The seventy sevens: an exegetical study of
A research paper submitted to Dr. James Todd Ph.D.
In Partial Fulfillment of the requirements For
Liberty University Online
Fort Worth, Texas
June 13, 2013
THE SEVENTY SEVENS: AN EXEGETICAL STUDY OF DANIEL 9:24-27
Throughout church history, orthodox scholars and theologians from various positions have come to the agreement that the life, ministry, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ completed Daniel 9. Such theologians as Calvin, Jerome, Augustine, Jonathan Edwards, and many more throughout history have agreed to this same truth. In the 1930’s however, a man named John Nelson Darby broke from this tradition with a new theological system, Dispensationalism. This system is an evangelical, futurist, biblical interpretation that understands God to have related to humans in different ways under different Biblical covenants in a series of dispensations, or periods of history. As a result of dispensationalism, the seventy weeks prophesy of Daniel 9:24-27 has also been divided into separate blocks. This paper intends to show that the traditional and orthodox view of the text is correct, and that the prophecy was in fact fulfilled within the generation of Christ and His ministry.
The Seventy Weeks of Daniel 9:
Those who believe in a traditional view of Daniel have little dispute over the number of years it took to fulfill the prophecy, four hundred and ninety years. The weeks of the seventy weeks of years are broken into three separate segments or categories. The first category, the first seven weeks, is a period of forty-nine years that spans from the beginning of the prophecy to the end of the first “installment” of the decree (9:25). The second period, which consists of sixty-two weeks of years, totaling four hundred and thirty-four years, combined with the first segment gives you a sum total of four hundred and eighty-three years. It should be pointed out; scholars are in absolute agreement with these two views of Daniel’s decree, having the Futurist as well as the preterist agreeing on the preteristic understanding of the prophetic sum. Beyond this point however is where scholars separate their views. The Futurist view states that the prophetic clock stopped within this decree. The preterist believes that these weeks of years, as well as the final week of seven years, run congruent within the prophecy itself. This brings the total number to four hundred and ninety consecutive years.
The Dispensational system holds to the view that the prophetic clock within this four hundred and ninety year period has ceased. This result is due to the Israeli rejection of the Messiah. Dispensationalists separate the first four hundred and eighty-three years from the final seven years, placing a gap within the prophecy itself. There has been nearly two thousand years of separation from the four hundred and eighty-three years to the present due to the rejection of the Messiah by Israel. Archer explains it like this; “the data of v. 26 indicate that a long but undeterminable interval is intended between A.D. 27(the end of the sixty-ninth heptad)- after Messiah appears; then the Crucifixion occurs; Jerusalem is destroyed by the Romans; and finally, there is a period of overwhelming disaster, war and desolation- and the inception of the final seven years of the last days (v. 27), in the midst of which the antitypical prince or supreme dictator covenants with the Jewish people for seven years of religious tolerance, only to revoke his promise after three and a half years. Although his argument seems to be made with precision, there are questions that must be asked concerning his position. First: what evidence is there for a nearly two thousand-year gap in the fulfillment of the prophecy? What Biblical or Extra-Biblical evidences are there to show that these events were fulfilled within...
Bibliography: Archer, Gleason L. Encyclopedia of Biblical Difficulties. Grand Rapids, MI. Zondervan. 1988
Jerome. Commentary on Daniel. Translated by Gleason L. Archer. Preterist Archive, 1958.
Mauro, Philip. The Seventy Weeks and the Great Tribulation: A Study of the Last Two Visions of Daniel, (1921) 1944.
Newman, Robert C. “Daniel’s Seventy Weeks and the Old Testament Sabbath Year Cycle.” JETS 16, no. 4 (1988): 234.
Terry, Milton S. Biblical Apocalyptics: A Study of the Most Notable of God and of Christ in the Canonical Scriptures. New York: Eaton and Mains, 2898; pg. 201
[ 1 ]. Archer, Gleason L. Encyclopedia of Biblical Difficulties. Grand Rapids, MI. Zondervan. 1988; pg. 282-283
[ 2 ]
[ 3 ]. Newman, Robert C. “Daniel’s Seventy Weeks and the Old Testament Sabbath Year Cycle.” JETS 16, no. 4 (1988): pg. 234
[ 4 ]
[ 9 ]. Jerome. Commentary on Daniel. Translated by Gleason L. Archer. Preterist Archive, 1958; pg. 55
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