The Missing Seventy Weeks


Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar
The prophecy of the “Seventy Weeks” from the book of Daniel is missing from the book of Revelation, a prophecy foundational to the chronologies and expectations of several leading prophetic schools of prophetic interpretation.
Nevertheless, passages from Revelation are coordinated often with the “Seventy Weeks of Daniel” based on assumptions from (Daniel 9:24-27). This prophecy is pivotal especially to the Dispensationalist understanding of the book of Revelation. As two proponents of this view commented:
“No portion of the Old Testament scripture is as essential to unlocking the mysteries of the prophetic plan for God’s future program for Israel and the nations than the book of Daniel and, of all Daniel’s prophecies, the prophecy of the Seventy Weeks provides the indispensable chronological key to New Testament prophecy” (from The Seventy Weeks of Daniel by Randall Price).
“The prophet Daniel gave the framework of the Tribulation era in Daniel 9:24-27” (Hal Lindsey, Vanished Into Thin Air [Beverly Hills:  Western Front, 1999], p. 210).
The problem is that not a single reference from or verbal allusion to the “Seventy Weeks” prophecy is found in the book of Revelation although it utilizes passages from Daniel more frequently than any other Old Testament book.
Further, Revelation makes no attempt to correlate its chronology or sequence of events with the “Seventy Weeks” prophecy. If it is so vital to end-time prophetic expectations and chronologies, why is it absent from the book of Revelation? John was certainly familiar with Daniel, as his frequent use of it demonstrates. Without doubt, he knew the “Seventy Weeks” prophecy yet did not employ it.
For example, Daniel’s request to the prince of the eunuchs to “prove us ten days” is applied to the church at Smyrna. That faithful congregation was to have “tribulation ten days,” just as the Jewish exiles were tested for ten days on a diet that excluded any foods offered to Babylonian idols (Daniel 1:12-14, Revelation 2:10-14, 2:20).
God showed Nebuchadnezzar “what things must come to pass in later days,” a phrase found four times in the book of Revelation to mark new literary sections (Daniel 2:28, Revelation 1:1; 1:19; 4:1; 22:6). But Revelation changes “in later days” to “soon,” indicating that the season of fulfillment was at hand for the seven churches of Asia (cp. Revelation 1:3, 22:6-10, Daniel 12:4).
Daniel’s vision of the four beasts ascending from the sea climaxed with the “saints possessing the kingdom forever.” That vision is reflected in Revelation’s single beast, also seen “ascending from the sea” (Daniel 7:1-8, 7:18-22, Revelation 13:1, 20:4, 22:5).
The examples can be multiplied. The point is, John was well-versed with the book of Daniel and did not hesitate to use key passages from it, sometimes repeatedly. Yet he omitted any reference from or allusion to the “Seventy Weeks” prophecy.
In fact, Revelation utilizes language from every chapter of Daniel EXCEPT chapter 9 where the “Seventy Weeks” prophecy is recorded.  This omission speaks volumes; Daniel’s “Seventy Weeks” is not integral to the chronology or the event sequences of the book of Revelation; aspects of the latter must be read into the former.
Moreover, the book of Revelation does restate prophecies or chronological references from Daniel but reinterprets and reapplies them. For example, the “season, seasons and divided season” from Daniel becomes “forty-two months” and “a thousand two-hundred sixty days” (11:2-3, 13:5).
As stated above, Daniel’s “in later days” and “season of the end” becomes “soon” and “at hand,” respectively. The four beasts from the sea in Daniel 7:1-8 become a single beast from the sea in Revelation 13:1 with the animal features of all four of Daniel’s beasts.
The book of Revelation habitually reinterprets prophetic pictures from Daniel and applies them in new ways. But it never uses language or imagery from Daniel’s “Seventy Weeks” prophecy; it nowhere links or coordinates its prophetic events with those of the “Seventy Weeks.”
For that matter, in their many statements about the “last days” and the return of Jesus, none of the New Testament writers ever refer to the “Seventy Weeks” of Daniel. The only reference remotely related is Christ’s warning of a coming “abomination of desolation,” but that reference draws on Daniel 11:31-36, as also does Paul’s prediction of a coming “Man of Lawlessness” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4).
This omission should serve as a cautionary note to interpreters not to make hasty conclusions or to read too readily their assumptions from Daniel into the book of Revelation’s visions.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Redemption of the Nations

The Victory of the Saints over the Dragon