Sunday, July 27, 2014

The 69th Week ended in 30 A.D.

Now for the Seventy Weeks Prophecy as a separate study.  I studied when Jesus died here.

Daniel 9:24-27

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.  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.
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 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.
Why the 7 and 62 weeks are distinct I don't know, I'm sure there is a reason, but distinct or not they're consecutive, the only gap is between the 69th and the 70th weeks, a gap that included the Destruction of the Temple is 70 AD. One possible theory I'm considering is that Nisan of 405 B.C. is when Malachi's book was published, closing the canon of the Hebrew Bible (what we often call The Old Testament).

Interpreting this as referring to 490 years is NOT the Day=Year theory because neither Day or Year is used. The Hebrew word translated "week" here simply means seven and can refer to seven of anything. Leviticus 25 refers to Sabbaths of years. The context of this prophecy was Daniel praying at the end of the 70 year captivity, so the context is years. 2 Chronicles 36:21 cites one of the reasons for a 70 years captivity is that for 490 years they'd failed to keep the sabbatical year.

Ezra and Nehemiah record about 4 different Decrees issued by Persian Kings. Cyrus's decree is the most famous and the first, but the text of the 70 weeks prophecy specifies the entire City including Wall be rebuilt. But the Biblical references make clear that is the 4th and final one at the beginning of Nehemiah. The text in Daniel 9 doesn't refer to The Temple's rebuilding at all.

People have tried to argue from Extra Biblical conjectures that the wall was included in Cyrus's decree anyway, but the texts of the Decree at the end of II Chronicles and the beginning of Ezra talk only about The Temple. Isaiah 44 and 45 do speak of the City, but NO mention is made of the Wall. In a poetic sense the rebuilding of The Temple begins the rebuilding of the City, but to ignore the significance that the Wall was not rebuilt until the time of Nemaih is to miss the entire point of the narrative of Ezra, that the lack of the Wall kept hindering their attempts to rebuild the City.

The decree recorded in Nehemiah 2:1-8 was given in Nisan, the same month as Passover. One argument against the Nehemiah decree is we don't know the exact day, only the month. All the text of Daniel 9 deals with is years however, so I never word my interpretation of Daniel 9 as saying it was fulfilled to the exact day, only the year. And Nisan is the first month of the Biblical Jewish calendar. The day the Messiah arrives as well as the day he is cut off is determined by understanding the Spring Feasts. Nehemiah also prayed the same Prayer Daniel prayed in Daniel 9, he's clearly linked to this prophecy.

So clearly the Nisan exactly 483 years latter must be when The Messiah was to be Cut Off. This decree is often erroneously dated to 445 or 444 B.C. Because Nehemiah dates it to the Nisan of the Twentieth year of Artaxerxes, and the beginning of Artaxerxes' reign and the death of Xerxes is dated to 465 B.C. because of Ptolemys' chronicle of Babylonian kings which ignores co-regencies.

Thucydides mentions that the accession of Artaxerxes had taken place before the flight of Themistocles. This authorizes us to adopt Ussher's date and to place the commencement of the reign 473 or 474 B.C. This would give the date of 454-455 B.C. as his twentieth year and the date of the commission.

Themistocles Seeks Protection from Artaxerxes.
This famous Greek grand-admiral, war hero of the Battle of Salamis, suffered a radical change of fortune. At the time of the betrayal of the Spartan hero, Pausanias, Themistocles, rightly or wrongly, was also implicated of treason toward the very nation-state that he protected. And, having learned of the death penalty meted out to Pausanius - he was actually walled in in the very temple where he sought refuge! - Themistocles decided to not wait for a similar fate. He journeyed to Persia for refuge. Having fought valiantly against the father, Xerxes, he sought protection of the son, Artaxerxes.

Themistocles Meets Artaxerxes, not Xerxes.
First, the passage from Thucydides. Themistocles escaped across the Aegean to Ephesus. The history continues...

"He then travelled inland with one of the Persians living on the coast and sent a letter Artaxerxes, the son of Xerxes, who had recently come to the throne."

An Eclipse helps to fix the date.
Although this relatively late period of Greek history (in which we have Themistocles's flight) is fairly accurately settled in history (that is, there is no serious controversy as to the dates), one more event transpires that is absolutely ironclad: a near-total eclipse of the sun on August 3rd, 431 BC, at the very beginning of the Peloponnesian War.

Why is this ironclad? There is no slop factor involved. Eclipses can be both predicted as future certainties and corroborated as historical events. Such is the case with the eclipse of 431 BC that Thucydides describes. The NASA website describes this account of Thucydides as the "[o]ldest European record of a verifiable solar eclipse (annular)"

How does this relate to the first event, the flight of Themistocles? They are both reported in the famous History of the Peloponnesian War of Thucydides, a carefully calibrated account that relates all events described (except the very early history of the first chapters) according to a unified chronological frame of reference.

To know the date of the solar eclipse, 431 BC (modernly verified by NASA, for those who require such proof) is to know, by reading the History, the date of the flight of Themistocles, 473 BC. To know that date is to know also the beginning of the reign of Artaxerxes, which happened just a short while before this, 474 or 473 BC.

Numerous Egyptian records also corroborate that Artaxerxes co-ruled with Xerxes during the last decade of Xerxes reign.

So the Decree was in fact issued in the Nisan of 454 BC. 483 years latter takes us to the Nisan of 30 AD.

