Take your Bible, will you please, and follow it as we study tonight in the ninth chapter of Daniel. Daniel chapter 9. One of the great, exciting, prophetic portions of the Word of God, Daniel chapter 9. And we’re looking in these days at verses 20 through 27, the last half of the great ninth chapter of Daniel. Now let me see if I can’t give you an introduction that will help you to find your focus as we look again at this text.
Jeremiah, the prophet, was a very special man. Jeremiah was known as the weeping prophet. And Jeremiah’s role was different than Daniel’s; for Jeremiah lived before the children of Israel were taken into captivity, and his ministry was to warn them about the inevitability of that catastrophic judgment of God. For if there was one thing that Israel cherished, it was its independence, its national existence, its autonomy, its personal identification as God’s people. But Jeremiah came as a messenger of God to tell them that unless they repented from their sin, they would undergo divine judgment, and they would be taken out of their land to become prisoners of a foreign nation.
For years Jeremiah warned them. He warned them in what he said, and he put on vivid, living demonstrations, object lessons, to show them what was coming. And through all the years of Jeremiah’s ministry, nobody listened to him, nobody heeded what he said, they ignored him. They shoved him aside, and finally threw him in a pit. But Jeremiah lived to see his prophecies come to pass. He lived to see the Babylonian siege that ended in the capture of the city of Jerusalem and the decimation of the nation. He lived to see an unrepentant, rebellious, sinful people carried off into captivity.
Now Jeremiah wrote of this captivity , and it provides for us a very important setting for the ninth chapter of Daniel. In Jeremiah chapter 25, verse 9, Jeremiah wrote this: “Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north,” saith the Lord, “and Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant,” – God used Nebuchadnezzar – “and will bring them against this land, and against its inhabitants, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an horror and an hissing and perpetual desolations. Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of millstones and the light of the lamp, and this whole land shall be a desolation and an horror; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.”
In the twenty-ninth chapter of Jeremiah, this is repeated. Verse 10: “For thus saith the Lord, ‘After seventy years are accomplished at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, in causing you to return even unto this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,’ saith the Lord, ‘thoughts of peace and not of evil.’” And then verse 12, “Then shall you call upon Me, and you shall go and pray unto Me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek Me and find Me when ye shall search for Me with all your heart. And I will be found by you,” says the Lord, “and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places to which I have driven you,” saith the Lord, “and I will bring you again into the place from which I caused you to be carried away captive.”
Now Jeremiah gives the prophecy of the Babylonian captivity and indicates it will last seventy years, first of all, in chapter 25; and then emphasizing not the captivity but the restoration seventy years later, he repeats the prophecy in chapter 29. Now with that in mind, look at the ninth chapter of Daniel and you will see how this all begins. Verse 2: “In the first year of his reign,” – that is the reign of Darius who was the king of the Medo‑Persian Empire in its first year – “the first year of his reign, I Daniel understood by books the number of the years,” – that is the duration of the captivity – “concerning which the Word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.”
Now Daniel is reading Jeremiah. It isn’t that Daniel, for the first time, discovers Jeremiah, he has known what Jeremiah prophesied. But now Daniel has been in captivity sixty-eight or sixty-nine years, and he knows that he is very close to the time of the restoration. And no doubt he is familiar with the fact that Isaiah predicted that it would be Cyrus who would give the decree to return. And I take it that Darius and Cyrus are the same individual, most likely Darius being a title and Cyrus being his proper name. And so he senses that the fulfillment of Isaiah’s indication regarding Cyrus is possible. He knows that he himself has been in captivity for sixty-eight or sixty-nine years; and if God started counting the seventy with the first deportation, it has to be very near when the Lord is going to restore his people to his land.
But he also knows that Jeremiah said it will be “when the people turn their heart toward Me, and when the people seek Me with all their heart, and when the people turn back in a spiritual dimension.” And so immediately then in verse 3 of chapter 9, he sets his face to the Lord to seek by prayer and supplication with fasting and sack cloth and ashes, and he begins to confess his sin and the sins of his people. In other words, he knows there has to be a spiritual response that precipitates the end of the captivity. So Daniel is studying the prophecies to get his bearings regarding God’s time table.
