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Old Testament Prophecy

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The Prophecy - Daniel 9:24-27 - Daniel's 70 Weeks
Old Testament Prophecy

24) Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place.

25) So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.

26) Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.

27) And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.

Description Of Prophecy:

Seven Sevens:

Daniel 9:25 deals directly with the beginning of the dividing up of Daniel's prophetic clock and the 490 years of this prophecy. It uses a measurement of time known as a heptad (a group or series of seven). "Seven Sevens" is another way of saying seven groups of seven equaling 49. Each seven is equal to a time frame of seven consecutive years. This group of seven sevens equals 49 consecutive years. After 49 years the first part (seven sevens or 7 weeks) of the prophecy would be complete.

Seven Sevens - 49 Years
Time Frame
Alternative Time Frame
Seven or 1 Week
7 consecutive Prophetic Years
Seven Sevens or 49 Weeks
49 consecutive Prophetic Years
Sixty Two Sevens or 62 Weeks
434 consecutive Prophetic Years
Sixty Nine Sevens or 69 Weeks
483 consecutive Prophetic Years

Fulfillment:

Med-Messianic-SealThe key to understanding the first seven weeks of the prophecy is knowing and understanding the general time frame to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. The same Royal Decree  issued to start this rebuilding project also starts God's prophetic clock ticking.

Supporters of the 458 decree point to historians such as Josephus. In his writings, 49 years after the 458 decree was issued, Nehemiah's last action concerning the rebuilding of the wall took place. The seven weeks (49 Years) that precede the 62 weeks (434 Years) is undoubtedly the time period it took for Ezra, Nehemiah, and others to rebuild the city.(1) Historians like Josephus help to support the records of the 49 year rebuilding process.

Supporters of the 444 B.C. decree are correct when they say that it is the only decree issued for both the rebuilding of the city (Jerusalem) and the wall.

The same king issued both the 458 and the 444 decrees.  An understanding of Persian Law is helpful to understand what may have been the need for two separate decrees. In the original decree (Ezra 7:18 - the 458 decree) we find "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" (After the rebuilding of the Temple).

We learn from the Book of Esther that the Persian King made a decree that he later wanted to modify. Persian law would not allow this so a new decree was needed to be issued. It may very well be that the 458 decree had good intentions (rebuilding the temple and allowing the Jews to return to an area of their own sovereignty) and the 444 decree further clarified those intentions (rebuilding Jerusalem and the wall that would help to protect the city which would protect the temple itself).

Regardless of which of the two possible royal decrees you choose for a starting point of the prophecy, (458B.C. or 444 B.C.) both bring you to the days when Jesus walked the earth as Messiah and then was "cut off" or crucified.

The second part of verse 25 deals with another section of time concerning 62 sevens. These 62 sevens are equal to 434 years (62 x 7 = 434). Together, the 7 sevens added to the 62 sevens are equal to 69 sevens or 69 weeks of seven years each equaling a total of 483 years.

Verse 25 is equal to 483 years (69 of Daniel's 70 weeks) broken down into two sections of time. One is 49 years (Seven Sevens) the other is 436 years (62 Sevens).


Comments:

Some scholars believe that the end of this 49 year period also brought with it the end of Old Testament Prophecy. The prophetic book of Malachi was written in this general time frame and ushered in around 400 years of prophetic silence. This period between prophecy from the Old Testament and the New Testament is often referred to as the Intertestamental Period.

During the seven weeks indicated in Daniel 9:25 the city of Jerusalem would be rebuilt "even in troublous times. " The books of Ezra and Nehemiah reveal that's precisely what happened (Ezra 9 and 10; Neh. 4, 6, 9, and 13). Yet during that forty-nine year period crucial events occurred in the history of Israel: the city was rebuilt, the Temple established, and the canon of the Old Testament was completed. From the close of that time to the advent of John the Baptist there was no prophet in Israel.(2)

The 49 year period would have concluded around 396-5 B.C. with it beginning around 445-4 B.C.

The seven weeks of years concluded in 396  B. C. , forty-nine years after the second decree of Artaxerxes in 445B. C.(2)

In calculating years from B.C. to A.D., one must always be omitted. (From B.C.1 to A.D.1 is one year not two years). B.C. 1 is calculated as B.C. 0 by astronomers. Therefore what is commonly referred to as 445 B.C. is referred to as 444 B.C. by astronomers.(3)


Miscellaneous:

Here are some links that have been created to help move around inside of the Daniel 9:24-27 prophecy.

Other links of interest include:


Acknowledgments:

1). The Daniel Papers Discovery Series (RBC Ministries).

2). John MacArthur.

3). The Coming Prince by Sir Robert Anderson p.128.

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