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Daniel and Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks

Daniel chapter 9 is probably one of the most disagreed upon chapters in all of the Bible.  There is scarcely a word in it concerning the seventy week prophecy that is not disputed by somebody on either side of the spectrum of believers versus non-believers. 

Millennialists interpret this chapter in support of their various doctrines.  There are a number of millennial views to deal with, each having their own distinct belief structure all of which claim that Jesus Christ will return to earth some day and establish a literal thousand year reign.  Millennialism at its core level is wrong.  Jesus Christ is never going to return to earth to reign in a literal kingdom.  Jesus Christ Himself taught a number of things regarding His kingdom which must be recognized as truth.  A brief overview is in order for this study in light of the overwhelming abuse of Daniel chapter 9 in regards of millennial doctrine.  

Jesus taught in Matthew 16:28, "Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom".  Jesus referred to the kingdom that was coming as "his kingdom".  Jesus plainly stated that His kingdom was coming in the lifetimes of those who were in attendance at that particular time.  One would scarce think it would be necessary to point out the fact to our millennial friends that at the time of this study, it is almost 2000 years since Jesus made that statement.  All of the people who were standing there with Him at that time have been dead now for nearly twenty centuries.  This leaves us with the following conclusion that must be drawn from the facts at hand.  Either the kingdom of Christ is here, or Jesus Christ was mistaken when He stated what He did about the coming of His kingdom.  The consequences for such a thing would discount Jesus Christ as being deity and would therefore attack the very foundation upon which we build our faith in Jesus Christ as the only begotten Son of God and therefore sharing in the nature of the divine godhead.  Scripture absolutely identifies Jesus Christ as being God, (Hebrews 1:8), and so being, His nature is such that He cannot lie (Titus 1:5) therefore He cannot make a statement which is not the truth. 

On at least one occasion, when being confronted by the Pharisees on "when the kingdom of God should come", Jesus answered them with this statement, "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:20-21).  Jesus told them the kingdom would not be something that would be seen, or observed.  Nobody will be able to point to His kingdom and say, "there is the kingdom of God".  He then told them the kingdom was within them, meaning it is a spiritual kingdom and not a physical one.

When standing before Pilate on the night of His betrayal, Jesus made this statement, "My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence" (John 18:36).  Jesus referred to the kingdom as "my kingdom" and He said it was not of this world.  This complements His teaching to the Pharisees that His kingdom was not physical but spiritual in nature.  Then in a later statement to Pilate at this same hearing Jesus said, "Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world".  So we know from the mouth of Jesus that; (1) His kingdom was coming within the lifetimes of some He taught; (2) His kingdom was spiritual and not physical; (3) and Jesus Christ came to earth to be a king. 

There is plenty of evidence in scripture that supports the existence of Christ's kingdom in the first century.  Paul taught the Colossians in chapter 1 and verse 13 that they had been translated [paste tense], "into the kingdom of His dear Son".  The Hebrew writer referred to himself and his readers as "receiving [present tense], a kingdom"  That means it is happening now, not some distant time thousands of years later.  When John wrote the Revelation, he affirmed himself to be "in the kingdom" of Jesus Christ (chapter 1 and verse 9).  One cannot be "receiving", and "translated into" and then "in" a kingdom that does not exist.  A kingdom cannot function without a king and a king without a kingdom is not a king.  Jesus Christ who came to earth to be a king therefore is ruling over His spiritual kingdom right now.

The millennialists have got it all wrong, so their understanding of Daniel is completely at odds with clear teachings of Jesus as recorded in the inspired text.  Their entire template for their beliefs is wrong before they even approach Daniel chapter 9.  The only way they can get the elements of the seventy weeks prophecy to fit their model is to force it into a mold that the text doesn't support.   If millennialism were true, then many of the things Jesus and other inspired writers taught cannot be reconciled and are therefore not the truth and we know that God's word is truth.  Jesus Christ is absolutely returning to earth, but it is not to set up an earthly kingdom.  Jesus rejected the offer of being an earthly king when the Israelites tried to make Him one by force, (John 6:15).  2 Peter 3:10 reads, "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up."  The next time Jesus comes to earth will be the end of the existence of earth.  "there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust" (Acts 24:15). "The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation" (John 5:28-29).

Daniel 9:20 
"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"

Interestingly it is noted here that Daniel was speaking his prayer out loud.  We know from earlier writings of Daniel that he was devoted to regular prayer.  It was this devotion to daily prayer that the Chaldeans used to trick Darius into throwing him to the lions.  There can not be enough said to emphasize the significance of regular prayer to God and speaking one's prayers out loud is without question an acceptable means of communication with our creator. 

"Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer"

Daniel was not finished praying when Gabriel arrived with his divine message.  We will never know this side of paradise what else Daniel may have said in his petition to God.  However, what we do have recorded of the prayer fulfilled all of God's conditions for the ending of the captivity according to the prophets. 

"even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning"

Daniel identified Gabriel as the same being that visited him with a diving message at the first of his visions.  Daniel's first vision recorded for us was the vision of the four kingdoms recorded in chapter 7 which came to him during the first year of king Belsazzar.  During that vision, Daniel said he came near to one of the heavenly beings which resembled a man in form and asked him to explain the interpretation of the vision he had just seen.  Gabriel was mentioned by name in the second vision which occurred in the third year of the reign of Belshazzar.  It appears that the identity of the one Daniel was speaking to in his first vision could possibly have been Gabriel.  We cannot be sure, but it makes for some interesting speculation. 

