Daniel 9:24 - 27
ESV - 24 Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place. 25 Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time.
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Interpreters of biblical prophesy use a year for a day principle found in Num14:34 in decoding time factors. God uses symbols in the same way Jesus uses parables - to conceal the meaning to the public. The 70 weeks is 490 years. In Dan 9:25, an angel told Daniel that there would be 69 prophetic weeks from the time that a decree shall be issued to restore and build Jerusalem until the appearing of the Anointed One. 69 prophetic weeks equals 483 years. When we determine in which this decree was issued, we can locate the exact year, 483 years later, when Christ - the Messiah - began his public ministry. In recent years, an abundance of documents from the time of Ezra and Nehemiah have been translated - business documents giving exact dates according to Persian, Egyptian, and Jewish calendars, and astronomical tablets recording eclipse cycles in the year of kings - have been translated. These records continue fundamentally to corroborate the chronological table of Persian kings recorded in Ptolemy's canon. According to the Persian spring-to-spring reckoning of regnal years - as these business documents clearly show - Artaxerxes' 1st year extended from April 464 to April 463 BC. These same business documents show that the Jewish autumn-to-autumn mode of reckoning, used by Ezra and Nehemiah placed the 1st year of Artaxerxes from Sept 464 to Sept 463 BC. The astronomical tablets containing over a dozen precise records of eclipses prove that the 1st year of Artaxerxes, according to the Jewish reckoning was 464 to 463 BC. You may verify these facts in any of the latest thorough books in Archaeology. The 7th year of Artaxerxes - the year in which he issued his decree (Ezra 7:8) - would extend from about Sept 458 to Sept 457 BC. From the 1st month to the 5th month of God's sacred calendar - from the latter part of March to the latter part of July 457 BC. - Ezra journeyed to Judaea in the 7th year of Artaxerxes at which time the decree went forth to build Jerusalem as the Capital of the revised Jewish nation. And just as 483 years later would bring us to the autumn of AD 27 - the year when the Messiah would appear. Jesus, according to Daniel's prophesy was anointed the Messiah in 27 AD which was 483 years after the decree of Artaxerxes. Luke recorded in Luke 3:23 that Jesus was about 30 years old when he began his ministry. As Jesus was about 30 years old in the autumn of 27 AD, then he must have been born in the autumn of 4 BC. The proof of this in history is found in the chronicle of John Malalas, translated by Matthew Spinka (Univ. Of Chicago Press, 1940). John Malalas was a historian of Antioch, Syria (c. 491-578 AD). On pages 32-33, he wrote about the command of Augustus Caesar on the taking of census of all his lands and all that the Romans held under Agrippa ll and Donatus. Malalas dates the issuance of the decree for the census to July 5, 5 BC. Suidas - another reliable authority - and many others add information about Augustus' decree which proves the census in Palestine was conducted the very next year - 4BC, the very time Christ was born. In Dan 9:27, Jesus shall confirm the covenant for 1 wk, but in the middle of the wk, he shall be cut off. We know that Jesus' ministry lasted 3 1/2 yrs (the middle of the prophetic week) - from the autumn of 27 AD to the spring of 31 AD. On the preparation day of the Feast of Unleavened bread or the Feast of the Passover, Jesus was crucified. The Jews in Jesus' time celebrated the Passover on the 15th of Nisan, (1st month of the Hebrew calendar) and up to this day. It was a high day Sabbath. Jesus died on the preparation day, the 14th of Nisan 3791. This is April 25, 31 AD in the Gregorian calendar. And it is a Wednesday (the middle of the wk), not Friday. 14th of Nisan is the original date of the Passover (Lev 23:5). Moses, Ezra and Nehemiah kept the Passover on the 14th Nisan. Was it coincidence that Jesus died on the true date of the Passover or was it well planned?
The 70 sevens of Daniel 9:24-27 is one of the most difficult prophecies of the bible. A definitive interpretation hasn’t yet been forthcoming; this only describes my viewpoint. The 70 sevens are known to refer to seventy weeks of years, or 490 years in total. The 490 years are not identical to the times of the Gentiles, but refer to the city of Jerusalem specifically. The real difficulty with the prophecy is that it divides the 70 weeks into three parts, 7, 62, and 1, weeks without explaining what the division refers to. Most commentators ignore the distinction between the 7 and 62 weeks. I personally believe these three parts refer to the full functioning of the Temple under a Gentile ruler. “..the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem” (Dan 9:25) means more than simply rebuilding the city. Jerusalem, the holy city, was the spiritual center for Israel where prescribed sacrifices were made in the Temple. For the city to be completely restored to its original state, the Temple would have to be functioning, and the walls rebuilt. Of course, this would not be possible without the explicit permission of the Gentile emperor ruling over both Judah and Jerusalem at the time. Even if Jerusalem had no walls, it could still serve its spiritual function if the Temple was in operation. After the decree of Cyrus to rebuild the Temple, the Jews returned to Jerusalem in 538 BC, but because of opposition from surrounding peoples, the Temple wasn’t completed until 515 BC. This is where the first seven weeks could begin. It would end in 466 BC. Evidently, a period where the Temple wasn’t functioning correctly (or at all) ensued until the time of Ezra, who brought gold and silver for buying the animal and other sacrifices and setting up appropriate priests and ritualism. If the end of the 62 weeks is the time of Christ’s crucifixion, c. 30 AD, then the beginning date would be c. 404 AD, or the beginning of the reign of Artaxerxes II. Artaxerxes gave a letter to Ezra authorizing the transport of the gold and silver to Jerusalem. The great question is when was this letter written, and when did Ezra arrive in Jerusalem? I believe the letter was written in the first year of Artaxerxes II reign. The letter gave fresh life to those in Jerusalem and provoked immediate reforms within the Temple. They would want to look as good as possible in front of Ezra. Ezra took seven years to personally return to Jerusalem due to many physical delays in accumulating the gold, silver, and other items, and locating and persuading the appropriate Temple priests to return with him. However, immediate relief to the Temple could have started with Ezra's permission. The last week is well known to refer to the time of the fourth beast who will “confirm the covenant for one week” (Dan 9:27). In other words, he will permit the Temple to exist on a fully functioning basis according to Jewish law. No Temple has functioned correctly in Jerusalem from the crucifixion of Christ until this day; this situation is prophesied to continue on until the fourth beast permits the temple to operate correctly.
