Friday, September 19, 2014

Playing Devil's Advocate on the Seventieth Week

This is a follow up to my earlier post proving 7 years from Revelation.

In terms of those Futurists who view the 70th Week as past, I decided I want to give a fair open minded look at their view.  Problem is, they don't even view the first 69 Weeks the same as I do (from the ones I've encountered).  Now I am open minded to being proven wrong on that too, if you feel you have a sufficient fatal flaw to my argument feel free to leave one as a comment.

But for now, if you want to convince me of a Preterist view of the 70th Week, it's gonna need to be a view that has the 70th Week being from Nisan of 30 AD to Nisan of 37 AD.  And the Crucifixion in that Nisan of 30 AD.  Moving The Cross to the middle of The Week simply doesn't work.

I decided to look for myself at this Seven year period, to see if playing Devil's Advocate I could make that argument myself.  But also with the thought as someone who believers in types and near fulfillments, that the 7 years following the end of the 69th Week could be a minor prefiguring of the true final 70th Week.

My view on The Sixth Seal actually lends itself to that.  Based on the Sixth Seal parallels to Joel 2:28-32 and how Peter uses that same Joel passage in Acts 2.  I argue that the Earthquake and Darkening of The Sun that happened as Jesus was on The Cross was a prefiguring of the Terrestrial and Cosmic Signs of the Sixth Seal.  And with that I think the Sixth Seal will be opened on the 14th day of the Nisan that starts the 70th Week.  And that the Sealing of the 144,000 will be on the following Pentecost, it'll be another great outpouring of The Holy Spirit.

So in a sense it may be as if the initiation of the 70th Week is also God sort of resetting his Clock back to 30 AD.  But I would not build doctrine or date setting on anything I'm gonna suggest below.  This is just fun conjecture.

With a connection made to the beginning, I decided to look at the end.  It's not agreed universally which spring full moon correlated to Passover in 37 AD, it could've been March or April.  But the one in March was around the 21st-23rd and First Fruits fell on a Sunday again like it did in 30, this time it was March 25th.

The 16th of March that year was the day Tiberius died, awfully close.  And that Passover season close to Tiberius's death plays a key role in Josephus's account (Book 18 Chapter 4) of when Pilate was removed from his governorship.

Pilate is usually assumed to have been removed way back in the late summer or fall of 36.  But I can't help but feel reading Josephus like it was closer to when Tiberius actually died.  And others have as well, but the main such source I read does so arguing for a 37 AD Crucifixion, and then tying that into all kinds of other heresies.

It's not just Pilate and Tiberius.  It seems 36 and 37 AD saw the either deaths or removal from power of all the figures Luke 3:1-2 states were in power at that time.  Perhaps it prefigures how when the 70th Week begins, only one week is left for the current World Order.

But on the subject of Pilate's Removal.  The Josephus account includes a sort of False Messiah or False Prophet figure of the Samaritans who helped get them riled up, and who remains unnamed. 
"The man who excited them to it was one who thought lying a thing of little consequence, and who contrived every thing so that the multitude might be pleased; so he bid them to get together upon Mount Gerizzim, which is by them looked upon as the most holy of all mountains, and assured them, that when they were come thither, he would show them those sacred vessels which were laid under that place, because Moses put them there"
Acts 8:9-11 says of Simon Magus.  " But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God.  And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries."

 The Samaritan chronicler Abul Fath mentions a sect headed by a R. Zadok which was tied to the heretic who claimed to be the “booth” or “booths” of the new Tabernacle. He speaks of “five brothers who from [the Samaritan holy mountain Gerizim] who were called [the Sons of Zadoq] and also another man called Zadoq the Elder from Bayt Far who deviated from “booths” and his companions, saying that Mount Gerizim is as holy as if the Samaritan temple were [still] standing upon it and that while one was obligated to do what was written [in the Law of Moses] he need not do what was not possible for him.” His community apparently “invoked him by the name mentioned [in the report of Booths] above, i.e. the Mediator, and agreed with [Booths] about abolishing … the rule of “Moses commanded for us a Law” [Deut 33:4]

I think, maybe these were the same individuals.  There are other reasons to view Acts 6-11 as being about 37 AD.  Wikipedia speculates that the martyrdom of Stephen must've been during the brief administration of Marcellus.  And Paul synchronizes the time of his Conversion to when Aretas controlled Damascus (2 Corinthians 11:32).  Which he didn't before Caligula became Emperor.

