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Seventy Weeks of Years


     We exposited on Daniel 9:24 in Prophecy Update Number 55, establishing how Daniel had learned, from Jeremiah’s writings, that seventy weeks of years were determined upon the people of Israel and their holy city Jerusalem.  Under Daniel’s formula for the period, each one of Jeremiah’s seventy years was equal to seven years, and he identified each seven year period as one week of years.  So 7 X 70 = 490 years or 70 weeks of years.  In verse 25 he gives us a starting point for his prophetic clock to begin ticking toward a countdown of 490 years or 70 weeks of years.

Daniel 9:25

[25] Know therefore and understand, that FROM the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem UNTO the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

The time clock would start ticking when “the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem” was issued.  However, there were four different proclamations issued by three Persian kings:

The Decree of Cyrus in 536 B.C.

The Decree of Darius Hystaspes in 519 B.C.

The first Decree of Artaxerxes Longimanus in 457 B.C.

The second Decree of Artaxerxes Longimanus in 445 B.C.

The Scripture indicated that FROM the time the commandment (decree) was issued UNTIL the Messiah the Prince arrived, would be 69 weeks of years or 483 years (7 weeks + 62 weeks = 69 weeks of years)  ( 7 X 69 = 483 years)

Now, some problems arise in historical dates, prophetic years or calendar years, corrections to the Gentile calendars by Rome, and deciding which is the correct decree of the four issued!

Was Daniel indicating solar years of 365.25 or prophetic lunar years of 360 days?  Most likely he meant years of 360 days.

Which one of the four decrees was the one that Daniel indicated in his prophecy?  The decree of Cyrus in 536 B.C. was limited to the building of the Temple.  The decree of Darius Hystaspes was also limited to the building of the Temple.  The first decree of Artaxerxes Longimanus in 457 B.C. demonstrated a larger range of granting authority to carry out all that needed to be done, much more than the two decrees before it.  His second decree in 445 B.C. is also very specific in its instruction and authority to rebuild Jerusalem.  So, we are able, because of the lack of reference “to restore and to build Jerusalem” in the first two decrees, to say that it must be one of the two issued by Artaxerxes Longimanus in 457 B. C. and 445 B.C.

If Daniel’s prophecy is based on our present calendar year, which I doubt, then FROM the time Artaxerxes first decree was issued in 457 B.C. until the baptism of Jesus the Messiah in 27 A.D., would be 483 years or 69 weeks.  This was the viewpoint held by the great Baptist Bible expositor B.H. Carroll in the late eighteen hundreds and early nineteen hundreds.  But Dr. Carroll makes this statement in his writings on Daniel, when dealing with prophetic years of 360 days: “”Hengstenberg, on the other hand, while agreeing with the second decree of 445 B.C., controverts the theory of a year of 360 days, and contests the date usually accepted (445 B.C.).  By an elaborate historical argument of great plausibility he seeks to prove that the 20th year of Artaxerxes Longimanus falls upon the date 455 B.C., and then by adding 483 years he reaches His acknowledgment by the Father at his baptism as the true coming of Messiah the Prince.”  Sir Robert Anderson has two books on Daniel, “The Coming Prince” and “Daniel in the Critic’s Den.”  He uses the usually accepted debt of 445 B.C. and articulates a strong time sequence to prove his conclusions.

Now, please allow me to state my conclusions.  I was taught certain things about Daniel 9:24-27 by many old preachers who are now at home with the Lord.  Many of them were born in the 19th century and lived into the thirties, forties, and fifties of the 20th.  In northern Arkansas where I was raised, these old fellows read after the leading Baptist theologians of their day from books they had procured from old book stores or the libraries of older preachers when they died.  Some of these books were written in the late 18th and early 19th century, and they finally just worn out and fell apart from constant use.  They didn’t have any way to go to a seminary, but they were diligent in getting the works of Baptists who did.  These are the men who first taught me prophecy before I graduated from seminaries, colleges, and universities.  In the weeks to come, Lord willing, I am going to pass on to you what they taught me, and you may be surprised.  Now, in all honesty, before God and man, I believe it was 483 years FROM the decree UNTO the baptism of Jesus, when he began His earthly ministry.  I accept it by faith in God’s word.

