Fixing Stephen’s death (Acts 7:51-60) to an exact day involves using prophecy, which if true, will offer not only an element of certainty to this study but also a degree of importance of his death. That is, Stephen’s death would have particular significance for the new body of believers and for the kingdom of God. As I hope to show, Stephen’s death is tied up in the 70 Weeks Prophecy of Daniel 9. This prophecy identifies the Messiah. That is, it points to him beyond all doubt and identifies Jesus as the long awaited Son of David, the Anointed of God.
The 70 Weeks Prophecy (Daniel 9:24-27), a prophecy extending over a period of 490 years, is divided into three parts. The first division covered the building of the Temple and the walls surrounding Jerusalem: 7 weeks of years or 49 years. The work was begun on the Feast of Trumpets during the fall Holy Days when the first sacrifice was made from the newly built altar by the returning captives from Babylon (Ezra 3:1-6), and the work ended with the dedication of the walls on the Feast of Trumpets 49 years later (Nehemiah 12:27; 7:73; 8:2). The second division covered the time from the celebration of the finishing of the walls and the Temple, a period of 62 weeks of years or 434 years, (or 49 + 434 = 483 years) to bring us to the **beginning** of the Messiah’s ministry. This leaves us with the final week of years or 7 years which points us to the ministry of Jesus, infallibly identifying him as the Messiah.
Scripture shows that the Messiah would be cut in the middle of the week or 3 ½ years into the seventieth week of Daniel’s prophecy (Daniel 9:24). This is exactly what occurred with the crucifixion. This seventieth week is further divided in Daniel 12 where the angel tells Daniel how everything will end. The first part is described as “times, time and half a time” (Daniel 12:7), after which the power of the holy people will be scattered. The next division is 1290 days which is defined as a time between when the Daily Sacrifice is taken away and the abomination of desolation is set up (Daniel 12:11). The finial portion of the 70th week is described as a blessing for those who wait, and its duration is 1335 days (Daniel 12:12). Long-story-short, the “times, time and half a time” in Daniel answers to the 1260 days of Revelation (Daniel 12:7, compare Revelation 12:6) and the 1290 days in Daniel answers to the “times, time and half of time” in Revelation (Daniel 12 :11, compare Revelation 12:14). Together, the 1260 days and the 1290 days comprise the 70th week of the 70 Weeks Prophecy.
These periods of time in Daniel and Revelation begin and end within the parameters of the annual Jewish Festivals named in Leviticus 23. They either begin and end on a Holy Day itself or upon a day that is important to the Holy Day season in question. There are exactly 1260 days between the Last Great Day of the Feast of Tabernacles that occurred during the month when Jesus began his ministry and the Passover Day when Jesus was crucified. This is the day upon which the Jews asked for a sign, but Jesus wouldn’t give them a sign except for that of Jonah, pointing to Jesus death. There are exactly 1335 days between the Feast of Trumpets the day Jesus began his public ministry in his home town of Nazareth and the Feast of Pentecost, roughly 3 ½ years later. The 1335 days began with Jesus saying the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, and they ended with the Spirit of the Lord upon his disciples.
The 1290 days began when the Daily Sacrifice was taken away. The Septuagint translates the verse: “And one week shall establish the covenant with many. And in the midst of the week my sacrifice and drink offering shall be taken away: and on the Temple shall be the abomination of desolations; and at the end of the time an end shall be put to the desolation” (Daniel 9:24). If we can agree that Jesus is the reality pointed to by the Sacrifice and Drink Offering or the Daily Sacrifice, when could it have been taken away, as far as God was concerned?
According to Scripture (John 20:17), Mary Magdalene was forbidden to touch the resurrected Jesus, and the reason given was he had not yet ascended to his Father. Later, other women did touch Jesus, held him at his feet, and Jesus even demanded that the disciples touch and handle him. Why the difference? Mary came to the tomb while it was yet dark, before the Daily Sacrifice was offered that day, and consequently before Jesus ascended to present himself before the Father. This particular day was a very important day. It was the day in which the Wave Sheaf Offering was offered to God during the Passover season. After this offering the harvest of the fields could begin. Nothing could be harvested until the Wave Sheaf Offering was made. According to Leviticus 23 this offering was made on the first day counting toward Pentecost or the Feast of Weeks. It occurred on the day after the seventh day Sabbath which fell between the two Holy Day Sabbaths of the eight day Passover season.
From this day, that is, the day of the Resurrection and the day of the Wave Sheaf Offering, God accepted Jesus’ as our Offering. It is from this very day that we can begin counting toward the day when the Abomination of Desolation was set up, which took place exactly 1290 days later. 1290 days from this date brings us exactly to the Day of Atonement 3 ½ years after Jesus’ Resurrection. The first division, the 1260 days, ended with a mock trial and bloodshed. The second division, the 1290 days, also ended with a mock trial and bloodshed. This is not a coincidence.
In Revelation 12 it is noted that the woman (the disciples of Jesus or the church) had safety during the entire “week” of years. During the 1260 days, or the period of Jesus public ministry, the disciples were protected by Jesus and he didn’t lose one (John 17:12; 18:9). During the next 3 ½ years or the 1290 days the woman (the church) was again protected by God, but when it was complete, the persecution began—Stephen was the first martyr and his death marked the end of the 70 Weeks Prophecy. This occurred as stated above on the Day of Atonement, 34 CE. This year assumes Jesus began his ministry on the Feast of Trumpets 27 CE and was crucified on Wednesday afternoon on the Passover Day, 31 CE.
Below is a graph showing how the 1290 is counted in the Jewish calendar. An explanation of what occurs in the calendar is provided below the graph.
|Month||31 CE||32 CE||33 CE||34 CE||Totals|
|1st||12 days left in the month||30||30||30|
|7th||30||30||30||10th day or the Day of Atonement|
|Totals||366 days||354 days||383 days||187 days||1290 days|
The 1290 days (Daniel 12:11) began at the time of the ‘Wave-Sheaf’ offering on Nisan 18, 31 CE. This offering sanctified the rest of the harvest. Nothing could be harvested until the time of this offering (Leviticus 23:10-14). It represented Jesus’ sacrifice and our Father’s acceptance him, thus sanctifying the ‘harvest’ of mankind. No further sacrifice was needed (Hebrews 10:18), so in effect the daily sacrifice at the Temple was taken away when the Father received Jesus’ sacrifice on this day.
The animal sacrificial system looked forward to Jesus’ sacrifice on Golgotha. The 1290 days ended with the total rejection of Jesus in unbelief by the Jewish authorities. They were given sufficient time to repent, but they preferred man over God. This is the abomination that makes desolate. It was set up when the high priest, the leader of the people, rejected Christ and commanded the stoning of Stephen on the Day of Atonement in 34 CE. Thus, both the 1260 days and the 1290 days end in the shedding of blood.