The Seventy Sevens of Daniel

From the Differentiator magazine Volume 26, August 1965, # 4 ( this volume number was also used for 1964 due to a printer's error. It was eventually cleared up by skipping from vol. 28 to vol. 30)

Introductory Editorial

Special attention is drawn to Commander Steedman’s article in this issue. It has been printed entire, instead of the two parts usual for so lengthy a paper, in view of its special importance. By now our readers will be used to having long-accepted ideas questioned in this magazine. That is the only path to progress in understanding God’s Word.

Whether Commander Steedman’s novel approach is correct or not, careful open-minded consideration can only do good and bring us to a better apprehension of God’s Word. Certainly it is causing me to reconsider many matters.

In November 1962, Commander Steedman sent this article to Mr. Alexander Thomson, who wrote in reply: “I could not find any blunders or mistakes. . . . Your articles are fresh, something new, and I think the readers would like that.” Owing to his illness, nothing more came of it, and the papers had to be held up; but now it gives me great pleasure to present the second of them. Let us hope it will prompt general discussion of a most important issue.

When the Apostle Paul opened his itinerant ministry, he based his appeal on written testimony; first on Prophecy: “That the Messiah must suffer and rise from among the dead”; second on the Gospels themselves: “That this One is the Messiah—the Jesus Whom I am announcing to you.” (Acts 17:3)

How comes it, then, that it occurred to nobody at that time to cite the fulfilment of sixty nine (or perhaps sixty two) of the Seventy Sevens of Daniel’s prophecy—correct to the day, if Sir Robert Anderson was correct in his book, “The Coming Prince” —if that prophecy had in fact been fulfilled by then? Yet there is, apparently, no record of such an appeal until nineteen centuries after the Apostle Paul’s ministry began.

I confess that this problem never occurred to me before; but in the face of Commander Steedman’s paper it strikes one most forcibly now, and goes far to reinforce his thesis. Departing from cherished ideas is always distressing; but departing from the faith is infinitely worse, and in the long run disastrous as well. Refusing to face difficulties is the surest way to such departure and all the evil that follows. Let us, then, be true Bereans, and examine this matter honestly and candidly. No doubt others will present themselves for us in due course. In fact, they are occupying my attention now whenever I can take time off from my present duties. These, as my colleagues are aware, have for some while been exacting and even arduous, and, as I put it to a correspondent recently, rather like walking a tightrope.

Further reactions to this new departure are planned for the next issue, and help from our readers will be welcomed.

At the last moment before going to press our attention has been drawn to the rendering of Daniel 9:25 in the American Revised Standard Version: “Know therefore and understand that from the going forth of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time.”

This by itself is bound to create controversy; but its interest for us at present is in its bearing on Commander Steedman’s article.

THE SEVENTY SEVENS OF DANIEL 9:24-27

The use of a capital at the beginning of a sentence or for the name of a person or place is admissible at any time in literature. It is permissible for an author to make use of a capital to indicate some particular relationship of or emphasis on a noun of which he is making use in order to give to his readers a clear indication of what he means to impart. In other words, the use of a capital, other than to conform to the conventional, immediately puts an interpretation to the word so designated. Where an author may take this liberty, no editor should do so unless specifically guided by some irrefutable proof that the meaning conveyed by the capital was exactly what the author meant to convey.

In the Scriptures, in the Greek originals, all letters were capitals in the text, and there was no punctuation, but the letters ran on and on, so many to a line, from one word to another without even any spacing between words or phrases or sentences. At some time or another in the English versions capitals were placed before the words 'holy’ in verse 24, 'messiah’ and ‘prince’ in verse 25. There is no warrant whatsoever for this to have been done. This practice has put upon these verses an interpretation which is virtually inescapable, an interpretation that may be right, but equally may be wrong. It is therefore intended to ignore these capitals and first of all to examine these words and their usage in the O. T. Scriptures to find out whether any support can be given to this assumption, which is used as a premise on which so much exposition of this passage is based.

If the Scripture usage runs counter to the interpretation imposed by the capitals, then the whole subject of the explanation of the meaning of these verses is thrown open again for critical examination. This should be undertaken by a mind cleared of prejudice and with a fixed intention to seek the truth that God intended us to receive. “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8: 32).

