Daniel prophesied of seven weeks, sixty-two weeks, and one week; together seventy weeks. You find this prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27.
24 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.
25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
26 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.
27 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.
Another translation of the 25th verse:
And know and understand, from the going forth of the word, to cause to return and to build Jerusalem, unto Anointed [the] Ruler, are seven weeks; and sixty weeks and two, the street and the trench will return and be built, and in anxious times.
These week are generally understood as weeks of years; as in Leviticus 25:8. Each week is seven years. Together they make up four hundred and ninety years. There are different opinions about where these 490 years begin, and where they end. Some begin them in the first year of the monarchy of Cyrus, and end them in the death of Christ. This seems the most plain meaning, from Isaiah 44:28, Isaiah 45:13, 2 Chronicles 36:22,23 and Ezra 1:1, etc. But others begin these years in the seventh year of Artaxerxes Longimanus, and end them also in the death of Christ. Others begin them in the second year of Darius Nothus, and end them in the disruption of Jerusalem by Titus. The sensible reader can judge of all these.
To help you in the dating of this prophecy, some timetables are given for your information. The period of the reign of some Jewish and Persian kings are given.
Jeremiah begins prophesying, Jer.1:2
Final ruin of Judah, exile to Babylon.
Cyrus, king of Persia, defeated Babylon. His first year. He gives permission to return, and to build the temple. The Bible says us this. Flavius Josephus, Jewish History, book 11, chapter 1 en 2, says that he also commanded to rebuild Jerusalem.
Darius I Hystaspes
Artaxerxes I Longomanus
The seventh year of Artaxerxes. Ezra returns to Jerusalem. Ezra 7.
The twentieth year of Artaxerxes. Nehemiah returns to Jerusalem
Darius II Nothus
Artaxerxes II Mnemon
Artaxerxes III Ochus
Darius III Codomannus
Titus Flavius Clemens was the illustrious head of the Catechetical School at Alexandria at the close of the second century. Among his pupils were his distinguished successor in the Alexandrian school, Origen, Alexander bishop of Jerusalem, and, according to Baronius, Combefisius, and Bull, also Hippolytus. His three great works, The Exhortation to the Heathen, The Instructor, or Paedagogus, The Miscellanies, or Stromata, are among the most valuable remains of Christian antiquity, and the largest that belong to that early period. Here follows a part of The Miscellanies, or Stromata, dealing with the seventy weeks of Daniel.
Cyrus had, by proclamation, previously enjoined the restoration of the Hebrews. And his promise being accomplished in the time of Darius, the feast of the dedication was held, as also the feast of tabernacles.
There were in all, taking in the duration of the captivity down to the restoration of the people, from the birth of Moses, one thousand one hundred and fifty-five years, six months, and ten days; and from the reign of David, according to some, four hundred and fifty-two; more correctly, five hundred and seventy-two years, six months, and ten days.
From the captivity at Babylon, which took place in the time of Jeremiah the prophet, was fulfilled what was spoken by Daniel the prophet as follows: "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people, and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to seal sins, and to wipe out and make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal the vision and the prophet, and to anoint the Holy of Holies. Know therefore, and understand, that from the going forth of the word commanding an answer to be given, and Jerusalem to be built, to Christ the Prince, are seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; and the street shall be again built, and the wall; and the times shall be expended. And after the sixty-two weeks the anointing shall be overthrown, and judgement shall not be in him; and he shall destroy the city and the sanctuary along with the coming Prince. And they shall be destroyed in a flood, and to the end of the war shall be cut off by: desolations. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week; and in the middle of the week the sacrifice and oblation shall be taken away; and in the holy place shall be the abomination of desolations, and until the consummation of time shall the consummation be assigned for desolation. And in the midst of the week shall he make the incense of sacrifice cease, and of the wing of destruction, even till the consummation, like the destruction of the oblation." That the temple accordingly was built in seven weeks, is evident; for it is written in Esdras. And thus Christ became King of the Jews, reigning in Jerusalem in the fulfilment of the seven weeks. And in the sixty and two weeks the whole of Judaea was quiet, and without wars. And Christ our Lord, "the Holy of Holies," having come and fulfilled the vision and the prophecy, was anointed in His flesh by the Holy Spirit of His Father. In those "sixty and two weeks," as the prophet said, and "in the one week," was He Lord. The half of the week Nero held sway, and in the holy city Jerusalem placed the abomination; and in the half of the week he was taken away, and Otho, and Galba, and Vitellius. And Vespasian rose to the supreme power, and destroyed Jerusalem, and desolated the holy place. And that such are the facts of the case, is clear to him that is able to understand, as the prophet said.
Hippolytus lived in the first half of the third century. He was presbyter, and later bishop of Rome. You will read a part of his interpretation of the seventy weeks of Daniel.
The interpretation by Hippolytus, bishop of Rome, of the visions of Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar, taken in conjunction
11. Since, then, the angel Gabriel also recounted these things to the prophet, as they have been understood by us, as they have also taken place, and as they have been all clearly described in the books of the Maccabees, let us see further what he says on the other weeks. For when he read the book of Jeremiah the prophet, in which it was written that the sanctuary would be desolate seventy years, he made confession with fastings and supplications, and prayed that the people might return sooner from their captivity to the city Jerusalem. Thus, then, he speaks in his account: "In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasverus, of the seed of the Medes, who was king over the realm of the Chaldeans, I Daniel understood in the books the number of the years, as the word of the Lord had come to Jeremiah the prophet, for the accomplishment of the desolation of Jerusalem in seventy years," etc.
12. After his confession and supplication, the angel says to him, "Thou art a man greatly beloved:" for thou desirest to see things of which thou shalt be informed by me; and in their own time these things will be fulfilled; and he touched me, saying, "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people, and upon the holy city, to seal up sins and to blot out transgressions, and to seal up vision and prophet, and to anoint the Most Holy; and thou shalt know and understand, that from the going forth of words for the answer, and for the building of Jerusalem, unto Christ the Prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks."
13. Having mentioned therefore seventy weeks, and having divided them into two parts, in order that what was spoken by him to the prophet might be better understood, he proceeds thus, "Unto Christ the Prince shall be seven weeks," which make forty-nine years. It was in the twenty-first year that Daniel saw these things in Babylon. Hence, the forty-nine years added to the twenty-one, make up the seventy years, of which the blessed Jeremiah spoke: "The sanctuary shall be desolate seventy years from the captivity that befell them under Nebuchadnezzar; and after these things the people will return, and sacrifice and offering will be presented, when Christ is their Prince."
