That's A Good Question
Larry Ray Hafley
"Send all questions to the writer of this column."
From Ohio: "If the seventy week prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27 is continuous with no gap between the 69th and 70th week, then how do you account for the destruction of Jerusalem taking place after the 69th week and not the 70th? In simple words, if our Lord fulfilled the whole 70th week, then why doesn't it say the destruction would take place after the 70th week?"
The text in question: "Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy place. So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate" (Dan. 9:24-27; NASB).
These verses refer to the work of the Savior. It would be difficult to find clearer expressions of the Messiah's mission and ministry than those given in verse 24. (1) Transgression is finished (Heb. 9:26); (2) Sins are ended (1 Jn. 3:5); (3) Iniquity is forgiven (Isa. 53:6; Heb. 10:17); (4) Everlasting righteousness is brought in (Rom. 1:16, 17; 10:4; Phil. 3:9; Heb. 10:12-14); (5) Prophecy is fulfilled (Acts 3:18; 13:27; 24:14; 26:22); (6) The most holy is anointed (Heb. 6:20; 9:24; 10:19-22).
The seventy weeks are divided into three sections: 7-62-1. During the first period of seven weeks, Jerusalem, which then lay in ruins, was to be rebuilt. This was accomplished when Zerubbabel was governor over Judah. Ezra and Nehemiah chronicle the history of these "times of distress." Next, the Messiah was to be "cut off" after the sixty-ninth week or during the seventieth week. This is the death of the Christ (cf. Isa. 53:8). Finally, in the midst of the seventieth week, the covenant was to be confirmed. As a result, sacrifice and oblation were to cease.Our Querist's Objection
Our querist raises an objection. If Jesus' death and the glory that followed fulfilled the events of the seventieth week, "then why doesn't it say the destruction of Jerusalem would take place after the seventieth week?" The destruction of Jerusalem is definitely contemplated within the seventieth week (cf. Dan. 9:26, 27: Matt. 23:38; 24:15). The seventy weeks were declared and decreed "upon thy people and upon thy holy city (Jerusalem)." This is significant. It involved the people and the holy city with its sanctuary. Our querist assumes that the Lord's death on the cross fulfilled "the whole seventieth week." Ultimately, of course, He did fulfill the prophecies concerning His person and work, but the destruction of the city of Jerusalem was also decreed and declared and determined within the scope of the seventy weeks.
Jerusalem's destruction took place after the sixty-ninth week. Therefore, the events that led to the final judgment against the city occurred during the seventieth week. The Lord's reference to Daniel 9:27 makes the happenings of the seventieth week include the destruction of Jerusalem. Jerusalem was left desolate, in a measure, even before Jesus' death (Matt. 23:38). By spurning Jesus, they sealed their doom. The final, ultimate judgment against Jerusalem was announced during Daniel's seventieth week (cf. Lk. 23:28-31). Jesus taught that His death marked the end of the Jewish nation (Matt. 21:33-43). This transpired during Daniel's seventieth week. During this last or seventieth week, Jerusalem's overthrow was sealed or determined by its rejection of the Christ. In this sense, it was accomplished, though the actual desolation was not carried out until Titus came with the Roman armies in 70 A.D.
Quotes From Halley And Wallace
Brethren do not establish the truth, but the observations of brethren Hailey and Wallace are worthy of consideration. Homer Hailey has written, "Whatever may have been meant by Gabriel as he spoke of the `seventy weeks,' an analysis of the portion of the passage that is clearly Messianic, and that part used by Jesus of the destruction of Jerusalem make it clear that the expression had a symbolic meaning of the time from the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar and the return under Zerubbabel, until the death of the Messiah, the cessation of the sacrifices, the making of a covenant, and the coming of the prince who completely destroyed Jerusalem and the old order" (The Preceptor,
September, 1972, p. 23). Foy E. Wallace, Jr. has stated that, "The destruction of Jerusalem was the terminating point of all the events within the seventy weeks of Daniel, covering the conclusion of the exile, the ushering in of the gospel times, the consecration of the Messiah to his redeeming office, and the end of all the temple services with the termination of the Jewish state" (God's Prophetic Word, p. 518).
Truth Magazine XXI: 18, p. 274