In the biblical land of Israel, every city had a Sanhedrin, a Supreme Court, if you will. It’s mandate covered secular and religious law. In fact, just as we look at Islam’s Shari ’a Law today, ancient Jews lived in a similar system which blended secular and religious law into the same government – a theocracy.
There is no doubt that the Sanhedrin of Jesus’ day knew that the Messiah was to return around 27 AD (the dates are by our reckoning). They knew this because of the prophecies of Daniel. This most wondrous prophecy begins with Dan. Ch. 8. It is one of those prophecies in the Bible that makes one shudder in amazement, because if you’re not a believer before understanding the prophecy, you will be afterwards. Or else, your mind is simply closed to the truth. Forget Nostradamus and Jeanne Dixon; they are rank amateurs compared to the Lord.
Remember that before the Judean existence in Jerusalem the Israelites had been lead from Egypt by Moses, roamed the desert for 40 years (while arguing with God), eventually crossed into the promised land and because of their continuing sin, were taken captive and removed from the promised land by Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon. The Temple in Jerusalem had been destroyed the first time and Daniel, along with the Remnant of his people, were living in exile.
I’ll start at Daniel 8:13;
Dan 8:13 Then I heard a holy one speaking; and another holy one said to that certain one who was speaking, "How long will the vision be, concerning the daily sacrifices and the transgression of desolation, the giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled underfoot?"
Dan 8:14 And he said to me, "For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed."
Most all scholars and holy men throughout history understand this 2,300 days to actually be 2,300 years. This day for a year principle is based on Ezekiel 4:4-6 and Numbers 14:34. BTW, the Jewish year was comprised of 360 days with 30 day months (unlike today). Each week was 7 days, as always, having been established that way by God’s creation. The Sabbath existed long before Moses.
In modern times we have the fortunate advantage of looking back with hindsight. The ancient Sanhedrin had to look forward in time. As this prophecy unfolds you’ll understand why this prophetic illustration has ultimate importance concerning the “modern Sanhedrin”.
As you read through Daniel it reaches a seminal point in Ch. 9.
Dan 9:24 "Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy. [most Holy Place]Dan 9:25 "Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times.
Dan 9:26 "And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined.
Dan 9:27 Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate."
Looking in hindsight as we are, Daniel has been told by God that his people have a total of 2300 years before the Sanctuary is cleansed. And that starting at the beginning of that 2,300 years (at the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem) they will have a total of 70 weeks determined for the people to accomplish certain things. Then scripture breaks it down in this way; 7 + 62 weeks before the Messiah is “cut off”. 7 + 62 = 69. BTW, the term “cut off” simply means; at the end of the 69 weeks the Messiah will appear and the Jewish people will have to decide if they will follow the Messiah. Their allotted time is finished.
[ Note: Some religious leaders say “cut off” means the Messiah is killed (the crucifixion). This “killed” idea is a modern interpretation. But linguists from ancient times up until modern times have also said it simply means the allotted time is finished; cut off. Obviously, the Messiah is "cut off " (killed), but not for Himself (but for others). Either way you interpret this particular point, the message is still clear]
The Scripture continues … 1 extra week is included for the Messiah to confirm a covenant with many and bring an end to sacrifice and offering (in the midst of the final week). The total now comes up to 70 weeks. (69 weeks + 1 week)
[ Note: Here again a modern interpretation enters the picture. Although it’s very clear to most that this prophecy is referenced to the Messiah, modern interpreters have stated this verse actually relates to a future Anti-Christ! And that this future bad guy will stop the Jewish sacrifices, et al. That’s why we have a very vocal group of modern Sanhedrin claiming that a new Jewish Temple must be rebuilt in Jerusalem – so the sacrifices can be started – so they can stopped! How convoluted is that? They don’t realize or accept that Jesus stopped the sacrifices with his own sacrifice. Also, nowhere in Scripture is there an example of taking the last “bit” (the 70th week) of a prophecy and willy-nilly moving it to the end times. “70” will naturally flow right after “69”. It makes one wonder who they actually worship sometimes!
Now, back to reality … Imagine being told, as a people, that you have 70 weeks to fix everything or that’s it – no more dealing with you!
Using the day for a year principle, this 70 weeks becomes;
7 days per week times 70 weeks = 490 days; we apply the day for a year principle so, 490 years!
So! The people have 490 actual years to get it right!
Now, all we need to know is when the decree was given to restore and rebuild Jerusalem to add the years forward, or we can establish when Christ was crucified and subtract the years back to determine if the Prophecy makes sense or not!
Here’s where some confusion comes into play. Some scholars say Christ was crucified in the year 33 AD, others say it was 31 AD, or 32 AD. Also, the Old Testament gives 3 differing “decrees” to rebuild portions of Jerusalem. Of course, Scripture makes it clear. The Bible says that Jesus began his ministry around the age of 30, so it seems reasonable He had to be 33 or so at the time of the crucifixion.
