The Anointed One
A year ago, eleven Jews were murdered as they began their worship service at the Tree of Life Synagogue. It’s the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in our history, and the venom that was spewed out online before the shooter put his words into action destroys the lie that hate speech is innocuous.
Daniel, the prophet and diplomat, was Jewish. In chapter nine he was praying for the restoration of his people and his city, Jerusalem. In Daniel 9:25-26 Gabriel wants Daniel to know and understand how long it would be before an Anointed One would come
“Know and understand from the issuing of a decree to return and rebuild Jerusalem until an Anointed One, a ruler, there will be seven ‘sevens’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.'” Jerusalem will be restored and rebuilt with broad open plazas and a trench in times of distress. Then after the sixty-two “sevens” the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the Holy Place. The end will come like a flood. War will continue until the End, and desolations are decreed.” Daniel 9:25-26
Daniel was told by the angel that he should “know and understand,” so we, too, should try to understand. The beginning of the seventy sevens that are decreed for Daniel’s people involves the return of the Jews to rebuild Jerusalem, complete with streets and some military fortifications.
When we read the books of Ezra and Nehemiah there are three decrees given allowing the Jews to return. In 538 BC Cyrus allowed them to return and rebuild their Temple (Ezra 1:2-4; 6:3-5). In 458 BC Artaxerxes I of Persia decreed that Ezra, the priest, could return and establish proper worship in the Temple (Ezra 7:11-26).
Then in 445 BC when Nehemiah received word that Jerusalem was still in ruins with no fortifications, he asked Artaxerxes I to allow him to go and rebuild the city. This is the only decree that specifically deals with the rebuilding of Jerusalem, and using 445 BC as the beginning date, we can make the following observations.
· The first 49 years Gabriel mentions refers to how long Nehemiah’s project of rebuilding the streets and fortifications of Jerusalem.
· Then the next period of sixty two sevens, equals 434 years, would take us to the coming of the Anointed One. Dr. Harold Hoehner, my teacher and colleague at Dallas Seminary, showed how using the 445 BC date and counting out 483 years brings us to AD 32, the year Hoehner determined on other grounds was the year of Jesus’ crucifixion.
In Daniel we have already had predictions of a great prince, the Son of Man, the Stone cut out without hands, who would come at the end of time to destroy the Anti-messiah and set up God’s kingdom on earth. But here we learn he will come the first time and allow himself to be cut off. He did this so that we can all find forgiveness and hope if we will only receive his Messianic gift of life.
LORD, the evil one continues to pour out hatred and murderous violence against the physical sons and daughters of Abraham. Because you allowed your Son to be cut off, I pray that your chosen people will remember that you indicated that the Messiah would be resurrected and give eternal life to all who will open up and receive his gift of life.
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