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II. The Messiah's Death and the General Resurrection

 II.(C) Daniel 9: The Anointed One Who Would Be Cut Off and Have Nothingness

Daniel 9 prophesies that an anointed one, or "Messiah", would be "cut off and he will be no more." Other translations of "cut off and he will be no more" are: "cut off and vanish", "cut off and have nothingness," or "cut off but not for himself." These terms about being no more, having nothingness, and vanishing indicate that the anointed one would be killed. 

The 12th century Rabbi Maimonides wrote in a letter to the Yemenite Jewish Community, Igeret Teiman: "Daniel has elucidated to us the knowledge of the end times. However, since they are secret, the wise have barred the calculation of the days of Messiahís coming so that the untutored populace will not be led astray when they see that the End Times have already come but there is no sign of the Messiah." (Igeret Teiman, Chapter 3 p.24)

In Daniel 9:24-27 (JPT), the angel Gabriel told Daniel:
23: In the beginning of your supplications, a word came forth, and I have come to tell it...
24. Seventy weeks [of years] have been decreed upon your people and upon the city of your Sanctuary to terminate the transgression and to end sin, and to expiate iniquity, and to bring eternal righteousness, and to seal up vision and prophet, and to anoint the Holy of Holies.
25. And you shall know and understand that from the emergence of the word to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem until the anointed king [shall be] seven weeks, and [in] sixty-two weeks it will return and be built street and moat, but in troubled times. [Note that the original Hebrew lacks "the" in "the word", and it lacks the commas limiting the time for the "Messiah prince"]
26. And after the sixty-two weeks, the anointed one will be cut off, and he will be no more, and the people of the coming monarch will destroy the city and the Sanctuary, and his end will come about by inundation [or "its end will come through a flood" – JPS], and until the end of the war, it will be cut off into desolation.
27. And he will strengthen a covenant for the princes ["a firm covenant with many" –JPS] for one week, and half the week he will abolish sacrifice and meal-offering, and on high, among abominations, will be the dumb one ["the appalling thing" –JPS], and until destruction and extermination befall the dumb one.
The "weeks" refer to periods of seven years, because the Hebrew word for a "week" is a "seven," and Genesis 29:27-28, Numbers 14:34, and Ezekiel 4:6 describe seven years as a "week." As Daniel 9:2 (JPT) explains: "In the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, contemplated the calculations, the number of the years that the word of the Lord had come to Jeremiah the prophet, since the destruction of Jerusalem seventy years."
 But while Daniel prayed to request that the seventy years of Babylonian captivity would soon end, the angel Gabriel gave him a new, separate prediction of seventy weeks of years "to end sin... expiate iniquity... bring eternal righteousness, and to seal up vision and prophet." The prediction of an end to sin, an atoning expiation of sin, and eternal righteousness sounds apocalyptic, suggesting that the anointed one in the prophecy is an apocalyptic Messiah who brings eternal righteousness.

The seventy total weeks to bring eternal righteousness are divided into three distinct periods: (1) the first seven weeks starting from [a/the] "word to rebuild Jerusalem," (2) the next sixty-two weeks after which a Messiah will be cut off, the temple will be destroyed, and a flood or war (in Isaiah 8:7, flood=war) will occur, (3) the last week in which sacrifices will end.

Theologians calculate the 69 "weeks" (483 years) before the Messiah in different ways because there were several "words", or proclamations, to restore Jerusalem.

Some scholars consider the "word" to be in Jeremiah's prophecy from 594 BC in Jeremiah 30:1,18 (JPT): "The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying: ...So said the Lord: Behold I am returning the captivity of the tents of Jacob, and his dwellings I will pity, and the city shall be built on its mound and the palace on its proper site." The calculation would be 594-483=111 BC.

Other scholars count from 539-537 BC, when God promises Daniel that Jerusalem would be rebuilt later (in Daniel 9:25) and Cyrus proclaims "the Lord God... commanded me to build Him a House in Jerusalem." (2 Chronicles 36:23 & Ezra 1:2) The calculation is c.538 BC - 483 = from 56 to 54 BC. 

Another count starts at 520-518 BC, when Darius ordered the Temple's construction to be restarted in Exra 6:1-14, and an angel tells Zechariah to proclaim that God says "a plumb line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem."(Zech 1:16) The calculation would be c.519 BC - 483 = from 37 to 35 BC. The problem with counting from 594 BC, 538 BC, or 519 BC is that at those times God's word only said that the city would be built later, and Cyrus and Darius only proclaimed building the Temple. 

Theologians often count from 459-457 BC., when Artaxerxes made an edict to restore Jerusalem as a legal Israelite entity: "from me-I, King Artaxerxes is issued forth an edict to all the treasurers who are on the other side of the river, that whatever Ezra, the priest, the scholar of the Law of the God of heaven, requests of you shall be done quickly... Whatever is with the authorization of the God of heaven shall be done... And you, Ezra, according to the wisdom of your God, which is in your hand, appoint judges and magistrates who will judge all the people beyond the river." (Ezra 7:21, 23, 25 -JPT) Ezra concludes that God: "put such a thought into the king's heart... and I gathered from Israel chiefs to go up with me." (Ezra 7:27-28). Since no "0 AD" exists, there are 483 years between 458 BC and 26 AD.

The latest count runs from Artaxerxes' edict of 446-444 BC to rebuild Jerusalem. In Nehemiah 2:5-8,18(JPT), Nehemiah asked the king, "'that you send me to Judea, to the city of the graves of my forefathers, and I shall build it.' ...it pleased the king, and he sent me... And I said to the king, 'If it pleases the king, may letters be given to me... to Asaph, the guardian of the king's orchard, that he give me wood to make beams for the gates of the castle... and for the wall of the city and for the house to which I shall go,' and the king gave me according to the good hand of my God... I came to Jerusalem...and the Jews, the priests, the nobles, the prefects... And I told them... the words of the king that he said to me. And they said, 'Let us get up and build.'" Josephus in Antiquities XI v 8 reports that Nehemiah built Jerusalem's walls, and Nehemiah 8:1-16 records that the squares and moat of Daniel 9:25 existing while Ezra was still alive. 

Some scholars use a "prophetic" 360-day lunar calendar, based on the days and months of the flood in Genesis 7:11,24 & 8:3-4, to calculate from Artaxerxes' 445 BC decree. Daniel 1 dates the beginning of the Babylonian captivity to 605 BC, and Ezra 1 says Cyrus freed the captives in c.538-537 BC. Since Jeremiah prophesied a 70-year Babylonian captivity, and the Babylonian captivity was 67-68 solar years long instead of 70, Daniel's prophecy probably used 360-day lunar years. 483 years x 360 days = 173,880 days = the number of days between 446 to 444 BC and 31 to 33 AD.

Therefore, after 69 weeks of years had passed from a word to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, a series of events probably occurred wherein Jesus Christ was killed (30-34 AD) and the Roman leader Titus destroyed the city and Temple (70 AD) in a war. Daniel 9 predicted the death of a Messiah between 111 BC and the Temple's destruction in 70 AD, and Jesus Christ's death matches this description.


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