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Clarification of Article On Daniel's 70 Weeks - Part 3

For those who have questions about the article, and I realize the mathematics can be somewhat confusing; concerning the terminus ad quem (ending) for the 62 weeks of years (434 years) as to whether they ended at the birth of Christ or the crucifixion (Messiah was cut off, but not for Himself), pay attention to the text in 9:26 where it says Messiah was cut off AFTER the 62 weeks of years. Clearly that is AFTER and outside the 62 weeks. Therefore, that cannot be the terminus ad quem because to fulfill the prophecy, it had to fulfilled WITHIN the 62 weeks of years. 

In addition, if the 62 weeks ended at the beginning of the Lord's ministry (baptism by John) when he was approximately 30 years old (Numbers 4 the Levites or temple priests had to be 30 years old to serve), which would be about 23-24 A.D. (using the 6 B.C. birth date) that would too far outside the 434 years. (24 - 434 = 410). A 410 B.C. date for the terminus a quo (beginning) of the 62 weeks does not fit any of the dates for the commandment going forth to rebuild the city of Jerusalem.  

According to the article by Dr. Zaspel, Josephus places the rebuilding for the city of Jerusalem at the 25th year of Artaxerxes, which is 440 B.C.  No other date makes any sense and no other date fits the prophecy to fulfill both the terminus a quo and the terminus ad quem for the commandment going forth to rebuild the city. 

Notice another very important phrase in 9:25 - "unto Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks."  Unto Messiah the Prince implies "the coming" of Messiah Yeshua/Jesus. That would indicate His birth. When is the coming of any human being - When they are born?  The first advent of Messiah the Prince was when He was born into the human race.  That is when the 62 weeks or 434 years ended for Daniel's prophecy.  Clearly then there has to be a large gap between the 62 weeks and the final one week. I will discuss that in Part 4. 

There is absolutely no biblical evidence for the 70 Weeks of years to run consecutively the first 69 weeks (483 years) with only one gap between the 62 weeks and the final one week - NONE!  And there is even less evidence the 70 Weeks of years were completely fulfilled in 70 A.D. with the destruction of Jerusalem and the second temple.  That theory in no way fulfills the biblical narrative only confuses it. 

Individual words in Scripture are very important, but always to be taken in the broader context. The Holy Spirit speaking through Daniel told us Messiah the prince was cut-off (crucified) after the 62 weeks were consummated. That tells us we have to look for another date for the terminus ad quem - earlier than the crucifixion.  

Daniel's 70 Weeks: Gap Or No; Jews Only - Part 3

Before I delve into the meat of this article, I recommend you read Parts 1 and 2 which you can access in the Prophecy Section in the right side bar.  

Daniel's 70 Weeks prophecy (Chapter 9 verses 24-27) has caused much controversy among theologians regarding the actors and timing of the prophecy.  The interpretations are as many as there are so-called scholars and teachers. I am amazed at the plethora of diverse attempts to correctly divide the Word of Truth about this important passage as it is pivotal to understanding end-time prophecy.  It has bearing on the Lord's Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24), the Book of Revelation and Paul's Second Letter to the Thessalonians. Hopefully, when we reach the end of our examination of Daniel's 70 Weeks, the meaning will be clear:

Daniel 9:24-27 KJV

24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment 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.
26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

Daniel 9:24-27 NASB

24 “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place. 25 So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. 26 Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. 27 And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”

Daniel 9:24-27 NIV

24 “Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish] transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy Place
25 “Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. 26 After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. 27 He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.

1599 Geneva Bible

24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thine holy city, to finish the wickedness, and to seal up he sins, and to reconcile the iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
25 Know therefore and understand that from the going forth of the commandment to bring again the people, and to build Jerusalem, unto Messiah the Prince, shall be seven weeks and threescore and two weeks, and the street shall be built again, and the wall even in a troublous time.
26 And after threescore and two weeks, shall Messiah be slain, and shall have nothing, and the people of the prince that shall come, shall destroy the city and the Sanctuary, and the end thereof shall be with a flood: and unto the end of the battle it shall be destroyed by desolations.
27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of the abominations, he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

As the title for this series of articles implies, the 70 Weeks of Years or Seventy-sevens, deals with the Hebrew or Jewish people and the city of Jerusalem. That is clear from Verse 24 - "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thine holy city,..."  

