I normally don’t write about end times prophecies, but recent studies in the book of Daniel have got me thinking. Daniel’s prophecies are all time lines pointing to the end of these times and the return of Jesus Christ.
The prophecy of the seventy weeks in Daniel chapter 9, verses 24 to 27 is just such a prophecy. Recently while studying this prophecy, the Lord has given me a new insight, which I would like to share.
The prophecy overview
It begins with an overview of what the prophecy is covering.
24 “Seventy weeks of years are decreed concerning your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place. (Daniel chapter 9, verse 24)
All commentators I have read suggest this points to the end of days and the second coming of Christ. That is when the vision and prophet will be sealed, (i.e., completed), and everlasting righteousness will be received when Christ sets up His kingdom.
Beginning the timeline
As the prophecy unfolds, we see how it begins and what events will take place as evidence of the fulfilment of the prophecy.
25 Know therefore and understand that from the going forth of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time (Daniel chapter 9, verse 25)
Most commentators claim that “the word to restore and rebuild Jerusalem” was as decreed by King Cyrus of Persia in 537 BC. Unfortunately, the rest of the prophetic timeline doesn’t fit with that date.
Others use the renewing of Cyrus’ decree by Darius in 518 BC, or the renewal decree by Artaxerxes in 458 BC, but again the timeline events don’t fit. Some use lunar years (i.e., 360 days) rather than calendar years, or a supposed fourth decree in 449 BC which gets them close to the death of Jesus, but not quite.
But there is another way to look at this.
Another decree to rebuild Jerusalem
Was there ever another decree issued to rebuild Jerusalem? Yes. Suleiman the Magnificent of the Ottoman Empire issued a decree to rebuild Jerusalem in 1535 AD. If this was the starting date, do the other key markers in this timeline fit with events that have taken place?
The coming of an anointed prince
The scripture states the next key occurs after seven weeks of years (i.e., 7 x 7 = 49 years, or the year 1584 AD). Did an “anointed one, a prince” appear in 1584 AD?
In 1584 AD Feodor Ivanovich was crowned Tsar of Russia. What is interesting about him are his titles. He was a prince of Russia as the son of the Tsar and inherited the title of "Grand Prince of Moscow" on his father's death.
Also, the title of Tsar means "anointed one." The Tsar was anointed by the church and was called an anointed one in the very meaning of his title. The Russian process isn’t a “coronation,” as recognised in western cultures. It is actually called a “chrismation” (or “anointment”) to the tsardom. This is a very important difference; one that is lost in translation when speaking of Russia.
So when Feodor became Tsar of Russia in 1584, we have an "...anointed one, a prince..." that fits exactly with the prophetic timeline. And interestingly after his death there was a period called the “Time of Troubles,” which also fits the prophecy.
An anointed one cut off
The next key marker is in verse 26.
And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off, and shall have nothing (Daniel chapter 9, verse 26)
Sixty-two weeks of years is 434 years, which would bring us up to the year 2018 AD. Was there an anointed one cut off and have nothing in 2018? (Note: this one is NOT a prince).
Yes, there was. In 2018 AD we saw the trial and conviction of Cardinal George Pell and in December 2018 he was sentenced to prison. A bishop, or archbishop, of the Catholic Church is anointed with oil, and Pell was both a bishop and an archbishop in the church. So he was definitely an "anointed one.”
And he was both cut off and had nothing. Prior to his conviction he lost his job as the head of finance for the Vatican, he lost credibility and respect, and he lost much more. He spent some 404 days in prison.
What comes next?
Based upon these critical events, the timeline should end after one more week of years, that is seven years, which takes us from 2018 to 2025. If the prophecy timeline and events are correct as I have indicated, then we should expect to see the return of the Lord sometime in 2025.
Whether this is right or whether it is wrong, it is safe to say, we live in interesting times! So, let us continue to watch because prophecy is unfolding day by day.
Since retiring from work, John Lemmon now spends his time teaching, preaching and writing about the word of God, online and offline, answering God's call on him to “Speak to my people.” You can connect with John on Twitter (@JohnBLemmon) or on his website: freegiftfromgod.com/ or listen to his podcast on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/the-free-gift-from-god-podcast/id1440682375