|Daniel chapters 2, 7, 8, 9, 10-11, 12, overview||WhyProphets.com|
completing and confirming the covenant given to Moses
|7 "weeks" (49 years) 457 BC - 408 BC. Streets and walls of Jerusalem completed.||62 "weeks" (434 years) 408 BC - AD 27. Messiah is "cut off"||1 "week" (7 years), AD 27-AD 34. Messiah confirms (fulfills) the old covenant|
One of the reasons we can take the Biblical numbers seriously is Daniel chapter 9. Daniel records the key dates up to the end of Jesus' ministry. He ends with the slide toward the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans.
See also: Matthew 24
The Second Coming
The context of Daniel chapter 9:
In chapters 7 and 8 of his book, Daniel records his visions of the history of the world. He was badly shaken up by what he saw (7:15, 28; 8:27). He was concerned that his people would be destroyed by these kingdoms, because of their wickedness. So he prayed for forgiveness on behalf of his people (9:1-19). Daniel was rewarded by being shown the good news in the midst of this - the coming of the Messiah.
|What Daniel was told in Daniel 9:24-27|
|What was "the overspreading of abomination"?|
This is another example of Bible translations being changed to suit traditional Christians who wish to deny the Great Apostasy. The NIV is one of the worst offenders. The word translated "overspreading" in the KJV means "edge" or "extremity", so could refer to the edge of the troubles. But the NIV translators render it "wing". They then add the words "of the temple" to blatantly change the scripture to support their discredited ideas about Antiochus IV.
In what ways did the crucifixion lead to the abomination of AD 70?
Matthew makes it appear that the destruction of Jerusalem came as a consequence of Jesus being rejected:
"When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be upon us, and on our children."
That was in Matthew 27:24-25. Jesus effectively confirmed that view four chapters earlier:
"Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them ye shall scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth . . . All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets . . . how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate"
(see Matthew 23:34-38 - the next chapter describes the destruction of Jerusalem.)
Similar things were said when weeping over Jerusalem in Luke 19:41-44, and on the road to crucifixion in Luke 23:28-31 (compare Luke 23:29 and Matthew 24:19). Jesus' ministry saw Jerusalem teetering on the edge of the pit. But Jerusalem refused to listen. And sure enough, the next few years saw Jerusalem sliding toward desolation.
Whereas Jesus had taught the people to "render unto Caesar", to go two miles when compelled to go one, and to turn the other cheek, the people did the opposite. They were not interested in religious solutions, but wanted military ones. They rebelled and rebelled again. Their rebellions grew until, in the late 60s and culminating in AD 70, the Roman armies laid the region desolate.
The overspreading abominations - AD 34 to AD 70
The narrow and unscriptural idea that an "abomination" must always mean defiling a temple has led to much confusion, and the last verses of Daniel 9 are a prime example. But when we realise that in fact "abomination" has a wider meaning, we can see that the history of Israel between the atonement (the middle of the Daniel's seventieth "week") and the destruction of Jerusalem all comes under the category of "abomination".
Jesus' crucifixion was an abomination in itself. It even had the necessary element of idolatry - when, at the trial, the people stated that they had no king but Caesar (John 19:15). Like all idolaters, they did not really care about Caesar - he was just a convenient way to kill the prophets.
Conclusion: the abominations that led to desolation
The ungodly behaviour of the people of Jerusalem, bringing on greater and greater political pressure, could well be described as "overspreading abominations ". (The following information is from "Living in the Times of Jesus of Nazareth" by Peter Connolly - OUP 1993)
|Ten abominations that
led to the desolation at AD 70
Ten ways that
opposing Jesus' teachings led to the destruction of
Jerusalem. (Below: "the wailing wall" - all
that remained of the temple after AD 70)
1. The people did not go two miles when compelled to go one:
The people resented the occupying Romans, and so the Zealots grew in strength, especially under a bad governor like Antonius Felix (AD 53)
2. They did not bless those that cursed them:
AD 48 - at Passover a Roman soldier insulted the Jews, who retaliated. So reinforcements were sent. In the crowds, literally thousands were trampled to death. Later, when some Jews were killed in Samaria, some Zealots led a mob to invade. Rome had to restore the peace, and an investigation suggested the Jews had planned the revolt.
