Daniel's 70 Week Prophecy

 

PART 2

By
Lee Y. Martin, Ph.D., ©2008

 

 

VALENTIN DE BOULOGNE, The Last Supper 1625-26 Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Rome

Now that you understand from Part 1 how to count weeks of anything, and you know that the Biblical year is 360 days with twelve 30 day months, we can delve into the details of the prophecy of Daniel. Since his prophecy counts from the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar to Jesus’ death, before proceeding, let me apprise you of some facts related to the Passion Week.

Be aware that the Paschal Supper is not only a part of the Feast of Passover but also a part of the celebration of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the seven day festival following Passover day. Leaven had to be out of the house by the 14th when the Supper was eaten. The people sanitized their houses of leaven on the 13th, called the Day of Preparation. God established Passover to always occur on the 14th of Nisan [Numbers 9:2,3] – the first month of the Jewish religious calendar – and Unleavened Bread to begin on the 15th of Nisan [Exodus 12:18].

 
The
he Prophecy Prologue
 

 

The prophetic era of 70 weeks of years for Israel before her King Messiah sets up His Kingdom on earth is divided up in the Scriptures to represent three distinct groups of heptads. The first group is 7 heptads (weeks) or 49 years; the second group is 62 heptads (weeks) or 434 years; and the last group is 1 heptad (week) or 7 years. We will look at each group individually, but first let’s see what Daniel said:

Daniel 9:24-25
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.

We learn from verse 24 above, that 70 weeks are determined by God upon His people and holy city to make an end of transgressions against God by all men on the one hand and Israel in particular on the other and to anoint the most Holy for His reign on earth. Notice that Daniel’s prophecy speaks specifically to the nation Israel, not the Gentiles, which is why some Biblicists believe verse 24 is speaking only about the end of the Jews’ transgressions against God. I personally believe this is a case where the law of double reference applies as we shall see in the analysis. This prophecy, therefore, is pinpointing 1) when God would send His Savior to redeem earth and remove the barrier between men and God, and, 2) when the King Messiah/Savior would set up His Kingdom on earth.

The first three dealings in verse 24 – to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity – refer to Christ’s First Advent to die on the cross and end the reign of sin. There is no question that these blessings belong to the entire human race, but only become effective for people who receive them by faith unto salvation. Israel has not yet received reconciliation with God because she rejects the means by which reconciliation is made – Jesus’ work on the cross. Thus Israel is not yet reconciled to God.

The last three transactions of the verse – to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up (to finalize) the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy (to empower with the King’s holy oil for ruling) – refer to Christ’s Second Advent to establish the Kingdom of Heaven on earth and begin His reign of righteousness. These blessings have not yet been accomplished. Two thousand years has elapsed between the two sections of this verse, and I want you to notice that they are separated only by a comma. Remember this for I will come back to it.

 
Who
ho Are The Recipients Of Daniel’s Prophecy?
 

Because the prophecy is addressed to the Jews, some people believe the six blessings promised in verse 24 are given to Israel in particular and specifically to Judah since the Northern Kingdom had been dispersed into oblivion for almost 150 years at the giving of the prophecy. Nonetheless, the ten tribes are not extinct because God knows where every last descendent is located. Angels will gather them and bring them back [Matthew 24:31] according to their individual tribes at the setting up of Jesus’ Kingdom.

Nehemiah 1:9
9 But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there.

God has chosen Jerusalem as His dwelling place from which to rule [2 Chronicles 6:6], so all Jews will be gathered there from one end of heaven to the other. However, for the time being, the tribes have been forgotten and are virtually nonexistence, which is why all of Jacob is called by the tribe’s name holding the scepter of the Southern Kingdom – Judah.

The people of Judah became known as Judahites or Jews while in captivity in Babylon. Many tribal members of the Northern Kingdom migrated south to Judah when they began worshipping the bull idols set up by King Jeroboam after the Kingdom split. So the northern groups have always been represented in the Southern Kingdom. Even so, they did not completely disappear amidst the heathen nations when the Assyrians took them off in captivity as slaves. Unlike Babylon, which kept their captives as slaves in Babylon, the Assyrians dispersed the people of the Northern Kingdom on the slave auction blocks throughout the world.

Because of the disappearance of the northern tribes, Daniel’s prophecy is speaking to Judah and her citizenry, which includes people who migrated south. Since Judah rejected her Messiah when He came and has continued obstinate against God’s Son, she is still in transgression against God. Therefore, we can say that the first three prophetic blessings of Daniel 9:24 have yet to be fulfilled or completed for Israel. There is still not an end of sins for the Jews. But one day soon there will be.

