Daniel Chapter 9: The 70 Weeks

Nov 27th, 2009 | By | Category: Daniel, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Daniel Chapter 9: The 70 Weeks

Dan. 9:1 In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans;

Daniel’s experience in this chapter occurred in the first year of Darius the Mede.

Comment: This was the same year as the handwriting on the wall at Belshazzar’s Feast, for Darius the Mede was the supreme ruler at the time Babylon was captured by General Cyrus.

Reply: Yes, at this time, Darius the Mede was superior to Cyrus, his general. Darius reigned for only two years and then died. Cyrus succeeded him as king. “So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and [then, subsequently] in the reign of Cyrus the Persian” (Dan. 6:28).

Q: Daniel 1:21 reads, “And Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus,” yet Daniel 10:1 starts with, “In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed unto Daniel.”

How do we harmonize these two Scriptures?

A: Daniel remained in his official position, or capacity, before the public into the first year of Cyrus, but he lived even beyond the third year of Cyrus. Just how long he lived we do not know. Cyrus regarded Daniel favorably because of the Isaiah prophecies that were called to his attention, but Daniel was very old at that time, so he was officially phased out. Nevertheless, he continued to have visions.

Q: Is this the same Darius the Mede who threw Daniel into the lions’ den in Chapter 6?

A: Yes. The second half of the Book of Daniel is not sequential. Chapter 7 and other chapters are like addenda. Another Darius, Darius Hystaspes, was the third king. Ptolemy’s Canon omits Darius the Mede and the pseudo-Smerdis, who reigned only seven months. The order was Darius the Mede (reigned two years), Cyrus the Persian (reigned seven years), and Darius Hystaspes. When Cyrus had a tablet made, the Persians recorded the length of his reign as nine years because they ignored Darius the Mede and appropriated his two years to Persia instead.

Comment: We can say, then, that Chapters 7 and 8 are parenthetical and that, timewise, Chapter 9 picks up after Chapter 6.

Dan. 9:2 In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.

It is interesting that Daniel came across the 70-year prophecies in the Book of Jeremiah. “And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations” (Jer. 25:12). “For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place” (Jer. 29:10). Daniel understood that 70 years had to be accomplished in the desolations of Jerusalem before limited favor could return to Israel. He also saw that the time was nearing for the 70 years to expire.

The Israelites were in captivity for 70 years because the land had to lie desolate for that length of time in order to fulfill “her sabbaths.” “To fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years” (2 Chron. 36:21). This text is very important for properly understanding the chronology.

Dan. 9:3 And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:

Dan. 9:4 And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;

Dan. 9:5 We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments:

Daniel went to the Lord in prayer. From these sentiments, we can see one reason why he was called “greatly beloved.”

Comment: Daniel was still in official capacity. Since his prayer probably covered several days, his willingness to humiliate himself in sackcloth and ashes while in public office was very commendable.

Reply: The humiliation, sackcloth, and ashes are indicative of his deep concern for natural Israel. Of course Daniel did not realize that God would have a spiritual Israel as well as a natural Israel.

In his prayer, Daniel spoke of God as “keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments.” Notice that Daniel included himself. Then in the very next verse, he acknowledged, “We have sinned.” The use of the plural pronoun shows he felt he was the representative of Israel in this foreign land. He took on himself the role of the nation and its sin in departing from God’s precepts and judgments.

Leviticus 26 lists punishments and judgments that would come on the nation of Israel for disobedience. If the people did not hearken, “seven times” of punishment would be given.

Being familiar with this chapter, Daniel realized that the nation had been through shorter periods of judgment and forgiveness down through their history but that now they were experiencing a greater punishment. When the 70 years expired, he wanted to make sure favor would return to the nation.

Comment: The Hebrew word yare, translated “dreadful” in verse 4, signifies “holy fear,” “reverence.”

The Israelites were in captivity because they had sinned, committed iniquity, done wickedly, and rebelled “by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments.”

Comment: The repentant Holy Remnant will have similar sentiments at the end of the age.

Dan. 9:6 Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.

As a natural leader, Daniel was confessing the sins of Israel in sackcloth and ashes as he prayed on behalf of the people.

Comment: We are given an insight into Daniel’s character. Verse 2 says he “understood by books.” He had been reading and trying to understand Jeremiah, and here he talked about what had happened in the past. Not only was he an educated man, but he used that education to look into the Lord’s Word. And he did not just read but analyzed what he read to see what effect it would have on his life and on the lives of the people.

Reply: It is interesting that Daniel could see Jeremiah was a valid prophet, for at least four false prophets, who are named in Scripture, contradicted Jeremiah in his day.

Dan. 9:7 O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee.

“Unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them.” Notice that some of the Israelites had been dispersed to other places— specifically those of the ten tribes, who were taken captive to Assyria 150 years earlier. In contrast, Daniel and the others were now in Babylon, and Daniel’s chief ministry was to Jews in the Babylonian Empire. The two-tribe kingdom was taken primarily to Babylon and confined there until their release, whereas captives of the ten-tribe kingdom had been purposely dispersed—hence the expression “the lost tribes of Israel.” In other words, the two powers (Assyria and Babylon) pursued two different policies. The Assyrian policy was comparable to the Russians’ sending people to Siberia, a no-man’s-land, with the thought that they were too far away to plot or be a threat. But King Nebuchadnezzar and his successors took advantage of their enemies by selectively utilizing the cream of the crop, who were of the nobility, generally speaking. Even those taken captive when Jerusalem was destroyed were more or less a filtered-out class who had been humbled. The end of the Book of Jeremiah (Chapter 52) tells the number of captives in three different experiences pertaining to Judah. The real desolation of the land occurred in the same year as the Zedekiah captivity when Gedaliah was assassinated by fellow Jews. Approximately 140 years prior to these Judah captivities, basically in the days of Hezekiah, the ten tribes were defeated.

Dan. 9:8 O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee.

Dan. 9:9 To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him;

Dan. 9:10 Neither have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets.

Comment: Leeser renders “confusion of face” as “shame of face.”

Reply: Those in the right heart condition experienced “shame of face” personally. In addition, there was “shame of face” in the sight of others—of those who beheld the judgment.

“To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses.” How interesting! Daniel was praying to God, “Do not forget your attribute of mercy and forgiveness, for we have already experienced judgment.” Then, speaking as the representative of the people, he added, “Though we have rebelled against him [God].” Certainly Daniel himself had not rebelled.

Comment: Psalm 130:4 ties in forgiveness with the thought of being feared. “But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.” This verse is a safeguard against presuming on God’s forgiveness. There is forgiveness with God but mixed with a holy fear of Him.

Reply: Yes, Universal Salvation erroneously teaches that God is so merciful He will forgive everybody everything, even Satan.

Comment: Again Daniel brought out the same point: “You gave us not only your Law but also the prophets. We realize you have been long-suffering in trying to help us.”

Dan. 9:11 Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him.

Dan. 9:12 And he hath confirmed his words, which he spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem.

Daniel was referring to the warnings given to Israel in Leviticus 26, where their history was laid before them as to why, during the Period of the Judges, God acted as He did and finally dispersed the nation and sent captives into Babylon.

Comment: Deuteronomy 28:15 says, “But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee.” A list of curses follows.

One purpose of the recording of Daniel’s prayer and other events in his life was to give insight into his character and show why he was called “Beloved.” For example, Chapter 1 tells about the fasting of Daniel and the three Hebrews and their being prepared for three years before they were inducted into the service of King Nebuchadnezzar. By declining to eat food prohibited by the Law, they risked their lives. Daniel took the lead, and the other three followed. Now this prayer gives further insight as to why he was called “Beloved.” Without such examples, we would just have to accept the endearing term by faith.

The Book of Daniel makes manifest that Daniel himself was blameless in God’s sight, and yet he prayed, “We have sinned.” As a very excellent representative and leader of the people, he had empathy for his fellow Israelites in captivity. Also, Daniel offered this prayer just two years before the 70 years expired. In other words, this was year 68 of the captivity dating from Zedekiah’s day. Daniel took upon himself the burden and the sin of the nation, pleading with God for mercy and recognition of His promise about the desolation lasting 70 years. Knowing that the time set for judgment was nearing expiration, he implored the Lord for recognition.

Comment: No doubt Daniel beseeched the Lord often, not just this one time.

Reply: Yes, and in fact, the translators seem to hint to that effect.

Daniel’s mention of Jerusalem in verse 12 shows he was referring particularly to the captivity of Judah. The ten-tribe kingdom was severely dealt with earlier.

Q: Does the last part of verse 12, “for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem,” mean for both good and evil?

