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Giving an Answer – Part 14
The Bible and Messianic Prophecy
1 Peter 3:15
1 Peter Lesson #096
June 22, 2017
“Our Father, we’re thankful that You are a God of grace, that You have given us grace for salvation, that we are saved simply by faith alone in Christ alone. Simply trusting in Him for our salvation and His work on the Cross to pay the penalty for our sin. You’ve given us living grace, grace to live for You because of all the riches that we have in Christ.
“Father, we pray for us as a congregation, that we might be mindful of those who are facing serious health problems in their life now. Praying for them, encouraging them, that we might take time to encourage families and to pray for each one.
“Father, we pray for us as a congregation that we might be steadfast in our understanding of the truth, our application of it, our love for one another, our desire to communicate the gospel clearly and graciously to those who need to hear the only hope, the only solution in life, which is Jesus Christ.
“Help us to give an answer for the hope that is in us as we continue our study to understand and absorb these facts and this information as part of our thinking. We pray in Christ’s name. Amen.”
We continue our study on “Giving an Answer” from 1 Peter 3:15, and tonight we’re going to transition. We’ve been talking about the evidence for the Bible, evidence that supports the claims of the Bible, that it is a revelation from God to man through God the Holy Spirit and, therefore, it is inerrant. One area of evidence that validates the claims of the Bible is prophecy.
We looked through a number of prophecies last week, three specific ones. We can learn those and have that under control. We have that information, that data. Today I want to cover a fourth and fifth from the Old Testament. The fourth one is part of the story of the fifth one. These together make up, I think, one of the greatest evidences of the truth of Scripture, one of the greatest evidences of God’s work in salvation, and one of the greatest prophecies in the entire Bible.
I remember the first time I read through this I was 20 years old. I had been given a copy of Josh McDowell’s book Evidence That Demands a Verdict by my friend Randy Price. We were both college students at the time, working the weekend high-school camp at Camp Peniel. I went home and read that [book].
I had never heard this. Not that it had never been taught, it’s just that I don’t think I had ever really focused on this and didn’t really have any recall that I had taught it before. It’s really a tremendous prophecy to understand.
So, we’re going to continue with this, and we may not make it past Daniel chapter 9 tonight. But let’s turn to Daniel 9. You should have pens out; write some of this information that I’m giving you into the margin here because this is so critical to understand. In fact, I remember when I was first a pastor memorizing all of this material, it just is great to have it under your control.
We look at applying 1 Peter 3:15, to give an answer to the question related to the hope that is in us. The first question we’ve looked at is:
1. Can we trust the Bible?
2. Who was Jesus?
The two prophecies linked together that I’m looking at tonight really connects this and is the transition, or the segue, from the Old Testament prophecies that validate the Bible to telling us about who Jesus was.
Then we will get to the third question:
3. Did Jesus really rise from the dead?
As I pointed out last time, one of the evidences that God brings up related to the Scripture and related to Who He is is embedded in a number of passages. In Isaiah 46:9–10 God points out that He is unique. He’s one-of-a-kind. There is none like Him that can declare the end from the beginning. God points this out, that this is part of that which gives testimony to Who He is.
The prophecy we’re looking at tonight is that of Daniel’s 70th week. We’re looking primarily at Daniel 9:24–27. This should not be new to you. We’re going to look at a little more detail. I want to bring out some things that I saw in it today that I had not seen before, or an application of the prophecy that I had not seen before. Daniel’s 70th week. These are in verses 24 to 27.
This is an overview of these 70 weeks and what is described here. In verse 24 we get an overview of the entire period. It is not 70 weeks, or 70 weeks times seven days, or 490 days, which is a little more than a year; it’s actually a period of 490 years, and we’re going to look at that in a little more detail.
Why do we say it’s 490 years? Literally, in the Hebrew, it’s just 70 sevens. Verse 25 talks about the first part of that. The first part of that is made up of two parts, seven and 62 weeks, which comes to 69 weeks. And that, when you work it out, is 483 years, not the full 490 years.
Daniel 9:26 indicates that there is a time gap. God hit the pause button on the forward of God’s plan for Israel at the end of the 69th week. There are certain things that are stated in this passage that occur after He hits the “pause” button and before He hits the “go” button.
In verse 27 He hits the “go” button when there is a peace treaty signed between the prince who is to come, which is talking about the antichrist. And that 70th-week period is what we normally refer to as the Tribulation. A more accurate name is “Daniel 70th week” or the “time of Jacob’s trouble.”
So what’s going on here? What’s the background? Look at the first part of Daniel 9. It’s important to understand this structure here. This first part, in terms the background of the context, really talks about a fourth prophecy that I mentioned earlier related to an Old Testament prophecy fulfilled in the Old Testament. This is the prophecy that God gave to Jeremiah: the Southern Kingdom of Judah would be conquered by the Babylonians, and they would be in captivity for 70 years and then they would be released.
Isaiah said that the person who would release them was named Cyrus, and that goes to the Persian king. So this is a fulfilled prophecy. We know that the Southern Kingdom of Judah was defeated and overrun. Jerusalem was overrun, and the Temple destroyed in 586 BC. And, depending on how you work out some of the dates, it’s in 538 BC that Cyrus gives a decree for them to return.
