The 70th week of years for Israel is a 7 year period of time with one year for each day of the week. It comes from a prophecy of 70 weeks of years in Daniel 9:24-27. Followers of Jesus Christ will also be impacted since we have been grafted into the root of the olive tree that represents God (Romans 11:16-24).
The Prophecy of 70 Weeks
“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. 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. 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, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” (Daniel 9:24–27)
The precedent for interpreting weeks as years comes from Genesis 29:16–28 where we find Jacob in love with Rachel. Jacob was willing to serve Rachel’s father, Laban, for 7 years in order to take Rachel as his wife. Jacob does that, but as is the custom of the day, he is given Laban’s oldest daughter, Leah, first. Laban says that if Jacob is willing to fulfill her “week” by serving Laban another “7 years“, then he can have Rachel as his wife also. This passage equates 1 week with 7 years.
The prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27 is for 70 weeks which would be 490 years and would be fulfilled in 2 periods over a very long span of time. Since this prophecy was given to the Jewish people, it will be fulfilled on Jewish time which is based on the Jewish calendar of 30 days per month.
The First 69 Weeks of Years Fulfilled
The first 69 weeks of years, or 483 years, has already occurred. Based on Daniel 9:25-26 the starting point was when King Artaxerxes issued a decree allowing Nehemiah and the Jewish people to go back to Jerusalem to rebuild it. This is recorded in Nehemiah 2:1-6. The ending point is when Jesus rode into Jerusalem as King on Palm Sunday. This is recorded in Luke 19:28-44 in fulfillment of the prophecy given in Zechariah 9:9.
Sir Robert Anderson, who was the Chief of the Criminal Investigation Department at Scotland Yard, and a theologian, thoroughly researched this subject, and concluded that exactly 483 years transpired between these two events! In chapter 10 of his book, “The Coming Prince” (1895), he writes: “The Julian date of that 10th Nisan was Sunday the 6th April, A.D. 32. What then was the length of the period intervening between the issuing of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem and the public advent of ‘Messiah the Prince,’ — between the 14th March, B.C. 445, and the 6th April, A.D. 32? THE INTERVAL CONTAINED EXACTLY AND TO THE VERY DAY 173,880 DAYS, OR SEVEN TIMES SIXTY-NINE PROPHETIC YEARS OF 360 DAYS, the first sixty-nine weeks of Gabriel’s prophecy.”
A Gap in Time
According to Daniel 9:26, after the 69 weeks of years are completed Jesus is crucified. There is a gap between the end of the 69 weeks of years and the beginning of the last or 70th week of years. We are currently living in this gap.
Hope in Difficult Times
The Scriptures provide at least three different avenues for people to interact with the things that shall come to pass after the 70th week of years starts. The first is to pray to escape them (Luke 21:36). The second is to seek the Lord to be hid or concealed from them (Zephaniah 2:1-3). And the third is to be kept or taken care of through them (Revelation 3:10, John 17:15, Matthew 24:13). All three offer hope.
The Beginning of the 70th Week of Years
The 70th week of years begins when Antichrist confirms the covenant with many for one week or 7 years (Daniel 9:27).
The First Half of the 70th Week of Years
The first three and one half years of the 70th week of years are commonly referred to as “The Tribulation”. However, there are many signs that will occur simultaneously throughout the first half of the 70th week of years.
Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come (Matthew 24:9–14, Luke 21:12–19)
After signing a covenant with many, Antichrist is also on the rise during this time.
The Middle of the 70th Week of Years
Several significant milestones occur around the middle of the 70th week of years.
The Second Half of the 70th Week of Years
Two main characteristics of the second half of the 70th week of years are great deception and great tribulation. Satan and his demons will have been cast out of Heaven to the earth in the middle of the 70th week of years. They will deceive people to wage a rebellion against God and His people that will culminate with the Battle of Armageddon.
Some of the main characters mentioned are Antichrist, the False Prophet, false christs and false prophets, and the two witnesses that God will empower to prophesy.
The End of the 70th Week of Years
The 70th week of years will end when the Heavenly court passes judgment to consume and destroy Antichrist’s kingdom (Daniel 7:26). Two other indications are when Antichrist scatters the power of the holy people (Daniel 12:7), and Daniel 9:24 is fulfilled.