A: Israel’s suffering was in the following sense, for instance. The Scriptures tell us that Jesus suffered more than any other man, yet millions have suffered excruciating deaths under extreme and dire circumstances. Nevertheless, Jesus’ death is put first because of his perfection, his sensitivity of nature, his being looked upon as a blasphemer, his being crucified as a curse and in nakedness, etc. Because of the refinement of his nature, Jesus suffered more than any other man. The Son of the God experienced great shame. In the same sense, Daniel took upon himself the feeling of the wrongdoing of the nation, whereas he himself was a most upright person, making vows and publicly praying three times a day before an open window that faced toward Jerusalem—and even when knowing his enemies were plotting to kill him for his religious faith and practices.

Dan. 9:13 As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth.

Comment: Verse 13 is an excellent verse to cite in witnessing to Israel for the benefit of the Holy Remnant.

Dan. 9:14 Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the LORD our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice.

Dan. 9:15 And now, O Lord our God, that hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten thee renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly.

Keep in mind that Daniel was praying on behalf of his people near the end of the 70 years’ punishment, or special desolation of the land. Generally speaking, the Jews were so comfortably ensconced in their captivity with houses and prosperity that a penitent attitude was lacking. As a whole, they were accepted and recognized in their Babylonian captivity. Only a minority, the godly element, had remorse and a desire to return to the homeland. It is interesting that with all of his yearning and speaking on behalf of his people, Daniel stayed behind and never went back to Israel.

Comment: Obviously, it was in God’s providence for Daniel to remain in Babylon.

Comment: Daniel’s words show his appreciation of God’s justice: “The LORD our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice.” In other words, in harmony with His character, God did what was right in punishing His people.

Reply: Yes, Daniel’s attitude was unusual, for most Jews today ask, “Why? Why? Why?” By including himself and empathetically entering into the prayer, Daniel truly represented the people of Israel.

Comment: Think of the Heavenly Father’s looking down on Daniel, wh o was blameless, and hearing these words come out of his mouth.

Reply: The prayer and setting are very touching—as is Daniel’s humility.

Comment: Daniel could have prayed, “Lord, I have been really good, but can you help the others, for they have disobeyed?”

In verse 15, Daniel was praying, “Lord, in the past, you brought the Israelites out of Egypt with a mighty hand. Will you now deliver them out of Babylonian captivity so that they can return to the Holy Land and be established again as a people.”

Dan. 9:16 O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us.

Comment: Daniel was not just looking for help for his people, but he saw that the desolation of Jerusalem was a reflection on the Lord and “a reproach to all that are about us.” He was troubled because Jerusalem was God’s “holy mountain.”

Reply: The word “thy,” which is mentioned several times in verse 16, shows that the reproach was on the Lord because the judgments had occurred to His people.

Comment: The surrounding peoples would think the God of Israel was weak because the Israelites had been conquered and taken captive so many times. Conditions have been similar for the true Christian down through the Gospel Age.

Reply: Had the Jews obeyed the Law, they would have gotten the rewards of the Law. Later the conclusion was that those who got the rewards of the Law must have been obeying the Law, but they were not. Similarly, those who prosper in the Lord’s name in the Gospel Age and do not really have His Spirit regard the prosperity as an evidence they are doing something right. Such conclusions twist the Scriptures. The Lord did promise prosperity but under circumstances of obedience. For the Christian, the prosperity pertains especially to the new creature.

Dan. 9:17 Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord’s sake.

Comment: Moses took a similar tack in regard to the Israelites’ deserving judgment, but he reasoned, “What will the other peoples think if you have brought the Israelites out into the wilderness only to kill them all?”

Reply: Moses also said, “Blot me out of thy book of life if so doing will help the salvation of the nation.”

Dan. 9:18 O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies.

Dan. 9:19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.

Daniel’s pleading in verse 19 is heart-wrenching. “O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not” for your name’s sake!

Comment: If the Ancient Worthies had lived in the Gospel Age, they would be in the Little Flock. Therefore, although Daniel’s prayer was on behalf of natural Israel, we, as spiritual Israel, should have the same sentiments and principles.

Reply: Yes, we should measure up to that standard. Revelation 6:10 says, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?”

That is one aspect, but there is also the aspect of empathy. To have an intensity of feeling like Daniel was very unusual: “O Lord, hear! We can sense how emotional he was. The prayer ends with great intensity of feeling where he begged God to remember His promise and to forgive and to restore.

Comment: Daniel was praying in regard to “we, thy people, who are called by thy name.” The Jews are still God’s people, and God will make the nation, the place of His sanctuary, glorious.

Reply: Daniel 12:1 is generally spiritualized, but it applies to natural Israel. “At that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people.” Daniel was very concerned about his people.

Dan. 9:20 And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God;

This verse emphasizes Daniel’s attitude even more pointedly. The greatly beloved Daniel said, “I was … confessing my sin and the sin of my people.” He was ever conscious of his relationship to God and did not exalt himself in any way that was unbecoming.

Dan. 9:21 Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.

The angel Gabriel did not interrupt Daniel’s prayer, but when Daniel had finished, Gabriel made him aware of his presence. Daniel looked to see who had touched him and recognized Gabriel as the one who had spoken to him in the previous vision of Chapter 8. In one sense, Chapters 8 and 9 are together—with Part A being the vision and Part B being Daniel’s long prayer.

Gabriel was “caused to fly swiftly” so that he touched Daniel “about the time of the evening oblation,” or 3 p.m. The “evening oblation” is sometimes called the “time of incense” or the “hour of prayer,” an example being when Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, was praying in the Temple and Gabriel appeared to him (Luke 1:8-11).

Dan. 9:22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.

Gabriel informed Daniel, “I am now come forth to give you skill and understanding.” Daniel already had some prophetic understanding, but the part about the little horn’s crushing and wearing out the saints disturbed him greatly.

Comment: For the word “skill,” the NIV has “insight.”

Dan. 9:23 At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to show thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.

Now we will consider verses 20-23 together. “And while I was speaking and praying, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision [of the ram, the he goat, and the little horn], touched me” (Dan. 8:15,16). That tiny horn waxed greater and greater and greater until it burgeoned forth and extended its length and height up into heaven. Imagine seeing this horn going up, up, up!

The implication is that the little horn climbed up into the abode of the stars. What a dramatic experience! If we read too quickly, we will not absorb the power of Scripture. If we superficially read the Word, we will get only a superficial understanding.

The point is that the little horn placed itself on a par with Jesus by magnifying itself to the legitimate “prince of the host” (Dan. 8:11). The little horn was a competitor, as it were.

The Scriptures give us a tremendous amount of information, but we lose much of it for various reasons. Daniel 9 discloses some outstanding information. Daniel was not interrupted, but as he was concluding his prayer, Gabriel appeared to him. Gabriel is also mentioned in the previous chapter in connection with the vision Daniel had. When the prophet sought an explanation, “Behold, there stood before … [him] as the appearance of a man” (Dan. 8:15). This same “man” (the Logos) appeared to Gabriel, and Gabriel appeared to Daniel both in Chapter 8 and here in Chapter 9. “A man’s voice [the Logos] between the banks of [the] Ulai, … called [across a distance], and said, Gabriel, make this man [Daniel] to understand the vision” (Dan. 8:16).

The phrase “was caused to fly swiftly” in Daniel 9:21 is particularly intriguing. “The man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, … was caused to fly swiftly.” God, the Logos, and Gabriel were all in heaven. Either God or the Logos would have given the commandment to Gabriel to go down and instruct Daniel. Previous to this command, Daniel was in sackcloth and ashes. To put on sackcloth (burlap) and rub ashes in the hair requires some preparation time. Even as humans, if we saw someone preparing to put on sackcloth, we would know that he was greatly burdened and intending to pray. That was the case with Daniel, who was in despair and near tears. The content of his prayer shows that he was agonizing. Consider the POWER of Daniel 9:19. In sackcloth and ashes, Daniel beseeched God, “O Lord, HEAR; O Lord, FORGIVE; O Lord, HEARKEN AND DO; DEFER NOT, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.”

Daniel’s anguish and his putting on sackcloth and ashes were observed in heaven. Notice, “at the beginning of thy [Daniel’s] supplications the commandment came forth” to Gabriel to go down to Daniel and make him “understand the matter, and consider the vision” (Dan. 9:23).

The startling revelation is that if we reread Daniel’s prayer in this ninth chapter and consider its length, we will realize it took Gabriel only about eight minutes to travel the distance. This time interval is significant.

