Can you imagine predicting the arrival of a world leader several centuries before his arrival? Imagine predicting, not only his arrival, but the year of his arrival!
Daniel’s famous 70-weeks prophecy (9:24-27) predicted the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the arrival of the Messiah, followed by a second destruction of Jerusalem. If this were the total prophecy, it would be sufficient to build one’s faith. But, when one considers the chronological elements of the prophecy, the soul is overcome with wonder!
At the outset, it must be noted that the possibility of a literal 70 weeks (less than 1 and 1/2 years) must be discarded. If one insists on a literal interpretation, the prophecy simply fails. That’s why all Bible believers accept some type of figurative interpretation.
To discover how to interpret figures, serious Bible students will first search the Scriptures for clues. In this case, the clue comes from Ezekiel. God told Ezekiel to lie on his left side for 390 days and on his right side for 40 days. Why? “For I have laid on you the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days… I have laid on you a day for each year” (Ezekiel 4:5,6).
“A day for each year” is thus a solid Bible precedent for the figurative interpretation of time prophecies. This does not mean that this “key” is to be applied to every prophecy. Rather, it is a divinely given key that should be examined every time the literal meaning of a prophecy does not make sense.
A week is seven days. Seven times seventy equals 490 days. According to the key, one day is one year. Therefore, 490 prophetic days become 490 calendar years. This interpretation offers real possibilities.
NOTE: Thus begins Insight #44, which proceeds to examine the precise historical dates which fulfill this marvelous seventy-weeks prophecy. The prediction was bold; the fulfillment was the high point of human history.