Messiah, Jerusalem’s Wall, and Daniel 9
Second, you also seem to concur that the 70 “weeks” are indeed 70 periods of 7 years of 360 days with 7 years making a ‘week’ of years and 360 days being the length of the prophetic year. So the specified 69 periods of 7 years make up 483 years of 360 days or 173,880 days.
Is it the Commencement date or Completion date?
In the first fulfillment of the prophecy, the wall was built in just a month and a half – all within the20th year of Artaxerxes. So there was no difference in the year of fulfillment, namely 33 AD. In this present case, however, there is a 7 year time-span to consider. Your comments indicate that you are taking the completion date for the Wall as the time marker rather than its inception. But in our English translations of Daniel 9:25 it says “from the going forth of the command to build” which seems to indicate the commencement of the building.
I decided to check that word translated “going forth” in Hebrew and Greek. It is the word MOWTSA or MOTSA given as item 4161 in Strong’s Concordance. In current usage in Israel, this word can mean “origin” or “going out.” The Greek Septuagint renders this word as “exodus.” So it would appear that the command initiating the project is in view here. That is in accord with the first fulfillment when Artaxerxes gave the command on 1st Nisan 444 BC as recorded in Nehemiah 2:1 and the end date was 10th Nisan (March 30) 33 AD. Passover was 4 days later, when Messiah was “cut off” for our sins. So it is the command date that is in view here, not the completion date if the first fulfillment and the Hebrew words are considered.
Dates for Commands for Wall Construction
However, we have since found out that there are two other recorded Command dates given by Sultan Suleiman in relation to the Wall. The first is given in the inscription over the Jaffa Gate which is dated as the Muslim year of 945 (AH) or 1538 AD. The second Command was given in relation to the construction of the Northern Wall and reads as follows: “The construction of this wall was ordered by our lord the sultan, Suleiman Ben Sultan Salim Khan, in the year 949" (AH). That is 1542 AD, with that Muslim year starting on 17th April.
In this case, only the year of the command is given, not the month or day. When 173,880 days are added to the time of this second command, the end date is sometime after 21st May 2018. So, as at this moment of writing, it is still possible that it is valid to take the prophecy as two-fold with a potential fulfillment sometime during 2018 - 2019. If this period passes without some significant event, then the prophecy does not have a two-fold fulfillment, and I am in error for thinking it does.
The identities of those involved in Daniel 9
So let us examine your statements in light of these Scriptures. I see several distinct segments here. Gabriel states that the purpose of the exercise is two-fold. First that sins, transgressions and iniquity will be atoned for. Second, that all vision and prophecy will be fulfilled when the Most Holy is anointed as King. In all honesty, these things cannot be fulfilled by any antichrist, but only by Messiah Himself as the other Scriptures attest (see Isaiah 53 etc). In fact, Gabriel makes it quite plain that it is to be Messiah who fulfills this as the prophecy goes on to enumerate that 69 weeks of years will elapse from the Command to build the Wall to the coming of Prince Messiah. The word that is used in Daniel 9 to describe him is NAGID MASHIYACH (Prince Messiah), so it cannot be anyone other than Messiah. If he were the antichrist, Daniel would have told us.
The identity of Messiah
There is only one Person who therefore fits the description of Messiah under these circumstances, and he came before the Temple was destroyed. He, in fact, warned of the coming of antichrist and the abomination of desolation that Daniel said was to be set up in a later, reconstructed Temple. So the Person who came in 33 AD is not antichrist, but rather prophesied of him. It should be noted that before there was an antichrist or anti-messiah, the real Messiah had to appear, otherwise there could not be a counterfeit.
Some have questioned that Yeshua (Jesus) was the Messiah (Ha Mashiach). They have said that if that were the case, then surely it would have been mentioned in the Tenach (Old Testament). My response is to quote two verses from the Tenach. First, Isaiah 62:11 “Say to the daughter of Zion, Surely your Yeshua is coming; behold His reward is with Him and his work before Him.” Here the context shows that Yeshua (Jesus in English) is a personal name. Second, in Habakkuk 3:13 we read these words: “You went forth with the Yeshua of your people, with Yeshua Ha Mashiach, you struck the head from the house of the wicked.” Again the context demands that Yeshua is the personal name of the Messiah.
The identity of the prince who is to come
With the destruction of the city and Temple, and the war that achieved this, verse 26 closes. In verse 27 the story picks up again with “the prince who is to come” confirming a 7-year covenant with Israel. It is customary to say that there is a hiatus between verse 26 and 27 from 70 AD up until the 7-year Covenant is signed which starts the 70th “week”. If this is the case, there is no second fulfillment of Messiah’s appearing before the Covenant is signed. The prophecy would then pick up at the moment of the signing of that covenant with “the many” (the Knesset majority) in Israel.
The re-appearance of Messiah
It is after this event that Rabbi Paul states that the “prince who is to come” will appear and sign the 7-year Covenant. Again, it seems that Messiah makes a brief appearance before this counterfeit arrives on the scene. Other Scriptures affirm that this “covenant” ushers in the period of 7 years known variously as the “time of Jacob’s trouble”, “the Indignation”, the “wrath of God”, or “the tribulation, the great one”. It is a period of natural and supernatural disasters as well as man-made tragedies unparalleled in human history. Yeshua said that “Unless those days were shortened, no flesh will be saved, but for the sake of the elect they will be shortened” (Matthew 24:22).
Other verses elsewhere in Daniel show that the Temple is built as part of that Covenant and the sacrifices start about 200 days into the Covenant period. After three and a half years the “prince who is to come” stops the sacrifices and sets up the Abomination of Desolation in the Temple. This person is called the anti-messiah or anti-christ. This “prince who is to come” is then finally revealed for what he is. Rabbi Paul gave further insight into what will happen when he says of antichrist that he sets himself up in the Temple to be worshipped “so that he as god sits in the Temple of God to prove to himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:4). Yeshua also warned of this abominable event, so he could hardly be speaking about himself as the anti-messiah in this context.
Finally, as you read through Daniel and other Scriptures, it becomes apparent that Messiah returns at the height of the Battle of Armageddon at the end of that 7-year period. He then sets up his kingdom on earth reigning from Jerusalem for 1000 years. It is a time of peace and prosperity never known before. The Tribulation is therefore the black-robed herald of the bright Millennium. That dawn is glorious.