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70 weeks

Discussion in 'Eschatology & Prophecy Forum' started by lizz7711, May 28, 2008.

  1. eliyahu

    eliyahu New Member

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    "If those days were not shortened, no flesh would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, those days will be shortened." Jesus said something close to that. I believe he meant that God would intervene and stop the course of things before its too late for everyone. If God doesn't, no one would live through that season. It is not about specifics in time. Those aren't given. That was just a figure of speech.
     
  2. Just-the-facts

    Just-the-facts New Member

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    (eliyahu;50886)
    Sorry, I've not read that book. no Gentile is ever referred to as "Israel," a "Jew," or "Jacob" ever out of the hundreds of times the words are used. Paul even uses these terms repeatedly in Romans and other letters and never lumps Gentiles into that term but specifically states the word "Gentiles."
    Rom 2:27 And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? Rom 2:28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: Rom 2:29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. Gal 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. Gal 6:16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
     
  3. eliyahu

    eliyahu New Member

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    Romans 2:28-29? Didn’t Paul say there that Gentiles who believed were true Jews? Look carefully at these verses as translated in the New International Version (I have added the italics):“A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly, and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men but from God.”In other words, between two Jews, one who is circumcised physically, and the other who is also circumcised spiritually, which one is the real Jew, the Jew in this special sense? The answer is obvious: the one who is also circumcised spiritually! But is Paul saying here that believing Gentiles are also Jews in this special sense? Most probably not. He is directing his argument to Jews, primarily to unsaved Jews, in Romans 2:17-29. Within that context he is defining who is the real Jew- spiritually speaking. And in the rest of the Greek New Testament, the word “Jew” occurs over 190 times, referring clearly to ethnic, national Jews. More than 190 “definites” and only a couple of “maybes”! Are there any takers for the “maybe” position?Even is someone understood Romans 2:28-29 to say that believing Gentiles were spiritual Jews (it is easy from the text to see why many Christians believe this about themselves) that would not change this important fact: Paul never said that natural Jews were no longer Jews. He only said that natural Jews were not Jews in this special, fuller sense. Just keep reading his letter! After making his point in Romans 2:28-29 (remember, it is one of the few times in the entire New Testament that the word Jew is used like this), he goes back to referring to all Jews in the normal way.If you have any doubt, read the very next verse.“What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? Much in every way!... (Rom. 3:1-2)”In other words, since being a Jew outwardly and physically doesn’t guarantee a right relationship with God, what’s the advantage of being a Jew, a physically circumcised, ethnic Jew? Much in every way, because God entrusted His word to His physical, natural people- the Jews! It really is quite simple. If Paul were teaching that natural Jews were no longer Jews and that believing Gentiles were the real Jews, what in the world did he mean in Romans 3:9?“We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin.”
     
  4. eliyahu

    eliyahu New Member

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    It is one thing to argue that once or twice Paul uses the word “Israel” and “Jew” in a special sense, referring to the whole Church as the “Israel of God” and all believers as “Jews.” (Although I personally disagree with this, I certainly wouldn’t call this position dangerous.) But it is another thing entirely to turn around and ignore the remaining 268 New Testament references to “Israel” and “Jew” and claim that Israel is no longer Israel and Jews are no longer Jews! That most certainly is dangerous.It is one thing to say, “Paul used the word ‘circumcision’ in a special sense (Phil. 3:3) to refer to all believers.” It is another thing to say, “Those who are physically circumcised on the eight day are no longer counted as Jews!” Even the book of Deuteronomy recognized two circumcisions: circumcision of the flesh and circumcision of the heart. But one did not negate the other! In the words of the internationally acclaimed Romans commentator, C. E. B. Cranfield, Paul’s statement in Romans 2:28-29 “should not be taken as implying that those who are Jews outwardly are excluded from the promises.” Absolutely not!
     
  5. eliyahu

    eliyahu New Member

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    Many people have feelings and impressions about what the scriptures teach. But the facts are facts: While the New Testament often describes Israel and the Church in similar terms- both are pictured as the children of God, the chosen people, etc.- on no definite occasion does the New Testament ever call the Church, “Israel.” In fact, out of the 77 times that the words “Israel” and “Israelite” occur in the Greek New Testament, there are only two verses in which Israel could possibly refer to the church as a whole: Galatians 6:16, where Paul speaks of the “Israel of God” and Revelation 7:4, where John speaks of the 144,000 sealed from the twelve tribes of Israel. This is saying something! Seventy-five “definites” and only two “maybes”! As for the verses open to dispute, in Galatians 6:16 the King James Version, The New King James Version and the New American Standard Bible all imply the same thing: the “Israel of God” does not refer to the whole church! It refers to believing Jews. The same can be said for the description of the 144,000 sealed in Revelation 7:4. It most probably describes the final harvest of Jews worldwide. Elsewhere in the book of Revelation “Israel” means “Israel” (Rev. 2:14) and “the twelve tribes of Israel” means “the twelve tribes of Israel,” as distinguished from “the twelve apostles” (Rev. 21:12-14).Even if someone insisted on understanding Galatians 6:16 and Revelation 7:4 differently, everyone who knows anything about interpreting the word knows this: We never build a doctrine on just one or two verses, especially if the meaning of the verse is disputed! And who would ever dream of building a theological system on the foundation of one verse in the midst of a symbolic vision in Revelation? I lovingly challenge all who claim that the entire Church is “Israel” to find two verses anywhere in the Bible that indisputably state this “fact.” They simply are not there! When God said “Israel,” He meant the natural children, either in whole or in part.
     
  6. samy

    samy New Member

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    I would respond in this way. I see that believing Jews and believing gentiles are distinguishable groups within the one body of Christ today, and as also demonstrated by Christ's letters to the seven churches Rev 2-3, Smyrna & Philadelphia, vs, the other five. And I would challenge you to re-read the apostle Paul's comments in Roman's 11 where he discusses how the natural branches, unbelieving Israel (11:25) were cut off and wild branches, gentiles, were grafted in. What did the gentiles become grafted into? What is the olive tree under discussion? I believe it has to be the church. Why? Because gentiles did not become Jews and attend synagogues when they came to Christ. They became Christians and attended churches. samy
     
  7. Faithful

    Faithful New Member

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    (lizz7711;50774)
    Ok, i'm sorry for posting again but i have alot of questions! Why would God make a prophecy, stating there are to be "70 weeks" and then just break off after 69 weeks with no indication of how long this break is to be? Are there any other instances in the Bible where time frames are given like that and then there are arbitrary breaks in the middle? I'm leaning towards believing the 70 weeks have already happened as it makes little sense to me that the last week would be separated by 2000+ years. Also, it says in the middle of the week sacrificed would be abolished...and Jesus accomplished that. And Jesus did also in a spiritual sense fulfill "everlasting righteousness etc" by His resurrection. But as i've said, i'm new to this so please feel free to enlighten me to your view points!thanks,Liz
    It is a difficult one this because the 70 weeks Jeremiah spoke about were actually fulfilled in that prophecy during the times God was speaking about. We know that things happened in the times of prophecy that was also about future things too.Like most things the red herrings creep in. The word of God teaches us that it is our lives and the Spirit living within us and leading us that we should be attending to. These times will come about when the time is right. Many will waste their time try to understand the things written about the future. But it is not given to everyone to know. The servants receive their meat in due season not out of season.So those in Spirit ready to receive when the time is right like the wise virgins who trimmed their lamps and were filled with adequate supplies of oil to last till Christ returned.Faithful.
     
  8. samy

    samy New Member

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    The break is not arbitrary, but it is definiely a break. The break is at the time of the crucifixion of Christ, a very significant incident in history. And the break is in the middle of the week. Notice that Daniel writes about the remaianing 3 1/2 years in DAniel 7, 8, 12. There still needs to be accomplished "to seal up vision and prophecy." There is yet much prophecy to be fulfilled--quite synonymous with "seal up." samy
     
  9. lizz7711

    lizz7711 New Member

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    Eliyahu,thanks for all of your responses. I've been off the internet for awhile, and I really need some time to put my thoughts together on this topic. Let me just say that what I'm talking about is not replacement theology, or saying God does not still love the Jews or see them as different from the church etc. But I think the issue is more complex and has deeper spiritual levels than what you are allowing. I think that the reason God chose the Jews is because He needed to pick a group that would be the line of Yeshua, as was said in John "he came to that which was his own, and they received him not". he was a Jew and Jews who believe in Him are the true branches obviously. Anyway, I will respond more in depth when I have more time to put together some thoughts![​IMG]take care,Liz(eliyahu;51156)
    Many people have feelings and impressions about what the scriptures teach. But the facts are facts: While the New Testament often describes Israel and the Church in similar terms- both are pictured as the children of God, the chosen people, etc.- on no definite occasion does the New Testament ever call the Church, “Israel.” In fact, out of the 77 times that the words “Israel” and “Israelite” occur in the Greek New Testament, there are only two verses in which Israel could possibly refer to the church as a whole: Galatians 6:16, where Paul speaks of the “Israel of God” and Revelation 7:4, where John speaks of the 144,000 sealed from the twelve tribes of Israel. This is saying something! Seventy-five “definites” and only two “maybes”! As for the verses open to dispute, in Galatians 6:16 the King James Version, The New King James Version and the New American Standard Bible all imply the same thing: the “Israel of God” does not refer to the whole church! It refers to believing Jews. The same can be said for the description of the 144,000 sealed in Revelation 7:4. It most probably describes the final harvest of Jews worldwide. Elsewhere in the book of Revelation “Israel” means “Israel” (Rev. 2:14) and “the twelve tribes of Israel” means “the twelve tribes of Israel,” as distinguished from “the twelve apostles” (Rev. 21:12-14).Even if someone insisted on understanding Galatians 6:16 and Revelation 7:4 differently, everyone who knows anything about interpreting the word knows this: We never build a doctrine on just one or two verses, especially if the meaning of the verse is disputed! And who would ever dream of building a theological system on the foundation of one verse in the midst of a symbolic vision in Revelation? I lovingly challenge all who claim that the entire Church is “Israel” to find two verses anywhere in the Bible that indisputably state this “fact.” They simply are not there! When God said “Israel,” He meant the natural children, either in whole or in part.
     
