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SECTION 5 . . . (EN#)

The Bursar's Office

PART A. When was the Death of the Messiah predicted to be ?

PART B. What was the politico-religious state of things to look like as the end of this, our Age draws near ?

Does the Bursar of our great city 'Hospital' have any data on this, on the predicted date of the death of Christ - the most important death of all time; and information on the predicted political-religious world scene, as man's 'culture' approaches its own most deserved 'death' ? Is this stored in memory, in the Biblical files ? If so two massively important elements of our verification will be at hand. First, it would enable us to be quite decisive from data alone about the Messianic necessities, if scripture is to be fulfilled (our topic). It would render the whole matter more intense - it is already immense - even arithmetically. If you like, the constraints on the prophetic system would then be awesome.

Second, it would allow us to perceive the political and economic trends, the geographic power centre, in conjunction with the religious criteria, already being fulfilled 'as if their lives depended on it', making a heavy cable out of our strong cord at the verificatory level. The first Part has to do with the days of Jesus Christ. The second Part relates to our own. Both relate to verification, both intensify verification, already present momentously.

As a matter of fact, there is a third matter of interest arising: it ratifies and reinforces yet again the Lord's Christ. Not merely is His birth, death, mode of death, reason for death, power, healing, prophetic pronouncement, authority, grace, tenderness, ransom, grace, deliciousness (Isaiah 11:10, 40:10, 61:3,10-11 for example), tribe, place of birth, resurrection (Psalm 16 where non-rotting is prescribed for David's normal Messianic target - a starkly miraculous requirement- cf. Isaiah 26:19)... all foretold. With divine omni-competence, we are also told the era of His death, the century, the decade, the exact period, through the prophet Daniel.

That the precise part of the precise century is foretold will be shown to be not reasonably contestable. That is the sort of specificity which would make Barth unhappy, Kant spit and the whole pseudo-ecclesiastical demolition squad which populates nowadays so many - but by no means all - churches, to reel. It is worth investigation. The results have a peculiar lucidity.

Christianity, it must be relevantly recalled, not merely has the data for verification gushing up like a geyser: it actually stresses the need to examine it and challenges people to do so. Is it not refreshing, a religion that deals in data rather than dabbling in the devious, or cuddling in the agnostically communal ('con'-unal at times), and/ or spinning in the activistically pushed, subjective preferences of gyrating groups!

You see this stress in John 3:11, 3:32, Acts 4:20, 2:22, 2:32, 5:32, Isaiah 48:3-8,14-15, 50:8; in John 8:46: "Which of you convicts me of sin ?" and in Isaiah 45:19-22, 46:10, 55:11, 65:6-12. "Behold it is written before me..." says the God who exalts His word above all His name, Psalm 138:2 - (cf. Deuteronomy 18:20, Isaiah 8:20, Proverbs 30:6, Isaiah 44:8).

In the Bible, God does not 'tolerate' investigation of His word; as King and Counsellor He demands it, both evidentially and because of what it reveals within, to the contrite (Isaiah 66:2). It is easy enough to understand: if you ignore your employer, that is one thing; if you ignore your God, that is another.

We have entered the Bursar's Office in this great Hospital: now let us turn up:



Very well: IN PURSUIT OF VERIFICATION OF A DOCUMENT IDENTIFIED AS FROM GOD, we are now to inspect what this same document has to say on the topic noted. At this point, everything else will be irrelevant - except the historical date of birth (or death). Of course, it would be just as effective for our purposes to know the date of death. Did the document, however, which we have before us, in fact predict correctly, this date ? Can we ascertain this ? Let us then investigate the background in the book of the prophet Daniel.

In Chapter 7, we see four successive kingdoms laid out for futuristic inspection: except that the first is already, at the time of speaking, in place. They are: first, Babylon, whose king Belshazzar identifies it. It was the great kingdom which exiled Daniel personally, making him a Babylonian whiz-kid, wise-man cadet, which in turn led to his diligent insistence on honouring his God - in the process.

One could wish some more, who call themselves Christians, could be as diligent in their cadetships, or executive posts nowadays. At least in Australia, quite unlikely is any loss of their heads, even if they keep their hearts as pure as Daniel's. Heads are far more likely to be culturally commandeered than lost. Against all this, Daniel set his face; just as the King, at a crisis, set his face, reluctantly, against Daniel.

In Daniel's vision, this sovereign lion (7:4) corresponds to the head of gold, portrayed in Chapter 2. In the latter case, the king of Babylon was Nebuchadnezzar; by Chapter 7's era, it was Belshazzar; but in both cases, the kingdom is Babylon. So much for the kings; now for the kingdom - each kingdom being portrayed as a beast (7:17), the king representing it.

