Q. I’ve noticed several places where people are saying the Lord’s 3.5 year ministry fulfilled the first half of Daniel’s 70th Week and therefore there’s only the second half left to be fulfilled. Can this be true?
A. I don’t know how this got started because it’s so easily disproved. Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy (Daniel 9:24-27) makes the timeline clear. In verse 24 the angel Gabriel decreed 70 sevens for Israel to complete what we now call the dispensation of Law. A seven is a period of 7 years, so 70 sevens equal 490 years. In verse 25 he said there would be 7 sevens and then 62 sevens for a total of 69 sevens or 483 years. In verse 26 he said after the 483 years had passed, the Messiah would be cut off (executed) and Jerusalem and the Temple would be destroyed by the people of a coming ruler. Then in verse 27 he said this ruler would confirm a covenant with many for one final seven year period. In the middle of that final period he will put an end to sacrifice and offering and set up an abomination that causes desolation.
In Matt. 24:15-21 Jesus said this event will kick off the 3.5 year Great Tribulation, and in Matt. 24:30 said His 2nd Coming would take place shortly after it ends, so we know this final seven year period is still in our future. So it seems pretty clear the angel said that Jesus would die after the end of 69 sevens, but before the beginning of the 70th and final seven.
In order to make it work, proponents of this view claim that Jesus is the coming ruler of Daniel 9:27 and that his ministry occurred during the first half of the 70th seven. They say it was His death that put an end to Temple sacrifice in the middle of the final seven.
Here are the problems. First the rules of grammar require that the coming ruler be descended from the people who destroyed the city and sanctuary. In other words, He has to come from some part of the Roman Empire. Second, the passage clearly states that there was one period of seven years left after the Lord’s execution. And third it means they believe the Lord’s death was the Abomination of Desolation.
There’s only ever been one Abomination of Desolation and that was when Antiochus Epiphanes placed a statue of the Greek God Zeus in the Jerusalem Temple and required everyone to worship it on pain of death. It happened in 168 BC and resulted in the Maccabean revolt. There’s no way in which the Lord’s sacrificial death can be compared to that pagan affront to God.
I don’t believe there’s any way in which the Lord’s ministry occupied the first half of Daniel’s 70th Week. There are still seven years left to run in the prophecy Daniel was given.