Now may I say at this point that that’s precisely what we’re doing to. We’re endeavoring to understand Daniel so we too can get our bearings prophetically, so we too can understand what is happening in the flow of history. And this is, frankly, a very good illustration of how to understand prophecy.
I would just point out one thing that just hits me very hard here, and that is that when Daniel read the term “seventy years,” what did he think that meant? He thought it meant seventy years, didn’t he? What amazes me as you read various and sundry Bible commentators is that when the Bible says seventy years, they immediately go into instant hocus-pocus, and they invent all kinds of fantastic symbols, which were not the case in Daniel’s mind.
And I think it’s interesting also that when Daniel found out what the prophetic scheme was, he didn’t become a prophecy buff and put on his pajamas and sit on the roof. He didn’t just play fascination with prophecy. He got on his knees and began to confess his sin to get ready for what God was going to do. That’s a proper response, because God had given, as far back as the twenty-sixth chapter of Leviticus, the condition for blessing; and the condition for blessing was confession of sin and obedience to God’s standards.
So Daniel prays, and he prays from verses 3 to 19; and in verse 20, the answer comes. And that’s the text we’re going to look at tonight. And we already started it and we’re just going to kind of move along. Tremendous text.
Now, first of all, we mentioned there are three perspectives and three persons in this passage, verses 20 to 27. First, there’s the circumstances of Daniel, then the coming of Gabriel, and finally the communication of God. Now we’ve already seen the circumstances of Daniel in verse 20. He was speaking and praying and confessing his sin and the sins of his people Israel. He was presenting his supplications before God, and his concern was for the holy mountain of God, not for his own purposes and his own goals and his own projects, but for God’s. And so he is communicating with God; that is his circumstance at the moment.
We then move, secondly, to the coming of Gabriel, in verse 21. In the very process of Daniel being involved in prayer, Gabriel arrives, “being caused to fly swiftly” the text says. It doesn’t take angelic beings long to get from heaven to earth; and he moved fast. And he came with an answer, incredible answer. He said in the end of verse 23, “Therefore understand the matter, and consider the revelation.” In other words, Gabriel says to Daniel, “Daniel, don’t miss this one.”
You know, even the best of us can kind of tune in and tune out, can’t we? Even the best of us come to times in our lives when we, by our human weakness, sort of miss great realities.
I’m under no illusions, folks. I want you to know that I know you don’t hear everything I say. I know that, because I get wrong answers when I ask you sometimes. I know. And I know you come in and out. You’re distracted by somebody in front of you who is doing something, or your mind wanders. But may I say to you what Gabriel said to Daniel: Don’t miss this one. And if you go away a little bit loose on it, get the tape.
Now God knew that there could be even in a good man like Daniel a little bit of mind-wandering in something so mindboggling as this prophecy that’s about to come, and he might get a little lost in the shuffle. And so he says, “If you get anything, please get this. You haven’t learned at all yet, Daniel.”
Something to be said for humility that can still listen and still learn. Many of us need to be delivered from the false and fatal idea that we’ve already got it all. The Lord delivers me from that thought all the time.
That brings me to the third point, the communication of God, because in verse 24 to 27, you have the message that Gabriel brings from God. The circumstances of Daniel, he’s praying. The coming of Gabriel dispatched from God with the answer. The communication of God, the most incredible prophecy regarding the history of Israel ever given in the Bible.
And we began last time to look at it. Verse 24: “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint a Holy of Holies,” – is the literal rendering.
Now just by way of reminder. This is the overall perspective. Gabriel says, “I have a prophecy, a period of time called seventy weeks in the text is determined.” Now that word “determined” has to do with the sovereign, eternal plan of God. Comprehensively does God control all future events. Literally, the Hebrew word means “to cut off.” It’s as if God has just cut off or cut loose a seventy-week period, pulled it right out of human history; and in that period He will accomplish His purposes with His people Israel.