  10. Christina

    Christina New Member

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    Lizz What I think you seem to not be understanding about this is no person just decided to take a break in time God himself literally cut it Short With the Crucifixion of Christ it was God that broke off the week. There is some disagreement of where to start or how to count the time but only a couple actually work out right. Those I gave you in the link.you can not just assume its already past without fuguring out where you would start counting from and ifs its biblical.
     
  11. jeffweeder

    jeffweeder New Member

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    I think that the reason God chose the Jews is because He needed to pick a group that would be the line of Yeshua, as was said in John "he came to that which was his own, and they received him not". he was a Jew and Jews who believe in Him are the true branches obviously.
    Yes, he established the hebrew nation to reveal himself and his Messiah.The 70 weeks was an answer to Daniels prayer about them being restored to God and their land...for their history of continued disobedience, which led to them being exiled.Gabriel came with the good news that Messiah was on his way to deal with their standing with God, by bringing in atonement and a way to everlasting righteousness etc ........God always has a remnant of believers ,and on this occasion it was the 12 disciples..etc...bringing the good news of how Christ grafts us gentiles into the existing olive tree..and How Jews remain Grafted in.=The Gospel of Jesus Christ.
     
  12. eliyahu

    eliyahu New Member

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    (lizz7711;51529)
    Eliyahu,thanks for all of your responses. I've been off the internet for awhile, and I really need some time to put my thoughts together on this topic. Let me just say that what I'm talking about is not replacement theology, or saying God does not still love the Jews or see them as different from the church etc. But I think the issue is more complex and has deeper spiritual levels than what you are allowing. I think that the reason God chose the Jews is because He needed to pick a group that would be the line of Yeshua, as was said in John "he came to that which was his own, and they received him not". he was a Jew and Jews who believe in Him are the true branches obviously. Anyway, I will respond more in depth when I have more time to put together some thoughts![​IMG]take care,Liz
    OK. I just clicked and pasted all that on those posts anyhow. Yes, there is much more depth to this than we have touched on yet. I believe that the olive tree represents those in a salvific relationship with God via Abraham's covenant and promises. At Pentecost the door was kicked open for Gentiles to join the community of Spirit filled Jews of faith in Jesus, by faith alone and without conversion to Judaism. The "nourishing sap" is the relationship with God that saves us via trusting in God's promises and covenant with Abraham the believer and identifying with him through faith in Jesus. Make sense how I worded this?
     
  13. jtartar

    jtartar New Member

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    (lizz7711;50774)
    Ok, i'm sorry for posting again but i have alot of questions! Why would God make a prophecy, stating there are to be "70 weeks" and then just break off after 69 weeks with no indication of how long this break is to be? Are there any other instances in the Bible where time frames are given like that and then there are arbitrary breaks in the middle? I'm leaning towards believing the 70 weeks have already happened as it makes little sense to me that the last week would be separated by 2000+ years. Also, it says in the middle of the week sacrificed would be abolished...and Jesus accomplished that. And Jesus did also in a spiritual sense fulfill "everlasting righteousness etc" by His resurrection. But as i've said, i'm new to this so please feel free to enlighten me to your view points!thanks,Liz
    lizz7711, Many times in the Holy Scriptures prophecies cannot be understood until after they have been accomplished, or during the fulfillment of them. We can get an accurate understanding of the 70 week prophecy by looking at exactly how this prophecy was fulfilled. At Dan 9:23, the scripture says that there is 70 weeks that have been determined upon your people. In scripture there is a formula for prophecies. Notice that days many times stand for YEARS, Num 14:34, Eze 4:6. This prophecy was for a period of time amounting to 70 weeks of years, 490 years in all. Notice it was to terminate transgression: this was to stop the Jewish people from continuing to break the covenant between God and them, to finish off sin: this was Jesus giving his life as a ransom sacrifice, to make atonement: Jesus would give his life do that men could gain back what they had lost when Adam sinned against God and lost endless life. Dan 9:25 says, that from the going forth of the word to restore and rebuild Jerusalem to the Messiah, the Leader there would be 62 weeks and 7weeks, or 69 weeks of years, 483 years. At Nehemiah we are told that the word went out to rebuild Jerusalem from Artaxerxes in his 20th year. History tells us that Artaxerxes 20th year was 455BC. If you calculat 483 years from 455BC, you will come to the year 29CE, the exact year that Jesus came to John the Baptist to get baptized, which started his ministery. Between the year 1BC and 1AD there was no 0 used, in those days. Dan 9:26 says that the Messiah would be cut off after the 62 weeks and the 7weeks also. Notice verse 27 where we are told that the Messiah would keep the Covenant in force for half the week, half the 70th week. This is exactly what happened, for Jesus was killed after 3 1/2 years of his ministery, half of the 70th week. What this meant is: Only the Jews were invited to be accepted into the Congregation of God until 36CE, when Cornelius became the first uncircumcized person of the nations to be accepted into the Christian Congregation of God, Matt 10:5,6, 15:24, Acts 10:1,2,28,34,35,44-48. The rest of verse 27 tells about a disgusting thing that causes desolation until an extermination. This is telling about the Roman armies coming in 70CE and destroying Jerusalem. All this happened because the Jews rejected Jesus, the son of God as their savior. Jesus told them that their Temple was abandoned to them, that the Kingdom would be taken from them and given to others who would do God's will, Matt 23:37,38, 21:43,44. The Jews rejected Jesus so the nation of Israel was removed asd God's chosen people and the Christian Congregation became the people God was favoring, down until now, Acts 4:12, Luke 9:22, 1John 2:18-22, 4:2,3.
     
  14. archierieus

    archierieus New Member

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    (lizz7711;50774)
    it makes little sense to me that the last week would be separated by 2000+ years.
    It makes no sense grammatically. It simply isn't there. I have studied this topic with peole who were firm beleivers in futurism. In carefully reviewing the materials, we found no support Scripturally or grammatically for such a split. On top of that, Christ fulfilled the 70th week during his ministry, to the letter. He caused the sacrifice and oblation to cease by his death on the cross as the antitypical Lamb, "Christ our Passover." During the 3-1/2 years before His crucifixion, He affirmed (Hebrew word) the covenant with the Jews, and initially, the apostles did after Pentecost. The stoning of Stephen marked the the spread of the gospel out to the Gentiles (Acts 8:1), bringing to an end the 70th week.Futurism was devised during the Council of Trent, convened around 1560 A.D. in order to take the heat off the Catholic church. Since the 1800's, it has been espoused by many Protestants. It is particularly popular because it teaches that believers will avoid the 'tribulation,' which is claimed to last for seven years, derived from Dan. 9. The Bible does indeed teach that there will be a final time of tribulation, but nowhere indicates how long it will last.From all the discussion and interaction I have had with other believers, I have reached a conclusion that at the core of the insistence many have in clinging to futurism, is the desire to avoid enduring tribulation in the endtimes. The teaching certainly accomplishes that desire--however, it is contrary to Scripture.I would welcome the opportunity to carry forward a serious Bible study of the Scriptural basis for the teaching.Dave
     
