307: Daniel 9:24a


COPYRIGHT WARNING

The Prophecies of the Messiah: Prophecy 307

A period of “Seventy Weeks” are determined for Israel—to finish her transgressions and bring the arrival of the Messiah.

Old Testament Prediction:

Daniel 9:24a Seventy weeks 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.

New Testament Fulfillment:

Luke 13:34 (Jesus Speaking) “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; and assuredly, I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ ”

Application:

Daniel’s prophecy speaks of “seventy weeks” being determined for Israel. We understand what these “weeks” are, by using the Bible as our commentary.

The principle of a prophetic week is first illustrated in the Book of Genesis Chapter 29. As Jacob desires Rachel’s hand in marriage, he does not have the dowry required to pay Rachel’s father Laban. The purpose of a dowry was Alimony in advance. If a man should desire to marry a young woman and later divorce her without any financial support, her dowry—kept in the stewardship of her father—would serve as her support. Therefore, Rachel’s father Laban brokered a deal with Jacob in which he would work for him as a servant for seven years to pay for Rachel’s dowry.

After seven years, when Rachel should have come to Jacob on their wedding night, Laban instead, conveys his oldest daughter Leah into the darkness of the bridal tent. As the marriage is consummated, the next morning, Jacob realized that he has been with Leah, not Rachel. When he confronts Laban, Jacob learns that in their tradition, the oldest daughter must marry first before the younger. Laban tells Jacob to “fulfill the week” of Rachel, and he can have her also as his wife. At the end of verse 27, Laban defines how long this week will be by saying “serve with me still another seven years.”

Genesis 29:27 Fulfill her week, and we will give you this one also for the service which you will serve with me still another seven years.

The way that the Holy Spirit has designed the Bible, we don’t need a commentary to understand many words, phrases, and illustrations, that are difficult to understand. If we find something in the Bible that is unclear, by searching out an additional place where that particular word or phrase is used, we can often find the meaning that was intended. From the usage of the word “week,” found in Genesis 29:27, we understand that Daniel’s reference to “seventy weeks” is a period—seventy sets of seven years, or a total of 490 years.

It is important to understand that because the Bible is the word of God, it is a supernatural document. Jesus said that every word, even the punctuation marks within the letters and words—are all strategically placed where they are in the scriptures, by the Lord’s supernatural design—for a specific purpose.

Matthew 5:18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.

Jesus said that the purpose of the Bible is to reveal who He is to the world.

John 5:39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.

The seventy weeks that Daniel speaks of concerning Israel is a prophecy of seventy weeks of years (70 X 7 = 490 Years).

Daniel 9:24 “Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city…”

Notice first that the prophecy of 490 years is directed at “your people” (speaking of the Jews) and “your holy city” (Jerusalem). This is not a prophecy directed at the Gentile nations nor the church of Jesus Christ. Gabriel is very specific that what Daniel is being given by God is uniquely intended for Israel and the Jews that will live on the earth during the last days.

The entire purpose of the predictions that Daniel received will be addressed and studied in prophecies 307-312. First, we will look at the prediction of a 490-year period of time that has been determined by God for the Jews, Jerusalem, and the nation of Israel.

The time of captivity

When Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, ordered the capture of the best and brightest young men of Judah, Daniel was among those taken. Although we do not know his age at the time of the captivity, it is certain that he was in his later teens. By the time that the angel comes to Daniel to reveal the events of the last days, Daniel has been captive in Babylon for close to 70 years. This would mean that at the time that these amazing prophecies were revealed, Daniel would have been in his mid-eighties.

• In 605 B.C., Judah is taken captive, including Daniel.
• In 562 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar dies.
• In 539 B.C., Cyrus becomes the king of Babylon.
• In 538 B.C., the events of Daniel Chapter 9 take place.
• In 536 B.C., the 70 years of Servitude for of Judah ends.

Chapter 9 begins with Daniel reading the prophecies of Jeremiah.

Daniel 9:2 in the first year of Darius reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the LORD through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.

The following verses of prophecy which Daniel was reading—from the book of Jeremiah, provoked him to pray fervently for his people and the entire nation.