Now let us reflect on the heavens. Isaiah 51:13 says that God “stretched forth the heavens” like a roll that is unfurled. In Zechariah 12:1, we read again that Jehovah “stretcheth forth the heavens.” In other words, Zechariah got the thought from Isaiah. In Isaiah 45:12, God (not Jesus) was speaking: “I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens.” Then we come to Isaiah 44:24, “I am the LORD that … stretcheth forth the heavens alone.” As we continue to consider similar verses, different slants provide additional information little by little. Jeremiah 10:12 records that God “hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion”; that is, Jehovah used a tremendous amount of judgment in connection with the placement of the stars. Jeremiah 51:15 adds that God “hath stretched out the heaven by his understanding.”

The Psalms, which were written earlier, furnish still more information. David, who lived before Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Zechariah, said that God “stretchest out the heavens like a curtain,” giving almost a two-dimensional and three-dimensional thought (Psa. 104:2). Realizing what David said, Isaiah subsequently repeated that Jehovah “stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain,” but then he added another crumb of information: “and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in” (Isa. 40:22). The word “tent” suggests curvature.

Next we will consider Job, who had tremendous understanding and was on the scene even prior to Moses. Of course Moses was in the midst of the Israelites, whether in Egypt or in the Wilderness of Sinai, whereas Job was in a different land and area. Job said that God “sealeth up the stars … [and] alone spreadeth out the heavens” (Job 9:7,8). In our recent talk showing that God is the Creator, we used only a sufficient number of Scriptures to show positively that the Father acted alone. However, the Old Testament is just impregnated with such proof texts occurring here a little and there a little. Notice that in Job 9:7,8, the word “heavens” is changed to “stars”—God “sealeth up the stars.” Of the several speakers in the Book of Job—the three comforters, Elihu, and Job himself—Job’s comments were very significant. “He [God] stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing” (Job 26:7). All of these Scriptures are leading up to something. Job 9:9 continues, “[God] maketh Arcturus,

Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south.” It is interesting that the term “chambers of the south” is used instead of specifically naming any constellation(s). One reason is that most of God’s people in the past have been chosen from the Northern Hemisphere.

One point is this: The stars, which are tremendous in size, have parameters so that they do not collide with each other. There is an invisible box, or definition, to each star so that one star will not bump into another, nor its moons. The stars are in cubbyholes, as it were. No matter how much they are moving, they are sealed; they are fixed. God sealed up each particular solar system related to a particular star, each having its own orbit, etc. In other words, the parameters are invisible but set. Similarly, the ocean boundaries are set and cannot go beyond a certain point.

Amos 5:8 says, “Seek him that maketh the seven stars [Pleiades] and Orion.” God spoke again in the Book of Job: “Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?” (Job 38:31). And David said in Psalm 75:6 that promotion does not come from the east or the west or the south. By implication, therefore, promotion comes from the north, that is, from the “sweet influences of Pleiades.”

All of these Scriptures are being quoted to establish a certain point. Next we will use a large rectangular tabletop as an illustration (see sketch on next page). The tabletop, which is of a certain thickness, illustrates the curtain, the tent. All the stars of heaven are confined in that medium. In other words, there are no stars either above or below the tabletop. If we place a quarter on the table, that quarter represents our solar system. Imagine the quarter (our solar system) being sunk into the table a little, and then imagine the thickness of the tabletop being just filled with beads, which would picture other stars and solar systems. Books on astronomy usually classify stars, for instance, independent stars (stars that are isolated or by themselves), clusters of stars, and galaxies of stars. We are in the Milky Way galaxy, and earth’s solar system is near the end of that galaxy. The Scriptures contain evidence of this fact, which science confirms. Only a couple of weeks ago, the Hubble telescope photographed for the first time a star (sun) in the center of the Milky Way galaxy that is the largest ever seen in our galaxy. It occupies a place as large as earth’s orbit around our sun. Thus the star is about 100,000 times the size of our sun.

We still have not gotten to the special point we are trying to establish. The quarter, then, pictures our solar system in the Milky Way galaxy. In our solar system are the sun and nine  planets (including earth) and their orbits and the territories they influence. Einstein proved mathematically that in this physical realm, the fastest thing is light. Nothing surpasses the speed of light, which travels 186,300 miles per second. Of course there are different forms oflight, such as ultraviolet, infrared, and cosmic rays. Cosmic rays are a better illustration because they penetrate, whereas we do not usually think of light in that sense. Cosmic rays travel with the speed of light, and the speed of light is the only constant that exists. How interesting!

Everything else—time, material, etc.—is relative, but light is constant. Light travels at the same speed under every circumstance. It is like the Bible. The Bible, too, is constant—it is the standard, the light—and everything else is relative.

What is of great interest is that William Teller, who is known as the “father of the hydrogen bomb,” propounded the cold wave theory, which states that something travels faster than light. Although this theory directly contradicts Einstein, who mathematically proved his point, Teller’s theory would seem to be true. However, nothing travels faster than 186,300 miles per second in the physical universe. With the nearest star being 3 1/2 light-years away, it takes light 3 1/2 years to get to earth from that star. However, it took Gabriel only eight minutes to get here—and from where? From heaven. But how? The Pleiades were used as a window. For instance, whenever a shuttle is to be launched, those at the Space Control Center look for a window in earth’s atmosphere. To get out of earth’s orbit and travel to the moon, a rocket must have a certain speed and go through the window in the universe. That window faces the Pleiades. God is not necessarily in the Pleiades, which consist of several stars, but that cluster of stars is the window through which the “sweet influences” of God, the power, comes. In other words, the Pleiades, to the north, point in the direction of God. (From our limited perspective down here, the Pleiades may not appear to be north, but they are.) Thus Pleiades are the window from which God’s sweet influence permeates, or comes through to, earth. We believe the Pleiades are also the channel of the angels who come down here from God.

Consider again the large tabletop, which is about an inch thick, as being the whole physical universe. For a spirit being to come down here to get to us—or to get to Daniel when he was praying—the angel would not travel from the end of the tabletop to the center because at the rate of 186,300 miles per second, he would never arrive in time. Daniel would have been dead and buried before consolation reached earth. So how did the angel Gabriel get to Daniel? He came straight down (vertically) to earth where there are no stars. solar-system

In other words, there is a heaven above our physical universe, and there is the “heaven” of our solar system. God is in the heaven above—and in the space in-between, travel occurs without inhibition at the speed of thought (Isa. 57:15). Therefore, it took Gabriel only about two or three seconds to come down here because he did not have to go (horizontally) through the medium of all the galaxies to get to earth. Instead he went direct, the shortest distance between two points being a straight line. He was only inhibited when he got to earth’s atmosphere, for then he was governed by the laws of light that pertain to us.

What about the Scripture “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear” (Isa. 65:24)? There is no contradiction, for guardian angels are always here in earth’s atmosphere. Only the head guardian angel for each of the consecrated goes to see the Father and returns. While he goes back and forth, other guardian angels are under his tutelage (Heb. 1:14). “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” In other words, down through the Gospel Age, all of the holy angels have been employed in protecting, nourishing, and informing God’s people.

Therefore, for the guardian angels to get information and/or respond down here does not require any eight minutes. For instance, to avert an automobile accident, a guardian angel can intervene in a split second. But Gabriel was not down here, as the guardian angels are, but was up in God’s heaven, whence he was “caused to fly swiftly” down to earth’s atmosphere.

And what did Gabriel say to Daniel? “Thou art greatly beloved” (Dan. 9:23). And who was Gabriel? He was second in rank to the Logos after Lucifer’s deflection. How astounding that Gabriel would call a tiny human being—this little creature down here—“greatly beloved”!

Gabriel’s words give us insight into his character, for as far as we know, he was not instructed to address Daniel in that way. His words show humility—the same humility that Jesus had in being meek and lowly in heart (Matt. 11:29). Power, wealth, and influence are dangerous, for they corrupt almost everyone except those in the right heart condition. Satan is the chief example of such corruption.

In summary, Daniel 9:20-23 gives us a little insight into the operation of God and how He watches over His people. The Scriptures contain much more information.

Comment: Deuteronomy 10:14 proves there is a “heaven of heavens.” “Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the LORD’S thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is.”

Comment: The touching aspect of verse 23 is that the Lord, knowing Daniel’s heart, said to Gabriel, “Get down there right away and give Daniel the answer.”

Comment: For “greatly,” the King James margin has “of desires.” That phrase describes Daniel well, for he desired to know all that the Lord was pleased to give him. He hungered and hungered and hungered.

Reply: “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matt. 5:6).

Not only was Daniel intellectually inquisitive, but look at his character. The important thing is not the knowledge but the application of knowledge. Even as a teenager, when he was taken captive to Babylon and was being trained to stand beside King Nebuchadnezzar, he purposed not to defile himself by eating swine’s flesh and the “king’s meat.” Normally speaking, to request that he be allowed to eat according to the Law would be like putting a noose around his neck. The three Hebrew children followed suit. Another insight into Daniel’s character is the humility he manifested by bringing in the three Hebrews when he explained the visions—as if they were responsible for his understanding. They probably helped by praying with him, but God gave the interpretation to Daniel alone. Humility is what the Adversary did not have.

