1. The Beginning of the Prophecy
a. When does the entire 70-week prophecy begin? Daniel 9:25.
b. What other decrees were made that did not fulfill the conditions of the prophecy? Ezra 1:1–4; 6:1–12; Nehemiah 2:1–8.
c. Which is the only decree that fulfills the condition to restore the entire system of Judaea—including the religious and judicial authority, plus financing? Ezra 7:11–26.
“In the seventh chapter of Ezra the decree is found. Verses 12–26. In its completest form it was issued by Artaxerxes, king of Persia, 457 b.c. But in Ezra 6:14 the house of the Lord at Jerusalem is said to have been built ‘according to the commandment [‘decree,’ margin] of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.’ These three kings, in originating, reaffirming, and completing the decree, brought it to the perfection required by the prophecy to mark the beginning of the 2300 years. Taking 457 b.c., the time when the decree was completed, as the date of the commandment, every specification of the prophecy concerning the seventy weeks was seen to have been fulfilled.”—The Great Controversy, pp. 326, 327.
2. The Messiah Revealed
a. When did the Messiah reveal Himself, showing that the 70th week had begun—and how old was Jesus when this timeline began? John 1:29, 41; Matthew 3:16, 17; Acts 10:38; Luke 3:23.
“ ‘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’—namely, sixty-nine weeks, or 483 years. The decree of Artaxerxes went into effect in the autumn of 457 b.c. From this date, 483 years extend to the autumn of a.d. 27. . . . At that time this prophecy was fulfilled. The word ‘Messiah’ signifies ‘the Anointed One.’ In the autumn of a.d. 27 Christ was baptized by John and received the anointing of the Spirit. The apostle Peter testifies that ‘God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power.’ Acts 10:38. . . . After His baptism He went into Galilee, ‘preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled.’ Mark 1:14, 15.”—The Great Controversy, p. 327.
b. How did Jesus reveal this prophecy as a key aspect of His ministry (Daniel 8 and 9) and of the everlasting gospel? Mark 1:14, 15; Hebrews 4:15, 16.
“Christ Himself had sent [the disciples] forth with the message: ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.’ Mark 1:15. That message was based on the prophecy of Daniel 9.”—Ibid., p. 345.
“At the expiration of ‘the time’—the sixty-nine weeks of Daniel 9, which were to extend to the Messiah, ‘the Anointed One’—Christ had received the anointing of the Spirit after His baptism by John in Jordan. And the ‘kingdom of God’ which they had declared to be at hand was established by the death of Christ. This kingdom was not, as they had been taught to believe, an earthly empire. Nor was it that future, immortal kingdom which shall be set up when ‘the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High;’ that everlasting kingdom, in which ‘all dominions shall serve and obey Him.’ Daniel 7:27. As used in the Bible, the expression ‘kingdom of God’ is employed to designate both the kingdom of grace and the kingdom of glory. . . . The throne of grace represents the kingdom of grace; for the existence of a throne implies the existence of a kingdom. In many of His parables Christ uses the expression ‘the kingdom of heaven’ to designate the work of divine grace upon the hearts of men.”—Ibid., p. 347.
3. The Fulfillment of Prophecy
a. With what was Jesus concerned throughout His ministry and what occurred exactly at the appointed time? John 7:6–8; 19:16–18, 28–30; 20:30, 31.
“The time of the first advent and of some of the chief events clustering about the Saviour’s lifework was made known by the angel Gabriel to Daniel. ‘Seventy weeks,’ said the angel, ‘are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy.’ Daniel 9:24.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 698.
“Christ had come at the exact time and in the manner foretold by prophecy. The testimony of Scripture had been fulfilled in every detail of His ministry. He had preached the message of salvation, and ‘His word was with power.’ The hearts of His hearers had witnessed that it was of Heaven. The word and the Spirit of God attested the divine commission of His Son.”—The Great Controversy, p. 346.
b. How does this prophecy likewise reveal the exact year of fulfillment for the rest of the 2300 days? Daniel 9:24.
“The death of Christ—the very event which the disciples had looked upon as the final destruction of their hope—was that which made it forever sure. While it had brought them a cruel disappointment, it was the climax of proof that their belief had been correct. The event that had filled them with mourning and despair was that which opened the door of hope to every child of Adam, and in which centered the future life and eternal happiness of all God’s faithful ones in all the ages.”—Ibid., p. 348.
