Continued from previous post:
Tiberius became co-emperor of Rome with Augustus in 13 CE, so his 15th year would bring us to 27 CE.
The angel Gabriel said that the Messiah would make a “covenant with the many for one week” (7 years). If Jesus began his ministry in 27 CE, then the covenant week ends in 34 CE. What is this covenant week? This is the last 7 years of the 70-week or 490-year, probationary period for the Hebrews. The Messiah was here on earth in person, ready and willing to make a permanent covenant with the Hebrews if they would accept him.
But in 30 CE, in the middle of the last seven years, the Jewish (Hebrew) religious and political leaders successfully schemed to have Jesus killed. Jesus was “cut off and had nothing”, separated and rejected by the chosen people, the people blessed with God’s personal attention for centuries.
What does it mean that Jesus’ death “put an end to the sacrifice and grain offering?” Why did Jesus have to die? All of our decisions and actions have consequences and when we sin it separates us from God – erecting a wall in our relationship with him. God set up a substitutional system that would restore our relationship with him and transfer the punishment (eternal consequences) we would otherwise receive for our bad choices onto something else. Those people living before Jesus was on earth would go to the temple, symbolically transfer their sin onto an innocent animal (usually a lamb) and kill it as a sacrificial substitute. God would accept the substitute, they would be absolved, and their relationship with him would be restored.
Jesus came to this world to be the ultimate sacrifice. He was offering himself as our permanent substitute; taking our punishment, absolving us of sin, and becoming a permanent bridge connecting heaven and earth – God and man. Once he did that, the sacrificial system was “put to an end” because the ultimate sacrificial substitute had died for us (Heb. 10: 11, 12). When John the Baptist saw Jesus coming to be baptized, he appropriately declared, “…Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1: 29)
In 34 CE, the time of God’s favoritism towards the Hebrew nation ended because they stubbornly rejected Jesus and his sacrifice for them. God had to start all over from scratch because, although he had a few followers, he “had nothing” in the form of a nation of followers any more. In that same year the Jews killed a Christian named Stephan Stephen and began persecuting all the Christians in the area, so many of them scattered and began preaching wherever they found refuge. God was building a new “nation” of followers, gathering anyone who wanted to belong to him.