"The Babushka Doll Principle" by Tricia Tillin (3)
The Daniel prophecy fulfilled again in Jesus the Messiah
The wider and more acceptable Christian interpretation of Daniel's Seventy Weeks prophecy is that it speaks of the coming Lord Jesus as the Messiah.
This is the second Babushka doll, which predicts the mission and death of Jesus and also the destruction of the Temple by the Romans in AD70.
Little needs to be said as the subject is covered all over the Internet and in many books. (There is still disagreement about the exact counting of the "seventies" though.) Even some Jews in the day of Jesus interpreted Daniel in this way as Daniel 9:26 does not exactly fit the days of Antiochus. Nor could we rightly say that "everlasting righteousness" was brought in before the time of Christ.
The decree from Artaxerxes to Nehemiah in 444 BC
Various suggestions have been put forward for the starting point of the prophecy. One (for example here) uses the decree from Artaxerxes to Nehemiah in 444 BC and counts the 490 years (minus the missing last "week") to 33AD. But the exact year of the crucifixion has not been conclusively determined. We know that both Pilate and Caiaphas participated in the trial of Christ. Since Pilate was governor from 26-36 AD and Caiaphas was High Priest from 28-36 AD, the crucifixion could only occur between 28 and 36 AD (1)
Of these dates, some are ruled out on astronomical grounds, and others by historical facts. Those who believe the death of Jesus Christ MUST happen on a Friday insist on AD 33 as the only possible date, but others are equally passionate about 30 AD, and 34 AD. As you will see, I do not accept the Friday date for his death. April 3rd AD30 seems to me the most acceptable date since Nisan 14 was on a Wednesday, and since Jesus (being "about thirty" when his ministry began) was born before 1AD. In addition, it gives exactly 40 years to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD70.
I am not insisting on this date however. But, the 69 "weeks" of the prophecy DID coincide with either the baptism or death of Jesus, depending on whichever decree for the rebuilding of the city you choose for the starting date. In essence, that is what we need to know.
The prophecy of destruction of both city and sanctuary in Daniel 9:26 therefore more nearly fits the war which engulfed the Jews in A.D. 66–73, forty years after the death of Jesus. According to Josephus, the toll of Jewish casualties in the holocaust exceeded one million. Many of the ninety-seven thousand that were taken alive later died in Roman arenas.
Therefore, as many others have said, the "second babushka doll prophecy" of Daniel predicts the coming Messiah Jesus, his "cutting off" or execution and removal from earth, an antichrist army destroying the city, the abomination of desolation seen in or on the Temple, and a continuing war against Jews as a result.
Discounting for a moment the specific years of Daniel's prophecy, and taking the events as a sequence again:
- A command or "word" goes out - GABRIEL ANNOUNCES THE BIRTH & JOHN THE BAPTIST PREPARES THE WAY
- An appointed chosen one activates the word - JESUS IS BORN AND BAPTISED BY JOHN
- A rebuilding and restoration in troubled times - THE LIFE AND WORK OF JESUS
- A chosen one then removed or cut off and is no longer - THE CRUCIFIXION
- destruction of the city and sanctuary - THE VIOLATION OF JESUS, THE LIVING TEMPLE, AND AD70
- desolations until the end - THE ROMAN ATTACK AND DISPERSION FOR THE JEWS
How interesting, then, it is to learn that there are significant similarities between the Antiochus event and the first-century one at the time of Jesus!
- The angel Gabriel was once again involved in announcing the prophetic word, first to Daniel and then to Mary. This makes me wonder if he will again appear to announce the coming of Christ? We are told in Revelation that a "mighty angel" reads from a little book announcing events to come. (Rev 10:1-4)
- The events occurred during a 70-year time span, from the birth of the Lord to the destruction of the temple. This echoes the "seventy weeks" prophecy of Daniel.
- The ministry of Jesus was undertaken in three and a half years. After that time "in the middle of the week" [see below] he did bring offering and sacrifice to an end by his own death
- The crucifixion occurred "in the midst of the week" with a three and a half time period either side (see my chart)
- The attack on the Jews in AD70 took 1290 days, to fulfill Daniel 12:12. From the invasion at the end of 66 AD to July 70 AD was 1,290 days if each year is reckoned as 360 days. This period corresponds to half of the prophetic "week".
