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The 70 Weeks of Daniel 9

Bible Study with Larry Wilson
WUAS Internet Bible Studies

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Publish Date: May, 1996
Last Updated: November 6, 2017
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The topic of the 70th week of Daniel 9 is of great interest among evangelical Christians. Currently, many Christians believe the 70th week is about to begin, which will also mark the beginning of the Great Tribulation. Some of them also believe that the Great Tribulation will last seven years, since Daniel 9 alludes to a method of reckoning time whereby each day of the week represents a year.

Therefore, using this scenario, the 70th week represents seven years. The concept of a rapture is closely related to the 70th week theory. Some Christians believe a rapture will occur at the beginning of the 70th week (a pre-tribulation rapture), others believe a rapture will take place near the middle of the 70th week (3.5 years after the Great Tribulation begins — a mid-tribulation rapture), and still others believe the gathering of the saints will occur at the end of the Great Tribulation (a post-tribulation gathering).

Weeks of Years Began at the Exodus

To understand the 70 weeks of Daniel 9, a person needs to learn the origin of God’s calendar. God's calendar specifies that days are to be counted as years and the years are grouped into units of seven (as in 70 “sevens”). The understanding of counting time by weeks or “sevens” is developed in four simple steps:

Point 1

God's calendar establishing a seven year cycle and a Sabbatical year was instituted at the time of the Exodus. He developed this new dating system by giving Moses a new calendar, specifically stating to Moses when the first month and the first day of the new year was to begin. (Exodus 12:1-3)

Previously, the Israelites had observed the Egyptian calendar, in which the year began in July with the first appearing of the star, Sirius. However, the new calendar God gave to Moses began in March with the first full moon after the Spring equinox.

This new calendar was based on a pattern or template of the weekly cycle that God established at Creation. (Genesis 2:1,2; Leviticus 25:1-10) Simply put, God used each day of the week to represent a year. Thus, years were measured in units of seven (heptads) and units of 49 years (Jubilee Cycles) much like we reckon years today in units of ten (decades) and units of 100 years (centuries).

Three months after the Exodus, while the Children of Israel were in the desert, God gave Moses instructions about the land of Canaan. God required a Sabbath year’s rest for the “promised” land every seventh year. Here is the text:

“[Moses,] Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a sabbath to the Lord. For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. But in the seventh year the land is to have a sabbath of rest, a sabbath to the Lord. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest. Whatever the land yields during the sabbath year will be food for you — for yourself, your manservant and maidservant, and the hired worker and temporary resident who live among you, as well as for your livestock and the wild animals in your land. Whatever the land produces may be eaten.” (Leviticus 25:2-7)

Notice that God speaks of a seven year cycle and the seventh year is clearly called a Sabbath of rest, a Sabbath to the Lord (verse 4). Also, notice two more points about the Sabbath rest for the land. First, the Sabbath rest had nothing to do with agricultural improvement since the largest harvest was during the sixth year, at the end of the growing cycle. (Leviticus 25:20-22)

God did not establish a Sabbath rest for the land for the sake of the land. No, God designed a Sabbath rest for the land to test the faith of an agricultural nation every seven years. Would they obey Him or not? (Compare this with Exodus 16:4.) In fact, the Sabbatical year test only revealed whether or not the nation was actually in touch with God.

If they failed to keep His seventh-day Sabbath holy each week, how could they keep a whole year holy? In God’s economy, a person must be faithful in small things of life before he/she is worthy of receiving larger responsibilities.

Second, the Bible shows that the obligation of the Sabbath year was limited to the “promised” land. Several people have asked if we should still observe a Sabbath year today. The answer is no. Notice this text: “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a sabbath to the Lord.’” (Leviticus 25:2)
When the Lord gave this command, the Israelites were in the desert, and they were there for almost 40 years after He gave the command. The desert was not to receive a Sabbath of rest, instead, the rest was pronounced upon “the land I am going to give you.”