So there’s debate here. 586. You go, “What’s 538?” Well, 586, 70 years later is when? Do the math; it’s not that late at night. 586–70 = 516. Very good! Okay, that’s not 538. What happened? What was the key thing that happened in 586? The Temple was destroyed. What happens in 516? The second Temple is dedicated—70 years. That’s that timeframe.
70 years—as Daniel is thinking and meditating on Scripture, that becomes a context for understanding Daniel 9:24–27. The opening part of Daniel 9:1 would take place in about 539 BC. It’s right after the Babylonian Empire is destroyed.
Daniel 9:1, “In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the lineage of the Medes” [this is right after the Babylonians have been defeated and Babylon captured by the Medes and the Persians].
“In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the lineage of the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans—2in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the Lord through Jeremiah the prophet …” So he is reading Jeremiah. He is getting up and he’s having his daily devotions and Bible study which everybody should do—not just prophets and not just pastors, but everybody.
He is reading Jeremiah, and God brings to his attention this prophecy in Jeremiah that He would accomplish 70 years in the desolations of Jerusalem. There it is! So Daniel got out his abacus, he starts figuring things out, and he goes, “We’re getting pretty close.”
Now, this is 539 BC, so 70 years earlier would’ve been 609 BC. You’re thinking, “Well, what’s so significant about that?” 605 BC is when you have the first attack by Nebuchadnezzar. There are three assaults by Nebuchadnezzar on Jerusalem; the first takes place in 605 BC.
Daniel is putting things together and seeing that, “We’re getting close to the end of the 70 years.” And he starts to pray for the people as their representative, to confess their sin, and praying that God would fulfill the promise that He gave to Jeremiah that He would restore them to the land after 70 years.
Now, we get some other background information from 2 Chronicles 36:20–21. It’s talking about the attack of the Babylonians on Jerusalem. 20 “And those who escaped from the sword he [Nebuchadnezzar] carried away to Babylon, where they became servants to him and his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia.” So that’s Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
21 “to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah [again, a reference to this prophecy in Jeremiah] until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths. [So the timeframe is set in relation to something about the sabbaths.] As long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years.”
So part of the reason for the removal from the land is because Israel had failed to observe the sabbatical years—70 sabbatical years. Now we don’t know which one they were, but God is the One Who keeps track of all these things.
Leviticus 26:34–35. Now when you hear “Leviticus 26” you ought to think of five: five cycles of discipline, five stages in God’s judgment upon Israel. And the fifth one is to remove them from the land.
In verse 34 God says:
34 “Then the land [after they are removed] shall enjoy its sabbaths as long as it lies desolate and you are in your enemies’ land [that is that fulfilled prophecy, that they would be taken out of the land] then the land shall rest and enjoy its sabbaths.
35 “As long as it lies desolate it shall rest—for the time it did not rest on your sabbaths.”
“Part of the reason you’re being removed is because you didn’t follow the Sabbath law.” Not only resting one day out of seven, but resting one year out of seven, the sabbatical year.
This is the prophecy from Jeremiah.
11 “And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.
12 “ ‘Then it will come to pass, when seventy years are completed, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity,’ says the Lord; ‘and I will make it a perpetual desolation.’ ”
So Daniel’s counting this up and he figures this out. Because the God of the Bible is a God of precision. He pays attention to the details. And that’s what makes this such a wonderful, remarkable prophecy.
In Daniel 11, Daniel 12, there are specific prophecies about what will happen in the future to the Greek empire and the king of the north, which is Syria, and the king of the south, which is Egypt and their battles and all this. It’s so precise that liberals come in who reject the inspiration of Scripture, and they re-date it. That’s their favorite ploy with the Old Testament.
“This couldn’t have been written ahead of time, because we know nobody can do that.” That’s their presupposition. So they say, “Daniel didn’t write this early. Daniel wrote it afterwards.” They late-date Daniel so that it’s not prophecy, it’s history.
That’s the same thing that happens in Isaiah. One of the big battles among scholars is whether there was one Isaiah, two Isaiahs, or three Isaiahs, “because there’s all this predictive prophecy in Isaiah that couldn’t have possibly be written ahead of time.”
“So we have to have more than one Isaiah—one who lived at the time of Hezekiah, one who lived much later on who could write it down in the spirit of Isaiah, as if it’s telling the future.” And, of course, that would just be completely corrupt in terms of what Scripture says about being honest, the veracity of Scripture, and the veracity of God.
In terms of the context, when Daniel is getting ready to give this, it’s related to a timeframe of 70 years that God had prophesied that the people would be out of the land. And now it’s time for them to come back into the land.
In Daniel 9:16, Daniel is a praying a prayer of confession, and he recognizes that this is all about the Jews. It’s all about Israel. It’s not about some other people. It’s all about Israel, and it’s all about Jerusalem. The reason I point that out is that when we get into the prophecy itself where some people may think something else about it—or try to get around this—verse 24 begins:
“Seventy periods of seven are determined [for whom?] For your people and for your holy city.”
