It is more than just numbers. However, the numbers help tell the story. Daniel chapter 9 is also known as the “70 Weeks Prophecy.” It was a message given to the prophet Daniel. Daniel had sought to know the purpose and plan of God. He called upon God to save him and his people. For his piety, God revealed to Daniel His mighty works. In particular, God revealed to Daniel the events that would happen at the end of this age. Even though this is called the “70 Weeks Prophecy,” the spotlight falls to the 70th week or the last week. Each week is really “week of years.” Since each regular week has seven days, each week of years has seven years. The 70th week, then, is really the last seven years of this age. It is the seven years prior to the return of Jesus Christ in glory.
As the prophecy unfolds for us in Daniel 9:26-27, a person who is called “the prince who is to come” makes a covenant or a treaty with Israel at the beginning of the seven years. Perhaps, unknown to most people, this “prince who is to come” is the same as the “little horn” of Daniel chapter 7. He is the same as the “small horn” of Daniel chapter 8 and as the ‘king of the North” and the “despicable person” in Daniel chapter 11. He is also the same as the “beast” in Revelation chapter 13 and the ‘lawless one” in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2.” He is known widely as the antichrist.
In the middle of the week or after 3 ½ years, the “prince who is to come” dramatically breaks the covenant with a horrible abomination. This is the very prophetic sign that Jesus warns us about in Matthew 24:15: “…when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken through Daniel the prophet standing in the holy place….” What is this abomination of desolation? In Thessalonian 2:2, Paul says of the “lawless one, “…he takes his seat in the temple of God displaying himself as being God….”
More importantly, this horrible and unmistakable event initiates the “Great Tribulation” according to Matthew 24:21. The antichrist will make war upon the saints during that time. Again the numbers help to tell the story. The tribulation begins in the middle of the week. Of course, this is the 3 ½ year point. So, the Great Tribulation endures for 3 ½ years. This length of time turns up in other places too. In Daniel 7:25 he reports that the length of the little horn’s rampage is “time, times, and half a time.” Time being one. Times being two and a half being a half for a total of 3 ½. The period of time, times and half a time is repeated in Daniel 12:7 and even in Revelation 12:14. Revelation 12:6 mentions a period of 1260 days (A 360 day calendar was used in Bible times. When 360 days is multiplied by 3 ½, it equals 1260 days!). Revelation 13:5 notes that the beast’s authority lasts for 42 months. 42 months, of course, is 3 ½ years. However, as dramatic as the beast appears so his end will be at the return of Christ. Daniel 9:27 reads, “…even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”