  15. atrhick

    atrhick New Member

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    In the first year of Darius the Mede (538 B.C.), Daniel, the prophet and Babylonian court official, set about offering up to God earnest prayers on behalf of the exiles from Judah.In his prayer (Dan 9:1-19) Daniel plead with the Lord to forgive His rebellious people and restore them to their land and capital city. He sought the Lord for the fulfillment of His promises to the prophets that Jerusalem and its temple would be rebuilt after the destruction that it suffered.God answered Daniel's prayer. He saw to it that His people were sent back to their homeland by Cyrus (Ezra 1, 2), rebuilt the temple (Ezra 5, 6), and eventually rebuilt the city of Jerusalem (Neh 1-5; 6:15, 16). But God went on beyond Daniel's requests. Through the prophetic word transmitted by Gabriel (Dan 9:21-23), God gave Daniel instruction about the Messiah who was to come to His people after the city and temple were rebuilt.In this prophecy, God designated the time when the Messiah would come. It was to be marked off from the time of the event Daniel had been praying about, the rebuilding of Jerusalem. Gabriel said to Daniel, "Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the word 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" (Dan 9:25).Clearly, this remarkable prophecy is a major prophetic landmark. It offers a valuable criterion by which the true Messiah could be distinguished from false ones. If a person claiming to be the Messiah did not come at the right time, he could not be the true Messiah. Given this major significance of this prophecy we do well to pay careful attention to its details. The minor focus of our study of this prophecy will be on the length of time involved; our major focus will be on its starting point. We will deal briefly with the length of time first. [align=justify]The Time Period[/align]A. Length. The first matter to deal with in terms of the length of the period has to do with the units by which it was to be measured off. Older translations such as the KJV translated the word involved here as "weeks," while a more recent one, the NIV, prefers the translation of "sevens." The net effect of both translations is the same length of time, for those commentators who prefer the translation of "sevens" acknowledge that they are sevens of years.[1] For those who retain the older translation of "weeks," each of the weeks is made up of seven days, and each prophetic day is taken as a historical year according to the apocalyptic hermeneutical principle of a day for a year (see Ezek 4:6; Num 14:34).[2] Thus the only real difference between the two schools of thought is whether or not the year-day principle needs to be invoked here. In either case the total number of years comes out at 483 years (7x7) + (7x62) = 483. While the translation of the crucial word is of interest, it need not detain us for the linguistic evidence relevant to the question still favors the translation "weeks."[3] Even the NIV puts "weeks" in the margin. B. Punctuation and divisions. The other question involved with the length of time before the Messiah would come has to do with punctuation. Should the passage be translated in such a way as to indicate that the seven weeks and the sixty-two weeks belong together as a compound unit, or in such a way as to apply it to separate events. Some modern translations separate them, whereas old translations keep them together. The RSV, in speaking of the prince, says that "there shall be seven weeks." Then after inserting a period to close the sentence, it begins a new sentence, "Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again." This punctuation gives the seven weeks to the prince and allows sixty-two weeks for the reconstruction of the city. But if the two time units are kept together, then both the seven and the sixty-two weeks must be fulfilled before the Prince could come. The rationale by which these time units have been separated in translations, such as the RSV, involves the amount of stress and weight put on the punctuation mark, 'athnah, in the Hebrew text as pointed by the Massoretes. There are a number of problems with this treatment. In the first place, an 'athnah is not a soph pasûq, just as a comma is not a period. A soph pasûq ends verses of the Hebrew text just as a period ends an English sentence, but the Mathnah is used only at the approximate middle of the Hebrew sentence, in contrast to the comma, which sets off phrases. To divide the Hebrew sentence into two sentences with a period as a divider in English just because an Mathnah is located in the middle of it goes beyond the significance of the significance of the soph pasûq. Doing such a thing is not warranted by the Hebrew accent and is not good translating. The arbitrary nature of the RSV punctuation here can be borne out by a comparison with what they have done with the rest of Daniel 9. No other examples occur in the RSV text of Daniel 9 in which an 'athnah is represented with a period. Further, there are four cases in which the RSV does not represent even a soph pasûq with a period. Daniel 9:1 treats a soph pasûq as a hyphen, verse 4 as a comma, and verses 5, 20 as a semicolon. When measured against its own practice, what the RSV has done with the 'athnah here in Daniel 9:25 is not only poor translating but also quite an arbitrary case of special pleading. The older paired translation of the time units should be retained. Even the LXX supports the paired translation in this case.[align=justify]The Starting Point[/align]Our conclusion thus far is that the seven and sixty-two weeks in Daniel 9:25 belong together as a compound making up sixty-nine weeks or 483 historical years until the coming of the Messiah. If the starting point for this period can be found, the date for His coming 483 years later can be fixed. So we turn next to that important starting point.Daniel 9:25 states that the starting point was to be a going forth of a "word" (Hebrew abar) to restore Jerusalem. Before looking for specific decrees and the actual rebuilding, we should ask a few questions about the term "word." A. The decree. The reason why the term comes up is because an effort has been made by some historical-critical scholars to equate this "word" in Daniel 9:25 with the "word of the Lord to Jeremiah" to which Daniel referred in verse 2 of this chapter.[4] Daniel was studying the scroll of Jeremiah about the prophecy of the desolation of Jerusalem for seventy years. Jerusalem was to be restored at the end of that period of time. Because the message that came to Jeremiah was termed a "word" and the same Hebrew term was used in Daniel 9:25, should they be equated? Doing so would place the commencement of the 70 weeks of Daniel back in the time of Jeremiah, about 593 B.C.This type of interpretation overlooks the fact that the term for "word" is used again twice in Daniel 9:23. If one is to look for linguistic connections, here in verse 23 is a far more reasonable one to use than the reference in verse 2 to the time of Jeremiah.But even here there is a difference between the "word" of Gabriel's introduction and the "word" in the prophecy itself. In the first part of verse 23, Gabriel told Daniel that a word had gone forth (yasa'), obviously from God who sent the message to Daniel. The fact that the perfect form of the verb is used indicates that the word had already gone forth, and having gone forth it had reached Gabriel who was now going to give it to Daniel. The reference is to a past action or communication which Daniel is now to understand.But the word which Daniel is to understand is not the decree for the rebuilding of Jerusalem. It is the entire prophecy, which follows which constitutes that "word." Thus the "word" about the reconstruction of Jerusalem was contained in the entire overall prophetic word or message that Gabriel brought to Daniel. That word is a description of future events. And one of those future events is the going forth of the "word" or decree to rebuild Jerusalem. Thus the "word" of verse 25 is neither the word of the Lord to Jeremiah in verse 2 nor the word of the Lord through Gabriel to Daniel in verse 23. It is something to be fulfilled in the future. For corroboration we note that the term for "going forth" (Hebrew mosa') that is used in verse 25 is neither the term that is used for the word in verse 2 (Hebrew hayah) nor the verb used in verse 23 (Hebrew yasa'). A further contrast between verse 2 and verse 25 is that the former is specific, "the word of the Lord," in a construct chain with God's name in the genitive relationship, whereas in verse 25 it is just "a word" with neither the divine name nor an article used with it. B. The king of the decree. The next point that should be noted here is just what it was that the prophecy foretold was to be rebuilt. The verse in question uses the specific name of the city, Jerusalem. There can be no question, therefore, that we must look to the circumstances under which that city was rebuilt. The specific mentioning of the name "Jerusalem" helps avoid confusion with the rebuilding of the temple within Jerusalem. A city is not a temple and a temple is not a city, though a city may contain a temple or be located near one. This distinction is important because the decree of Cyrus in Ezra 1:2-4 specifically mentions authorization for the rebuilding of the temple but does not mention the city. In response to that decree, and a supplementary decree by Darius I, the temple was rebuilt (Ezra 6:14-16); but even after its reconstruction the city still lay in ruins, and this was the condition in which Nehemiah found it in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes I, some 70 years later. The temple was completed in the sixth year of Darius I, 516 B.C., but the city was still unreconstructed in the time of Artaxerxes in the middle of the next century.We must now attempt to discover the decree that had the effect of leading to the rebuilding of the city. It was not the decree of Cyrus in Ezra 1; nor was it the decree of Darius in Ezra 6, which was in actuality an authorization to carry out the stipulations of the original decree of Cyrus. Both of these decrees dealt with the temple and both of them were brought to their final consummation when the temple was finished. We must look beyond the rebuilding of the temple for the next major building project in Jerusalem. There actually were two decrees, or a decree and an authorization, that were involved in this later event, much like the previous two decrees focused on the temple. This new pair of official rulings is found in Ezra 7 and Nehemiah 2. The circumstances and contents of these decrees require close examination in our quest for the starting point of Daniel's time prophecy. C. The nature of the decree. The decree given to Ezra is recorded in Ezra 7:12-26 as an official decree of Artaxerxes. It is quoted in the text as a copy of the decree in the original Aramaic language. Because the decree of Darius in Ezra 6 actually contains a reiteration of the antecedent decree of Cyrus, the decree of Artaxerxes is longer than that of Darius. The decrees get longer as one goes through the book. The decree of Cyrus in chapter 1 is the shortest, the decree of Darius in chapter 6 is of medium length, and the decree of Artaxerxes in