Now that could maybe be any people or any holy city, but when you look at Daniel 9:16, it’s Jerusalem. It’s not just any people—it’s Daniel’s people. It’s the Jews. And it’s talking about God’s plan and purposes for Jerusalem. The holy mountain is the Temple Mount, where the First Temple was located and destroyed and the Second Temple would be rebuilt.
Daniel prays, “O Lord, in accordance with all Thy righteous acts, let now Thine anger and Thy wrath turn away from Thy city Jerusalem.” “Your anger and your wrath” are terms for God’s judgment, God’s discipline on the nation.
Daniel says, “… for because of our sins and the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Thy people have become a reproach to all those around us.”
The interesting thing here is that there were a lot of people who were conquered by the Assyrians. The Assyrian policy was to deport people, was to repopulate other areas they had conquered with different people groups. So that if they came into Israel, they would take all the Jews living in the north and they would scatter them all over the empire. That would prevent them getting together and staging a revolt against the Assyrian king.
They would do that with all of these other people. They would do that with the Hittites. And they would do that with the Moabites and with all these different ethnic groups that they conquered. How many of those ethnic groups were sent back to their historic homeland to rebuild their cities and to rebuild their temples? Zero!
That just happened, didn’t it? That’s just an accident of history, isn’t it? Only the Jews were authorized to go home and rebuild everything. Now, they did send some of the people back; Cyrus did that. But nobody did what the Jews did and reconstituted their historic homeland and their capital city.
I used the phrase, “reconstituted their historic homeland,” for a reason. This year are two major important anniversaries in the history of modern Israel. The first we just celebrated about two weeks ago, and that is the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem. But 100 years ago this coming November, November 2, is the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. What’s interesting is that in the original formulation of the Balfour Declaration, Balfour wrote that the British government looked with favor upon the restoration of the Jews to their national homeland to reconstitute their historic homeland.
That word “reconstitute.” There was a liberal anti-Zionist Jew who was on the war council, and he had that struck. He was also responsible for some of the ambiguous language that got into the Balfour Declaration which has been the source of debate for a while.
But Balfour was given the responsibility to write the preface, like the preamble, to the British Mandate which was the international legal document that gave the British Empire the authority to oversee the area of what they called Palestine and Transjordan starting in 1920, 1921. Balfour, at the request of the four nations, the four members of the Allied powers who had the legal authority to do this, incorporated all of the language of the Balfour Declaration into that resolution at San Remo. We’ve studied that before.
Not only that, but he added the “reconstitution” language to it. So twice Israel has been authorized by God to reconstitute their historic homeland. He did it through Cyrus in the sixth century BC, and He did it again in the 20th century through the Balfour Declaration. So this is a focus on “Jerusalem and your people”; that tells us it’s about the Jews.
Daniel goes on to pray. “So now, our God, listen to the prayer of Thy servant and to his supplications, and for Thy sake, O Lord …” Remember this in prayer: He grounds his argument on God’s character. “It’s not about me. It’s not about what I want. Your character is at stake, God, because You made a promise that it would be 70 years. You need to fulfill that promise; it’s about Your righteousness and Your integrity.” And that’s the foundation for his prayer.
He prays to the Lord, “O Lord, let Thy face shine on Thy desolate sanctuary.” The picture I have there is, of course, not a picture of the destruction of the First Temple. But that’s the Second Temple. The rubble here is the rubble from the walls around the Temple that the Romans knocked down when they destroyed the Temple in AD 70.
If you had gone there 60 years ago, that rubble was underground. That was all covered with dirt. But when they excavated it they discovered these boulders, the stones, the building blocks that were there. And they left them there to be a memorial of what had happened in AD 70.
Now let’s look at the prophecy itself. Gabriel says to Daniel, “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.”
Dan. 9:25, “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.”
Gabriel was sent to answer the prayer, and this is what he is telling Daniel. He lays it out all the way through verse 27.
Let’s focus on this first part. “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city.” Then he lists the purposes for this.
In terms of the chronology, the first thing we have to understand about the verse is the terminology “weeks,” and it means, literally, 70 sevens. It is the Hebrew word SHABU’IM.
Seventy units of seven. This could be days, weeks, or months. “Days” and “weeks” don’t fit anything. In fact, if you trace out its use in Daniel, when it’s days, which comes up in chapter 12, he inserts “days” to make sure you don’t confuse it with what he says here, which is just 70 periods of seven. Since he’s been looking at years, the context indicates that it should be taken as years.
70 × 7 = 70 weeks of years, or 490 years. So the timeframe of this prophecy is going to spell out what’s going to happen in a 490-year period. It’s related to this idea of the sabbatical years. Here’s a chart.
Why 490 years? Well, 70 sabbatical years were violated, and that’s described in Leviticus 26:34–35 and Leviticus 43. So for those 70 sabbatical years that were violated, there will be 70 years of captivity. It’s talking about years.
Then there will be 70 sabbatical years. Since you have a sabbatical year every seventh year, that, again, is 490 years. He talks about there will be, in the future, 70 × 7 sabbatical years. So you had 490 years in the past, 490 years in the future. These are the 70 weeks.
