Dan 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 dating of “unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks” is essential in determining the interpretation of the 70 weeks prophecy.
I had a public conversation with Pastor Steve Miller where he described verse 25 as vague. Now we agree that the “seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks” is exact – it equals 69 weeks of years. But the vague part for him is the “unto messiah the prince,” which for me is as exact as the 69 weeks part.
For me the end of the 69th week would be unto Jesus’ first appearance in His office as both Prince and Messiah. Jesus was born a prince, the Son of God – King of the Universe. But He did not qualify by the Law of Moses for the High Priest Messiah position until He reached the age of 30 years (Num. 4). It is no accident that Luke records for us that Jesus was in his 30th year at the time of His baptism by John at the River Jordan, immediately before He began his ministry. (Luke 3.23)
At that baptism both the Holy Spirit and the Father bare witness with John of Jesus’ credentials.
The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. (John 1:29-30)
One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messiah, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. (John 1:40-41)
In my mind, this record of events supports an exact understanding of the term “unto Messiah the prince.” He was revealed at the Jordan River baptism as both, therefore the 69 weeks “unto Messiah” ended there, and the 70th week commenced.
Notwithstanding all of this, Steve continued to insist that the Triumphal Entry of Jesus, Palm Sunday so called, is the event which signaled the end of the 69th week with much supporting conjecture, referring to the prophecy as vague. Of course he believes the 69 week ended there, but the 70th week did not begin, and is still reserved for the future. If this is so, then Jesus actually would have appeared 3 plus years prior, in the middle of the 69th week, which cannot be supported by the text;
And He was the Messiah before that “Palm Sunday” – was He not?
How can we affirm by the Bible that the 70th week began at the baptism, had its midpoint at Jesus’ crucifixion, and ended 3-1/2 years later?
- The witnesses reviewed above incontrovertibly identify Jesus as both Prince and Messiah beginning at His baptism.
- On several occasions Jesus proclaims something very peculiar, “I have not come but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” This is because it was the 70th week, and the time “determined” for Israel was not complete.
- After the 69th week, coincidentally, 3-1/2 years after Jesus began His ministry, He was “cut off, but not for himself“; and “in the midst of the week” he caused the “sacrifice and the oblation to cease” by the sacrifice of Himself. He testified before He gave up the ghost, “It is finished.” – “And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;” (Mat 27:51) Thus God Declared an end to the animal sacrifice, regardless that the Temple Priests would resume it as quickly as they could make repairs.
- The Jews, “which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 10:45) Why were these Jewish believers astonished? It is because until the 70th week ended, the Holy Ghost Baptism which they first received at Pentecost, was exclusive to Israel during the remainder of the 70th week. The time “determined” had come to an end about 34 AD. From this point forward National Israel was no longer the exclusive church of God. The Israel of God would now be expressed as a supra-national church. (Rom 2:29)
And yes, I use some conjecture here, but the use of conjecture to support an exact or explicit statement, is much different that using conjecture to support a speculation.
Another criticism of Steve is that the Historical understanding is not absolutely chronological with the text.
However, the text explicitly gives two separate chronologies, with which the Historicist interpretation is in complete compliance.
- The first appears in verse 24 and list 6 things that must and did happen within the contiguous 490 years – all of which are verified in the Bible itself.
- The next chronology appears in verse 26 and lists things which must happen after the 62 weeks period ends, one of which happened during the 70th week, and the rest of which were accomplished within a generation and are verified in history.
More detail is added in the final verse:
In the King James Version it is crystal clear in that the characteristics attributed to the “he” in its translation are easily discernible as those of the first person antecedent Messiah.
- he shall confirm the covenant – meaning that the covenant must already exist in order to be confirmed; and in compliance with the prophecy of Malachi ch. 3 where “The Lord” is explicitly called “the messenger of the covenant” when He comes “suddenly to his temple,” being a second witness to the Messiah as the proper antecedent.
