In Daniel 9v2 we read "I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the Lord given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years".

In Daniel 9v25 Daniel boldly writes the number of years between the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem and the ministry of Jesus.

If you deny that there is a God who speaks and is involved in human affairs then you have no choice but to declare that the prophetic content of the Bible was written after the events occurred! You have to tear up the history books and declare that Daniel 9v25 was written sometime between AD30 and AD70! Anyone reading this willing to look stupid enough to do that? St Paul in Romans 1v28 declares, yes, there are such who "... do not think it worth while to retain the knowledge of God."!

The issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem is recorded in Nehemiah 2v6-9, an event whose popularity was contested "... they were very much disturbed that someone had come to promote the welfare of the Israelites." (see v10). A sentiment shared by many today.

Somehow, until I was reminded of it the other day, the significance of the year 2017 had passed me by.

Jesus, without giving a time frame, spoke of "Jerusalem being trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.".

Over many centuries Jerusalem has been controlled by various empires culminating in 1917 with the arrival of the British. They left, in 1948, with Jerusalem a divided city part of whch was still 'being trampled on' by the Gentiles. Then in 1967 Gentile control was removed.

Back in the 18th and 19th centuries some Christians "understood from the Scriptures" that the time was near for the Jews to return to Jerusalem, and likely to occur in the 20th Century. Those who count the dates in Daniel get to 1967! I'm not one who gets his head round different calendars but I can see that it is close enough that I can declare "this is that of which Daniel spoke" - like Peter on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2v16).

No one in Israel was looking at a Biblical calendar in 1967 saying "this year we must attack and reclaim Jerusalem".
They recognised that any such attack would be suicide!
In the end they went for suicide anyway -'but God'!

So what is the significance of 2017? It is 50 years - a jubilee year!
What might happen? No idea. Some wishful thinking? - maybe!
In Luke we read "In the time of Herod ... God ... when Caesar Augustus issued ... while Quirinius was ... the time came ... God" (Luke 1-2).
Paul put it like this "when the fullness of time had come God ..." Galations 4v4.
Any significance of 2017 may not be headline grabbing like 1917 and 1967 - but still God ...

So "understand from the Scriptures" that there is a God in heaven "who is not slow to keep his promise, as some understand slowness. Is patient, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." 2 Peter 3vv8-9. So turn to him, while the door is still open.