The Forgotten Number in the Greatest ProphecyNovember 5th, 2012 by Oleg Kostyuk
Last week people were preparing to withstand Sandy, the super-storm that affected at least 18 states. It was a novelty to me to be able to actually track every movement of the super-storm on a weather website. Not only could I track her movements, but I could actually see where she would go next. It is amazing that with contemporary technologies you can predict pretty much everything in the natural world.
In the Old Testament there are more than 300 prophecies foretold about the coming Messiah. But for some reason, the contemporaries of Jesus did not find it easy to make that connection and identify Him as the Messiah. Perhaps, some of the prophecies were not clear enough. But some of them were simply striking, or at least they seem striking to us today. Well, I have not met a person yet who could recite to me all of the prophecies in the Old Testament about the Messiah. But, I know that there is at least one who knows them all. Do you think you can guess who this might be?
Out of all the Messianic prophecies there is one that is simply astonishing. Did you know that it actually predicts the exact time of Jesus’ first coming? In Daniel 9:25 we read that “from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks.”
If we were to unpack each word of the prophesy, it might take us quite long. Instead, I just want to highlight one little detail that usually gets overlooked. It is said that there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks until Messiah the Prince. Well, it is simple math: 7+62=69.
Then we need to multiply 69 by 7 if we want to find out how many days it was: 69*7=483 days.
Taking into consideration that in the Bible prophecies one day equals 1 year (Ezekiel 4:6) we come to the conclusion that it will pass 483 years after the command to restore and build Jerusalem. The decree to restore Jerusalem was issued in 457 BC by Artaxerxes I. So 457BC + 483years = 27AD (Taking into consideration that there was no year “0”). Can you believe that this year is the exact year that Jesus began His ministry? Wow! So, we see that there was a prophesy that clearly stated that Jesus would start His messianic ministry in 27AD. This is exactly when Jesus started His ministry after he was Baptised by John and the Holy Spirit descended on Him (Luke 3).
But, there is one detail that we overlooked again. It is clearly said that there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks. So, why do we jump immediately to the number 69? Could Daniel not have simply stated that there will be 69 weeks until the coming of the Messiah? Is there a reason that 7 weeks are mentioned first? What are those seven weeks?
First of all we need to apply the same principle and find out how many days are in 7 weeks: 7 weeks * 7 days = 49 days. Applying the day-year principle leads us to the conclusion that 7 weeks represent 49 years. Now, what is so significant about 49 years? Here is a trick: we need to go to the book of Leviticus 25:10 to find out. It says “And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a Jubilee for you.” There was something special about those 49 years. That was the most significant event in the Old Testament times. In fact, the Jubilee year was the year at the end of seven cycles of seven years. According to Biblical regulations it had a special impact on the ownership of slaves/servants and management of land. In other words that was the time when the captives were set free, when the slaves were let go, and when the land was coming back to the possession of the original owner. Now, think about the history of Israel’s nation in the beginning of the first century AD. The land was occupied, people were oppressed and captivated. No wonder why people were so eagerly waiting for the Messiah. The most striking prophesy of Jesus in the Old Testament in such a little detail as seven weeks clearly stated that when Messiah the Prince comes He will set the nation free from all powers of this world, including the oppression of sin.
This is simply amazing because in this number – 49 years- or the Jubilee year, even the meaning of the name “Jesus” is present. Jesus is the English version of Hebrew Yeshua, which is a verbal derivative from “to rescue” and “to deliver.” So, Jesus is the one who rescues and delivers. In the name of Jesus himself the prophesy was fulfilled. Incredible…
Finally, in His first sermon Jesus states that “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable [Jubilee] year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18-19). Jesus’ coming was a long awaited one but the one who knew the prophecies the best tried to close the eyes of those who were oppressed and needed that deliverance the most.
The enemy is active today more than ever before. He hinders us from understanding God’s word. In fact, his main goal is to never let us experience the freedom that Jesus has already offered. We were set free, so let us not allow him to take our freedom away.