The words translated 'most Holy’ are, in the Hebrew QODESH HAQ-QODASHIM, the meaning of which Young, in his Analytical Concordance gives as ‘most holy (thing or place), occurring 37 times in addition to those in the passage under consideration. It is interesting to notice that when the most Holy One of Israel is mentioned the word used is QODOSH, meaning 'separate or set apart one,’ except in two places, Ps. 16:10; 89:19, where the word is CHASID, meaning 'kind or gracious.’ The former text is proved to refer to the Son of God, for the Holy Spirit, through Peter at Pentecost, cites this passage as referring to the Lord Jesus Christ in Acts 2:27. Isaiah 30:15 and Hab. 1:12 and other passages identify this QODOSH with the Lord God (Adoni Jehovah) and LORD God (Jehovah Elohim), Creator, Redeemer and King.

Why, if it was intended to refer to the holy One in Dan. 9:24, did not the Holy Spirit, through Daniel, use the word QODOSH instead of QODESH HAQ-QODASHIM?

This latter expression, by its usage in Scripture, cannot be translated as if referring to the person of Christ, prophetically or otherwise.

The word in Dan. 9:25, 26 translated 'Messiah,’ is in the Hebrew MASHIACH. These are the only two places in the O.T. where the word MASHIACH is so translated. In every other of the 37 occurrences the word is translated 'anointed,’ Young gives the meaning as ‘smeared’ or ‘anointed.’ The occurrences in Leviticus refer to the priest.

That in 1. Samuel 2:10 is in Hanna’s song of praise and in 2:35 it came from the mouth of the prophet sent to Eli, and these in all probability are primarily foretelling the kingship of David, “the man after His (God’s) own heart.” Once it is used of Eliab when Samuel was searching for the man of God’s choice. Once it is used of Joshua, once of Cyrus, king of Persia, three times (possibly) of Solomon, four times of Israel, nine times of David and twelve times of Saul.

By type, references to David and Solomon (or possibly Hezekiah) could be fulfilled in David’s greater Son and undoubtedly will be. In that sense the word MASHIACH does refer to the Lord Jesus Christ. The reference to Joshua in the Psalm of Hab. 3:13, which might be rendered, “Thou wentest forth for the salvation of Thy People with YESHA the anointed,” might be considered in the same way. But how can one treat the references to Saul in the typical way?

If Joshua be the type of the one to bring Israel into the land of promise (Hebrews 4:8 A.V. margin) and David be the type of the conquering King and Solomon the type of the King reigning in peace; of whom is Saul the type? Yet, as has been shown, Saul is designated 'the anointed’ more than any other.

Whilst on the subject of anointing, it must be borne in mind that the subjects of anointing in the ceremonial of Israel are priests, kings, and lepers when healed.

The third word that has a capital is the word 'Prince’ in Dan. 9:25. This is the Hebrew word NAGID and is used again with a small 'p' , in verse 26. It occurs a third time in Dan. 11:22, where it refers to the prince of the covenant who is broken. This translation is used in six other places, where it refers among others to Jeroboam and Baasha, and apart from its use by Job all the uses with this translation are connected with evil behaviour, one being the prince of Tyre. NAGID is also translated ‘ruler’ 19 times, ‘leader’ (4), 'chief’ (3), 'captain’ (2), ‘governor’ (1), 'chief governor’ (1), 'chief ruler’ (1), ‘noble’ (1), and ‘excellent thing' (1), 42 times altogether.

