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posted on Mar, 30 2010 @ 03:17 AM
Much of the Bible concerns prophecy and a good portion of that prophecy is what is called messianic prophecy, prophecies (starting in Genesis) which predict the coming of the Messiah. Many Christians state that there are over 300 passages in the Old Testament which are prophetic of the coming of Jesus, the Messiah. However, I have studied many of these passages and have determined that calling them Messianic prophecies somewhat of an intellectual stretch. However there are a few passages which are definitely Messianic and are very compelling. The single most important Messianic passage (and most compelling) is probably Daniel 5:24 through Daniel 5:27, commonly known as the "70 Weeks of Daniel". The prophecy occurs near the end of the Babylonian Captivity of Israel, the period of time that began with the conquest and destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar around the year 586 B.C.


From the New International Version:
Daniel 9
21. while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice.
22. He instructed me and said to me, "Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding.
23. As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore, consider the message and understand the vision:
24. "Seventy `sevens' are decreed for your people and your holy city 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.
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.
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.
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. "

From the American Standard:
Daniel 9
21. yea, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.
22. And he instructed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee wisdom and understanding.
23. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment went forth, and I am come to tell thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision.
24. Seventy weeks are decreed upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy.
25. Know therefore and discern, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the anointed one, the prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: it shall be built again, with street and moat, even in troublous times.
26. And after the threescore and two weeks shall the anointed one be cut off, and shall have nothing: 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 even unto the end shall be war; desolations are determined.
27. And he shall make a firm covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease; and upon the wing of abominations shall come one that maketh desolate; and even unto the full end, and that determined, shall wrath be poured out upon the desolate.

There has been some debate as to exactly what these passages mean, but almost every Christian agrees that it is a prediction for the advent of the Messiah ("until the Anointed One, the ruler,"). Since the "Anointed One" is a term only applied to the Messiah, then there is little doubt that these passages are Messianic prophecy. However it takes some unraveling to understand what has been written, but a little study of the text will reveal the meaning of the passages. First we start with the decree since it is the starting point of the prophecy ("From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem"); the decree to rebuild Jerusalem is the starting point of the indicated time line.

Four decrees were issued concerning the repopulating and rebuilding of Jerusalem:

1. 538 B.C. - Cyrus II Cyrus II issued a decree allowing Jews in Babylonian Captivity to return to Israel. In October 539 B.C., Cyrus the Great conquered the city of Babylon and brought the rule of Belshazzar and the Chaldean Empire of Babylonia to an end. In a legendary episode, it was been stated that Cyrus was successful in capturing the city by diverting the waters of the Tigris river. Under the leadership of Zerubbabel, some 42,360 people left Babylon to return to Judah. Now not all Jews in Babylon did leave, some were too old and many Jews probably felt that they were too well established in Babylonia to return.

The Decree of Cyrus has never been found, but archaeological remains of a similar decree, the famous Cyrus Cylinder, has been found. This decree was issued to the Babylonians and indicates that is highly likely that the decree referred to in the Bible did indeed exist. The text of the Decree of Cyrus is reputedly given in Ezra 1:2 and it matches closely the type of wording of the text on the Cyrus Cylinder. Therefore it seems likely that Ezra 1:2 closely matches the text of the actual Decree of Cyrus to the Hebrews. Also we can assume that such a decree was indeed issued by Cyrus, since some 42,000 people did not gather and leave Babylonia without some form of official permission. The text in Ezra also indicates that Cyrus granted permission to rebuild the Temple.

Ezra 1
1. In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah, the LORD moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to put it in writing:
2. "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.
3. Anyone of his people among you--may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the LORD, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem.
4. And the people of any place where survivors may now be living are to provide him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem.'"

For more information, reference:

2. 518 B.C. - Darius
The work on the Second Temple was started around 534 B.C. soon after Zerubbabel arrived in Jerusalem. The work on the Temple ground to a halt because of interference and opposition from the "enemies of Judah and Benjamin". In 722 B.C. the Northern Kingdom (Samaria) was conquered by Sargon II of Assyria. During the reigns of the Assyrian kings Esarhaddon (680-669 B.C.) and Ashurbanipal (668-ca. 630 B.C.), the Assyrian government encouraged its residents to move to Israel and to settle there. These immigrant people worshiped pagan idols but also started worshiping Yahweh whom they regarded as the god of the land in which they now lived. They intermarried with the Jews who had remained in Judah and eventually their descendants became the Samaritans. The exiles who returned from Babylon and their descendants of the exiles despised them and apparently the feeling was mutual. (Of course we know that contempt for the Samaritans extended down to at least the time of Jesus.) These Samaritan people managed to stop construction on the Temple until the second year of the reign of Darius when it was restarted by Zerubbabel and Jeshua at the prompting of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah. When questioned about this by Tattenai (Persian governor of the region), an appeal was made to Darius referencing the initial decree of Cyrus. Darius subsequently issued a decree reaffirming the command to permit reconstruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. The Temple was completed in the sixth year of the reign of Darius (515 B.C.). The opposition of "the people of the land" (to become the Samaritan sect) continued and was an on-going problem throughout the entire rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem.

