To say my book Daniel’s 70 Weeks: The Keystone of Bible Prophecy challenges conventional thinking is probably an understatement. For those of you who have read the book, you know I challenge both Historicists and Futurists to take another look at this vital Bible prophecy in light of its 2nd temple Biblical context and a Biblical reckoning of time.
Recently, Douglas Woodward, the popular Christian speaker and author, jumped into this discussion with both feet. If you have watched or read Mr. Woodward’s work, you know his unique style is sure to liven any discussion. In the case of Daniel’s 70 Weeks: The Keystone of Bible Prophecy, Mr. Woodward brought a decent amount of both praise and criticism. Mr. Woodward’s review of my book can be found at his blog here: Douglas Woodward I’d encourage you to read the article. It raises a lot of good questions and really challenges you to think about the subject. Few of today’s Christian prophecy teachers have been willing to talk about the issues raised in my book and it was a real privilege to get Mr. Woodward’s thoughts and criticisms.
As I said Mr. Woodward’s review had a decent amount of praise and criticism. In today’s blog post I would like to look at some of Mr. Woodward’s criticisms and do my best to provide a reasonable Biblical rebuttal. Mr. Woodward’s main disagreements focus on the final 7 shabuwa (weeks) of the 70 Weeks prophecy. More specifically he disagrees with my understanding of Daniel 9:27 and the identity of the “he” mentioned in this verse as well as the type of Biblical time used to calculate this final shabuwa. This timing discussion also spilled into a discussion of whether a “prophetic year” of 360 days is the intended timing mechanism to synchronize the various prophecies of Revelation and Daniel.
Not all Criticism
But before we look at where Mr. Woodward and I are in disagreement, let me give you a couple of examples of where we find common ground in Daniel’s 70 Weeks: The Keystone of Bible Prophecy. The following quotes are taken from Mr. Woodward’s review entitled: Daniel 70 Weeks – A New and Accurate Analysis of When Messiah Came
“In short, Struse breaks the code of Daniel’s Seventy Weeks prophetic calculation concerning the coming of Messiah in a much bolder, more intriguing, and all things considered, more compelling way.”
“Consequently, I consider this aspect of Struse’s analysis to be a genuine breakthrough in biblical research. I commend it to the reader and to the community of Bible scholars and teachers to examine for themselves. Concerning the first coming of the Messiah, I think Struse gets it exactly right.”
“While disagreeing with Mr. Struse on how to understand Daniel 9:27 from the stand-point of whether or not the Antichrist is responsible for causing the sacrifice and oblation to cease, I still reaffirm again Struse’s invaluable exegetical work on the timing of the “commandment to go forth and build Jerusalem”. His dating methodology is vital to correctly understanding the timing of Messiah’s first coming. That is an enormous contribution.”
Now Mr. Woodward’s Criticism
In the following quotes Mr. Woodward explains why he believes Daniel 9:27 is a reference to the future Antichrist and his “abominations”. Mr. Woodward goes on to explain why he believes this abomination is the same “abomination of desolation” mentioned by Yeshua in Matthew 24:15. Here take a look:
“Now for where I think he goes awry. While Struse nails the information in Daniel 9:24-27 about the First Advent, Struse argues against several aspects the prophecy spells out regarding the Second Advent, details to which I subscribe (along with most futurists) and which I believe he may err.”
“In other words, Struse’s nose goes out of joint with conventional teaching proffered by futurists for insisting that the Antichrist is the subject of the final segment of the “Seventy Sevens” prophecy. However, should he be so disconcerted? Is the prophecy entirely about the Messiah (only) or does the Antichrist make an appearance in this passage as well (in verse 27 as well as verse 26), as virtually all futurists contend?”
“In other words, “Who is the ‘he’ in verse 27?”
The traditional evangelical perspective is that the Antichrist breaks the covenant by desecrating the temple by claiming that he is God. This is known as the “abomination of desolation.” His claim makes the temple desolate – which implies at the very least that God no longer dwells within it.”
