That means that when the seven weeks, or forty nine years, end, the city would be rebuilt.
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The forty nine years begins with a decree to rebuild the city, which means that it was not rebuilt at its start. The decree of Cyrus did not result in the city being rebuilt within 49 years. The decree of Artaxerxes in BC, however, did exactly that. The rebuilding of Jerusalem took place over 49 years, finishing in BC. We note that there was no Messiah who came at this time, nor was there 49 years after the decrees of Cyrus and Darius. What the passage, when viewed as a whole shows, is that the "seven weeks" is simply the first part of the seventy weeks.
The seventy weeks must begin at the time of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem. The Hebrew text allows Daniel to say that until the coming of an anointed one, there will be seven weeks and sixty two weeks. That rendering makes it possible that the time that Jerusalem remains built is during the sixty two week period.
The seven weeks was the forty nine years terminating in BC. So what of the extra week? Daniel says that after the sixty two weeks, an anointed one will be cut off. This doesn't mean that the anointed one will be killed at the very time the sixty two weeks end, or immediately after. It just means that this anointed one will die in the last week, as evidenced by verse 27, which speaks of him making a covenant for one week. He would have to be alive until the end of the week to make a covenant for a week.
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This is exactly what happened. Jesus died in AD Daniel basically says the same thing as Daniel and Daniel ; that at the end of a period of time, when the indignation is accomplished, righteousness will come. The latter two references speak of the time of the end, and from comparing them to the words in Daniel , something as important as the Messiah could easily be spoken of. The coming of the Messiah would certainly "bring in everlasting righteousness. One could say that the content of the verse implies that it does.
But Daniel only speaks of "your people," which refers to the Israelite Jews. While the coming of Jesus can be called "the time of the end" in one sense, it is not the time when the everlasting kingdom was set up. We would expect that at this time the whole world, as opposed to just the Israelite Jews, should be redeemed.
One way that we can establish when the everlasting kingdom was set up is by determining the identity of the kingdoms mentioned in Daniel chapter 2 and 7. In chapter 2, Nebuchadnezzar had a dream, which required the power of God to interpret its meaning. In this dream, Nebuchadnezzar saw a great image. Daniel says, "The head of this image was of fine gold, its breast and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay.
Then Daniel begins to interpret the dream, saying: "You, O king, the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, and the might, and the glory, into whose hand he has given, wherever they dwell, the sons of men, the beasts of the field, and the birds of the air, making you rule over them all -- you are the head of gold.
It is said to Nebuchadnezzar that he is the head of gold, but this means that his kingdom is the head of gold.
So the Babylonian kingdom is the first spoken of. Daniel says that after this kingdom will arise another kingdom, one which is inferior. What was the next kingdom to arise after Babylon? It was Persia, the kingdom that brought to an end the Babylonian kingdom. Persia was a bit inferior to Babylon. The third kingdom of bronze is the kingdom that conquered the Persian empire, Greece. It didn't rule over the whole earth, but over the whole known earth. One can hardly claim that the third kingdom could be a later kingdom, not only because Greece fits the historical description of the third kingdom, but because Daniel is written in such a way that makes it clear that the next two world kingdoms that arise after that of Babylon will be the second and third kingdoms.
Daniel says, "And there shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron, because iron breaks to pieces and shatters all things; and like iron which crushes, it shall break and crush all these. Firstly, we note that verse 44 says, "And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, nor shall its sovereignty be left to another people.
It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand for ever. Daniel says: "These four great beasts are four kings who shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, for ever and ever.
The saints obviously possess the kingdom after the fourth beast loses power. This is supported further by Daniel The horn is part of the fourth beast, and according to these verses his dominion will be taken away after a certain time, and at that time the saints receive the everlasting kingdom, obviously the one that Daniel speaks of. So the fourth kingdom must fit the description given in chapter 7. This chapter says that the fourth beast is very strong, that it is different from all the beasts that were b fore it, that it has ten horns, and that from among the horns came up another horn, a little one, before which three of the first horns fell.
This horn speaks great things, is greater than the others, and makes war with the saints until they receive the kingdom of God. He will speak great things, and make war against the saints for a period of three and a half times, according to Daniel The fourth beast would have dominion over the whole earth, and the beast would eventually be slain, obviously at the end of the three and a half times. Is there a kingdom that has ever fulfilled all these requirements?
What about Rome? Rome didn't fulfill all the requirements for the fourth beast. It wasn't different from all the prior beasts; in fact people often speak of the Greco-Roman empire, as the two kingdoms were so similar. Daniel chapter 8 speaks of a beast, represented as a ram, and identifies this beast as "the kings of Media and Persia. In addition, Rome did not have exactly ten horns, from which another horn came up, and destroyed three of the first horns. Since this chapter is clear that when this horn loses his dominion the everlasting kingdom is established, if one was to claim that this kingdom was Rome, then they would have to believe that the period of three and a half times had not yet ended.