Ezra 6
6. Now then, Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai and you, their fellow officials of that province, stay away from there.
7. Do not interfere with the work on this temple of God. Let the governor of the Jews and the Jewish elders rebuild this house of God on its site.
8. Moreover, I hereby decree what you are to do for these elders of the Jews in the construction of this house of God: The expenses of these men are to be fully paid out of the royal treasury, from the revenues of Trans-Euphrates, so that the work will not stop.
9. Whatever is needed--young bulls, rams, male lambs for burnt offerings to the God of heaven, and wheat, salt, wine and oil, as requested by the priests in Jerusalem--must be given them daily without fail,
10. so that they may offer sacrifices pleasing to the God of heaven and pray for the well-being of the king and his sons.
11. Furthermore, I decree that if anyone changes this edict, a beam is to be pulled from his house and he is to be lifted up and impaled on it. And for this crime his house is to be made a pile of rubble.
12. May God, who has caused his Name to dwell there, overthrow any king or people who lifts a hand to change this decree or to destroy this temple in Jerusalem. I Darius have decreed it. Let it be carried out with diligence.

3. 458 B.C. - Artaxerxes
In the seventh year of the reign of Artaxerxes I, Ezra lead another contingent of Jewish returnees to Jerusalem (4000 to 5000). The decree of Artaxerxes granted Ezra and any Jews who wished permission to go to Jerusalem. It also authorized payment of money apparently for the "beautification" of the Temple ("as the freewill offerings of the people and priests for the temple of their God in Jerusalem"). It seems that the Jews began construction of the walls of Jerusalem and the "people of the land" decided to put a stop to it. In a letter to Artaxerxes (around 464 B.C.), they lodged a complaint (Ezra Chapter 4:7 - 4:17); Artaxerxes issued a stop order (Ezra Chapter 4:18 - 4:23). Also it is possible that any work done on reconstructing the walls was destroyed (Nehemiah Chapter 1:3, "The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire"). Although in the book of Ezra, this incident is reported out of chronological order (it occurred after completion of the Second Temple as reported in Ezra Chapters 5 and 6), it is in topical order, the reporting of continued opposition to the reconstruction of the city of Jerusalem by the descendants of the Assyrians (i. e., the Samaritans). Also it does seem that Ezra did go beyond the license granted him by Artaxerxes which did not specifically mention construction of a city wall unless one wants to apply a very liberal interpretation to Ezra Chapter 7:18 ("You and your brother Jews may then do whatever seems best with the rest of the silver and gold, in accordance with the will of your God.").

Ezra 7
11. This is a copy of the letter King Artaxerxes had given to Ezra the priest and teacher, a man learned in matters concerning the commands and decrees of the LORD for Israel:
12. Artaxerxes, king of kings, To Ezra the priest, a teacher of the Law of the God of heaven: Greetings.
13. Now I decree that any of the Israelites in my kingdom, including priests and Levites, who wish to go to Jerusalem with you, may go.
14. You are sent by the king and his seven advisers to inquire about Judah and Jerusalem with regard to the Law of your God, which is in your hand.
15. Moreover, you are to take with you the silver and gold that the king and his advisers have freely given to the God of Israel, whose dwelling is in Jerusalem,
16. together with all the silver and gold you may obtain from the province of Babylon, as well as the freewill offerings of the people and priests for the temple of their God in Jerusalem.
17. With this money be sure to buy bulls, rams and male lambs, together with their grain offerings and drink offerings, and sacrifice them on the altar of the temple of your God in Jerusalem.
18. You and your brother Jews may then do whatever seems best with the rest of the silver and gold, in accordance with the will of your God.
19. Deliver to the God of Jerusalem all the articles entrusted to you for worship in the temple of your God.
20. And anything else needed for the temple of your God that you may have occasion to supply, you may provide from the royal treasury.
21. Now I, King Artaxerxes, order all the treasurers of Trans-Euphrates to provide with diligence whatever Ezra the priest, a teacher of the Law of the God of heaven, may ask of you--
22. up to a hundred talents of silver, a hundred cors of wheat, a hundred baths of wine, a hundred baths of olive oil, and salt without limit.
23. Whatever the God of heaven has prescribed, let it be done with diligence for the temple of the God of heaven. Why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and of his sons?
24. You are also to know that you have no authority to impose taxes, tribute or duty on any of the priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, temple servants or other workers at this house of God.
25. And you, Ezra, in accordance with the wisdom of your God, which you possess, appoint magistrates and judges to administer justice to all the people of Trans-Euphrates--all who know the laws of your God. And you are to teach any who do not know them.
26. Whoever does not obey the law of your God and the law of the king must surely be punished by death, banishment, confiscation of property, or imprisonment.

4. 444 B.C. - Artaxerxes
On hearing the condition of Jerusalem ("the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire"), Nehemiah, cup bearer to Artaxerxes, seeks his permission to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the city ("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."). Nehemiah also gets permission to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and goes to Jerusalem with about an additional 42,000 Jewish exiles.

The Persians had just fought a war with the Greeks which was ended with the peace of Callias in 448 B.C. and Artaxerxes may have decided that it was better to have Jerusalem defended than leaving it undefended.

