The Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks - 3
“Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city... to make reconciliation for iniquity...” - Daniel 9:24.
- Tragically, the leaders of the nation, living little more than a generation after Jonathan ben Uzziel, rejected the concept of a crucified Messiah, even while thousands of Jews - Acts 2:41, including “a great many of the priests” - Acts 6:7, accepted Jesus of Nazareth to be the Messiah.
Daniel 9 continues in verse 25, “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.”
- Why it does not simply say “sixty-nine weeks” is shown by the introductory remark, “Know (by listening, be advised that) and understand (by thinking about the information in order to comprehend it) - the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times” - showing that the first seven weeks would be taken up in the work of restoring the interior and the walls of Jerusalem.
To set the process under way in fulfilment of this divinely-revealed program, “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia ... he made a proclamation ... the Lord God of heaven ... has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem ... of all His people ... let him go up!' " - 2 Chronicles 36:22.
- The restoration of Jerusalem and rebuilding of the Temple was a necessary preparation for the coming of Messiah the Prince. “Behold, I send My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple” - Malachi 3:1. When Messiah comes, the Jewish state must be in existence, and its people, who go up to worship in the temple at Jerusalem.
The books of Ezra and Nehemiah show how truly troublesome the times were for those Jews who worked at the restoration of the physical infrastructure - against the determined opposition of those nations which “the great and noble Osnapper [Ashur-banipal king of Assyria] took captive and settled in the cities of Samaria and the rest of the region beyond the River” - Ezra 4:10 - because they, not accepting the promise of God to Abraham, expected to inherit the land from which God had deported His disobedient nation.
- Sixty-nine literal weeks after these events - less than two years - Messiah did not come, and at any rate there was not yet any rebuilt temple for him to attend, but only a ruined city with no people for him to serve.
- That a longer time than literal weeks are intended, is shown in the previously given prophecy in Ezekiel 4:6 where, in Ezekiel’s enacted prophecy, each day represented a year.
Further, Israel’s weeks were associated by the law of Moses with the redemption of God’s people from sin and death. The last day of the seven-day week was a Sabbath of rest from daily work, in which was held a public meeting and special sacrifices - Leviticus 23:3; 24:5-9; Numbers 28:9-10. More about this next time, God willing.