How can you say that any part of the seventy weeks prophecy (Daniel 9:24-27) has yet to take place when all of that prophecy was fulfilled in the first century A.D.?
The seventy weeks prophecy (Daniel 9:24-27) was fulfilled in the first century A.D. So how can you say that any part of this prophecy has yet to take place? The 70th week of years itself began in 29 A.D. at the end of 69 (= 62 + 7) weeks of years (Daniel 9:25), when the Anointed One (Jesus) came to John the Baptist and was baptized.
According to Daniel 9:24, several things were to happen or come to an end during the seventy weeks of years prophecy given to Daniel. Some of these were completed upon the crucifixion and death of Jesus on the cross, when He atoned for Israel's sins. This happend midway through the 70th week and ended the first covenant, which God had with Israel up to that point.
The second half of the 70th week started when the Roman army started desolating the Second Temple in 66 A.D., as the Romans were "standing in the holy place" (Matthew 24:15). The 70th week ended when they sacked Jerusalem in 70 A.D., thus finishing the seventy weeks of years and the other things prophesied in Daniel 9:24.
It sounds like you embrace a total preterist or a historist perspective. Your use of the word "end" is a very subjective and arbitrary term. In Daniel 9:24, Gabriel told Daniel that the following things would be completed for Daniel's people, Israel, by the end of the seventy weeks of years (that is, by the end of the 70th Week):
Now consider points #4 and #5. Just as in points #1 and #2, everlasting righteousness cannot begin in Israel until her Messiah has come and has begun to rule and reign. Furthermore, when He comes again, all visions and prophecy about His coming to be their sovereign King, as well as about the Israelites being gathered from all the nations and brought back into their homeland, will be sealed, in the sense of being confirmed or fulfilled.
Thus, #3 and #6 are the only ones of the six points that, arguably, could associated with Jesus' initial coming in the first century. Let's look at these two points. Many would insist that Jesus' blood sacrifice on the cross was the blood atonement made for all wickedness, including that of Israel. It could be argued, though, that the refusal of the vast majority of Israelites (whether in Israel or dispersed among the nations) to accept this blood atonement, on their behalf, has left them unredeemed and unsaved.
Let us look at point #3. We know that "without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness" of sins (Hebrews 9:22). Because of the gigantic bloodbath that will take place when Jesus returns to earth (which I am convinced will take place on a future Yom Kippur), as He is treading the winepress of God's wrath (Revelation 14:19,20, 19:15), it also could be argued that final atonement will be made for the sins of a remnant of Israel at that time. That is, when the Great Trumpet of Yom Kippur is blown, God's wrathful punishment will be deflected from them onto their enemies (Isaiah 27:7-9,12,13), who will shed enough blood to rise as high as the horse's bridles.
Next, let us look at point #6. Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit at His baptism by John the Baptist. Also, not long before His crucifixion, Jesus was anointed by the woman in Bethany (Matthew 26:6,7). Symbolically, according to Jesus, the latter was a preparation for His burial (26:12). However one looks at it, unquestionably Jesus was the Anointed One at His first coming. I do not believe that these were the only anointings of Jesus, though.
I believe that Jesus also will be anointed as King and the Holy One, once He returns again and sits on His throne in Jerusalem, just as David was anointed as king over Judah (2 Samuel 2:4) and over Israel (5:3), and Solomon was anointed king over Israel (1 Kings 1:39). Jesus will be the Anointed One (Psalm 2:2) who will be installed as King on His holy hill in Jerusalem (2:6). Furthermore, presumably, the Millennial Temple (Holy Place), once it has been constructed, will be anointed as well. These are future anointings.
As far as I can see, those are the only two of the six points in the list above that, conceivably, could have had to do with Jesus' first coming. Yet I believe it can be argued, quite effectively, that they very likely will be associated with His second coming as well. Moreover, not until Jesus returns back to earth again—which I am convinced will take place when the seventy weeks of years are completed—will all transgression be finished, all of Israel's sin be put to an end, everlasting righteousness begin, and all vision and prophecy be sealed up for the nation of Israel.
Now, here are two critical verses, taken from both the KJV and the NIV:
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. (Daniel 9:25,26: KJV)Presumably, there is no disagreement that the Anointed One or Messiah would come to His people after 7 + 62 = 69 of the 70 weeks of years. I believe what it means is that after 69 x 7 = 483 years following the onset of the prophetic period, Jesus, the Messiah/God, came to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, a few days before He was crucified and cut off. Jesus even noted His "coming" to them here:
Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven "sevens," and sixty-two "sevens." It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty-two "sevens," the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. (Daniel 9:25,26: NIV)
As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you." (Luke 19:41-44)A few days later, on Passover, Jesus the Anointed One was "cut off"—thus officially ending the 69 weeks of years. Yet, many preterists have Jesus dying halfway through the 70th week, even though, at that point in the prophecy, nothing at all had yet been said about the 70th week. In the seventy weeks prophecy (Daniel 9:24-27), events taking place during the 70th week are reserved for verse 27.
