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The D70 Project

How well do you understand the prophecy of 70 Weeks? Have you ever wondered how today’s leading prophecy teachers compare when answering key questions about this wonderful prophecy? Do they base their interpretations on reasonable Biblical facts, circumstantial evidence, or well-meaning error?

Since I read my first book on the prophecy of Seventy Weeks (Daniel 9:24-27) nearly three decades ago, I’ve had a passionate interest in the subject. Over the years I’ve been confounded at how just four verses can be viewed with such different perspectives that they engender literally hundreds of widely varying interpretations.

What I’ve discovered in my own studies of the subject is that most of the time the divergent views of the Seventy Weeks prophecy originate from an incomplete or inaccurate understanding of the chronological context of this prophecy.

After all, prophecy is a predication of future events and to have any real relevance it must have a clearly identifiable chronological context.

This is especially so for the prophecy of Daniel 9. The “Seventy Weeks” prophecy is the only prophetic revelation in the Bible which gives us a specific datable starting point for the coming of the Messiah. In essence, the prophecy of Seventy Weeks is a specific measurement, laid out on our Creator’s blueprint of mankind’s history. That measurement of time can only be properly understood if it is placed on the exact chronological starting point specified by the blueprint. This means that establishing that starting point is the most important part of interpreting the prophecy. Second to that is determining the measure of “time” used.

Now lest you think getting a general idea of the prophecy’s time frame is “good enough”, here are a couple of quotes from leading Biblical scholars which give you a sense of the significance of this wonderful prophecy.

“I am convinced that in the predictions of 70 weeks, we have the indispensable chronological key to all New Testament prophecy” – Alva J. McClain

“The interpretation of the revelation of Daniel concerning the seventy weeks (Daniel 9:24-27) constitutes one of the determining factors in the whole system of prophecy…. The interpretation of this passage inevitably colors all other prophetic views, and a proper understanding of it is the sine qua non of any student of prophecy.” – John F. Walvoord

For some though, the prophecy of Daniel’s seventy weeks may seem like just one of the hundreds of wonderful prophecies found in the Bible. But as the quotes above demonstrate, this is not the case. Daniel 9 and the seventy weeks is in fact the very keystone of the Bible’s prophetic record. This prophecy has directly and indirectly influenced how we see the 2nd coming of Yeshua (Jesus), the Great Tribulation, the Rapture, the Anti-Christ, the restoration of Israel, and the identity of final world power at the end of this age. For many of today’s most respected prophecy teachers, even though they often have different eschatological perspectives, the Seventy Weeks is the framework or backbone upon which the rest of their eschatological views are organized.
Think about that for a moment. Whether you know it or not, what you believe about Daniel 9 is in part responsible for how you see events unfolding in the world around you today. No other prophecy in the Bible carries this influential weight.

In consideration of this weighty reality, how can we make sense of all the divergent views of Daniel 9? How can we sift all of these strongly held perspectives and find the interpretations that are the most contextually accurate, so that our eschatological foundation rests upon rock solid Biblical truth?

I’ve come up with an idea that I hope will help you compare the divergent interpretations of the seventy weeks prophecy in order to ascertain which of these interpretations most accurately explains this incredibly influential prophecy.

I’m calling this the D70 Project.

What I’ve come up with is a 21 question survey which allows you to grade how each interpreter of the prophecy of 70 weeks address some of the most important questions related to the prophecy. My hope is that by comparing how each author answers a set of standardized questions you will develop a more complete and accurate understanding of the prophecy and its many interpretational challenges. Yahweh willing, over the coming weeks, months, and years I will be exploring the work of some of today’s and yesterday’s most popular prophecy teachers. Names many of you will recognize like:

(to view completed D70 survey results click on author’s name with blue link )

· Alan Kurschner · Joel Rosenberg
· Andrew B. Ray · John Hagee
· Andy Woods · John MacArthur
· Arnold Fruchtenbaum · John Walvoord – D70 Score = 52
· Barry Horner · Jonathan Bernis
· Bill Cloud · Jonathan Cahn
· Bill Koenig · Joseph Farah
· Bill Salus · Josh McDowell
· Billy Crone · Ken Johnson
· Billy Hallowell · Larry Spargimino
· Bob Theil · Mark Biltz
· Brian Godawa · Mark Hitchcock
· Britt Gillette · Mark Toben
· Bryant Wright · Matthew Hagee
· Carl Gallups · Michael Heiser
· Charles Dyer · Michael Brown
· Chuck Missler · Michael Rydelnik
· Dave Williams · Michael Vlach
· David James · Michael Youssef
· David Jeremiah · Mitch Glaser
· David Limbaugh · Nathan Jones
· David Reagan · Nelson Walters
· Derrick Gilbert · Paul McGuire
· Don Perkins · Perry Stone
· Douglas Hamp · Rabbi K.A. Schneider
· Douglas Stauffer · Randall Price
· Douglas Woodward · Ray Bentley
· Ed Hindson · Robert Jeffress
· Edwin Yamauchi · Rodrigo Silva
· Frank Turek · Ron Cantor
· Gary Stearman · Ron Rhodes
· Greg Laurie · Russell Stendal
· Hank Hanegraaff · Ryan Speakman
· Isaac Newton · Samuel Whitefield
· Jack Kelley · Sid Roth
· Jake McCandless · Sir Robert Anderson
· James Prasch · Stan Guthrie
· James White · Terry James
· Jan Markell · Thomas Horn
· JD Hall · Thomas Ice
· Jeff Kinley · Tim LaHaye
· Jim Fletcher · Troy Anderson
· Joel Richardson · Walid Shoebat

(to view completed D70 survey results click on author’s name with blue link )

For those of you who are one of the authors of one of the many interpretations of Daniel 9, my hope is that this survey will help you look at the strengths and weakness of your own interpretation so that you can establish it on a more contextually accurate Biblical foundation.

I’ll tell you up front this survey looks closely at how each interpreter explains the chronological context of the 2nd temple era. This was purposeful because the 2nd temple era is the period of time when the prophecy was given as well as the period of time in which most interpreters believe the prophecy of seventy weeks begins.

For those who appreciate the importance Daniel 9 plays in our eschatological (end times) world view, I’ll be posting all the surveys and scores of the above authors (and others) at my site www.danielsseventyweeks.com and occasionally some of the results at my 13Enumeration blog. My hope is that these surveys will give you a unique insight into how the prophecy of seventy weeks is understood by today’s prophetic community.

If you are a Berean who would like to participate in this effort I’ve made the Excel survey available for you to use. For those of you who make the effort and would like to share the results just send me a copy of the saved Excel file along with a word document of your survey and I’ll post your results at my Daniel’s Seventy Weeks blog. Please note that I will only post surveys if you include your real name and explanatory notes which clearly explain why you graded the interpretation the way you did. No surveys will be published that include any derogatory comments, innuendo, or other insulting language. This effort is meant to encourage, sharpen, and edify each other in the knowledge of Yahweh’s prophetic word. Each of us has a unique perspective through which we filter information, so please be respectful.

For those of you who have authored an interpretation of Daniel 9 that I or one of my readers have surveyed and you believe your perspective has been misrepresented or you would just like the opportunity to clarify your position I will be happy to share your thoughts and comments in full. Please keep your comments limited to the specific questions being addressed and be respectful. As I stated above, no negative comments, insults, or innuendo will be posted on any of my blogs. If you can’t respond in an edifying manner your comments and thoughts are not welcome and will not be posted.

If you are an adventurous soul who would like to offer constructive criticism of my view of Daniel 9 and the 70 sevens prophecy, I’d love to see the results of your survey after you’ve read my book Daniel’s Seventy Weeks: The Keystone of Bible Prophecy. I know I don’t have all the answers and I would love to get your perspective. A digital version of my exploration of Daniel 9 can be download for free by clicking here: Book Download. You can also find a printed version on Amazon at my cost.

My hope is the D70 Project will help us all gain a better understanding of this wonderful and influential prophecy with the ultimate goal that Yahweh and His plan of reconciliation for all mankind through Yeshua, is acknowledged and glorified.

Survey’s Completed:
To view results click on authors name
Dr. John F. Walvoord – Score 52

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John F. Walvoord – The D70 Project

The D70 Project – Dr. John F. Walvoord
A 21 Question Survey of John F. Walvoord’s interpretation of the Prophecy of 70 Weeks
As explained in his book Daniel: The Key to Prophetic Revelation

Author”s Note: This survey does not necessarily represent the totality of Dr. Walvoord’s view of the prophecy of 70 Weeks. He may have clarified or refined the positions represented in Daniel: The Key to Prophetic Revelation in another one of his works. The score given is subjective to this author’s (WS) perspective on Bible prophecy and is simply meant to provide a standard of comparison between Dr. Walvoord’s explanation of the 21 questions in this survey and the explanations of his peers.

