christine's bible study

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Isa 40:8

daniel 9, the abomination of desolation, part two

Previously: daniel 9, the abomination of desolation, part one

Last time we saw from Dan 9 that seventy weeks were determined for the Jewish people and for Jerusalem, until the first coming of the Messiah, in which He made an end for sin and made atonement for iniquity. Continuing on:

“Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times.” Dan 9:25

The angel says that the command will go forth to restore and build Jerusalem, which was lying in desolate ruins at the time that Daniel received this vision. From the time of the command, until the coming of Messiah, there shall be 7 + 62 weeks. Why didn’t the angel just say 69 weeks? The command was first issued by Cyrus, then confirmed by one of his successors, Darius, later. The Temple was rebuilt first, then the wall and the city. So it was not accomplished all at once. Now doing some math, we understand that a week is seven days, so 69 weeks is the same as 69 x 7 days, or 483 days. The history books tell us the decree went forth approximately in 536 BC. 483 days later does not bring us to the time of Jesus the Messiah.

First of all, we have to understand, that this vision in Daniel reveals the principle, since we think we know when Cyrus’ decree went forth, and we know when Jesus the Messiah came, that one day of prophetic time is the same as one year of historic time. This principle carries through and applies consistently to the days prophesied in Revelation as well.

Second of all, we have to understand that we have too many years in our BC calendar for the Persian kings. The information on the reigns of the Persian kings is taken from Ptolemy’s king list, in which a list of kings and years of reigns are given. The years are added up, to the conquest of Alexander the Great, and the date for the first year of Cyrus at 536 BC is arrived at. However, there is evidence that in Ptolemy’s list, there is either a confusion of kings (“Darius” was most likely a title, not a personal name, just as “Pharaoh” was a title and not a personal name, and it may be that too many kings were invented to fill every instance of the use of “Darius”), or years of reigns which were in fact overlapping, were taken to be sequential. And perhaps both errors were at work in Ptolemy’s document. Please see this and this issue of the Biblical Chronology Newsletter which discusses the problem of Persian chronology in greater detail.

This means it could very well have been 483 years from the going forth of the decree until the coming of the Messiah. I believe it in fact was, because I believe that God knows exactly what year it is, and knew exactly what year it was then also. If it is true, that we have too many years for the Persian kings in our BC calendar, thus it was really only 483 years from Cyrus to the Messiah, this also explains another mystery:

The history recorded in Torah of the world and Israel is history, but also prophecy. It is a true historical fact that God judged the world for sin, and only His righteous family, Noah’s, was saved through judgment by faith. This historical event is also a prophecy of the coming judgment of the world for sin. It is a true historical fact that Abraham offered up Isaac in obedience to God’s command, but that historical event was also a prophecy of the Messiah, of the Father offering up His only Son. And every historical event recorded in Torah can be shown to also be a prophecy of Messiah and future dealings of God with man and the world.

The first historical event recorded in Torah is in six days God created the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day, He rested. The prophecy is that work in the form of the punishment for sin (Gen 3:16-19) will rule in the earth for 6000 years, one millennium for each day, but that the 7th millennium will be the millennium of rest under the rule of Messiah Yeshua (Rev 20:4-6). (Why has the enemy attacked creation in six days, and Sabbath rest on the seventh day, so hard in our modern era? These things are prophecies of the reign of Messiah! When we rest on Sabbath, we proclaim with God that Messiah’s Kingdom Comes!)

Now chronologers, assuming that the decree of Cyrus went forward in 536 BC, have figured that God created the world in 4004 BC, because every bit of information needed to construct a reliable biblical chronology from the creation of the world until this event is present within Scripture itself. (Please read the excellent and thorough Chronology of the Old Testament by Dr. Floyd Nolen Jones to confirm this fact.) If God did create the world in 4004 BC, then today, in 2011, we are already over the 6000 years alloted for the punishment for sin. But, if there are too many years for the Persian kings in our BC calendar, then we are in fact coming up on 6000 years, not over it.

My belief is that God knows what year it is, and the angel knew what year it was when Daniel received this vision, and we can rest assured that if the angel said it would be 483 years until the coming of the Messiah from the time of the decree, it was in fact 483 years.

So we see that so far, the context of this prophecy of seventy weeks, is the rebuilding of the Temple and Jerusalem, and the first coming of the Messiah which followed, within the space of seventy “weeks” of years. We are coming up to the abomination of desolation …

To be continued in daniel 9, the abomination of desolation, part three


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