Ussher agreed with this date for Artezerxes 20th year, but still insisted on a 33 A.D. Crucifixion, so he insisted the date pointed to the Baptism.

Those schemes trying to make this point to 32 or 33 AD (starting from the incorrect 444 or 445 B.C. date for the Decree) by talking about "God's calendar is 360 days" are just torturing the data. The Jews always synchronized their Lunar calendar to the Solar cycle.

There is a trend of even some Christians, even Futurist/Premillennial ones, arguing that "Messiah the Prince" does not refer to Jesus, or The Messiah at all. First they argue that the definite article "ha" isn't used before Messiah here. The text does use in place of the usual definite article the Hebrew letters Ayin and Res, this is usually left untranslated. Ayin-Resh is the Hebrew word for city. It's foretelling the arrival in Jerusalem of that City's Anointed One and Prince.

The word Messiah is used of individuals who aren't Jesus often, I know. But this is actually the most unique of ALL uses of the word Messiah, only here is it so uniquely paired with the word Nagiyd, not the more common and mundane Sar.   I've seen it erroneously claimed Nagyid is a Persian word not Hebrew. If it were Persian in origin the only Biblical texts it could appear in are Daniel, Ezra-Nehemiah, Esther and perhaps the very end of II Chronicles. But it's used by Ezekiel in 28:2 (the "Prince" of Tyre here is distinct from The King), many times in Samuel, Kings and Chronicles, in Jeremiah and in the Psalms, and Proverbs. And even in Job, which is possibly older then the completion of the Torah in the days of Moses.

It's a far more important and precise occurrence then just using an equivalent of "The". To me No usage of the word is more indisputably about The Messiah Ben-David promised in II Samuel 7. The Triumphal entry wasn't the only time Jesus entered Jerusalem, but it is the only time he did so in a way that matched Zachariah 9:9's prophecy of the coming of the Messiah, with the people singing Psalm 118.

A claim exists that in verse 25 a period should be after the Seven Weeks and before the 62, and that it's only after the 7 weeks that "Messiah the Prince" appears. This is not justified by the Greens inter-lineal Bible I have at all.  Messiah is "cut off" AFTER the 62 weeks have ended.

I've seen some argue the translation "Messiah" as "Anointed One" in verse 26 is inaccurate. This shows complete ignorance of Hebrew, the letter Yot being used in the word the way it is here makes it always a noun, a separate word, messah, is used to simply mean anointing or to anoint. This argument uses the Septuagint version to back itself up. I need to do a whole study on just the Septuagint someday, the Septuagint is very problematic for many reasons and in my view Christians need to stop using it like they do.

This interpretation tries to get the 62 weeks to end in 70 A.D. by citing the same nonsense about the Persian Empire's history being wrong to support the Sedar Olam's dating system on which the modern Jewish calendar is based. This won't hold up under scrutiny because it is well known the Sedar Olam's dates were deliberately fudged to try and make the 70 weeks prophecy point to Bar Kochba, who lived roughly a century too late.  We also have Greek kings-lists backing p the Length of this period, due to Alexander I of Macedon being involved in the first two Persian wars.

The core of this argument is that the focus of the 70 weeks prophecy is about The Temple and Jerusalem, and nothing significant happened there when Jesus died. Their forgetting something important. Matthew 27:51, Mark 15:38 and Luke 23:45 all record then when Jesus died on The Cross "And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom;". The Temple physically stood for another 40 years, but it's Mosaic anointing ended when Jesus finally became the true Sacrificial offering all the others were only rehearsals for.  I'll again quote the Talmud Yoma 39b

Our Rabbis taught: During the last forty years before the destruction of the Temple the lot [‘For the Lord’] did not come up in the right hand; nor did the crimson-coloured strap become white; nor did the westernmost light shine; and the doors of the Hekal would open by themselves, until R. Johanan b. Zakkai rebuked them, saying: Hekal, Hekal, why wilt thou be the alarmer thyself? I know about thee that thou wilt be destroyed, for Zechariah ben Ido has already prophesied concerning thee: Open thy doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour thy cedars.
So actually even what this wrong interpretation says the 62 weeks points to happened in 30 A.D. So I've come to interpret "Messiah be cut off" as having a double meaning, both referring to Jesus' death on the Cross, and the removing of divine presence from The Temple when the veil was torn.

Jerome records in his Letter to Hedibia 120.8 that some early altered versions of Matthew's Gospels added to Matthew 27:51 that the lintel of the Temple collapsed.

After the Triumphal Entry Luke 19:41 records that Jesus.

And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.
And goes on to foretell Jerusalem's coming destruction. The people were judged for failing to recognize prophecy had been fulfilled. And not just because what he did matched what Zachariah 9:9 described, a false Messiah could attempt such a thing. The phrase "in this thy day", clearly tells us timing was the key. The context of the coming destruction of Jerusalem clearly tells us to look to Daniel 9, no where else does the Hebrew Bible speak of Jerusalem being destroyed again in addition to the destruction in 588 BC. And then in verse 44 the matter is made more clear "because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation."

So using Scripture to interpret Scripture, that settles the matter for me.

All I'll say here on the 70th Week, is that based on the Interpretation I've laid out of the first 69, the 70th Week must begin with the consecration of the Third Temple. The view of some that it'll not be finished being built till the halfway point I feel is erroneous and potentially sets the stage of part of the End Time deception.  My understanding of Revelation 11 being the first half of the 70th Week backs that up.

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