The last of the seventy weeks

Articolo 135

According to Flavius Josephus, the political leaders of Babylon, Persia, Greece or Rome showed great interest in Daniel’s prophecy. Even Titus and other Roman emperors respected the prophet.

After foretelling the death of Messiah, the prophecy of the seventy weeks announces “desolations” for the city of Jerusalem, its people and  the temple, its holy place.

This is a tragedy coming upon Jerusalem some forty years after Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan, when he was about thirty. In 70, Titus came with the Roman armies and the city was burnt down.

The fall of Masada

The great Jewish revolt was not a religious war, but a war against Roman imperialism and unfair taxation. The war went on from 66 to 73, for a period of seven years. It started with Cestius Gallus arriving at Jerusalem and it finished with the fall of Masada. In the year 70, on  August 30, Jerusalem’s siege was ended and, on September 8, the conquest of the city was complete. Anyway, the Romans did not achieve complete victory until 73 CE., with the fall of Masada. So, the events fulfilled Daniel’s writings. They covered a period of a full week of years, according to the prophecy.

Desolations are decided

 “And after the 62 weeks, Messiah will be cut off, with nothing for himself. “And the people of a leader who is coming will destroy the city and the holy place. And its end will be by the flood. And until the end there will be war; what is decided upon is desolations.“And he will keep the covenant in force for the many for one week; and at the half of the week, he will cause sacrifice and gift offering to cease. “And on the wing of disgusting things there will be the one causing desolation; and until an extermination, what was decided on will be poured out also on the one lying desolate.”Daniel 9:26-27

Desolations poured on Titus,  the desolator

The prophecy is referring to the desolation of the temple and the city. The implicit subject is someone acting as a ruler. We should first consider the fulfillment on Titus himself. This is because God’s word states that  finally “the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.” This is the way many different English versions translate Daniel 9:27.

During the siege, Titus himself is said to have been severely wounded in the left shoulder by a stone, so that his hand remained weak for the rest of his life (Dion Cassius, l.c. § 5). Upon entering in the temple, moreover, he was said to have pierced the veil of the Ark,  he had intercourse with two harlots and  defiled the Holy of Holiest. In short, he became responsible of blasphemy. After that, he packed the sacred vessels in a basket and took them on board his ship. In 79 he became emperor up to 81 AD. In that period he dealt with the eruption of Mount Vesuvius with destruction of the cities of Pompei, Ercolanus, Stabia, Oplontis. The area was in such a desperate condition that the road system could not be reestablished until 120, under Hadrian. Moreover, an old epidemic reappeared and wiped out many among the people.  Then in 80 a great fire broke out in Rome. Cassius Dion, in his Roman History, states that the temple of Isis, Neptune, Jupiter Capitulinum , and other temples nearby,  the Saepta Julia,  the Agrippa’s thermal complex, the Diribitorium, the Balbus’ theater, the Octavian buildings and libraries all were burnt down. Then, the Latin writer suggests that certainly the disaster had divine origins…

At the end, when stepping from his bath, a drink was handed to him, when suddenly a gnat stung him in the nose, and thus caused his death. Domitian, his brother was said to have him poisoned. Titus was not yet 42 years old. The prophecy was fulfilled.

Prophecy has many levels

This said, let’s be back to the period dealt in prophecy. The time concerned is not only the one referred to by Flavius Josephus. It implicitly refers to a leader playing an important role in the final parts of the days. This is because prophecy has generally many levels. In the case of the desolations of Jerusalem, the Bible refers to some three critic moment in the history of the city. Because Jerusalem was razed more than once.

1) destruction in 587 B.C.

2) destruction in 70  A.C.

3) final destruction at the end of the times of the Nations.

The feet of Nebuchadnezzar’s statue

To better explain, the prophecy of the seventy weeks is in a strict relationship with the feet of the statue in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. The toes are a representation of the total number of some kind of final secondary kings. They are playing a religious role on the worldly scene. Jesus foretold of an appointed slave claiming to be set in charge by him, as told in Matthew 24:45. It corresponds to the king of the south of Daniel. (Cf. Armageddon edited by Eartmeasured )

The situation is the one expressed in Revelation 11, when, in the midst of the seven years, the temple courtyard is trampled down by the nations. Suddenly, the two witnesses are attacked and killed by the wild beast. (Revelation 11:7-10)

A firm agreement with many people

 “For one week this foreigner will make a firm agreement with many people, and halfway through this week, he will end all sacrifices and offerings. Then the “Horrible Thing” that causes destruction will be put there. And it will stay there until the time God has decided to destroy this one who destroys.”

