If you are tracking with our most recent Acts 17:11 Berean Bible study post, I asked people to give a 1 Peter 3:15-16 defense (apologia) for the hope that is in us to a Jewish person claiming the Torah says,
all Christians are idolaters and should be killed.
First, we must sanctify our hearts in preparation to speak with gentleness and respect. 1 Pet 3:15-16. The Jews are still God’s chosen people into whom we are grafted. We must not become arrogant toward the branches. Rom 11:18 As regards the gospel, they (the Jews) are enemies for our sake. Rom 11:28
Here is one apology.
Somewhere around 2000BC Abraham had his son Issac carry wood for a burnt offering on his shoulders to the top of Mount Moriah. Issac had no idea that he was to be the sacrifice. Abraham was fully prepared to end the life of the very son whom God had promised. Then God stopped him.
But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven 16 and said, “By myself I have sworn“, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, Genesis 22:11-17
Two thousand years later God fulfilled His sworn oath in His own son Jesus who was fully aware that He was to be the final sacrifice, the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world as he carried the wooden Cross on His shoulders to the top of the same mountain to be crucified.
As believers, we know multiple scriptures tell us that our omniscient God had His plan in place before the foundations of the world. The key to our defense of this all-encompassing hope before our unbelieving Abrahamic siblings is to make this argument using the Old Testament alone. The book of Daniel is just one example of God foretelling His plan so that His chosen people, the Jews could know and recognize their Messiah when He arrived. But they rebelled. Therefore,
As all of Romans 11 explains, even their hardness of heart was part of God’s plan.
Ironically it was the Magi from Persia where Daniel had been exiled that recognized the birth of the Jewish Messiah Mat 2 while His own people rejected Him. Psalm 118:22 Isa 53:3 John 1:11 Nevertheless, God can not lie. He swore an oath by His own name. Gen 22
Sworn in Gen 22:11-17 is shaba` Literally “to seven oneself”, i.e. to swear an oath by repeating a declaration seven times. The masculine form Sheba is the numeral 7. Hopefully, you will see the poignance in this as you read on.
Daniel 9 gives us the exact year when Jesus’s ministry began. It was there for the Jewish people the whole time. I understand that this might be confusing. I will do my best to answer questions when we meet.
The Seventy Weeks of Daniel
In the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the Lord through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. Dan 9:2
Daniel is referring to the following verses.
This whole land shall become a ruin and a waste, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon for seventy years. Jer 25:11
For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. Jer 29:10
In addition to the sexual sins associated with Baal and Asherah worship (Asherah is the first recorded Transgender) and the infanticide associated with Molech worship, Israel was sentenced to exile for 1 year for every Shmitah (Sabbath year 7th year that they failed to observe and allow the land to rest.) 7 x 70 = 490 years is the total time Israel was in rebellion against God. That they only served a 70-year sentence is more evidence of God’s mercy.
For the record, we know that a week of years is seven years because “You shall count seven weeks [Sabbaths] of years, seven times seven years so that the time of the seven weeks of years shall give you forty-nine years. Lev 25:8
“Seventy weeks are determined
For your people and for your holy city,
To finish the transgression,
To make an end of sins,
To make reconciliation for iniquity,
To bring in everlasting righteousness,
To seal up vision and prophecy,
And to anoint the Most Holy. Dan 9:24
This verse is a summarization of the entire prophecy of Israel’s future from the end of their exile up to the start of the Millenial reign of Jesus on earth following His return on the Mount of Olives. Zechariah 14:14 Mat 24:29-31
“Know therefore and understand,
That from the going forth of the command (decree) To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times. Dan 9:25
Verse twenty-five is speaking of the rebuilding of the Temple and Jerusalem by Nehemiah. The decree to do so marks the beginning of seven and sixty-two, or 69 “weeks of years”. 69 x 7 = 483 years. Keep in mind, that “Messiah the Prince” is not the birth of Jesus. Rather it refers to the date of Jesus’ anointing when He was baptized by John, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him and He officially began His ministry on earth.
The exact date of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem is rather ambiguous at first. Therefore it helps to do the math based on what we already know. Given that we are still BC (before Christ) the date of Jesus’ baptism (anointing) and the start of His ministry should work out to
483 – “X” years. X=unknown.
Both Luke and Matthew mention Jesus’ birth as occurring during Herod’s reign and before his death in 4BC Luke 1, Mat 2 The consensus among most Scholars is that Jesus was born around 4BC. In addition, we are told that Jesus was about thirty years old when He began His ministry. Luke 3:23
The decree to rebuild Jerusalem is mentioned in four places.
– Cyrus 538 BC Ezra 1:1-11 Messiah would have to be anointed in 55BC
– Darius 520 BC Ezra 5-6 Messiah would have to be anointed in 37BC
– Artaxerxes 457 BC Ezra 7 Messiah would have to be annointed in 26AD
– Artaxerxes 444 BC Nehemiah 2:4-11Messiah would have to be anointed in 40AD
As we will see Artaxerxes’ decree in 457BC Ezra 7 is the only one that fits. The reasons are as follows.
1. Ezra 7 is the only place where a full decree to is written out.
2. Four hundred eighty three years from Artexerxes’ decree in 457BC is 26AD because
483 years – 457 BC = 26AD
If Jesus was born in 4BC He’d have been 30 years old in 26AD because
4BC + 26AD = 30 years
“And after (the specific date is not given) the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; (this is when Jesus was crucified). And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary…
The Romans destroyed the Temple and Jerusalem under Titus in 70AD. The Jewish people were dispersed to the nations and Israel ceased to exist as a nation until it was restored in 1948 and Jews began returning to their ancestral home. “The people of the prince who is to come” are the people who follow the spirit of antichrist.
More poignant details
Consider that it was the angel Gabriel who came to Daniel amidst his intercession for his people and gave him the prophecy of the coming Messiah. It’s no coincidence that Gabriel announced the birth of John and Jesus 2000 years later. The name “Zacharias” means “remembered of Jehovah”. His wife “Elizabeth” means “oath of God”. Together they mean,
“God remembered His oath.”
“Jesus has come. Jesus is coming.”
We must be ready to make Old Testament connections to New Testament scripture.
“Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness, Psalm 95:8 Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion Heb 3:15
That said, you may be wondering about the remainder of Daniel 9
The 70th week that brings in everlasting righteousness, seals up vision and prophecy, and anoints the Most Holy.
Daniel 9:27 refers to the end of days e.g. Daniel 12, Matthew 24, Luke 21, Revelation 12 and 13, etc. That said, there is a world of controversy over this verse. Hence it is a separate study. For now, let’s be content to bask in the awe of comprehending one piece of God’s complexity and precision in what He resolved to accomplish before the foundations of the world has been fulfilled. These are foundational to the reason for the hope that is in us.