It should be translated, “Seventy periods of seven [or 490 years] have been decreed for your people and your holy city.” We’ve already seen that “your people” are the Jewish people, and “your holy city” is Jerusalem.
Then you have these six infinitival clauses that explain the purpose—six things that will be accomplished.
1. First of all, “to finish the transgression.”
Now it may look, at first blush, that these six things were all finished at the Cross. If you think that, you would be wrong. Because that didn’t finish this, that didn’t complete it for Israel. Their rebellion continues as they reject the Messiah, Who has been promised and prophesied from the Old Testament.
2. Second is “to make an end of sin.” That is, Israel’s sin. To finish it—to get them to turn back to the Lord, to make an end of Israel’s idolatry. The physical idolatry may not be going on today, but the mental idolatry of worshiping the creature rather than the Creator in some form is still going on.
3. Third is “to atone for iniquity.” Sin will be totally dealt with. Israel’s punishment in time, their discipline during the Tribulation, will be complete.
4. Fourth is “to bring in everlasting righteousness.” Now, when is that going to occur? This is really important. I’m reviewing this this afternoon, and I just had never brought this out. It’s going to bring in everlasting righteousness; that’s a term for the Kingdom.
Now, amillennialism, the view of most covenant theologians, is the idea that there is no literal kingdom. Jesus is just going to come back and destroy evil and we’re all going to go to Heaven. And right now we’re living in a spiritual form of the kingdom.
But what this is saying is these 490 years have to be completed before righteousness will come. The Messiah is going to come, according to Isaiah 9:6, to be a King and established a Kingdom in righteousness and peace.
So this is saying that you can’t get the Kingdom in any way, shape, or form—no spiritual form of the Kingdom, no progressive dispensational form of the Kingdom—until these 490 years are complete.
5. Fifth, it will “seal up [which means to fulfill] all vision and prophecy” related to Israel and the establishment of the Kingdom.
6. Six, “to anoint the most holy place.” That’s the Millennial Kingdom.
Daniel says, “So you are to know and discern.” This is revelation God gives so that you can figure it out. He’s not given you some sort a shell game that’s going to make it difficult to figure out. The evidence is going to be there so you can figure it out.
In fact, it was so clear that at the time of the first advent there were certain people who figured out they were pretty close to it. One group was the Magi. The Magi originally came from this same area where Daniel was. They were a tribe of Medes. Right now Daniel is functioning within the kingdom of the Medes and the Persians. He would have been a part of the function of the Medes who were counselors to the king, to the ruler.
Later on, under the Parthian Empire, they became sort of like a cabinet, or a special counsel, that would appoint the next king. That’s why Herod was so panicky when he heard that these Magi, these Parthian kingmakers, were in his territory looking for the King of the Jews—and it wasn’t him. These were kingmakers looking for a king—it wasn’t him.
So where did they get this idea? Probably from Daniel. Because Daniel would have been a witness to the Medes and to this group of Magi. These were the astrologers and the fortunetellers—and every group like that—within the kingdom. So this was known.
Also, you have people like Anna at the Temple looking for the Messiah. You had others that were there looking for the Messiah. So this would have been very, very clear. People could know and discern, and they could figure these things out.
So, the first 69 weeks. If the 70 weeks refers to 490 years, all we have to do is figure out the starting point. It’s going to be 490 years from a particular point in time. So the verse reads, 25 “Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command [or a decree].”
It’s going to start with a decree: “To restore and build Jerusalem.”
“Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again” [that has to do with what’s inside the walls of the city].
The streets are rebuilt so that there is easy traveling within the city. It’s not just rubble from being destroyed. Actually, the term for “street” isn’t really a street; this is a word for a plaza. In fact, if you look at the New American Standard, I think it translates this “plaza and moat.” The New King James threw me off there. I was studying the New American in the Hebrew earlier.
“Street” here is the word for plaza, which means a marketplace. In a walled city you would go in. Inside the wall was where people would come, and this is where they would bring their wares. People who would come from the farms would bring their fruits and vegetables and set up their little farmer stand.
So inside you have commerce; you have a thriving economy. And then there’s the wall. Actually, the Hebrew word there has to do with that which is cut, the literal meaning of the word. In Aramaic, in Acadian, and some of the other cognate languages, it specifically refers to a moat or a ditch that would be dug outside the wall.
The idea here is that it’s not just a decree to go back. It’s not a decree just to go back and rebuild the Temple. It’s a decree to rebuild the economy and the fortifications and defenses of the city. And that’s the nature of only one decree.
People will guess at four different decrees.
1. The decree of Cyrus, which was in 539 BC, which was simply to go back. He told them they could rebuild the Temple.
2. The decree of Darius in 519 BC authorized some more to go back and finish building the Temple.
3. The decree of Artaxerxes Longimanus to Ezra in 457 BC. That’s still a little early, but it still didn’t involve rebuilding the fortifications.
4. The decree of Artaxerxes Longimanus to Nehemiah was March 5, 444 BC. You can write that date down in your Bible in the margins, so you can get to it. That date, in Nehemiah 21:1–8, had specific statements related to the city, the walls, and the gates.