The modern Titus is in charge with many people, in the sense he is in power worldwide. He has branches everywhere.

By now the “Horrible Thing” that causes destruction is already set in a place where it shouldn’t stay, according to Jesus’ words written in Matthew 24:15-16. “Therefore, when you catch sight of the disgusting thing that causes desolation, as spoken about by Daniel the prophet, standing in a holy place (let the reader use discernment),  then let those in Judea begin fleeing to the mountains.” 

The disgusting thing is a symbol: the globe.

We can find it on the end pages of our Bibles or inside our meeting places. By now, the constant feature Daniel mentioned in the prophecy, is taken away. The two prophets are being killed and left unburied on the public square.

Taking away the constant feature: what does this mean? Daniel 9:27 “at the half of the week, he will cause sacrifice and gift offering to cease” (Hebrew ze-ḇaḥ, sacrifice;  ū-min-ḥāh, offering). Daniel 11:31 “And arms will stand up, proceeding from him; and they will profane the sanctuary, the fortress, and remove the constant feature (Hebrew hat·tā·mîḏ). And they will put in place the disgusting thing that causes desolation.”

What is the constant feature or regular sacrifice? The first time the term enters into the Bible is in Exodus 25:30. It is about the regular setting of the 12 showbreads on the table in the temple. This was a constant offering presented every week in front of God. For a Christian, it represents the complexity of one’s witness. It is going to be stopped.(Cf. Daniel’s portrait of a final king By Earthmeasured)

The situation is by now getting fulfilled. The final king is behaving like a beast. Type of Nebuchadnezzar eating vegetation among the bulls. This was a model of the last spiritual king, the Antichrist.

By the flood

Daniel said the end of Jerusalem would be by the flood. Isaiah can help  in the understanding what Daniel meant when expressing  like that. Isaiah reads:

 “For the bed is too short to stretch out on, And the woven sheet is too narrow to wrap up in. For Jehovah will rise up as at Mount Pe·raʹzim; He will rouse himself as in the valley near Gibʹe·on, That he may do his deed—his strange deed—And that he may carry out his work—his unusual work.” Isaiah 28:20-21

“For you men say: “We have made a covenant with Death, And with the Grave we have made an agreement. When the raging flash flood passes through, It will not reach us, For we have made a lie our refuge And we have hidden ourselves in falsehood.” Isaiah 28:15

Mount Pe·raʹzim, referred to by Isaiah, is considered to be the same location where King David completed his victory over the forces of the Philistines. Its allusion in this prophecy recalls Jehovah’s victory through David and is cited as an example of the strange deed due to be effected. As Jehovah declares, he will break in upon his enemies like an overflowing flash flood.

A gap made by waters

Upon receiving assurance from Jehovah of his support, David attacked. The Philistines fled, leaving their idols behind. Attributing the victory to Jehovah, David said: “Jehovah has broken through my enemies ahead of me, like a gap made by waters”; and for this reason he “called the name of that place Baal-perazim.” This means “Lord of Breakings Through”

On the basis of the parallel with “the low plain near Gibeon” drawn by Isaiah 28:21, some scholars suggest Baal-perazim to be a site in the vicinity or in the  direction of Gibeon and Gezer.

Joshua’s fighting in Gibeon

Gibeon was the place where the sun and the moon had been stopped in order to allow Joshua to end his battle against many kings.

“At this the five kings of the Amʹor·ites—the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebʹron, the king of Jarʹmuth, the king of Laʹchish, and the king of Egʹlon—gathered together along with their armies, and they marched on and encamped against Gibʹe·on to fight against it.” (Joshua 10:5)

The battle was somewhat a prefiguring of the final Armageddon. Or of the attack of Gog and Magog. It will be a moment when the truth about the real shape of the earth will be unveiled. Luke 8:17 keeps a promise: “For there is nothing hidden that will not become manifest, nor anything carefully concealed that will never become known and not come out in the open.”


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