Jeremiah 25:8-12 Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts: “Because you have not heard My words, behold, I will send and take all the families of the north,” says the LORD, “and Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land, against its inhabitants, and against these nations all around, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, a hissing, and perpetual desolations. Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth 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. And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. Then it will come to pass, when seventy years are completed, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity,” says the LORD; “and I will make it a perpetual desolation.”

Jeremiah 29:10 For thus says the LORD: “After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place.”

As Daniel is reading from the prophecies of Jeremiah, it is 538 B.C.; and Judah has been in captivity at Babylon for 68 years. Realizing that in just two years, the words of Jeremiah’s prophecy will be fulfilled, Daniel begins to pray for his nation and people. This amazing heartfelt cry to God provoked the Lord to send the angel Gabriel to Daniel with the prophecy of seventy weeks for Israel.

For the sake of clarity, as well as a wonderful example of true intercessory prayer, I included the entire text of Daniel’s incredible prayer:

Daniel 9:3-23 Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. And I prayed to the LORD my God, and made confession, and said, “O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments, we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments. Neither have we heeded Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings and our princes, to our fathers and all the people of the land. O Lord, righteousness belongs to You, but to us shame of face, as it is this day—to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those near and those far off in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of the unfaithfulness which they have committed against You. O Lord, to us belongs shame of face, to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, because we have sinned against You. To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him. We have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in His laws, which He set before us by His servants the prophets. Yes, all Israel has transgressed Your law, and has departed so as not to obey Your voice; therefore the curse and the oath written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against Him. And He has confirmed His words, which He spoke against us and against our judges who judged us, by bringing upon us a great disaster; for under the whole heaven such has never been done as what has been done to Jerusalem. As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us; yet we have not made our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities and understand Your truth. Therefore the LORD has kept the disaster in mind, and brought it upon us; for the LORD our God is righteous in all the works which He does, though we have not obeyed His voice. And now, O Lord our God, who brought Your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and made Yourself a name, as it is this day—we have sinned, we have done wickedly! O Lord, according to all Your righteousness, I pray, let Your anger and Your fury be turned away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain; because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Your people are a reproach to all those around us. Now therefore, our God, hear the prayer of Your servant, and his supplications, and for the Lord’s sake cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary, which is desolate. O my God, incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and see our desolations, and the city which is called by Your name; for we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies. O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name.”

This is undoubtably one of the most incredible prayers that is found in the Bible. Daniel is not only speaking a sincere prayer of repentance for himself, but he is also repenting and interceding on behalf of the entire nation of Israel. The form of Daniel’s supplication before the Lord is a model for intercessory prayer for all those who sincerely seek the Lord’s forgiveness. Daniel does not hold God responsible for the trouble and difficulties that he and his nation have found themselves in. Daniel blames himself and his people for their sins and disobedience which have caused their suffering.

In response to this sincere prayer, God dispatches His angel to answer Daniel’s prayer, even before he has finished praying.

Daniel 9:20-23 …yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand. At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision…”

The “vision” that Gabriel gives Daniel is a distant prophetic look at the nation of Israel and the Jews. In this prophecy, we see the complete plan that God has for Israel, including the arrival of the Messiah, and the seven-year Tribulation period.

In this amazing prophecy, Daniel is told the precise day that the Messiah will arrive in Israel. We will look at this subject in depth, as we continue to study the complete prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27 in prophecies 308-312.

Correctly establishing the start of Daniel’s prophecy

According to the prophecy of Daniel 9:25, when a “command” is given for the captives of Babylon to be set free and return to Judah, 483 years later the Messiah will arrive in Jerusalem. According to the Book of Nehemiah, King Artaxerxes (Longimanus, “longhand”[1]) gave a command for the captives to return to Judah.

