Daniel's 70 weeks nicely explained


I found this discussion online and thought it well reasoned.  I generally stay away from numbers of any sort and eschatology of any sort, but it came up recently so here is something I can follow. . . .somewhat! The following is a question and answer from the web so the "I" does not refer to me.

“What is the most logical method of interpreting the final 3 1/2 days of Daniel's prophecy of 70 weeks.  I see the messianic fulfillment and how the one who confirms a covenant is Christ, not an anti-Christ figure, but still have difficulty with the last 3 1/2 `days.’ While the previous 69.5 weeks can reasonably interpreted as years, it seems like most interpretations end up extending the time period indefinitely or imposing a gap between the first and second halves of the `week.’”

This is a question that troubled me for some time as I was working my way from premillennialism toward amillennialism.  When I read Meredith Kline’s essay (“The Covenant of the Seventy Weeks”--  Click here: Covenant_70th_Week) all of a sudden the answer hit me--and it had been right in front of me the whole time.  In the ninth chapter of Daniel's prophecy, not only was Daniel talking about the Messiah and not an Antichrist (based upon the glorious things that are to be accomplished by the Messiah before end of the 70 weeks–see Daniel 9:24), but in the Book of Revelation, John actually tells us what happens during the last 3 ½ years of Daniel’s 70th week!  It is a time of tribulation for the people of God.
In Revelation 12:14, John speaks of a “time, and times, and half a time.”  The same time reference also appears in Revelation 11:1-2 and 13:5-6 (forty-two months).  Obviously, this is figurative language depicting the fulfillment of that eschatological time of tribulation predicted by Daniel and left open-ended in Daniel's prophecy of the seventy weeks.  Kline argues that this is the period of time of the church in the wilderness (“The Covenant of the Seventy Weeks,” 469).  Likewise, Beale holds that these references are based upon the eschatological period of tribulation foretold by Daniel not only in Daniel 9:27, but throughout his entire prophecy (Beale, The Book of Revelation, 565). 

In Revelation 11, the forty-two months are connected to Elijah’s ministry of judgment, and to Israel’s time in the wilderness (which included forty-two campsites), and which may have entailed forty-two years in the wilderness-- if Israel came under God’s judgment after spending an initial two years in the wilderness before coming under curse.

Therefore,  Daniel is predicting a time of tribulation for the people of God after the Messiah comes, but before the last Jubilee (since the seventy-sevens of Daniel’s prophecy are ten Jubilee eras–see Kline’s essay, where he argue for this point).  As we see in Revelation 12:5-6, John tells us that this three and a half “years” of tribulation are inaugurated at Christ’s resurrection and will be consummated at his second coming (Beale, Revelation, 567).  When we notice that Christ’s own public ministry lasted three and one-half years, the image should be pretty clear--it applies to the entire church age.  

While dispensationalists have a fit with this "non-literal" interpretation, it is John himself who tells us that the final 3 ½ years of Daniel’s prophecy anticipates the entire period of time between Christ’s first advent (his death and resurrection) and his second advent (in which the final trumpet announces that the earth is redeemed and all of God’s people are forever freed from the guilt and power of sin).
The way we interpret this 3 1/2 weeks is a great example of the hermeneutical difference between Reformed amillennialism and dispensationalism.  As Reformed amillennarians see it, the New Testament (especially in a vision given by John in which he proclaims to the church the contents of the scroll which Daniel was told to seal  until the time of the end), ultimately interprets for us what Daniel was prophesying.  In other words, the New Testament interprets the Old Testament.  The bottom line is that in Revelation 11-13, John tells us what those remaining three and a half years of Daniel's prophecy really mean.  Thus, we are not left in the dark about what this means, and we have in Daniel 9:24-27 a glorious messianic prophecy centering upon the active and passive obedience of Christ (v. 24).

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