chapter 7 is the longest and should, therefore, be accorded some measure of importance. Contributing to that importance is the wide-ranging authority it accorded to Ezra in this decree. By this decree he was not only given privileges to pay for and offer sacrifices in the temple in Jerusalem, but he was also given power to appoint magistrates and judges in the province of Beyond the River. The province of Beyond the River included more than Judea. It included all of Syria that was located west and south of the Upper Euphrates River. Thus by this decree Ezra was given authority not over the Jews only, but also over the persons and territory outside of Judea (Ezra 7:25). He was given permission to draw upon the treasury of that province up to the amount of 100 talents of silver (see Ezra 7:21, 22). Included among Ezra's responsibilities under this decree of Artaxerxes was the authorization to teach the law of his God to Jews and non-Jews alike in this same extended territory. For anyone who would not obey his teachings in these matters he was authorized to execute punishment up to the death penalty (see Ezra 7:25, 26). His authority over non-Jews is probably the most remarkable feature of the decree. The extent and importance of Ezra's position should be noted carefully in order to understand the nature of his action that followed upon his arrival at Jerusalem.A second return of Jews with him (Ezra 8) took place under the same decree. This was only the second official large-scale return of Jews since the Persian conquest of Babylon, the first being under Cyrus (see Ezra 1, 2). While a trickle of Jews may have returned between these two events, the full and official nature of this authorized return should be noted (see Ezra 7:13). In the same way that an officially decreed return initiated the reconstruction of the temple, this second officially decreed return served as the stimulus to commence the construction of Jerusalem. D. The results of the decree. Now we come to the question of what Ezra did upon his arrival at Jerusalem. We know that he had to deal with the question of mixed or foreign marriages (see Ezra 9, 10), but what else did he do? The record of his other main activity is recorded in Ezra 4:7, 16, in a letter from the western governors to Artaxerxes, the king who had issued the decree. The governors struck a note of alarm, reporting, "Be it known to the king that the Jews who came up from you to us have gone to Jerusalem. They are rebuilding that rebellious and wicked city; they are finishing the walls and repairing the foundations" (Ezra 4:12, RSV). Then the governors went on to threaten the king where it could hurt him most, in the treasury pocketbook: "If this city is rebuilt and the walls finished, they will not pay tribute, custom, or toll, and the royal revenue will be impaired" (vs. 13, RSV). Some important aspects of this report to the king need to be considered. First the report is recorded in a letter from the western governors. It is found in Aramaic in the book of Ezra as an official document of the Persian archives (see vss. 7-11). There can be no question about the identity of the king to whom it was addressed. The title to the letter bears the name of Artaxerxes (vs. 11), who allowed a group of Jews to return to Judea. The Jews had stopped to see the governors on their way to Jerusalem (cf. Ezra 4:12 with 8:36). This information fits well with the authorization given to Ezra to draw upon the treasuries of the western provinces. Undoubtedly, the western governors were saddened that their resources had been depleted by authorization from the king. When they wrote their letter finances was uppermost in their minds. After stopping for their official visit with the governors the returning Jews had gone on to Jerusalem. The city is mentioned by name in Ezra 4:12 and its character is described rather extensively by the governors in their report. The only question here, what group of Jews is under discussion? The book of Ezra itself provides the answer. Ezra brought a group of Jews back from Babylonia under authorization from Artaxerxes. The governors then reported to the king that a group of Jewish returnees had come to them and gone on to Jerusalem. Because no other officially authorized return of Jews is known in the Persian period since the time of Cyrus, and certainly no other is known to have taken place in the reign of Artaxerxes, this is unquestionably the Jews who returned with Ezra. The only way that one can avoid such a conclusion is to posit somebody just like Ezra doing the same work that Ezra did. Such conjecturing is unnecessary. The logical conclusion that Ezra and his returnees are the group referred to here has been hinted at obliquely by other scholars. For example, L. W. Batten states, We note that the Jews here denounced are recent arrivals. There must therefore have been an extensive migration in the time of Artaxerxes, of which we have no other record (sic!). From their undertakings the company must have been a large one.[5] F. C. Fensham notes that, "the reference to a migration in verse 12 probably refers to a return of certain Jews before Nehemiah."[6] One of the reasons why some scholars have been loathe to accept Ezra as the leader of this group of returnees has to do with the long-discussed question of the sequence of Ezra and Nehemiah. Did Ezra precede Nehemiah or did Nehemiah precede Ezra? Scholars unsure of the answer to this question are, of course, unsure about the identity of the group that preceded Nehemiah back to Jerusalem during the reign of Artaxerxes. But if one agrees to the idea that Ezra preceded Nehemiah, then Ezra and his fellow returnees are the only logical candidates to fit the text. The sequence of Ezra and Nehemiah is too large a question to be discussed here.[7] Suffice it to say that the traditional, classical, and canonical order of Ezra followed by Nehemiah is accepted and utilized here. The Persian period history is described from its beginnings in Ezra but Nehemiah discusses only his own experiences during the reign of an Artaxerxes, the same name of the king with whom the book of Ezra ends. And Nehemiah uses a date later in the reign of that king according to the regnal year number. This also makes good sense out of the references to Ezra in the book of Nehemiah (8:1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 9, 13; and 9:6). If one reverses the order of these two men, these references or this narrative needs to be emended or changed in some other fashion. The logical and direct interpretation of the data is that Ezra had returned before Nehemiah did and was present for the events of Ezra 8 and 9. The book of Ezra tells how he came to be there beforehand. With this order applied to the events described in Ezra 4:12-23 (but not including vs. 24), Ezra now becomes the person who led out in the reconstruction of the city of Jerusalem upon the return of the wave of exiles who came with him during the reign of Artaxerxes I, before the time of Nehemiah. Reconstructing these events in this way, however, creates something of a problem in the order of the text. The return of the Jews under Ezra is described in chapters 7 and 8 but their rebuilding of the city is described in chapter 4. Why are things out of order like this? It should be pointed out here that there is more than one way to organize a book, biblical or otherwise, and the author does not always have to subscribe to the strictly chronological approach. He might also follow a topical approach. And that is what has happened here. There is a parenthesis here between Ezra 4:5 and 4:24-5:1. The parenthesis continues its own recital along chronological lines but the topic or subtopic being opposition to the Jews. That opposition is cited first for the reign of Cyrus in Ezra 4:1-5, then for the reign of Ahasuerus (or Xerxes) Ezra 4:6, then for the reign of Artaxerxes in Ezra 4:7-23. Then with Ezra 4:24 the narrative returns to the time of Darius"between the times of Cyrus and Ahasuerus. The topic treated in this subsection (Ezra 4) is opposition to the Jews. The opposition is in the first case about building the temple (time of Cyrus), then a more general opposition (time of Xerxes), and finally an opposition about building the city of Jerusalem (time of Artaxerxes). Fensham has given a nice evaluation of this problem in his statement that, In spite of this [the chronological order of Persian kings in chapter 4], Rudolph presumes that the Chronicler had no idea of the historical sequence of the Persian kings and mentioned typical names which are accidentally correct chronologically. Rudolph arrives at this conclusion because of the sudden switch to Darius in 4:24. . . . Thus it is understandable that modern scholars, reasoning from their own logic, should regard the historical reliability of this chapter with suspicion. But there is another kind of perfectly legitimate logic to the reasoning of the author of this chapter: he is referring in this chapter in chronological order to the hindrances placed in the way of Jews to rebuild the temple and the wall of Jerusalem. When he discussed the problems of the building of the temple in 4:1-5, it reminded him of later similar troubles with the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem, and so 4:6-23 has been inserted, almost parenthetically, before the argument of the building of the temple has again been taken up in 4:24ff. (already noted by C. F. Keil in the last century).[8] Thus there is a perfectly good explanation as to why the decree and the return are described in chapters 7 and 8 but the rebuilding undertaken by the very same people who returned in these chapters is described in chapter 4. There is no conflict. The chapter arrangement merely reflects the author's decision to treat his materials in a topical rather than in a strictly chronological manner. Two final questions about these events arise before we turn to more specifically chronological matters. The first question is, Why did Ezra undertake the rebuilding of the city when it was not specifically mentioned in the authorizing decree from Artaxerxes? The second question is, Why did Artaxerxes stop the rebuilding if he authorized it and was so favorable to Ezra? In answering the first question we can simply supply the historical proof. Ezra 4:12, 13 indicates that Ezra did indeed go ahead and undertake the building. He appears to have made no effort to conceal what he was doing. He did not do it surreptitiously but in full view of the western governors. Given that open nature of the project, one can only say that Ezra understood that the rebuilding fell within the jurisdiction of the authorization given to him. As conscientious an observer of the law of God as he was-and even Artaxerxes noted this point-he made no attempt to deceive anyone in regard to what was being carried out. Ezra had been granted legal and judicial courtroom authority (Ezra 7:15, 26) which needed to involve the establishment of places of judgment. Such places were typically the "gates" of the city wall where the judges met for their judgment activities. There seems to be here a clear indication that Ezra must have provided the building facilities where proper civil judicial activities were to be carried out. Jerusalem was a religious precinct surrounding the temple area in a sense, and Ezra's authority over religious matters seems to have to include also the reconstruction of Jerusalem. E. Response of the king. What kind of king was Artaxerxes, who reversed his own decree? Historians describe him as two-faced. Probably the classic example of his duplicity occurred in the disposition of Inarus, who rebelled against him in Egypt. After Inarus was defeated by Artaxerxes' general, Megabyzus, in 454 B.C.in 454 B.C., Artaxerxes promised him safe conduct to Persia and assured him that he would not be executed. Artaxerxes honored this promise for some five years but eventually, at the pleading of the Queen Mother Amestris, he had Inarus impaled. Megabyzus was so upset at the king's perfidy that he then raised a revolt in Syria.