Nehemiah 2:1-2 And it came to pass in the month of Nisan, (March-April) in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, that I took the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had never been sad in his presence before. 2 Therefore the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This is nothing but sorrow of heart.” So I became dreadfully afraid…

To clarify the identity of the Artaxerxes that Nehemiah speaks of, we look to the historical record. According to James Ussher’s work in “Annales Veteris Testamenti,” Artaxerxes I, was given the nickname “Longimanus” because the fingers of his right hand were longer than the fingers on his left hand.[2] He ascended to the throne of the Medo-Persian empire in July 465 B.C.[3]

According to Nehemiah, it was in the “twentieth year” of Artaxerxes’ reign, specifically, July of 446 B.C., that Nehemiah was before the king with his request.[4] Nine months later in the first month of the Nisan, by the Hebrew calendar—which is March/April of our current calendar, Artaxerxes gave the command to return and rebuild Jerusalem. According to Hebrew tradition, when the day of the month is unstated, the first day is assumed.[5] On the first day of the month of Nisan, our 14th day of March 445 B.C., Artaxerxes Longimanus issued the command for Nehemiah to return to Jerusalem to restore and rebuild the city.[6]

A secondary confirmation of this date is found in a secular record of history, revealing that Tiberius Caesar began his reign on August 19th, 14 A.D.[7] According to Luke’s Gospel, in the 15th year of Tiberius’ reign, Jesus was baptized at the Jordan River by John the Baptist in the Fall of 28 A.D.

Luke 3:1-3 Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, 2 while Annas and Caiaphas were high priests, the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. 3 And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins…

Luke 3:21 When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized…

Jesus began His public Ministry at 30 years of age, in the Fall of 28 A.D., by the testimony of Luke’s Gospel.

Luke 3:23 Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at thirty years of age…

We know the precise date of Jesus’ birth from the historical records that were kept by secular writers who described the events of the Roman General Titus when he sacked the city of Jerusalem and burned the Temple in 70 A.D.

It is certain that Jesus was not born in December because shepherds do not keep watch over their sheep outdoors this late in the season. Luke testifies that during the time of Jesus’ birth, there were shepherds with their sheep out in the fields.

Luke 2:8-20 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.

In Bethlehem during the winter, temperatures often fall below freezing. Shepherds did not attend to their flocks at night in winter because it was too cold. Once the frost set in, shepherds would bring their flocks into pens at night.

The fact that Luke mentions that the shepherds were outside with their sheep at night is a hint for us, revealing the time of year that this all happened. Also remember that a census had been ordered by the Roman government. Every man was required to return to the place of his ancestors’ birth to register for this census. The Roman government would not order the citizens of their empire to return to their place of their birth during winter when travel was difficult. This would have been extremely poor planning by the Roman government who were always meticulous in their organization of every event. The Romans called for the census to be conducted in the Fall when temperatures were moderate and travel much easier.

The best and most reliable source for the correct time of year of Jesus’ birth is the Bible itself.

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.”

John the Baptist’s father Zacharias was a priest who served in the temple. Each man took his turn in serving, according to the division or course in which he belonged. According to Luke 1:5, Zacharias belonged to the division of Abijah.

There were eight divisions, with each priest serving two weeks in the temple.

We know from history that when the Roman army came in and destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A.D., the Roman soldiers also destroyed the temple. The Jewish historian Josephus tells us that the first course of the priests in Israel had just taken place when the temple was burned.[8]

Knowing when this first course of the temple service had begun in 70 A.D., it is very easy to count backwards to determine when Zacharias would have been serving in his pre-determined course of Abijah.

We know that as soon as Zacharias came out of the temple and had finished his time of service, his wife Elizabeth became pregnant with John the Baptist shortly thereafter. We know that John the Baptist is 6 months older than Jesus. If we count 6 months past John the Baptist’s birth, we can determine the date of Jesus’ Birth.

The following chart will help you visualize how and when these events took place. The first course of Jehoiarib began on August 5, 70 A.D.[9] We know this from the writings of Josephus. Counting backwards, as these times of service were consistent in the precise months in which they would occur, in 3 B.C., when Zacharias received his turn to serve in the temple, it would have been during the course of Abijah, which was completed on July 13th, 3 B.C.

Chart of Jesus Birth

The New Testament account of Elizabeth and Mary’s conceptions:

Luke 1:24-31 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.” 26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” 29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS.”

Gabriel tells Mary the date of Elizabeth’s conception

Elizabeth: conceived John the baptist on July 13, 3 B.C., which allows us to know the date of Jesus’ conception—the fourth week of December, 2 B.C. (See the chart above)

Luke 1:35-36 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren.

