Chapter 9 of the book of Daniel has a period of 70 weeks that must come to pass. If my small mind recalls correctly, many evangelicals and fundamentalists make much of the final week, seeing it as a period of literal 7 years with a global ruling Antichrist. I am wondering what the Catholic position is on the 70 weeks.
Interesting question (will be interested in other replies). I don’t think there any official Church teaching or difficulty harmonizing Church doctrine with looking at this as pointing to a period of 7 years ending with Christ’s return (second coming0. The larger divide between Catholics and Evangelicals relates to the millennial kingdom. Catholic teaching (following Augustine) treating the Church age (current age) as the millennial kingdom period (beginning at Pentecost) and Evangelicals envisioning a 1,000 year kingdom on earth following Christ’s return, culminating only thereafter with the final judgement.
Its interesting stuff, but not really worth fighting about (and it is amazing how much energy some folks put into disputes over eschatology).
The fall of Jerusalem could have already happened. In the book of Jeremiah Jerusalem was destroyed in 587 and the citizens were taken into exile. (Jer 25:11; 29:10)
In Daniel 9 the 70 weeks was the aproximate time that the Jews would be free. Whoever wrote the book of Daniel extended Jeremiahs number to seven times seventy. (Dn 9:24)
Yeah, seventy weeks of years. A week of years would be seven years. So 490 years.
I was under the impression people would not be able to understand the meaning of this part of Daniel until the ‘right times’, meaning during the end times.
Jesus referred to the Book of Daniel almost as much as He referred to the Psalms, and used it to point toward Himself (Note: the most common title Jesus used to refer to Himself was “Son of Man” - a direct allusion to the Book of Daniel). During Jesus’s time, the Jews read the “Seventy weeks of years” (ie, 490 years) quite literally. These were to be in addition to the seventy years of Jeremiah, for a total of 560 years. Of course, this was a general estimate, as the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians was 587 BC. The NT writers (especially Luke) saw the coming of the messiah in Jesus Christ as the fulfillment of the prophecy of Daniel. This is why Luke emphasizes the archangel Gabriel visiting Mary - Gabriel was the angel who announced to Daniel the 490 year extension of the original 70 year punishment. It had to be Gabriel who would announce when the fulfillment of the prophecy would come.
So, in essence, I don’t know what the Church’s official position on Daniel is, but it’s obvious that Jesus and the early Church considered the entire prophecy fulfilled with the resurrection of Jesus Christ (as He destroyed the final enemy of humankind - death itself, and, by doing so, conquered an entire people for Himself - for eternity).
Daniel’s seventy weeks (of years), which is 490 years, is a summary of all of Jewish history. The period started with the commandment for the Jews to forth from Babylonian captivity to rebuild their temple and the walls of Jerusalem. At the end of that period (70 years) seven things would be complete including the ushering in of everlasting peace, From that date there were 173,880 days (69 weeks of years) until their Messiah would show up, and then be killed (but not because He had committed a crime), then, at some point, a descendant of the prince who destroyed the city would come, make a treaty with Israel, and reign for one week (seven years).
The day that the Messiah showed was Palm Sunday when He rode the donkey declaring that He was the Messiah. Prior to that He never publically made that claim saying “His time has not yet come”.
Jesus (Luke, Matt) wept over the city on Palm Sunday because He held the Jews accountable to know “the day of visitation” which verifies the end date. In the 1890’s, Sir Robert Anderson, Head of Scotland yard and a life long student of the Bible, unraveled this prophecy in a book call the “The Coming Prince”. The book does the mathematics to convert the Jewish calendar to the Gregorian calendar showing the start / end dates of the first 69 weeks of this prophecy. The start date and end date of thefirst 69 weeks of years prophecy is also well documented in secular history.
After the 69the week, Daniel says that a prince will come who is some sort of descendant to the one who destroyed the city of Jerusalem (70 A.D.). The city was destroyed by emperor Vespasian who had become the Roman Emperor during the siege of Jerusalem and left his son to complete the campaign. The point is that there is a pause after the 69th week of at least until 70 AD, a lot more than 7 years has gone by and according to Daniel the 70th week will not start until Coming world leader comes on the scene and signs a treaty between the and Israel. Revelation 6 through 19 is a detailed account of the last 3-1/2 years of Daniel’s 70 weeks also well documented in the Bible as 3-1/2 years, 180 days, the time of Jacob’s trouble, and so on.