Notice again in verse 24, it is not only determined by God, but it is determined by God upon thy people and upon thy holy city. That is referring to Daniel’s people who were the Jews, and Daniel’s city which is Jerusalem. So it is a prophecy about the Jews and Jerusalem, in contrast to the prophecies prior in the book of Daniel which were mainly dealing with the Gentile world powers. This one deals with Israel, and the purpose of it is all given there in verse 24. There is a six-fold purpose for this seventy-week period. Three are positive and three are negative.
First are the negative ones: “to finish the transgression.” That is to restrain sin in principle. Secondly, “to make an end of sins” – plural. Not only to restrain firmly sin in principle, but to break the power of sin in specific; not only the principle of sin, but the sins themselves.
Thirdly, “to make reconciliation.” Or, literally, it is the word used in Genesis for the pitch that Noah put on his boat. And what it means is “to cover over iniquity, to be a covering for iniquity.” And we know the covering for iniquity was nothing less than the atoning blood of Jesus Christ.
So God has determined a seventy-week period to do away with sin in general as a principle, sin in specific as an act, and to make reconciliation or covering or atonement for iniquity. And having dealt with sin, there are then three positive things: “He will bring in everlasting righteousness.” This is a great thought – and we didn’t really develop it last week. Let me just give you a footnote. The word really means “the righteousness of eternity,” or “the righteousness of the ages.”
Do you know that there is a righteousness of eternity? In other words, there is a true righteous standard. There is a righteousness in the mind of God that is the righteousness of eternity, but it’s never been brought into the earth. We function on a manmade system. The righteousness of the ages indicates that there are rules and standards of life that are right, and they’ve always been right, and they’ll always be right; and they are God’s standards, and they are not now in vogue in the world. But there’ll come a day when the seventy weeks are over that the world and all of man’s forever will be controlled by eternal principles of justice and equity that Daniel calls the righteousness of the ages.
Then the Lord will seal up the vision and prophecy, that is it’ll be the end of revelation. There’ll be no more need for scriptural revelation or prophetic revelation. Isaiah 2 tells us that God will dwell in the presence of the earth, and will be our teacher; and the nations will be brought before Him to learn. God Himself will teach. And then, finally, to anoint a Holy of Holies. There will be in the kingdom a building of a millennial temple, and that is going to be a marvelous thing.
Now you get the picture. This is a consummate concept. Seventy weeks are determined. At the end of those seventy weeks, God will have totally dealt with sin, and will totally bring in everlasting righteousness. It will come an end to revelation, and He will establish a kind of worship in a temple like the world has never known. And all of this, beloved, is referring, I believe, to the millennial kingdom, and extends even on into the everlasting kingdom of Jesus Christ.
What is it saying then? Mark it. There’s a seventy-week period of time that runs all the way up to the end of man’s day and the establishment of the eternal kingdom of Jesus Christ. God has cut this period out.
Now there’s a key to the whole thing, the first two words of verse 24: “Seventy weeks.” What are they? Well, the term for “weeks” – shavua or shavuim in Hebrew – does not mean “week.” It means “seven,” seventy sevens. It doesn’t in itself identify days, it doesn’t identify weeks, it doesn’t identify months, it doesn’t identify years, it just means seventy sevens. And so whenever you see the term, you’ve got to get its meaning from the context or the verses around it.
And I’m convinced, as are almost all, certainly all evangelical Bible scholars, that it refers to years; not weeks of days, but weeks of years. Why? Well, Daniel was already thinking in sevens of years. Verse 2, he was thinking of the seventy years prophecy, so he was thinking in terms of years.
And there’s a sense in which I see a play on words here. Daniel is thinking, “Lord, seventy years and it’ll all be over.” And God is saying to him, “No, seventy times seven, seventy sevens. You’re not there yet.” Oh, there will be restoration to the land after the seventy, but there’s a lot more after that until all of sin is dealt with and everlasting righteousness is brought in. And so I think he plays off of the very thought of the seventy.
And let me add another reason why I believe it refers to years. The Jews had the concept of weeks of years. For example, the Sabbath rest of the land was to occur, according to Leviticus 25:3 and 4, every seven years. In other words, there were six years where you worked your land, and the seventh year your land had to rest. And so they saw years in terms of weeks of seven.