14. Now of what Christ does he speak, but of Jesus the son of Josedech, who returned at that time along with the people, and offered sacrifice according to the law, in the seventieth year, when the sanctuary was built? For all the kings and priests were styled Christs, because they were anointed with the holy oil, which Moses of old prepared. These, then, bore the name of the Lord in their own persons, showing aforetime the type, and presenting the image until the perfect King and Priest appeared from heaven, who alone did the will of the Father; as also it is written in Kings: "And I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do all things according to my heart."
15. In order, then, to show the time when He is to come whom the blessed Daniel desired to see, he says, "And after seven weeks there are other threescore and two weeks," which period embraces the space of 434 years. For after the return of the people from Babylon under the leadership of Jesus the son of Josedech, and Ezra the scribe, and Zerubbabel the son of Salathiel, of the tribe of David, there were 434 years unto the coming of Christ, in order that the Priest of priests might be manifested in the world, and that He who taketh away the sins of the world might be evidently set forth, as John speaks concerning Him: "Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world!" And in like manner Gabriel says: "To blot out transgressions, and make reconciliation for sins." But who has blotted out our transgressions? Paul the apostle teaches us, saying, "He is our peace who made both one;" and then, "Blotting out the handwriting of sins that was against us."
16. Those transgressions, therefore, are blotted out, and that reconciliation is made for sins, is shown by this. But who are they who have reconciliation made for their sins, but they who believe on His name, and propitiate His countenance by good works? And that after the return of the people from Babylon there was a space of 434 years, until the time of the birth of Christ, may be easily understood. For, since the first covenant was given to the children of Israel after a period of 434 years, it follows that the second covenant also should be defined by the same space of time, in order that it might be expected by the people and easily recognised by the faithful.
17. And for this reason Gabriel says: "And to anoint the Most Holy." And the Most Holy is none else but the Son of God alone, who, when He came and manifested Himself, said to them, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me;"(4) and so forth. Whosoever, therefore, believed on the heavenly Priest, were cleansed by that same Priest, and their sins were blotted out. And whosoever believed not on Him, despising Him as a man, had their sins sealed, as those which could not be taken away; whence the angel, foreseeing that not all should believe on Him, said, "To finish sins, and to seal up sins." For as many as continued to disbelieve Him, even to the end, had their sins not finished, but sealed to be kept for judgement. But as many as will believe on Him as One able to remit sins, have their sins blotted out. Wherefore he says: "And to seal up vision and prophet."
18. For when He came who is the fulfilling of the law and of the prophets (for the law and the prophets were till John), it was necessary that the things spoken by them should be confirmed (sealed), in order that at the coming of the Lord all things loosed should be brought to light, and that things bound of old should now be loosed by Him, as the Lord said Himself to the rulers of the people, when they were indignant at the cure on the Sabbath-day: "Ye hypocrites, doth not each one of you loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? and ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound these eighteen years, be loosed on the Sabbath-day?" Whomsoever, therefore, Satan bound in chains, these did the Lord on His coming loose from the bonds of death, having bound our strong adversary and delivered humanity. As also Isaiah says: "Then will He say to those in chains, Go forth; and to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves."
19. And that the things spoken of old by the law and the prophets were all sealed, and that they were unknown to men, Isaiah declares when he says: "And they will deliver the book that is sealed to one that is learned, and will say to him, Read this; and he will say, I cannot read it, for it is sealed." It was meet and necessary that the things spoken of old by the prophets should be sealed to the unbelieving Pharisees, who thought that they understood the letter of the law, and be opened to the believing. The things, therefore, which of old were sealed, are now by the grace of God the Lord all open to the saints.
20. For He was Himself the perfect Seal, and the Church is the key: "He who openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth," as John says. And again, the same says: "And I saw, on the right hand of Him that sat on the throne, a book written within and without, sealed with seven seals; and I saw an angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?" and so forth. "And I beheld in the midst of the throne, and of the four beasts, a Lamb standing slain, having seven horns, and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him that sat upon the throne. And when He had taken the book, the four beasts and four-and-twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having harps and golden vials full of incense, which is the prayers of the saints. And they sing a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood." He took the book, therefore, and loosed it, in order that the things spoken concerning Him of old in secret, might now be proclaimed with boldness upon the house-tops.
21. For this reason, then, the angel says to Daniel, "Seal the words, for the vision is until the end of the time." But to Christ it was not said "seal," but "loose" the things bound of old; in order that, by His grace, we might know the will of the Father, and believe upon Him whom He has sent for the salvation of men, Jesus our Lord. He says, therefore, "They shall return, and the street shall be built, and the wall;" which in reality took place. For the people returned and built the city, and the temple, and the wall round about. Then he says: "After threescore and two weeks the times will be fulfilled, and one week will make a covenant with many; and in the midst (half) of the week sacrifice and oblation will be removed, and in the temple will be the abomination of desolations."
22. For when the threescore and two weeks are fulfilled, and Christ is come, and the Gospel is preached in every place, the times being then accomplished, there will remain only one week, the last, in which Elias will appear, and Enoch, and in the midst of it the abomination of desolation will be manifested,(1) viz., Antichrist, announcing desolation to the world. And when he comes, the sacrifice and oblation will be removed, which now are offered to God in every place by the nations. These things being thus recounted, the prophet again describes another vision to us. For he had no other care save to be accurately instructed in all things that are to be, and to prove himself an instructor in such.
He lived from A.D. 200-232-245. Africanus was a pupil of Heraclas, and we must therefore date his pupilage in Alexandria before A.D. 232, when Dionysius succeeded Heraclas in the presidency of that school. It appears that in A.D. 226 he was performing some duty in behalf of Emmaus (Nicopolis) in Palestine; but Heraclas, who had acted subordinately as Origenís assistant as early as A.D. 218, could not have become the head of the school, even provisionally, till after Origenís unhappy ordination.(2) Let us assume the period of our authorís attending the school under Heraclas to be between A.D. 228 and A.D. 232, however. We may then venture to reckon his birth as circa A.D. 200. And, if he became "bishop of Emmaus," it could hardly have been before the year 240, when he was of ripe age and experience. He adds additional lustre to the age of Gregory Thaumaturgus and Dionysius, as well as to that of their common mother in letters and theology, the already ancient academy of Pantaenus and of Clement. His reviving credit in modern times has been largely due to the learned criticism of Dr. Routh, to whose edition of these Fragments the student must necessarily apply. Their chief interest arises from the important specimen which treats of the difficult question of the genealogies of our Lord contained in the evangelists. For a succinct statement of the points involved, and for a candid concession that they were not preserved to meet what modern curiosity would prefer to see established, I know of nothing more satisfactory than the commentary of Wordsworth. But here follows his explanation of the seventy weeks of Daniel.
