THE TIME OF MESSIAH’S COMING
In the ninth chapter of Daniel, a prophecy of wonderful importance is given to us revealing the exact time when the Messiah would come to die for mankind. It also reveals the exact time necessary to understand the eighth chapter of Daniel more fully.
To understand the background of Daniel nine (which gives more understanding of the prophecy), click the arrow:
The Prayer & The Vision
Daniel had reached the end of the long anticipated seventy years. It was the first year of the joint-reign of Darius and Cyrus of the Medes and Persians. From this time, he confessed, with his whole heart, his sins and the sins of his people. “In the first year of Darius… In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting…:” (Daniel 9:1-3) The condition that was laid out for the restoration from the captivity to come back into Jerusalem was clear, and Daniel earnestly grasped by faith the promised restoration.
Daniel confessed that “all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him.” (Daniel 9:11) This curse written in Moses was reiterated many times, that they which hated them would reign over them, they would be oppressed and crushed, driven out of their land, to be the servants of a cruel master. “The fruit of thy land, and all thy labours, shall a nation which thou knowest not eat up; and thou shalt be only oppressed and crushed always…The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high; and thou shalt come down very low. He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him: he shall be the head, and thou shalt be the tail. Moreover all these curses shall come upon thee…because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of the LORD thy God…Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the LORD shall send against thee…: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee.” (Deuteronomy 28:33, 43-48)
“CONSIDER THE VISION”
“And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God; Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.” (Daniel 9:20-21) The Angel Gabriel, appearing as a man, visited Daniel. Daniel had previously seen Gabriel “in the vision at the beginning”. What vision is this? It was the vision of Daniel 8, which Daniel had in the third year of Belshazzar, king of Babylon, just before the fall of the kingdom to the Medes and Persians. This vision, called in Hebrew, the “chazone”, was the only vision Daniel had, besides dreams until this time left on record for us. It was this vision that Gabriel had made his first appearance to Daniel, and a command was given to Gabriel.
“Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision. So he came near where I stood:…he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision (chazon).” (Daniel 8:16-17) The vision gave a very important time prophecy, but although Gabriel is instructed to give understanding to Daniel regarding this very important point, he could not. “And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king’s business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.” (Daniel 8:27) Daniel, overwhelmed by the revelation, had fainted. Gabriel was able to explain many points regarding the prophecy, but he was not able to reveal it’s starting point; therefore Daniel declared “none understood it”.
It was the time of evening worship, the time in Jerusalem when the sacrifice foreshadowing the great sacrifice of the Messiah-to-come was to take place. Here it was that Gabriel came to open this critical point of understanding to Daniel. “And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision [chazon].” (Daniel 9:22-23) Remember, that there was no vision to Daniel in chapter nine; this was the added details of the vision of the previous chapter which Daniel did not have strength to understand.
THE SEVENTY WEEK PROPHECY
Daniel was told to “understand the matter and consider the vision”. The angel Gabriel then declared what was necessary to be understood in relation to the vision of Daniel 8. There is no vision in Daniel 9. “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” Here we find a time prophecy of seventy weeks (or 490 days) brought to view. As a prophetic rule in prophecy, a day is always given for a year (Ezekiel 4:6). While 490 days alone extends to little more than a year, 490 prophetic days would equate to 490 years.
There is a determination upon Daniel’s people and Jerusalem “thy holy city” to have a special work accomplished amongst them in this time. This work is the blessings to God’s people while in the covenant of salvation with Him through faith in the Messiah. It was their privilege to know the Messiah-to-come, and to know of the sin-pardoning redemption that comes from the Most High. It was their privilege to be His set-apart and peculiar people that His “way may be known upon earth;” His “salvation among all nations.” (Psalm 67: 2) Instead of this, they learned the ways of the heathen, and forgot the way of God.
For this cause, Babylon triumphed over Daniel’s people and over the holy city. For this reason the determination was to be decreed, giving them a space of time in which they were to live up to the light, privileges, and opportunities given to them. If they did not live up to this experience and high calling, the blessings God had conferred upon them would be removed and be given to others.
TO RESTORE AND BUILD JERUSALEM
“Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.” Again, Gabriel says to understand this point. Therefore, mark this point with care. Gabriel here will give us the starting point of the 70 week prophecy; and break down the events which shall take place before the seventieth week concludes. He tells us that “from the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem” until the appearing of “Messiah the Prince” there would be 7 plus 62 weeks; thus 69 prophetic weeks (483 years) in total. The prophecy by no means is a difficult one. When was the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem to take place? The Scripture tells us exactly this:
“And the elders of the Jews builded…And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.” (Ezra 6:14)
There were three commandments to restore and build Jerusalem. The first two, under Cyrus and Darius, consisted only of building the temple. Artexerxes issued a decree in Ezra 7 on the 7th year of his reign. This decree came in 457 BC. From this time, seven prophetic weeks (49 years) were to establish the settlement of the land on the Jubilee year. By the time of the Jubilee, which was at the commencement of the 49th year (called the fiftieth year when counting from zero), all lands were to be restored to their rightful owners if sufficient proof could be made for ownership according to the law (Leviticus 25:10).
