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Bible Truth Versus Adventist Truth

70 Week Prophecy


Adventist Truth about the 70 Week Prophecy
Daniel 9:24-27
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.

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.

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.

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.

Much of Seventh-day Adventist eschatology is based upon their understanding of the time-frames of Daniel's 70-week prophecy. Ellen White explains in The Great Controversy:
The 2300 days had been found to begin when the commandment of Artaxerxes for the restoration and building of Jerusalem went into effect, in the autumn of 457 B.C. Taking this as the starting point, there was perfect harmony in the application of all the events foretold in the explanation of that period in Daniel 9:25-27. Sixty-nine weeks, the first 483 of the 2300 years, were to reach to the Messiah, the Anointed One; and Christ's baptism and anointing by the Holy Spirit, A.D. 27, exactly fulfilled the specification. In the midst of the seventieth week, Messiah was to be cut off. Three and a half years after His baptism, Christ was crucified, in the spring of A.D. 31. The seventy weeks, or 490 years, were to pertain especially to the Jews. At the expiration of this period the nation sealed its rejection of Christ by the persecution of His disciples, and the apostles turned to the Gentiles, A.D. 34. The first 490 years of the 2300 having then ended, 1810 years would remain. From A.D. 34, 1810 years extend to 1844. "Then," said the angel, "shall the sanctuary be cleansed." All the preceding specifications of the prophecy had been unquestionably fulfilled at the time appointed. 1
To summarize:
  • The 70 weeks began in autumn 457 BC
  • Christ was baptized by John in autumn 27 AD
  • Christ died in spring 31 AD
  • The 70 weeks ended in autumn 34 AD
  • The 2300-day prophecy (Dan. 8) starts in 457 AD and ends in 1844

 


Problems with Adventist Truth about the 70 Weeks

1. Did the 70-weeks begin in the autumn of 457 BC?

The starting point of the 70-week prophecy is found in Daniel 9:25:

...from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem...
Was there such a commandment in 457 BC? Ellen White says:
The seventy weeks were declared by the angel to date from the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem. If the date of this commandment could be found, then the starting-point for the great period of 2300 days would be ascertained. In the seventh chapter of Ezra, the decree is found."2
Artaxerxes' decree is found in Ezra 7:12-26. A simple reading of this passage will prove that there is no command in this decree to "restore and to build Jerusalem". The decree of Ezra 7 permits the return of all Israelites to Jerusalem, and it provides funds for the offerings, for vessels, and anything else needed for the Temple. It did not call for the rebuilding of Jerusalem, the walls, the street, or the Temple. In fact, the Temple had already been rebuilt 58 years prior to this decree! (see Ezra 6:14-15)

Aware of this problem, Adventists claim Araxerxes decree was the "culmination" of three decrees, one issued by Cyrus, one by Darius, and this last one by Artaxerxes. Whether or not the 457 BC decree is a "culmination" is pure speculation, but regardless, it must be emphasized that there is nothing in Artaxerxes' commandment about rebuilding Jerusalem. The commandments of Cyrus and Darius actually did command the rebuilding of Jerusalem, as did Artaxerxes' commandment to Nehemiah in 444 BC. Therefore, the 457 BC decree is the least likely of all the decrees to be a fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy because it contains none of the specifications of that prophecy. (For further evidence that the 457 BC decree was not a command to rebuild Jerusalem, see the Q&A section at the bottom of this page)
Decreed By Year Purpose
Cyrus 537/536 BC Jews can return. Rebuild Jerusalem and rebuild Temple (Isa. 44:24-28)
Darius I 521/520 BC Jews can return. Rebuild Temple (Ezra 6:3-5)
Artaxerxes 457 BC Jews can return. Furnish the rebuilt temple with vessels (Ezra 7:12-26)
Artaxerxes 444 BC Rebuild Jerusalem's walls and gates (Nehemiah 2:1-8)

Furthermore, the entire SDA timeline depends upon the decree going out in the autumn of 457 BC. However, careful historical research by Professor Eduardo Martínez-Rancaño shows conclusively that Artaxerxes decree was issued prior to the spring of 457 BC. This throws off the entire timeline and makes it impossible to correlate to events that occurred in Christ's lifetime. (It is beyond the scope of this page to review that evidence, but for those interested, click here.)