As E.J. Young points out, these four beasts, 'though differing from one another, have this in common, that each arises from the sea, i.e., represents a kingdom of human origin and nature.' (Cf. Rev. 13 where the symbolism is based upon Dan.)... Their diversity is mentioned, in order to call attention to the importance of the symbolism by which each individual kingdom is represented. In the Old Testament, Gentile nations are frequently symbolized by beasts, cf. Ezek. 29:3 ff.; Isa. 27:1; 51:9...' (The Prophecy of Daniel, p. 143).

As Young further notes, Nebuchadnezzar had been compared to lion and eagle, cf. Jeremiah 4:7, 49:19, 50:17,44, 49:22, Lamentations 4:19, Habakkuk 1:8, Ezekiel 17:3,12. The symbolism is clear; but what of the second beast, or kingdom, or empire of international and gross power ? Next in history in fact is the empire of Media-Persia. That this duality is appropriate to the context and the thought of the writer is quite apparent from Chapter 5, where Daniel, under divine inspiration and direction, in a miraculous situation (v.5) actually stated the name of that kingdom which was to succeed that of Babylon, and he did so on the very eve of its advent to power, King Belshazzar being about to lose his throne.

This kingdom is there named (5:28) as that of the Medes and the Persians. Young engages in an interesting discussion (loc. cit.) as to whether the 3 ribs found in the mouth of this animal - a bear (7:5) - indicate, as many claim, Babylon, Lydia and Egypt. This would be historically apt. He also considers however whether they portray, as Calvin held, the unsparing and insatiable nature of the bear: a view with which he rather agrees. The term translated "raised up on one side" (v. 5) is held by Keil (in his commentary on Daniel) to refer to its being poised with feet on one side raised for the purpose of going forward.

Young cites Montgomery's graphic depiction: "The animal then is pausing to devour a mouthful before springing again on its prey," (p. 144). The term 'arise' is taken to refer to the need to do a thorough job on its mouthful - that is, vigorously to consume the kingdom taken (upon which God had given a desolating curse -Isaiah 13:1,13-20). As Young points out, "the command is given by God, thus showing the Divine Providence overruled in the affairs of the mighty human kingdom" (p. 145). This perspective is important here.

The third empire, symbolised by a panther (Daniel 7:6), a beast of prey and prowess, speedy and agile, is the next world power and follows from the others for this reason. However in addition to the speed and agility of Alexander the Great, the historical match, we see his vigour and address.

The four wings would normally be taken as showing a special rapidity in conquest compared with the two-winged first empire, strong though those wings were - royal if you like, in terms of the initial eagle.

Was the Macedonian Empire of Alexander the Great in fact less regal in character? Did it flutter a little more on its way ? In reality: it had its founder die in his thirties in circumstances not of the most impressive, just as, like the panther, he showed intelligence and address on the way to this remarkably broad world victory. The four heads however are another phenomenon, nor do they for their part especially suggest intelligence, so much as quadripartite control of what, for all that, is one basic empire. This fits with the famous fourfold division after Alexander into i) four basic areas of dominion: Greece, Western Asia, Egypt and Persia; and ii) four successors of Alexander who held the remnants of power: Ptolemy, Seleucus, Philip and Antigonus.

Indeed, the division into four of the Empire is so notable a fact that this use of four in terms of heads is itself about as sure a sign as are the seven hills of Rome in symbolism for that city. Thus we are confirmed as we go, and go as we are propelled by the earlier symbolism, in conjunction with historical facts on the one hand, and on the other, internal definition of terms from the book itself, as shown above.

What then is beast number four ? It is most interesting to compare this sequence with the vertical sequence of the image of a man, in Daniel 2. It also had four divisions coming as we looked from the head downward: as gold, silver, brass... and its final division: legs of iron, and feet partly of iron and partly of clay. In the case, then, of Daniel Chapter 2, the image is regarded as substantially complete, and the stone from heaven grinds it all to powder (2:34-35). The stone which grinds the kingdom, the fourth world empire, what is it ?

This stone is interpreted in terms of a divinely provided kingdom, one of total superiority to the human ones.

It is fascinating to consider the "stone" as "made without hands" as signifying that it is not an accretion, an accumulation or a development of culture or wisdom. It is, rather, an absolute impartation from heaven, in that the "God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed." In the Bible, the symbolism and explanations provided, and the usages are such that the meaning is in no doubt whatsoever. It is the kingdom of the Messiah, to which the stone refers.

In the Old Testament, we find that God claims alone to be the rock of His people. This is found, for example, in II Samuel 22:32 ("For who is a Rock, save our God!"), Psalm 62:2 (cf. Deuteronomy 32:18 - "the Rock which begat you") and Isaiah 44:8: ("Is there a God besides Me? Indeed, there is no other Rock; I know not one.")