- Jesus referred to the coming attack as the "abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel". (Matthew 24:15)
The Middle of the Week
In this fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy, in addition to the "bringing to an end of sacrifice and offering" the Messiah was crucified "in the middle of the week" literally halfway through his final week on earth. This is important because it has a bearing on the overall interpretation of the prophecy for the future.
In short, we see that the order and mathematical perfection of God's plan for this world is demonstrated in repeating patterns of time-periods, such as the seven, the seventy and the three and a half. Especially, time for Israel is marked off by the JUBILEES, and the prophecy in Daniel is almost certainly referring to the Jubilee cycle.
The Seventy Years as a Jubilee Cycle
It has been suggested that throughout the bible era and more recent Jewish history, time was counted in both seven and seventy-year cycles, as well as the more familiar Jubilee cycle of 49 years. I found that the years of Jesus Christ's ministry and crucifixion came in the MIDDLE of the 3rd great cycle of 490 years [i.e., the 21st cycle of 70 years] since Israel entered the Promised Land. That cycle ended in 64 AD with the 30th Jubilee since Canaan. Seven years later, the prophesied end came to Jerusalem and the temple. Thus the final "week" ran its course as prophesied.
The prophecy in Daniel was referring to one great cycle - that of seven times seventy years (490 years) or ten Jubilees. (Ten Jubilees of 49 years takes us from the decree of King Artexerxes in 457 BC to AD 33 which some believe to be the date of the crucifixion).
I found it interesting, when I did my own calculations of this great cycle of 490 years, (see part five of this study) that the 7th cycle of 490 years [in God's reckoning that is, since Adam] encompassed the Babylonian exile and Daniel's prayer and prophecy. Thus up to Daniel's time there had already been "seventy weeks of years" (70 Jubilee cycles of 49yrs, that is 7 x 7) since counting began. As far as human history goes, however, counting of the Jubilees began in the year that Israel entered the Promised Land, and the equivalent 490-year cycle to that above was only their SECOND, ending in 427 BC
You might be interested to know that we are now nearly at the end of the SEVENTIETH Jubilee, that is, the SEVENTH great cycle of 490 years since the Israelites entered their Promised Land. Furthermore, in God's count - since Adam - we reached the 12th great cycle of 490 years in 1877 and the first 70 years of the new cycle after that took us exactly to 1947 when Israel returned to their land! The end of the second 70 years will take us to 2017.
Jesus died in the middle of the week (3)
With regard to the crucifixion however, which is the particular subject of this page, the final seven days of Jesus were bisected perfectly by his death on the cross. Not only did Jesus have a three-and-a-half-year ministry BUT he spent that amount of time (three and a half days) also BEFORE his crucifixion in Jerusalem, and the same amount of time AFTER his death.
Not all would agree, mainly because the Church has traditionally placed the death on the Friday. Not wanting to complicate matters here I'll simply say that the Friday date is unsustainable from scripture and the ONLY day that aligns perfectly with scripture and prophecy is WEDNESDAY - on PASSOVER (14th Nisan) when the sacrificial lambs were being examined and slain in Jerusalem. There are a multitude of articles on the Net about this so I do not intend to "reinvent the wheel". Suffice it to say that my studies have led me to the firm conclusion that Jesus did just as he said - spent three days and three nights in the tomb!
It becomes apparent that the three-and-a-half sequence of events has (in our babushka-like manner) often repeated itself through prophecy and history. This establishes the pattern also for the future. The last days of Jesus work out thus (please bear in mind that the Jewish day BEGAN at twilight):
Hours in a week = 7 X 24 = 168. Half the week = 84 hours. There are three and a half days bisected by the Cross!
