The prophecy commonly known as "Daniel's 70 Weeks" may be the most precise prediction of the time of Messiah:
“Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city,
to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement
for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision
and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place.
So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to
restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be
seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza
and moat, even in times of distress.
Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have
nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the
city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to
the end there will be war; desolations are determined.
And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in
the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain
offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes
desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is
poured out on the one who makes desolate.” Daniel 9:24-27 NASB
The Hebrew word that is translated "weeks" is more literally translated as "seven". Consequently, it should not be automatically translated as a 7 day period. For various reasons, many scholars interpret this to be referring to years. If this is so, then 70 "sevens" would indicate a time span of 490 years in which the prophecy will be fulfilled.
It is important to note the fullness of the prophecy. All of these things would be fulfilled within the 490 years, albeit not all at the same time:
- Finish transgression
- Put an end to sin
- Atone for iniquity
- Bring in everlasting righteousness
- Seal both vision and prophet
- Anoint a most holy place.
The 490 Years Begins
The 490 year time period begins from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. Artaxerxes issued such a decree in 445 B.C. (Nehemiah 2:1-8).
The Cutting Off of the Messiah
The prophecy proclaims that after a total of 69 sevens (the 7 sevens and 62 sevens), Messiah will come and will be cut off. (Some translate Messiah as an anointed one rather than transliterating the Hebrew word itself.) Seven times Sixty-Nine equals 483 years. However, the Jews did not employ our modern solar calendar, so adjusting 483 years to our modern calendar gives us 476 years and 24 days. So -445 B.C. + 476 years equals 31 A.D., then add one year (since there wasn't a year zero), and you get 32 A.D. This is, of course, the time in history when Jesus was crucified. In His crucifixion, He atoned for iniquity as the prophecy foretold.
Other Parts of the Prophecy
It is important to remember that all of the prophecies mentioned were to be completed in 490 years and not after just 483 years, when the Messiah was to be cut off. There are varying opinions on how the 70th seven is fulfilled. At the end of that time, the remaining prophecies will be fulfilled.
The destroying of the city and the sanctuary (the Temple) did occur in 70 A.D., as was prophesied: "after the sixty-two weeks... the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.
(NOTE: There are some who compute the years a bit differently, but they all arrive at dates between 27 A.D. and 33 A.D. Some start at 457 B.C. Nonetheless, the cutting off of Messiah falls in the narrow range in which we know Jesus was actually crucified.)
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