Many people, even those who have been Adventists all their lives, are somewhat disappointed with themselves for not enjoying the study of prophecy in the Bible. Revelation, with all its confusing symbols, is perhaps even their least favorite book.
No doubt, some have had past, frightening experiences with how these topics were first presented to them. It may even be that they would just rather dwell on practical applications that more directly involve their daily activities.
Let’s remember that prophecy isn’t just about predicting the future though. It’s also about looking at and learning from the past (predictions that have already been fulfilled). In seeing how God has led His people down through history, we have more confidence in how He can and will lead us personally through what’s sure to be a bumpy future for us all.
Here is one awesome, perfectly-fulfilled prediction, familiar to most Adventists, that might bolster your faith when times get tough. I’ll write about more of them in future articles. Look for the next one at this link: Prophecy 102
The 70-weeks prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27
This is one Bible prophecy that Adventists have especially embraced, as it verifies when Jesus would come to earth the first time and be anointed by God at His baptism; and furthermore, when He would die as our sacrifice on the cross. In other words, His First Advent.
Seventy weeks, or 490 days, would be the allotted time that Israel would have to prepare for the Messiah, according to a vision given to Daniel (Daniel 9:24–hint: Bible verses are hyperlinks, so hold your mouse over or click on them). It must have been a relief for Daniel to know that prophetic time would mean years, not days. So, they would have 490 years to “get their act together” so to speak, before the Messiah would come.
The angel Gabriel gave Daniel the beginning of this time frame in Daniel 9:25, indicating that it would be “from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem”.
Although the book of Ezra mentions several decrees to rebuild Jerusalem, only the last one, the third one, would rebuild both the temple and the city, including the walls around it. The date of this final decree from the Persian king Artaxerxes was 457 B.C. (Ezra 7:13-26).
The final week of the seventy, just a short seven years at the end of the 490, would include the coming of the Messiah. Counting up from 457 B.C. (skipping the year zero which didn’t exist) would bring us to the year 27 A.D., the year Jesus was baptized, or anointed, as the prophecy showed us in Daniel 9:24.
Then, He would be cut off in the middle of the week (Daniel 9:27), bringing an end to the sacrifices and offerings in the temple, because Jesus was the sacrificial Lamb of God. That was the exact time of Jesus’ death, 31 A.D., after His public ministry of three-and-a-half years, half a prophetic week.
The event that would happen three-and-a-half years later would be the stoning of Stephen, which marked the time when the gospel would go to the world through the preaching of Jesus’ disciples.
Why is it necessary to understand this seventy-weeks prophecy from Daniel? Because many church denominations today, holding futuristic views of prophecy, have taken that final week to indicate a period of tribulation that lasts for seven years at the end of time, after what they call a secret rapture of God’s people. They believe they will be invisibly transported to heaven, leaving others here to suffer the plagues for seven years.
Jesus Himself predicted these false interpretations, and indicated that He would not come back in secret. He said,
“Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” Matthew 24:26, 27 NKJV
For more insights regarding the 70-weeks prophecy, see Lesson 6 in our last Sabbath School quarterly, especially Tuesday and Wednesday…https://www.outlookmag.org/the-teachers-notes-the-hour-of-his-judgment-lesson-6/
Next Time: The 1,260-day prophecy
Another prophecy worth knowing about is the 1,260-day prophecy, mentioned seven times in the Bible. Read my next article in this series, Prophecy 102 to find out why it’s important to understand this remarkable prophecy as well.