Atheists insist that the Bible is a man-made book, but I would like one of them to give me a reasonable explanation for how this prophecy could have been fulfilled so precisely.
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.
So a prophesy that need only be fulfilled by a man riding a donkey into a city was fulfilled by a group of people who had access to that prophecy? Or else, the people writing about it set it at that time.
And this is convincing…why?
The events of our Lord’s First Coming fulfilled many prophecies of the Old Testament Scriptures. Some of the many prophecies fulfilled are: Genesis 3:15; Psalms 2:7, 16:10, 22:1,16-18, 34:20, 68:18, 69:21; Isaiah 9:6-7, 11:1-2, 53:1-12, 61:1-3; and Daniel 9:24-27. Misunderstanding of this prophecy of Daniel has led to many divisive and harmful eschatological schemes in recent times, so it is important to understand it correctly.
“Seventy sevens are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy (Daniel 9:24).
Seventy sevens is understood as four hundred ninety years. Yet we also need to consider the symbolic and prophetic aspect of this number. Seventy times seven is symbolic of fullness and completeness: Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven (Matthew 18:21-22).” With the end of this full and complete time period true Israel, the Church of Jesus Christ, will fully establish the everlasting Kingdom of God, ruling it for all eternity from the New Jerusalem.
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 sevens and sixty-two sevens; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times (Daniel 9:25).
There were three commands given by the Persian authorities to the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild. The first decree was given by King Cyrus in 538 B.C., the second decree was given by King Artaxerxes in 458 B.C., and the last decree of 445 B.C. also by King Artaxerxes. If you add the 483 years indicated in Daniel 9:25 to 538 B.C you come to the year 55 B.C., with no connection to the Messiah. If you add 483 years to 445 B.C. you come to A.D. 39, several years after the Messiah’s death. However if you add 483 years to 458 B.C., you come to the year A.D. 26 several years before the Messiah’s Baptism. If you add the complete 490 years of Daniel 9:24 to 458 B. C., you come to the exact year of the Messiah’s death on the Cross; A.D. 33. The seven sevens of Daniel 9:25 points us to the Law of the Sabbaths and the fifty year cycles of Jubilee Years (see Leviticus 25:1-23). This law given to Israel commanding that all debts be forgiven every fifty years was a type of what was to be fulfilled at Golgotha when all debts would be forgiven. The chronological fulfillment of this seventy week prophecy is fulfilled in the last week that ends in A.D. 33. The Jubilee period of forgiveness continues through the last week of the symbolic period of fullness and completeness ending at the Second Coming.
And after the sixty-two sevens 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 (Daniel 9:26).
Jesus Christ is crucified, cut off, for the salvation of all mankind, not Himself, in the early Spring of A.D. 33. It is His people, the Jews, who bring about the terrible three and a half year siege of Jerusalem by the Romans; ending in the complete destruction of the city and its temple in A.D. 70. It was the failure of most of the Jews to receive and believe their Messiah that brought about these desolations; the physical desolation of war with Rome, and the spiritual desolation of their rejection of God.
Then He shall confirm a covenant with many for one seven; but in the middle of the seven 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 (Daniel 9:27).”
The subject of this whole prophecy is the Messiah, the Prince. It is Jesus Christ who is confirming this covenant, not the Antichrist as some believe. Some English translations state, “he will make a firm covenant with many for one seven,” but we know the New Covenant is forever not just seven years, so “confirm a covenant” or possibly “establish a covenant” has to be the correct translation. This is important because it reveals to us not only when the Lord’s earthly ministry would end, but also how long the Day of the Lord will be. The New Covenant that Jesus Christ began to establish during the three years and four months of His earthly ministry, and which He then confirmed by His Crucifixion and His Resurrection, has not been completely fulfilled. So He will come again, with Glory, to judge the living and the dead for the balance of the seven years, thus completing the establishment and confirmation of the New Covenant with the resurrection harvest of the Day of the Lord
That the temple sacrifices were ended when our Lord died on the Cross is confirmed by the tearing of the veil in the temple: And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split (Matthew 27:50-51). Also worthy of note, is the fact that when the Day of the Lord begins, the sacrifice of the Eucharist will also end in the middle of the seven years: “And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days (Daniel 12:11-12).” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord‘s death till He comes (1 Corinthians 11:26).
The wing of abominations is the series of empires which manifest Satan’s dominion until the end of this age. These empires and their leaders will cause great tribulation for God’s Church until the last empire of Satan‘s dominion, led by the Antichrist, is destroyed after the one thousand two hundred and ninetieth day of the Day of the Lord. The desolate are the spiritually barren who will be judged and condemned at the end of this age.
