Texts: Zec 9:9; Matthew 21:1-9; Daniel 9:1-27
Today we celebrate what is called Palm Sunday which commemorates the Triumphal entry into Jerusalem the people placed palm branches in his path, which was followed by his arrest on Thursday and his crucifixion on Friday, thus marking what we call Holy Week. However, not only was this event prophesied in Zechariah, but it was also prophesied by another Old Testament prophet that we are studying on Wednesday nights called Daniel.
v.1 In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans; In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. The first year of Darius would have been 538 BC. Daniel apparently was a student of Scripture and he had been studying the book of Jeremiah. Daniel had apparently been looking at Jer 25:11-12 and Jer 29:10-11.
Of course, we can infer from this that Daniel was doing a little bit of math in his head. History tells us that Israel had been destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar in 605 BC which means that they had been in captivity for 67 years at this time, so Daniel understood that prophetically their captivity was almost over.
You know, something that amazes me is that Daniel just opened up his Bible, read Jeremiah and believed it. Why do so many struggle today with interpreting the Bible literally? Daniel didn't try to spiritualize what he read. I know why. When we can't find or understand the meaning of something, we spiritualize it so that we can. Arrogance in my opinion.
The question we need to address is why 70 Years? Seems pretty random until you read Lev_25:1-7, Lev 25:20-22; Lev 26:27-35. That means that mathematically they had to have been in the land for 490 years, i.e., 490/7=70. For 490 they never obeyed in giving the land its rest.
That is why it says in 2 Chr 36:20-21, And those who escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon, where they became servants to him and his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia, to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths. As long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years.
Now that we have given the interpretation, the application for us is that God brought destruction upon them because of their failure to trust in His promises. God's expectation is that we trust Him! When we do, he blesses. When we don't', he doesn't.
Seventy Years Almost Completed
v.3 And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes: As such, Daniel now knows that the 70 years are almost completed and he begins to seek God on behalf of Israel. In the previous chapters, God had told him about the future of the gentile nations, so why wouldn't he tell him about Israel.
Daniel's Prayer in vv.4-19
vv.20-21 And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God; Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. Daniel's prayer is interrupted by no less than Gabriel. The Bible mentions three angels by name: Gabriel, Michael, and Lucifer.
vv.22-23 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision. Notice, at the beginning of your supplications the command went out. God always answers our prayers the moment we pray them: yes, no, or wait!
v.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. In our European culture, we think in decades while Israel thinks in heptaths. So, here we see seventy weeks of seven, or 70 x 7, which is a total of 490 years.
Note: I find it interesting that God had given them 490 years in the Promises Land and now He is giving them another 490, and during this time (490 years) six things will happen:
1. To finish the transgression. (Willful sin)
2. To make an end of sin. (Missing the mark)
3. To make reconciliation for iniquity. (Combo of both)
4. To bring in everlasting righteousness.
5. To seal up the vision and prophecy.
6. To anoint the Most Holy (or Holy Place)
Now it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that a lot more than 490 years have passed since this prophecy. The first three were fulfilled in Christ on the cross. The last three will be fulfilled at His Second Advent in Revelation 19 because something happened to stop the clock...and it wasn't the crucifixion, but instead, the rejection of the Kingdom that was offered.
Going Forth of the Command
v.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. Notice, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem. History, both secular and biblical, tells us that that command came in the year 445 BC when Nehemiah was told to so (Neh_2:1-6). Further findings by Sir Rolandson in the palace of Shushan says that the exact date was March 14, 445 BC!
So if that be the case, the prophecy says that from that commandment on March 14, 445 BC until the Messiah would come would be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks (7 + 62 = 69 and 69 x 7 = 483 years. So, from the time the commandment was given, it would be 483 years until the Messiah would come.
Note: Since 71 BC we have used the Julian Calendar that has 365 1/4 days in it. This prophecy was made under the Babylonian calendar which only has 360 days.
To make it easier and more precise, if we were to take 483 years and multiply it times 360 when would get 173,880 days. To arrive at a specific day, you need only multiply 483 x 360 = 173, 880. 173,880 from March 14, 445 BC would be April 6, 32 AD!
On Palm Sunday, April 6, 32 AD, Jesus is sitting on the Mount of Olives with His disciples when he said in Luk 19:30-40, Go ye into the village over against you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither. And if any man ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him. And they that were sent went their way, and found even as he had said unto them. And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt? And they said, The Lord hath need of him. And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon. And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way. And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.
And Luke 19:41-44 tells us that as Jesus approached the city, he wept over it and said, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.
So, on Palm Sunday, 32 AD, 483 years had passed since the command to restore and rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. But, sadly after this Triumphal Entry, the following Thursday, they arrested him and had him crucified the following day fulfilling the first half of the next verse.
v.26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: They crucified him and the prophetical clock stopped at 483 weeks. That means that there remains one more week to be fulfilled and that is called the Tribulation or Daniel's 70th Week.