Sunday, August 14, 2011

Part 4:
Daniel’s 70 Weeks

This day for a year principle can be demonstrated from the 70 weeks of Daniel Chapter 9, where both the starting point of a prophecy, and its fulfillment, are events that have already happened— events that we can read about in history.

In 536 BC, the evening of King Belshazzar’s famous feast where Daniel interpreted the handwriting on the wall, Darius the Mede conquered Babylon. By that date, 536 BC, Daniel and his people had been captive in Babylon for 70 years. He knew from a prophecy in the Book of Jeremiah that their time of captivity should be over: “For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.” (Jer. 29:10.)

During the first year of Darius the Mede, while Daniel was praying, God sent the angel Gabriel to comfort him. Because the 70 years of captivity were indeed over, the angel told him of a new and different 70 years, a future seventy weeks of seven days each. Here is what Gabriel told him, as found in Daniel 9:24-26:

Daniel 9:24-26:
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.

And to whom is this prophecy addressed and what is it all about? It was addressed to the Jews, and it was about Jerusalem. What does verse 24 tell us will be accomplished in those 70 weeks of time?

1. Finish transgression
2. Make an end of sin
3. Make reconciliation for iniquity
4. Bring in everlasting righteousness
5. Seal up vision and prophecy
6. To anoint the most Holy

It appears that the definite starting time for this prophecy is “From the going forth of the commandment” (v. 25), and the definite fulfillment time is “after threescore and two weeks” (v. 26). The seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks is 69 weeks.

To really understand the time element we need to apply the “day for a year” principle as discussed earlier. By multiplying 70 weeks by 7 days per week we get 490 days. If we then multiply those 490 days by the factor of .9857 we end up with 483 days or Hebrew years. That’s exactly what we get when we add the “seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks”69 weeks.

70 weeks x 7 days per week = 490 days x .9857 = 483 days or Hebrew years.
7 weeks + 62 weeks = 69 weeks x 7 days per week = 483 days or Hebrew years.

Daniel 9:25: “... 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 [69 weeks]...”

69 weeks x 7 days per week = 483 x .9857 = 476 days or Hebrew years.

(Keep these 476 days or Hebrew years in mind for later reference.)

About 100 years after Gabriel spoke to Daniel, Artaxerxes I granted Nehemiah a decree. Although there are other decrees mentioned in the Bible, this is the only decree giving the Jews permission to “restore Jerusalem and rebuild its walls.” It is from this point — the decree or “commandment to restore”—that we should start counting time; that time being about 444 BC.

There are three decrees mentioned in the Bible that cause a lot of misunderstanding among time-liners when it comes to establishing dates. Many confuse Artaxerxes’ two decrees, but the purpose of the decree must match the wording of the prophecy to be valid. Below are listed those decrees and also the relevant information that should be considered when comparing them to prophecy. We shall not go into any more detailed explanation than that which follows; for that is not the purpose of this study:

First Decree: Cyrus’s decree (536 BC) was only for the purpose of worship and to rebuild the temple, but not the city (2 Chron. 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-2 & 5:17-6:11).

Second Decree: Artaxerxes’ first decree (457 BC) only allowed Ezra and others to return to Jerusalem for the purpose of worship (Ezra 7:11-27).

Third Decree: Artaxerxes’ second decree (444 BC) directed that Jerusalem and its walls be rebuilt.

The decree considered at this time is Artaxerxes’ 444 BC decree, for this is the only decree which purpose matches prophetic wording. So taking that year, let’s do a little figuring with the 476 years we arrived at above:

444 BC + 476 years = 32 AD

Why is that year (32 AD) important? It’s the year of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ—right to the year!

What about those six points that were to be fulfilled during those 70 weeks? All but one were fulfilled at the time of Jesus’s death and resurrection.

1. Finish transgression
2. Make an end of sin
3. Make reconciliation for iniquity
4. Bring in everlasting righteousness
5. Seal up vision and prophecy
6. To anoint the most Holy

All of those points should be rather obvious except, perhaps, for points 5 and 6. Concerning point 5, this is where those first 7 weeks of the 69 weeks come in. When we take 7 weeks and multiply them by 7 days per week, we get 49 days or 49 Hebrew years. Timing that by the factor .9857 we have 48.3 solar years. By subtracting 48.3 years from 444 BC we get the year 395.7 BC.

About 396 BC was the time that the Book of Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament, was written. The scripture to the Jews was complete, and no more was written until the New Testament era. So Old Testament vision and prophecy were, indeed, “sealed up,” as point 5 indicates—ending or sealing up the vision and prophecy spoken of by Daniel (Dan. 9:25). One old Rabbi lamented some 196 years later, in about 200 BC, “The Holy spirit has departed from Israel.” And until this very day, the Jews, as a nation, have not been permitted to see any further. The Lord has blinded their eyes so they could not recognize Jesus as their Messiah (See Rom. 11:8; 2 Cor. 3:15.)

AFTER the first seven weeks of the “seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks,” which took us to Malachi and the conclusion of the Old Testament prophecy, we have the “threescore and two weeks.” And what was to take place after those 62 weeks? The “Messiah [shall] be cut off, but not for himself,” as stated in Daniel 9:26. John the Beloved wrote, “And he is the propitiation [appeasement] for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2.)

Now what about point 6—“To anoint the most Holy”? How is this fulfilled? The following quote from Elis Skolfield’s book, The False Prophet, may have the answer:

“Incredible as it may sound, it appears that the archeologist Ron Wyatt may have found the Ark of the Covenant. According to Wyatt, the Ark was hidden in a cave under Golgotha—Gordon’s Calvary. From the word of the Lord to him, Jeremiah knew that Jerusalem was about to fall, so he appears to have placed the Table of Showbread, the Altar of Incense, and the Ark of the Covenant in that cave and walled them up. The cave was forgotten, and these articles have remained secreted ever since. This explains a previously inexplicable prophecy: ‘and He shall anoint the Most Holy.’ During the crucifixion, Jesus’ side was pierced, and the rocks beneath the cross rent (Mat 27:51). According to Wyatt, the Ark is about 20 feet under where the Lord was crucified. It appears that Jesus’ blood ran through a fissure in the bedrock and fell on the Mercy Seat. If so, then in accordance with Dan. 9:24, Jesus did indeed ‘anoint the Most Holy’ with His own precious blood. Videotapes and various newsletters are available from Wyatt Archeological Research, 713 Lambert Dr. Nashville, TN 37220.” (The False Prophet, p. 35.)

Because of his claimed discovery, Ron Wyatt has been severely ridiculed, which treatment is no different than anyone else experiences who declares something that others don’t want to hear. The reader can do their own research and determine for himself if Wyatt’s story is true or not. The following YouTubes, of Wyatt’s personal testimony, may be of interest to the reader:

We have just seen how the day for a year principle is applied to history by considering Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy—events that have already happened and we can read about in history. Now let’s see how that day for a year concept can be applied to other biblical prophecies not so easily understood.

To get an accurate chronological picture of the Book of Daniel, try reading the book in the following order: Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 5, 6, 9, 11, 12, 10.