From a practical standpoint, we do not observe these and other Jubilee statutes today because the theocratic government of God is not in place. For instance, the Jubilee statutes required the Israelites to return their property to the original owner during the Jubilee year.

Today, who would willingly give their property to its original owner? Can you see 240,000,000 Americans giving this land back to Native Americans, Great Britain, France and Mexico? Paul makes it very clear that Jesus abolished the constitution of Israel when He was upon the Earth. This means that God Himself terminated the Jubilee statute, which was intended to be everlasting. (Ephesians 2:14,15; Colossians 2:9-17)

Point 2

God’s method of reckoning time is often called the Jubilee Calendar because of the 50th year of celebration or the year of Jubilee. (For a comprehensive discussion on the Jubilee Calendar, you can order the back-issue on that topic, Day Star, July, 1995) If a person wishes to understand the subject of prophetic timing, they must first understand the subject of the Jubilee Calendar. In fact, the 70 weeks in Daniel 9 and other prophetic time-periods in Daniel and Revelation are based on God’s weekly calendar.

Keep in mind that using the weekly cycle to count years began at the Exodus. The timing did not begin during the days of Daniel, nor did it begin at Creation. God established a new calendar with seven year cycles and the perpetual weekly cycle of counting years as weeks began at that time.

If you stop to think about it for a moment, you should be able to work through the following statement: The new calendar began 15 days before the Exodus (Exodus 12:2) since Passover occurred on the 15th day of the first month. So, the Exodus took place during the first year of the weekly cycle, a “Sunday year” — because the first day of the week is Sunday.

This means that Israel entered the “promised” land on the 15th day of the 41st year (a Friday year). Their first full year was a Sabbatical year! (Adam’s first full day was a Sabbath!)

I know some Bible students maintain that the Jubilee Calendar was not implemented until Israel entered the “promised” land. In other words, they believe that the first year in Canaan was “year one” of the Jubilee cycle. But, God’s accounting does not allow this conclusion. God established “day one” of the first month 15 days before the Exodus date.

Two years later, when Israel was camped at Kadesh Barnea, God told them to send 12 spies into Canaan for 40 days. Israel failed to enter the “promised” land because of faithlessness, so God sentenced Israel to 40 years in the wilderness — a year for each day the spies were in Canaan. (Numbers 14:34)

Remember that when the spies went into Canaan, Israel had already spent two years in the desert. (Deuteronomy 2:14) But, when God sentenced Israel to 40 years in the desert, He did not begin counting from the rebellion at Kadesh Barnea or that would have meant 42 years in the desert. Rather, God began counting a year for each day beginning with the Exodus year.

By utilizing a day for a year beginning with the year of the Exodus, God demonstrates that His calendar began to operate with the year of the Exodus.

Note: A statement regarding the Biblical use of the word “week” is necessary. “A week” in Bible times began on the first day of the week and ended on the seventh day of the week. This is a much more narrow definition than how we understand “a week” today. For example, if a person leaves for vacation on Wednesday and returns on Tuesday, we would say that he/she was gone for a week. Individuals in Bible times would have said that a person was gone for seven days because he/she did not leave on Sunday and return on Saturday. Remember, in the Bible, a week always begins on Sunday and ends on Saturday. By using this understanding, we can establish that the 70 weeks of Daniel 9 are synchronous with the previously existing weekly cycle established at the Exodus. In other words, the 70 weeks of Daniel 9 have to synchronize with the continuing weekly cycle of years. Thus, the 70 weeks of Daniel 9 must begin on a Sunday year. This tiny truth has far reaching implications and immediately rules out three of the four decrees given for the restoration of Jerusalem! (More about this in a moment.)

Before we examine a Bible text that demonstrates God’s method for reckoning years, look at the chart on the following page and note how each day of the week represents a year and how each week represents 7 years. Thus, 7 weeks of years equals 49 years:

Now, consider this text:

“‘Count off seven sabbaths of years — even times seven years — so that the seven sabbaths of years amount to a period of forty-nine years. Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land. Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each one of you is to return to his family property and each to his own clan.” (Leviticus 25:8)

Jubilee Calendar

Jubilee Calendar

This text demonstrates, among other things, that seven Sabbaths of years produces a total of 49 years. (See the chart.) This text also needs a little background explanation to appreciate the content of these verses.