The King James Version rendering of this text makes it appear as if Gabriel was a man.  He was not a physical flesh and blood man.  This translation of the text does not reflect the most accurate meaning of what was being recorded.  The Greek word for "man" in the text has also been translated as "one" and "person" in the KJV.  Young's Literal Translation renders this passage thus: "yea, while I am speaking in prayer, then that one Gabriel, whom I had seen in vision at the commencement".  While I do not want this study to be an endorsement as to the accuracy of Young's Literal Translation, I do believe this is a more accurate rendering of this particular text. 

Gabriel was certainly not a man in the flesh and blood form we understand a man to be.  He appears in the New Testament as the angel of the annunciation to Zacharias of the birth of John the Baptist, and to Mary of the birth of Jesus (Luke 1:19,26).  When he identified himself to Zacharias he said, "I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God".  Obviously Gabriel was of enough ranking among the heavenly beings that he was in the position to receive his orders directly from the person of God Himself.  This certainly suggests that Gabriel was an angel of a high ranking station in the heavenly realm.  Gabriel was positively identified as an angel in the text of Luke 1:19 and again in Luke 1:26, "And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth".  We have every reason to conclude that the Gabriel of Luke and of Daniel are one and the same beings.  Therefore the translation of the text as the "man Gabriel" cannot be the most accurate rendering in view of the fact that it does not fit the facts we know from inspiration. 

"being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation"

The Greek word rendered as "swiftly" carries the meaning of being fatigued or utterly exhausted.  Based on a study of the original language, I feel the New American Standard Updated (NASU), is probably the more accurate rendering of what Daniel meant, "came to me in my extreme weariness about the time of the evening offering".

We learned from Daniel in chapter 6 and verse 10 that he was in the habit of kneeling upon his knees and praying toward Jerusalem three times a day.  This evening oblation was obviously his third daily prayer ritual which he took part in regularly for his entire life. 

"touched me"

According to Daniel, Gabriel touched him.  This was no ordinary vision, rather this was a literal, in person, visitation of the angel Gabriel the same way he visited Zechariah and Mary a few centuries later to announce the arrival of the Messiah.  Daniel specifically mentioned that Gabriel touched him, thereby indicating that this was a heavenly visit from a real angel. 

Daniel 9:22 
"And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding."

Gabriel was talking with Daniel.   Not in a vision obscurely, but with audible words in the same way we would speak to each other in a conversation and he is going to help Daniel understand.

Daniel 9:23 
"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."

Gabriel was sent as soon as Daniel started to pray.  Daniel was allowed to finish his supplication before he was interrupted.  He had confessed the sins of Israel, acknowledge their guilt, accepted responsibility of their transgressions, declared that God was justified in His actions and pleaded for forgiveness and mercy.  Everything that is required for forgiveness and mercy through prayer had been done.   Daniel may have had more to say when Gabriel touched him, but at that time, more was unnecessary. 

"for thou art greatly beloved:"

Oh, how it would thrill my heart to have any heavenly messenger tell me this.  One could only imagine the joy Daniel had to have felt upon hearing these words.  Torn from his home as a young boy, mutilated, enslaved and carried away to a foreign land by a hostile force where he lived out his days in forced servitude to others.  He had been a slave for almost seventy years.  He had survived the conquest of Israel and seen two empires come to power in his lifetime.  He had seen more bloodshed, pain and suffering than many people today could imagine.  He had been unable to offer worship in the temple his whole life from the day of his capture. 

It is obvious from the text that Daniel enjoyed privileges that were most certainly denied to his countrymen, however no amount of privileged treatment can make slavery anything less than what it was.  Daniel was never free to return to Israel or he doubtless would have.  Daniel would never be able to marry and have a family and in any way live any kind of a normal life.  One can only imagine how he had to feel all those years and to maintain his faith to a degree that few on earth ever achieved.  And then, at the twilight years of his life, to hear from Gabriel himself that he was greatly beloved amongst the heavenly host would no doubt make it all worthwhile.  This student of the scriptures cannot imagine a greater compliment that could be paid a man this side of eternity than to inform him that he was greatly beloved by God. 

"therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision."

I am not sure whether the following is the vision itself or if this is Gabriel explaining a vision Daniel previously had but did not fully understand.  The wording of the following prophecy is not worded like it is a vision.  It is worded more like an explanation of one.  We may never know this side of judgment and it makes no difference one way or the other.  What is significant is that the next four verses contain some of the most widely disputed prophecy in all of scripture.  And in looking at it, I am forced to speculate on why it is that way.  The prophecy is marvelously simple.  The wording is not at all cryptic or shrouded in apocalyptic imagery.  I am persuaded that the following prophecy is the explanation of a vision and I have to concede that Gabriel did a wonderful job of explaining it to Daniel.  I have read almost everything I can get my hands on prior to this point in the study in hopes of gleaning whatever knowledge I can to help me better understand it when the time came for me to address this prophecy.  And setting here looking at it and preparing to present my thoughts on it, I cannot help but wonder what all the disagreement is about.  

First of all, we need to determine what the weeks mean and whether the number 70 is literal or not.  The short answer is that we know the weeks are figurative.  So then if the weeks are figurative then why would the number then be literal?  The seventy weeks is for a literal number of figurative time periods?  I think not. 

The long answer is that it can be determined through a really simple process of elimination.  When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains must be the truth.  Verse 25 gives us the time when the seventy weeks begins.  It begins at the point that the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem went forth.  This will be the first one and not any commands subsequent to that.  We know from the prophecy itself in verse 25 that the rebuilding will be in troublous times.  We know from history and from scripture that this was indeed so.  The Israelites did not just get an order to go home and rebuild the temple and get to accomplish that without some difficulties.  It didn't happen that way and the prophecy says so.  The entire prophecy is said to occur in seventy weeks, which is from the first command to its fulfillment in Christ.  The initial command to restore and build Jerusalem came from Cyrus in the first year of his reign.  It is recorded in words that cannot be misunderstood in more than one place by more than one inspired writer. 