“At stake is whether the passage in Daniel 9:27, comprises what Jesus referred to as the “abomination of desolation” declared in Matthew 24:15, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand)” or if it instead constitutes a reference only to Daniel 12:11, “And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundered and ninety days.” Verse 27 states the sacrifice and oblation will be stopped and it makes what appears to be a connected concluding statement in verse, clearly referencing once more an abomination of desolation, “and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate….”
“I think Struse has made two mistake here. One is his conviction that evangelicals have essentially defiled the Daniel 9 prophecy by viewing Antichrist in verse 27. I don’t see any way to avoid the inclusion of Antichrist in the passage since (1) the people of the prince to come destroy the city (the Romans) has been plainly included earlier and (2) Jesus pointed to Daniel’s prophecy as testifying to the false Christ of all false Christ, i.e., the abomination of desolation.”
Synchronized by a “prophetic year”?
In the quotes above Mr. Woodward proposes that “the abomination of desolation” mentioned by Yeshua in Matthew 24:15 is in fact a reference to both the prophecy of Daniel 12:11 and Daniel 9:27. Further he, like many of his peers, see the “weeks” of Daniel 9, the 1290 days, 1335 days and “times” of Daniel 12 and the 1260 and 42 months’ time frames mentioned in the book of Revelation as being related references to a special calendric time known as a 360 day “prophetic year”.
As we can see from Mr. Woodward’s quotes above, much hangs on the idea of a 360 day prophetic year. To explain some of the difficulties with a 360 day year let me take you back in time to a series of prophecies which the New Testament writers told us were fulfilled by Yeshua.
The Biblical Holy Days
When the law was given to Israel they were instructed to keep a series of holy days each year. Half of these festivals were celebrated in the spring and half in the fall. The first three spring festivals were celebrated In commemoration of the Exodus. These special days included Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits. In accordance with the Biblical mandate, for 3500 years the Jewish people have celebrated these special days using a calendar which is regulated by the motion of the sun and moon. It is this interaction between the lunar and solar cycle which drives the Bible’s religious calendar.
Now fast forward 1500 years to the life and ministry of Yeshua. According to the New Testament, Yeshua became the ultimate fulfillment of the sacrificial redemptive rites symbolized by the Biblical festivals of Passover, Unleavened Bread and Firstfruits. A couple of verses are sufficient to explain:
The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. (John 1:29)
Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: (1 Corinthians 5:7)
But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. (1 Corinthians 15:23)
Here is a question for you: By what calendric method of reckoning did the apostles and early eyewitnesses claim that the ancient prophetic festivals of Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfuits were fulfilled in the death and resurrection of Yeshua? In other words, what kind of calendar was in use when Yeshua fulfilled these ancient sacrificial rites, which the apostle Paul alluded to as shadow pictures of the Messiah?
When that momentous day on the 14th day of Nisan rolled around in the year of Yeshua’s death and resurrection, was it calculated based upon a 360 day “prophetic” lunar year made famous by Sir Robert Anderson or was it calculated based upon the Biblical reckoning of time which required the interaction of both the lunar and solar cycle?
You see, the Messiah came as Galatians 4:4 describes in the “fullness of time”. And that time was determined long ago when YHWH first wound up his heavenly Rolex and set in motion the sun, moon, and stars. I know many have tried to argue over the years that there was once a 360 day lunar calendar. What they fail to mention is that while there is some evidence of such lunar calendars, there is virtually no evidence the cycle of the sun has ever been 360 days long. Since the Biblical calendar requires both a lunar and solar cycle, the 5.24 missing days must intercalated. Nearly all ancient cultures understood this. Some ignored this intercalation and we have record of their so called “vague” or “wandering” calendars. Ancient Egypt has various examples of such a calendar and even today a modern example is found in the calendric reckoning of Islam.
