Missing Seventy Weeks

The book of Revelation never refers to the “seventy weeks” prophecy in Daniel, directly or indirectly, a passage in the Hebrew Bible that is foundational to the chronologies and expectations of many interpretations of Revelation, a rather striking omission.

Yet several passages in Revelation are connected to the “seventy weeks” in popular interpretations, and often, it is the basis for last days chronologies and event sequences. For example:

  • “No portion of the Old Testament scripture is as essential to unlocking the mysteries of the prophetic plan for God’s future program for Israel and the nations than the book of Daniel and, of all Daniel’s prophecies, the prophecy of the Seventy Weeks provides the indispensable chronological key to New Testament prophecy” (from The Seventy Weeks of Daniel by Randall Price).
  • “The prophet Daniel gave the framework of the Tribulation era in Daniel 9:24-27” (Hal Lindsey, Vanished Into Thin Air [Beverly Hills:  Western Front, 1999], p. 210).

To reiterate, not a single citation from or verbal allusion to the “seventy weeks” is found in Revelation, although the book utilizes several other passages from Daniel, and in some cases, multiple times - (e.g., Daniel 7:21 in Revelation 11:7, 12:17 and 13:7).

If understanding the “seventy weeks” is vital to a correct understanding of Bible prophecy, why is this critical prophetic passage missing from Revelation?

John is certainly familiar with the book of Daniel as his frequent allusions demonstrate, and he almost certainly knows the “seventy weeks” prophecy, yet he never uses it in his book.

For example, Daniel’s request to the prince of the eunuchs to “prove us ten days” is applied to the church at Smyrna. It will know “tribulation for ten days,” just as the Jewish exiles were tested for ten days on a diet that excluded foods offered to idols - (Daniel 1:12-14, Revelation 2:8-11).

Yahweh showed King Nebuchadnezzar “what things must come to pass in later days,” a phrase found four times in Revelation to mark the start of literary sections - (Daniel 2:20-28, Revelation 1:1-3).

In Daniel, the vision of the four beasts culminates with the “saints possessing the kingdom forever.” In Revelation, the “four beasts” become one beast that ascends from the sea. As in Daniel, this “beast” wages war against the “saints” and prevails over them - (Daniel 7:1-22, Revelation 13:1-10).

The examples can be multiplied. John was well-versed with Daniel and did not hesitate to apply key passages from it. In fact, Revelation utilizes language from every chapter of Daniel EXCEPT the ninth chapter and its “seventy weeks” prophecy. This omission speaks volumes. It seems the prophecy is not integral to the events portrayed in Revelation.

Furthermore, Revelation does not simply restate prophecies from Daniel; instead, it reinterprets and reapplies them. For example, the “season, seasons and divided season” from Daniel becomes “forty-two months” and “a thousand two hundred sixty days.” The “later days” and “season of the end” are changed to “soon” and “at hand.” And so on - (Revelation 11:2-3, 13:5).

Thus, Revelation reinterprets prophetic pictures from Daniel and applies them in new ways. However, it never uses the language or imagery from the “seventy weeks” prophecy, modified or not.

The omission of this important prophecy in Revelation should caution us not to read our assumptions about the “seventy weeks” prophecy into the visions of Revelation.



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