Dr. Walvoord’s D70 Score = 52

 

 

D70 Scoring Example


#1 – The “Covenant” of Daniel 9:4
On page 205-207 Mr. Walvoord briefly mentions the covenant and mercy of Daniel 9:4 in the context of Daniel’s prayer. He did not explain that this “covenant and mercy” is a quote from Deut. 4 & 7, which Moses called Israel’s attention, too (Deu. 4:31; 7:6-12; 9:5). Nor did Mr. Walvoord explain that this is in fact the very “covenant and mercy” YHWH first swore (shaba) with Abraham. (Gen. 22)

This covenant is central to understanding the Bible’s Messianic promise of the coming “seed”. By overlooking this “covenant” here in Daniel 9:4, one of the Messianic keys to understanding YHWH’s message to Daniel is missed and the prophecy is charted upon a different course than would have been the case had the reader understood that the Covenant of Daniel 9:4 was in fact a promise of the coming Messiah. Daniel 9:4 is wonderful proof confirming the statement of Revelation 19:10 which tells us that the spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Yeshua (Jesus). Yeshua = YHWH’s Salvation

For further reference to this Covenant see: Gal. 3:16-17, Luke 1:68-79, 1:46-55, Zech: 9:9-11, & Acts 3:18-26

No Explanation
Summary:
Mr. Walvoord did not explore the covenant of Daniel 9:4.
Score = 0

#2 – Daniel’s Prayer as it Relates to the 6 Messianic Goals of the 70 Weeks (Dan. 9:4-27)
On pages 205-215 Mr. Walvoord explores Daniel’s heartfelt prayer to YHWH. Mr. Walvoord notes that “no other portion of the Bible breathes with more pure devotion or has greater spiritual content than this prayer of Daniel…” He further explains how this prayer by Daniel acknowledges both the individual and corporate sin of Israel and the need for repentance. One of the most interesting parts of the prayer I think was Mr. Walvoord’s acknowledgement of the fact that Daniel’s pleadings and call to YHWH to remember His covenant and promise were not based upon any worthiness of Daniel or his people but based upon the mercy of YHWH and the fact that YHWH always keeps His word. What He had promised He would accomplish.

On page 212 Mr. Walvoord makes an interesting statement which connects Daniel’s prayer and the 6 Messianic Goals of Daniel 9:24.

“Although anticipating that the hope of the restoration of Israel depended on the mercies of God, Daniel recognized, nevertheless, that it must be “according to all thy righteousness.” Here is implied the whole system of reconciliation to God by sacrifice, supremely fulfilled in Jesus Christ.”

Mr. Walvoord then proceeds to explain how the 6 Messianic goals are fulfilled in a manner which seems to distance them from the redemptive work at Calvary. This adds some confusing cross currents to his explanation.

Explanation Based upon Direct Biblical Evidence
Summary:
An eloquent and insightful exploration of Daniel’s prayer with some incongruent cross currents relates to the 6 goals of Daniel 9:24 and the Yeshua’s (Jesus’) Messianic mission.

Score = 10

#3 – The Word “Weeks” (Shabuwa) (Dan. 9:24-27)
Generally speaking Mr. Walvoord provides a good exploration of the meaning of the Hebrew word shabuwa. Quoting several different authors he shows that the word Shabuwa does not imply any specific calendric measure of time. I quote:

“The conservative interpretation of Daniel 9:24-27 usually regards the time units as years. The decision is, however, by no means unanimous. Some amillenarians, like Young, who have trouble with fitting this into their system of eschatology consider this an indefinite period of time. Actually, the passage does not say “years”; and because it is indefinite, they consider the question somewhat open.” (p. 217, Daniel the Key to Prophetic Revelation)

“Young finally concludes after some discussion that Keil and Kliefoth are correct when they hold that the word sevens does not necessarily mean year-weeks, but “an intentionally indefinite designation of a period of time measured by the number seven, which chronological duration must be determined on other grounds.”

“In the Christological interpretation of Daniel 9:24-27, it is generally assumed that the time units indicated are years. The English word “weeks” is misleading as the Hebrew is actually the plural of the word for seven, without specifying whether it is days, months, or years.” (p.219)

Mr. Walvoord concludes his discussion of the term Shabuwa (sevens) with the following:

“The overwhelming consensus of scholarship, however, agrees that the time unit should be considered years.”

Explanation based upon Reasonable Circumstantial Evidence
Summary:
Mr. Walvoord acknowledges that the term shabuwa (sevens) does not imply any definite period of calendric time, it simply means sevens. Due to scholarly consensus he believes that the best explanation of this word is that it represents a period of seven years. Although this is a reasonable assumption based upon the facts given it is not necessarily accurate.
Score = 6

#4 – The Use of the Masculine Plural Form of Shabuwa in Daniel 9:25(Dan. 9:25)
In Daniel 9:25 the plural masculine form of the word shabuwa is used. Mr. Walvoord does mention the unusual nature of this fact in passing but does not provide any further explanation. I quote:

“Further, as Young points out, the word sevens is in the masculine plural instead of the usual feminine plural. No clear explanation is given except that Young feels “it was for the deliberate purpose of calling attention to the fact that the word sevens is employed in an unusual sense.”

Other than this brief mention, Dr. Walvoord does not further explain exactly what the masculine plural form of the word means.

What’s fascinating about this “Masculine plural” use of shabuwa is that when spelled phonetically it is indistinguishable from the Hebrew word shib’iym or 70. For example if you look at the first two words of Daniel 9:24 “Seventy sevens” (~y[iøb.vi ~y[i’buv’) in a Hebrew Bible you’ll see that they are exactly the same word except for the vowel pointings. Interestingly these Masoretic pointings were not added until centuries after the prophecy was given to Daniel.

What this means for the masculine plural form of shabuwa in Daniel 9:25 is that this word could have a value of either 7 or 70. If not literally due to contextual constraints, then definitely figuratively as an implied value. This interesting fact provides a possible solution as to how the Messiah could come after only 7 shabuwa yet still be the same messianic figure 69 shabuwa later. The shabuwa of Daniel 9:25 could be a clever play on words.

Insufficient Explanation
Summary: Mr. Walvoord mentions the subject but does not explore it in any meaningful way.
Score = 3

#5 – The 2nd Temple Era Chronology as it Relates to Several Historical Persian “Artaxerxes”
On pages 225-227 Mr. Walvoord explores the terminus a quo (the starting date of the decree to restore and build Jerusalem). Central to this discussion is the chronology of Ezra and Nehemiah as given in the Biblical text. When discussing the Artaxerxes of Ezra 7 & Nehemiah 2, Mr. Walvoord assumes the “Artaxerxes” mention is the Artaxerxes Longimanus of historical fame. I quote Mr. Walvoord from page 226:

“The date 445 B.C. is based on the reference in Nehemiah 2:1 ff. stating that the decree went forth in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes Longimanus.”

This statement is problematic for several reasons. First of all, the text does not indicate that the “Artaxerxes” of Nehemiah 2:1 was the Persian Artaxerxes Longimanus. This is an assumption for which Mr. Walvoord provides no chronological evidence.

In fact, there are at least three Artaxerxes mentioned in the Bible. Ezra 4:7 speaks of an Artaxerxes who stopped construction on the temple sometime before the 2nd year of Darius ‘the Great’ (520 BC.) There is another Artaxerxes mentioned in Ezra 6:14-16 who along with Cyrus gave a commandment which resulted in the completion of the temple by the 6th year of Darius ‘the Great’. And then as Ussher notes in his Annuls and other historical sources confirm, Darius ‘the Great’ was also known historically as an “Artaxerxes”. At the very least Mr. Walvoord’s explanation of Artaxerxes = Longimanus should have included this information so that the reader can fully understand the assumption implied in his statement.

Further, the chronology provided by the books of Ezra and Nehemiah simply does not support the assumption that Ezra and Nehemiah were contemporaries of Artaxerxes Longimanus. All available Biblical chronological evidence indicates that Ezra and Nehemiah were contemporaries of Darius ‘the Great’ Artaxerxes. That evidence includes:

  • The age of Ezra
  • The age of the priests and Levites who came up with Joshua and Zerubbabel & were still alive by the 20th year of a Persian “Artaxerxes”.
  • The age of the porters
  • The chronology of Ezra 6 & 7

Based upon Erroneous Circumstantial Evidence
Summary: In consideration of the importance this subject is to Mr. Walvoords interpretation of Daniel 9 his exploration of this subject is severely lacking. His view of “Artaxerxes” is based upon several assumptions which he does not explain and cannot prove with a reasonable rendering of the Bible’s chronological record. The available Biblical chronological evidence does not support his position.
Score = -1

#6 – Explanation of Ezra 4 & its Importance to Understanding What Daniel 9:25 Meant by “Build Jerusalem”
When exploring the decrees or commandments to restore and build Jerusalem Mr. Walvoord briefly looks at the decree (dabar) of YHWH as proposed by Young (p. 224) but then dismisses it without much further reflection. Instead Mr. Walvoord focuses in on the 4 secular decrees given by Persian rulers. The central question asked of these decrees being whether or not they were a decree to restore and build the city of Jerusalem.

For those who have studied the question in depth, it is apparent that Ezra 4 is essential to understanding what the texts means by restoring and building Jerusalem. Mr. Walvoord does mention Ezra 4:12-21 in the context of building the wall of Jerusalem but fails to include the larger context of these events. I quote Mr. Walvoord from page 225:

“Implication has been drawn from Ezra 4:12-21 that the city walls were rebuilt at the time and that the reference to “a wall in Judah” in Ezra 9:9 signifies completion…. The accusations of Israel’s enemies were largely false, as the evidence indicates explicitly only that they were building a temple.”

What is fascinating about Mr. Walvoord’s statement here is that he has superimposed a bias upon the text that he doesn’t even realize. Because he has already determined that building the temple could not be considered “building Jerusalem” he assumes the statements made by Israel’s enemies were false. Here take a look at the context of Ezra 4:

Ezra 4:1 Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity builded the temple unto YHWH God of Israel;…

Ezra 4:4-5 Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building, And hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.

Ezra 4:12-13 Be it known unto the king, that the Jews which came up from thee to us are come unto Jerusalem, building the rebellious and the bad city, and have set up the walls thereof, and joined the foundations. Be it known now unto the king, that, if this city be builded, and the walls set up again, then will they not pay toll, tribute, and custom, and so thou shalt endamage the revenue of the kings.