I would like to comment on just Daniel 9:25, because I had Dr. Harold Hoehner @ Dallas Seminary for New Testament Introduction and Ephesians (in Greek, I think) -- 45 years ago! Daniel 9:25 "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." Daniel 9:25 describes a period of seven sevens and sixty-two sevens from the issuing of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem until the coming of an "Anointed One" who would be "put to death" (Daniel 9:26 NIV). This period of time (7 times 7 years, plus 62 times 7 years) equals 483 years. Jewish years were 360 days each, meaning 483 years times 360 would equal 173,880 days. This is equal to 476 years, 25 days using today's Western calendar system. At least one person has said, “Of the decrees that have been suggested as the starting point, only one matches the criteria of the prophecy: the 444 B.C. decree of Artaxerxes issued at the behest of Nehemiah, since it alone allowed for the rebuilding of the fortifications (walls, gates, and fortress) necessary to the eventual restoration of the city as implied in Daniel 9:25, “with plaza and moat.” Also, the conditions under which the restoration began, described in Nehemiah 4:1-23 and Nehemiah 6:1-14, match the conditions stated in the prophecy (Dan. 9:25). Due to the importance of this prophecy, one would expect that the implementation of such a decree would be well documented. And in fact, the book of Nehemiah, recorded a little over 130 years after the prophecy, does just that, documenting the beginning of the restoration of Jerusalem pursuant to Artaxerxes’ 444 B.C. decree, and the circumstances surrounding the initial work of restoration (Neh. 4:1-23; 6:1-14, cf. Dan. 9:25). Therefore a strong case can be made for viewing Artaxerxes’ 444 B.C. decree as the starting point for the prophecy. As to what event in the life of Messiah serves as the end point of the 69 weeks, the prophecy does not specify.” However, most who have researched this area note the starting point as 445 BC during the Hebrew month of Nisan (Nehemiah 2:1-8). This would result in this time period covering 445 BC to AD 30, the year in which the death of Jesus most likely took place. Those who believe the death of Jesus took place in AD 33 use similar calculations to show these dates reach up to this year (In particular, Harold Hoehner's Chronological Aspects of the Life of Jesus Christ persuasively argues the exact number lands in AD 33 on Palm Sunday when Jesus arrives as the Anointed One and is soon killed (or "cut off" (Daniel 9:26 ESV).
Daniel 9:24-27 is an amazing chronological prophecy. The timing of this prophecy was when Daniel was considering the impending end of the 70 years of Babylonian captivity, Daniel 9:1-2, Jeremiah 25:11-12, 29:10. But God through Gabriel diverted Daniel’s attention away from those 70 years to the future 70 times 7, or 490 years. The years are noted in multiples of sevens, thus “weeks.” Daniel was given the basic outlined plan for Israel, “your people” and “your holy city,” until all is finished, when the Millennium will come, fulfilling God’s 6-fold purpose in Daniel 9:24. Daniel was to know and understand certain details. The first was the chronological span from the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem to the Messiah the Prince of “seven weeks and sixty-two weeks,” Daniel 9:25 The equivalent is 49 years plus 434 years totaling 483 years. The 49 years (7 weeks) deal with the rebuilding of the street and wall in the troubled times of Nehemiah. That plus the remainder 434 years (62 weeks) ends at the “Messiah the Prince.” The specific timing of the beginning command and ending with the Messiah has been debated. A suggested span of time would be the decree in 457 BC, II Chronicles 36:22-23, Ezra 1:1-4, Isaiah 44:28, to the baptism of Christ in AD 27, Matthew 3:16-17. COMMAND, 457 BC to CHRIST, AD 27 7 weeks + 62 weeks = 69 weeks to Christ 49 years + 434 years = 483 years to Christ It is known that the Persian period is not accurately documented so that kings are mixed up and do not match their dates. The decree that best fits is Cyrus’ proclamation in 457 BC, Isaiah 44:28, II Chronicles 36:23. Also, Jesus was recognized as Messiah well before His triumphal entry, going back to the beginning of public ministry. At the sixty-ninth week, when Messiah’s ministry began, Israel’s clock stopped. Two events are mentioned after the sixty-ninth week: the crucifixion of the Messiah, which was in AD 30, and the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in AD 70. These events happen before the seventieth week. From the sixty-ninth week to the seventieth week is an unspecified gap of time that lasts until the clock is reset for Israel, described in 9:27. The seventieth week, Daniel 9:27, is the 7-year Tribulation, Jacob’s Trouble, Jeremiah 30:7, during which Israel will be judged. The covenant of verse 27 is not made by Christ, as many say. “He” refers to the “prince who will come,” verse 26, who is of the Roman people who destroyed Jerusalem in AD 70. He will make peace with “many” (Israel) for 7 years. But three and a half years later, he will end sacrifice and offering, and this “man of sin,” II Thessalonians 2:4, will set up the abomination of desolation, Matthew 24:15-22, and he will pour out his wrath on Jews and Christians. Then Christ will come. The seventy sevens, or 490 years, will then be completed, and the Millennium will begin.
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