The 70 weeks prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27 is one of the most debated prophecies in Scripture between Jews and Christians because it provides a time frame for the appearance of the Messiah. Prior to the coming of Christ, ancient Jews reckoned the chronology of Daniel 9’s 70 weeks to end between the 3 B.C. and 2 A.D. When Jesus came during this time frame and fulfilled this prophecy in accordance with their expectations, rabbinic Jews of the 2nd century developed a brand new calendar to try to debunk the claims of Christianity. In this video, we examine the biblical Christian view of this prophecy, corresponding to astronomically confirmed dates for the fall of Jerusalem in 587 B.C. and the prophecy of Daniel. We also examine the current Jewish chronology based in their 2nd century calendar which incorrectly places the fall of Jerusalem in 420 B.C. to put the Jewish reckoning of this timeline beyond the life of Jesus in an attempt to reject Him as Messiah.
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Is the prophecy of Daniel 9’s 70 weeks distorted by Jewish chronology?
Welcome to another edition in our series “Is Christianity the Mormonism of Judaism,” where we are examining the claims of the Jewish rabbis, who teach that Christianity has distorted the doctrines and the teachings of Judaism in much the same way that we Christians believe that Mormonism has distorted the teachings of Christianity. Now, in our last couple of videos, we started examining key prophetic Scriptures that we find in the Old Testament that we, as Christians, believe point to Jesus. As we have been examining these prophecies, as we have seen in looking at the writings of the ancient Jewish rabbis, we have found that Christianity does, indeed, agree with what first-century and early ancient rabbis who commented on these ancient prophecies, what they used to believe about these prophecies, referring to the Messiah. Recently, ever since the Middle Ages, we have seen, as we saw in the last few videos, the current interpretation of these prophecies has been changed by the Jewish rabbis to try to get the focus off of Jesus, off of Yeshua, as being the Messiah of the Old Testament.
So, as a result, they have re-interpreted many of the prophecies that we Christians view as pointing to Jesus, and they have come up with alternative interpretations, even though, when we go back to the ancient writings of the rabbis, they used to believe what we believe today, that these were prophetically fulfilled in a messiah who would come in the manner that these prophecies spoke of.
So, as in the case of Isaiah 53, as we saw in our last few videos where it speaks of an individual messiah who would suffer for the sins of God’s people and we see ancient Jewish rabbis all believed that that was an individual messiah, current rabbis today, ever since the time of Rashi in the Middle Ages, have reinterpreted Isaiah 53 to refer to the nation of Israel as a servant, rather than an individual messiah to try to get the focus again off of Jesus. They have done the same thing in reinterpreting Daniel chapter 9, which is the topic of our study today. We’re going to be looking at Daniel chapter 9, we’re going to be looking at what the ancient rabbis had to say about Daniel chapter 9, and then we’re going to be contrasting those statements found both in the writings of the ancient rabbis and in the text of Scripture, with the historical accounts of the events that play into the timeline that is given in Daniel chapter 9.
Daniel chapter 9 is a unique prophecy, because of all the prophecies that we can look at in the Old Testament that speak of the Messiah or an anointed one who is to come and bear the sins of the people or, as it says, in Daniel chapter 9, to make atonement, to put an end to sin, we read about that in Daniel chapter 9, and this anointed person who we call the Messiah, was to bring an end to sin, and we see that alluded to both
in Zechariah chapter 12 and in Isaiah 53 as the ancient rabbis saw the same allusion that there was a messiah who is going to come, who is going to make an end of sin. How he was going to do that was up to debate. There [were] different discussions on how that was going to occur, how the Isaiah 53 servant was going to suffer for the sins of God’s people. But one thing that we see is consistent: the ancient rabbis did see allusions to a messiah-like person, an anointed one, as Daniel 9 explains, who is going to put an end to sin.
There is a lot of speculation on how you reconcile the details of Daniel’s 70 weeks here in Daniel 9:24-27, and just as there was a lot of speculation with the early church fathers on some of the details of the events, so the same is today. Some Christians apply the first part of this prophecy to the Messiah, while taking the second part of the prophecy and applying that an antichrist, and the same was the case with rabbinic teachings on this prophecy as well. But the one thing I do want to point out that I believe everybody can agree with, including the ancient rabbis, and that is that Daniel 9 70-week period takes place sometime between the destruction of the first temple and the destruction of the second temple. The other thing that pretty much everybody agrees with is that this concerns the Messiah and the end of sin.
Okay, so the Messiah makes an end of sin during this 70-week period. Pretty much all Christians agree with that. How they slice and dice the rest of the details in this prophecy does vary depending on who you’re listening to, and one of the reasons that the reckoning of the 70 weeks is so debated among Christians is because, if you look at the different prophecies that were made concerning Israel and the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the temple, there were four different decrees that took place after this prophecy was given. So, depending on which decree you start with, the 70 weeks will determine the actual ending of the 70 weeks as well. So there are a lot of complications with some of the Church Fathers views on this, but that’s not what I want to point out here. I want to remind everybody: what does everyone agree with? What is the one thing that everyone can agree with on this passage is that this prophecy takes place between the destruction of the first temple and the destruction of the second temple, that it concerns the Messiah coming and making an end of sin.
I want to bring up now the very question which is, was this prophecy ever stated by the Apostles, and if not, why wasn’t it written in the New Testament if it’s such an important key prophecy about the Messiah? Well, I would like to say in answer to that question that it is referenced in the New Testament, not only in the New Testament writings but by Jesus Christ Himself. Let me read to you Matthew 24:15 and remind you of the context of this particular verse. If you begin at the first part of chapter 24 of Matthew, Jesus came out from the temple and was going away with His disciples and came up to a point of the temple buildings, and He answered, “And [He] said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly, I say to you, not one stone here shall be left upon another, which shall not be torn down [Matt. 24:2].” Okay, so He’s talking about the temple, He’s talking about its destruction and what does He say, verse three: “As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be [happen] and what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?”
So there were two questions. The first question is: when will the temple be destroyed, and the second question is, what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age? So when you read through
Matthew 24, you have to remember that His answers concern both questions. Some of His answers are referring to the destruction of the temple, and some of His answers are referring to His second coming. So let’s look on just a little bit further, we get down to verse 15 and Jesus says, “Therefore, when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand).” Now why is this significant? Remember what we read about in the prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27. It concerns the Messiah coming. It concerns the time frame between the destruction of the first temple and the destruction of the second temple, and now here we have the Messiah talking to His disciples, talking about the destruction of the second temple and saying, you are about to see this prophecy of Daniel fulfilled.
So this is significant. Jesus quoted Daniel 9, and directly applied it to the time frame the disciples were living in when they were here on earth with Jesus the Messiah. So yes, the New Testament writers knew about Daniel 9’s prophecy. It was not a mystery to them. And it was not only not a mystery to the New Testament disciples, but it [was] not a mystery to the ancient Jewish rabbis. Let me read to you what Rashi’s commentary on Daniel 9 has to say about this passage. We’re gonna look at Daniel 9:24 in the Jewish Bible and then read what Rashi said. Daniel 9:24: “Seventy weeks [of years] have been decreed upon your people and upon the city of your Sanctuary to terminate the transgression and to end sin, and to expiate iniquity, and to bring eternal righteousness, and to seal up vision and prophet, and to anoint the Holy of Holies.” Regarding the 70 weeks, Rashi says, “Seventy weeks [of years] have been decreed: on Jerusalem from the day of the first destruction in the days of Zedekiah until it will be [destroyed] the second time.”