Ezra 1:1-3
"Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.  Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem."

That is the command that came forth to "restore and to build Jerusalem".  It is recorded also in 2 Chronicles 36:22-23.  It is exceedingly significant also to consider the Prophecy of Isaiah in 44:26-28, "That confirmeth the word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers; that saith to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof: That saith to the deep, Be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers: That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid".  The decree to rebuild Jerusalem absolutely came forth from Cyrus in 539 or 538 BC. of which there can be no reasonable doubt. 

In September 539 BC, the Battle of Opis, a major engagement between the armies of Persia under Cyrus the Great and the Babylonian Empire under Nabonidus during the Persian invasion of Mesopotamia was won by Cyrus. At the time, Babylonia was the last major power in western Asia that was not yet under Persian control. The battle was fought in or near the strategic riverside city of Opis, north of the capital Babylon. It resulted in a decisive defeat for the Babylonians.

Nabonidus fled to the city of Babylon, which he had not visited in years. On October 12 Gubaru's troops entered Babylon without any resistance from the Babylonian armies, and detained Nabonidus.  They accomplished this by diverting the Euphrates river into a canal so that the water level dropped to only about three feet which allowed the invading forces to march directly through the river bed and enter at night. On October 29, 539 BC, Cyrus himself entered the city of Babylon and detained Nabonidus.  After taking Babylon, according to history, Cyrus proclaimed himself "king of Babylon, king of Sumer and Akkad, king of the four corners of the world". 

It was in the winter months of 539 when Cyrus took Babylon and proclaimed himself king of the world.  Ezra wrote that it was in the first year of the reign of Cyrus that the decree to rebuild Jerusalem went forth.  At the very latest it could not have been any later than 538 BC that this decree went forth.  We know the day and year that Cyrus came into power and we know from Ezra that he gave the decree to rebuild Jerusalem in the first year of his reign.  So let's say the decree went out in 538 BC at the latest. 

The end of seventy weeks prophecy culminates with the ending of sacrifice and the destruction of the city and the sanctuary.  That is the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple which put an end to the animal sacrifices and this happened in 70 AD.  That is 608 years in round figures.  Way more than seventy weeks so we know before anything else that the language is not literal.  It does not say seventy years.  People seem to somehow look at that and automatically correlate a week to seven years.  It doesn't say that anywhere in the text.  It says seventy weeks.  We do not have to look any further than that to conclude that the time period is not a literal one.  Now, suppose a week really did mean seven years.  The text in verse 26 says "AFTER" threescore and two weeks, the Messiah shall be cut off.  That is sixty nine of the seventy weeks and the end of it is pinpointed at the crucifixion of Christ which happened in 30 AD (some say 33 AD).  If a week is seven years then we are talking about 483 years.  The time span between the decree of Cyrus and the cutting off of the Messiah was 568 years in round numbers. 

Premillennialists try and literalize the seventy sevens into a literal time frame of one week for one year by trying to use the decree of Artaxerxes in 458 BC. as the time when the commandment to rebuild the temple went forth.  It is true that 490 years after the decree of Artaxerxes is 32 AD which is a remarkable coincidence to say the least.  It is exceedingly important to note that the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem did not originate with Artaxerxes.  The decree of Artaxerxes was a re-issue of the original written decree of Cyrus in 538 BC.  To use the decree of Artaxerxes as the time when the seventy weeks began is to utterly discount and ignore the one made by Cyrus in 538 and to utterly throw out Isaiah's prophecy in 44:26-28.  That's like saying the decree of Cyrus didn't count even though several Israelites returned to Jerusalem and began working on the temple and taking with them many of the temple treasures that had been confiscated in Nebuchadnezzar's siege.   The Premillennialists also miss the fact that the prophecy said the Messiah would be cut off (executed), after sixty nine weeks.  They are still one full 7 year period of time off according to their interpretation. 

The decree of Cyrus to rebuild Jerusalem came 69 years after the initial overthrow of the city by Nebuchadnezzar.  That's too close to the seventy year time of the captivity to be a coincidence.  The scripture says the captivity would last for 70 years and the decree to go forth happened about that time in their captivity.  If we use the decree of Artaxerxes which happened for Ezra in the seventh year of his reign (Ezra 7:7), which was about 458 BC., then the captivity really lasted from 606 to 457 BC which in round numbers is 149 years.  The end of the Babylonian captivity of seventy years was when the decree by Cyrus went out, as prophesied in Isaiah 44:26-28 and recorded in Ezra 1:1-3 and 2 Chronicles 36:22-23, which allowed the Israelites to return home and to rebuild the city.  Yes the captivity was for seventy years because Jeremiah said seventy years and it was seventy years in round numbers.  Gabriel told Daniel seventy weeks.  It is obviously a figurative time period because we know for a fact that it was longer than seventy literal weeks from the end of the captivity till Jesus.  Weeks cannot mean years because that doesn't fit the time frame either.  There is simply no way to get from 70 weeks to 490 years without doing some pretty impressive scriptural gymnastics and there is no way to fit 490 years into the historical account in any way.  So through the process of elimination, we can determine that seventy weeks was not a literal period of time.   