2. Was Christ baptized in 27 AD?

First, let us take a quick look at the baptism date. According to Luke 3, John the Baptist began preaching in the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar, which began in October of 27 AD and ended in October of 28 AD. In order for Jesus to have been baptized in the "autumn" of 27 AD, he would have had to have been baptized within a few weeks of when John started preaching. While that is theoretically possible, it is more likely John preached for at least a year, if not longer, before he baptized Christ. In Desire of Ages Ellen White describes some events that transpired in John's ministry prior to the baptism of Christ that indicate a rather long elapsed time:

  1. The "whole nation was stirred" and "multitudes flocked to the wilderness" (p. 104). This was in the days before mass media and modern transportation. It would take months for the message of John the Baptist to spread throughout the entire nation of Israel. Likewise, it would take time for "multitudes" to travel from throughout Palestine to visit the desert preacher.

  2. "Multitudes followed this new teacher from place to place..." (p. 108). According to Ellen White, John went about preaching in various places prior to the baptism of Christ.

  3. "Tidings of the wilderness prophet and his wonderful announcement, spread throughout Galilee. The message reached the peasants in the remotest hill towns..." (p. 109) Again, for the preaching of John to penetrate to the "remotest" towns would take months if not years.
If Adventists seriously consider Ellen White to have had inspired insight into the life of Jesus, then it would be difficult to fit all these events into a timeline that requires an autumn 27 AD baptism. It is more likely Jesus was baptized between 28 AD and 30 AD.

3. Did Christ die in 31 AD?

John 19:31 tells us that Jesus died on the preparation day for a "high Sabbath". This "high Sabbath" was the annual Passover, which was celebrated on the first day of the feast of unleavened bread. On the Jewish calendar, the Passover falls on Nisan 15. On the evening of Nisan 14, the day before the Passover, the traditional Passover lamb was eaten. Ellen White informs us that Christ died on Nisan 14, the same day that the Passover lamb was slain and eaten.

They had gathered to celebrate the Passover. The Saviour desired to keep this feast alone with the twelve. He knew that His hour was come; He Himself was the true paschal lamb, and on the day the Passover was eaten He was to be sacrificed.3
Mrs. White then informs us that on the Sabbath day after Christ died, the Passover day (Nisan 15) was observed:
The body of Jesus was hastily placed in the tomb because of the near approach of the Sabbath, that the disciples might keep the day according to the commandment. The two Marys were the last at the sepulcher. This was a never-to-be-forgotten Sabbath to the sorrowing disciples, and also to the priests, rulers, scribes, and people. The passover was observed as it had been for centuries, while the antitypical Lamb, which it prefigured, had been slain by wicked hands, and lay in Joseph's tomb.4
Ellen White even goes so far as to give us the exact day of the Jewish Calendar upon which Christ died:
These types were fulfilled, not only as to the event, but as to the time. On the fourteenth day of the first Jewish month, the very day and month on which for fifteen long centuries the Passover lamb had been slain, Christ, having eaten the Passover with His disciples, instituted that feast which was to commemorate His own death as "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." That same night He was taken by wicked hands to be crucified and slain.5

Jewish Date Day of Week Event Fulfillment
Nisan 14 Friday Passover lamb was slain and eaten Jesus was slain
Nisan 15 Saturday The annual Passover day was celebrated Jesus rested in the tomb

Now that we have established that according to Ellen White, Jesus died on the Friday before Passover (Nisan 14) and rested in the tomb on the subsequent High Sabbath (Nisan 15), we can cross-reference these dates with the Jewish Calendar and determine if these events occurred in 31 AD.

