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Chapter 9:

A Study of the Seventy Weeks

 

Because Daniel’s prophecy of the Seventy Weeks makes Bible prophecy so easy to understand, it should be no surprise that many attempts have been made to discredit it as a prophecy that pertains to our future. This chapter will examine some of the many different competing views which have been put forward by scholars over the years, views which are not supported by the Bible or by plain common sense.

 

The Starting Point of the Seventy Weeks

Here is Daniel’s prophecy that predicted the exact time of the appearance of the Messiah:

"Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree 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

The prophetic countdown would begin when the "decree" to restore and rebuild Jerusalem was given. The word translated as "decree" in this Bible version (NIV) comes from the Hebrew word dabar. The NASB also translates dabar as "decree," while the KJV and ASV give it as "commandment," and the NKJV translates it as "command." However, by far the most common translation of the Hebrew word dabar is simply as "word." Daniel’s prophecy would begin when the "word" to rebuild Jerusalem was given.

When was this "word" given? There are several different possibilities that we will examine:

1. The decree of King Cyrus of Persia in 538 BC.

2. The decree of King Darius, given in 520 BC, confirming the earlier decree made by Cyrus.

3. The decree made by King Artaxerxes of Babylon in 457 BC.

4. The decree made by King Artaxerxes in 445 BC.

 

The decree made by King Cyrus is recorded in 2 Chronicles 36:23, Ezra 1:1-4 and Ezra 6:1-5. It was a written proclamation given specifically for the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem: "This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: ‘The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah.’ "

The decree given by Cyrus was described as a qowl in the original Hebrew text. It is not a dabar and it is interpreted in English as a "proclamation." It was given to bring about the rebuilding of the Temple, and Cyrus makes no mention of the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem in this decree.

Some scholars point to Isaiah 44:28 and 45:13 as proof that Cyrus did issue an order to rebuild Jerusalem, but this order is not recorded in the Bible and the date of it is unknown. When Daniel received the prophecy of the Seventy Weeks the angel Gabriel told him to "Know therefore and understand…" How would this decree be understood if it was never mentioned in Scripture? There was no decree that was given by Cyrus that fulfilled the specifications regarding Daniel’s prophecy and the dabar to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. If such as a decree was given, then the Messiah would have appeared to Jerusalem 483 years after it was given. Cyrus’ reign lasted from 559-530 BC, meaning that the Messiah would have come in the time of roughly 76-47 BC. Clearly the decree given by Cyrus does no fit the qualifications of the dabar to rebuild Jerusalem as written down in Daniel 9:25.

 

The decree of King Darius is recorded in Ezra 6:6-12. In the years after the reign of King Cyrus the Jews had returned to Babylon and begun to rebuild the Temple. At the time of Darius this work was still being done, but some of the Persian officials questioned the Jews’ authority to do it. A search was made for the original decree given by Cyrus, it was found, and then Darius simply decreed that work should continue and the Temple should be rebuilt, just as Cyrus had decreed. The decree made by Darius made no mention of rebuilding the city, and for the same reasons given for Cyrus’ decree, this decree had nothing to do with the dabar to rebuild Jerusalem as prophesied by Daniel.

 

The decree given by King Artaxerxes in 457 BC is recorded in Ezra 7:11-26. It was a decree allowing Ezra and many Jewish families to leave Babylon and return to Israel. This decree was made concerning the Temple of God, and Ezra was allowed to take back with him all of the Temple articles that had been stolen by Babylon years earlier. Ezra was allowed to create a fund and to take silver, wheat, wine, olive oil and salt to make sure that worship in the Temple might be adequately supported. Ezra was also given authority over the entire region to teach and to judge regarding the Laws of Israel.

