Gabriel began the explanation of the 490-year prophecy with an event that was extremely important to Daniel and to the Jews — the command to restore and build Jerusalem. Though various decrees had been passed regarding Jerusalem, in Ezra 7:1-28, we discover that the decree passed in 457 B.C. allowed the Jews not only to return to their homeland but also to establish themselves as a religious community (see Ezra 7:13, Ezra 7:27).
It is significant to note that Artaxerxes’ decree was issued in the autumn of 457 B.C. From this decree, in 457 B.C., until the Messiah, according to Daniel, would be 69 weeks, or 483 years. If we begin at 457 B.C. and move forward on history’s timeline, we arrive at A.D. 27.
The word Messiah means “the anointed one.” In A.D. 27, Jesus Christ, the Messiah, was baptized. (See Matthew 3:13-17.) Daniel predicted hundreds of years in advance the exact year for the baptism of Christ, the time at which Jesus would begin His three and a half years of ministry.
Read Romans 5:6-9 along with Daniel 9:26. What great truths are revealed here?
“And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself” (Daniel 9:26, NKJV). The Messiah would be “cut off,” or crucified. The verse adds “but not for Himself.” In other words, the death of Christ on Calvary’s cross was for us, not for Himself, which is why Paul could write: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8, NKJV).
In Daniel 9:27, we read that in the middle of the week, the last seven years, Christ would “bring an end to sacrifice and offering.” In the middle of this seventieth week, in A.D. 31, Christ confirmed the everlasting covenant with His blood by dying on the cross, and the sacrificial system lost any and all prophetic significance.
These prophecies reveal that Christ, the Messiah, would be crucified and cause the sacrificial system to cease its prophetic importance in the spring of A.D. 31. These predictions were fulfilled in every detail. Exactly at Passover, when the high priest was offering the Passover lamb, Christ was sacrificed for us.
|With what has been written above in mind, read Mark 15:38 and Matthew 3:15-16. How do these verses help us understand the prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27?|