Re: 70 weeks

Date: Tue Apr 23 2002 - 15:24:24 EDT

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    Thanks for your reply to my "70 Weeks" post. I read your solution to this
    difficult passage of scripture with some interest. Though it seemed at first
    glance to solve the various problems involved, upon closer inspection I found
    it contained several mistakes which make it quite unlikely that it is the
    correct solution.

    You wrote: Of the four "decrees" we see that the only one allowed for both
    and RESTORING -- the third one.

    You refer to a decree by Artaxerxes in his 7th year, spoken of in Ezra 7,
    which gave Ezra permission to return to Jerusalem for the purpose of there
    making sacrifices to his God. This decree provided him with enough gold and
    silver to purchase whatever he needed to do so. It read, in part, "With this
    money be sure to buy bulls, rams and male lambs, together with their grain
    offerings and drink offerings, and sacrifice them on the altar of the temple
    of your God in Jerusalem." (Ezra 7:17) You point out that Ezra was told that
    if he had some money left over he could use it for whatever he wanted to use
    it for. You say this remaining money, if there was any, could have been used
    to rebuild the city. The problem is, if there was any money left over, we
    have no record that Ezra used any of it to rebuild the city.

    It seems highly doubtful that this decree was the decree referred to in
    Daniel 9 "to restore and rebuild Jerusalem." For this decree neither
    mentioned any rebuilding work or resulted in any rebuilding work. Of the four
    decrees you mentioned only the last, the decree Artaxerxes issued to Nehemiah
    in his "20th year," specifically mentioned the rebuilding of Jerusalem and
    resulted in the rebuilding of Jerusalem. The fact of the matter is, that
    until Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem as a result of Artaxerxes' decree
    permitting him to do so, for the expressed purpose of rebuilding that city,
    the "city" of Jerusalem was not a "city" at all. it was only a thinly
    inhabited village. In ancient times to be a "city" meant to be surrounded
    with a fortified wall. Until Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem and began the
    rebuilding Artaxerxes' decree had permitted him to do, Jerusalem had no wall.
    So, again, I must say that your identification of the decree spoken of in
    Daniel's "70 Weeks" prophecy with Artaxerxes' decree to Ezra permitting him
    to return to Jerusalem to worship his God at its temple certainly seems like
    a misidentification.

    You wrote: History tells us that the 3rd decree was given in 457 BC.

    Actually, it does not. The year historians give us for that decree was 458
    BC. They tell us that Ezra's "departure was on Apr 8, of 458 and his arrival
    [in Jerusalem] was on Aug 4, 458." (Handbook of Biblical Chronology - Revised
    Edition, Jack Finegan, 1999)

    You wrote: 69 weeks of years (483 years) later brings us to 27 AD. Did
    anything happen in 27 AD?

    Nothing that I know of.

    Luke 3:1 tells us that "In the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar" John was
    actively baptizing people. By this dating Luke is most likely indicating that
    it was then that John baptized Jesus.

    Thanks to the writing of Tacitus, Suetonius, and others, the reign of
    Tiberius Caesar was one of most heavily documented in ancient history.
    Because of this fact any history book can now tell you with absolute
    certainty that Augustus died in August of AD 14. And that Tiberius then
    succeeded him as Emperor of Rome. Historians also tell us that Rome then used
    the "accession year" system of reckoning when they enumerated the years of
    the reigns of their Emperors. In this system of reckoning the first full
    calendar year of an Emperor's rule was counted as his "first year" of rule.
    (The partial calendar year in which he first began his rule was counted as
    part of his predecessor's last year of rule.) With these things in mind, the
    "1st year of Tiberius Caesar " began on January 1, AD 15. And "the 15th year
    of Tiberius Caesar" (Luke 3:1) began on January 1, AD 29.

    Now, if you want to reject what historians tell us about Rome's use of the
    "accession year" system of reckoning, you can make a case for AD 28 being the
    15th year of Tiberius Caesar. But AD 27 is pure fiction.

    You wrote: 31 AD - Jesus was crucified, midway through the last week.

    Again, pure fiction. Do some study. When you do you will find all the reasons
    why New Testament historians tell us that Jesus could not have died in AD 31,
    or in AD 32. (Unfortunately, I don't have time to go into them all now.) The
    only two dates which work are AD 30 and AD 33. And AD 30 only works if Jesus
    entire ministry lasted only one year. The concessus date among Christian
    scholars today for the death of Christ is AD 33.
    For the reasons I have here mentioned I am quite sure that your solution to
    the chronological problems involved with understanding Daniel's "70 weeks"
    cannot be the correct one.

    Your brother in Christ,


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