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THE angel explained to Daniel the events of the seventy weeks allotted to Jerusalem and its people "to finish the transgression." Seven weeks and threescore and two weeks (69 weeks) of the seventy were to reach to the Messiah. The angel's words were:
"Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression. . . . 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 [69 weeks, or 483 days]." Dan. 9:24, 25.
The sixty-nine weeks, symbolic time, are 483 years, which were to reach from the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem to Messiah the Prince.
The Time of the Messiah's Coming
The commandment of Artaxerxes to restore and build Jerusalem, as we have seen, went forth in 457 B. C. Reckoning from that date, 483 full years bring us to a. D. 27, when, according to the prophecy, the Messiah should appear.
Messiah means "anointed." The anointing of Jesus, and His manifestation as the Anointed One, was at His baptism:
"Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him: and lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Matt. 3: 16, 17.
Thus Jesus was anointed as the Messiah (see Acts 10:38), and John proclaimed: "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." John 1:29.
When did this baptism and anointing take place? The Gospel of Luke supplies the historical facts for fixing the year:
"In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Cæsar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea," etc. Luke 3:1-3.
Tiberius followed Augustus, who died in A. D. 14. But before the latter's death, Tiberius was associated with him on the throne. Some modern historians date this appointment of Tiberius as Cæsar from A. D. 13; but the "History of Rome," by Dion Cassius, a Roman senator, born in the second century, shows, under events of A. D. 12, that Augustus recognized Tiberius as holding the imperial dignity at that time. (Book 56, chap. 26.) Again, Dr. Philip Schaff says:
"There are coins from Antioch in Syria of the date A. U. 765 (a. d. 12], with the head of Tiberius and the inscription, Kaisar, Sebastos (Augustus)."-"History of the Christian Church," Vol. I, p. 120, footnote.
These coins from Syria bear certain witness that the first year of Tiberius should be counted from A. D. 12. Therefore "the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Cæsar" would be A. D. 27, just 483 years from the going forth of the commandment to restore Jerusalem. The prophecy of the sixty-nine weeks was fulfilled — the Messiah had come.
Confirming the Covenant
But one week" of the seventy remained seven years. Of the Messiah's work during this time the angel said:
"He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.' Dan. 9:27.
Christ's death upon the cross made "the sacrifice and the oblation to cease," so far as their appointed force was concerned. After three years and a half of ministry, "in the midst" of this seven-year period, the prophetic week, the Messiah was lifted up on Calvary. For centuries the sure word of prophecy had pointed to this supreme hour in the working out of the plan of salvation. When the time was fulfilled, the promise of God was fulfilled also, and the divine Sacrifice was offered.
"Paschal Lamb, by God appointed,
All our sins on Thee were laid;
By Almighty Love anointed,
Thou redemption's price hast paid
All Thy people are forgiven
Through the virtue of Thy blood;
Opened is the gate of heaven,
Peace is made 'twixt man and God."
With the offering of the great Sacrifice, all the typical offerings ceased to have significance. The veil of the temple was rent when the Lamb of God expired upon the cross,sign to all that He had caused "the sacrifice and the oblation to cease."