Nehemiah 2
1. 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;
2. 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,
3 . 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?"
4. The king said to me, "What is it you want?" Then I prayed to the God of heaven,
5. 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."
6. 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.
7. I also said to him, "If it pleases the king, may I have letters to the governors of Trans-Euphrates, so that they will provide me safe-conduct until I arrive in Judah?
8. And may I have a letter to Asaph, keeper of the king's forest, so he will give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel by the temple and for the city wall and for the residence I will occupy?" And because the gracious hand of my God was upon me, the king granted my requests.

This is where the wickets get sticky; there is indeed some contention among Biblical scholars as to which decree the "70 Weeks" prophecy refers; there are basically four contenders (Cyrus - 536 B.C., Darius - 518 B.C., Artaxerxes - 458 B.C., and Artaxerxes - 445 B.C.). However before we go much farther, the unit of time is seven years; the Hebrew word used is "shabuwa" which means "sevened, i.e. a week (specifically, of years)". This is normally translated as "week" but here the term means "seven years". Hence when the prophecy says "one week" it means "seven years". Notice that in the New International Version the term is translated as "sevens" while in the American Standard Version the term is translated as "week". Also in the King James Version, the term is translated as "week". The Hebrew word "shabuwa" from which we get sabbath can refer to seven of anything. You must read the rest of the text to figure out seven what. We make mentioned of this here to clear up any misunderstanding of the time frame involved. There have been a few ignorant critics who have contended that the prophecy could not possibly be true because Jerusalem was not rebuilt in sixty-nine weeks and it was "hundred of years" between the rebuilding of the Temple and the advent of Jesus Christ (basing this contention only on the reading of the King James Version).

Now back to the subject of which decree. The Decree of Darius in 518 B.C. can be immediately rejected as the decree referenced in Daniel's prophecy; this decree was merely a reaffirmation of a proceeding document (Cyrus in 536 B.C.). Also we can safely reject the Decree of Cyrus because it only gave permission for Jews to return to Judah and to rebuild the Temple. There is no specific mention of the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem and definitely no mention of re fortification of the city. Daniel's prophecy makes specific mention of the rebuilding of city defenses ("It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench"). This can also be translated as "rebuilt with streets and a wall". (Note that it was standard practice to dig a trench around the walls of a fortification, e. g., the castle with its moat.) This leaves us with either the decree of Artaxerxes to Ezra in 458 B.C., or the decree of Artaxerxes to Nehemiah in 445 B.C.

We will deal with one other contention before considering which one of the decrees of Artaxerxes should be used as the starting point for Daniel's "70 Weeks". There are a few scholars who state that none of the decrees we have discussed is the one referenced by Daniel's prophecy. This is a quote from a Michael P. Germano, "The incidental resettlement of the city by Jews constituted a de facto rebuilding of the city, an evolutionary process, extending over many decades. It began long before Artaxerxes issued his two decrees. The decrees in Ezra and Nehemiah either hindered or advanced the process but there is no clear and convincing evidence that any of the four decrees considered in this analysis commissioned the launch of the rebuilding of the city." Well the reconstruction of the city of Jerusalem probably started as soon as Nebuchadnezzar's army disappeared over the horizon with the Jewish captives to be taken to Babylonia. A few people remained in Jerusalem even though the city was in ruins and just like the bombed out cities of post World War II, the people left in Jerusalem started rebuilding at least their personal residences as soon as the war was over. Also Daniel's prophecy states of the "decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem". The Hebrew term "shuwb" is used which has a meaning "with the idea of return to the starting point". It also mentions rebuilding the city defenses. In other words the command that will permit Jerusalem to return to its former glory which could not be done in an unwalled city. Indeed there could have been considerable reconstruction in Jerusalem, but the key point is the rebuilding of the city fortifications. The Persians were not the French and would not have permitted any re fortification of the capital city of a people who were enemies of the former empire (Babylonian) without granting permission. Had the residents of Jerusalem started building a wall around the city without approval from the highest authority, it would had been seen as an act of war by the Persians and treated as such.

When we read Nehemiah Chapter 3, we get detailed descriptions of construction projects, who repairs what gates, and in Nehemiah Chapters 4,5, and 6 we can read about opposition to the work on Jerusalem's wall. Now Nehemiah seemed to be a man who could get things done, for in Nehemiah Chapter 6:

Nehemiah 6:15
15. So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days.
16. When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.

Nehemiah seems to have accomplished more work on the walls of Jerusalem in 52 days than was done in the previous 90 years. Also we can see that completion of this construction project sparked a building boom in Jerusalem, for in Nehemiah Chapter 7 we read:
Nehemiah 7:4
4. Now the city was large and spacious, but there were few people in it, and the houses had not yet been rebuilt.