Ezra 4:16 We certify the king that, if this city be builded again, and the walls thereof set up, by this means thou shalt have no portion on this side the river.

Ezra 4:17 Then sent the king an answer unto Rehum the chancellor…

Ezra 4:21 Give ye now commandment to cause these men to cease, and that this city be not builded, until another commandment shall be given from me.

Ezra 4:23-24 …they went up in haste to Jerusalem unto the Jews, and made them to cease by force and power. Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem. So it ceased unto the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.

If we put together what we know from the historical record and what is recorded here in Ezra 4 (taken at face value) then we learn that Cyrus gave a decree which allowed the Jewish people to build the temple and Jerusalem. This is confirmed by the prophecy of Isaiah 44:28 which indicates Cyrus’ decree to rebuild the temple was in fact building Jerusalem.

Now after Cyrus’ initial decree the enemies of the Jewish people petitioned two subsequent rulers who reigned between Cyrus and Darius. (see Ezra 4) These rulers were called by their Persian titles of Ahasuerus and Artaxerxes (Ezra 4:6-7). Ahasuerus, likely Cambyses, the son of Cyrus, did nothing. But then a Persian called Artaxerxes stopped construction.

Historically we know that there were only two Persian kings between the reign of Cyrus and Darius. Cambyses, the son of Cyrus, who pretty much followed in this father’s footsteps. At the unexpected death of Cambyses, Bardis, the Magian usurper, took the throne for a few months. This is likely the so called “Artaxerxes” who stopped construction. Frankly the Biblical text provides amazing details about this period of Persian history that fit amazingly well with the historical record.

Again taken at face value, the text indicates that according to the people living during these events, building the temple was in fact building Jerusalem. If building the temple was not the de facto event in building Jerusalem than what event would be? The sum of the matter is that Isaiah 44:28 and Ezra 4 clearly indicate that Cyrus’ decree to build the temple was understood to be a decree to restore and build Jerusalem. (The question remains though, was this the “commandment” referred to in Daniel 9:25.)

On a related note Mr. Walvoord also fails to address how Daniel’s prayer illuminates what was meant by building Jerusalem.

By the 7th year of Ezra’s “Artaxerxes” (13 years before Nehemiah is given permission to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem) Ezra had this to say about the status of the city and the temple:

Ezra 9:9 For we were bondmen; yet our God hath not forsaken us in our bondage, but hath extended mercy unto us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God, and to repair the desolations thereof, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem.

It is rather difficult to say that the decree to rebuild the wall given to Nehemiah in the 20th year of Artaxerxes is a decree to restore and build Jerusalem when Ezra acknowledges YHWH had already provided them a “wall” nearly 13 years earlier.

Insufficient Explanation
Summary: Mr. Walvoord explores the subject of what constitutes building Jerusalem but does not take into account the entire context of the subject.
Score = 3

#7 – Ezra 6:14-15 as it relates to Darius and “Artaxerxes”
Mr. Walvoord provided no explanation of Ezra 6:14-15.

This is problematic because these two verses are important to understanding Ezra 7 and the identity of Ezra’s “Artaxerxes”. First we need to look at the context of Ezra 7 and Ezra’s journey to Jerusalem in the 7th year of Artaxerxes before we look at Mr. Walvoord’s interpretation of these verses.

Now after these things, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra the son of Seraiah,…

This Ezra went up from Babylon; …. unto Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king. (Ezra 7:1, 6-7)

Ezra 7 opens with the words “after all these things”. “These things” refer to the previous chapter where is described the completion and dedication of the temple in the 6th year of Darius. (Ezra 6:14-22) So Ezra the priest and scribe, (son of the high priest Seraiah), after the completion of the temple and its dedication went up to Jerusalem to teach the people the Torah. Keep in mind here the last dated event before Ezra leaves in the 7th year of “Artaxerxes” is the dedication of the temple in the 6th year of Darius.

Mr. Walvoord without any explanation makes the assumption that Ezra’s departure is after a nearly 60 year gap which falls between the end of Ezra 6 and the start of Ezra 7. In other words Mr. Walvoord dates the end of Ezra 6 to the 6th year of Darius (516 BC) and then dates the 7th year of “Artaxerxes” to the 7th year of Artaxerxes Longimanus (457 BC) almost 60 years later (p.226-227).

Here is where the problem arises. In order to insert 60 years between the Ezra 6 & 7 one must ignore the context of Ezra 6:14-15. In this passage it describes those kings and individuals responsible for commandments which resulted in the completion of the temple by the 6th year of Darius. As you read this passage keep in mind all the people listed –helped- with the construction efforts, efforts which were –completed- by the 6th year of Darius.

And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia. And this house was finished on the third day of the month Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king. (Ezra 6:14-15)

It’s perfectly clear from the Biblical record that YHWH, Cyrus, and Darius gave decrees to rebuild the temple which was completed in the 6th year of Darius (Haggai 1, Zechariah 1, Ezra 1, Ezra 6). But who is this Artaxerxes? Where does he fit into the picture? It couldn’t be the Artaxerxes of Ezra 4:7 because that Persian king interrupted construction. It can’t be the Persian Artaxerxes Longimanus because he reigned decades after the completion of the temple. So who is this Artaxerxes and why does it matter?

In the verse above it reads “Darius and Artaxerxes king of Persia”. The “and” in this passage is a representation of the Hebrew letter waw which is connected to the Persian title “Artaxerxes”. The use of the Hebrew waw is determined by context. Most of the time it is used as a conjunction when separate nouns are listed but sometimes it can be used as a hendiadys. (i.e. one word with two meanings) . Because of contextual constraints (the completion of the temple by the 6th year of Darius) Ezra 6:14 should have read as follows: “’

And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and even Artaxerxes king of Persia.

There is no other way to read the passage without believing Ezra unnecessarily confused the chronology.

But if you take the passage face valve, including the contextual constraints of Ezra 6:14-15 it then makes reasonable and congruent sense. Ezra is simply stating here that Darius was also known as “Artaxerxes” a title which we know was given to several Persian kings. This also clears up the confusion between Ezra 6 and 7. The temple was completed in the 6th year of Darius even Artaxerxes the ‘the Great’ king of ancient Persia. Then Ezra 7 begins “after all these things” in the 7th year of this same Artaxerxes, i.e. Darius ‘the Great’. This means there is no 60 year gap between Ezra 6 & 7. This also means that Mr. Walvoord and many of his peers misplaced Ezra and Nehemiah in the Persian chronology. This of course has profound implications for Mr. Walvoord’s interpretation of Daniel 9.

At the very least Mr. Walvoord should have brought his readers attention to this pertinent information so they could have understood the challenges involved with his interpretation of this passage and the implications it has for his understanding of the prophecy.

No Explanation
Summary: Mr. Walvoord leaves unexplored one of the most important subjects related to the identity of Ezra’s “Artaxerxes”.
Score = 0

#8 – Daniel’s Perspective on Restoring & Building Jerusalem
One of the key aspects of the prophecy of 70 Weeks is understanding the context of building Jerusalem. What does that mean from Daniel’s perspective? Even more importantly what does that mean from the perspective of Yahweh? What is so special about Jerusalem? Mr. Walvoord touches upon the subject on page 220:

“A very important aspect of the prophecy given at the start is that the period of time in question relates to “they people” and “They hold city.” Even in ruins, Jerusalem remains the city set apart in the heart of God….”(p.220)

“It is rather evident, when all the evidence is in, that Jerusalem was not rebuilt in the sixth century B.C. although the rebuilding of the temple was indeed the first step toward the restoration of Israel… It is most significant that none of the prophecies in 2 Chronicles or Ezra mention the city but only the temple. Accordingly, the best explanation is that the decree relating to the rebuilding of the city itself is that given to Nehemiah in 445 B.C., about ninety years after the first captives returned and started the building of the temple.”

On pages 220-226 Mr. Walvoord explores the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem but as can be seen from the above quote’s Mr. Walvoord does not consider construction of the temple as building Jerusalem. In fact Mr. Walvoord goes to great lengths to separate the two events. As we saw in question #6 Mr. Walvoord explains that the descriptions of Ezra 4, where the text describes building Jerusalem in terms of building the temple, as nothing more that the lies of the enemies of the Jewish people.

Did Yahweh, Daniel, and the Jewish people really understand “build Jerusalem” as a vague Persian commandment related to the wall of Jerusalem? I don’t believe so and we really need to look no further that the context of Daniel’s prayer to provide us with an understanding what was meant by “build Jerusalem”.

The first mention of the “city” of Jerusalem in Daniel 9 is found in verse 16. In this verse Daniel shows that Jerusalem the city is synonymous with Yahweh’s “holy (qodesh) mountain”.

O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us. (Daniel 9:16)

Follow Daniel’s line of reasoning here. Jerusalem is Yahweh’s holy mountain. In verses 18-19 Daniel further explains that Jerusalem is also the city “called by thy name” and further a “city and people” called “by thy name”. Then verse 24 Jerusalem is described as the “holy (qodesh) city”. And finally in verse 26 is described the future destruction of the city and the “sanctuary” (qodesh).

O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: (Daniel 9:18)

As we can see from these passages Daniel considered Jerusalem and the holy mountain (Yahweh’s sanctuary) as synonymous. In verse 18 where Daniel mentions a “city which is called by thy name”, every knowledgeable Jewish reader of this passage would naturally think of Deut 12:11 and the promise of a “place” where Yahweh would someday cause “His name to dwell”, i.e. the temple.

Then there shall be a place which YHWH your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; thither shall ye bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye vow unto YHWH: (Deuteronomy 12:11)

In this context the final thoughts of Daniel in verse 20, (just before the angel Gabriel gives him the prophecy of 70 sevens), are thoughts about “the holy mountain of my God”.