Did you catch that? Rashi applied the 70-week time frame to the exact same time frame that Christians today apply it to. That 70 weeks occurs between the destruction of the first temple and the destruction of the second temple. Let’s read on what Rashi said about this prophecy. We go on down a little bit further. We read verse 26. Now Rashi had a lot of different views of, again, how to interpret the different aspects of Daniel 9:24, and a lot of his views do not agree with Christian views today. But the one thing that we do all agree on, again, is what Rashi says here about verse 26. Let’s read verse 26: “And after sixty-two weeks the anointed one will be cut off, and he will be no more, and the people of the coming monarch will destroy the city and the Sanctuary, and his end will come about by inundation, and until the end of the war, it will be cut off into desolation.”
So Rashi is – well, this is quoting in the Jewish Bible, and verse 26. Now, listen to what Rashi had to say about that destruction, it says, “And his end will come about by inundation: and his end will be damnation and destruction, for He will inundate the power of his kingdom through (listen to this very carefully) through the Messiah, and until the end of the wars of Gog the city will exist.” Did you catch that? Rashi agrees with what Christians agree with, regarding this passage. This passage takes place between the decree to rebuild Jerusalem after the end of the first temple and the destruction of the second temple, Messiah appears. Listen to this –
Rashi says, “And he will inundate the power of his kingdom through the Messiah and until the end of the wars of Gog the city will exist; cut off into desolation: a destruction of desolation.” Now Rashi does make a few differences in his views; as I mentioned earlier, he believes that this anointed one is some kind of king. That is his ring. This prince ? He’s reigning beside the Messiah, he believes that the cutting off of this anointed one will not be the Messiah, but will be this king. So he doesn’t agree with Christians on that part of this prophecy, but he does agree that the 70-weeks prophecy in Daniel does refer to a time involving the Messiah. Very important point. And he goes on and says, “And until destruction and extermination befall the dumb one: and the ruling of the abomination will endure until the day that the destruction and extermination decreed upon it [will] befall it, in the days of the king Messiah.”
So this is very significant, because we see that rabbinic teachings actually agree with at least the major points on this prophecy that Christians hold to today; that this prophecy concerns the Messiah, that this prophecy concerns the destruction of the second temple and that this time frame occurred between the destruction of the first temple and destruction of the second temple this Messiah had to come. Now having discussed the three points at which Christians and Jews agree on Daniel 9, namely, we agree that this time frame of Daniel’s 70 weeks occur sometime between the destruction of the first temple and the destruction of the second temple, and we agree that the time frame concerns the bringing in of the Messiah and the making an end of sin.
We all agree in those three points, but there are some significant differences between how the Jews view specifically the time frame of this prophecy, although we agree that it occurs sometime between this destruction of the first and the second temple, there are some significant differences of how the Jews reckoned the dates of this period, with how the Christians reckoned those dates. And yes, Christians have some different opinions on this, but one thing Christians all agree on, again, is that this time frame in Daniel gives the exact date for when the Messiah was to appear, and yet the Jews view this as giving a time frame for when the messianic era would begin, which could bring in the Messiah, but they believe that the Messiah doesn’t have to necessarily come during this time frame.
So this is a fairly new interpretation of the Jewish system that they developed in the second or third century B.C. It’s different from the ancient Jews which we’re going to look at today, but I want to really get in to, first of all, before we get into the differences on the time frame, I want to establish what I believe is the Biblical view of this passage, and how this time frame fits with actual historical dates in the record. So we have it clear in our minds how these time frames work out in history. And then from that standpoint, then when we start to contrast the Jewish system, you can see the discrepancies in how they reconcile or reckon the dates of this period, and why it’s flawed and why it’s been distorted to try to keep people from believing in Jesus.
So with that, as a backdrop, let’s look at Daniel chapter 9 and let’s look at the context of Daniel chapter 9, beginning at verses 1 and 2. We will be reading from the Jewish Bible at chabad.org.
It says in verse 1: “In the first year of Darius, the son of Ahasuerus of the seed of Media, who was crowned over the kingdom of the Chaldeans.” Verse 2: “In the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, contemplated the calculations, the number of the years that the word of the Lord had come to Jeremiah the prophet, since the destruction of Jerusalem seventy years.” Now, what is significant about this? What is this 70 years that Daniel is talking about and that Jeremiah spoke about? Well, we can read about this prophecy that Jeremiah gave in Jeremiah chapter 25, and incidentally, there’s [are] actually two prophecies of 70 years given in the text of the Scriptures and in Jeremiah. We’re going to discuss both of those time frames, both of those 70-year time frames. But the first one occurs in Jeremiah 25, where we read at verses 11 and 12, “And all this land shall become waste [and] desolation, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon for seventy years,” and this is verse 12, “And it shall be at the completion of the seventy years, I will visit upon the king of Babylon and upon the nation, says the Lord, their iniquity, and upon the land of the Chaldeans, and I will make it for [an] everlasting desolations.”
So, one of the things we see here in the passage of Jeremiah is number one, this first period of 70 years concerned the nations around Jerusalem serving the king of Babylon. The second thing we see in this first 70-year time frame is that the end of the 70-year occurs when God judges the king of Babylon for their iniquity, judges the Chaldeans and brings it into utter destruction. Well, when we look at the astronomical dates, the diaries that were kept in Babylon, and we compare those diaries with the actual records of the kings and the records of the solar and lunar eclipses of the time from Babylon, we can come to the exact date for when Babylon fell, for when God brought the fulfillment of this prophecy. We read in Daniel 5:30, “On that very night, Belshazzar, the Chaldean king, was assassinated,” so that marks the very end of the 70-year period.
Now, I have a chart that I put together to help us see how these time frames work out in history, and so I want you to look at this first section of 70 years. We know that 539 [B.C.] is an astronomically confirmed date when we look at the records of the Babylonian astronomical diaries that were kept, very explicit diaries as to what day, exactly what time frame these solar and lunar eclipses occurred, and you have these phenomena in the heavens that are calculated, we can calculate back to exactly what day that was, and in that astronomical record, it gives you the reign of the king, in which these events take place. So we can come up with a precise date for when the ending of the 70-year period took place, and we know that was 539 B.C. that the Chaldean King was assassinated, as Daniel 5 states. Now back that up and we get to 609 B.C. Now the interesting thing, when we look at the historical records, at 609 B.C. actually marks a Battle of Megiddo, which essentially brought the Assyrian Empire under the subjection of Babylon. That is essentially when Babylon took over Assyria, although Nineveh fell in 612 B.C.,
the nations around Israel started serving the king of Babylon in 609 [B.C.], under the Battle of Megiddo and essentially from 609 to 605 the Battle of Carchemish, we see that Israel itself began to serve the king of Babylon sometime in that time frame. So I put on the chart 609 to 607 B.C., we see Israel coming under the servitude, begins to serve the king of Babylon, so essentially the servitude of that 70 years begins at 609 – 607 B.C., and then it ends ultimately with the king of Babylon dying, and Cyrus issuing a proclamation that the Jewish exiles could return home in 537 B.C. So here we see an exact time frame of 70 years, that first time frame being fulfilled between 609, 607 B.C., and 539 to 537 [B.C.], with the decree of Cyrus that Israel could return home.
