Have you ever heard the old saying: "The proof is in the pudding?" It may strike you as funny, but I want to use this old adage as an illustration for our lesson. The statement points to the fact that even though you may not be able to identify the exact ingredient that makes the pudding so special, it is indeed special when you taste it! Our lesson today is founded on the "day for a year" principle of interpreting prophecy. Although there is not much "theological" evidence to support it, (only two little verses), we can gain confidence in the fact that it works! Where already fulfilled prophecies are concerned, it is easy enough to go back and check this principle and this is what we will do in this lesson. The "day for a year" principle is not considered to be controversial at all. Nearly all churches and theologians alike, teach this same principle. There is really no questioning something when it works so well!
2. How did He do the same with Israel in Ezekiel's day? Ezekiel 4:6
At both of these important times in the history of God's people, the people were punished according to the time of their transgression. For each day that they cost the work of God, they were made to repay an entire year. Let's see how this day for a year principle is put to work in the prophecies of Christ.
3. How long is the total period of time depicted in this prophecy? Daniel 9:24
The very first information we are given becomes very important as we study this time prophecy. The total amount of time involved here is 70 weeks. There are seven days in a week so 70 weeks would be 490 days. Using the day for a year principle we will see that the total time of this prophecy is 490 years.
4. What was to be accomplished during this time? Daniel 9:24
This prophecy was given to the church of God in Daniel's day, the Jewish people. The 70 weeks, or 490 years were determined to be a probation for the Jewish nation, which had sunken into deep apostasy. They were to be given 490 years to repent of their sins; to reconcile themselves to God; to bring in everlasting righteousness; and to anoint the most Holy. As we will see in the following verses, this prophecy was foretelling the exact time of Christ's ministry. It also attempted to warn the Jewish nation of what would happen if they were not faithful to God's Word. Ultimately the vision was absolutely correct. Because of their sinful state, the Jews did not recognize Jesus as the Messiah, and therefore rejected Him.
5. When was this time prophecy to begin? Daniel 9:25 (first part)
The starting point for this great prophecy would be the commandment to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple. both had been destroyed by king Nebuchadnezzar as the Babylonian empire had taken the nation of Israel into captivity. The Bible gives us three such commandments to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. The first two of these commandments went almost completely unheeded, but the third decree was given by king Artaxerxes in 457 BC. You can read about this decree in Ezra 7:1-13. Many good study Bibles will actually provide the year in the margin.
If we start at the year 457 BC, and add to that the 490 years of the total prophecy, this prophecy will take us to the year 34 AD. Remember, there is no "0" year between BC and AD on a time line. So far, we have learned that the probation for the Jewish nation was to end in 34 AD. Did anything take place in that year to coincide with this prediction? Yes indeed! Two things happened in 34 AD to signify that the 70 weeks were finished and that God would no longer recognize the Jews as His chosen people. In 34 AD, the apostle Stephen was stoned to death by the Jewish leadership, and just a few
days later, Saul of Tarsus was converted and became the Apostle Paul. Paul proclaimed himself to be the apostle to the Gentiles and even tells the Jewish leaders that they have been rejected as God's chosen people (see Acts 18:6).
6. What other divisions of time are we given in this prophecy? Daniel 9:25
"Know therefore and understand that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem unto Messiah the Prince shall be ___________weeks, and ____________________and _________________________."
In verse 25, we are first given the two divisions, then we are given the two things that are to be accomplished on those dates. Seven weeks at seven years per week, gives us 49 years. Threescore (a score being 20), and two weeks, 62 weeks would be another 434 years. Starting at 457 BC (the commandment to restore Jerusalem), this gives us two dates: 408 BC, and 27 AD. Now let us look to see what happened in those years.
7. What important events were to take place in the appointed years? Daniel 9:25
a. "unto the _____________ the Prince."
b. "the_____________shall be built, and the______________,even in troublous times."
The two events we are looking for are the coming of the Messiah, and the rebuilding of the wall and street in Jerusalem. How wonderful these prophecies are! Exactly as described, the wall and street in Jerusalem were completed in the year 408 BC, exactly 49 years after the commandment to restore Jerusalem. Our other date, 27 AD is very significant because this is the year that Jesus was baptized by John in the river Jordan, and officially began His ministry or "Messiahship". Remember in verse 24 we read that one of the things that must be done during this prophecy, was to "anoint the most Holy." This took place when Jesus was baptized, filled with the Holy Spirit, and acknowledged by the Heavenly Father.
8. What would happen to the Messiah sometime after 27 AD? Daniel 9:26
"And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be_________ ________"
Surely this is speaking of the crucifixion of Jesus at Calvary, but does the prophecy tell us exactly when he was to be crucified? Amazingly it does!
9. What did Jesus do during the week, or seven years, from His baptism to the close of Jewish probation? Daniel 9:27
"And he shall_________________the ______________________with many for one week"
The Old Testament Scriptures had foretold of the covenant that He would make with His people. In Jesus' life, death, burial, and resurrection, we find the confirmation of that covenant. In other words, the covenant was just a promise, until Jesus came and confirmed that promise.
10. When would the sacrifice and oblation cease? Daniel 9:27
"and in the ____________of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease"
The word "midst" here is the same as the word middle or mid-point. The mid-point of that week would be the year 31 AD, the very year Jesus was crucified. The sacrifice ceased when Jesus, as the Lamb of God, was sacrificed. The sacrifices of the Old Testament sanctuary system were pictures that pointed and taught about the great sacrifice that Jesus would make on the cross. There was no longer any need for the picture, the real Lamb had come!
In our study today, we have seen just how wonderfully the prophecies of the Bible work. With all the detail that is given, there is very little guess work involved. Almost all of the evangelical Protestant churches are agreed on the "day for a year" principle of Bible prophecy.
Most of them are even agreed on the dates about the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem, and the coming of the Messiah. The controversy comes regarding the 70th week of Daniel's prophecy. Most all the churches are agreed on the first 69 weeks But many of the churches take the 70th week and place it in the far off future. This has been done to legitimize the "7 year tribulation theory," and to try and hide the identity of the beast power. It makes no sense to separate the 70th week from the other 69 in the prophecy. Without the 70th week, as they see it, they have no evidence supporting any 7 year tribulation at all. We have taken all the information of this study of prophecy, and put it into the time line below. As we see how wonderfully accurate the prophecies are about Jesus' coming, it will give us more and more confidence in God's Word especially the other prophecies. It is also important because it is evidence of who Jesus Christ really was, the Son of God!
11. Don't you think it's wonderful, how the Bible even foretold the timing of the ministry of Jesus?
These things should give us great confidence in God's Word, the Holy Bible! It should also give us confidence in the future prophecies of this great Book! If we study the future prophecies, and apply the same principles of prophetic interpretation, such as the day for a year principle, we will be able to understand the messages that God has given for His last day church upon the earth. The Bible, even the book of Revelation, is NOT meant to be a mystery! God is revealing the important issues at stake to us right now! We need only take the time to study; pray for His Holy Spirit to help us understand; and be willing to put the things that we learn into practice in our daily lives!!!