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The Seventieth Week in Daniel
Written by arkwriter   
Wednesday, 23 September 2009 18:22

The  Seventieth  Week in  Daniel 

Paul  Wong

 

Messianic Judaism or Christianity is based on the absolute certainty and accuracy of God's Word, the Holy Bible. If the prophecies in the Bible are not true, then the whole religion would have no foundation to stand on.  The Lord Jesus said, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.” (Jn. 5:39) 

After His death, burial and resurrection our Lord spoke to His disciples, “Then He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me."  And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.” (Lk. 24:44-45)

One of the most amazing prophecies that concern the first advent of the Messiah was revealed by the angel Gabriel to the prophet Daniel during his prayer.  Here is the prophecy.

9:24  Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy.

9:25  Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times. 

9:26  And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined. 

9:27  Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate." 

Purpose  of  the  Messiah’s

Coming  to  Jerusalem

Let us now study the actual verses of the prophecy. 

In Daniel 9:24 the One True God would accomplish six objectives for His people and Jerusalem during the seventy weeks (490 years). 

1.    “To finish the transgression,”

2.          “To make an end of sins,”

3.          “To make reconciliation for iniquity,”

4.   “To bring in everlasting righteousness,”

5.          “To seal up vision and prophecy,”

6.          “And to anoint the Most Holy.” 

1. “To finish the transgression,”  

The prophet Isaiah wrote about the Messiah’s atonement, “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.” (Isa. 53:5) “And when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, he gave up His Spirit.” (Jn. 19:30)  At Calvary, Jesus finished the transgression by becoming sin for us. (2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 2:24; Heb. 9:15)   

2. “To make an end of sins,”  

The same angel Gabriel who revealed this prophecy to Daniel also appeared to the virgin Mary and revealed she would be the mother of our Lord and Savior. (Lk. 1:26-33)  “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus (Yahshua in Hebrew) for He will save His people from their sins.” (Mt. 1:21)  “The next day John saw Jesus coming towards him, and said, ‘Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (Jn. 1:29)  “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor. 5:21)  In the Old Testament animal sacrifices there could be no end of sins (Heb. 10:1-11).  “But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, . . . then He adds, ‘Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.  Now where there is no remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.” (Heb. 10:12-18) 

3. “To make reconciliation for iniquity,”   

“Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.” (Isa. 59:1-2)  The Lord Jesus Christ came to reconcile us to God.  “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, That is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” (2 Cor. 5:18-19)  

4. “To bring in everlasting righteousness,”  

The Bible indicates, “But we are all an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are like filthy rags;  We all fade as a leaf and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away” (Isa. 64:6)  Our Lord Jesus Christ alone can “bring in everlasting righteousness,”   “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor. 5:21)  When we put our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ we make an exchange – our sin for His righteousness.  Our sin was poured into the Messiah when He was crucified.  His righteousness is poured into us when we receive Him as our Lord and Savior.  His righteousness is everlasting. 

5. “To seal up vision and prophecy,”  

Some interpret this as the fulfillment of Daniel’s vision and prophecy but others interpret it as a concealment of them from the Jews until the End Time. 

The original Hebrew word for “seal” is “chatham” {khaw-tham}

Strong’s  # 02856:  to seal up, affix a seal, to seal up, fasten up by sealing, to seal, to lock up, to be stopped.

The same Hebrew word “chatham” is used again by Daniel in Daniel 12:4,9.

4.  "But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal (chatham) the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase."

9.           “And he said, "Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed (chatham) till the time of the end.” 

From these two verses that were also written by Daniel it may be concluded that God wanted the vision and prophecy that were shown by the angel Gabriel to be sealed up but will be revealed to the Jews at the End Time.  When our Lord Jesus Christ came to the Children of Israel about two thousand years ago they had rejected Him as their Messiah and shouted, “Crucify Him, crucify Him.” (Lk. 23:21) “He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.” (Jn. 1:11)  Only a small remnant of Israel had accepted Jesus as their Messiah in the first century (Rom. 11:5; 9:27).  “Just as it is written:  ‘God has given them a spirit of stupor, Eyes that they should not see and ears that they should not hear to this very day.” (Rom. 11:8)  “For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that hardening in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.  And so all Israel will be saved, . . .” (Rom. 11:25-26)

6. “And to anoint the Most Holy”  

The purpose of anointing which is applying the oil is to dedicate a person or thing to God.  It signifies holiness or separation unto God.  Prophets (1 Kng. 19:16; 1 Chron. 16:22), priests (Ex. 28:41; 29:7; Lev. 8:12:30), and kings were anointed (1 Sam. 9:16; 16:1, 12-13; 2 Sam. 2:7; 1 Kng. 1:34).  The Lord Jesus Christ is a Prophet (Deut. 18:15,18; Mt. 13:54-58), Priest (Heb. 4:14) and King (Jn. 18:36-37; Mt. 21:4-11; Rev. 19:16).   

To whom does the “Most Holy” refer to?  In the Old Testament the One True God says, “To whom then will you liken Me, Or to whom shall I be equal?" says the Holy One.” (Isa. 40:25)   I am the LORD, your Holy One, The Creator of Israel, your King." (Isa. 43:15)  In the New Testament the “Most Holy” refers to the Lord Jesus Christ.  An angel said to Mary, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.” (Lk. 1:35)  On the Day of Pentecost Peter preached, “For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.” (Acts 2:27, ref. Psm. 16:10)  “But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,” (Acts 3:14). 

