“Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place. Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time. And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed. And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.” Daniel 9:24-27
Last week we looked at verses from Isaiah that indicated the Messiah would be born to a virgin and so come into this world as a child, but when? Was Israel just supposed to wonder and always be on the lookout for the Messiah? God did not tell them right away but during the Babylonian exile it was revealed to Daniel the timing for the arrival of the Messiah.
What is translated in English as weeks is actually the Hebrew word שָׁבוּעַ (šā·ḇûaʿ) which really means sevens similar to the English word dozed which means twelve. So while the Hebrew word can mean a week it can also mean any period of seven. In this case it refers to seventy sevens of years, or 490 years. But Daniel divides the 490 years into three periods as follows: seven weeks (49 years) plus sixty-two weeks (434 years) plus one week (7 years).
Starting in 445 B.C. when Artaxerxes issued a decree to Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:1-8) we have a period of 49 years that it took to rebuild the city of Jerusalem the we had a period of 434 years that takes us to around 30 to 33 AD which most scholars think is the time of the crucifixion.
Contrary to what some might think the Jews were well aware of this timing and were looking for the Messiah in the first century. So the timing of Jesus’ birth, ministry and death all fit with Daniel’s prophesy. Daniel is very clear that the anointed one, Messiah, would be cut off, killed, after the sixty-two weeks ended.
Many Jews believed that the Messiah would come and reign forever on the throne of David. Daniel on the other hand tells us a different story. He predicted the death of the Messiah hundreds of years before the event. Eve modern critics who seek to date Daniel from around 100 BC still have to explain how even a hundred years before the event, Daniel got the timing right.
And the last seven years in Daniel’s prophesy? That is in the future. John takes up the final seven years of Daniel’s prophesy in the Book of Revelation. We get in trouble when we try to put God on our time frame. God does not exist in time but is the creator of time. He sees the beginning and the end as one event. We see time as always moving forward and linear. So to us such a large span of time as the already 2,000 years since Jesus birth, life and death seems like an eternity. To God it is but an instance.
Have a blessed day,