This decree made no mention of the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem. In fact, when Artaxerxes first took office he received a report that the Jews were rebuilding Jerusalem, restoring the walls and repairing the foundations. After hearing this Artaxerxes issued an order that all of this work should stop, "so that this city will not be rebuilt until I so order," (Ezra 4:21). Ezra was allowed to return to Jerusalem in the seventh year of Artaxerxes’ reign, but he was not given permission to rebuild the city. The decree in Ezra 7:11-26 only concerned a repatriation of some of the Jews and the promotion of the Temple worship. Artaxerxes' decree in 457 BC did not fulfill the predicted dabar to rebuild Jerusalem that was prophesied by Daniel.

 

The decree given by King Artaxerxes in 445 BC is recorded in Nehemiah 2:1-9,

"In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before; so the king asked me, ‘Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.’ I was very much afraid, but I said to the king, ‘May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my fathers are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?’ The king said to me, ‘What is it you want?’ Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king, ‘If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my fathers are buried so that I can rebuild it.’ Then the king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked me, ‘How long will your journey take, and when will you get back?’ It pleased the king to send me; so I set a time…"

Nehemiah asked King Artaxerxes if he might return to Jerusalem in order to rebuild it, and King Artaxerxes granted his request. Earlier in his reign Artaxerxes had commanded that the unauthorized rebuilding of Jerusalem be stopped until he give official permission for it to begin. In the 20th year of his reign Artaxerxes finally gave that permission to his royal bartender, the Jewish prophet Nehemiah.

Nehemiah also asked the king for a letter giving him safe-conduct to Israel, and for a letter allowing him to take timbers from the king’s forest to rebuild the gates, the walls and his own residence in Jerusalem. These letters then became proof that the king had given permission for the rebuilding of the holy city of Jerusalem. Some scholars believe that the letters constitute the dabar, or the decree, to rebuild the city. This can be easily refuted because the letters themselves were not any sort of decree or word that dealt directly with rebuilding Jerusalem. The dabar to rebuild the city was simply the verbal permission given to Nehemiah by Artaxerxes. This dabar was backed up by the letters that Nehemiah was given, but the letters themselves were not the dabar.

After Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem and surveyed the terrible shape that the city was in, he approached the Jewish officials who controlled the city, "Then I said to them, ‘You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.’ " (Nehemiah 2:17)

Then Nehemiah told them about the authority that he had received from King Artaxerxes to carry out this task, "Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king's words [dabar, pl.] that he had spoken unto me." (Nehemiah 2:18)

It was the verbal permission that Nehemiah received that constituted the dabar to rebuild the holy city of Jerusalem, as predicted in Daniel 7:25. After hearing this the Jews responded by saying, "Let us start rebuilding."

The prophet Daniel predicted that the city would be rebuilt, "…but in times of trouble." This was certainly the case, because Nehemiah seemed to face opposition to the rebuilding of the city from every side. After the building began Nehemiah was forced to arm half of his men with swords and spears to protect the workers from the Arabs, the Ammonites and the men of Ashdod who were threatening to attack. Later on, Israel’s enemies created lies and distortions to try to end Artaxerxes’ support for Nehemiah. But when the wall around Jerusalem was completed, Israel’s enemies realized their plots and intimidations had failed (Nehemiah 4 and 6).

The dabar given by Artaxerxes in 445 BC is the only one in history that fulfilled the words of the prophet Daniel, that were to mark the beginning of the Seventy Weeks,

"Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree [dabar] 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."

The 69-week countdown until the coming of the Messiah began in the month of Nisan, in the 20th year of the reign of King Artaxerxes Longimanus of Babylon, who began his reign in July, 465 BC. (1) The first day of the month of Nisan in his 20th year corresponds to March 14, 445 BC. 483 prophetic (2) years later Jesus rode into Jerusalem as the crowd acknowledged Him as the Messiah.

The next section will deal with viewpoints which dispute the fact that the appearance of Jesus Christ to Jerusalem on the back of a donkey was the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy.

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When did the Messiah "come" in fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy?

