Daniels prophecy

by Hellrider 66 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Hellrider

    I`m discussing with a JW-dork on another forum, and we`re discussing 607, 1914, all that crap (no Scholar, stay away from this thread!) , and then he writes:

    "They were famaliar with the writing of the Jewish prophets.
    Now what about Daniel's prophecy do you disagee with?
    7 weeks or 49 years to the temple. 62 weeks until Messiah appereared 29 C.E. 1 week or 7 years until the Romans surrounded Jerusalem."

    He claims that the three wise men knew about the birth of the Messiah, from reading Daniel. What I`m curious about, is the "math-puzzle" in the quote above. Anyone has any clue about what he`s on about? I understand that he`s trying to establish some sort of chronology, but I can`t make out exactly what/how. I reread thru Daniel, but I still don`t understand what he`s on about. Any help would be appreciated...

  • Narkissos

    Didn't we have a similar discussion a few days ago?


    Here is the WT explanation from the Insight book:

    A prophetic time period referred to at Daniel 9:24-27 during which Jerusalem would be rebuilt and Messiah would appear and then be cut off; following that period the city as well as the holy place would be made desolate.

    In the first year of Darius "the son of Ahasuerus of the seed of the Medes," the prophet Daniel discerned from the prophecy of Jeremiah that the time for the release of the Jews from Babylon and their return to Jerusalem was near. Daniel then diligently sought Jehovah in prayer, in harmony with Jeremiah’s words: "‘And you will certainly call me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. And you will actually seek me and find me, for you will search for me with all your heart. And I will let myself be found by you,’ is the utterance of Jehovah. . . . ‘And I will bring you back to the place from which I caused you to go into exile.’"—Jer 29:10-14; Da 9:1-4.

    While Daniel was praying, Jehovah sent his angel Gabriel with a prophecy that nearly all Bible commentators accept as Messianic, though there are many variations in their understanding of it. Gabriel said:

    "There are seventy weeks that have been determined upon your people and upon your holy city, in order to terminate the transgression, and to finish off sin, and to make atonement for error, and to bring in righteousness for times indefinite, and to imprint a seal upon vision and prophet, and to anoint the Holy of Holies. And you should know and have the insight that from the going forth of the word to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Leader, there will be seven weeks, also sixty-two weeks. She will return and be actually rebuilt, with a public square and moat, but in the straits of the times. And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah will be cut off, with nothing for himself. And the city and the holy place the people of a leader that is coming will bring to their ruin. And the end of it will be by the flood. And until the end there will be war; what is decided upon is desolations. And he must keep the covenant in force for the many for one week; and at the half of the week he will cause sacrifice and gift offering to cease. And upon the wing of disgusting things there will be the one causing desolation; and until an extermination, the very thing decided upon will go pouring out also upon the one lying desolate."—Da 9:24-27.

    A Messianic Prophecy. It is quite evident that this prophecy is a "jewel" in the matter of identifying the Messiah. It is of the utmost importance to determine the time of the beginning of the 70 weeks, as well as their length. If these were literal weeks of seven days each, either the prophecy failed to be fulfilled, which is an impossibility (Isa 55:10, 11; Heb 6:18), or else the Messiah came more than 24 centuries ago, in the days of the Persian Empire, and was not identified. In the latter case, the other scores of qualifications specified in the Bible for the Messiah were not met or fulfilled. So it is evident that the 70 weeks were symbolic of a much longer time. Certainly the events described in the prophecy were of such a nature that they could not have occurred in a literal 70 weeks, or a little more than a year and four months. The majority of Bible scholars agree that the "weeks" of the prophecy are weeks of years. Some translations read "seventy weeks of years" (AT, Mo, RS); the Tanakh, a new Bible translation published in 1985 by the Jewish Publication Society, also includes this rendering in a footnote.—See Da 9:24, ftn.

    When did the prophetic "seventy weeks" actually begin?As to the beginning of the 70 weeks, Nehemiah was granted permission by King Artaxerxes of Persia, in the 20th year of his rule, in the month of Nisan, to rebuild the wall and the city of Jerusalem. (Ne 2:1, 5, 7, 8) In his calculations as to the reign of Artaxerxes, Nehemiah apparently used a calendar year that began with the month Tishri (September-October), as does the Jews’ present civil calendar, and ended with the month Elul (August-September) as the 12th month. Whether this was his own reckoning or the manner of reckoning employed for certain purposes in Persia is not known.

    Some may object to the above statement and may point to Nehemiah 7:73, where Nehemiah speaks of Israel as being gathered in their cities in the seventh month—the monthly order here being based on a Nisan-to-Nisan year. But Nehemiah was here copying from "the book of genealogical enrollment of those who came up at the first" with Zerubbabel, in 537 B.C.E. (Ne 7:5) Again, Nehemiah describes the celebration of the Festival of Booths in his time as taking place in the seventh month. (Ne 8:9, 13-18) This was only fitting because the account says that they found what Jehovah commanded "written in the law," and in that law, at Leviticus 23:39-43, it says that the Festival of Booths was to be in "the seventh month" (that is, of the sacred calendar, running from Nisan to Nisan).

    However, as evidence indicating that Nehemiah may have used a fall-to-fall year in referring to certain events, we can compare Nehemiah 1:1-3 with 2:1-8. In the first passage he tells of receiving the bad news about Jerusalem’s condition, in Chislev (third month in the civil calendar and ninth in the sacred calendar) in Artaxerxes’ 20th year. In the second, he presents his request to the king that he be permitted to go and rebuild Jerusalem, and he is granted permission in the month Nisan (seventh in the civil calendar and first in the sacred), but still in the 20th year of Artaxerxes. So Nehemiah was obviously not counting the years of Artaxerxes’ reign on a Nisan-to-Nisan basis.

    To establish the time for the 20th year of Artaxerxes, we go back to the end of the reign of his father and predecessor Xerxes, who died in the latter part of 475 B.C.E. Artaxerxes’ accession year thus began in 475 B.C.E., and his first regnal year would be counted from 474 B.C.E., as other historical evidence indicates. The 20th year of Artaxerxes’ rule would accordingly be 455 B.C.E.—See PERSIA, PERSIANS (The Reigns of Xerxes and of Artaxerxes).

    "The Going Forth of the Word." The prophecy says there would be 69 weeks of years "from the going forth of the word to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Leader." (Da 9:25) Secular history, along with the Bible, gives evidence that Jesus came to John and was baptized, thereby becoming the Anointed One, Messiah the Leader, in the early autumn of the year 29 C.E. (See JESUS CHRIST [Time of Birth, Length of Ministry].) Calculating back from this vantage point in history, we can determine that the 69 weeks of years began in 455 B.C.E. In that year the significant "going forth of the word to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem" took place.

    In Nisan (March-April) of the 20th year of Artaxerxes’ rule (455 B.C.E.), Nehemiah petitioned the king: "If your servant seems good before you, . . . send me to Judah, to the city of the burial places of my forefathers, that I may rebuild it." (Ne 2:1, 5) The king granted permission, and Nehemiah made the long journey from Shushan to Jerusalem. On about the fourth of Ab (July-August), after making a night inspection of the walls, Nehemiah gave the command to the Jews: "Come and let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer continue to be a reproach." (Ne 2:11-18) Thus, "the going forth of the word" to rebuild Jerusalem, as authorized by Artaxerxes, was put into effect by Nehemiah in Jerusalem that same year. This clearly establishes 455 B.C.E. as the year from which the 70 weeks would begin to count.

    The repair work on the walls was completed on the 25th day of Elul (August-September), in just 52 days. (Ne 6:15) After the rebuilding of the walls, the repairing of the rest of Jerusalem went forward. As to the first seven "weeks" (49 years), Nehemiah, with the help of Ezra and, afterward, others who may have succeeded them, worked, "in the straits of the times," with difficulty from within, among the Jews themselves, and from without, on the part of the Samaritans and others. (Da 9:25) The book of Malachi, written after 443 B.C.E., decries the bad state into which the Jewish priesthood had by then fallen. Nehemiah’s return to Jerusalem following a visit to Artaxerxes (compare Ne 5:14; 13:6, 7) is thought to have taken place after this. Just how long after 455 B.C.E. he personally continued his efforts in building Jerusalem, the Bible does not reveal. However, the work was evidently completed within 49 years (seven weeks of years) to the extent necessary, and Jerusalem and its temple remained for the Messiah’s coming.—See MALACHI, BOOK OF (Time of Composition).