And after seven weeks of seven years, in the forty-ninth year, came a year known as what? The Jubilee Year. And the land rested, and all the estates returned to their original owners, and all debts were forgiven, and all slaves were freed. And so a multiple of these week of years was very familiar to the Jewish thinking.
And may I add another thought? Another reason I believe it refers to years is because the only other time Daniel ever uses the term “shabua” or “seven,” he uses it in chapter 10, verses 2 and 3. And as he refers to it in verse 2, it says “three full weeks,” and then in verse 3, “three whole weeks.” And what he uses there is the word for “days.” He uses it specifically for “days” in the Hebrew. And it’s almost as if he puts the word “days” in reference to “weeks” in chapter 10, and leaves it out in chapter 9 so that you’ll know there’s a difference.
But I think there’s one other thought that’s just amazing, just amazing in this prophecy. Now think with me on this. Daniel knew this. Daniel knew that one of the reasons the children of Israel were taken into captivity – now mark this – one of them, there were several. But one of the reasons they were taken into captivity was that they had constantly violated that seventh-year Sabbath. They had become greedy and self-indulgent and materialistic, and they’d worked that land six years; and instead of letting that seventh-year rest to restore the land, they’d plow that land the seventh year, and they kept doing it, and kept doing it, and kept doing it; and they violated Sabbath year, after Sabbath year, after Sabbath year, after Sabbath year.
And that is one of the reasons that they were removed from the land, because God wanted to give to His land its proper Sabbath rest. You see? And if they wouldn’t let the land rest when they were in it, then God would empty it of them and let it rest on His terms. And in 2 Chronicles 36:21, it says, “to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah” – talking about the captivity – “until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths. For as long as she lay desolate, she kept Sabbath to fulfill threescore and ten years.” How many is that? Seventy.
Now listen, this is a tremendous truth. God says, “You’re going to stay out of that land for seventy years.” You know why? They had violated how many Sabbaths? Seventy. They violated seventy Sabbaths. How many years would it take you to violate seventy Sabbaths? Four hundred-and-ninety. It seems to be that the Spirit of God is telling us that just as they had violated the Sabbath for 490 years, so 490 more years would be determined upon their history. Amazing.
In their 800 years as a nation, they had violated seventy of their Sabbaths. And so God uses the same number of years violated as the basis of His future plan; and each year in captivity was for one seven‑year period when the Sabbath was violated. Boy, God is very exacting, isn’t He? And so I believe these are weeks of years.
I read a commentary that said, “Well, we can’t be sure they’re years; they might just be symbolic of movements. They might mean days or weeks or a long period.” You know, that’s just so much spaced out hocus-pocus. Daniel didn’t have any problem with seventy years, he understood that.
Now what is the length of these years? How long is a year? You say, “It’s easy, 365 days.” No, that’s not easy, because not everybody used the 365-day year in Daniel’s time. How about that? You say, “What kind of year did they use?” Well, some used a 360-day year, and then they had to throw in an extra month every once in a while to catch up.
You say, “Well, hmm, which year did the prophecy refer to? Very important.” Well, I believe the prophecy refers to a 360-day year. Now stay with me, folks. This is where we separate the men from the boys. Going to get heavy. Hang on.
According to Genesis, the flood – now you say, “Wait a minute, how did we get in the flood?” Don’t worry about it. We’re working our way back to Daniel. The Bible says in Genesis 7:11 – don’t turn to this, just listen. If you start fumbling around in your Bible, you’re going to find yourself under the bed saying the Greek alphabet. Just hang in there. I’m going to give this my best shot, folks. We’re going to get through this.
All right, according to Genesis 7:11, the flood began on the seventeenth day of the second month, and the flood came to an end on the seventeenth day of the seventh month. Now if the flood started on the seventeenth day of the second month and ended on the seventeenth day of the seventh month, how many months was the flood? Good class. Five months. Five months.
You say, “What’s so interesting about that?” Listen to this. In Genesis 7:24 and in Genesis 8:3, the Bible says the flood lasted for 150 days. Now if the flood was 150 days, and the Jews counted that as five months, how long were their months? Thirty days. Twelve thirty-day months equals 360-day year. So we believe the Jews functioned on a 360-day year calendar. The earliest known months used then in the biblical text were 30-day months giving us a 360-day year. And then every once in a while they’d throw in an extra pile to catch up with the solar year.
