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His prophesied arrival → Daniel 9:24-27 - the exact date of Messiah's arrival

by Bill Wong

 

 

 

His prophesied arrival

Daniel 9:24-27 – the exact date of Messiah’s arrival

 

 

The exact date of when King Messiah will arrive is given only once in all of Holy Scripture. After 69 weeks of years from the issuing of a certain decree, this anointed one will come. It is given in the Book of Daniel:

 

Daniel 9:

24   "Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin,

      to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint

      the most holy place.

25   "So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem

      until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat,

      even in times of distress.

26   "Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing,

      and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.

      And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.

27   "And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice

      and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction,

      one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate."   (NASB)

 

 

 

Most Jews disagree this refers to Jesus/Yeshua

 

However, most Jewish people do not believe this is referring to the King Messiah and say that the punctuation is incorrect. For example, in English versions of the Tanakh (Old Testament), the mention of the weeks in verse 25 are separated by a semi-colon, full colon or comma to divide the coming of an anointed one (a messiah) as 7 weeks, and then the restoration of Jerusalem as 62 weeks.

 

For example, in the Artscroll Stone Tanakh the seven and sixty-two septets are separated by a comma:

 

Daniel 9:

25 Know and comprehend: From the emergence of the word to return and to build Jerusalem until the anointment

     of the prince will be seven septets, and for sixty-two septets it will be rebuilt, street and moat, but in troubled times.

 

 

In the Koren Jerusalem Tanakh, a full colon is used:

 

25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Yerushalayim

    until an anointed prince, shall be seven weeks : then for sixty two weeks it shall be built again, with squares and moat,

    but in a troubled time.

 

 

However, it must be noted that ancient Hebrew did not have punctuation marks so there is no justification for their English rendering and the insertion of these punctuation marks. Any Hebrew punctuation only comes into the picture in modern times. It also does not make sense for the sentence to be divided at that point with the comma, semi-colon, etc. In fact, the Hebrew also does not have the word ‘for’ in the part of the verse where it says “...and for sixty-two septets” and “...then for sixty two weeks”, but it is added in the English translations of the Tanakh. It plainly flows and follows as one date of seven and sixty-two weeks referring to when an anointed one will come, with no insertion of words or punctuation marks between the seven and sixty-two weeks.  

 

Some say that verse 25 should be “an anointed one” and not “the anointed one”, and use it as a reason to say it does not refers to the Davidic Messiah, but this is a weak argument. As one can see, the NASB translation quoted above does not use “the anointed one” and neither does the NKJV. Also notice that the Artscroll Stone Tanakh uses “the” while Koren Jerusalem Tanakh uses “an”, so there are differences within the Jewish community on this. The fact of the matter is that it refers to Messiah and it needs no qualifier – just as I did not use a “the” before Messiah in this sentence, but we know who is being spoken about.  

 

Jews who do not believe this refers to King Messiah then proceed to offer other anointed ones they believe it refers to. For the anointed one in verse 25, names range from King Cyrus, Zerubbabel or Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the first High Priest after the return from captivity. For verse 26, the anointed ones range from Agrippa II, the last Jewish king before the Second Temple was destroyed, or an Alexander Yannai.

 

Also, did it really take 62 weeks (or 434 years – 62 x 7) to build Jerusalem again?

 

This leads to a bigger problem about chronology: Jewish Rabbinic chronology is missing between 160-170 years from the beginning of Persian rule or the dedication of the Second Temple to its destruction in 70 CE as established by Rabbi Yose Ben Halafta in the Seder Olam Rabbah (“Book of the Order of the World”) in ~140 CE. History records that the Persians ruled over Israel for over 200 years, but rabbinic chronology has “compressed” this to only 52 years. There actually are even more missing years in the Seder Olam Rabbah, for over 200 total missing years from God’s calendar since creation.

 

It is highly suspicious that this great time discrepancy of 160-170 years between the Seder Olam and standard history occurs exactly in the time period of the Persian kings and the Second Temple – the periods that Daniel 9:24-26 covers about when the Messiah would come.

 

Many Jewish scholars acknowledge this discrepancy. But look at how one of them, tried to “explain” it away:

 

“The gravity of this intellectual dilemma posed by such enormous discrepancies must not be underestimated…How could it be that our forebears had no knowledge of a period in history, otherwise widely known and amply documented, which lasted over a span of 165 years and which was less than 600 years removed in time from the days of the Sages who recorded our traditional chronology in Seder Olam?  Is it really possible to assume that some form of historical amnesia had been allowed to take possession of the collective memory of an entire people?  This should be quite like assuming that some group of recognized historians of today would publish a textbook on medieval history, ignoring all the records of, say, the 13th and 14th centuries…our Sages—for some unknown reason—had ‘covered up’ a certain historic period and purposely eliminated and suppressed all records and other material pertaining thereto.  If so, what might have been their compelling reason for so unusual a procedure? Nothing short of a Divine command could have prompted…saintly ‘men of truth’ to leave out completely from our annals a period of 165 years and to correct all data and historic tables in such a fashion that the subsequent chronological gap could escape being noticed by countless generations, known to a few initiates only who were duty-bound to keep the secret to themselves.”

 

-   Simon Schwab, Dr. Joseph Breuer Jubilee Volume, “Comparative Jewish Chronology” (NY, NY: R. Samson Raphael Hirsch Publications Society, Philip Felheim Inc., 1962), 182, 188.

 

 

This scholar is suggesting in his very own words that God gave a “Divine command” to “saintly ‘men of truth’ ” to “ ‘cover(ed) up’ a certain historic period and purposely eliminate(d) and suppress(ed) all records and other material” and “leave out completely from our annals a period of 165 years and correct all data and historic tables”. He acknowledges how bad it looks and even gives an analogy of it being like “some group of recognized historians”, “ignoring” two entire centuries (13th & 14th) from a medieval history book. How can he even say “correct all data and historic tables” after admitting that it is obviously deception which he says was perpetrated by God, no less!

 

No, it was not a divine command to manipulate history and hide truth. It was a deception of man, supposed ‘men of truth’ to hide and confuse the truth and power of Daniel’s prophecy. The rabbis did not want people to see that the prophesied Messiah in Daniel 9 was indeed Jesus, so they did what they could to hide this truth. They tampered with the historical record and expunged all these years from Jewish history.

 

This is not just an indictment on the lengths many people, including the Jews, go to ignore or hide the truth of Jesus as Messiah. It also shows us the sad truth that what the rabbis say and do is considered authoritative and override God’s truth, affecting countless number of people – as he also admits that this large time gap goes unnoticed for generations except to only a few who are “duty-bound to keep the secret to themselves”. The rabbis are doing a huge disservice to the Jewish people by hiding this information – and their Messiah, from them.

