4. The mystery of the seventy ‘sevens’ ( Dan 9 : 24 – 27 )

Vs 24“Seventy ‘sevens’ (Hebrew : ‘shabua‘ means week’ or ‘seven’ ) are decreed for your people (Israel ) and your Holy city (Jerusalem ) to restrain transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy.”

In this passage ‘shabua‘ doesn’t mean ‘seven’ days or a ‘week’ but ‘seven’ years, as understood from Dan 12 : 7 where it states: “It will be for a time, times and half a time ( meaning a year, two years and half a year ), when the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things are completed.” So if half of a ‘shabua’ adds upto 3 & 1/2 years, then one ‘shabua’ is 7 years and seventy ‘shabuas’ are ( 70 × 7 ) 490 years.

Vs 25Know and understand this : From the issuing of the degree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed one comes there will be seven ‘sevens’ (49 years) and sixty two ‘sevens’ ( 434 years ). A total of 483 years.

There were three decrees that were issued for the restoration of the temple and the city :-

1. The Babylonian invasion took place in 586 BC. After the 70 years of exile (counted from the time Jehoiakim was taken as a captive to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar in 608 BC), prophesied by Jeremiah (Jer 29 : 10 ), was fulfilled (Dan 9 : 2 ), ‘the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus, King of Persia, to make a decree, during the first year of his reign ( 538 BC ), to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken through the prophet Jeremiah.’ ( Ezra 1 : 1 – 4 ) The first group of exiles returned under the leadership of Zerrubbabel and they began to rebuild the temple but before long the work was hindered until second year of the reign of Darius, King of Persia. ( Ezra 4 : 5, 24 )

2. The second decree was issued by Darius during the second year of his reign when he confirmed the decree made by Cyrus. ( Ezra 6 : 3, 12 ) So the temple was completed during the sixth year of his reign ( Ezra 6 : 15 ) but the wall and streets of the city were not restored. After this a second group of exiles returned under the leadership of Ezra in 458 BC, who had received a letter from Artaxerxes, King of Persia, during the seventh year of his reign ( Ezra 7 : 8 – 26 ) but there is no mention about any rebuilding in the succeeding chapters of Ezra.

3. The third decree was issued by Artaxerxes in the twentieth year of his reign when the last group of exiles returned under the leadership of Nehemiah in (445 BC ? ). He had sought the permission to go to city of Judah and rebuild it ( Neh 2 : 5 ) because he was told: “The wall of Jerusalem remains broken down and its gates burnt with fire. ( Neh 1 : 3 )

The street shall be built again and the wall, even in troublous times.” ( KJV )
This prophecy was partially fulfilled when Nehemiah completed the wall in 52 days ( Neh 6 : 15 ) but the restoration of the city and its streets were far from over. Once the city wall was built, it was possible to restore the city within, without fearing the hostile enemies outside.

Vs 26 “After the sixty two ‘sevens’ ( 434 years after restoration ), the Anointed one ( Messiah ) will be cut off but not for himself” (meaning for the sin of others). This was fulfilled in 30 AD when Jesus was crucified for the ‘sins of the world.’ ( Jh 1 : 29, 1Jh 2:2) “Then the people of the ruler (Romans) who will come will destroy the city and the Sanctuary.” This was fulfilled in 70 AD when the Romans destroyed the city and set fire to the temple as prophesied by Jesus . ( Mt 24 : 1 – 2 ) What Jesus spoke of as the ‘birth pains’ ( Mt 24 : 8 ) are summed up by Daniel in these words : “The end will come like a flood. War will continue till the end and desolations have been decreed.”

Vs 27He ( referring to ‘the ruler of the people’, which is another term for the Anti-Christ who will come out of the resurgent Roman empire) will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven’ (70th ‘seven’ ). In the middle of the ‘seven’ ( 3 & 1/2 years into the tribulation ) he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And in the temple, he will set up an abomination that causes desolation ( Mt 24:15) until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” ( Rev 16:10 ) Amen.

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