As ‘ruler’ the word’s first use is by Abigail concerning David’s future (1. Sam. 25:30), and in 2. Sam. 6:21 David applies it to himself when addressing his wife Michal, the daughter of Saul. It was used by Nathan the prophet when he spoke to David with reference to the latter when he desired to build the temple. It is next used of Solomon, when David gives instructions for him to be anointed and proclaimed king in his stead (1. Kings 1:35). It is used of Judah’s prerogative, “and of him came the 'chief ruler’ ." Ahitub is spoken of as being 'ruler’ of the house of God and Phinehas is recorded as having been the 'ruler’ over them in time past. Of the rest, threetimes 'ruler’ refers to David (1. Chron. 11:2; 17:17; and 28:4), and in 2. Chron. 6:5, it refers to Solomon. It is used otherwise of kings, priests and commoners also. As 'leader’ it refers to various individuals in the same way, but notice should be taken of its use in Isa. 55: 4, “Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader (NAGID) and commander (TSAVAH-one who gives precepts) to the people. Translated ‘captain,’ NAGID is the word used when Samuel is told to anoint Saul over His people Israel (1. Sam. 9:16) and in 1. Sam. 10:1 it is written; “Then Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured it upon his (Saul’s) head, and kissed him, and said, Is it not because the Lord hath anointed thee to be ‘captain’ over His inheritance?” 1. Sam. 8:14, Samuel, speaking to Saul says, “But now thy kingdom (government) shall not continue: the Lord hath sought Him a man after His own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be ‘captain’ over His people.” 2 Sam.5:2 refers to David’s future 'leadership,’ spoken by the Lord and brought up by the leaders of the tribes at Hebron. In 2 Kings 20:5 Hezekiah is called the ‘captain’ of My people. When Solomon was made king the second time he was anointed “unto the Lord, it is to be the 'chief governor’ (NAGID) (1. Chron. 29:22).”

Sufficient has been shown of the meanings of this word NAGID to indicate that anyone who may be in charge of a people, army, priesthood, treasury or many other things can be so designated.

The study of this word has brought to light a most interesting fact, which is that although both David and Saul were referred to as NAGID, Saul was anointed NAGID and never anointed king (MELEK), whereas David was three times anointed MELEK and never anointed NAGID (1Sam.16:13; 2Sam.2:4; 5:3) to be NAGID over Israel.

Saul was a ‘captain’ of God’s choice to lead Israel in battle against their enemies. Saul was not God’s choice as (MELEK) king. Saul was the choice of the people as king and in doing so they rebelled against God (1. Sam. 8:6, 7 and 9; 11:15; 12:1,2), but God allowed them to have their way. David was a 'ruler’ (NAGID) of God’s choice with a view to his becoming ‘king’ (MELEK) also of God’s choice. He would still remain a ‘leader’ (NAGID).

Of whom is Saul the type? That was the question asked earlier. The examination of the usage of the words MASHIACH and NAGID and of the history of Saul, the son of Kish (which means 'power') would lead us to believe that he is the type of a 'leader’ in Israel in the 'latter days’ towards the end of the age (SUNTELEIA). He will be elected by his people as ‘governor’ and will lead the people into covenant relationship with the man of sin, Antichrist. This anointed leader or ruler will come to his end in violence as did the type, Saul. The chosen One of God will then come in person, take the leadership and the throne, to which alone He has the right, destroy the enemy, be accepted as King in all Israel and set up His rule of righteousness in the earth. Thus the types outline the prophecy and may help better to understand the utterances of the prophets in general and the words of Daniel 9:24-27 in particular.

The greatest difficulty with which one is met in the study of this passage of Scripture is the corruption of the text. Apparently some of the early church fathers in trying to translate the text of the LXX, which they did not properly understand, succeeded only in revising it to its detriment.

In stating that the Bible editor presumed too much in putting capitals before the words 'holy,’ ‘messiah’ and ‘prince,’ it in no way detracts from the statement by Peter in Matthew 16:16, “Thou art the Christ (the anointed-Hebrew MASHIACH), the Son of the Living God.” It does not deny that Jesus, the babe born in Bethlehem, will become “the Governor, that shall rule My people Israel,” where the word 'governor’ is the same word that is used in the LXX in Dan. 9:25 and 26, translated in the A.V. ‘prince.’ (c.f. the only other occurrence of this word in the N.T. Acts 7:10, where Stephen cites Pharaoh exalting Joseph "and he made him ‘ governor’ over Egypt and all his house.” Joseph is here the type of the ruling Christ). Neither does this set at nought the fact that Jesus Christ is the Holy One of Psalm 16:10 (c.f. Acts 2:27).

What is under critical review is the interpretation that the editors have put upon this passage by using the capitals. In fact they took an unwarranted liberty with the Word of God by adding to it the thoughts of man. When the truth of this passage is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit it may be that the orthodox interpretation, which is supported by so many authorities (Martin Anstey, Sir Robert Anderson, Tregelles, Murphy, Stevens and many others) may prove to be right, but it may be that they will be found to have been wrong, having based their study on incorrect premises. By reason of that, their deductions will prove to have been erroneous and, therefore, their conclusions are false.