So that's the end of The Week, what about it's middle?  Tishri of 33 AD?

33 AD is a complicated year to study, web searches for it will have to shift through those referencing it thinking the Crucifixion was that year.  Nothing is known to be exactly dated to that year that resembles The Abomination of Desolation.  But the main thing that causes people to argue for the Crucifixion being that year, is itself interesting to look at.

That being a desire starting from some Early Church Fathers to identify an Eclipse and Earthquake mentioned by Thallus placed as occurring in Bythia and Asia Minor in 33 AD as the one that happen when Jesus was on the Cross.  He's quoted by Julius Africanus without much context.  Apologetic circles want to think Thallus himself was connecting this to Jesus, and Africanus accusing him of trying to naturalize the darkness as an eclipse.  But it seems more likely to me that Africanus simply assumed based on this being during the reign of Tiberius it was the same Darkness and Earthquake.  Problem is, it occurred in parts of Asia Minor, effecting some of the same cities that had the Churches of Revelation 2-3, not in Judea.

Revelation does also link Earthquakes to the Middle of the Seventieth Week, both the Rapture of The Witnesses and the Seventh Trumpet.

The Annals of Tacitus was year by year, so it's interesting to look at, but he was recording Roman History not Jewish.  Sadly nothing in Josephus seems to be linked to this year.  The events our copies of Jospehus place between the Testemonim Flavinium and the drama that removed Pilate, are events Tacitus places before Pilate became Prefect of Judea.

33 AD is the year of the consulship of Servius Galba and Lucius Sulla (the whole year is named for them even though they didn't serve the entire year.  Their consulship began at it's start).  This Galba it may interest you to know is the same one who latter overthrew Nero and began the year of the Four Caesar.  Tacitus recounts a probably urban legend that Tiberius said something which foretold him being Emperor some day during this Consulship.  Which Tiberius supposedly knew because of Thrasyllus.

I find it interesting that the first thing we're told of this year by Tacitus is that the same two men who were the Consuls for 30 AD, Tiberius decided that year to Marry to the two still unmarried daughters of Germanicus, Julia Livilla and Drusilla.  Later these same two men are who Tiberius sent to help Asia Minor after the Earthquake mentioned above.  Vinicius married Livilla and Longinus married Drusilla.  A cousin of Longinus who was Consul later in 30 AD also married a descendant of Julia the Younger about this time.

A Financial Crisis happened in Rome this year, perhaps not unlike the one that will ravage the world when the Black Horseman rides.  Agrippina the Elder and her son Drusus died this year as well.  Also Nerva, a close friend of Tiberius.

I'm afraid Tacitus doesn't say much helping determine when in the year each event happened.

Another thing that makes people support a 32 or 33 AD Passover for the Death of Jesus is the Blood Moon Theory.  A Tetrad of Lunar Eclipses happened on the 15ths of Nisan and Tishri of both 32 and 33 A.D.

Problems with this are many.  The Blood Moon theory is bunk, I recommend Chris White's debunking of it.  And the one on Passover of 33 AD wasn't total or very visible in Jerusalem.  And at any-rate most of the events Blitz links to his Blood Moons happened a year or two before each Tetrad started, so even then they fit a 30 AD Crucifixion better.  Joel and Revelation's Blood Moons are simultaneous with Darkened Suns, they're not Eclipses.  They're either totally supernatural, or caused by volcanic eruptions.

What I will note just for the sake of reference is, this Tetrad ended with one on Tabernacles of 33 AD, which is estimated to have fallen on September 27th.  In light of my feeling that Revelation 12 could be describing when the Moon is under Virgo's feet on or soon after Rosh Hoshanah as the middle of The 70th Week roughly.  I decided to look at when this occurred about half a month before that Lunar Eclipse.  And Saturn was very close to Regulus in Leo, not quite a full conjunction, but very close.  I think that is interesting.

Now if I'm going to be serious about this, let's break down the last two verses of Daniel 9.

Daniel 9:26-27.  From the KJV

"And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself:"
This is where we all agree, Jesus died in Nisan 30 AD.

"And the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary".
This is why we tend to see 70 AD as during the Gap, or many Preterist models as when the 70 Weeks ends.  But the Hebrew word translated "destroy" here also means corrupt, ruin or decay.  It is used and translated corrupt in Daniel 11:17 "and he shall give him the daughter of women, corrupting her: but she shall not stand on his side, neither be for him."  It's Aramaic form is in Daniel 2:9 "ye have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me".  If the "Prince that shall Come" is in fact the same Prince from earlier in Daniel 9, then the People of the Prince refers to the Jewish people.