"From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes…" Daniel 9:25

There are three possible answers to the question above:

1. Jesus fulfilled Daniel’s prophecy at His birth, dated anywhere from 7 BC to 1 AD.

2. Jesus fulfilled Daniel’s prophecy at His baptism, dated differently from 27-30 BC.

3. Jesus fulfilled Daniel’s prophecy when He publicly entered Jerusalem as the Messiah in 32 AD.

The birth of Jesus Christ is considered by some to be the predicted appearance of the Messiah to Israel. However, there are several problems with this view. First of all, it lacks a starting point. Daniel predicted that there would be seven "weeks" and sixty-two "weeks" from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem until the appearance of the Messiah. Sixty-nine weeks is 483 years, and 483 years before Jesus’ birth, within the period of roughly 490-482 BC, there is no historical record of a decree being issued to rebuild the city of Jerusalem.

Another major point to address is the fact that Daniel’s prophecy was given concerning two things:

"Seventy `sevens' are decreed for your people and your holy city…" (Daniel 9:24)

The prophecy concerns the Jews and the holy city of Jerusalem. It begins with the command to rebuild Jerusalem; in Daniel 9:26 it involves the destruction of Jerusalem; and in verse 27 the prophecy will involve renewed sacrifices in Jerusalem’s Temple and the abomination of desolation. If this prophecy is given to Jerusalem and involves Jerusalem, then certainly the appearance of the Messiah would involve Jerusalem as well. Unfortunately for proponents of this view the birth of Jesus took place in Bethlehem.

A final point is that Jesus refrained from making a definitive, public and verbal claim to be the Messiah until He entered Jerusalem in 32 AD. If He had fulfilled Daniel’s prophecy at an earlier date then why did He keep the plain truth of His identity from the public?

 

The baptism of Jesus Christ is the preferred choice for the fulfillment of the appearance of the Messiah for a number of scholars. But it lacks Biblical support in the same areas as that of His birth. The starting point for this date of fulfillment would be near to 457 BC, when Artaxerxes made the decree allowing Ezra to return to Israel. But as shown above, this decree had nothing to do with the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem. And just as His birth, the baptism of Jesus had nothing to do with the city of Jerusalem. It took place on the edge of Galilee in the river Jordan.

The plain truth is that everything about Jesus’ ministry pointed to the day when He entered Jerusalem on a donkey. Only then did He publicly acknowledge to the entire nation, at the beginning of the national Passover holiday, that He was indeed the Messiah. If Jesus fulfilled Daniel’s prediction for the coming of the Messiah at His baptism, then what possible explanation exists for His refusal to publicly and definitively acknowledge His Messiahship until the triumphal entry?

 

The triumphal entry of Jesus Christ as the Messiah to the holy city of Jerusalem took place, as calculated in Chapter One, in the spring of 32 AD. The Biblical record is clear that prior to this momentous occasion Jesus refrained from making definitive Messianic claims of Himself in public.

In Nazareth after His baptism near the beginning of His ministry, Jesus read a passage containing Messianic implications from Isaiah’s scroll, and then He said, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." Yet Jesus only claimed to be a prophet before He was thrown out of the synagogue.

After leaving Nazareth He journeyed to Capernaum, where He again spoke at a synagogue on the Sabbath. There He was confronted with a demon-possessed man, and upon seeing Jesus the demon spoke through the man and said,"Ha! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God!" The demon recognized that Jesus was the Messiah, but Jesus told the demon to be quiet and then cast it out. After Jesus left the synagogue He went to the home of Peter’s mother-in-law. There He healed the sick and performed many miracles. Luke records, "Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, ‘You are the Son of God!’ But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Christ" (Luke 4).  Jesus wanted to keep His identity a secret, because He wanted the people and Israel’s leaders to decide who He was on their own, without any sort of undue prodding or influence.

Over the course of His ministry Jesus did slowly reveal who He was to a number of individuals, but only on a private basis. At one time He struck up a conversation with a Samaritan woman beside a well. After pointing out her sinful past the woman marveled at Jesus’ ability to know this, and then she wondered, "I know that Messiah is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us." Jesus responded to her by saying, "I who speak to you am he." After this the woman went into the village and because of her testimony the village invited Jesus to stay with them. After they had listened to Jesus they said to the woman, "…we know that this man really is the Savior of the world." However, these people were Samaritans, and this did not constitute a public revelation to Israel (John 4).