In Deuteronomy 32:31, we find this: "Their rock is not like our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges...". He and He alone is the effectual, all-consuming One, as in the image of Daniel noted above. In 1 Samuel 2:3 we find:

There is none holy like the Lord, for there is none besides Thee, nor is there any rock like our God. Talk no more so very proudly; let no arrogance come from your mouth. For the Lord is the God of knowledge; and by Him actions are weighed.
All this is in perfect harmony with the fact that only Christ is the Rock (1 Corinthians 3:11, 10:1-4), and requires it. It is also, however, in the same harmony with the weight, efficacy and drastic character of the intervention of this rock, in Daniel 2! Indeed, in Psalm 118:22 we see in more detail that there is indeed a stone which the builders will reject, but on whom all power and authority will rest: life will rest on Him (cf.Isaiah 28:16, Zechariah 3:9-10, Isaiah 26:4 - 'in ... the Lord is Rock of Ages', Isaiah 51:1,32:2).

This rejected (and despised - Isaiah 53) king has already been identified in some detail, as Christ, who used the imagery Himself and of Himself also, as seen in Matthew 21:44,42. Daniel 7 moreover, our actual text, in verses 13 ff., shows that God is to have His power and majesty displayed through "One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven!" As to Him, says Daniel (v. 14):

Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations and languages should serve Him. His kingdom is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away...
This of course in turn is just the language and the content in Isaiah 9 where the prodigious sign (met in Isaiah 7:11) is to embrace the embrace of a mother for a child to whom is to be given an eternal power and kingdom, One whose name rings with all the plenitude of the Almighty (Isaiah 7:10-14, 9:1-7, 11:1 etc.).

What then is that earthly and political kingdom into which Christ is to be born ? What in fact is the next, the fourth and the last in historical sequence; what kingdom is it which develops after the fourfold departments of world rule, arising from the advances of Alexander the Great ? What can stand in such historical company as a worthy successor, an in-line fellow for such friends as Babylon, Media-Persia and Macedonia, in terms of actual comparable world type dominion ?

More than that (Daniel 7:7), which empire subsequent to Alexander's and the elements which resulted from his, was distinguishable by its enormous (relative) strength ? It is like considering tennis stars. If you mention say John McEnroe and consider who would be like him now and stronger, it would not leave much scope. At that level, the very nature of the category is ultra-limited. If further, you are to look for something even more so, then you approach singularity itself. In the case before us, only Rome comes anywhere near the matter; but in fact, it fills it competently.

There was nothing quite like it for administration, roads, order, organisation and continued determination, allied with resolute efficiency, in the days of its prime; and its endurance was great. It stands revealed therefore past any rational doubt as the fourth beast. Our arithmetic on Chapter 9, shortly - for in a Bursar's Office you can expect some of that - will merely confirm what needs no confirmation. This beast certainly was "different" (Daniel 7:7).

Not only were its legions legendary - and indeed the name still carries weight distinctively at this distance! - but it had two phases relative to its mighty strength at the first. The first phase was utter dominion and the second was a time of slackening, wasting, deterioration and degeneration. That seems to fit very well with the movement within the fourth image's metal sphere, from iron, to less iron, and to clay feet, in the Chapter 2 counterpoint vision of the man; but we need not press the point here.

Again, the fourth beast had ten horns, and the feet of the image had ten toes, so the fourth division in each case is analogical. We will seek to pursue this theme of predicted kingdoms later, into the areas of our own time; but for the moment we merely wish to show that Daniel in Chapters 2 and 7, is predicting the inception of a Messianic kingdom which will grow, during an empire situation that relates to Rome. That puts the birth (and therefore the human death) of Christ into a distinct area of time; but we can do far better than that mathematically. It is merely that we should take things in order and methodically... and that this will serve excellently, for our second feature, the predictions to our own day.

Daniel 9 and the Death Day

(see Highway of Holiness... Ch. 4 for a more extensive coverage)

We now turn to our arithmetical exercise - but what would you expect, with dates? Not perhaps this. In Daniel 9, verses 1-19, we find this holy man engaged in prayer, and seeking from the Lord an action in accord with the prediction of a 70 year exile, as made by Jeremiah (25:11). This exile, a punishment for prolonged national delinquency, was to be followed by a restoration of the Jews to their land, from this small sojourn of temporary discipline.

God, in reply to Daniel's prayerful entreaties, signifies to him in His vast mercy: something beyond the mere return (which came on time). The 70 year exile now served as a spring-board, a plan to span a vast period of history.

To change the image: God gave to Daniel a divinely constructed road-map of history, concerning the future; and He used the concept of sevens as a device to depict this.

The Scope of the Seventy Sevens

God states the entire period to be covered by this new prediction, that of the seventy sevens. What will be accomplished in this vast time ? Various results will be obtained. They are these.

1) Transgressions will be ended.

2) Sacrifice will be substantially effective (no more a mere pictorial representation) and it will be effected for everlasting righteousness.

3) The divinely given visions and prophecies will be fulfilled (Daniel 9:24).

For such a survey, there is required a starting point. Where are these sevens of years to start ? They start from a time denoted as follows: "the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem" (v.25). Now we are dealing with Daniel, set as shown around 600 B.C., and it is in this setting that we are for verification purposes, compelled to start.

