I’m tired of hearing the rantings of ignorant skeptics that the Bible is just a book written by men. I thought I’d pass along a fulfilled prophecy that has not only given an enormous boost to my faith in the inerrancy of the Holy Scriptures, but that also silences those who would try to dismiss it as the actual Word of God. It may also make for some live ammunition for you when dealing with your skeptical friends.
This prophecy was written around 500 years before the exact day that it was fulfilled, and establishes the sovereignty of Jesus Christ as the Messiah and the perfection and authority of the Word of God.
“Seventy weeks 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.
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.
And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. “
The Hebrew word translated as “weeks” in the Scripture quoted above is “sabua” and means “sevens” and is used to mean seven years, as when Jacob served his weeks for his wives. In other words, the “seventy sevens” that are prophetically determined for Israel and the holy city is 490 years.
This period is divided into three sections. The first is seven “weeks” is the 49 years the prophet allotted for the rebuilding of Jerusalem under the leadership of Nehemiah. History tells us it took 49 years to do this rebuilding. The second period of 62 “weeks,” or 434 years brings us to the time to the MESSIAH. The third period, the 70th “week,” is a period of seven years some time after the coming of the Messiah.
We now are especially interested in the period “from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem” to “Messiah the Prince,” which is a total of 483 years.
The crucial question relates to when the decree was issued “to restore and rebuild Jerusalem.” There are three possible dates:
- 538 B.C. — Cyrus, King of Persia, issued a decree to Zerubbabel to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-3; and Ezra 6:1-5).
- 457 B.C. — Artaxerxes, King of Persia, issued a decree to Ezra authorizing him to reinstitute the Temple services, appoint judges and magistrates, and teach the Law (Ezra 7:11-26).
- 445 B.C. — Artaxerxes issued a decree to Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:1-8).
On the surface, the third decree, the one issued to Nehemiah, seems to be the most obvious candidate for the starting date of the prophecy, for it is the only one that specifically relates to the rebuilding of the city. (“… from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem.”)
Ezra’s was to build the temple as stated in Ezra 9:9, “God has not forsaken us, but has extended loving kindness to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us reviving to raise up the house of our God, to restore its ruins, and to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem”
When was the End Date? The argument for 30 A.D.
The other crucial question is what year to use for the coming of the Messiah. That date would coincide with Nisan 10 when the Passover Lamb would be presented to Israel. The crucifixion and Passover was on Nissan 14
Four Arguments for the Crucifixion to be on the year 30 A.D.
- In order for Jesus to be in the grave for 3 days and nights and rise on Sunday morning, He had to be killed on Thursday. The only year that Passover falls on Thursday is A.D. 30
- Luke records that John the Baptist began his ministry “in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea” (Luke 3: 1).
Tiberius began his full reign upon the death of Augustus in 14 A.D., and Pilate ruled Judea from 26 to 36 A.D. If Luke’s fifteen years are to be counted from 14 A.D., then including the starting year, correctly identify John would begin his ministry and subsequently that of Jesus on 28 A.D. If you count that year as a starting place, 3 yrs brings us to 30 A.D.
- John relates that the Jews in rebuttal to Jesus’ statement, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up,” said, “Forty and six years was this temple in building, and will thou rear it up in three days?” (John 2:19-20). The Temple work was started by Herod the Great 19 B.C. Counting forty-six years from 19 B.C. brings us to 27 A.D. So Jesus was in Jerusalem for the observance of the first Passover of His ministry (27 A.D.) when this discussion took place (Jn. 2:13). It is thought that John records three other Passovers observed by Jesus during His ministry (Jn. 5:1; 6:4; 12: 1). If so, Jesus’ death came in 30 A.D. three years after His first Passover observance.
- Any calculations designed to establish the date of His death must take into account that Jesus came to Bethany six days before Passover (Jn. 12: 1).
In the year Jesus was crucified, Jesus would have to have come to Bethany on Friday otherwise Jesus and many other Jews would have violated at least the traditional Sabbath observance by making such a long journey on Saturday. In order for that to fall correctly, Passover had to be on Thursday. Any date sooner or later would not fit.
- The ending date of Daniel’s prophesy is Nisan 10, the Presentation of the Passover Lamb. This is the day that Jesus entered Jerusalem proclaimed as the Messiah and presented as the Lamb. This is Palm Sunday, 4 days before Passover. That date is April 2, 30 A.D.
- The beginning date is March 14, 445 B.C.
- We have to show that there are exactly 69 “heptads” between those two dates.
Lunar months or Solar years?
The prophetic month in Scripture is considered to be 360 days, 30 days per month. Called a Lunar Calendar
Reference: According to Genesis 7:11-13, Noah’s flood started 2nd month, 17th day and ended on the 17th day of the 7th month, 5 months later. Genesis 8:3, 4 identifies that 5 months as 150 days total. 150 days/5 months = 30 days per month
The prophesy calls for 7 weeks plus 62 weeks until Messiah the Prince would come = 69 “weeks”.
- 69 “weeks” x 7 = 483 years
- March 14, 445 B.C. to April 2, 30 A.D. = 476 years
|1.||476 x 365 days =||173,740 days|
|2.||add Leap Years
(include first and last years)
|3.||add from 3/14 to 4/2||20 days|
|4.||Total days||173,880 days|
|5.||Convert to Lunar divide by||/ 360|
The Final Week
The prophecy concludes by focusing on the last week of years. It says that following the death of the Messiah and the destruction of Jerusalem, “the prince who is to come” will make a covenant with the Jewish people that will enable them to reinstitute their sacrificial system. This prince will come from the same people who destroyed the Temple (the Romans).
We know from 2 Thessalonians 2 that this ”prince who is to come” is the Antichrist, the “man of lawlessness” who is “the son of destruction.” The same passage makes it clear that his covenant will enable the Jews to rebuild their Temple.
Both passages — Daniel 9 and 2 Thessalonians 2 — establish the fact that in the middle of this 70th week (3½ years into it) this “prince who is to come” will double cross the Jewish people. He will march into the rebuilt Temple and declare himself to be God. He will stop the sacrifices and he will erect “an abomination of desolation,” whatever that may be.
The book of Revelation specifies that the Messiah will return to earth 3½ years after this desolation of the Temple takes place.
Now we have the timing of the two advents of the Messiah. He will come the first time at the end of 483 years and will be “cut off” before the Temple is destroyed. He will return the second time at the end of a seven year period that will begin with a treaty that allows the Jews to rebuild their Temple and reinstitute the Mosaic system of sacrifices.