So then what did seventy weeks mean?  How long of a period of time was it?  First off, we should look at the original language to see where the term "seventy weeks" comes from.  The word for weeks is the Hebrew word transliterated as "shabua".  This word's literal meaning is "sevens" or "sevenths".  Apparently the word is translated into the English word "weeks" based on the fact that it is similarly translated in other passages which clearly tie the context to a literal and defined period of time.  Since the context of Daniel 9:24 clearly looks like a period of time and that it is following on the heels of the 70 years prophecy of the Babylonian captivity, the translators are deferring to the word "weeks" based largely upon the translation of other passages elsewhere.  The translation of the Hebrew words for seventy weeks can rightfully be translated as "seventy sevens".  In fact, the NIV does translate this passage as "seventy sevens" instead of "seventy weeks".  

Some numbers had specific meaning to the Israelites and the number 7 was one such number.  Multiples of a number with a specific meaning added emphasis or strength to the imagery.  The number 7 came to symbolize the meaning of totality or completeness associated with God's authority on the earth.  It is believed by many that the number 7 is a product of adding the number 3 which represented the complete divine, to the number 4 which symbolized the whole earth.  The number 10 came to represent human completeness (fullness or power).  A complete analysis of these numbers and what they represented to the Israelites is found in my study guide for the book of Revelation in chapter 3 of the guide,  Understanding the Numerical Symbolism in Revelation.  The number 70 is a multiple of 7 and 10 then being multiplied another 7 times would therefore represent a period of time sufficient for God to accomplish his complete purpose both in heaven and on earth.  This expression would be another way of saying "in the fullness of time" as we see in Galatians 4:4. 

Now that we have answered the question about the literalness of the seventy weeks timeframe for the prophecy, we are ready to move on to the text of the prophecy itself.  The language may have been difficult for someone living centuries before Christ, but from our perspective it is easy to look at the prophecy and correlate the language to actual events that we know happened.  It is always easier to look back and identify and understand prophecy which has been fulfilled than it is to look at it before its fulfillment then try to look ahead and speculate.  And that is how God meant for it to be.  His intention with prophecy and fulfillment was to demonstrate His divine nature in a way that could not be reasonably denied.  Prophecy and fulfillment is how God proves Himself to man because only God possesses the ability to look down the road of time at what lies ahead and predict with pinpoint accuracy events that have not yet happened. 

Daniel 9:24
"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."

In response to Daniel's prayer, Gabriel here gives Daniel a figurative period of time in which a list of things will be accomplished.  All of these accomplishments culminated with the coming of Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah. 

1)  to finish the transgression,

The original language literally means to "shut up; to remove from God's sight.  Jesus came in the "fulness of the time" (Galatians 4:4) meaning in the time appointed when the transgression of the people had reached the point where it completed God's arrangement for the fulfilling of His promise to usher in the Messiah.  Finishing the transgression is closely associated with the ending of sins.  The two are bound together. 

2)  "and to make an end of sins,"

This was accomplished when Christ "condemned sin in the flesh" (Romans 8:3).  Only through Jesus Christ has there ever been any such thing as the absolute forgiveness of sins.  Under the Mosaic Law, sins were atoned for but were not taken away (Hebrews 10:4).  Through the blood of Christ, the complete forgiveness of sins was made available both to those living before (Hebrews 9:15) and after the cross (Hebrews 10:12).  Jesus did not bring an end to sinful behavior, which will endure to the end of time itself.  Rather He made an end of the bondage and penalty of sin for those who seek redemption, in and through Jesus Christ, according to His will. 

3)  "and to make reconciliation for iniquity,"

The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), which is understood to be eternal destruction from the presence of God (2 Thessalonians 1:9).  Our sins have separated us from God (Isaiah 59:2), and we are in need of reconciliation.  This was accomplished through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary.  The Israelites enjoyed a temporary reconciliation with God from their blood sacrifices.  The Hebrew writer went into great detail on this in chapters 9 and 10.  Under the Mosaic law, once a year, the high priest would enter into the holy of holies where he would be a type of mediator and make reconciliation for the sins of the people (Hebrews 9:7).  But this reconciliation was not complete (Hebrews 9:9), because the blood of bulls and goats could not completely take away sin, thus there was a remembrance of sin every year (Hebrews 10:3,4). 

Hebrews 9:11-15
"But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats , and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance."

The reconciliation that Christ made for sin was not in need of repetition.  Notice in verse 15 of Hebrews 9 that "by means of death, [Jesus offered His blood] for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament".  The complete reconciliation of sin for those living under the old testament did not happen until Jesus offered His sacrifice for their sins.  Jesus' blood shed on the cross was for everyone living both before and after His crucifixion.

The application of this for us living after the cross is mentioned by Paul in Romans 5:10, "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled , we shall be saved by his life.

Paul also mentions the reconciliation of Jesus in other epistles: 2 Corinthians 5:18-21, "And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."

Colossians 1:20-22, "And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled  in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight."

4)  "and to bring in everlasting righteousness,"

Everlasting means perpetual.  The new covenant is a much better one than the old one and was "established upon better promises" (Hebrews 8:6)The old covenant could not provide perpetual righteousness, thus is had a fault (Hebrews 8:7) and was replaced by the new covenant.  Jesus accomplished this through His death, burial and resurrection.  The righteousness that Jesus ushered in through His sacrifice would never be in need of renewal.  The righteousness under the Mosaic law was only a temporary measure set in place until such time that Jesus came in the flesh and through His sacrifice ushered in a righteousness that had no end, "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more" (Hebrews 8:12).

