Article of the Month

November 2009

Time Matters:

Daniel’s Great Two-Part Time Prophecy


The entire book of Daniel deals with time—sometimes with numbers, sometimes with events which help to establish dates. However, the great “70 Weeks” prophecy of Chapter 9 is particularly helpful because it establishes Daniel as a true prophet when his words are fulfilled at the first advent; and since the Chapter 9 prophecy is PART of the Chapter 8 prophecy which deals with time in the 19th Century, we are better able to understand events of our own era.  We will postpone consideration of Chapter 8 for another time and focus now on Chapter 9.

Daniel 8 finds Daniel deep in despair (8:26, 27) because he could not understand his own prophecy about a period of 2,300 “days.”  (8:14)  A day in prophecy equals a literal year.  (Ezekiel 4:6)

In Daniel 9, Daniel understands that Jerusalem’s desolation was about to the end of the 70 foretold years.  He prays to learn more about the 70 years, and God sends an angel to instruct him concerning the 2,300 years that had troubled Daniel so much.  Here, in paraphrase, is what Gabriel explained to Daniel:

9:24:

The first 490 years (70 “weeks”) of the 2,300 years are SET ASIDE for your people, Israel, and for the city of Jerusalem. (The rest of the period will deal with Gentiles.)  By the end of these 70 weeks:

(1)  Israel will no longer transgress the Law because the Law will be 

       superseded. 

(2)  Sin will have been paid for by Christ’s crucifixion. 

(3)  The true way of reconciliation with God will have been provided. 

(4)  PERMANENT (not temporary, as under the Jewish Law)

      justification will have been provided for.

(5)  The vision of the 2,300 days will be certain because its first part

      will have come true. 

(6)  Daniel will be shown to be a true and trustworthy prophet, and  

(7)  The truly holy ones of Israel will be anointed with the Holy Spirit.

9:25:

Therefore, note these details:

When Artaxerxes issues his decree (in 454 B.C.—Nehemiah 2:3-8; 6:15; 7:1) to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, there will be 49 years plus 434 years, and THEN Messiah will appear (in A. D. 29, at his baptism).  The building of Jerusalem before that will be troublous (Nehemiah 4), and it will take the first 49 years to be well settled.

After the next 434 years, Messiah appears, BUT HE WILL BE KILLED—not for himself, but on our behalf.  Later, Titus, the Roman Prince, will come (A.D. 69-70) and will destroy the city and the temple.  It will be a deluge of troubles until all is desolate, as prophesied.

9:27:

But Messiah (even after his death) will keep God’s promises to faithful Israelites until the 70th week (A.D. 29-36) has expired (at which time God will turn to the Gentiles).  In the middle of this week (A.D. 33), Messiah’s TRUE sacrifice will have rendered all of Israel’s sacrifices and oblations NON-EFFECTIVE.  Because of Israel’s faithlessness, all Israel and its Law Covenant will become desolate, until the time comes for Israel’s restoration, which occurs when the faithful Church has been consummated.

The wonderful fulfillment of these words at Jesus’ first advent provides for us a standard of interpretation of Biblical chronology.  Applying these lessons to the rest of Daniel’s time prophecies, and to those of the rest of the Bible, yields dramatic and satisfying results.  We see not only how the Bible predicted events before our day, but also those now around us.

Next month’s article will build on this information.