    Messiah’s Arrival After ‘Sixty-Nine Weeks.’ As to the following "sixty-two weeks" (Da 9:25), these, being part of the 70 and named second in order, would continue from the conclusion of the "seven weeks." Therefore, the time "from the going forth of the word" to rebuild Jerusalem until "Messiah the Leader" would be 7 plus 62 "weeks," or 69 "weeks"—483 years—from the year 455 B.C.E. to 29 C.E. As mentioned above, in the autumn of that year, 29 C.E., Jesus was baptized in water, was anointed with holy spirit, and began his ministry as "Messiah the Leader."—Lu 3:1, 2, 21, 22.

    Thus, centuries in advance Daniel’s prophecy pinpointed the exact year of the Messiah’s arrival. Perhaps the Jews in the first century C.E. had made calculations on the basis of Daniel’s prophecy and were therefore on the alert for Messiah’s appearance. The Bible reports: "Now as the people were in expectation and all were reasoning in their hearts about John: ‘May he perhaps be the Christ?’" (Lu 3:15) Although they were expecting the Messiah, they evidently could not pinpoint the exact month, week, or day of his arrival. Therefore, they wondered whether John was the Christ, even though John evidently began his ministry in the spring of 29 C.E., about six months before Jesus presented himself for baptism.

    "Cut off" at the half of the week. Gabriel further said to Daniel: "After the sixty-two weeks Messiah will be cut off, with nothing for himself." (Da 9:26) It was sometime after the end of the ‘seven plus sixty-two weeks,’ actually about three and a half years afterward, that Christ was cut off in death on a torture stake, giving up all that he had, as a ransom for mankind. (Isa 53:8) Evidence indicates that the first half of the "week" was spent by Jesus in the ministry. On one occasion, likely in the fall of 32 C.E., he gave an illustration, apparently speaking of the Jewish nation as a fig tree (compare Mt 17:15-20; 21:18, 19, 43) that had borne no fruit for "three years." The vinedresser said to the owner of the vineyard: "Master, let it alone also this year, until I dig around it and put on manure; and if then it produces fruit in the future, well and good; but if not, you shall cut it down." (Lu 13:6-9) He may have referred here to the time period of his own ministry to that unresponsive nation, which ministry had continued at that point for about three years and was to continue into a fourth year.

    Covenant in force "for one week." Daniel 9:27 states: "And he must keep the covenant in force for the many for one week [or seven years]; and at the half of the week he will cause sacrifice and gift offering to cease." The "covenant" could not be the Law covenant, for Christ’s sacrifice, three and a half years after the 70th "week" began, resulted in its removal by God: "He has taken it [the Law] out of the way by nailing it to the torture stake." (Col 2:14) Also, "Christ by purchase released us from the curse of the Law . . . The purpose was that the blessing of Abraham might come to be by means of Jesus Christ for the nations." (Ga 3:13, 14) God, through Christ, did extend the blessings of the Abrahamic covenant to the natural offspring of Abraham, excluding the Gentiles until the gospel was taken to them through Peter’s preaching to the Italian Cornelius. (Ac 3:25, 26; 10:1-48) This conversion of Cornelius and his household occurred after the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, which is generally considered to have taken place in about 34 C.E.; after this the congregation enjoyed a period of peace, being built up. (Ac 9:1-16, 31) It appears, then, that the bringing of Cornelius into the Christian congregation took place about the autumn of 36 C.E., which would be the end of the 70th "week," 490 years from 455 B.C.E.

    Sacrifices and offerings ‘caused to cease.’ The expression ‘cause to cease,’ used with reference to sacrifice and gift offering, means, literally, "cause or make to sabbath, to rest, to desist from working." The "sacrifice and gift offering" that are ‘caused to cease,’ according to Daniel 9:27, could not be Jesus’ ransom sacrifice, nor would they logically be any spiritual sacrifice by his footstep followers. They must refer to the sacrifices and gift offerings that were offered by the Jews at the temple in Jerusalem according to Moses’ Law.

    "The half of the week" would be at the middle of seven years, or after three and a half years within that "week" of years. Since the 70th "week" began about the fall of 29 C.E. at Jesus’ baptism and anointing to be Christ, half of that week (three and a half years) would extend to the spring of 33 C.E., or Passover time (Nisan 14) of that year. This day appears to have been April 1, 33 C.E., according to the Gregorian calendar. (See LORD’S EVENING MEAL [Time of Its Institution].) The apostle Paul tells us that Jesus ‘came to do the will of God,’ which was to ‘do away with what is first [the sacrifices and offerings according to the Law] that he may establish what is second.’ This he did by offering as a sacrifice his own body.—Heb 10:1-10.

    Although the Jewish priests continued to offer sacrifices at the temple in Jerusalem until its destruction in 70 C.E., the sacrifices for sin ceased having acceptance and validity with God. Just before Jesus’ death he said to Jerusalem: "Your house is abandoned to you." (Mt 23:38) Christ "offered one sacrifice for sins perpetually . . . For it is by one sacrificial offering that he has made those who are being sanctified perfect perpetually." "Now where there is forgiveness [of sins and lawless deeds], there is no longer an offering for sin." (Heb 10:12-14, 18) The apostle Paul points out that Jeremiah’s prophecy spoke of a new covenant, the former covenant (Law covenant) being thereby made obsolete and growing old, "near to vanishing away."—Heb 8:7-13.

    Transgression and sin terminated. Jesus’ being cut off in death, his resurrection, and his appearance in heaven resulted in ‘terminating transgression and finishing off sin as well as in making atonement for error.’ (Da 9:24) The Law covenant had exposed the Jews as sinners, condemned them as such, and brought upon them the curse as covenant breakers. But where sin "abounded" as exposed or made evident by the Mosaic Law, God’s mercy and favor abounded much more through his Messiah. (Ro 5:20) By Messiah’s sacrifice, transgression and sin of the repentant sinners can be canceled and the penalty thereof be lifted.

    Everlasting righteousness brought in. The value of Christ’s death on the stake provided a reconciliation for repentant believers. A propitiatory covering was drawn over their sins, and the way was opened for their being "declared righteous" by God. Such righteousness will be everlasting and will procure everlasting life for the ones declared righteous.—Ro 3:21-25.

    Anointing the Holy of Holies. Jesus was anointed with holy spirit at the time of baptism, the holy spirit coming down on him visibly represented in the form of a dove. But the anointing of "the Holy of Holies" refers to more than the anointing of the Messiah, because this expression does not refer to an individual person. "The Holy of Holies" or "the Most Holy" is the expression used to refer to the true sanctuary of Jehovah God. (Da 9:24; Ex 26:33, 34; 1Ki 6:16; 7:50) Therefore, the anointing of "the Holy of Holies" mentioned in the book of Daniel must relate to "the greater and more perfect tent not made with hands," into which Jesus Christ as the great High Priest entered "with his own blood." (Heb 9:11, 12) When Jesus presented the value of his human sacrifice to his Father, heaven itself had the appearance of the spiritual reality represented by the Most Holy of the tabernacle and of the later temple. So God’s heavenly abode had indeed been anointed, or set apart, as "the Holy of Holies" in the great spiritual temple arrangement that came into being at the time of Jesus’ being anointed with holy spirit in 29 C.E.—Mt 3:16; Lu 4:18-21; Ac 10:37, 38; Heb 9:24.

    ‘Imprinting a seal upon vision and prophet.’ All this work accomplished by the Messiah—his sacrifice, his resurrection, his appearance with the value of his sacrifice before the heavenly Father, and the other things occurring during the 70th week—‘imprints a seal upon vision and prophet,’ showing these to be true and from God. It stamps them with the seal of divine backing, as being from one divine source and not from erring man. It seals up the vision as being restricted to Messiah because it finds its fulfillment in him and God’s work through him. (Re 19:10) Its interpretation is found in him, and we cannot look to anyone else for its fulfillment. Nothing else will unseal its meaning.—Da 9:24.