5)  "and to seal up the vision and prophecy,"

The sealing of vision and prophecy has a dual meaning here.  The Greek word for "seal" is OT:2856, "chatham", pronounced (khaw-tham').  It carries the meaning of "to close up".  It is translated in the KJV as, "make an end", "mark" and "stop".  This word is used in Isaiah 29:11 to illustrate the inability to read a book due to its being sealed, or closed up, "And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed"

The sealing up of the vision and prophecy is speaking first of the visions and prophecies concerning Jesus Christ.  They would no longer be open and awaiting fulfillment.  Secondly, it means to bring in the fullness of revelation and thus bring no more.  So we know that during this period of time represented as seventy weeks, we can expect the OT prophecies concerning Christ to be fulfilled and the reception of the covenant in its entirety to be received.  And we know from scripture that this has indeed happened.  Scripture makes the internal self affirmation that everything pertaining to life and godliness has been given (2 Peter 1:3), that is was once for all time delivered (Jude 3), and that it is God breathed and throughly furnishes us unto all good works (2 Timothy 3:16-17). 

Having received the will of God embodied in the new covenant in its entirety and recorded in the scriptures, there is therefore no reason for any further prophecy or vision and according to Daniel it was finished and sealed up during the period of time characterized as seventy weeks. 

6)  "and to anoint the most Holy."

This is of course in reference to Jesus Christ.  The word "Christ" (Christos) is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew "Messiah" (mashiach; compare in the New Testament, John 1:41; 4:25, "Messiah"), which means "anointed".  Jesus Christ is recognized as the fulfiller of the Messianic hopes of the Old Testament and of the Jewish people.  After the resurrection, Jesus Christ became the current title for Jesus among the saved. 

The Hebrew word for "anoint",  OT:4886, "mashach" means to mark, smear or consecrate.  It is and was a common word in both ancient and modern Hebrew.  It is a verb in this form and the objects of this verb are usually people, sacrificial animals or objects of worship.  In this case, it was referring to Jesus Christ, the Messiah, or the anointed one. 

On the occasion when the chief priests in Jerusalem forbad the teaching of Jesus by his disciples following the healing of the man at the beautiful gate, the disciples assembled and prayed to God for strength and boldness, this was said during that prayer recorded in Acts 4:27, "For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed..."  When Peter was speaking to Cornelius at his conversion, Peter made this statement recorded in Acts 10:38, "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him".  There can be no doubt that the anointing of the "most Holy" is indeed a Messianic prophecy of Jesus Christ.


Daniel 9:25 
"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."

The going forth of the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem came from Cyrus in about 536 BC.  This commandment is recorded for us in 2 Chronicles 36:23 and in more detail in Ezra 1:1-4"

"Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.  Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem.  And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem."

Those who desperately try to resolve the timeline of the seventy weeks to a literal period of one year per day in the vision vainly try and set forth the idea that the commandment to rebuild the temple really went out in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah when Artaxerxes sent them to finish the restoration of the temple and the city in 458 and 444 respectively.  They claim that the commandment of Cyrus did not really count because the temple and the walls of Jerusalem were not completely restored.  Those who try and cling to this belief need to come to the realization that Darius the Great (Hystaspes) reissued the original decree of Cyrus and temple was dedicated and brought into service in his 6th year as king in 516 BC.  Ezra 5:17 reads: "Now therefore, if it seem good to the king, let there be search made in the king's treasure house, which is there at Babylon, whether it be so, that a decree was made of Cyrus the king to build this house of God at Jerusalem, and let the king send his pleasure to us concerning this matter."

Following in Ezra chapter 6:1-3 we read of Darius reaction to this information he received: "Then Darius the king made a decree, and search was made in the house of the rolls, where the treasures were laid up in Babylon.  And there was found at Achmetha, in the palace that is in the province of the Medes, a roll, and therein was a record thus written:  In the first year of Cyrus the king the same Cyrus the king made a decree concerning the house of God at Jerusalem, Let the house be builded, the place where they offered sacrifices, and let the foundations thereof be strongly laid..."

And then moving along in Ezra we read this:  Ezra 6:15, "And this house was finished on the third day of the month Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king."  This was in about 516 BC., which will not allow for a 483 year time interval.  Yet so many persist in forcing a literal time period into the account. 

Of exceeding importance in this examination is that God declared through the prophet Zechariah that it was Zerubbabel who would lay the foundation of the temple and that it was he would finish it.  Zechariah 4:9 reads, "The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it...".  Zerubbabel was informed by a prophet of God and it has been recorded by inspiration that the temple would be finished in his lifetime and at his hands.  According to Ezra 3:8 the rebuilding of the "house of the Lord" began in the second year after they returned from Babylonian Captivity after Cyrus freed them.  Since Zerubbabel was said to have finished the rebuilding, it therefore validates the original decree of Cyrus as being the one that started the seven sevens time interval given in 537 or 538 BC., and certainly not the decree of Artaxerxes when Ezra and Nehemiah went to work on the walls and the temple 58 or so years later when Zerubbabel was most certainly dead.  If Zerubbabel were still alive at the time of Ezra then he would have been 77 years old if he had been born the same year work began on the temple under the decree of Cyrus. 

In addition to this, Isaiah projected the decree of Cyrus in Isaiah 44:26-28, "That confirmeth the word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers; that saith to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof: That saith to the deep, Be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers: That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid." with additional supportive text in 45:1 and 13.  