And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before YHWH my God for the holy mountain of my God; (Daniel 9:20)

Think about it this way, if we had to pick one event that was the central focus of Daniel’s prayer for the restoration of Jerusalem then it would without a doubt have to be the rebuilding of the Temple:

Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord’s sake. (Daniel 9:17)

And as a final piece of evidence that cements the theme that the central focus of rebuilding Jerusalem was in fact the people’s efforts to rebuild the temple, we have the words of the Persian king Darius, who after the enemies of the Jews complained about them building the temple, had this to say:

“Let the work of this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God in his place. Moreover I make a decree what ye shall do to the elders of these Jews for the building of this house of God…

Also I have made a decree, that whosoever shall alter this word, let timber be pulled down from his house, and being set up, let him be hanged thereon;..

And the God that hath caused his name to dwell there destroy all kings and people, that shall put to their hand to alter and to destroy this house of God which is at Jerusalem.

I Darius have made a decree; let it be done with speed

And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and even Artaxerxes king of Persia. And this house was finished on the third day of the month Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king. (Ezra 6:7-15 excerpted)

In summary, Daniel’s prayer demonstrates that the central focus of restoring Jerusalem was Yahweh’s desolate sanctuary which was the one place on earth were He the living God of the Bible chose for His name to dwell. This is an indisputable fact. To try and separate building Jerusalem from the restoration of the temple is to divorce from the building efforts the very thing that made the city relevant to Daniel’s prayer, the events described in Ezra 4-6, and the prophecy of 70 Weeks itself.

No Explanation
Summary: Mr. Walvoord ignores the context of Daniel’s prayer as it relates to the subject of building Jerusalem. The inclusion of this information is essential to understanding the importance of building Jerusalem from a 2nd temple era perspective.
Score = 0

#9 – The “Commandment” (dabar) to Restore & Build Jerusalem (Dan. 9:25)
The word “Commandment” found in Daniel 9:25 comes from the Hebrew dabar and means word or utterance. On page 224 Mr. Walvoord explores Young’s view that dabar refers to the “commandment” or word of Yahweh. Ultimately Mr. Walvoord dismisses the possibility that the “commandment” of Daniel 9:25 could refer to the word of Yahweh because none of the dates proposed might work. I quote from page 224:

“Young considers the expression the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem to be “the going forth of a word to restore and build Jerusalem,” that is, “This phrase has reference to the issuance of the word, not from a Persian ruler but from God.”…

“Young himself admits, however, that this explanation simply does not satisfy the passage as the word of the Lord did not go forth in 586 BC when Jerusalem was destroyed….”

“Most expositors, however, recognize that the word or commandmdent mentioned here is a commandment of men even though it may reflect the will of God and be in keeping with prophetic word.”

Mr. Walvoord concludes by giving four possible decrees by Persian rules which he believes might qualify as the “commandment” or word.

However there is a bit more to it that should be addressed to give a fair and accurate accounting of the subject. What was not explained is that the word dabar is in fact used four times in Daniel 9. (Dan. 9:2, 12, 23, & 25) Of these occurrences the first three occurrences are clear references to the word of Yahweh.. Dabar is used 1439 in the Hebrew Scriptures and of those the vast majority refer to the word of Yahweh. These facts combine to demand that the careful expositor, first and foremost consider the “word” of Yahweh as the “commandment” referenced by the text.

As discussed in point #7 & 8 above, building the temple and Jerusalem were considered one and the same events. As such Ezra 6:14-15 mentions the “commandment” or word of Yahweh to restore (shuwb –return or turn back) and build Jerusalem. This word of Yahweh was given through the prophets Haggai and Zechariah. (Hag. 1 & Zech. 1) In other words there is a legitimate “word to restore and build Jerusalem commanded by the living God of the Bible and this word was given through two witnesses, namely the prophets Haggai and Zechariah.

Zechariah 1:16 6 Therefore thus saith YHWH; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith YHWH of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem.

Haggai 1:1-8 In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word of YHWH by Haggai the prophet unto ….Thus saith YHWH of hosts; Consider your ways. 8 Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith YHWH.

Ezra 6:14 And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and even Artaxerxes king of Persia.

Any thorough look at Daniel 9 must take into account the context of this divine “word” to restore and build Jerusalem.

Insufficient Explanation
Summary: Although Mr. Walvoord mentions the “word” or commandment of Yahweh in the context of a quote by Edward Young, he pursues the subject no further except to dismiss it because he can find no suitable “word” nor a fulfillment of said word that brings the chronology of the 70 Weeks to a satisfactory fulfillment in Christ. This is an unfortunate oversight which biases the prophecy towards secular Persian decrees while ignoring the most important “commandment to restore and build Jerusalem” given the Bible.
Score = 3

#10 – The Chronology of Ezra & Nehemiah
Mr. Walvoord provides no explanation of the Biblical chronology concerning Ezra and Nehemiah yet the very basis or as he calls it the terminus a quo is asserted based upon several unproven assumptions about this chronology. As an example in the following quote Mr. Walvoord implies without any ancillary evidence that his terminus a quo is an incontrovertibly established fact:

“The date 445 B.C. is based on the reference in Nehemiah 2:1 ff. stating that the decree went forth in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes Longimanus. As his reign began in 465 B.C., twenty years later would be 445 B.C. Most scholars, whether conservative or liberal, accordingly, accept the 445 B.C. date for Nehemiah’s decree.”

There are a couple problems with this statement. First, Nehemiah 2:1 does not say that the “decree” went forth in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes Longimanus. The text only indicates the decree went forth in the 20th year of a Persia “Artaxerxes”. Second, as explained in #6 & #8 above, Artaxerxes is a title the Bible has given to several different historical Persian rulers. The text does not directly state the identity of this Artaxerxes.

This means we must rely on the chronological context of Ezra and Nehemiah to determine who this Artaxerxes is and when he reigned. As explained in #8 above, the most reasonable rendering of Ezra 6:14-15 indicates that Darius ‘the Great’ Artaxerxes is the Artaxerxes of Ezra 7. Therefore, because of the clear contemporaneous relationship between Ezra and Nehemiah as demonstrated by Nehemiah 8, the 20th year of Nehemiah 2 by the most reasonable rendering of the text is in fact the 20th year of Darius ‘the Great’ Artaxerxes.

Nehemiah 8:9 And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto YHWH your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.

Further the age of Ezra supports this. Ezra’s father Seraiah (Ezra 7) was the last high priest of the Solomon’s temple and he was killed in the 19th year of Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 25:1-21). Ezra, during the 7th year of Darius ‘the Great’ Artaxerxes (Ezra 7) would have been, at the youngest, a ripe old age of 69 years. By the 20th year of Darius, Ezra would have been at least 83.

By the 20th year of Artaxerxes Longimanus on the other hand, Ezra would have been at his – youngest – 140 years old. (a quarter century older than Moses) Keep in mind that this is the most optimistic estimation of Ezra’s age based upon the rather unreasonable assumption that Ezra was born the year his father died. A careful reading of the books of Ezra and Nehemiah shows that Ezra was an active participant in the events described. To claim Ezra was 140 years or older during these events undermines the credibility of the account as well as any claims about Daniel 9 and the prophecy of 70 Weeks.

No Explanation
Summary: Ezra and Nehemiah’s place in the 2nd temple chronology is one of the most important aspects of determining when the prophecy of 70 Weeks was given. Mr. Walvoord’s neglect of the subject severely undermines the credibility of his interpretation of the prophecy. His chronological assumptions regarding Ezra & Nehemiah are without Biblical evidence. A reasonable rendering of the evidence provided in the Biblcial text shows his assumptions to be incredible.
Score = -1

#11 – The Chronology Related to the Lists of Priests & Levites Found in Nehemiah 10 & 12
This is another piece of chronological context that Mr. Walvoord does not explore in this book. Like the evidence explored in #10 this also makes it difficult if not impossible to claim that Ezra and Nehemiah were contemporaries of Artaxerxes Longimanus.

In Nehemiah 12 we have a list of priests, Levites, and porters, chief men of Israel who came up with Joshua (Yeshua) and Zerubbabel in the first year of Cyrus when he gave the decree that they might return and build Jerusalem and the temple. This was roughly the year 536 BC. (Some believe 538 BC)

In Nehemiah 10 we have a similar list of priests, Levites, and porters at the dedication of the wall in Jerusalem in the 20th year of an unnamed “Artaxerxes”. Reasonable reading of these two passages shows that many of the men who came up with Joshua and Zerubbabel were still alive in the 20th year of “Artaxerxes”. If we take the chronological context of Ezra 6 & 7 at face value in the most reasonable and contextual rendering of the text, then the Artaxerxes of Nehemiah 10 must be Darius ‘the Great’ Artaxerxes, otherwise the ages of the priests and Levites are totally unreasonable. This again undermines Mr. Walvoord’s assumptions regarding Ezra, Nehemiah, and Artaxerxes Longimanus.

No Explanation
Summary: Mr. Walvoord provides no explanation of the chronological implications of this subject.
Score = 0

 

 

 

 

 

#12 – The Bible’s Reckoning of “Time” as it Relates to Calculating the 70 Sevens
On page 228 Mr. Walvoord briefly touches on the timing aspect of the prophecy as proposed by Sir Robert Anderson in his wonderful book The Coming Prince. The following quote form p. 228 gives the meat of Mr. Walvoords explanation:

“That Sir Robert Anderson is right in building upon a 360-day years seems to be attested by the Scriptures. It is customary for the Jews to have twelve months of 360 days each and then to insert a thirteenth month occasionally when necessary to correct the calendar. The use of a the 360-day year is confirmed by the forth-two months of the great tribulation being equated with the 1,260 days ( Rev 12:6; 11:3) The conclusions reached by Anderson, however, are quite complicated in their argument and impossible to restate simply. While the details of Anderson’s arguments may be debated, the plausibility of a literal interpretation, which begins the period in 445 B.C. and culminates just before the death of Christ, makes this view very attractive.”