We know that in the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, Mary had already conceived Jesus in her womb:

Luke 1:39-44 Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, 40 and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.

Having established the date of Jesus’ birth, we can now determine the time when He began His public ministry—at 30 years of age. Coincidentally, 30 was the age that a Hebrew man could begin His ministry, as described in the traditions of the elders.

• Jesus was born on September 29, 3 B.C.
• Adding 30 years, we come to the Fall of 28 A.D., the first Passover during Jesus’ ministry in April 28 A.D.
• Adding 3 1/2 years or four Passovers, we come to 32 A.D, when Jesus was Crucified on Passover, April 14, 32 A.D.

3 2 1 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32

These dates are verified by the secular record of Suetonius, revealing that Tiberius Caesar began his reign on August 19th, 14 A.D.[10] According to Luke’s Gospel, in the 15th year of Tiberius’ reign, Jesus was baptized at the Jordan river by John the Baptist in the Fall of 28 A.D.

Luke 3:1-3 Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, 2 while Annas and Caiaphas were high priests, the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. 3 And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins…

Having established the date of Jesus’ birth from history, both Biblical and secular, and verifying the exact date that He came into Jerusalem as the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy in chapter 9, we can go on to examine the commandment given to Nehemiah which was made by Artaxerxes for the Jews to return to Jerusalem to restore and rebuild the city.

The command to return to Jerusalem

As I stated earlier in this chapter, the dating of Nehemiah’s recording of the command by Artaxerxes is recorded for us in history. For the sake of clarity, I will restate the context of this again:

On the first day of the month of Nisan, our 14th day of March, 445 B.C., Artaxerxes Longimanus issued the command for Nehemiah to return to Jerusalem to restore and rebuild the city.[11]

According to Nehemiah, this was the “twentieth year” of his reign, on July of 446 B.C.[12] Nine months later in the first month of the Nisan by the Hebrew calendar which is March/April of our current calendar, Artaxerxes gave the command to return and rebuild Jerusalem. According to Hebrew tradition, when the day of the month is unstated, the first day is assumed.[13] On the first day of the month of Nisan, our 14th day of March, 445 B.C., Artaxerxes Longimanus issued the command for Nehemiah to return to Jerusalem to restore and rebuild the city.[14]

Nehemiah 2:1-2 And it came to pass in the month of Nisan, (March-April) in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, that I took the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had never been sad in his presence before. 2 Therefore the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This is nothing but sorrow of heart.” So I became dreadfully afraid

The reason that Nehemiah was filled with fear is that after fasting and praying for the past 3 months, his distress is apparently showing on his face. Nehemiah is the Cupbearer to the king. It was his job to taste the king’s food and drink before the ruler consumed them, insuring that they were safe.

It was the task of the cupbearer to die for the king, if necessary.

According to the law of Babylon, to come into the presence of the king with even a hint of sadness on your countenance was considered a great insult to the king and punishable by death.[15]

Once in the presence of the King, you were expected to be joyful and happy. To approach the king of Babylon with sadness on your face could cost you your life. For this reason, Nehemiah is fearful that the king has noticed the despair he feels for Jerusalem.

Remember that Nehemiah has been praying and seeking the Lord for the three months leading up to this day. He should be expecting that the Lord will answer his prayer. Perhaps Nehemiah never anticipated that the answer to his intercession would come from a pagan king. It is an important principle; that the Lord will often work in ways which we are not anticipating. Often, our deliverance may come from the most unlikely of sources. This will be proven true for Nehemiah and the people who have been in captivity for seventy years.

It was said of King Artaxerxes Longimanus that he was a good, and “easygoing” king.[16]

Even though the normal protocol for a cupbearer was to maintain a joyful countenance when he would come before the king, Longimanus does not seem to mind that Nehemiah is sad. In fact, this good natured king seems to care that Nehemiah is sad, requesting the reason for his sadness.

Nehemiah 2:3-4 and (Nehemiah) said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ tombs, lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire?” 4 Then the king said to me, “What do you request?” So I prayed to the God of heaven.

Notice that when the king asks Nehemiah what he needs, very quickly, Nehemiah shoots up a prayer to the Lord: “What do I say Lord? Give me wisdom.”