So we see here that Darius did not make a new decree.  He simply was made aware of the decree of Cyrus, (which had been prophesied by Isaiah), and in accordance with Persian national law, which states that any official decree of a king could not be altered (Daniel 6:8, 12, 15, and Esther 1:19, 8:8), caused the decree of Cyrus to be enforced.  So the commandment of Cyrus went out in about 538 BC.  The wording of the text gives us 69 weeks between that decree and "Messiah the Prince" which can be none other than Jesus Christ.  So we have a period of time represented here by "seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks" which totals sixty nine which starts in 538 BC and ends with the death of Jesus Christ in about 33 AD.  Some people give the date as 30 AD.  There is some dispute as to the exact year of the crucifixion of Christ.  Daniel 9:26 plainly bookmarks the end of the sixty nine week interval with the cutting off of the Messiah which can be nothing other than His crucifixion.  The sixty nine week interval following the seven week interval totals sixty nine.  If a day in the vision represented a year then this would be a literal time period of four hundred and eighty three years.  From 538 BC to 30 AD is five hundred and sixty eight years so it is obvious that the time intervals are figurative.  No amount of scriptural gymnastics can change this.  Those who want so much to demonstrate a literal time frame and somehow force a four hundred and eighty three year time period into Jewish history that somehow aligns with the text need to stop doing that and start figuring out what was meant by the figurative terms used in Daniel's vision.  There is no way to make four hundred and eighty three years fit.  It just won't do it.  So with that stated, what exactly is meant by the terms used in the vision?

We are here confronted with apocalyptic periods.  In our text, it is “seventy weeks”, but maybe a better insight is found in the NIV which references “seventy sevens”.  Scholars have referenced these as “heptads” which means values of seven.  These seventy weeks or seventy sevens will be broken into three units as follows: (a) the first unit of seven sevens (weeks), (b) the second unit of 62 sevens (weeks) and (c) the third and final unit of the seventieth seven (week) as one seven.  If these are added together, we have seventy sevens or seventy weeks.  In this study, we will be more concerned with the first set of sevens and the final seven.  We will address the middle portion more as we see the projected and chronological historic overviews of the Greek and Roman empires that followed that of the Medo-Persians in the remaining chapters of Daniel.

The number 7 came to symbolize the meaning of totality or completeness associated with God's authority on the earth.  Therefore the apocalyptic meaning of the term "seven sevens" and "threescore and two sevens" are descriptive of a period of time sufficient for God to accomplish His will on earth.  There are two distinct intervals here.  One represented the interval of time during which Jerusalem and the temple would be rebuilt and the longer interval will be representative of the years following the rebuilding of the temple to the death of Jesus Christ on the cross (V-26), described as the Messiah being "cut off". 

"the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times."

Daniel learns that the city of Jerusalem which at the moment lay in ruins would be restored.  However the process would not be without difficulties.  And indeed history records that the rebuilding was not accomplished without overcoming any hurdles and that it was problematic at best. 

Shortly after the work on the temple began, the Samaritans offered to help but were rejected.  Samaria was located within the northern kingdom of Israel.  When the kingdom was split leaving Judah to the south and Israel to the north, the northern kingdom eventually gave themselves over to idolatry.  They had a form of worship which was similar to the worship of God in Judah but did not measure up to the standards set forth in scripture for proper worship of God which was to be conducted in Jerusalem at the temple.  The Israelites of the northern kingdom set up their own sanctuary at a place of their choosing and from there, the worship they offered further eroded as the influences of other foreign gods entered in due to the mixing of their culture with others, namely the Assyrians.  As a result, the faithful Jews charged with rebuilding the temple refused to have any part whatsoever with the Samaritans. 

In Ezra 4, the separation between Samaritan and Jew over the rebuilding of the temple came about shortly after the Persians allowed the Jews to return from the Babylonian captivity in 538 B.C. The "residents of Samaria" were rejected by the Jews when they asked to help rebuild the temple. Angered by this refusal, the Samaritans opposed the rebuilding of the temple and did whatever they could to prevent the Jews from restoring it and the city.  They even went so far as to hire professional counselors to oppose them before the various Persian kings from Cyrus to Darius the Great. 

During the reign of Artaxerxes, they wrote a letter to him accusing the Jews of being seditious and untrustworthy and successfully thwarted the rebuilding of the city walls for a time.   This letter is recorded in Ezra 4:12-16, "Be it known unto the king, that the Jews which came up from thee to us are come unto Jerusalem, building the rebellious and the bad city, and have set up the walls thereof, and joined the foundations.  Be it known now unto the king, that, if this city be builded, and the walls set up again, then will they not pay toll, tribute, and custom, and so thou shalt endamage the revenue of the kings.  Now because we have maintenance from the king's palace, and it was not meet for us to see the king's dishonour, therefore have we sent and certified the king;  That search may be made in the book of the records of thy fathers: so shalt thou find in the book of the records, and know that this city is a rebellious city, and hurtful unto kings and provinces, and that they have moved sedition within the same of old time: for which cause was this city destroyed.  We certify the king that, if this city be builded again, and the walls thereof set up, by this means thou shalt have no portion on this side the river."

Artaxerxes' reaction to this letter was immediate as recorded in Ezra 4:18-24, "The letter which ye sent unto us hath been plainly read before me. And I commanded, and search hath been made, and it is found that this city of old time hath made insurrection against kings, and that rebellion and sedition have been made therein.  There have been mighty kings also over Jerusalem, which have ruled over all countries beyond the river; and toll, tribute, and custom, was paid unto them.  Give ye now commandment to cause these men to cease, and that this city be not builded, until another commandment shall be given from me.  Take heed now that ye fail not to do this: why should damage grow to the hurt of the kings?  Now when the copy of king Artaxerxes' letter was read before Rehum, and Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went up in haste to Jerusalem unto the Jews, and made them to cease by force and power.  Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem. So it ceased unto the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia."