Now we come to another prophecy given in Jeremiah, and that prophecy is found in Jeremiah chapter 29, beginning at verse 10. We read in Jeremiah 29:10, “For so said the Lord: For at the completion of seventy years of Babylon I will remember you, and I will fulfill My good word toward you, to restore you to this place.” So now here we have an allusion to a 70 years in which Israel, living in Babylon and which was eventually conquered by the Medo-Persians, would eventually be restored to her place. Essentially, Jerusalem and the temple would be rebuilt and there would be a restoration. Now, the question then becomes: when did this second 70-year period in which Israel is going to be restored, when does that occur? Well, let’s look at another prophecy in the Bible that gives us a little more light into this second 70-year time frame. We find that in 2 Chronicles 36:21, we read: “To fulfill the word of the Lord in the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land was appeased for its Sabbaths; [for] all the days of its desolation it rested until the completion of seventy years.” Now, what is this an allusion to? Well, the Bible prophesies that if Israel, every seven years they’re supposed to let the land rest, Israel wasn’t doing it. And so, because Israel was not letting the land rest, God exiled the people out of the land of Israel to give it a full 70 years of Sabbaths. 70 years of rest, of desolation, so that the land could receive its Sabbaths. So this gives us a little more light into the second 70-year time frame that Jeremiah was speaking about in Jeremiah 29:10, that there had to be a completion of 70 years of rest for the land.
So, while Cyrus said that Israel could return home in 537, essentially God did not allow Israel to rebuild herself in the land until the completion of the 70 years of desolation, of exile. So let’s look back at our chart. When did that actually occur? We have in our chart, we have a temple being destroyed, the first temple being destroyed in 587 B.C. When did that occur? Well, when we read in 2 Kings 25, we read verses 8 and 9. It says, “And in the fifth month, on the seventh of the month (that was the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylonia) Nebuzaradan, chief executioner, servant of the king of Babylonia, came to Jerusalem.” Verse 9: “And he burnt the house of the Lord and the king’s palace, and all the houses of Jerusalem and all the houses of the dignitaries he burnt with fire.” Ok, so when did the desolation actually start, according to 2 Kings 25? Although Israel started serving the king of Babylon sometime between 609 and 605, it [she] was not exiled out of her land until this event in the 19th-year reign
of King Nebuchadnezzar, and that agrees with our chart. When we look here, the first temple being destroyed in the 19th-year reign of King Nebuchadnezzar, again, we can confirm these dates because of the astronomical records, and we find that that first temple was destroyed in 587 B.C. That was the 19th-year reign of Nebuchadnezzar. Jeremiah chapter 52 also speaks about this 18th-year reign and 19th-year reign of Nebuchadnezzar. It says in verses 12 and 13: “And in the fifteenth [fifth] month, on the tenth of the month – that was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon – Nebuzaradan the chief executioner, came [and] stood before the king of Babylon in Jerusalem. And he burnt the house of the Lord and the king’s palace.” Now, when we read a little bit later on in the passage, we get down towards the end of the chapter of Jeremiah 52 – and it says, “And in the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar [he exiled] from Jerusalem eight hundred and thirty-two people.” Now did you notice what I just noticed, something that appears to be a discrepancy? We have the 19th-year reign of King Nebuchadnezzar. He’s destroying Jerusalem, the houses and the temple, and then we get down to the 18th-year reign of King Nebuchadnezzar at the end of chapter 52, speaking about the same event of exile.
How do we reconcile this? First thing you need to understand is that there were two different ways of reckoning kings’ reigns. One way counted the ascension year of the king. That was the year that the king began to reign. It was a partial year and it dovetailed on the end of the prior king’s reign. So let’s say, in the case of Nabopolassar, who reigned, I believe, 26 years. Nebuchadnezzar, his first year of reign, his ascension year coincided with the 26th year of Nabopolassar. So then we have a case where, if you count the first year, the ascension year of Nebuchadnezzar as year one – and we count the 26th year of Nabopolassar – you then have one year being counted twice. So, to satisfy this irreconcilability, what the ancients used to do would either count the ascension year as year one and then the regnal years, giving Nebuchadnezzar 19th year – 19 years of reign before he destroyed Jerusalem, or they disregarded the ascension year, that partial year and only counted the regnal years, the full years of that king, beginning [at] year number two becoming year number one, and thus making it the 18th-year reign of Nebuchadnezzar, that this event of Jerusalem’s exile took place.
So it’s important to understand that there is a little bit of discrepancy in how these reigns were counted because of the ascension years, and the regnal year differences in accounting time, and that is why historians write this date. Quite often, you’ll see the date for Jerusalem’s fall being given as 586 and 587 [B.C.], because there is some question as to whether we’re talking ascension-year reigns or we’re talking the regnal year period, not counting the ascension year, so you’ll see dates often written like 586 / 587 or 539 and 538. There’s going to be some discrepancy of one year in those calculations, only because, again, the Babylonian and the Assyrian, all they did when they kept their records was write down in the such-and-such year of the reign of the king, and so it was up to the person who’s writing to determine whether he’s talking the second-year regnal year or a second year, counting first year ascension, second year being his real legitimate first regnal year.
Just a little caveat there, that’s why we see differences about this event in even the text of the Bible, like here in Jeremiah 52, one part counting the ascension year as year number one and the other part disregarding the ascension year, and only counting the regnal years of Nebuchadnezzar. All right. So now, when did this time frame complete, we’ve talked about the start of the 70-year period, we actually see the end of the 70-year period occurring in the fourth year of Darius. Darius, in his second year, gave a decree concerning the temple, concerning the rebuilding of the temple. And it essentially had its culmination of that 70-year period of exile in the fourth year of Darius. As we read in the Bible, in Zechariah 7, we read, it says in verse 1,
“And it came to pass in the fourth year of King Darius; the word of the Lord came to Zechariah on the fourth of the ninth month, in Kislev.” And we read verse 3: “Shall I weep in the fifth month, abstaining as I have done these many years?” And then we read verse 5: “When you fasted and mourned in the fifth [month] and in the seventh [month] even these seventy years, did you fast for Me, even for Me?” So God essentially says the 70 years were complete. He says this in the prophecy to Zechariah chapter 7, in the fourth year of the king Darius.
So here going back to our chart, we see the beginning of this second 70-year time frame, starting with the first temple being destroyed in 587 and ending with Darius’s decree in the second year and ultimately, the fulfillment of that decree in the fourth year, Zechariah 7. Now we also read in chapter 8. What is significant about the ending of this 70 years of exile? What does God say He’s going to do? He says in verse 3 of chapter 8 of Zechariah, “So said the Lord: I will return to Zion, and I will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem; and Jerusalem shall be the city of truth, and the mount of the Lord of Hosts [shall be called] the holy mountain.”
