The Promised Messiah

I. The prophecy of the Seventy Weeks (Daniel 9:24-27) is of vital importance.

A. The requirements of the prophecy are precisely given (verse 24).

1. Focus of the prophecy is “thy people” (Israel) and the “Holy City.”

2. Several factors are to be fulfilled within these 70 weeks.

a. Finish the transgression
b. Make an end of sins
c. Make reconciliation for iniquity
d. Bring in everlasting righteousness
e. Seal up the vision and prophecy
f. Anoint the Most Holy

B. The phasing of the prophecy is precisely given (verses 25 through 27).

1. The “seventy weeks” (70, 7’s) can only be understood as 490 years.

2. The “weeks” are sets of seven years – 7 x 70 = 490 years.

3. The first set is “seven weeks” – 7 x 7 = 49 years.

4. The second set is “threescore and two weeks” – 62 x 7 = 434 years.

5. The final set is “one week” – 7 years; during the “middle” of the “week” an event will occur that causes “the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.”

C. The start of the count is of major importance (Daniel 9:25).

1. The issue of a decree to “restore and to build Jerusalem” would signal the beginning of the 70 weeks.

2. There are four possible such decrees recorded in the Bible and in History.

a. The decree of Cyrus (fulfilling Isaiah 44:28) and recorded in 2 Chronicles 36:22-23 and Ezra 1:1-2.  A copy of this decree was found by Darius Hystaspes (Ezra 6:2-5).  The date of this decree was 536 BC.
1) Adding 483 years (7 plus 62 “sevens”) to 536 BC brings us to 53 BC.  There is no Messiah. 
2) We can eliminate the decree of Cyrus.
b. The decree of Darius Hystaspes (Ezra 6).  Cyrus’ decree had been frustrated by the Jewish enemies and annulled by Artaxerxes, who was the false Smerdis (Ezra 4).  The date of this decree is 519 BC.
1) Adding 483 years to 519 BC brings us to 36 BC, again with no Messiah. 
2) We can eliminate the decree of Darius Hystaspes.
c. The first decree of Artaxerxes Longimanus (Ezra 7:8).  The date of this decree was the seventh year of Artaxerxes in 457 BC.
1) Adding 483 years to 457 BC brings us to the time of the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist (AD 26/27).
a) Endowed Ezra with extraordinary powers (Ezra 6:7-12; 7:25-26), including the command to rebuild the city (Ezra 6:14).
b) Jesus is anointed by the Holy Spirit and verified by the Father from heaven (Matthew 3:16-17; John 1:32-34).
c) Gabriel, who carried this prophecy to Daniel, precedes this public ceremony by announcing the “Messiah” to Mary and Joseph (Luke 1:17-19, 26-38; Matthew 1:18-22; Luke 2:8-15; Matthew 2:13-14).
2) This is the decree from which we can start the 490-year countdown.
d. The second decree of Artaxerxes Longimanus -- (Nehemiah 1-2).  The date of this decree is the twentieth year of Artaxerxes in 445 BC.
1) Adding 483 years to 445 BC brings us to AD 38/39, long after the death and resurrection of Christ. 
2) We can eliminate the second decree of Artaxerxes Longimanus.

3. Some have suggested a 360-day year, thus culminating in a date around Palm Sunday when Jesus makes his triumphant entry into Jerusalem.

a. There is no Biblical basis for a “short” 360 day year.
b. Israel did follow a Lunar month (29.5 days), thus giving rise to the speculation that “special” and “prophetic” years were composed of only 360 days.
c. Israel adjusted the year periodically to provide season correction to the solar year of 365.21 days. Formal date tables were instituted in Babylon at the time of Daniel.
d. The rest of the world of their day (Egypt, Babylon, Assyria, etc.) kept a solar year.

III. The events of the first Seven Week period are identified.

A. The first 49 years (seven weeks) are set apart from the total 483 until the coming of the “Messiah.”

1. This is the time to “restore and build Jerusalem.”

2. This will be done in “troublous times.”

B. The books of Ezra and Nehemiah furnish abundant evidence of this time.

1. The troubles are described often and many.  Work on the temple is interrupted by demoralized Jews.  Work on the wall is constantly under harassment by enemies.

a. Ezra came to Jerusalem 13 years before Nehemiah (Ezra 7:8).
b. Nehemiah remained in Jerusalem 12 years on his first visit (Nehemiah 5:14).
c. Nehemiah returned to Babylon, remaining there a long time before returning to Jerusalem to complete his work (Nehemiah 13:6-7).