At another time Jesus privately challenged His own disciples as to the nature of His identity,

"When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ ‘But what about you?’ he asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven…’ Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ." Matthew 16:13-20

Jesus continued to refrain from making definitive verbal Messianic claims of Himself both before and after He was rejected as the Messiah by the religious leaders of Israel. At one time after He was rejected, His own brothers asked Him to accompany them to the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem. They wondered why He was continuing to be publicly vague about His identity saying, "No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world." Jesus responded by saying, "The right time for me has not yet come; for you any time is right. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil. You go to the Feast. I am not yet going up to this Feast, because for me the right time has not yet come." The right time had not yet come for the Messiah to publicly appear to Israel and Jerusalem in fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy. For this reason Jesus decided to go to the Feast alone and in secret, without His brothers (John 7).

While at the feast Jesus spoke in the Temple and His cover was blown. The Jews at the feast asked Him, "Who are you." Jesus responded by saying "Just what I have been claiming all along." Again, Jesus refused to clearly say "I am the Messiah" (John 8:25).

The next time Jesus came to Jerusalem was at the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah),

"It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple area walking in Solomon's Colonnade. The Jews gathered around him, saying, ‘How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.’ Jesus answered, ‘I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father's name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one.’ " John 10:22-29

Jesus did tell Israel’s leaders who He was, but it was not through His own verbal claims, rather it was through His Messianic miracles that He had claimed and proven Himself to be the Messiah.

Jesus waited until the 10th of Nisan at the outset of the Feast of Passover, in the spring of 32 AD, exactly 173,880 days after Artaxerxes gave the word to rebuild Jerusalem, to make the public claim that He was the Messiah. On this day He told His disciples to first go ahead of Him and bring back to Him a young donkey that had been made ready. Daniel predicted the day on which the Messiah would come to Jerusalem, and the prophet Zechariah predicted the manner in which that would take place,

"Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey." Zechariah 9:9

Daniel’s prophecy states, "…until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes…" The word "ruler" is the Hebrew word nagiyd. The Messiah would come as one who had authority to rule, and that is how the people greeted Him as He rode into Jerusalem on the back of the donkey. They cried out,

"Blessed is the king, who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!" and "Blessed is the king of Israel!" (Luke 19:38, Mark 11:10, John 12:13)

By riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, while the crowd cheered Him as the Messiah, Jesus was making a provocative, unmistakable and Scriptural claim to be Israel’s Messiah. This was a very public and definitive claim, made to the nation of Israel and to the city of Jerusalem at the national Feast of Passover. There was no mistaking His claim. Prior to this time Jesus had rebuked those who wanted to publicly proclaim Him as the Messiah, but on this day Jesus said that if the people were silent the very stones would testify that He was the Messiah! (Luke 19:40)

Before Jesus entered Jerusalem He stopped and wept over it, because He had already been rejected. He knew that the nation of Israel as a whole did not understand the day that was being fulfilled, and He also spoke of the destruction of Jerusalem that was also predicted in Daniel’s prophecy:

"If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace--but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you."   Luke 19:41-44

Surely the appearance of Jesus Christ as the Messiah to the people of Israel and the city of Jerusalem, riding on the back of a donkey, was the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy predicting the coming of the Messiah. There is no other choice that can possibly be supported by the Bible or by plain common sense.

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The first sixty-nine weeks of Daniel’s prophecy culminated with the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ on Palm Sunday to the city of Jerusalem. Now we will examine the 70th and final week of Daniel’s prophecy of the Seventy Weeks.

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The 70th Week Challenge

Daniel’s prophecy of the Seventy Weeks was given concerning the Jews and the holy city of Jerusalem. If the 70th Week of this prophecy is to be fulfilled in our future, prior to the Second Coming, then it means that the Jews and Jerusalem also have a place in God’s future. For this reason many scholars, for a variety of reasons, attempt to prove that the 70th Week of Daniel’s prophecy has already been fulfilled in the past.