 

This deception in changing history to hide the truth of Jesus' arrival can be seen in the fact that many of the ancient rabbis knew that Daniel 9:24-27 referred to the coming of the Davidic Messiah and declared it forbidden for anyone to try to calculate the coming of the Messiah. They actually called a curse upon anyone who tried to do it:

 

Rabbis after the time of Christ have pronounced a curse on anyone who would attempt to calculate the dates of this chapter. - Talmud Sanhedrin 97b, Soncino Press., p. 659.

 

 

The rabbis have done their best to hide the truth that Jesus is the Messiah by changing the records of history, declaring curses, etc. – anything to keep people from studying Daniel 9. Unfortunately, many just listen to the rabbis, who may also be misled or are wilfully blind, if they are not the deceivers themselves.

 

So many Jews today who argue that Daniel 9:24-27 cannot possibly be referring to Jesus or the Messiah, have no foundation and are without merit.

 

 

 

Weeks of days or years?

 

From the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, there will be a total of 70 weeks for God’s will for His people to be completed. However, in verse 25 we see that before these 70 weeks are complete, a period of 69 weeks must first pass, which foretells when Messiah will arrive. The 70 weeks come out to 70 x 7 = 490, and the 69 weeks come out to 69 x 7 = 483, from the decree. But are these days or years?

 

The reference to weeks is not to a week of seven days, but to a week of seven years. The word translated in English as week is the Hebrew word ‘shabuwa’, which is specifically for years.

 

In Strong’s it is defined as:

 

Strong’s #7620:

literal, sevened, i.e. a week (specifically, of years):--seven, week.


That it means 483 years and not days can also be seen in the context of Daniel. Earlier in Daniel 9 we see that Daniel is concerned about his people and knew the time of their 70-year exile in Babylon is almost over:

 

Daniel 9:

2   in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, observed in the books the number of the years which was

    revealed as the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely,

    seventy years.   (NASB)

 

 

The 70-year exile is prophesied in the Book of Jeremiah:

 

Jeremiah 25:

8     "Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, 'Because you have not obeyed My words,

9     behold, I will send and take all the families of the north,' declares the LORD, 'and I will send to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon,

     My servant, and will bring them against this land and against its inhabitants and against all these nations round about;

     and I will utterly destroy them and make them a horror and a hissing, and an everlasting desolation.

10   'Moreover, I will take from them the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride,

      the sound of the millstones and the light of the lamp.

11   'This whole land will be a desolation and a horror, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.

12   'Then it will be when seventy years are completed I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation,' declares the LORD,

     'for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans; and I will make it an everlasting desolation.   (NASB)

 

 

What brought about the exile from their homeland to the land of their enemy?   Daniel mentions in his prayer to God that because Israel has transgressed God’s law, the curses outlined by Moses have fallen upon Israel.

 

Daniel 9:

11   "Indeed all Israel has transgressed Your law and turned aside, not obeying Your voice; so the curse has been poured out on us,

      along with the oath which is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, for we have sinned against Him.   (NASB)

 

 

The specific curse which results in removal from their land to be taken elsewhere is found in the Book of Leviticus chapter 26 which lists blessings and curses based upon obedience or disobedience.  The land must enjoy a Sabbath rest every seven years; it is a Sabbath year (also called a ‘shemitah’).  If the Sabbath year commandment is not observed, then the land and people will be cursed:

 

Leviticus 26:

33   'You, however, I will scatter among the nations and will draw out a sword after you,

      as your land becomes desolate and your cities become waste.

34   'Then the land will enjoy its sabbaths all the days of the desolation, while you are in your enemies' land;

      then the land will rest and enjoy its sabbaths.

35   'All the days of its desolation it will observe the rest which it did not observe on your sabbaths,

      while you were living on it.   (NASB)

 

Comment:  Verse 35 specifically states that the Sabbath years which were not observed while they were in the land will be accounted for while they are exiled from the land.  This sets up the reason for the 70-year exile: one year for each Sabbath year missed where 70 years represent 70 Sabbath years.  It also sets up Daniel’s 70-week prophecy where the same 70 Sabbath years are in reality a total of 490 years, because a Sabbath year is the 7th year of 1 year of weeks, so 70 weeks are 490 years (70 x 7) containing 70 Sabbath years.

 

The book of 2 Chronicles clarifies the 70-year exile as being the result of missing 70 Sabbath years (490 years): 

 

2 Chronicles 36:

20 Those who had escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon; and they were servants to him and to his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia,

21 to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its sabbaths. All the days of its desolation it kept sabbath until seventy years were complete.     (NASB)


 

This is more information about the Sabbath year/shemitah law that Israel has transgressed:


Leviticus 25:

2     "Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, 'When you come into the land which I shall give you,

     then the land shall have a sabbath to the LORD.

3     'Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its crop,

4     but during the seventh year the land shall have a sabbath rest, a sabbath to the LORD;

     you shall not sow your field nor prune your vineyard.

5     'Your harvest's aftergrowth you shall not reap, and your grapes of untrimmed vines you shall not gather;

     the land shall have a sabbatical year.

6     'All of you shall have the sabbath products of the land for food; yourself, and your male and female slaves,

     and your hired man and your foreign resident, those who live as aliens with you.

7     'Even your cattle and the animals that are in your land shall have all its crops to eat.   (NASB)

 

 

So we see that the context from the very beginning of Daniel’s prayer about the fate of his exiled people is based on the transgression of the land sabbatical law, which is a week of seven years.

 

The weeks mentioned in the prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27 is definitively referring to weeks of years. Therefore, from the issuing of the decree to restore Jerusalem, all things will be sealed up after 490 years (70 weeks x 7 years), but the arrival of Messiah will occur after 483 years (69 weeks x 7) have passed.

 

 

 

Which decree and when?

 

What has to be determined is when was this decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem issued? There are three decrees in Scripture that are possible candidates.

 

 

1) The decree of Cyrus in 538 BCE.

 

Ezra 1:

1     Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah,

     the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he sent a proclamation throughout all his kingdom,

     and also put it in writing, saying:

2     "Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, 'The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and

     He has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah.

3     'Whoever there is among you of all His people, may his God be with him! Let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah

     and rebuild the house of the LORD, the God of Israel; He is the God who is in Jerusalem.

4     'Every survivor, at whatever place he may live, let the men of that place support him with silver and gold,

      with goods and cattle, together with a freewill offering for the house of God which is in Jerusalem.'"   (NASB)

 

 

The reason for this decree was to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. Work on the Temple started, but was stopped by the enemies of God’s people until the 2nd year of the reign of King Darius of Persia:

 

Ezra 4:

24   Then work on the house of God in Jerusalem ceased, and it was stopped until the second year of the reign of

      Darius king of Persia.   (NASB)

 

 

Since this was a specific decree to rebuild the Temple, this does not qualify as the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem in the prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27.

 

 

2) The decree of Darius in 520 BCE.

 

After some time, construction of the Temple resumed by God’s people and when they were asked why they were starting the work again without explicit permission, they requested that King Darius search the archives for the decree of Cyrus and give them a decision on the matter.