Now let me give you another thought. Are you ready for this one? Daniel 7 says that the great tribulation will last for a time (that’s one), times (that’s two), and half a time (that’s half): times, time, half a time – three-and-a-half. Revelation 13 says the tribulation will last forty-two months. And Revelation 12:6 says the tribulation will last 1,260 days.
Now isn’t that interesting? We have three different timeframes for the tribulation. One place it says three-and-a-half years, one place it says forth-two months, and one place 1,260 days. Three-and-a-half years equals forty-two months. Is that right? That’s right. I’ll tell you that’s right. Thirty-six plus six: three-and-a-half. Okay. Three-and-a-half years equals forty-two months. But if forty-two months equal 1,260 days, they have to be months of 30 days. There’s no other way.
So again we find not only in Genesis, but clear in Revelation, that the Bible is still counting on the same kind of clock: months are 30-day months. So Daniel would have used a biblical prophetic calendar. He would not use the pagan 365-day year. So what do we have? We have a period of 490 years of 360 days – are you still with me? – 490 years of 360 days.
Now you say, “When did this period begin? Because if we can find out when it begins, we can find out when it ends.” Good thinking. That’s right. Let’s find out when it begins. It even tells you in verse 25. And it just says this – and I like this: “Know therefore and understand. Get it.” He keeps saying this all through this text.
Now get this. It begins from the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem. Now that’s fairly clear, right? You say, “Hey, we’re in great shape.” It begins right at the command to restore and build Jerusalem.
That’s terrific, except there were four of those commands, four of them. Three of them are given in the book of Ezra: one by Cyrus, one by Darius, and one by Artaxerxes; and then there was a fourth one by Artaxerxes, a second one of his. Now which one is the one we start with, because they were all given at different dates? And if they all start at a different time, they’re all going to end at a different time. And there’s much debate as to which of these is right.
Now some say, “The first decree of Cyrus is the one. That’s the one.” And they find that, by the way if you’re interested, in the first chapter of Ezra. And so they say, “The first decree of Cyrus is the one.” And the reasoning being that in Isaiah 44, the Bible tells us that Cyrus would be the servant of God who would lead the people – or let the people go back to the land to rebuild their city and so forth. So they say, “The 490 years began when Cyrus made the first decree.” You know when that was? 536 B.C.
Okay, let’s take that. Let’s say it began in 536 B.C. and it went from there. And by the way, if you’ll notice over in verse 27, it says, “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week, for one week.” The seventieth week is cut off the other sixty-nine, so we can’t count that one. We’ll see where that comes in later.
So back to verse 25. It begins with a commandment “to build Jerusalem,” and it goes unto the what? The Messiah. And it’ll be seven weeks and threescore and two weeks. Seven and threescore and two is sixty-nine. So the first sixty-nine, or 483 of the 490, start with a decree and end with the Messiah. And so some scholars say, “It has to be the first decree. It has to be the decree of Cyrus, because in Isaiah 44:24 to 28, Isaiah said Cyrus would make this decree,” and so forth.
But you know what happens? When you go with 483 years from 536 B.C., you wind up around 54 B.C. and you can’t have the Messiah fifty-four years before Christ. You’ve got a problem. In fact, Christ doesn’t really start His ministry until 30 A.D., and so it’s 80 years off.
You say, “Yeah, but it’s close.” But God isn’t just close, folks. God is not just close. And you know what this fellow said that holds this view? He said, “Well, the solution is that the Ptolemaic calendar and the Ptolemaic list of the reigns of kings is off eighty years.” That’s no solution. You can’t prove that. You can’t just say, “Well, we come up eight years short, so therefore history’s eighty years off.”
That’s not too convincing. There’s no proof of that at all. So we don’t accept that first decree, and I’ll tell you another reason why: because in the first decree of Cyrus, there was no command to rebuild the city, only the temple, only the temple.
Then some people say no. Nobody says it’s the second decree of Darius. But they’ll jump to the third one and they’ll say, “It’s the first decree of Artaxerxes in 458 B.C.” And that’s moving a little bit ahead in the calendar, about ninety – eighty years or so. They’re trying to make up that little slack.