Hours of the Day
3am Sat - 6pm Sun
|Sat 10th evening & night
to 6pm Sunday 11th
Anointed for burial;
6pm - 6am - 6pm
|6pm Sunday 11th
to 6pm Monday 12th
Fig Tree Cursed;
6pm - 6am - 6pm
6pm Monday 12th
Fig Tree withered;
|6pm Tuesday 13th
to 3pm Wednesday 14th
Last Supper - Gethsemane - Arrest:
|MIDDLE OF THE SEVEN DAYS||(84)|
|PASSOVER||14 Nisan||3pm - 6pm Wednesday 14th||Burial, before Passover begins at 6pm||3|
PASSOVER/ HIGH SABBATH
|6pm Wednesday 14th
to 6pm Thursday 15th
Night ONE/Day ONE
Feast of Unleavened Bread
|16 Nisan||6pm Thursday 15th
to 6pm Friday 16th
Night TWO/Day TWO
|Weekly Sabbath and
3rd Day of Unleavened Bread
|17 Nisan||6pm Friday 14th
to 6pm Saturday 15th
Night THREE/Day THREE
Wave Offering, or:
|18 Nisan||6pm Wednesday 14th
to 6pm Thursday 15th
Before Dawn Women come to Empty Tomb
The starting point is 3am on Nisan 11 which is our Saturday night of Nisan 10, (the day when the Passover lambs were chosen and set aside). As soon as the weekly Sabbath was over, Jesus and his disciples could make an early start to get to Jerusalem for what we call "Palm Sunday" when he rode into Jerusalem as the KING.
The endpoint of the FIRST three and a half days is 3pm on Wednesday when he said "it is finished" and gave up his Spirit to his Father. Thereafter there was a rush to lay Jesus in the tomb before the Passover began at 6pm. We find that, in Egypt, when the Israelites were "passed over" by the Angel of Death (the event that is commemorated in the feast of Passover) it was the death of the FIRST-BORN that took place in the night, at midnight. [Exodus 12:29]
Thus Jesus, the only-begotten Son of the Father, the Lamb of God, gave his life in the darkness of that grim afternoon (for the sky became black as he hung on the cross) just as the Passover lambs were slain. God instructed his people to slay and eat the lambs of the Passover "between the evenings":
EXODUS 12:6 And it shall be for you to keep until the fourteenth day of this month. And all the assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it between the evenings [beyn ha'arbayim]. (Literal Translation of the Bible)
What is meant by the Hebrew phrase beyn ha'arbayim? Most Jews have always reckoned "between the evenings" as the afternoon, literally the time between the decline of the sun after noon (the first evening) until the setting of the sun to end the day (the second evening). Therefore, until the destruction of the Second Temple, the vast majority of observant Jews killed the Passover on the afternoon of the 14 Abib, and ate the Passover meal later in the night, at the start of 15 Abib. According to noted Jewish historian Alfred Edersheim, "Ordinarily it [the evening sacrifice] was slain at 2.30 P.M., and offered at about 3.30" (p. 174, updated ed., The Temple: Its Ministry and Services).
Thus Jesus died EXACTLY as the Passover lambs were slain! Thanks be to God for his Sacrifice that sets us free!
The SECOND three and a half days ends at 3am on the "first day of the week" which is our Sunday. The women came to the tomb before it was light, and found that Jesus had already risen. Mary then saw the Lord in the garden, mistaking him for the gardener. This was the first PUBLIC revelation of the risen Lord, on the 18th day, This becomes important as we move onto the later chapters of this study.
The Divided Seven of the Temple Lamb
This picture is a reconstruction of the Menorah or lamp that stood in the Temple. I would like you to notice the arrangement of the central light surrounded by THREE lights on each side. Here is another symbol of the "sub-divided-seven" that we see in the chart above.
If we place the crucifixion as the central light, then we can see the three days of ministry in the city of Jerusalem on the left side and the three days and nights hidden in the tomb on the other. (This also, by the way, applies to the sub-divided last week of history as foretold in Revelation).The temple lamp was lit in the EVENING, so the count for each branch begins at sundown, just as the next Jewish day begins.
As you see from the chart above, the evening of the Passover began the three days and nights of Jesus in the tomb, until the evening of the third day (in our terminology) when he arose.
We can also see the same sub-divided seven arrangement in the construction of the very TEXT of the prophecy of Daniel.
The sub-divided Seven in the Text of Daniel's Prophecy
Taking the prophecy on one level only, the Messianic one, we see the summary of what the seventy "sevens" are to accomplish in the first part of Daniel 9:24–27 (verse 24). Next is the "seven" that takes us to the "anointed one" (verse 25a).
The 62 sevens of reconstruction are covered next, followed by the "cutting off" of the anointed one (in this particular instance, Jesus our Lord) which takes central position on the "lamp". (Vs 26)
Next comes the destruction of the city and the sanctuary, the flood and desolations.
Gabriel then returns to the confirmation of the covenant and the ending of the sacrifice and offerings in the middle of the week, (verse 27) and concludes with another summary about the abomination to come, and the End.
