Daniel’s Seventy Weeks Prophecy is found in Daniel 9:24-27. Daniel divides the 70 weeks of years into 7 weeks + 62 weeks + 1 week. The first division governed the 49 years it took to build the Temple and the walls surrounding the city. The second division governed the time from the building of the Temple and walls to the coming of the Messiah 434 years later. Most Christians today believe the seventieth and final week of the prophecy has been cut off from the previous 69 prophetic weeks and represents the final 7 years at the end of this age just prior to Jesus return. However, this understanding doesn’t seem to fit the Scriptures, and for the next several posts I hope to offer a reasonable explanation of what Daniel really prophesied, and in so doing show the prophecy stands fulfilled.
Daniel’s Seventy Weeks Prophecy and in particular the final week of years of that prophecy comprises the 1260 days, 1290 days and the 1335 days of Daniel chapter twelve. Taken together, these days, as I hope to show in later posts, comprise the week in which God confirmed the New Covenant with mankind and in particular with the Jews (see Daniel 9:27 and Jeremiah 31:31). It stands to reason that, if the Seventy Weeks Prophecy is fulfilled, there should be ample revelation of it throughout the word of God. The problem is that for years Christians have believed that this final week of years had to point to the future return of Christ, and it is difficult for some people to imagine the Scriptures saying something else.
Who is able to think of the seventieth week of this prophecy without thinking of a favorite author’s or preacher’s speculations? Some believe Christ will return in the middle of the seven-year period and take his people home in what is called the Rapture. But, do the Scriptures really say this? If they do, would those left behind know when this rapture occurred, and if so, wouldn’t they be able to calculate the exact day of Christ’s second coming three and one half years later? How would this square with what Jesus claimed about no one ever knowing the day or the hour of his coming?
If Daniel’s prophecies did refer to Jesus’ second coming, it would seem odd, knowing how detailed they are, that they did not reveal the exact moment of Jesus’ return. Yet, Jesus said that we would never know until the very day (Matthew 24:36-51). If we knew the exact date of this or that event in prophecy, would it be possible to mathematically come up with the chronology of the events leading up to the return of Christ. But, don’t the angels of heaven know accurate chronology? Does it help them? In recent times men have tried to tell us they have found the exact day revealed in the Bible, that it was only recently revealed to God’s people. Does this mean that Jesus couldn’t understand what was written in the Scriptures, for he claimed he didn’t know. Is it possible for any of us to know what Jesus doesn’t know? Doesn’t all of our truth come through him? Doesn’t Scripture say that he made wisdom and knowledge to us? How then is it possible to know anything about what the Father says, if it doesn’t first come through Jesus?
I suppose it was knowing the incongruity of things like these that caused me to wonder about what is really prophesied in Daniel. I began asking God to reveal to me what those days actually foretold. Obviously, they were put there for a reason. If not to show when Christ would return, then what do they point to? God answers prayer! I love his word, and I’m convinced we can know all that tells us in the Scriptures (Deuteronomy 29:29; cp. Acts 1:7). To begin with understanding how the seventieth week figures out in history will involve some math and knowledge of the Jewish calendar.
The Hebrew calendar follows the moon rather than the sun, as our calendars do today. It contains 12 lunations of 29½ days each, giving us a year of 354 days of 30 and 29-day alternating months. The first month is called Nisan (or Abib), which has 30 days, the second has 29 etc. Seven times in a 19 year time cycle a 13th month having 29 or 30 days was added, making that particular year 383 (or 384) days long. The prophetic year, as implied in the Bible however, has 360 days and is composed of twelve 30-day months. Both the prophetic year and the actual Jewish calendar year are important to our study. With this groundwork laid, I hope to begin posting tomorrow or in the next couple days about the specifics of Daniel’s prophecy. May God bless the understanding of all who read and consider the meaning of this important prophecy.