There are many times when we don’t have time for a long prayer. The need is instantaneous with our prayer—we require the Lord’s help right at that moment. When you pray a short prayer in time of need, you can be sure that the Lord will hear, and help you.

Whenever someone approaches me after I have taught a Bible study to ask me a Bible related question or to ask for advice, I always shoot up my own silent prayer: “Lord, please give me wisdom right now.” I have discovered that in every instance when I have offered up these instantaneous requests, the Lord always gives me a wise answer.

Matthew 10:19 (Jesus said) But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak…

It is comforting to know that when we need help quickly, the Lord will answer us and provide the wisdom and direction required.

Nehemiah spoke silently in his mind: “What should I say Lord?”

Nehemiah 2: 5 And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it.”

Apparently, the Lord told Nehemiah to be direct and tell the King: “I want to go back to Jerusalem and help rebuild the city…”

Nehemiah 2:6 Then the king said to me (the queen also sitting beside him), “How long will your journey be? And when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.

Why does the Holy Spirit include the bracketed section of this verse: The Queen was sitting beside Him? It is my opinion that this Queen may have been Esther, from the Book of Esther.

Esther 2:16 So Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus, (Ahasuerus is not a name, it is a title for the king that means: “High Father”) into his royal palace, in the tenth month, which is the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign.

Esther was a Jewess who was brought to the throne of Artaxerxes at the precise moment that God had ordained to save the entire Jewish nation from being murdered by the evil Haman.

Esther 4:14 (Mordecai) For if you (Esther) remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

Esther 9:25 but when Esther came before the king, he commanded by letter that this wicked plot which Haman had devised against the Jews should return on his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows.

It is the opinion of many who make commentary on the Bible that this Queen, who is spoken of here in Nehemiah 2, is the same Esther who saved the entire nation, as described by the Book of Esther.

Nehemiah continues with his request to Artaxerxes:

Nehemiah 2:7-8 Furthermore I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, let letters be given to me for the governors of the region beyond the River, that they must permit me to pass through till I come to Judah, 8 and a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, that he must give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel which pertains to the temple, for the city wall, and for the house that I will occupy.” And the king granted them to me according to the good hand of my God upon me.

The letters that Artaxerxes gave Nehemiah, granting him permission to return to Jerusalem and rebuild it, were the same decree which is described in the prophecy of Daniel Chapter 9. When a Persian King wrote anything, it was always referred to as a Decree. This was due to the fact that all of his words were considered the words of a living God. Once spoken they could not be undone, even by the king who had declared them.

Daniel records this decree in his prophecy of chapter 9:25. See Prophecy 309 for more details.

Daniel 9:25 “Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command (This command by Artaxerxes to Nehemiah) To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times.”

• Sir Robert Anderson from the Royal Observatory in London, computed the exact day this event took place.[17]
• Taking into account all of the changes in the calendar for leap years and the changes from a 360-day Babylonian calendar year to our current 365.25 days per year calendar.
• According to Daniel’s prophecy, the period of time required for this command on March 14, 445 B. C. until the coming of the Messiah, there would be 173,880 days.[18]
• Jesus arrived in Jerusalem on this exact day, April 6th, 32 A. D.[19] and announced that He was the Messiah.
• This was Palm Sunday, the day that the Passover Lamb of Exodus 12 was to be inspected for defects, four days before He could be offered as the Passover Lamb.
• This all happened exactly as Daniel had predicted, 700 years before.

The first 69 weeks of Daniel’s prophecy are fulfilled in Jesus’ first arrival on earth.

On the 10th day of Nissan, Jesus gave a command to His disciples to go to a village near Bethphage and find a colt that was tied and bring it to Him.

Luke 19:29-42 And it came to pass, when Jesus came near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mountain called Olivet, that He sent two of His disciples, saying, “Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Loose him and bring him here. And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you loosing it?’ thus you shall say to him, ‘Because the Lord has need of it.’ ” So those who were sent went their way and found it just as He had said to them. But as they were loosing the colt, the owners of it said to them, “Why are you loosing the colt?” And they said, “The Lord has need of him.” Then they brought him to Jesus. And they threw their own clothes on the colt, and they set Jesus on him.