Did the Abomination of Desolation finally occur in AD70?
Thinking about whether Antiochus was the entire fulfillment of the prophecy, we need to remember that Jesus specifically referred to Daniel when he warned believers that Jerusalem would be destroyed. He spoke of the coming Abomination of Desolation IN HIS OWN TIME.
When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:).... (Matt 24:15)
Therefore we have good authority for believing that the AD70 attack on Jerusalem was another fulfillment of the prophecy. Interestingly, a 2nd century JEWISH exposition (Seder Olam Rabbah), also interprets the ‘abomination of desolation’ in Daniel 9 as the Roman destruction of Jerusalem.
HOWEVER, it must now be said that many or even most evangelical scholars of prophecy, and Christians today, see another greater abomination of desolation held over to the future, and do NOT agree that AD70 completely fulfilled the prophecy. I concur. This only goes to show that we have to look for multiple fulfillments. It is not "then or now" but "both".
The New testament also speaks of a Desolator of the Temple:
2 Thess 2:2-4
Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
This is exactly what Antiochus strove to do:
Antiochus regarded himself as Zeus (hence his title, epiphanes, meaning ‘manifestation of’), the Greek God. He gave lavishly to Greek temples, including the Temple of Zeus in Athens. His self-view as the supreme God meant that he saw himself as having power over all the religions in his realm. He thus tried to systematically change the traditions of the Jews, based on the laws of Moses, to make them conform to Greek beliefs. In 168 B.C. or 169 B.C. Antiochus marched to Jerusalem, slew Jason (last of the Zadokite High Priests) and dedicated the Temple to Zeus, erecting an image of Zeus in his own likeness on the altar, and, according to some sources, sacrificed a pig in the Temple. (New World Encyclopaedia)
What the "Future Seven Years" belief requires
In order to square up the prophecies of a coming FUTURE antichrist who will once again defile the Temple, with prophecies like the one in Daniel, many Christians hold over the ENTIRE final seventh week of the Seventy Week prophecy until the endtimes. They count 69+7 weeks combined to the Messiah being "cut off" and then stop, causing there to be a gap of centuries before the Abomination is set up in the Temple and completely ignoring the destruction of AD 70. Is this correct?
The gap forces ALL the events of the second half of the prophecy to be FUTURE:
- the people of a "coming prince" would have to destroy the city and temple (which today no longer exists).
- a seven-year "peace treaty" would have to be arranged in order for it to be broken halfway through the "week".
- the temple sacrifices would have to be reinstated.
- an unspecified "abomination" would have to be erected in the rebuilt temple.
Notwithstanding that these events may yet occur, is it correct to say they have never occurred before in history? Is it really "either-or"? This dispute runs on and on.
But by using the Babushka Principle, we can resolve these difficulties. The ministry of Jesus Christ was indeed three and a half years long, before he was "cut off" in the midst of the week. It was the Messiah who confirmed the Covenant with the "many" who would receive him, and it was the Messiah himself at that time who - by his death - brought an end to all valid Old Testament sacrifice and offering, being made the "once for all" sacrifice for redemption.
Once again, it was in the middle of the week in AD70 that the Roman armies quelled the Jewish rebellion and by doing so cut off the anointed Jews and Christians from the city and caused the literal Jewish temple sacrifices to cease utterly from that day forward. Therefore, BOTH events fulfilled the prophecy.
On the other hand, we are not of those who say that all prophecy HAS been fulfilled in history and the final seven years HAS been completed - first by the 3 1/2 ministry of Christ and second by a 3 1/2 year period up to the stoning of Stephen (for example).
(1) Here is a link to an alternative calculation using the prophetic year of 360 days to 32AD.
(2) "The Significance of 70 Years" by James D. Dwyer.
(3) Please see this very useful page giving the entire chronology. (Also please read the article here)
Please proceed to the next section or go back to a previous page.
- Page One: Introduction and the different cycles
- Page One: Additional (Three attacks compared)
- Page Two: The first fulfillment of Daniel
- Page Three: Fulfilled in Christ [THIS PAGE]
- Page Four: Future Fulfillment
- Page Four Additional (1): Charts of the sevens
- Page Four Additional(2): The third day explored
- Page Four Additional (3): Third day plus 14-18
- Page Five: Jubilees and our own era
- Page Six: Conclusion and summary