Finishing The Week

Earlier this week one of my blog’s readers asked me a question related to biblical history and prophecy that I thought was worth exploring in at least a provisional way.  In order to frame the scope of this exploration, I would like to quote a good deal of her own query to me:

“Hi Nathan,

There is a phrase in the Bible that states that Christ will finish out
the rest of week, of the 3 1/2 days/years.

Do you know of any explicit or implicit Biblical information on this?
When you think it will be? Like when the Church is in the wilderness?

I am not sure when Christ’s ministry started, do you?

It is established that Christ’s life started around the Fall holy days.
I am going by faulty memory here. Was he 33 years old when He started
his ministry OR His death?
When he started his birth, isn’t as significant, as when he started His
ministry; but I  am using that as a chain of timing to lead to when his
ministry started.
Using the math. IF He was exactly 33 years old, in the Fall season,
then he would have started his ministry  in the Fall. But I don’t know,
and suspect that I am not correct.
As so many dates end up be half years. Say it is 33 1/2, then that would
put it in the Spring. And I am not retaining the knowledge of that time
good enough in figuring that out.

Even though Christ will not be visible in the Wilderness, The Church is
the Apple of His Eye, and the church will have more of an intense and
inspirational training by Christ at that time.

We know that he died in the Spring time… Passover….

Do you have any comments on this?”

The short answer, of course, is that I do have some comments on this.  The longer answer is that this particular matter requires some unpacking before it can be understood, even though I think it is (just) within the scope of a single blog entry.  With that thought in mind, let us place the relevant biblical context in mind and then discuss what is meant by the passage in question.  At its heart, the various questions here relate to matters of chronology and timing, and so despite the fact that they may seem somewhat scattered and complicated, all of these thoughts are interconnected in a few areas.  Let us therefore break this subject down into three parts and discuss each in turn.  What sort of chronological understanding of the life of Christ can we can from the passage being referred here in terms of finishing out the week?  What sort of chronology can we get from the life of Jesus Christ?  And, finally, how will Jesus Christ finish His week?

First, where does the Bible discuss finishing out Jesus’ week?  We get this information from the noted 70 Weeks prophecy, which can be found in Daniel 9:24-27:  “Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression,to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.  Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times.  And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.  The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined.  Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. and on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate.”

Without getting too caught up in speculation, there are three periods that are seen here.  There are seven weeks devoted to the rebuilding of the holy city and its temple and so on, sixty-two weeks until the time of the Messiah, and then one last week where the covenant with the people is confirmed.  Here, as is often the case in the scriptures, there is at least a dual meaning meant in that Jesus’ ministry lasted three and a half years and that Jesus was crucified in the middle of the week, both of which are easy enough to understand when one has a proper grasp of biblical chronology.  The cessation of the sacrifices in the middle of the week, whatever else it may refer to, refers at least to the fact that in the middle of both the 70th week of the prophecy and the middle of an ordinary week, He gave Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of mankind, thus bringing to a stop the moral value of the sacrifices of the corrupt Second Temple Judaism.

How do we address the second concern, that of Jesus’ ministry?  For one, from an understanding of the chronology related to the conception of John the Baptist after the Pentecost, when Zechariah served as a priest in the course of Abijah just before that festival and came home afterward and conceived John at some point in summer, we can gather that John the Baptist was born around the Spring holy days and that Jesus Christ was born about six months later, at or around the time of the Feast of Trumpets [1].  At this time the flocks were still in the land and it would make sense for the Romans to encourage Galilean members of the House of David to return to their ancestral city during the time when they would likely be preparing anyway for third and final missionary feast at Tabernacles, after which point there would no longer be shepherds out in the fields as they got ready for winter quarters.  When one adds to this the fact that the ministry of both John the Baptist and Jesus Christ waited until they were thirty years of age, when someone was considered mature and responsible, a three and a half year ministry starting at the age of 30 would put Jesus’ death in the springtime of the year at the age of 33 1/2.

All of that is straightforward enough.  What would it mean to finish the week, though?   There are some people who, in interpreting this passage, divide the last week of the prophecy into two and consider half of it as applying to Jesus’ ministry on this earth and the other half to the period known as the Great Tribulation by those who are students of Revelation [2].  Others place the entire last week as belonging to the end times with a dramatic break in the middle where abomination of desolation occurs.  At any rate, Daniel views this last three and a half year period as being full of desolation and trouble, at which point the consummation promised will occur and Jesus Christ will return to rule over the earth with justice and strength.  For some people this will be the beginning of the happy ending which humanity and indeed all of creation have been waiting for all along, to be finally wrapped up in the new heavens and new earth.  For others, of course, the beginning of the direct rule of God’s family will be an unmitigated disaster and the end of the rule of the corrupt elites of the present evil age.  There will be all too many people who will look at Jesus’ rule as enthusiastically as the religious authorities did at the time of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice, which is to say not very happily at all.  Hopefully this helps.

[1] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2012/12/10/putting-the-saturn-back-in-saturnalia/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2011/12/23/you-cant-put-christ-back-where-he-never-was/

[2] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2015/12/02/in-the-end-everyone-ends-up-exactly-where-they-belong/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2015/07/04/my-people-are-destroyed-for-lack-of-knowledge-part-six/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2012/07/10/faithful-philadelphia-and-forgotten-smyrna-a-comparative-analysis/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2012/06/07/waiting-for-the-end/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2011/12/24/on-eagles-wings/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Biblical History, Christianity, Church of God, History, Musings and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Finishing The Week

  1. Pingback: Book Review: Clash Of Kingdoms | Edge Induced Cohesion

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