The Commencement Of The Seventy

Looking down the corridors of history, from that time, when is there evidence of such a command ?

Perhaps it would be well to check on the same book, the Bible, as contains the predictions, to seek for definition and specification of the terms involved. That, after all, is what commonsensically they do in law. Check the documents as one whole.

Very well: in Ezra, we find reference to such activity as the 'starter' command of Daniel 9:25 specifies. The first such command as fits the data given, will be that chosen for reference, as it is a matter of continuing on with history, as from Daniel's side, until the specifications are met; and then counting on as shown in the prediction. Otherwise there could only be ambiguity and inadequacy of direction. Besides, when it says that from such a command, that is, as soon as it comes, the requirement is met. We have no option to wait. That is the stimulus in view; and when it has happened, to ignore it would be to ignore directions.

It would appear, for reasons to be given, that Ezra 9:9 fits the particular specifications. Here we find in scripture, the document. Here, in this scripture depicting the scene of reconstruction, on the spot, is found this crucial historical reference, as part of a prayer of Ezra himself, who, being a scribe, is rehearsing the data: ''For we were slaves. Yet our God did not forsake us in our bondage; but He extended mercy to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to revive us, to repair the house of our God, to rebuild its ruins, and to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem.''

In this, we find reference to a Persian king who:

1) in the setting of the action of earlier kings (it is plural), not only authorised the repair of the temple, but also

2) sanctioned the rebuilding of its ruins and further

3) gave a wall, made provision for it, in Judah and Jerusalem.

Let us recall that the command which is the arithmetic sign-post in Daniel 9:25, is to rebuild and restore Jerusalem, and the wall is mentioned in this immediate context. There is to be in view a functional renewal, not a symbolical one, and it concerns the city, not merely the temple: the city ? Jerusalem.

Now in this document of Ezra, which we are studying, for what is the wall built, which he mentions ? What is its purpose ? Ezra 7:14 clarifies this. Is it then for the Temple ? Is this what is stated ? No, it is concordantly with the reference to "the God of Jerusalem" (7:19), to "Judah", and to administering "neighbouring peoples" with penal authority for rebels (7:14, 25-26), that this command of the Persian king is rehearsed by Ezra, in praise and gratitude to God. Security and strength in the terms of reference, the city and the nation, is involved, for function and for administration, in such a region and its peoples.

What then is the wall correlative to such functionings ? Is it one around the temple? That would be pitiably, almost playfully inadequate for such purposes.

It is necessary to remember that we are not in fact seeking to find when the wall was built at this point; but only to ascertain when it was authorised - or more precisely, Jerusalem itself. That is the criterion given by the prophet Daniel. It is from that commandment to restore, that the seventy sevens commence their ambit.

It is then, to Judah and Jerusalem that the wall relates, and Jerusalem is in Judah. The authority of the command, therefore, of Ezra 7:18, given by the king, and as seen above, incorporates the administration of the location and its securing by defence: here it would surely appear, is the first command concerning the rebuilding of the wall. An earlier king (Cyrus) had started the process of authorisations to which Ezra compendiously referred in 9:9, and because of the plural, we understand that a subsequent king added so that the total authorisation here in view became cumulatively present, the laws of the Medes and Persians being self-perpetuating in essence.

The strictly religious command of Cyrus does not fulfil the requirement of our specification; the later command to Nehemiah does so; but it is not the first, and there could (theoretically) be twenty of them, but only the first would figure in any indication of 'the' command when capacity to function (here to build Jerusalem) fulfils it. It is like being told to turn left after passing the bank. One could interpret that clottishly to mean to turn left after passing 6 other streets first - but the direction is to turn left after the bank. To delay this, when means exist, is to disobey it.

Further, so to treat direction would make the expression, in practice, meaningless and the direction incoherent; so that it means to take the first available way of fulfilling the direction, unless otherwise advised. Sir Robert Anderson has another procedure which leads us to very nearly the same date and fits with the time of Jesus Christ (in his work, The Coming Prince), so that either way the case is covered and the prediction is confirmed as valid. However, for our purposes, and for these reasons, we will and must follow what we have before us. One last point and we may commence our calculations. If the 'wall' were merely metaphorical, in Ezra, then that would always be present for God's servants who seek Him (Ezra 8:22), and found in none but Him.

How then would it be a case such as Ezra states, that God "extended mercy to us in the sight of the kings of Persia", if there were intended a divine allocation of protection, with no wall ? In the action of the kings, there needs to be an explicit authorisation for a specified purpose, historically enacted, for a servant to reflect on the mercy in their provisions, as here. God is its source, but they are its course. Thus Ezra 9:9 proceeds with the wall in a literal list; and Ezra 4:12-16 in fact records earlier protest against work to complete, on no small scale, a literal wall to the city.