And so they say 458. And if we go 483 years from 458, which is the decree of Artaxerxes, we wind up at 25 A.D. Well, that’s a problem, 25 A.D., because the only thing that can be remotely close to 25 A.D. would be the baptism of Christ. And the baptism wasn’t His presentation as Messiah, the baptism was the Father’s approval. That was between Himself and God. There’s not even any comment that anybody around made any statement about it at all. We don’t even know if they heard what was going on. They heard a noise. And by the way, the first decree of Artaxerxes said absolutely nothing about the city either, only about the temple; nothing about restoring and rebuilding the city.
There’s one other alternative, and that is the fourth decree, which is the second decree of Artaxerxes. There are basically two that really have found the thread of truth, and it has been sustained throughout history. One is Sir Robert Anderson who lived a hundred years ago, and was with Scotland Yard, and wrote a classic book called The Coming Prince. And the other is a rather new book written by Dr. Harold Hoehner of Dallas Theological Seminary, in which he confirms with tremendous accuracy the figures of Sir Robert Anderson, though he differs with him on one year. He wants to push it up just one year, and I’ll show you that as we go. And this is a fascinating, fascinating thought.
In the first three decrees there was no authorization given at all for the building of the city, so it can’t start there. In fact, it’s most interesting to me – and I was reading through Ezra to check all of this – that when they were building the temple in Ezra chapter 4, this is most interesting, they were stopped for a while in their building because they were accused by their Jewish enemies of attempting to rebuild the city without a permit. So we know they didn’t have that right until that decree of Artaxerxes. That’s the only decree that fits. And that’s found in Nehemiah chapter l and chapter 2. Nehemiah chapter l and chapter 2.
And I just want to read chapter 2, verse l, because we don’t want to spend too much time in this point. But it says in chapter 2, “It came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king,” – and then it goes on to say that he made the decree, as you read down through verse 8. But I want you to note the month was Nisan and the twentieth year of Artaxerxes.
When did Artaxerxes begin to reign? There’s very little doubt about that. Historians tells us that he acceded to the throne in 465 B.C. That’s in the Encyclopedia Britannica, by the way. So that’s a very established fact, 465 B.C. So his twentieth year would be – what? – 445, because we’re coming down toward the birth of Christ. So 445. And according to Sir Robert Anderson’s calculations, the years of a king’s reign were from the first of the month of his reign. And so if it’s the month of Nisan, it begins at the first of the month of Nisan. And that is again substantiated, he feels, because there’s no other date mentioned. So it would be likely the first day of the month of Nisan in 445.
Now for us, that translates to March 14, 445 B.C. And by the way, if you want to read the book The Coming Prince you can wade through this material – several hundred pages of all of the calculations. So on March 14th, according to Sir Robert Anderson, 445 B.C. began the 483 years. This is the first sixty-nine weeks.
When did it end? Back again at our verse. Look at it, verse 25: “unto the Messiah, unto the Messiah the Prince.” It is then consummated that first sixty-nine weeks in the arrival of the Messiah the Prince. “It will be” – he says – “seven weeks and threescore and two weeks. The streets shall be built again, and the wall even in troublous times.” Now stop there for a moment.
So we have these two periods divided: first, seven weeks; and then sixty-two weeks, equaling sixty-nine. Now watch this. The first seven weeks is a forty-nine-year period. So let’s separate it out. Seven weeks, verse 25 indicates, “until the street is built again and the wall, even in troublous times.”
Now if you study the book of Nehemiah, you’ll find out one thing very quickly. They had a lot of trouble building the city, didn’t they? Troublous times. But he sees, the prophet sees a forty-nine-year period. So if you go from 445, forty-nine years later, you’re at 396 B.C. And that’s a very crucial time; for that was not only the time when they completed the city, but that was the time also when the Old Testament Canon was completed as well. It’s as if God established His people in their land, God established His city, God established a temple, and God established His Word. And from there till the coming of John the Baptist, there was no prophet. God had affirmed His people, His city, and His Word.