So what is Zechariah saying? He’s essentially saying God’s Word came to him and the Lord says He is now going to dwell in Jerusalem, in the holy mountain. That temple is going to be restored and His presence is now going to be restored to the land of Israel, to the temple, and essentially we had that completion of that second time frame of 70 years.
Incidentally, this is the context of Daniel 9’s prayer to God. When we begin in chapter 9:1, and we read that in the first year of Darius that Daniel was praying to God; in verse 2, he says that I calculated the number of the years of the word of the Lord had come to Jeremiah the Prophet since the destruction of Jerusalem, 70 years. He knew he was coming to the end of that 70-year period of exile, that second 70-year period that Jeremiah prophesied about in Jeremiah 29, and he’s seeking the Lord. Why? He’s seeking on behalf of the sins of his people, he has seen that the first 70-year period had been completed. The 70 years of servitude had been completed when the king of Babylon had been assassinated.
Now he’s looking at the exile time frame and the Sabbath year time frame and the desolation of Israel to fulfill those Sabbaths, 70 years. And we come on down to verse 16 and 17: “Oh Lord, according to [all] Your righteousness, may Your wrath and Your anger return now from Your city, Jerusalem, the mount of Your Sanctuary, for because of our sins, and because of the iniquities of our forefathers, Jerusalem and your people have become a mockery to all these surrounding us. (So) And now hearken, O Lord our God, to Your servant’s prayer and to his supplications, and cause Your face to shine upon Your desolate Sanctuary, for the sake of the Lord.”
So what is Daniel praying about? He’s seeing that they’ve been in exile almost 70 years. This is the first year of Darius and we read in Zechariah that the word of the Lord comes, fulfilling that 70 years to Zechariah in the fourth year of Darius, saying, This is when I’m going to return to you now; now I’m going to fulfill essentially Daniels prayer that he’s praying here in Daniel chapter 9. He’s praying about this event, and this is foretold as being fulfilled at the end of those 70 years, in the fourth year of Darius.
So that is the context by which we come on down now to Daniel’s 70-weeks prophecy that begins at verse 24. Let’s read Daniel 9:24. “Seventy weeks [of years] have been decreed upon your people and upon the city of your Sanctuary to terminate the transgression and to end sin, and to expiate iniquity, and to bring eternal righteousness, and to seal up vision and prophet, and to anoint the Holy of Holies,” verse 25, “And you shall know and understand that from the emergence
of the word to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem until the anointed king [shall be] seven weeks, and [for] sixty-two weeks it will return and be built street and moat, but in troubled times.” Okay, I want to stop right there. There’s a lot [that’s] been said right here in the first two verses of Daniel 9:24-25. First, we read about 70 weeks. Now, you might be asking a question right here: 70 weeks – well, how do you get 490 years? If you looked at the chart there we have 490 years, 70 weeks. So what is this 70 weeks of years? In brackets the Jewish Bible says “of years,” but in the actual Hebrew text, “of years” is not there. Why? It’s because both Jews and Christian scholars all agree that, when a prophetic timetable is given mentioning days or weeks, it’s essentially using the rule of a day for a year. So, in the case of Daniel’s 70 weeks, we take a week (being seven days) being seven years, and we times [multiply] that 70 weeks by seven years to come up with 490 years. So that’s how we reckon this period of time; both Jews and Christians agree on this issue.
Now we come on down. There’s four things that occur where we just read in verse 24, that it’s to expiate iniquity, to terminate the transgression, to make an end of sin. Okay, that’s the first thing that occurs in this time frame. The second thing that occurs is to bring in everlasting or eternal righteousness, third, to seal up the vision and fourth, to anoint the Holy of Holies. Then we come on down to verse 25 and we read about a word that goes forth to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. What is that word? Let’s go and look at our chart. Now, as we read in Daniel 9:25, there’s a decree or command or word concerning Israel that was going to mark the beginning of the 490 years.
Looking at the chart, we can see all four of these decrees pinpointed with specific events in history. The first decree that we read about in Scripture is the first year of Cyrus, it was given in the first year of Cyrus, 538 or 537 B.C. It marked the conclusion of the first 70-year period, where Israel and the nations were to serve the king of Babylon for 70 years, so that decree marked the fulfillment of that first 70-year period. It obviously is not a decree that we should look at to start this 490 years, because it’s already fulfilled in a prior time period.
Now also on this chart, we see another decree concerning Israel and that is Darius’s second-year decree in which he allowed Israel to rebuild her temple, commissioned Israel to rebuild the temple and ultimately, that was fulfilled according to Zechariah 7 and 8 in the fourth year of Darius. So we can read that decree, that second-year decree of Darius, which occurred in 520 or 521 B.C., you could read about that in Ezra 4:24, 6, 7 through 8, okay. So that is the second decree and again, that completed a
second 70-year time frame that was given, a 70-year prophecy which was the time frame for which Israel was to be in exile – 70 years. So it’s not likely that that would mark the beginning of this next period of time.
So let’s look at the third decree. What is that decree? That decree is Artaxerxes decree, seventh-year decree, in which he commissioned the sacrifices to resume in the Jerusalem temple. When did that decree occur? In the seventh-year reign, which was in 458 or 457 B.C. So we go up 458. It’s kind of an interesting decree because, first of all, the context of Daniel, Daniel was praying right before he was given this vision of this prophecy. He was praying about the sins of Israel and the need to come back in the land, because the temple was desolate. Why? So that they could resume their sacrifices, so that they could resume the process by which they can have their sins forgiven; at least in their understanding, it all hinged upon coming back into that land and getting that temple rebuilt and resuming those sacrifices.
Now, although Darius decreed and issued a rebuilding of the temple, it did not authorize or make provision for Israel to resume the sacrifices. And yet, when we read in Daniel 9:24-27, there’s a lot of emphasis on how those sins are going to be paid for, a[n] expiation of the sins or making an end of sins, some translations put it as we read in verse 24. So I think, just looking at these decrees, at least the first three that we’ve looked at, the first two are already taken; they’re already fulfilling other prophetic time frames. We look at this third decree and I think it’s a likely candidate, just given the context of Daniel, just given the evidence that Daniel’s praying about the sins of Israel, and God is answering about how those sins are going to be taken care of in this 490-year time frame, beginning with a decree concerning the rebuilding of Jerusalem and ultimately that took place when the temple sacrifices were resumed under Artaxerxes seventh-year reign decree resuming those sacrifices. So I find that very, very interesting and I think it fits this time frame beautifully.
But there’s one more decree concerning Israel that some people look at as a fulfillment or as a starting period for this 490 weeks of years. And that is the 20th-year decree of Artaxerxes, which occurs in 444 or 445 B.C. And Artaxerxes, in his 20th year, gave a decree concerning the rebuilding of the Jerusalem wall, and it is true that when we read in the context of Daniel – let’s go ahead and read, let’s read verse 25: “And you shall know and understand that from the emergence of the word to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem until the anointed king [shall be] seven weeks, and [for] sixty-two weeks it will return and be built street and moat, but in troubled times.”
