By Sandy Livoti
As a child, I used to sprawl out on the bed at night with my King James Bible and read about strange visions and the wonders of heaven before dropping off to sleep, mystified. Daniel, Revelation and other curious books of the Bible weren’t discussed much in my Christian Science Sunday school class, so in the privacy of my room I would ponder the intriguing pages that had been missed.
But what on earth did all those numbers mean in Daniel 9:24-27? I saw numeric associations in other parts of Daniel and Revelation, but still couldn’t decipher the passages. I figured the weeks were years, but when doing the math, the months were a couple days short. Were the days in a month rounded off, or were the number of days supposed to equal an average month? Neither solution seemed right.
And what did those disturbing phrases about abominations and desolations mean? Would these things happen in my lifetime? More important to me at the time, since the events would take place in Israel, how could they possibly, personally affect me?
It took over 45 years of spiritual wandering before I returned to the questions and learned the answers. Along the way I also discovered that one phrase in a sentence of prophecy can be fulfilled at one time, while the next may not be fulfilled until many years later. The verses in Daniel 9:24-27, written in 536 B.C., are like that. God’s plan for the ages is laid out in entirely specific time periods. It is likely that, according to this schedule, we are now very near the end.
See for yourself …
The Hebrew word for “weeks” is actually “sevens.”
HAVE BEEN DECREED
Have been ordered by God
Decreed by the God of Israel, known by Jews and Christians as the eternal I AM. (Exodus 3:14)
FOR YOUR PEOPLE
For the people of Israel, the Jews
This is a literal ethnic group, not referring symbolically to the Christian church.
AND YOUR HOLY CITY,
And for Jerusalem
TO FINISH THE TRANSGRESSION,
To end the people’s sin of unbelief
To stop Israel’s skepticism, agnosticism, atheism and rejection of their Messiah.
TO MAKE AN END OF SIN,
To remove sins
Payment (atonement) through the Messiah will be credited (imputed) to Jewish believers by the end of the 70 weeks.
TO MAKE ATONEMENT FOR INIQUITY,
To pay for sin
Sin has costly consequences. The perfect sacrificial Lamb bore our sin and its punishment on the cross (Colossians 2:13-14). Payment for sin is already credited to all Jewish and Gentile believers in Jesus Christ. But for most of ethnic Israel, that application remains to be made in the future.
TO BRING IN EVERLASTING RIGHTEOUSNESS,
To establish righteousness on earth
This refers to the Millennial kingdom, the 1,000-year reign of the Messiah and His saints on earth. (Revelation 20:6)
TO SEAL UP VISION AND PROPHECY
To conclude, complete and fulfill the whole prophetic vision
Two final prophets will prophesy during the Tribulation. (Revelation 11:3)
AND TO ANOINT THE MOST HOLY PLACE.
And to make holy the Millennial Temple for service during the Millennial age (Ezekiel 40-44)
SO YOU ARE TO KNOW AND DISCERN
So that you can understand and determine
THAT FROM THE ISSUING OF A DECREE
That from the time of the edict given by Persian King Artaxerxes on March 5, 444 B.C. to Nehemiah (Nehemiah 2:1-8)
TO RESTORE AND REBUILD JERUSALEM
To restore and rebuild the stone walls and bolted gates around the City of Jerusalem
Reconstruction of the walls and gates for the protection of the City is described in detail by Nehemiah. (Nehemiah 2-3)
UNTIL MESSIAH THE PRINCE
Until the coming of the Anointed One, the ruler of the future kingdom
The Hebrew word Messiah means “Anointed One,” the One endowed with the Spirit of the Lord to preach the gospel to the afflicted. (Isaiah 61:1)
THERE WILL BE SEVEN WEEKS
There will be 49 years
AND SIXTY-TWO WEEKS;
And an additional 434 years
IT WILL BE BUILT AGAIN,
The City of Jerusalem will be rebuilt
It took 49 years to fully complete the rebuilding of the City.
WITH PLAZA AND MOAT,
With a city courtyard and moat
Archaeological remains of the moat have been found on the Temple Mount Esplanade surrounding the Dome of the Rock, a Moslem shrine built in the City of Jerusalem more than a thousand years later (A.D. 687) over the site of the Second Temple of the Jews.
EVEN IN TIMES OF DISTRESS.
Despite opposition from its neighbors
The rebuilding was opposed by the Samaritans (mixed-blood Jews), Arabs and others. (Nehemiah 4)
THEN AFTER THE SIXTY-TWO WEEKS
Then, after 434 years
The triumphal entry of Jesus riding into the City of Jerusalem on a foal marks the end of the 49 years (7 weeks) plus the 434 years (62 weeks), fulfilling the 483 years—the time period of 69 weeks.
TWO PROPHESIED EVENTS FULFILLED
Two specific events are prophesied to occur after the end of the 69th week, but before the 70th week begins—the crucifixion of the Messiah and the destruction of the City of Jerusalem and the Second Temple.
THE MESSIAH WILL BE CUT OFF
The Anointed One will be violently killed
Jesus Christ was crucified in A.D. 33.
