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Prophecy: 49 Years From The Declaration
November 15, 2015

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There are some things in the bible that are more difficult to deal with than others. One part that is particularly troublesome is the prophecies of Daniel. First of all, according to Daniel, he was told by God that his words were "closed up and sealed till the time of the end." Daniel 12:8 How might God do that sealing? Jesus said something interesting, in reference to part of the prophecy of Daniel chapter 9, when He was explaining the signs of the end of the age to His disciples. He said "let the reader understand". What did He mean by that? I take it that Jesus was un-sealing these prophecies. He was saying that the prophecies of Daniel, which could not and were not understood up unto the coming of Jesus, could now be understood. However, that does not mean that they are to be understood without effort.

I am going to be taking a close look at Daniel 9:25. The first thing we see when we encounter it is that God is using some unusual terminology to prophesy about time: He refers to "weeks". Everything is said to start when the count of time is triggered by a decree, declaration or commandment to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem. From the familiar KJV

...from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks...

I have inserted some dots before and behind to let you know that KJV translators had some words in that same sentence before and after the words I selected. They went right on, running into talking about sixty two weeks. However, a look at the Hebrew will show you why: there is no punctuation. The translators were left many times to fend for themselves, relying upon God's help, to reveal where one sentence ended and another began. I now present another translation that shows it differently:

...from the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem until God's chosen leader comes, seven times seven years will pass. Daniel 9:25 GNB

Another valid alternative for a translation of Daniel 9:25 is:

"From the declaration to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem until the coming of Messiah the Prince will be 49 years".

This is in your bible because your bible was written in Hebrew! This is how Isaac Newton translated the verse three hundred years ago and wrote about it in his book, "Observations On Daniel"

Why did God first speak of seven weeks and then speak separately of sixty two weeks? Would He have done so if they had no separate significance? I cannot believe that He would do such a thing.

300 years ago, Isaac Newton, one of the greatest scientists and minds who ever lived, studied these scriptures thoroughly. He put forth the premise, a conjecture, that the seven weeks, first mentioned, referred to the second coming of Christ. Also that the sixty two weeks, second mentioned, referred to the first coming of Christ. This seems logically consistent with the scriptural principal that "the last shall be first". Perhaps that is why Newton came to this conclusion, or perhaps it was the case that he had calculated, exactly to the day of Christ, riding a donkey into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, and had perfectly resolved out the sixty two week calculus as pertaining to the first advent: 483 years. That one can be arrived at by adding the seven weeks to the sixty two weeks to reach sixty nine weeks, converting to 483 years and measuring from the decree of Artaxerxes in 444 BC. to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, with the walls, as Daniel 9:25 specifies, and we can read the story of how Nehemiah accomplished the rebuilding of those very walls after that decree.

Newton, a devoted bible scholar till his death at 85, also saw that the nation of Israel would have to be reborn. We see nothing special in this, but He wrote this at a time three hundred years ago when almost no one else agreed with him. They had consigned Israel to the dust bin of history, but he saw that in the scripture and he got that one right. It is something, along with a whole host of other critical things, that we are never taught.

Newton postulated about the second coming of Christ, based upon his translation of Daniel 9:25. He wrote that he expected Messiah to come 49 years after the restoration of Israel as a nation. Newton never visualized to my knowledge that Israel might be restored first without Jerusalem. What if Newton got part of it right? Those of you who know about these things can testify that just because we make an assumption to interpret a scripture in a certain way, we can still reach a variety of answers. Why? Well, you are looking at a scripture that sets the starting place as a "commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem". What date should we use? Some look at May 14, 1948, but that had nothing to do with the restoration of Jerusalem. Some look at June 7, 1967, the end of the six day war, when Jerusalem fell into Israeli hands once again, but there was no command or decree associated with that date. They might be right, but I do not see the going forth of the first of anything like a "command" regarding Jerusalem until June 28, 1967, when just such a thing was issued by Israel. So, if I have to choose, I will choose June 28, 1967 as my launching pad from which to commence my calculations, but there are others who opt for a 1950 date. As you can see, it is not a certain thing to calculate the day or the hour of the time that we might choose to start our search.

