The Daily Sacrifice: Part 3
Messianic Influence of Daniel's 70-Week Prophecy
We previously discovered that Daniel nine’s prophecy relates to a set of six measures to be fulfilled during an unbroken period of 490 years (see Daniel 9:24). Foremost of the six was that “transgression would be finished”. In Hebrew this phrase meant that “revolt would be restrained”, indicating that total a revolt against the Mosaic covenant (like Judah’s revolt prior to the destruction of the first temple) would be held in check. Although attempts would be made throughout the 490 years to undermine the Mosaic system by both the Jews and its subsequent conquerors; the Mosaic form of government was prophesied to hold firm until the conclusion of the 490th year.
Then Gabriel draws Daniel’s attention to the coming of the Messiah, "Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven 'sevens,' and sixty-two 'sevens.” (Daniel 9:25). This set of numbers given by the Angel calculate to 483 years; beginning when the decree restore Jerusalem was made in the seventh year King Artaxerxes reign (see Ezra 7:8-28).
If we extend a time line from the year Artaxerxes decreed Mosaic government in Jerusalem, it reaches to the year 26 AD. Why is this year so significant? Interestingly, this is the very year Pontius Pilate came to govern Judea. It is the same year Yeshua was baptized at the Jordan river by John. Luke also associates the event with the reign of a Roman ruler, “Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea … the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” (Luke 3:1-3). All these events converge in the year 26 AD.
But what exactly was predicted to occur in this year by Gabriel? The prophecy reads, “After threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off” (Daniel 9:26). Now this can be a confusing point of the prophecy, especially if we are led by our traditions. The “Christian” interpretive reflex has caused many to leap to the idea that “cut off” refers to Messiah’s death. But how could this be the case if Pontius Pilate (the man who permitted Yeshua’s execution) had just arrived at Jerusalem in 26 AD? There would be no time to fulfill the events that are recorded by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. This confusion has all to do with the word “cut off”.
But if we go back to the Hebrew language for clarification, we understand that the word “Kawrath” (H7673) means “to covenant” (Genesis 15:18 provides one of many examples of its usage). A better word in today’s English would be to “negotiate”. Let’s rephrase this verse now and set it into the context of the entire chapter. Gabriel prophecies, “After threescore and two weeks the Messiah shall negotiate” (Daniel 9:26). A close look at the New Testament writings reveal that a negotiation concerning the Mosaic covenant did take place between with Yeshua and Jewish people. But the negotiations ultimately failed. This can be seen clearly as it relates to Yeshua’s parable about the tenants (see Matthew 21:33-41).
The vineyard represented the Holy Mountain at Jerusalem established by the Father. The fruit represents the system YHWH instituted at the temple and its desired effects it was to have upon the nations. As the 490-year prophecy was drawing to a close, interest in the great commission given by the Father at Sinai was waning. To prevent curses falling on the Holy People, the Father sent prophets to warn Judah of the impending danger, but the prophets were persecuted and killed by the Jewish leadership.
'They will respect my son,' he said. "But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, 'This is the heir. Come, let's kill him and take his inheritance.' So, they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. "Therefore (Jesus asked) when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?" "He will bring those wretches to a wretched end," they replied” (Matthew 21:33-41).
“Judgement against the tenants” was the point of Yeshua’s parable and dovetails with the prophecy of Daniel nine. For refusal to pursue the aims agreed upon by YHWH and Israel, the curses of the covenant would be poured out upon the rebels of Judah. The Angel said, “The people of the prince (General Titus) that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined” (Daniel 9:26).
So the 70th week of Daniel is covenant oriented. The Son was sent to plead with Judah to remind them of the curses for their disobedience and if possible, turn them back from the precipice of total rebellion. But the negotiations failed as it is clearly seen in his final words, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate” (Matthew 23:37-38).
Note carefully how the word “desolate” spoken by Yeshua fulfills the prophecy of Gabriel, “And for the overspreading of abominations he (messiah) shall make it (Jerusalem) desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate” (Daniel 9:27). The sins described by Yeshua (see Matthew 23) relate to the wrapping of religiosity over practices forbidden by Moses. This is the overspreading of abominations that Yeshua was attacking just before he pronounced his judgement of desolation against the Holy Mountain
Moments later the disciples ask for more clarification and Yeshua obliged with the following details. "When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written” (Luke 21:20-22). Notice here that Yeshua did not list the punishments for the disciples, they were clearly specified in the writings of Moses 1500 years before.
The popular church has long taught that the death of Christ brought the end of the Mosaic covenant, but if that were true, why did Yeshua predict that the Jewish people would be punished 40 years later by a covenant that was no longer in effect? One must question whether the popular interpretations of Daniel’s 70-week prophecy have led us away from a covenant that is still in effect. I will address this point more in detail as we cover the final seven years of the 490-year prophecy.