AND HAVE NOTHING,
And have no honor, lacking a kingdom
AND THE PEOPLE OF (the prince who is to come)
The Roman Empire
The people of the Roman Empire were any who came from areas of Europe, east through Turkey and Russia to the Caspian Sea, through Iran, Iraq and Syria, south to Saudi Arabia, east across Israel and Lebanon, to Egypt and North Africa.
THE PRINCE WHO IS TO COME
The end-time world ruler, called the “man of lawlessness” or “man of sin” (2 Thessalonians 2:3)
Satan will enter the person of the arrogant “man of lawlessness,” whose ethnicity could be from any of the above culture groups. This man, indwelt by Satan, is the Antichrist. (2 Thessalonians 2:4)
WILL DESTROY THE CITY
Will destroy Jerusalem (Luke 21:20-22)
The City of Jerusalem was demolished by Roman legions under the ruler Titus in A.D. 70.
AND THE SANCTUARY.
And the Second Temple
The Second Temple was burned and destroyed by Roman legions under Titus in A.D. 70.
Interestingly, the Second Temple (completed in 516 B.C.) had been in existence for 586 years before its destruction by Rome. The First Temple (Solomon’s Temple, completed in 960 B.C.) had been destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. Its destruction occurred 70 years before the completion of the Second Temple. In addition, the Hebrew month and day of the burning of the Second Temple are traditionally the same month and day that the First Temple was destroyed—Tisha B’av, or the 9th of Ab (our 10th of August).
AND ITS END WILL COME WITH A FLOOD;
And the destruction of the City and the Second Temple will be overwhelming and deadly (Luke 21:23)
Foretells the great carnage of the Jews by the Romans—thousands of dead piled in the Kidron Valley, thousands of unspeakable crucifixions and other atrocities described in the writings of historian Flavius Josephus, a Pharisee priest born in A.D. 37 or 38 (birth name “Joseph ben Matthias”), who lived in Jerusalem and was an eyewitness.
EVEN TO THE END THERE WILL BE WAR;
The War of A.D. 70 will by no means be the last anti-Jewish war
DESOLATIONS ARE DETERMINED.
Ritual worship of the God of Israel will cease, just as it has since the destruction of the Second Temple in A.D. 70
The Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount, called Haram esh-Sharif (“The Noble Sanctuary”) by Moslems, prevents ceremonial worship of the God of Israel at the site of the destroyed First and Second Temples.
EVENTS YET TO BE FULFILLED
The remaining prophecies refer to the last 1 week, or 7-year period, of Gentile world-rule before the glorious return of Jesus Christ at His Second Coming.
And “the prince who is to come”
The Antichrist—the spirit opposing God, embodied in the “man of lawlessness.”
WILL MAKE A FIRM COVENANT
The “man of lawlessness” will effect and (most likely) sign a peace plan that will permit the Jews to rebuild their Temple and start making sacrifices again according to Mosaic Law
WITH THE MANY
With the Jews, Palestinians and others living in the Middle East
FOR ONE WEEK,
Spanning a future period of 7 years
BUT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WEEK
But 3½ years into the 7-year covenant
HE WILL PUT A STOP TO SACRIFICE AND GRAIN OFFERING;
He will prohibit the Jews from performing sacrificial worship at the Third Temple, which will be occurring then in accordance with the laws of the Torah (2 Thessalonians 2:4)
To make sacrifices, a temple (or at least an altar) is necessary. The Temple Institute in Jerusalem is nearly finished preparing all articles needed for Judaic worship in a Third Temple, which Orthodox Jews are planning to build.
AND ON THE WING OF ABOMINATIONS
And for spreading out repugnant evil
This will be done from the site of the Third Temple.
WILL COME ONE WHO MAKES DESOLATE,
Satan, who opposes God and the worship of God, will enter the “man of sin” (the dictator of the world)
The Hebrew ha Satan means “the adversary.” This Satanic event will happen 3½ years after the Tribulation starts. (Revelation 13)
EVEN UNTIL A COMPLETE DESTRUCTION,
The career of the Antichrist will last for the remaining 3½ years and will be brought to an end by the personal return of Jesus Christ at His Second Coming (2 Thessalonians 2:8)
ONE THAT IS DECREED,
God has decreed a complete destruction of the “man of sin”
IS POURED OUT ON THE ONE WHO MAKES DESOLATE.
The wrath of God will be fully expressed against the “man of sin” who opposes Christ (Revelation 19:20)
After this, Jesus Christ begins His 1,000-year reign. (Revelation 20:4)
WHERE YOU ARE IN THE TIMELINE
49 years (7 weeks) + 434 years (62 weeks) = 483 years (69 weeks)
God speaks only truth, He is punctual, and according to the verses, He has paused the prophetic time clock after the completion of the 69 weeks. The prophetic clock stopped after the Messiah made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem as servant King and will not begin ticking again until the 7-year peace plan is signed. The evidence is:
1. The triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem marks the end of the 69th week. This is the major event that stopped the time clock. Two specific events prophesied to occur after the 69th week is completed, but before the 70th week starts, are: (1) the crucifixion of the Messiah, and (2) the destruction of the City of Jerusalem and the Second Temple.
