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Debunking Daniel's 70th Week - Part One


There is a theory, and I think that is the best word for it, that the prophecy set forth in Daniel 9 was realized where 69 weeks were completed at the time of first coming of the Son of Man (Ben Adam), but that the 70th week described in Daniel 9:24 is somehow put off into the future to be realized at a later date.

Let’s consider the prophecy as set forth in the NIV:

Daniel 9:24-27 New International Version (NIV)

24 “Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy Place.

25 “Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble.

26 After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.

27 He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.

The approach of most modern commentators is to compare verse 24 (70 sevens) with verse 25 (62 sevens and 7 sevens), and to add 62 to 7 to find 69 sevens.  From this, obviously, a 70th week is missing from the equation.

However, this logic is incorrect, and the next verse illustrates, because it specifically delineates a 62 seven count from such addition, indicating that the cutting off of the “Anointed One” (read MASHIACH in the Hebrew, Christos in the Greek), occurs after 62 sevens, not 69, and that a separate prophecy, which is set forth first (seven sevens, then sixty-two sevens), discusses either a first advent (the coming of Adam?) and a second advent (the coming of the Second Adam, the Ben Adam [Son of Man]), or it discusses the first advent of MASHIACH, and a coming second advent. The latter was Isaac Newton’s interpretation.

Those who espouse Daniel’s 70th week reach interesting conclusions.  One is that a prophecy is realized concerning 483 years (69 x 7=483 days; a day equals a year: hence, 483 years).  However, this begs so many questions.  First, which date do we discuss in the first advent of MASHIACH?  Do we count from the year of his birth (September 15, 4 B.C. [15 Tishrie/Ethaniym])? Do we count from the year of his crucifixion, death and resurrection (14 Aviv, 28 A.D. death, 17 Aviv, A.D. resurrection.)?  Let’s look at both.

483 years before 4 B.C. is 487 B.C.  Do we have an edict to restore and rebuild Jerusalem?

            Cyrus the Great’s edict:               559 B.C. No realization
            Artachshashta’s restatement:      458 B.C.; revoked 445-433 B.C.

So the answer as to the birth of MASHIACH is: no realization.

Let us consider then from the death and resurrection (and ascension) year, namely 28 A.D.

This would require that the edict to restore and rebuild Jerusalem would have to occur in 455 B.C. Well, you could argue that Artachshashta’s edict given in 458 B.C. was such an edict, and that the crucifixion actually happened in 25 A.D., but there is no record that would support this conclusion, as MASHIACH would have been only 28 years old, and the gospels record his ministry beginning at around age 30. 

We can conclude that this projection also concludes with no realization.

As a consequence, the adding of the sixty-two weeks to the seven weeks, to conclude that the first advent of MASHIACH followed 69 weeks of years is not realized in the historical record. This is sufficient to render this exegesis as inaccurate and of no effect.  The idea of placing the 70th week sometime in the future cannot be reached from this interpretation.

Now, let us consider the language of the Eth Cepher:

Daniye’l (Daniel) 9:25

24 For seventy Shavua cut off are the people from the 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 Holy of Holies.

25 Know therefore and understand, from the going forth of the word to return and to build Yerushalayim until HAMASHIACH the Prince is seven Shavua, and threescore and two Shavua; return and build the wide place with eagerness in troublous times.

26 And after three-score and two Shavua, cut off is MASHIACH, but nothing of the holy city is ruined: and the people of the prince to come thereafter shall conquer until the war is decided with devastation.

27 And the greatness of the covenant multiplies for one Shavua: and in the middle of the Shavua, the sacrifice and the oblation cease, and the overspreading of abominations makes it desolate, even until the consummation is determined and poured over the desolation.

Isaac Newton had something to say about this prophecy, and it is worthy of discussion here, because we arrive at the same difficulty we saw in 9:24.  Newton interpreted this phrase to mean a twofold arrival, and then these arrivals would be based upon the notion that Shavua meant weeks, and that weeks meant weeks of years.  Therefore there were two prophecies set forth:

            MASHIACH in one instance will return in threescore and two weeks of years, or 434 years (first advent).