When Israel finally entered the land that had been “promised” to Abraham (Genesis 15:18), the land was divided among the 12 tribes according to their population. Large tribes received much land, smaller tribes received smaller sections of land. The land was considered an asset and a family could “sell” their inheritance (the land) to other Israelites during the 49 year Jubilee cycle. (Leviticus 25:14,15)

However, when the seventh Sabbath year ended, during the first seven months of the first year of the next cycle (the Jubilee year), God required that the land be given back to the original family/owner without charge. The transaction of giving the land back to its original owner had to be completed before the 10th day of the 7th month (Day of Atonement) or God’s displeasure would rest upon the nation.

Note: The 50th year or the Year of Jubilee as it was called, was also the first year (the Sunday year) of the next Jubilee cycle (see previous chart). The annual Feast of Weeks (also called the Feast of Pentecost) occurred on the 50th day after the seventh-day Sabbath of Passover week. Consequently, Pentecost always fell on Sunday, the first day of the week. (Leviticus 23:15, 16) If you can see how the 50th day (Pentecost) and the first day of the week are the same day, then you should be able to grasp the parallel. The Pentecost cycle is identical with the Jubilee cycle. The Pentecost cycle is measured in days whereas the Jubilee cycle is measured in years. Also, just as the Feast of Pentecost was regarded as a Sabbath day, the Jubilee year was also regarded as a Sabbath year. (Exodus 34:22,23; Leviticus 25:11,12)

The basic concept for the Jubilee Calendar is elegant: God wanted each generation to experience the joy of receiving the land (the inheritance promised to Abraham) for free. As a practical matter, the Jubilee process prevented a foolish generation from ruining the inheritance of a succeeding generation.

This was God’s original plan, but Israel failed to keep in touch with God. They stopped observing the seventh-day Sabbath, the seventh-year Sabbaths and ultimately, the Jubilee year. For this disobedience, God sent them into exile. However, the fact still remains that even though the Jubilee Calendar is now completed, the wisdom behind the Jubilee concept is still wonderful to study.

Point 3

God warned Israel that if they failed to give the land its Sabbath rest, He would remove them from the land so that it might get the Sabbath rest it missed. Here is the text:

“And if you reject my decrees and abhor my laws and fail to carry out all my commands and so violate my covenant… I will lay waste the land, so that your enemies who live there will be appalled. I will scatter you among the nations and will draw out my sword and pursue you. Your land will be laid waste, and your cities will lie in ruins. Then the land will enjoy its sabbath years all the time that it lies desolate and you are in the country of your enemies; then the land will rest and enjoy its sabbaths. All the time that it lies desolate, the land will have the rest it did not have during the sabbaths you lived in it.” (Leviticus 26:14;32-35)

Did you notice that God promised the land would receive its rest, with or without the presence of Israelites?

Point 4

All this information directly assists us in understanding the 70 weeks of Daniel 9. But, before we examine the 70 weeks, one more point needs to be highlighted. As stated earlier, Israel was sent into Babylonian captivity for violating the Sabbatical years.

Remember that God promised to remove them from the land if the land did not get its Sabbath rest. (Leviticus 26:14;32-35) About 700 years after entering the land of Canaan, Israel had filled its cup of iniquity. God’s patience had run out. Through Jeremiah, God told Israel that His servant, King Nebuchadnezzar, was going to come from the north and devour the land and destroy the nation. (Jeremiah 25:9) Furthermore, God said the captivity would last 70 years. (Jeremiah 25:11)

Why 70 years? Why did God require 70 years in Babylon? Because Israel had violated 70 Sabbath years! Notice this text:

“He [the Lord] brought up against them [Israel] the king of the Babylonians, who killed their young men with the sword in the sanctuary, and spared neither young man nor young woman, old man or aged. God handed all of them over to Nebuchadnezzar. He carried to Babylon all the articles from the temple of God, both large and small, and the treasures of the Lord’s temple and the treasures of the king and his officials. They set fire to God’s temple and broke down the wall of Jerusalem; they burned all the palaces and destroyed everything of value there. He carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, who escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and his sons until the kingdom of Persia came to power. The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah.” (2 Chronicles 36:17-21)

Do you see the fulfillment of God’s promise for the land? The land enjoyed its Sabbath rests! Now, this text does not prove that Israel violated 70 Sabbath years, but it does give a hint. However, there is proof that Israel violated 70 Sabbath years. Notice the following text. (Keep in mind that the following conversation took place between the Lord and Ezekiel after Ezekiel had been a captive in Babylon for several years.)

“…. This will be a sign to the house of Israel. “Then lie on your left side and put the sin of the house of Israel upon yourself. You are to bear their sin for the number of days you lie on your side. I have assigned you the same number of days as the years of their sin. So for 390 days you will bear the sin of the house of Israel. “After you have finished this, lie down again, this time on your right side, and bear the sin of the house of Judah. I have assigned you 40 days, a day for each year.” (Ezekiel 4:3-6)

You may remember that at the time of the Babylonian captivity, the nation of Israel was split into two parts: The northern part (called Israel) consisted of ten tribes and the southern part (called Judah), consisted of two tribes. The northern part had fully apostatized for 390 years. The southern part had fully apostatized for 40 years. So, God told Ezekiel to demonstrate His displeasure with both parts of the nation by lying down for a total of 430 days. (Lying down reflects a position of sickness, death or vulnerability — the condition of Israel at the time.)

Now, this is the point: In 430 years, there are exactly 70 Sabbath years! Here is the math:

1. Each Jubilee cycle contains 8 Sabbath years of rest (1 Jubilee year plus 7 seventh-year Sabbaticals).

2. 430 years contain 8 complete Jubilee cycles plus 38 years as a remainder of the 9th cycle.

3. 8 Jubilee cycles contain 64 Sabbatical years (8 Sabbaths x 8 cycles).

4. 38 years contain 6 Sabbath years (1 Jubilee year plus 5 seventh-year Sabbaticals).

5. Thus, 430 years contain exactly 70 Sabbath years!

When 2 Chronicles 36:21 is considered along with the math from Ezekiel, only one conclusion is possible: A Jubilee cycle occurs every 49 years, and there are 8 Sabbath years within each cycle.

Note: Ezekiel's 430 years are significant since this is the same number of years in slavery mentioned in Exodus 12:41: “ At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all the Lord’s divisions left Egypt.” So, what is the point? Israel fully apostatized in Egypt as slaves for 430 years and Israel fully apostatized in Canaan as free men in 430 years. What does this say about human nature?

The Sum of the Matter

Let’s see if we can assemble the facts to make an overwhelming point:

1.
God established a calendar based on units of seven at the time of the Exodus.
2.
God required the “promised” land to observe a Sabbath rest every seventh year as a test of faith for Israel.
3.
God’s limit of patience with Israel’s apostasy was reached when 70 Sabbath-year violations were completed. Israel was evicted from the land before another Sabbath violation could occur, and the land caught up on its Sabbath rests without them.
4.
The Jubilee cycle is 49 years in length, and each cycle contains 8 Sabbath years. The Jubilee year is also the first year of the next cycle.

Now, from the above information we can conclude the following important point: Because of the synchronous and perpetual nature of the Jubilee Calendar, the 70th week of Daniel 9 must be consecutive with the 69th week because the Jubilee Calendar operates without interruption just like the weekly cycle.

In other words, the 70th week cannot be disconnected from the previous 69 weeks as many Christians now believe. Just as a person cannot disconnect 1995 from 1996 the 69th week cannot be disconnected from the 70th week. The truth is, the 70th week took place a long time ago!