2. The City of Jerusalem and the Second Temple were both destroyed in A.D. 70. Since this event happened in the “gap” between the triumphal entry (the end of the 69th week) and the signing of the peace treaty (the beginning of the 70th week), that means the prophecy itself indicates there is a “gap” of at least 40 years between the 69th– and 70th-week time periods.
3. The destruction of Jerusalem is to consist of continual warring between the Jews and the world, with the spiritual wretchedness of Jews persisting until the 7-year covenant is made with Israel. This is still happening. Therefore, the 70th week of Daniel must still be in the future.
We, then, are living in the phase between the 69th and 70th weeks!
483 years (69 weeks) + 7 years (1 week) = 490 years (70 weeks)
The 70th week of Daniel is the Tribulation. This will be followed by the triumphal return of Christ, the imprisonment of Satan and the worldwide rule of Jesus as King for 1,000 years—the Millennium. (Revelation 20:2)
ADDING IT UP
It took 49 years to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem.
444 B.C. to 396 B.C. = 49 years (Nehemiah 2:5-8)
These 49 years prove that the “sevens” are Jewish lunar years consisting of 360 days, since seven “sevens” = 49 years.
It took 483 years, or 69 weeks, from the beginning of the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls
(March 5, 444 B.C.) to when the Messiah was presented to Jerusalem, riding in miraculously on an unbroken foal (March 30, A.D. 33, the first Palm Sunday).
444 B.C. to A.D. 33 = only 476 years
How can the Hebrew calendar record of 476 years reconcile with the biblical 483 years?
The Hebrew calendar has a 30-day lunar month, 360-day lunar year. The 476 recorded years do not include the extra 5+ days/year that the Hebrew 360-day calendar excludes. This calendar is missing the extra 5 days/year it takes for the earth to circle the sun and also the extra time for leap year days. To convert the Hebrew calendar years to actual years, we need to calculate the time span by days:
69 weeks x 7 (days in a week) x 360 (days in a lunar year) = 173,880 days
The objective is to prove that:
March 5, 444 B.C. to March 30, A.D. 33 = 173,880 days (69 weeks)
We have already calculated that:
The 360-day calendar record from 444 B.C. to A.D. 33 = 476 years
Now include the extra 5 days/year for the earth to circle the sun and extra time for leap year days:
476 years x 365.2421989 days = 173,855 days
And add 25 more days for the period March 5 to March 30:
173,855 days + 25 days = 173,880 days
Thus producing the time to the EXACT DAY that Jesus was presented in Jerusalem as Savior, as foretold in Daniel:
173,880 days = 69 weeks
Note: Others have dated the decree of Artaxerxes at 445 B.C., the completion of the rebuilding of Jerusalem at 395 B.C., and the triumphal entry of Christ on April 6, A.D. 32. All of these dates still allow for accomplishment of the 483 years. Regardless, Jesus knew the exact date on which the Messiah was to enter Jerusalem and fulfill the prophecy.
THE NEXT PHASE IS IMMINENT
69 weeks (483 years, fulfilled) + 1 week (7 years, Tribulation) = 70 weeks (490 years)
Immediately following the Tribulation is the Second Coming of the Messiah.
SIGNIFICANCE FOR YOU
Daniel’s vision sets out the plan of God in segments of time. Because the first events happened exactly on schedule, you can be certain that the last ones will as well. If you haven’t yet believed that Jesus is the foretold Messiah, why do you wait? Consider it TODAY. Throw political correctness into the lake! Jesus was not just a good man, as some think. At the First Coming of Jesus, Jews and other people groups knew from Hebrew Scripture that the time for the Messiah to arrive was near. Only Jesus knew the exact date that would satisfy the prophecy and He appeared precisely on time. Clearly, He was and is the Anointed One of God!
Other Bible verses advise that it is only by Christ’s rank and power that you can be saved from the same fate as the lawless one who is to come (Revelation 19:20). God is holy and just, and the penalty for committing crimes of sin against Him must be paid, not excused. Unless adequate payment is made, the punishment for sin is eternal separation from God—spiritual death (Romans 6:23). As payment for sin, Christ the perfect Lamb, killed on the altar of the cross, was a wholly acceptable and pleasing sacrifice to God. His precious blood covered the cost due for the crimes of sin of all people, for all time. His resurrection is the tremendous proof that He is the Messiah who can save you from your sins and death, if you would believe.
As Jesus once presented Himself as the servant King of Israel, humbly submit to be His subject, asking Him to forgive your sins and take the lead in your life. The case against sin cannot be dropped where there is unbelief. For this there is only one judgment—guilty. Despite your merits and good deeds, even one sin that’s not paid for prevents friendship with God. Believe in Christ and appeal to Him to rescue you from the death sentence you face. If you trust in Christ to be your proxy and Savior, He will declare you not guilty and give you the priceless gift of eternal life in Him.
May these plain truths help to reveal more of Christ to the unseen readers, one and all.
MEDIA INTERVIEW AT THE TIME
Now, there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works—a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.
Flavius Josephus, historian (A.D. 37 or 38 – ~A.D. 100)