So that’s what you’re looking for—a decree that specifies the city, the walls, and the fortifications.
If we build the chart here, we see that the starting point is this decree to restore the fortifications of the city. We can date this from the records that we have of Persia: March 5, 444 BC, Artaxerxes’ decree.
Now, if that’s when it begins, when is this first period, the 69 weeks, going to be complete?
When does that end? That ends on March 30, AD 33, four days before the death of Jesus.
We’re going to get into the details of how you calculate that in just a minute. That’s described in Matthew 21 and Luke 19:28–44. These are passages that describe what is often called the triumphal entry. It’s not that triumphant, but it is His entry into Jerusalem.
It’s clear from the way the text is written. It says, “And after the sixty-two weeks.” We will look at that in a minute. “Messiah shall be cut off.” Not at the end of the 62 weeks, but after the 62 weeks.
26 “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself.”
Something stops that 69th week. Remember, there are seven weeks in verse 25. The will be seven weeks and 62 weeks; we add those two together and that is 69 weeks. After the 62 weeks, which is the 69th week, Messiah is going to be cut off. But the 70th week doesn’t begin until the people of the prince who is to come signs a covenant.
27 “Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week.” That’s that 70th week.
So there’s obviously a gap here between the 69th week and the 70th week. That’s a gap of at least 37 years. How did I get 37 years? Jesus was crucified probably AD 33. Some people say 30, some people say 31, but it’s most likely 33. The Temple is destroyed in AD 70. If you subtract 33 from 70, most of the time you get 37; unless you’re me, and then you vary a few times. There is a gap of at least 37 years.
So there’s a gap there. Now nothing says how long the gap is supposed to be, but it’s clear from the text that there is a gap between the crucifixion and that Tribulation period that’s going to come. That’s important! Because that tells us that God hit the pause button before the crucifixion.
We look at it this way. There’s this decree to restore on March 5. If we take seven weeks and 62 weeks, that’s 69 weeks, and that’s when Messiah the Prince is cut off. Jesus enters into Jerusalem on March 30, of AD 33. When I get around to it, we will do a chronology on the last week of Christ and we’ll see the data for this. But that’s all for Israel. You can figure this out as to how long this is going to be, and we’ll do that in just a minute.
The next thing I want to point out about Daniel 9:26 is this. “Then after the sixty-two weeks.” So He’s been cut off after the 62 weeks.
“He will be cut off, and He will have a spiritual throne in heaven.” Is that what it says? That’s amillennialism.
“He will be cut off, and he’ll be on the spiritual throne of David in heaven.” That’s progressive dispensationalism.
The first is amillennialism: “He’s cut off, and He’ll still have a Kingdom.” No! None of the above! This is really clear. I hadn’t gone back through this in detail in a long time, but He will be cut off and have nothing—no kingdom.
What have I been hammering in Matthew over and over again for the last three years? Jesus comes to offer the Kingdom. After the resurrection and Pentecost, it’s not some spiritual form of the Kingdom. See, that’s what people come along with. They say, “Oh, it’s a spiritual form of the Kingdom. Jesus is at the right hand of the Father. He is sitting on the spiritual throne of David. It’s a spiritual kingdom.”
You’ll hear people talking all the time in our culture: “We have to do this for the Kingdom and that for the Kingdom, and blah, blah, blah.” A couple of times the Bible uses that kind of language, but it’s talking about doing something today that’s going to have its impact when the Kingdom comes in the future.
That’s why Jesus had the disciples pray, “Thy kingdom come.” He is offering the Kingdom, but then it was postponed. The Kingdom is going to come in the future.
So we have all this that doesn’t fit the exegesis of Scripture. He will be cut off and have nothing. He’s not going to have a shred of royal possessions until, as Daniel 7 describes, the Son of Man goes to the Ancient of Days and is given the Kingdom. That hasn’t happened yet.
“Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing.”
1. The death of the Messiah
He will be cut off. That occurred four days after the 69 weeks ended. He’s crucified on April 3 of AD 33. And He will have nothing. He will pay for our sins, and that lays the groundwork for the future fulfillment of the covenants.
What we have is a period of 490 years, less seven, because that last seven doesn’t come until the prince of the people who is to come signs that covenant. So if we multiply 69 × 7, that comes to 483 years. And if we multiply out the days—and I’ll show you how we do that in a minute—it comes to 173,880 days.
Now these numbers should be in the margin of your Bible so you can access them if you need to. 173,880 days. I memorized that about 40 some years ago. That’s how long it is from the decree from Artaxerxes to the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem four days before the crucifixion.
Now what we read in the in-between period is that the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.
Here we have an artist’s rendition of the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. The city was destroyed and the sanctuary was destroyed by the Romans under Titus.
It says, “The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined.” That just means that it’s just going to be horrible! There were hundreds of thousands of Jews that were slaughtered by the Romans when they destroyed the Second Temple in AD 70. So that prophecy is fulfilled as well.
Then we get to the 70th week, which is described in Daniel 9:27. It’s one week of years, or seven years. And the question is, “Is this past?” That’s the preterist position, that it was fulfilled at AD 70. That would mean there is no gap.