Pilate was governor of Judea between 26 AD and 36 AD. During that time period, Nisan 14 fell upon a Friday on only two years:

  • April 8 of 30 AD
  • April 3 of 33 AD6
On 31 AD, Nisan 14 fell upon March 27, a Tuesday! Therefore, Jesus could not possibly have died in 31 AD.7

Further evidence for a 33 AD date is based upon Peter's statement in Acts 2:16-20 that Joel's prophecy had recently been fulfilled. Part of Joel's prophecy refers to "a moon of blood". Can astronomy prove that the moon turned to blood in 33 AD?

A "moon of blood" is a term also commonly used for a lunar eclipse because of the reddish color of the light refracted onto the moon through the earth's atmosphere. ...

Humphreys and Waddington of Oxford University reconstructed the Jewish calendar in the first century AD and arrived at the conclusion that Friday April 3 33AD was the date of the Crucifixion. Humphreys and Waddington went further and also reconstructed the scenario for a lunar eclipse on that day. They concluded that:

"This eclipse was visible from Jerusalem at moonrise. .... The start of the eclipse was invisible from Jerusalem, being below the horizon. The eclipse began at 3:40pm and reached a maximum at 5:15pm, with 60% of the moon eclipsed. This was also below the horizon from Jerusalem. The moon rose above the horizon, and was first visible from Jerusalem at about 6:20pm (the start of the Jewish Sabbath and also the start of Passover day in A.D. 33) with about 20% of its disc in the umbra of the earth's shadow and the remainder in the penumbra. The eclipse finished some thirty minutes later at 6:50pm."8
According to NASA, there were no lunar eclipses on any of the possible crucifixion dates in 31 AD.9

4. Did the 70-week Prophecy Terminate in 34 AD?

No one knows exactly when Stephen was stoned, but scholars have dated it between 33 AD and 36 AD. Regardless of this, the more important question is: Was the stoning of Stephen the terminating point of the 70-week prophecy? Daniel 9:24 states that...

Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city...
Nothing of significance happened to either the Jewish people or the city of Jerusalem when Stephen was stoned. Many Christians fled Jerusalem after the stoning of Stephen, but the Apostles stayed (Acts 8:1) and the Jerusalem church continued witnessing there until all the Christians fled Jerusalem just prior to 70 AD. So, Christians continued evangelizing Jews, the Jerusalem Church continued to be the most prominent base of Christianity (Acts 15), and even Paul, the missionary to the Gentiles, made it his first goal to convert Jews wherever he went. Notice the following accounts paraphrased from Acts:
  • When Paul arrived at Antioch he went into the Jewish Synagogue Sabbath on Sabbath to preach (13:14)
  • When Paul arrived at Thessalonica, he preached in the Jewish Synagogue for three Sabbaths (17:1-2)
  • When Paul came to Berea, he went into "the synagogue of the Jews" (17:10)
  • When Paul visited Corinth, he stayed with a Jewish family, teaching in the Jewish synagogue every Sabbath, both Jews and Greeks (18:1-4)
  • Three days after Paul got to Rome, he met with the leading Jews (28:17)
Therefore, it is apparent that the status of the Jewish people did not change after the stoning of Stephen. In addition to all this, Daniel 9:27 says:
...he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease...
While it is true that the sacrifices were no longer efficacious after Christ died, they nevertheless continued until the destruction of the temple in 70 AD.

God's termination of the Old Covenant, and the ensuing destruction of Jerusalem and the Sanctuary of His covenant, did not occur until 70 AD. The book of Hebrews was written about 65 AD10, and Hebrews 8:13 describes the Old Covenant as "becoming" obsolete and about ready to vanish:

  • ...waxeth old [is] ready to vanish away. KJV
  • ...is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. NKJV
  • ...will soon disappear. NIV
  • ...is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. ESV
  • ...is ready to disappear. NASB
  • ...is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. RSV
  • ...is becoming old and grows aged is near to vanishing away. HNV
It is obvious from this passage that the Old Covenant, although still in existence and binding upon the Jews, was soon to be terminated, leaving only the New Covenant that was instituted by Christ on the Cross. Within a few short years of when this verse was written, the Old Covenant literally "vanished away" when the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD. The Book of the Law, containing the Old Covenant, was taken away by Prince Titus to Rome as a war trophy.11 This literal removal of the Book of the Law from the Temple symbolizes the termination of God's Old Covenant with the Jews. The captivity of the Jews, and the destruction of the temple and city of Jerusalem provide a much more meaningful termination of the 70-week prophecy than does the stoning of Stephen. The destruction of Jerusalem by the prince, Titus, is even alluded to in Daniel 9:26:
...and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.
This cataclysmic event, impacting every Jew on earth, is a much more fitting termination point than the stoning of a single disciple that had no noticeable impact on either the Jews or their city.

5. Is 457 BC the starting point of the 2300-day prophecy?

The topic of the beginning and ending points of the 2300-day prophecy is thoroughly discussed on this web site. To view that page, click here.

 


Bible Truth about 70 Week Prophecy

Commencement of the Seventy Weeks

Daniel 9 starts with a prayer. The context of that prayer is that Israel is in the waning years of the 70-year period of captivity prophesied by Jeremiah (Jer. 25:1-11). Daniel was praying "in the first year of Darius" which is the first year of Cyrus' reign (539/538 BC). In response to Daniel's prayer regarding the 70-year captivity, Gabriel is sent to explain to Daniel that God is decreeing a further seven periods of 70 years punishment upon the Jews. The 70 "sevens" was the seven-fold curse promised by God under His Old Covenant with the Jews:

...I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. (Leviticus 26:28)
Although released from their 70-year captivity, the Jews had apparently not fully repented, and were punished under the sevenfold curse. Thus, seven times of 70 years, or 490 years in total, were decreed upon the Jews. It is logical to believe that this new period of 490 years commenced at the completion of the 70-year captivity, which ended in approximately 538 BC. Sam Storms writes:
In his first year, after the fall of Babylon in fulfillment of prophecy, the Persian king, Cyrus, issued a decree relative to the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem:
"Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, 'The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and He has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever there is among you of all His people, may his God be with him! Let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah, and rebuild the house of the Lord, the God of Israel'" (Ezra 1:2-3; cf. 2 Chron. 36:23).
We are told explicitly in 2 Chron. 36:21-22 that the decree of Cyrus signaled the end of Jeremiah’s prophecy and the beginning of the restoration of Israel. This corresponds directly with Daniel’s concern for the completion of Jeremiah’s prophecy, on the basis of which he utters his prayer (9:2).

In Dan. 9:25 the decree that inaugurates the 70 weeks is “to restore and rebuild Jerusalem,” and that is precisely what Isaiah prophesied that Cyrus would do:

"It is I who says of Cyrus, 'He is My shepherd! And he will perform all My desire.' And he declares of Jerusalem, 'She will be built,' and of the temple, 'Your foundation will be laid'” (Isa. 44:28).

“I have aroused him [Cyrus] in righteousness, and I will make all his ways smooth; he will build my city, and will let my exiles go free, without any payment or reward,” says the Lord of hosts (Isa. 45:13).

In 605 BC Jeremiah prophesied that Israel would be taken captive in Babylon for 70 years and that Jerusalem and its temple would be destroyed. He also prophesied that at the end of this period Babylon would fall. In 539 BC Babylon fell to Cyrus of Persia. Consequently, in that very year, sensing the completion of Jeremiah’s prophecy, Daniel prays for the restoration of Jerusalem. Gabriel (as God’s messenger) responds to Daniel’s prayer with the prophecy of the 70 weeks, the beginning of which would be a decree to rebuild and restore the city. In 538 BC Cyrus issued just such a decree! The point, then, is this. The decree of Cyrus in 539-38 BC is both the conclusion of Jeremiah's prophecy of captivity (2 Chron. 36:21-23) and the beginning of Daniel's 70 weeks prophecy of restoration (Dan. 9:25).12

Mid-points of the Seventy Weeks

As noted in the "problems with SDA truth" section above, the last week of the seventy-week prophecy began with Jesus' baptism when He, the Messiah, was "annointed" with the Holy Spirit. We do not know the exact date of His baptism, but as noted above, we do know the date of Jesus' death was April 3, 33 AD. Since Messiah was cut-off in the midst of the week, we can subtract three-and-a-half years to arrive at a baptism date in the autumn of 29 AD. This timeline fits nicely into the events described in the gospels.