2. Completion of the initial 49 years (the first “seven weeks”) is demanded by the prophecy in Daniel 9 and by the Biblical descriptions in Ezra and Nehemiah.

a. The city itself was rebuilt and re-occupied under Ezra and Zerubbabel.
b. The rebuilding of the temple was started 536BC under Zerubbabel and Joshua; there was a break of fourteen years, then the temple project restarted again in 520BC and finished 516BC.  (See Haggal 1:1-15)
c. The wall around the city was rebuilt under Nehemiah around 445BC.

IV. The events of the next Sixty Two weeks are not covered in Scripture.

A. The Book of Malachi is the last of the Old Testament books and was penned during the time of the Book of Nehemiah.

B. The 434 years (483 years minus 49 years) from the completion of Jerusalem’s restoration are to consummate with “Messiah the Prince.”

1. Jesus Christ was born in the “days of Herod” (Luke 1:5) and Caesar Augustus (Luke 2:1) – somewhere between 3 and 4 BC by our modern calendar.

2. Adding 434 years to 408 BC [457 BC plus the 49 years = 408 BC] brings us to the time of the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist (AD 26/27).

V. The last seven years must complete the requirements of Daniel’s prophecy.

A. The “finishing of the transgression” must be complete. 

1. This is the full outworking of the sins of the Jewish people – climax of apostasy – beginning before the Babylonian captivity and culminating in the crucifixion of their Messiah.

2. Matthew 23:13-39 cites the very words of Jesus as he identifies the “full” wickedness and “desolation” of the house of Israel.

3. Luke 13:7-9 demonstrates the prophetic condition with the parable of the two fig trees.

4. Matthew 21:18-20 notes the curse of the fig tree by Jesus in demonstration of the desolation.

5. Luke 19:41-44 notes Jesus’ deep sorrow over Jerusalem as she rejects his ministry and “visitation” to her.

6. Luke 20:13-16 records the parable of the Vineyard taken away and left to others.

B. The “end of sins” must be made.

1. A finished transaction must be closed (sealed up) that will conclude all previous activity on the part of the nation.  It cannot mean the end of the sinful activity – that does not stop until the “Third World” (2 Peter 3:13).

2. Hebrews 9:24-28 clearly identifies the completion of the sacrifice by the Lord Jesus.

3. Hebrews 10:1-18 further clarifies the one-for-all work of Christ and His all-sufficient substitution for sins.

4. John 1:29 is the proclamation used by John the Baptist to announce Jesus’ public anointing.  “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”

5. 1 John 3:5 repeats and amplifies this act.   “. . . and ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.”

6. Isaiah 53:3-10 is the most complete Old Testament passage that identifies this part of the role of the Messiah.  He was “wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities.”  The LORD “laid on him the iniquity of us all.”  “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief; when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin . . .”

C. The “reconciliation for iniquity” must be made.

1. The Hebrew term used is KAPHAR, or “atonement.”  Just as the “end of sins” was real and not typical, so this atonement was not affected by many offerings, but by one offering.

2. Hebrews 10:14 specifically states that Christ provided “one offering” which was the sufficient and final one.

3. 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 outlines our responsibilities to bring the message of “reconciliation” to those outside of Christ.

D. The “everlasting righteousness” must be brought in.

1. This can only be accomplished through Christ.  Sinful mankind must be “made” righteous.

2. 2 Corinthians 5:21 records the formula.

3. Romans 8:33 identifies the “unchangeable” nature of God’s elect.

4. Romans 3:25-26 notes that God declares the righteousness of Christ transferred to believers.

E. The “vision and prophecy” must be sealed up.

1. The Hebrew term, CHATHAM, is used to identify the official seal that recognizes a document.  It is also used to describe actions that verify the truth of statements or promises.

2. Isaiah 8:16 through 9:4 contains a discourse on this particular subject, noting that when the Messiah would come, he would “seal” his promises with action.

3. Jesus has finalized, confirmed, and validated the promises of the prophets with miracles (Acts 2:22), his death and resurrection (Acts 1:3), by the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4; 2:1-4), and through His church (Acts 4:29-33).

F. The “Most Holy” must be anointed.

1. The only two applications of this phrase would be a holy “person” or a holy “place.”  If the person of Christ is in view, the only physical event fulfilling this would be at His baptism – or perhaps, in some unknown way in the courts of heaven.  If a “place” is in view, then the beginning of the Church is the application.

2. Regarding the “anointing” of Jesus, check Acts 2:30-36; 4:27; 10:38; Hebrews 1:8-9, 13 and 8:1-2.

3. Regarding the “anointing” of the Church, check Acts 2:1-21; Ephesians 3:10, 21 and 1 Timothy 3:15.

G. The Messiah is “cut off” in the middle of the last week.

1. The death of Christ is here predicted.  There does not appear to be any gap in the contextual language of the prophecy between the preceding 69 weeks and the last week.