            MASHIACH in the second instance will return in seven weeks of years, or 49 years (second advent).

Let us begin with the first calculation of Newton.  Is there historic support for the 434 years?

The edict of Koresh (Cyrus the Great) to rebuild Yerushalayim was given in the first year of his reign, which began in 559 B.C.

Ezra Sheliyshiy (3 Ezra) 2:1-5

In the first year of Koresh king of the Persians, that the Word of YAHUAH might be accomplished, that he had promised by the mouth of Yirmeyahu; 2 YAHUAH raised up the spirit of Koresh the king of the Persians, and he made proclamation through all his kingdom, and also by writing, 3 Saying, Thus says Koresh king of the Persians; YAHUAH of Yisra’el, EL ELYON YAHUAH, has made me king of the whole world, 4 And commanded me to build him an house at Yerushalayim in Yahudah. 5 If therefore there be any of you that are of his people, let YAHUAH, even his ADONAI, be with him, and let him go up to Yerushalayim that is in Yahudah, and build the house of YAHUAH of Yisra’el: for he is YAHUAH that dwells in Yerushalayim.

However, even though this edict was reaffirmed by Artachshashta in the year 458 B.C., it was later revoked by the same king following the building of the wall sometime between 445 B.C. and 433 B.C.

Ezra Sheliyshiy (3 Ezra) 2:30

Then king Artachshashta his letters being read, Rechum, and Shimshay the scribe, and the rest that were in commission with them, removing in haste toward Yerushalayim with a troop of horsemen and a multitude of people in battle array, began to hinder the builders; and the building of the Temple in Yerushalayim ceased until the second year of the reign of Dar`yavesh king of the Persians.

Now, Dar’yavesh (Darius II) began his reign in 423 B.C. Therefore, the second year of his reign is 421 B.C.  And yes, there is a second witness to this dating:

Chaggai (Haggai) 1:1-8

In the second year of Dar`yavesh the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the Word of YAHUAH by Chaggai the prophet unto Zerubbavel the son of She’altiy’el, governor of Yahudah, and to El-Yahusha the son of Yahutsadaq, the high priest, saying, 2 Thus speaks YAHUAH TSEVA’OT, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that YAHUAH’S house should be built. 3 Then came the Word of YAHUAH by Chaggai the prophet, saying, 4 Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste? 5 Now therefore thus says YAHUAH TSEVA’OT; Consider your ways. 6 Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earns wages earns wages to put it into a bag with holes. 7 Thus says YAHUAH TSEVA’OT; Consider your ways. 8 Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, says YAHUAH.

Here, the second witness is that the word of YAHUAH proceeded to Chaggai and then to Zerubbavel to go and return to Yerushalayim to build the temple. This chapter goes on to relay that Zerubbavel then proceeded to do what he was instructed:

Chaggai (Haggai) 1:12-15

Then Zerubbavel the son of She’altiy’el, and Yahusha the son of Yahutsadaq, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of YAHUAH their ELOHIYM, and the words of Chaggai the prophet, as YAHUAH their ELOHIYM had sent him, and the people did fear before YAHUAH. 13 Then spoke Chaggai YAHUAH’S messenger in YAHUAH’S message unto the people, saying, I am with you, says YAHUAH. 14 And YAHUAH stirred up the spirit of Zerubbavel the son of She’altiy’el, governor of Yahudah, and the spirit of Yahusha the son of Yahutsadaq, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and did work in the house of YAHUAH TSEVA’OT, their ELOHIYM, 15 In the four and twentieth day of the sixth month, in the second year of Dar`yavesh the king.

Therefore, on the 26th day of Shishshiy [Elul], in the year 421 B.C. Zerubavvel goes up to the Levant to begin the rebuilding.  However, that is not when the rebuilding began.  Rather, it began on the 1st day of Ziv [Iyyar] in the year 419 B.C.

Ezra Sheliyshiy (3 Ezra) 5:56-57

And in the second year and second month after his coming to the Temple of ELOHIYM at Yerushalayim began Zerubbavel the son of She’altiy’el, and Yahusha the son of Yahutsadaq, and their brethren, and the priests, and the Leviyiym, and all they that were come unto Yerushalayim out of the captivity: 57 And they laid the foundation of the house of ELOHIYM in the first day of the second month, in the second year after they were come to Yahudah and Yerushalayim.

