zech. 9:9-10
Mic. 5:2-15
Ps. 2:7-8(cf. Acts 13:33); 22:1-32
Mal. 3:1-3

You can see that there is plenty of biblical support for understanding Dan. 9:24-27 as a partial fulfillment. In fact, I believe the burden of proof is on the one who would claim that this biblical pattern is not present in the prophecy of Daniel.

With reference to the "generation" comment of Jesus in his Olivet Discourse, you have to at least admit that the term can be vague. It could mean a generation of 30 or 40 years, but it could also mean generation in God's plan. Consider how the biblical writers refered to their own generation as living in the "last days" (Heb. 1:1-4). Are we not still in the last days?

Also, I understand that the Jewish calendar year is 353, 354, and 355 days. But in biblical prophecy a year is 360 days long. This is especially evident in Revelation where John refers to the same time period as 3 1/2 years and 1,260 days (Rev. 12:6,14).
 


Date: 27 Feb 2006
Time: 10:35:13

Comments:

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your website and seeing the scriptures from the point-of-view of preterist. But, there was a scriptural interpretation that I found very thought provoking. It pertained to the question that Peter asked the Messiah in Matthew 18:22. That passage of scripture is translated to read simply "...but seventy times seven." or "seventy-seven times." But preterism translates Matthew 18:22 as "until seventy-seven times", refering to the inevitable destruction of the Temple! Where are the sources or references to support that eye-opening translation of Matt 18:22? Could you expeditiously post a response to your website, so I can further understand that point-of-view. It's a view that I have yet to hear or see before. Thank you!


Date: 04 Sep 2006
Time: 15:28:49

Comments:

I would like to understand what Jesus meant in Matthew 24 when He said, He is coming on the clouds of the sky... and every eye shall see Him.
If all of this was fulfilled "in that generation" how can I clearly explain that this is not to be a yet future event? Thank you.

 

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