Further, in Daniel 9, it is merely indicated that the wall is to be built in troublous times, so that it is precisely such a rebuilding, as an index to the consummation, that we have. For the rest, it is for the command for the restoration of Jerusalem that we specifically look, relative to the initiation of Daniel's sevens: and Jerusalem as a centre of control, and jurisdictive administration is assuredly authorised here. Money is provided beyond the temple needs for whatever the royal will has indicated is to be done (Ezra 7:18) and in the end, for the will of God. Not only is Jerusalem to administer areas designated, but taxes are not to be taken from priests, an exclusion signifying a tax charter for others. Only now is the challenge of 4:13,16 overcome by the second positive charter to the Jews!

From this centre, all who know their God are to be given justice and judgment in their affairs, and there is given the power of the death penalty for disobedience for those refusing this Jerusalem-direction - a Jerusalem which already had its completed temple (Ezra 6:16), and which clearly should be something very different from a ruin in order to fulfil the king's command, that it operate as an administrative and judicial centre for the entire region for the Jews. In that this is all authorised, Jerusalem is authorised as a command post, regional centre and place of judgment, by royal decree, and so acknowledged by Ezra, in God's name, on the location in person. It is here then that we locate the relevant command, coming after the consummation of the temple, specifically restoring to Jerusalem its hegemony over Judah and funds for whatever was necessary for the divine purpose.

The date of this edict of the King is noted in J. Barton Payne's Encyclopedia Of Prophecy, p. 387, as 458 B.C.. (Ezra 7:7 specifies the year of the reign with happy scriptural adequacy for this purpose.)

The Predicted Time of Messiah, the Prince ...

Our task is now relatively simple. Allowing for the fact that there is no O B.C. : we find that 62 + 7 sevens (the term is seven rather than week, stressing the sevenfold increment from the original 70 year exile) of the total 70 7's, or 483 years are to pass. The 70 7's were to bring in all these final matters and their preliminaries; but the 69 of them were to bring in the Messiah... ("until Messiah the prince"- Daniel 9:25)! This then takes us from the provided starting point, the command to rebuild Jerusalem, at 458 B.C. to the year 26 A.D.. Then is Messiah the prince.

His Age at The Start of His Ministry

The Messiah, meaning the 'anointed one for the purpose', would in fact gain His symbolic priestly anointing, and it would occur at the start of His ministry. John the Baptist who supplied the human side, was not symbolically washing away the sins that were not there (Matthew 3:15)... for this special priest who had come to the age specified for priests. That ? it was the minimum of 30, the age given for Jesus (Luke 3:23, cf. Numbers 4:3). Thus John protested:

I have need to be baptised by You, and do You come to me ? Matthew 3:13.

Indeed the text states that John would have hindered Christ in His design of baptism. After all it was John who designated Jesus Christ as the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). It is scarcely for John, whose sins Christ must take, to be the imperfect instrument for that Christ who, as sin bearer, can have no sin; for there is need of the blemishless sacrifice so often required by Moses. This was symbolically expressive of the righteousness required in a sacrifice for sin. It was, as Isaiah says, for our sin He was offered, and He was for all that accounted as receiving retribution from God. Isaiah contrasts, in Chapter 53, the misapprehension with the fact. On the one hand is the blind attribution of sin to the Messiah; but on the other, is the actual innocence, and the effective bearing of sin for the guilty.

Thus it was that John bent to the will that Christ be baptised, despite his objection: it was to fulfil all righteousness (Matthew 2:15), not to cleanse, that the baptism was performed. The new light altered John's objection, based on his own sinfulness, and the purity of Christ. If the Messiah wished to undergo the priestly anointing, or baptism of consecration, so be it. That was about as well known as exhaust mufflers in our day. It required no introduction.

As Jay Adams points out in his little book, The Meaning and Mode of Baptism, pp. 16 ff., John never changed his mind about Christ's inability to receive the 'baptism of John', that is, one to repentance; for there was nothing of which to repent, for the Son of God. A new consideration entered, and in that perspective, John found himself able to baptise. To be a priest, Adams notes, required that a man be 30, that he be called of God, as Aaron was, and Christ was, and that he be sprinkled with water (Numbers 8:6-7). This was the one remaining item for this extraordinary priesthood, surpassing but not minimising the requirements, one sensitive to fulfilling all righteousness, the point which made John see that he could after all, baptise Christ.

Adams also notes that when Jesus cleansed the temple (Matthew 21:12), He exercised the authority of a priest; and that when asked by what authority he was acting, He asked his attackers (Matthew 21:24-25) what they thought of the baptism of John, which Christ had! So far from abrogating the law, as He said (Matthew 5:17-19), Christ explicitly was bent on fulfilling it. This, and this alone, fulfils it, in this case.