There are several problems with the statement made above. Notice first of all Mr. Walvoord states that a 360 day years “seems” to be attested by the Scriptures. There is in fact no direct evidence in the Biblical record for a 360 day year. Mr. Walvoord unintentionally obfuscates the issue by his statement that the Jews kept a year of 360 days intercalated by a 13th month. While the Jewish people do intercalate their calendar with a 13th month, they do so because they use a lunar/solar calendar which is based upon a lunar cycle of 29.53 days not 30 days. The Jewish calendar year then is never 360 days but rather a year of 12 or 13 lunar months i.e. a year of 354.36 or 383.89 days respectively. In essence the Jewish calendar varies between a year of 12 or 13 lunar months.

During Yeshua’s day the Jewish people, including Yeshua, kept this lunar/solar calendar. Therefor when a 42 month period of time is mentioned in the Scripture, the only month the Jewish people would have understood was a lunar month of 29.53 days which would have been 1240.26 days not 1260. So while Rev 12:6 & 11:3 are similar periods of time they are not the same. There is a roughly a 20 day or two thirds of a month difference.

Keep in mind here that the Jewish lunar/solar calendar is not some new invention of the 2nd temple era but stems directly from Genesis 1:14 where it tells us that YHWH calendar is based upon the light of the sun and moon. Further, as far back as the era of Noah’s flood we have direct historical evidence for a 365.24 day year. (The Sothic cycle of the Egyptians, The Great Pyramid, Stonehenge, the Cubit, etc.) We also have eclipse records which show that the lunar cycle has not changed materially in recorded history. (See Richard Stevenson’s: Historical Eclipses and the Earths’ Rotation, 1997)

We also have indirect evidence for an intercalated 13th month from the book of Ezekiel. There Ezekiel was told to lay on his side for 430 days (40 days for Judah & 390 for Israel). Based upon when he was given these instructions and when they were completed the only way there was enough time to complete this 430 day object lesson would have been if that year included a 13th month. (See Ezekiel 1-8).

Finally many point to the 5 months of 150 days mentioned in the Genesis 7-8 as evidence that the ancients kept a 360 day calendar. There is in fact evidence for a 360 day calendar in antiquity but all evidence shows that these calendars also understood that the true solar year was 365 days in length. Some called this “5 days over the year.” Most of the time these extra five days were intercalated after a certain periods of time to keep the lunar/solar calendar in synch. When they were not intercalated we have what was called the vague or wandering year. Today the Islamic calendar is an example of this sort of lunar calendar which is not fixed (intercalated) with the solar years. Because Islam’s calendar is unhinged from the solar year it wanders through the seasons.

As a final example of how unreasonable it is to claim the 150 days of Geneses 7 & 8 are evidence for a 360 year all you have to do is look at our own modern calendar. Our first 5 months are themselves equal to 150 days. Yet no one today believes that our current solar year is 360 days in length or our lunar month are actually 30 days.

Ironically when we claim that these ancient’s Biblical characters kept a 30 day month and a 360 day solar year we show an understanding of the subject inferior to their own.

Erroneous Circumstantial Evidence
Summary: Mr. Walvoord bases his interpretation of a 360 day Biblical “year” in large part upon the evidence provided by Sir Robert Anderson. Anderson’s “prophetic year” is based upon an incomplete and inaccurate understanding of time in the Bible and an equally inaccurate understanding of secular history as it relates to calendric concerns.
Score = -1

#13 – The 6 Goals of Daniel 9:24 as they Relate to the 1st Coming of Yeshua (Dan. 9:24)
On pages 220-223 Mr. Walvoord explores the subject with these opening words:

“Unlike the prophecies of Daniel 2, 7, and 8, which primarily related to the Gentiles, this chapter [chapter 9] is specifically God’s program for the people of Israel, as Daniel would obviously interpret it. To make this equivalent to the church composed of both Jews and Gentiles is to read into the passage something foreign to the whole thinking of Daniel. The church as such has no relation to the city nor to the promises given specifically to Israel relating to their restoration and repossession of the land.

Once it has been established that the prophecy relates to the people of Israel and the holy city Jerusalem, six important purposes of God are clearly discerned in verse 24:..”

From these opening statements Mr. Walvoord builds his case that the six goals of Daniel 9 have little to do with the YHWH’s redemptive plan for the Jewish people which He accomplished at Calvary through Yeshua, instead transferring their fulfillment to a more general corporate fulfillment at the 2nd coming after Jewish people have acknowledge their offences and called upon Yeshua.

Here is where Mr. Walvoord’s explanation becomes confusing. While acknowledging that some of these goals sound Messianic, he instead emphasizes their fulfillment as some sort of corporate salvation of the nation just before the return of Yeshua.

Further adding to the confusion is he tries to have a foot in both a historic and a future fulfillment of these goals while at the same time claiming the very crux of these events, Yeshua death and resurrection, takes place outside the 70 prophecy in a gap between the 69th and 70th weeks.

“In the period of seventy sevens, first will be a program to finish the transgression….

The most obvious meaning is that Israel’s course of apostasy and sin and wandering over the face of the earth will be brought to completion within the seventy sevens. The restoration of Israel which Daniel sought in his prayer will ultimately have its fulfillment in this concept.”

Notice in this quote Mr. Walvoord emphasis the result, (Israel’s restoration) while ignoring the very act’s which made that result possible. i.e. Yeshua’s redemptive efforts at Calvary.

Mr. Walvoord goes on to explain the third goal of Daniel 9:24 this way:

“The third aspect of the program, “to make reconciliation for iniquity,’ seems to be a rather clear picture of the cross of Christ in which Christ reconciled Israel as well as the world to Himself (2 Co 5:19)….

While the basic provision for reconciliation was made at the cross, the actual application of it is again associated with the second advent of Christ as far as Isarel is concerned, and an eschatological explanation is possible for this phase as well as an historic fulfillment.”

In the following passage from page 228 Mr. Walvoord seems to invalidate his explanation of the third goal of Daniel 9:24. I quote:

“Accordingly, the best explanation of the time when the sixty-nine sevens ended is that it occurred shotly before the death of Christ anticipated in Daniel 9:26 as following the sixty-ninth seven. Practically all expositors agree that the death of Christ occurred after the sixty-ninth seven.”

As you can see this is quite confusing. If as Mr. Walvoord claims, Yeshua death and resurrection takes place after 69th week but not in the 70th week then he cannot claim that Christs “reconciliation for iniquity” was part of the 70 weeks prophecy. Daniel 9:24 clearly states the six goals all take place within the 70 weeks period. We can’t have it both ways. If any part of the six goals of Daniel 9:24 are fulfilled in Yeshua, then by the constraints of Daniel 9:24 they took place – in – the 70 weeks.

Daniel 9:24 4 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.

Another example of the confusion introduced by Mr. Walvoord’s explanation relates to the sixth goal of Daniel 9:24 as discussed on page 223.

“The sixth aspect of the prophecy, “to anoint the most Holy,” has been referred to the dedication of the temple built by Zerubbabel, to the sanctification of the altar previously desecrated by Antiochus (1 Macc 4:52-56), and even to the new Jerusalem (Rev 21:1-27)…

There is really no ground for dogmatism here as there is a possibility that any of these views might be correct…

On the other hand, the six items are not in chronological order and it would not violate the text seriously to have this prophecy fulfilled at any time in relation to the consummation.”

We have the same problem here with this explanation as Mr. Walvoords explanation of the 3rd goal of Daniel 9:24. In fact all six goals are constrained within the context of the 70 weeks. Therefore if any of the six goals take place after the 69th week then by default take place in the 70th week.

It is also worth noting that of all the options discussed in the above quote the most obvious is ignored. That is Yeshua assentation into heaven to anoint the most holy place. A couple of verse are suffice to explain:

Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. (John 20:17)

[Moses] Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:

Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. (Hebrews 9:20-26)

Weak Circumstantial Evidence (+4) as Well as Some Erroneous (-1)
Summary: Mr. Walvoord presents a confusing interpretation of the 6 goals as they relate to the 1st coming of Yeshua (Jesus). He claims the prophecy shows that Yeshua’s death and resurrection took place after the 69th week but not in the 70th week. He further confuses the subject by claiming some of the six goals were fulfilled in Yeshua’s first coming yet all will find final fulfillment in the 2nd coming. He fails to explain how the six goals which Daniel 9:24 states are fulfilled within the 70 weeks, can reasonably be ascribed to the Messiah when according to Mr. Walvoord, Yeshua’s death and resurrection take place outside this 70 Week period of time.
Score Given = 3

#14 – The 6 Goals of Daniel 9:24 as They Relate to the 2nd Coming of Yeshua & the Messianic Age (Dan. 9:25)
In pages 220-223 Mr. Walvoord goes to great lengths to emphasis the fulfillment of the six goals of Daniel 9:24 in corporate Israel at the 2nd coming and into the millennial reign of Christ. In #13 above we explored the confusing and contradictory nature of Mr. Walvoord’s explanation regarding the redemptive nature of Yeshua first coming and how it relates to the 2nd coming within the context of the six goals.