Comment: When Daniel asked for understanding of the vision he had (in Chapter 8), he was granted some understanding, but we get additional insight into his character when he beseeched God for more understanding.

Reply: Although Daniel prayed subsequently (in Chapter 9), he knew that the 2,300 days were 2,300 years. “And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed” (Dan. 8:14). Such a long period of time disturbed him greatly. It was mind-boggling to think that the “little horn” power would be allowed to persecute and that it would be 2,300 years before the cleansing. Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel were contemporary prophets. Jeremiah was a prophet to the people in Israel, and Ezekiel and Daniel were prophets to the two-tribe kingdom in Babylonian captivity. All three had more or less long ministries.

Daniel knew of several prophecies pertaining to Israel: the 70 years’ prophecy (Jer. 25:12; 29:10; Dan. 9:2), the 70 weeks’ prophecy (Dan. 9:24-27), and the 2,300 years’ prophecy (Dan. 8:14).

Understandably, he was a little confused. In a short time, God’s favor would come, and for a long, long time, God’s favor would not come. How could these prophecies be harmonized? In order to understand the next few verses, it is important to realize Daniel’s thinking and confusion. Bro. Russell hit the nail on the head but does not say where he got the information.

However, we can show what led him to make certain conclusions back in his day. Although the chapter on chronology in the Second Volume gives a very short explanation of the 70 years’ vision, or prophecy, it is very revealing. The chronology changes that are being suggested in the brotherhood today negate those thoughts, which were supernatural. Bro. Russell was guided in his statements and conclusions. He was not wiser than all his contemporaries, but he had the right heart attitude and was the right individual to be the steward, the seventh messenger. It is as though the Lord gave him a providential nudge this way and that way. As a result, without giving full proof of how he came to certain conclusions, he made statements that are astoundingly deep.

Dan. 9:24 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.

Verse 24 embraces the 70 weeks in toto. The next three verses explain things that occurred in that time frame.

“Seventy weeks are determined.” Probably this particular clause is what impressed the Pastor to apply the 70 weeks in a certain way. Listen to his comment in the Second Volume, page 65: “The marked-off (‘cut off,’ or ‘determined’) period of Israel’s history here shown is ‘seventy weeks’ from a given starting point.” (The term “cut off,” which is used later in the vision to mean “cut off in death,” is a different Hebrew word.) The Hebrew word translated “determined” applies in the sense that the Pastor used it—meaning “marked off.”

It is a puzzle how the Pastor determined that the 2,300 years of the cleansing of the sanctuary from the host (in Chapter 8 ) applied to the 70 weeks’ prophecy of Chapter 9. Daniel 8 contains no clue as to when the 2,300 years started.

First, we have to review for a moment. Daniel was very depressed when he understood that the 2,300 days were not literal but symbolic—and that, therefore, the cleansing of the sanctuary would not occur for 2,300 years. He was dumbfounded to realize that the period of time could be so incredibly long, for he was interested to know about Israel right then and there. His prayer concerned the present, for he knew that the 70 years predicted by Jeremiah were about to expire. Yet the previous vision indicated that God’s people would have a hard experience for a long, long period of time. Now he would be given a little information to help compensate for his depressed state of mind.

Let us consider the 2,300 years as a long loaf of French bread. The 70 weeks could be compared to cutting off a portion of that loaf of bread. As some consolation and reward, Daniel was given information about a shorter portion of that long time period, and he was told that it pertained to the coming of Messiah. The 70 symbolic weeks represented 490 years (70 x 7 = 490). In other words, the front portion, or 490 years, marked the beginning of the 2,300 days. Therefore, if it could be determined when the 70 weeks started, it would also be known when the 2,300 years began. The Pastor realized that the 70 weeks were a marked-off segment of the larger period of time, and that is why, in the Second Volume, he took such an interest in the first clause of Daniel 9:24, “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city.”

Within the marked-off time frame of 70 weeks, or 490 years, several things would happen “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.” As we read verses 25-27, we realize that all of these events would occur in the end time of the 490 years, that is, during the last seven years. The thought of “everlasting righteousness” was encouraging to Daniel, even though it referred to Jesus’ paying the price and thus would not occur in Daniel’s day.

In just a few pages, the Second Volume explains the various events that would occur. With the Volume being called The Time Is at Hand, the Pastor treated the events from a chronological standpoint rather than as an in-depth study of every expression.

For the expression “to anoint the most Holy,” he gave an unusual application by saying it meant “to anoint the most holy element of Israel.” The last half of the seventieth week marked a period of time favorable to the apostles. Pentecost was only for the Jew. In other words, favor was exclusively confined to the lost sheep of the house of Israel for 3 1/2 years after Jesus’ death and resurrection. Then, at the end of the seventieth week, Cornelius, the first Gentile convert, was accepted. In AD 36, the period of exclusive favor to Israel ended. From then on, both Jews and Gentiles were accepted.

The usual application for the expression “to anoint the most Holy” is that the high priest went into the Most Holy and applied the blood on the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant. The Hebrew is kadesh kadeshim meaning “holy holies” or “the holy of holies,” and this term is generally applied to the Most Holy of the Tabernacle. However, the insertion of a different letter is needed for the term to have that application. Therefore, the thought is of the “most holy” individuals of that justified nation, Israel, for the Grace Covenant was exclusively to the Jew from AD 33 (Pentecost) until AD 36. At the First Advent, Jesus confined his ministry to the nation of Israel, the exceptions being two occasions when crumbs of favor were shown to those outside the pale of exclusive favor. The Pastor applied the kadeshim (plural) to the anointed ones, and this is a proper application, for the blood sprinkled on the Mercy Seat was not an anointing. (The word “anoint” is usually used in connection with the holy anointing oil.) Thus there was sufficient reason for the Pastor to give his unusual explanation that within the 70-week period, the kadesh kadeshim would occur, that is, the anointing of the holy ones of Israel. Until the very end of the 70 weeks, all the consecrated (including the apostles) were Jews, who had exclusive favor.

Q: What is the thought of bringing in “everlasting righteousness”? How and when did that occur?

A: Jesus’ one offering on Calvary justified (or brought in a righteousness for) God’s people on a continual basis—without the need of a Mass or any other custom. His sacrifice was lasting and continual. The price he paid continued on and became a life-giving factor for justifying the Lord’s people throughout the Gospel Age. Hence age-lasting righteousness was provided for the consecrated, particularly of the Gospel Age. In regard to the little horn that would persecute the saints and trample them underfoot, Daniel was thinking of the Jews—he thought the Jewish nation would be the objects of the persecution.

The 70-week prophecy is very helpful, for not only does it identify when Messiah’s ministry and death would occur, but also it has a bearing on the 2,300-day prophecy. For the moment, Daniel was given information on just the 70 weeks. Later some information on the 2,300 days would be provided.

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 street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

The starting point of the 70 weeks would be the “going forth of the commandment to restore  and to build Jerusalem,” and its ending would reach down to the Messiah period at the First Advent. Therefore, an understanding of the starting point is crucial. Such a commandment did go forth in 454 BC. Some have thought the commandment began with Cyrus, others with the seventh year of Artaxerxes, and still others in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes. The correct date is 454 BC, which is the twentieth year of Artaxerxes.

We repeat that the 70 weeks began with the “going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem.” “Jerusalem” refers to the city, not to the Temple. Isaiah 44:28 reads, “That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.” Those who feel that the 70 weeks began with Cyrus use this text—but incorrectly, we believe.

Incidentally, the Scriptural principle for determining a matter is that “at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established” (Deut. 19:15). On several doctrines, we can be misled if we do not look for an additional testimony. Isaiah 28:10 tells how the Lord speaks in His Word: “Precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.” In Isaiah 44:28, Cyrus stated not only that the Jews could go back to their homeland but that they could rebuild both the Temple and the city. However, that text is only one prophetic witness. And with prophecies that have a double application, it is possible to misread certain details. For instance, if we study in depth the prophecies in Jeremiah 50 and 51 about the destruction of Babylon, we will find statements that did not occur when Babylon was destroyed in 606 BC because they have spiritual applications which will be fulfilled when mystic Babylon falls. Hence we have a mixed bag, as it were. Some statements pertain to literal Babylon and some to spiritual Babylon. Generally speaking, the two applications are in separate verses but not always. Remember, the ancient manuscripts contained no punctuation or verse separations.