Thus John proceeded to baptise, but not with his own specific baptism, rather with that authorised for such a One as the sinless Jesus Christ. The voice from heaven (Matthew 3:16-17) attested the reality of the act, making celestial the confirmation of the Messianic role which John the Baptist had specifically acknowledged, and incidentally, further confirming that this call was indeed of God! Thus Luke goes on at once from the baptism to the age... about 30. We may do well to take it that there was little delay, then; but in any case, the approximation is there.

The Date of the Death of Messiah the Prince

1) Using the Prophetic Base

This was the dramatic initiation of the direct Messianic ministry, as distinct from preparation for it. Chronologically, the fact is that from the various feasts noted in the gospels, it is normally taken that the ministry lasted 3 years. This therefore takes us in a way simply heightened by the baptism, to around A.D. 29 to 30, depending on the exact months in view. It is now necessary to consider precisely the Death of the Messiah in this chronological setting of the prophet Daniel, so enabling the comparison of the prediction with the evidence of the actual event.

You will observe that since seventy sevens were in view, and 69 had passed (Daniel 9:25) when we come to the Messiah, then the question must be asked: how long after the 69 which bring us to the Messiah, is His death to occur ? After these weeks, He comes ? When ?

Verse 27 mentions a residual week, or seven to which we must therefore attend. THIS week could be called the Messianic week, since He, though 'cut off', does not cease as God to dominate proceedings (cf. pp. 560 ff. supra).

For the Messiah as we have noticed, there is not only suffering but triumph; there is only apparent weakness, there IS fulfilment of plan, and Psalm 2, for example makes the vindication of His power, place and authority clear. God does not cease to be God because of His love.

Thus Christ did not cease to be God, and His actions, though apparently disturbed or even disrupted, were in fact wholly sovereign and wholly planned even in seeming disaster (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:8, Acts 2:23-24, Psalm 22:14,20,22-27,30-31). The Bible is not shy on this point. As Peter declaims:

He (Christ) being delivered by the carefully planned intention and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it (Acts 2:23-24),
and he goes on from this start, to note of this once buried Christ that His flesh did not rot (Acts 2:31). It would take another religion to change these things; they are central in significance, centrally affirmed on central occasions in the midst of multiplied predictive and prophecies and notations of fulfilment.

In Daniel 9, the Messianic week, the one which follows the 69 of the 70 which lead to Him, has much action. We read:

He shall confirm the covenant with many for one seven: but in the middle of the seven, He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering (Daniel 9:27).
It goes on to describe the counter-force, the Satanic representation, and his abominations, just as Christ said before His departure from this earth:
I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me (John 14:30).
His specific acts of abomination are further referred to by Jesus Christ, as noted in Matthew 24:15.

To revert to Daniel, how was there a fulfilment of this "making the sacrifice to cease" ? He "caused it to rest", the Hebrew tells us. It ceased in other words to have divine sanction, just as predicted in Psalm 40:6-8:

Sacrifice and offering Thou didst not desire; mine ears Thou hast opened; burnt offering and sin offering Thou didst not require. Then I said: "behold in the volume of the book it is written of Me, I delight to do thy will, O my God..."
There, to use the terminology of Hebrews, God takes away the one that He may establish the other (Hebrews 10:9). Animal sacrifices had served their pictorial time, and the actual Redeemer was to come and pay the price, the ransom (Matthew 20:28, cf. Hosea 13:14, Psalm 49:7,15, Isaiah 53:10) as He expressed it, to redeem of His lost and fallen people, every one who should receive Him (John 1:1-14, cf. Isaiah 53:10, 55:3). There had, then, to be an end to the animal sacrificial system (cf. Isaiah 66:3), engineered in the Temple in the forms or patterns of God, as given to Moses (cf. Hebrews 8:11), when the time should come (cf. Psalm 102:13,20-21).

Here in Daniel 9, it is set in chronological sequence. The concept is not new, but firmly established in scripture. It had to happen. What Daniel is quite explicitly doing is giving it the time frame.

God, as we have seen, puts immense importance on the accuracy and adequacy of HIS predictions; they are part of His identikit. It is ridiculous and wholly unbiblical to ridicule the precision of God's word, the accuracy of its fulfilments and the propriety of considering both: God insists on accuracy in prophetic pre-coverage of coming events, as part of His signature, as it were (see Isaiah 41, 43, 48). He not merely notes this distinctive of His, He challenges false hearts in the people, and false gods in their worship, to do the same, telling them that in their waywardness they could not compete, for the people were merely deluded in their multiplied backslidings, fantasies and rebelliousness.

How He chides them, for this kind of folly; and it is not uncommon in some churches today, which appear too sophisticated to look at 'little things', such as what God actually says (a disinclination shared by Satan when he sought to seduce Eve)! But what does He say ?