Now, that seems to indicate that there’s more building going on besides the temple, it’s the street, it’s the moat; that also implies possibly the wall. So some people look at that verse in verse 25, and they say, well see, here’s Artaxerxes’ decree about the wall being patched up, being built around Jerusalem, and they say, well, that must be the fulfillment of this prophecy. But I think that’s a very shallow view, because when you look at this verse 25, that’s only one part of the whole piece of what’s happening in this 490 years. Yes, of course, that would include the wall, but there is a great emphasis already in verse 24
about the making an end of sin. So I’m gonna argue for the seventh-year decree being the start of our time frame. And if we go with a 20th-year decree, there’s another problem, besides the fact that it doesn’t fit the context as well. If we go with the 20th-year decree, 444-445 B.C., and we calculate that to Jesus’s death in 30 A.D. or as some scholars say, it was in 32 A.D., even if we push it out to 32 A.D. and [use] 444-445, we only get 476 years. Why is this a problem? Well, the prophecy specifically states that 62 weeks and 7 weeks, total, 62 and 7 weeks makes 69 weeks; 69 times 7 makes 483 years. 483 years, and yet what do we have? 445 to 32 A.D. – at the very farthest you can push the crucifixion out? You only have 476 years. So there’s a problem. Even just reckoning that decree as the start of this time period, it doesn’t fit the Messiah’s life, because He is supposed to appear at 483 years from the start of this time period, not 476 years; if you have Him long come and gone before the 483 years, you got a problem with the prophecy.
So what do people do that hold to the 20th-year decree about the rebuilding of the wall as a start date for this period? Well, they have to recalculate the dates, and they do so by taking this lunar years of 360 days, recalculating them with solar years of 365 days. They divide them out and the extra days between the lunar and the solar years, they try to make that into the additional missing years that are needed for the 69 weeks. I know. It’s a very complicated system. I’m not going to go into a lot of detail on that, but that’s essentially what they do – they try to stretch, they try to stretch that period by recalculating the time frame of 476 years in lunar to solar. There’s a couple of problems with that. Number one, you don’t have any example of any first-century Jew able to make such calculations, you don’t have any example of anybody ever taking solar years to converting them into lunar years to try to find out the date range of other prophecies of Scripture, so why would we use that in this particular passage?
The other problem with this interpretation is also, as I pointed out, it does not fit the context, and if you read the text very carefully in Daniel chapter 9, 70 weeks of years have been decreed upon your people, we read not only to make an end of sin that occurs and the restoring and the rebuilding of Jerusalem, but read in verse 26: “And after sixty-two weeks” – and essentially that implies 62 and seven – so after the 69 weeks, the Messiah, “the anointed one will be cut off, and he will be no more, and the people of the coming monarch will destroy the city and the Sanctuary, and his end will come about by inundation, and until the end of the war, it will be cut off into desolation.” We get down to verse 27 and “he” seems to imply the same prince who’s being spoken of throughout these [verses] 24-25-26, “And he will strengthen a covenant for the princes for one week,” and it says, “and half the week he will abolish sacrifice
and meal-offering, and on high, among abominations, will be the dumb one, and until destruction and extermination befall the dumb one.” So essentially what happens? I know, the Jewish Bible is a little confusing how its worded, the Christian Bibles read this a little bit clearer. But essentially you have this – in the middle of the week, the Messiah is cut off. Okay, He makes this covenant for one week and then in the middle of the week, He’s cut off. He causes a sacrifice to end in the middle of the week. How does that occur? How is that fulfilled with Jesus? Well, if we go back to our seventh-year reign decree of Artaxerxes in his seventh year, and you have that as your start date, you have Jesus appearing on the scene, approximately 26-27 A.D., which is when the baptism of Christ takes place with the, I believe, 15th-year reign of Tiberius (don’t quote me on that, I haven’t reviewed that in a while), but there is a parallel with the time frame of Tiberius, I believe 15th-year reign, and then you have the baptism of Christ.
So you’ve got a historical date to be able to anchor that time frame when Jesus started His ministry, 26-27 A.D., and He starts at approximately 30 years of age, which would put Him as being birthed around 4 B.C. Ok, so what do we have? 69 weeks fits beautifully. From 458 B.C. to the coming – when Jesus starts His ministry you have 483 years in 26 A.D., from 458 [B.C.] to 26 A.D.
Then, what do we have? Most scholars believe He ran His ministry for three, three and a half years. What is that? You have a week, the last week at the 490 years in the middle of the week, He causes the sacrifices to cease. Why? By His death on the cross, the temple, the veil, was torn from top to bottom. The sacrifices that the Jews were doing were essentially ceased in God’s eyes. They no longer held any weight. Why? Because Jesus had fulfilled those sacrifices, He made an end of sins and so by His fulfillment, He made the sacrifices to cease in the middle of that last week. That’s why it says that in the middle of the week, for one week, in half a week, He will abolish the sacrifice. This says in verse 27 that abolition of the sacrifices occurs in Jesus’s death on the cross and the subsequent wrenching of the veil in the temple from top to bottom. Now, we can come to God through Jesus Christ as our ultimate sacrifice, so He essentially made an end of sacrifice, and that fits the context very well in the passage.
So, going back to this time frame, that fits, but if we go with the 20th-year decree, which essentially is the popular view, it was made popular by a man named Sir Robert Anderson. He wrote the book The Coming Prince published in 1894. He’s the one that popularized the idea of starting this period from Artaxerxes 20th-year reign and recalculating the dates from solar to lunar – and I believe, or lunar to solar, however, goes very complicated. He’s the one that made that up and it took hold in Christianity, for one of the reasons, was because also around that time frame was the dispensational idea that God has seven more years left on His timetable for Israel, in which He will deal with Israel doing something called the Tribulation Period. This is a very popular view in Christianity today, you hear in a lot of churches, a lot of people on the radio, pastors talk about it. It’s just very popular. People don’t even know there are other ways to reckon this period of time. So trying to get an extra seven years out of the 490 years of Daniel, they have popularized this decree of
Artaxerxes as being a start date for this 490 years, then they recalculate the time frame from 476 years to 483 years, trying to stretch it, to make it fit, alright, and then that leaves one more week after the death of Christ to be fulfilled maybe 2,000 years later, sometime when a tribulation happens upon the whole world, and the Saints are raptured out and then all of a sudden, God turns to Israel.
Now, I believe that God is going to turn to Israel, but not during a tribulation period of seven years. That you cannot get from this passage. Honestly, you cannot honestly get that reading Daniel 9, and reading this passage, and looking at the dates of the time frame. So I reject that viewpoint, I do not believe it’s a Biblical viewpoint. I know it’s popular, and essentially this is the viewpoint that the rabbis speak against when they’re speaking against Christianity. They’re talking about this 20th-year decree period starting the 490 years, and they point out, rightly so, that you have a 476-year period, that is not 483, it does not fit that time frame.