Julius Africanus, On the Seventy Weeks of Daniel
1. This passage, therefore, as it stands thus, touches on many marvellous things. At present, however, I shall speak only of those things in it, which bear upon chronology, and matters connected therewith. That the passage speaks then of the advent of Christ, who was to manifest Himself after seventy weeks, is evident. For in the Saviourís time, or from Him, are transgressions abrogated, and sins brought to an end. And through remission, moreover, are iniquities, along with offences, blotted out by expiation; and an everlasting righteousness is preached, different from that which is by the law, and visions and prophecies are until John, and the Most Holy is anointed. For before the advent of the Saviour these things were not yet, and were therefore only looked for. And the beginning of the numbers, that is, of the seventy weeks which make up 490 years, the angel instructs us to take from the going forth of the commandment to answer and to build Jerusalem. And this happened in the twentieth year of the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia. For Nehemiah his cup-bearer besought him, and received the answer that Jerusalem should be built. And the word went forth commanding these things; for up to that time the city was desolate. For when Cyrus, after the seventy yearsí captivity, gave free permission to all to return who desired it, some of them under the leadership of Jesus she high priest and Zorobabel, and others after these under the leadership of Esdra, returned, but were prevented at first from building the temple, and from surrounding the city with a wall, on the plea that that had not been commanded.
2. It remained in this position, accordingly, until Nehemiah and the reign of Artaxerxes, and the 115th year of the sovereignty of the Persians. And from the capture of Jerusalem that makes 185 years. And at that time King Artaxerxes gave order that the city should be built; and Nehemiah being despatched, superintended the work, and the street and the surrounding wall were built, as had been prophesied. And reckoning from that point, we make up seventy weeks to the time of Christ. For if we begin to reckon from any other point, and not from this, the periods will not correspond, and very many odd results will meet us. For if we begin the calculation of the seventy weeks from Cyrus and the first restoration, there will be upwards of one hundred years too many, and there will be a larger number if we begin from the day on which the angel gave the prophecy to Daniel, and a much larger number still if we begin from the commencement of the captivity. For we find the sovereignty of the Persians comprising a period of 230 years, and that of the Macedonians extending over 370 years, and from that to the 16th year of Tiberius Caesar is a period of about 60 years.
3. It is by calculating from Artaxerxes, therefore, up to the time of Christ that the seventy weeks are made up, according to the numeration of the Jews. For from Nehemiah, who was despatched by Artaxerxes to build Jerusalem in the 115th year of the Persian empire, and the 4th year of the 83rd Olympiad, and the 20th year of the reign of Artaxerxes himself, up to this date, which was the second year of the 202rd Olympiad, and the 16th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, there are reckoned 475 years, which make 490 according to the Hebrew numeration, as they measure the years by the course of the moon; so that, as is easy to show, their year consists of 354 days, while the solar year has 365º days. For the latter exceeds the period of twelve months, according to the moonís course, by 11º days. Hence the Greeks and the Jews insert three intercalary months every 8 years. For 8 times 11º days makes up 3 months. Therefore 475 years make 59 periods of 8 years each, and 3 months besides. But since thus there are 3 intercalary months every 8 years, we get thus 15 years minus a few days; and these being added to the 475 years, make up in all the 70 weeks.
Origin, in his De Principiis, writes:
Micah, who said, "And thou, Bethlehem, land of Judah, art by no means small among the leaden of Judah: for out of thee shall come forth a Leader, who shall rule My people Israel." The weeks of years, also, which the prophet Daniel had predicted, extending to the leadership of Christ, have been fulfilled.
The Seventy Weeks of Daniel studied by Dr. Oliver B. Greene
In the interpretation of this important and well - known prophecy, Gabriel gave Daniel not only the starting point, but the stopping place as well. The starting point dates from the giving of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem, and from then unto "Messiah the Prince" shall be 69 sevens - or, 69 weeks - divided in the twenty - fourth verse as 7 weeks and 62 weeks. Bible scholars have not agreed as to the date that marks the starting point of the "seventy weeks."
There were four decrees given concerning the restoration of Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the temple, and all four decrees were issued after the Babylonian captivity.
This was given by King Cyrus in 536 B.C. (Ezra 1:1 - 4). 2 Chronicles 36:22,23 is another passage which confirms this proclamation: "Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD [spoken] by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and [put it] also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the LORD God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which [is] in Judah. Who [is there] among you of all his people? The LORD his God [be] with him, and let him go up."
In these passages, not one word is said about restoring and rebuilding the city of Jerusalem. All that is mentioned in this proclamation is the house of the Lord - the temple.
Cyrus was a heathen king and we might well ask what prompted him to make his decree. Could it be that Daniel had read Jeremiah 25:11 - 14 to him? Or perhaps Isaiah 44:28: "That saith of Cyrus, [He is] my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid." Did Daniel ASK Cyrus to free his people, or remind him that the 70 years of their prophesied captivity were almost ended? Could it be that the Holy Spirit used this tremendous prophecy to soften the heart of the king and lead him to grant freedom to the Jews and allow them to return to Jerusalem to rebuild their temple? He even allowed them to carry back to their temple the gold and silver vessels which Nebuchadnezzar had confiscated when he overran Jerusalem.
The Holy Spirit did not see fit to reveal to us just what prompted Cyrus to issue his decree; but we know that as a result of that decree, approximately 50,000 Israelite captives returned to Jerusalem:
"The whole congregation together was forty and two thousand three hundred and threescore, beside their servants and their maids, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred thirty and seven: and there were among them two hundred singing men and singing women" (Ezra 2:64,65). They set up an altar; they renewed their offerings, their feasts, their sacrifices - and they began to rebuild their temple; but the work dragged because of many, many adversaries.
In 519 B.C., after the Jews appealed to King Darius, he issued a decree to make a search in the kingís treasure house in Babylon. The search was made - and revealed the decree that had been given by Cyrus. The decree given by Darius was therefore simply a renewing of that issued by Cyrus - but penalties were attached. Notice in the Scripture that nothing is said of the city - just the temple:
"Then the prophets, Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied unto the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, even unto them. Then rose up Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son Jozadak, and began to build the house of God which is at Jerusalem: and with them were the prophets of God helping them.
"At the same time came to them Tatnai, governor on this side the river, and Shetharboznai, and their companions, and said thus unto them, Who hath commanded you to build this house, and to make up this wall? Then said we unto them after this manner, What are the names of the men that make this building? But the eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews, that they could to cause them to cease, till the matter came to Darius: and then they returned answer by letter concerning the matter.