Let them bring forth and show us what shall happen: let them show the former things what they were, that we may consider them - and know the latter end of them: or declare the things to come. Show the things that are to come hereafter [now listen to this] that we may know that you are gods; yes, do good or do evil, that we may be dismayed and see it together. Indeed you are nothing, and your work is nothing (Isaiah 41:22-24).
It is then wholly appropriate to give careful attention to this time frame, given by Daniel for such an epochal event as the death of the Messiah, as foretold by Isaiah, a sacrifice for sin (Isaiah 53). How often we may marvel at God's prediction of Christ's birthplace at Bethlehem (Micah 5:1-4)! How seldom we seem to marvel at the wonder of His presentation of the time of the Messiahship, the time of His death indeed! We are now ready to consider this seventieth Messianic week, the one that follows His arrival on the scene; and the action which was to come after that. It is in the midst of the residual seven, the seventieth seven then, that the sacrifice IS TO be "caused to rest", that animal sacrifice is to be SET ASIDE, finished, given its completion notice: in fact, REPLACED BY WHAT MUST OF NECESSITY NOW BE IN PLACE, THE SACRIFICIAL DEATH OF THE MESSIAH, JUST ANNOUNCED BY THE PROPHET.

Do you not see it ? : If the Messiah is to be the Lamb of God to put away sin, and is so frequently predicted; and if, when this happens, He is to replace animal sacrifices, then when He is so sacrificed, the old sacrifices must be set aside, put to rest. It is not pragmatic, expedient or the like: it is a quite necessary consequence, something that could not be otherwise, with divine constraints from the Word of God.

It follows then that there could be no puncture of Holiness by the cessation following upon Messiah's sacrificial death; merely a following on of what God Himself has caused, as we have seen in His predestinated presentation of Christ as Lamb. It is Christ therefore who 'caused to rest' these sacrifices. When ? There is the question. When ? That is a perfectly right query here, for the whole conspectus of Daniel 9 is set in a chronological sequence, one indeed which begins in the wholly historical 70 year preliminary, in turn predicted by Jeremiah, one fulfilled in historical and actual exile in Babylon.

The Bible tells the answer to this with marvellous simplicity: it is in the midst of the seventieth, the residual seven, the one into which the Messiah must penetrate in that He arrives on the scene as Messiah, after the 69 sevens. What then is the midst of a seven ? One would not feel baffled at that, but tend to reply simply: something very close to, or of the order of 3½ years. With decimals these days, which can be computed to millions of places, we should not be too concerned that God chooses to use a 'half' in His conceptual, historical network of explanation here.

What then is 3+ years from A.D. 26 ? It depends of course on the month, but it would appear, without more concern, to be around 29 or 30 A.D., which of course is the normal death date attributed to Christ in the flesh.

2) The Date Of The Death Of Messiah The Prince, As In Fact It Happened

How is such a date determined in history as distinct from prophecy ? In fact, for many reasons (*1), B.C. 4 is normally chosen as Christ's birth date in history, and as already noticed, the age of about thirty is attributed in Luke (3:23) to Christ at the commencement of His ministry. Since there is no year nought, we move to A.D. 26 for this commencement, and as also already detailed, the ministry of Christ is from internal scriptural evidence of events noted, normally set at around three years (*1).


You end, in history, as in the half a millenium-old prediction, at the same place, both for Christ's ministry and for His death. Half a seven on from A.D. 26, yielding 29 or 30, and around 3 plus years from A.D. 26, on the historical criteria, and the Biblical indications of the actual length of His Ministry. The coincidence is over a vast period, involves countless variables, and is perfect. It fulfils not only the prediction; but the prediction that predictions would be right! That is a self-imposed test that God gave for the better deliverance of men from the delusion that God is not there or does not care. He has cared enough to say and also enough to do, and further, to do what He said He would do, not only in fulfilling in fact the prophecy, but the coming to save, to which it referred. Let us however return to the dates, as such.

What is evidenced in history is precisely what was indicated in the independent chronological sequences, expressly provided as such, by the prophet Daniel. The historical and prophetic dates match to perfection. The period of Jesus Christ was undoubtedly correctly and closely indicated hundreds of years before it happened. A finger of destiny is present, alerting any who would care, to note that this is the very precise period of history, in all of its thousands of years, when this should happen; or, as the apostle Paul put it, He came in the fulness of time (Galatians 4:4).

The Mathematical Message that is Not Merely Mathematical

There is then a mathematical message. Not merely is this a verification of scripture, in its precise claim about the death date for the Messiah: it is also a profound presentation, via the scope of an historical incident (the Jewish 70 year exile) as a base, of the entire history leading to the crucifixion of Christ. With the Jews' exilic rebuke as the base, it enlarges the scale (almost as if it were a graph) to show the scope of history till the reproof of Christ (Isaiah 53:4-5,9). Then they would more fatally fail to heed the Lord; and this reproof they thereby would administer to God; and in Christ their reproof would not be for His sins, but on account of their own (Isaiah 49:7, 53:4). He was rebuked by those for whom He would offer Himself as ransom; and by them as He did it! Though the many would not receive Him, so that the ransom would not be paid; yet it was available.