Zechariah 13:1
13:1 In that day (the Day of the Lord) there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.

In the Day of the Lord1 when the fountain of forgiveness is opened to Israel, Jesus will be acknowledged as the Jews’ Messiah. It will happen after they cry for help because of their severe affliction in the tribulation.

Hosea 5:15-6:1
15 I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction (during the tribulation trial) they will seek me early.

Under persecution and tribulation, Jews will realize that the covenant with death [Isaiah 28:15,18] they made with the Antichrist was a lie as he begins his rampage to exterminate all Jews and non-worshippers of his image. Many Jews will repent of willful belligerence toward Jesus and receive Him as their Messiah. They will cry out to Him in their affliction as during the Exodus deliverance and God will answer. Then Jesus will return and cause the long awaited reconciliation between Himself and the Jewish remnant surviving the tribulation holocaust as He opens their blind eyes and removes the estrangement between them.

After the barrier is removed between God and His beloved nation, the next three blessings of Daniel’s prophetic oracle in verse twenty-four of chapter nine can be fulfilled. Just as soon as the Hebrews acknowledge Jesus as their Messiah, He can rescue the world and set up His Kingdom. Israel will become head of nations from which He rules earth. Since the Most Holy One will be ruling, there will be no more need for prophecies and visions. Prophecy and visions will cease [1 Corinthians 13:8], and Daniel’s vision will be ‘sealed up’, terminated, and finalized as the prophetic utterance of Daniel so predicts.

Biblical Time Lapses

Therefore, (make note of this because it sheds light on a proper understanding of the following analysis of the 70 Weeks prophecy), when Israel rejected her Messiah 2,000 years ago, the first three blessings of verse 24, although fulfilled for all people, were not received by her. Because she is still in transgression against God, the last three blessings are awaiting the first three to happen. So, the comma separating the six blessings, which I told you to note earlier, put a hold on the time clock of prophetic years for the age of Israel. The clock won’t start running again until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in [Romans 11:25] and the body of Christ is removed [2 Thessalonians 2:7,8].

The comma in Daniel’s prophecy has represented so far at least 2,000 years. As we will see, this Hebraic custom of no syntactical break between time lapses is found throughout Scripture. A major reason for this is because there are no punctuation marks in the Hebrew language. A simple comma or a period in English supplies punctuation that separates months, years, or even millenniums in the narrative of the Bible. A clear illustration is found in Isaiah.

Isaiah 61:1-2
61:1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
 

As has been said, there are no punctuation marks in Hebrew; so the translators of the Old Testament have supplied a comma in the above verse two for ease of reading. Also, there is no Hebrew word for ‘and’ here. Without the comma and the ‘and’, the words run together in Hebrew such as “ …to proclaim the year of favor of Yahweh the day of vengeance of our God…” showing no syntactical break. The interpreter has to interpret a break between the two parts of the Hebrew words.

In this clarifying case of Isaiah chapter 61:1,2, we have the best interpreter of all, Jesus. While teaching in the synagogues, He separated the acceptable or favorable year from the day of vengeance. In Luke 4:18-20, the New Testament’s parallel passage for Isaiah, He closed the book after reading the acceptable year of the Lord. Why? It’s because the day of vengeance was way down the corridors of time but the year of the Lord’s favor was present in their midst.

Luke 4:18-20
18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.

Every where He went, Jesus used this Isaiah text to open His teaching in the synagogues explaining that He was the anointed one sent from God to be the Messiah King of the Kingdom of God, which had arrived [Matthew 4:17]. He proved that their King was in their midst because everywhere He went, He was setting the captives free from sickness and disease, binding up the brokenhearted, and proclaiming liberty for all who were imprisoned by notions of poverty and lack. He told them to take no thought for what to eat, drink, or wear because God was their Father and would see that they had what they needed since His riches were beyond comprehension.

The problem was that most of the people were expecting to be set physically, materially, and socially free from Rome, but Jesus was alluding to spiritual freedom from bondages at the time of His first arrival because He knew there could be no crown before the cross. After the cross, however, it’s a different matter. The sky is the limit for if you have faith…nothing shall be impossible unto you [Mark 17:20].

Since sickness and disease is a spiritual matter (being a consequential condition brought on because of original sin in the garden), the year of the Lord’s favor was alluding to the fact that God had finally sent His ransom for sin and its consequences in the person of His Son, and hence mankind was being highly favored by God. Isaiah calls the time of Jesus’ arrival as …a day of salvation…[49:8] or deliverance. Anyone who believed Jesus’ message could be free from fear of sickness, disease, and lack of substance thus delivering them from internal and external undernourishment.