The Jews, because they did not recognize the day of their visitation, had their city destroyed (70AD) and Jesus caused blindness the Jews (Luke, Matt) to come over Jews as to who is was. But Paul tells us in Romans that the blindness will be lifted “when the fullness of Gentiles comes in”.
I think it would be fair to say that this subject is hazy in most churches. Many fundamentalists hold the ‘future final week’ view but not all, and even less evangelicals. Actually most Protestant churches are like the Catholic church, not insisting on any particular interpretation.
There are three reasons why this important messianic prophecy has not been clearly defined by theologians:
*]The count was obfuscated by Jewish leaders in the early centuries of the Church.
*]Critical dates (especially the crucifixion) have not been precisely defined by historians.
*]The “he” of Dan 9:27 can be wrongly twisted to mean “Antichrist”, instead of “Christ”.
Here is a diagram of Daniels 70 weeks. I hope that you find it helpful.
[quote=rnmvrck] If you disagree, you should be able to make a biblical argument as what your beliefs should be well founded in scripture.
It would take more than a few posts on an Internet forum to unravel the faulty arguments of Sir Robert Anderson. I’ll just leave my diagram to speak for itself, and hopefully it will help someone in their study of Messianic prophecy.
I forgot to post a link of interest: St. Jerome’s “Commentary on Daniel,” in a 1958 translation.
The section on the “weeks” is at the end of Chapter Nine. But there’s lots of good stuff there for studying Daniel, and it’s very helpful for the Book of Revelation’s Daniel references, too.
its a very useful chart. thank you. This thread has motivated to finally listen to Scott Hahn’s 12 cd study on “the End” - I plan to do so deliberately, not accepting it at face value, but as a great way to walk through Revelation and Daniel, scripture in hand to compare with different perspectives.
Thanks to everyone that has responded so far. I appreciate reading your perspectives on the issue.
I did find it helpful. I have one question, though. Who is “he shall confirm a covenanat with many for one week?” Is that the Antichrist? If so, who was he? Thanks.
I think based on that chart the interpretation would point to Christ. In a the evangelical/protestant futurist interpretation, the “he” is generally believed to be a reference to the anti-Christ.
“He” is Christ who** confirms the new covenant **in his blood. I’ll try to get up a comparison chart of the historical Christian interpretation vs. the modern futurist position. But just for your info, the 70th-week theory of Antichrist making a ‘covenant’ is newer than the reformation. It needs to be rejected by all Christian churches because it confuses Daniels prophecy - not to mention, insults Christ.
In the meanwhile you may like to get my research on the ancient “week” calendar system. It is not often appreciated how a 490-year cycle kept repeating in the same way as our ‘centuries’ do. See The Atonement Clock
(ps. I don’t have Cath/Prod ax to grind, but you will like this book)
I am wondering why, if Jesus is the one creating the new covenant, why does Scripture say it will be for only one week? And what about the part, mid-way through the verse of the seven week covenant, he stops sacrifices? I don’t doubt that you’re right about these things but I am uncertain of how to understand these verses.
The sacrifices “ceased” in effect when Jesus was crucified since his sacrifice fullfilled the law resulting in the mosaic sacrifices “ceasing” to be efficacious. Interestly, this is corroborated in the jewish Talmud (Yoma 39b) where the rabbis of the day marveld at the fact that the “sins of the Jewish people” ceased to be forgiven (eg sarifices were of no avail) for the 40 years before the destruction of the Temple (that 40 year early period coincided with Jesus’ crucification).
I’m not sure about the “one week” point - will need to look into that a bit further.
We have been told so many times that Antichrist would make a ‘peace treaty’ with Israel for 7 years, breaking it in the middle of the ‘week.’ So, when someone says that it’s speaking of none other than the New Covenant, it creates the apparent contradiction that you are questioning.
However, that is not what it is saying. It is not a brief 7-year covenant: it is the confirmation process that takes the week. After the 70th week the times of Jacob finish, and the eternal New Covenant continues forever! :yyeess:
Brian answers the second part of your question. I would just like to add that the temple curtain was torn in two, signifying the cessation (as far as God was concerned) of animal sacrifice.