I was going to try and address Daniel 9:24-27 in one post and then move into another point of eschatology, but the comments have persuaded me that this passage needs close scrutiny. My reason for that is the same as it has been for this entire series:  I want readers to see for themselves how the popular end times view of the 70 weeks is *far* from being self evident. There are *many* issues in this passage that I expect most readers will never have seen before. The standard pre-trib (any trib, actually) pre-mill view is presented to the masses in overly simplistic ways. Each element that you’ll see in this and other posts in regard to Dan 9:24-27 must be accounted for before one decides what the prophecy meant and thus how it was or will be fulfilled.

To begin, here is a summary of some of the issues we’ll encounter from John Goldingay’s Word Biblical Commentary volume on Daniel. Each of the items highlighted below has its own set of sub-issues as well. Goldingay writes:

“Seventy sevens” presumably denotes “seventy times seven years,” as the original “seventy” of Jeremiah was explicitly a period of years (v 2). The period suggests that the seventy years of punishment due according to Jer 25:11/29:10 is being exacted sevenfold in accordance with Lev 26 . . .

Ancient and modern interpreters have commonly taken vv 24–27 as designed to convey firm chronological information, which as such can be tested by chronological facts available to us. It may then be vindicated, for instance, by noting that the period from Jeremiah’s prophecy (605 b.c.) to that of Cyrus’s accession (556) was 49 years and the period from Jeremiah’s prophecy to the death of the high priest Onias III (171) was 434 years so that the sum of these periods is 483 years, the final seven years taking events to the rededication of the temple in 164 (e.g., Behrmann). Or it may be vindicated by noting that according to some computations the period from Nehemiah (445 or 444 b.c.) to Jesus’ death at Passover in a.d. 32 or 33 was exactly 483 years, the seventieth seven being postponed (Hoehner, BSac 132 [1975] 47–65; Anderson, Prince, following Julius Africanus reported in Eusebius; Driver instances other comparable theories). Both these understandings of the seventy sevens may be faulted on the grounds of their arbitrariness. In the case of the first, it is not obvious why two partly concurrent figures should be added together. In the case of the second, it is not obvious why the word about building a restored Jerusalem should be connected with Artaxerxes’ commission of Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem; nor why we should accept the basis of the computation, that of a 360-day year; nor why we should separate off the seventieth seven, as the theory requires; nor why we should date Nehemiah’s commission in 444 b.c. or Jesus’ crucifixion in a.d. 32—the computation requires one or the other, but the usually preferred dates are 445 and a.d. 30 or 33 (see, e.g., IBD 278–79; J. Finegan, Handbook of Biblical Chronology [Princeton: Princeton UP, 1964] 285–301; according to J. K. Fotheringham, a.d. 32 is “absolutely impossible”! [“The Evidence of Astronomy and Technical Chronology for the Date of the Crucifixion,” JTS 35 (1934) 160]). Further, it is striking that the NT itself does not refer to the seventy sevens in this connection; Luke 1–2 applies v 24 in a quite different way.

This last comment deserves a closer look. How does Luke 1-2 refer to the seventy sevens? Understand the import of this. The question we are asking is “How does the New Testament itself understand the 70 weeks?”

There’s more here than meets the eye.

First, we need to observe that the 70 weeks passage is *not* quoted in the gospels in relation to the crucifixion, which is the assumed reference point for the prophecy in the standard trib/mill view(s). That is very curious *if* the end of the 69th week was intended to end with the crucifixion of the messiah. How could *all* the gospel writers have missed that?

Second — and here’s where we need to think about the deliberate literary UNITY of the Bible — there are a series of parallels between Daniel 9 and Luke 1, and so the question is, are they deliberate:

a. The angel that speaks to Zechariah to announce the birth of John the Baptist, the eschatological herald, is Gabriel. Gabriel is the same angel who spoke to Daniel in Daniel 9. He’s the same guy that gives Daniel the information of Dan 9:24-27.

b. Gabriel’s appearance to Daniel when Daniel was praying (Dan 9:20–21). In Luke 1:8-13 his appearing happens in connection with the hour of incense when prayers are being offered.

c. The description of the fear of Daniel and Zechariah respectively are parallel (Luke 1:12 matches that of Dan 8:17; 10:7).

d. The Greek word  hoptasia (“vision”) in Luke 1:22 is found six times in Dan 9–10 (Septuagint; Theod.)

e. Both Zechariah and Daniel are rendered mute (Luke 1:20, 22 and Dan 10:15).

f. Luke gives chronological details in his gospel that mirror the 490 weeks of Daniel 9: There are six months (180 days; Luke 1:26) between the two birth announcements to Elizabeth and Mary; Mary’s pregnancy lasted nine months (270 days); there were 40 days from the birth to the presentation in the temple [cf. Lev 12:1-4; i.e., 7 + 33 = 40 days before the mother could go to the sanctuary]. These numbers produce a total of 490 days, the number of the total of weeks in Daniel 9.

Is this all a coincidence?  Maybe. If it’s not, then what we have here is that, in the mind of Luke (who of course traveled with Paul, the Pharisee, and used Jewish sources), the presentation of the infant Jesus in the temple sanctuary when he was 40 days old marked the end or fulfillment of the seventy sevens — both in years and in the days since God first moved to begin the fulfillment of OT prophecy (the announcement of the herald, John, who would “prepare the way of the Lord” in fulfillment of Isaiah 40).

Now, for sure, this may be a coincidence, or there may be more to Daniel 9, or other ways Daniel 9 could work (including but also aside from the standard trib/mill view). But that’s my point: HOW CAN WE KNOW FOR SURE which scheme is right?  We can’t, and to assume one view is somehow “biblical” and the others are not is arrogant, as it depends on our own omniscience.

More Daniel 9 to come.