The Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks - 16
Only one man who claimed to be the Messiah has left on record his expectation to be “cut off” - in fulfilment of Daniel 9:26; and then to be raised back to life - fulfilling Psalm 16:10; Matthew 16:21. Also, only one of all those who claimed Messiahship, also asserted that he had come to “make an end of sins” - Daniel 9:24; Matthew 9:6. Those devout Jews who rejected Jesus would have accepted the pronouncement of Isaiah 59:2 “your iniquities have separated you from your God”, but they evidently expected to obtain God’s forgiveness by sacrificing animals - Leviticus 4:20, 26, 31, 35.
- But they seem to have ignored Micah 6:6-8 “Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams...?” It was sin which had brought death to Adam and Eve, after which they were driven out of the garden, to be separated from God. It had been the serpent which had suggested the first sin, so that animal became a symbol of man’s waywardness - in the promise that the woman’s offspring would crush the serpent’s head - Genesis 3:15, first by overcoming sin in his personal life by always putting the will of God ahead of his own natural inclinations.
Those who were devout Jews, but who rejected Jesus, rightly hoped for Messiah to restore the kingdom of God - Acts 26:6 - and for the resurrection of those who had died - Acts 24:15. But they had not understood the need for Messiah’s sacrificial death, which God requires that all must acknowledge before being raised to everlasting life - Deuteronomy 18:17-19.
- Daniel 9:24 shows that Messiah, by the end of the Seventy Weeks, would “make an end of sins” and “bring in everlasting righteousness.” But under the law of Moses atonement was to be made “for the children of Israel, for all their sins, once a year.” Paul, who knew the Law well, came to understand that those sacrifices could not perfect the conscience of the worshipper, since they had to be repeated annually. Those animal sacrifices were only a copy or shadow of the work of Messiah.
So it was that Jesus “appeared once for all, at the end of the ages to put away sin” [“make an end of sins”] “by the sacrifice of himself” - Hebrews 9:5, 9, 26. The purpose of the law of Moses had been served - it had provided the “pattern” of Messiah’s redemptive work - Exodus 25:40; Hebrews 8:5. Confirmation of this fact is seen in the divinely overseen destruction of the temple in 70 AD . The temple, which had been constructed according to the divine design - 1 Chronicles 28:11-13, was an integral component, in the law of Moses, without which that law could not be properly observed.
- Not only was the Messiahship of Jesus, including his death, a fulfilment of the Seventy Weeks prophecy - all the other Old Testament predictions of the Messiah are then seen to be in harmony with Daniel -
Jeremiah 31:31-34 “ I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah - 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt.” The new covenant replaces the annual reminding of Israel’s sins by the killing of animals - Leviticus 16 - because 34 “I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” The sacrifice of Jesus, Zechariah 9:11, fulfilled what the animal sacrifices foreshadowed - Daniel 9:27 “He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease”. More next time, God willing.