How do you know that Daniel's 70 weeks did not end in 33 or 34 A.D.?

Email Received:

Please read this commentary: Daniel's 70 Weeks Ended in 33 A.D. It describes how the 70 weeks of years (that is, 490 years), described in Daniel 24-27, ended with Jesus' crucifixion. As such, there was no break between the 69th week of years and the 70th week of years. Yet, you and others believe that there was a gap, of indeterminate time, between the 69th and 70th week. So how do you know that Daniel's 70 weeks did not end in 33 or maybe in 34 A.D.?

Ted's Response:

Preterists believe that most or all of the 70 weeks of years already have taken place. There are variations of preterism and partial preterism—defining when, during the first century, they believe that some or all of the 70th Week ended—and you have linked to one of them. I have written another email response to someone else about preterism, which you might wish to read as well, since it contains some points that refute preterism in general: How can you say that any part of the seventy weeks prophecy (Daniel 9:24-27) has yet to take place when all of that prophecy was fulfilled in the first century A.D.? Also, I address the notion of preterism in 70th Week: Alternate View. Now I will proceed to comment on certain statements in the document you brought to my attention.

<< The plain fact of history is that Daniel’s 70 weeks (490 years) began in 458 B.C. with the decree of Artaxerxes I >>

Keep in mind that if the foundation of any theory is made of sand (such as, for example, the notion of a "Pre-tribulation Rapture"), then everything built on top of it is questionable and is likely to collapse. I feel that this is an example of that.

I have read and heard of various years being suggested as the beginning of the 70 weeks of years, which evidently commenced in Nehemiah 2:1. The year 445 B.C. seems to be a more reliable starting point for the seventy weeks of years, but even that is not "written in stone."

Also, the writer of that commentary adds 490 solar years to 458 B.C., arriving at 33 A.D. (since there is no year 0). However, I am convinced that God typically follows the lunar calendar. For instance, the final half of the 70th Week is referred to as "time, times, and half a time" (Daniel 7:25; Revelation 12:14), or 1 year + 2 years + ½ year = 3½ years. That period also is 1,260 days (Revelation 11:3, 12:6) in length, which is 3½ years of 360 days each, not 365¼ days each (i.e., not solar years). So, immediately, I question his starting and ending points for the 490 years.

<< It ended 490 years later in 33 A.D. with the crucifixion of Jesus. In other words, the crucifixion occurred at the end of the 70 weeks. >>

The prophecy states that the Anointed One (or, in his reference, "Messiah the Prince") would come at the end of 69 (i.e., 7 + 62) weeks of years. Jesus wept as he approached Jerusalem, because most of the people had failed to understand the timing of His coming (Luke 19:41-44), which they should have recognized from Daniel 9:25.

According to the prophecy, after 69 weeks of years (which was on Palm Sunday of Holy Week), the Anointed One would come. Soon after that (a few days later), He would be cut off (crucified). Simple. Implying that the crucifixion or cutting off of the Anointed One took place after 70 weeks of years had passed is deviating from what the prophecy states.

Note how the writer of that commentary does not quote all of Daniel 9:26, thus making it sound like the "he" of 9:27 is referring to the Messiah, and then insinuating that the "covenant" of 9:27 is the "new covenant" that the Messiah made with all who believed in Him:

<< 26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off... 27 And He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week; and in the midst of the week He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease... >>
Yet, the entire text of verse 26 is vitally important to the understanding of the overall prophecy:
And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. (Daniel 9:26)
In the book of Daniel, "princes" are supernatural, angelic rulers over nations (Daniel 10:13,20,21). Michael, Israel's prince, is the only good prince. (Michael is "the restrainer," in 2 Thessalonians 2:6,7, who is holding back the antichrist spirit until the middle or midst of the 70th week, at which time the man of lawlessness will be revealed to all.) Also, the one giving Daniel this entire prophecy is the angel Gabriel, who appeared to Daniel as a "man" (Daniel 9:21,22). Gabriel certainly would have had a full understanding of supernatural princes.