The Samaritans used the history of the rebellious Jews against them to raise the suspicions of the kings of Persia.  The kings wanted their tribute money without any trouble and if the Jews were only going to revolt against them and be a thorn in their side, then what incentive did they have to allow them to grow in power?  The strategy of the Samaritans worked and the Jews were forced to stop the rebuilding process.

As the years went by, Artaxerxes, also called Cambyses II, died and was replaced by Darius the Great in 522 BC.  The prophets Haggai and Zechariah, by the word of God, got the Jews restarted with the restoration of the temple.  Zerubbabel and Jeshua with the aid of the prophets organized the rebuilding of the temple and work was being done to that goal (Ezra 5:2).  The ever meddlesome Samaritans across the river to the north became aware of this and sent a letter to Darius the Great informing him of the rebuilding of the temple in hopes that he would follow in the steps of Cambyses II and halt their restoration efforts by force.  They were in for quite a surprise and this student of God's word finds the irony of this situation to be quite appropriate for the grief that was caused by the Samaritans in their resistance to the rebuilding efforts of the Jews. 

The Samaritans, like all other holdings of the various empires in power were forced to pay tribute or taxes to the supreme monarchy, which in this case was Persia.  In Ezra 6:7-8, we see the decision of Darius the Great:  "Let the work of this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God in his place. Moreover I made a decree what ye shall do to the elders of these Jews for the building of this house of God: that of the king's goods, even of the tribute beyond the river, forthwith expenses be given unto these men, that they be not hindered."  Not only did Darius put a stop to the Samaritan opposition, he supported their rebuilding effort with the tribute money that was due him from the Samaritans.   Darius donated the Samaritan tribute money to the rebuilding efforts of the temple.  I often speculate with great satisfaction, the outrage experienced by the Samaritans over this development. 

Indeed the house of God was rebuilt in troublesome times, but it was rebuilt and dedicated in 516 BC., about 546 years before the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. 

Daniel 9:26 
"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."

After sixty two periods of time identified as a week.  These weeks are obviously symbolic and not literal.  Many erstwhile and sincere scholars believe each week to represent one year but in order to force this interpretation into reality, some significant scriptural evidence to the contrary must be downright ignored. 

As stated earlier in this study, the rendering of the original language as "sevens" instead of "weeks" better fits the reality of scripture and the historical account. 

And after threescore and two [sevens] shall Messiah be cut off. 

The first time interval accounted for the rebuilding of the temple which began in 537 BC and ended with the rebuilding of the walls in 444 BC.  This covers a time span of about 93 years.  The second time interval mentioned in this vision is one of threescore and two (62) sevens.  It begins with the finishing of the walls of Jerusalem and ends with the cutting off of the Messiah.  This can only be the death of Jesus Christ on the cross which happened in about 30 AD.  This covers a time span of about 474 years.  If a week equaled 7 years then we would be looking for a time span of 434 years.  It's close but not nearly close enough to attribute the "year for a day" interpretation to this vision.  And even if it did work out, the first interval which would have been 49 years under the "year for a day" interpretation does not work out either.  Therefore we can decisively conclude that these intervals of time are not literal years for a day. 

Nothing is mentioned here of this interval of time which we refer to today as the interbiblical period.  This particular vision only pays this interval of time an honorable mention.  However, in Daniel's last recorded vision, this interval of time receives a full treatment. 

This interval time, here identified vaguely in apocalyptic language ends with the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.  Following this event are others which positively align with messianic history.

"and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary"

Jerusalem was utterly destroyed in AD 70 when Titus, the son of Emperor Vespasian utterly destroyed the city and the temple.  This happened after the death of Jesus on the cross but will be put into clearer perspective in the following verse. 

"and the end thereof shall be with a flood and unto the end of the war desolations are determined."

The final destruction of Jerusalem was after a devastating defeat.  The symbolism of a flood indicates the overwhelming degree of destruction that was to befall the city.  And the destruction of Jerusalem did mark the end of a war with the Roman Empire.  The Jews were utterly subjugated.  The temple and the city was destroyed and the population was scattered across the Roman Empire, some going as refugees while others were forced to relocate at the command of the Empire.  The result was that as a nation, the Jews were destroyed.  Jerusalem lay in ruins, the temple was burned.  The records of the Levitical line of Aaron were lost in the destruction which made it impossible for anyone to prove their bloodline qualification for serving as a priest in the temple.  Never again would there be sacrifices offered to God from the temple in Jerusalem.  The commonwealth status of the Jews, as the chosen people of God, was over.  And to this day, nearly 2000 years later, it has not been restored, nor will it ever be restored.

"desolations are determined"

Desolations is a word associated elsewhere with the destruction or defilement of the temple.  We will see similar wording concerning the abomination that maketh desolate in the last vision of Daniel concerning the acts of Antiochus IV in the temple. 

In Matthew 24 is an account of Jesus warning his disciples of the impending destruction of the temple. In verse 15 Jesus says, "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet..."  In this vision, Daniel is directly prophesying the destruction of Jerusalem and uses the words "desolations are determined" thus Jesus was making a connection between Daniel's vision here and the coming destruction of the temple. 

Daniel earlier referred to the destroyed temple of his day as desolate in his prayer of supplication leading up to this vision as recorded in Daniel 9:17.  Daniel knew when he heard the word desolations in connection with the destruction of the sanctuary that the temple which was going to be built would not be a permanent one.  It would be destroyed like the first one had.  No doubt Daniel was happy with the revelation that the temple would be rebuilt in the first part of this vision, but now he has been told that it will be destroyed again.  It is hard to imagine what the aged Daniel would be thinking at this time.  It is certain that he knew fully well the suffering that would be associated with it having lived through just such an event himself. 