There is no Bible authority for inserting a span of time between the 69th and the 70th week of Daniel 9. Unfortunately, many people have accepted a prophetic scheme concerning the 70 weeks that has no Biblical validity.

Let’s Look at Daniel 9

If we fully consider many New Testament declarations, we can safely conclude that the seventy weeks granted to Israel in Daniel 9 are to be understood as containing God’s limit of patience with Israel as a nation. According to Romans 9-11; Ephesians 2 and Galatians 3, God abandoned the nation of Israel as the exclusive trustee of the Gospel at the end of the 70 weeks. Now, the privilege of carrying the gospel to the world belongs to all people who place their faith in Christ. (Matthew 28:19,20)

Now, believers in Christ will receive what was originally promised to Abraham! Now, all who put their faith in Christ are “grafted into” the Everlasting Vine. Now, there is no more distinction between Jew and Gentile, for we are all one nation in Christ.

So, what does the prophecy of Daniel 9 actually say? It actually speaks of the appearing and ministry of Jesus — a point that religious leaders today do not seem to grasp, just as the religious leaders in Christ’s day did not understand! Here is a verse-by-verse explanation of Daniel 9:20-27:

{20} One morning, while I (Daniel) was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people, Israel, and making my request to the Lord, my God, for His holy mountain —

{21} while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in my second vision concerning the 2,300 evenings and mornings, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice.

{22} He said, “Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding.

{23} As soon as you began to pray, your prayer was answered. I have come to tell you the answer to your prayer, for you are highly esteemed in Heaven. Therefore, consider this message and you will understand more about the vision of the 2,300 evenings and mornings:

{24} “According to the mercy of God and His use of the holy calendar, 70 Jubilee weeks (490 days) are cut off of the 2,300 evenings and mornings of the first vision. In other words, Daniel, your people will be granted 490 Jubilee days of mercy. This grace period is allotted to your people and your holy city for four reasons:

First, your people must stop worshiping false gods.

Second, they must put an end to sin and immorality.

Third, they must atone for their wickedness by humbling themselves so that they can usher in the new kingdom of everlastingrighteousness. If they will do these things, God’s great plan for Israel will be realized by A.D. 34, the end of 70 weeks.

Last and most important, if your people will love the Lord their God and be His representatives, the contents of this vision will be sealed up forever and the terrible events predicted herein will never be known or come to pass. In fact, if your people fully cooperate with the Most High God, they will have the honor of anointing the Most Holy One of Israel, for He will certainly come to Israel and establish the throne of David forever and ever.

{25} “Daniel, the Persian king, Artaxerxes, in the seventh year of his reign,1 will issue a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. He will issue the decree in accordance with God’s calendar. The decree will be issued in the first days of Spring during the Sunday year of 457 B.C.2 The year 457 B.C. is a Jubilee year and it is God’s joy to freely restore the land and self rule to Israel at that time. Then, seven weeks, a full Jubilee cycle of seven weeks (49 years), will pass.

This cycle will confirm that 457 B.C. is the correct year to date this prophecy because this proves the synchronism of the 70 weeks is aligned with God’s holy calendar. Even though four decrees will be given, only one will be issued in a Sunday year, even a Jubilee year! So, watch for it.

After the seven weeks (a Jubilee cycle) pass, another 62 weeks (434 years) will come to pass before the Holy One of Israel appears. At the end of 69 weeks, when the 70th week begins (A.D. 27), the Anointed One — the Messiah — will begin His ministry.

Do not be discouraged about this period of 490 years, Daniel, because long before the Messiah appears, Jerusalem will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, just as God has promised. Jerusalem will be reconstructed, but it will happen in difficult times because her neighbors will be unhappy about returning the land they took during Israel’s absence.