A few facts to consider:
- The Biblical calendar since the Exodus has been lunar/solar.
- A 365.24/25 day solar year is well documented in antiquity
- Eclipse records show the lunar cycle of 29.53 days has remained relatively constant for the past 2500 years.
- Yeshua fulfilled the prophetic pictures of Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits based upon a Biblical calendar which used a 365.24 day solar year and 29.53 day lunar month.
- We have Biblical evidence of an intercalary year in the book of Ezekiel.
Important Biblical Fact:
Since the time of the Messiah’s first coming up to this present day the Bible’s prophetic calendar has been lunar/solar. With modern technology we can roll back YHWH’s Rolex and see that indeed Yeshua came in the “fullness of time” just as the Bible said He would. When and how do my futurist brethren believe this will change?
The Secret Cataclysm
These facts demand careful consideration. The Messiah’s first coming was not fulfilled based upon a wandering lunar calendar of 360 days. If a 360 day calendar is to be instituted at some yet future date as Mr. Woodward and many well-respected and equally well-meaning prophecy teacher believe, then at some point well before the events described in the book of Revelation a celestial disturbance of equal or greater significance to anything mentioned in the Bible’s prophetic texts must transpire which will completely alter how the Biblical calendar is calculated.
It’s worth emphasizing, this unmentioned (Biblically speaking) cataclysmic event must transpire before the final seven year tribulation with enough time so that the lunar/solar cycle can stabilize at exactly 360 solar days per year and 30 lunar days per month. Frankly, for those who hold this view I don’t understand why this is not the most talked about event on the prophetic horizon. If the earth’s lunar/solar relationship is going to change then to paraphrase Mr. Woodward you’d better, “buckle the chinstrap…and brace for impact!”
A Better Way
Frankly, I’m skeptical that the Biblical calendar is going to change. For those who have read my book The 13th Enumeration: Key to the Bible’s Messianic Symbolism, you already understand how the Biblical calendar as it is, currently ordered, practically shouts to us that Yeshua is the Messiah promised in the Scriptures. Changing the lunar/solar relationship will hide the evidence of the Messiah which YHWH has placed in the heavens as a witness to us for the past several thousands of years.
So what are we to make of the different time periods mentioned in Daniel and Revelation? I propose simply taking them at face value. When Daniel 12:11 states 1290 days from cession of the sacrifice to the abomination of desolation it simply means 1290 days. Using the Biblical calendar in effect at the time this prophecy was given (and still in effect today) 1290 days would be equal to 43.68 Biblical months (1290/29.53).
When Revelation 11:2 tells us Jerusalem will be “tread under foot forty and two months” that simply means 42 Biblical months of 29.53 days each or 1240.26 days. (29.53×42)
When Bible tells us “time, times, and half a times” it can still be a general reference to 3.5 years or some other period of time based upon a Biblical reckoning of time.
Missing the Obvious
The Biblical record is congruent. If the Bible had meant for all the time periods mentioned above to be the same length it would have specified them as such. The Biblical calendar year as fulfilled by Yeshua and in effect today varies between 12 or 13 lunar cycles. If such a calendar is to be in effect during the events mentioned in Revelation and Daniel, then one would expect to find only days and months mentioned when prophetic precision is required. That is in fact what we find in Daniel and Revelation. Years are never mentioned when a precise measure of time is needed. By trying to fit all of Daniel’s and Revelation’s future prophecies into a 360 day year model we are missing the obvious indications that the time periods are meant to be calculated using the Biblical lunar/solar model.
Daniel 9 and a Biblical Reckoning of Time
At the beginning of the article I quoted Mr. Woodward regarding a Biblical reckoning of time as it relates to the first coming of the Messiah. He found the evidence for the use of a Biblical calendar compelling. Many of you who have read Daniel’s 70 Weeks: The Keystone of Bible Prophecy have likewise found the evidence for the use of a Biblical reckoning of time compelling. Why would we want to change a reckoning of time for the 70th shabuwa (week) of Daniel 9 when a Biblical reckoning of time so compellingly proves that Yeshua is the Messiah of the first 69 shabuwa?