 

They found the decree:

 

Ezra 6:

1     Then King Darius issued a decree, and search was made in the archives, where the treasures were stored in Babylon.

2     In Ecbatana in the fortress, which is in the province of Media, a scroll was found and there was written in it as follows:

     "Memorandum--

3     "In the first year of King Cyrus, Cyrus the king issued a decree: 'Concerning the house of God at Jerusalem, let the temple,

      the place where sacrifices are offered, be rebuilt and let its foundations be retained,

      its height being 60 cubits and its width 60 cubits;

4     with three layers of huge stones and one layer of timbers. And let the cost be paid from the royal treasury.

5     'Also let the gold and silver utensils of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took from the temple in Jerusalem and

      brought to Babylon, be returned and brought to their places in the temple in Jerusalem;

      and you shall put them in the house of God.'

 

 

And then King Darius issued a new decree to support the old one – to finish the building of theTemple:

 

6     "Now therefore, Tattenai, governor of the province beyond the River, Shethar-bozenai and your colleagues,

       the officials of the provinces beyond the River, keep away from there.

7     "Leave this work on the house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews rebuild

      this house of God on its site.

8     "Moreover, I issue a decree concerning what you are to do for these elders of Judah in the rebuilding of this house of God:

      the full cost is to be paid to these people from the royal treasury out of the taxes of the provinces beyond the River,

      and that without delay.

9     "Whatever is needed, both young bulls, rams, and lambs for a burnt offering to the God of heaven, and wheat, salt,

     wine and anointing oil, as the priests in Jerusalem request, it is to be given to them daily without fail,

10   that they may offer acceptable sacrifices to the God of heaven and pray for the life of the king and his sons.

11   "And I issued a decree that any man who violates this edict, a timber shall be drawn from his house and

      he shall be impaled on it and his house shall be made a refuse heap on account of this.

12   "May the God who has caused His name to dwell there overthrow any king or people who attempts to change it,

      so as to destroy this house of God in Jerusalem. I, Darius, have issued this decree, let it be carried out with all diligence!"

      (NASB)

 

 

The Temple was completed and the priesthood began again:

 

Ezra 6:

15   This temple was completed on the third day of the month Adar; it was the sixth year of the reign of King Darius.

16   And the sons of Israel, the priests, the Levites and the rest of the exiles, celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy.

17   They offered for the dedication of this temple of God 100 bulls, 200 rams, 400 lambs,

     and as a sin offering for all Israel 12 male goats, corresponding to the number of the tribes of Israel.

18   Then they appointed the priests to their divisions and the Levites in their orders for the service of God in Jerusalem,

     as it is written in the book of Moses.   (NASB)

 

 

This was a secondary decree to continue and finish the work of the decree of Cyrus to rebuild the Temple only. As such, this also does not qualify as the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem as the prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27 calls for.

 

 

3) The decree of Artaxerxes in 457 BCE.

 

Ezra 7:

11   Now this is the copy of the decree which King Artaxerxes gave to Ezra the priest, the scribe,

     learned in the words of the commandments of the LORD and His statutes to Israel:

12   "Artaxerxes, king of kings, to Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, perfect peace. And now

13   I have issued a decree that any of the people of Israel and their priests and the Levites in my kingdom

     who are willing to go to Jerusalem, may go with you.

14   "Forasmuch as you are sent by the king and his seven counselors to inquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem

     according to the law of your God which is in your hand,

15   and to bring the silver and gold, which the king and his counselors have freely offered to the God of Israel,

     whose dwelling is in Jerusalem,

16   with all the silver and gold which you find in the whole province of Babylon, along with the freewill offering of the people and

     of the priests, who offered willingly for the house of their God which is in Jerusalem;

17   with this money, therefore, you shall diligently buy bulls, rams and lambs, with their grain offerings and their drink offerings and

     offer them on the altar of the house of your God which is in Jerusalem.

18   "Whatever seems good to you and to your brothers to do with the rest of the silver and gold,

      you may do according to the will of your God.

19   "Also the utensils which are given to you for the service of the house of your God, deliver in full before the God of Jerusalem.

20   "The rest of the needs for the house of your God, for which you may have occasion to provide,

      provide for it from the royal treasury.

21   "I, even I, King Artaxerxes, issue a decree to all the treasurers who are in the provinces beyond the River,

     that whatever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, may require of you, it shall be done diligently,

22   even up to 100 talents of silver, 100 kors of wheat, 100 baths of wine, 100 baths of oil, and salt as needed.

23   "Whatever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be done with zeal for the house of the God of heaven,

     so that there will not be wrath against the kingdom of the king and his sons.

24   "We also inform you that it is not allowed to impose tax, tribute or toll on any of the priests, Levites, singers,

     doorkeepers, Nethinim or servants of this house of God.

25   "You, Ezra, according to the wisdom of your God which is in your hand, appoint magistrates and judges that they may judge all

     the people who are in the province beyond the River, even all those who know the laws of your God;

     and you may teach anyone who is ignorant of them.

26   "Whoever will not observe the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgment be executed upon him strictly,

     whether for death or for banishment or for confiscation of goods or for imprisonment."   (NASB)

 

 

There is reference to the Temple, but it is not to rebuild it; it is to furnish and provide for it and give an offering to God (which implies the Temple was rebuilt, because only then can it be furnished and an offering be made). The Temple was already rebuilt in Darius’ reign.

 

There are three things this decree declares and authorizes:

 

a. Any and all people of Israel can go to Jerusalem with Ezra (verse 13).

 

b. The treasure that is not used for the Temple can be used for whatever is God’s will (verse 18).

 

c. The establishment of Jerusalem and Israel with its own magistrates and judges,

     governing according to the Law of God (verse 25). This national sovereignty includes the      

     power to impose and execute capital punishment upon transgression of their laws (verse 26).

 

 

All of the points in this decree show clearly that the complete re-establishment of Jerusalem and the nation of Israel is in view, so this decree is the one which qualifies as the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem in Daniel 9:25.

 

 

There are some who believe that Artaxerxes’ honoring of Nehemiah’s request to rebuild Jerusalem and its walls in 444 BCE (the 20th year of Artaxerxes) in Nehemiah 2 is a fourth decree, and the correct decree for Daniel’s prophecy.

 

Nehemiah 2:

1     And it came about in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, that wine was before him,

     and I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence.

2     So the king said to me, "Why is your face sad though you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of heart."

     Then I was very much afraid.

3     I said to the king, "Let the king live forever. Why should my face not be sad when the city, the place of my fathers' tombs,

     lies desolate and its gates have been consumed by fire?"

4     Then the king said to me, "What would you request?" So I prayed to the God of heaven.

5     I said to the king, "If it please the king, and if your servant has found favor before you, send me to Judah,

     to the city of my fathers' tombs, that I may rebuild it."

6     Then the king said to me, the queen sitting beside him, "How long will your journey be, and when will you return?"

     So it pleased the king to send me, and I gave him a definite time.