    Desolations to the city and the holy place. It was after the 70 "weeks," but as a direct result of the Jews’ rejection of Christ during the 70th "week," that the events of the latter parts of Daniel 9:26 and 27 were fulfilled. History records that Titus the son of Emperor Vespasian of Rome was the leader of the Roman forces that came against Jerusalem. These armies actually entered into Jerusalem and the temple itself, like a flood, and desolated the city and its temple. This standing of pagan armies in the holy place made them a "disgusting thing." (Mt 24:15) All efforts made prior to Jerusalem’s end to quiet the situation failed because God’s decree was: "What is decided upon is desolations," and "until an extermination, the very thing decided upon will go pouring out also upon the one lying desolate."

    A Jewish View. The Masoretic text, with its system of vowel points, was prepared in the latter half of the first millennium C.E. Evidently because of their rejection of Jesus Christ as the Messiah, the Masoretes accented the Hebrew text at Daniel 9:25 with an ´ath·nach´, or "stop," after "seven weeks," thereby dividing it off from the "sixty-two weeks"; in this way the 62 weeks of the prophecy, namely, 434 years, appear to apply to the time of rebuilding ancient Jerusalem. The translation by Isaac Leeser reads: "Know therefore and comprehend, that from the going forth of the word to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the anointed the prince will be seven weeks: [the stop is represented here by a colon] and during sixty and two weeks will it be again built with streets and ditches (around it), even in the pressure of the times." The translation of the Jewish Publication Society of America reads similarly: "shall be seven weeks; and for threescore and two weeks, it shall be built again." In these two versions the words "during" and "for," respectively, appear in the English translation, evidently to support the translators’ interpretation.

    Professor E. B. Pusey, in a footnote on one of his lectures delivered at the University of Oxford, remarks on the Masoretic accenting: "The Jews put the main stop of the verse under ??? ? [seven], meaning to separate the two numbers, 7 and 62. This they must have done dishonestly, ?????? ???? (as Rashi [a prominent Jewish Rabbi of the 11th and 12th centuries C.E.] says in rejecting literal expositions which favored the Christians) ‘on account of the heretics,’ i.e. Christians. For the latter clause, so divided off, could only mean, ‘and during threescore and two weeks street and wall shall be being restored and builded,’ i.e. that Jerusalem should be 434 years in rebuilding, which would be senseless."—Daniel the Prophet, 1885, p. 190.

    As to Daniel 9:26 (Le), which reads, in part, "And after the sixty and two weeks will an anointed one be cut off without a successor to follow him," the Jewish commentators apply the 62 weeks to a period up to the Maccabean age, and the term "anointed one" to King Agrippa II, who lived at the time of Jerusalem’s destruction, 70 C.E. Or some say this was a high priest, Onias, who was deposed by Antiochus Epiphanes in 175 B.C.E. Their applications of the prophecy to either of these men would rob it of any real significance or import, and the discrepancy in the dating would make the 62 weeks no accurate time prophecy at all.—See Soncino Books of the Bible (commentary on Da 9:25, 26), edited by A. Cohen, London, 1951.

    In an attempt to justify their view, these Jewish scholars say that the "seven weeks" are, not 7 times 7, or 49 years, but 70 years; yet they count the 62 weeks as 7 times 62 years. This, they claim, referred to the period of Babylonian exile. They make Cyrus or Zerubbabel or High Priest Jeshua the "anointed one" in this verse (Da 9:25), with the "anointed one" in Daniel 9:26 being another person.

    It may be noted, in this connection, that the Septuagint translation, made by Jewish scholars in the first three centuries B.C.E., reads, at Daniel 9:25, "From the going forth of the command for the answer and for the building of Jerusalem until Christ the prince there shall be seven weeks, and sixty-two weeks: and then the time shall return, and the street shall be built, and the wall." (LXX, Bagster) Thomson’s Septuagint reads, in part: "seven weeks, and sixty-two weeks. They shall indeed return and a street shall be built and a wall."

    Most English translations do not follow the Masoretic punctuation here. They either have a comma after the expression "seven weeks" or in the wording indicate that the 62 weeks follow the 7 as part of the 70, and do not denote that the 62 weeks apply to the period of rebuilding Jerusalem. (Compare Da 9:25 in KJ, AT, Dy, NW, Ro, Yg.) An editorial note by James Strong in Lange’s Commentary on the Holy Scriptures (Da 9:25, ftn, p. 198) says: "The only justification of this translation, which separates the two periods of seven weeks and sixty-two weeks, assigning the former as the terminus ad quem of the Anointed Prince, and the latter as the time of rebuilding, lies in the Masoretic interpunction, which places the Athnac [stop] between them. . . . and the rendering in question involves a harsh construction of the second member, being without a preposition. It is better, therefore, and simpler, to adhere to the Authorized Version, which follows all the older translations."—Translated and edited by P. Schaff, 1976.

    Numerous other views, some Messianic and some non-Messianic, have been set forth as to the meaning of the prophecy. Some attempt to change the order of the time periods of the prophecy, while others make them run simultaneously or deny that they have any actual time fulfillment. Also many efforts have been made to fit the events mentioned into the Maccabean period or even into the final time of the end. But those presenting such views become hopelessly entangled, and their attempts to extricate themselves result in absurdity or in an outright denial that the prophecy is inspired or true. Of the latter ideas particularly, which raise more problems than they solve, the aforementioned scholar, E. B. Pusey, remarks: "These were the impossible problems for unbelief to solve; it had to solve them for itself, which was, so far, easier; for nothing is impossible for unbelief to believe, except what God reveals."—P. 206.
  • heathen

    From what I understand the WTBTS saying is that the devil manipulated the astrologers . They only claimed to have seen a star and never mentioned reading Daniel . Anything else is nothing but speculation . BTW Narkissos that post is kinda hard to read . The text is blurry in large parts of it .

  • Ianone

    70 Weeks are a Messianic Prophecy all about Jesus. 69th week ended during the times of Jesus and the 70th week ended with Pentecost and the bringing in of the gentiles.

  • Leolaia

    He is referring to ch. 9 of Daniel, the "seventy weeks" prophecy. Your friend is utilizing a version of the "Christian interpretation" of this chapter, which arose rather late in the history of the interpretation of Daniel (in the third century AD). It also is facilitated by a mistranslation of the text in the Theodotionic version (which lumps together the initial 7 with the 62 weeks), which was picked up in the Vulgate and even appears in English translations based on the MT (including the NWT). The Messianic interpretation is also facilitated by translating the term "anointed" as "Messiah" or "Christ", forcing a messianic interpretation into the text even tho "anointed" in Daniel elsewhere has a non-messianic sense. Note that the conflation of the 7 weeks with the 62 weeks also conflates two separate "anointed ones" (= high priests of the sanctuary) into a single Anointed One. In actuality, earlier exegetes (including those in the first century) did not have the Christian interpretation, and there is no evidence that people in the first century were influenced by it. Josephus, for instance, endorsed an earlier interpretation that construed the chronology as pointing not to a "Messiah" per se but to the destruction of the Temple (Antiquities of the Jews, 10.11.7). This is also the interpretation found in the NT (especially Luke which connects the "abomination of desolation" with the devastation of the Temple), and the Pseudo-Clementines. For Josephus, the "anointed one" that is "cut off" referred not to any Messiah but to the assassination of high priest Ananus (Wars of the Jews, 4.5.2). There are also explicit chronological attempts in Jewish sources that try to make the 490 years end in AD 70 (cf. the Seder Olam).

