According to our calculations, the starting point is the year 444 B.C when King Artaxeres Longimanus of Persia issued the decree for the Jews to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. We know that Jesus Christ was crucified in AD 33. The only calendar that can work within these time frames is the original 360-day prophetic calendar (Noah’s calendar). The Hebrew calendar, 40-year calendar, and Egyptian calendars, with their intercalary months added, all coincide eventually with our modern-day solar Gregorian (solar) calendar of 365.2422 days. These calendars would all be about 7 years shy of the required 483 years necessary for the duration of the first 483 years (seven weeks and sixty-two weeks) of Daniel’s prophecy.
For more detailed information, see Ancient Calendars, Feast Days, & Daniel 12:11: Part 3 :: By Randy Nettles (raptureready.com).
We also know that there has been a pause (of 1988 years thus far) between the 483rd year and the 490th year. This is the “time of the Gentiles” that Luke talked about in Luke 21:23-25. God’s program for the dominance of the nation of Israel will not begin until the end of the 490th year when Jesus returns to begin his Millennium Kingdom. “The Lord your God will set you on high above all nations of the earth. And all people of the earth shall see that you [Israel] are called by the name of the Lord; and they shall be afraid of you” (Deuteronomy 28:1,10).
The last ‘week’ of Daniel’s 70 weeks is revealed to Daniel by Gabriel and is found in Daniel 9:27, “Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the midst of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate.”
By way of other chapters in Daniel and John’s book of Revelation, we know the ‘he’ in Daniel 9:27 is the beast or Antichrist, and the ‘week ‘is clearly referring to the last 7 years on earth (known as Jacob’s Trouble or the Tribulation) before Jesus’ 2nd Coming. We also know Jacob’s Trouble begins when the Jews confirm a covenant (peace and/or security) with the Antichrist for 7 years. Part of the agreement might be for Israel to agree to a two-state solution and give up some land to the Palestinians. In return, the Antichrist will agree to Israel’s demand to build their third temple in Jerusalem.
God explicitly told Moses and the children of Israel, “You shall make no covenant with them [Gentiles- Canaanites], nor with their gods” (Exodus 23:32). The modern nation of Israel will be breaking this statute of the Lord by making a covenant (concerning the land of Israel) with the Antichrist. This will anger God greatly and bring about Jacob’s Trouble.
In the ‘midst’ of the 7 years, the Antichrist will break his covenant and will attack Israel and put an end to the daily sacrifices that have been reinstated by the Jews in their new temple. The last 3.5 years of Jacob’s Trouble will be the worst persecution of the Jews in the history of the world (and they have had some very horrendous ones). At the end of this time, two-thirds of the people of the promised land will have been killed.
Of course, the Tribulation will not only affect Israel and the Jews but all nations and peoples of the earth. I believe the curses of Leviticus 26, originally meant for Israel, will come upon the whole world at this time. God will punish the godless peoples of earth 7 times more for their sins (vs. 8), and an additional 7 more times (vs. 21), and on top of that, 7 more times (vs. 24). These curses from God are known as the 7 seal judgments, 7 trumpet judgments, and 7 bowl judgments as described in the book of Revelation. “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:21-22).
Isn’t it ironic (but not to God) that the Jews will agree to a 7-year covenant with the Antichrist during their last 7 years of judgment and punishment (out of a total of 490 years) regarding their neglect of the land and not obeying the commandment to keep the Sabbath (year) holy? The last 7 years of Jacob’s Trouble is the last ‘week’ of Daniel 9:24-27 and is the final fulfillment of the curses of Leviticus 26. But how did God determine the duration for this judgment? We know that 490 years equals 70 Shemitah (Sabbath) years, and we know the end of the judgment was in 586 BC when the Judeans were conquered by the Babylonians and were forced to leave the land. But when did the 490-year judgment of Israel begin?
Does the starting point for the Shemitah year judgment begin in 1406 BC when the children of Israel entered the promised land? God told Moses, “When you come into the land which I give you, then the land shall keep a sabbath to the Lord” (Leviticus 25:2). I don’t believe it starts in this year, for the Israelites were still at war with the Canaanites and the other heathen nations. The land of Canaan wasn’t even divided up between the tribes of Israel until 1399 BC. The children of Israel couldn’t have kept the Sabbath year at this time.
Did the starting point begin after Joshua’s death, during the time of the judges, which lasted until Saul became king of Israel in 1050 BC? I don’t believe it started during the first three hundred years of the judges because God judged them multiple times during this period and sent them into slavery and/or subjugation. The land had its rest during this time.
If you add 490 years to 586 BC, you get the year 1076 BC. I believe the Shemitah year judgment mentioned in Daniel 9:24 began then. Samuel was the prophet/judge during this time. I believe if Israel ever observed the Sabbath year, it would have been under the direction of the godly Samuel; but there is no proof that this ever happened. During this time and forward until 586 BC (when the Jews left the land), the children of Israel never obeyed the commandment to observe the Sabbath year and Jubilee. They missed 70 Shemitah years. God, however, made sure the land rested for these 70 Sabbath years and multiplied it by 7 times as He promised in Leviticus 26:18.
I recently listened to a YouTube presentation by Mark Blitz entitled “When will the Tribulation begin? Where are we on the Biblical calendar?” I found it to be very informative and would recommend it to any Bible student. He explains the Shemitah cycle, Jubilee, and the Feasts of the Lord, especially Trumpets or Rosh Hashanah, which he believes begins and ends the Shemitah year. Most Jews believe this also. I always believed the Jubilee (and thus the Shemitah year) was supposed to begin on the Day of Atonement according to Leviticus 25:9-10.