It is not lacking in faith to question what man says that the Word means, but is a serious attitude to assume that to think because ‘so-and-so’ says it, it means this or that, it MUST be so. In this particular case, the various interpreters differ in their mathematical conclusions. So what! They cannot all be right.

The key to prophecy in relation to the restoration of Israel to the land and to the fufilment of the Messianic hope is in the vision given to Nebuchadnezzar and its interpretation vouch-safed to Daniel in Dan. 2:28, “There is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the ‘latter days'.” With this passage should be linked the last few words of Dan. 9:27, “even until the consummation.” In the LXX the Greek is: “eOs tEs sunteleias kairou sunteleia . .” which is translated “and at the end of the time an end. . .” This word sunteleia has great significance in prophecy relating particularly to Israel as also the word acharith does. Anyone making a study of these prophecies should not fail to make sure that he has a full understanding of these two words. Acharith is the word translated ‘the latter days,’ ‘the last days,’ etc.

Although there is an aspect of the vision given to Nebuchadnezzar that had an historical significance, referring to the succession of empires following the Babylonian, the Medo-Persian, the Greek and Roman, yet these are not the final fulfillment. This image must exist in its entirety, in the latter days standing, as it will, to be struck on its feet of clay by the stone that was ‘cut out without hands.’

The two succeeding visions fall into line with this first in that they indicate primarily a succession of Nations, and then, at the end, switch to the distant age, ‘the latter days’ and their sunte1eia (the bringing to one end together, as it is defined E.W.B.’s Critical Lexicon and Concordance of the N.T.) of that age. It would seem that then there will be a quick succession of rulers of certain Nations, who will very accurately fulfill the words of prophecy—and there will be no mistake in their recognition, in those days, by those who then believe and study the Word of God. Then will be the timewhen thosewho do so will lift up their heads in expectation of the final redemption of Israel, "And He shall commission Jesus Christ,...Whom the heaven MUST receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God hath spokenby the mouth of all His holy prophets since the age began." (Acts 3:20,21). ). Is not this remarkably like Dan. 9:24?

Expositors have all focussed their thoughts, when making a study of these last four verses, upon the beginning as being. the decree of Cyrus or that given to Ezra by Artaxerxes or to Nehemiah by that same Artaxerxes in the 20th year of his reign,but this last is usually accepted as the starting date for calculation —446-444 B.C. The following are some of the dates given, as the result of calculation, as that of the crucifixion: Tregelles, A.D. 29, Murphy, A.D. 32, Stevens, A.D. 32, Sir Robert Anderson, A.D. 32, Martin Anstey, A.D. 30. Sir Robert says, “An imposing array of names can be supported to cite any year from A.D. 29 to A.D. 33.”

All this calculation is based on the assumption that the use of the capitals was correct, or perhaps the capitals were put to these words because of the interpretation given earlier by some expositor and so the later expositors were predisposed to follow, assuming, in turn, that they were fully supported.

The study of the Scripture words and their usage, in either the historical sense or the typical (and so prophetical signification) would appear to deny both the assumption and the presumption on the part of the editors.

Let the approach to the question of the interpretation of Dan. 9:24-27 be made without prejudice or predeliction, and let the various parts speak for themselves, supported by parallel passages of Scripture, making use of the text as far as it is possible to understand its language as it has been translated or translation corrected by textual critics and scholars who have given us the results of their labours.

That seventy weeks means seventy sevens is not denied. The question that might be raised is, what is it seventy sevens of; days, months or years? If it were days it would amount to 490 days or about 17 months, which, on the face of it is absurd, as for the final desecration of the santcuary the temple must, of necessity, be built and obviously the city also. 490 months would be more reasonable, as it was said of Herod’s temple, “Forty and six years was this temple in building” and 490 months represents nearly 41 years, but on the other hand, when the scenes of its desecration are enacted it must have been built and in use for some considerable time.

Daniel, earlier in the chapter had made specific enquiry concerning the predicted period of 70 years, which was then drawing to a close. If the prayer of Daniel is treated as a parenthesis and likewise Gabriel’s introduction to the revelation, one would read: “I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. .. And Gabriel said, . . . understand the matter, and consider the vision. Seventy weeks are determined—(cut off, or divided off from all other years). (The verb is in the singular to indicate the unity of the whole period, however it may be divided up. C.B. P.1198).