7     And I said to the king, "If it please the king, let letters be given me for the governors of the provinces beyond the River,

     that they may allow me to pass through until I come to Judah,

8     and a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king's forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the fortress

     which is by the temple, for the wall of the city and for the house to which I will go."

     And the king granted them to me because the good hand of my God was on me.

9     Then I came to the governors of the provinces beyond the River and gave them the king's letters.

     Now the king had sent with me officers of the army and horsemen.   (NASB)

 

 

However, upon objective and careful reading, we will find this does not qualify at all. The reason for this is because this is not a decree at all. A comparison with the actual three decrees discussed previously readily makes this evident. Here are some points:

 

a. The three decrees are actually called decrees in Scripture, but Nehemiah 2 is not.

 

b. The three decrees are bold and unambiguous proclamations by the kings. In Nehemiah 2 we

     find no such thing and in fact, Nehemiah does most of the talking. It is apparent that the

     agreement is done within the context of a personal conversation.

 

c. All the kings in each of the three decrees are careful to make mention that it is God who

     dwells in Jerusalem, but this is missing in Nehemiah 2:

 

      Ezra 1:3 “…..He is the God who is in Jerusalem.”

      Ezra 6:6 “May the God who has caused His name to dwell there…”

      Ezra 7:15 “......the God of Israel, whose dwelling is in Jerusalem…”

 

     This further supports the fact that these three are the only decrees, because the fear and spirit

     of God has moved these kings to issue these decrees.

 

 

What this tells us is that Nehemiah’s request is only a continuation of the work authorized in Artaxerxes’ decree in 457 BCE. 

 

The decree for Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy is the one Artaxerxes issued in 457 BCE.

 

 

 

The calculation of the 70 weeks and arrival of Jesus the Messiah

 

The calendar used by Ezra follows the Babylonian which was similar to the Scriptural sacred year calendar (begins with 1st month Nisan which is March/April). 

 

The Bible states Ezra came from Babylon: 

 

Ezra 7:

6    This Ezra went up from Babylon, and he was a scribe skilled in the law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given; and the king granted him all he requested because the hand of the LORD his God was upon him.   (NASB)

 

 

Accordingly, these are the dates Ezra uses:

 

Artaxerxes ascended to the throne in late 465 BCE after his father Xerxes was assassinated, so his first regnal year in the Biblical calendar would be Nisan/March-April 463 BCE to Nisan/March-April 462 BCE (civil year is from Tishri/September 464 BCE to Tishri/September 463 BCE).

 

This means the 7th year of Artaxerxes when the decree was issued in the Biblical calendar would be Nisan/March-April 457 BCE to Nisan/March-April 456 BCE (civil year is Tishri/September 458 BCE to Tishri/September 457 BCE):

 

Ezra 7:

7     Some of the sons of Israel and some of the priests, the Levites, the singers,

     the gatekeepers and the temple servants went up to Jerusalem in the seventh year of King Artaxerxes.

8     He came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king.

9     For on the first of the first month he began to go up from Babylon; and on the first of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem,

     because the good hand of his God was upon him.   (NASB)

 

 

Therefore, when we see Ezra leaving Babylon on the first day of the first month to go and restore Jerusalem, he is leaving in the month of Nisan which is March/April 457 BCE. When he arrives in Jerusalem with the copy of Artaxerxes’ decree in his hand, it is the first of the fifth month of Ab which is July/August 457 BCE.  The year 457 BCE is agreed by most scholars in theology, history and archaeology to be the 7th year of Artaxerxes’ reign.


The count of 69 weeks (or heptads/groups of seven, shabuwa) of years which is a total of 483 years to the arrival of Israel’s Messiah, begins with the first week or group of seven years starting in 457 BCE.  It is best to visualize the 69 weeks so we can fully understand the precision of this prophecy.


Listed below are the 70 weeks of years of the Daniel 9 prophecy which begins with the decree going forth in 457 BCE.  Remember that Biblical/sacred years are from Spring to next Spring so when one year is indicated such as 457BCE, it really represents Spring 457 to Spring 456 and the following year 456 BCE is Spring 456 to Spring 455, and so on.  In the chart below, the Biblical year is written as: the Spring of the current year/to the Spring of next year).  So for example, the first week below is 457/456 to 451/450 which means the 1st year of the Sabbath week is 457 BCE (Spring 457-Spring 456) and the 7th year – the Sabbath year, is 451 BCE (Spring 451-Spring 450).  In each week, the first set of years is the 1st year of the Sabbath week and the second set of years is the 7th year/Sabbath year.  We will see that at the end of the 69 weeks which is 26 CE and a Sabbath year, Messiah will arrive the next year, at the beginning (year #1 of 7) of the 70th week, which is 27 CE:


1.   457/456-451/450BCE    26. 282/281-276/275BCE    51. 107/106-101/100BCE  

2.   450/449-444/443BCE    27. 275/274-269/268BCE    52. 100/99-94/93BCE

3.   443/442-437/436BCE    28. 268/267-262/261BCE    53. 93/92-87/86BCE

4.   436/435-430/429BCE    29. 261/260-255/254BCE    54. 86/85-80/79BCE

5.   429/428-423/422BCE    30. 254/253-248/247BCE    55. 79/78-73/72BCE

6.   422/421-416/415BCE    31. 247/246-241/240BCE    56. 72/71-66/65BCE

7.   415/414-409/408BCE    32. 240/239-234/233BCE    57. 65/64-59/58BCE

8.   408/407-402/401BCE    33. 233/232-227/226BCE    58. 58/57-52/51BCE

9.   401/400-395/394BCE    34. 226/225-220/219BCE    59. 51/50-45/44BCE 

10. 394/393-388/387BCE    35. 219/218-213/212BCE    60. 44/43-38/37BCE 

11. 387/386-381/380BCE    36. 212/211-206/205BCE    61. 37/36-31/30BCE                           

12. 380/379-374/373BCE    37. 205/204-199/198BCE    62. 30/29-24/23BCE                               

13. 373/372-367/366BCE    38. 198/197-192/191BCE    63. 23/22-17/16BCE                                

14. 366/365-360/359BCE    39. 191/190-185-184BCE    64. 16/15-10/09BCE                              

15. 359/358-353/352BCE    40. 184/183-178/177BCE    65. 9/8-2/1BCE => no year ‘0’ so add

16. 352/351-346/345BCE    41. 177/176-171/170BCE    66. 2/1BCE-5/6CE      1 year to count                        

17. 345/344-339/338BCE    42. 170/169-164/163BCE    67. 6/7-12/13CE

18. 338/337-332/331BCE    43. 163/162-157/156BCE    68. 13/14-19/20CE                    

19. 331/330-325/324BCE    44. 156/155-150/149BCE    69. 20/21-26/27CE => 69 weeks end

20. 324/323-318/317BCE    45. 149/148-143/142BCE    70. 27/28-33/34CE => Messiah’s

21. 317/316-311/310BCE    46. 142/141-136/135BCE                                       ministry begins

22. 310/309-304/303BCE    47. 135/134-129/128BCE                                       in 27CE

23. 303/302-297/296BCE    48. 128/127-122/121BCE

24. 296/295-290/289BCE    49. 121/120-115/114BCE

25. 289/288-283/282BCE    50. 114/113-108/107BCE



Adding 483 years (69 x 7 = 483; the 69 weeks of years in Daniel 9:25 which must pass before Messiah comes in the 70th week) to 457 BCE, we arrive at the year 27 CE (remember, there is no year ‘0’ so counting from BCE to CE we must add 1 to the count).  When we list the weeks of years, we can clearly see that the 69 weeks ends in year 26CE which means Messiah will arrive the following year in 27CE.  The 483 years from 457 BCE to 26 CE completes the 69 weeks before Messiah arrives and declares Himself to Israel, which He does the very next year in 27 CE, the beginning and first year of the 70th and final Sabbath week. 


