The Old Testament prophet, Daniel, claimed that he was visited by an angelic messenger who told him this:
“Seventy sevens 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 rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah, the Prince, there will be seven sevens and sixty-two sevens; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times. And after the sixty-two sevens the 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.”
In Hebrew “seven” means “shabua” which means seven years, much like our word “decade” means ten years.
From the time of the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Messiah comes there will be 62 sevens and seven sevens. So if a seven (shabua) is seven years, then 69 sevens is 483 years (69 x 7= 483). In that time in history all of the known ancient calendars (Chinese, Mayan, Babylonian, Egyptian, etc . . . )calculated a year as 360 days. 483 years x 360 days is 173,880 days.
Was there ever a command given to restore and rebuild Jerusalem? Yes! According to Nehemiah 2, King Artaxerxes of Babylon, in the twentieth year of his reign in the month of Nisan, noticed that Nehemiah, who was cupbearer to the king, was sad and asked why. When Nehemiah told him he was upset because Jerusalem was desolate and he wanted to go back and rebuild the city, the king told him to go back and rebuild it.
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Artaxerxes became king in July of 465 BC., and by Hebrew tradition when the day of the month is not specifically stated, it is given to be the first day of the month. So, the day of the decree by Artaxerxes was the first day of the Hebrew month, Nisan 445 BC. The first day of Nisan in 445 BC corresponds to the 14th day of March in 445 BC. Sir Robert Anderson of the British Royal Observatory confirmed these astronomical calculations.
So, if the Messiah was predicted to come 69 shabuas after the command to rebuild Jerusalem, that would mean we could count 173,880 days forward from the 14th day of March, 445 BC. This would bring us to April 6th, 32 AD. This date was also verified by the British Royal Observatory.
March 14th, 445 BC to March 14th, 32 AD is 476 years. (1 BC to 1 AD is one year. There is no year 0.) 476 x 365 days per year = 173,740 days. Add 116 days for leap years and 24 days for the time between March 14th and April 6th. 173,740 + 116 + 24 = 173,880 days. [See below in the “Comments” section for a discussion on the leap year calculations.]
What happened on April 6th, 32 AD? Jesus rode on a donkey through the eastern gate of Jerusalem to the shouts of “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” This day has come to be known as Palm Sunday. This was the first day he allowed his followers to proclaim him as messiah. Before this he said his time had not come.
In the 3rd chapter of the book of Luke, the Roman physician, Luke, says that in the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Jesus was baptized and began his ministry. The Encyclopedia Britannica states that the reign of Caesar Tiberius started on August 19th in the year 14 AD. Most scholars believe Jesus was baptized in the fall. Therefore, the fall of the 15th year of Tiberius’ reign would have been 28 AD. The day that a Roman ruler ascends to the throne begins his first year. Consequently, according to the 3rd chapter of Luke, the ministry of Jesus started with his baptism in the fall of the 15th year of the reign of Caesar Tiberius and lasted 3 1/2 years (4 Passovers). The 4th Passover of his ministry was the day of his crucifixion and would have fallen in the year 32 AD. The Passover in the year 32 AD fell on April 10th. The Sunday before that Passover was April 6th!
This day, April 6th, 32 AD was exactly 173,880 days after Artaxerxes gave the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem on March 14, 445 BC. These dates have been verified by the British Royal Observatory and many other scholars.
Daniel prophesied that 483 years (173,880 days) after the decree to rebuild Jerusalem would go forth, the Messiah would be revealed. That day was April 6th, 32 AD, the day that Jesus would first allow his disciples to proclaim him as messiah.
Not only did the angel explain the purpose for the coming of the messiah (that he would make an end of sins and reconciliation for iniquity), he also predicted that the messiah would be “cut off.” Jesus was crucified on Passover–at the precise moment the lamb was being sacrificed in the temple. Jesus was also crucified outside the city (as a scapegoat). This was to fulfill Leviticus 16:8.
The Dead Sea Scrolls (discovered in 1947) have confirmed that the book of Daniel was written before this prophecy came to pass.
The Bible truly is an amazing book.