Now, the temple was finished on the 23rd day of Adar (the last month of the year) in the sixth year of Dar`yavesh the king. The practice of the feasts then began anew.

Ezra Sheliyshiy (3 Ezra) 7:5

And thus was the holy house finished in the three and twentieth day of the month Adar, in the sixth year of Dar`yavesh king of the Persians.

This places the completion of the temple on the 23 Adar, 417 B.C., and the word to return and rebuild Yerushalayim goes forth to the Yahudiym, including the word to build the wide place. This means that the cycle of the moediym (the feasts) began in that year, and that the edict was not given by a foreign ruler, but by those of the house of Yisra’el.

Daniye’l (Daniel) 9:25

Know therefore and understand, from the going forth of the word to return and to build Yerushalayim until HAMASHIACH the Prince is seven Shavua, and threescore and two Shavua; return and build the wide place with eagerness in troublous times.

The timing of the arrival of HAMASHIACH the Prince under the first of the two-fold prophetic interpretation of Isaac Newton, then places the first advent – the first arrival – in the year 17 A.D. Consider that the reckoning is as follows: Three score and two (62) Shavua is interpreted as 62 weeks of years.  62 x 7 (days) is 434 years.  The second temple was completed in the last week of Adar in the year 417 B.C., allowing the house of Yahudah to begin the feast cycle (Pecach, Matsah, and so forth) in that same year, just weeks later.  

Let us consider the life of MASHIACH in order to understand dates. For purposes of this article, we take the position on the following dates:

   Date of birth:                 15th day of Ethaniym (Tishrei) (September 15) 4 B.C.
   Date of 12th birthday:    15th day of Ethaniym (Tishrei) 8 A.D.
   Date of 20th birthday:   15th day of Ethaniym (Tishrei) 16 A.D.
   Date of crucifixion:        14th day of Aviv (Nisan) 28 A.D.
   Date of ascension:          27th day of Ziv, 28 A.D.

However, the date predicted using the Newton interpretation is 17 A.D. 

Consider, however, that MASHIACH may have declared the year of Jubilee in the year 17 A.D. when he read from the Torah scroll, reading Yesha’yahu 61.

Lucas (Luke) 4:16-20

And he came to Netsereth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Shabbat, and stood up for to read. 17 And there was delivered unto him the cepher of the prophet Yesha`yahu. And when he had opened the cepher, he found the place where it was written,

18 The RUACH ADONAI YAHUAH is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the Besorah to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of YAHUAH.

20 And he closed the cepher, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.

Let us consider this from a practical view.  MASHIACH, like his parents before him, was Torah observant.  The gospel account declares this as he observed the Sabbath and all of the feasts, including Chanukah (Yahuchanon [John] 10:12) and Puriym (Yahuchanon [John] 5:1).  The forty days in the wilderness are consistent with the forty days of favor practiced traditionally by the observant, which begins on the first day of Elul (the sixth month) and runs until Yom Kippuriym, which is the 10th day of seventh month, i.e., Tishrei (Ethaniym). 

Recall that MASHIACH turned 20 years old on the 15th day of Tishrei in the year 16 A.D.  If the forty days in the wilderness occurred in his 20th year, beginning on the 1st day of Elul, then he would have completed his forty days on Yom Kippuriym – the 10th day of Tishrei; on the Sabbath, when he declared the Jubilee.

If his reading of the haftarah portion occurred only when he reached adulthood- being twenty years old, then this reading would have occurred on the 10th of Tishrei in the year 17 A.D., just 5 days before his 21st birthday.

When you consider the language of Lucas [Luke] which is the only gospel which gives account of this reading, it appears by an assumption that the accounting is in a sequential chronology in Lucas 3 that MASHIACH is around thirty years of age when this occurs.

Lucas (Luke) 3:23

And YAHUSHA himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Yoceph, . . .