3. They did not "let him that is without sin cast the first stone":
The growth of the Sicarii - more fanatical than Zealots - who would assassinate anyone suspected of Roman sympathy.
4. They did not ignore the various false messiahs:
The disappointed followers became more fanatical.
5. They did not keep Moses' laws:
The Chief priests were corrupt and stole the tithes - the poorer priests starved. This made the extremists even more popular. Under a weak leader like Albinus, it led to near anarchy. Corrupt chief priests fought each other. Even at this point it was still perhaps not too late. God sent another prophet, Jesus son of Ananias, who arrived in Jerusalem AD 62. He warned day and night that Jerusalem was about to be destroyed. So the Sanhedrin had him flogged.
6. They did not believe that "he that is least is greatest":
The Jews in Caesarea - a minority - tried to control the city. The emperor had to settle the dispute. And they chose not to "give to him that asketh" - later, the Jews in Caesarea made trouble over ownership of a small patch of land (nothing changes!).
7. They did not "turn the other cheek":
So Albinus was replaced by brutal Gessius Florus. The Jews did not turn the other cheek to his brutality. They did not at first rebel in a big way, but it was enough for Florus to feel insulted and send in the troops.
8. They did not love their enemies:
The Jews staged a big demonstration against Florus, which escalated. They gained effective control of Jerusalem. King Agrippa wanted to reconcile the Jews and the pro-Romans, so the Jews expelled him from the city
9. They forgot about "thou shalt not kill":
The Zealots took complete control of city and also Masada, killing many Roman soldiers. All over the land, Jews and Gentiles fought. Rome moved in. In Jerusalem, the Zealots tried to kill all those suspected of Roman sympathies. There were pitched battles with the chief priests.
10. They were not united:
At the height of the siege the Zealots divided into two, and burned each others' food supplies!
So the Romans marched in, killed or enslaved all the men, and flattened the city, sacrificed a pig in what was left of the temple, and the Jews were scattered throughout the world for nearly two thousand years.
|What was "the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem"?|
To understand the rest of the "70 weeks" prophecy we need to put a date to the "going forth of the decree".
The four possibilities
On four occasions, the rulers in Persia gave permission for different groups of Jews to return to Jerusalem for different purposes. Of the four possibilities, only one decree fits the prophecy:
What was the date of Artaxerxes' decree?
In Ezra 7, the date of the king's decision is not given. Only after arriving in Jerusalem is the decree quoted in full. So "going forth of the decree" probably meant its going forth to the Jews (and there were far more Jews already in Jerusalem than came with Ezra). This was the seventh year of Artaxerxes.
When was the seventh year of Artaxerxes? The "sacred" calendar began in April/May, so would be 458 BC. But this decree was from the Persian king, involving money and law, so presumably used the civil year, which started in September/October. This would be closest to 457 BC. This might explain why Ezra waited until the first day of the year - perhaps the decree was tied to the year? It would also explain why the journey took so long - it would have been in winter.
How Daniel's prophecies were fulfilled to the exact year:
The prince that shall come (verse 26)
The 'prince that will come' after Messiah is cut off is Satan, who brought the Great Apostasy - see John 14:28-30. But the whole passage is all about the Messiah ('Messiah The Prince", or 'The Most Holy') and the next verse returns to the messiah, describing how he will allow Jerusalem to become desolate.