Mr. Woodward in a well-intentioned bit of levity claims my nose is out of joint because my fellow futurist brethren believe the final shabuwa changes the focus of prophecy from the Messiah to the Anti-messiah. In truth, I do find this troubling. Let me give you a visual of what this change in focus represents:
Let me make clear that I don’t claim to have a perfect understanding of Daniel 9 or any other prophecy of the Bible for that matter. But here are just a few of the difficulties the above image represents:
- 98.6% of this prophecy is about the Messiah. Personally, I need rock solid, iron clad, fireproof evidence that the prophecy means to shift my focus from the Messiah Yeshua to the Antichrist. As I have demonstrated in my book the current futurist understanding of this prophecy in no way meets that criteria.
- This shift from the Messiah Yeshua to the Antichrist also requires a change of the Biblically mandated calendar of Yeshua’s day, to a calendar for which the Bible provides no definite criteria.
- This calendar change between the 69th and 70th shabuwa requires a cataclysmic reordering of the relationship between the lunar and solar cycles. This change must take place at some reasonable time before the proposed 7 year tribulation. This reordering of the heavens and the associated physical repercussions are nowhere accounted for in any futurist eschatology paradigm that I am aware of.
- The 70 Weeks prophecy is a prophecy built upon a reckoning of time which is exclusive to the identity of the Messiah. This interaction between the lunar/solar cycle provides definitive proof that Yeshua is the Messiah promised to the Biblical fathers from the very beginning of time. To my mind, it is Biblically incongruent that 98.6% of the most important Messianic prophecy in the Bible would tell of the Messiah’s redemptive efforts on our behalf and then end that redemptive message with the death of the Messenger. Compounding this uncertainty, the remaining 1.4% of the prophecy ignores the Messiah and instead focuses our attention upon the Antichrist.
Consider the implications for a moment.
The Messianic portion of Daniel 9 as it is currently understood by most of my well-meaning futurist brethren simply ends with the Messiah’s death. Talk about leaving us hanging! I can’t help but think of Paul’s words to the Corinthians:
“And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins…” (I Cor. 15:15)
My fellow futurists, Daniel 9:24-27 without the resurrection undermines the very essence of our futurist eschatology.
Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. (Acts 1:11)
My question is simple. Why would the greatest Messianic prophecy in the Bible tell us only of the Messiah’s death? As I have shown in my book The Keystone of Bible Prophecy, Daniel 9:24-27 does not end with the Messiah’s death because verses 26 & 27 do in fact tell us of one of the most important Biblical truths found in the Bible. That truth is that Yeshua’s innocent blood strengthen YHWH’s covenant with mankind, that ancient promise that He would someday pay the redemptive price for our sins.
Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. (Galatians 3:16-17)
And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. (Hebrews 12:24)
A Poor Trade-Off
Before moving on to one final aspect of this discussion which I believe really puts the entire dicussiont of Daniel 9 in its proper context, I leave you with a quote from my book, Daniel’s 70 Weeks: The Keystone of Bible Prophecy.
“What we’ve really done as futurists is taken the single most important biblical prophetic proof text for the Messiah’s identity and redemptive purpose and weakened it so that we might use it to buttress a biblical truth about the Jewish people’s restoration—a truth which already stands secure in its own right. In so doing, we’ve weakened both arguments. Daniel 9 without the redemptive message of the cross simply testifies to the Messiah’s death. The Jewish people’s status at the end of this age, and indeed their very inheritance in the land of Israel, depends on their acceptance of the biblical truth that Yeshua finished the transgression, made an end of sins, made reconciliation for iniquity, and brought in everlasting righteousness nearly two thousand years ago.”
