May 7, 2021 E-Letter
One of the most dramatic prophecies in the Old Testament is found in Daniel 9:24-27. It is known as Daniel’s “Seventy Weeks” and is another sweeping view of history before it happens.
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Though this prophecy is focused on Israel it is foundational to our understanding of where we, the Church, are in the prophetic timeline. It begins with a prophecy about 70 “weeks” being determined upon Israel to bring Israel to repentance and the fulfillment of God’s desire for His people and to “bring in everlasting righteousness.”
The word “week” in Hebrew literally means “seven” but in the way the Jews used the term it meant seven years. The Jewish calendar had a sabbatical year every seven years, or week of years, when the land was to lie fallow. It was because Israel did not observe this for 490 years that God sent them into exile in Babylon for seventy years. God was collecting on the debt He was owed by His disobedient people.
Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.Daniel 9:24
This verse is a sweeping statement of all that God will reveal to Daniel. It includes elements already fulfilled (“make reconciliation for sins”) and elements that are still future (“bring in everlasting righteousness”). In the verses following more details are spelled out, including the starting point, specific events along the way, and the final conclusion of God’s purposes toward Israel.
Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem [the city, not the Temple] unto Messiah the Prince [Jesus’ first coming] shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks [69 weeks total]: the street shall be built again and the wall, even in troublous times [Jerusalem was rebuilt during the “seven weeks”].Daniel 9:25
The “seven weeks” (49 years) and the “threescore and two weeks” (434 years) equal 483 years. The final seventieth week is still future. It is called the Tribulation and the “time of Jacob’s trouble.”
The prophecy says that from the commandment to restore and build the city unto Messiah shall be sixty-nine “weeks” of years. To confirm this prophecy as fulfilled by Jesus we must have two things, a firm starting date, and an understanding of our modern calendar in relation to the Jewish lunar calendar.
In all timeline prophecies where prophetic fulfillment begins at a certain point and ends after a stated time the months and years are based upon the lunar calendar of 30 day months and a 360 day year. So, the 69 “weeks” will equal 173,880 days. This 360 day prophetic year is confirmed in Revelation 12 where the second half of the seven year Tribulation is described as “time, times and half a time” or 3 1/2 years, 42 months and 1260 days.
The first significant study of the timing of this prophecy was done by Sir Robert Anderson, former head of Scotland Yard in the 19th century. He dated the beginning at 445 BC. However, more recently Dr. Harold Hoehner of Dallas Theological Seminary says the start is 444 BC. (See Dr. Tommy Ice’s article). It seems clear from the evidence presented by Dr. Ice in his article that 444 BC is the correct starting point. However, for the sake of consideration of whether this is a fulfilled prophecy it should be noted that no other messiah figure competed with Jesus in the years 30-35 AD. There was only one candidate during the possible time frame of Daniel’s prophecy.
The count begins when Artaxerxes Longimanus issued his decree for the Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the city and its walls (Nehemiah 2:1-8). There were two other decrees about Jerusalem but only this one by Artaxerxes Longimanus, his second, relates to Jerusalem’s walls and city. That decree was issued on March 6, 444 BC. The two other decrees related to the Temple.
Under our solar calendar a year is 365.2422 days. To convert the Jewish lunar calendar to our solar calendar you divide the 483 years Daniel prophesied, or 173,880 days, by our modern calendar year of 365.2422 and it gives 476.06766 years. In more understandable terms that is 476 years and 24 days.
When we calculate from the 444 BC starting point, we arrive at AD 33. There is no zero year between 1 BC and 1 AD so adding one year to the 476 years gives us a correct finish date.
Decree of Artaxerxes Longimanus – 444 BC (March 6)
69 “Weeks” = 483 lunar years = + 476 solar years
Add one year for 1 BC to 1 AD + 1
Christ enters Jerusalem = 33 AD (March 30)
Jesus crucified four days later (April 3, 33 AD)
And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.Daniel 9:26
Did you notice the verse says, “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off …”?
The sixty-nine “weeks” ends on March 30, 33 AD and “after” that Jesus is crucified. This is the nature of Biblical precision. It also demonstrates to us that prophecy is meant to be interpreted literally.
This event of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and His crucifixion clinches Jesus as “Messiah the prince” who would come. No one else showed up to fulfill Daniel’s prophecy. Jesus was their only candidate. The Messiah was “cut off, but not for Himself.” He died for the sins of man. No other messiah claimant came to Jerusalem and died that week.
Daniel also tells us that the city and the sanctuary shall be destroyed by the “prince” that shall come. Thirty-eight years after Jesus’ death Titus destroyed the city and the temple. Titus was a “prince” because his father Vespasian, who had led the invasion of Israel at the beginning, returned to Rome when the emperor Nero died. Vespasian then became the emperor therefore his son, who finished the war in Israel, became a “prince.”
About this destruction of Jerusalem Jesus tells us in Matthew 24 that “not one stone shall be left upon another that shall not be thrown down.” When the temple was being ransacked for the gold and silver it caught fire causing the precious metals to melt. To recover the gold the Romans had to take down every stone of the temple to recover it. Many of those stones still lie where they fell two millennia ago.
Jesus prophesied about Jerusalem and the Jews that:
They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.Luke 21:24
The historian Josephus tells us that the Romans killed 1.1 million Jews when they captured Jerusalem in AD 70. Later in 133-135 AD the Bar Kochba revolt led to another Roman rampage that killed half a million Jews. The Romans then deported the remaining population to prevent any further rebellion. The “wandering Jew” has been in their “Diaspora” (dispersion) ever since just as Moses prophesied in Leviticus 26.
Daniel 9:27 jumps forward to events yet future that take place in the seventieth week of Daniel’s prophesy:
And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.Daniel 9:27
During this last seven year “week” the Antichrist makes his appearance. He will confirm a seven-year “covenant” with Israel but will break that covenant in the middle of the “week” of seven years. The issue surrounding this covenant is the “dividing of the land and Jerusalem.” To make such a covenant requires that Israel be in the land as a nation. This occurred in 1948. It also requires that Israel control Jerusalem which was captured in 1967.
Next time I will show from scripture that the 1948 and 1967 dates were prophesied by Ezekiel two and half millennia ago.
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