As for whether God Jesus was responsible for destroying Jerusalem, the original text (as far as I can detect) does not actually say that this person made it desolate, only that it would become desolate. Even if it had said that this person did the destruction himself, that would still be accurate. See the parallel in Jeremiah chapter 13 - back around 600 BC, the people were wicked (abominations) an the Lord said that he himself would destroy the city. How the abominations and desolation was fulfilled in AD 70 is indicated in Matthew 23:37-38, quoted above.
|Seven years to fulfil the covenant of Moses|
About the last seven years
"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."
"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" (verse 27)
The conclusion of the seventy 'weeks,' the last seven years, is when the covenant is confirmed. What covenant? The only covenant that Daniel knew was the Old Testament Covenant, the law of Moses which ensured that the Jews were the chosen people. How as this confirmed? It seems to point to the ministry of Christ.
Matthew 5:17 "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil."
All of this points to the atonement that makes (and retroactively made) forgiveness of sins possible. Even "to seal up the vision and prophecy" refers to this. 'The vision and prophecy' was about the rebuilding and destruction of Jerusalem. Its fate was sealed when Jesus was rejected by the Jews.
The last week - the final seven years - is:
- AD 27 - Jesus is baptized by John the Baptist
- AD 30 - Jesus suffers the atonement, to put an end to sins
- AD 34 - the covenant with the Jews is completed, and the gospel is given to the Gentiles. The final rejection of the covenant led to the destruction of Jerusalem, as explained above.
Jesus' words before he ascended into heaven
Luke 24: 45-51. The gospel was to begin at Jerusalem, and the disciples are to stay there until they gained more power. Most people assume that this refers to the day of Pentecost, but the apostles knew better. Eve after Pentecost, they stayed focused on Jerusalem. The real power came with the conversion of Paul, and the command to take the gospel to the Gentiles.
"Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
"And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. "And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high."
"And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven."
Acts 1:5, 8. Note that Jesus begins his description with John the Baptist, and ends it with the gospel going to the ends of the earth.
"For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. ... But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."
Acts chapters 2-8: The disciples still minister to the Jews
Before AD 34, the gospel was preached mainly or exclusively to the Jews. Even at the day of Pentecost, mainly Jews were present, and Peter spoke to them as Jews:
Acts 2: 5, 14, 36
"And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. ... But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words... Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ."
Although the occasional convert came from elsewhere, they had to do it through the Jews. In other words, they had to be circumcised, and accept the Jewish ways.
"Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed."
The apostles lived in Jerusalem, and that was where most of the preaching took place.
"And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith."
The apostles still saw Jesus' role as restricted to the house of Israel:
"The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins."
But once Saul entered the scene, things had to start changing.
(8:3-4) "As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison. Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word."
Acts chapter 9: Jesus completes his ministry to the Jews, by personally calling Saul (Paul) to take the gospel to the Gentiles
According to the best sources I can find, Paul was converted sometime around AD 34 - seven years after Jesus as baptized.
Acts 9:3, 15
"And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: [Saul is humbled, then is sent to Ananias, who thinks that Saul is still an enemy of the Christians]... But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel"
Acts chapter 10: taking the gospel to the Gentiles completes the seven year Jewish ministry
In this chapter, Peter, the chief apostle, is commanded to allow the Gentiles to have the gospel. He then summarizes Jesus' seven year ministry to the Jews:
"The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; [AD 27]
"How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: [AD 30]
"Him God raised up the third day, and showed him openly; Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach unto the people the Jews, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. [AD 30-34]
"While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. [AD 34]"
Acts chapter 11: Peter summarizes the most significant events
"Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water [AD 27]; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost [AD 30]. Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; [AD 34] what was I, that I could withstand God? When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life."
|More about Paul|
The end of the seventy weeks is when certain events are completed:
When was Jesus' Palestine ministry complete?
Jesus came to do two things. The main thing was to die for our sins and overcome death. This was accomplished on the cross and at his resurrection. But Jesus also came to fulfil the law of Moses, and to pass the gospel from the Jews to the Gentiles. This took a little longer.
We should not underestimate the importance of setting up the church. This was essential if the atonement was to have any effect. Without the church, how would anyone know about Christ? How could anyone benefit from his gospel?
