7 Weeks until the Messiah

If you’re a Christian, during this past month of December you’ve probably thought about the twelve days of Christmas or the Advent, two countdowns which lead to the commemoration of the birth of Christ. If you are of Jewish or Messianic faith, the eight days of Hanukkah and the festival of lights were in your thoughts during this wonderful time of year. Today, I’d like to tell you about a prophecy in the Bible which connects these two traditions in a wonderful way. What I’m talking about is the prophecy which tells us that there would someday be 7 “weeks” until the Messiah. Here take a look:

Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks… (Daniel 9:25a)

Authors Note: This article was meant to be posted a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been having some email issues and had to change email service for my blog subscribers.  I’ve also just been extremely busy with family and work. I’m sorry for the delay and any inconvenience my email issues may cause. If you are one of my long time subscribers and don’t like the new email service you can now subscribe directly through WordPress at my blog. Or if you just want to unsubscribe you shouldn’t have any trouble doing that either.  I hope you’ll continue the adventure with me, so let’s get back to it.

Some of you may recognize the above verse as part of Daniel’s 70 Weeks prophecy, one of the most well-known prophecies in the Bible. Yet, at least among Evangelical scholars, this first part of verse 25 is almost always ignored. When I say ignored, what I mean is that this section of the verse is not taken at face value in the most reasonable and normal rendering, rather these 7 “weeks” are instead added to the 62 “weeks” described in the remaining portion of the passage and then that combined period of 69 “weeks” is calculated to determine the advent of the Messiah. Here take a look at the entire verse:

Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. (Daniel 9:25)

Today, let’s look at this passage from a more focused point of view. Let’s take Daniel 9:25a at face value and see what wonderful prophetic insights it has for us to discover. In order to do this though, we need to understand a bit more about the context. It’s a bit involved, but really not that complicated. Bear with me here, because this is one of the most thrilling prophetic passages in the Bible and if you stay with me you’ll see why two of this past month’s most cherished holidays are connected by this wonderful prophecy. There are three parts to understanding this passage:

1. The word “weeks”
2. The starting point of the prophecy
3. The reckoning of “time” used

7 “Weeks”
Let’s start by exploring the term “weeks”. First of all, the term is a bit misleading. The word in Hebrew is pronounced Shabuwa (shaw-boo’-ah). In Hebrew it means seven or period of seven. So in other words the verse might better read,

Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks sevens… (Daniel 9:25a)

But there is something even more amazing about the word shabuwa as it is used here in this passage. In this passage the plural masculine form of the word is used. Now, if you are like me, when I heard that for the first time you probably thought that it sounds a bit over your head. As you’ve noticed if you are a regular reader of my blog, I have a hard enough time with English grammar, let alone Hebrew so you’re good company.

But here is the deal. The first Hebrew word in the chart on the right is the normal spelling for the Hebrew word shabuwa (sevens). In Daniel 9:25a though the plural masculine form of shabuwa is used which changes the spelling of the Hebrew word (see the 2nd row of the chart).

What’s really neat about this is that phonetically the plural masculine form of shabuwa is the same as the Hebrew word shib’iym which means 70. The only difference between the two words are the vowel pointings which were added by the Masoretes hundreds of years after the prophecy was given.  In other words, the Masoretes took a Hebrew word that would have normally been read shib’iym or 70 and changed it to shabuwa which means “sevens” so that Daniel 9:25 would make more sense in the overall context of the passage.

So the bottom line is that here in Daniel 9:25a the word shabuwa (sevens) could be read in two different ways. One way the text could read 7 sevens (7×7=49) and another way it could be read 7 seventies (7×70=490).

Intriguingly scholars have often wondered if Daniel 9:24-27 is describing one or two messianic figures because verse 25 talks about the Messiah coming after 7 shabuwa, yet verse 26 states the Messiah is “cut off” after the 7+62 (69) shabuwa.

And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: (Daniel 9:26)

The following chart shows the challenge:

In fact, this challenge is one of the major objections traditional rabbinic scholars and Jewish anti-missionaries have to the Evangelical interpretation that Yeshua (Jesus) fulfills the prophecy of Daniel 9 because they say Yeshua couldn’t have fulfilled both aspects of the prophecy.

Their argument goes something like this:

If Yeshua really was “cut off” after the 69 sevens in roughly 30 AD as many Christians claim, then who is the messiah of the first 7 sevens, which came hundreds of years earlier?