Tregelles on Daniel states: "Daniel had made enquiry about seventy years of the captivity of Babylon; the answer speaks also of seventy periods, which in our English translation are called, 'weeks’; the word however, does not necessarily mean seven days,—but a period of seven parts: of course it is much more often used in speaking of a week than of any thing else, because nothing is so often mentioned as a week which is similarly divided. The Hebrews, however, used a septenary scale as to time, just as habitually as we should reckon by tens; the sabbatical years, the jubilees, all tended to give this thought a permanent place in their minds. The denomination here is to be taken from the subject of Daniel’s prayer; he prayed about years, he is answered about periods of seven years, i.e., the recurrence of sabbatical years.”

This is the tenor of the reasons that expositors accept that years must be intended, precluding days or months.

Seventy sevens of years = 490 years. As the jubilee cycle is seven sevens or 49 years, seventy sevens = ten jubilee cycles. (the fiftieth year is the first of the second cycle, the 99th year is the first year of the third cycle and so on).

Now, these 490 years are demarcated against some future history of Daniel’s people, the Jews and of the city of Jerusalem.

It is obvious that in this verse 24 the six items stated will be enacted concurrently upon the conclusion of a period of 490 years from some pre-determined date. There are several of these ‘periods’ in Scripture, of which the 70 years of Jeremiah, at the beginning of this chapter, is one. Another is in Exodus 12:40,41, where it states: “Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was 430 years. And it came to pass at the end of 430 years, even the self same day it came to pass, that the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.” At the beginning of the chapter the Lord made another proclamation, “This month shall be unto you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you .”

This was not only the beginning of months for the children of Israel, it was the beginning of a period of time also, for in 1 Kings 6:1 we read: “And it came to pass in the fourhundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the Lord,” verse 38 reads: “And in the eleventh year in the month of Bul, which is the eighth month, was the house finished.” It was not then dedicated, for it yet had to be furnished, which took a further three years, making a total of 490 years from the Exodus. 490 years, as has already been stated is ten Jubilee cycles and seventy seven years periods.

There is, however, the difficulty that arises in the apparent discrepancy between the number of years given by the Apostle Paul in Acts 13:16-23 and the last statements from the O.T. According to Acts 13 the time that passed between the exodus and the dedication of the temple was 583 years. This, however, includes 93 years of servitudes, which are not enumerated in 1. Kings 6:1, the difference being 490 years.

The information given in Acts 13:20, 21 is of great interest, however, that from the finishing of the destruction of the Nations in the land they were under Judges, in other words their occupation of the land up to the end of Saul’s reign was 490 years. In view of the types already mentioned this is very significant indeed, and it is considered that it is something that cannot be ignored by anyone who wishes to arrive at an understanding of prophecy in relation to the restoration of Israel to the land and to the final “restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets.”

Exegesis in the past has taken this period of 490 years of verse 24 and split it up in verse 25, whereas, as the C.B. indicates by the tense of the word 'determined’ it is to be considered as a unit, indivisible in so far as this verse is concerned. Therefore, from the events in verse 24, which are enacted concurrently, one has to lay back 490 years as a period that corresponds to the type of rule by the Judges and Saul, before the beginning of David’s rule, which, in type, corresponds to the start of the rule by David’s greater Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Israel shall look upon Him when He appears, Him whom they had pierced, and acknowledge Him as their Saviour and King, even as David was acknowledged by Judah, and later Israel, after the death of Saul.

W. C. Stevens remarks, in connection with this verse "Here is as definite a forecast of 490 remaining years as was Jeremiah’s prediction of the 70 years just closing. We are to treat the one just as literally as we are accustomed to treat the other.” He then goes on to say: “The objective of the 70 weeks,—The cluster of happy consummations listed in verse 24 constitutes the new distinctive portion of the composite revelation of the book. “Let us paraphrase the verse.”

Seven times seventy years more are pre-determined of God, 0 Daniel, upon thy People, the Jews, and upon thy city, Jerusalem: to bring Israel to the close of her career of stiff-necked transgression; to effect an ending of all her besetting sins; to purge out of her effectually her bent to backsliding; to bring all her children into everlasting righteousness; to fulfil exhaustively all the contents of vision and prophecy relative to her ultimate restoration; and to anoint the most holy place of her final and inviolable worship.