    This earlier interpretation however was not the original one, but a subsequent reinterpretation. Earlier sources (including 1 Maccabees, the Animal Apocalypse of 1 Enoch, and likely the midrashic translator of the Old Greek) understood that the seventy weeks terminate in the reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, connecting the "abomination of desolation" with the heathen altar established by him and the cessation of oblation for a little more than 3 years (cf. 1 Maccabees 1:54). This interpretation was also current in Christian circles even after it was displaced by the later Christian interpretation; see, for example, Julius Hilarianus who explicitly has the 490 years terminate in year 148 S.E. (= 164 BC) and identifies the Abomination of Desolation with the image of Zeus Olympias that Aniochus had established in the Temple (De Mundi Duratione Libellus). Nearly all scholars today agree that this is the original interpretation of the 70 years (cf. also ch. 11, which describes the career of Antiochus IV Epiphanes and his erection of the Abomination of Desolation, and the demise of the "prince of the covenant" in 11:22), and note that the chronological periods derive not from history but from theological concerns (i.e. interpreting the "sevenfold curse" of Leviticus literally, multiplying the 70 years of Jeremiah by 7). The messianic interpretation is so off-base that it even assigns to Jesus (!) the antichrist role that it assigns to Antiochus: the ending of sacrifice at the Temple (compare ch. 11). The Christian messianic interpretation has also been combined with the older interpretation connecting the "70 weeks" to the destruction of the Temple, but this is also highly problematic. First, the period of time during which sacrifice has ceased and the sanctuary is desolated was a "half-week" in the prophecy. However, Jesus' expiation of sins and ending of sacrifice was supposedly for good, not for a limited period. And the Temple was not restored 3 1/2 years after AD 70. This problem is usually not discussed because of the way the text is read (making the destruction the terminus of the 70 weeks). But this raises another problem: the destruction of Jerusalem did not occur 3 1/2 years after 29 AD. Some Christian exegetes thus reject any literal reference to the destruction of Jerusalem.

    Here's a very helpful summary of the conceptual framework of Daniel:


    One minor quibble of mine is that I'm doubtful that the first "anointed one" is Cyrus or Darius the Mede; in view of the allusion to the priesthood and the focus on the Temple, I suspect the first anointed one is more likely the high priest Joshua (cf. Ezra, Zechariah) or Zerubbabel.

  • Leolaia

    Narkissos....The discussion in the Insight book considerably distorts the actual situation. Under "A Jewish View", it claims that the MT text is secondary to the messianic interpretation and split the 7 and 62 weeks "evidently because of their rejection of Jesus Christ as the Messiah", and the interpretation linking the final week to the events of Antiochus IV Epiphanes' reign and the first week to the time of Zerubabbel or Joshua is similarly based on a rejection of the messianic understanding of Jesus as the Messiah. All of this is wrong. The interpretation that connects the final week to the Antiochene persecution is not a later reinterpretation of the prophecy but the earliest attested interpretation that exists (cf. 1 Maccabees and other sources). Moreover, the dominant Jewish view at the time Christianity arose was not that the prophecy pertained to reign of Antiochus Epiphanes but to the Jewish war and desolation of Jerusalem in AD 70. Thus Josephus marvelled at the chronological accuracy of Daniel in anticipating this event, not the death of a Messiah (as he also probably associated the cutting off of an anointed one to the assassination of a first-century high priest). Moreover, the MT reading is usually considered by scholars to be original on the weight of internal syntactic evidence and external attestation (in Clement of Alexandria, Hippolytus, etc.); the original LXX (Old Greek), incidentally, completely blundered this verse and what the Society calls the "LXX" is actually the version of Theodotion. The idea that the first of the two "anointed ones" in the seventy weeks prophecy was high priest Joshua was also first attested in Christian sources. Hippolytus thus wrote:

    "Having mentioned therefore seventy weeks, and having divided them into two parts, in order that what was spoken by him to the prophet might be better understood, he proceeds thus, 'Until khristos the prince there shall be seven weeks,' which make forty-nine years. It was in the twenty-first year that Daniel saw these things in Babylon. Hence, the forty-nine years added to the twenty-one, make up the seventy years, of which the blessed Jeremiah said: 'The sanctuary shall be desolate seventy years from the captivity that befell them under Nebuchadnezzar; and after these things the people will return, and sacrifice and offering will be presented, when khristos is their prince.' Now what khristos does he mean but Jesus son of Josedek, who then returned with the people and in the 70th year upon the rebuilding of the temple offered sacrifices according to the Law? For all kings and priests are called khristoi" (Hippolytus, On Daniel 2.13-14).

    Hippolytus then makes the subsequent period of 62 weeks terminate in Christ Jesus, thereby adopting a Christian messianic interpretation that does not rely on a conflation of the two 7 and 62 weeks and the conflation of the two anointed ones (i.e. along the lines of the MT rather than Theodotionic text), this became a mainstay of Christian interpretation only later.

  • thepackage

    ask him 587 bce vs. 607 bce which is the correct date.

  • Hellrider


    Yes, we did, then he wrote:

    " "Why is it the 70 weeks works out perfectly for the apperance of Messiah?"

    ...and I wrote:

    "...and I don`t understand what he means. Does anyone know? I`m a bit unclear on these 70 weeks"

    And I figured out the 70 weeks..but there are still parts of this stuff I don`t understand.

    Thanks, all.

  • Diogenes


    I'm a new member (joined yesterday) although I've been frequenting the site for quite some time...

    Just curious how you know SO MUCH!

    It's frightening to actually read some real facts after putting up with the W.T gibberish for years...

    Keep up the good work, it's fascinating.

  • Hellrider

    I'm a new member (joined yesterday) although I've been frequenting the site for quite some time...

    Just curious how you know SO MUCH!

    I think she reads a lot of books...or cheats, as I would call it, LoL.

    No seriously, I`ve never seen as much knowledge about the Bible, as on this forum. I think ex-JWs must be the most Bible-educated people in the world, and I think I know why: The WTS`s corrupt "theology", their interpretation of the Bible, seems very correct on the surface. It`s only when you dig down deeper you will find all the errors. And hence, ex-JWs, who need to find out if they are actually going to be killed in Armageddon or not, have to dig deep, and find out everything about these things. And so, many of them becomes experts.

    About this thread, and why I started it. I think I understand the WTS`s view on this now, but what I`m curious about: Does this math-puzzle (as seen in the first post) make any sense whatsoever, unless you see it in light of the corrupt WTS-chronology with the 607-date (counting backwards from 1914)? What strikes me at first, is that the way they see Matthew in all of this, is ripped completely out of context. Matthew is, of course, written many years after Jesus lived. The astrologers that come to visit king Herod, only says: "Where is the one who is born king of the Jews?". And a couple of passages later, Herod assmebles his chief priests: "After assembling all the chief priests and experts in the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born". Now, there`s nothing here that indicates that the astrologers said to Herod "look, we know the Messiah is now born", they simply asked "where is the one who is born kind of the jews?". And of course, the author of Matthew uses the word "Christ", but this has to be seen in light of the fact that Matthew is written years after Jesus lived, and as he calls him "Christ" in the text, this doesn`t mean that Herod is actually using the word "Christ". "Christ" is here referring to what would later be revealed about this child, that had been born. The word "Christ" is inserted into another context, and it confuses everything for (the shallow) JW-reader. However, it would be very difficult to explain this to a JW. So I`m trying to debate this on grounds of just the chronology. And I`m unclear on whether this chronology makes any sense at all.

    My math-skills are very limited...it was my worst subject in school...

    Edited to add: Oh, just forget it. I read thru Leolaias two latest posts now. It makes sense, but there`s no way I could make a JW understand that. Thanks anyway.

  • AuldSoul

    His questions relate to the 70 weeks they say fulfills the arrival of Christ, not to the 1914 calculation they use.

    The 1914 calculation is in Daniel 4. You might want to just make sure he knows that.

    By getting people to focus on 586/7 v. 607 they get a walk on this funky 2,520 years calculation they use. There is nothing to indicate using the funny rules they pull in from other Scriptures to force Daniel 4 to arrive at 1914. There is nothing to cause a belief that there would be 2,520 years to add to any date, 607 BC, 586/7 BC or 243 BC.

    More here: 1914—How Is It Arrived At? (Daniel 4)


  • Hellrider

    AuldSoul, thanks. I know the 1914 and 607-stuff very well. So I couldn`t make out out why I didn`t understand the 70 weeks, appearance of the Messiah, etc. But now I see that it is separate from .. well, the stuff I described in my first post.

  • Hellrider

    By the way, your post 5750 was great, Leolaia. This would also mean that the WTS are lying in their Insight-book, when they claim that:

    "While Daniel was praying, Jehovah sent his angel Gabriel with a prophecy that nearly all Bible commentators accept as Messianic,"

    Well, it`s not the first time they lie.

