Why do you believe Daniel’s Seventieth Week is the seven-year Tribulation period?

By: Dr. John Ankerberg; ©1996
Bible Prophecy Questions Answered by Leading Christian Scholars.


Why do you believe Daniel’s Seventieth Week is the seven-year Tribulation period?

Dr. Renald Showers: We talk about a seven-year period of time between the Rapture of the Church from the world and the glorious Second Coming of Christ immediately after the Great Tribulation. What’s the basis for this idea of this seven-year period of time between those two events? The foundational passage for that seven-year period of time is in the Old Testament, specifically in Daniel 9:27.
Just to give a little background so we understand, when you begin with verse 24 of Daniel 9, Daniel is receiving some incredible revelation from God through the Angel Gabriel. And in that revelation God was mapping out ahead of time His long-range extended program for Israel in the future. He says in verse 24 that “seventy weeks,” literally “seventy sevens are determined for your people.” Daniel’s people. That would be Israel. “And for your holy city.” That would be the city of Jerusalem. What he’s saying here is this: that God had determined seventy periods of time for Israel in the future, but each one of those seventy periods of time would consist of seven years. That’s the idea of seventy sevens.

Why seven-year periods? Well, when you go through the Old Testament you find that God had set up a unique calendar system for Israel that was based upon seven-year cycles. For six years they were to till the ground and grow their crops, but then every seventh year was to be a sabbatic year in which they would allow the land to rest and restore its energy and then for six more years they would till the ground and then the next seventh year would be a sabbatic year and they would let it rest.

So God had designed Israel’s calendar system in seven-year cycles and that’s what He’s doing in this prophecy. Seventy cycles of time, each one of those cycles consists of seven-years. So seventy times seven, 490 years involved all together. When you read that prophecy from verse 24 up through verse 26, we find that the first 69 of those cycles were fulfilled when Jesus presented Himself to Israel officially as its Prince, its coming King, and the New Testament would indicate that Jesus did that when He made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

Then when you examine that prophecy in depth you find that there is a gap of time between the end of the 69th cycle of seven-years and the beginning of the 70th or last cycle of seven-years. And you and I right now are living in that gap of time. That tells us, therefore, that the last cycle of seven-years has not yet begun. We could call that the 70th week, or the 70th seven, and that last cycle of seven-years is what many Bible scholars have come to call the Tribulation period because there will be forms of tribulation here in the world throughout that seven years.


  1. Dan Bruce on July 20, 2017 at 10:33 am

    I am a Bible-believing Christian expositor specializing in chronology and prophecy. The reason I am writing to you, a provider of Bible exposition, is this: Every exposition of Daniel 9:24-27 (the Seventy Weeks) that I have examined in current study Bibles and popular conservative commentaries on Daniel, including those by such conservative Christian luminaries as Matthew Henry, Albert Barnes, John Nelson Darby, C. I. Scofield, Sir Robert Anderson, Arno C. Gaebelein, Clarence Larkin, H. A. Ironside, John F. Walvoord, Leon J. Wood, and Edward J. Young that you feature in your software is outdated and incorrect. If you want to check what I believe to be a more correct interpretation of that portion of Scripture, you can do so by reading my booklet HE IS THE ONE. A free copy in PDF format is available for download at: http://www.prophecysociety.org/PDF/HITO_FREE.pdf

  2. Dean on October 15, 2021 at 6:43 pm

    Why I you say that there USA break between week 69 and70? What is the basis fort this assumption?

    • John Ankerberg Show Staff on October 25, 2021 at 1:36 pm

      This is a great question. Let me take you through the passage that mentions the seventy weeks (Daniel 9:24-27 – Below is the NASB). I will place comments in brackets as we go through it.

      24 “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city,
      [The word for “weeks” in Hebrew is simply the word “sevens.” It could refer to seven days (a week), seven months, or seven years. As we follow the events outlined in the text along with their fulfillment, it becomes evident that Daniel has years in mind. This is further supported by his focus on years at the start of Daniel 9 (see verses 1-2). He is dealing with seventy sets of seven years, a total of 490 years. In Daniel’s day, years were composed of 360 days.]
      to finish the wrongdoing,
      to make an end of sin,
      to make atonement for guilt,
      to bring in everlasting righteousness,
      to seal up vision and prophecy,
      and to anoint the Most Holy Place.
      [These are the six things that will be accomplished.]
      25 So you are to know and understand that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem
      [this decree was given on March 5, 444 BC – see Nehemiah 2:1-8],
      until Messiah the Prince, there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks;
      [7 + 62 = 69 sets of 7 years (360 days each).
      69x7x360= 173,880 days
      This points to March 30, AD 33 – the EXACT day of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem – the first time He overtly displays himself as Israel’s King (see Luke 19:28-44).]
      it will be built again, with streets and moat, even in times of distress. 26 Then after the sixty-two weeks, the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing,
      [The Messiah being “cut off” refers to Jesus’ Crucifixion which happens several days after His triumphal entry. The mention of “after the sixty-two weeks” indicates week 69 in our timeline since it assumes the first 7 week period to have taken place.
      The text then goes on to describe events which happen years after the Messiah is cut off.]
      and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.
      [The events mentioned here are presented as happening after the 62 weeks and before, or leading up to, the final week.
      We know that the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple (mentioned above) occurred in AD 70.
      Thus, these events signal a gap of time between the 62 weeks and the final week.]
      27 And he will confirm a covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come the one who makes desolate, until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, gushes forth on the one who makes desolate.”
      [Although verse 26 spoke about the “the people of the prince who is to come,” the prince (i.e., the antichrist) himself does not come on the scene until verse 27.

      This section alludes to the temple (which was destroyed in AD 70) being in operation once again during at the midpoint of this final set of seven years.
      This final week is merely spoken of as the length of time in which the antichrist will confirm a covenant. It is never tied to the previous weeks or spoken of as immediately following them.

      Here is an outline of what we know:
      -The 62-week period (i.e., week 69 of the 70 weeks) culminated in Jesus’ triumphal entry in AD 33.
      – Several events are foretold but not linked to any of the weeks. They are presented as happening after the 62-week period and before the final week. One of these pertains to the destruction of the temple which we know occurred in AD 70.
      -During the final week (i.e., week 70), we find the temple in operation once again. This last week is only referenced as the length of time that the antichrist will confirm a covenant with many. It is never spoken of as immediately following the 62-week period.

      Because of all this, many consider there to be a gap between weeks 69 and 70.]

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