In the next three verses Gabriel subdivides the 70 weeks into three distinct segments. He starts with a period of 7 weeks, then 62 weeks and then one final week, which equal 490 years. Why 490 years or to say 70 weeks? Second Chronicles 36:21 gives us the answer. “To fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfill threescore and 10 years.” (70 years) The Babylonian exile lasted for 70 years in order to atone for the 490 years during which Isreal lived in the Promised Land and failed to oberserve the sabbath year. God’s law called for the land to have a rest every 7 years, a sabbath rest. Every 7 years the land was not to be plowed, no seed planted and no harvest taken; the land was to rest. One must ascertain from this commamd of God that He does care what mankind does to the earth. Maybe God’s people should lead the way in caring for the environment. God told His people in Leviticus 25:3-5, “Six years thou shall sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather thy fruit thereof; but in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath to the Lord: thou shall neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard. That which grows up on its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes on the vine undressed: for it is a rest unto the land.” The Jews did not honor the law of the Sabbath rest for the land. For 490 years they violated this command of God, as well as others, so God allowed them to be taken into captivity for 70 years that the land may enjoy its sabbath rests. Daniel now receives a timetable for the coming of the Messiah. Verse 25 states, “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.” Seven weeks plus 62 weeks (score equals 20, so threescore equals 60) times seven (sabbath years) equals 483 years from the time that the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem is given. Many confuse the timetable of cutting off the Messiah by inserting that Cyrus, king of Persia, in 558 BC gave the command to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem (Ezra 1:1,2). If at his command the prophetic timeclock for the cutting off of the Messiah was to begin, then the Messiah would have been cut off in 75 BC, which we know did not happen. Jesus was cut off from among the living in 33AD. But we see here in verse 25 of Daniel nine that its not the command to rebuild the Temple that triggers this prophetic timeclock but the command to “restore and to build Jerusalem.” This was done by Artaxerxes in 450 BC (see Ezra through Nehemiah). With this command given in 450 BC this would put the time of the cutting off of the Messiah in 33 AD. Daniel’s prophecy was perfectly fulfilled. We must remember that the figures given by Daniel are prophetic figures that are referencing the sabbath years rest. So here in verse 25 we read about the 70 weeks of sabbaths and threescore and two weeks which equals 483 years. These add up to 69 weeks which are sabbath weeks (seven years), so 69 weeks multiplied by seven equals 483 years. The 70 weeks here represent the time it took to finish rebuilding Jerusalem which was 49 years or to say one sabbath week (7×7). From that time there would be threescore and two weeks until the Messiah would be cut off (v. 26). And when the Messiah was cut off, or to say died, it wasn’t done just for Himself but He died for all, “but not for himself” (v. 26). Even here in the Old Testament book of Daniel we see the promise of a Messiah that would take away the sins of the world, His time of death precisely foretold and his death would not be the normal death of a man but that it would be to benefit all of mankind. As most theologians will tell you, prophecy has a current message, a near future message and usually a distant, or end time message. So it is with Daniel’s prophecy. Here in chapter 9 verses 25 and 26 he has spoken of the current captivity that would soon end with the rebuilding of Jerusalem. Then he goes to a near future event, the coming of the Messiah and his death. Then he speeks of another near future event the destruction of Jerusalem and the sanctuary which occurred in 70 A.D. at the hands of Titus the commander of the Roman army,”And the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.” Finally, he addresses the distant future, or the end times. “And the end thereof shall be with a flood and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.” Like an overflowing flood the anti-Christ shall come in power to sweep away all that is good and holy. He will do all he can to destroy God’s people, Jew and Christian alike, like a mighty gushing flood. Then Daniel states that the carnage of the anti-Christ, including the desolation of the Temple and the war he wages against the saints, will come to an end with the desolations of God’s wrath being poured out. This all taking place in the last week or to say seven years–the Tribulation Period (first 3 1/2 years) and the Great Tribulation Period (The last 3 1/2 years). What we must ask ourselves is, “Are we entering the season of the last prophetic week of Daniel?” Personally, I believe so. I believe the anti-Christ is alive right now and will soon rise to international prominence. Keep your eyes on the Middle East for someone to rise up and for Islam to embrace him as the long-awaited Twelfth Imam, the Mahdi. The lessons we can learn from this chapter are many but I believe the main theme here is that, like Daniel, we should have a sense of great sorrow over sin, especially our own and that of our nation. We are now in the gap between the 483 years and the 490 years–the time of the Gentiles (Luke 21:24; Romans 11). Is it time to write the final chapter in the history of Israel and mankind?

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