Home > Daniel's 70 Weeks, The 3 ½ years > H. C. Leupold and the 70 weeks

H. C. Leupold and the 70 weeks

September 4, 2011

Herbert Carl Leupold (1891-1972) was professor of Old testament Exegesis in the Capital University Seminary, Colombus, Ohio.  His interpretation of the 70 weeks made no effort to connect the numbers of weeks associated with the three sections, (7 weeks, 62 weeks, and 1 week) with real years. [1] It is illustrated in the graphic below.

Timeline 10

H. C. Leupold’s interpretation

Similar interpretations were proposed by C. F. Keil, and Paul E. Kretzmann. Commenting on their interpretations of the 70 weeks prophecy Leupold said that they “find distinct references to the Messiah in the passage but refuse to attempt an exact counting of years and state that the passage covers the whole period of time from Daniel to the consummation of all things.” [2] Leupold understood the building activity mentioned in Daniel 9:25 to refer to Christ building his church. In the final week, Antichrist persecutes the church. Leupold considered the covenant that is confirmed with many for one week to be a covenant with Antichrist.

One of the obvious problems with this approach, is that the length of each section is entirely arbitrary, being based only on some author’s opinion and personal preference, not on any real units of time. Leupold stated he was “not disturbed” by Meinhold’s objection: “To assume a measure of time which is entirely indefinite would open the door wide to the most arbitrary interpretations.” [3]

Leupold failed to recognize the accuracy with which Daniel’s prophecy was fulfilled. But perhaps an even more serious defect in his approach was that he did not properly identify the covenant which is confirmed for one week, which is the New Covenant that Christ confirms with the church.

Thomas P. Nass presented a scheme which modified Leupold’s approach, by relating the start and end points of each section to specific events, that he deemed significant. The events he selected are the crucifixion, and the fall of Jerusalem. Nass viewed the actual length of the three sections of the seventy weeks in terms of real years as irrelevant. His scheme is illustrated below.

Timeline 12

Interpretation by Thomas P. Nass

Nass wrote: [4]

Perhaps one could take the 70 weeks as symbolic. The cutting off of the Messiah after 69 weeks could refer to his crucifixion. By his crucifixion the Messiah confirmed the new covenant of grace which will be in effect for many throughout the NT era (the last 1 week). In the midst of the last week of human history, the temple sacrifices were ended as the temple was destroyed in 70 AD. From 70 AD until Judgment Day we are in the last “3 ½ years” when the antichrist will be active persecuting the church.

My interpretation agrees with both the above schemes in regard to the overall time span of the 70 weeks, and in the absence of any gaps. It agrees with Professor Nass in identifying the covenant that is confirmed for one week with Christ’s covenant with the church; however I include the ministry of Jesus as the first half-week.

The seventy weeks of Daniel 9 correspond to the last three of four periods of seven times of punishment mentioned in Leviticus 26. Thus the seventy weeks prophecy interprets Leviticus 26, which otherwise would be unexplained, and isolated in the scriptures. Blessings and curses were the components of God’s covenant with Israel. Blessings were promised for keeping the law, but cursing would result from breaking it. By his life, and his ministry, Jesus fulfilled the law, and inherited all the blessings promised under it. The New Covenant is one of the promises given under the Old one. [Jeremiah 31:31-34]

Leviticus 26 also alludes to the gospel, in the promise that in the final period of seven times God will remember his covenants with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and would remember the land.

Associating the seventy weeks prophecy with the four periods of seven times in Leviticus 26 precludes gaps. The scope of the period extends from the exile in Babylon, to the end of the age. Any gap would require one or more temporary reconciliations between God and his people, which of course has not happened. The reconciliation is to be permanent. The first period of seven times may be identified with the exile in Babylon, which is suggested by Daniel’s acknowledgement that the curse written in the law of Moses was poured out upon Israel. [Daniel 9:11]

The interpretation illustrated in the graphic below shows the continuity of the seventy weeks and the four periods of seven times. In the graphic below, the shaded section on the far left represents the exile in Babylon, which corresponds to the first period of seven times. The first section of the seventy weeks begins with the decree of Cyrus in 538 B.C. Counting with leap years of 13 months, this section consists of seven weeks of leap years, each week being 19 years. In a “week” of leap years there are seven years of 13 months. Seven such weeks is 133 years. This is also “seven times”where a “time” is 19 years.

The second section of the seventy weeks consists of regular sabbatical cycles of seven years, and spans 434 years. It is the third of the four periods of seven times, a “time” consisting, in this case, of 62 years. This was the age of Darius when he became king of Babylon. The first two sections together span 567 years, and end 28 A.D., which points to the ministry of Jesus.

The seventieth week, when Jesus confirms his covenant with many, consists of the ministry of Jesus as the first half, and the final half-week represents the entire age of the church.

Timeline 3

The seventy weeks correspond to three of the four periods of seven times in Lev. 26


1. H. C. Leupold, Exposition of Daniel (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1969), p. 403.

2. Ibid., p. 405.

3. Ibid., p. 409.

4. Thomas P. Nass. The Seventy Weeks Of Daniel 9:20-27