Daniel's 70 Weeks: Part 5
Aug 15, 2006
I mentioned earlier that Daniel's 70 weeks have two beginning points and two endpoints. The cycle began first in 458 B.C. when King Artaxerxes of Persia sent Ezra to Jerusalem in the 7th year of his reign. This cycle ended in 33 A.D.
The second beginning point was in 445 B.C., which was the 20th year of his reign, when he sent Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. This cycle ended thirteen years later in 46 A.D., when the Apostle Paul was commissioned (with Barnabas).
I have already proven the beginning point of this cycle previously by Persian history, in which is recorded the two lunar eclipses establishing the dates of these monarchs' reigns. But can we prove that Paul's commissioning occurred in 46 A.D.? Yes, the New Testament shows us this.
The Apostle Paul's original name was Saul, and he witnessed the stoning of Stephen (Acts 8:1), "consenting to his death." In fact, Saul then immediately took up the banner of persecution and made war against the Christians, whom he considered to be heretics and blasphemers. Paul wrote his own testimony of this in Gal. 1:13 and 14,
" (13) For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure, and tried to destroy it; (14) and I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my countrymen, being more extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions."
In 1 Thess. 2:14, 15 Paul speaks of what he knew from firsthand experience, saying,
" (14) For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews, (15) who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out. They are not pleasing to God, but hostile to all men."
Paul was converted on the road to Damascus (Acts 9) while on a mission to arrest Christians in that city. A bright light shined upon him, and he heard Jesus speak to him. Saul was also blinded at that moment, and so he was led by the others into Damascus, where he stayed in the house of Judas (Acts 9:11). Here Paul becomes a type of the blind church living in the house of Judas, a type of the betrayer of Jesus.
Then God tells Ananias to pray for Saul, and Saul's blindness was healed on the third day (Acts 9:9). I believe this is prophetic of the blind church being healed on the third day, with a day being a thousand years (2 Pet. 3:8).
When word was spread that Saul had become a Christian, he had to escape from Damascus, because the persecutor was now the persecuted. He escaped to Arabia (Gal. 1:17), where he spent the next three years (Gal. 1:18). No doubt he went to Mount Horeb in Arabia (Gal. 4:25), for that mount is not in the Sinai peninsula, but in the land of Midian (Ex. 2:14) on the east side of the Gulf of Aqaba. (Moses tended Jethro's sheep, and Jethro was the priest in Midian--Ex. 2:15.)
So no doubt Saul spent time contemplating the Word at Mount Horeb, today known as Jabal al-Lawz. (For a full proof of this, see Howard Blum's book, The Gold of Exodus, the Discovery of the True Mount Sinai.) This is where Saul received his revelation and understanding of the two covenants and the relationship between law and grace. He was taught by no man, not even the other apostles (Gal. 1:16, 17).
After three years, Saul returned first to Damascus and then secretly to Jerusalem, where he met with the other apostles for the first time (Gal. 1:18), staying with Peter for 15 days. From there, Saul left the country, moving to Tarsus. He spent many years there, working as a "tentmaker" (probably making taliths, prayer shawls), as he matured in the word.
Meanwhile, there was something of a "revival" taking place not far away in Antioch. The Jerusalem church sent Barnabas there to help and to obtain news. Barnabas then felt constrained to go to Tarsus to bring Saul out of obscurity to Antioch. Saul's testimony was felt to be important and valuable in the conversion of Jews in Antioch. Saul spent a whole year in Antioch (Acts 11:26) before the word of the Lord came through a prophet named Agabus that was to change Saul's life forever. Acts 11:27, 28 says,
" (27) Now at this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. (28) And one of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a famine all over the world. And this took place in the reign of Claudius."
The Christians in Antioch then sent contributions to Jerusalem ahead of time, anticipating this famine. The contributions were taken by Saul, Barnabas, and Titus. This trip to Jerusalem is dated in Gal. 2:1,
"Then fourteen years after ["within fourteen years"--Wilson's The Emphatic Diaglott] I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also."
When they returned again to Antioch, Saul and Barnabas were commissioned on their first missionary journey (Acts 13:2). Apparently, the same prophetic word that commissioned Saul also gave him a new name, for verse 9 says, "But Saul, who was also known as Paul. . ." From then on, the book of Acts calls him by a new name, Paul.
In a nutshell, that is the story. Paul's commissioning came just before the great famine that took place in the reign of Claudius, the Roman Emperor who ruled from 41-54 A.D. This famine is mentioned by Josephus in Antiquities of the Jews, XX, ii, 5,
"Now her coming was of great advantage to the people of Jerusalem; for whereas a famine did oppress them at that time, and many people died for want of what was necessary to procure food withal, queen Helena sent some of her servants to Alexandria, with money to buy a great quantity of corn, and others of them to Cyprus, to bring a cargo of dried figs. . . And when her son Izates [the king] was informed of the famine, he sent great sums of money to the principal men in Jerusalem."
According to the translator's footnote on this page,
"But of this terrible famine in Judea, take Dr. Hudson's note here: 'This,' says he, 'is that famine foretold by Agabus, Acts xi. 28, which happened when Claudius was consul the fourth time, A.D. 47'. . . ."
So Paul was sent to Jerusalem within fourteen years of his conversion (33-47) with contributions to help relieve the hunger of a famine that was to soon occur in 47 A.D. In other words, these events probably took place in the latter part of 46 A.D. When he returned, he and Barnabas were commissioned for divine service.
This was precisely 490 years after Nehemiah had been commissioned to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. In 46-47 A.D. Paul was commissioned to build the walls of a New Jerusalem. The timing is too perfect not to have some prophetic significance. And 40 Jubilees later brings us to 2006-2007. (40 x 49 = 1,960 years.)
The year 2006 is also the 2,520th anniversary of the building of the second temple in the days of Ezra and Haggai. I believe that Haggai's prophecy is thus fulfilled in some way this year, as I have explained in earlier articles.
Likewise, 2006 marks the end of the 13-year "Jericho march" around Babylon that began in November of 1993, the 40th Jubilee of the Pentecostal Age that began in 33 A.D. in Acts 2. This "Jericho march" was shown to me by revelation in 1993, with each trip around Jericho signifying one year. They marched around Jericho 13 times in all; and so we have seen the prophetic fulfillment of this during these past 13 years.
Thus, we are at the end of some long-term prophetic time cycles. Knowing this helps us to be watchful.
This is the fifth part of a series titled "Daniel's 70 Weeks." To view all parts, click the link below.