So Maybe the reason for the Cleansing of The Temple is what's in mind here.

"And the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined."
There were Wars going on at this time.  Directly relevant to Israel were a few revolts Pilate had to deal with.  And Herod Antipas had war with Aretas of Petra.

It could also be consistent with seeing the 70th week as 30-37 AD to also see here a somewhat preemptive statement about the wars that went on past then to 70 AD.

"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".
The common Preterist view is this refers not to the literal taking away of Sacrifice, but them being rendered null and void after The Crucifixion.  And the Covenant here the New Covenant promised in Jeremiah 31.

This Preterist view is why people often want to make the Crucifixion the middle of The Week, not it's end.  But the word translated "Midst" is also translated "Half" sometimes.  Maybe it could be meant to read "for half of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease".

What remains is simply what's taken as an allusion to The Abomination of Desolation, but it's not the exact phrase.

"and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate."
Note, the occurrence of "he" after Abomination isn't in the Hebrew text, so there is no guarantee the same person is behind it..

The Preterist view of 70 AD can't work with what Jesus specifically said (probably in reference to the Daniel 12 use of the term) of it being In The Holy Place.

But the Terminology in Daniel 9:27 is much less specific about where, and it does seem to imply more then one Idol being set up.  And the word that is in some translations rendered "wing" can mean Wing, Corner, edge extremity, ect.  So Preterists make a strong argument that this can refer to Titus setting the "Imago" of his Father and other Roman Idols like the standards with the Imperial Eagle on them, or the Fasces, by the Gate of The Temple in 70 AD.

Same with the Last verse of Daniel 11, the word for "tabernacles" simply means tent, and so they argue it refers to the Tents the Roman legions Camped in.  Also as a supporter of the Southern Conjecture, I think the "Appeden" (Translated Palace) could be the Antonia Fortress which was where the Dome of The Rock currently is.

However, what most people haven't noticed is all those factors that could make those two things apply to Titus, can also apply to Pontius Pilate.  Go back and read when Josephus first introduces his readers to Pilate in Antiquities of The Jews Book 18 Chapter 3.
"BUT now Pilate, the procurator of Judea, removed the army from Cesarea to Jerusalem, to take their winter quarters there, in order to abolish the Jewish laws. So he introduced Caesar's effigies, which were upon the ensigns, and brought them into the city; whereas our law forbids us the very making of images; on which account the former procurators were wont to make their entry into the city with such ensigns as had not those ornaments. Pilate was the first who brought those images to Jerusalem, and set them up there; which was done without the knowledge of the people, because it was done in the night time; but as soon as they knew it, they came in multitudes to Cesarea, and interceded with Pilate many days that he would remove the images; and when he would not grant their requests, because it would tend to the injury of Caesar, while yet they persevered in their request, on the sixth day he ordered his soldiers to have their weapons privately, while he came and sat upon his judgment-seat, which seat was so prepared in the open place of the city, that it concealed the army that lay ready to oppress them; and when the Jews petitioned him again, he gave a signal to the soldiers to encompass them routed, and threatened that their punishment should be no less than immediate death, unless they would leave off disturbing him, and go their ways home. But they threw themselves upon the ground, and laid their necks bare, and said they would take their death very willingly, rather than the wisdom of their laws should be transgressed; upon which Pilate was deeply affected with their firm resolution to keep their laws inviolable, and presently commanded the images to be carried back from Jerusalem to Cesarea."
All the same factors are there.  The Roman garrisons, the plural Idols to Caesar.  And Josephus specifies Pilate was the First Roman to do this.   And his "Judgment Seat" probably the same seat he Tried Jesus from, was part of the Antonia Fortress.

So, a good argument can be made for a Preterist view of the 70 Weeks.  The problem is, if the Covenant is the real New Covenant, how is it confirmed for only one week and not forever?  Maybe the entire Church Age should be viewed as the 70th Week repeatably playing out in cycles until the true final fulfillment comes and we're Raptured in the Middle?

Or it could be notable that the parts of Acts I estimate to be seven years after The Cross corresponds to when The Gospel began to spread beyond just Jews and Judea.  So likewise with my view on the 144,000 and the Sixth Seal when the true 70th Week begins The Gospel is again focused on Israel and Israelites.

Also, it could be interesting to read Acts 3 and 4 under a premise that Peter and John there are serving as types of The Two Witnesses.

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