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WHAT WEEK ARE WE IN?
One of the most studied prophecies in the Old Testament are the prophecies of Daniel, especially his "70 Weeks" prophecy. This prophecy gives a precise timeline for the coming of the Messiah, as well as other important events beyond Christ. But, there was a problem...
For nearly two millennia the precise understanding of the timeline given by Daniel was lost. While there was much going on during that time (including the canonization of the Bible as we know it today), there was also a "falling away" of the true faith until the Reformation, Protestation, and the establishment of the modern Christian Church. While all this was going on, humanity was trying to figure out how to keep time. Down through history, man has tried several forms of keeping up with months and years, relying on the position of the sun, or the moon, or both (called a lunisolar calendar). From the Persian and Hebrew calendars, through the Romans, date-keeping evolved into the present day Gregorian and Julian Calendars. If you look on your wall, you're looking at a Gregorian calendar - 365 days a year plus an extra day added in on Leap Year. All this monkeying around with calendars left us unsure of just what dates things happened before we settled on our current version. So, when you look at Daniel's prophecy timeline and try to fit it into a calendar, you can't figure out how it fits in history.
Now, if you're not familiar with his "70 weeks" prophecy, it's a coded way of saying there are 490 years of events happening in Daniel's future. The "weeks" are actually groups of 7 years (a "week" of years, or 7 years), so Daniel is actually referring to time as Seventy "Sevens". When you do all the math, you end up with 490 years - Seventy "Sevens" mathematically is Seventy times Seven, or 490. The trouble was, with all the calendar changes, and the inevitable problems caused along the way, we couldn't make that timeline fit anything.
However, in 1894, Sir Robert Anderson, a Commissioner and intelligence officer for the London Metropolitan Police, who was also a theologian and a prolific writer, wrote a book called "The Coming Prince". In this book Anderson outlined how we'd lost the method for calculating Daniel's timeline because when Daniel wrote the prophecy, he was using the Hebrew calendar at the time. This calendar consisted of twelve "months" of 30 days each. Anderson converted from Daniel's Hebrew calendar to the timeline between his time and the birth of Christ. When he did so, he discovered something miraculous. Daniel specifies that at the end of the for 69 "weeks", or 483 years (that's 483 Hebrew years), the Messiah would appear. Somehow the priests of the time missed this! It turns out that, after Anderson's calculations using the Hebrew calendar - the same calendar Daniel was familiar with - Jesus arrived in Jerusalem on what we now call Palm Sunday. Talk about an accurate prophecy!
But what about that last week? First, let's look at the specific prophecies in Daniel 9, because there's more than just the prophecy of the Messiah's appearance.
First, Daniel was told the first event would occur in seven weeks (seven "sevens"). So, Seven times Seven gives us 49 years. Verse 25 tells us this period starts with the commandment to rebuild Jerusalem, and it's given in two parts. The first part of these 49 years starts with "the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem", and refers to the command of Artaxerxes to have the city of Jerusalem rebuilt. This first construction lasted 49 years.
The second event lasts 434 years, ("threescore and two weeks", or 62 "weeks") and prophecies "the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times",. This refers to the Hebrews' necessity to continue the building of Jerusalem until the second Temple, what is called "Herod's Temple" was finally rebuilt.
When you combine these two time periods, you get the total of 483 years (69 "weeks"), at which time Christ shows up at the Temple in Jerusalem, completing the first two periods of the timeline. At this point, however, the timeline stops, and Verse 26 tells us of the things that will happen between the end of the first 483 period of time (69 "weeks"), and the start of the last "week", or the last 7 years of the prophecy.
Yeah, this all looks complicated on paper, so I've included a chart that breaks all this down at the end of this article. But, hang on, there's lots that happens between "Week" 69 and "Week" 70, and Daniel just alludes to it in one verse, Verse 26: "...the Messiah shall be cut off...the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary...". Note the use of the small 'p' in prince, which refers to the 'prince of this world' - Satan. Verse 26 concludes, "...and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined." Now, we know this is not a world-wide water flood, because God promised that would never happen again, so the conclusion is the flood of evil, war, pestilences, until we get to that last "week". We now call that "week", that seven-year period, the Tribulation.
Daniel 9:27: "And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week; and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determination shall be poured on the desolate".
Now, this verse alone is hard to understand until you read other prophecies in the Bible that tell about the Tribulation period. The "he" in Verse 27 still refers to Satan, and this last "week" has yet to begin. There is a stop of the "clock" in Daniel's prophecy that begins at the coming of Christ into Jerusalem, and starts back at some point after the "saints" (that's those of us who are believers in and followers of Christ) are "called up" (raptured), At some point after the Rapture, Satan's earthly representative (The Antichrist) makes a peace treaty with Israel and promises "peace and safety", and all is somewhat peaceful, until three and a half years into this treaty the Antichrist desecrates the Temple in what Jesus, while talking about the end times in Matthew 24:15, called the "abomination of desolation". The remaining three and a half years are what is called the "Great Tribulation", because, literally, all hell breaks lose on the earth, and only the physical return of Christ and His saints (us again!) saves all humanity from destruction.
Now, that's a lot to unpack, but it's from Daniel 9 that we get the precise timeline as to how all this will happen. He was right on the mark with the first coming of Christ, and Daniel's prophecies are exactly in line with other prophecies of the end times found in other parts of the Bible.
Here's the point (finally!!) of this article: There are 70 "weeks" prophesied by Daniel in Chapter 9, and 69 of these "weeks" have already occurred. So, what "week" are we in? None! We are in the period of what Jesus, in Luke 21:24, referred to as "the times of the Gentiles". That period, so far, has lasted 21 Centuries, but the signs are all around signaling the end times. In fact, the only event left on God's calendar for the end times is the Rapture of the Saints. When that occurs, the next event is the Tribulation, then the Second Coming of Christ, followed by His reign here, physically, on earth for a thousand years. Then, after a short period of time, Satan and his angels, along with all those who failed to follow Christ when they had the chance, are cast into the Lake of Fire, and we are ushered to a new Heaven and a new Earth, where we will spend eternity in peace and glory.
I'm ready. How about you?
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