Review of the Traditional Christian Perspective
Daniel 9:24-27


There are many different views on how the seventy weeks prophecy should
be understood. 

Those views which have been seriously considered share a common line of

Let us review this common reasoning and briefly consider the merits of
the various events postulated as fulfilling this prophecy.  


Almost all interpretations of the seventy weeks prophecy have centred on
the rebuilding of Jerusalem that took place some four to five centuries
before Christ.

This is only natural considering,

              a) the wording of the text

         and  b) the timing of the announcement of the prophecy.

As this prophecy contains an apparent reference to the future appearance
of Jesus Christ, 'an anointed one' mentioned in the third of the four
verses, it was deemed necessary to link to an appropriate event in
Christ's life.  

These factors have tended to decide how this prophecy has been explained.

[ NB: There was also a desire to have evidence in the Old Testament
      of a time based prediction of the arrival of Jesus Christ.
      (If as proposed by this web site, the 70 weeks prophecy does
      not refer to Jesus Christ, there exists no time oriented
      prophecy in Scripture predicting precisely the arrival of
      Jesus Christ.)  ]

Scholars today pick up on the thoughts of their predecessors and looking
back on history perceive a period of approximately 500 years between the
rebuilding of Jerusalem and the events in the life of Jesus Christ.

This period of approximately 500 years could easily be derived from the
seventy weeks (or sixty-nine weeks) mentioned in the text. All that was
necessary was to consider each week as a period of seven years.

So nowadays, it is commonly believed the period of seventy weeks refers
to a period of 490 years.

            70 weeks  = 70 x 7 years = 490 years. 

Indeed, this is quite a logical interpretation. Allowing each day to
represent a year is a principle supported by Ezekiel 4:6.

Following this reasoning, the shorter periods mentioned in the text were
also multiplied by 7 years.

             7 weeks  =  7 x 7 years  =  49 years  
            62 weeks  = 62 x 7 years  = 434 years
          7+62 weeks  = 69 x 7 years  = 483 years
             1 week   =  1 x 7 years  =   7 years

The period of seventy 'weeks' needed a starting point.

The text apparently supplied;

         'the issuing of the word to turn and build Jerusalem'

From this point, it was only a matter of sequencing the shorter periods
comprising the seventy weeks.

However, having decided the period of seventy weeks started with the
command to rebuild Jerusalem, the order was a forgone conclusion.

            1st Period  -   7 weeks   =   49 years 
            2nd Period  -  62 weeks   =  434 years  
            3rd Period  -   1 week    =    7 years 
                           --------      ---------
                           70 weeks  =   490 years

This also happened to correspond to the sequence these three periods
were discussed in the text,

         verse 25 - mentions 7 weeks + 62 weeks,

         verse 27 - mentions 1 week.  

Today, the majority of theories revolve around this common reasoning.

Upon these common threads of thought have arisen various more detailed

Generally, each interpretation has been a composite of the conclusions
reached in regard to the following.

        A) Which command should be used as the starting point for
           the seventy weeks?

        B) What event in the life of Jesus Christ represented the
           end of the first 69 weeks?

        C) Where in time should the two halves of the final week
           be placed?


Three decrees have been seriously considered.

         1)    The decree of Cyrus in the time of Daniel

         2)    The decree of Artaxerxes in the book of Ezra

         3)    The decree of Artaxerxes in the book of Nehemiah.

1) In the earlier years of the study of this prophecy, the decree issued
   by Cyrus (in the first year of his reign) was the favoured starting

   Ezra   1:1   Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that
                the word of the LORD spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah
                might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of
                Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation
                throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing,
           :2   "Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the
                earth the LORD God of heaven has given me. And He has
                commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is
                in Judah.
           :3   Who is there among you of all His people? May his God
                be with him! Now let him go up to Jerusalem, which is
                in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel
                (He is God), which is in Jerusalem.
           :4   And whoever remains in any place where he sojourns, let
                the men of his place help him with silver and gold, with
                goods and livestock, besides the freewill offerings for
                the house of God which is in Jerusalem."