I’ve copied and pasted this conversation from my “About” page because it was about Daniel’s prophecy of the 70 weeks:
Dear Ms. Diana,
Thank you for your wonderful article “Daniel’s Prophecy of the 70 Weeks” (http://narrowwayapologetics.com/2012/05/14/daniels-prophecy-of-the-70-weeks/) which is a very informative article. You have very well explained the calculations of the 173,880 days which is also very useful to me.
I have a question: I was trying to do the calculation myself and when I tried to calculate using the 365 days per year calendar, you are correct on the 476 years from 14-March-445 BC to 14-March-032 AD. But with 476 years, when divided by 4 (which is 1 leap year every four years) I get 119 leap years and not 116 leap years. 116 leap years will be for 464 years, which is short by 12 years.
If we add another 3 days, for the 119 leap years (instead of 116), then there will be a total of 173,883 days. Can you help me with this math please?
Actually I was preparing a study material for our Prayer Cell Group and I am stuck on this now.
Thank you and God Bless you.
Thomas M. Jayabhai
POSTED BY THOMAS M. JAYABHAI | AUGUST 24, 2015, 7:47 AM | EDIT
REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Honestly, after looking over your comment I have to admit you’re right. It is 119 leap years, rather than 116. That changes the calculations. I’m not sure how to respond to you, but I know there must be a solution because God’s Word is always true. I’m sorry for putting out false information! I will look into it as soon as possible. I may not have an answer before your Prayer Cell Group, though. So sorry, Diana Lesperance
POSTED BY DIANA LESPERANCE | AUGUST 25, 2015, 12:44 AM | EDIT
REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Dear Ms. Diana,
Thank you for your quick response. After I sent you the mail, I went searching for this over the Internet and in a site by Dr. Chuck Missler, I found out the following statement: “Leap years do not occur in century years unless divisible by 400 therefore, we must add three less leap years in four centuries”.
Between 445 BC and 32 AD, there are four centuries – 400 BC which is divisible by 400, 300 BC, 200 BC and 100 BC, which are not divisible by 400, so they are not leap years! So the figure 116 is correct.
Even though I confess that I did not do my home-work properly prior to sending you the query, now I think we had a chance to learn it together and I believe that’s God’s way of doing things.
Once again, thank you for your great website where a lot of details are given. (May be you should add the comments about the missing leap days in your site as well)
Thank you and God Bless you.
Thomas M Jayabhai
POSTED BY THOMAS M. JAYABHAI | AUGUST 25, 2015, 1:47 AM | EDIT
REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Thank you, Thomas! Again, God’s Word is faithful and true. It can always be trusted. I will add the comments about the 116 vs. 119 days to my post. What a blessing that Chuck Missler was able to solve the mystery for us. Thank you for your encouraging words….Diana
POSTED BY DIANA LESPERANCE | AUGUST 25, 2015, 3:18 PM | EDIT
REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
I hope your Prayer Cell group meeting goes well and God is glorified through the message of Daniel.
POSTED BY DIANA LESPERANCE | AUGUST 25, 2015, 3:21 PM | EDIT
Your candor in admitting the mistake about the 116 leap years is refreshing.
Let me state that I am a firm believer in the authenticity and accuracy of the Bible, and in predictive prophecy.
The problem is that many, many have taken these calculations and run with them, without checking them out for themselves. The problem with the leap years is just one issue of many.
Another is that date of Sunday, April 6, 32 AD being Nisan 10. The astronomical new moon occurred late on March 29, and thus there is no possible way that the 1st of the Jewish month began on March 7 in order for April 6 to be the 10th.
The fact of the matter is that if we sever off the 70th week from the other 69 and throw it in the future, we lose all ability to validly date the first 69 weeks.
Another serious issue, I think, is that the prophecy calls for 69 weeks, 483 years, and these calculations reduce it down to 68 weeks, 476 years. In order to squeeze 483 years into 476 years, the Jews would have had to sometimes celebrate Passover in October, because passover would rotate backward through the seasons. They never celebrated it in October.
If we instead start the 70 weeks with the decree of Ezra 7 in 457 BC, the fall of 457 starts a new sabbatical cycle of 7 years. The 70th cycle after that would begin in the fall of 27 AD, one of the years in the running for the baptism of Christ. His death would then be in the spring of 31, smack dab in the middle of the 70th sabbatical cycle after 457 BC.
I’ve considered various possible objections to this view, and I believe they are resolvable. In contrast, the issues with this view of the 70 weeks are not resolvable.
I see that I mistyped. It should read, “… and thus there is no possible way that the 1st of the Jewish month began on March 27 in order for April 6 to be the 10th.”