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by Dr. John Thomas
This was a question which Gabriel could not answer.
When Jesus was discoursing upon the same topic, four of the apostles addressed him privately, saying, "Tell us, when shall these things be?
" But, after giving them certain signs by which they might know that the desolation was approaching, he added, "Of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father".
It was a secret reserved in the power of the Father only.
But if the time when "a host should be given to the Little Horn of the Goat against the city and temple" was withheld, precise information was granted concerning the time when the things testified in the twenty-fourth verse of the ninth chapter, and the cutting off of Messiah the Prince, should come to pass.
They were to be accomplished in a period of seventy weeks of years from the promulgation of a certain decree -- that is, after 490 years.
Two years after this was revealed to him, Daniel's heart was rejoiced by the proclamation of Cyrus in the first year of his reign, for the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem.
But had he reckoned the 490 years from this date, they would have terminated 13 years before Messiah was born.
The seventy weeks, however, were not to commence with a decree for rebuilding the temple; but "from the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem"; in other words, to restore the wastes of the city by setting up the wall and the gates thereof, that Israel's reproach might cease.
This was issued by Artaxerxes on the first day of Nisan in the twentieth year of his reign, from which it was exactly 490 years to the crucifixion.
No date of any other decree answers the demand of "the matter"; therefore there is no option but to receive it as a demonstration by fact.
Gabriel divided the seventy weeks of years into three portions, namely, into one of seven weeks; another of sixty-two weeks; and into a third of one week, which he subdivided into two half parts.
The seven weeks, or 49 years, were allotted to the restoration of the state; after the end of which, 434 years, or sixty-two weeks more, were to elapse to the manifesting of Messiah the prince.
This was 483 years to "the beginning of the gospel concerning Jesus Christ" announced by John the Baptist, who came baptizing in water that he might be made manifest to Israel.
From this date there remained seven years to the end of the 490.
The seventieth week was the week in which the covenant was confirmed in the attestations which the Father gave to Jesus as His Son, and as the Seed of Abraham and of David, to whom He had promised the land of Canaan, and the kingdom and throne of David for an everlasting inheritance.
The week of confirmation was divided between the ministry of John and that of Jesus.
The former was engaged in baptizing the people into the hope of Messiah's immediate manifestation; and when he was about finishing this work, Jesus was baptized, and publicly recognized before the assembled people, as the Son of God by a voice from the excellent glory.
He was also anointed at the same time, and sealed, as the Most Holy One of Israel.
John having now finished his ministry, was thrown into prison by Herod the tetrarch; and Jesus being thirty years old, entered upon the work of the latter half part of the week, or three years and a half remaining to complete the 490.
After he had passed some months of his ministry, he was warned by some Pharisees that Herod would kill him; to which he replied, "Go tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and do cures to-day and to-morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.
Nevertheless I must walk to-day and to-morrow, and the day following; for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem".
Besides showing that a day is sometimes used prophetically for a year, the Lord's reply shows also the period of his ministry as equivalent to the latter half part, at the end of which he expected to die, and afterwards to be perfected by a resurrection to life.