This is a reasonable objection Christian scholars have long tried to ignore. One notable exception is Messianic scholar Dr. Michael Brown in his book Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus: Messianic Objections. In the book Dr. Brown does acknowledges the challenge of this passage although he doesn’t seem to find a satisfactory answer to it.

Yet the answer to this puzzling challenge has been there all along. Shabuwa, as used in Daniel 9:25, could reasonably be read as either 7 or 70. In others words, when shabuwa, as given in Daniel 9:25, is read as part of the larger prophecy (verses 24-27) the text implies a value of 7 sevens. When read as given in its immediate context, (taken at face value unprejudiced by vowel pointings) this verse simply states that the Messiah will come after 7 seventies or 490 periods of time.

So for today’s exploration of the subject let’s take the passage at face value assuming it means what it plainly states, i.e. 490 periods of time until the Messiah.

The Starting Point
This brings us to another interesting aspect of the prophecy. Since we have a general idea of the period of time involved, i.e. 490 units of unspecified time, we now need a starting point for our countdown to the Messiah. Daniel 9:25 tells us that this starting point is the “commandment to restore and build Jerusalem.”

In Daniel 9:25 the English word “commandment” comes from the Hebrew dabar, which quite simply means – word. In the Hebrew Bible dabar is used roughly 1439 times. Of those, the vast majority refer to the word or dabar of Yahweh. In Daniel 9 dabar is used 4 times. Of those, in keeping with the usage in the rest of the Old Testament, 3 of the occurrences of dabar clearly refers to the word of Yahweh. (Dan. 9:2, 12, & 23)

Today, most scholars and teachers tell us that the “commandment” or dabar of Daniel 9:25 is one of four Persian decrees to restore and build Jerusalem. You’ve probably never heard of it, but did you know that there is also a divine “commandment” or dabar to restore and build Jerusalem. In fact this divine dabar is mentioned in Ezra 6:14-15 as being confirmed by the two prophetic witnesses, Haggai and Zechariah.

Let me ask you something: If sometime back in the unfathomable expanse of eternity when Yahweh decided His “word” was going to become flesh in an effort to redeem mankind from their sins, and further He decided that there was going to be a specific command or dabar announcing this wonderful event, wouldn’t this commandment have the most credibility and authority if it was His divine word which began this countdown to the messiah. And further wouldn’t this word of Yahweh be given even more credibility if it was witnessed by not one but two of that era’s most respected prophets? Of course it would. With these thoughts in mind consider the words of the apostle John when he talks about Yeshua the “word” of God:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God…

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-2, 14)

So today, in honor of the Yahweh’s wonderful redemptive plan for mankind, let’s look at His divine word to restore and build Jerusalem for the starting point to His countdown to the Messiah, that pivotal point in human history when His word became our Yeshua, that is our Salvation of Yahweh. Here take a moment to read this dabar or “commandment of Yahweh”.

Therefore thus saith YHWH; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith YHWH of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem. (Zechariah 1:16)

According to Zechariah 1, this divine word to restore and build Jerusalem and the temple was given in the 2nd year of Darius. The Biblical evidence shows us that this Persian king was Darius ‘the Great’ Artaxerxes whose 2nd year of reign began in 520 B.C. This divine command was repeated by Zechariah’s contemporary Haggai and recorded by Ezra, the priest and scribe. Here take a look:

In the second year of Darius the king [520 BC], in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word of YHWH by Haggai the prophet …

Thus saith YHWH of hosts; Consider your ways. Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith YHWH. (Haggai 1:1-8)

And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and even Artaxerxes king of Persia. (Ezra 6:14)

So there you have it. A Divine word to restore and build Jerusalem centered around the one event which in the eyes of the living God of the Bible defined “building Jerusalem”, that is the restoration of His house, the one place on this earth where He chose to meet with mankind.

A Biblical Reckoning of Time
Now that we know when this divine word was given (520 BC) and a general idea of the period of time used (7 seventies), let’s now turn our attention to “time” in the Bible. You know it really isn’t all that easy to step out of our own context and into one that is different than what we‘ve experienced. This is especially difficult when dealing with a context that is centuries removed from the present.

But to accurately understand the prophecy of Daniel 9:25a, we must step back in time. Back to a period when there were no computers, fancy wrist watches, or atomic clocks. We need to go back in time to when “time” in the Bible was kept based upon the heavenly gears in Yahweh’s celestial Rolex.