Turning now to a more focused exploration of Mr. Walvoord’s explanation of Daniel 9:24 in light of what it implies for the Messianic Age. Here are a couple of passage which exemplify his position:

“While the basic provision for reconciliation was made at the cross, the actual application of it is gain associated with the second advent of Christ as far as Israel is concerned, and an eschatological explanation is possible for this phase as well as an historic fulfillement….

The fourth aspect of the program is “to bring in everlasting righteousness.” There is a sense in which this also is accomplished by Christ in His first coming in that He provided a righteous ground for God’s justification of the sinner. The many Messianic passages, however, which view righteousness as being applied to the earth at the time of the second coming of Christ may be the ultimate explanation.”

The challenge to Mr. Walvoords point of view is that it implies a conferred righteousness to Israel and the world during the millennial reign of Yeshua that is not supported by the Old or New Testament. If “reconciliation for iniquity”, “everlasting righteousness”, and an “end to sin” implies something other than what was accomplished at Calvary how will these goals be better realized at the 2nd coming in Israel?

There are no Scriptural grounds for believing that Israel’s sins will be atoned for in a different manner than that which was offered at Calvary. Atonement is an individual affair between each human being and their Creator – mediated by Yeshua. Nor are their grounds for believing that the offspring of the Jewish remnant during the Millennium are somehow born without sin.

And for that matter when Paul tells the Romans that “all Israel will be saved” what exactly does this imply? Every individual on this earth with Hebrew blood? Only those in the Promised Land just before the 2nd coming? Or a general statement that as a nation the Jewish people will acknowledge that “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord [Yahweh].”

When we take “reconciliation for iniquity”, “everlasting righteousness”, and an “end to sin” outside the context of Yeshua redemptive efforts at Calvary we can no longer provide a congruent explanation for sin and unrighteousness during the Millennium.

During the Millennium there will be:

  • Jewish children born in sin like the rest of rest of mankind (Romans 3; 5)
  • Children of Israel who will be killed by their parents for lying (Zech. 13:1-4)
  • There will be children of Israel called “sinners” who are accursed at 100 years of age. (Isaiah 65)
  • Nations will likely rebel against Yahweh’s instructions to come up to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles will receive no rain. ( Zech 14)
  • Sacrifices will still be made in Jerusalem (Isa. 56:6-7; 66:20-23; Jer. 33:15-18)
  • Judgement for sin will be swift (Malachi 3:1-5)
  • Satan will be loosed during the Millennium (Rev. 20:3)
  • The nations of the earth will attack Jerusalem (Rev. 20:8)

Insufficient Explanation & Some Erroneous Conclusions
Summary: Mr. Wallvoord’s interpretation of the 6 goals of Daniel 9:24 as they relate to Yahweh’s redemptive purpose for the Jewish people just before and during the Messianic age require a different view of sin and its atonement. Such important theological implications should be spelled out clearly.
Score = 2

#15 – The identity of “he” who makes a “covenant with the many” (Daniel 9:27)

“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.” (Daniel 9:27)

In pages 231-235 Mr. Walvoord spends considerable time exploring the identity of the “he” of Daniel 9:27. His arguments for the He being a yet future anti-Christ figure can be summed up as follows:

  • The futurist explanation is the only one which allows for a literal fulfillment.
  • The rule of antecedent
  • There is no “seven year period related to Christ which provides fulfillment for the entire passage.”

On pages 232, 233, & 234 Mr. Walvoord explains as follows:

“Each of the four views which claim fulfillment largely in the past have their supporting arguments, sometimes presented at length. But they have one common failure, which is the Achilles’ heel of their interpretation: none of them provides literal fulfillment of the prophecy…”

“The determination of the antecedent of he in verse 27 is the key to the interpretation of the passage. If the normal rule be followed that the antecedent is the nearest preceding possibility, it would go back to the prince that shall come of verse 26…”

“The difficulty with all these interpretations, as has been pointed out previously, is that there is no seven-year period marked off in any clear way in history which has fulfilled the last unit of seven of Daniel’s prophecy.”

“Ultimately, the question facing every expositor is what interpretation gives the most natural and intelligent exposition of the text….

If the expositor desires to follow the text meticulously, however, there is really no alternative but to declare the entire seventieth seven future, for there has been no seven-year period fulfilling the events of prophecy, however labored the interpretation.”

Mr. Walvoords arguments above though well meaning are both outdated and erroneous. Out dated as I’ve demonstrated in my own book Daniel’s 70 Weeks: The Keystone of Bible Prophecy there is a literal way to interpret Daniel’s final 7.

Erroneous in that Dr. Walvoord rule of antecedent is not as hard and fast as he leads us to believe. We need look no further than the previous chapter in Daniel 8:25:

“And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many:

he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand. (Daniel 8:25, emphasis mine)

If we interpreted Daniel 8:25a in the same way Dr. Walvoord interprets Daniel 9:26-27 we would have the “he” who was “broken without hand” referring back to the Prince of princes or in other words it will be the Messiah who is broken.

When interpreting both passages the overall context must be considered. Daniel 9:24-27 is clearly a Messianic prophecy and as such our identification of the “he” of v. 27 should be weighted accordingly. In other words 98.6% of this prophecy speaks of the coming Messiah. We must then have clear contextual justification to shift the remaining 1.4% of the prophecy away from the Messiah and towards the Anti-Christ. Mr. Walvoords explanation does not established such an interpretational threshold.

And to further base the strength of one’s own argument largely on the weakness of your opponents, is not solid grounds for interpretational clarity.

Week Circumstantial Evidence (+4) & Erroneous statements (-1)
Summary
: Mr. Walvoord in large part bases his arguments upon the lack of evidence provided by others. His interpretation requires a dramatic change of perspective for Daniel’s 70 Weeks – from a messianic prophecy (the first 69 sevens = 98.6%) to a secular prophecy (the last seven = 1.4%). He also makes erroneous statements regarding the Hebrew rule of antecedent.
Score =

#16 – The Covenant of Daniel 9:27
On pages 233-235 Dr. Walvoord explores the Covenant of Daniel 9:27 as it relates to the “he” who he identifies as the Anti-Christ. In this section Mr. Walvoord presents various points of view, dismissing each as unsatisfactory.

His exploration of the subject comes down to two main opposing points of view:

  • The covenant is made by the Anti-christ with the Jewish people
  • The covenant is made by Christ with the Jewish people

Mr. Walvoord believes the former is most reasonable point of view, not because he has any specific covenant in mind, rather none of the opposing viewpoints meet the criteria he believes necessary to have a solid Scriptural perspective. I quote Dr. Walvoord:

“The question being debated [Mauro’s belief that the Christ makes the covenant] is whether or not verse 27 deals with Christ; and to state dogmatically that “the prophecy is all about Christ” is precisely the matter in question. Nor is it unthinkable that a future ruler would make a covenant with Israel.” (page 233)

“He writes, [Leupold an amillenarian] “All they have left for the las week and he consummation of the seventy year-weeks is an unimportant date seven years after Christ’s death, when something so unimportant happened that the commentators are at a loss as to what they should point to. That interpretation runs out into sand. No one has yet advanced a halfway satisfactory answer as to why such a termination of glorious work should be selected to close at the computation.” (p. 232)

Again Mr. Walvoords position is argued not from any inherent strengths or certainties of his own position but rather the weaknesses of his opponents.

Dr. Walvoords explanation here is weak and lopsided. As discussed in #1 of this survey Dr. Walvoord misses the clear Messianic context of the covenant of Daniel 9:4. The first words out of Daniel’s month were a pleading with Yahweh to remember the “covenant and mercy” Yahweh made with Abraham which promised in part that through his “seed” all nations of the earth would be blessed.

At the very least Mr. Walvoord should have explored the background of the covenant and it’s underlying Messianic context so that his readers would have had more balance perspective of the covenant of Daniel 9:27. To ignore the covenant of Daniel 9:4 is to unhinged the prophecy of 70 weeks from its Messianic footing. In so doing, many well-meaning scholars like Dr. Walvoord we are left grasping at weak assumptions which cannot be supported with any clear rendering of the Biblical record.

There is in fact a covenant in the Bible which is clearly identified with the Messiah Yeshua. A covenant in fact which the Bible clearly tells us was confirmed by Yeshua with the Jewish people. I’ll start with words of Zacharias the father of John the Baptist when prophesying about Yeshua:

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,… (Luke 1:68-73)

As can be seen from this passage Zacharias clearly prophesies that the covenant and mercy promised to the fathers is directly related to the oath Yahweh swore (shaba) with Abraham (Deu 7, Gen. 22). An oath which promised a “horn of salvation” in the house of David.

Paul is just as clear about this covenant.

That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.

Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. (Galatians 3:14-17)

Peter talks about the same covenant made with Abraham which was fulfilled in Yeshua:

Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. 26 Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities. Acts 3:25-26

Mary’s greeting to Elisabeth when she was 6 months pregnant with the coming Messiah also alludes to the covenant. A greeting mentioning Yahweh’s promised “mercy” to Abraham:

And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour…

He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever. (Luke 1:46-55)

Finally, consider Paul’s view of the covenant and Yeshua own words concerning His own mission on this earth.

For this is my covenant [diatheke] unto them, when I shall take away their sins. (Romans 11:27)

By so much was Jesus made a surety [egguos = sponsor] of a better testament [diatheke – covenant]. (Hebrews 7:22)

But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant [diatheke], which was established upon better promises. (Hebrews 8:6)

But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (Matthew 15:24)

Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:28)

So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. (Hebrews 9:28)

The Bible is clear that Yeshua confirmed, strengthen, and was made a surety or sponsor for Yahweh’s covenant that He swore (shaba) with Abraham. Later the true depth of this covenant was further typified in Torah’s sacrificial system. As Paul explains to the Hebrews the “law” and all of its bloody sacrificial rites were but a shadow of good things to come.

