What is the job description for the Messiah?
Did a Messiah come in the 1st century AD?
We are currently looking at the following prophecy from Daniel 9:20-27
"Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven 'sevens,' and sixty-two 'sevens.' It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty-two 'sevens,' the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. …”
Does is prophecy the coming of the Messiah?
Interestingly, we do know the start point, in fact it is a historical certainty. The issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem was fulfilled in the actions of Artaxerxes I, who made an order, in 444BC, that the walls of Jerusalem should be rebuilt.
“In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before; so the king asked me, "Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart." I was very much afraid, but I said to the king, "May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my fathers are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?" The king said to me, "What is it you want?" Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king, "If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my fathers are buried so that I can rebuild it." Then the king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked me, "How long will your journey take, and when will you get back?" It pleased the king to send me; so I set a time. I also said to him, "If it pleases the king, may I have letters to the governors of Trans-Euphrates, so that they will provide me safe-conduct until I arrive in Judah? And may I have a letter to Asaph, keeper of the king's forest, so he will give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel by the temple and for the city wall and for the residence I will occupy?" And because the gracious hand of my God was upon me, the king granted my requests.” (Nehemiah 2:1-8)
The first part of the Daniel prophecy mentioned 49 years, which most commentators suggest is the time that it took to finish the rebuilding job, which may seem a long time, but there’s builders for you!
Now the math gets a little complex, when we add up the years from 444 BC to get to the time of the Messiah. It’s not straightforward for the simple reason that Biblical events never happened in modern Europe! We measure our years by the time it takes the Earth to completely travel around the sun. This is called a solar year and takes just over 365 days. The Jewish calendar is different, it is based on the moon and the time it takes to revolve around the earth. This is a lunar calendar, where a year consists of only 360 days. So when the Bible speaks of years, these are “360 day” years, not “365 and a bit day” years. So … pause for breath … adding 483 Jewish years to 444BC, then converting back to our solar year, we arrive at around the year 33 AD.
So, returning to our verses …
“At around 33 AD, the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing.”
Does this remind you of anyone?
Yet some have problems with this … more next week.