"The copy of the letter unto him, wherein was written thus; Unto Darius the king, all peace. Be it known unto the king, that we went into the province of Judea, to the house of the great God, which is builded with great stones, and timber is laid in the walls, and this work goeth fast on, and prospereth in their hands. Then asked we those elders, [and] said unto them thus, Who commanded you to build this house, and to make up these walls? We asked their names also, to certify thee, that we might write the names of the men that [were] the chief of them. And thus they returned us answer, saying, We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and build the house that was builded these many years ago, which a great king of Israel builded and set up. But after that our fathers had provoked the God of heaven unto wrath, he gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this house, and carried the people away into Babylon. "But in the first year of Cyrus the king of Babylon [the same] king Cyrus made a decree to build this house of God. And the vessels also of gold and silver of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple that [was] in Jerusalem, and brought them into the temple of Babylon, those did Cyrus the king take out of the temple of Babylon, and they were delivered unto [one], whose name [was] Sheshbazzar, whom he had made governor; And said unto him, Take these vessels, go, carry them into the temple that [is] in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be builded in his place. Then came the same Sheshbazzar, [and] laid the foundation of the house of God which [is] in Jerusalem: and since that time even until now hath it been in building, and [yet] it is not finished. Now therefore, if [it seem] good to the king, let there be search made in the kingís treasure house, which [is] there at Babylon, whether it be [so], that a decree was made of Cyrus the king to build this house of God at Jerusalem, and let the king send his pleasure to us concerning this matter.
"Then Darius the king made a decree, and search was made in the house of the rolls, where the treasures were laid up in Babylon. And there was found at Achmetha, in the palace that [is] in the province of the Medes, a roll, and therein [was] a record thus written:
"In the first year of Cyrus the king [the same] Cyrus the king made a decree [concerning] the house of God at Jerusalem, Let the house be builded, the place where they offered sacrifices, and let the foundations thereof be strongly laid; the height thereof threescore cubits, [and] the breadth thereof threescore cubits; [With] three rows of great stones, and a row of new timber: and let the expenses be given out of the kingís house: And also let the golden and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took forth out of the temple which [is] at Jerusalem, and brought unto Babylon, be restored, and brought again unto the temple which [is] at Jerusalem, [every one] to his place, and place [them] in the house of God.
"Now [therefore], Tatnai, governor beyond the river, Shetharboznai, and your companions the Apharsachites, which [are] beyond the river, be ye far from thence: Let the work of this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God in his place. Moreover I make a decree what ye shall do to the elders of these Jews for the building of this house of God: that of the kingís goods, [even] of the tribute beyond the river, forthwith expenses be given unto these men, that they be not hindered. And that which they have need of, both young bullocks, and rams, and lambs, for the burnt offerings of the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, and oil, according to the appointment of the priests which [are] at Jerusalem, let it be given them day by day without fail: That they may offer sacrifices of sweet savours unto the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king, and of his sons.
"Also I have made a decree, that whosoever shall alter this word, let timber be pulled down from his house, and being set up, let him be hanged thereon; and let his house be made a dunghill for this. And the God that hath caused his name to dwell there destroy all kings and people, that shall put to their hand to alter [and] to destroy this house of God which [is] at Jerusalem. I Darius have made a decree; let it be done with speed" (Ezra 5:1 - 6:12).
In 458 B.C. Artaxerxes king of Persia gave Ezra a letter granting him permission to go to Jerusalem and take priests and Levites with him. Ezra was given authority to collect gold and silver, purchase bullocks, rams, and lambs for offerings in the temple; and, should it become necessary, draw on the kingís treasury for "whatsoever more shall be needful" for the house of God:
"Now this [is] the copy of the letter that the king Artaxerxes gave unto Ezra the priest, the scribe, [even] a scribe of the words of the commandments of the LORD, and of his statutes to Israel. Artaxerxes, king of kings, unto Ezra the priest, a scribe of the law of the God of heaven, perfect [peace], and at such a time. I make a decree, that all they of the people of Israel, and [of] his priests and Levites, in my realm, which are minded of their own freewill to go up to Jerusalem, go with thee. Forasmuch as thou art sent of the king, and of his seven counsellors, to enquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem, according to the law of thy God which [is] in thine hand; And to carry the silver and gold, which the king and his counsellors have freely offered unto the God of Israel, whose habitation [is] in Jerusalem, And all the silver and gold that thou canst find in all the province of Babylon, with the freewill offering of the people, and of the priests, offering willingly for the house of their God which [is] in Jerusalem: That thou mayest buy speedily with this money bullocks, rams, lambs, with their meat offerings and their drink offerings, and offer them upon the altar of the house of your God which [is] in Jerusalem. And whatsoever shall seem good to thee, and to thy brethren, to do with the rest of the silver and the gold, that do after the will of your God. The vessels also that are given thee for the service of the house of thy God, [those] deliver thou before the God of Jerusalem. And whatsoever more shall be needful for the house of thy God, which thou shalt have occasion to bestow, bestow [it] out of the kingís treasure house. And I, [even] I Artaxerxes the king, do make a decree to all the treasurers which [are] beyond the river, that whatsoever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, shall require of you, it be done speedily, Unto an hundred talents of silver, and to an hundred measures of wheat, and to an hundred baths of wine, and to an hundred baths of oil, and salt without prescribing [how much]" (Ezra 7:11 - 22).
There is nothing in this decree concerning the restoration of the Holy City Jerusalem.
In 445 B.C. in the twentieth year of the reign of Artaxerxes Longimanus, Nehemiah appeared before the king with a sad heart. His countenance told the king that something was drastically wrong and that Nehemiah was a man under a heavy burden and much sorrow. The king asked him, "Wherefore the king said unto me, Why [is] thy countenance sad, seeing thou [art] not sick? this [is] nothing [else] but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid" (Nehemiah 2:2). Nehemiah made his request known to the king and asked permission to return to Jerusalem to rebuild it. He said to the king, "...Why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathersí sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire?" (Neh. 2:3).
When Nehemiah made this statement to the king, he inquired how long the prophet desired to be away, and just what he wanted the king to do concerning the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem. Nehemiah was allowed to return to the Holy City, and his mission was not only religious; it was also political in the eyes of the enemies of the Jews, because such outsiders as Sanballat and Tobiah opposed the mission, saying that the building of the walls and restoration of the city would be an act of rebellion and a danger to the kingís empire.
Nehemiah and the group who returned with him repaired the walls in 52 days (Neh. 6:15), but it took 12 years to complete the rebuilding and restoration of the city of Jerusalem, reestablish the law and ordinance of worship in the temple. Nehemiahís rebuilding of the wall and the city is definitely a fulfillment of the prophecy in Daniel 9:25: "...The street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times."