And by the way, it says in verse 25, in those forty-nine years, “The street would be built and the wall.” And the actual word for “street” is the word for “public square” or “marketplace,” and it probably is best understood as the inside of the city. And then the wall is actually the word for a “moat” or a “ditch” or an “external fortification.” And what it means is the city was completed inside and outside. It was fully done in those years. Complete restoration in forty-nine years.
And, beloved, it’s only possible that that could have occurred from the decree of Artaxerxes, because it was at that time that Nehemiah began to rebuild. So the decree of Artaxerxes, I believe, has to be the decree; and you have the period of time in which the city is finalized. All you need to do is read Ezra 9 and 10; Nehemiah 4, chapter 6, chapter 9, and you can see the trouble they had in doing it in those troublous times.
Now we’ve covered the forty-nine years, and we have another period in verse 25. And then comes threescore and two weeks, or sixty-two weeks, sixty-two weeks. And this goes from the time of 396, from there on ahead.
Now let’s take the whole figure of 483. From 445 B.C., we want to go 483 years. You have sixty-nine times seven years, which equals 483 years; and then you have 483 years times 360 days. And that’s the figure I want you to get. The total of days is 173,880 day. That is 483 years times 360 days. Remember I told you we’re dealing with a 360-day year; so in order to convert that to a 365-day calendar like we have, we have to reduce it to days, and then divide it back again. So we’re dealing with 173,880 days from the decree of Artaxerxes in 445 B.C. to the coming of Messiah the Prince. The Messiah will come in 173,880 days.
Now the phrase “unto Messiah the Prince” I think is a very interesting phrase. I think it’s a phrase that carries with it a very official terminology. Mashiach Nagid, the Messiah, the Anointed One, the Prince, the Ruler is a very official term. By the way, that very term “prince” is used first of Saul, and used other times of kings. So it is a kingly concept. It isn’t the birth of Christ we’re looking at. It isn’t the baptism of Christ we’re looking at. It is the presentation of Christ as the Mashiach Nagid, as the Prince, the Messiah. And that’s what you have to keep in mind.
Now there are only two events in His life, the life of Christ, where He is officially set apart. One is the baptism, and two is the triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Now some believe it’s the baptism. But as I said, it can’t be, because He was not being presented to men there but to God. And the men didn’t even know what was going on. There is utterly no reference to Israel. There is no statement about messiahship; only, “This is My beloved Son.” And so if it isn’t the baptism, it has to be the triumphal entry; it has to be. There’s really no other alternative.
And no wonder it says in Isaiah 46:10 that God is the one who declares the end from the beginning, and He predicts things that are not yet done. God told Daniel the very day Jesus would enter the city of Jerusalem. And what did they say? “Hosanna to the King of David, the Messiah.”
It didn’t last long. And after, verse 26 says, “After this seven and threescore and two weeks, shall Messiah be” – what? – “cut off.” Let’s pray.
Lord, the time has just flown by tonight; hard to believe. It’s so exhilarating to study Your Word. Oh, what assurance it gives us. What an infinite mind; what incomprehensible truth, all beginning way back with the Sabbath. And for every defiled Sabbath, there would be a Sabbath to repay it in the captivity. And for every block of seven years so defiled, there would be another seven years determined in history. How marvelous, how accurate, how exacting that it all should come to the very day, the very day that Jesus when He entered the eastern gate on the colt, the foal of an ass, with the palm branches strewn at His feet, hearing the hosannas, must have had a heart that was exhilarated beyond anything we can believe. It must have had ringing in His ears, the prophecies of Daniel. How heaven must have rejoiced that this great monumental prophecy, which if wrong by one day would defy the veracity of the Word of God, had indeed come to pass.
God, we thank You that You do such things with absolute precision. We thank You that if You’re a God who can care for the calendar, You’re a God who can chart the destiny. of every soul. And so we are pleased, Father, that we know You through Christ, and that the infinite wisdom that is Yours as manifest in what we’ve seen tonight is granted to us in an unlimited fashion to so live, that we may be to the praise of Your glory. Thank You for loving us, and for letting the Messiah be cut off for us. We praise You in His blessed name. Amen.
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