Now we will try to prove that Isaiah 44:28 is spiritual. Cyrus, a literal king, represents Jesus, who will be involved with the destruction of spiritual Babylon. The word “Cyrus” means “sun,” and Jesus, the antitypical Cyrus, is the Sun of righteousness.

Isaiah 45:1-4 reads, “Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel. For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.” These verses influenced Cyrus to issue a very favorable decree because he saw that God had foretold his name in the religion of the Hebrews hundreds of years before he was born. Daniel, who was in a position to do so, is probably the one who showed these prophecies to Cyrus. As an old man near the end of his life, he was still in the service of the king, so he had the ear of Cyrus.

Next, we will read Isaiah 45:13. “I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways: he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives, not for price nor reward, saith the LORD of hosts.” When this Scripture was brought to the attention of Cyrus, he issued a decree for the Jews to go back to their homeland—and without price or reward. However, Isaiah 45:13 is a spiritual prophecy referring to Christ. Jehovah was saying, through Isaiah, that He would direct all of Jesus’ ways and that Jesus would build His city and let go His captives in death under Adamic sin. This text is a Kingdom message. After the destruction of spiritual Babylon, there will eventually come a decree for the living dead and the dead dead (in the tomb) to follow the Lord of hosts. On page 67 of the Second Volume, the Pastor called attention to the word “city,” saying it should be “court.” “He shall build my court, and he shall let go my captives.” The account of Hezekiah in 2 Kings 20:1-7 renders the same Hebrew word ir as “court.” Hezekiah, knowing he was going to die, turned in his bed and prayed toward the wall for privacy. When Isaiah got to the middle court, God informed him of Hezekiah’s prayer and instructed the prophet to return to tell the king that he would live an additional 15 years. This is the only instance in the King James where the Hebrew ir is translated “court.” Under “city,” Young’s Analytical Concordance defines ir as meaning “an enclosed place,” and thus it is not necessarily a city. Solomon’s Temple had both a court and a court wall, so Isaiah was in a court enclosure in the middle court when he got the message about Hezekiah’s prayer and turned back.

2 Chronicles 36:22,23 reads, “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the LORD God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? The LORD his God be with him, and let him go up.”

Next is Ezra 1:1-4. “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem.

And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.” Not only was this without “price” or “reward,” but Cyrus had his subjects help the Jews with freewill offerings, giving them gold and silver (Isa. 45:13). Notice, nothing was said about the city—it was the Temple, the “house of the LORD God” in Jerusalem, that was to be rebuilt at this time.

Ezra 3:8,10 states, “Now in the second year of their coming unto the house of God at Jerusalem, in the second month, began Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and the remnant of their brethren the priests and the Levites, and all they that were come out of the captivity unto Jerusalem; and appointed the Levites, from twenty years old and upward, to set forward the work of the house of the LORD…. And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, … And they sang together by course in praising and

giving thanks unto the LORD; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.” Notice, the “foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.” The Temple was not fully restored yet, but the people were happy that the foundation, a raised platform, had been completed.

Ezra 4:5,7 tells that the people of the land “hired counsellors against them [the Jews], to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia…. And in the days of Artaxerxes [Cambyses] wrote Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of their companions [a letter], unto Artaxerxes king of Persia; and the writing of the letter was written in the Syrian tongue, and interpreted in the Syrian tongue.” “Artaxerxes” is a title like Caesar or Pharaoh. Ezra 5:12 continues, “Be it known unto the king, that the Jews which came up from thee to us are come unto Jerusalem, building the rebellious and the bad city, and have set up the walls thereof, and joined the foundations.” The point of their complaint was to have the king of Persia stop the construction work of the Jews who had gone back to Israel. Hence they sent the king a bad report. The enemy accused the Jews of building the walls of the city, but they were building the walls of the Temple court. As a result of the evil report, the king of Persia searched out the matter and responded.

The king’s conclusion is set forth in Ezra 6:7, “Let the work of this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God in his place.” The Temple work was to continue. Moreover, Ezra 6:15 states, “This house was finished on the third day of the month Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king.”

Ezra 7:6,8 and 9:9 read, “This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given: and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the LORD his God upon him…. And he came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king…. For we were bondmen; yet our God hath not forsaken us in our bondage, but hath extended mercy unto us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God, and to repair the desolations thereof, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem.” Ezra went to Israel in the fifth month of the seventh year of Artaxerxes to give a “reviving.” The “wall” mentioned in Ezra 9:9 is the courtyard wall of the Temple, which finished the structure. First, the foundation was laid, then the superstructure was built, and finally the courtyard. No authorization had yet been given to rebuild the city itself.

Nehemiah 2:1 says, “And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence.” Subsequently the king gave a favorable reply to Nehemiah, his cup bearer, granting him a 12-year leave of absence to return to Israel. This shows how much he thought of Nehemiah. In the spring, Nehemiah went back to Jerusalem with the thought of restoring the city. He carried a letter from the king stating

that he could rebuild the wall. “Moreover I said unto the king, If it please the king, let letters be given me to the governors beyond the river, that they may convey me over till I come into Judah; And a letter unto Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the palace which appertained to the house, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall enter into. And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me” (Neh. 2:7,8).

Nehemiah 4:16-18 reads, “And it came to pass from that time forth, that the half of my servants wrought in the work, and the other half of them held both the spears, the shields, and the bows, and the habergeons; and the rulers were behind all the house of Judah. They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon. For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded. And he that sounded the trumpet was by me.” This is another text that refers to the wall.

Nehemiah 6:1,15 states, “Now it came to pass, when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and Geshem the Arabian, and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had builded the wall, and that there was no breach left therein; (though at that time I had not set up the doors upon the gates;) … So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days.” The wall was completed on the twenty-fifth day of Elul, which was the fall of the year, but the story continues.

Nehemiah 7:4 says, “Now the city was large and great: but the people were few therein, and the houses were not builded.” Only the wall was built at this time, but not the houses and the city. Nehemiah 8:2 continues, “And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month [Tishri].” In Nehemiah 9:1,3, we learn, “Now in the twenty and fourth day of this [seventh] month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, and with sackclothes, and earth upon them…. And they stood up in their place, and read in the book of the law of the LORD their God one fourth part of the day; and another fourth part they confessed, and worshipped the LORD their God.”

Now we will return to Daniel 9:25 and read again, “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.” The commandment, or decree, was not even made known until after Nehemiah secretly, at night, made a tour of Jerusalem to determine how to go about building the wall. He got a list of the people who had lived in Jerusalem and then apportioned them to build the city wall near the house they had formerly occupied. Nehemiah cleverly realized that, psychologically, the people would build the wall with more diligence if they knew that afterward they could reconstruct a house there. In other words, the people were building the wall for their own security.

Ezra and Nehemiah had different minds. Ezra was a very godly, holy man of unusual character and perhaps even superior to Nehemiah, but Nehemiah had executive ability as well as character.

Although Daniel 9:25 mentions “the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem,” only the Temple wall was built at first. Later, in “troublous times,” the city “wall” was built, being completed on the twenty-fifth day of the sixth month, and the reading of the Law took place on the twenty-fourth day of Tishri, the seventh month (Neh. 6:15). This understanding is crucial, for since the city wall was finished in the fall, then both the beginning and the ending of the seventieth week would also be in the fall, the ending being when Cornelius became the first Gentile convert. We have a confirmation that the 70 weeks ended in the fall because Jesus’ crucifixion in the midst of the seventieth week occurred in the spring, as the Gospels teach. Some who criticize the chronology of the 70 weeks as set forth in the Second Volume try to say that the decree to rebuild the city was made in the spring and that, therefore, for Jesus to be crucified in the spring, the event had to occur at the beginning of the seventieth week instead of in the middle of the week.

The application we hear today in disputing the chronology of the 70 weeks’ prophecy is the same line of reasoning that was used in the Pastor’s day and shortly afterward. Meanwhile, more shards have been found to supposedly justify, or support, the variance in thinking. There are loopholes, but even if secular history had an equation of all the kings, and in sequence with time periods, it would still be wrong because those who recorded history back there not only did not have this prophecy in mind but had ulterior motives. For instance, Queen Hatshepsut is not recorded in the Abydos Tablet because she was a woman, and another ruler was omitted.

With Cyrus too, there is a problem, for he liked to be known as the first king of Persia, whereas Darius the Mede was the first. Cyrus reigned as sole king for seven years, but he listed nine years because he appropriated to himself the two years of Darius. The third or fourth king of Persia, Darius Hystaspes, did not like the idea that Cyrus was the first king, so he called himself not Darius the Persian but Darius Hystaspes and wanted to identify himself with the Median kingdom. Hence Darius the Mede is not in secular history. Having given serious thought to the subject, the Pastor knew of these things and thus wrote his view in opposition.