This brings us to 408 BC. From this time, there was still 62 prophetic weeks (434 years) remaining until the Messiah would be clearly revealed to mankind.
Without fail, the end of the 69th week brings us to 27AD. This was the year Jesus, the Christ, was baptized by John the baptist to begin His ministry.
At the baptism of the Messiah, John the baptist knows Christ is to be revealed at this time. “And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water…” (John 1:31-34)
“And it came to pass…that Jesus came…and was baptized of John in Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” After His baptism, Jesus bore a very important message to Israel, knowing their determination was soon to be decreed for blessing or cursing, declaring “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent and believe the gospel.” (Mark 1:9-11). Thus was marked the end of the 69th week, and beginning the final prophetic week.
MESSIAH CUT OFF
“And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. (Daniel 9:24-27)
Many people try to interpret this last week as being entirely separate from the 69 weeks already here, and place it at the final seven years of this age. However, to do this does tremendous damage to the time prophecy, and the text itself. Doing this takes away the decree that was to be determined by the experience of the Israelites, and thus conceals the fate decreed in heaven for the city of Jerusalem. Not only this, but it obscures the work that the Messiah came to fulfill a great work in this final week.
We are told that after the 69th week, Messiah the prince “shall be cut off, but not for Himself.” What does it mean that He was “cut off”, and who was He “cut off” for? The answer is given by the prophet Isaiah (53:8): “He was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.”
Christ was cut off from life; Christ died for sin, but not for His own sins. Christ was “the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world” (John 1:29); He was the One whom Israel had the privilege of believing in, and revealing to the world. Instead of this, they failed, and murderously cried out for His crucifixion, cursing themselves and their posterity when they said: “His blood be upon us and upon our children!” (Matthew 27:25)
When was Christ cut off? It was three and a half years into His ministry. Literally in the center of the final week.
All the sacrifices and offerings of the Israelites in their worship in their Sanctuary had “a shadow of good things to come, but not the very image of the things” (Heb. 10:1). It’s sanctuary contained a priesthood who administered the sacrifices and offerings who “serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things” (Heb. 8:5) Their sacrifices contained sin offerings where lambs, bulls, rams, and goats were slain for various kinds of sin in the place of those who had sinned. This was for the purpose of revealing the true object which they shadowed forth; specifically the death of the Messiah as an offering for our sins (Isaiah 53:10). It was through the Sanctuary service of the Israelites that the work of the Messiah was to be understood more fully, not only regarding His death, but also His office as high priest. By Christ dying for our sins, “Mercy and truth are met together; justice and peace have kissed.” (Psalm 89:14) To be a just and righteous King, while also revealing His heart of love and mercy, Christ laid down His life for the transgressor of the law of God; “having made peace through the blood of His cross…” (Col. 1:20) It was in this way that “in the midst of the week, He shall cause the sacrifice and offerings to cease.” The shadow contained in the law met it’s true object and purpose, and in this, they were to cease forever.
The early Christians did not sacrifice lambs, or put any virtue on the blood of bulls or goats. To continue these rites and ceremonies once the shadow met the object would be an abomination to the God of heaven, denying the great sacrifice He has made in our behalf. They had embraced the True Sacrifice; and no longer could they return to a pale representation of what had passed away. The manner of observing their feasts was changed; now their worship commemorated the work of the Messiah, “giving thanks unto God and the Father by Him” (Col. 3:17).
THE LAST HALF OF THE WEEK
The last half of the prophetic week was for the apostolic church to do it’s work of preaching the gospel, if by chance the leaders of the Jewish nation would repent of crucifying the Messiah, and be led to embrace Him. Yet this did not happen. While many of Israel embraced Christ, more murmured, resisted, and even put to death the Christians, fulfilling the words of Christ: “They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.” (John 16:2-3)
“The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins…When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them.” (Acts 5:30-33)
Lastly, they stoned Stephen, a man full of faith and power from God, when he testified of Christ, and called them to repentance.