This bears a close resemblance to, and is clearly summarised by the words, “the times of the restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy Prophets since the world (aiOnos) began.” Attention has already been drawn to this fact and it signalises the momentous event, the return to earth of the Lord Jesus Christ in power and glory. This verse is the immediate outcome of that event.

Stevens says, “Here is as definite a forecast of 490 remaining years.” He does not say whether they are years of 'My People’ or of 'not My People' conditions. But what he says seems to give support to their being years in which God is actually dealing with Israel as a whole, and not years in which they are in their present condition of being scattered among the Nations, fulfilling many O.T. prophecies.

During this present time Israel are definitely 'not My people’ as is evinced in Romans 11 and, therefore, one may rightly state that the 490 years has not yet commenced to run. In other words, God has yet to deal with His people for 490 years before the return of Christ, as already set out.

The present State of Israel cannot be counted towards this period, as any believer who has had anything to do with them or has had the good fortune to take part in a visit to Palestine will know, a very small percentage of the 2,000,000 now in the land have any real interest in their national religion, in fact, the Jews, as they are called today, are back there in unbelief, a condition that is not supported by any Scripture, Old or New Testament. On the contrary, the Scriptures are emphatic in their prophetic predictions that it is the whole of an united Israel (today, another 10,000,000), all twelve tribes, will bebrought out from the countries throughout the world when they call their law to mind, “and shall return unto the Lord (JEHOVAH) thy God and shall obey his voice. . . with all thine heart, and with all thy soul; that then the Lord (JEHOVAH) thy God will turn thy captivity and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the Nations, whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee. . . and the Lord thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed (not the Abramic promise) . . . And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live. (Deut. 30:1-6)” Words could not be plainer or more explicit.

These conditions are NOT being fulfilled today. Those in the land at the moment are there in the character of Jacob, the ‘heel,’ the ‘supplanter,’ the ‘trixter,’ the ‘materialist,’ the ‘outsider.’ They might be more accurately called Jacob-ites.

It is true, and believed by those who accept the fact, in this age of grace abounding, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, the Redeemer of Israel and of Mankind, that He by His death has accomplished everything that was necessary to effect every redemption and that nothing was left undone. In this spiritual sense the items of Dan. 9:24 have been effectually dealt with by Christ when He was crucified; but that is not the fulfilment of the prophecy, nor does it indicate that the following verse is fulfilled in that or in any other proximate event. That is an assumption that fits in most conveniently, but is only coincidence. With all due respect to students in the past, expositors, and fellow Christians, who have accepted their lead, there is no wish or intention to impugn their integrity and their faith in the Word, written or living; but it is so easy to follow something that appears to fit in so well to their conception of what should be, that it obscures the true meaning of the passage.

It may have been noticed in the paraphrase of verse 24 that Stevens says "to fulfil exhaustively all the contents of vision and prophecy relative to her ultimate restoration.” There was a partial restoration in fulfilment of Jeremiah’s prophecy under Ezra and Nehemiah of about 50,000-80,000 persons, which is negligible. 2,000,000 have returned now; but what are these compared with the prophecies?

Jeremiah 16 contains a prophecy which supports the typical purport of the exodus and early history of the Nation, which none can sweep aside.

“14. Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that it shall no more be said, the Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; 15. But, the Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the North, and from all the lands whither He had driven them; and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers.”

As Jesus was typified by Joseph, David and Solomon and a host of others, even so this restoration was typified by the exodus from Egypt; and just as Israel was well established in the land for 490 actual years from their possession of the land under Joshua, even so will Israel be established in the same land, in full obedience to JEHOVAH the God of Israel, before the fulfilment of Daniel 9:24.

Where Deut. 30:1-6 gives the initial motivation of the greater exodus, Ezekiel 20:33-44 gives a wealth of detail of the course it will take and of outstanding events leading to the eisodos, or entry into the land, and certain details that pertain to their behaviour thereafter. By this account it can be seen that not one who is prepared to rebel against Jehovah will be permitted to enter the land, nor, we are told, will they be permitted to go back among the Nations, whence they have come.