My main reason for writing such a lengthy discourse was to show how difficult it is to absolutely fix the precise date the proclamation was issued to which Daniel referred.  BUT I AM DELIGHTED TO TELL YOU THAT WHAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT CAN BE PROVEN BY A SINGLE WORD, THE WORD “AFTER” IN DANIEL 9:26A.

Daniel 9:25,26A

[25]Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. [26] And AFTER threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself:  (The 7 weeks is understood in Hebrew literary style to also be added to the 62 in verse 26 so as to avoid redundancy in a flowing chronological sequence of events, i.e. AFTER 69 weeks.  Otherwise, Messiah would have been cut off before he was born.)

The Hebrew word used for AFTER is ACHAR, which means, in context, AFTERWARD.  This same word ACHAR is used in the following Scriptures.

Jeremiah 31:33

[33] But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; AFTER those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Joel 2:28

[28] And it shall come to pass AFTERWARD, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:

Hosea 3:5

[5] AFTERWARD shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days.

Hosea 6:2

[2] AFTER two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.

The significance of the placement of AFTER in Daniel 9:26A cannot be overemphasized.  Why?  Because it definitely states that Messiah would not be cut off to end the 69th week, but would be crucified AFTER it, at some time in the 70th week.  The clock of Daniel stopped ticking at some time in the final 70th week.  So when was Jesus cut off by crucifixion in the 70th week?  The answer is of the utmost importance.  I know we have less than seven years once the clock starts to tick again, but how much less do we have?  It has to be less than 2520 days, but more than 1260 days?  We will proceed into verses 26 and 27 in Prophecy Update Number 57 next week to find the answers to these questions, Lord willing.

 
#56A:  
The latest peace initiative has come from a most unexpected source – Saudi Arabia.  And, oddly enough, it seems to be drawing a lot of attention from all who are both directly and indirectly involved in the current deadly Middle East conflict.  It may well represent the vessel that will eventually bring a brief end to the seventeen month Palestinian uprising – a conflict that has taken the lives of more than 1200 people, most of them Palestinian.
 
Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz has put forth a proposal in which the Arab world would normalize ties with Israel in exchange for an Israeli withdrawal from occupied Arab lands.  It was even more interesting that in a second interview with Saudi officials, they indicated they might accept Israel controlling portions of Old Jerusalem and the Temple Mount complex, and perhaps even small portions of the West Bank.   So, basically, Saudi Arabia would be prepared to grant full diplomatic relations, normalize trade, and guarantee the security of Israel, if the Israelis agree to withdraw from the Arab territories they occupied during the 1967 war.
 
A group of leading Palestinian and Israeli moderates, seeking a peaceful solution to Middle East tensions, met in Moscow on February 25th to begin discussions on Russia’s role in mediation efforts.  This group intends to discuss with Russia the new plan now being offered by Saudi Arabia.
 
The Saudi proposal has also been backed by Palestinian leader Yassar Arafat, and by most of the twenty-two member Arab League, with the exceptions of Syria and Iraq.  It has also been recognized by the European Union.  Israeli President Katsav has offered to visit the Saudi Crown Prince in Arabia, or to receive the Prince in Jerusalem to discuss the plan.
 
Jordan’s King Abdullah II is expected to travel to Egypt for talks with President Hosni Mubarak on the Middle East.  This announcement came amid the growing support for the Saudi peace initiative, which would normalize ties with the Jewish State after fifty-four years of refusal to do so, that is, provided Israel withdraws to the pre-1967 borders.   Jordan currently holds the rotating presidency of the Arab League, and is the only country, apart from Egypt, to have a peace treaty with Israel.
 
The Scriptures teach that a false peace MUST come to Israel before a vicious surprise blitzkrieg Jihad is launched against her from the north – of that I am certain.  Whether or not this Saudi peace plan, which is one of many that have come and gone, will be the vehicle by which the false peace will eventually be made, I cannot say.  But I will say it is certainly worthwhile to watch what happens with it during March.  How it will fare in the Arab League meeting as to who will accept it and who will not, whether it is formally or informally presented, and whether European Union and United States approval grows or decays, will be very interesting.  This year could be the most significant in end time prophecy up to this time.
 
This update material, from which its conclusions were drawn, was extracted from daily newspapers in Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Libya, and Algeria.
 
WATCH THE TERRORIST GROUPS!  If you see them cease their activities in Israel, then you can know that behind the scenes planning between them and their sponsoring nations has occurred, and that part of this planning will include preparation for a post-peace surprise Jihad.