Like other Bible teachers, such as Jonathan Cahn, Mark believes the years of 1966-1967 began a 7-year Shemitah year cycle for Israel, so 1973-1974 would be the actual Shemitah (Sabbath) year. I’m not really sure how they have determined this exactly, but I’m assuming the reasoning behind these years is that 1967 was when the Six-Day War began, when Israel captured and occupied much land, including East Jerusalem. Likewise, the 7-year cycle ended with Israel’s victory over Egypt and Syria during the Yom Kippur War in October 1973. Israel gained more land at this time.
Mr. Blitz lists 10 Shemitah cycles (70 years), from 1966-1967 to 2036-2937. He never predicts any future Biblical events, but his favorite cycle for Daniel’s 70th week (Tribulation) is 2021-2022 to 2028-2029, partially because the modern nation of Israel will be 80 years old in 2028, and that could be linked to Moses’ statement in Psalm 90:10. According to Mark, the seven-year Tribulation will coincide with the last Jewish Shemitah cycle and will begin and end on Rosh Hashanah (which is the first day of a new year) on the Jewish calendar. The reason for this is because the Tribulation (a.k.a. Jacob’s Trouble) is mostly a judgment from God against the Jews. Although, God’s other purpose for it is to punish the Gentile nations and the Antichrist for trying to destroy His people.
This sounded reasonable to me until I started doing the math. Let’s say hypothetically that the years 2022-2029 are the beginning and end years for the Tribulation. According to Mr. Blitz, the beginning and end dates will be Tishri 1 (Trumpets/Rosh Hashana) on the Jewish calendar. If that is the case, there would be 2,541 days duration for the seven-year Tribulation. The books of Daniel and Revelation make it clear that there are 2,520 days duration for the Tribulation (Daniel’s 70th week). I wrote an article recently regarding this topic. See: The Perfect Numbers in the Day of the Lord :: By Randy Nettles – Rapture Ready. It’s obvious, Daniel and John were using the 360-day per year prophetic calendar, otherwise known as Noah’s calendar, for their calculations and not the Jewish lunar/solar calendar.
As I mentioned before, just as the first 483 years (or 173,880 days) of Daniel’s 70th week uses the 360 prophetic calendar, so will the last 7 years (2,520 days). It is a great mystery why God used the prophetic calendar instead of the Jewish or Gregorian calendars, but as Daniel said, “He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding” (Daniel 2:21).
GOD’S ANSWER TO DANIEL’S PRAYER
God, through the angel Gabriel, answered Daniel’s prayer. Of course, it wasn’t the answer Daniel was looking for, but at least it allowed Daniel to peer into the future and see a hope and a future for his people and for Jerusalem and the temple. At the end of the 70th seven (490 years), six objectives or accomplishments will have been met by the nation and people of Israel, and Daniel’s prayer requests will be realized.
The SIX INFINITIVES
- To Finish the Transgression – David prayed that the children of Israel would turn from their iniquities and understand God’s truth (Daniel 9:13). This will finally be accomplished when a remnant of Israel accepts Jesus in faith as their Messiah and King immediately preceding the Second Coming. The prophecy of Zechariah 12:9-10; 13:1 will be fulfilled at this time
- To Make an End of Sin – In Daniel 9:16, he prayed that the Lord would turn from his anger and fury against His people (and the holy city of Jerusalem) for their many sins against Him. This will occur when all born-again Jewish people still living at the end of Jacob’s Trouble will enter the Millennial Kingdom. To make an end of sin does not mean they will not sin in the Kingdom, but they will be considered righteous by the blood of Christ, as all believers are, both past, present, and future. There will be no more unbelievers in the nation of Israel. At this time, Ezekiel’s prophecy of Ezekiel 36:26-27 will be fulfilled.
- To Make Atonement for Iniquity – While Daniel was praying, he confessed that his people had not turned from their iniquities and made atonement by offering prayers and supplication (verse 13). Israel’s national atonement for their iniquity against the Lord will be made when the remnant of believers that are still alive at the Second Coming will accept Jesus as their Messiah. This could happen on the Day of Atonement, the 10th of Tishri. Hosea 5:15 speaks of this time; “I will return again to My place until they acknowledge their offense. Then they will seek My face; in their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.”
- To Bring in Everlasting Righteousness – In verse 14, Daniel praised the Lord for His righteousness and, in contrast, confessed Israel’s lack of righteousness. He described their lack of righteousness as “confusion of faces.” After centuries of apostasy and disobedience, the redeemed nation of Israel will experience righteousness under the authority and rule of the righteous Branch, Jesus the Messiah. During the Millennial Kingdom, the prophecy of Isaiah 60:21 will be fulfilled.
- To Seal Up Vision and Prophecy – In verse 6, Daniel prayed for forgiveness for Israel’s rebelling against God’s word that the prophets brought to them through the centuries. John Walvoord believed that this term “seal up vision and prophecy” is best understood to mean the termination of unusual direct revelation by means of vision and oral prophecy. He explains that the expression indicates that no more is to be added and that what has been predicted will receive divine confirmation and recognition in the form of actual fulfillment. Once a letter is sealed, its contents are irreversible. The two witnesses that prophesy to Israel during the first half of the 70th week will be the last prophets in human history.
- To Anoint the Most Holy Place – Daniel prayed for the restoration of Jerusalem and God’s Temple (sanctuary) that was left desolate (verse 17). This anointing is referring to the holy place in the Temple of Jerusalem and not to the Holy One, the Messiah. The presence of the Messiah will be the anointing for the holy place in the Temple. The prophecy of Haggai 2:7-9 will be fulfilled at this time.
THE FUTURE FOR THE JEWISH REMNANT BELIEVERS IN JESUS CHRIST
“I will bring the one-third through the fire, will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, This is My people; and each one will say, The Lord is my God” (Zechariah 13:9).
“And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:1b-3).
Amen, even so, come, Lord Jesus.