1. Their view is that there’s no gap between the end of the 69th week and the beginning of the 70th week.
2. Then there’s the gap view, that there is a gap of almost 2,000 years between the destruction of Jerusalem and the signing of that covenant with the antichrist.
We have Israel in the times of the Gentiles under the dominion of Gentiles. Even though they have an Israeli state, they are still under the control of Gentiles. The Temple Mount still has this horrible blasphemy up there. It’s not just a blasphemy to the Jews because it’s on the Temple Mount. Inside that Dome of the Rock there are numerous Arabic inscriptions which are all verses taken out of the Quran that claim to refute or reject the idea that Jesus is God. They are verses that are blasphemous to the deity of Christ. This is a monument to anti-Christianity.
Look at this slide. It doesn’t have quite enough light on the screen, but you see a couple of gray domes over here. Those gray domes are the two domes on the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Originally it was two churches: one over Golgotha, and one over the tomb. And then as the churches were built and rebuilt through the centuries, they merged into one church.
It’s not that far to go from Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified, to where Joseph’s tomb was. It’s about twice as far as from me to the back corner of the room. That’s not very far! And it’s really easy to walk back and forth.
So this idea we’ll run into, eventually, when we’re talking about the chronology of the last week. One of the ideas that’s put out there is by one scholar who lists 20 different things that had to happen between the death of Christ and sundown. He, obviously, had never been into Jerusalem, because at that time it’s only about a couple hundred feet from Golgotha and the tomb to the praetorian. And it doesn’t take long to go back and forth. There are two or three trips going back and forth. He said, “This would’ve taken a very long time.” They used to think the praetorian was over on the other side of Jerusalem, and that would’ve taken—maybe—a little bit longer. It’s not that much further, especially back then; you didn’t have all these little tiny streets in the old city.
So it’s going to be destroyed. It’s going be under the times of the Gentiles. It’s still the times of Gentiles.
That 173,880 days, how do we get that?
We have to look at prophecy. A solar year is 365 days, roughly. If you multiply that out, it doesn’t work. But if you look at Scripture, the Jews used a lunar calendar, not a solar calendar. A lunar calendar has 360 days. That’s why they have to do a massive adjustment every now and then, because they have those extra five days each year.
In Daniel 9:27, the verse that we’re looking at here, “Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week …” So that week is divided in half to a half week or 3-1/2 days.
Now that 3-1/2-day period is also described by the phrase “time, times, half a time.” That phrase is used in Daniel 7:25, in Daniel 12:7, and in Revelation 12:14. See, that’s how Revelation comes back and picks up this language from Daniel and applies that to the Tribulation period.
So, in Daniel 12:14 it’s really clear that the “time, times, and half a time” is 1,260 days. That’s in Revelation 12:6. Revelation 12:6 and 12:14 are the same context. That tells us specifically “time” is a year; “times” is plural; it’s two years; and “half a time” is a half-year. That’s 3-1/2 years. 3-1/2 years is 1/2 a week, half of seven.
So Revelation 12:6 and 11:3. You ought to have side notes in your Bible where you can go. If you’re looking at Daniel 9:27, the middle of the week, you ought to have a note there, or at least cross-referenced in your margin or somewhere to look at Daniel 7:25, Daniel 12:7, Revelation 12:6, 12:14, 11:3. All of these are talking about the same length of time, just using different terms.
Then, the fourth term that is used is 42 months. And that’s used in Revelation 11:2. See that? Revelation 11:3: 1,260 days. Revelation 11:2: 42 months. This is talking about the same thing in the same context.
So we can have to conclude from this that 42 months is 1,260 days. That only works if every month is 30 days; that’s a lunar calendar. And that’s the same as “time, times, and half a time.” And that’s the same as half a week. So all that goes together.
Therefore, the conclusion: A month is 30 days and a year is 360 days. Take that 360 days a year, multiply out your 483 years times 360 days, and you come up with your 173,880 days.
So that’s this chart. 69 × 7 × 360 = 173,880 days. March 5, 444 BC was the decree to go back and rebuild the fortifications and the economy of the city. March 5, 444 BC +173,880 days comes to March 30, AD 33. That’s pretty close. That would be the Monday before Christ goes to the Cross.
Now how do you verify that? If you take 444 BC and you add it to 33 years AD you come out with 477. But there is no year zero, so it’s 476 years. Then you take that 476 years, and you multiply it by a solar calendar, 365-1/4 days, working it out to about 7 or 8 decimal places. That’s 173,855 days. Between March 5 and March 30 is 25 days, and that comes out to 173,880 days. It works it out and confirms it.
But what happens to the other seven years?
Well, that’s the last week, which is the Tribulation period. That’s described in Daniel 9:27, and that’s not really our focus in this study.
What we’re looking at is this: This is a precise prophecy related to when the Messiah is going to come and when He will be cut off, so that you can work the details out on the calendar, figure out exactly when the Messiah would come.
Now, in the intervening period you have the Cross and the destruction of the Temple. And then sometime in the future there’s the coming prince where you have the 70th week. And if the first part was fulfilled literally, then I guess the second part is just going to be figurative. Right? No.
