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 three

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

Last time we saw that 69 weeks, or 69 x 7 which is 483, were to transpire from the going forth of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem, until the coming of the Messiah. We discussed that this refers to 483 years, and the adjustments that need to be made to our BC calendars, for the years alloted to the Persian kings are too many. We are still on track for the entire seventy weeks prophecy to concern the firstcoming of the Messiah, and the events which immediately surround His coming. Continuing on:

“And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined.” Dan 9:26

The angel told Daniel that from the time of the decree, to Messiah, there would be 7 weeks and 62 weeks. In other words, a 7 x 7 or 49 year period would first transpire, in which work would begin on rebuilding the Temple and the city, and then a 62 x 7 or 434 year period would follow it, in which work would begin on rebuilding the walls and the city.

The traditional chronology has Cyrus issuing the decree to rebuild the Temple in 538 BC, and the first return of the exiles under Zerubbabel following shortly after. They finished and dedicated the Temple in 515 BC. According to the traditional chronology, a second decree to rebuild the walls and the city was issued by Artaxerxes in 458 BC. This expedition was led by Ezra, with Nehemiah appointed as the new governor of Judea leading another shortly after. This would put the time between the two decrees at ~80 years rather than the ~49 years told by the angel.

We already have seen that there are too many years for the Persian kings, and that the Persian chronology, beginning with Cyrus at 538 BC, is inflated. The time between Cyrus’ decree and Artaxerxes’ decree is a prime example. I believe that in fact 49 years separated these two events, rather than 80, and this is one place where the Persian chronology can be shortened.

So when the angel says that after 62 weeks, Messiah will be cut off, I believe he means Messiah would be cut off after the completion of the 62 week period, which followed the completion of the 7 week period. He does not mean 62 weeks from the going forth of Cyrus’ decree.

The angel has given Daniel several significant events to use as time markers. First, the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. Second, the coming of Messiah, at the end of the 62 weeks, followed by His cutting off, but not for Himself. I think almost all Bible scholars believe the angel is talking about Messiah’s execution, which, from Heaven’s perspective, was not for Himself. He was crucified for the sins of the world, not His own sins.

It is not necessary for Messiah’s execution to take place exactly in the 483rd year from the decree. It just means, after the 62 weeks have been completed, Messiah will be cut off. That will be the next event marker. There was a reason Judea was in great expectancy for the coming of Messiah all through the lifetime of Jesus and the apostles, as Josephus records. They knew Daniel, they knew when they returned to Jerusalem, and they knew what year it was.

The next event marker is the destruction of the city and the sanctuary, by the people of the prince who is to come. Messiah was cut off or crucified in approximately 30 AD, and the city of Jerusalem and the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD by the Romans.

Now when Daniel was receiving this vision, Jerusalem was a heap of ruins. There were no walls, no Temple, no streets, no houses to dwell in. No one lived there. The angel is telling Daniel, first, it will all be rebuilt; second, Messiah will come. Third, He will be cut off, and fourth, it will all be destroyed again. The first coming of Messiah is tied by this prophecy to the rebuilding and destruction of Jerusalem, between 538 BC and 70 AD.

The angel, continuing to speak of the event marker of the destruction of the the city and the sanctuary, tells that the end of the war will be with a flood, and that until the end of the war, desolations are determined. Here is a list of desolations recorded by historians — the first desolation is the crucifixion of the Creator of heaven and earth — until the end of the war:

28 to 30: crucifixion of Messiah.

39: The Roman emperor Caligula declared himself to be a deity and ordered his statue to be set up at every temple in the Roman Empire. For the Temple in Jerusalem, this order was delayed by the Syrian governor for nearly a year, fearing civil war if it were carried out, although the other temples in the Empire complied. The Jews’ refusal enraged the already half- mad Caligula, who then threatened to destroy the Temple. A Jewish delegation was sent to pacify him, without avail. He raged at them: “So you are the enemies of the gods, the only people who refuse to recognize my divinity.” Caligula was planning reprisals against the Jews, when he was assassinated in 41 AD. During the course of these troubles, statues of the emperor were set up in various Jewish synagogues in the Empire, and in the decades following, other indignities against their monotheism were perpetrated, which were hard to bear.

66: The Roman procurator stole a large amount of silver from the Temple on his way out of Jerusalem. Some of the outraged Jews massacred the Roman garrison stationed in the city, in retaliation. The Syrian governor sent a larger force of soldiers to restore order. They were killed as well.

67-70: The Roman emperor Nero sent a large force of soldiers to quell the revolt — 60,000 strong. Over the course of the next three years, these professional soldiers under Vespasian and Titus first overcame the Galilee, then the coastland, and finally surrounded Jerusalem.

The more zealous Jewish faction inside Jerusalem murdered the moderate Jewish leadership who desired to come to terms with Rome. Civil war broke out in the city among three rival factions, who killed each other, and innocents caught in the cross fire. One of the factions burned the city’s stored food supply, as Jerusalem was being surrounded by Roman armies, which would have helped the city survive a siege of many years. Terrible famine and pestilence resulted.

Anyone trying to escape the insane civil war, if they were not killed by the Jewish factions inside the walls, were crucified by the Romans outside the walls. Josephus records up to 500 crucifixions per dayaround the walls of Jerusalem during the siege.

Once the Romans breached the walls, a flood, an orgy of violence followed, in which the emaciated survivors of the civil war and the famine were slaughtered wholesale. In this instance, it was not Rome’s policy to take prisoners, even as slaves. The Romans were tired of the long siege and were determined to take their rage out on the Jews remaining inside the city. Over one million Jews were killed in the Jewish Revolt of 67-70 AD, most in the city of Jerusalem, and not all by Romans.

The beautiful Temple in Jerusalem was burned to the ground, as well as the general destruction of the city and its walls.

All of these things are desolations, which caused untold suffering, that continued until the end of the war. The war did not end in 70 AD. A group of insurgents maintained a resistance at Masada, and these were finally overcome in 73 AD. Two other revolts against Roman rule took place after these things, the last one in 135 AD, after which Rome expelled the Jews from Jerusalem and Judea, and they have not lived there in any numbers since that time, until they began to return home in the 20th century.

The angel takes up the 70th week in the next verse …

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

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