You see when Daniel was given the prophecy of 70 Sevens or when Yeshua walked those ancient stones of Jerusalem, the Jewish people kept time based upon a lunar/solar calendar. The day to day side of this calendar was regulated by the rising and setting of the sun. The prophetic side of the calendar which ordered the Bible’s mow’ed or sacred festivals was regulated by the cycles of the moon. These two aspects of Yahweh’s Rolex were the gears that drove the calendar through a Biblical “year”.

What is unique about the Biblical year is that these two gears are not sized proportionally. In other words, they don’t match up perfectly at the end of a solar year. The solar year is roughly 365.24 days in length and the lunar month is 29.53 days in length. 12 lunar months are only equal to 354.36 days.

This makes for roughly an 11 day difference between the two calendars each year. That means, if left unchecked, the lunar side of the calendar would wander backwards in time through the seasons much in the same way that the Islamic calendar does today.

To reconcile or intercalate the two sides of the Biblical calendar a 13th month was added every three years or so. Now lest you think this is a totally strange idea just remember in our own calendar we also have to intercalate our year. We call it a leap year.

As most people know, our year is 365.24 days in length. Because we don’t account for the .24 of a day in our typical calendar year, every four years we have to add a makeup day to our year (4 x .25) We call this a leap year. So with the Bible’s lunar/solar calendar it is basically the same idea just a bit more dramatic. Instead of just a single day every four years the Biblical calendar adds an entire 29.53 day lunar month every three years.

What this means for our exploration of Biblical time is, that a “year” as understood by Daniel, Zechariah, Haggai, and even Yeshua was not a certain number of days rather it was a certain number of lunar cycles. In other words, the Biblical year often has12 lunar cycles of 29.53 days each making a “year” of only 354.36 days, but once every three years the Biblical calendar had special year of 13 lunar cycles which made that “year” 383.89 days in length.

For our exploration of Daniel 9:25a today, we are going to use a 13 month Biblical “year” to calculate the length of time from Yahweh’s divine word until the coming of the Messiah. (For more on the messianic symbolism of the number 13 please see my book The 13th Enumeration: Key to the Bible’s Messianic Symbolism or my YouTube series: The Spirit of Prophecy)

So from Yahweh’s divine command in 520 BC, we will calculate 7 seventies (490) periods of time multiplied by a 13 month Biblical “year”. This gives us a total of 515.02 solar years. This takes us from 520 BC to the year 5 BC.

For those who would like to calculate an even more precise date for this divine command, consider this second dabar or word of Yahweh given to the prophet Haggai in the 24th day of the 9th month in the 2nd year of Darius. This date was right in the middle of the two “commandments” to restore and build Jerusalem given by Yahweh through the prophets Haggai and Zechariah that we talked about earlier in this article. So right in the middle of that six month period of time we have the following:

In the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word (dabar) of YHWH by Haggai the prophet, saying…

And now, I pray you, consider from this day and upward, from before a stone was laid upon a stone in the temple of YHWH:…

Consider now from this day and upward, from the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, even from the day that the foundation of YHWH temple was laid, consider it…
from this day will I bless you. (Haggai 2:10-19)


If we do as the text suggests and consider or count 515.02 years from the 24th day of the 9th month in the year 520 when the Divine word to restore and build Jerusalem was given by Yahweh, we come to the final days of the 9th month in the year 5 BC.

For the sake of argument let’s assume the coming of the Messiah mentioned in Daniel 9:25a means what is says. This would mean that the most literal interpretation of this coming of the Messiah could refer to the point when the Son of God became human flesh. If this is the case then according to the natural order of things, 40 weeks later in fall of 4 BC during in the 7th Biblical month, the Messiah would have been born and dwelt (tabernacled) with mankind during the Biblical Feast of Tabernacles.


The Course of Abijah (Abia)
This is confirmed in Luke 1 where it describes the priestly service of Zachariah during the course of Abijah. As it tells us in Luke’s account, Mary conceived six months after Zachariah’s wife, Elisabeth.

As you can see from the following chart, this information places the conception of Yeshua at the end of the 9th /start of the 10th month during the Festival of Lights and thus His birth would have taken place during the 13/14 priestly course of the 7th month during the Feast of Tabernacles. In confirmation of the prophecy of Daniel 9:25a. For a more detailed explanation of this subject seem article: The Course of Abijah. or my free book Daniel’s 70 Weeks: The Keystone of Bible Prophecy (This assumes the priestly courses run after the same manner as the other services arranged by King David as given in 1 Chron. 24 & 27. There is no direct Biblical evidence to assume otherwise.)