The second part is going to be literal also. That’s one of the important things. When you look at these Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah, they are all so literal. So, this is how you work it all out.
Now what I want to do, probably in about 10 minutes, because we’ve gone through this a lot, is just look at about six or seven other key verses you can go to for prophecies in the Old Testament.
2. The virgin birth.
That’s in Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin” [the definite article is there in the Hebrew]. Not just any virgin, but there is something specific about it. And that goes back to understanding the prophecy from Genesis 3:15.
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” [which means God with us]. El is the word for God; it’s the singular of Elohim, which is the plural, and the “I” represents the Hebrew prefix for first person plural. The “im” is “with” and the other tells us it’s “with us.” It’s the plural.
“Imma” is “with us.” The “nu” is the first person plural. And the “el” is God. So “Immanuel” is “God with us”.
There is a lot of debate over the meaning of the word “virgin” there, but the important thing is that this is a sign. See, the word almah that is used here—we’ll talk about it in a minute—is a word that refers to an extremely young girl who is of marriageable age. It’s not necessarily talking about a virgin; that’s not the core meaning of the word. But the context indicates that.
Because it’s not a sign for a young girl of marriageable age to get pregnant. It happens all the time. Some places it happens more often than other places. I’m reminded of the story from a few years ago. They had a hard time putting on a Christmas play in Washington DC because no one could find a virgin.
So we have “the virgin shall conceive.”
Now what’s going on in the context? What’s this sign? Is this a sign of Isaiah’s wife, that she’s going to give birth? Or is this a sign of something more distant? Some people will try to tell you that it’s both. It’s very, very popular that there’s a near fulfillment and a far fulfillment. I think you have to pay attention to the details of the text in order to see the difference.
The context here is a message of comfort to Ahaz who is the king of Judah. Ahaz is not a believer. Ahaz is talked about in Kings as one of those who burned his children alive in the arms of Molech. He is a horrible, evil, idolatrous worshiper of Molech and the other fertility religions.
Isaiah 7:1, “Now it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin king of Syria.” It sort of sounds like today—you’ve got a bad guy up north in Syria.
“… and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel.” He’s the king in the Northern Kingdom of Israel. It’s sort of like the Palestinians going into an alliance with the Syrians, and they’re going to attack the Jews. Similar kind of thing—always these kinds of wars going on in that area.
They’re going up to Jerusalem to make war against it. This is satanically inspired, because they want to kill Ahaz because he’s from the line of David. They want to wipe out the house of David. They want to make it impossible. This is Satan’s goal: to make it impossible for God to fulfill His covenant promises. If he can wipe out the house of David, then God can’t fulfill His covenant.
So he’s going to give some comfort, and that’s verse 2. “And it was told to the house of David [notice that the emphasis in the text is on the house of David], saying, ‘Syria’s forces are deployed in Ephraim.’ So his heart [Ahaz’s heart] and the heart of his people were moved as the trees of the woods are moved with the wind.”
They are shaking! They’re fearful. They’re panicky. That’s the imagery there: as the trees shake in the wind, that’s how the people were. They were scared to death.
Here is a map. The purple is the Northern Kingdom. The green down here is the Southern Kingdom. Up here is Aram. Actually, the text says “the king of Aram.” “Syria” just sort of modernizes it for us to know the geography.
Here is Damascus; this is the area of modern Syria. And then the Northern Kingdom. So they have allied themselves to attack Ahaz in the South.
This is just another map looking at the same thing.
Isaiah 7:3, “Then the LORD said to Isaiah, ‘Go out now to meet Ahaz, you and Shearjashub your son, at the end of the aqueduct from the upper pool, on the highway to the Fuller’s Field.” Notice how specific that is, “You’re going to meet him in a specific location.” And what Ahaz is doing there is working on the city’s defenses. If you’re going to be in a city under siege, you had better have water.
So they’re building this aqueduct. They’re making sure they’re going to have enough water if they come under siege. And Isaiah says to him, “ ‘Take heed, and be quiet; do not fear or be fainthearted for these two stubs of smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria, and the son of Remaliah.’ ”
If you’ve got a smoking firebrand, that’s the end of something that has been hotter and has been flaming. If it’s left down to just the embers, you know it is going out. They are on the way out. They have been at the apex of their power, and now they’re going to the nadir of their power.
It goes on to say, “Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah have plotted evil against you” [you all—plural]. Who’s the “y’all” referring to? The house of David.
“… saying, 6‘Let us go up against Judah and trouble it, and let us make a gap in its wall for ourselves, and set a king over them, the son of Tabel.’ ” See, they want to set this imposter up there and destroy the house of David.
7 “thus says the Lord God: ‘It shall not stand, Nor shall it come to pass.’ ” It doesn’t have anything to do with Ahaz. God has to be true to His covenant promise to David.
Then it goes on to say,
8 “ ‘For the head of Syria is Damascus [the capital of Syria is Damascus], And the head of Damascus is Rezin [he’s the king]. Within sixty-five years Ephraim will be broken.’ ”
That’s the Northern Kingdom. They will be destroyed in 722 BC. They will be wiped out.
