The year was 538 BC. Daniel was in exile in Babylon. He was reading the Book of prophet Jeremiah, and noticed that the 70 years of exile in Babylon(Jere.25:11,12; 29:10) that God imposed on the people and nation of Israel as punishment for their failure to keep the Shabbat through the prophet Jeremaiah was over and yet, they were still in exile in Babylon. He sought the Lord with prayer and fasting and in sackcloth and ashes. He acknowledged, confessed and repented of the sin of his people Israel, and made supplication unto the Lord in the behalf of his people Israel. Notice that Daniel did not distance himself from the people of Israel. He was vulnerable. There was no holier-than-thou attitude. He was part of the pack. To pray in this manner, the intercessor has to play a dual role, feeling the misery of miserable sinners and the wrath of God toward sin and His sorrow for his erring people.
Our Daddy works in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform. God not only answered Daniel’s prayer but went further to reveal the future history of Israel, even unto the ends of the ages.
At this juncture, it is pertinent to mention that Israel as a national entity resuscitated from the skeleton and ashes of the holocaust, and the Jews as a race which have been maligned, harangued, persecuted, pogromed, massacred and suffered all forms of organized mass killings will never cease to exist both as a people and a nation despite neoNazis, revisionists(holocaust deniers), antisemites, Islamic jihadists and Arab extremists, Hamas and Hizbollah, suicide bombers and lone wolves.
God sent the angel Gavriel, one of the archangels. Michael is one, in charge of war, God’s defence minister as it were. Lucifer was one, in charge of praise. But he rebelled against Daddy and became the supreme personality of evil, as dark as Erebus ; for which he was thrust out of the presence of God(Isaiah14:12). Gabriel(Gavriel in Hebrew), is Daddy’s messenger of good news, Secretary of State or foreign affairs commissioner of the council of the Heavens, The Trinity, the heavenly triumvirate as it were. He liases between the Heavens and the Earth, The God of The Heavens and His heavenly children on Earth. Israel would be rescued from her enemies, freed from exile in Babylon and then the bomb shell: seventy sevens are determined upon thy people….(Dan.9:24-27).
The Babylonian exile terminated after 70 years according to the word of The Lord by Jeremy the Prophet. The exile began in 606 BC. There were three waves of deportations to Babylon: 606 BC, 596 BC and 586 BC. The exile which began in 606 BC ended in 538 BC when the Neobabylonian Empire was over run and conquered by the Medopersian Empire. In the same year, Cyrus, King of Persian released the Jews from Babylonian captivity. The interesting military story and engineering feat of how the impregnable wall of the City State of Babylon was breached shall be the subject of another discourse.
Why did Daddy speak to Daniel in sevens? Israel committed many evils, but the last straw that broke the camel’s back, was failure to observe the Shabbat(Jere.17:21-27). They neighed after their neighbors’ wives. “They were as fed horses in the morning: every one neighed after his neighbour’s wife.”(Jere.5:8 KJV). A father and son went in unto the same maid. They sold the poor for a piece of bread. “That pant after the dust of the earth on the head of the poor, and turn aside the way of the meek: and a man and his father will go in unto the same maid, to profane my holy name: And they lay themselves down upon clothes laid to pledge by every altar, and they drink the wine of the condemned in the house of their god.”(Amos 2:7-8 KJV).
They committed murder. They committed lechery. They did not relieve the needy and the afflicted. They were treacherous in their dealings one with another, and even in foreign relations. They used false balances. They made the ephah small and shekel great(Amos 8:5). Their wives and daughters committed whoredom and prosttituted themselves to all and sundry on the streets of their cities, to the indegines and the stranger that passeth by. They dispised the law of the Lord, and did not keep His commandments(Amos 2:4). Despite all these numerous evils and rebellion against God, they would not have been exiled had they kept the Shabbat: the Shabbat of the seventh day and the Shabbat of the seventh year, and the year of jubilee, the Shabbat of fifty years, in which they were to proclaim freedom and liberty to those who had mortgaged their lands, sons and daughters and themselves to the wealthy amongst them(Jere.34:8-16). They practised usury. Because they did not proclaim liberty unto themselves and the land the Lord gave to their fathers, God proclaimed liberty unto them and the land(Jerez.34:17-22). The land was to lie fallow for seventy years.
Daddy was talking to Daniel in the language he could understand. Israel have broken the Shabbat. Therefore Daddy would deal with them in sevens. The translation of the Hebrew word “Sheva” as week in the KJV is not particularly helpful. The preferred translation is seven. However, if one understands week to mean seven, there would be no confusion.