Some preterists believe that the "prince that shall come" not only is Jesus but that this event occurred continuously, or within a short time after, Jesus was was cut off. In the King James Version (KJV), the cutting off of the Messiah and the people of the "prince that shall come" are spoken about in the same sentence of Daniel 9:26. It is understandable how a reader could connect the two as being an uninterrupted thought, with no break, because the KJV may be ambiguous and confusing here.
In the New International Version (NIV), though, the cutting off of the Anointed One, who would have nothing at that point, ends the sentence. The next sentence begins the entirely new thought of the people of the prince who will come. It is much easier to see that a gap of unspecified time could be placed between the two events. In any case, it does not indicate when that "prince" would come, so it could have been anywhere from three days later to millennia later. Since God is timeless, His time scales can be anything He wants them to be (just as yom = "day" in Genesis 1 does not necessarily indicate a 24-hour day but can encompass an indeterminate amount of time).
Notice also, in the KJV, the capitalization of "Messiah the Prince." This clearly is Jesus. Yet, the "prince" who will come is uncapitalized. Likewise, in the NIV, the term "Anointed One" is capitalized. Yet the "ruler" who will come is uncapitalized. In Hebrew, the word for "prince" is nagid. In Daniel 9:25, it refers to Moshiach Nagid (that is, Messiah the Prince); whereas, in 9:26 it talks of the coming nagid. In the first case, the translation is capitalized; but in the second case, it is not. Thus, it does not seem at all apparent that the "prince" or "ruler" who would come, after that point, was Jesus, as some believe.
Furthermore, it states that the people of this prince or ruler will destroy the city and the sanctuary. If Jesus were the prince or ruler to come, why would His own people have wanted to destroy Jerusalem and the sanctuary? That seems to make no sense. Perhaps a better rendering might be that the people who would destroy Jerusalem and the temple, in 70 A.D., would have an antichrist spirit (1 John 2:18,22) and a rebellious nature against the God of Israel. They would have these traits in common with the anti-messiah—the lawless ruler who, at the end of the age, will come blaspheming God and exercising his authority over the world for 42 months (2 Thessalonians 2:3,4; Revelation 13:4,5) or the second half of the 70th Week.
Other preterists understand the distinction, in Daniel 9:26, between "Messiah the Prince" and the "prince" or "ruler" who would come. Pertaining to the latter, they point out that the Roman army, led by the future Emperor Titus, with Tiberius Julius Alexander as his second-in-command, besieged and conquered the city of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. The city had been occupied by its Jewish defenders in 66 AD. The siege ended with the sacking of the city and the destruction of its famous Second Temple.
Those who believe this feel that that the destruction of the temple and the sacking of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. ended the seventy weeks period and prophecy. However, that still would have created a gap of several decades between the death of Jesus at the end of the 69th week (or mid-70th week, as you state, which I do not comprehend) and the end of the 70th week. Furthermore, the provisions of Daniel 9:24 had not been met in 70 A.D., nor at any time prior to that, nor at any point thus far in history. In fact, they will not be met, in completion, until Jesus returns.
God has a way of repeating portions of history in various ways. He also gives "hints" about the future through past events. I believe that the sacking and desolation of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. was a foreshadowing of what will happen again to Jerusalem at the end of the age, as summarized in my destruction of Jerusalem section.
Israel should have recognized that their Messiah, Jesus, was coming to them (on Palm Sunday), simply by counting 483 years from the commencement of the seventy weeks prophecy (probably as recorded in Nehemiah 2:1-9 or, as others believe, in Ezra 1:1-11). Since they had not recognized Jesus by the time He came humbly to them on a donkey, then the fact that He was their Messiah was hidden from their eyes, and peace would not be theirs (Luke 19:42). Soon, He would be anointed by the woman in Bethany, symbolically for burial, and then He would be crucified or cut off. Thus, at the end of the 69th week of years, when Jesus was cut off, the time count for Israel was stopped, as the timeless co-Creator and Sustainer of the universe had just been killed.
It is not until Daniel 9:27 that the final (70th) week of years is even mentioned. The ruler or prince who has yet to come will be the one to confirm a covenant with many for one week of seven years. It does not say when this will happen, as the length of the gap between the 69th and 70th week of years was not included in the prophecy. Furthermore, there was no confirmation of a covenant, much less one for seven years, involving Israel and other nations, at that time.
Most Israelites failed to see their Messiah's first coming, even though it clearly was explained in Scripture. Likewise, I feel that most modern-day Christians will fail to understand when the final seven years of the age will begin, even though Daniel 9:27 gives all of the information required to see it. This is due to what I feel are misleading views, such as the notion of the Pre-tribulation Rapture and preterism. As such, many believers will fail to understand the timing of Jesus' next coming in the clouds, at the Pre-wrath Rapture soon after the opening of the Sixth Seal, and His subsequent return to earth, in conjunction with the blowing of the Seventh Trumpet.
Return to Email Questions and Ted’s Responses
Go to Ted’s Bible Commentaries and Other Links
View the New International Version of the Bible
Go to Ted’s Homepage