The only difficulty with this view is that the baptism takes place 566 years after the commencement of the 70-week prophecy. In order to understand this discrepency, we must examine Daniel 9 again. The passage breaks up the 70-week prophecy into three parts:

  • 62-weeks
  • 7-weeks
  • 1-week (the 1-week is further divided into two 3.5-year parts)
Why is it broken thus into pieces? Is it required that the 70-weeks be continguous? Or does the text allow for breaks between the periods? The fact that there are several distinct time periods could suggest the periods may be non-contiguous. If so, the 62-weeks and 7-weeks transpired prior to Christ's baptism, and then the first half of the final week transpired between his baptism and death. Likewise, the second half of the 1-week took place in the 3.5-year war and tribulation that transpired just prior to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.

Termination point of the Seventy Weeks

Evidence presented in the "problems with SDA truth" section above indicates the termination of the 70 weeks is associated with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD by Titus:

...the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. (Dan. 9:26)
This event was fulfilled literally in 70 AD when Prince Titus, the son of Roman Emporer Vespasian, destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple. Jesus had warned His followers of this event, explicitly telling them that they should flee Jerusalem, "when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place." (Matt. 24:15) This is a reference to Daniel 9:27, "and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make [it] desolate." Jesus is describing to his disciples a military invasion of Judea by Roman-led armies. Luke provides an even great clarification of what Jesus said:
But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. (Luke 21:20 NKJV)
Daniel 9:27 speaks of the "overspreading of abominations", which in the KJV margin reads "with the abominable armies he shall make it desolate". Thus, the Hebrew translators of the Bible understood the context of the passage in Daniel 9:27 as referring to a military-style invasion, which is exactly what Jesus prophesied would take place when Rome invaded Judea and the "holy place" was desolated.

The "holy place" does not necessarily imply the Temple, for the Jews considered Jerusalem itself to be the "holy city" (cf. Matt. 4:5, Dan. 9:24, Rev. 11:2). In 66 AD the armies of Rome, Syria, and Arabia encompassed Jerusalem, but then withdrew, allowing Christians to escape the city. Approximately three-and-a-half years after Jerusalem was encompassed, the city and sanctuary were destroyed in 70 AD. At that time, the animal sacrifices ceased, providing yet another point of fulfillment of Daniel 9. Finally, the effects of the destruction are said in Dan. 9:27 to last "until the consummation". Jesus explained:

Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. (Luke 21:24)
Thus, the desolation spoken by Daniel that commenced in 70 AD continues to this very day, with Jerusalem a divided city occupied by Muslims, Christians, and other gentiles, and the temple is still in a state of destruction.

 


Your Questions about 70 Week Prophecy
 

QUESTION: Gerhard Hasel, in an article in Ministry, proved that the 457 decree included the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the Temple. What say you?

ANSWER:13 Dewey M. Beegle underscored the weakness of Hasel's arguments.