There are six things the angel Gabriel communicated to Daniel that would be accomplished within the interim, a period of seventy sevens. We are not concerned with those things in this discourse. However, we shall mention them in passing. They are namely: to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity. These three things concern sin and will be accomplished within the 70 sevens. The other three things concern righteousness. They shall be accomplished after the expiration of the 70 sevens, in the early part of the Millennium. They are namely: to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up the vision and the prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy. They would constitute the subject of another discourse. Here, right now, we are concerned with the eschatological timeline: there would be 70 Sevens. The Hebrew word is “Sheva.” It simply means seven. It could be seven of days or months or years depending on the context. Here the context determines it to be seven of years.
The Jewish calendar is lunar. Each month is 30 days and each year is 360 days. The total number of years is 70 x 7=490 years. The 69 sevens would be 69 x 7=483 years. These 483 years are already history. What is future is the last seven or 70th seven which is just 7 x 1 = 7 years. The terminus-a-quo(starting point) of the 70 sevens is the going forth of the commandment to restore and rebuild Jeresalem. Keep in mind that the instructions pertain to thy people and the Holy City of Jerusalem.
Sir Robbert Anderson has conclusively determined the starting point of the Seventy sevens. It began with the decree of the Persian King, Arterxerxes Longimanus in 445 BC(Ezra 2:5), to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. After the 69th seven The Messia, Jesus, The Son of God was crucified on the execution stake which is commonly referred to as the Cross, and 38 years later, in 70 AD, the Temple built by the returning exiles and expanded, extensively and exhaustively refurbished and lavishly embellished by Herod the Great, was destroyed, by the Roman General Titus, (during the Reign of Emperor Vespersian who happened to be the Father of Titus and Emperor Caigula), following the Jewish rebellion of 66 AD which culminated in the destruction of the Jewish fortress of Masada in 74 AD. Following the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD, Jews were massacred by the Roman Legions and sold into slavery. There was another Jewish rebellion against Imperial Rome between 132-136 AD, during the reign of Empror Hadrian, the Bar Kochba Revolt. It was named after the leader of the revolt, Ben Kosiva, whom Rabbi Akiva proclaimed the Messiah. Ben Kosiva happened to be one of the false Jewish messiahs alongside Abraham Abulefia, Solomon Molcho, David Alroy, Sabbatai Tzvi, etc. False messiahs shall be the subject of anther discussion.
He was defeated, the Jews exiled and Jerusalem ploughed with oxen and Jews were barred from it under the pain of death. It was later rebuilt and renamed Aelia Capitolina. From the Roman Empire, Jews were scattered all over the Globe. This is called the Diaspora. The image of the Wandering Jew is a blotch on European history as the Slavery of Africans in Europe and The Americas.
Biblical scholars have conclusively and unequivocally observed that there is a gap between the 69th and 70th sevens. This gap of time is variously referred to as The Church Age, The Mysterion, The Gentile interlude or The Timeless Period, the intermediate period or simply the Gap. Each of these appellatives and designations appropriately describe various aspects of this Gap of time. It is a timeless period because no one knows how long it would last. It is a Mysterion, because it is a mystery and was not explicitly mentioned in The Scriptures. It is the Gentile Interlute because for most of this period, the Gentiles reigned and Israel did not exist as an independent nation. It is the Church Age because, for most of it, the Church is conspicuously prominent and Israel in exile. However, I prefer the designation, Timeless Period.
In this interlude, Imperial Rome declined, Byzantium rose and fell, Spain, France and Great Britain have ruled the world. For 400 years the Ottoman Empire dominated the near East until conquered by Britain, under General Allenby in 1917. In this interlude, there have been two World Wars. Adolf Hitler and the Nazis rose to power in Germany and led the Jews to the gas chambers and crematoria, during which 6 million Jews perished, 2 million of whom were children, whose life were snuffed out in the embryo. In this period, in 1947, The United Nations voted in favour of partition of British Mandate Palestine. In 1948, Israel was declared independent by the Yishuv, the Jewish community in Mandate Palestine. They have fought many wars and survived. Rivers of Jewish blood have flowed as well as those of their enemies. We eargerly await the arrival of the Coming Prince, who shall sign a 7-year peace treaty with Israel. That would be The Terminus-a-quo of the 70th seven as it written in Daniel 9:27, “he shall comfirm the covenant with the many for one seven: in the midst of the seven, he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease……”