Q&A - Ellen White's Unquestionable 70-Week Timeline

By Dirk Anderson, July 2009

Your questions answered

Question: I admit Ellen White's time frame does not match up exactly with historical events. But I have not seen any other methods that match perfectly either. So tell me, Brother Anderson, what is the correct interpretation?

First of all, we should be clear that this timeline was not invented by Ellen White. It was one of the predominant interpretations of this passage during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The problem is that scholarship within the last century has proven that this timeline is highly unlikely.

Secondly, you are correct that some of the other proposed timelines have equal, if not greater, problems. It is beyond our scope to discuss the pro's and con's of all the different approaches, but material is readily available on the internet.

The evidence is overwhelming that the seventy-week probationary period commenced at the end of the 70-years of captivity, when Cyrus, God's annointed one, decreed the restoration of Jerusalem in 537 BC. (If you doubt this, see David Hill's article) There is also ample evidence the probationary period terminated in 70 AD with the destruction of Jerusalem, the temple, the ending of the sacrificial system, and the dispersion of the Jews. The problem is, that turns out to be a period of over 600 years.

There are two responses to that.

First, it is possible that Daniel was giving us symbolic time periods which emphasized the number "7" and these times are not to be taken too literally. We can rest assurred that he was correct about every event in Daniel 9:24-27. Everything happened just as he predicted, even in the same order as he said it would.

The second response demands closer inspection of the passage. The passage breaks up the 70-week prophecy into three parts: 62-weeks, 7-weeks, and 1-week. The 1-week is further divided into two 3.5-year parts. Why is it broken thus into pieces? Is it necessary for the 70-weeks to be continguous? Or can we allow for breaks between the periods? Did God intend to make the prophecy non-contiguous to keep people "on their toes" about when events would happen? Could it be that the 62-weeks and 7-weeks transpired prior to Christ's baptism, and then the first half of the week transpired between his baptism and death? And could the second half of the 1-week have taken place in the 3.5-year war and tribulation that transpired just prior to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD?

It is the author's personal opinion the parts of the 70-week prophecy are non-contiguous, but follow in sequential order, beginning in 537 BC and ending in 70 AD. Perhaps there are other answers, but one thing we know for certain is that modern scholarship has shown that Ellen White's interpretation is improbable.

See also

Category: 1844 Movement
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