[9]Chronology We now turn to the question of the chronology of the events involved. Once the chronological issues are settled a direct calculation of the date for the Messiah can be proposed and history can be examined to see who fits. The date for the beginning of this period of the prophecy must coincide with the going forth or issuing of the word or decree that led to the commencement of the reconstruction of Jerusalem. According to the interpretations discussed above, the decree that led to that commencement can be identified as the decree which Artaxerxes I gave to Ezra. Now that decree needs to be dated. The narrative connected with it indicates that Ezra and his fellow returnees left Babylon on the first day of the first month of Artaxerxes' seventh year (Ezra 7:9), or I/1/7. After a journey of four months they came to Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month of the seventh year (vs. 10), or V/1/7. Two main issues are involved here: (1) absolute dates for the reign of Artaxerxes, and (2) the kind of calendar according to which these dates were reckoned. A. Regnal years of Artaxerxes. Absolute dates for the reign of Artaxerxes I can be established through knowledge of the dates for the two preceding kings, Darius I and Xerxes. The dates for these kings are well known because both men conducted invasions of Greece and Greek historians dated their reigns in terms of the well-understood Olympiad dating system. In addition we have sources from the Ancient Near East which include papyri from Egypt dated to the reign of Artaxerxes and the constant flow of contract tablets written in cuneiform when Babylonia was under Persian control. We also have Ptolemy's Canon, in which the reigns of ancient kings back to the mid-eighth century B.C. were dated and fixed by means of eclipses and astronomical-mathematical calculations. In other words, we are in a very good position to give a very accurate fix to the dates for Xerxes and of his son Artaxerxes, who followed him. 1. Classical historical sources. We will begin with some of the latest sources and work our way backwards. At least half a dozen classical (Greco-Roman) historians mention something about the time or circumstances surrounding the death of Xerxes. The Greek historian Ctesias tells us the most about the circumstances involving Xerxes' murder by Artabanus, but he does not date the event precisely.[10] Diodorus of Sicily who gives us the more precise date for those events, dating both by the Athenian archonship and the Roman consular year. These two types of years overlap to indicate that Xerxes was murdered sometime during the last half of the Julian year 465 B.C.[11] 2. An Egyptian astronomical source. The Egyptian solar calendar was 1/4th day short of a true solar year it advanced regularly in relation to the Julian years used to calculate B.C. dates. This feature has been used by modern historians to work out ancient Egyptian dates by figuring backwards in the Egyptian calendar. It was also used by the astronomer Ptolemy in his Almagest.[12] For the year in which Xerxes died, 465 B.C., the Egyptian New Year's day, Thoth 1, fell on our December 17. If Xerxes died before December 17, then Artaxerxes' second regnal year would have begun on that day; but instead, Artaxerxes' first year begins on December 17, and that means"according to the Egyptian system" that Xerxes died between December 17 and the Persian Babylonian Spring New Year, Nisanu 1, in the spring. 3. A Babylonian Astronomical Source. The Babylonians were aware that solar and lunar eclipses repeated themselves almost exactly in cycles of 18 years. Ancient astronomers called these periods "Saros cycles." Cuneiform tablets recording Saros cycles in terms of the years of reigning kings are known from the Hellenistic period.[13] Tables derived from these tablets measure off these cycles from the ninth year of Xerxes to the sixth year of Artaxerxes to the twenty-fourth year of Artaxerxes. Aside from the fact that modern astronomers can determine when these astronomical phenomena took place, they also measure off for us the number of years between these regnal dates. In this way this cycle dates the 18 years between the ninth year of Xerxes and the sixth year of Artaxerxes to the span between 477 B.C. and 459 B.C. This fixes the year of Xerxes' death and Artaxerxes' accession to 465 B.C. 4. Egypto-Jewish historical sources. Papyri from the fifth century B.C. written in Aramaic by Jewish military mercenaries in Persian employ on the island of Elephantine in Egypt supply us with additional valuable historical and chronological information. These documents were dated in terms of both of the overlapping Egyptian and Persian-Babylonian calendars. The mathematical junctures at which these two variable calendars intersect with double dates help to fix the dates for the reigns of the kings during which these documents were written. A case of special importance here is Cowley papyrus No. 6 which was dated to both the twenty-first (and last) year of Xerxes and to the accession year of Artaxerxes.[14] The day and month dates utilized in this document fix its writing to January 2, 464 B.C. This text itself indicates that Xerxes' death had been reported in Egypt by that time. Since the Persian "pony express" type of courier system was in effect by that time, the delivery of that news in Egypt may be located late in 465 B.C. This supports the other indications that Xerxes died late in that year, toward its very end of 465 B.C. (In the previous section we reviewed evidence that he died after December 17, 465 B.C.) 5. Babylonian historical sources. The flow of contract tablets from Babylonian scribes continued under the Persian kings, but our sources have a tendency to thin out toward the later kings of that period. Thus these tablets have not been as helpful as one would wish in terms of pinning down the precise date of the transition between Xerxes and Artaxerxes, in spite of the recent publication of additional collections of these tablets[15] and catalogues of unpublished collections of these tablets.[16] They do, however, abundantly confirm the previously established pattern which indicates that 465 B.C. was the twenty-first year of Xerxes and that Artaxerxes I's first full regnal year began on Nisanu 1 in the spring of 464 B.C. Recent publication of astronomical tablets from the eleventh and twenty-fourth years of Artaxerxes I have provided more precise support for that same chronological pattern.[17] 6. Summary on Artaxerxes' regnal dates. In summary, we can say that there are a number of very important chronological lines which focus upon dating the regnal years of Xerxes and those of his son Artaxerxes I. A knowledge of these dates was never lost, because they were preserved in the classical historians of Greece and Rome and in the tables of Ptolemy's Almagest. These clearly indicate that 465 B.C. was the twenty-first and last year of Xerxes and that 464 B.C. was the first full official year of Artaxerxes I. Archaeological discoveries from late in the last century and from this present century have provided ample confirmation of the accuracy of those calculations. Support for these dates have been found in the Elephantine papyri and in a more general but still strongly accurate way from the Saros tablets and the compilation of Babylonian contract tablets from the Persian period. There can be no doubt for anyone familiar with the available chronological sources that we have the regnal years of Artaxerxes I accurately fixed. Indeed, the dates are so well set in the cement of these sources that it is hard to imagine any kind of future discovery that could possibly move them. B. The calendar for calculation of the king's years. Having established the absolute dates for the reign of Artaxerxes, we come now to the point of how the Jews of Ezra's time used contemporary dating methods. Ezra, living under this very same Artaxerxes and as a citizen of Babylon, knew very well when Xerxes was killed and when Artaxerxes took the throne. Thus, when he dated his own return to Judea in the seventh year of Artaxerxes (Ezra 7), he was making use of this living, active, and on-going chronological information. The only question is whether he used that information, according to the Persian and Babylonian system of dating, or according to his own Jewish calendar? The difference here can be illustrated quite simply. The Babylonian calendar year began with the month of Nisanu (Jewish Nisan) in the spring of the year, March-April in our calendar. If Ezra followed the Babylonian system, which continued to be used by the Persian kings, he dated the regnal years of Artaxerxes, including the seventh year mentioned in Ezra 7, as beginning in the spring. In contrast, there was the Jewish civil calendar which began in the fall with Tishri 1 (Tashritu of the Babylonians). In the case which we are considering, this provides us with a difference of 6 months. If Ezra began Artaxerxes' years according to the Persian-Babylonian system then his first regnal year of Artaxerxes began in the spring of 464 B.C. But if Ezra began Artaxerxes' years according to the Jewish civil year then his first year began in the fall of 464 B.C. In both systems a king's first regnal year began on the system's new year's day. The period between the moment when a king died and a new king officially came to the throne on his first New Year's day was known as his accession year. In Ezra and Nehemiah we are dealing with regnal years only. These considerations effect the date for the beginning of the 70-week prophecy, because we have looked to the decree of Ezra 7 as representing the going forth of the "word" in response to which the reconstruction of the city of Jerusalem began. Ezra says that he left Babylon on I/1/7 of Artaxerxes and he arrived in Jerusalem four months later, on V/1/7 of Artaxerxes (see Ezra 7:7-9). If he gave these dates according to the Persian-Babylonian spring-to-spring year, this would have fallen in the spring and summer of the year 458 B.C. The decree then would have been given before Nisan 1 of 458 B.C., or sometime in the sixth year of Artaxerxes, 459-458 B.C. But if these events are calculated according to the Jewish civil year, which began with Tishri 1 in the fall of 458 B.C., then the decree would probably have been given during that winter of 458-457 B.C., and the journey took place during the spring and summer of 457 B.C. (In the case of the fall-to-fall year, the month numbers do not change, they run VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, I, II, III, IV, V, VI).
     
