This Day in History: 0000-12-19

December 19 – Daniel 9:20-27 

I went on praying and confession my sin and the sin of my people, pleading with the Lord my God for Jerusalem, His holy mountain. As I was praying, Gabriel, whom I had seen in the earlier vision, came swiftly to me at the time of the evening sacrifice. He explained to me, “Daniel, I have come here to give you insight and understanding. The moment you began praying, a command was given. And now I am here to tell you what it was, for you are very precious to God. Listen carefully so that you can understand the meaning of your vision.
“A period of seventy sets of seven has been decreed for your people and your holy city to finish their rebellion, to put an end to their sin, to atone for their guilt, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to confirm the prophetic vision, and to anoint the Most Holy Place. Now listen and understand! Seven sets of seven plus sixty-two sets of seven will pass from the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem until a ruler – the Anointed One – comes. Jerusalem will be rebuilt with streets and strong defenses, despite the perilous times.
After this period of sixty-two sets of seven, the Anointed One will be killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing, and a ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple. The end will come with a flood, and war and its miseries are decreed from that time to the very end. The ruler will make a treaty with the people for a period of one set of seven, but after half this time, he will put an end to the sacrifices and offerings. And as a climax to all his terrible deeds, he will set up a sacrilegious object that causes desecration, until the fate decreed for this defiler is finally poured out on him. 

Prophecy –  

There would be a period of seventy sets of seven (divided into three separate units – seven sevens, sixty-two sevens, and one seven) during which the events listed in the passage would be accomplished.
– During the first set of seven (49 years) Jerusalem would be rebuilt despite the perilous times.
– The second time period – sixty-two sets of seven (434 years) would follow the first and at the end of it Messiah would be revealed, and then executed. (The beginning of this set of seven combined with the first set would begin from the time the command was given to rebuild Jerusalem.)
– The final set of seven would come much later, after the death of Messiah, and after a ruler would come to power who would destroy the temple once again. From the death of Messiah until the beginning of the final set of seven the land of Israel would be plagued by war. The final set of seven (7 years) would begin when a 7-year treaty of peace was signed between Israel and a major gentile political leader. Halfway through this time period the treaty would be broken by the leader, and an idol would be set up in the once again re-built temple.
-Only after the full 70 sets of seven had been finished would Messiah finally come again and establish His Kingdom forever. 


Fulfillment –  

Mark 1:14-15 – Later on, after John was arrested, Jesus went into Galilee, where He preached the Good News. “The time promised by God has come at last!” He announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!” 

Galatians 4:4 – But when the right time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. 

I know this is a complicated one, but it’s also one of the most astonishing, indisputable proofs that Jesus Christ was exactly who He claimed to be – the Messiah – God Himself. Let’s see if we can break it down and simplify it a bit to gain understanding.  

Heavenly Father, give us eyes to see and ears to hear, give us hearts that understand, and Lord, make our feet quick to obey, in Jesus’ Name! 

The prophet Daniel was part of those exiled to Babylon after the fall of Jerusalem. At the beginning of this chapter, Daniel reveals that he had been studying the prophesies of Jeremiah, and had realized the captivity would last a total of 70 years. Daniel believed the Messiah would come at the end of those 70 years and reestablish His Eternal Kingdom in Israel at that time. The angel Gabriel showed up to set him straight. 

All the intricacies of the prophecy that followed can be confusing, but what it breaks down to is this: Messiah was not going to come at the end of the 70-year exile. Rather, from the time the command was given to rebuild Jerusalem (marking the end of the 70-year exile) 483 years would pass and then the Messiah would be revealed – but it would be to His death, which is not what the people were expecting. It was prophesied that a lot would happen from the time of the Messiah’s death to the time when the final set of seven began – but at the end of that final set of seven the 70 sets of seven would be complete and the Eternal Kingdom of Messiah would be established forever. 

So, if this prophesy is true, then the decree given to rebuild Jerusalem should have been followed by the completion of the rebuild 49 years after it started, and then Messiah should have been revealed 483 years after the decree was given. In 457 B.C. Artaxerxes king of Persia gave an order giving Ezra permission to launch a rebuilding campaign in Jerusalem which included the rebuilding of the temple, the city, the walls, and also reinstituted the Jewish Temple services, appoint judges and magistrates, and gave permission to once again teach the law. In the 15th year of the Persian ruler Darius (408 B.C.) Nehemiah recorded the final act of rebuilding Jerusalem. This was exactly 49 years after the 457 A.D. decree issued by Artaxerxes! What’s more, Jesus’s public ministry began in 27 A.D. – exactly 483 years after the same decree! In keeping with the prophesy, Jesus was indeed executed, seeming to have accomplished nothing the people were expecting from their Messiah in His time here on earth. 

You guys, there is SO MUCH more to this prophecy than I’ve had the time and space to cover here. We’ve only hit on the very basics of it. We didn’t even touch the things that would be accomplished during this time for the people of Israel found in verse 24. But I couldn’t let this season of exploring Bible prophecy about Messiah pass without spending at least a little time on this one. It is amazing! Jesus was the perfect fulfillment of the prophecy concerning the first coming of the Messiah, so we can rest assured He will also be the perfect fulfillment for the prophecy concerning His second coming! May we always be found ready! Jesus Christ our perfect Messiah IS coming again, and He WILL establish His eternal Kingdom. May each and every one of us be counted among His own, and be a part of that glorious day! 

*Here’s another really great article that goes into much more of the history of this.