The purpose the seventy weeks prophecy in Daniel 9 was to give the precise time of Christ’s first coming and the main events in the Savior’s lifework. “Seventy weeks,” said the angel, “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 the most holy” (Daniel 9:24). A day in prophecy stands for a year (Numbers 14:34; Ezekiel 4:6).
The seventy weeks, or four hundred and ninety days, represent four hundred and ninety years. A starting point for this period is given: “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks” (Daniel 9:25). Sixty-nine weeks represent four hundred and eighty-three years. The commandment to restore and build Jerusalem, as completed by the decree of Artaxerxes Longimanus, went into effect in the autumn of 457 BC (Ezra 6:14; 7:1, 9).
From this starting point, four hundred and eighty-three years extend to the autumn of AD 27. According to the prophecy, this period was to reach to the Messiah, the Anointed One. In AD 27, Jesus at His baptism received the anointing of the Holy Spirit and soon afterward began His ministry. Then the message was proclaimed, “The time is fulfilled” (Mark 1:15).
“And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week [seven years]…”(Daniel 9:27). For seven years after the Savior entered on His ministry, the gospel was to be preached especially to the Jews; for three and a half years by Christ Himself, and afterward by the apostles. “…in the midst of the week He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease” (Daniel 9:27). In the spring of AD 31, Christ, the true Sacrifice, was offered on Calvary. Then the veil of the temple was torn top to bottom, showing that the sacredness and significance of the sacrificial service had departed. The time had come for the earthly sacrifice and oblation to cease.
The one week – seven years – ended in AD 34 when by the stoning of Stephen the Jews finally sealed their rejection of the gospel; the disciples who were scattered abroad by persecution “went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8:4). Shortly after, Saul the persecutor was converted and became Paul the apostle to the Gentiles.
This time prophecy, which gives the exact timing of Christ coming, leaves the Jews with no excuse for rejecting Him. The Lord gave them the timing of the coming of the Messiah in addition to all the other Messianic prophecies (over 125 of them) to prove that Jesus Christ is indeed the Messiah, the Savior of the world.
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In His service,
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