Then in Nehemiah Chapter 11 we read:

Nehemiah Chapter 11
1. Now the leaders of the people settled in Jerusalem, and the rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of every ten to live in Jerusalem, the holy city, while the remaining nine were to stay in their own towns.
2. The people commended all the men who volunteered to live in Jerusalem.
3. These are the provincial leaders who settled in Jerusalem (now some Israelites, priests, Levites, temple servants and descendants of Solomon's servants lived in the towns of Judah, each on his own property in the various towns,
4. while other people from both Judah and Benjamin lived in Jerusalem): From the descendants of Judah: Athaiah son of Uzziah, the son of Zechariah, the son of Amariah, the son of Shephatiah, the son of Mahalalel, a descendant of Perez;
5. and Maaseiah son of Baruch, the son of Col-Hozeh, the son of Hazaiah, the son of Adaiah, the son of Joiarib, the son of Zechariah, a descendant of Shelah.
6. The descendants of Perez who lived in Jerusalem totaled 468 able men.
7. From the descendants of Benjamin: Sallu son of Meshullam, the son of Joed, the son of Pedaiah, the son of Kolaiah, the son of Maaseiah, the son of Ithiel, the son of Jeshaiah,
8. and his followers, Gabbai and Sallai--928 men.
9. Joel son of Zicri was their chief officer, and Judah son of Hassenuah was over the Second District of the city.
10. From the priests: Jedaiah; the son of Joiarib; Jakin;
11. Seraiah son of Hilkiah, the son of Meshullam, the son of Zadok, the son of Meraioth, the son of Ahitub, supervisor in the house of God,
12. and their associates, who carried on work for the temple--822 men; Adaiah son of Jeroham, the son of Pelaliah, the son of Amzi, the son of Zechariah, the son of Pashhur, the son of Malkijah,
13. and his associates, who were heads of families--242 men; Amashsai son of Azarel, the son of Ahzai, the son of Meshillemoth, the son of Immer,
14. and his associates, who were able men--128. Their chief officer was Zabdiel son of Haggedolim.
15. From the Levites: Shemaiah son of Hasshub, the son of Azrikam, the son of Hashabiah, the son of Bunni;
16. Shabbethai and Jozabad, two of the heads of the Levites, who had charge of the outside work of the house of God;
17. Mattaniah son of Mica, the son of Zabdi, the son of Asaph, the director who led in thanksgiving and prayer; Bakbukiah, second among his associates; and Abda son of Shammua, the son of Galal, the son of Jeduthun.
18. The Levites in the holy city totaled 284.
19. The gatekeepers: Akkub, Talmon and their associates, who kept watch at the gates--172 men.

While people such as Michael P. Germano may be correct that there was de facto construction in Jerusalem prior to the decrees of Artaxerxes, we get from Nehemiah the sense that previous efforts were desultory except for reconstruction of the Temple, and as mentioned above, no one who have dared to start building a wall around the city without permission from the Persian king. Jerusalem had few people living in it, but as soon as the city walls were complete, people started to return to live in Jerusalem in large numbers. I read Nehemiah and get the sense that what once was a "sleepy village" was suddenly becoming a city.

There are three time periods mentioned in the "70 Weeks of Daniel" prophecy:
1. 7 "weeks" ---- 49 years,
2. 62 "weeks" - 434 years,
3. 1 "week" ------ 7 years, the final period is divided into a fourth period ("middle of the week").
We then can combine the three time periods into two basic periods: (7 "weeks" plus 62 "weeks" or 69 "weeks" for a period of 483 years) before the advent of the Messiah, and then one "week" or seven years after the advent of the Messiah. Now no Christian scholar will contend that the first 69 "weeks" (or 483 years) does not represent fulfilled prophecy, the ministry of Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the prophecy. However there is some contention as to whether the final "week" represents fulfilled prophecy or an event yet to come. The preterists believe that the final "week" refers to the events leading up to the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 A.D. The futurists (or Dispensationalists) believe that the final "week" refers to the End Times and belongs in the realm of eschatology. We will examine both contentions in the following paragraphs.

Now I will not attempt to "fine tune" the dating of the prophecy. There are those writers who will begin with an exact starting date (such as March 14, 445 B.C. - "the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes") and then compute the exact number of days in 483 years to arrive at an exact day in the ministry of Jesus Christ. However these calculations tend to unravel because of technical difficulties. For example the date of Artaxerxes second decree has also been given as 444 B.C. There is difficulty in lining up the ancient Hebrew calendar dates with our Julian calendar, also there is questions as to what is exactly meant by the "twentieth year of the reign" or the "seventh year of King Artaxerxes". Is the year of the reign calculated from the ascension date or from some arbitrary legal date? ("Yet Persian practice was to number the years of their kings from Nisan, not from their anniversary dates.") This leads to the situation where there can be as much as a year difference in the dates given for the various decrees; it would be better to write 445B.C. +/- 1 year. Also I question the exactness that should be applied to Biblical prophecy time lines. Is a prediction of seventy years exactly seventy years to the day or a prediction as to what year an event would be expected to occur? Now if we use the figure of 483 years as predicted and arrive at a date within the correct year, then we have a accuracy of +/- 0.207% (1/483*100). In my book an error of 0.207% is not much to worry about.

We will now discuss the concept of the "prophetic year" which equals 360 days as opposed to the solar year of 365.25 days. This idea is not as far fetched as some may want you to believe. For in Revelation 11:2-3 a period of 42 months is equated with 1260 days, with each month representing 30 days (12 x 30 = 360). In Revelation 12:6 and 12:14 a three and half year period ("time, times and half a time") is given as 1260 days (1260/3.5 = 360). Also in Genesis 7:11, 7:24, 8:3, and 8:4, we see Noah's Ark came to rest on Mount Ararat after a period of 150 days of 5 months. Furthermore the Hebrews used a lunar calendar which has 30 day months.

