Review of the Traditional Perspective

End, a Great City




INTRODUCTION


There are many different views on how the seventy weeks prophecy should
be understood. 


Those views which have been seriously considered share a common line of
reasoning. 


Let us review this common reasoning and briefly consider the merits of
the various events postulated as fulfilling this prophecy.  


COMMON REASONING


Almost all interpretations of the seventy weeks prophecy have centered on
the rebuilding of Jerusalem that took place some four to five centuries
before Christ.

This is only natural considering,

              a) the wording of the text

         and  b) the timing of the announcement of the prophecy.


As this prophecy contains an apparent reference to the future appearance
of Jesus Christ, 'an anointed one, a ruler? mentioned in the second of
the four verses, it was deemed necessary to link to an appropriate event
in Christ?s life.  


These factors have tended to decide how this prophecy has been explained.


[ NB: There was also a desire to have evidence in the Old Testament
      of a time based prediction of the arrival of Jesus Christ.
      (If as proposed by this web site, the 70 weeks prophecy does
      not refer to Jesus Christ, there exists no time oriented
      prophecy in Scripture predicting precisely the arrival of
      Jesus Christ.)  ]


Scholars today pick up on the thoughts of their predecessors and looking
back on history perceive a period of approximately 500 years between the
rebuilding of Jerusalem and the events in the life of Jesus Christ.


This period of approximately 500 years could easily be derived from the
seventy weeks (or sixty-nine weeks) mentioned in the text. All that was
necessary was to consider each week as a period of seven years.


So nowadays, it is commonly believed the period of seventy weeks refers
to a period of 490 years.


            70 weeks  = 70 x 7 years = 490 years. 


Indeed, this is quite a logical interpretation. Allowing each day to
represent a year is a principle supported by Ezekiel 4:6.


Following this reasoning, the shorter periods mentioned in the text were
also multiplied by 7 years.


             7 weeks  =  7 x 7 years  =  49 years  
            62 weeks  = 62 x 7 years  = 434 years
          7+62 weeks  = 69 x 7 years  = 483 years
             1 week   =  1 x 7 years  =   7 years


The period of seventy ?weeks? needed a starting point.


The text apparently supplied;


         'the issuing of the word to turn and build Jerusalem'



From this point, it was only a matter of sequencing the shorter periods
comprising the seventy weeks.


However, having decided the period of seventy weeks started with the
command to rebuild Jerusalem, the order was a forgone conclusion.


            1st Period  -   7 weeks   =   49 years 
            2nd Period  -  62 weeks   =  434 years  
            3rd Period  -   1 week    =    7 years 
                           --------      ---------
                           70 weeks  =   490 years



This also happened to correspond to the sequence these three periods
were discussed in the text,

         verse 25 - mentions 7 weeks + 62 weeks,	

         verse 27 - mentions 1 week.  



Today, the majority of theories revolve around this common reasoning.


Upon these common threads of thought have arisen various more detailed
interpretations.


Generally, each interpretation has been a composite of the conclusions
reached in regard to the following.


        A) Which command should be used as the starting point for
           the seventy weeks?


        B) What event in the life of Jesus Christ represented the
           end of the first 69 weeks?


        C) Where in time should the final week be placed?


A) THE STARTING POINT


Three decrees have been seriously considered.


         1)    The decree of Cyrus in the time of Daniel

         2)    The decree of Artaxerxes in the book of Ezra

         3)    The decree of Artaxerxes in the book of Nehemiah.



1) In the earlier years of the study of this prophecy, the decree issued
   by Cyrus in the first year of his reign was the favoured starting
   point.


   Ezra   1:1   Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that
                the word of the LORD spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah
                might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of
                Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation
                throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing,
                saying,
           :2   "Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the
                earth the LORD God of heaven has given me. And He has
                commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is
                in Judah.
           :3   Who is there among you of all His people? May his God
                be with him! Now let him go up to Jerusalem, which is
                in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel
                (He is God), which is in Jerusalem.
           :4   And whoever remains in any place where he sojourns, let
                the men of his place help him with silver and gold, with
                goods and livestock, besides the freewill offerings for
                the house of God which is in Jerusalem."


   A portion of the above quotation is also repeated in 2 Chron 36:22-23.
   Additional information is given in Ezra 6:3-5. 