So playing fast and loose with the dates by recalculating it is just dishonest. It’s not a proper way to reconcile this and the rabbis point that out – and I would agree with them, but essentially because it is such a popular view, they don’t even talk about this other view that has been popular in Christianity for quite a few years, even back to the 17th century. We have this this other viewpoint, the seventh-year decree of Artaxerxes, given as a potential start date for this period, and it was spoken of by the Reformers in the Middle Ages. So it’s been around in Christianity for a while. It’s just it’s falling out of popularity because of books like Sir Robert Anderson’s book on the coming prince, and the views of the dispensationalists who’ve been pushing this seven-year tribulation period, trying to make revelation fit in seven years, actually take a historical view of Revelation historicism. Again, that’s more of the view of the Reformers of the Middle Ages and not something that popular Christianity came up with in the last couple hundred years. Okay enough on that.
As you can see by the chart, if we go with a seventh-year decree, it answers every aspect of this passage here in Daniel, it fits the time frame with the historical records beautifully and there’s no need to play fast and loose with the dates to be able to make that fit.
Now let’s turn to the Jewish viewpoint of Daniel’s 70 weeks. How do they discount the Christian view? What is their alternative viewpoint? How do they reconcile the time frame for Daniel’s 490 years? Let’s take a look at another chart. I have here on screen the chart that we’ve been looking at concerning the 70 weeks of years in Daniel 9, and I have put on top of the chart the Jewish current interpretation of this passage, where they believe that Daniel 9’s 70 weeks begins with the destruction of the first temple, and then ends with the destruction of the second temple, as we saw in Rashi, the ancient rabbis commentaries. Now remember, Rashi lived around the Middle Ages and he reckons this time frame from the first temple being destroyed to the destruction of the second temple. Now, just looking at this chart, do you notice something missing, something unique, a problem with this particular chart? If you said it has an additional 167 years, you’re absolutely correct. Because if we go with the date that all historians give for when the first temple was destroyed, 587 B.C., and we calculate out 587 to 70 A.D., or C.E., the date when the second temple was destroyed, we have a total of 657 years. That’s 167 more years than Daniel’s prophecy states as
490 years, not 657 years. So what does the Jewish rabbis do? What do they do to be able to make their prophecy fit this time frame? Here’s what they do. Watch – they take that 490 years and, to cross out the additional 167 years, they go on down to the time frame of how long the temple stood. They cross out the 587 years, that is what the current historians give for that time frame, and they make it 420 years. Then they cross out 587 B.C., the time frame that the historians give for the fall of the first temple, and they move that down to 420 B.C., essentially taking the 70 years of exile, of the temple destruction, and putting that prophecy within Daniel 9’s prophecy; they move the prophecy of the 70 years of exile into Daniel 9’s 490 years. Therefore, they are able to change the date of the first temple being destroyed and put it into the time frame of the 490 years, and make it 420 B.C. So essentially they cross out 587 years of Daniel’s 70 weeks and make it 420 years. Then you add the additional 70 years for when the second temple was destroyed and you come up with 490 years, fitting Daniel’s prophecy.
That’s what the Jewish rabbis do, they fudge the dates. They move the dates from the original date of 587 B.C. that all historians calculate, looking at the the records of the Babylonians and the Assyrians and medo-Persians, of how long the kings reign, and they scrunch that time period. They move it from 587 to Daniel’s 490 years and put it at 420 B.C., shifting it from 587 to 420 B.C. That is how they’re able to make 490 years out of this period. But, as you can see, it does not fit the time frame. It does not fit what history really shows. So, how do they get away with changing the dates of the Babylonian period and scrunching them into the Persian Empire or the Greek empire, trying to squish everything down to make the 490 years of Daniel 9 to fit a 657-year time frame between the destruction of the first temple and the destruction of the second temple? What do they do and how do they get these dates?
I have here an article by a man named J. Paul Tanner entitled “Is Daniel’s Seventy-Weeks Prophecy Messianic?” It was published in the Bibliotheca Sacra 166, April through June 2009 edition, on pages 181 through 200. He has some interesting observations about how the ancient Jews actually used to look at this time frame prior to the time of Christ, and then he goes into some of the Christian views that existed in the second century and third century, and points out that, really, the Christians didn’t talk a lot about Daniel 9 until we get to about the time frame of Irenaeus in the second century, Irenaeus the church father,
he started using Daniel 9 in apologetics, supporting the Christian view of Jesus being the Messiah. But how did the ancient Jews prior to the time of Christ view Daniel 9? Were they calculating these passages, and how did they look at the dates of this period? What this man has to say about what they actually taught, and what can be found in the Dead Sea Scrolls of the Essene community that exists, is from third century B.C. through the first century A.D. This is what he says. “The earliest Christian reference to the seventy-weeks prophecy seems to be the rather brief remark found in The Epistle of Barnabas (ca. A.D. 100) in its discussion of the “spiritual temple” in the heart. Otherwise, no extended discussion of this prophecy has been found in Christian literature before the late second century A.D. Prior to this, however, several Jewish writings include chronological schemes, some of which are based on the passage, and some of which are not. Beckwith has concluded, “The Essenes began Daniel’s seventy weeks at the return from the Exile, which they dated in Anno Mundi 3430, and that they therefore expected the period of the seventy weeks or 490 years to expire in A.M. 3920, which meant for them between 3 B.C. and A.D. 2. Consequently their hopes of the coming of the Messiah of Israel (the Son of David) were concentrated on the preceding 7 years, the last week, after the 69 weeks. Their interpretation of the seventy weeks is first found in the Testament of Levi and the Pseudo-Ezekiel Document (4 Q 384 – 390), which probably means that it was worked out before 146 B.C.”
Now this is significant because, prior to the time of Christ, did you notice what it says? The Essene community was actually looking for the time of the Messiah to appear between 3 B.C. and A.D. 2, so a period of five years from 3 B.C. to 2 A.D. or 2 C.E., they thought that the Messiah would appear, and most historians today believe that Jesus came four years before the end of the B.C. time frame. So you essentially have the Essenes predicting when the Messiah would be born, within one year of what he was actually born. I find that rather remarkable, don’t you? This is what the ancient Jewish rabbis used to do with this passage, they have read it at face value. They didn’t fudge the dates of the Babylonian era and the Persian era to try to make it fit the time frame. However, once the Christians started using Daniel 9 as an apologetic to support the views that this timetable given in Daniel 9 points to Jesus as the Messiah, this is what the Jews had to do. This article goes on to discuss the current Jewish viewpoint, the new calendar that the Jews came up with to fudge the dates of the Babylonian era. Listen to this. On page 184 he goes on to say, “This tendency
in Jewish circles to see the seventy weeks fulfilled in Jerusalem’s destruction in A.D. 70 is even more strongly affirmed in the Jewish chronological work, Seder Olam Rabbah, which, according to tradition, was composed about A.D. 160 (though it may have been supplemented and edited at a later period). This work provides a chronological record that extends from Adam to the Bar Kokhba revolt of A.D. 132-135. The significance of Seder Olam Rabbah is that the chronology espoused therein became commonly accepted in the subsequent Jewish writings, including the Talmud and the consensus of Jewish rabbinical scholars, Rashi, for example, from A.D. 1040 to 1105.”