The Real Miracle of the Messiah
You know, if you think about it, by focusing exclusively on the birth of the Messiah we miss the real miracle of Yahweh Salvation (Yeshua). The real miracle of the Messiah was not His birth, but His conception, that point when Yahweh’s spirit became flesh in a young maiden named Mary.

One = Hebrew echad = 13

This was the pivotal point in mankind’s history (as indicated by Daniel 9:25a and Luke 1) when the Spirit of Yahweh (7) and man (6) became ONE (13). Thus In the winter of 5 BC during Hanukkah also known as the Festival of Lights the hopeless darkness of the present world was pierced by the Light of the World.

Over the intervening centuries due to the animosity between the early followers of Christ (both Jewish and Gentile) and the religious leaders of the Jewish people, the early Christian church began to distance itself from the “Jewish” roots of its faith. Thus it is likely that the conception of the Messiah in fulfillment of Daniel 9:25 during the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah) in 5 BC evolved into the Christian holiday of Christmas which in the Roman gentile world of that day also marked the birthday of Sol Invictus Mithra, the unconquered sun god. Keep in mind, that this Roman birthday celebration conveniently fell on December 25 at the very same time of year as the Jewish Feast of Dedication (Festival of Lights or Hanukkah) which the Jewish people also celebrated starting on the 25th day of their month Kislev.

Yahweh’s Gift to Mankind
In honor of the spirit of the season, let me wrap this up in a beautiful package for you. From the beginning Yeshua was the Word of Yahweh.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. (John 1:1-4)

In 520 BC that Word went forth from Yahweh as a divine command (dabar) to restore and build Jerusalem.

Therefore thus saith YHWH; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith YHWH of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem. (Zechariah 1:16)

In the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word (dabar) of YHWH by Haggai the prophet, saying…

And now, I pray you, consider from this day and upward, from before a stone was laid upon a stone in the temple of YHWH:…

Consider now from this day and upward, from the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, even from the day that the foundation of YHWH temple was laid, consider it…

from this day will I bless you. (Haggai 2:10-19)

515.02 years later in the winter of 5 BC that Word became human flesh, what the apostle John described as the “light of the world” during the Jewish Festival of Lights.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. (John 1:6-9)

And the Word was made flesh [conceived], and dwelt [tabernacled = his birth] among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John 1:14

Nearly 33 years later in the winter of 29/30 AD, just a few months before his death and resurrection, Yeshua was walking in Solomon’s porch during the Festival of Lights and made this enlightening statement:

Then spake Jesus [Yeshua] again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life…

And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication [Festival of Light/Hanukkah], and it was winter. (John 8:12 -10:22)

Consider From this Day Forward… I Will Bless You
Now to bring you full circle, I give you the wonderful words of the Apostle Peter spoken to his own brethren after the resurrection of Yeshua, words which bring new meaning to Yahweh’s promise (Haggai 1:10-19) that from 24th day of the 9th month in 520 BC that He would bless the Jewish people.

And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;

And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets [including Daniel] since the world began

Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.
Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus [Yeshua], sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities. (Acts 3:17-26)

What a Blessing Indeed!

So next year when the month of December comes around, won’t you give a thought to the ancient prophecy which told us there would be 7 “weeks” until the Messiah. A Messianic redeemer which ALL the prophets from the very beginning of Creation, told would come to reconcile mankind to Yahweh their Creator.

And won’t you also give a thought to that ancient Jewish Festival of Lights when that prophesied Jewish man named Yeshua (Yahweh’s Salvation) stood in Solomon’s porch and proclaimed to His Jewish brethren that He was the Light of the World, on the very anniversary when He, that blessed light, first appear among mankind nearly 33 years earlier.

Jesus cried and said,

He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me. And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. (John 12:44-46)

Related study material:
Christmas and the Course of Abijah (Abia)
Calendar Confusion and the Basics of Biblical Time
The Spirit of Prophecy (YouTube)
Daniel’s 70 Weeks: The Keystone of Bible Prophecy

FREE Book Download:
If you would like to learn more about the prophecy of Daniel 9, Biblical history and Bible prophecy you might also appreciate my books in the Prophecies and Patterns series.

At the following link you may download one of the three books shown below.  If you like the book and would like to download the other two, all I ask is that you subscribe to my blog. I won’t share your email or spam you with advertisements or other requests. Just every couple of weeks I’ll share with you my love of Biblical history and Bible Prophecy. Should you decide you no longer wish to be a subscriber you can unsubscribe at any time.

Click the following link to download your Free book: Book Download

I hope you’ll join the adventure!

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Leave a Reply