{26} “Unfortunately, Daniel, your people will not comply with the conditions set before them. In fact, when Messiah arrives, His people will reject Him. He will be cut off from Israel just as a common criminal is cut off from his inheritance. In rejecting the Messiah, Israel will finally forfeit God’s favor and protection from the great destroyer, the devil. The long-standing covenant between Israel and God will come to an end just as He promised in the beginning.3 The devil will stir other nations against Jerusalem. He will bring the armies of Rome against Jerusalem so the city and the sanctuary will be totally destroyed. Jerusalem will be devastated, just like the results of a great flood. This destruction, however, is not the end of the world. Wars and rumors of war will continue until the end of time. The nations of Earth will be desolated from time to time until the appointed time for the end is reached. This has been decreed by the Most High God.

{27} “Daniel, the Anointed One of God, the Messiah, will appear on time4 and confirm the everlasting covenant of salvation by His death. The Messiah, whose given name will be Jesus, will die during the middle year of the seventieth week. In the middle of the week, the Wednesday year (A.D. 30), the Lamb of God will put an end to the sacrificial system and its offerings. His timely death will confirm the accuracy of this prophecy. The death of Jesus at Passover in A.D. 30 will prove that God counts the 70 weeks from the decree of Artaxerxes in 457 B.C.

“One final note, Daniel. The devil will continue to attack the people faithful to God long after the destruction of Jerusalem. On wings of evil, he will destroy the house of God, first in Jerusalem and then throughout the Earth, for God’s truth will reach to the ends of the Earth. The devil will cause much death and desolation around the world, but his end is decreed. At the appointed time of the end, the devil will physically appear on Earth. He is the coming horn from the North that will bring great destruction.5 After he appears, the justice of God will be poured upon him and he himself shall not escape full destruction.”

References

1. Ezra 7

2. Ezra 8:31;7:8

3. Deuteronomy 28:45; 31:17; 32:28-43; Matt 23:32-39

4. Galatians 4:4; Romans 5:6

5. Daniel 8:9-12

Why Call it the 70th Week?

Even if you disagree with my conclusions concerning the interpretation of the 70 weeks, we still have to resolve the simple issue of timing. Where are the 70 weeks? How can one take the Jubilee Calendar from which the 70 weeks are determined and separate the 70th week from the 69th week by inserting an interval of time between the weeks and still call some future week the 70th week? Has this ever been done in the weekly cycle upon which the week of years is based?

No. Do other prophetic time-periods follow this pattern? No. Do other prophetic time-periods operate under the Jubilee Calendar? Yes. So, how can one separate the 70th week from the previous 69 weeks? There is only one answer: By misunderstanding the principles that govern the Jubilee Calendar.

Furthermore, 70 weeks in the Jubilee Calendar equals 490 years and 490 years amounts to a period of 10 Jubilee cycles. Thus, it is not possible to separate the 70th week from the earlier 69 weeks. The idea of a large gap of time between the 69th and 70th week represents a gap in logic, not a gap in time.

Which Decree?

The Bible alludes to four decrees which were granted to the Jews for the restoration of their homeland! How do we know which decree is the one referred to in Daniel 9. The first decree was given in a Friday year, 536 B.C., by Cyrus (Ezra 1). The second was given in a Monday year, 519 B.C., by Darius (Ezra 6).

The third and fourth decrees were given by Artaxerxes one in the Sunday year of 457 B.C. and the other in the Sabbath year of 444 B.C. (Ezra 7 and Nehemiah 2). Some people say the fourth decree was given in 445 B.C., but even if this were true, 445 is a Friday year. So, which of these decrees did God want the Jews to begin counting from?

God gave a clue as to which decree would start this prophecy. The time-period itself is 70 weeks and as such, the time-period requires that the decree fall in a Sunday year in order for to be called “a week”. In other words, 70 weeks is the clue about the date of origin because a week in the Bible always occurs synchronous with the weekly cycle.

History proves this to be true. For example, 69 weeks after 536 B.C. is 53 B.C. (too early for the appearing of Christ); 69 weeks after the second decree in 519 B.C. is 36 B.C. (still too early). And 69 weeks after 457 B.C. is A.D. 27 (right on time).

