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DANIEL 9: Timeline To The Messiah

Daniel 9 is HUGE.  Daniel sees the coming Messiah and is also given a time frame from when the Messiah will come, go, and come again. Considering Jesus, this time line is amazingly accurate.  Leaving Jesus out and this prophecy makes no sense and has expired; thus it is true through Jesus for false with out Jesus.

Daniel 9:24-27

Daniel 9 is one of the most compelling and controversial prophecies.  Daniel knows that the seventy years is coming to an end soon since it is 539 B.C. and the Jews have been in captivity since 605 B.C.  The Hebrew word shabuim, the context (Daniel 9:2, 10:3), Jeremiah’s prophecy (Jeremiah 25:10-14, 29:10-14), the nature of the captivity, and the translation in the Mishna each indicate that years are in view.  The seventy years begins at 605 B.C., which was the time of the first deportation of the Jews to Babylon. Third, this section indicates that there are 490 years cut out for the times of the Gentiles.

The seventy sevens start with the decree to rebuild Jerusalem. The question is regarding to which decree Daniel is referring. There are four possible decrees: the decree of Cyrus in 538-536 B.C. (2 Chronicles 36:22-23, Ezra 1:1-4, 6:1-5, Isaiah 44:28, 45:13), the decree of Darius Hystaspes in 521 which reaffirmed Cyrus’ decree (Ezra 6:6-12), the decree of Artaxerxes to Ezra in 458 B.C. (Ezra 7:11-26), or the decree of Artaxerxes in 444 B.C. to Nehemiah (Nehemiah 2:1-8).  Fruchtenbaum wisely notes, “It is not necessary for our purpose here to deal with the various arguments of either option, but one thing is certain: by the year 444 B.C., the countdown of the Seventy Sevens had begun.”

First, the seventy sevens are divided into seven sevens, sixty-two sevens, and one seven. During the first seven sevens Jerusalem would be “build again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.”[18] The second set of sevens is sixty-two, which totals to 434 years. This would make a total of 483 years so far. Fruchtenbaum notes, “There is no implication of a gap of time between the first and second subdivision of the Seventy Sevens.”

The sixty nine sevens are to be “until Messiah the prince.” This is a clear prediction of the time frame during which the Messiah is to appear. Fruchtenbaum comments, “As clearly as Daniel could have stated it, he taught that 483 years after the decree to rebuild Jerusalem had been issued, Messiah would be here on earth.”[20] Third, one has to ask if the Messiah did not come during the sixty nine weeks, then is Daniel a false prophet? Michael Brown wisely points out, “Since Daniel 9:24-27 speaks of events that must be fulfilled before the destruction of the Second Temple (which took place in 70 C.E.) . . . . if Jesus did not fulfill Daniel 9:24, then no one fulfilled it and the prophecies of Daniel cannot be trusted.”

The third division of sevens (1 seven) was not immediately to follow the second division (62 sevens). Archer notes, “Significantly, the seventieth heptad is held in abeyance until v.27.”[23] Also, Daniel notes that there are three things that will occur between the end of the 69th and the beginning of the 70th sevens. Second, the text states that the Messiah will be “cut off” after sixty nine weeks. The word “to cut off” karah, can mean to die by a violent death.

The phrase, “have nothing,” could have two meanings. It may simply mean “nothingness,” which would emphasize Messiah’s state at death as in the sense of being alone.[25] However, it could also be translated “but not for himself,” indicating that the Messiah died for others. This would carry the notion of a substitutionary death in accordance with Isaiah 53. Fruchtenbaum wisely notes, “The first three purposes of the Seventy Sevens--to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity--have all to be accomplished by some means of atonement.”

During this interim period the temple would again be destroyed some time after the death of the Messiah. Ankerberg, Weldon, and Kaiser note, “Whoever the Messiah is, He will appear on the scene after the rebuilding of Jerusalem (Dan. 9:25-26) and be killed before Jerusalem and the temple are again destroyed.”[27] Since historians acknowledge that the destruction of the temple took place in A.D. 70, the Messiah’s death would have to take place before then.

When interpreting this passage as referring to Jesus, it does run into some difficult but not insurmountable problems since many aspects of the seventieth seven remain unfulfilled since Jesus has not yet ruled as kin. Second, it is not necessary to conclude, as some Jewish people do, that the Messiah could not come unless he fulfilled everything of the seventy weeks at one time. It is quite possible for the Messiah to come twice. Interestingly, there would be a huge difficulty of the Messiah dying and reigning if there were not two comings of the Messiah. It is not impossible to foresee one Messiah coming twice due to the death and reigning aspect, and the fact that many Jews interpreted this text as referring to two Messiahs.

There is indication in this text that the Messiah would not only be “cut off” and die, but he would also rise from the dead. Fruchtenbaum notes an interesting fact, “The Messiah would be killed after His First Coming, yet he would be alive at His Second Coming. The implication is that the Messiah would be resurrected from the dead after He was killed.”[29] The resurrection is not a foreign concept to Daniel (Dan. 12:2).


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