   The Medes and Persians had recently overthrown the throne of the
   Chaldeans and this decree signalled the release of the captives of
   Judah.


   This decree was the most significant and the most logical of the
   three options to choose as a starting point for this prophecy.


   However, following archaeological findings and research into other
   historical writings, historians now generally date the first year
   of Cyrus at 538 BC. 


   Such an early date would of course require an interval of at least
   530 years to reach to the birth of Jesus Christ. Since a maximum of
   only 490 years is possible with this interpretation, the decree of
   Cyrus has lost favour amongst many scholars.



2) The next proposed decree is recorded by Artaxerxes in the form of a
   letter given to Ezra.


   The content of this decree is recorded in Ezra 7:12-26. This decree,
   like the former decree issued by Cyrus, focuses primarily upon the
   needs of the house of God. The time of the issuing of this decree is
   the 7th year of King Artaxerxes. Ezra 7:7.


   This decree is generally the preferred option as it is dated at around
   457 BC.


   This 457 BC dating allows 69 weeks (or 483 years) to pass before
   conveniently arriving at 27 AD (the date commonly accepted for the
   baptism of Jesus Christ).


                69 Weeks             483  Years

          Less  Date of Decree       457  BC
                                     ---
                                      26  AD

          Plus  Adjustment for  
                BC to AD               1  year
                                     --- 
                Baptism of Christ     27  AD



3) The last option, the letters of authority given to Nehemiah by
   Artaxerxes.


   The letters of authority were delivered to Nehemiah in the 20th year
   of King Artaxerxes. Neh 2:1. This event is frequently ascribed the 
   historical date of 446 BC. The background to these events is recorded
   in the first two chapters of the book of Nehemiah. The issue which
   sparked the desire of Nehemiah to restore Jerusalem was news that due
   to the action of their enemies the wall and gates of Jerusalem had
   been broken down and burned. Neh 1:3. 

   This repair work was performed by Nehemiah and the citizens of
   Jerusalem and was completed in 52 days. Neh 6:15.

   Those wishing to view this option as the decree referred to in Daniel
   9:25 usually date this event at 455 BC.


B) THE EVENT IN THE LIFE OF CHRIST


The event in the life of Jesus Christ which marks the end of the sixty-
nine weeks is usually deemed to be His baptism.

Other events which have been considered are;

             a) His birth, the point of His first arrival and

             b) His death, the point when He was cut off.


C) THE TIME PLACEMENT OF THE FINAL WEEK


Seeing a final 7 year period after the appearance of the Messiah some
have located it around the death of Jesus Christ, but many have held it
is more appropriate to locate it in our future.

Views which place the final week around the death of Christ, refer to
the 3.5 years between his baptism and his crucifixion, followed by a
further period of 3.5 years which they consider would reach to the time
of the apostle Paul (and presumably the giving of the gospel to the
Gentiles). Gal 1:11-18. 


Currently, most modern scholarship tends to place the final seven year
week in the future. This approach is chosen, because the terminology
of the prophecy is considered to continue to portray the end time theme
present in the other prophecies of the book of Daniel.


The final seventieth week is usually considered to occur just prior to
the prophesied second coming of Christ.


In accordance with verse 27 it is generally perceived that the 70th week
is comprised of two 3.5 year periods, with the sacrifices of the people
of God being brought to an end after the first 3.5 years.


THE POPULAR VIEW


Modern opinion tends to prefer the following mixture of options.


      Ezra going to Jerusalem in 7th Artaxerxes                (457 BC)
  to  Completion of Jerusalem                          49 yrs  (408 BC)
  to  Baptism of Christ                               434 yrs  ( 27 AD)

      ***  Long Time Gap  ***                           ?

      Beginning of final week
   to Glorified Return of Christ                        7 yrs
                                                      ---
                                                      490 yrs



Introduction
to
Daniel 9:24-27
Daniel 9:24-27
Revised
Translation
The
Missing
One
'weeks'
Seventy
Weeks
Milestone
Events
The 'week'
of
verse 27
Jerusalem
in the
Prophecy
Time
Chart
Summary
Text
Meaning
Summary
The
70 Weeks
Warning
Summary


* OTHER ASPECTS *





Symbolic
Jerusalem

History
of Literal
Jerusalem
The
'70 Years'
of
Jeremiah


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