And that’s what we saw, we just read Rashi’s commentary on Daniel when we started this video. “Seder Olam Rabbah says that the seventy weeks were seventy years of exile in Babylon followed by another 420 years until the destruction of the second temple in A.D. 70,” essentially conflating the 70-year period with Daniel’s 490-year period, overlapping them into one prophecy. Okay, that’s what they do, was we just saw in the chart I showed you. “The latter figure of 420 is achieved by assigning 34 years for the domination of the Persians,” 34 years for the Persians? okay, read on, “180 years to the Greeks, 103 years for the Maccabees, and 103 years for the Herods. The problem, of course, is that these figures are simply unacceptable to modern historians, especially the significantly low figure of 34 years for the Persians. Nevertheless this became the basis of Jewish calculations of the prophecy, though Jewish commentators differed on the details.”
And it’s true – there is some differing opinions; is that 420 years for the temple is at 421 years for the temple? Indeed, you’ll see dates like 420 for the destruction of the first temple, all the way through 423, 421, you’ll see different dates given, but he’s right. They differ on some of the details, and also details as to what actually happened during the 70 year, 70 weeks of years period of Daniel 9, but the important point to note is that this new interpretation of Daniel 9, this alternative interpretation of Daniel 9, came about in the second century, after we see the writings of Christians using Daniel 9 to support it as a time frame for when the Messiah would appear.
Isn’t that striking that, until that occurred in Christianity, the Jewish rabbis actually believed the original dates for these periods as given by the Essenes in their calendar? You can see the chart that I’m putting up on the screen, how the Jewish Essenes saw it as consisting of the Exile time frame, beginning that period of 490 years in the exile, from the exile when the Jews came back from Babylon and came back to their land, so taking that and calculating that out to from 3 B.C. to 2 A.D., and you have an interesting 490 years in the ancient rabbinical timetable. But that gets scrapped when the Jews re-invent their calendar in the second century A.D., leaving them with the confusing and totally, completely, errant calendar that
they used today to try to discount the Christian viewpoint of this passage. Now, what did the Jewish rabbis give as an excuse for this alternative dating system that they have invented? What do they actually say when you challenge them on this new dating? To answer this question, I searched a couple of Jewish websites, beginning with the Jews for Judaism website where it states: “Seventy weeks (490 years) are determined upon your people [and they quote Daniel 9:24] and they say, “The angel Gabriel reveals to Daniel this additional understanding of the 70 years extending them from 70 years to 70 weeks of years stretching the time span to 490 years that span from the destruction of the first Temple to the Destruction of the second Temple. This prophecy also included the description of events that would unfold if the Jewish people did not repent properly.”
So supposedly they didn’t repent properly, so they had to get seven times the amount of punishment; the original punishment was 70 years, now is stretched to 490 years because it’s seven times the original 70 years of punishment. That’s what they claim, but there’s nothing in the text that indicates that; in fact, quite to the contrary as we see in Zechariah 7 and 8. God says that I’m going to return to the land, that 70 year period is completed, and there’s no indication there that He felt that they weren’t worthy enough to return to the land and, in fact, quite the contrary. He’s going to have His presence go with them. We read that in Zechariah 8, so this argument doesn’t fly that the Jews were not faithful, so they had to have their punishment extended to 490 years. Just check that. That argument doesn’t fly, it doesn’t follow the Biblical text, but yet that’s their claim.
All right, let’s read on. “These are the 70 years of the first exile (52 years until Cyrus and 18 additional years to dedicate the second Temple) and 420 years of the second Temple. Although there appears to be a discrepancy in chronology between the Jewish and secular Gregorian calendars of 166 years (with the secular dates earlier) it is clear that Jewish record keeping is more reliable and consistent concerning these events. How so, you might ask? Here’s what they say: “Babylonian calendars changed arbitrarily with every new Babylonian king and limited archaeological discoveries often reflect their arbitrary chronology.” Limited archaeological discoveries? Are you serious? I have a notebook three inches thick of the archaeological discoveries for the time frame for Babylon. We’re gonna look at in just a minute. It’s not limited. I’m sorry, this is bogus, this is false. “Limited arbitrary chronology. (According to secular chronology 586 B.C. is the year incorrectly associated with the destruction of the first Temple the Jewish).” The Jewish temple.
All right, so these are the excuses that they give. “Unreliable Babylonian calendars that changed with every king.” Well, first of all, that’s a half-truth. The way the Babylonians reckoned their chronology was by the regnal years of the king. They didn’t have calendars as we know it today, at least, not ones that I’m aware of, I’ve never heard of. How they reckoned their time frame was they would take the reign, in the reign of the 43rd year of Nebuchadnezzar, such and such transaction occurred. Then we get over the first year, ascension year, of Evil-Merodach that transaction is completed; its one-year transaction from the 43rd year of Nebuchadnezzar to the first year of Evil-Merodach. Okay, or you might get something that spanned three years and it would say, 43rd reign of Nebuchadnezzar to the second year of Evil-Merodach, in three years we did such-and-such. What’s interesting about the Babylonian
chronicle business tablets is that, when you look at how they reckoned their transactions according to the reigning year of the King and then you look at the number of years those transactions take place, you find that the reigns of the kings are overlapped and embedded within the transaction records of the business tablets that were utilized by the Babylonians. They are so well interlocked that you cannot add an additional set of years to any of these kings’ reigns, you cannot take away any of these years, you cannot remove a king from these years, because they’re interlocking all the way down through the Babylonian period until we get to Nabonidus, who was the last reigning king of the Babylonian period. Nabonidus reigned 17 years. We could see that in the business tablet transactions, and we have an interesting event that occurs in Nabonidus’s reign, as we will look at in a minute. In the second year of his reign, it speaks of a lunar eclipse that occurred on a specific date, a specific time of the month, a specific day of the month, and a specific time that this occurred, for how long it occurred. And you look at those calculations that the Babylonians recorded in their own tablets, in their own cuneiform tablets of their era, and now you’ve got something you can go back to. Our calendars can match up with astronomical calendars with such precision, you can’t fudge the dates, and you find out this eclipse that occurred in the second year of Nabonidus locked in the day for that second year of Nabonidus. All you have to do now is back up the chronology of the interlocking reigns of the kings all the way back to Nebuchadnezzar’s eighteenth-year reign, in which Jerusalem went into exile, in which the temple was destroyed and you get the precise date of 587 B.C.
So as you can see here, these claims that the records are arbitrarily changed and unreliable is bogus. That’s a lie. This is this is just flat-out a lie to try to say that their Jewish system is more reliable because it’s given closer to the time of the events, what, second century A.D. I’m supposed to rely upon a calendar that comes out in the second century A.D.
as opposed to a calendar that the Essene Jews had prior to the time of Christ that actually agrees with secular historians? The Jews aren’t even being consistent here. Their ancient chronology agrees with secular historians; they scrapped that in the second century A.D. Because why? Why? It’s suspicious that, perhaps, they’re trying to get you not to see Jesus as fulfillment in Daniel 9. That’s why they come up with a new calendar, rather than using the one the Essenes used to use that fit neatly with the chronology given by the historians today.