I do believe that the prince who will come will be a supernatural entity, but I do not believe that it will be the Messiah, Jesus. John referred to it as the "spirit of the antichrist" (1 John 4:3). The intent of this evil angelic/demonic "prince" is to bring about the confirmation of a deceptive covenant, involving Israel, for seven years—in effect, a "covenant with death" (Isaiah 28:15).

In the King James Version (KJV), "Prince" is capitalized in Daniel 9:25 (since it refers to the Messiah), but "prince" is not capitalized in 9:26. This is because these are two different entities. In 9:26, the "prince that shall come" is not the Messiah (Jesus); and "end" refers to the end of the age, not to the end of Jerusalem and the second temple in 70 A.D.

John indicated that the "spirit of the coming and even now is already in the world" (1 John 4:3). Firstly, all of this suggests to me that this antichrist spirit, in the time of John, ultimately was responsible for the destruction of Jerusalem and the second temple in 70 A.D. Secondly, this will be the same spiritual prince, at the onset of the 70th week, to have direct influence over a man who will be instrumental in confirming a prior covenant with many for seven years.

This "prince" was the supernatural ruler over the empire that destroyed Jerusalem and the temple in 70 A.D.—that is, the Roman Empire. A revived Roman Empire or some portion of it—presumably the feet and toes of the statue in King Nebuchadnezzar's dream (Daniel 2:33,41-43)—will be present during the final seven-year period of this age. The "prince" will influence and perhaps possess a man from this empire, who will be the one who "shall confirm the covenant with many for one week [of years]" (9:27).

Evidently, then, an evil supernatural prince or angel is the "antichrist spirit." Perhaps it is Satan himself. (Note, in Jude 9, that there already is a precedent for a confrontational dispute between Michael and Satan.) This antichrist spirit, probably after inhabiting a man, will "deny the Father and the Son" (1 John 2:22). This correlates with how the beast (Antichrist) will speak against the Most High (Daniel 7:25), exalt himself over God (2 Thessalonians 2:4), and blaspheme God and slander His name for 42 months (Revelation 13:5,6)—that is, for 1,260 days (11:2,3) or 3½ years.

<< Daniel’s prophecy tells us that "the sacrifice and the oblation" would cease in the midst of the final week of years (26-33 A.D.). This turns out to be the fall of 29 A.D., specifically, the Day of Atonement of that year, when Jesus presented Himself to John for baptism. >>

I find nothing in Matthew 3:13-17, Mark 1:9-11, Luke 3:21.22, or John 1:32,33 stating or implying that Jesus' baptism, by John, took place on the Day of Atonement = Yom Kippur. Even if it did, the idea that Jesus' baptism was the time that Jesus presented Himself to the Father as the Sacrifice for sin, after which the sacrifice and oblation ceased, is so far-fetched to me as to defy logic and common sense.

In my opinion, there is a desperate need for some preterists to find an event, during Jesus' life, that they can cram into the midpoint of their theorized 70th week (from about 26 A.D. to 33 A.D.). For some of them, Jesus' baptism is it; however, I do not accept it for a moment.

Many preterists, assuming that the 70th week followed consecutively after the 69th week, are compelled to believe that the "covenant" of Daniel 9:27 is the same as the "new covenant" that the Messiah made with all who believed in Him. That is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole; the two are completely unrelated.

Preterists do not accept a gap of time between the 69th week of years and the 70th week of years, so they have to force-fit what I believe are irrational notions into their proposed time frame. On the contrary, I do accept such a gap of time. I believe that the 69th week of years ended with the cutting off (crucifixion) of the Anointed One or Messiah (Daniel 9:26), who was Jesus. Then the time count stopped, followed by an indeterminate period of time or gap before the onset of the 70th Week (final seven years).

Return to Email Questions and Ted’s Responses

Go to Ted’s Bible Commentaries and Other Links

View the New International Version of the Bible

Go to Ted’s Homepage