God on the scene was this time not merely rejected (as before the exile by the nation as a whole), but murdered in the sacrificial form He had provided. Indeed, at their hands as Daniel said (9:26), "there is nothing for Him." Indeed, the prophecy spreads further, beyond the antichrist. Though this does not here concern us, its sovereign sweep continues like an uninterrupted view...

The quality of these words and concepts is that of a sovereign who is sovereign not merely over a nation or empire, but over history; they comport perfectly and precisely with the statuesque beauty of meaningful power seen in Daniel 2, where the 'stone' is to smash the rotten kingdoms and fill the earth with itself. There is in the midst of the scientifically accurate coverage of history, room for pathos - of the Messiah (9:25-26) twice mentioned, it says: "Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself..." - and this is "Messiah the Prince".

Here is the masterpiece of abbreviated composition relying, it seems, heavily on Isaiah 52-3. The one anointed to be King is to be cut off; the One who fills the criteria of Daniel 2, as we have seen in tracing the Messiah earlier, is to be 'cut off', a term applicable to sinners removed from the people. This is to be 'not for Himself'. One might have thought that One cut off - anyone indeed 'cut off' - judicially extradited from the living hearth of his people - would have something to answer for. Not in this One: it is NOT for Himself that this judgment occurs. He is innocent. The judgment of those who judged Him therefore is guilty, and the guilt is the guilt of regicide, the despatch, in rejection, of the Prince of Peace as Isaiah calls Him (Isaiah 9:6).

With what result then ? Not of 'peace'. With rest, for the nation ? No, for (Isaiah 11:10) His rest shall be 'glorious', and this, with Him, is rejected. It is a personal, not a pill-popping matter. What then shall befall the nation: restlessness, and not peace, for their peace is despatched. But what of those who refuse His sacrifice, though they be not Jews: the same in this, that their peace is gone, their Prince of life itself as Peter puts it (Acts 3:14), in full accord with the Old Testament scriptures; and a denuded spiritual life, without God, awaits them.

Yet Daniel has more: "Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself" may be rendered literally, like this: "there is not for Him". Isaiah has already made clear in 53, the message of iniquitous rejection of the wholly righteous Christ; and it is clear from the term 'Messiah', in this context of sacrifice for sins, that this element in here. Another aspect of the literal translation, however, is simply that He is left ... as far as it is humanly possible to render to Him, desolate: NOTHING is the reward of men to HIM.

Nothing of life is their reward for so treating Him and His help: nullity is their friendship and their honour. Outer darkness is their consignment for Him. Exclusion from their lives, is their response... to God. God being in human form, their response has a certain desolation of life built into it: to give that to Him, is to exhibit that in oneself.

Guilt is not for Him, though the cutting off would suggest it: the Messiahship is negated by the people. Thus they say, Not you for us! and in that sense, it is not for Him. As far as they are concerned, place in biological format on earth is not for Him: it is ALL negated (*2). Even notorious criminal Barabbus is preferred to Him!

Thus this simple, single sentence in Daniel 9, 'there is not for Him', gives one perfect description, in the form of the very love and sacrificial suffering of God of what hell is. When men are so to be cut off - let us be clear, because they rejected Christ (John 15:21-23, 3:18-19) - then they gain what He bore: there is not to them. They are still there; but there is not for them.

Hell is first of all a negation. What could have been, the beauty even in exchange for the ashes (Isaiah 61:1-3) of sin, the experience of the resplendent truth and torrential peace (Amos 5:24, Isaiah 48:18) of the fearful majesty of the everlasting God, in whose image we are meekly made: this is not for the unrepentant sinner. Meanwhile, in stark moral splendour, of the marvellous Messiah, Daniel writes: There is not to Him: humanly, negation is His lot.

With such stakes, and with such a Person in such a place, is it surprising that the date of His death is announced hundreds of years ahead ? Nor yet is it surprising, but rather further verification, that the nature of the death is so presented, with such depth and restraint, such eloquence and such simplicity; with a profundity which moves effortlessly through the depths. From our point of view it is staggering and sovereignly fitting verification (and this, the manner of it is still further verification, for it fits in style with such a sovereign as God who wrote it); but from another point of view it is a terrible warning of the solemn significance of it.

It is also a regal mockery of all those little 'Christs', those 'other Messiahs' like Barth's and Bultmann's and those of the sects, and those cryptic christs of the evolutionists, who cannot speak aright or act aright or accomplish very much at all. Not such is God's Messiah, who in creation, logic and history, in prophecy, personality and power is self-attesting; and the evidence is rising to our feet like grass in a sunlit and fertile valley. It is everywhere. One feels like John, who doubted if the whole world could contain the testimonies of Jesus Christ.

{For evidence on the birth date of Jesus the Christ, see pp. 943ff.,when past the intervening work on the evil aspect, this is resumed.}

Page 899 continued in the next section

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