As in the days of Saul and in the years before he led Israel, they were in servitude to the Philistines, who demanded of the Israelites tribute, so will it be towards the end of the 490 years from this entry into the land. This latter part of the period will be characterised by the sequence of warnings that are given in the epistle to the Hebrews: neglect, unbelief, apostacy, wilful sin, obstinate refusal and indifference. This will culminate in the prince, who is chosen by the people against the will of God and anointed, making a covenant with the man of sin seven years before the return of the Lord to the Mount of Olives. This is the setting of Daniel 9:25-27.

After the return of Christ in power and glory and the destruction of Antichrist verse 24 will be fulfilled to the last detail.

When the children of Israel left Egypt, after the giving of the law they moved over to Kedesh Barnea with a view to marching in on the land of Canaan. This, however, was thwarted by their sending of spies and, following the majority decision of these spies they rebelled against God and were therefore condemned to wandering in the wilderness until that generationwhich had been numbered, 20 years old and upward, men of war, were dead, a period of a further 38 years. This will not befall in the future restoration, but the entry into the land will speedily follow the gathering from all the Nations to the “Wilderness of the Peoples” (wherever that may be) and after “passing under the rod” and being "brought into the bond of the covenant (evidendy the old covenant of Sinai)” they will go on into the land to occupy it, and to restore it for habitation. A number of passages indicate what they will find, on arrival in the land, the cities burnt and in ruins and the land devastated. Speaking of this time the prophet Ezekiel in chapter 36, verse 24 says, “For I will take you from among the Nations, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.” This clearly identifies the greater exodus. Verses 32-35 are given in Ferrar Fenton’s version: “In the time when I cleanse you from all your passions and restore you your cities, and you rebuild the burnt ruins; and the desolate land that was a waste to the eyes of all who passed through it, is again cultiv ated, they will ask, ‘How has this country, that was a desert, become like the garden of Eden? and its burnt and desolate and broken down cities inhabited fortresses? Then the residue of the Nations round about will recognise that I, the Lord, have re built the ruins and planted the waste,”

Isaiah 60:10—“And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls.”

Isaiah 61:4—“And they shall build the old wastes, and they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, and desolations of many generations.”

Amos 9:11, 14—“In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen and close up the breaches thereof, and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old. And I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them.”

As the tabernacle was of Moses, not of David, and as it cannot refer to the temple of Solomon, it may refer to the ‘tent’ erected by David to house the ark of the Lord. Perhaps there is some deeper meaning as indicated by James’s words in Acts 15:16. These passages indicate clearly that when Israel is restored to the land under the hand of God, the cities are found to be in ruins, burnt as Ferrar Fenton says, and devastation is on every hand. This must have been brought about by some invasion of a conquering host, who has come upon the inhabitants of the land and destroyed them. But we see in this last passage that it is the Lord God Himself who takes a hand, both in the enabling to rebuild and in the hastening in the process of the growth of nature to reproduce and bear fruit in great abundance. Other passages might be cited in support.

The process of reasoning from the Scriptures that has been adopted has indicated that at some future date "when the fulness of time is come,” God will step in and close this age of abounding grace and man’s day will come to an abrupt close. The church, which during this age has been formed will be removed from the scene by His divine action, and from that moment He will return to His dealings with His People Israel. They are at that time scattered among the Nations as He scattered them 25 centuries ago, except for those who have returned under Zionism, the Balfour Declaration and by force of arms,—formal religionists, materialists, communists, atheists alike; true Jacob-ites. All true Christian influence will have been removed from the earth, only agnostic formal religion and atheistic politics remain. Control having been removed, the forces of evil will. quickly take action, and seizing their opportunity, the Nations that surround Eretz Israel will attack, backed by Russian forces and these Jacob-ites will be swept into the sea and destroyed. This catastrophe will be brought home to the Jews of the world and will presage an attempt to exterminate them, in much the same way that the attempt was made in the dominion of Ahasuerus by Haman. (This Ahasuerus is identified with Darius Hystaspes by Martin Anstey in ‘The Romance of Bible Chronology,’ p. 272). This was about the time of the first restoration. When the news of this intention was received, we read, “And in every province whithersoever the king’s commandment and his decree came, there was great mourning amongst the Jews, and fasting and weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.” (Esther 4:3).

It would appear that this will be repeated on a grand world wide scale, and with prayers such as that of Daniel in chapter 9,verses 3-19, they will prostrate themselves before the Lord their God and fulfill Deut. 30:1, 2. God’s response will be according to verses 3-6. Verses 7-10 are amplified in the giving of much detail by Ezekiel 20:33-44.