The decree of Artaxerxes - 458 B.C. (Preterist View)

458 B.C. (or 457 B.C.) - Decree of Artaxerxes given to Ezra.
* 7 Weeks - 49 Years
* 49 year rebuilding of Jerusalem ("It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but
* in times of trouble"). There was constant opposition to the project from the
* descendants of the Assyrians who lived in Samaria. During the actual construction
* of the wall of Jerusalem, there was a plot to attack the city. The men working on
* the walls must always be armed in case of attack. There is an assassination plot
* against Nehemiah.
409 B.C. (or 408 B.C.) - Reconstruction of Jerusalem complete
* 62 Weeks - 434 Years
* Note there is no year 0; it goes 1 B.C. to 1 A.D. Therefore an additional year must
* added to your calculation when going from B.C. to A.D.
26 A.D. ( or 27 A.D.) - Advent of Jesus Christ
* Advent of Jesus Christ. This is the year Jesus begins his ministry and is considered to
* be the year He was baptized by John the Baptist and thus becomes "the Anointed One".
33 A.D. (or 34 A.D.)
* One Week - 7 Years
* Jesus Christ is crucified ("the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing",
* the term "cut off" means killed).
* "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." During His ministry Jesus confirms the
* new Covenant with many (The Apostles and other followers). In the "middle" or
* "midst" of the time period, His crucifixion as a sin atonement terminates the need for
* animal sacrifices as "sin offerings" ("he will put and end to sacrifice and offering").
* The crucifixion also "makes an end to sins", "makes reconciliation for iniquity", and
* "brings everlasting righteousness". The Jews "finish the transgression" when
* crucify Jesus and reject Him as the Messiah. The transgression of Israel had
* long been the burden of the messages of God's prophets. It was for their
* transgressions that they had been sent into the Babylonia captivity. "The
* people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary", in
* the year 70 A.D., after several years of rebellion, the Roman army of Titus, the
* son of Vespasian, destroys the Second Temple and Jerusalem.

The decree of Artaxerxes - 445 B.C. (Furturist View)

Using the prophetic year of 360 days, we have two basic time periods: 49 years = 49*360 = 17,640 days, 434 years = 434*360 = 156,240 days or a total of 173,380 days.

445 B.C. (or 444 B.C.) - Decree of Artaxerxes given to Ezra.
* 49 prophetic years = 17,640 days = 48.3 solar years
* The rebuilding of Jerusalem ("It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but
* in times of trouble"). As above, there is opposition to the project.
397 B.C. (or 396 B.C.) - Reconstruction of Jerusalem complete
* 434 prophetic years = 427.76 solar years
31 A.D. (or 32 A.D.)
* Year of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. As above, His crucifixion as a sin atonement
* terminates the need for animal sacrifices as "sin offerings" ("he will put and end to
* sacrifice and offering"). The crucifixion also "makes an end to sins", "makes
* reconciliation for iniquity", and "brings everlasting righteousness". "The people of
* the ruler who will come" is of course a prophecy that the Second Temple will be
* destroyed by Titus in 70 A.D.
However, the futurists hold that there exists a gap between the fulfillment of the first 69 "weeks" of Daniel and the last "week". They assert that this is a reference to the Antichrist who will make a covenant with Israel to rebuild the Temple. Since the Jews did not accept Jesus as Messiah, they still fall under the Old Covenant, Mosaic Law, by which they were required to conduct sacrifices (the Day of Atonement) to cover the sins of Israel. The Temple in Jerusalem is the only place that can be done. Therefore the Temple will be rebuilt, thus causing the sacrifice and oblation to start again. In the midpoint of the seven year period, the Antichrist will blaspheme (the abomination of desolation) by declaring himself to be God and will end sacrifices in the Third Temple.

Virtually all Christians believe that the first 69 weeks of the "70 Weeks of Daniel" represents fulfilled prophecy of the ministry of Jesus Christ. The difference of opinion is on whether the 70th Week represents a fulfilled prophecy or a prophecy of a time to come. Here I will leave it to the readers to decide for themselves that issue. However what I do find compelling is that by starting with the date of 458 B.C., the first Decree of Artaxerxes, and by using solar years you come to the beginning of the ministry of Jesus Christ. However if you start with the date of 445 B.C., the second Decree of Artaxerxes, and use prophetic years you come to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. I have reached the conclusion that this is not a coincidence and that God intended it to be that way, that no matter where you start with the prophecy, you always end up pointing to Jesus.

posted on Mar, 30 2010 @ 08:33 AM
An excellent post with a very attractive conclusion.
Of course we might see a very similar "first coming/second-coming" ambiguity about the arrival of the Son of Man in Daniel ch7.
Perhaps we can't entirely rule out the possibility of a "both/and" solution.

posted on Mar, 31 2010 @ 04:21 PM
An excelent post

Now please explain to me why the majority of Jews do not believe Christ to be the Messiah.

Surely they must have studied these scriptures as well. After all it's the history of their people.

posted on Mar, 31 2010 @ 04:48 PM
reply to post by Sinter Klaas

First, their Rabbi deftly passes over those passages in the Old Testament. Secondly, the Rabbi tells them that these passages really apply to the nation of Israel (for example, the passages in Isiah). Thirdly many have read them and have become believers in Christ (messianic Jews such as Zola Levitt). I really do not know why they do not believe. I feel that very few people have read and studied the Daniel 9 prophecy. It does take a lot of research to fully understand what is being said. My posting was the result at looking at over 20 different source dealing with the subject. Which is why I said most atheists do not read the Bible with the intent to understand. When you first read the passages they do not make very much sense, but when you start determine which decree (historical research), what a "week" refers to, etc. it starts to become compelling.