Furthermore, let’s consider this idea that we should go with the second-century A.D. calendar, when we have neo-Babylonian clay tablets and records from the time of the actual Babylonians when they lived on the earth. They wrote these records down. You’re gonna tell me they fudged them? You’re gonna tell me these records aren’t reliable? We can translate them because they’re clay tablets. They held up, they stood the test of time, so they haven’t been botched. I’m sorry, this is not something that’s Greek mythology here. All right, so what else do they have to say about these dates that they give over, as opposed to, the secular dates? Well, when we go to chabad.org, I googled the comments as chabad.org where the question was asked, “Why are your dates for the first temple period so at odds with contemporary sources? Eg destruction of 1st temple in 423 BCE, not 587 BCE. What dates/events are you using to anchor the floating [time frame or] timeline provided in Scripture to our current BCE/CE chronology? Why do you reject the vast evidence which points to 587 BCE (or 586 BCE if we use the 19th year of Nebuchadnezzar)”?
Good question. Here is the reply in the comments. “There are — 166/167 missing years — in the answer to the 166/167 year ‘error’ between our ‘western’ Julian calendar and the traditional Jewish calendar count can be found,” and he goes and he gives a link which unfortunately did not go through in the post that he did on his website, but another person responds directly below that answer and says, “Lee… the source for this information is Seder Olam Rabbah. It rightly conflicts with secular dating because secular dating is faulty.” You expect me to believe that? How so? Answer that question. “Seder Olam was compiled around 1900 years ago.” So second century A.D. Yeah, okay, it says, “As such is a much more reliable source. (since they live much closer to the time frame being spoken of).” That’s pathetic. That’s pathetic! You mean to tell me that the Seder Olam from the second century was much closer than the neo-Babylonian clay tablets of the 500 B.C. when the Babylon[ian]s were actually writing their business transactions?
Excuse me, you expect me to believe that? I think not. That is simply an error, it’s faulty reasoning, and it’s pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking. It’s not true. In fact, to use a phrase that Jewish rabbis like to use against Christianity, “it’s not a mistake, it’s criminal.” This is a fraud that they have perpetrated on their own people to get them not to see how Jesus, Yeshua, the Messiah fulfills Daniel chapter 9. Call it what it is: this is not a mistake, this is criminal.
Alright, so how else do they calculate this? Well, they go back to their Talmud which, again, is the 2nd-3rd century on up through the Middle Ages document and it said the temple stood for 420 years. Okay, it stood for 420 years. Why, on the basis of what? The Jewish rabbis think it stood for 420 years. “But the sages debate whether this means the Temple was destroyed in the 420th year, or after it was standing for a full 420 years. The Temple was destroyed in the ninth of Av, which is toward the end of the Julian calendar year, so 420 years could mean almost 420 years, or it could mean 420 years and 10 months.” And then they go and they talk about Rashi and this commentary in the Talmud they talk about tractate, another Avodah Zarah, another rabbi, and they talk about Maimonides, a very popular Jewish rabbi, all giving 420 years for the temple, and then you have other Jewish sages saying its 421 years. So what do they do they do? They say, well, the temple was destroyed in 69 or 70 A.D. and they move it back 420 years to come up with their time frame to make the 490 years go back to 420 approximate B.C. as the start of Daniel’s 70 weeks. It doesn’t fly, guys, and it doesn’t work. Using a second century document to discount original contemporary business tablets of the neo-Babylonian era is just plain faulty reasoning. It’s a fraud that they perpetrated on you guys.
Why not go back to the ancient writings of the Essene Jews who lived a hundred to 2-300 years before the time of Christ? And there are calculations of Daniel, why don’t you use that calendar? That calendar pre-dated the Seder Olam Rabbah, so why don’t you use that calendar? Because it agrees with secular historians and disagrees with their new dating system, that’s why. They don’t want to see you believe in Yeshua our Messiah, Hamashiach [Jesus the Messiah]. They want you to believe that this time frame is so broad and it’s so large, that it rules out the possibility of Yeshua our Messiah fulfilling this when He came one year, within one year of the calculations of the Essene Jews of the Qumran Caves in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Very interesting.
I’d like to conclude our video with reminding you of the three major points that we all agree, both Christians and Jews, that number one, Daniel 9 – 70 weeks – although the Jews give it a much wider time frame from the destruction of the first temple to the destruction of the second temple, we still have a time frame that’s very specific about the making an end of sins. We all agree that at least, even though we disagree on the exact dates of the time frame, we all agree that time frame, even the broader time frame the Jews give, does occur. Daniel’s 70 weeks does occur in that time range, so we do agree with that. We agree with, number two, this time frame concerns the making an end of sin. How that occurs the Jews have a different interpretation than the Christians, they try to make it not look like their Messiah, their anointed one, would die these nakedness you know some king died and different things happen, destruction of Jerusalem, Israel essentially was punished for her sins so that made an end of sin. That’s kind of how they argue, that making an end of sin. But bottom line, we both agree this Scripture says in Daniel 9 that this time frame would accomplish the making an end of sin. And then the third
point that we all agree with is that this time frame concerns the Messianic era, the bringing in of the Messianic era. Christians have a messiah for the Messianic era. Our Messiah is Yeshua Jesus, who rose from the dead, and proved that He is who He said He is by His resurrection, and by His death, which tore the veil of the temple from top to bottom, showing that we now have direct access to God through Yeshua our Messiah. We can trust Him. He paid that price for our sins. We Christians have a Messiah for the Messianic era, but even though the Jewish rabbis all agree that this Daniel 9 time frame brings in a messianic era, they do not have a messiah. They cannot point you to someone who fulfilled the role of the Messiah who actually fulfilled this prophecy in its entirety. Yes, they point to some kings, they think Cyrus was an anointed one who fulfilled part of the prophecy, and possibly another king who brought in the destruction of Jerusalem, and that’s kind of how they they might possibly couple anointed ones and different princes and however they reckon this all out, but the reality is they have a messianic era beginning without a true Messiah, son of David. Without a true Messiah, son of Joseph, as the rabbis all spoke about. Without a true Messiah who pays for the sins of God’s people taking upon Himself becoming an asham, a guilt offering, as Isaiah 53 explains. They have a messianic age without a messiah. We Christians have a messiah. We Christians have someone who fulfilled all of these prophecies, both Daniel 9, Isaiah 53 and Zechariah chapter 12. My question for you, my dear Jewish friend is, “Who is your Messiah?” Will you look to Yeshua as your Messiah? Will you look to Yeshua Jesus, will you consider His claims and the evidence of His resurrection in light of these prophecies? Read these prophecies, pray over them, ask God to show you the truth, and I think, if you pray with an open heart, reading these Scriptures, read through Daniel 9, read through Isaiah 53, read through Zechariah 12, you will see Yeshua he is our Mashiach, our Messiah. Why don’t you trust him today?
FOR MORE INFORMATION SEE:
Watchtower Chronology and Daniel’s 70 Weeks (4Jehovah.org) – More information on how Jesus’ life fits the details of Daniel 9’s prophecy