For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect…

Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:1-10)

Weak Circumstantial Evidence
Summary: Mr. Walvoord builds his case for the covenant of Daniel 9:27 upon circumstantial evidence which cannot be attributed to any clear statement of the Biblical texts. His case requires the assumptions discussed in the other points of this survey. At the very least Mr. Walvoord should have presented the clear Biblical evidence for the “covenant” which was confirmed and strengthen in Yeshua. Mr. Walvoord’s conclusions are further prejudiced by ignoring the clearly messianic implications of covenant of Daniel 9:4.
Score = 4

#17 – The 7 Sevens from the “Commandment” – unto the Messiah (Dan. 9:25)
On pages 224-227 Mr. Walvoord explores the prophecy’s division. In this section of his explanation he goes into great detail concerning the final “seven” of the 70 sevens, some detail into the 42 sevens (434 “years”), but very little explanation of the first 7 sevens (49 “years”) of the prophecy. Here is Mr. Walvoords explanation of the first 7 sevens:

“According to verse 25, in the first seven years the streets and a trench will be built in times of trouble. This period of forty-nine years described the aftermath of Nehemiah building the wall of Jerusalem and requiring one out of ten in Israel to build a house in Jerusalem which was fulfilled in the fifty years after the building of the wall. This was in complete fulfillment of the first seven times seven years.”

Mr. Walvoord’s explanation of the first 7 sevens is lacking in that it ignores a key portion of Daniel 9:25.

“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,…” Daniel 9:25a

As can be seen from this portion of the text, verse 25 clearly states that it will be 7 sevens from the “commandment to restore and build Jerusalem unto the Messiah…” Unfortunately Mr. Walvoord makes no attempt to explain how it can be 7 sevens until the Messiah, instead he opts to gloss over this and identifying the 7 sevens with the building of the street and wall. This rendering of the text reorders the chronology, placing the rebuilding of the street and walls during the 7 sevens instead of during the 62 sevens where a plain reading of the text appears to place it.

Insufficient Explanation
Summary: Mr. Walvoord fails to address the clear statement of Daniel 9:25a which states there would be 7 weeks until the Messiah.
Score = 3

#18 – The 42 Sevens (Daniel 9:25)
On pages 227-229 Mr. Walvoord describes the 42 week period of Daniel 9:25. He describes it as follows:

“In verse 25, Daniel is introduced to two periods of time which are immediately consecutive, first a period of seven sevens, or forty-nine years, and then a perod of sixty-two sevens, or four hundred and thrity-four years. There is no indication clearly given as to the reason for distinguishing between the two periods except that he [Daniel] adds “the streets shall be built angain, and the wall, even in troublesome times….

The best explanation seems to be that beginning with Nehemiah’s decree and the building of the wall, it took a whole generation to clear out all the debris in Jerusalem and restore it as a thriving city. This might well be the fulfillment of the forty-nine years. The specific reference to streets again addresses our attention to Nehemiah’s situation where the streets were covered with debris and needed to be rebuilt.”

Notice in the quote above how Mr. Walvoord not only conflates the two periods of time but combines them as well without mentioning “until the Messiah” which is clearly imposed between the 7 sevens and the 42 sevens. If the text is taken a face valve there is in fact clear statements distinguishing between the two periods. The 7 sevens refers to the coming of the Messiah and the 42 sevens the period of time during which the street/plaza (rechob) & wall/ditch (charuwts) is completed.

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. Daniel 9:25

Insufficient Explanation (+3) & Erroneous Statements (-1)
Summary: In his explanation of the 42 weeks Mr. Walvoord confuses the distinguishing characteristic of 7 weeks and 42 week periods. He further compounds this confusion by erroneously stating that there is “no indication clearly given as to the reason for distinguishing between the two periods.”
Score = 2

#19 – The Cutting Off (karath) of the Messiah (Dan. 9:26)
Daniel 9:26 declares that after 62 sevens the Messiah will be cut off (karath).

And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: (Daniel 9:26)

On page 229-331 Mr. Walvoord explains this “cutting off” of Yeshua. I quote from page 229:

“If this interpretation of verse 25 is correct, [Jesus’ death and resurrection is in view here] it provides the key to verse 26 which states that after “threescore and two weeks,” that is, the 7 plus 62 sevens, or after the end of the sixty-ninth seven, the Messiah shall be “cut off.” The verb rendered “to cut off” has the meaning, “to destroy, to kill,” for example, in Genesis 9:11; Deuteronomy 20:20; Jeremiah 11:19; Psalm 37:9.

The natural interpretation of verse 26 is that it refers to the death of Jesus Christ upon the cross.”

I believe Mr. Walvoord is on solid Scriptural grounds here. Based upon the overall messianic context of the prophecy a very good case can be made that Yeshua’s death and resurrection is view in Daniel 9:26.

Strong Circumstantial Evidence
Summary: Although I believe Mr. Walvoords conclusions are correct here I wish he would have done more to connect this cutting off with 6 goals of Daniel 9:24 and Daniel’s prayer for Yahweh’s forgiveness for his Jewish brethren.
Score = 6

#20 – The Wings of Abomination (Dan. 9:27)
On page 235 Mr. Walvoord explores Daniel 9:27 and the unusual phrase ‘overspreading of abominations”.

“…and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. (Daniel 9:27)

Mr. Walvoord explains:

“The expression the overspreading of abominations, is better translated “upon the wing of abominations,” or as Leupold suggests, “upon the wing of abominable idols.”

Mr. Walvoord then goes on to make the unproven assumption that these abominations are the same as mentioned in Maccabees, Matthew and Mark. I quote Mr. Walvoord:

The Hebrew is rendered “abomination of desolation” in 1 Maccabees 1:54; Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14 and is supported by the most ancient translations including the Septuagint, Theodotion, and the Vulgate.

With all due respect to Mr. Walvoord, just because a Hebrew phrase is rendered similarly in the English langue does not prove the verses in question speak to the same subject in the Biblical text. The fact of the matter here in Daniel 9:27 is the phrase is totally unique in the Hebrew Bible and must be considered within the context in which it was given. Again Mr. Walvoords interpretation is decidedly one sided.

Here are some historical facts which are not in dispute which Mr. Wallvoord should have addressed to give a more balanced view of the subject.

The Roman legions did in fact destroy the temple and Jerusalem. At the head of every Roman legion they carried their ensign including a representation of an eagle. Josephus the famous Jewish historian described the events surround the destruction of the temple in this manner.

“And now the Romans, upon the flight of the seditious into the city, and upon the burning of the holy house itself, and of all the buildings around it, brought their ensigns to the temple and set them opposite its eastern gate: and there did they offer sacrifices to them, and ther did they make Titus imperator, with the greatest acclamations of joy….

So the Romans being now become masters of the walls they both placed their ensigns upon the towners, and made joyful acclamations for the victory they had gained. (The Jewish War 6:316. 6:403)

To fully understand what Josephus meant when he talks about the ensigns, the following quote clarifies the matter:

“Then came the ensigns surrounding the eagle, which is at the head of every Roman legion, the king, and the strongest of all birds, which seems to them a signal of dominion, and an omen that they shall conquer all against whom they march: these sacred ensigns are followed by the trumpeters. (The Jewish War 3:123-124)

In summary Titus’ armies did in fact destroy Jerusalem and according to Josephus the Romans did in fact offer pagan sacrifices on the temple mount. Sacrifices which quite literally could be described as upon the “wings of abomination”. Even more telling is that since those wings of abomination were committed, the temple and its sacrificial system has remained desolate in fulfillment of Daniel 9:27. In the interest of fairness and full disclosure Mr. Walvoord should have discussed these historical facts.

“…and for the overspreading upon the wings of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” (Daniel 9:27b)

Insufficient Explanation
Summary: Mr. Walvoord did not discuss all the pertinent facts of the temple and Jerusalem’s destruction.
Score = 3

#21 – The Final 7 of the 70 Sevens (Dan. 9:27)
In pages 231-237 Mr. Walvoord explores the many subjects related to the final seven of the 70 sevens. Mr. Walvoord posits a future fulfillment of the 70th seven. Mr. Walvoord’s view of the 70th week seems to be built not upon clear Biblical statements but rather the fact that no current theory reasonably explains the 70th seven of Daniel 9. After looking at several of the most credible theories regarding the final 7, Mr. Walvoord rests his case on this foundation:

“The difficulty with all these interpretations, as has been pointed out previously, is that there is no seven-year period marked off in any clear-way in history which was fulfilled the last unit of seven of Daniel’s prophecy…

Ultimately, the question facing every expositor is what interpretation gives the most natural and intelligent exposition of the text.”

Mr. Walvoord concludes then that the final 7 of the 70 sevens does not related to the messianic context of the first 69 sevens, that it concludes at some undefined period of time in the future, and further that this final 7results in a 7 years covenant of an uncertain nature, made by unknown world leader with the nation of Israel, a world leader who then breaks that covenant mid-way through the 7 years period resulting in a terrible time of tribulation. Mr. Walvoord sums it up this way:

The final period of seven years begins with the introduction of a covenant relationship between the future “prince that shall come” and “the many,” the people of Israel. This covenant is observed for the first half of the future seven-year period; then the special liberties and protections granted Israel are taken away; and Israel becomes persecuted in the their time of great tribulation.” (p.236)

Weak Circumstantial Evidence
Summary: Mr. Walvoord’s conclusions about the final seven of the 70 sevens are nearly all circumstantial assumptions based upon conclusions made about other parts of the prophecy. His only Scriptural certainty based upon reasonable Biblical facts is that this “covenant” is made with the Jewish people.
Score = 4

A color coded view of Walvoords Chronology of Daniel 9:24-27

Not Chronologically Ordered
Both Historical and Future
Historical
Future

24Seventy 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.