Fifty years ago no one could really read the cuneiform tablets. Those who purported to read them were actually capitalizing on the efforts of someone else. It is the same with Egyptian hieroglyphs. Those who write books on Egypt today are really parroting the information they got from their forebears, who were the true students of the hieroglyphs. Budge is an authority on the Middle Kingdom hieroglyphs but not on the Ancient Kingdom hieroglyphs. When Rawlinson wrote, only three people in the world could understand cuneiform, and the other two took advantage of Rawlinson’s knowledge. Scholars thought they were being deceived when the three interpreted the tablets of Darius. (These were the Behistun cliffs in the Persian language.) Hence scholars had the three people separately translate the same tablet. When the three were done and their translations were reasonably close, others accepted their scholarship. The three were self-made scholars without degrees who studied on their own, but they knew more than the people with academic degrees. Thus the test proved that Rawlinson correctly translated the Behistun tablet.

The point is that in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes, Nehemiah actually built the wall of Jerusalem. In troublous times, he built the wall and also the street in an ingenious way. One out of every ten people had to go back and live temporarily in Jerusalem and help reconstruct the city and the houses. Everyone in the government was required to live in the city, and each made sure he had a comfortable house. Nehemiah knew how to size up people and get things done.

Thus the 70 weeks began and ended in the fall. The wall of the city was constructed in the sixth month, and the houses were built in the seventh month. Messiah was crucified in the midst of the seventieth week, which was Passover, the spring.

Dan. 9:26 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.

“And after threescore and two [62] weeks,” Messiah would be cut off. This portion of verse 26 has given rise to three different applications. When the account says, “And after threescore and two weeks,” it really means “after the threescore and two weeks that follow the seven weeks [that is, after 69 weeks]” (verse 25). Because verse 24 tells about 70 weeks, many refer to Chapter 9 as the “70 Weeks’ Prophecy of Daniel,” not the “62 Weeks’ Prophecy.” Verse 24 predicts that during the 70 weeks, certain events would happen, but it does not particularize the events.

However, when history is analyzed, we find that the events almost all took place near the end of the 70 weeks. God determined that a 70-week portion of the 2,300 days (years) of the previous chapter would have special significance in regard to the coming of Messiah, the Anointed One. Hence Daniel was given some comfort, for Messiah would come before the expiration of the 2,300 days.

The correct application, then, for verse 26 is 69 weeks. Those who try to work with just the 62 weeks get a confused application. Although the majority do calculate 69 weeks, they incorrectly reason that Jesus died at the conclusion of the 69 weeks. However, verse 26 is simply saying that after 69 weeks, Jesus would die—but it does not state how long after. All of the facts must be considered, and only half of the facts are presented here. Verse 27 tells that Messiah would die in the midst of the seventieth week. In other words, the word “after” is important, for verse 26 is saying that after an indefinite period of time following the 69 weeks, Messiah would die. Verse 27 then clarifies the time period.

Notice that another event follows the 69 weeks: “the people of the prince [Vespasian and then his son Titus] that shall come shall destroy the city [Jerusalem] and the sanctuary [Temple].”

Titus renewed the siege of Jerusalem when his father hurried back to Rome following the death of the emperor. Vespasian became the next emperor, but with the confusion of the turnover of power to Titus, a temporary lapse occurred in the siege, as prophesied by Jesus. He had said, “When you who are on the housetop see Jerusalem encompassed with armies, you are to flee and not worry about your goods.” He warned the early Christians to get out—right away!—for once the siege resumed, it would be too late to flee. When the siege was briefly relaxed, those who remembered and heeded Jesus’ instructions left posthaste.

Verse 26 says that the sanctuary would be destroyed, but was it destroyed at the end of the 69 weeks? No. One who takes that stance must say that Jesus died at the exact moment the 69 weeks expired and that the city and the Temple were destroyed at that time too. In other words, there would have been an immediacy to the fulfillment. The wording of verse 26 is deliberately and truthfully stated so that those who are not fully informed will interpret it incorrectly. Isaiah 28:10,13 states the principle that the Lord speaks a little here and a little there so that those who read Scripture without having the Holy Spirit get drunk, as it were, and stumble. The Isaiah text shows that by the same method, God hides His true wisdom from one class but reveals it to another class. According to the principle of not casting our pearls before swine, God does not want to reveal His secrets to everyone.

Thus the careful student of the Scriptures will realize that 70 weeks are involved. Verse 24 says, “Seventy weeks are determined.” Actually, the fact that the destruction of the sanctuary and the city did not occur in either the sixty-ninth or the seventieth week of this prophecy was a hint from the Lord to reexamine the prophecy more carefully.

The word “after” in verse 26 really means after, but how long after? The destruction of the sanctuary took place not only after the 69 (62 + 7) weeks (483 years) but also after the seventieth week (490 years). To properly understand this prophecy, we need to consider verses 24-26. The account is saying that after the threescore and two weeks that follow the seven weeks (or 69 weeks), Messiah would be cut off, and the prince would come who would destroy the sanctuary and the Holy City, for desolations were determined. As Jesus viewed Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, he said, “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate” (Matt. 23:38).

He was referring to the trouble that would occur in AD 69-70, when the Holy City and the Temple were destroyed.

Dan. 9:27 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.

Verse 27, the determining factor, shows that the last week, the seventieth, is particularly important, for it applies to Messiah and his crucifixion. “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week [the seventieth week].” In other words, the cutting off of Messiah was to occur somewhere in the seventieth week. Verse 27 continues, “In the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease”; that is, in the midst of the seventieth week, certain types in the Law pertaining to Messiah were fulfilled. The types ceased because the antitype began there. Stated another way, as a general rule, the antitype usually begins when the type ceases. However, unless converted to Christ, the Jews are still under the obligations of the Law today except for what they cannot fulfill because there is no Temple. The Muslim presence on the Temple Mount prevents the rebuilding of the Temple.

Q: What is the correct thought for the end of verse 27? The NIV and the RSV differ from the King James.

A: Five days before Jesus was crucified in the midst of the seventieth week, he said, “Your house is left unto you desolate.” When God makes a pronouncement of His determination and it is past the point of no return, He will not change His mind, and the act is as good as done. Thus, at the time of Jesus’ statement, the destruction of the city and the leveling of the Temple were determined to occur, even though 36 more years had to pass first. Israel’s “house” was not desolate at the time of the pronouncement, but when the judgment was decreed, it was set and would occur—and did in AD 69.

Now other questions come in. The two horns of the dilemma are whether the judgment would occur in AD 69 or 70 (and scholars differ), but we must also determine when the 70 weeks began. The time is stated in verse 25 as being “from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem.” The wording implies that the commandment would be a very authoritative one from a world emperor. God was telling Daniel not only that the 70 weeks were a period of 490 years but also that the 490 years had not even started to count yet in his day. The 70 weeks (490 years) were not to be confused with the 70 years’ desolation of the land from 606 to 536 BC. In other words, God was saying, “The 70 weeks will not start in your day, Daniel, but down the road, for when a commandment comes to rebuild Jerusalem, the 70 weeks will begin to count.”

Note: Because of the importance of the chronology of Jerusalem and the Temple and the fact that it is being questioned by some, we will review part of the reasoning.

There are three major views for reckoning the beginning of the 70 weeks: (1) Cyrus’s decree of 536 BC, (2) the seventh year of Artaxerxes, and (3) the twentieth year of Artaxerxes. The Pastor took the third view, the twentieth year of Artaxerxes. To nullify the argument that the date is 536 BC, we must consider Isaiah 44:28, which can be misunderstood. “That saith of Cyrus, he is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.” Our explanation of this particular Scripture, which is plainly stated, is that it has a double application. Part of the verse is spiritual, referring to Jesus, the King of the east, who will enter the city, antitypical Babylon (Rev. 16:12). When Jeremiah 50 and 51 are read carefully, we can see that certain events and details did not take place when literal Babylon was destroyed but will be spiritually fulfilled in the future. Hence, of the two-part statement of Isaiah 44:28, that portion reading “even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid” is yet to be fulfilled by the spiritual Cyrus. The Pastor has shown that a phrase in the midst of a literal verse can be understood in a spiritual sense. Sometimes the phrase is very obvious. Isaiah 44:28 has two applications. One is that the literal King Cyrus gave permission for the Temple to be rebuilt.