“Thus far every specification of the prophecies is strikingly fulfilled, and the beginning of the seventy weeks is fixed beyond question at 457 b.c., and their expiration in a.d. 34. From this data there is no difficulty in finding the termination of the 2300 days. The seventy weeks—490 days—having been cut off from the 2300, there were 1810 days remaining. After the end of 490 days, the 1810 days were still to be fulfilled. From a.d. 34, 1810 years extend to 1844. Consequently the 2300 days of Daniel 8:14 terminate in 1844. At the expiration of this great prophetic period, upon the testimony of the angel of God, ‘the sanctuary shall be cleansed.’ Thus the time of the cleansing of the sanctuary—which was almost universally believed to take place at the second advent—was definitely pointed out.”—Ibid., p. 328.
4. Rightful Entrance
a. What is needed in order to enter the Holy City? Revelation 21:27; 22:14.
“The death of Christ upon the cross made sure the destruction of him who has the power of death, who was the originator of sin. When Satan is destroyed, there will be none to tempt to evil; the atonement will never need to be repeated; and there will be no danger of another rebellion in the universe of God. That which alone can effectually restrain from sin in this world of darkness, will prevent sin in heaven. The significance of the death of Christ will be seen by saints and angels. Fallen men could not have a home in the paradise of God without the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Shall we not then exalt the cross of Christ? The angels ascribe honor and glory to Christ, for even they are not secure except by looking to the sufferings of the Son of God. It is through the efficacy of the cross that the angels of heaven are guarded from apostasy. Without the cross they would be no more secure against evil than were the angels before the fall of Satan. Angelic perfection failed in heaven. Human perfection failed in Eden, the paradise of bliss. All who wish for security in earth or heaven must look to the Lamb of God. The plan of salvation, making manifest the justice and love of God, provides an eternal safeguard against defection in unfallen worlds, as well as among those who shall be redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. Our only hope is perfect trust in the blood of Him who can save to the uttermost all that come unto God by Him. The death of Christ on the cross of Calvary is our only hope in this world, and it will be our theme in the world to come. Oh, we do not comprehend the value of the atonement! If we did, we would talk more about it. The gift of God in His beloved Son was the expression of an incomprehensible love. It was the utmost that God could do to preserve the honor of His law, and still save the transgressor. Why should man not study the theme of redemption? It is the greatest subject that can engage the human mind. If men would contemplate the love of Christ, displayed in the cross, their faith would be strengthened to appropriate the merits of His shed blood, and they would be cleansed and saved from sin. There are many who will be lost, because they depend on legal religion, or mere repentance for sin. But repentance for sin alone cannot work the salvation of any soul. Man cannot be saved by his own works. Without Christ it is impossible for him to render perfect obedience to the law of God; and heaven can never be gained by an imperfect obedience; for this would place all heaven in jeopardy, and make possible a second rebellion.”—The Signs of the Times, December 30, 1889.
b. What will be the condition of all who enter the Holy City? Ephesians 5:27; Isaiah 43:25.
5. The Investigative Judgment is Part of the Gospel
a. How is the message about the 2300 days and the investigative judgment a part of the gospel message to present to the world? Revelation 14:6, 7, 12.
“The work of judgment which began in 1844 must continue until the cases of all are decided, both of the living and the dead; hence it will extend to the close of human probation. That men may be prepared to stand in the judgment, the message commands them to ‘fear God, and give glory to Him,’ ‘and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.’ . . . In order to be prepared for the judgment, it is necessary that men should keep the law of God. That law will be the standard of character in the judgment.”—The Great Controversy, pp. 435, 436.
b. How does the beginning of the judgment in the autumn of 1844 show the fulfillment of the cleansing of the sanctuary? Daniel 8:14.
“The message of salvation has been preached in all ages; but this message is a part of the gospel which could be proclaimed only in the last days, for only then would it be true that the hour of judgment had come.”—Ibid., p. 356.
c. What should we do in light of the solemnity of the times in which we live? Mark 13:33; Revelation 3:3; 22:11.
“Solemn are the scenes connected with the closing work of the atonement. Momentous are the interests involved therein. The judgment is now passing in the sanctuary above. For many years this work has been in progress. Soon—none know how soon—it will pass to the cases of the living. In the awful presence of God our lives are to come up in review.
“When the work of the investigative judgment closes, the destiny of all will have been decided for life or death.”—Ibid., p. 490.
Personal Review Questions
1. Why does the year 457 b.c. mark the beginning of the 70 weeks?
2. How do we know that Christ’s baptism marked the start of the 70th week?
3. How do the events of the 70th week determine the end of the 2300 days?
4. What type of character do we need to form to enter the New Jerusalem?
5. Name an essential part of the everlasting gospel message to share today.