  16. atrhick

    atrhick New Member

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    The matter may be boiled down to the fact that if Ezra was using the Persian-Babylonian calendar, the decree and the return occurred in 458 B.C.; whereas, if the decree and the return were dated by Ezra according to the Jewish civil year, they fell in 457 B.C. Which of these two alternatives is correct and why? The overwhelming evidence is in favor of Ezra's use of the Jewish fall calendar, as the paragraphs below will reveal. 1. The Jewish fall calendar during the united monarchy. First, it should be noted that there were two calendars in use in ancient Israel, the religious calendar that began (like the Babylonian calendar) in the spring, and the civil calendar that began in the fall. The Jewish new year of Rosh Hashanah, that survives in the liturgical calendar of synagogues today, is a survival of the civil calendar. The use of the fall calendar for civil or political purposes goes back to the time of Solomon. As E. R. Thiele has shown so effectively, the regnal years of Solomon as they were applied to the record of building his palace and the temple were dated by a fall calendar.[18] 2. The Jewish Fall Calendar During the Divided Monarchy. When we compare together the various synchronisms and regnal-year records in 1 and 2 Kings, we see that the use of the fall calendar predominated in the south, in the kingdom of Judah, while the spring calendar was more commonly used in the northern kingdom of Israel.[19] 3. The Jewish Fall Calendar at the End of the Divided Monarchy. The use of the fall calendar in Judah can be elucidated with special detail at the end of the kingdom of Judah, during the years of its last kings as they went down to defeat at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar and his troops from Babylon. The use of a fall calendar in these records of 2 Kings can be demonstrated especially well because the biblical text not only gives the years of the kings of Judah involved, it also gives some references to the years of king Nebuchadnezzar. With the publication of Nebuchadnezzar's own royal chronicles down to the year 593 B.C.,[20] the dates in the Bible and in those chronicles can be compared. When such a comparison is carried out it can be demonstrated that the writer of 2 Kings was indeed using the fall calendar of the Jews to calculate these dates.[21] Only in such a way can these biblical and extrabiblical dates be harmonized. Thus the use of the fall calendar for the civil or regnal years of the kings who reigned in Jerusalem can be demonstrated at the outset from the biblical dates for Solomon. Their use continued through the divided monarchy, as demonstrated by the synchronisms in the biblical record, and they are readily evident as checked with an extrabiblical source at the end of the Judahite monarchy. 4. The Jewish fall calendar during the Babylonian Exile. The fall calendar continued in use among the Jews in exile in Babylon. This is evident from the system of dating employed in the book of Ezekiel, the prophet who wrote from exile in Babylon. He did not date his visions according to the regnal years of the Babylonian kings under whom he lived, rather he dated them according to the years of the exile of the Jews. This is apparent from the date in the title to the book found in Ezek 1:2; 8:1; 40:1. 5. The Jewish fall calendar after the Babylonian Exile. We come now to Ezra himself. Is there any evidence from his book that he used a fall calendar? Unfortunately, there is not; however, we have precisely that kind of information in Nehemiah 1, 2. Because Nehemiah was a contemporary and compatriot of Ezra's, the use of a fall calendar in Nehemiah's book can be taken as very strong evidence that Ezra used it too. What then is the evidence for the fall calendar in Nehemiah? In the first chapter of Nehemiah we are presented with circumstances in which Nehemiah found himself at the court of Artaxerxes. He had received recent news that Jerusalem was destroyed and burned (see Neh 1:1-3). We should emphasize that this was recent news about recent events. Nehemiah was not talking about what Nebuchadnezzar did to the city more than a century before. If we understand that Ezra had already gotten the reconstruction of the city underway when he returned (Ezra 4:12-24), then any future assault upon the city would be what Nehemiah was concerned about. Seeing Nehemiah's distress, the king inquired about its cause. When he found out, the king authorized him to go to Jerusalem and tend to the matters himself. Of chronological interest in this narrative is the way the two dates involved are stated. Nehemiah's receipt of the news concerning Jerusalem in the ninth month of Artaxerxes twentieth year. The authorization given to Nehemiah to attend to these matters was of course given later, yet according to Nehemiah 2:1 it was given in the first month of the same twentieth year of Artaxerxes! There can be only one way to explain these dates historically as they stand, i.e., that they were reckoned upon the base of a fall-to-fall year which began in the seventh month for as we noticed a few paragraphs ago, in the fall-to-fall year the number of the months ran VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, I, II, III, IV, V. Thus in the fall-to-fall year the first month came six months after the seventh month. As the text stands, and this is the basis upon which scholars should draw their conclusions, these dates in Nehemiah 1, 2 present the strongest possible evidence that Nehemiah used a fall-to-fall calendar, and, that therefore, it is most reasonable to conclude that his contemporary colleague Ezra did too. 6. The Jewish fall calendar during the contemporary Egyptian Exile. A final supplementary line of evidence is found in the Elephantine papyri, a second batch of which was published in 1953. Among these papyri is one which has direct implications for the type of regnal year that was employed by Jews who served in Egypt. Kraeling papyrus No. 6 contains dates which locate its month of Tammuz, the fourth month of the Jewish year (or July) 420 B.C. Kraeling papyrus No. 7 is dated to Tishri (or October) of the same year, 420 B.C. But the regnal year number of Darius II, under whom these texts were written, changes between the texts from year three of the July papyrus to year four of the October papyrus. This means that the year number of the king, according to the usage of the people who wrote these papyri, changed at the fall New Year of Tishri 1 rather than of the spring new year of Nisan 1. This has been examined and explained in detail by Siegfried Horn in his study of these and related texts.[22] Thus, while Ezra and Nehemiah used the Jewish fall calendar in their documents, other Jews exiled in Egypt were also using it a quarter of a century later in their part of the diaspora. 7. Summary of the use of the Jewish fall calendar. To summarize, it may be noted that the Hebrew monarchy started out using the fall calendar for the regnal years of Solomon and continued to use it in the kingdom of Judah. Its use is specifically demonstrated by a comparison between 2 Kings and extrabiblical documents at the end of the monarchy. Jews carried this calendar into exile with them into Babylon and they continued to use it there, as is evidenced by the dates in Ezekiel. In the postexilic period Nehemiah, Ezra's fellow worker, provides direct textual evidence of the use of this kind of calendar. Other exiles elsewhere continued to use that same calendar. Thus the conclusion that Ezra used a fall-to-fall calendar for the dates in his book rests upon very solid ground. This means that "the seventh year of Artaxerxes" in Ezra 7 is 457 B.C. rather than 458 B.C. as would be suggested if he had been using a spring calendar. C. Conclusions on chronology. Through these two chronological procedures, a search for an absolute date for the regnal years of Artaxerxes and an examination of the question of which kind of calendar Ezra used, we have arrived at 457 B.C. as the date for the decree of Artaxerxes in Ezra 7. Because this was the decree which led to the commencement of the reconstruction of the city of Jerusalem, we have come to an absolute date for the specification for the prophecy of Daniel 9:25. That text may now be paraphrased here to identify its starting point as, "From the going forth of the word (the decree of Artaxerxes I) to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem (by Ezra according to the decree of Ezra 7 and the actions of Ezra 4), in 457 B.C." D. Nehemiah's decree. Two final points need to be made in relation to the "decree" to Nehemiah recorded in Nehemiah 2. The first has to do with its relationship to the antecedent decree of Ezra. Actually, this later communication was not quite on the same level as the official decree given earlier to Ezra. Nehemiah was given a letter that authorized him to receive recognition and assistance for the tasks that the king permitted him to perform. It had the net effect of a decree, but it was not quite the same thing. The relation between the two communications was that of initial authorization and supplementary authorization. What Ezra went and started was then taken up and carried on to partial completion by Nehemiah. As in the preceding case of Cyrus' initial decree in Ezra 1 and Darius' supplementary authorization in Ezra 6, Artaxerxes' two decrees in Ezra 7 and Nehemiah 2 can be seen as a pair. In both cases the initial decree led to the commencement of the project, but both reconstruction projects required supplementary authorization to complete them; with the temple in the first case and the city in the second. E. Alternate interpretations. Because it really was the first decree of the second set, the one given to Ezra in 457 B.C., which led to the commencement of the construction of the city, is the decree to which we should look for fixing the point for the beginning of the prophetic and historical period outlined by Daniel. But some Evangelical commentators hold that we should work instead from the date of 444 B.C. (the communication given to Nehemiah) to begin this period. In order for this period to predict when Jesus of Nazareth would become the Messiah, however, those beginning in 444 B.C. are forced to shorten it. A full 483 years from 444 B.C. overshoots the ministry and death of Jesus by at least five years by almost any standard.[23] There is no way to reconcile the date 444 B.C. and to have the 490 years terminate anywhere close to the time of Jesus Christ's death.[align=justify]Conclusion[/align] When the correct procedures described above are carried out, it can be seen that the prophecy of the 69 weeks, or the 483 full historical years of Daniel 9, culminates in A.D. 27. The final question of this study is, What do the words "unto Messiah the Prince" mean? They should indicate the time for the coming of the Messiah. It should be noted carefully what a Messiah is. According to its verbal root, Messiah means an anointed one. Thus the Messiah is one who is anointed. Before that anointing the person involved was not fully the Messiah yet. Thus we are not talking here about the time of the Messiah's birth or the time of His death; we are talking about the time when He would appear as the Messiah. There is one person and one only who fulfills this requirement, and that is the one who was anointed as the Messiah in A.D. 27, Jesus of Nazareth. His anointing at the Jordan River, by both John the Baptist and His heavenly Father, took place in the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar according to Luke 3:1, 21, 22. While there are other possible ways of reckoning this regnal year of Tiberius,[24] it certainly is a reasonable and standard procedure accepted by many commentators, chronographers, and historians to reckon it from A.D. 12. Utilizing that procedure and starting from the beginning point established above in 457 B.C. leads us to one specific individual as the Messiah of this prophecy-Jesus Christ. In other words, the establishment of 457 B.C. as the starting point of the 70-week prophecy of Daniel 9 is one of the strongest indicators among the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament that Jesus truly was all that He claimed to be.
     