“ ‘So that it will not be a people. 9 The head of Ephraim is Samaria, And the head of Samaria is Remaliah’s son. If you will not believe, Surely you shall not be established.’ ”
10 “Moreover the Lord spoke again to Ahaz, saying, 11 ‘Ask a sign for yourself from the Lord your God; ask it either in the depth or in the height above.’ ”
But Ahaz is self-righteous. He goes to the Temple and he worships, because that is what the king is supposed to do. But he’s a pagan! He’s not a believer. He’s not going to ask God for a sign; he doesn’t believe in God.
12 “But Ahaz said, ‘I will not ask, nor will I test the Lord!’ ” [somewhat self-righteously].
13 “Then he [Isaiah] said, ‘Hear now, O house of David!’ ” So now who’s he addressing? The house of David. Not Ahaz—but the house of David.
“Is it a small thing for you [plural] to weary men, but will you [plural] weary my God also?” He’s addressing the house of David.
14 “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you [you all—the house of David] a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son.” See, he’s not talking about you, Ahaz, singular. Because that would be looking for a sign within Ahaz’s time. He’s talking to the house of David: There’s going to be a sign that God is fulfilling His promise, and that’s going to be “the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.”
This is the “virgin” indicating the Seed of the woman from Genesis 3:15.
So that’s your second promise.
3. He is born in Bethlehem.
We have Daniel 9, we have Isaiah 7:14, and we have Micah 5:2, “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah [just a small little town], Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.” See, in the Hebrew, it is a phrase: ‘OLAM plus the word QEDEM. Literally, it’s MIQ-QE-ḎEM MÎ·MÊ ‘Ō·W·LĀM. Meaning “eternity past,” indicating deity. He’s born in Bethlehem, but He is Someone Who’s been there from eternity past.
4. The prophecy is Genesis 49:10, “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes.” Literally, “Until Him to Whom it belongs comes.”
“And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.” So, He’s going to come from the tribe of Judah.
5. He enters Jerusalem on a donkey.
Zechariah 9:9, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!” We see this fulfilled on the entry to Jerusalem.
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.” This is fulfilled in Jesus’ First Coming.
6. He is silent during the torture before the crucifixion.
Isaiah 53:7, “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.” That’s the fulfillment: Jesus is silent. He never uttered a word until He screamed out to God on Golgotha. But during all of the torture and everything leading up to it, He was silent.
7. After He was dead, they buried Him in a rich man’s tomb. This was predicted in Isaiah 53:9. He was buried in the tomb of a wealthy Pharisee named Joseph of Arimathea.
“And they made His grave with the wicked—But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth.”
Also, it talks about what we’ll get into a little bit in Matthew in the coming couple of weeks:
8. He is betrayed by one of His friends.
Psalm 41:9, “Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread.” Remember? Jesus hands the bread to Judas. “Who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.”
And then the wages for that, Zechariah 11:12. “So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver.” That’s the price of a slave. Now I just looked at nine different prophecies there.
We will close with a quote. What do you think the probabilities are that in one person nine prophecies can be fulfilled? I’ve got nine. I merged the last two together to fit this illustration.
But there was a writer named Peter Stoner who wrote a book called Science Speaks to apply the laws of probability.
Now Jesus fulfilled over 100 prophecies in His First Coming; we’re just looking at eight here. Listen to what Stoner says:
“We find that the chance that any man might have lived down to the present time and fulfilled all eight prophecies is 1 in 10 to the 17th power. That would be 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000.
“In order to help us comprehend this staggering probability, Stoner illustrates it by supposing that we take this many silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all of the state two feet deep.” Josh McDowell, Evidence That Demands a Verdict
Now Texas is a big place! Just drive around it sometime. You can drive all day and drive all night, and you’re not out yet. Drive from here to El Paso; it’s about 800 and something miles. It’s close to 900 from Beaumont all the way to El Paso, and from Brownsville up to Dumas or Dalhart. So, cover that two feet deep in silver dollars.
“They will cover all of the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state. Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one.”
What chance would he have of getting the right one?
“Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man.”
Eight! There are over 100 fulfilled in Jesus. It’s impossible with eight! It is beyond impossible with 100 prophecies. This is evidence that the Scripture is true and that Jesus is Who He came to be. So we will come back next time and finish talking about Jesus and His fulfillment of prophecy.
“Father, thank You for the fact that You have given us these many convincing proofs. As our Lord mentioned in Acts chapter 1 to the disciples, He showed them that He had risen from the dead and He gave them many convincing proofs.
“But we know that Your Word is not proven by this evidence, it is just validated. Because no standard is higher than Yourself, and we cannot appeal to a standard higher than Yourself to prove You. But if You are speaking the truth, it will be verified and validated by its own evidence.
“Father, we thank You that we don’t have to put our brains in neutral to believe in Jesus or to trust in Your Word, but that we have been given this evidence from You. In fact, we have to put our brains in neutral and we have to adopt irrationality in order to not believe Your Word.
“Father, give us the courage to speak to others about Jesus, to be witnesses, to explain the gospel to others, and to give a gracious answer for the hope that is in us. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”