Daniel was one of the captives taken to Babylon when Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, attacked and invaded the Southern Kingdom of Judah in 606 B.C.  During the reign of Rehoboam, son of Solomon, the Kingdom of Israel was divided into the Northern Kingdom with its capital at Samaria and the Southern Kingdom, Judah, with its capital at Jerusalem.  The Northern Kingdom kept the name Israel because it was the largest representation of the former united kingdom with 10 tribes. The Kingdom or House of Judah was composed of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin and a contingent of Levites (priesthood). Therefore, Daniel's prophecy of the 70 Weeks primarily concerned the Kingdom of Judah and the tribes associated with it in contrast to the 10 tribes that were destroyed and taken captive by Assyria in 721 B.C.  Thus, they became known as the lost 10 tribes.  However, that is not exactly the truth as several thousands Israelites remained in the area of Samaria.  Those taken to Assyria eventually intermingled with the Arabs of Central Asia and Europe, thus today there is a lot of mixed blood among the original 10 tribes. While modern day Israel is primarily composed of Jews from the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and the Levites, there are representatives from the 10 tribes also. 

The reason I mention this brief history is to understand what people we are dealing with in Daniel 9:24-27. The word "Jew" or "Jewish" is seldom associated with the people of the Northern Kingdom (Israelites), but more so the Southern Kingdom of Judah.  During WWII, the Jews living in Europe were referred to as Juden, which identifies with the tribe of Judah with its former capital at Jerusalem.

Dr. Fred Zaspel in his paper on Daniel's 70 Weeks (An Historical and Analytical Exegesis of Daniel's 70 Weeks) says, "There can be little question about the identity of the subjects of Daniel's prophecy, it concerns the nation of Israel, those for whom he had been praying in their captivity and Jerusalem, their capital city. Seventy-sevens are determined upon your people and upon your holy city cannot possibly indicate anything else.  No interpretation of this prophecy which ignores its Jewish focus should be seriously considered. The angel Gabriel speaks of your people and your holy city and of the holy of holies, which is  clearly and always a reference to Israel's tabernacle or temple".  

Note:  As I pointed out the prophecy deals more with the Southern Kingdom of Judah than the Northern 10 tribes, which had already been conquered by the Assyrians some 116 years previously.  In fact, Israel's (Northern Kingdom) destruction was to be a warning to the Southern Kingdom of Judah to repent and turn back to God or the same fate would happen to them and it did. The Southern Kingdom wrongly believed God would not judge them because they had the temple and the city of Jerusalem kind of like today when Christians think God will not judge America because of our Christian heritage.  Secondly, and something I will explain in more detail later, the modern translations have mistranslated Verse 24 where is says "and to anoint the most holy (KJV and the Geneva Bible) to read the most holy place. That is incorrect and has significant implications in understanding the prophecy. 

Daniel 9 and particularly Verses 24-27 deal with the Hebrew people (Israelites and the Jews) not the Gentiles and not the Church.  While there may be a parallel history of the nations and the Church alongside the 70 Weeks, they are not the focus.  To find the correct meaning of the 70 Weeks of Years we must consult the Old Testament Scriptures and the history of Israel and Judah as well as some key passages in the New Testament (the Old Testament must always be interpreted by the NT).

One example of how this passage has been bastardized and unfortunately misinterpreted by so-called Bible scholars is the traditional dispensational pretrib camp, which uses it to prove a pretrib rapture. As Michael Fortner, a prophecy scholar in his own right, says, "Daniel 9:24-27 does just the opposite of what pretribbers teach, the passage is posttrib". I agree with him for it is a posttrib passage.

Now that we have established the prophecy of the 70 Weeks pertains solely to the Hebrew or Jewish people and their nation of Judah (formerly Israel), we need to look at the objectives of the prophecy with a careful analysis of the Hebrew Scriptures for determining the meaning of the key words. Daniel's prophecy was written in two languages, Hebrew and Aramaic.  From the beginning of the book up to Chapter 2 Verse 3 it was written in Hebrew. Then in 2:4 to the end of chapter 7 it is written in Aramaic. Beginning in Chapter 8 through the rest of the book it is written in Hebrew.  Therefore the 70 Weeks are written entirely in the Hebrew language.

