Book Daniel's 70 weeks

Appendix 6: Israel’s 490 Year Cycles

Daniel's 70 Weeks (490 years) gives a major clue that God determines and measures the redemptive history of Israel in Cycles of 70*7=490 years. In particular, it defines the last of these Cycles as running from the Ezra Decree to restore Jerusalem (458 BC) to Messiah's sacrificial atoning Death and Resurrection (AD 33).

Matthew 18:21,22 also implies there is something special about 70*7 = 490: “Peter came and said to Him: “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him: “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to SEVENTY times SEVEN (70 x 7 = 490).”

From this passage, we see that 490 is the number of FORGIVENESS. Thus the Cycle of 490 years can be seen as a Forgiveness Cycle (70*7 years) as well as a Great Jubilee Cycle (10*49 years). Both concepts agree in emphasising God’s Mercy and Grace, so that we would expect these Great Forgiveness Cycles to start and end with great national ‘Jubilee’ events of forgiveness, release and restoration. We would expect the intervention of God at these times in grace and power, forgiving the past, restoring them and giving them a new start. Thus this Great Jubilee would seal off the previous 490 years, and then open up the new Cycle of 490 years.


These 490 year Cycles are indeed confirmed in the history of Israel. Israel had a national Jubilee every 490 years. The outpouring of grace at these times demonstrated God’s forgiveness of the past and His blessing for the future. Thus God has marked the very structure of time with the revelation of the Jubilee: Forgiveness and full Salvation through the Blood of the Atoning Sacrifice (Leviticus 25). God set apart 4 distinct units of 490 years, and determined these 4 Great Jubilee Cycles to form the backbone for Israel’s history. He fulfilled His purpose through these Cycles.

The Grace given at these key times were Sovereign interventions of God in Israel’s history, where He imparted His Grace and moved His Purposes forward. Each Cycle ends with a Divine Intervention of Grace, moving God’s Plan into its next major phase. Thus the very time structure of Israel’s history demonstrates God’s Sovereign Grace (see Charts opposite).

The 4 Great Jubilee Redemption Cycles of 490 years are:
(i) Birth of Abram to the Exodus (Israel’s first Great Jubilee).

(ii) The Exodus to the Dedication of Solomon’s Temple.

(iii) The Dedication of Solomon’s Temple to the Decree to Restore Jerusalem. At the close of these 490 years was a DECREE by the Persian Emperor Artaxerxes Restore Jerusalem (Ezra 7). In response to this Decree were the efforts of Ezra and Nehemiah to return and rebuild the City of Jerusalem and Israel’s national life. Thus at this Jubilee they were restored to make a fresh start as a nation.

(iv) Decree to Restore Jerusalem to the Death and Resurrection of Christ.
This is the period described by Daniel’s 70 Weeks (Daniel 9:24-27)
This is the final cycle for Israel before Messiah comes to establish His Kingdom.

*The Chart over the page shows how you can verify this Division of Israel’s history into these 490 year Redemption/Forgiveness Cycles. The important thing to realise is that any years when Israel was out of fellowship with God, when they were not under His Forgiveness, are unreckoned, and so are not included in the 490 Forgiveness years. Thus from Abraham’s Birth to the Exodus is actually 505 years, but when you take off the 15 unreckoned years from Ishmael’s conception to Isaac’s Birth, that leaves 490 years. From the Exodus to Solomon’s Temple is actually 621 years, but for 131 (unreckoned) years (during the times of the Judges) Israel was in Servitude to other nations due to sin: 621-131=490 years! From the Temple to the Decree was 560 years, but for 70 years they were in Captivity in Babylon: 560 - 70 = 490!





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