When all his decrees are read, not once is the city mentioned, only the Temple. He did not give authorization to rebuild the city. Later, when the Israelites tried to rebuild Jerusalem and their enemies accused them to the king of Persia, a search was made of Cyrus’s decree. The decree clearly gave permission to rebuild only the Temple, so the work on the city was stopped. This occurred in the seventh year of Artaxerxes. In the sixth year of King Darius, before Ezra came on the scene, two Old Testament prophets encouraged the returned Israelites to stop building their own houses and first finish the Temple. In one account, not only did Cyrus give authority for the Israelites to return to rebuild the Temple, but also he set the dimensions, which they were forbidden to exceed. In other words, Cyrus gave permission to build the “house,” but he did not want that structure to be too grandiose lest it detract from Persia, the seat of authority. The Temple could be rebuilt but not on the scale of the glory of Solomon’s Temple.

Another verse that could be a problem is Isaiah 45:13, “I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways: he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives, not for price nor reward, saith the LORD of hosts,” but the Pastor provided the explanation. The Hebrew word for “city” in “he shall build my city” is ir, meaning the wall of the Temple court. Cyrus gave permission for the Temple to be rebuilt and for it to be surrounded by a Temple wall (not a city wall). To support this reasoning, the Pastor cited 2 Kings 20:4 to show that the Hebrew ir can be interpreted as “court”: “And it came to pass, afore Isaiah was gone out into the middle court, that the word of the LORD came to him.” The word “court” means an “enclosed place,” and a place becomes enclosed by being walled. A court is a walled-off area, or enclosure. Thus Cyrus gave permission for the Temple and its court to be rebuilt but not the city or its walls.

The next question is, When did the decree start? The usual argument is that in his twentieth year, Artaxerxes gave permission to Nehemiah, his cup bearer, to return to Jerusalem. When Nehemiah appeared sad and the king inquired as to the reason, the prophet replied, “Let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire?” (Neh. 2:1-3).

The king subsequently gave Nehemiah a 12-year leave of absence to go back to Jerusalem to do an extensive restoration work. When Nehemiah reached Jerusalem, he quietly, with just a few helpers, partially circuited the city on a horse at night to inspect the gates. Then he developed a wise master plan for rebuilding the city in the midst of surrounding enemies; namely, each Israelite family whose former home was in the city of Jerusalem and abutting the wall was assigned that particular spot to rebuild and defend.

Another question arises. If Jesus died in the midst of the seventieth week and that was in the spring, when did the last half of the week end? It ended in the fall. Then, of course, the seventieth week also began in the fall. But the mourning of Nehemiah took place in the spring, in the month of Nisan (Neh. 2:1). Therefore, some reason that the command to rebuild the city was issued in the spring of the twentieth year of Artaxerxes. However, when Nehemiah 2:1 gives that time of the year, the wall is not mentioned—not until later. The building of not only the wall but also the city was accomplished in the fall. With a weapon in one hand and a shovel in the other, the Israelites rebuilt the wall in 52 days in troublous times. Once the wall was fortified at the end of the 52 days, the city could then be restored. What did Nehemiah do next? He said that anyone who had a position of governorship, an office, in the city of Jerusalem had to live there for a month of each year. This policy assured that Jerusalem would always be occupied. The streets of the city were thus restored. Daniel 9:25 says that the 70 weeks would be from “the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince” and that “the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.” The wall was finished in 52 days, on the twenty-fifth day of Elul, the sixth month (Neh. 6:15). Since the months start to count in the spring, the sixth month occurred in the fall of the year. The street was restored in the seventh month, also in the fall. Who gave the commandment to do the rebuilding? It was Nehemiah, for he had authorization from the king, but he knew that Israel’s enemies could do a lot of damage if they realized what he had in mind. As the work progressed, the enemies knew he meant business and tried to stop him. For example, they invited him to a secret meeting in the Temple, planning to assassinate him there, but Nehemiah felt it was not necessary to discuss what the Lord had providentially provided for.

The point is that the carrying out of the commandment to rebuild the wall, as well as its completion, was in troublous times in the fall. Thus the 70 weeks both began and ended in the fall, and Messiah was cut off in the spring. In other words, the starting point was not when Nehemiah was before the king with his sad countenance and received permission for a leave of absence but when the wall was built.

The Pastor did not write on the spiritual application in the Second and Third Volumes because he was treating chronology. The 70 weeks (490 years) extended from 454 BC to AD 36.

Comment: The Companion Bible correctly uses the 454 BC date as the starting point for the 70 weeks, and so does Scofield.

Reply: That is interesting. The order of Media-Persia’s kings was Darius the Mede, Cyrus, Cambyses, (pseudo) Smerdis, Darius Hystaspes, Xerxes, and Artaxerxes. In the absence of Cambyses, the pseudo-Smerdis falsely claimed to be a son of Cyrus. Considered, therefore, to be an illegitimate king, Smerdis was omitted from the royal canon. He was slain by Darius Hystaspes.

Q: Were there several abominations  of desolation? Daniel 9:27 reads, “For the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”

A: Yes. However, verse 27 is not the same as the abomination of desolation in Daniel 12:11.

Proof of the 70 Years From 606-536 BC

We will study four Scriptures that are linchpins to those who differ in the new chronology.

Other Scriptures are used, but these four are sufficient to get the point across.

When the basic chronology is shortened 20 years, an explanation is needed; namely, the land is considered to be desolate for only part of the 70 years. Also, when the years are added up, there are 50 fewer years (-50) because the Jubilees have been changed from 50-year intervals to 49-year intervals. This change shortens the baseline of the chronology. Moreover, the 450-year Period of the Judges is shortened 100 years. When the changes are added (-20, -50, and -100), they total -170.

To make up the difference—that is, to make the basic chronology the right length—a +170 is added to the period of the Jews in Egypt. Instead of being in Egypt 215 years, the new thought is that they were there for 385 years. However, other problems exist.

1. The first false linchpin (Jer. 25:9,11,12) pertains to the -20 years. “The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim … that was the first year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; … Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the LORD, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land…. And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations” (Jer. 25:1,9,11,12). The incorrect thought is that of these 70 years, the last 50 years are the period of desolation with no inhabitants in the land of Israel, and that from the fourth year of Jehoiakim to King Cyrus is a period of 70 years, but Bro. Russell correctly taught that it was a period of 89 years—or, say, 90 years for a convenient round number. The point is that the period from the fourth year of Jehoiakim to the first year of King Cyrus is 20 years plus the 70 years of desolation.

Jehoiakim Jehoiachin Zedekiah

| 8 years | 3 mos. |   11 years |              70 years of desolation         …… .. .|

______________________________________________________________________

Nebuchadnezzar                       Evil-merodach Belshazzar/Nabonidus Darius (Mede) Cyrus

Notes: Jehoiakim reigned 11 years; the diagram starts 3 full years into his reign, i.e., with his fourth year.

The 8 + 11 years of Jehoiakim and Zedekiah actually equal 19 years.

The years to the first year of the true reign of Cyrus, plus 2 earlier years of Darius, are incorrectly said to be 50 years, whereas they should be 70 years of desolation dating from Zedekiah’s dethronement.

The Scriptures cannot be disputed: Jehoiakim reigned 11 years and then was replaced by his son, Jehoiachin, who reigned for only 3 months.

The context shows that the statement of Jeremiah 25:9,11,12 was made in the fourth year of Jehoiakim. Verses 1 and 2 of that chapter give the setting for just the mention of the 70 years, for they did not start to count until later. Notice, when the 70 years are mentioned, Jeremiah is talking about the land, the inhabitants, and the desolation. When did the desolation of the land take place? The books of Kings, Jeremiah, and Chronicles show no desolation of the land in the fourth year of Jehoiakim. What happened? A few hostages were taken at that time, among whom were Daniel and the three Hebrew children. Then in Jehoiachin’s day, the king of Babylon took Jehoiachin and others captive, but still the land was not affected. Jeremiah 25:11 says, “This whole land shall be a desolation.” When was the “whole land” made desolate? In the eleventh year of Zedekiah. Zedekiah was taken to Riblah, his eyes were put out, and he was carried off to Babylon where he died. In the eleventh year of Zedekiah, all of the Israelites were either killed or taken to Babylon.

2. The second false linchpin is Jeremiah 29:10, “For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.” We need to look at the context earlier to see when this statement was made. Jeremiah 28:1 reads, “And it came to pass the same year, in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the fourth year, and in the fifth month.” Thus the 70 years were mentioned in both the fourth year of Jehoiakim and the fourth year of Zedekiah.

