A vital part of End Times predictions is that there is still “one week” (7 years) left for Jerusalem and the Jews. This is based on Daniel 9:24-27
Catholic @ http://www.usccb.org/bible/daniel/9
Protestant @ http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Daniel+9&version=NIV (etc.)
Sixty-nine “weeks” (69 x 7 = 483 years) have passed.
These 483 years ended at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, when the “Time of the Jews” gave way to the “Time of the Gentiles.” The 70th week will be the last seven years of time.
Daniel says, “For one week he shall make a firm covenant with the many. Half the week he shall abolish sacrifice and offering. In their place shall be the desolating abomination until the ruin that is decreed is poured out upon the desolator.”
- The last seven years will begin with a treaty between “the desolator” (the Anti-Christ) and “the many” (maybe the United Nations) to leave Israel in peace for seven years.
- The Anti-Christ will violate that treaty half-way through, putting an end to the Jewish Old Testament sacrifice and offering at the Temple. Thus, we can conclude that the Jews will somehow be allowed to rebuild their ancient temple in Jerusalem.
- Inside the temple, the Anti-Christ will set up an altar to himself. There will be a terrible war, then he will end “in a flood” (suddenly?).
These prophecies are confirmed in the New Testament. (I’ve altered these two for clarity only. By all means, go read the originals for yourself!)
The apostasy will come first and the lawless one who is doomed to perdition will be revealed. He will oppose and exalt himself above every so-called god and object of worship and seat himself in the temple of God, claiming that he is a god. (2 Thess 2:3-4)
Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered to fight Jesus and his army. The beast (who is the Anti-Christ who has been given the power of Satan) was caught and with it the false prophet; they were thrown alive into the fiery pool burning with sulfur. The rest were killed. (Rev 19:19-21)
More about the first 69 weeks
Daniel says, “From the utterance of the word that Jerusalem was to be rebuilt until there is an anointed ruler, there shall be seven weeks. In the course of sixty-two weeks it shall be rebuilt, with squares and trenches, in time of affliction.”
“The utterance” = About 445 BC, the Persian King Artaxerxes I ordered his keeper of the royal forests to make beams to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
“Seven weeks” = 7 x 7 = 49 years. Artaxerxes II, son of Darius II, defeated his brother Cyrus the Younger and became king of Persia about 404 BC. A number of ancient sources identify him as the Persian King Ahasueras who married Esther. The Old Testament Book of Esther tells how a Jewish girl named Esther became queen of Persia and thwarted a plan to commit genocide against her people.
“Sixty-two weeks” = 62 x 7 = 434 years “of affliction”
- The Jews were not permitted to rule themselves. The primary Jewish civil authority was the Temple high priest who answered to whatever governor was sent.
- In 332 BC, Alexander the Great conquered the Persians, after which Israel fell under the jurisdiction of a series of his generals and their descendants, known collectively as the Hellenistic kings of the Ptolemaic (Egyptian) and Seleucid (Syrian) dynasties. These rulers tried to force Jews to abandon Torah and adopt Hellenistic values. When the Seleucid ruler, Antiochus Epiphanes, outlawed Jewish practices, the Maccabees revolted (167–164 BC).
- In 63 BC, Rome conquered the area and continued the uneasy foreign rule of the contentious Jewish people.
- In 70 AD, Roman troops destroyed Jerusalem and the Second Temple, fulfilling Daniel’s prediction: “the people of a leader who will come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.”
Daniel says, “After the sixty-two weeks an anointed one shall be cut down with no one to help him.”
Current calendars do not depict the times quite right, but they are pretty darn close.
7 x 7 = 49: Utterance by Artaxerxes I (445 BC) to anointing of Artaxerxes II (404 BC): -445 + 49 = –396.
62 x 7 = 434: Anointing (404 BC) to Jesus’ death (33 AD): -404 + 434 = 30 – 1 = 29.
62 + 7 = 69 x 7 = 483 = 49 + 434 = 483: Utterance (445 BC) to Jesus’ death (33 AD): -445 + 483 – 1 = 37.
(Calculating times from BC to AD requires a minus one, because there was no year zero. E.g., from 10 BC to 10 AD looks like it should have been 20 years, but it was actually only 19 years.)
These discrepancies do not bother me in the least.
Leap years and times when various calendars were adjusted by large amounts make conversion to ancient calendars enormously complex and certainly way above my pay grade.
The actual solar year is 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and some seconds long, so every calendar gets off by some amount of time each year and needs adjusting. To keep our calendars from drifting through the seasons, we add an extra day every four years; Jews add a 13th lunar month seven times every 19 years.
But even these adjustments allow the calendar year and solar cycle to get skewed, so sometimes more time is thrown in. For example, in 1752, the British Empire (which included us at the time) decided to correct its calendar by 11 days. Wednesday, September 2, 1752 was followed by Thursday, September 14, 1752.
Never mind that BC thing! Criminetly, negative numbers confuse me on a good day! Let’s just say I’m fine with accepting the idea that Daniel’s prophecy has been spot on so far and that the Jews and Jerusalem will have one more “week” (seven year period) that will begin when Anti-Christ makes a 7-year treaty and end when Jesus kicks Satan’s butt at Armageddon.