Nehemiahís mission was not only to re - establish Jerusalem as a city of worship (the city of the temple) but as a political capital also - the capital of the Jewish nation:
"And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, [that] wine [was] before him: and I took up the wine, and gave [it] unto the king. Now I had not been [beforetime] sad in his presence. Wherefore the king said unto me, Why [is] thy countenance sad, seeing thou [art] not sick? this [is] nothing [else] but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid, And said unto the king, Let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathersí sepulchres, [lieth] waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire? Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathersí sepulchres, that I may build it.
"And the king said unto me, (the queen also sitting by him,) For how long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou return? So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time. Moreover I said unto the king, If it please the king, let letters be given me to the governors beyond the river, that they may convey me over till I come into Judah; And a letter unto Asaph the keeper of the kingís forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the palace which [appertained] to the house, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall enter into. And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me.
"Then I came to the governors beyond the river, and gave them the kingís letters. Now the king had sent captains of the army and horsemen with me. When Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, heard [of it], it grieved them exceedingly that there was come a man to seek the welfare of the children of Israel. So I came to Jerusalem, and was there three days.
"And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me; neither told I [any] man what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem: neither [was there any] beast with me, save the beast that I rode upon. And I went out by night by the gate of the valley, even before the dragon well, and to the dung port, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem, which were broken down, and the gates thereof were consumed with fire.
"Then I went on to the gate of the fountain, and to the kingís pool: but [there was] no place for the beast [that was] under me to pass. Then went I up in the night by the brook, and viewed the wall, and turned back, and entered by the gate of the valley, and [so] returned. And the rulers knew not whither I went, or what I did; neither had I as yet told [it] to the Jews, nor to the priests, nor to the nobles, nor to the rulers, nor to the rest that did the work.
"Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we [are] in, how Jerusalem [lieth] waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach. Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the kingís words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for [this] good [work]. But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian, heard [it], they laughed us to scorn, and despised us, and said, What [is] this thing that ye do? will ye rebel against the king? Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem" (Neh. 2:1 - 20).
In the second chapter of Nehemiah, there is no decree in words, but the king undoubtedly gave the prophet some form of document or letters giving him the authority to repair the walls and rebuild the city - for had not Nehemiah had some form of legal document, the enemies of the restoration of the Holy City would certainly have stopped him from repairing the walls. The decree given to Nehemiah by Artaxerxes is the only one which has to do with rebuilding the city; therefore, it must be the same decree referred to by Gabriel as having to do with the beginning of the seventy weeks of prophecy.
By using literal arithmetic, it will be found that the yearstick of 483 years (7 weeks and 62 weeks...69 weeks) will not fit into any of these spaces. We can see that the decree of Cyrus in 536 B.C. could not have been the starting point of the seventy weeks, because according to the scale of a day representing a year, counting from the time Cyrus issued his decree until "Messiah the Prince," the time would have run out in 53 B.C. - 49 years before the birth of Christ (which Bible authorities agree was 4 B.C.).
Then, if we should take the second decree (given by King Darius in 519 B.C.) the 483 years of the 69 weeks would have run out in 36 B.C., 32 years before the birth of Christ.
If we should take the third decree (given by Artaxerxes in 458 B.C.) the 69 weeks of years - 483 years would run over to the year 25 A.D. - 29 years AFTER the birth of Christ.
If we take the fourth decree (given by Artaxerxes in 445 B.C.) the 483 years would carry us to 38 A.D., which would be after the crucifixion of Christ.
We have seen four suggested beginning points of the 69 weeks. Now let us consider points of ending for those weeks. Certainly we know that "Messiah the Prince" (Dan. 9:25) refers to the Lord Jesus Christ; it could mean none other; but what particular period or event in the life of the Lord Jesus does the prophecy point out? Does it refer to His birth? His baptism? His triumphal entry? or to some other incident?
According to authorities, the life of Jesus on earth was 33 years. Was the birth of Christ the point where the 69 weeks climaxed? Many Bible scholars teach that the birth of Christ was the termination of the 69 weeks of prophecy. Remember, it was Gabriel who announced the 69 weeks to Daniel, and it was the same Gabriel who announced to Mary that she would be the mother of Messiah the Prince: "And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end" (Luke 1:30 - 33).
It is true that Gabriel did not, in so many words, tell Mary that Jesus was Messiah the Prince, but he did announce to her that Jesus would have the throne of David - and He was born a prince of the house of David. The wise men in Matthew 2:1,2 referred to Jesus as King, in John 18:33 - 37 Pilate asked Him if He were a king, and He was crucified "King of the Jews." Yet He was never crowned king, He never occupied the throne of David; but He was a Prince, a prince is a king in the making - and a king must be a prince in the house of his father before he is crowned king. To date Jesus has not been crowned king, He has not received His kingdom; but He will be crowned King, He will sit on the throne of His father David in Jerusalem and reign over this earth during the thousand years. Jesus is now our High Priest; He is at the right hand of God making intercession for believers (Heb. 1:1 - 3; 1 Tim. 2:5).
In the fulness of time Jesus came, born of a virgin, born Jesus the Saviour - born to die on the cross to satisfy the holiness of God and make possible the salvation of sinners in that His death made it possible for God the Father to be just, and yet justify the ungodly on the merit of the shed blood of His Son. Jesus was not king while here upon this earth - He was Saviour. He came, born of a woman, born under the law - not to reign, but to redeem those who were under the law (Gal. 4:4).
After the custom of the law, Jesus went with His parents to the temple at the age of twelve; but with that one exception, His first public appearance was at the age of thirty when He came to John to be baptized in Jordan. John knew who He was and refused to baptize Him, saying, "I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?" But Jesus said, "Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness" (Matt. 3:13 - 17 in part). John baptized Jesus, "and, lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting upon Him." Jesus was anointed by the Holy Ghost. ("Messiah" means "anointed one.")
When Jesus was baptized, God the Father announced, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." He did not announce, "This is my King who shall reign over all the earth." God the Father - sovereign God - knows the end in the beginning; He knows all that will occur between the beginning and the ending. Jesus was to wear the crown of thorns before He was to wear a crown as King of kings and reign over the earth. The baptism of Jesus announced His entrance into His public ministry, which ministry announced the kingdom; but the Jews rejected the kingdom. They cried out, "We will not have this man to reign over us! Give us Barabbas! Crucify the Christ! Let His blood be upon us, and upon our children!"
The third outstanding event in the life of Jesus here on earth was His triumphal entry into the Holy City. Christ was omniscient, knowing all things. He knew who He was, He knew why He came into the world. He said, "I came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give my life a ransom for many. No man taketh my life from me - I lay it down of myself. I have come that they might have life and have it more abundantly."