2. The Messiah will be identified and “cut off” after the 69 weeks – i.e. in the 70th week (verse 25-26).

3. The crucifixion of Jesus took place in 29/30 AD.  When we use the 1st decree of Artaxerxes Longimanus in 457 BC, we arrive at the same period of time. -- 457 less (69.5 x 7 = 486.5) = 29.5 AD

H. The confirmation a new covenant must be accomplished.

1. The “New Covenant” is prophesied by Jeremiah and is completely focused on the spiritual fulfillment of the “Old” covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34).

2. The writer to the Hebrews cites the Jeremiah passage and directly applies it to the coming of Jesus, the Messiah (Hebrews 9:11-15).

3. The ministry of Jesus was to confirm that covenant with “many” (Romans 11:27; Galatians 3:17; Hebrews 8:6-13).

I. The “sacrifice and the oblation” will be caused to stop.

1. The formal rejection of the temple and its attendant sacrificial system is to stop.

2. Matthew 27:51 notes when the “veil of the temple” was torn in two by God Himself.

3. Colossians 2:14-17 specifies that these old sacrifices and ordinances have been “blotted out.”

4. Hebrews, chapters 7 through 10, provides a through discourse on the efficacy of “The” sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the replacement and elimination of the “old covenant.”

VI. After this final and 70th week, the “prince that shall come” will destroy the city and the sanctuary. 

A. This “prince” is another person – not Jesus Christ.

1. This event is beyond the 70th week, since the prince “shall come.”

2. The end is sudden and catastrophic.

a. War comes in with a flood
b. “Desolations” are determined
c. “That which is determined” is poured out on “the desolate”
d. Jesus identified the generation of the Jews living during His ministry as the ones who would have their “house left unto you desolate” (Matthew 23:36-38).

B. This event was fulfilled by Titus in 70 AD.

VII. The differences interpretations of Daniel 9:24-27 are at the heart of the controversy and distinctions between the Millennial Systems.

A. The Amillennial and the Post Millennial systems consider the 70 weeks as having been fulfilled and completed by Jesus Christ at the time of His 1st Advent.

B. The Premillennial insert a gap of indeterminate time between the 69th and 70th week, and make the 70th week the “week” of the Tribulation and of the Antichrist.

1. The reading of the passage is the same for all systems until the 2nd half of 9:26.

a. The “prince that shall come” is applied to the Antichrist.
b. The “he” of 9:27 is taken to be “the prince that shall come” instead of the Messiah.

2. If this is so, the time of the Antichrist is 7 years.

a. The Antichrist (the prince) makes a covenant with the Jews
b. The Antichrist then breaks the covenant in the “middle of the week,” and causes the cessation of the sacrificial system.
c. The “desolation” is caused by the Antichrist on the sanctuary and the Jews.

3. This interpretation requires unique several connections of time references and prophetic data.

a. The 3 ½ “times identified in Daniel and Revelation must be sequential, not parallel – 7 years, not 3 ½.
b. The prophetic sequence of the World Empires must be suspended until the Antichrist (the 70th week) is begun.

4. Many of the required events of the 70 weeks must be delayed until the Antichrist is destroyed and Christ returns the 2nd time to complete the prophecy.

a. There is a wide divergence among Premillennial writers identifying which of the prophetic criteria in Daniel 9:24 are delayed until the completion of the 70th week.
b. Some insist that all of the criteria are still future.
c. At a minimum, the Premillennial system requires that the “everlasting righteousness,” the “seal” of the prophecy, and the “anointing” of the Most Holy are still future.

5. This interpretation also requires that the time clock of the 70 week prophecy begin with the forth possible decree to rebuild Jerusalem.

a. All cite the second decree of Artaxerxes Longimanus in 444/5 BC as the time of the beginning of this 70 week period.
b. All also insist on a short, 360 day, year – a prophetic year, to make the calculations come out near to the time of the crucifixion.

C. A comparison of the differences is instructive

1. Amillennial

a. 70 Weeks are continuous – no break
b. All requirements fulfilled in 1st coming of Jesus Christ
c. “Year” is the same as a solar year
d. Uses 1st decree of Artaxerxes -- 457 BC
e. Focus is on the completion of Christ’s death and resurrection.

2. Premillennial

a. Puts gap between 69th and 70th week
b. Many or most requirements unfulfilled today
c. Year is 360 day “prophetic” year
d. Uses 2nd decree of Artaxerxes -- 445 BC
e. Focus shifts to Antichrist in 9:26
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