All the history books I have suggest that the most important single event in the history of the church, apart from the atonement of Christ, was when the gospel was take to the Gentiles. And the key event here was the conversion of Paul on the road to Damascus (soon after which came the revelation to Peter, to take the gospel to the Gentiles, and Paul was to be the instrument of that). Paul was second only to Christ in his influence on the church. The entry in Harper's Bible Dictionary begins:
"Paul the Apostle was the most effective missionary of early Christianity and the church's first theologian. He is sometimes called the 'second founder' of Christianity."
Indeed, critics of Christianity often say that what we have is not the church of Jesus, but the church of Paul. Paul, "the apostle to the gentiles," was largely responsible for taking the gospel to the whole world. he was uniquely qualified for ensuring the passage of the church from Jew to Gentile. his credentials were impeccable (Roman citizen, Greek speaker, highly trained and respected Jew) and he had proved himself to be a man of extraordinary ability. Fourteen of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament were written by Paul. The Acts of the Apostles - the history of the early church - is mainly about Paul. And most of Paul's writings seem to be focused on the transition of the gospel from the Jews to the Gentiles.
Paul's importance cannot be overemphasized. When Paul was converted, the church entered a new phase. It was no longer dominated by those who knew Jesus as a mortal, men who were largely uneducated fishermen from Galilee. Now it could call on educated and experienced men from further afield, people who knew Jesus only as the risen Messiah. It was no longer (by birth) a Jewish church, but rapidly became a Gentile church.
When was Paul converted?According to all the sources I can find, this crucial event happened in about AD 34. Once Paul had been chosen (through a personal visit by Jesus), Jesus' Palestinian ministry was over. It lasted for seven years (AD 27-34), as foretold by the angel. It began with his baptism, ended with his calling of Paul, and had the crucifixion in the middle. The time allotted to Daniel's people - the Jews - was completed.
the bottom line
If God is able to foresee precise events hundreds of years in advance, then you cannot hide. He knows who you are, and he knew way back then!
1. The date of Jesus ministry:
Most scholars believe that when the sixth century scholar Denis the Little calculated the year of Jesus' birth, and thus our modern calendars, he got it three or four years too late.
Some LDS like to quote Doctrine & Covenants 20:1,announcing the restoration of the church "one thousand eight hundred and thirty years since the coming of our Lord and Savior in the flesh". They say that this was given in 1830, which implies that Jesus' birth had to be in 1 BC. But most readers take that verse as being just a memorable way of stating the date on the calendar.
2. A parallel interpretation
Another view of this prophecy is described at http://www.best25sites.com/lds/ Here, the author points out that all the symbolism - and the time periods - are also fulfilled in the events surrounding the building of the Kirtland temple in Jerusalem county, Ohio, in 1836. Personally, I think that this is an example of multiple fulfilments of the same prophecy. It illustrates how Biblical the LDS church is - without even being aware of it.
3. Attempts to link the final week to the 1260 'day' prophecies
Many people note the phrase "in the midst of the week" and divide seven by two, making 3 1/2. They then link this to the 3 1/2 "times" prophecies to the 1260 "days." This is a key plank in the single Antichrist theory. But is this valid?
First, the numbers are different. We can translate the "week" as either "week" or just "seven." Either way, half a week is 3 1/2 and not 1260.
Second, I don't think that "in the midst of the week" is precise enough to imply an exact division into 3 1/2 and 3 1/2. In normal conversation today, "mid week" can mean any time on Wednesday (not just 12:00 noon), or perhaps even Tuesday of Thursday.
Third, the subject is different. In one case we have Jerusalem having its destruction sealed, and in the other we have Israel in the wilderness. They sound a little similar, but so do a lot of things. A closer parallel with Israel in the wilderness would be when Elijah closed the heavens for 3 1/2 years (so Jerusalem became like a desert), but we all agree that this was just coincidence.