Jesus knew that His crucifixion was near, and that He was soon to be "cut off" (Dan. 9:26). His Messiahship must be publicly declared and publicly recognized before He was nailed to the cross. He therefore set the stage and took the proper steps toward the public declaration of His Messiahship:
"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he [is] just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass" (Zechariah 9:9).
At the time of the yearly Passover, people flocked to the city by the hundreds. On that memorable day Jesus descended the Mount of Olives, riding upon as ass, "the foal of an ass" (As was prophesied centuries before). The people shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord!"
Since Jesus was omniscient (He was God in flesh), why did He permit the people to refer to Him as King of Israel when He knew that in a few days He would be nailed to a cross, to die the most shameful death any criminal could die in His day? The answer is simple: to fulfill the Word of God. Jesus not only allowed it - He encouraged it and set the stage for it. He instructed His disciples to bring a donkey which they would find tied at the entrance to the city (Matt. 21:1 - 3; Luke 19:28 - 40). He even told them what to say if the owners of the donkey asked why they were taking him. They were to answer, "The Master hath need of him."
As the people shouted, "Hosanna! Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord!" the Pharisees said to Jesus, "Master, rebuke thy disciples." Jesus answered, "I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out!" (Luke 19:40).
Earlier in the ministry of Jesus this same crowd had attempted to force Him to become their King - they would have crowned Him by force; but He rejected their attempt. Now He is consenting and contributing to it. He accepted their calling Him King and gave aid in bringing it about, thus proving that the triumphal entry certainly had prophetic significance. The people spread their garments in His path, strewed His way with palm branches and cried, "Hosanna!" Jesus did not allow this just in order to put Himself in the limelight, to put on a "dress parade" or to make the headlines. This was definitely a fulfillment of prophecy.
Many Bible scholars agree (and so does this author) that the triumphal entry is the end of Danielís 69th week and marks the point of the coming of Messiah the Prince. It was the only time in His earthly ministry when Jesus assumed the attitude of a king. Those who accepted Jesus as King accepted Him as MESSIAH THE PRINCE, and there is no reason why the prophecies recorded in Zechariah 9:9 and Daniel 9:25 should not refer to this event.
The first time Jesus rode into Jerusalem, He was riding on an humble little donkey as prophesied in Zechariah 9:9. When He comes to Jerusalem a second time, He will be riding on a magnificent white stallion and He will be followed by the armies of heaven riding on white horses (Rev. 19:11 - 16). When He rides into Jerusalem from the air, followed by His armies on white horses, that will mark the end of the 70th week of Danielís prophecy - the end of the reign of Antichrist, the time when Jesus will destroy the armies of antichrist and annihilate the enemies of Godís chosen people, Israel.
It seems reasonable that when Jesus rode into Jerusalem upon a little colt, His humble entry into the Holy City should mark the ending of the 69 weeks of trouble - some times; and when He comes with the armies of heaven as recorded in Revelation 19, this tremendous event will mark the climax of the reign of the false messiah, Antichrist.
How many days are in a year according to the Scriptures? The answer is found in Genesis 7:11 - 24 and 8:3,4. "In the six hundredth year of Noahís life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened" (Gen. 7:11).
"And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days" (Gen. 7:24).
"And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat" (Gen. 8:4).
Here is what we have in these verses: The waters were upon the earth for 150 days. According to Genesis 7:11 the flood began in the second month, the seventeenth day of that month; and according to Genesis 8:4 the ark rested the seventh month, the seventeenth day. From the seventeenth day of the second month to the seventeenth day of the seventh month is exactly five months; and five months of 30 days each add up to 150 days. According to Genesis 7:24, the waters prevailed upon the earth for 150 days. Thus, the calendar of Scripture gives us a month of 30 days, a year of 360 days.
It is true that in our day we use a year of 365 º days; but according to Genesis, God determines time by 30 days to the month, 360 days to the year. So in prophetical chronology we use the calendar year of 360 days, and we have learned that God measures prophetic time a day for a year. Therefore, 30 days to a month would apply to 30 years - (7 weeks plus 62 weeks would be 483 years) - and by reckoning from the edict granted by Artaxerxes in 445 B.D. as the starting point of the 69 weeks, and the triumphal entry as the climax of the 69 weeks, we have the 483 years represented by the 69 weeks pointed out in Daniel 9:25, plus 6 to 8 years not accounted for.
So it seems that there is a small gap between the seven weeks and the sixty two weeks, in which there are years not accounted for, just as there is a gap between the sixty - ninth and the seventieth weeks.
One Bible scholar says: "In order to show that in sacred history and prophecy it is no unusual thing to skip years during which Godís people are not especially concerned, it may be helpful to look at other dates.
"In 1 Kings 6:1 it is stated that it was in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel came out of Egypt that Solomon began building the temple. If we will take the chronological Bible dates and follow them through from the Exodus to the 4th year of Solomon, we will find it is 611 years, or 131 years more than what is stated in 1 Kings 6:1. But by carefully going through the book of Judges and taking out the years when Israel was under the domination of foreign kings, and adding to it the 20 - year period in 1 Samuel when the ark was out of its accustomed place, we will find that they amount to just exactly 131 years.
1. In Judges 3:8 we learn that the children of Israel served Chushanrishathaim eight years.
2. Judges 3:12 - 14 tells us that they were in servitude to the Moabites for a period of eighteen years.
3. In Judges 4:2,3 we learn that Israel was in servitude to the Canaanites for twenty years.
4. In Judges 6:1 they served the Midianites for seven years.
5. In Judges 10:7,8 they were in servitude to the Philistines for eighteen years.
6. In Judges 13:1 we read, ëAnd the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years.í
7. In 1 Samuel 7:2 the ark was out of its accustomed place.
So it seems evident that the 480 years of 1 Kings 6:1 is a sacred cycle in which the years of foreign domination are not counted."
Sir Robert Anderson, a converted English lawyer, worked out the problem in his book called The Coming Prince, and used the date 445 as the one to coincide with the prediction of Daniel 9:25. He shows that according to Jewish reckoning, the 483 years would involve a total of 173,880 days. I quote from his book:
The 1st Nisan in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes (the edict to rebuild Jerusalem) was 14th March, B.C. 445.
The 10th Nisan in Passion Week (Christís entry into Jerusalem) was 6th April, A.D. 32.
The intervening period was 476 years and 24 days (the days being reckoned inclusively, as required by the language of the prophecy, and in accordance with the Jewish practice).
But 476 x 365 equals
Add (14th March to 6th April, both inclusive)
Add for leap years
And 69 weeks of prophetic years of 360 days (or 69 x 7 x 360) equals
It may be well to offer here two explanatory remarks. First: in reckoning years from B.C. to A.D., one year must always be omitted; for it is obvious, ex. gr., that from B.C. 1 to A.D. 1 was not TWO years, but one year. B.C. 1 ought to be described as B.C. 0, and it is so reckoned by astronomers.
