This previous Sunday we celebrated a day that some two thousand years ago, the Jews in Jerusalem waved palm branches and cried ‘Hosanna’ to the King of kings, Jesus Christ. We commonly refer to this as Palm Sunday. Yet, seldom is its true prophetic significance and fulfillment ever preached on or discussed. Here these words from the prophet Daniel…
“Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place. So you are to discern that from an issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty two weeks: it will be build again with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and then the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come like a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.” Daniel 9:24-26
Like most scholars and students of the Word, I pray we desire to know the true meaning of every Biblical text. We know obviously that the Messiah did not come seventy literal weeks after the issued decree to rebuild the temple after the Babylonian exile. On March 14, 445 BC, we know the command was given to rebuild the temple. Jesus ministry was half a Millennium later so what gives? Well, just like the word century refers to 100 and a jubilee refers to 50, the work ‘heptad’ in Hebrew means or ‘refers’ to ‘seven’. The word ‘week’ in our English translations is this Hebrew word ‘heptad’. So since it cannot be a literal ‘week’, then what period of time is it referring to? Is it to be taken literally? Can we trust it? Well, let’s investigate.
There is a common rule in Hebrew Old Testament scripture. Whenever a term is used, to get its proper meaning and definition, scholars always look to its first occurrence in the Bible. ‘Heptad’ is first used in the story of Jacob, Laban and Rachel in Genesis 29.
“And Jacob served seven years for Rachel…”
The word ‘years’ here in English is ‘heptad’ in Hebrew. In Genesis 29: 26-28, Laban asks Jacob to, ‘fulfill her ‘week’! So ‘year’ and ‘week’ are the same!!! In this prophecy of Daniel 9, we see there will be seven ‘weeks’ and then sixty-two ‘weeks’ from the issuing of the decree to rebuild the temple and the cutting off of the Messiah. If the word ‘years’ are implied then the true meaning and fulfillment comes forth. It took exactly 49 years to rebuild the temple, or seven ‘heptads/weeks’! Remember that a Jewish year is 360 days not the Babylonian 365. If the 360 day year is implied and added to the issuing of the decree to rebuild the temple on March 14, 445 BC, then exactly 69 ‘weeks’ later or 483 Jewish calendar years, was April 6, 32 AD. This day was exactly five days before Passover, and in fact palm Sunday when Jesus entered Jerusalem. Another prophecy fulfilled, literally!
Pastor Aaron Bjork