Also I have met many Christians (or who claim to be Christians) who have said that they been Christians all their life, who have never heard of the 70 Weeks of Daniel. Also I am still looking for atheist refutation on the subject.

[edit on 31-3-2010 by jagdflieger]

posted on Apr, 3 2010 @ 02:13 PM
reply to post by jagdflieger

I understand what you are saying. Usually you need to read every little thing before you can understand the first and see a bigger picture arise.

Even than. I no a few non believers which know the bible by heart including many other scripture. They were raised Christian and later studied theology. They eventually stop believing and ended up with telling me.
The bible is a wonderful story and many aspects of it are possible real truth. However all of it can ( including miracles and predictions ) be man made.

My own opinion ?
I think a lot can be explained if science would finally start to accept human history did not start in ancient Sumer. It's silly to label a civilisation which has been at the top of it's development. A civilisation first has to grow and evolve to be like that.

posted on Apr, 6 2010 @ 12:51 AM
reply to post by Sinter Klaas

Even than. I no a few non believers which know the bible by heart including many other scripture. They were raised Christian and later studied theology. They eventually stop believing and ended up with telling me.

May I point out that memorization does not always imply comprehension. To put it to the extreme, my computer has "memorized" the NIV, the NASB, the KJV, and the 1599 Geneva versions of the Bible; however, when I ask my computer what certain passages mean, I still get the same dumb screen. I hope you get my point which is that just because you can quote a passage does not necessarily mean that you have a clue of what it means. Indeed I have been looking into some non-Christian sites as to what they think of the Daniel 9 prophecies (when do with my research, I will do a posting here about it). I started with the site (Skeptics Annotated Bible) because this has historically been the site the atheists love to reference to find "Biblical contradictions". It seems that the Skeptics Annotated Bible finds that only Daniel Chapter 8 to contain a "true prophecy" even though Daniel Chapter 8 is sandwiched between Chapter 7 and Chapter 9. Therefore my conclusion is that these guys are basically clueless.

Indeed I too have read postings from non-believers who claim to have gone to church every Sunday and know the Bible by heart, yet they show a strange ignorance of basic Christian doctrine.

I have also come to the conclusion that the atheists simply do not want to address the issue or certain Biblical prophecies (except to state "well that passage is a forgery"). To find any real attempt to refute the Messianic nature of the Daniel 9 Prophecy, one must access Jewish sites which I am in the process of doing.

posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 10:56 PM
When I made the original posting concerning Daniel's 70 Weeks, I had hoped that the skeptics (i. e., the atheists) would take the challenge and post some form of refutation. Also I had hoped that the theists of non-Christian persuasion (i. e., our Jewish or Hindu members) would make some form of comment disputing the validity of the arguments presented. Indeed it is the Christian stance that the passages of Daniel 9 predict the advent of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, some 460 years after the generation of the original document. Christians use the prophecy as strong evidence of the truth of the Gospels. (The basic position is that only God can tell you exactly what is going to happen 400 to 500 years in the future as what is done in Daniel Chapter 9.) Now Biblical prophecy can be a challenging subject to study and does take some effort to properly research. You cannot find all the answers by using Google to find one web site with nice pictures and easy to read sentences. It does takes some scholarship to gain more than a superficial grasp of the subject and may be beyond the intellectual capacity of the average poster or beyond the willingness of the average poster to seek more than the quick easy answer.

So I did the home work for out atheist and other posters and searched the Internet for refutations of the Daniel 9 Prophecy. What has been discovered so far is covered in this post (and of course I will refute the refutations). Furthermore, I will not delve into the dispute between the Preterist View and the Futurist View as these are a matter of Christian doctrine and beyond the scope of this post. To begin there appears to be very little on the Internet dealing with the subject of Daniel's prophecy which is not Christian origin. This may be why no one here is willing to attempt to refute the original posting; they just can't go to their favorite site and get a quick response. It requires some effort.
However this is what I have discovered so far.

Refutations to the 70 Weeks of Daniel seem to fall into two basic categories, atheist response and Jewish response. Sinter Klaus asked in one of his replies to this thread:

Now please explain to me why the majority of Jews do not believe Christ to be the Messiah.
Surely they must have studied these scriptures as well. After all it's the history of their people.

Well this posting should give him the answer.

The typical atheist response is that the whole book of Daniel is a forgery written long after events prophesied in Daniel had occurred. The atheist points to the beginning of passage of Daniel:

Daniel 1
1. In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.
2. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God; and he carried them into the land of Shinar to the house of his god: and he brought the vessels into the treasure-house of his god.
3. And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring in ‘certain’ of the children of Israel, even of the seed royal and of the nobles;
4. youths in whom was no blemish, but well-favored, and skilful in all wisdom, and endued with knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability to stand in the king’s palace; and that he should teach them the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.