Then, another question arises. Let us assume that seven weeks refers to 49 years. It appears to be a reasonable one, made more certain by the prowess we have displayed in calculating that 62 weeks equaled 434 years and 483 years. So, let us use 49 years, but what kind of years should we use? Isaac Newton preferred using "Sabbatical Years", also called "Shemitah years" and began his count on the next Shemitah year. Genesis and Revelation employ months that are thirty days in length and years that contain twelve of those 30 day months, reaching a total of 360 days for a year: a thing that I call "prophetic years". I prefer to use this, but you might also be right if you used straight up solar year calculating of 365.24 days per year.

So, again, we cannot get on a high horse and pontificate that we might know the date of Christ's return: we will clearly know how to calculate it AFTER He returns. Nevertheless, we do have some possibilities. I will not present the details here as I do not wish to confuse the casual reader. Those who wish to see more detail can look here.

We then also have to consider that God has promised to come to His temple suddenly (Malachi 3:1) in His prophecy through Malachi. So, when we say that we might expect Messiah the Prince to come during the next couple of years, that might be fulfilled through a mighty coming first IN HIS CHURCH, where we will do those greater exploits that Jesus said that we would accomplish in His name.

Biblically ignorant people loudly parrot the words "no one knows the day or the hour". They have no idea how they know that, but everyone does know it. Perhaps, if we do not know the day or the hour of Christ's return, it is more comfortable for the ignorant to remain blissful in their ignorance. Nevertheless, the first coming of Christ can be shown to have been predicted to Christ's exact birth date, and also to the day when Christ Jesus rode the donkey on Palm Sunday in his appearance before Jerusalem. You can use different methods with the start date and with the years utilized and still fall exactly on those key dates. I have seen the calculations and have audited them (former CPA here). They tie out.

People could have or might have known the time of the birth of Christ, but none of the Jews seemed to be alert regarding the timing. As we said before, God had sealed Daniel's words, so perhaps, it was simply not knowable. The only ones who figured it out were some unidentified shepherds, according to Luke, and some Magi, called "Kings" from the East, who saw the star, followed it because they knew the prophecy and came bearing gifts for the newborn king.

Who were these Magi? They were Chaldeans: astrologers, but with a twist. These were from the East, which from Israel was in the direction of Babylon, Media and Persia and doubtless were familiar with the teachings of Daniel as he had been head of the Chaldeans during his exile in Media-Persia. No doubt the Chaldeans of that era held Daniel in very high esteem after he saved their necks in the matter of Nebuchadnezzar's dream and the interpretation thereof. Every Chaldean was under a death sentence until Daniel (and Daniel's God), saved the day for them. Moving forward though, those astrologers were obviously also familiar with the Torah, specifically Numbers 24:17 and the prophecy about the star. They knew the star's appearance heralded the coming of a great king. They followed it to Jerusalem, where Rabbi's told them that the great king was to be born in Bethlehem. So, off to Bethlehem they went.

They arrived at Bethlehem apparently a few days after the birth because Matthew tells us in 2:11 that they came to Joseph, Mary and the Baby Jesus at a house! I realize this is not how you saw it done in the local church Christmas extravaganza, but the bible says that the wise men, with no stipulated number of three ever mentioned, went to a house in Bethlehem. They located this particular house because, as Matthew tells the story, they followed the star and when they got to Bethlehem, the star "came and stood over where the young child was". (2:9) That certainly was no ordinary star!

We are in a season leading from now up to some time in 2017 that seems full of prophetic possibility. Pastors and Bible scholars say that certainly, Jesus cannot be coming now. They are looking for temples and see none. Their "Left Behind" antichrist is not yet in view. They cannot see any covenant among many that has been broken. Jesus' response: "Be ye also prepared therefore: for the son of man will come at an hour when ye think not."(Luke 12:40, Geneva 1560)

Stephen L. Bening

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