As a side note, even though this was covered in Part I, it helps to mention it again in case someone has not read Parts 1 and 2 and may not want to read them, the Hebrew word for seven is shabua and means a definite period of seven. It does not mean 7 days or a normal week, but one week = 7 years.  

Daniel was reading Jeremiah's prophecy about the 70 years captivity to Babylon when the angel Gabriel enlighten his understanding the prophecy had to do with a period of 490 years as an additional punishment for not obeying the Sabbatical year - every 7 years the land was to lie idle - no plowing or cultivating crops. Israel and Judah had not obeyed the Sabbatical year for 70 years or 70x7 = 490 years. So Daniel was telling the exiles (Judah and the dismantled 10 tribes) that after the 70 years captivity to Babylon, there would be an additional 490 years punishment for violating the Sabbatical year. For 490 years the land did not remain idle as commanded by Moses in the law books, consequently, there would be a judgment for the same number of years.  Our dilemma is to find out when the 490 spiritual years began (the terminus a quo) and when they end (terminus ad quem) - a challenge for anyone wanting to know the truth about the 70 Weeks prophecy and we will do that as we progress in this study.  The other challenge is to ascertain if there are gaps in the prophecy or is it a continuous unbroken linear fulfillment. However, we must first review the objectives of the prophecy, which are composed of six infinitival phrases (begin with the word "to"): 

- to finish the transgression
- to put an end to sin
- to make atonement for iniquity
- to bring in everlasting righteousness
- to seal the vision and the prophet
- to anoint the most holy (not the most holy place)

All of the above will be fulfilled in the 70 Weeks prophecy with finality in the 70th and last week or 7 years.  It is clear in Verses 24-27, Israel's Messiah has a large part in the 70 Weeks. The question is, have these 6 objectives been fulfilled?  The word transgression is associated with breaking or transgressing the Law of God.  Both Israel and Judah remain in disobedience to the Torah - the Law and more importantly rejection of Messiah Yeshua/Jesus.   

There has not been an end of sin which is obvious. Christ did make atonement for iniquity via His crucifixion, and in principle His sacrifice and subsequent resurrection made possible everlasting righteousness, but has not yet been actualized for Israel (Note: All born-again Christians have received the Holy Spirit and have the seed of eternal everlasting righteousness. Therefore, all Jews that have accepted Christ as their Messiah are part of the Judah Church and partakers in the same righteousness). This distinction must be understood. 

The prophetic vision and prophet have not yet been fulfilled nor has the the most holy been anointed.Therefore, the majority of the 6 objectives await fulfillment.

Well, how do we know how much of the 70 Weeks of years (490 years) have been fulfilled and when?  Finding the starting point is essential to knowing where Israel or the Jewish people are in relation to the 70 Weeks and also how it affects the nations (Gentiles) and the Church.

We are told in Verse 25, the 70 Weeks Prophecy begins with A WORD to restore and build (rebuild) Jerusalem to the coming of Messiah the prince shall be seven weeks or 49 years (7x7). The question is who gave the word and when?  I am not going to get into the debate involving ALL the mathematical computations on when the word went out, but just give a couple of the traditional dates and what I think is the authentic time. The key is the city of Jerusalem not the temple:

Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem

Traditional dispensationalists normally believe the decree of Artaxerxes in Abib 445 B.C. is the correct the terminus a quo. Dr. Pentecost in his book, Things To Come, says the decrees of Cyrus and Darius (2  Chronicles 36:22 and Ezra 6:3.8) won't fulfill the 70 Weeks prophecy because their decree's involved rebuilding the temple not the city.  Artaxerxes decree (Nehemiah 2:1-8) gives the Jews (Tribe of Judah) permission to rebuild the city of Jerusalem.  The first of Abib (our March-April) in 445 B.C. according to the new moon from which determined the beginning of months on the Hebrew calendar was in the early hours (PM as Hebrew days begin at sunset) of March 14, 445 B.C. This according to TD's is the official date for the commandment that went forth to rebuild and restore Jerusalem. 