  • Leolaia

    Hellrider....Yes, that statement in the Insight book is most definitely wrong. As far as I know, only conservative commentators outside of mainstream scholarship pursue the messianic interpretation in their exegesis; all major critical commentaries I know of regard it as a later reinterpretation of the oracle, and not the original interpretation by the author. This includes R. H. Charles (A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Daniel), James Montgomery (International Critical Commentary on Daniel), John Goldingay (Word Biblical Commentary on Daniel), Louis Hartman & Alexander DiLella (Anchor Bible Commentary on Daniel), John Collins (Hermeneia Commentary on Daniel), and countless articles on this chapter in the critical literature.

    The key to understanding the meaning of mshych "anointed one" in v. 25-26 can be found in v. 24: "Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish transgression, to bring sins of completion and to expiate iniquity, to seal vision and to anoint the Holy of Holies". The OT has many references of anointing the altar and the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle and Temple: "Purify the altar by making atonement for it, and anoint it to consecrate it" (Exodus 29:36), "Use the oil to anoint the Tent of Meeting, the ark of testimony, the table and all its articles, the lampstand and its accessories, the altar of incense, the altar of burnt offering ... you shall consecrate them so they will be most holy" (Exodus 30:26-29), "take the anointing oil and anoint the tabernacle and everything in it, consecrate it and all its furnishings and it will be holy" (Exodus 40:9), "Moses took the chrism and anointed the tabernacle and everything in it to consecrate them, he sprinkled the altar seven times and anointed the altar" (Leviticus 8:10-11), "on the day Moses finished setting up the tabernacle he anointed and consecrated it" (Numbers 7:1), etc. Only the high priest could anoint the Holy of Holies and priests were referred to as "anointed" (mshych, khristos) in the literature:

    "If the one who sins is the anointed priest, thus making the people guilty, then for the sin which he has committed he is to offer to Yahweh a young bull as a sacrifice for sin" (Leviticus 4:3).
    "The people of Jerusalem and Judea, the senate and Judas, to Aristobulus, tutor to King Ptolemy and one of the family of the anointed priests" (2 Maccabees 1:10).

    See also Zechariah 4:14 which refers to Joshua son of Jozadak, the first high priest after the Exile, and Zerubbabel as the "sons of oil". The high priests were also referred to as ngyd "ruler" (= ngyd mshych "anointed ruler" in Daniel 9:25) in Jeremiah 20:1, Nehemiah 11:11 ("ruler of the House of God"), and 2 Chronicles 31:10, 13. The reference to anointed ones associated with "anointing the Holy of Holies" thus strongly suggests that the anointed ones are high priests.

    This is also the focus of Daniel's plea earlier in the chapter. Daniel was counting the years for the "successive devastations of Jerusalem to come to an end" (v. 2), i.e. the 70 years of Jeremiah, and the prayer referred to the former desolation of Jerusalem in v. 12, 16, 17, 18 and the destruction of the Temple in v. 17: "For your own sake, Lord, let your face smile again on your desolate sanctuary". The problem faced by the author of Daniel was (1) the fact that the glorious restoration of the Temple and Israel in Isaiah 60-62, Ezekiel 40-48, Zechariah 12-14, had not yet been realized in the Seleucid era but instead Judah remained under foreign oppression in a "time of trouble", and (2) the fact that the Temple was defiled and devastated a second time by Antiochus Epiphanes and his mysarch (cf. Daniel 11:31). As 1 Maccabees described the events in part:

    "Antiochus turned about and advanced on Israel and Jerusalem in massive strength. Insolantly breaking into the sanctuary, he removed the golden altar and the lampstand for the light with all its fittings, together with the table for the loaves of offering ... the golden decorations in front of the Temple, which he stripped of everything ... leaving the places a shambles...Two years later the king sent a mysarch through the cities of Judah. He came to Jerusalem with an impressive force and addressing them with what appeared to be peaceful words, he gained their confidence; then suddenly he fell on the city dealing it a terrible blow, and destroying many of the people of Israel. He pillaged the city and set it on fire, tore down its houses and encircling wall, took the woman and children captive ... They shed innocent blood all round the sanctuary and defiled the sanctuary itself. The citizens of Jerusalem fled because of them, she became a dwelling place of strangers ... her sanctuary became as deserted as a wilderness" (1 Maccabees 1:20-24, 29-39).

    The answer to this unexpected turn of events was that the 70 years of the prophet Jeremiah were not yet completed, even hundreds of years later. In the vision, the angel Gabriel expands the original 70 years into 490 years on the basis of the "curse" mentioned in Daniel's prayer: "The whole of Israel flouted your Law and turned away, unwilling to listen to your voice; and the curse and imprecation written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have come pouring down on us because we have sinned against him" (Daniel 9:11). The curse referred to here is the one in Leviticus:

    "If you have set yourselves agaisnt me and will not listen to me, I will heap these plagues on you in sevenfold punishment for your sins... I will set myself against you in fury and punish you sevenfold for your sins... I will reduce your cities to ruin; I will lay your sanctuaries waste, I will no longer breathe the fragrance that would appease me. I will make such a desolation of the land that your enemies who come to live there will be appalled by it. And I will scatter you among the nations ... Then the land will observe its sabbaths indeed, lying desolate there, while you are in the land of your enemies ... But they must atone for their sin, for they have spurned my customs and abhorred my laws" (Leviticus 26:21, 27-34, 43).

    The angel takes this warning literally and multiplies Jeremiah's 70 years by 7 (70 x 7 = 490 years), expanding the period of punishment for centuries longer during which the people are to "finish transgression, to bring sins to completion and to expiate iniquity," just as Leviticus 26:43 states that the period of punishment is for the people to "atone for their sin". Thus, even tho Jerusalem may be rebuilt and the sanctuary anointed again by the "anointed" priests, the promised punishment of God "laying your sanctuaries waste" would not be completed until the "seventy weeks" are over and the people's sins atoned. The interpretation of the seventy weeks in Daniel 9:25-27 thus culminates in the final restoration of the Temple, not its final destruction.

    The angel breaks the seventy weeks into three periods (7 + 62 + 1), with the first segment extending from the time of Jeremiah's prophecy to the coming of an "anointed ruler" (49 years in length), most likely Joshua son of Jozadak. He is described as re-anointing the altar after the end of the Exile (i.e. 538 BC) in Ezra: "Jeshua son of Jozadak, with his brother priests, and Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, with his brothers, began to rebuild the altar of the God of Israel to offer holocausts there, as it is written in the Law of Moses... The altar was set up on its old site and on it they offered holocausts to Yahweh" (Ezra 3:1-3), and there they re-instituted the daily perpetual sacrifice (v. 4). The next period is the 62 weeks, during which Jerusalem "is built again with square and moat, but in a time of trouble" (Daniel 9:25). This corresponds to the era of the Persian and Greek kingdoms, during which the Temple and city is rebuilt (i.e. in 520-515 BC, and the restoration of the walls in 445 BC) and during the wars of the Seleucid and Ptolemaic kingdoms from 319 BC down to the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes, commencing in 175 BC. Then there is the final week, that starts with the "cutting off of the anointed one" (9:26), which corresponds to the deposing and later assassination of high priest Onias III in 171 BC (mentioned also in Daniel 11:22, 1 Enoch 90:8, 2 Maccabees 4:33-35). During this week, Antiochus "makes a strong alliance with the multitude" (Daniel 9:26), and this corresponds to Antiochus' pact with the Jewish Hellenizers mentioned in Daniel 11:30 and 1 Maccabees 1:11-15, 43, 52. Then, in the middle of the final week, "he will suppress sacrifice and offering for half a week and the desolating abomination will be in their place, until the predetermined destruction is poured out on the desolator" (Daniel 9:27). This corresponds again in ch. 11 with Antiochus' installation of the heathen altar in the Temple: "Forces of his will come and profane the sanctuary citadel; they will abolish the perpetual sacrifice and install the desolating abomination there" (Daniel 11:31). The half week corresponds to the "time, times, and half a time" of Daniel 7:25, the 1,290 days during which "perpetual sacrifice is abolished and the desolating abomination erected" in 12:11, and the 2,300 half-days of 8:14 that intervene between the time Antiochus "abolishes the perpetual sacrifice and put iniquity on the sacrifice" and when "the sanctuary has its rights restored". All these parallels within Daniel show that the person who ends sacrifice and offering is not a messianic savior but an evil antichrist-like king, the "little horn" of ch. 8. The installation of the desolating abomination is mentioned in 1 Maccabees 1:54:

    "On the fifteenth day of Chislev in the year on hundred and forty-five [i.e. December 8, 167 BC], the king erected the abomination of desolation above the altar; and altars were built in the surrounding towns of Judah".