Hasel thinks the proper starting point is the order given Ezra by Artaxerxes I in 457 BC.
A copy of the official letter is found in Ezra 7:11-26. But the letter has not one word about building anything. Ezra "the scribe skilled in the law of Moses" (7:6) is authorized to take a group of exiles back to Palestine. He is given money to buy animals for sacrificing in the temple, and he is entrusted with the spiritual oversight of the Jews. He will teach those who are ignorant of the ways of God, and will judge those who are disobedient.
Where does Hasel find a basis for his claim? He refers to Ezra 4:7-23 where it is reported to Artaxerxes that the Jews are "finishing the walls and repairing the foundations of Jerusalem" (4:12). Hasel comments:
"If this report comes from a time later than [Ezra's decree], then one may safely conclude that the decree issued in 457 BC related to the restoration and rebuilding of Jerusalem" (The Ministry, May 1976, p 15).
But one cannot "safely" come to Hasel's conclusion. It is sheer assumption, for there is no evidence that Artaxerxes ever authorized Ezra to rebuild Jerusalem.
Hasel makes a second try by referring to the report which Nehemiah received, thirteen years after the edict of Ezra, about the broken walls and burned gates of Jerusalem Neh. 1:3). "This implies," he comments, that previous to this "the city had been rebuilt." It implies nothing of the kind. The battered walls and gates reported to Nehemiah were the rubble left from Nebuchadnezzar's destruction. The returning exiles built the temple and constructed homes in an area cleared of debris, but they did little with the wall system. Attempts to rebuild walls were interpreted by ancient kings as fortification in preparation for revolt, and they seldom authorized it. The Jews needed walls to protect themselves from raids and harassment by their neighbors. But these enemies were there to check what was going on and so the unofficial attempts to rebuild the walls were stopped before much could be accomplished.
A third try by Hasel is Ezra's thanks for God's love in granting "some reviving to set up the house of our God, to repair its ruins, and to give us a wall in Judea and Jerusalem" (Ezra 9:9). The whole context is spiritual and has nothing to do with a physical wall. (There was no wall around Judea.) Ezra had brought the law of Moses and taught the people a way of life. That was a "wall of protection" for the Jews of Jerusalem and Judea, even though they lacked a physical wall.
Hasel makes a fourth try by quoting Ezra 6:14, which refers to the "decree of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes." Then he comments: "Ezra considered the third decree to be the culmination of the three decrees." The verse is actually talking about the completion of the temple in 515 BC, and has nothing to do with Ezra.
Hasel is building his foundation on four broken reeds, and instead of supporting his theory they puncture it. Or to put it another way, if you add four zeroes you get zero. There is not a bit of evidence that in 457 BC there was a decree ordering the rebuilding of Jerusa1em. Hasel has done as thorough a job as possible under the circumstances. This critique of his views should not be taken as an attempt to "hassle" him. The examination is really a refutation of all conservatives who try to start the 490 years in 458 or 457 BC.10

QUESTION: Did Cyrus's decree pertain to the rebuilding of the city as well as the temple?

ANSWER:14 [Some Adventists] insist that the decree of Cyrus in 538 cannot be the beginning of the 70 weeks because his decree did not include reference to the rebuilding of the city, only the temple. Several things may be said in response to this charge.

First, as Poythress points out, we must bear in mind that the Israelites

"lived in an atmosphere where the restoration of the temple, the restoration of the city of Jerusalem, and the restoration of the land itself were closely bound up together. The city represented the heart-beat and security of the land around; the temple represented the heart-beat and security of the city (Jer. 7:4). Jeremiah prophesied desolation for the land, for the city of Jerusalem, and for the temple. In particular, Jeremiah’s prophecy concerning 70 years of desolation speaks explicitly of restoration of the people to the land (Jer. 29:10,14), but is naturally interpreted to imply restoration of the city (Dan. 9:2,16,18) and of the temple (Dan. 9:17)."
Second, the focus of the decree in Ezra 1:2-4 and 2 Chron. 36:23 is indeed the temple, but these passages may not give us the complete text of the decree. Ezra 6:3-5, an alternate report of the decree, contains details not mentioned in Ezra 1:2-4. When Josephus wrote of the decree he included direct reference to the city. But let us grant, for the sake of argument, that Josephus was wrong and that the decree of Cyrus contained no explicit reference to the rebuilding of the city. The restoration of the city, observes Poythress,
"would nevertheless be presupposed as an accompaniment to the restoration of the temple. For one thing, there would have to be workers there in the city to engage in the restoration work on the temple. And the temple would make little sense without a body of priests to serve in it. Some priests would have to be settled in Jerusalem."
Third, according to Dan. 9:2, Daniel himself believed that the desolation of the city of Jerusalem would last for 70 years. It is only natural, therefore, that the restoration of the city, as well as the temple, would begin when the 70 years were completed. “To say that the restoration of the city had to wait until Nehemiah’s time [as the dispensationalist insists] is a denial of the validity of Jeremiah’s prophecy”.