The prophecy of Daniel’s 70 weeks tells us that King Messiah will present Himself to His people Israel in the year 27 CE, the year after the 69 weeks have ended.  This is exactly what happened.


Confirmation that these years are correct (the count of 69 weeks starting in 457 BCE and ending in 26 CE with Messiah coming in 27 CE) is given by God Himself.  We must interpret Scripture with Scripture.  God provides the evidence of these years being correct when we remember what the 70 weeks are all about in the first place.  Israel did not observe 70 Sabbath years (70 weeks of years) which are 70 x 7 = 490 years, so God gave Daniel the prophecy of 70 weeks --- and these 70 weeks of years are not just any random set of 7-year time periods, but they are 70 Sabbath year weeks/cycles (70 x 7 = 490 years).  In other words, there is a one-to-one correlation: because Israel missed 70 Sabbath year cycles, Daniel’s prophecy are 70 Sabbath year cycles to replace/make up for what Israel failed to do the first time with the 70 Sabbath years.  


The first thing this tells us is that since 457 BCE is the beginning of the 70 Sabbath year count, then 457 BCE must be year #1 of the very first 7-year Sabbath week/cycle (Sabbath week 1 of 70) which is something we can easily see from the chart.  It makes complete sense that it is the 1st year of the Sabbath cycle, because that is when Ezra heads out with the decree in hand to take action on it and so the count begins in 457 BCE as year one – it is the 1st year of the 1st of 70 Sabbath year cycles.  This is also why God started Ezra’s journey exactly on the 1st day of the 1st month of year 457 BCE; it cannot be more clear than this that God wants us to start counting from this year. 


Since 457 BCE is the 1st year of a Sabbath cycle, then this means that the year before – 458 BCE, is a Sabbath year.  God confirms 458 BCE is a Sabbath year and therefore at the same time that 457 BCE is year #1 of a Sabbath cycle.  How does He do this?  He does this by giving us more information in the Book of Nehemiah.  We mentioned earlier that the starting point of Daniel’s 70-week prophecy is not from Nehemiah and the 20th year of Artaxerxes was 444 BCE.  However, this year 444 BCE still gives us vital information, because God tells us that this year 444 BCE is a Sabbath year.  And because year 444 BCE is a Sabbath year, then two Sabbath years/cycles earlier (which is 14 years earlier, 7 x 2 =14) brings us to 458 BCE which must also be a Sabbath year – and since 458 BCE is a Sabbath year, than the year after it, 457 BCE, is the 1st year of a new Sabbath cycle which starts the 70-week count.


Nehemiah 8 tells us that all Israel were gathered together as one before God in Jerusalem on the 1st day of the 7th month in 444 BCE.  Then Ezra (Nehemiah and Ezra were contemporaries) began reading the Book of the Law to all Israel.  Verse 14 tells us that Israel discovered they should be observing the Feast of Tabernacles/Booths (Sukkot) and set out to build the booths.  Verse 18 tells us that the Law of God was read “day by day, from the first day until the last day” of the 7-day Feast of Tabernacles (which is followed by the Eighth Day of Assembly (Shemini Atzeret)) to all the people:


Nehemiah 8:

1   Now all the people gathered together as one man in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate; and they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded Israel.

2    So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly of men and women and all who could hear with understanding on the first day of the seventh month.

3    Then he read from it in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate from morning until midday, before the men and women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law.

4   So Ezra the scribe stood on a platform of wood which they had made for the purpose; and beside him, at his right hand, stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Urijah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah; and at his left hand Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam.

5   And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up.

6   And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. Then all the people answered, "Amen, Amen!" while lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.

7   Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, helped the people to understand the Law; and the people stood in their place.

8   So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading.

9   And Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, "This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn nor weep." For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law.

10   Then he said to them, "Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."

11   So the Levites quieted all the people, saying, "Be still, for the day is holy; do not be grieved."

12   And all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them.

13   Now on the second day the heads of the fathers' houses of all the people, with the priests and Levites, were gathered to Ezra the scribe, in order to understand the words of the Law.

14   And they found written in the Law, which the LORD had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths during the feast of the seventh month,

15   and that they should announce and proclaim in all their cities and in Jerusalem, saying, "Go out to the mountain, and bring olive branches, branches of oil trees, myrtle branches, palm branches, and branches of leafy trees, to make booths, as it is written."

16   Then the people went out and brought them and made themselves booths, each one on the roof of his house, or in their courtyards or the courts of the house of God, and in the open square of the Water Gate and in the open square of the Gate of Ephraim.

17   So the whole assembly of those who had returned from the captivity made booths and sat under the booths; for since the days of Joshua the son of Nun until that day the children of Israel had not done so. And there was very great gladness.

18   Also day by day, from the first day until the last day, he read from the Book of the Law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day there was a sacred assembly, according to the prescribed manner.     (NKJV)



The reason the reading of the Law of God during the Feast of Tabernacles in Nehemiah 8 is so significant is because the reading of the Law of God is specifically commanded to be read on the Feast of Tabernacles every year on the Sabbath year, the Sabbath year of release (every 7th year; allowing the land to rest from work (just like a weekly 7th day Sabbath) and the release from debt):


Deuteronomy 31:

9    So Moses wrote this law and delivered it to the priests, the sons of Levi, who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and to all the elders of Israel.

10   And Moses commanded them, saying: "At the end of every seven years, at the appointed time in the year of release, at the Feast of Tabernacles,

11   when all Israel comes to appear before the LORD your God in the place which He chooses, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing.

12   Gather the people together, men and women and little ones, and the stranger who is within your gates, that they may hear and that they may learn to fear the LORD your God and carefully observe all the words of this law,

13   and that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God as long as you live in the land which you cross the Jordan to possess."     (NKJV)


Deuteronomy 15:

1    "At the end of every seven years you shall grant a remission of debts.

2    "This is the manner of remission: every creditor shall release what he has loaned to his neighbor; he shall not exact it of his neighbor and his brother, because the LORD's remission has been proclaimed.

3    "From a foreigner you may exact it, but your hand shall release whatever of yours is with your brother.