  17. OLd Sage

    OLd Sage New Member

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    (lizz7711;50774)
    Ok, i'm sorry for posting again but i have alot of questions! Why would God make a prophecy, stating there are to be "70 weeks" and then just break off after 69 weeks with no indication of how long this break is to be? Are there any other instances in the Bible where time frames are given like that and then there are arbitrary breaks in the middle? I'm leaning towards believing the 70 weeks have already happened as it makes little sense to me that the last week would be separated by 2000+ years. Also, it says in the middle of the week sacrificed would be abolished...and Jesus accomplished that. And Jesus did also in a spiritual sense fulfill "everlasting righteousness etc" by His resurrection. But as i've said, i'm new to this so please feel free to enlighten me to your view points!thanks,Liz
    Hi Liz,I just joined this forum, and would like to give you my understanding of Daniel's Seventy Weeks. The message is given by God in anwser to his prayer, by Gabriel. It is a message of restoration and hope for the people, the Holy City, and the Temple, but also of the coming of the Messiah, (Christ) Jesus. The message is from God's perspective and His appointed times. The message is also from Daniel's perspective, the decrees issued by earthly kings, as moved by the Sprit of God. To do His Will.The message is the perspective of Christ Jesus, to follow everything the Holy Father told him, in the Law, Prophets, and Psalms.The message also shows Daniel the Symbolic Month of Passover.This is my understanding, from my study of Daniel, and the Holy Scriptures. Which I belive are the Words of God spoken to his servants, and that Scripture proves Scripture.I would also like to point out, that when Daniel wrote down the message, after being in Babylon for almost seventy years, he wrote using Old Hebrew, without vowel points, which was incorporated by scribes during the time of Christ Jesus, as in the Daniel scrolls, found in 1947 in the caves at Qumran.Daniel was eighty some years old, held a very high position of power, had access to the Holy Scrolls. And while deep in prayer, the angel Gabriel came to him. And Daniel, sets the time and date, from reading the scroll of Jeremiah's dates and in writing it down. From which we have reference points, in history. I used the year 539 bc, as a base date on a timeline chart, as I plotted out points of time from Scriptures. In doing so, I realize two seperate periods of seventy years, one for the people, and the other for the Temple.the people; 606 bc, to 536 bc. and the Temple 586 bc, to the rebuilt Temple in 516 bc. So from the first chapter of Daniel the years of captivity without a Temple, the people build synagogs to house the Law, and scrolls, and to meet and pray, elders become teachers. And they keep the Sabbath, counting the weeks.While once before, God warned them to keep His Sabbaths, and if they did not, Heaven and Earth would keep the Sabbaths. Before they were carried off to Babylon.So we know, that as long as the people are in exile, and the Temple and Altar are in ruins, there was a lapse in counting the weeks, by the people, but the message given to Daniel, gave them hope. At the fall of Babylon in 536 bc, there is a first return of a group they rebuild the Altar, and start on the walls. And by 535 bc, construction on the Temple starts, but under opposition by local Arabs, work starts and stops to 520 bc. and the decree is found to allow construction, and by 516 bc. the Temple is completed, (but not to it's former grandeur !) In Ezra 7:6-9, recorded the second groups return in 458 bc. and in 444 bc. Nehemiah 1:1, recorded the third groups return, and by 441 bc. the first Passover Feast of the sacred year, starts the count of weeks. Its here that the Vision and Prophecy are sealed. The period between 539 bc. and 441 bc. is 98 years, this is a "shavuim" of sevens or multiples of seven, being two periods of 49 years. The first half of the 98 year/week, being the time of earthly decrees, while the Temple was being restored, all the people did not return, to the Holy City, Jerusalem and as the 49th year approched, there was a plot to kill all the Jews, in the land by Haman, this being the middle of a week of 98 years, is the year 490 bc./3270 ce. (the period of Esther, a decree saved the Jews) Esther 8:8-14. Which assured the full return, of God's people. (even Daniel in 441 bc. three and one half years, later after the third return)The message, "until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven 'sevens' (7x7 =49 [twice in 98 yrs.]), and sixty-two 'sevens' ( 62 x 7 = 434 years ) is the period between 441 bc. and 7 bc. and eight months after the message given to Mary, when Jesus was born in 6 bc., eight days later He was circumcised, and named Jesus. And on the fortieth day, consecrated to the Lord in the Temple. And seen by Simeon. Luke 2:25-40.From 7 bc. to 70 ad. is a 'Shavuim' of 77 years, a week of 77 years, in the middle of this week, a week of seven years, counted from 28 ad. to 35 ad. and in the middle of the week, the Anointed One, will be cut off. In the year 31 ad./3791 c.e.As you can see, Daniel knew there would be a change in times, a change in the counting of years. But remember the Jews had their own counting, their own months, during this period the Rabbis determined from Scriptures that it was 3760 years from Adam and the Creation, six years after Jesus was born and they numbered the Jewish years accordingly. From 46 bc. the Julian Roman year 707 A.U.C. (ab urbe condita) the calendar underwent many changes. And was not of use for the Jewish Feasts and Holy days.Where God had told Moses, "this for you is your first month, the first month of your year" in Ex. 12:2, and Ex. 13:4, "Today, in the month of Abib, you are leaving. It is this first Passover, that is the type for the Lamb of God, Christ Jesus.The message of the Seventy Weeks, is applicable to God's Creation Week, as proclaimed by John 1:1-14. In the middle of one week, the forth day of the Creation Week, the light of the world is seen. It is God's Plan for the Lamb, it's written into the Law, the Command and Decree is given to Moses, to leave Egypt at an exact point in time, to the day. To enter the Promised Land to build and settle in the land. Then when we consider, that the giving of the Law, to Moses, and God's chosen people, is in the middle of a Week of Seven Thousand Years, the year being counted as 1446 bc./2314 ce.; which is the last half of God's Plan, being a span of 3500 years, ( where 70 times 50 equals 3500) Where we know from the Law, the counting of Sabbatic years, 7 x 7 = 49, plus the following year, the fiftieth a Holy Year, a Jubilee ! see: Lev. 25:10, Luke 4:19. That Heaven and Earth would keep, even if the Law was transgressed, and not kept.The Message given to Daniel, also points to the month of the Anointed One, Christ Jesus. The month of Abib, is the first month of the Sacred calendar, it commences with the first new moon, after the Spring Equinox, where the hours of day and night are equal. The month of Seventy Weeks, the month of Abib, only occur at set points in time. Jesus observed, the Feasts, and seasons, He knew when His time was right, the month of Abib, in 31 ad./3791 ce. was appointed by God, in the beginning.The month of Abib, can only be the month of Seventy weeks, when the first new moon is observed, after the equinox. And the first day of the month starts at twilight dusk, after the forth day of the week. This being the start of the fifth day (Thursday), where the Sabbath days of the month, are 3, 10, 17, 24, of a 30 day month.(Note: to see this more clearly, or if you have calendar maker software, print out the month (May 2008, or Jan. 2009) change the month name to Abib. the first one I made was 8.5 x 11, in landscape view. But a larger size allows note writting in each day of applicable Scripture.)Now with our new month of Abib, with highlighter pens, and our Bibles, lets read Ex. 12: 1 thru 13:16. In verse 12:3, Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. ( I used a green pen and highlighted the left edge of the 10th day, for twilight dusk the start of the day, and yellow along the green and border edge of the day, with the center clear for notes, all of the Rest days of the month can be colored the same way.)Verse, 6; Take care of them until the four-teenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. (using a green pen highlight the left edge of the fourteenth day, and yellow the border as this is also a Sabbath day, a High Holy Sabbath, as is the tenth day.) Keeping in mind the Sabbath Laws given afterwards. Verse, 8; That same night..... Verse, 10; Do not leave any of it till morning; Read thru to verse, 18; in part; .... from the evening of the fourteenth day untill the evening of the twenty-first day. verse, 19; For seven days no yeast is to be found in your houses..... They were already told to sprinkled the blood of the Lamb on the exterior door frame and door. But notice it's in verse 21, Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, "Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. Verse, 22; Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. Not one of you shall go out of his house until morning.What day do you think this was? They needed the light of day to discern the plant Hyssop, they needed time to select a pure lamb, and time to save the blood in a basin and sprinkle it on the doorframes, before dark or dusk of twilight where only shapes can be seen, not colors. Remember the Jewish day starts the night before the day.This was the 13th day of the month, the Passover being at Midnight after the start of the 14th day at dusk. Then this 13th day, is a Preparation day, for the Passover.Verse, 29; At midnight the Lord struck down all the firstborn in Egypt ..... verse 30 all the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was a loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead.On my month of Abib, I marked the outline of the 13th, 14th and 15th days with red/pink highlighter pen, for the blood of the Lamb of God, and because this is the middle of the Passover week, of the month of seventy, it's also the first half of the seven year week, which is three and one half years, or forty-two months of Christ Jesus's Ministry, and the 13 + 14 + 15 = 42, in the weeks of seventy month of Abib.I then highlighted in red/pink all the fourth days of the month weeks, being; 7, 14, 21, 28, which are the seventy in the middle of the weeks of Abib. (7+14+21+28=70) The Lamb of God, was cut off on the Preparation Day, taken down off the cross before dusk/twilight, and placed in a tomb before sunset.The message to Daniel, after the weeks of 62 the Anointed One, is cut off. When we look at our month of Abib, and highlight the second days of the weeks, (Mondays) which I did in blue highlighter pen, we can see the 5+12+19+26=62, is the symbolic week of sixty-two. In this symbolic month of Abib, the 13th, 14th & 15th mentioned are also in a shortened week of seventy, as ( 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 = 70) with the red/pink cross of Christ shown in the middle. While some biblical scholars may not agree with my pointing out of the symbolic cross, before the fact.I would like to point out, did Abraham realize when he walked the length and breath of the land God brought him to, that his footsteps left a symbolic cross on the land. And did every head of the household realize that after they followed Moses directions, they sprinkled the blood on the top and sides of each doorframe, the blood marked a symbolic cross on every door. How many biblical scholars, will disagree with my placing the giving of the Law to Moses, on my timeline of Seventy Weeks, in the middle of the Millennium Week? What, one sign could there be in the Word, that would point out the first 3500 years of the Week? In Genesis, when Abraham rescued Lot, it is mentioned he went as far as the land of Dan. This has confounded scholars for centuries, because Dan was not even born at the time. Was God pointing to Christ, and Daniels message, when it is written Abraham sent out 318 trained men to rescue Lot, and went as far as Dan. Gen. 14:14;In my study Bible, the study note for this verse is; (Dan) this well known city in the north was not given the name "Dan" until the days of judges [see Jdg. 18:29], The designation here is thus an editoral updating subsequent to Moses' time.I don't agree with this scholarly note, the mention of Dan, the first time in Scriptures, and the only time that the Arabic number 318 and trained men is used or written in Scripture is in verse 14. It's symbolicly written by Moses, as moved by the Holy Sprit, thus in turn the reader, also moved by the Holy Sprit, would seek it's meaning. In my study of God's Word, and the Seventy Weeks, I knew in Genesis, Lamech in boasting to his wives, states; Gen. 4:24, If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy-seven times. This verse has it's counterpoint, in Jesus' response to Peter's question about forgivness in Mt. 18: 21-22. But I wondered would these sevens have a value to Lamech' words.( 70 x 7 = 490, 490 x 7 = 3,430 ) I knew on my Seventy Weeks timeline chart, from the birth of Christ to the destruction of the Temple in 70 ad. is 77 years. Jesus gave us the model of 40 days in the desert before His Ministry of three and one-half years, the first half of a seven year week, in the middle of 77 years. Or if Moses was the type, being the forty years in the desert, before the counting of the last half of the Week (being 3500 years) then the count would start with Joshua. And according to the Laws of Moses, the fiftieth being appointed by God, would count the Jubilees. Then the Seventy Weeks, are 70 x 50= 3500 ______ ______ 7) 3,430 = 490, 49) 3,430 = 70, Would Ex. 34:30, be a division of time? In Gen. 5:1, This is the written account of Adams line. (the ages and numbers recorded in Scripture are a sign, and symbolic of things to come, or things past.) In these accounts from Gen. 5:1 thur Gen. 14:14 the ages recorded and numbers written, would reveal an astounding sum. (Hint; you can use an adding machine!)Which points to Christ Jesus and in the Seventy Weeks of Daniel, and the second advent. But also to the first half of God's Creation Week, the Millennium Week in the beginning, and the end of the Earth Age, at the second advent of Jesus our King.The counting of Weeks on my timeline, are either from the giving of the Law to Moses, or forty years later when Joshua entered the promised Land, set-up the Meeting Tent and Observed the Passover in the month of Abib. We know from Scripture, that in this last half up to the Babylon Exile, not one Jubilee year was ever observed in Israel. Or after the return from Babylon, and after the Temple was destroyed in 70 ad. it was sealed and reserved for the return of Christ Jesus, as the year of the Lord's favor.While Heaven and Earth, mark and count the Weeks, until the second advent, and the Thousand years of the new Earth Age, somewhere in scriptures called the eight day. With that hope we pray, for Our Lord's Return, at the appointed time of God.We are still the generation, that witnessed the Fig Tree (Israel) sprout buds and leaves in 1947-'48, the Jewish calendar is still in use, and numbered by year. Israel looks forward to its 69th Week/year. In my timeline chart, I added a Jubilee timeline, dating it from Joshua, after the forty years of wondering, as in 1406 bc./2354 ce. showing each Jubilee, by century. The birth of Jesus, in 6 bc./3754 ce. would of been the 28th Jubilee, it was 1400 years after Joshua's time. It's been over two-thousand years since the birth of Jesus, marked in 5754 ce./1994 ad. Where 1944, marked the 67th Jubilee, in 5704 ce. and 1948/5708 ce. Israel became a State. We are approaching the 69th Jubilee, in year 2044/5804 ce. Then it remains that the 70th Jubilee, would be in 2094 ad./5854 ce. being the last half, 3500 years of the 7000 year/Week. Or could be shortened by forty years, if counted from Moses, in 1446 bc./2314 ce. making 2054 ad./5814 ce. the end of 3500 years, (A time, a times, and half a time) This is the 'Shavuim' of Daniel's Seventy Weeks!And I pray, 'Come O Lord, Come' !Peace !OldSage
     