They also use Sir Robert Anderson's so-called ingenuous calculations to ascertain Christ Jesus first Advent and crucifixion to be either 32 or 33 A.D. as follows:

"The first of Abib was the 20th year of Artaxerxes in the year 445 B.C. or March 14.  The 10th of Abib (Passion Week) was when Christ made His Triumphal entry into Jerusalem - April 6, A.D. 32.  (Note: you lose a year going from B.C. to A.D.). The intervening period was 476 years and 24 days. (Note: 7 weeks and 62 weeks is 69 total weeks or 483 years (69x7). 483 years from 445 is 38 A.D., which is too many years for the crucifixion or cutting off of Christ.  (445 plus 32 is 477 years or 6-7 years short of 483).  So what does Sir Robert Anderson do? He uses 365 solar days - one solar year, which is interesting since the Hebrews used the lunar year for their calendar (alternating 29 and 30 day months with an added month - a 13th month or leap year occurring 7 times in a 19-year cycle). 

476 years x 365 = 173,740 days 
Add (14 March to 6 April = 24 days
Add for leap years = 116 days
Total days = 173,880 days 

He then switches from solar years of 365 days to a prophetic year of 360 days to compute the ending of the first 69 weeks of years as such:  69 x 7 x 360 = 173,880 days supposedly proving the 483 years (7 weeks plus 62 weeks = 69 total weeks x 7 = 483 years) ends in April 32 A.D.  He concluded Christ was crucified on the 14th of Abib in 32 A.D. or 10 April 32 A.D.  This all sounds well and good, but I think it is a man-made computation.                    

I agree with Dr. Fred Zaspel the text of Daniel 9:24-27 demands a break between the first 7 weeks (49 years) and the 62 weeks (434 years) otherwise the text is cumbersome. Moreover, why does it say AFTER the sixty-two weeks rather than after the 69 weeks. The simple answer is there is a gap between the 7 weeks and 62 weeks and also between the 62 weeks and the last 1 week. Dr. Zaspel is the only prophecy teacher I have read that mentions an athnach (gap) in the Hebrew text, which means a break in thought. The athnach occurs in each of the divisions -7 weeks (49 years); 62 weeks (434 years); and 1 week (7 years) for a total of 490 years. 

Before going further and discussing in more detail each the divisions, I need to point out that some of the modern translations have changed the text of Daniel 9:25-27 to confuse the meaning. For example, the ESV:

25 Know therefore and understand that from the going out 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[a] with squares and moat, but in a troubled time. 26 And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its[b] end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed. 27 And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week,[c] and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.”

KJV

25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment 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.
26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

NASB

25 So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. 26 Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. 27 And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”

Comparing the three translations it is rather obvious the ESV has twisted the text to make it confusing concerning the Messiah and a prince who is to come while both the KJV and the NASB both refer to the first prince as the Messiah and the second prince in Verse 26 as the people of the prince who is unmistakably, Titus, the Roman General whose army destroyed the city of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 A.D.  The ESV just says an anointed one,  a prince shall come and it implies that he comes after the first 49 years and that is false.  The Messiah the prince comes after the 7 weeks (49 years) and the 62 weeks (434 years) or a total of 483 years from the time the decree or commandment went forth to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. 

After the first period of 49 years the city of Jerusalem was rebuild (they first rebuilt a wall around it the Babylonians had torn down). We don't know how much time elapsed between the completion of the first 49 years and the beginning of the second period of 434 years.

Here is where I disagree with Dr. Zaspel who obviously is using one of the modern translations (probably the ESV - see the ESV text above) to interpret Daniel 9:25 when he says, "Whenever a Christian reads an anointed one or messiah prince, he generally thinks immediately of Jesus Christ who is the Messiah, but the Scriptures are not so restrictive.  He then goes on to prove in his mind that this anointed prince is Cyrus whose decree ended the Jewish captivity in 538 B.C." which it did.  However in Daniel 9:25 the text is not dealing with the ending of the Jewish captivity, but the restoration of the city of Jerusalem  and clearly a reference to the Messiah the prince (both the KJV and the NASB are correct in using "the" before Messiah and prince for the person is not just anybody not even a mighty Roman general, but Christ Jesus the Messiah who comes after the 49 and 434 years). 