4    "However, there will be no poor among you, since the LORD will surely bless you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess,

5    if only you listen obediently to the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all this commandment which I am commanding you today.

6    "For the LORD your God will bless you as He has promised you, and you will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow; and you will rule over many nations, but they will not rule over you.       (NASB)



The Law of God being read on the Feast of Tabernacles in 444 BCE indicates that 444 BCE was a Sabbath year.  It therefore shows us that 14 years earlier (7 x 2), the year 458 BCE was also a Sabbath year and the year after it in 457 BCE was the 1st year of a new Sabbath week/cycle --- indeed, 457 BCE is the starting point to count the 70 weeks and it is year #1 of the 1st of 70 Sabbath weeks.  This means that when we count 483 years (which is 69 Sabbath weeks of years (69 x 7 = 483 years) and is a multiple of 7) from the Sabbath year of 458 BCE, we come to the year 26 CE – and the year 26 CE is also a Sabbath year.  This means the year after 26 CE which is 27 CE (just like the year after 458 BCE which is 457 BCE) is the 1st year of a 7-year Sabbath week cycle.  When we count the same 483 years (69 weeks) from 457 BCE, the 1st year of a Sabbath week, we come to the year 27 CE, which is also the 1st year of a 7-year Sabbath week.  The year 27 CE is the first year of Messiah’s ministry and it is the beginning of the final and 70th Sabbath week. 




The events of 27 CE

 

Further confirmation that Messiah was manifested in 27 CE is given in the Gospel of Luke in the New Testament (the B’rit Hadashah) which provides some details about God’s timing regarding His son and Messiah.


Luke 3 tells us it was the 15th year of the Roman emperor Tiberius when John the Baptizer began his ministry:

 

Luke 3:

1     Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea,

     and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip was tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis,

     and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene,

2     in the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John, the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness.

3     And he came into all the district around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins;

4     as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness,

     'Make ready the way of the Lord, Make His paths straight.

5     'Every ravine will be filled, And every mountain and hill will be brought low; The crooked will become straight,

     And the rough roads smooth;

6     And all flesh will see the salvation of God.'"     (NASB)



John the Baptizer’s ministry would have begun when he was about 30 years old (the age a Jewish man begins God’s ministry is 30; see Numbers 4:3, 23, 30, 35, 39, 43, 47) and 6 months before Jesus was to announce Himself as the Messiah, because John is the one who is to prepare the way for Jesus and Luke tells us in chapter 1 that John was 6 months older than the Messiah (John’s mother Elizabeth was already with child for 6 months when Mary conceived):


Luke 1:

35   The angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.

36   "And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month.

37   "For nothing will be impossible with God."    (NASB)



So when was this 15th year?  If we know this year, it will help us confirm the year 27 CE as the year Messiah was manifested to Israel and Messiah’s ministry began, confirming that the Daniel 9 prophecy of 69 weeks to Messiah’s arrival is completely accurate.  Now here is where it gets interesting.  There are actually two dates which can be used to count the reign of Tiberius.  He co-reigned as emperor with his step father Augustus and when Augustus died shortly after, Tiberius’ single reign as emperor began.


The co-reign or co-regency of Tiberius with Augustus began in 13 CE so using inclusive reckoning where 13 CE is the first year, then the 15th year of Tiberius’ actual reign as emperor (shared or not) brings us to year 27 CE. 


The sole reign of Tiberius as emperor began in 14 CE and using inclusive reckoning again, the 15th year of Tiberius’ reign as emperor (by himself) brings us to year 28 CE.


We can see that Luke must have been referring to the 15th year from Tiberius’ co-reign as emperor, because it matches the year 27 CE which is the end point of counting off and completing 69 weeks from 457 BCE; 27 CE is the 1st year of the 70th Sabbath week.


And note further:


Luke 3:

15   Now while the people were in a state of expectation and all were wondering in their hearts about John,

     as to whether he was the Christ,

16   John answered and said to them all, "As for me, I baptize you with water; but One is coming who is mightier than I,

     and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

17   "His winnowing fork is in His hand to thoroughly clear His threshing floor, and to gather the wheat into His barn;

     but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

18   So with many other exhortations he preached the gospel to the people.   (NASB)



We must not ignore what Luke 3:15 above tells us.  It states that “the people were in a state of expectation” about the Messiah’s arrival.  This shows us that the people knew of Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy of when the Messiah would come.  The people not only knew about it, but they were able to calculate it to the exact year (like as we read in the chart of 70 weeks) – they were expecting it in 27 CE and they were not disappointed (this is in sharp contrast to Judaism today that severely prevents people from having anything to do with Daniel 9).


Luke 3 also tells us that Jesus was about 30 years old when He was baptized by John the Baptizer and was anointed with God’s holy spirit:

 

Luke 3:

21   Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened,

22   and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven,

     "You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased."

23   When He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age, being, as was supposed, the son of Joseph,

      the son of Eli,   (NASB)

 

 

It was this year 27 CE after the 69 weeks have ended, when John the Baptizer came baptizing in water to prepare the way for Jesus and His soon coming arrival.  Jesus was baptized by John in water and God anointed Jesus with His holy spirit (Messiah means the Anointed One). It was in 27 CE that Jesus was made manifest to Israel:

 

John 1:

  29   The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

30   "This is He on behalf of whom I said, 'After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.'

31   "I did not recognize Him, but so that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water."

32   John testified saying, "I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him.

33   "I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me,

     'He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.'

34   "I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God."     (NASB)

 

Matthew 3:

16   After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened,

      and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him,

17   and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased."  (NASB)

 

Acts 10:

36   The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ --- He is Lord of all -

37   that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached:

38   how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.    (NKJV)



The Gospel of Luke tells us that Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy predicting Messiah’s arrival after 69 weeks of 7 years (483 years) have completed, was fulfilled by Jesus in 27 CE when He was made manifest to Israel by John the Baptizer preaching and baptizing/preparing the way for Him, and Jesus was anointed with God’s holy spirit.  In other words, Luke is pinpointing the fact that Jesus the Messiah being anointed when He was about 30 years old was also during the 15th year of Tiberius in 27 CE. 




Evidence of when John was born tells us when Jesus was born and confirms 27 CE as the first year of Messiah's ministry

 

We are told when John the Baptizer was born. We are told within the context of the circumstances of what happened to John’s father Zachariah who was a priest serving in the Temple.

 

Luke 1:

5     There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.

6     And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.

7     But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years.

8     So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division,

9     according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.

 

23   So it was, as soon as the days of his service were completed, that he departed to his own house.

24   Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived; and she hid herself five months, saying,

25   "Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people."     (NKJV)

 

 

John’s father Zechariah was a priest of the division of Abijah. The Tanakh tells us that the priests were divided into 24 courses of service for a week (from Sabbath to Sabbath) which began at the beginning of the sacred year (Abib or Nisan 1) and then repeated 6 months later for the second half of the year. The course of Abijah was the 8th course:

 

1 Chronicles 24:

1     Now the divisions of the descendants of Aaron were these: the sons of Aaron were Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar.