    This event is also described in 2 Maccabees 6:2 which states that Antiochus "profaned the Temple in Jerusalem by dedicating it to Olympian Zeus", and "the altar of sacrifice was loaded with victims proscribed by the laws as unclean" (v. 5). From this time forward: "The king sent instructions ... banning holocausts, sacrifices and libations from the sanctuary, profaning sabbaths and feasts, defiling the sanctuary and the sacred ministers" (1 Maccabees 1:44-46). Then, three years later and 3 1/2 years after the mysarch devastated the city and Temple, the Maccabeans rededicated the Temple and purified it (i.e. anointing it anew):

    "They had overthrown the abomination he had erected over the altar in Jerusalem, and had encircled the sanctuary with high walls ... [Judas] selected priests who were blameless in observance of the law to purify the sanctuary and remove the stones of the abomination to an unclean place. They discussed what should be done about the altar of holocausts which had been profaned, and very properly decided to pull it down that it might never become a reproach to them, from its defilement by the pagans ... and built a new altar on the lines of the old one. They restored the Holy Place and the interior of the house, and purified the courts. They made new sacred vessels, and brought the lampstand, the altar of incense, and the table into the Temple. They burned incense on the altar and lit the lamps on the lampstand, and these shone inside the Temple. They set out the loaves on the table and hung the curtains and completed all the tasks they had undertaken. On the twenty-fifth of the ninth month, Chislev, in the year one hundred and forty-eight [i.e. December 164 BC], they rose at dawn and offered a lawful sacrifice on the new altar of holocausts which they had made" (1 Maccabees 4:42-53, 6:7).

    This is the expected "restoration of the rights of the sanctuary" mentioned in Daniel 8:14 and the "anointing of the Holy of Holies" mentioned in 9:24, which occurs at the completion of the "seventy weeks". And indeed, this event occurred 7 years after 171 BC, the year when the last legitimate high priest Onias III was "cut off". The "stop to sacrifice and oblation" mentioned in 9:27 is not for all time (as the messianic Christian interpretation construes it) but only for the "half week" at the end of the seventy weeks. This event was also regarded by Josephus as fulfillment of Daniel, as restoring the sacrifice that the "little horn" had abolished in ch. 8:

    "Daniel wrote that he saw these visions in the plain of Susa, and he informs us that God interpreted the appearance of this vision after the following manner: He said that the ram signified the kingdom of the Medes and Persians, and the horns were those kings that were to reign in them ... that the he-goat signified that one should come and reign from the Greeks ... and that from among them there should arise a certain king that should overcome our nation and their laws, and should take away our political government, and should spoil the Temple, and forbid the sacrifices to be offered for three years. And indeed it so came to pass, that our nation suffered these things under Antiochus Epiphanes, according to Daniel's vision" (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 10.11.7).

    Hope this gives a helpful overview!

  • heathen
    installation of the heathen altar in the Temple:

    I never did any such thing ...... LOL

    Once again leolaia makes about no sense to me .

  • Ianone

    Heathen: Thats because Leolaia speaks of the traditions of the elders which make the Word of God null and void.
    Leolaia said: "The angel takes this warning literally and multiplies Jeremiah's 70 years by 7 (70 x 7 = 490 years), expanding the period of punishment for centuries longer during which the people are to "finish transgression, to bring sins to completion and to expiate iniquity," just as Leviticus 26:43 states that the period of punishment is for the people to "atone for their sin". Thus, even tho Jerusalem may be rebuilt and the sanctuary anointed again by the "anointed" priests, the promised punishment of God "laying your sanctuaries waste" would not be completed until the "seventy weeks" are over and the people's sins atoned. The interpretation of the seventy weeks in Daniel 9:25-27 thus culminates in the final restoration of the Temple, not its final destruction."
    the people are to "finish transgression, to bring sins to completion and to expiate iniquity.......
    Pure blasphemy....in other words the people as a collective group are their own Messiah and in no need of Jesus the Christ. Putting themselves up on Moses seat and in the temple above the Most High. The little gods of Chassidim of Solomon the apostate.
    the people to "atone for their sin".
    more Talmudic blasphemy from the rejecters of the CHOOSER, who CHOOSES those who are a people of faith and not a need of creed seed of racial supremacy like the Chassdics would have you believe.
    God saves by grace, not race

  • Leolaia

    Ianone....Believe it or not, what you call blasphemy is exactly what the text itself states, so don't blame me. Daniel makes direct reference to the curse in the "Law of Moses" (Daniel 9:11), and I showed that this text in Leviticus 26 states: "They must atone for their sin, for they have spurned my customs and abhorred my laws" (v. 43). Not "A Messiah must atone for their sin", but THEY must atone for their sin. Is Leviticus blasphemous? No. It simply has no concept of a Messiah, just as Daniel has no concept of a sin-atoning Messiah. Instead, in following the Christian re-interpretation of the text you read messianic concepts into the text. In atoning for their sin, the Israelites were to "confess their sins and the sins of their fathers, sins by which they betrayed me" (Leviticus 26:40), and this is exactly what Daniel does, making his "confession" while fasting dressed in sackcloth and ashes (Daniel 9:3-4). The seventy years were a time for repentance (just as the expanded "seventy weeks" were a time for "putting an end to transgression and expiating crime", v. 24), and the prophet made his confession before the literal 70 years were over. The atoning for Israel's sin is also mentioned in Isaiah 40:2, that at the time Cyrus allows the exiles to return to Jerusalem, their "time of service is ended, that their sin is atoned for, that they have received from the hand of Yahweh double punishment for all her crimes". The difference in Daniel is that the period for atoning for sin is expanded into seventy weeks of years (Daniel 9:24), postponing the completion of atonement for several hundred years. The people atone their sins, and God absolves their guilt along the same lines as Leviticus. Finally, the reference to "bringing sins to completion" in Daniel 9:24 is paralleled by the statement in 8:23: "At the end of their reign [the kings from the four Diadochi], when the measure of their sins is full, a king [Antiochus Epiphanes] will arise, a proud-faced, ingenious-minded man".

    Pure blasphemy....in other words the people as a collective group are their own Messiah and in no need of Jesus the Christ.

    As I stated already, there is no Christian Messiah concept in the text, so by no means are the people construed as "their own Messiah". They don't forgive their own sins, God does. But they must atone for their sins, just as the Israelites were instructed to do all throughout Leviticus and as they continued to do through the Temple sacrifices during the period of the "seventy weeks", and just as Leviticus 26:43 insists that the people must do before God restores his favor to them (the curse that is directly mentioned in Daniel 9:11), just as Daniel makes his own confession in v. 3-19.

    more Talmudic blasphemy from the rejecters of the CHOOSER, who CHOOSES those who are a people of faith and not a need of creed seed of racial supremacy like the Chassdics would have you believe.

    This has nothing to do with what I wrote.

    But I'll tell you what I think is blasphemous. It's construing Christ as the one who "puts a stop to sacrifice and oblation" in Daniel 9:27. Check out Daniel 11:31 to see who "abolishes the perpetual sacrifice". It's "a wretch ... conspiring and going from treachery to treachery" who has "a heart bent on evil" and against the holy covenant, who grows "more and more arrogant, considering himself greater than all the gods," who will "utter incredible blasphemies against the God of gods" (11:21-23, 27, 36). Does that sound like Christ to you? Sure doesn't to me! Similarly, ch. 8 identifies who "abolished the perpetual sacrifice" (8:11), he was the "little horn" described as "a proud-faced, ingenious-minded man" who "will plot incredible schemes" and "destroy powerful men and the people of the saints", who is "arrogant of heart" (8:23-25). Again, not very Christ-like! Moreover, the cessation of sacrifice and offering in the Seventy Weeks oracle is "for a half week", that is, for 3 1/2 years (9:27). Did Christ end sacrifice and offering for only 3 1/2 years? And after this period, was sacrifice and offering restored as 8:14 and 9:24 imply? I don't think you would accept that.