The principal question in Daniel 9:25 is when and where did the commandment to rebuild the city of Jerusalem originate, from a world ruler such as Cyrus or someone else?  We know from both the Scriptures and history that Cyrus issued his decree to end the Babylonian captivity in 538 B.C. as mentioned. 49 years previously (7x7) in 587 B.C., the Lord God gave the word to Jeremiah that Judah's captivity would end and they would return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city (see the Chapter 32). Dr. Ryrie in the NAS Study Bible by his name says, "the events of Jeremiah 32 occurred in 587-586 B.C. when the Babylonians were besieging Jerusalem and Jeremiah was in custody (Verses 11-21)".

This is established many times in the Old Testament where the text says, And the Word of the Lord came unto His prophet.  I agree with Dr. Zaspel the commandment to rebuild Jerusalem was given to the Lord's prophet, Jeremiah, not Artaxerxes as is commonly held by prophecy scholars in both pretrib and posttrib camps.

As a reminder, the purpose of this article is to examine whether there are gaps between each of the three time divisions of Daniel 9:24-27 or if the prophecy runs consecutively.   It is my opinion Dr. Zaspel handles this question better than any commentary I have read over a 45 year period and I have to tell you, I have read countless books and articles on this text. 

The KJV and the NASB places the word "and" between the 7 weeks (49 years) and the 62 weeks (434 years) causing most to interpret them as running consecutively without a gap. However, as Dr. Zaspel points out if the decree was given to end the Babylonian captivity in 538 B.C. then adding 434 years to that date would fall 104 years short of the time of Christ and we know from Verse 26 Messiah the Prince (Christ) was cut-off or crucified after the 69 weeks (483 years)  were fulfilled. We also are fairly confident that Christ was crucified in 30 or 33 A.D.  The date of His crucifixion is also based on His birth date, which I will discuss later. 

While the 7 weeks (49 years) have a clear beginning and ending date (as mentioned we know the date when the 7 weeks began with the commandment to Jeremiah in 587 B.C. and we know when Jerusalem was finally rebuilt in 538 B.C. with the decree from Cyrus for the Jews  to return to the city. However in regard to the 62 weeks (434 years) there is no clear period when it began, but we know that it must have ended before the cutting off of Christ in the first century/first decade A.D.  Dr. Zaspel keenly observes Daniel 9:26 says Messiah is cut-off (crucified) AFTER the 62 weeks (434 years) have ended proving there is a gap between the 62 weeks and the final one week. There is no mention of how long after the 62 weeks Christ is cut-off and it doesn't say He was cut-off during the 70th Week - both important observations. 

I am going to quote Dr. Zaspel verbatim here because his commentary is very important to this article and my take on Daniel 9.  

But with the distinction between the seven sevens and the sixty-two sevens established, the question must be asked:  Are these sixty-nine sevens to be simply taken together and added consecutively without interruption?  Could their separation instead signify a 'time-gap' between them? This would not be at all unusual in Biblical prophecy (e.g., Dan. 11:2-3; Micah 5:1-2), and there is nothing to indicate that such a 'gap' between the first seven and the next sixty-two sevens would constitute any violation of the text. In fact a gap between these two periods is the only explanation available to account for their separation. Moreover, if the rebuilding of Jerusalem is to be taken as the terminus a quo (beginning point - emphasis mine) of the sixty-two sevens,  then a time-gap is specifically stated. 

His next word bears our close attention:

The structure of the 490-year complex seems to predict three separate periods of time, together totaling 490 years, but embracing much more. The seven-sevens are said to have their own terminus a quo (emphasis mine) and terminus ad quem (ending - emphasis mine) specified. The sixty-two sevens are to begin at a time other than the termimus ad quem (emphasis mine) of the previous seven. And the one (final) seven follows the events of verse 26, which are themselves 'after' the sixty-two!  It is not hermeneutical assumption which posits these time-gaps, but exegetical necessity (emphasis mine). 

Hermeneutics is a theological term meaning the proper and accurate interpretation of the Scriptures. Exegetical is similar to hermeneutics in that it means the explanation of a text. 