2     But Nadab and Abihu died before their father and had no sons. So Eleazar and Ithamar served as priests.

3     David, with Zadok of the sons of Eleazar and Ahimelech of the sons of Ithamar,

     divided them according to their offices for their ministry.

4     Since more chief men were found from the descendants of Eleazar than the descendants of Ithamar, they divided them thus:

     there were sixteen heads of fathers' households of the descendants of Eleazar and eight of the descendants of Ithamar,

     according to their fathers' households.

5     Thus they were divided by lot, the one as the other; for they were officers of the sanctuary and officers of God,

     both from the descendants of Eleazar and the descendants of Ithamar.

6     Shemaiah, the son of Nethanel the scribe, from the Levites, recorded them in the presence of the king, the princes,

     Zadok the priest, Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, and the heads of the fathers' households of the priests and of the Levites;

     one father's household taken for Eleazar and one taken for Ithamar.

7     Now the first lot came out for Jehoiarib, the second for Jedaiah,

8     the third for Harim, the fourth for Seorim,

9     the fifth for Malchijah, the sixth for Mijamin,

10   the seventh for Hakkoz, the eighth for Abijah,

11   the ninth for Jeshua, the tenth for Shecaniah,

12   the eleventh for Eliashib, the twelfth for Jakim,

13   the thirteenth for Huppah, the fourteenth for Jeshebeab,

14   the fifteenth for Bilgah, the sixteenth for Immer,

15   the seventeenth for Hezir, the eighteenth for Happizzez,

16   the nineteenth for Pethahiah, the twentieth for Jehezkel,

17   the twenty-first for Jachin, the twenty-second for Gamul,

18   the twenty-third for Delaiah, the twenty-fourth for Maaziah.

19   These were their offices for their ministry when they came in to the house of the LORD

     according to the ordinance given to them through Aaron their father, just as the LORD God of Israel had commanded him.

    (NASB)

 

2 Chronicles 23:

8   So the Levites and all Judah did according to all that Jehoiada the priest commanded. And each one of them took his men

    who were to come in on the sabbath, with those who were to go out on the sabbath, for Jehoiada the priest did not

    dismiss any of the divisions.   (NASB)

 

 

During the annual Feasts, all the priests served together:

 

2 Chronicles 5:

11   When the priests came forth from the holy place (for all the priests who were present had sanctified themselves,

      without regard to divisions),   (NASB)

 

 

Since the division of Abijah was the 8th course, this would mean Zechariah’s service was the 8th week into the beginning of the sacred year.  We must take into consideration when we calculate the date that the first week must begin with the Sabbath before the 1st of Nisan so the priests would already be in service at the start of the year, and also that Passover/the Feast of Unleavened Bread would put a “pause” of one week into the dating of the priestly courses.  The beginning of the sacred year is around the Spring equinox (March 20-21).   So about 9.5 weeks (the 8th week of the priestly course + 1 week extension for Passover + half a week for the Sabbath before the start of the year) from this date Zechariah would be completing his service.  This means the 8th week for the 8th course of the priesthood would fall sometime between the middle of May to the first week of June the latest.

 

In Luke 1:23 we are told that after his week of service completed, Zechariah returned home and his wife Elizabeth conceived. If Elizabeth conceived early to the end of the next lunar cycle (early to end of June), we can add the approximate 40 weeks or 280 days (about 9 months and 10 days) of the human gestation period to this June date and calculate when John was born.

 

Therefore, if Elizabeth conceived early to end of June, then John the Baptizer would have been born sometime between early March to early April the following year.  Jesus would be born about 6 months later in early September to early October during the Fall holy days of God (Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Feast of Tabernacles, etc.).

The 15th year of Tiberius pinpoints the start of John the Baptizer’s ministry which is early in 27 CE near his birthday in the 1st month (March/April) of the sacred year.  This same 15th year of Tiberius also pinpoints the start of Messiah’s ministry which is about 6 months later in 27 CE (September/October), in the 7th month of the sacred year.

Is it possible that the 8th course of Abijah which Zechariah was serving was the second round of the 24 courses which occurs in the Fall (and then John would be born in the Fall and Jesus would be born in the spring of the next year)?  No, because the absence of any mention would preclude it, similar to how in Scripture if no date for a month is given then the 1st of the month is implied. Also, having Messiah being born in the following Spring would actually possibly put the birth in an entirely different year, but the context of Luke 3 is indicating that the 15th year of Tiberius is meant for both John and Jesus, separated by 6 months.  It makes sense that John is born first in the Spring of the year while Jesus is born 6 months later in the Fall of the same year.  

 

This is another proof that the first year of Messiah’s ministry and revealing to Israel was in 27 CE.




The prophecy is not yet complete, but will be soon

 

Scripture tells us that all of Daniel’s prophecy of the coming of the Messiah to make atonement for sin and bring in everlasting righteousness in Daniel 9:24-27 is contained in the 70 weeks of 490 years.


So was the prophecy fulfilled? 


The answer is yes, but only partially – the Messiah fully completed the part he was to do in the spiritual and eternal salvation of his people, defeating the spiritual enemies of Israel (and all mankind) which are sin and death.  He suffered and was the atonement sacrifice for the iniquity of the people.  His blood and priesthood apply to the heavenly sanctuary of which that on earth is only a copy:


Hebrews 9:

1    Now even the first covenant had regulations of divine worship and the earthly sanctuary.

2    For there was a tabernacle prepared, the outer one, in which were the lampstand and the table and the sacred bread; this is called the holy place.

3    Behind the second veil there was a tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies,

4    having a golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden jar holding the manna, and Aaron's rod which budded, and the tables of the covenant;

5    and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat; but of these things we cannot now speak in detail.

6    Now when these things have been so prepared, the priests are continually entering the outer tabernacle performing the divine worship,

7    but into the second, only the high priest enters once a year, not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance.


11  But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation;

12  and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.

13  For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh,

14  how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

15  For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

16  For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it.

17  For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives.

18  Therefore even the first covenant was not inaugurated without blood.

19  For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people,

20  saying, "This is the blood of the covenant which God commanded you."

21  And in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood.

22  And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

23  Therefore it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

24  For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;

25  nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own.

26  Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

27  And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,

28  so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.     (NASB)

 


However, the current state of modern Israel would evidently show that the 490 years did not fulfill all that was promised by God:


Daniel 9:

24   "Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place.    (NASB)



What happened? 


The Messiah only fulfilled part of His saving work.  He was the suffering servant.  The second and final part, that of a physical salvation of His people and ruling them as king has not happened yet, because it depends on the faith of His people concerning His first works for them.


As we see throughout Holy Scripture, God’s relationship with His people is one where the people of God also have a part – a role, to play in their relationship with their God.  Relationship involves two parties, and especially in a relationship that involves trust and action on both sides. 

