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Up until now we have set the stage for prophecy study.  I've noted the right reasons for prophecy study, and stated reasons why we could be at the very end of the age.  Here we get into the real meat of this book that is not if but how the age will end.  Serious questions will be answered.  Does God have more than one salvation plan?  Who is the real Israel of today?  Will there be a future world dictator?  Will the Israelis rebuild Solomon's Temple on the site where the Islamic Dome of the Rock now sits?  How will everything finally end?                                                                

Our first step on this quest is to look at what some  Bible teachers call "the backbone of all Bible prophecy".  We know it as the seventy weeks prophecy of Daniel 9.  I'm not going to write down every word of the prophecy, but the prophecy goes as follows:                             

"Seventy weeks are determained for your people and   for your holy city...                    

"Know therefore and understand that from the going  forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem   until Messiah the Prince there shall be 7 and 62   weeks; the street shall be built again and the wall  even in troublesome times.                   

"And after the (later) 62 weeks Messiah shall be cut  off, but not of Himself; and the people of the    prince who is to come shall destroy the city and  the sanctuary.  The end of it shall be with a flood.  And until the end of the war desolations are deter-  mained.                       

"Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one  week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring   an end to sacrfice and offering.  And on the wing of  abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even   until the consumation, which is determained is    poured out on the desolate."                                         

Before we go any further in prophecy study I would like to challenge the reader to put any pre-conceived ideas about prophecy on the shelf for a moment and be filling to review the material with a teachable mind.  Do as I did and be willing to look at other points of view before forming a final opinion.  May the reader judge for him or herself if what I write is accurate.                                                    

When studying the seventy week prophecy it is critical to begin at the right starting point in time.  The decree to rebuild Jerusalem was given to Nehemiah by King Artaxerxes I in the year 444 BC.  Nehemiah 2: 1-8 gives us a conversation Nehemiah had with the king concerning his desire to rebuild the fallen city of Jerusalem.  His wish was granted.  According to Daniel 9:25 a total of seven weeks plus 62 weeks would pass before the Jewish Messiah would enter the rebuilt city with its street and wall restored.  A week in this passage means seven YEARS not seven days.  In the first seven weeks (49 years) the old city was to be cleared of rubble.  In the next 62 weeks the city will be rebuilt and the Messiah would visit.  We know this visit as the Triumphal Entry.  Seven plus 62 = 69.  And 69 weeks, each having seven years, would equal 483 years.  But if we add 483 years to 444 BC we have the Triumphal Entry of Jesus occuring around 39 AD.                                                        

This doesn't square with history.  Historically the Triumphal Entry occured in the spring of 33 AD (If using a calculator when counting years we must remember to add one year to a -444 becauce historically there was no year "0").                                               

In Old Testament times the Jews measured time in lunar rather than solar years. The Jewish year was composed of twelve months with each month having exactly thirty days.  (Thirty days is the length of a lunar cycle - that is one moon orbit around the Earth)  Hence a Jewish year is 360  rather than 365 days.  We've also seen that 69 "weeks" equals 483 years.                                                      

Our next step is to multiply 360 days in a LUNAR year times 483 to find out the number of days the text has in view.  Our answer is 173,880 days.  Some Bible scholars like Hal Lindsay and Jack Chick claim that historically this is the EXACT number of days between the Persian king's decree and the day of the Triumphal Entry of Jesus on that first Palm Sunday.                                                     

Our next step is to divide 173,880 days by 365 days in a solar year so that we can determain the number of years between the decree and the Triumphal Entry.  Our answer is 476 365 day solar years.  If on a calculator we add 476 years to a -444 our answer will be 32.  However we must add a year because there was no year "0".  Our final answer will be 33 AD - the exact year of the Triumphal Entry, Crucifixion, Ressurection, and Ascension of Jesus.                                                

It should also be noted that the 33 AD date squares perfectly with secular history.  The baptism of Jesus mentioned in Luke 3 took place fifteen years into the reign of Emperor Tiberius.  Historically Tiberius became emperor in 14 AD.  If we add fifteen years to 14 AD we land on 29 AD - the year of Christ's baptism.  He was most likely baptized in the fall.  If we add three and a half years of His ministry after the fall of 29 AD we come to the spring of 33 AD.  With all we have covered we can surmise that 33 AD marked the end of the 69th week.                                                  

That covers 69 weeks but what about the 70th week?  How does that last week fit into this prophecy puzzle?                                                 

The meaning of the 70th week is an area of sharp contention for Bible scholars.  In Daniel 9:27 we read:              

"Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one  week."                       

What covenant is in view here and who is making it with whom?  In my study Bible there is a cross reference  to Matthew 26:28.  In this passage Jesus proclaims the start of the New Covenant at the Last Supper.  With that said it would be easy to conclude that the covenant in question is the New Covenant of grace.  But now let's remember to read more of verse 27.                                         

"But in the middle of the week He shall bring an  end to sacrifice and offering."                                          

Here I believe we see the 70th week in full view .  The 70th week is not seven days or even seven years.  It is an indefinate time period of roughly 4000 years beginning with God's covenant with ABRAHAM AND HIS CHOOSEN PEOPLE recorded in Genesis 12: 1, 2, and 3 in about 2090 BC and ending with the end of the age.  Note that 33 AD falls roughly in the middle of this 4000+year period."                                                

The important question here is who brought an end to animal sacrifices as a means of atonement for sin?  God did.  How did He do it?  He sent His Son to the cross to pay the ultimate blood-price for our sins.  This means that starting in 33 AD animal sacrifices were no longer to be given as an atonement for sin.                                         

This however did not happen.  After 33 AD the Jews were still offering  animal sacrifices mainly because they rejected Jesus as their Messiah.  This of course pleased Satan.  The rejection of Christ's sacrifice showed the world that they were outside of the will of God.  It was proof that Satan was standing inside the Temple blinding the Jews to God's salvation plan through Jesus alone.  This is the "abomination that causes desolation" that Jesus warned the disciples in Matthew 24:15.  Satan would someday very soon be standing in the holy place (The Jerusalem Temple) blinding the Jews to God's plan.  When that happened the disciples were to leave the Temple and start the Church Age.                

Note also that since the Devil had taken over the Temple, God allowed the Roman army to destroy the Temple in 70 AD.                       

The next question to address is what is meant by "consummation" as it is used in the text?  "Consummation" means to bring to completion or perfection.  When Jesus died on the cross some of His last words were "It is finished" (John 19:30).  What was finished?  God's plan to save mankind was finished.  Nothing else, save the resurrection, had to happen.  We cannot add to Christ's sacrifice.  The ultimate payment for sin was paid.  God's justice was satisfied.                                

The consummation being poured out on the desolate could refer to the Gospel message being poured out onto a spiritually desolate world.  This is the period of world-wide evangelism that was addressed in the last chapter.  This will continue up to the end of the age.                

The end of the age will mark the end of the 70th week.  Two spiritual objectives will occur: to put an end to sin and to bring in everlasting righteousness.  The total obliteration of sin and the presense of perfect everlasting righteousness will occur at the creation of the new Heaven and new Earth (Rev. 21:1 and Isaiah 65: 17-25).  What a glorious time that will be!!!

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