Either that or they would have to believe that the coming of the person "like a son of man" was non-visible and had already taken place. The chapter itself indicates that this person will come when the horn loses his dominion, and the kingdom is established. At what other time would He come? But there are some strong possibilities that he also studied the book of Isaiah, since Isaiah actually named Cyrus as the one who would permit the Jews to return Isaiah Furthermore, there are other writings in Moses and the Prophets that spelled out some specific conditions for the establishment of the messianic kingdom, and Daniel may have looked at some of these as well Leviticus , 1 Kings , Jeremiah , Hosea These passages emphasize that Israel as a nation must repent and confess sin prior to the establishment of any kingdom of the Messiah.
Reckoning the 70 years from the year when the Jews went into exile would bring the end of the 70 years to B. Daniel realized that the captivity had only about three years to go. But Daniel not only expected the captivity to end after 70 years, he also expected a final termination of any possibility of future desolations for Jerusalem. He had acted as if the messianic kingdom were about to occur: since the Word of God was to be established on the basis of prayer, he prayed; and realizing that the prerequisite was the confession of national sin, he confessed the sins of Israel.
The first verses is the confession of sin. Daniel acknowledged both sin and guilt, which had been incurred in two ways—first by disobedience to the Law of Moses, and secondly by disobedience to the prophets who came after Moses. He did not see sin as merely a bad habit, but as something ingrained in the people that had brought on divine judgment. It also resulted in the need for forgiveness. Here Daniel confessed that to God belong forgiveness and mercy, and that forgiveness was needed. Daniel concluded the first part of his prayer by describing the punishment for sin and guilt.
That punishment, captivity in Babylon, confirmed the words of the prophets who had predicted it and confirmed the Law of Moses, which taught that divine judgment would come as a result of disobedience.
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The second part of the prayer verses is a plea for mercy. Furthermore, the righteousness of God required him to fulfill his promises, and therefore he should do so at the end of the year period. Then, while Daniel was presenting his supplications, he was interrupted. He apparently had intended to say more, when Gabriel arrived.
Although it had not been practiced for seven decades, Daniel showed his longing for the return from captivity and for the rebuilding of the temple by remembering the sacrifice. Here it is obvious Daniel had been thinking in terms of years—specifically the 70 years of captivity. Daniel had assumed that the captivity would end after 70 years and that the kingdom would be established after 70 years.
For Jews, whether they are in the land or outside the land, their city is always Jerusalem and not any other. Daniel was next told by Gabriel that the 70 sevens are to accomplish six purposes. The first is to finish transgression.
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This act of rebellion or transgression is to come under complete control so that it will no longer flourish. The second purpose of the 70 sevens is to make an end of sins. Even these sins are to be put to an end and taken away. This, too, is quite in keeping with predictions by the prophets that proclaim that in the messianic kingdom, sinning would cease from Israel Isaiah , Ezekiel , , Jeremiah The third purpose is to make reconciliation for iniquity.
In fact, it is by means of this atonement that the first two purposes will also be accomplished, that of finishing the transgression and making an end of sins.
The fourth purpose of the 70 sevens is to bring in everlasting righteousness. It is this very age that Daniel had been expecting to see established after the 70 years of captivity, but now he is told that will only be after the year period. The fifth purpose is to seal up vision and prophecy. Thus, vision and prophecy are to be completely fulfilled. Both oral and written prophecy will cease with the final fulfillment of all revelations.
The final purpose of the 70 sevens is to anoint the most holy.
Daniel was clearly told when the 70 sevens would begin their countdown. Not everything in Persian chronology is as clear as we would like to have it, and there are still some gaps in our knowledge of history. But from what biblical and historical records we do have, there are four possible answers to the question of which decree the passage refers to. One is the decree of Cyrus, issued somewhere between B. Another option is the decree of Darius Hystaspes Ezra , issued in the year B.
A third possibility is the decree of Artaxerxes to Ezra Ezra issued in B. The last option is the decree of Artaxerxes to Nehemiah Nehemiah , issued in the year B. This decree specifically concerned the rebuilding of the walls around Jerusalem. Of these four possibilities, only the first and fourth are valid in fulfilling the wording Gabriel gave to Daniel.
It goes beyond the purpose of this article to deal with the various arguments of either option, but one thing is certain: by the year B. The 70 sevens are divided into three separate units—seven sevens, 62 sevens and one seven. The obvious conclusion is this: If Messiah was not on earth years after a decree was issued to rebuild Jerusalem, then Daniel was a false prophet and his book has no business being in the Hebrew Scriptures.
But if Daniel was correct and his prophecy was fulfilled, then who was the Messiah of whom he spoke? Whereas the second subdivision of the 70 sevens was to immediately follow the first, the third subdivision was not immediately to follow the second. Daniel pointed out in verse 26 that three things would occur after this second subdivision and before the third one. Isaiah The first three purposes of the 70 sevens—to finish transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity—have to be accomplished by an atonement.
The Law of Moses decreed that atonement is made by blood Leviticus The point of this phrase is that between the end of the second subdivision the 69th seven and before the start of the 70th seven, Messiah would be killed and would die a penal, substitutionary death. So sometime after the Messiah was cut off, Jerusalem and the temple would suffer another destruction.
Our knowledge of history during this period is extremely clear: the people responsible for this deed were the Romans, and Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed in year 70 C. Based upon this verse, it is also clear that the Messiah should have both come and died prior to the year 70 C. If such an event did not take place, then Daniel was a false prophet.
If such an event did occur, then the question must be answered, who was that Messiah who was killed before 70 C.