Wherefore, the acceptable year of the Lord was the time of Jesus’ first sojourn on earth as He set the captives free with His miracles and preaching. It was indeed a year of Jubilee to all who would receive His Words. But since the day of vengeance was a long way off, He closed the book in a highly significant syntactical break showing that Isaiah was speaking about two different times separated by umpteen years.

In Isaiah’s parallel passage to Luke’s, he spoke about the acceptable year of the Lord, as the manifestation of Jesus’ First Advent, and in the next breath proclaimed the day of vengeance which has not yet happened for nearly 2000 years but will happen at Jesus’ Second Advent. So Biblical time lapses must be searched out by comparing Scripture with Scripture.

DUCCIO di Buoninsegna: Isaiah 1308-11, National Gallery of Art, Washington.  Web Gallery of Art
 
aniel’s Prophetic Break Infers The Age Of Grace
 

Having accomplished His mission to earth and making an end of sins on the cross, Jesus could have returned to earth and established His Kingdom immediately after His resurrection. In the third chapter of Acts, Peter proclaimed as much and appealed to the Jewish Sanhedrin to repent of their mistake in rejecting Jesus and accept Him as their Messiah.

Acts 3:19-20
19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:

Had they repented of their crime of crucifying Christ, the seventieth week of Daniel’s prophecy might have run its course without a break. Sadly, they were impenitent and refused Peter’s appeal because the Jews were merely looking for a return of their national sovereignty, not a Savior for sins. It is obvious that they did not want a disgraced crucified weakling for a leader. Instead of Messiah ben Joseph (a suffering Messiah servant ), they wanted Messiah ben David (a kingly Messiah ruler).


Nevertheless, the end of sins has happened for any Gentile (and Jew) who accepts Jesus as their Christ (or Messiah) and Lord. God has temporarily set aside His national heritage to call out anyone to become part of a bridehood for His Son, anyone who will believe He is God’s anointed One, yes anyone who will not be as obstinate in responding to the gospel message as have been the Jews in hearkening to the unconditional covenant promises of God’s Word.

Yet the manifested Kingdom of God still awaits the Jews’ recognition and reception of their King Messiah since He hails from them. Thus we are in a time period called a parenthesis or intercalation (an insertion). This period is commonly referred to as the Age of Grace during which a body of believers becomes the body of Christ and His bride throughout eternity. Its duration is known only to God. This keeps satan at a disadvantage because he doesn’t know when God will move to take away Jesus’ bride from judgment and bring her home to heaven. It forces the evil one to feverishly act so that with a bit of luck he might possibly prevent his incarceration in hell for he knows that after the rapturing of the bride to heaven, he has only seven years left. No matter what satan does, though, God is always two steps ahead of him and his doom is sealed.

Job 5:12-13
12 He (God) disappointeth the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot perform their enterprise.
13 He taketh the wise in their own craftiness: and the counsel of the froward (the wicked) is carried headlong (to destruction).
 
he First Grouping Of 7 Heptads --- 7 Weeks Of Years
 

The first group of Daniel’s seven heptads (49 years) constitutes the period during which the restoration of Jerusalem takes place. We can pinpoint it exactly but we must first know the date when the prophetic era of 70 weeks started.

Verse 25 explains when the countdown begins. It says …from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks… [v. 25]. So this sets our beginning point. It is when the commandment was given to restore and rebuild Jerusalem.

We know from Scripture, with secular sources confirming it, that this order was issued to Nehemiah by the king of Persia on March 14, 445 B.C.E. [Nehemiah 2:4-6]. Secular sources verify that this date of 445 B.C.E. given in the Bible occurred in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes Longimanus’ reign in Persia exactly like the Scripture declares. Both the Bible and secular sources agree that this was the 20th year of Artaxerxes’ reign. Forty-nine years later the city and walls of Jerusalem were finished, but it was built in troublous times as the prophecy predicted, which sets it apart from the other decrees issued by the kings of Persia. Those earlier decrees relate to the restoration of the Temple and are reported in the book of Ezra.

The troublous times stem from local surrounding neighbors in nearby Samaria who did not want Jerusalem rebuilt. They kept harassing the returnees with threats and skirmishes that slowed down the building of the wall.

