- Published: 09 December 2010
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There is no doubt about the time given here. It is in a context of years, (verse 2). So it is easy to figure that 70 periods of 7 years each is meant.
But the second point is one that most expositors have overlooked. It concerns the beginning of this 490 year period. And it plainly says that this time period has to do with the People (Israel, the whole nation) and their holy city, Jerusalem. This time period cannot start before the People are restored to their city. Wherever this period may be in either history, or the future, or maybe even both, it goes on while the People are in their city.
During that time period, 6 things are listed as taking place. Israel will finally make an end of her transgression which began with the golden calf at Sinai, their transgression of the old covenant. The end of this period will mark the end of Israel's sins. The Messiah came in the first coming to save His People from their sins. They would not be saved! But at His second coming this will be accomplished.
Israel needs reconciliation to God for their iniquity. That also will be accomplished. In so doing, there will be ushered in a time of age-abiding righteousness. This has not happened yet to Israel. All the prophecies concerning Israel have not yet been fulfilled. But they will be at the end of this 490 years. Also at the end of this space of time will come the anointing of the most holy place, the sanctuary that is the subject of Ezekiel's prophecy. This is the millennial sanctuary. See Ap. 88 in the The Companion Bible
These items then tell us that this period of 490 years will end with the beginning of the kingdom, the millennial age of one thousand years.
Now where is the beginning? Paul expected the coming of the Lord or the end of this period in his lifetime. This was the hope of Israel all during the Acts period. Our Lord spoke of His coming again as if it might be in the lifetime of His hearers, or during that generation. See Matt. 16:28 and note in Companion Bible.
Israel returned to the land and rebuilt the temple in Jerusalem. It was dedicated about 405 B.C. The 490 years later would have been A.D. 85. This could have been in the lifetime of Paul and many contemporaries of the Lord when He was on earth. This is the key. This is the answer.
Since Paul was fully expecting to see the end of this period, and it was intimated that John might have lived till then John 21:22, it is utterly impossible that this period of time is all yet future, or that it even was entirely future in the times of the apostles. Neither Paul nor John would have lived that long. Note that verse 27 is a continuation of what is in verse 24. But verses 25 and 26 do not have any part in this 70 weeks as we shall now see:
THE SIXTY-NINE WEEKS
Daniel 9:25,26 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto 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. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself: 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 unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
Here is a definite period of time. For some reason it has been divided into 2 parts. The first part is 49 years and the second is 434 years. The 2 added together makes a total of 483 years or 69 weeks of years. This is all of the time mentioned in this prophecy. There is no 70th week connected with it. It begins with a decree and ends with the cutting off of the Messiah. We should not add or take away.
Now we know that the cutting off of Messiah was about A.D. 29. Going back on the calendar will take us to about 454 B.C. What was happening at that time?
That was about the last year of the 7 years that Nebuchadnezzar was spending out in the fields as a wild beast. This would be about the 20th year of the reign of Ahasuerus, husband of Esther and father of Cyrus. If Nebuchadnezzar was busy yet eating grass, then we can find some reason why he did not make the decree. History says that Ahasuerus was a brotherin-law of Nebuchadnezzar. Then it is reasonable to suppose that he may have taken care of things for the king while he was incapable of ruling. This shows how that divine providence can rule so that things may happen according to God's will. Esther may have had more influence on the history of Israel than is generally supposed. See note in The Companion Bible on Neh. 2:1 and read verses 1 to 8 about this decree.
Now we can begin to see why that the time was divided up into the two parts. From the time of the decree to the dedication of the temple in 405 B.C. is just 49 years, the 7 sevens. This is to assure us that we are figuring right. Then we add to that the 62 weeks and we come to A.D. 29 when Messiah was cut off, or executed on Calvary.
There is much more interesting story about these things that we do not have space for here, except to mention that Cyrus later, along with his general Gobryas, took Babylon the night the hand wrote on the wall. And it is interesting to read how much that Cyrus contributed toward the building of the city and the temple. Be sure to read Esther, too.
It was true that the city and the temple were rebuilt in troublous times. Read in Nehemiah how that others tried to hinder the work.
It was some years after Calvary that a prince of the Romans came and destroyed the city and the sanctuary. It was Titus. The year was about A.D. 70.
Then we must conclude that it is in the last week of the 70 weeks that there will be another temple, and in it will the sacrifices cease when a great ruler will break his covenant (treaty) with Israel concerning the temple. Then will begin the great tribulation, Jacob's trouble. Dan. 12:1 speaks of this time.