Daniel 9:27 
"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."

The first two time intervals used sixty nine of the seventy sevens determined at the beginning of this vision.  There is yet one seven to be accounted for.  We have already seen something of the seventieth week in the preceding verse.  The sixty ninth week ended with cutting off the Messiah which is without a doubt the crucifixion.  So we know that everything that happened historically after the death of Christ goes within the seventieth seven, or the third time interval of Daniel's vision.  Apocalyptic language is known for not giving a step by step account of events in perfect Chronological order so this should neither be a surprise nor a difficulty for the reader to understand. 

The covenant being confirmed is undoubtedly the new covenant or the gospel since we know Jesus wouldn't be confirming a covenant that had been in effect for centuries and was passing from the scene. 

"and in the midst of the week"

This literally means in the middle of the time interval which demonstrates that the following events are going to occur within the final time interval of the vision and not at the beginning or the end.  Mark 16:20 says, "And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following...".  And we know these signs were accomplished through the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit; Hebrews 2:4, "God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will".

There are those who claim that all miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit ended by 70 AD.  On the other end of the scale there are those who claim that they are still going on today.  It is exceedingly significant that when we look at these intervals of time in a relative sense, even though they are not literally one year for every day, they still bear a proportional size to the actual timeframes they represent.  The time interval for the rebuilding of the temple and the walls of Jerusalem was seven sevens which represented about 93 years in history.  The second interval was for sixty two sevens which spanned about 474 years.  The third time interval is for one seven which proportionally should be for a shorter period of time.  Jesus died in 30 AD.  The destruction of Jerusalem was in 70 AD which is 40 years.  We already know that the first two time intervals are not year for a day time spans.  There is no reason to conclude that the last one is either. 

For those who claim the Holy Spirit is working miraculously today, they need to explain why the last seven or the seventieth week stretches along for roughly 2000 years while the other two time intervals, which were represented by more sevens, are so vastly disproportional. 

Those who claim all miraculous gifts stopped at 70 AD need to explain how the destruction of Jerusalem happened in the midst or during the last time interval which was the confirmation period where the Holy Spirit was working signs and wonders.

"and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease"

The Jews who rejected Jesus Christ as the Messiah had continued to observe temple worship under the Law of Moses.  Up until the destruction of the temple, blood sacrificial worship according to the Law of Moses uninterrupted.  The sacrifice and oblation ceased with the destruction of the temple.  The Jews realized that without the temple and the sanctuary, there could be no sacrifice, thus when the temple was destroyed, the sacrifices associated with temple worship ceased.  Such was the case when Solomon's temple was destroyed in Daniel's time and so it was again when the temple was destroyed again in 70 AD.  

"and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate"

Here is the phrase that Jesus directly referred to in Matthew 24:15.  There is no doubt the impending destruction of Jerusalem described by Jesus is the one referred to here by Daniel.  What was the abomination that brought about this destruction?  It can be none other than the rejection of Jesus Christ as the Messiah and the continuance of temple worship under the old covenant.  It was 40 years since the death of Jesus Christ and the unbelieving, disobedient Jews were offering old covenant worship in direct rebellion to the new covenant.  They had rejected the blood of Jesus and were still offering the blood of bulls and of goats which could never take away sin (Hebrews 10:4).  Since they refused to accept Jesus Christ on their own, choosing rather to follow after an abolished system, God decided to take the necessary steps to eliminate that system of worship forever. 

One would think this would have been a wake up call for many Jews.  The Christians escaped Jerusalem during the siege while they remained and were slaughtered by the tens of thousands.  It has been close to 2000 years since that event and there are still unbelieving Jews to this day.  This Bible student and follower of Jesus Christ finds it incredible how people can be so resistant to the truth.  The entire event was prophesied by one of their greatest prophets.  It happened at the right time in the right place according to the prophecy and yet they still reject Christ. 

And make it desolate they certainly did.  This was the temple that Herod the great built and it was magnificent, rivaling even the temple of Solomon.  The gold work on the stones alone made it shine in the sun such that the view of it was literally dazzling to the eyes.  The Roman soldiers under Titus, tore the temple down stone by stone in order to burn the gold work off to take as part of the plunder.  The entire temple was pulled down and burned, stone by stone.  All of the temple treasures were plundered and taken. 

The records of the bloodlines of the Levitical priesthood were lost which made it impossible for anyone to prove their lineage which was a requirement in order to serve as a Levitical Priest.  Not only did God bring about the destruction of the temple, He made sure the bloodline records of the Levitical priesthood was destroyed.  Even if the Jews rebuilt the temple they could never produce an authorized priesthood to serve in it.  It can truly be said that the temple was made desolate.  Not only the temple, but the entire Levitical worship system was utterly destroyed with no chance of being recovered. 

"even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate."

It was determined long before it ever happened that the temple would be destroyed and the Levitical priesthood would be removed.  Daniel prophesied it roughly 5 centuries before it happened.  Jesus repeated and reinforced the prophecy, referencing Daniel's prophecy 40 years before it actually happened.  God knew exactly what He was going to do and knew when He was going to do it.  It had all be pre-determined along with the rest of events associated with the coming of Jesus Christ since the beginning (Romans 16:25, Ephesians 1:4; 3:9; 3:11, Colossians 1:26, 2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 1:2 and Revelation 13:8. 

Isaiah 46:9-10
Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:





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