  18. Christina

    Christina New Member

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    Interesting post I dont agree with your time line but do agree with some parts of your post I must ask however that sense we agree that this is the generation of the Fig tree which started around 1948. We must also listen to all the Words of the Parable. Does not Christ promise to return before those wittnessing this event all die? If so this generation will not live unto 2094, even subtracking 40 yearsBeings that 60years have already passed this generation is showing the grey hair of old age NowLuke29:32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away,till all be fulfilled
     
  19. OLd Sage

    OLd Sage New Member

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    (Christina;63779)
    Interesting post I dont agree with your time line but do agree with some parts of your post I must ask however that sense we agree that this is the generation of the Fig tree which started around 1948. We must also listen to all the Words of the Parable. Does not Christ promise to return before those wittnessing this event all die? If so this generation will not live unto 2094, even subtracking 40 yearsBeings that 60years have already passed this generation is showing the grey hair of old age NowLuke29:32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away,till all be fulfilled
    Christina,It's Luke 21:32 ! And Yes ! My gray hair attests to the fact, I'm of this same generation.Being that I was four years old, when Israel became a State, on my Jubilee timeline, making 1944, the 67th Seven, the 68th seven being marked in 1994/5754 is 2000 years from the birth of Christ Jesus. The birth of the State of Israel, in 1948, marked the 5708 c.e. look forward to the 69th seven/Week, for the rebuilding of the Temple, and the coming of the Messiah. That 69th Week, is in the year 2044/5804 making Israel 96 years old, and my generation will be 100 years old.We who are alive in Christ, and die in Christ Jesus, are counted as sons of God, children of the resurrection. Jesus said, "But in the account of the bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord 'the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive." (Luke 20: 37,38)Where Jesus also said, "If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened." (Matt. 24:22)To which I pray, Amen!Peace !Old Sage
     
  20. Christina

    Christina New Member

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    (OLd Sage;63845)
    Christina,It's Luke 21:32 ! And Yes ! My gray hair attests to the fact, I'm of this same generation.Being that I was four years old, when Israel became a State, on my Jubilee timeline, making 1944, the 67th Seven, the 68th seven being marked in 1994/5754 is 2000 years from the birth of Christ Jesus. The birth of the State of Israel, in 1948, marked the 5708 c.e. look forward to the 69th seven/Week, for the rebuilding of the Temple, and the coming of the Messiah. That 69th Week, is in the year 2044/5804 making Israel 96 years old, and my generation will be 100 years old.We who are alive in Christ, and die in Christ Jesus, are counted as sons of God, children of the resurrection. Jesus said, "But in the account of the bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord 'the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive." (Luke 20: 37,38)Where Jesus also said, "If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened." (Matt. 24:22)To which I pray, Amen!Peace !Old Sage
    [​IMG].. well while I wasnt alive when Israel became a nation I do have a few grey hairs myself. While its true that we do have 3 generations listed in scripture 40,70,120Its possable you may be correct.I see 2096-40= 2056 making it.. 106 years oldbut 96 or 106 is not the average life span of a gen.today.. so I am not convinced I also am not sure how you could be so sure of your Jubilees when no one is sure of the Jubilee Dates/years not even the Jews from what I have read there are a couple differnt ideas about this. But no one can really be sure. And yes I agree about the shortening but the timing of the week isnt shortened the tribulation itself is shortened.
     
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