What is called into question today is the word “at”: “after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you” (Jer. 29:10). The Hebrew word lamed is a preposition that looks somewhat like an “L.” The preposition is used many ways, but “at” is correct here. However, the contention by some is that the word “at” is mistranslated in the King James and should be “for”: “after seventy years be accomplished for Babylon I will visit you.” Grammatically, the word can be translated “at,” “for,” or “to” (although “to” does not make sense here). Therefore, the word can be “at” or “for” in Jeremiah 29:10, based on whatever is the truth. What is the Holy Spirit saying—“after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon” or “after seventy years be accomplished for Babylon”? If the word is for, it would mean that the 70 years started with the first year of the king of Babylon. The contention made by some today is that the historical records show the reign of Babylon was 68 or 70 years long. That such a contention is not correct could be proven by going into the cuneiform records.

If the King James is correct with “at Babylon,” it does not dispute the fact that the 70 years are a desolation period. But to start the years of desolation in Jehoiakim’s day does not make sense, for there were inhabitants in the land. In the fourth year of Jehoiakim, there were perhaps as many as several hundred thousand people in the land. That was also true in Zedekiah’s day, so there certainly was no desolation of the land without inhabitants. The question boils down to whether the 70 years of desolation extended from the fourth year of Jehoiakim to Cyrus, or from Zedekiah to Cyrus? Our position is that the 70 years of desolation began with the dethroning of Zedekiah, because at that time, the land of Israel was denuded—there was no population whatever.

3. The third misapplied linchpin is Daniel 9:2, “In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.” The context is talking about Darius the Mede, who reigned for only two years. In the contemporary thinking of the new chronology, he is considered to be a puppet, a nobody, whose reign is not reckoned. The kings who are included in the chronology are Nebuchadnezzar, Evil-merodach, and Belshazzar (or Nabonidus). Although the historical records of their reigns show 68 or 70 years, are those records necessarily correct and unbiased? Couldn’t something be missing? It is interesting that while those who support the new chronology all seem to agree Evil-merodach reigned only a couple of years after Nebuchadnezzar died, it is mentioned that Jehoiachin, who was taken captive, was allowed to come up to Evil-merodach’s table to dine. However, the Bible states that Jehoiachin sat at that table all the days of the king’s life (Jer. 52:31-34). If Evilmerodach reigned only two years, how could the account be talking about him? The Hebrew chronology has Evil-merodach reigning for 20 years, which may very well be true, even though the accepted or purported secular history does not support such a time period. Then the problem would be answered, for instead of 50 years according to the new thinking, 20 would be added to the 50 for a total of 70 years from the dethroning of Zedekiah to Cyrus’s decree.

But we do not really need this line of thinking, for another Scripture nails down the 70 years.

2 Chronicles 36:21 reads, “To fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years.” The King James translation certainly specifies the period of desolation of the land as 70 years. However, the NIV, which contemporary thinking prefers, reads, “The land enjoyed its sabbath rests, all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah.” If the literal Hebrew is this long, it may take four seconds to read it, but the Hebrew is skewed in the NIV, which puts the end part in the beginning to agree with secular history. All of the relatively modern translations accept the thinking that the 70 years began in the fourth year of Jehoiakim. That was the common thinking back in the Pastor’s day too. (In the past, we took three years to study the chronology because if Bro. Russell, a dispensational servant, had erred on the baseline, his chronology would fall apart.) The Pastor’s view is correct, which starts the 70 years with the dethroning of Zedekiah. “And thou, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him” (Ezek. 21:25-27).

In the NIV, 2 Chronicles 36:21 is stated in a vague form. But notice the King James: “For as long as she [the land] lay desolate,” it kept its sabbaths. The implication is that when the land was not desolate, it was not keeping its sabbaths. The King James is saying that a prerequisite for the 70 years was that the land had to be desolate—with no ifs, ands, or buts.

4. Now let us consider a linchpin of our own as it is correctly applied, namely, Zechariah 7:5, especially the second half of the verse. “Speak unto all the people of the land, and to the priests, saying, When ye fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh month, even those seventy years, did ye at all fast unto me, even to me?” This powerful statement was made in the fourth year of King Darius Hystaspes, which was down around 518 BC. At that time, Zechariah was saying, “When ye fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh month, even those seventy years, did ye at all fast unto me, even to me?” Zechariah used sarcasm, for the people fasted  perfunctorily and not to God in sincerity. The clue is this: “when ye fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh month.” What “fifth month”? It was the fifth month of the year of the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. In the fifth month of the eleventh year of Zedekiah, his last year, the city was entered, the Temple was burned, the chief houses were destroyed, and the walls of Jerusalem were broken down. What “seventh month”? When King Nebuchadnezzar came down and destroyed the city of Jerusalem and the Temple, he left a few land dressers to tend the vineyards and thus keep the land from being utterly waste. Gedaliah was put in charge, but what happened? He was assassinated in the seventh month of the same year, that is, the eleventh year of Zedekiah (Jer. 41:1,2).

Now when we reread Zechariah 7:5, it takes on a completely different meaning. It says, “When ye fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh month … [and for] seventy years.” After the 70 years, the mourning ceased because Cyrus decreed that the Israelites could return to their homeland. In other words, after the Israelites had fasted and mourned the fifth and seventh month in commemoration of the destruction of Jerusalem, the 70 years began—and of course the 70 years began with the dethroning of Zedekiah.

Thus this first major difference in changing the chronology is erroneous, for it is not supported by Scripture. While there may be a point in rephrasing some of the texts, the argument does not really stand. The King James is the correct thought. The land had to be desolate, without inhabitant, in order to keep its sabbaths, and the keeping of the sabbaths had to endure for 70 years. From 606 to 536 BC is the only time the land was desolate, starting with the destruction of the city and the Temple. The land was not desolate in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, nor when Jehoiachin was taken captive. Incidentally, with the Tabernacle, there are other ways of proving that the 70 years began with 606 BC.

Comment: The citation about Zedekiah’s being taken captive and the destruction of Jerusalem is 2 Kings 25:7-10.

There was a determined 70 years’ sabbath. The Pastor used Jubilee cycles to show a 50-year sabbath (51 x 49 = 2,499 years), which ended in October 1874. For the 969 years the Israelites observed the Jubilee, the Pastor gives credit, but for the years it was not observed, he multiplied 51 x 7 weeks of 49 days, resulting in 2,499. The number 2,500, which is only one year’s difference, is preferred because that figure is taught in the Tabernacle. In other words, instead of 51 x 49, the Tabernacle shows 50 x 50 = 2,500. The 2,499 marks the beginning of the 2,500th year, and the 2,500 marks the end of the 2,500th year. The Jubilee is 50 squared, not 51 x 49. The 50 loops on each of the two Tabernacle curtains indicate multiplication, for when put together with taches, the loops form X’s. The curtains are a chronological table, for the one big curtain with the five pieces sewn together represents 1,260 years and the other curtain sewn together also represents 1,260 years—a total of 2,520 years picturing Gentile Times. And Gentile Times are being disputed by those who advocate the new chronology. Fortunately, at least those who teach the new chronology try to keep the truth intact. They have a good motive of trying to hold onto the precious truth, although they do it in a rather round-about way. They will say “about the year 1914” and then give an illustration of 7 years with 3 ½ years on each side, which they say comes up roughly to 2,520 years. However, the seven times are an exact period of time (360 x 7), or 2,520 years. The 50 loops on the Tabernacle curtains are also a part of the chronological pattern.

The cherubim curtain represents God’s watch-care over the Church (“he shall give his angels charge over thee”—Psa. 91:11). White, the color of the cherubim curtain, represents purity, and the saints are called “holy ones.” In addition, the cherubim curtain contains numerics, teaching 50 x 50 = 2,500 (the beginning of the 1,000-year Jubilee), and, based on the 70 years’ desolation, which implies 70 Jubilees, 70 x 50 = 3,500 (the end of the 1,000-year Jubilee). From a chronology standpoint, the 1,000 years started with our Lord’s return. The end of the 1,000 years will be down at the end of the Kingdom Age, and then will come the Jubilee of Jubilees, the great Jubilee of the world without end. Thus other lines of proof substantiate Bro. Russell’s chronology. Bible scholars back in his day were real thinkers, whereas today’s scholars copy what others have said. Thus the arguments today are the same as back there. The difference is that a few chips have been found in the cuneiform tablets in the British Museum. And how many cuneiform tablets are available? About 30,000—and not all have been deciphered. In fact, it is questionable whether they even could be deciphered properly today. The teaching of others is used in deciphering, and the lacunae (lapses of information) frequently are not indicated by brackets, as they should be.

In summary, the 70 years that concerned Daniel, as spoken of by the prophet Jeremiah, were the 70 years of the desolation of the land, which began with the dethroning of King Zedekiah and not with the fourth year of Jehoiakim.

1997

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  1. […] 70 weeks have been fulfilled (for more information about the 70 weeks, see the verse by verse of Daniel Chapter 9, or ask for our booklet). After Jesus’ death their exclusive covenant relationship with God […]

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