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The Prophecies of Daniel


The Patriarch Jacob, as we showed in the second chapter, coincided the times of the coming of the Conciliator with the time that the descendants of Judah would lose their political independence. The time of the coming of the Messiah was defined more precisely by the prophet Daniel in his prophecy of the seventy weeks.

     The Prophet Daniel wrote the prophecy of the time of the Messiah’s coming while he and other Hebrews were in Babylonian captivity. The Hebrews were led into captivity by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar, who destroyed the city of Jerusalem in 588 BC. The prophet Daniel knew, that the 70 year time period of captivity predicted by the prophet Jeremiah (in the 25th chapter of his book), was coming to an end. Desiring a rapid return of the Hebrew nation from captivity to its native land and the restoration of the Holy City of Jerusalem, St. Daniel often began to ask God for this in fervent prayer. At the end of one of these prayers the Archangel Gabriel suddenly appeared before the prophet and said, that God had heard his prayer and will soon help the Hebrews restore Jerusalem. Along with this, the Archangel Gabriel announced even more glad tidings, specifically, that from the time of the issuance of the decree to restore Jerusalem, the calculation of the year of the coming of the Messiah and the establishment of the New Testament would begin. Here is what the Archangel Gabriel said to the Prophet Daniel:

 

“Seventy times sevenweeks” has been designated for your people and your Holy City, so that the crime might be veiled, the sins sealed and lawlessness erased so that eternal truth would be brought about and the prophet and prophecies would be sealed and the Holy of Holies anointed. Therefore know and comprehend: that from the moment that the decree is given for the restoration of Jerusalem up until the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ will be 7weeks and 62 weeks. The people shall return and streets and walls shall be rebuilt in difficult times.

    At the end of the time of 62 weeks Christ shall be delivered for death, and shall no longer exist: but the city and temple shall be ruined by the people of the commander who shall come and whose end shall be as from the flood and until the end of the war there shall be devastation. During one seventh shall affirm the New Testament for many, And in the half of the seventh sacrifice and offerings shall cease, and at the entry of the sanctuary there shall be abomination and desolation and a final predestined perdition shall befall the ravager” (Dan. 9:24-27).

 

In this prophecy, the entire time from the decree to restore Jerusalem to the establishment of the New Testament and the second destruction of this city is divided into three periods. The time frames of each period are measured inweek” years, i.e. seven-year spans. The Hebrew word forweek” isshavua” and literally meansseven.” Seven is a holy number, symbolically meaning fullness, completeness.

     The meaning of the given prophecy is this: for the Judaic nation and for the holy city are determined 70weeks” (70x7= 490 years), until the coming of the Holy of Holies (Christ), who will erase lawlessness, bring eternal truth and fulfill all the prophecies. The order for the new construction of Jerusalem and the temple will serve as the beginning of these weeks, and the end — a second destruction of both. In the order of events these weeks are divided in the following manner: during the first sevenweeks” (i.e. 49 years) Jerusalem and the Temple will be rebuilt. Then, toward the end of the 62 weeks (i.e. 434 years) Christ will come, but He will suffer and will be put to death. Finally, in the course of the lastweek” the New Testament will be established and in the middle of thisweek” regular sacrifices in the Temple of Jerusalem will cease, and there will be abomination of desolation in the sanctuary. Then will come a people, guided by a leader, who will destroy the holy city and the Temple.

     It is interesting and instructive to trace, how in fact the historical events unfolded in the time period designated by the Archangel Gabriel. The decree for the restoration of Jerusalem was issued by the Persian king Artaxerxes of the dynasty Archaemenidae in 453 BC. This momentous event is described in depth by Nehemiah in the 2nd chapter of his book. The enumeration of Daniel’sweeks” should begin from the moment of the issuance of this decree. By the Greek method of numbering the years, this was the 3rd year of the 76th Olympiad, by the Roman method — the 299th year after the founding of Rome. The restoration of the walls and Temple was protracted for a about 40 or 50 years (sevenweeks”) because several heathen nations, living in the regions neighboring Jerusalem, hindered the restoration of this city in every possible way.