The atheists point out that the third year of Jehoiakim would be 605BCE (or 606BCE) and that Nebuchadnezzar did not lay siege to Jerusalem until 597BCE which is after the death of Jehoiakim and during the reign of his son Jehoiachin. They then conclude that the Book of Daniel contains "bad history" and therefore the whole book is a forgery and none of the prophecies contain therein can possibly be valid; case closed. Well while it cannot be definitely proven by independent means that Nebuchadnezzar conducted military operations against Jerusalem, it also cannot be definitely proven that he did not. However the circumstances indicate that it is highly probable that Nebuchadnezzar did conduct some military operation to neutralize Jerusalem during that time period.

Nebuchadnezzar was designated “crown prince” in 607BCE and promptly became an active military commander and in 605BCE he assumed command of the Babylonian army in the west. Babylonia was engaged in a war with Egypt and Assyria. In the spring or early summer of 605BCE, Nebuchadnezzar decisively defeated Necho II and the Assyrians at Carchemish which is located on the border of modern day Turkey and Syria near the city of Jarabulus. This is about 350 miles (580Km) north of Jerusalem. Nebuchadnezzar pursued the rapidly retreating Egyptians to the south. Probably late in August 605BCE, Nebuchadnezzar received the news that his father had died; he returned to Babylon as quickly as he could and arrived in Babylon on 6/7 September 605BCE. Babylonian chronicles credit Nebuchadnezzar with conquering the entire region of Hamath which was in modern day Syria prior to returning to Babylon. This probably included Riblah located 35 miles north east of the modern day city Baalbek (in Lebanon); this puts Babylonian military forces on the northern boundaries of modern day Israel in 605BCE.

Now Jehoiakim had been placed on the throne of Judah by Necho II and was therefore a vassal of the Pharaoh. This would make Jehoiakim an ally of the Egyptians. Then when have the following:
1. Babylonian military operations in the west most likely did not stop during Nebuchadnezzar's return to Babylon. Military tactics would dictate keeping the pressure on Necho II to prevent the Pharaoh from regrouping. This means that the Babylonians would keep moving south to Egypt (and into Judah).
2. In 601BCE, Nebuchadnezzar attempted a invasion of Egypt and was meet with setbacks. Well this means that sometime between 605BCE and 601BCE, Babylonian forces had to occupied regions around and in Judah. Since Jehoiakim was a vassal of Necho II, Nebuchadnezzar would have had to neutralize him before attempting to invade Egypt. To do otherwise would leave enemy forces to your rear where they could attack your supply lines.
3. In 597BCE, Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem (under the rule of Jehoiachin) as a response to a rebellion. The Babylonian defeats in Egypt (601BCE) lead to several rebellions among the states in the Levant (including Judah). To be in rebellion means that prior to 597BCE Judah would have had to come the control of the Babylonians.
This indicates that sometime between 605BCE and 601BCE, Judah (capital city Jerusalem) was occupied by Babylonian military forces under the command of Nebuchadnezzar and that the assertion in Daniel that Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Jerusalem during the "third year of Jehoiakim" was indeed correct and not "bad history"

Reference the following link for more details:


Perhaps the typical atheist response to Biblical prophesy is indicated by the following link:

This gentleman divided Biblical prophesy into five categories:
(1) Prophecies which were made and came to pass prior to 300 CE.
(2) Prophecies which were made prior to 300 CE and failed to be realized, nor can they ever be.
(3) Prophecies which were made prior to 300 CE and have not yet come to pass, but technically still might.
(4) Prophecies which are so likely to occur that they aren't really prophecies, but rather examples of someone reasonably thinking ahead.
(5) Prophecies which are so ambiguous that they can be interpreted to fit the results no matter what happens. Also, prophecies which are so loosely interpreted as to make them seem fulfilled, even when they are clearly not.

He states that any Biblical prophesy made for events which occurred before 300 CE could have been inserted into the texts after the event. This seems to ignore the fact that manuscripts as far back as 150BCE have been found. For an example of prophesy of type (2) he quotes:

Isaiah 19
23. In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria; and the Egyptians shall worship with the Assyrians.
24. In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth;

Since Assyria is not on the modern day map, he concludes that this prophecy can never happen. Well Assyria is now called Iraq. As for prophesies of type (3), our atheist states its has been "at least two thousand years and still no word". I will not dwell any longer on such superficial criticisms.

For some details on dating Biblical texts reference the following:


Typical Jewish criticisms to Christian interpretations of Biblical prophecy are outlined by the following two links (Part 1 and Part 2):

See also:

The word messiah come from the Hebrew word "mashi'ah" which is translated as "an anointed one". Jewish critics are quick to point out that English translations of the Bible which are translated as "The Messiah" should be translated as "an anointed one". Both kings (Saul, David, Solomon) and priests were anointed; therefore there are several messiahs in the Old Testament (the Hebrew Bible). Jewish critics state "The Messiah is a post-Biblical term for a Biblical concept". There are many Biblical passages which are prophecies of "an anointed one"; hence we have prophecies which are prophecies of "a messiah" (or an anointed one) and which are prophecies of "The Messiah" (or The Anointed One). Christians and Jews both agree that certain passages are prophecies of "The Messiah", but disagree on others. Well the question is then how do we differentiate between prophecies concerning "The Messiah" and those concerning "a messiah".