Dr. Zaspel proceeds in his commentary to discuss how some theologians and/or prophecy scholars have attempted to address the beginning and ending of the three specific periods by working backwards from Jesus' baptism and birth date.  Working back from His baptism (approximately 30 A.D.) yields a date well after the completion of the rebuilding of Jerusalem in 538 B.C. (Note: from the standpoint of the beginning of the sixty-two sevens or 434 years).  It is well known from historical records that Herod died in 4 B.C. What is not known is how much time elapsed from his decree to slay all male infants two-years and younger unto his death. We do know from the biblical text (Matt. 2:16) that Herod's decree was after the birth of Jesus so if Herod died in 4. B.C. Jesus had to be born before that date. Most biblical scholars believe Jesus was born in 6 B.C. 

From the certainty of the 6 B.C. date for the birth of Jesus, Dr. Zaspel is of the opinion the 6 B.C. date is the ending of the sixty-two weeks (434 years). Therefore, 440 B.C. would have to be the beginning date (440-6=434). He asks, is there anything significant about that date?  Nehemiah's rebuilding of Jerusalem seems to be the beginning of the sixty-two weeks (434 years). Nehemiah's request to Artaxerxes to rebuild the city was in April 444 B.C. (Neh. 2:1).  It would have taken some time for Nehemiah to assemble workers for the building project. Josephus, a Jewish historian, places the time the building project started at the 25th year of Artaxerxes, which was 440 B.C.  Dr. Zaspel says the years fit the text of Daniel 9:25 and the events of history perfectly.  I totally agree with him. 

440 B.C. (the beginning of the building in times of distress 
+434 years (62x7)
6 B.C. (Birth of Christ)

Dr. Zaspel summarizes his excellent commentary and exegesis as follows:

The Seven Weeks and Sixty-Two Weeks:

God issues a word to His prophet to rebuild Jerusalem - 587 B.C.; the first time period of 7 sevens (49 years begin) - 587-49=538 B.C. Cyrus ends the Jewish captivity in Babylon thus also ending the 7 sevens or 49 years.  

A GAP OF UNSPECIFIED DURATION IS THEN NOTED

440 B.C. (the street and moat are rebuilt in a time of distress beginning the sixty-two sevens or 434 years)
-434 years (sixty-two sevens)
6 B.C. (Birth of Christ ending the sixty-two sevens

"Dr. Zaspel says these dates are too exact to be dismissed lighty as they stand as a firm apologetic for the /Divine/supernatural character of the prophecy." Again, I agree as it makes a lot of sense, more than any commentary I have read about the Daniel 9 text.  Moreover, he says, "the advantage this interpretation has over the others (traditional dispensational and its variations - emphasis mine) is obvious. Not only does the time-frame fit more exactly, but no elaborate chronological schemes are needed to demonstrate it (absolutely - emphasis mine).  Further, it gives honest attention to all of the details of Daniel's text, gives clear explanations to his separation of the seven and the sixty-two weeks, and explains his speaking of 'after the sixty-two sevens' (v.26) rather than of the sixty-nine (great point - emphasis mine). These are tasks which the alternatives are quite unable to do. It also offers a significant terminus a quo and a terminus ad quem to both the seven and sixty-two weeks. It even aligns more with the textual pointing of the Masoretes. In short, this interpretation leaves no loose ends; it accounts for all the data involved and fits very well with the historical record". 

Amen to that. 

While I would like to keep writing, this article is already too long and probably more information than most can absorb so I will discuss the final one week (seven years) in Part 4 and also prove there is another gap between the sixty-two sevens and final seven that involves a lot of history.  

When I discovered Dr. Zaspel's article and read it, I knew immediately I was reading an accurate revelation of Daniel's 70 Weeks of years more so than any other commentary I have read and studied over a 45 year period of Christian ministry and particularly Bible prophecy.  This is why I wanted to give my readers the benefit of reading his excellent handling of the 70 Weeks.  One area we disagree is on the posttib Day of the Lord as he takes the traditional dispensational position the tribulation is the same as the Day of the Lord while my position is the DOTL is separate and distinct from the tribulation - AFTER IT.  

The purpose of my article was/is to prove Daniel's 70 Weeks prophecy does not run consecutively as many prophecy buffs teach, but there are clearly gaps between all three specified periods. In addition, the prophecy is for the Jewish people and the city of Jerusalem. This does not mean there are not any parallel events of history relating to the Gentile nations and the Church, there are but the primary focus is upon the Jews. 


You can read the entirety of Dr. Zaspel's article at www.biblicalstudies.com/bstudy/eschatology/daniel.htm