The over-running of the Land by the hordes of the North, as prophecied in Ezek. 38 will take place. Note carefully where twice the word acharith is used, in Ezek. 38:8 and 16, and also all the verses of this chapter are linked together by the expressions 'at the same time,’ and 'in that day.’ This and the following chapter are too long to quote verbatim, but there is little doubt that the account of the invasion of Gog and his confederates fit into the picture here and will bring about the destruction of the land and the near extermination of those who inhabit the land or drive them to evacuation of their country 'in extremis.’ God, however, deals with them Himself, using the elements against their enemies as he did in the days of the first entry into the land of promise.

With all this in view the better to help understand the passage, a return, now, to Daniel 9:25-27 might be expedient, in order to make a closer examination.

“The anointing of the most holy (place)” of verse 24 echoes "then shall the sanctuary be cleansed” of 8:14. This is closely followed in verse 19 by “Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in ‘the last end’ (acharith) of the indignation;” And verse 23, “And in ‘the latter time’ (acharith) of their kingdom", there is, firstly an identification of two records of one event, and secondly the establishment of one end of the range of this particular use of the word acharith. A number of passages show that the restoration alluded to earlier indicates that they too are within the scope of this word. Therefore, it may be confidently stated that the expression ‘the Latter days’ covers the period of the 490 years counted back from the cleansing of the sanctuary or most holy (place).

Therefore, the details of the three verses following also are part of these latter days, when all Israel are being dealt with by God as they were between the Exodus and the dedication of the temple of Solomon, with certain reservations, owing to changed relationship and circumstances.

The destruction of the cities has been spoken of, and this undoubtedly includes Jerusalem, if the temple is to be built over its original site. The rebuilding is also declared. There is little doubt that within a year or two from the entry the commandment will go forth to rebuild Jerusalem and this will fix the beginning of the “seven weeks, and three score and two weeks” unto the anointed leader, after which he will be ‘cut off,’ as Saul was. There is nothing to indicate that these two periods, which appear to be part of one another are actually co-incident. It may be that the 490 years do not begin with the opening of the new administration of the Jews by God, or at their being placed “in bond to the covenant” of Ezek. 20, or of their entry into the land, or of the going forth of the commandment to rebuild Jerusalem, but upon the making of the covenant of peace with Israel later by God (Ezek. 34:25 and 37:26). This would be in accord with the passage of time between the entry into the land and its division amongst the twelve tribes (Joshua 14:15) and (18:1). It is interesting to note here that before Joshua died he made a covenant with the people after putting before them the choice of gods, and they had declared that they would serve the Lord, to which they kept all his lifetime and the lifetime of “the elders that outlived Joshua.” (Joshua 24:31). This was 25 years after the division, 32 years after the entry. If there is anything in typology, and one must be careful not to stress it too far, there seems to be some indication that there will be a likeness between the two periods. Speaking of the wonders and wanderings in the wilderness the Apostle Paul says in 1.Cor. 10:6, “Now these things were our examples (tupoi),” and in verse 11, “Now these things happened. upon them for ensamples and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world (ta telE tOn AiOnOn)—the ends of the ages—are come. Hebrews 4:1-10 further supports the use of typology in this connection. The remaining details of these three verses are well known to students as fitting in to the last seven years before the return of Christ and the destruction of Antichrist.

The believer in Christ today, who has redemption through the blood (of Christ), the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace (Eph. 1:7) “and who is looking forward to the fulfilment of his hope” (verse 18), and the day of “the redemption of the purchased possession” (verse 14), will not be implicated in events and with personalities of the far end of the age, in which we, as members of the body of Christ have no part on earth with Israel or the Nations; but we should be at all times ready for the consummation of our own day of grace that might take place at any hour, day, month or year in which we live. Whether living at that moment or having died during the centuries intervening since God’s revelation to us through His apostle Paul, the apostle of the uncircumcision, we will take our appointed place in His grand purpose. Almost the last words that Paul gave to us in his final epistle were, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.” (2. Tim. 4:7, 8). When this shall occur, let us be found to be occupied, as faithful servants ready for the summons, in His work in faith-obedience to His Word. J.G.H.S

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