The Jewish contention is:

How does Judaism decide which verses are about the Messiah?
In almost all cases, Jewish Scripture refers to the Messiah as
(1) King, or synonym for king
(2) David, or descendent of David

There are rules for Messianic eligibility. He must (a) belong to the tribe of Judah (b) descend paternally from David and Solomon (c) be a reigning King.
Jesus fails every single criterion bar none. He does not belong to the tribe of Judah, is not descended paternally from David or Solomon, and was never a King.
Tribal affiliation is based solely on the father (Numbers 1, Ezra 2). Since Jesus is supposedly born of a virgin, he has no father; hence no tribal affiliation. He cannot be a paternal descendent from David. The genealogy in Luke, which missionaries claim is Jesus' "natural" genealogy, traces Joseph back to Nathan. Nathan is Solomon's brother, but he is not Solomon.

The author states "Jesus is supposedly born of a virgin, he has no father" and therefore has no tribal affiliation. I find this argument full of potential problems for the Jewish critics as outlined below:
1. If Jesus had no tribal affiliation due to the fact that He was born of a virgin, then His birth would have been a remarkable event (or even a miracle) and would tend to indicate that there was something special about Him. Of course Christians accept that Jesus was born of a virgin, but for a Jewish source to use being born of a virgin to disqualify Jesus from any tribal affiliation would indicate that indeed He was born of a virgin; otherwise, their contention of no tribal affiliation is invalid.
2. If Jesus was not born of a virgin, then the tribal affiliation would be that of Joseph (who would most likely the father in this case). Joseph was of the tribe of Judah and a descendant of Solomon and this would then Jesus would be descended paternally from David (as indicated by the genealogy given in Matthew).

Jewish critics also place the stipulations that "The Messiah" must be a reigning king and be anointed with the correct oil (Pennzoil just won't do) and be done in the proper manner (poured over the head) and preferably by a universally recognized prophet. The formulation for the anointing oil is given in Exodus 30:22-25. Of course Jesus was not a reigning king of Judah and there are no indications in the New Testament that He was "properly anointed". However it could be argued that since Pontius Pilate was the Roman governor of Judah (at that time a Roman province), Pilate had the legal authority to make Jesus king of the Jews as was written in the Gospels.

Hence we can see that Jewish critics will accept only Biblical prophecies as being Messianic only if they predict the coming of "A Davidic king will reign in a world of (a) universal peace (b) universal knowledge of G-d (c) the Temple rebuilt (d) the Jewish exiles gathered to the land of Israel." Anything else is not a Messianic prophecy and therefore must refer to some one else other than The Messiah; they only refer to "an anointed one". Jewish critics simply do not accept the concept that there will be two appearances of The Messiah (as the Christians maintain). Of course that does lead one to ask the question "then who is the anointed one to which these passages refer".


9:24. Seventy weeks [490 years] have been decreed upon your people and upon the city of your Sanctuary to terminate the transgression and to end sin, and to expiate iniquity, and to bring eternal righteousness, and to seal up vision and prophet, and to anoint the Holy of Holies. 25. And you shall know and understand that from the emergence of the word to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem until an anointed prince shall be seven weeks [49 years]; and in sixty-two weeks [434 years ] it will return and be built street and trench, but in troubled times. 26. And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one will be cut off, and he will be no more, and the people of the coming monarch will destroy the city and the Sanctuary, and his end will come about by inundation, and until the end of the war, it will be cut off into desolation. 27. And he will strengthen a covenant for the princes for one week, and half the week he will abolish sacrifice and meal- offering, and on high, among abominations, will be the dumb one, and until destruction and extermination befall the dumb one (Judaica Press).

The Jewish critic makes the following three points:
1. The word "anointed" ("anointed prince" and "anointed one") appears twice in the passages which indicates that they refer to two individuals.
2. The time period specified is divided into two periods: 7 weeks (or 49 years) and 62 weeks (or 434 years) which is "is a peculiar and awkward way to say "sixty-nine weeks".
3. The word "ein lo" is mistranslated to "not for himself" and should be translated as "he will be no more".

Our critic states:

The next question is, of which anointed one does Daniel speak? In fact there are two anointed persons in Daniel 9! The first is associated with the end of seven weeks (49 years) and the second is “cut off” at the end of sixty-two seeks (434 years)

Well it may seem awkward to speak of a period of 7 weeks (49 years) and 62 weeks (434 years) rather than writing 69 weeks (483 years), but when you do the addition it still comes to 69 weeks (483 years). When you do the time computation based upon dating of the decrees, it still points to the ministry of Jesus. The first "7 weeks" is an indication that it will take 49 years from the date of the decree to finish the rebuilding of Jerusalem. Our critic also asks "Where does Scripture indicate Jerusalem was rebuilt 49 years after the decree of Artaxerxes?" Well passages dealing with the reconstruction of Jerusalem appear in my original posting (Ezra 6:6-6:12, Ezra 7:11-7:26, Nehemiah 6:16-6;16, Nehemiah 11:1-11:19). Our critic also states that "Cyrus, Joshua the high priest and Zerubabel" cannot be the first "anointed one" because they were around before the decree of Artaxerxes. Well how about Nehemiah as the first "anointed one", Nehemiah was the one who got the wall around Jerusalem finished.

In conclusion, I do not find this critic's contentions to be all that convincing and are merely a superficial glossing about the subject.

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