Note: The 444 B.C. decree is not historically plausible because A.D. 40 is too late for the historical appearing of Messiah. Notice that Luke carefully documents the beginning year of Christ’s ministry (A.D. 27) by telling us who is ruling: “In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene…. The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Christ.” (Luke 3:1,15) In that very year, Jesus was baptized, being about 30 years of age. (Luke 3:21-23) Did Jesus come on time? Yes, He did! (Galatians 4:4)

The Wise Men

Here is an interesting point that confirms the truthfulness of what you have just read. Each time the story is told of the birth of Jesus, the wise men are mentioned. Many people do not know that the wise men are considered to have been serious students of prophecy.

They were Spirit-led Gentiles that lived in the East (area around Babylon) where they had found and studied Daniel’s writings. By studying Daniel 9 and considering that a priest in Israel had to be 30 years of age before beginning his ministry, they had calculated an approximate time for the appearing of Messiah.

It can be assumed that they counted 483 years from the decree of Artaxerxes in 457 B.C. and then subtracted 30 years from their conclusion to determine the approximate year of Jesus’ birth.

When we consider that their round-trip journey to see baby Jesus, could have taken up to two years, traveling at night, we detect the intensity of their desire to see the Messiah. Wise men do not go to such extremes for foolish reasons. Like the prophets Simeon and Anna, they too, longed to personally behold the Savior of the world.

The fact that the wise men were there at the birth of Jesus is a solid confirmation that the decree of Artaxerxes in 457 B.C. was understood to be the correct decree for starting the countdown. The presence of the wise men in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus’ birth is a undeniable statement about Daniel 9, for there is no other prophecy in the Bible pinpointing the time of Messiah’s appearing other than Daniel 9.

What is so ironic is that these “Gentiles” were watching and waiting for the sign of Messiah while the Jewish leaders were in total ignorance. Perhaps some of the Jewish elders had experienced false Messianic excitement before. So, what does their attitude about the birth of Christ actually say about their understanding of Daniel 9?

Time From Artaxerxes' Decree to the 70th Week

Time From Artaxerxes' Decree to the 70th Week

A Special Year

The intersection of Artaxerxes’ decree with a Sunday year and also a Jubilee year is not coincidental. The Jubilee Calendar is fully synchronized on Jesus Christ. He came and died right on time, in the middle year of the 70th week. He caused sacrifice and oblation to cease.

He confirmed the covenant of salvation. He was cut off from His own people and had nothing. He rose on time and now sits at the right hand of the Father! The importance of Messiah dying in the middle of the 70th week confirms something larger than the 70 week prophecy. It confirms that God can be fully trusted to fulfill all that He has said. After all, isn’t that the whole point of understanding Daniel 9?

The Great Tribulation is 1,335 Days

In closing, this might sound strange, but the good news is that the Great Tribulation is not seven years in length. Rather, according to Daniel 12:11-12, the time-period is a maximum of 1,335 days. The 70 weeks are history. The 70th week was fulfilled a long time ago by Jesus Himself. So, have no fear of the 70th week.

If you want to be concerned at the length of the Great Tribulation, you may want to study the 1,335 days of Daniel 12. Call us and get the Day Star (July, 1993) that covers this fascinating topic.

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Larry W. Wilson

Larry Wilson, founder of WUAS, became a “born again” Christian in 1972. His interest in the gospel has led him on a 40+ year quest to learn more about what God has revealed to Earth’s final generation. The results of his research have been shared all over the world in books, television & radio broadcasts, media interviews, and seminars that are publicly available on all different types of media (see our Christian Bookstore).

What is Wake Up America Seminars (WUAS)?
Wake Up America Seminars, Inc. is a nonprofit, nondenominational organization with a focus on the study of End-Time Prophecy. WUAS is not a church, nor does it endorse any denomination. Our focus is singular: We are dedicated to proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ and His imminent return. We are delighted that people of all faiths are diligently using the Bible study materials produced by WUAS. All study materials are based solely on the Bible alone.

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