However, the besorah of Mattithyahu (Matthew) neither gives an account of this reading, nor sets forth his age as being thirty at the time of his immersion, or that being his age at the beginning of his commission. We see the immersion, then MASHIACH’s departure for Galiyl and the selection of his disciples.

In the besorah of Marcus (Mark), again there is no setting forth of his age, nor is there any account of the reading of the haftarah (Yeshayahu [Isaiah] 61) following the immersion.  Instead, there is the casting out of demons and healing. 

The besorah of Yahuchanon (John) records a day-by-day chronology following the immersion, and does not include the reading of the haftarah in its chronology. 

Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that the reading of Yesha’yahu was not set forth in chronological order, but may have occurred at a different point – a different year – than the thirtieth year in the life of MASHIACH (which would have been in the year 26 A.D.).

Okay, there are a few assumptions here which are worthy of consideration. 

1.         MASHIACH did not declare a jubilee year with this reading, but rather a sabbatical (shemitah) year.  This is unlikely, given the language of the reading, and more importantly, the reason why the passage had been traditionally excluded from haftarah readings in the traditional Torah portion: because it declared a jubilee year, and there has always been debate about the jubilee year, since it is recorded that Yahudah did not keep nor respect the shemitah from the kingdom of David forward (490 years).  Without the shemitah sequence of seven consecutive years, then how can you determine the jubilee, which follows a sequence of seven weeks of years? 

2.         MASHIACH was thirty years of age when this haftarah was read, declaring a jubilee in the Gregorian calendar year 27.  This may be possible; however, there is no historical record which demonstrates a jubilee sequence in the years 27, 77, 127, 177, 227, 277, 327, 277, etc.

3.         MASHIACH was in fact twenty years of age when the haftarah was read, declaring a jubilee in the Gregorian calendar year 17, rendering a Jubilee sequence of 17, 67, 117, 167, etc.  There is an historical record supporting this sequence, including the record in modernity of the liberation of Yerushalayim from Islam in 1917 and the subsequent Balfour Declaration allowing for the repatriation of the Yahudiym in the adamah qodesh (Holy Land) in the same year; followed by the recapture of Yerushalayim in its entirety in 1967, following the twentieth birthday of the nation of Israel on Shavu’ot.

Let’s take a look at this issue of being twenty years old to be considered an adult – a member of the majority.  Is there any scriptural support for this proposition?

Shemot (Exodus) 30:14

Everyone that passes among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto YAHUAH.

Shemot (Exodus) 38:26

A bekah for every man, that is, half a shekel, after the shekel of the sanctuary, for everyone that went to be numbered, from twenty years old and upward, for six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty men.

Vayiqra (Leviticus) 27:3

And your estimation shall be of the male from twenty years old even unto sixty years old, even your estimation shall be fifty shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary.

Bemidbar (Numbers) 1:3

From twenty years old and upward, all that are able to go forth to war in Yisra’el: you and Aharon shall number them by their armies.

Bemidbar (Numbers) 1:18

And they assembled all the congregation together on the first day of the second month, and they declared their pedigrees after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, by their polls. Also see Bemidbar (Numbers) 1:20; 1:22; 1:24; 1:26; 1:28; 1:30; 1:32; 1:34; 1:36; 1:38; 1:40; 1:42; 1:45; 14:29; 26:2; 32:11.

Now let us review the last two verses of this prophecy again:

Daniye’l (Daniel) 9:26-27

26 And after three-score and two Shavua, cut off is MASHIACH, but nothing of the holy city is ruined: and the people of the prince to come thereafter shall conquer until the war is decided with devastation.

27 And the greatness of the covenant multiplies for one Shavua: and in the middle of the Shavua, the sacrifice and the oblation cease, and the overspreading of abominations makes it desolate, even until the consummation is determined and poured over the desolation.

It is clear that verses 26 and 27 refer to the first half of the prophecy in 9:25, i.e., the first advent of MASHIACH based upon threescore and two weeks of years. Verse 26 tells us that after the prophecy of verse 25 is realized – which we have postulated as having occurred in the year 17 A.D.  MASHIACH, according to this prophecy, is cut off after that. 

To be continued ...

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