There’s a controversial prophetic timeline in the Book of DANIEL (ch. 9) specifying 70 “weeks” (seventy sevens) or 490 years. I believe these years are consecutive and end early in the Book of ACTS with the decreed desolation of Israel. ◊
At the risk of upsetting many Christians (and even non-Christians) in their own understanding of BIblical End Times dogma, I will nonetheless pause in a study of the Book of Acts to raise a point of challenge about those beliefs.
I believe the evidence is compelling that the controversial 70 weeks (seventy sevens) mentioned in that prophetic word to Daniel (Daniel 9:20-27), by the angel/man Gabriel, conclude in history with the declared condemnation of rebellious Israel that we see in the early chapters of the Book of Acts.
That same condemnation was declared by Jesus Christ Himself in His final days and then in the Olivet Discourse (see Matthew 23, Mark 13, Luke 21):
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. (Matthew 23:37-38)
“When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. (Luke 21:20-22)
Jesus’ and Peter’s (Acts 2:14-36, 3:12-26), and Stephen’s (Acts 7:2-53) harsh rebukes of Israel and her defiant leaders call out her condemnation in advance of her coming judgment in AD 70 when Jerusalem and the Jewish nation were decimated by Titus and the Romans.
That total destruction through God’s holy judgment represented the end of the Jewish Age of animal and blood sacrifices; not the end of the world.
Do the Math (with no 2,000 year gap)
I believe that this 490 consecutive year timeline ends 3½ years after the death of Christ, which permanently terminates the need for sacrifices:
“He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering sacrifice and offering to cease.” (Daniel 9:27).
The final 7 year period begins with the launching of Jesus’ ministry after His baptism by John the Baptist and the descent on Him by the Holy Spirt, which many accept to be in AD 26.
This event occurs 483 years after the decree by King Artaxerxes to Ezra (Ezra 7, 9.9) in 457 BC. It is referenced here in Daniel 9:
So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince [Jesus] there will be seven weeks [49 years] and sixty-two weeks [434 years]… (Daniel 9:25)
“After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death, but not for himself.” (Daniel 9:26a)
To summarize the math calculations:
- ~ 457 BC – Persian King Artaxerxes issues a decree allowing the Jews to restore rebuilding in Jerusalem
- ~ 408 BC (49 years = 7 “weeks” = 7 x 7) – year spent rebuilding Jerusalem
- ~ AD 26 (434 years = 62 “weeks” = 62 x 7) – Jesus begins His 3 year ministry, baptized by John and annointed by God and Holy Spirit
- ~ AD 30 (3.5 years = 1/2 “week” = 1/2 x 7) – Jesus crucified and resurrected, atoning for all sins of mankind
- ~ AD 33 (3.5 years = 1/2 “week” = 1/2 x 7) – Holy Spirit given to Jews at Pentecost; Peter and Stephen condemn Jewish leaders.
The final fulfilment of the prophetic word in Daniel, one generation later (40 years), is realized with the final destruction of Israel by the Roman army in 70 AD.
“The people of the ruler [Titus] who will come will destroy the city [Jerusalem] and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.” (Daniel 9:26b)
The Jewish historian Josephesus who witnessed the holocaust estimated that over 1 million Jews were slaughtered in Jerusalem when the entire city and temple were descimated, with not one stone left standing upon another. This destruction of the temple and Jerusalem was predicted by Jesus as well:
“Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.” – Jesus in Luke 21:32, also in Matthew 24 and Mark 13
What About the Tribulation, the Antichrist, the Rapture, Armageddon…?
I struggled with these questions years ago myself. As stated in other posts, I learned that the common End Times schema believed by so many Christians about popular Dispensationalists “Left Behind” and “Late Great Planet Earth” notions of the rapture, antichrist, etc., are not Biblically supported.
The Book of Daniel is not as complicated as many people claim. Likewise, the Book of Revelation, when seen in light of God’s promised judicial condemnation and judgment of apostate Israel, who played the harlot with Rome and killed their Messiah, is another amazing prophetic book that makes sense in its structure and alignment with Old Testament verbiage, imagery, and the warnings and promises of a covenant keeping God.
These books will be addressed and explored in further detail in upcoming posts. In the meantime, question your own biases and notions about End Times, allow scripture to illuminate scripture against any human schemas and frameworks developed over time.
Do you understand Biblical prophecy?
“Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy One.” – Daniel 9:24
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