Present among the Pharisees, leaders of the temple worship in Jerusalem, was Saul, consenting to Stephen’s death. From this time “a great persecution against the church…at Jerusalem” had taken place; and “Saul…made havock for the church,entering into every house, and…committed them into prison.” (Acts 8:1,3) Yet at the same time, Saul was seeking from the synagogues of Damascus if any Christians were present, that he might seize them and take them to Jerusalem, that they might be tried, imprisoned, and put to death. Yet then the Messiah visited him, saying “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” (Acts 9:4)… Then Saul submitted himself under Christ’s hand, where he was converted, and given by Christ the mission which he was being called to, to whom Christ gave the name “Paul”, and made him the apostle to the Gentiles, even as Christ said “for he is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My name before the Gentiles…” (Acts 9:15).
The stoning of Stephen, where Saul was present as witness, Stephen beheld Christ, “the Son of man, standing at the right hand of God”. It was at this same time, the decree of the Israelites and the holy city was determined, and the Word of God was opened to the Gentiles in a marked manner as never before.
THE DETERMINATION DECREED AT THE END
What was the decree determined of heaven at the end of the 70th week? The privileges, opportunities, and light was rejected. The prophets, apostles, and messengers were cast out of the synagogues, out of the city, and even put to death. Without the sacrifice of Christ, there can be no finishing of the transgression. Without Him who takes away our sins, there is no making an end of sins. There is no reconciliation for iniquity, for it is by His blood we are reconciled. And without Him, the divine standard of everlasting righteousness is unattainable; for without His power to restore, man’s heart is desperately wicked, and can only attain to outward man-made forms of righteousness. Thus the blood of Christ is declared to be “the blood of the everlasting covenant” (Hebrews 13:20) ; and by this, “He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week…”. Many from the Jews received the Messiah, and this wonderful experience in the covenant by the power of the blood of the covenant was made sure to them in the giving of the Holy Ghost.
Thus the determination that the Israelites as the exclusive people of God was at an end. Now Gentiles and Israelites alike who had embraced the Messiah found the experience in harmony with the light of Christ that the Jewish nation failed to receive. The “holy city” was to be destroyed, and it’s sanctuary which offered up empty sacrifices which were stripped of their true significance.
THE DESTRUCTION OF THE CITY
“And the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.” The Jews sought a messianic conqueror over Rome that seemed to suit more of their idea of what a messiah should be, and instigated war with the Romans. In 63 AD, on the feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem, a man named “Jesus, the son of Ananias” was raised up to declare “a voice from the four winds, a voice against Jerusalem and the Holy House… and a voice against this whole people!” He was beaten with stripes, and whipped until his bones were laid bare, yet he continued his testimony without the shed of a single tear; at every strike of the whip, the words rose from his lips, “Woe, woe, to Jerusalem!” This was continued for seven years without ceasing until the Romans laid seige to the city in 70 AD, where he cried his last “Woe, woe to the city again, and to the people, and to the Holy House!”
A revolt attempt by the Jews was made in 66 AD, seeking to drive out Roman control. A Roman general named Cestius surrounded Jerusalem with a great army at the time of the Feast of Tabernacles. Yet he lifted the siege, and the army left for reasons not known. Yet this was the sign Christ gave to His people to flee out of the cities: “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out…” (Luke 21:21-22)The Christians fled to Pella, a mountainous refuge, when the watching believing ones beheld the sign.
On the feast of Pentecost, only the year prior, great armies were seen warring in the heavens; and the Sanctuary’s massive doors were thrown open as a voice heard by both Jew and heathen, and recorded faithfully by historians of each, declaring “Let Us depart hence.” Thus, the divine presence and protection were withdrawn from the city, and as it was in the seige of Babylon, so it was to be in the seige of Rome.
It was not until the feast of Unleavened bread, on the anniversary of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, that Titus, the Roman emperor’s son, beseiged Jerusalem with his legion of armies; this war, beginning with Cestius and finished by Titus, did destroy the city and the sanctuary as foretold; the determination decreed from heaven was not immediately executed in 34 AD, at the end of the 70 week prophecy. Rather, “until the end of the war, desolations are determined.” As Christ denounced the excessive abominations of the Jewish leaders, he departed from the temple, declaring, “Your house is left to you desolate.” (Matt. 23:38) He then began to declare how it would fall because of it’s desolation, choosing rather to continue in their sins, than receive the One by which they would have power to rise above them.
Thus, the determination was to be manifested in judgment, but not until every soul who could be saved from the impending judgment would come. From 34 AD to 70 AD, the invitation and warnings were sent heralded in Jerusalem. Yet those who desired their sins above the Savior would be “desolate”, to be swept away in the woes poured out upon the city. For this reason, the prophecy concludes, “And for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” (Daniel 9:27)