Fourth, we have already seen that Isa. 44:28 and 45:13 include reference to the rebuilding of the city.

Fifth, numerous texts indicate that Jerusalem was at least partially inhabited before Nehemiah’s time (cf. Hag. 1:4,9; Neh. 3:20,21,23,24,25,28,29; 7:3; Ezra 5:1; 6:9; 4:6). That the restoration was not at that time complete is no proof that it had not begun.

Sixth, and finally, what about Dan. 9:25b and the reference to “plaza and moat”? This poses no problem, for one must distinguish between the decree itself and the historical results. It is the verbal (or literary) act that marks the beginning of the 70 weeks. Dan. 9:25b simply describes the non-verbal historical results.

Given the available evidence, I see no reason why we should look for any decree other than that of Cyrus in 539-38 BC as the fulfillment of Dan. 9:25 and thus the beginning (the terminus a quo) of the 70 weeks. Consequently, one of the principal foundations for the dispensational interpretation has crumbled.

 


Links for Deeper Study about 70 Week Prophecy

What Really Happened in 1844 by David Hill

 


 

NOTES

1. Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy (1911), p. 410.

2. Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy (1911), p. 326.

3. Ellen G. White, Desire of Ages, p. 642.

4. Ellen G. White, The Spirit of Prophecy Volume 3 (1878), pp. 186-187.

5. Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 399. Note that Jesus and the disciples ate the last supper on Thursday evening. Jesus was arrested later that evening. In reading this quote, one might think that Nisan 14 occurred upon a Thursday; however, it must be remembered that Jewish days begin at sunset. Therefore, Nisan 14 began when the sun set on Thursday evening. Thus, Jesus celebrated the Passover meal very early on the day of Nisan 14.

6. Colin J. Humphreys and W.G. Waddington, "The Jewish Calendar, A Lunar Eclipse, and the Date of Christ's Crucifixion", http://www.tyndalehouse.com/TynBul/Library/TynBull_1992_43_2_06_Humphreys_DateChristsCrucifixion.pdf, extracted July 19, 2009. Dr. David Reagan, "The Resurrection of Jesus in Prophecy", http://www.raptureready.com/featured/reagan/dr14.html, extracted July 19, 2009. See also the following reference posted on the CARM forum: (Ref: Table 179, Jack Finegan, The Handbook of Biblical Chronology (Revised Edition; Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers, 1998) ISBN 1-56563-143-9).

7. Colin J. Humphreys and W.G. Waddington, "The Jewish Calendar, A Lunar Eclipse, and the Date of Christ's Crucifixion", Tyndale Bulletin, 43.2 (1992), p. 335. (see link in #5 above)

8. Wikipedia, "Crucifixion darkness and eclipse", http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crucifixion_darkness_and_eclipse, extracted July 19, 2009.

9. NASA "Catalog of Lunar Eclipses", http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/LEcat5/LE0001-0100.html.

10. Daniel B. Wallace, "Hebrews: Introduction, Argument, and Outline", http://bible.org/seriespage/hebrews-introduction-argument-and-outline, extracted July 20, 2009.

11. "But for those that were taken in the temple of Jerusalem...the golden table...the candlestick also...and the last of all the spoils, was carried the Law of the Jews." Josephus, Jewish War (VII.5.5). According to James Ussher in his Annals of the World, the Jewish Law was deposited in the Roman Palace, p. 880.

12. Sam Storms, "Daniel's 70 Weeks", Nov. 6, 2006, http://www.enjoyinggodministries.com/article/daniels-70-weeks/, extracted Aug. 29, 2009.

13. Taken from Robert Brinsmead's Judged By the Gospel, 1980.

14. Storms, Ibid.


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