   A portion of the above quotation is also repeated in 2 Chron 36:22-23.
   Additional information is given in Ezra 6:3-5. 

   The Medes and Persians had recently overthrown the throne of the
   Chaldeans and this decree signalled the release of the captives of

   This decree was the most significant and the most logical of the
   three options to choose as a starting point for this prophecy.

   However, following archaeological findings and research into other
   historical writings, historians now generally date the first year
   of Cyrus at 538 BC. 

   Such an early date would of course require an interval of at least
   530 years to reach to the birth of Jesus Christ. Since a maximum
   of only 490 years is possible the decree of Cyrus has lost favour
   amongst many biblical scholars.

2) The next proposed decree is recorded by Artaxerxes in the form of a
   letter given to Ezra.

   The content of this decree is recorded in Ezra 7:12-26. This decree,
   like the former decree, focuses primarily upon the needs of the
   house of God. The time of the issuing of this decree is the 7th
   year of King Artaxerxes. Ezra 7:7.

   This decree is generally the preferred option. It is commonly dated
   at around 457 BC.

   This 457 BC dating allows 69 weeks (or 483 years) to pass before
   conveniently arriving at 27 AD (the date commonly accepted for the
   baptism of Jesus Christ).

                69 Weeks             483  Years

          Less  Date of Decree       457  BC
                                      26  AD

          Plus  Adjustment for  
                BC to AD               1  year
                Baptism of Christ     27  AD

3) The last option, the letters of authority given to Nehemiah by

   The letters of authority were delivered to Nehemiah in the 20th year
   of King Artaxerxes. Neh 2:1. This event is frequently ascribed the 
   historical date of 446 BC. The background to these events is recorded
   in the first two chapters of the book of Nehemiah. The issue which
   sparked the desire of Nehemiah to restore Jerusalem was news that due
   to the action of their enemies the wall and gates of Jerusalem had
   been broken down and burned. Neh 1:3. 

   This repair work was performed by Nehemiah and the citizens of
   Jerusalem and was completed in 52 days. Neh 6:15.

   Those wishing to view this option as the decree referred to in Daniel
   9:25 usually date this event at 455 BC.


The event in the life of Jesus Christ which marks the end of the sixty-
nine weeks is usually deemed to be His baptism.


1) Seeing a final 7 year period after the appearance of the Messiah some
   have located it around the death of Jesus Christ.
   Views which place the final week around the death of Christ, refer to
   the 3.5 years between his baptism and his crucifixion, followed by a
   further period of 3.5 years which they consider would reach to the time
   of the apostle Paul (and presumably the giving of the gospel to the
   Gentiles). Gal 1:11-18. 

2) Currently, most modern scholarship tends to place the final seven year
   week in the future. This approach is chosen, because the terminology
   of the prophecy is considered to continue to portray the end time theme
   present in the other prophecies of the book of Daniel.

3) Another perspective is to place the first half of the 70th week in
   the time of Jesus Christ. Baptism to death.
   Then place the second half of the 70th week in the end time.

All views would have some form of the sacrifices being brought to an
end after the first 3.5 years.


Modern opinion tends to prefer the following mixture of options.

      Ezra going to Jerusalem in 7th Artaxerxes                (457 BC)
  to  Completion of Jerusalem                          49 yrs  (408 BC)
  to  Baptism of Christ                               434 yrs  ( 27 AD)

      ***  Long Time Gap  ***                           ?

      Beginning of final week
   to Glorified Return of Christ                        7 yrs
                                                      490 yrs


Well it all depends. 

If the prophecy is NOT trying to link the rebuilding of Jerusalem to
the coming of Jesus Christ then all the views will be in error.

If the prophecy is affirming this association, then one of the solutions
may have merit.


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