The last of the seventy weeks

Post N.119

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

“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. Its end will be by the flood. Until the end there will be war; what is decided upon is desolations.“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. “On the wing of disgusting things there will be the one causing desolation; and until the 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 player is someone acting as a ruler. We should first consider the fulfillment on Titus himself. It 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 of Jerusalem, 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 the temple, moreover, the story goes that he pierced the veil of the Ark,  then he had intercourse with two harlots and defiled the Holy of Holies. In short, he became responsible for 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 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 made him poisoned. Titus was not yet 42 years old.

Mount Vesuvius eruption and the Roman great fire

In the period of his reign, Titus dealt with the eruption of Mount Vesuvius with the 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 the reign of Hadrian. Moreover, an old epidemic reappeared and wiped out many among the people.  Then in 80, a great fire broke out in Rome. Dion Cassius, in his Roman History, states that the temples 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. Finally, the Latin writer suggests that, certainly, the disaster had divine origins… 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 three critic moments 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 in 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 Earth measured )

The situation is the one of Revelation 11, when, in the midst of the seven years, the nations trample down the temple courtyard. Suddenly, the beast will attack and kill the two witnesses. (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 set 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 that he is in power worldwide. He has branches everywhere.

By now the “Horrible Thing” that causes destruction is standing 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.”

Taking away the constant feature

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 the priest presented every week in front of God. For a Christian, it represents the complexity of one’s witness.  (Cf. Daniel’s portrait of a final king By Earth measured)

The situation is by now getting its fulfillment. 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 is probably the same location where King David completed his victory over the forces of the Philistines. Since the allusion in this prophecy recalls Jehovah’s victory through David, it gives a sample of the strange deed God will perform. 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 is 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 stood still. Consequently, Joshua could 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. So, there will be a moment when the truth about the real shape of the earth will be clear, since 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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