We have several more witnesses in the epistles to “confirm” our understanding:
Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: Rom. 15:8
And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. Gal. 3:17
- he shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease – which Jesus coincidentally did in the midst of the seven year period immediately following his arrival at the Jordan river baptism depicted in the Gospels. Jesus caused the sacrifice and oblation to cease three and a half years after he began his ministry – by the sacrifice of himself on the cross. If one does not understand this simple truth, then one does not really understand the
gospel at all.
- he shall make it desolate – with the preposition “for the overspreading of abominations” describes this desolation announced upon Israel as a sovereign act of judgment by the Messiah, the one who is the King of Kings and very Judge of Heaven and Earth. As surely as God wielded Babylon as his sword in judgment against Judah when the First Temple was desolated, He – the fullness of the Godhead bodily, the resurrected and glorified Messiah – wielded Rome as his sword in judgment against National Israel for the overspreading of abominations when the Second Temple was desolated in 70 AD.
Why the 70 Weeks Must be Contiguous:
Some will say that there is a gap between the 69th and 70th week, pointing the the threefold division in the prophecy itself: 7 weeks, 62 weeks, and the final 70th week – total 70 weeks. Steve believes that the city was rebuilt in the 7 weeks, after which there is not gap, and I don’t have a problem with that. However, if there is no gap inserted in between the 7 and 62 weeks, how does that support a gap between the 62 weeks and the 70th? It does not. There are many other enumerated chronologies in prophetic scripture, but the Futurist cannot name one that includes a gap or break in the enumerated timeline. They must always point to prophecies that do not include an enumerated chronology, making any such comparison completely specious.
Somehow the Futurist believes the 70th week is reserved for the Antichrist, who is nowhere named in the prophecy (and no it is not Titus, who was the prince with his people who did destroy the city and temple in 70 AD). But I assert that the final and 70th week was reserved for the Messiah, who is the proper first person antecedent for he in verse 27, named twice in the previous verses. For anyone to intentionally take what belongs to the Messiah and attribute it to the Antichrist is incomprehensible, but this is exactly what has been done.
The Futurist will claim that the 6 things listed in v. 24 were not all accomplished in the contiguous 490 years that ended in the first century. Therefore, they contend, the timeline requires a gap because those things will be accomplished in the future. In other words, they are going to help God out by doing that which He explicitly forbids, adding to His Word, by inserting a gap where none exists. Honestly, if the 6 things enumerated in Dan 9:24 did not happen within the 490 years period outlined in the text, then the prophecy has failed and the scripture is not to be trusted. If they would rather, set out to uphold the literal, contiguous, and plain understanding of the text, they could easily find several witnesses for the accomplishment of each item in the Bible itself to fulfill the prophecy by the end of the contiguous 70th week. And I challenge them to do this, which if they refuse, I would assert that they do not want to know the truth.
Progressive Speculation on the other hand, which is what Futurism is, cannot be regarded as, nor should it be mistaken for, Progressive Revelation, because everything that differentiates their view is taking place in the future where nothing can be verified. It is very convenient for them, that we have to wait for a Temple (which may or may not be built before Christ returns), to verify whether a rapture takes place or not, and if not, we have to wait 3-1/2 or 7 years for the other two rapture options to play out! How convenient it must be to have to verify nothing! All they have is conjecture by scriptures that seem to support their hypothesis, but conjecture and hypothesis alone can verify nothing.
The Modern Futurist speculation was not even developed until it was proposed by the Counter-Reformation Jesuit Francisco Ribera about 1570, in order to vindicate the Roman Church and the Papacy from being the II Thess. 2 Great Apostasy and Man of Sin, which by that time (more than 50 years into Luther’s reformation) had been widely published and believed in all of the Reformed Churches. These Reformed churches were daily growing by defections from the Roman Church, Catholics who easily discerned that the simony and persecutions of Rome were that of the Biblical Antichrist, and they answered the Revelation call to “come out of her My people.” It is unfortunate that the offspring of the Protestant Reformation have fully embraced this Antichrist propaganda, and thereby unwittingly have vindicated both the Roman Church and the Papacy, which is the very reason they were taught Modern Futurism, which they could easily discover if only they would honestly research the history for themselves. I pray that this will happen, as surely as I pray to know the truth for myself.