During our Lord Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry He fulfilled Daniel’s prophecy, “And to anoint the Most Holy.” (Dan. 9:24)  Let us read Luke 4:16-21. 

16.   So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.

17.   And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:

18.           The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To preach liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed;

19.           To preach the acceptable year of the LORD."

20.   Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him.

21.   And He began to say to them, "Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Time of the Seventy Weeks  

 

"Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times.” (Dan. 9:25) 

Starting Point of the Seventy Weeks

There are several commandments or decrees in Israel’s history which have been suggested as the starting point of the seventy weeks. 

1.          The decree of Cyrus, 539 B.C. (Ezra 1:1-4)2.          The decree of Darius, 519 B.C. (Ezra 5:3-7)3.          The decree of Artaxerxes to Ezra, 457 B.C. (Ezra 7:11-16)4.          The decree of Artaxerxes to Nehemiah, 444 B.C. (Neh. 2:1-8) 

However, Daniel’s prophecy is “to restore and build Jerusalem” therefore the only one that appears to fit the data accurately is number four, the decree of Artaxerxes to Nehemiah. The decrees of Cyrus and Darius were to rebuild the temple and not the city of Jerusalem. Even the decree of Artaxerxes given to Ezra was for the temple. Nehemiah interceded with Artaxerxes to let him return to Jerusalem to rebuild the city. When he arrived in Jerusalem he exhorted the people, “You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach. . . . So they said, ‘Let us rise up and build.’ Then they set their hands to do this good work.” (Neh. 2:17-18)  

The starting point of this prophecy is believed by most conservative scholars to be the date of Artaxerxes permitting the rebuilding of Jerusalem The decree of Artaxerxes given to Nehemiah is in the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of his reign which is dated at 444 B.C. (Neh. 2:1-8) Due to lack of chronological records in Biblical history the year dates are only approximations.

“Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city.” The seventy weeks is the period of time for this prophecy that pertains mainly to the children of Israel and Jerusalem. It consists of two distinct time periods. “There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks.” This first time period consists of sixty-nine weeks. Most biblical scholars are in agreement that this sixty nine weeks are sixty nine “shabuas” or seven year periods (Lev. 25:2-4,8). So this first time period has a total of 69 times 7 equals 483 years (69 x 7 = 483).

Interpretations of the Seventieth Week

Various Bible scholars have different views on the interpretation of the seventieth week. “Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week.” This one week is definitely separated and distinct from the other previous sixty nine weeks. There are three methods of interpretations for this seventieth week. 

1.          A seven year period that is consecutive and continuous with the first time period of 483 years.

2.          A seven year period that is separated from the first time period of 483 years with an undetermined time gap of two thousand years or more.

3.          A literal one week consisting of seven days that is consecutive and continuous with the first time period of 483 years. 

This author believes the third method of interpretation is correct because it focuses and places emphasis on the Messiah’s atonement for sin as clearly stated in the prophecy. 

Time of the Messiah’s Coming to Jerusalem

Daniel’s Messianic prophecy has a great impact not only on the Children of Israel and Jerusalem but indeed also on the entire human race in the whole world.  

“Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city.” (Dan. 9:24) This prophecy determines the time for God’s Messiah to appear in Jerusalem. The starting point of this prophecy is “from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem" (Dan. 9:25)

Only one decree (command) is possible here. The decree to rebuild Jerusalem came in the month of Nisan in King Artaxerxes' twentieth year (Nehemiah 2:1-8). Jewish custom was that if no day is given concerning a royal decree in the month of Nisan, then the first day of the month applies. As the Talmud puts it, "The first day of the month Nisan is the New Year for the computation of the reign of kings and for festivals." The Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England calculated this to be March 14, 445 B.C. Note that Daniel was given this prophecy about 100 years before that decree would come.

Concerning the first 483 years (69x7) some biblical scholars have calculated the fulfillment of this to the very day when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey (Mt. 21:1-11). Revelation refers to the second 3½ years of the appearance of the two witnesses as 1,260 days and as 42 months (Rev. 11:2,3; 13:5). This would give us a 360 day year instead of our 365¼ day solar year. If the 483 years in Daniel 9 are to be understood the same way then that would come out to 173,880 days (483x360). To convert this into our solar years, we divide by 365.25 and get 476.05 (173,880 / 365.25). According to the Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia, the commandment of Artaxerxes I to Nehemiah to rebuild Jerusalem (Dan. 9:25) was in 444 BC. (This is also recorded in Nehemiah 2) 476 years - 444 BC = 32 + 1 (because 1 BC to 1 AD is one year, there is no year 0) brings us to 33 AD which is the year many scholars date the crucifixion (for various other reasons). The triumphal entry of our Lord into Jerusalem was just a few days before the crucifixion. However, even if we are not positive on some of these dates, the time frame is close enough that it is obvious that our Lord Jesus Christ has certainly fulfilled the prophecy of Daniel.     

May God bless you

 

This article is a presentation by Paul Wong

to the ARK Forum on December 21, 2001

It was published on this Website on September 22, 2009

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Last Updated on Thursday, 24 September 2009 04:00