As with the previous vision, this one also has a unique identification to the basic time period—in this instance ‘sevens’ or weeks. Weeks are associated with the moon, and not the sun. On this basis a lunar year should be considered rather than a solar year. The difference accounts for 10.9 days per solar year, or 14 years over the period of Daniel’s 70-week prophecy.
The starting date is identified as ‘the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem’ which was recorded by Nehemiah, and that date was B.C.445.
To this starting date we firstly add seven sevens to give B.C.396, by which time Jerusalem had been rebuilt. In the middle of the seventieth week, i.e. after 69½ sevens, ‘the Anointed One will put an end to sacrifice and offering’. The strong implication is that the Anointed One (Grk: Christos), would be sacrificed at that date, thus ending the long period of sacrifices required under the Law of Moses. This would give a date of 28A.D. for the Crucifixion. Considering a little uncertainty with the starting date, the result is consistent with the generally accepted date of 29 or 30 A.D.
The beginning of the seventieth week—a week associated with ‘confirming the covenant’—would introduce the ministry of Jesus Christ to the Jews, which lasted for 3½ years; and the conclusion of the seventieth week would witness the inclusion of Gentiles under the cover of Christ’s sacrifice with the baptism of Cornelius, the first recorded non-Jewish convert to Christianity.
Unlike Daniel’s previous prophecies, the 70-weeks prophecy is not mentioned as being related to the ‘time of the end’ or the setting up of God’s Kingdom. It does however provide absolute confidence in the accuracy of the predictions given by God through His prophet Daniel.
The kings of the south and the north
The eleventh chapter of the Book of Daniel provides a very detailed prophecy of the time period between the time of Darius the Mede and the exploits of Antiochus Epiphanes. The incredible detail can be followed in many ” info=”tooltip” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover”]Bible Commentaries on this chapter. Its fulfilment is so astonishing that those who cannot accept divine revelation assert that the ‘prophecy’ was written after the events had happened! However, Daniel goes on to predict events after that time. Having narrated the events until the time of the Maccabees, the prophecy continues,
“But the appointed time is still to come.” Daniel 11:35
Speaking of this, the angel informed Daniel in the next chapter,
“There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.” Daniel 12:1–3
Daniel saw two men talking to the angel who had told him these things. One of them said to the angel,
“How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?” Daniel 12:6
The angel remarked in reply,
“It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.” Daniel 12:7
“From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days.
“As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.” Daniel 12:11–13
The ‘time, times and half a time’ equate to 1260 days as shown when considering the fourth beast of Daniel 7. On a year-for-a-day principle, the periods would be 1260, 1290 and 1335 years respectively. Only one of these periods has a stated beginning—that of the 1290 years—and even that is not precisely provided. If the ‘abomination that causes desolation’ refers to the Mosque of Omar (Dome of the Rock), which was built on the site of the former Jewish Temples, and completed in 691A.D., then 1290 years from that date would bring us to 1981. For historical context, 1981 was the year of Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights. This indicates that the fulfilment of the ‘end times’ cannot be far removed from our own days. God’s Kingdom is near!
Is the Book of Daniel reliable?
It would be of little benefit to have all these prophecies if it was found that Daniel was unreliable or his writings were a later fake. It is therefore a very important aspect to be examined. Since the time of Porphyry, there have been people denying the authenticity of the Book of Daniel. There are two principal reasons for this rejection:
- the minutely accurate portrayal of the Seleucid-Ptolemaic wars and the career of Epiphanes (Daniel 11), which are unthinkable as genuine prophecies for the rationalist
- alleged historical inaccuracies of the book.