 

God’s part of the transaction was to provide the redemption of His people in every way required and possible:  to make an end of sin and usher in righteousness. 


The people’s part of the transaction is to have faith and believe in the one whom God sends to accomplish His will – God’s chosen one, King Messiah.



And what lesson do we learn in all this?  Simply that God always makes sure His end of the arrangement is set and done in good order.  However, when God deals with His people in a covenant relationship, absolutely nothing gets completely fulfilled until God’s people take responsibility and do their part. 


In the case of Daniel’s 70 week prophecy, nothing that the Messiah has done for God’s people can take effect until Israel accepts God’s chosen one.  This means though God has seen to it that the prophecy of atonement for sin was fulfilled by His Messiah, until Israel accepts the Messiah for who He is and what He has done in this regard, nothing more can proceed to have the entire prophecy be fully accomplished.


We know this to be true, because even the Abrahamic covenant where God blesses Abraham for his faith, is not yet fulfilled and it is for the same reason.  It is because everything is inextricably tied to Israel’s sins against God.  The Abrahamic covenant where Israel receives all the Promised Land will most definitely be fulfilled – but the time table is when Israel finally turns back to God in repentance and accepts her Messiah.

 

Though it is a hard saying, it is Scriptural and true:  the stubbornness and rebelliousness of God’s people (an example of the weakness of all mankind) ensures that anything God does to fulfill His promises will not go into effect and be fully completed until the will of the people is brought to nothing first and they cry out in utter despair for cleansing and restoration.  The nature and actions of man ensures that God’s relationship with man will go round and round in an endless loop that can only end once and for all when God steps in to put a stop to everything.  This will only occur when Israel is in her darkest peril and at the point of extinction.  

 

It exactly parallels God’s mercy and forgiveness to the sinner.  God’s arm is not too short to be merciful and forgive.  He has done everything in His power to forgive us of our sins and has already forgiven us.  However, one thing must happen for God’s mercy to take effect.  The sinner must acknowledge his sins and repent.  Until the sinner repents, God’s mercy cannot be applied to the sinner. 

 

This is the very same way with this prophecy. In order for it to be completely fulfilled and take effect, Israel must acknowledge her sins and repent of them – and the sins against her Messiah whom she loves and has long hoped for, are the most grievous.  So for Israel, to repent of her sins and to believe in the one whom God anointed and sent, mean the same thing.  Until this repentance comes, then the prophecy “to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness” is not fully in effect – which is when the Messiah returns as conquering king of the physical enemies of Israel and reigns as her King.


Israel must repent first.  She must finally recognize and accept her Messiah – repenting and undoing her earlier sin of failing to recognize him and rejecting him.

 

God through His Messiah has done their part, but until Israel realizes she is totally dependent on God and cries out to Him – and finally accepts her Messiah in true repentance, this prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27 is only partially and not completely fulfilled.  Unfortunately, the only time Israel will realize she is totally dependent on God and knows and accepts her Messiah is when she finds out her very existence is about to surely be wiped off the earth, when Israel is about to be destroyed.  

 

This is when Israel’s Messiah will return in glory as the Davidic King Messiah and not as the suffering servant who earlier atoned for Israel’s iniquities.



The entire reason for the prophecy was to pinpoint who the Messiah is and when the Messiah would come and what would happen to Him in the context of the Temple/Jerusalem.  The prophecy details the following would happen and all within the context of proving who the Messiah is by when these things happen:

 

1)  The decree to restore Jerusalem will go forth on a certain year.


2)  In the time of 69 weeks all of Jerusalem including the Temple will be restored and rebuilt.

 

3)  The Messiah will come upon the scene immediately after these 69 weeks have completed.


4)  The Messiah will be cut off in the 70th week which means He will die.


5)  The arrival and death of the Messiah will happen before the Temple and Jerusalem/Israel is destroyed again.



Jesus arrived in the year 27 CE before the destruction of the Second Temple exactly as Daniel 9 prophesied.

 

It mentions the destruction of the Temple again and also of Israel (by dispersion across the world – the Diaspora) to give even more detail of when He will arrive and be cut off.  God gives us these minute details to signify the precision and miraculous nature of the prophecy. 

 

Jesus foretold the destruction of the Temple:


John 2:

18   The Jews then said to Him, "What sign do You show us as your authority for doing these things?"

19   Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."

20   The Jews then said, "It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?"

21   But He was speaking of the temple of His body.

22   So when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken.    (NASB)


Matthew 24:

1    Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him.

2    And He said to them, "Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down."    (NASB)


 

The prophecy was given, because the context of Daniel’s prayer was about the fate of his people, and so it includes the restoration of the Temple and Jerusalem.  Therefore, we are also told when the Temple and Jerusalem will be destroyed again – because Israel has denied and cut off her Messiah. It should be noted shortly after Jesus was crucified, the Temple veil was torn in two and for 40 years after Jesus was crucified and leading up to the destruction of the Temple, there were many strange occurrences in the Temple such as the strip for the Day of Atonement “Azazel” goat remaining red every year (it used to turn white all the time) and the Temple doors opening by themselves every night. 


The truth is that foretelling the destruction of the Temple and the city reveals even more of God’s awesome power of knowing the end from the beginning.  God allots 70 weeks of 7’s for His people in response to Daniel’s concerns.  Then God gives exact details to prove the Messiah’s arrival, His work, His death, and to fulfill His prediction that though the body of His temple will be rebuilt in 3 days, the Temple of stone will be thrown to the ground, because of the people’s unbelief. 


God set 70 weeks of 7’s for Israel, but accounted for in the prophecy the fact that Israel would reject her Messiah, and therefore God gave precise details also that Messiah would come and be cut off before the Temple was destroyed again and the people were dispersed.  This just emphasizes even more the identity of Messiah.


The re-gathering and reestablishment of Israel in 1948 tells all of us with eyes to see and ears to hear, that the stage is being set for this prophecy to be completely fulfilled which is only when Israel accepts her Messiah.  This will happen when Israel is about to become extinct. The Messiah returns and Israel finally accepts Him after all these years of rejecting Him. 


He is the son of man in Daniel 7:


Daniel 7:


13   I saw in the night visions, and behold, there came with the clouds of the sky one like a son of man, and he came even to the ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.

14   There was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and languages should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.   (WEB)



He is Jesus the Messiah:


Matthew 24:

29   "Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

30   Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.    (NKJV)

 


Just like the 49th year comes before and prepares for the 50th year Jubilee, so too does the completion of the 70th week (the last week of the 490 years), usher in the full release and reconciliation of Israel and all things on the Jubilee that is the 1000-year kingdom and then into eternity.


The sign of the times reveal that the final 7 – the 70th seven, will commence again soon, from the beginning, and finally culminate in the prophecy being fulfilled in its totality and usher in the Golden Age of Israel in the Millenium and finally, New Jerusalem from above.




Please see next articles in the Prophesied Messiah series: ‘The Prophesied Messiah – His return’.


 

Link to the Prophesied Messiah articles outline.