Regardless of whose calculations we use, there seems to be a year or two difference. We can count on one thing however: The Bible is not wrong and Godís calculations are not wrong. Any error that may occur is in profane chronology or could easily be in the time space not counted in Godís timetable between the "7 weeks and the 62 weeks." The fact is, however, the difference in time in the calculations we have given is so small as to indicate that the "69 weeks" cover the time between the edict of Artaxerxes in B.C. 445 and the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.
Then we read, "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" (Dan. 9:26). We know that shortly after Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the little donkey, He was nailed to the cross; He was "cut off."
Now this is the question to which we must find an answer: Is there a time - space between the 69th and 70th weeks of Danielís seventy weeks of prophecy? The only place to find the answer is in the textbook of the Christian, the Word of God.
Daniel 9:26 clearly tells us that between the 69th and 70th weeks. Messiah the Prince (the Lord Jesus Christ) should be cut off. That was fulfilled in the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus on Golgotha.
In the second place, Daniel 9:26 tells us that Jerusalem and the temple will be destroyed: This occurred in 70 A.D. when Titus the Roman overran the city, butchered 5,000,000 Jews and left not one stone upon another.
In the third place, we learn in this verse that after the destruction of the Holy City, there will be a long period of wars and rumors of wars, which period Jesus spoke of as the times of the gentiles: "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled" (Luke 21:24). We are still in the times of the gentiles and Gentile rulers still dominate world power throughout the earth. It is true that the fig tree (Israel) is budding and putting forth leaves, and by that sign we know that summer is near. Certainly we are living in the closing days of this age of grace - the period of time between the 69th and 70th weeks of Danielís prophecy.
The Olivet Discourse recorded in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 is the key to the interpretation of Daniel 9:26,27. In Matthew 24, the disciples came to Jesus and showed Him the buildings of the temple - tremendous buildings of stone; and Jesus said to them, "Verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down." This literally happened in 70 A.D. every stone was thrown down and the city was utterly destroyed.
Later, on the Mount of Olives, the disciples asked Jesus, "Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?"
In reply, Jesus gave the disciples a list of things that will take place before His coming again. He warned, "Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying I am Christ; and shall deceive many." This is the age of religious deception.
There will be "wars and rumours of wars." These things must come to pass - "but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. all these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you (the Jews) up to be afflicted, and shall kill you; and ye shall be hated of all nations for my nameís sake." (We are living in that hour of which Jesus spoke. Jews have been butchered by the millions in the last few years.)
"And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold...and this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come" (Matt. 24:1 - 14 in part).
The "end" is the time when Jesus will return - not FOR the Church in the Rapture, but WITH the Church in the Revelation - to destroy Antichrist. Notice in the very next verse: "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains."
Here Jesus specifically names four things: (1) Daniel; (2) the "abomination of desolation"; (3) the temple; (4) Judaea. In other words, Jesus points out a specific place and specific events that will transpire just before all hell breaks out on earth, and these things will occur in the middle of the seventieth week. After three and one - half years of peace, Antichrist will break his covenant with the Jews and make one last, desperate attempt to annihilate Israel from the face of the earth.
The following verses describe the revelation - not the Rapture. Then in verse 32 of the same chapter, Jesus gives the parable of the fig tree - and the fig tree is definitely Judah. (Study Jeremiah 24 in connection with this.) In this parable we are clearly instructed, "So likewise we, when ye shall see all these things, know that (the Revelation) is near, even at the doors."
In the true sense of the word, there are no "signs" of the Rapture; the signs given point to the Revelation - the time when Jesus will come in judgment to make His enemies His footstool. The Rapture is the time when Jesus will come to make up His jewels. At that time He will come as a thief in the night, and in a moment, "in the twinkling of an eye," all believers will be translated to meet the Lord in the clouds in the air. Danielís seventieth week separates the Rapture from the Revelation. The Rapture will take place before the beginning of the reign of Antichrist; the Revelation will come at the close of the reign of Antichrist. There is definitely a time space between the 69th and 70th weeks of Daniel, and that space has already run through more than 1900 years.
We clearly see from the Scriptures, we have studied in detail that Danielís seventieth week (as described in Daniel 9:24 - 27); the Olivet discourse (given by Jesus and recorded in Matthew 24:1 - 35); and the revelation given to John on the Isle of Patmos (the message contained in the seals, the trumpets and the vials - Rev. 6:1 through 18:24), all cover exactly the same period. This period has to do with the Jews here on earth; it has no reference whatsoever to the Church of the living God. We of the Church will not be here when these events take place; we will be with Jesus at the marriage supper in the sky, being rewarded for our stewardship.
God gave Daniel the blueprint of the seventieth week. In the Olivet Discourse, Jesus gave His disciples a much fuller picture of Danielís seventieth week. John the Beloved, in exile, was given a minutely detailed report of Danielís seventieth week, and what Daniel said in one verse, John enlarged to a grand total of thirteen tremendous chapters!
This proves to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Bible is not the product of man, but that it is Godís infallible, verbally inspired Word. There was no need for Daniel to write 13 chapters describing the Great Tribulation period; there was no need for Jesus to give the disciples 13 chapters in Matthew; but in this day and hours there is a drastic need for the preaching of these 13 chapters that describe the judgment which will fall upon this earth immediately following the Rapture of the Church, when the Antichrist will reign supreme and blood will run like water in the streets.
There is a document available on the network, called What date was that? This is written by by Israel Silverberg, on behalf of the Jerusalem Institute of Biblical Polemics. A part of this document tries to refute some christian explanations of the prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27. This part is copied here, and shown to be of not much value. The copied parts are indicated with <quote>.
<quote> The Prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27
<quote> Now that we aware of the problems regarding dating of events, we are ready to tackle the challenge of prophetic dating. The most quoted of these prophecies is Daniel 9:24-27, which reads as follows:
This very beginning, in particular the words we are ready to tackle the challenge of prophetic dating, shows the attitude he begins with. One would think that a good Jew carefully and willingly would listen to what the prophets have to say. But not so. He does not listen to the prophetics sayings; at least not to this one. Instead of doing that, he is ready to tackle it. This is an indication for how he deals with the prophetic words. Letís keep this in mind while we read on.
<quote> 9:24. 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.
<quote> 9:25. Know therefore and understand, [that] from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince [shall be] seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
<quote> 9:26. 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.
<quote> 9:27. 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.