We know that King Cyrus of Persia decreed that Zerubbabel was to return and rebuild the Temple of the Lord [Ezra 1:2] ending the Babylonian captivity. And there were two other decrees given concerning the Temple and worship. These, however, were not decrees related to the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem and its walls, which was the commandment that started the clock running for Israel’s last three phases of her disciplinary era of judgment by God as per Daniel. The timing is exact and the outcomes sure.

We know that the first part of Daniel’s prophecy – the sixty-nine heptads – has been fulfilled precisely as you are about to see, and I am confident that the last part will no doubt perfect and authenticate God’s Word as well. From this prophecy, we know that God wants His plans for dealing with sin and judgment known to men, but only to those with ears to hear and eyes to see. I do not want you bogged down in dates, however, so I am only going to mention the critical ones that clearly relate to where we are in time today.

It took 49 years to rebuild the city and this comprises the first group of 7 heptads of the prophecy. Another reason this 7 heptads was separated from the bulk of the 62 heptads is probably because 49 years after the decree to rebuild the city, we come to the date of the last prophet of the Old Testament – Malachi. After Malachi, there is approximately 400 years of drought of not hearing a word from the Lord by a prophet. God was signaling for us to note something important at the end of 7 heptads – the city and walls of Jerusalem were finished, and the Old Testament was complete.

 
he Second Grouping of 62 Heptads --- 62 Weeks Of Years
 

The second grouping of 62 heptads comprises the time (434 years) after the completion of rebuilding the city of Jerusalem to Messiah the Prince (Messiah Nagid in the Hebrew). Nagid in Hebrew means a commander, one who occupies the foremost position and stands boldly out in front. Hence, it is synonymous for a king. And since ‘Messiah’ comes from a Hebrew root word meaning ‘to anoint’, the Hebrew ‘Messiah Nagid’ of verse 25 is an Hebrew idiom for ‘King Messiah’ or ‘The Anointed King’. Using this title, God discloses when He would send His Anointed Son, Jesus, to rescue earth from the outlaw who usurped it from Adam.

When we add the 7 heptads in the first grouping to the 62 heptads in the second, we come up with 69 heptads or weeks of years, which equals 483 Biblical years (69 x 7 weeks of years = 483 years). Multiplying 360 days in a Biblical year times 483 years we get 173,880 days (483 x 360 days = 173,880 days). Therefore, the prophecy states that there would be 173,880 days unto the Messiah the Prince [v.25]. Hence, Daniel was given the exact day that ‘The Anointed One’ of God, Jesus Christ, would present Himself as the Messiah to the Jews.

From the day of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem – March 14, 445 B.C.E. – to the day that God’s anointed King would present Himself to the Jews as their long awaited Messiah would be 173,880 days.

 

 

 

(Zechariah 9:9)
9 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.

Jesus presented Himself to the people the day He rode into Jerusalem on the back of a foal of an ass [John 12:14-16] exactly as prophesied by Zechariah – Palm Sunday, April 6, 32 C.E. on the Gregorian calendar and Nisan 10, 32 C.E. on the Jewish calendar.

Verse 26 of Isaiah records that …after threescore and two weeks (173,880) shall Messiah be cut off… Note that it was four days later that Jesus was crucified because He was presented as King on the day that the perennial lamb for the Passover meal was chosen, which was Sunday the 10th of Nisan. The Jewish leaders should have acclaimed Him as their King Messiah on that day, but they didn’t. This agrees with verse 26 in stating that it was after 173,880 that He was cut off. Therefore, the prophecy is accurate to the very day of the presentation of King Messiah to the Jews.

Regardless of which calendar one uses to calculate the dates, whether the Gentile Gregorian one or the Jewish Biblical one, it invariably comes out to 173,880 days from the time of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem unto the Messiah. Therefore, the exact duration of Daniel’s 69 weeks of years is equal to precisely 173,880 days. 2

Click on next for Daniel's 70 Week Prophecy: Continutation of Part 2

 

 
Footnotes: (click on hightlighted word to return)
1
  See “The Rapture Series” for a discussion of the Day of the Lord. (when)
2
Calculating 173,880 days using the Gregorian calendar:
• March 14, 445 B.C.E. to March 14, 32 C.E. = 476 years of 365 days = 173,740 days
(There is no zero year so from 1 B.C.E. to 1 C.E. is only 1 year)
• March 14 to April 6, 32 C.E. (Palm Sunday) = 24 days added to = 173,764 days
• Leap days occurring during the period = 116 days added to = 173,880 days
(Calculated by the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, United Kingdom)
 

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Thursday, August 15, 2013 12:41 PM