  • Honesty

    Great thread!!

    I think ex-JWs must be the most Bible-educated people in the world, and I think I know why: The WTS`s corrupt "theology", their interpretation of the Bible, seems very correct on the surface. It`s only when you dig down deeper you will find all the errors. And hence, ex-JWs, who need to find out if they are actually going to be killed in Armageddon or not, have to dig deep, and find out everything about these things. And so, many of them becomes experts.

    And some of the Bible illiterates like me get our information and insight during Sunday School and at Wednesday Night Bible Study Classes at our Babylon the Great churches.

  • Ianone

    Whats next Leolie, are you going to say that the Davinchi Code is factual and that Jesus married Mary Magadalen and had children? No need to answer, your traditions of your elders profiteth you nothing and nullifies the Word, Christ Jesus, who is God and Saviour of all mankind.

  • a Christian
    a Christian

    I have recently been studying this prophecy at some length.

    I believe that Daniel's "70 Weeks" began to run when Nehemiah ordered the work to begin on the rebuilding of Jerusalem's wall after Artaxerxes issued a decree in his 20th year which permitted Nehemiah to return to Jerusalem to rebuild that Holy City. (Neh. 2)

    Some see a problem with this understanding. For Daniel's "Seventy Weeks" are widely understood to refer to a period of 490 years, and all historians now assure us that Artaxerxes' 20th year of ruling Persia took place in 445 BC. And 490 years after 445 BC brings us to 46 AD, which was quite a few years after the death of Christ.

    How then can I understand that Artaxerxes' decree in his 20th year as king has anything to do with Daniel's "Seventy Weeks" prophecy? Because I am convinced that Nehemiah did not return to Jerusalem and give his command to begin rebuilding that city until the year 440 BC, even though the Bible tells us that Nehemiah had been granted permission by Artaxerxes to issue such a command in Artaxerxes' 20th year as king of Persia, which historians assure us took place in 445 BC. (Neh. 1:1-6)

    I believe this because the first century Jewish historian, Josephus, tells us that Nehemiah "came to Jerusalem" not "in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes" as the Bible seems to say, but in his "twenty and fifth year." (Ant. XI, 5, 7) The fact is that the Bible does not actually say that Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem in Artaxerxes' 20th year. It only tells us that Artaxerxes then gave Nehemiah permission to do so. While Josephus, on the other hand, tells us of the time that Nehemiah actually "came to Jerusalem." (It is also possible that Nehemiah reckoned the reign of Artaxerxes in a substantially different manner than historians do today and Josephus did in his day. I'll explain this later.)

    Concerning this matter, in his book, "History Of Israel" (third edition, 1981, pg. 381) John Bright tells us, "The Bible gives us the impression that Nehemiah set out at once, accompanied by a military escort (Neh.2:9). But Josephus (Ant. XI, 5, 7), who follows the Septuagint text, the first part of which is preserved in 1 Esdres, places his arrival only in 440. Though assurance is impossible, this may be correct. If Nehemiah first went to Babylon and collected Jews to accompany him, as Josephus has it, and then having presented his credentials to the satrap of Abah-nahara, attended to the procurement of building materials before proceeding to Jerusalem, as he possibly did since work was begun soon after his arrival, the date is not unreasonable."

    Some who harmonize the accounts of Nehemiah and Josephus in this way point out that it took Solomon nearly four years to procure similar kinds of building materials before he was able to begin building the Temple. (2 Chr. chapters 1 and 2 and chapter 3, verses 1 and 2) And Solomon was much better funded than Nehemiah, and unlike Nehemiah, Solomon was able to conscript all the labor he needed for his building project, rather than having to spend time finding volunteers.

    Other scholars agree with Bright's assessment of Josephus' probable accuracy in this matter. For instance, Sigmund Mowinckel, a highly regarded Scandinavian Bible scholar, believes that Josephus used a separate Greek version of Nehemiah that in several respects differed from that preserved in the LXX. He argues that Josephus' chronological information on the Persian kings did not result from his own calculations, or from any mistakes some say he must have made in this matter. Mowinckel argues that Josephus must have been quoting from a now lost Greek version of Nehemiah. On Josephus' statement about the 25th year of Artaxerxes, Mowinckel maintains that Josephus' figures are most likely the original ones. He writes, "In my opinion the balance [of evidence] is in favor of [the figure] '25'." (Vol. 3, p.45 of Studien zu dem Buche Ezra-Nehema, Vols. 1-3, Oslo, 1964)

    But how does the fact that Nehemiah did not give his order to begin rebuilding Jerusalem until 440 BC help us to make sense of Daniel's "Seventy Weeks" prophecy? As most students of Bible prophecy know, Daniel's "seventy weeks" are generally understood as referring to seventy weeks of years (seventy sets of seven years) totaling a period of 490 solar years. But the Jews used a lunar calendar! Their years were lunar years, not solar years. So a week of years to the Jews would have meant seven lunar years. And seventy weeks of years to the Jews would have meant 490 lunar years, not 490 solar years.

    At the time of Daniel, on average about every three years, the Jews added an extra month to the end of their lunar calendars to make sure that they never fell too far out of sync with the solar year. But at the time Daniel wrote his "Seventy Weeks" prophecy the Jews had no set system of doing so. When they decided that it was time to add an extra month to their calendars they called this extra month "second Adar." However, the fact that they then sometimes added an "intercalary" month to their lunar calendars does not change the fact that, to the Jews, a "year" normally meant 354 days. For that is the number of days which one of their calendars most often contained. Their calendars usually consisted of six 29 day months and six 30 day months. So, to the Jews who lived at the time Daniel wrote his "Seventy Weeks" prophecy, a “year” would have been understood to mean a lunar year, and a "week" of years (literally a “seven” of years) would have been understood to mean seven lunar years. And “seventy weeks” of years would have been understood to mean 490 lunar years, none of which were then either automatically or routinely solar-adjusted.

    Now, since one lunar year contains 354.367 days, 490 lunar years contain 173,639.83 days. And 173,639.83 days divided by 365.2425 (the number of days in a solar year) equal 475.40 solar years. With these things in mind, I have come to conclusion that Daniel's "seventy weeks" were a period of 475.4 years which ran from 440 BC to 36 AD. I believe those 475.4 years began at the time Nehemiah gave his "commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem" (Dan. 9:25 KJV; Neh. 2:17,18). And I believe those 475.4 years ended at the time God acted to "confirm the [new] covenant with many" by pouring His Holy Spirit out on Gentiles for the first time (Dan. 9:27 KJV; Acts 10). I believe the "many" here referred to were the "many nations" God promised Abraham that he would one day become the father of. (Gen. 17:4)

    As anyone who has thoroughly studied the history of this prophecy's interpretation knows, this is by no means a new idea or a novel one. In the year 221 AD Julius Africanus in his work entitled "Chronographia" argued that the 490 years were lunar years of 354 days each, which he converted into 475 solar years. He counted them from the 20th year of Artaxerxes, which he correctly dated to the 4th year of the 83rd Olympiad (=445/444 BC). From this date, he said, to "the 16th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar (30/31 AD, his date for the death of Christ), there are reckoned 475 years, which take 490 according to the Hebrew numeration, as they measure the years by the course of the moon; so that, as is easy to show, their year consists of 354 days, while the solar year has 365 1/4 days." (Africanus' Chronographia XVI, 3 translated in The Ante-Nicence fathers, Vol. VI ed. A. Roberts & J. Donaldson, p. 135) Many later expositors followed Africanus in doing this.