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. (Matthew 23:37-39)
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The 70 Shabuwa and the Jubilee Code
Regular readers of my blog know I often take a step back in an effort to place the events of the Bible in a larger chronological context. Over and over again this approach has shown that Biblical history is playing out according to a plan our Creator set in motion long, long ago.
As a final piece of evidence which shows the importance of looking at Daniel 9 and the 70 Shabuwa (weeks) from the perspective of a Biblical reckoning of time, I want to share with you where Daniel 9 fits within what I call the Jubilee Code.
In Daniel’s 70 Weeks: The Keystone of Bible Prophecy I share with you a chart showing three periods of 70 years. Each of these 70 year periods had great prominence during the 2nd temple era. Those three 70 year periods are as follows:
- The 70 years captivity of Judah
- The 70 years of Divine anger.
- The 70 years between the destruction of the 1st temple and reconstruction of the 2nd temple.
When you overlay Jubilee and Sabbath cycles over the Old Testament chronology starting with the creation of Adam, you find that all three of these 70 year periods had their origins in the 70th Jubilee cycle from Adam.
What’s more, the 70 years of YHWH’s divine anger mentioned above ended precisely at the start of the 72nd Jubilee cycle in 520 BC. Those who have read The Keystone of Bible Prophecy know that 70 Weeks countdown to the Messiah began the very year YHWH’s divine anger ended. The Biblical record is clear, 520 BC in the 2nd year of Darius ‘the Great’ Artaxerxes, our Creator YHWH gave a divine command for the Jewish people to return and build Jerusalem. 70 Shabuwa (weeks) later our Redeemer was born.
The 72nd Jubilee and the Millennium
Now keep the 72nd Jubilee in mind as we zoom out a bit more to look at the bigger picture of Bible chronology. Many prophecy teachers, including some of the early church fathers, viewed Biblical history as comprising 6000 years of mankind’s labor under sin and then a 1000 years rule of Christ. This millennial reign of Christ being but the fulfillment of the shadow or type YHWH exemplified by His six days of labor and one day of rest as described in the Creation narrative.
An astounding fact surfaces when we overlay Jubilee and Sabbath cycles on this 7000 year plan. What we find is that the 144th Jubilee cycle begins in the 7008th year from Adam. Remember it’s in Revelation 20 & 21 that we learn about the New Jerusalem, the city which comes down out of heaven at the end of the 1000 year reign of Yeshua. This amazing city Revelation 21:6 describes as measuring 12K x 12K (144,000,000 sq. furlongs).
What this means is that YHWH’s divine anger towards the Jewish people and Jerusalem ended in the 72nd Jubilee, the halfway point in a much larger and important Biblical pattern. Indeed at that very pivotal point in human history the WORD of YHWH went forth and He began his countdown to the Messiah which was the initiating event in His redemptive plan for mankind. Now that is Daniel 9 in context. How awesome is that!
Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: (Isaiah 46:9-10)
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. (Galatians 4:4-5)
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Special thanks to Douglas Woodward
In closing I want to give a special thanks to Douglas Woodward for his willingness to discuss the prophecy of Daniel 9 with me. Although we don’t agree on every aspect of this wonderful prophecy Mr. Woodward has been one of the few of today’s prophecy teachers who has been willing to publically discuss the prophecy of 70 Weeks as it relates to a Biblical reckoning of time.
If you listened to Mr. Woodward or read any of his books you’ll soon realize his work is often characterized by outside the box thinking. Although I don’t always agree with Mr. Woodward I’ve come to respect his willingness to tackle some of the Bible’s toughest prophetic topics from a fresh perspective. His latest book The Next Great War in the Middle East: Russia Prepares to Fulfill the Prophecy of Gog and Magog is a good example. If you are interested in seeing the subject from a fresh perspective I encourage you to take a look. You can start reading a free preview here: The Next Great War in the Middle East
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