The first argument that comes from this perspective is that there can be no gap between the end of the 69th Week, and the beginning of the 70th. If the 70th Week is to be fulfilled in our future then there must be a gap of at least 1,969 years between the 69th and 70th Weeks (as of this writing). Is such a gap Scriptural? Well yes, because this gap is clearly shown within Daniel’s prophecy itself,

Verse 25- "Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree 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."

Verse 26- "After the sixty-two `sevens,' the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed."

Verse 27- "He will confirm a covenant with many for one `seven.' In the middle of the `seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing [of the temple] he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him."

The gap is clearly shown in verse 26. It comes after the appearance of the Messiah predicted in verse 25, but before the 70th and final week is confirmed in verse 27. Just as there is a gap in the prophecy of Isaiah read by Jesus in Nazareth, between the first part of Isaiah 61:2 and the last part of Isaiah 61:2, which hints of a gap between the first and second comings of the Messiah, so there is also a gap between the 69th and 70th Weeks of Daniel’s prophecy. Verse 26 of Daniel’s prophecy tells us that within this gap would come the death of the Messiah and the destruction of the city of Jerusalem. The start of the 70th Week was not predicted to begin until after Jerusalem was destroyed, which happened in 70 AD. The gap in the prophecy could hardly be more clear, and the 70th Week remains unfulfilled.

In any case, let us examine one of the viewpoints put forth that places the fulfillment of the 70th Week in the past. Below is an interpretation offered, and indeed dogmatically supported, by the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Adventists are taught that Israel plays no part in prophecy, so they must show that the 70th Week is in the past. This interpretation comes from the Adventist publication, "Signs of the Times," from the December 1997 issue, page 26:

"457 B.C. - Verse 25 specifies the starting point of the 490-year time period: ‘From the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem…’ The decree of the Persian emperor Artaxerxes, issued in 457 B.C., best fits this description.

A.D. 27 – Verse 25 goes on to note the span between the starting point and the appearance of ‘Messiah the Prince’: 483 years (‘seven weeks and threescore and two weeks’). This span reaches to A.D. 27, the year of the event that marked the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry – His baptism, at which God the Father confirmed His role by voice and by a symbolic anointing through the descent of the Holy Spirit.

A.D. 31 – Verses 26, 27 refer to Jesus’ crucifixion: ‘After the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself. ‘…In the middle of the week, He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.’ Jesus’ death, which fulfilled and made obsolete the Old Testament sacrificial system, came in the middle of that final ‘week’ of years – which would have put it in the spring of A.D. 31.

A.D. 34 – Verse 24 says the full 490 years was a probationary period for Israel, ‘to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, …to bring in everlasting righteousness’ and so forth. So the prophecy ends in A.D. 34, about the time when Stephen was executed by the Jewish ruling council. That event drove most Christian believers from Judah. Subsequently, Gentiles soon made up the majority of the church."

Here are the reasons why the interpretation found in this article is wrong from start to finish:

1. This article states that the starting point of the Seventy Weeks, the decree to rebuild Jerusalem, was given in 457 B.C. by Artaxerxes. This decree is recorded in Ezra 7:11-26. Perhaps the text describing this decree was not included in the article because if people were to read it they would see that it makes no mention of the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem. The decree to rebuild Jerusalem was not given by Artaxerxes until years later in 445 B.C. The starting point given in this article is just plain wrong and contradicted by Scripture.

2. The baptism of Jesus Christ, as calculated based on Luke 3:1 and using the historical records of Tiberius Caesar, occurred in 28 A.D., rather than in 27 A.D. (See Chapter One of this book)

3. Jesus’ ministry did begin with His baptism, but he refrained from publicly claiming to be the Messiah until He appeared to Jerusalem as the Messiah at the beginning of the Passover holiday.