    I believe that the facts of history, together with a knowledge that the Jews used a lunar calendar, combine to show that the Messiah (meaning "anointed one") was first presented to Israel in the year 29 AD by John the baptist, after sixty-nine weeks of lunar years had passed, when John anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the waters of his baptism in "the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar." (Luke 3:1,21). At that time Jesus Christ was "cut off" from his people and, quite literally, "had nothing for himself." (Dan. 9:26) For he then began a forty day long fast in the wilderness. Then, after three and a half years, in the middle of Daniel's seventieth week, in the spring of 33 AD, Christ's sacrificial death brought an end to the Jewish system of sacrificial offerings. (Dan. 9:27) Finally, three and a half years later, at the end of Daniel's "Seventy Weeks," in the early fall of 36 AD, Christ "confirmed a covenant with many" (Dan. 9:27) when he, for the first time, poured out his Holy Spirit on non-Jewish people. (Acts 10)

    Doing so confirmed the fact that God, from that time forward, would give everyone who put their faith in Jesus Christ, both Jews and Gentiles, complete forgiveness of their sins and eternal life. With this fact in mind, the good news of what Jesus Christ had done for mankind then began to be preached to all people on earth, just as Christ said that it would be. (Math. 24:14)

    There is another solution to this ancient puzzle that also fits all the facts of history. This solution eliminates the problem of Nehemiah taking five years to get to Jerusalem, which some people have a hard time accepting. Historians tell us that Artaxerxes did not gain legal control of Persia's throne until six years after the assassination of his father Xerxes. Because he did not, it is very possible that Nehemiah did not count the first six years of Artaxerxes' reign during which its legality was being contested. Those who have thoroughly studied the way in which Bible writers reckoned the reigns of Israel's and Judah's kings tell us that at times they apparently employed this "legal count" system of reckoning.

    If this is true, then when Nehemiah referred to Artaxerxes' 20th year he would have been referring to the same year Josephus referred to when he told us Nehemiah came to Jerusalem in Artaxerxes' 25th year, 440 BC.

    The historical information which strongly suggests that Nehemiah very likely employed this "legal count" system of reckoning is contained in the works of several ancient historians. I'll here give you a condensed version of it.

    Artaxerxes came to the throne of Persia in August of 465 BC following the murder of his father Xerxes. To gain the throne for himself Artaxerxes and his supporters, the real murderers, blamed Xerxes' murder on the rightful heir to the throne, Artaxerxes' older brother crown prince Darius. They then had Darius unjustly executed. For the next six years Artaxerxes' legal right to rule Persia was hotly disputed. Why? Because ancient Persia was not a "banana republic" in which anyone willing to assassinate their country's head of state and then take his place with the support of several armed friends had just as much a legal right to run their country's government as anyone else did. Ancient Persia was then governed by a hereditary monarchy. In that monarchy, upon the death of a king, the right to rule legally passed from a father to his first born son. If that first born son was, for some reason, legally disqualified from becoming king, the right to rule then passed to the king's next oldest son. If a king had no son who was legally qualified to inherit the throne, upon his death the right to rule passed to his oldest brother.

    Following king Xerxes' murder and the execution of crown prince Darius, Artaxerxes' older brother Hyspases was legally next in line to inherit Persia's throne. However, Hyspases was then away governing the Persian Provence of Bactria. Because he was, Artaxerxes was able to sit on his father's throne. It is said that for the next few years Hyspases rightly maintained that he held the legal right to rule Persia. Sometime during the first few years of Artaerxes' legally disputed reign as king, he and his older brother Hyspases met on the field of battle to resolve this issue, and some others. In Artaxerxes' effort to suppress what historians call "the Bactrian revolt," he then killed his older brother Hyspases. However, when Artaxerxes killed Hyspases he did nothing to remove the cloud of illegitimacy that then hung over his rulership of Persia. If anything, he only darkened that cloud. For a son or a brother of a king who killed the king was not legally allowed to inherit the kingdom from the king he had killed. So, at the time Artaxerxes killed Hyspases, the right to rule Persia legally passed to Xerxes full brother, Achamenes, who was then away governing Egypt.

    It was not until the year 459 BC that Artaxerxes finally gained the legal right to rule the Persian empire, an empire he had been illegitimately ruling since 465 BC. For it was in that year that Artaxerxes' uncle Achamenes was killed in a battle in Egypt. It was only at that time, in 459 BC, that Artaxerxes was finally able to legally wear the crown of the king of Persia.

    Nehemiah serving at the King's court would have been aware of these legal matters which put the legality of the first six years of Artaxerxes' reign in question. If Nehemiah, like other Bible writers who recorded chronological information, did not count years of a king's rule in which their right to rule was legally in question, he would have counted 459 BC as Artaxerxes' first year as Persia's king. And if Nehemiah counted 459 BC as Artaxerxes' first year, he would have counted 440 as Artaxerxes' 20th year.

    In other words, we have strong reason to believe that Nehemiah may have reckoned the reign of Artaxerxes differently than the way in which it was then commonly reckoned, the way in which Josephus' sources reckoned it, and the way in which it is commonly reckoned today. When Nehemiah wrote of Artaxerxes' "20th year" he may not have been referring to the year 445 BC, as has long been thought, but to 440 BC, just as Josephus clearly was when he told us that Nehemiah came to Jerusalem in Artaxerxes' "25th year."

    And sixty-nine "sevens" of years (483 lunar years) after 440 brings us to AD 29, the year Jesus became the Messiah.

    My verse by verse commentary of Dan. 9:24-27 (NAS) is [in brackets.]

    24 "Seventy weeks [490 lunar years] 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 ["from the going forth of the commandment" - KJV] to restore and rebuild Jerusalem [Nehemiah's on site order to begin rebuilding Jerusalem's wall, upon his return to Jerusalem in Artaxerxes' 25th year, as per Josephus, which historians identify for us as 440 BC] until Messiah the Prince [Jesus Christ] there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks [7 x 7 lunar years + 62 x 7 lunar years = 483 lunar years. 483 lunar years from 440 BC = 29 AD, which was "the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar," in which year Jesus was baptized]; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. [The first "seven weeks" - 49 lunar years - ran from July of 440 BC until January of 392 BC, during which time the city of Jerusalem was completely rebuilt, despite great opposition from neighboring nations.]
    26 "Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing [Following Christ's baptism he cut himself off from all human contact while he literally "had nothing," as he then fasted in the wilderness for forty days.], and the people [Rome's armies] of the prince who is to come [General Titus, the son of the Roman Emperor Vespasian, thus a "prince"] will destroy the city and the sanctuary [Rome's destruction of Jerusalem and her Temple in 70 AD]. And its end will come with a flood [the hoards of soldiers who then descended upon the city]; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. [All of the words in verse 26, following its reference to "the Messiah" being cut off and having nothing, should be read parenthetically. For they refer to events which would occur 30 - 34 years after the "seventy weeks" came to an end.]
    27 "And he [the Messiah] will make a firm covenant with the many ["confirm a covenant" - NIV - referring to the "New Covenant" which was established by the death of Christ and confirmed with "many" by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the gentiles, as recorded in Acts chapter 10. Romans 15:8-12 tells us that the covenant promises which Christ "confirmed" were those God made to the patriarchs concerning the Gentiles. The "many" here referred to are all the nations of the earth, Jews and Gentiles. God told Abraham, in Gen. 17:4, that he would become the father of "many nations."] for [The word "for" here is absent from the Hebrew. I believe the context strongly suggests that the word "after" should instead be here inserted.] one week [at the end of the 70th "week" which ended in 36 AD], but in the middle of the week [again the 70th "week," the middle of which was the spring of 33 AD] he [the Messiah] will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering [which Jesus Christ's sacrificial death brought an end to]; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate [In Mark 13:14 and its parallel passage, Luke 21:20, Jesus himself clearly identified the "abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet" as the "armies" which he said would "surround Jerusalem" prior to its destruction in 70 AD.], even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate." [Jerusalem's desolator, General Titus, became Emperor of Rome in 79 AD. Within months Mount Vesuvius erupted burying Pompeii. The following year, 80 AD, a fire destroyed much of Rome. Titus uttering "the fire has ruined me" was forced to sell or strip all of his imperial estates to hasten Rome's recovery. Then, in the fire's wake, one of the worst plagues on record descended upon Italy. Finally, on September 1, 81 AD, for reasons unknown, Titus fell painfully ill and died, only two years after gaining Rome's throne.]

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