25 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.

26 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.

27 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.
(Daniel 9:24-27)

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Daniel’s 70 Weeks: The Fifth Decree – The Word to Return & Build Jerusalem

Daniel's-70-Weeks---Part2_Chapter9

Therefore thus saith the Lord; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith the Lord of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem.”
Zechariah 1:16

We started our investigation of Daniel 9:25 and the “commandment to restore and build” in chapter 1 by looking at the Hebrew words dabar and shuwb. These two words offered a different perspective on the verse and allowed us to consider the possibility that this so-called “commandment” might in fact be a dabar or word from YHWH, the living God of the Bible. In the subsequent chapters we looked at Persian chronology in the context of the four Persian decrees that scholars have at various times claimed represented the “commandment” of Daniel 9:25—ultimately concluding that none of these four decrees qualifies to begin our countdown to the Messiah. This review of Persian chronology has been invaluable to our understanding of the events that led to resettlement of Jerusalem and the reestablishment of the temple service. One last time let’s look at these events, but this time let’s consider them with the words of YHWH, the living God of the Bible, as our focus.

YHWH, Nebuchadnezzar, and the 70 Years’ Captivity
I have studied the prophecy of Daniel 9 for years. To this day I’m still struck by how single-mindedly I looked for a secular decree or commandment as the fulfillment of Daniel 9:25 without any consideration for what impact YHWH’s own actions might have in the equation. I still shake my head in wonder at how I ignored Continue reading

Daniel’s 70 Weeks: Queen of 127 Provinces

Daniel's-Seventy-Weeks_Part2_Chapter8

“Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus, (this is Ahasuerus which reigned, from India even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven and twenty provinces:) . . .”
Esther 1:1

To me one of the coolest statements in the book of Nehemiah is an often overlooked mention of the queen of Persia. It’s a statement that frankly seems out of place unless you understand the chronological context of the Persian era. In the past few chapters, we’ve learned that the Jewish people were shown amazing favor during the reign of Darius ‘the Great’ Artaxerxes. This king over 127 provinces went out of his way to financially support and encourage the construction of the temple of Jerusalem as well as the city itself. It turns out there is more to the story than most of us have realized, and the book of Nehemiah gives us a clue: Continue reading

Daniel’s 70 Weeks: Nehemiah the Governor

Daniel's-Seventy-Weeks_Part2_Chapter7

“The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace . . .”
Nehemiah 1:1

In 520 BC, nearly sixteen years after permission to build the temple had been given, the house of YHWH still lay in the initial stages of construction, with only some of the foundation stones to show for over a decade of effort. Seeing this neglect, YHWH stirred up the prophets Haggai and Zechariah to tell the people to return and build the temple. Four years later the temple in Jerusalem was completed, but very little progress had been made in building the walls of the ancient citadel. The remnant of people who dwelt there were still being harassed by their enemies.

Years later, back in Shushan, the winter palace of the Persian kings, our hero Nehemiah is the cupbearer to King “Artaxerxes.” Nehemiah hears of the plight of his brethren in Jerusalem and sets out to do something about it. After pouring his heart out to YHWH in prayer, Nehemiah petitions Artaxerxes to allow him to go up and repair the walls of Jerusalem. Artaxerxes grants his request, and we learn later that Nehemiah also becomes governor (Tirshatha) of Jerusalem for twelve years (Nehemiah 5:14).

As we saw in the previous chapter, many scholars today identify the Persian Artaxerxes in both the books of Ezra and Nehemiah as Artaxerxes Longimanus. But if you’ve taken a serious look at the information I’ve provided in the previous chapters on Ezra’s place in the Second Temple era, you have a better perspective on why I say such a conclusion is based upon virtually no biblical evidence. But what about the book of Nehemiah? Continue reading

Daniel’s 70 Weeks: The Twentieth Year of Artaxerxes – A Decree to Rebuild the Walls & Gates of Jerusalem

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“Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king’s words [dabar] that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work.”
Nehemiah 2:18

 Nearly thirteen years after Ezra went up to Jerusalem during the reign of Artaxerxes, we learn that Nehemiah, the cupbearer to that same Artaxerxes, received permission to travel to Jerusalem and rebuild the walls of the city, which were in disrepair. Here is the biblical account:

And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence. (Nehemiah 2:1)

And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers’ sepulchres, that I may build it. And the king said unto me, (the queen also sitting by him,) For how long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou return?

So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time. Moreover I said unto the king, If it please the king, let letters be given me to the governors beyond the river, that they may convey me over till I come into Judah; and a letter unto Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the palace which appertained to the house, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall enter into. And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me. (Nehemiah 2:5–8)

By far, the decree by this unnamed Persian Artaxerxes—once again presumed to be Longimanus, known to history as Artaxerxes I—is the most popular choice when scholars look for the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem prophesied by Daniel. Sir Robert Anderson, the great Christian writer, popularized this theory in his influential book The Coming Prince. Anderson does indeed make an impressive case, but surprisingly, he fails to address the scriptural basis for his belief that Ezra and Nehemiah were contemporaries of Longimanus. Instead, Anderson, in one of the most far-reaching eschatological errors of the past two centuries, Continue reading

Daniel’s 70 Weeks: Ezra, the Priest & Scribe – His History & Lineage Relative to the 2nd Temple Era

Daniel's-70-Weeks_Part2_Chapter5

“Now after these things, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra the son of Seraiah . . . This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which YHWH God of Israel had given: and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of YHWH his God upon him.”
Ezra 7:1–6

During the Second Temple period, few Old Testament characters hold a more prominent position than Ezra. The Bible identifies him as a priest and scribe. It is believed that he was the author of the book of Ezra as well as Chronicles. Both of these accounts provide valuable insights into the triumphs and tragedies of the Judean captives’ efforts in rebuilding the Second Temple and Jerusalem.

As we learned in the previous chapter, after the completion of the temple in the sixth year of Darius, Ezra in the seventh year of the reign of a Persian “Artaxerxes” desired to return to Jerusalem and teach the people the law of YHWH. What is unclear from the text is the precise identity of this Persian Artaxerxes. For well over two centuries, biblical scholars have identified this Artaxerxes as the Persian king Longimanus, circa 464–424 BC. It’s a handy identification, allowing Daniel’s 70 sevens, interpreted as 490 years, to take us straight to the life of Yeshua. Considering the importance of Ezra’s history to our understanding of Daniel 9, you might assume this Old Testament chronology would be well established upon a reasonable biblical basis. Surprisingly, this is not the case. If you find that hard to believe, Continue reading

Daniel’s 70 Weeks: The 7th Year of Artaxerxes – A Decree for Ezra to Beautify the Temple

Daniel's-70-Weeks_Part2_Chapter4

“Now after these things, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra the son of Seraiah . . . This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which YHWH God of Israel had given: and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of YHWH his God upon him . . . And he came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king.”
Ezra 7:1–7

 So far we’ve looked at two of the four decrees that scholars have postulated might be the “commandment” of Daniel 9:25. Now we turn our attention to the last two. This, unfortunately, is where modern scholarship takes a detour from a reasonable reading of the biblical chronological record. I’ll do my best to explain, but first, let’s take a look at the verses used as the basis for this next decree to be considered the “commandment” of Daniel 9:25. I’ve abridged parts of this passage for clarity’s sake. It’s well worth your time to read the passage in its entirety, for it is the basis for one of the biggest and most influential chronological errors scholars have made about the biblical record. Continue reading

Daniel’s 70 Weeks: Darius ‘the Great’ Artaxerxes – A Decree to Continue Construction on the Temple

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“And the God that hath caused his name to dwell there destroy all kings and people, that shall put to their hand to alter and to destroy this house of God which is at Jerusalem. I Darius have made a decree; let it be done with speed.”
Ezra 6:12

It could be argued that Persia’s power and influence reached its zenith during the reign of Darius ‘the Great’ Artaxerxes. Darius played a central role in the Jewish people’s reestablishment of Jerusalem and the temple service. By his sixth year of rule the Second Temple, the very heart of Jerusalem, was completed, nearly sixteen years after permission to build it had first been given by Cyrus.

Darius was the third Persian ruler after Cyrus the Great. Cyrus died in 530 BC, and his son Cambyses II ruled for eight years. For a short period after Cambyses’s death, Bardis the Magian usurper (aka Smerdis) ruled. This imposter, by some accounts, was a double for Cambyses II’s murdered brother. When Cambyses died, Bardis, who was already impersonating the brother of Cambyses II, took the game to a whole new level and assumed the throne as Artaxerxes of Persia. After ruling for less than a year, he was deposed by Darius ‘the Great’,  son of Hystaspes, also known historically as Artaxerxes (Ezra 6:14. See also Ussher, Annals of the World, page 126, section 1015.)

Trouble in the Promised Land
To understand the decree given by Darius ‘the Great’,  we need to back up a bit and give a little history of the Jewish people’s efforts to Continue reading

Daniel’s 70 Weeks: Cyrus the Great – A Decree to Rebuild the Temple & Jerusalem

Daniel's-70-Weeks_Part2_Chapter2
“That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.”
Isaiah 44:28

We begin our search for the “commandment” of Daniel 9:25 with Cyrus the Great of Persia, founder of the Achaemenid Empire. It is believed by some scholars that it was Cyrus’s viceroy or general, Darius the Median, who is mentioned in Daniel 5:31. If you recall, this Darius conquered Babylon on that infamous night when Belshazzar, king of Babylon, asked Daniel to Continue reading