     In accordance to the prophecy, the Messiah was to suffer for the cleansing of human sins in the period between 69 and 70 weeks. If one adds to the year of the issuance of the decree of the restoration of Jerusalem 69 weeks, i.e. 483 years, then this equals the 30th year of the Christian method of numbering years. It was around this time, from 30 to 37 AD, according to the prophecy, that the Messiah was to suffer and die. The Evangelist Luke writes that the Lord Jesus Christ came out to preach in the 15th year of the rule of the Roman emperor Tiberius. This coincides with the 782nd year from the founding of Rome or with the 30th year after the birth of Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ taught three and a half years and suffered in the 33rd or 34th year of our era, precisely during the time, indicated by St. Daniel. The Christian faith began to spread very quickly after the Resurrection of Christ, so that, truly, the last, 70th Week involved the establishment of the New Testament among many people.

     Jerusalem was destroyed a second time in the 70th year of this era by the Roman military leader Titus. During the siege of Jerusalem by the Roman legions, complete chaos ruled this city because of the discord among the Judean leaders. As a result of this strife, religious services in the Temple were conducted very irregularly, and finally, in the Temple, as predicted by the Archangel to the prophet Daniel, reigned “abomination of desolation.

     The Lord Jesus Christ in one of His discussions reminded Christians of this prophecy and warned His listeners, that, when they will see in the Holy Place “abomination of desolation,” they should run from Jerusalem as soon as possible, because the end has come to it (Mat. 24:15). Christians living in Jerusalem did just that, when the Roman armies, due to the election of a new Emperor, by the order of Vespasian, temporarily lifted the siege of the city and retreated. For this reason Christians did not suffer during the subsequent return of the Roman army and destruction of Jerusalem and, in this manner, avoided the tragic fate of many Judeans remaining in the city. The prophecy of Daniel about the weeks comes to an end with the destruction of Jerusalem.

     In this way, the coincidence of the given prophecy with the subsequent historical events in the life of the Hebrew nation and with the narration of the Gospel is astonishing.

     Here it should be mentioned that the Hebrew rabbis very often forbade their fellow countrymen to count the weeks of Daniel. The rabbi of Gemar even subjected those Hebrews, who would calculate the year of the coming of the Messiah, to the following curse: “May the bones shake of those, who calculate the times… Perish all those who calculate the end, for men will say, since the predicted end is here and the Messiah has not come, he will never come!” (Sanhedrin 97b). The severity of this ban is understandable. For the Daniel weeks point directly to the time of the activity of Christ the Savior, which for those not believing in Him is unpleasant to admit.

 

In the Prophet Daniel we also find more prophetic evidence about the Messiah, written in the form of a vision, in which the Messiah is portrayed as the eternal Sovereign. This is written in the seventh chapter of his book. “I saw in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought Him near before Him. And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed” (Dan. 7:13:14).

     This vision speaks of the final fates of the world, of the termination of the existence of the earthly kingdoms, of the last judgment of the nations, gathered before the throne of the Ancient of Days, i.e. God the Father. and of the beginning of the glorious time for the Kingdom of the Messiah. The Messiah here is calledSon of man,” which points to His human nature. As we know from the Gospels, the Lord Jesus Christ often called Himself the Son of man, with this name reminding the Jews of the prophecy of Daniel (Mat. 8:20, 9:6, 12:40, 24:30 and so on).

     The prophecies of the other two great prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel are found in the appendix, where the prophecies about the Kingdom of the Messiah are listed. To conclude this chapter we present only the prophecy of Baruch, pupil of Jeremiah, in which he writes of the coming of God to earth: “This is our God, and there shall none other be of in comparison him. He hath found out all the way of knowledge, and hath given it unto Jacob his servant, and to Israel his beloved. Afterward did he shew himself upon earth, and conversed with men” (Bar. 3:36-38). Unfortunately, in the times of the Babylonian captivity the Hebrew original of the prophet Baruch was lost, which is why the Greek translation of his book was placed on the list of non-canonical books. For this reason, the prophecy of Baruch does not receive the prestige it deserves among Biblical experts of other faiths.

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