The book of Ezra tells of the decree of Artaxerxes to not only rebuild Jerusalem but to also restore the judgment of the Sanhedrin. This is why most scholars agree this is the one that “begins” the 2,300 years. In fact, Ezra gives us some of the written text of the decree
Ezra 7:11-13 "Now this is the copy of the letter that King Artaxerxes gave unto Ezra the priest, the scribe, even a scribe of the words of the commandments of the Lord and of his statutes to Israel. Artaxerxes, king of kings, unto Ezra the priest, . . . and at such a time, I make a decree that all they of the people of Israel, and of his priests and Levites, in my realm, which are minded of their own freewill to go up to Jerusalem, go with thee." BTW, this date can be traced in history to 457 BC.
The 69 weeks (which would be 69 x 7 – applying the year for a day) comes to 483 years from Artaxerxes’ decree.
457 BC + 483 years = Fall of 27 AD (remember, there is no “Zero” year from BC to AD) For biblical reference see Luke 3:1-3, 21-23 and Gal. 4:4. Also remember that Christ’s birth date is "unknown", other than being able to trace backwards from his known age of 30 at the beginning of his ministry and age 33 at the crucifixion. Most say he was born in 4 BC. People get confused about the BC - AD dating (I did!). Contrary to popular belief Christ's birth is not "centered" around a mysterious 1 BC - 1 AD date. By looking at Herod and other historical resources and astronomy, plus biblical text, we can nail down the birth of Christ to 4 BC.
27 AD is the time Christ was baptized and anointed as Messiah! We know this from secular history and the biblical record.. When was the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar?
Luk 3:1 Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, [27 AD] . . .
Luk 3:21 When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened.
Luk 3:22 And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, "You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased." [the Annointing of the Messiah]
Luk 3:23 Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, the son of Heli, . . .
This all brings us to Dan. 9:27, the Messiah’s week; or, 7 years with the day for a year principle. Jesus’ ministry was a short 3 1/2 years. But during that time he established a “covenant with many”. In the “midst” of the week, after 3 1/2 years the Messiah stopped the sacrifices of the Jewish Temple by becoming the only valid sacrifice! This occurred in 31 AD. The veil in the Temple was ripped apart! This veil was a massive thing, heavy with rug-like fabric, intricately hung in a maze as an entry way into the Holy of Holy's. It wasn’t the sheer thin thing shown in the old movies. And, although the animal sacrifices were to continue for another 40 years, they had no validity. There is no doubt that they “spiritually” ended at the crucifixion.
Our Messiah then rose from the dead and hasn’t stopped working since!
After another 3 1/2 years (finishing the 70th week) Stephen gave his now famous speech to the Sanhedrin (Acts Ch. 8) and was stoned to death – in 34 AD. The probation given to the Jewish people to finally “get it right” was over. The gospel would now go to the Gentiles and rest of the world. The Israelites, the Jews had played their part. Christians became the inheritors of Abraham! We became Israel!
When did the last part happen? The desolation? Why, in 70 AD the Roman general Titus surrounded Jerusalem. He delayed the attack inexplicitly for a few days (this is when the new-found Christians escaped by fleeing into the mountains), but then destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple. Not one stone was left undisturbed as Jesus said.
This was the second great “abomination that caused desolation” in biblical history; Nebuchadnezzar's destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple being the first.
The Bible says we have one more “abomination that causes desolation” to go. The famous end times! This time it will affect the entire world. Remember, the Israel of the end time is not the modern nation of Israel (as much as I love it), but spiritual Israel – all believers in Christ.
What about the rest of the 2,300 years? We’ve only covered 490 years! Well, that subject is for another blog entry. But, isn’t it astounding that several hundred years before the event happened the prophecy perfectly predicted it! Yet, we still have religious leaders today steering us away from biblical truth.
For those who believe that a new Jewish Temple must be rebuilt before the end times to reestablish the sacrifice; that the sacrifice of Jesus was not enough, I lovingly offer the following verses:
Jesus himself speaking of Jerusalem and it’s earthly Temple,
Mat 23:38 See! Your house is left to you desolate;
Heb 10:26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,
Heb 10:27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.
Heb 10:28 Anyone who has rejected Moses' law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
Heb 10:29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?
Then, after all is said and done in reference to the New Jerusalem, Revelation 22 states:
For I saw no Temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are it's Temple.
In other words, a rebuilt earthly Temple in Jerusalem is actually a denial of Christ’s most merciful sacrifice! A rebuild earthly Temple is declaring that Christ’s sacrifice was not good enough. Do you really believe God would like that? In all fairness to these folks, I realize that most of them also understand that a modern rebuilt Temple would be a False Temple.
So, be forewarned! Just as in the days of the ancient Sanhedrin, a modern Sanhedrin is trying to point your attention towards a non-biblical direction. Don’t follow them. Follow the Bible instead!
If you don't believe me in all this, will you believe Jesus? On several occasions Jesus implicated and acknowledged this prophecy of Daniel. The most poignant, IMO, is from Matthew 18:21-22. Peter asks Jesus about how many times you should forgive your brother for a transgression.
Jesus answers, "seventy times seven".
Ref Article: Daniel Prophecy