4. The Seventy Weeks deal with the Jews and Jerusalem, as stated at the very beginning of the prophecy. The baptism of Jesus had nothing to do with the city of Jerusalem, and could not have been the predicted appearance of the Messiah to the Jews and Jerusalem as their "ruler."

5. Verse 26 does refer to Jesus’ crucifixion, but Jesus did not die in the middle of the 70th Week. He died after the 69th but prior to the 70th, within the clear gap which is given in verse 26. His death did not put a stop to the sacrifice and offering. It made them obsolete in the eyes of God, but they still continued until the Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D.

6. This article maintains that Jesus Christ is the subject of verse 27, but this text is not given in whole within the article. Here is the passage,

"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." (KJV)

-The covenant that Jesus established did not begin at His baptism, as suggested in this article, but was established when He was sacrificed for our sins on the cross. The covenant mentioned in verse 27 is one that will be confirmed by a future Roman leader, and does not in any way refer to Jesus Christ.

-The covenant that Jesus established did make the Temple sacrifices unimportant in God’s eyes, but it is an eternal covenant that will never expire, and not the temporary seven-year covenant as described by Daniel.

-One of the subjects of this verse is the abomination which shall make desolate. Jesus Himself mentioned this event as one which would take place at the very end of the age prior to His Second Coming (Matthew 24:15-21). Jesus Himself stated that the abomination of desolation would be seen in the future near the very end of the age, and therefore the 70th Week of Daniel could not have been fulfilled in the past.

7. This article states that the 490-year period of Daniel’s Seventy Weeks was a "probationary period" for Israel, during which time she must repent. The end of the Seventy Weeks is given as 34 AD when Stephen was stoned by Jewish leaders. According to this article if Israel had repented at any time during the three and a half years after Jesus was killed, they would have been forgiven. This is contradicted by Jesus Himself, who stated that Israel’s rejection of Him in 30 A.D. was an unpardonable sin committed by that generation, which could never be forgiven (Matthew 12:25-37). Prior to Jesus’ entrance to Jerusalem at Passover He wept over the city, because He knew that there was nothing that could be done to alleviate the judgment that had already been made on the city and on Israel (Luke 19:42-44). The city would be destroyed and the nation scattered. There was no "probationary period" left during which the nation as a whole might repent after Israel's leaders had rejected Jesus as the Messiah on the basis that He was possessed by the devil.

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The Seventy Weeks of Daniel were not given as a conditional prophecy. The prophecy was given as proof that God knows the beginning and the end, and while mankind enjoys free will God still knows ahead of time what we, exercising our free will, will choose. The 70th Week of Daniel is most definitely in mankind’s future. After the true followers of Jesus Christ are taken to heaven at the rapture God will turn back to Israel and the 70th Week will begin. Once again Israel, the Jews and the city of Jerusalem will be the focus of His, and the world’s attention:

-The Temple will be rebuilt.
-After their rejection of the true Messiah 2000 years ago Israel will be faced with a false Messiah, the Antichrist.
-He will take over their Temple and proclaim himself to be God.
-The sacrifices and offerings will be stopped.
-An image of the Antichrist, known as the abomination of desolation will be set up in the Holy Place of the Temple.
-Jerusalem will become the Antichrist’s capital.
-Jesus tells the Jews in Matthew 24:15-21 that when they see the abomination of desolation they should flee to the mountains to hide from what will happen, which will be the most terrible time of tribulation that the world has ever seen. The end-times protection of a remnant of Jews is shown in Revelation chapter 12.

The main purpose of the Day of the Lord is not for God to pour out His wrath on the world and inflict random plagues and catastrophes on unbelievers. No, it is to bring His people, the nation that rejected Him almost two thousand years ago, back to repentance and acceptance of Him. When Israel as a nation finally turns back to their God and accepts the Messiah Jesus Christ as their own, then the end will come. The basis of the Seventy Weeks will then be fulfilled,

"…to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy."

 

 

Footnotes

1. Encyclopedia Britannica, 1990

2. A Biblical prophetic year is 360 days per year, or 173,880 days for 69 prophetic years.

 

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