<quote> Shmuel Golding in his booklet Do the Prophets Speak of Jesus? gives a detailed refutation of the Christian interpretation of this prophecy. Thus, in this paper, we can concentrate strictly on the questions of dates.
If Shmuel Golding, the author of this booklet, has the same attitude as Israel Silverberg, namely to tackle the prophetic dating, then we know what his so-called detailed refutation is worth. The goal seems to be to refute every Christian belief, and to tackle the prophetic dating, no matter what those prophets of ancient times have said.
<quote> Over the course of time, this verse has had several interpretations. Pablo Christiani in his disputation with Nachmanides in 1263 declared that "The seventy weeks are weeks of years, meaning the 420 years that the Second Temple stood, together with the 70 years of the Babylonian Exile; and the ëmost holyí is Jesus." [Judaism on Trial edited and translated by Hyam Maccoby, Associated University Presses, 1982, p. 124.] Of course, Nachmanides immediately pointed out that Jesus died before the end of the 420 years. It should be noted that Christiani used the dating of history according to Seder HaOlam Rabba as the Gregorian calendar had not yet been invented.
All right. So, Pabli Christiani said that the ëmost holyí is Jesus. This is right. Unfortunately he made an error in the calculation of the years. Making this error, however, is not so bad as desperately trying to tackle this prophetic dating, as some in our days try to doÖ
<quote> After the advent of the Gregorian calendar, the dating of this prophecy uses the new calendar. In a footnote to these verses, the NIV Study Bible states that the "authorising the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the coming of the Messiah was to be 69 (7 plus 62) ësevens,í or 483 years." But what is the starting date? According to the Gregorian calendar, subtracting 483 years from the destruction of the first temple places the date at 103 BCE. By the same token, 483 years after 515 BCE, the date when the second temple was completed, is 35 BCE. Changing calendars and dropping seven years did not improve the accuracy of this prophecy.
That errors are made in explaining the dating of this prophecy, is true. But this does not mean that some have come up with a fitting explanation. Itís the task to take note of the several explanations, and to accept the one that is right.
<quote> Another variation divides the prophecy in three periods of 7, 62, and 1 and declare that starting point is the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem.
Note this, that the starting point was the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, not the temple. This is according to the text, Daniel 9:25. Know therefore and understand, [that] from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem (not the temple, Ed.) unto the Messiah the Prince [shall be] seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
<quote> First, a point of clarification, the order to rebuild the temple was made by Cyrus I in 538 BCE and temple construction was completed in the sixth year of Dariusís reign (515 BCE).
Note that Silverberg is speaking about the temple, not Jerusalem. So, not in 538 BC is this decree given, to which the prophecy refers.
<quote> Because of the high taxes paid to the Persian rulers, the inhabitants of Jerusalem lacked the finances necessary to build the wall around the city. This led to Nechemiahís coming to Israel sometime after the Second Temple was completed. As stated in Nechemiah 3-4, the walls were rebuilt in only 52 days. During his two terms of office as governor of the region, Nechemiah accomplished many reforms and, yet, those who propose this explanation cannot point to an event that fulfils the prophecy of seven weeks.
<quote> To avoid the problems of sequential time periods, they start the next 62 weeks from 445 BCE. By normal math, this still does not work as subtracting 434 still only makes it to 9 BCE. When all else fails, they change the rules for calculation. To extend the number of years, Ö
Such expressions as when all else fails, can easily be applied to several people who are trying to do everything to darken the so clear prophecies of the advent of Messiah the Prince. When all else fails, they neglect the prophecies, distort them and are ready to tackle the challenge of prophetic dating.
<quote> Ö the next calculation requires that we have 360 day year for calculating days (69 x 7 x 360) and 365.242 day year for converting to years (173,880 * 365.242) which now equals 476 years and 25 days which points to the year 32 CE as the date for Jesusís death. Sounds like rather strange math to me. I wonder what happen if we used the same logic on a math test.
When you throw all numbers on one heap, or write them down one after another, as is done above, then it may sould like rather strange math to you. However, when you have a calm look at the calculation given above in this document, the math appears to be no strange at all.
<quote> Anyway, the Flood Story (Gen 7:11-8:4), which they use as proof of a 360 day year, refers to a 150 day period spanning five months, but says nothing about how a year is determined. For example, even though the Egyptian calendar had a 30 day month, they added 5 feast days at the end of the year to bring the total number of days to 365 days. Furthermore, as shown above, no lunar calendar system has 30 days in a month. This fiction is allowed only in a solar calendar system such as the Egyptian calendar. Crazy math does not provide answers to prophecies.
Still trying to refute the prophetic dating? This time by using terms like "crazy math"?
<quote> Regarding the Daniel prophecy, The Interpreterís Dictionary to the Bible states: "Even in that matter where Daniel is so grievously in error, Ö
Daniel so grievously in error? How dares one say that this prophet, Daniel, inspired by God, is in error! The writer of this part of ëThe Interpreterís Dictionary to the Bibleí seems to be an arrogant unbeliever.
<quote> Ö the book serves most usefully, for it is of the very greatest importance to the church that the whole wearisome business of ëbiblical arithmeticí and eschatological calculation should have tried so sincerely and found to be a false path." Furthermore, when rejecting the prophecy based on Cyrus, they are not rejecting the Rabbis. They are rejecting the Christian interpretation described above.
As already said, it is allowed to reject any Christians interpretation that cannot hold out. But as also is shown, there is an interpretation that is right. Your task to choose this one.
<quote> One final point regarding dates in the above attempt to explain the prophecy of Daniel, the calculation assumes that Jesus was crucified in 32 CE. The NIV Study Bible and The Interpreterís Dictionary to the Bible state that he was crucified in 30 CE. Again, we are off by two years - another miss.
Oh! Were the writers of the NIV Study Bible, and of The Interpreterís Dictionary eyewitnesses, that they know so precisely when Jesus was crucified?
<quote> Although it is not on the subject of dates, one error must be corrected regarding the attempt to validate such prophecies. These people want us to believe that karath is a physical death and this is not the case. Karath is a spiritual death administered by God for the most serious of crimes such as participating in idol worship (Exodus 20:5) or the practicing magic (Deuteronomy 18:10). [For more details, see Sefer haHinnuch with English translation by Charles Wengrov, precepts 26, 27, 28, 29 and many others.] That Jesus and his followers were and continue to be "cut-off" from the Jewish people for these sins is a truism.
And this is the last blow of Silverberg: Jesus spiritually being cut off from the Jewish people for claiming to be the Messiah, is a truism. Itís well known that this is the Jewish view. Itís also a plain truth that any Jewish view is not necessarily true, but often false.
Since these writings of Silverberg appear to be false, I refer you to one of the explanations of the seventy weeks, as written down above.