The Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks
The gospel makes it clear that Jesus Christ is the most important person in God’s design for the earth. The reader of Scripture will therefore not be surprised to discover countless references forecasting the appearance of him who was called the Christ, from the Greek translation of the Hebrew Messiah.
- As might be expected, this key figure is given more than one title*. The earliest prophecy is given in the narrative of Adam’s fall in the garden of Eden, when God pronounced the sentence of death for rebellion against his law, which was for the man not to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil: “you are dust, and to dust you shall return” - Genesis 2:9, 16-17; 3:17-19.
On the same occasion, God announced ongoing enmity, not only between the serpent and the woman, but also between the offspring of the serpent, e.g., Matthew 23:33, and *the offspring of the woman, but who was evidently not to be the offspring of a man. While the serpent would manage to inflict only a temporary wound on the woman’s offspring, the woman’s offspring would strike a mortal wound by crushing the head of the serpent, which had been the means of man’s fall - Genesis 3:14-15.
- Moses put on record God’s promise of *the prophet like Moses, in Deuteronomy 18:15 - “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers - it is to him you shall listen... 17 And the Lord said to me... 18 I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.19 And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.”
In the 9th chapter of Daniel’s prophecy is a time specific prediction, given to the Jewish captives in Babylonia, which concerned the coming of *Messiah the Prince. The title Messiah refers to the descendant which God promised to David, to succeed him as the anointed = Strong 4899 = Hebrew, mashiyach = consecrated as a king, priest, etc.
- Of this promised descendant of David, God had promised, “I will be his Father and he shall be My Son” - see 2 Samuel 7:12-16. Being the son of God identifies the Messiah with the offspring of the woman (but not to be of a man) in God’s promise after Adam’s fall.
Tragically, Israel rebelled against God after David’s time - 2 Chronicles 36:11-14. In response, God sent the Chaldeans who killed many and took the remainder captive to Babylonia - verses 15-17. They also destroyed Jerusalem and the temple which Solomon had built - verses 18-19.
- The people of Judea remained captives for seventy years - verses 20-21, and mourned the loss of their beloved land, Jerusalem and Temple - Lamentations 1:1-18. They hoped for better days to come, when the Messiah, promised to David, would appear and restore the kingdom of David, ruling from a rebuilt Jerusalem and worshipping at a reconstructed temple - Lamentations 5:19-22.
Near the end of the seventy years captivity, Daniel made a special appeal to God in prayer and fasting - Daniel 9:1-19. In response God sent the vision of the Seventy Weeks prophecy - verses 20-27. More next time, God willing.