By Eileen Maddocks
Note: The following article consists of short excerpts from the writer’s forthcoming book The Coming of the Glory, whose publication date is not yet set. The explanations and commentaries in that manuscript are far too extensive to be included in this article.
Daniel was an equal opportunity prophet. He included key dates in Jewish, Christian, Islamic, and Bahá’í history in his prophecies.
The Seventy Weeks
One day Daniel was in prayer to God when he had a vision about seventy sevens. The angel Gabriel, whom he had seen in an earlier vision, came to him and said,
“Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy Place.
“Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” (Dan. 9:24‒27)
Remember that a day equals a year in biblical timekeeping, so seven days is seven years. Seventy times seven equals 490, which is 490 years in biblical accounting. Again the edict of Artaxerxes, which approved the rebuilding of Jerusalem, is used as the starting date for counting the 490 years. This edict was issued in 456 or 457 BC, depending on how one handles the complication that there is no year between 1 BC and 1 AD. When 457 is added to 33 to total 490, the year 33 AD is reached, which was the year Jesus was crucified.
The 490 years are expressed a second way as the total of sixty-two weeks, seven weeks, and one week. The sixty-two weeks started with the completion of the rebuilding of Jerusalem. “The rebuilding of Jerusalem took seven weeks, which is the equivalent of forty-nine years. Seven weeks added to sixty-two weeks makes sixty-nine weeks, and in the last week the ascension of Christ took place. This completes the seventy weeks, and no contradiction remains.”
The 1,260 years and the 1,335 years
The last vision of Daniel focuses on the “end times” or the “time of the end,” that is, the times we are in now.
At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. But you, Daniel, roll up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge. (Dan. 12:1‒4).
The name Michael means “one like God.” In addition to the mention of Michael above in verse 12:1, he is mentioned in another vision of Daniel. “But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia” (Dan. 10:13, KJV). Bahá’u’lláh was born into a Persian noble family and was descended from the Arsacid royal house (247 BC‒228 AD). Hence He was a prince of Persia. His inveterate enemies were the Islamic clergy and the shahs of Persia. Perhaps Michael represents Bahá’u’lláh, who was a Prophet of God.
There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations, tremendous suffering such as never seen before. Of these times Bahá’u’lláh wrote:
The world is in travail, and its agitation waxeth day by day. Its face is turned towards waywardness and unbelief. Such shall be its plight, that to disclose it now would not be meet and seemly. Its perversity will long continue. And when the appointed hour is come, there shall suddenly appear that which shall cause the limbs of mankind to quake. Then, and only then, will the Divine Standard be unfurled, and the Nightingale of Paradise warble its melody.
Daniel’s vision addressed the eternal question “When?”
Then I, Daniel, looked, and there before me stood two others, one on this bank of the river and one on the opposite bank. One of them said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, “How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?”
The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, “It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.”
I heard, but I did not understand. So I asked, “My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?”
He replied, “Go your way, Daniel, because the words are rolled up and sealed until the time of the end. Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.
“From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days.
“As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.”
A time, times and half a time are three and a half years of 360 days a year, which equal 1,260 days (years). Again we reach the year 1844, which did see the beginning of the breaking of Ottoman Turkish power in Palestine, a process that would be completed at the end of World War I when General Allenby drove the Turks out. As discussed previously, the Báb appeared in 1844 and the Jews were given the right of return in that year.
Daniel’s last vision also gives two additional numbers—1,290 and 1,335. (Don’t try the following math at home because lunar years are used here!) There are 1,290 lunar years from the date of Muḥammad’s declaration of His station as a Prophet of God in 613 AD to Bahá’u’lláh’s declaration of His station as a Prophet of God in 1863.
The 1,335 lunar years start with the firm establishment of Islam in Medina in 628, when Mohammed signed a treaty with His enemies in Mecca. This agreement recognized the Muslims as a legitimate force and gave them freedom to move unmolested throughout Arabia. The 1,335 lunar years end in 1963, which was a momentous year in Bahá’í history. The nine-member Universal House of Justice, the global administrative body of the Bahá’í Faith, was established for the first time in 1863 by secret ballots cast by all members of the National Spiritual Assemblies. The Administrative Order of the Bahá’í Faith has three levels—the Local Spiritual Assembly where nine or more Bahá’ís reside in a locality; the National Spiritual Assembly when there are a sufficient number of Local Assemblies in a country or territory to necessitate a National Assembly; and the Universal House of Justice.
The Bahá’í Writings direct that the membership of all Bahá’í Assemblies—local, national, and of the Universal House of Justice— is to be established through elections conducted at total variance with current standards. No campaigning, politicking, fundraising, or self-promotion is allowed! Bahá’í elections are held after prayers. Voters are instructed to consider the spiritual qualities and various capacities of any individual whom they are considering for election. Membership on a Bahá’í institution is a form of service, not an opportunity for publicity, remuneration, power, or self-aggrandizement.
The meaning of the sealing is discussed in the next article.
1 ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, no. 10.14, p. 48. The complete book is available for reading online at http://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/some-answered-questions/. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was the son of Bahá’u’lláh, the center of His Covenant upon His passing, and His authorized translator.
2 Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, no. 61, pp. 118‒119. The Nightingale is a name for Bahá’u’lláh. The complete book of Gleanings is available for reading online at http://bahai-library.com/bahaullah_gleanings_writings_bahaullah