The disciples did as Jesus had instructed them. As the Lord sat upon the back of this young colt, He is led into the city of Jerusalem, and is proclaimed by the people who were gathered there, as the Messiah. Jesus not only allowed this to happen, He encouraged it and even engineered this event to take place precisely as the Old Testament prophecies had predicted.

Matthew 21:8-9 And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ Hosanna in the highest!”

Up until this point, Jesus had not allowed anyone to proclaim Him the Messiah. Prior to this day, His firm and resolute statements to those who sought to compel Him to tell the world His true identity was to say: “My time has not yet come.”

John 7:3-6 His brothers therefore said to Him, “Depart from here and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may see the works that You are doing. For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.” For even His brothers did not believe in Him. Then Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready.”

Jesus chose the date of Nissan 10, (April 6, 32 A.D.) to make Himself known as the Messiah because this was the date that Daniel’s prophecy called for. We know that this was the date of His arrival into Jerusalem, because Nissan 14 of that year was the beginning of the Feast of Passover, when Jesus was crucified. According to the law of Moses, the Passover Lamb was to be inspected for blemishes on the 10th day of Nissan, before it could be offered as the sacrifice on the 14th. This 10th day was Palm Sunday when Jesus rode into Jerusalem and allowed the entire nation to inspect Him.

Exodus 12:2-6 “This month (Nisan-April) shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you. 3 Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. 4 And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man’s need you shall make your count for the lamb. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 6 Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight.

It was on April 6, 32 A.D. (the corresponding Hebrew date of Nisan 10) that Jesus told His disciples to go over to Bethphage and find for Him the foal of a donkey. It was on this specific date that the Lord fulfilled the instructions given by the Book of Exodus for the inspection of the Passover Lamb, on the tenth day (6th of April) of the first month (Nisan-April).

Jesus was waiting for this one specific day in history, to fulfill what was predicted by Daniel’s prophecy, the Messiah’s introduction at Jerusalem.

Using Nisan 10 or April 6, in the year 32 A.D., and backing up the calendar 483 years (the last 7 years to come later), taking into account that the prophetic calendar is always 360 days—allowing for a change in the calendar from 1 B.C. to 1 A.D., as there is no “0” year—finally adding 116 days for all leap years, we have a total of 173,880 days.

From April 6, 32 A.D. going back in history 173,889 days, we come to March 14, 445 B.C., as calculated by Sir Robert Anderson’s of the Royal Observatory in London, England in 1877. According to history, March 14, 445 B.C., Artaxerxes Longimanus gave the command for the Jews to return to Jerusalem.

For additional information on this subject, see Prophecy 309.

Daniel 9:24 “Seventy weeks 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 build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times.  And after the sixty-two weeks 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. Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week 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.”

First: The beginning of the 70 weeks of years is to begin upon the decree to “Restore and Rebuild” Jerusalem.

Second: In all of history, there is only one such decree ever recorded.

Third: This decree is a matter of history and happened on March 14, 445 B.C., being issued by Artaxerxes the King of Persia.

Fourth: The History books record that reconstruction of the city of Jerusalem began on this exact day.[20]

Fifth: The Julian calendar date of the 1st of Nissan is the 14th day of March, 445 B.C.

Sixth: If we take 69 times 7 weeks of years, we get 483 years. Multiply this by 360 days per year, we get 173,880 days.

Seventh: Taking the date that Artaxerxes issued the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem as March 14, 445 B.C. and adding 173,880 days, we come to April 6th, 32 A.D. This is the precise day recorded in the Bible as the Palm Sunday before Jesus was crucified—when He rode into Jerusalem and for the first time ever—allowed Himself to be proclaimed as “The Messiah.”

Matthew 21:4 All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying:  “Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your King is coming to you, Lowly, and sitting on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.’ ” So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them.  They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them. And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road.  Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ Hosanna in the highest!”

Every other time that Jesus had been encouraged to announce to the world that He was the long-awaited Messiah, He refused, stating that “His time had not yet come…” Jesus was waiting to fulfill the day prophesied by Daniel 9 and Zechariah 9:9 as the date Messiah would come riding into Jerusalem, lowly and riding on the foal of a donkey. Jesus arrived on this date and fulfilled Daniel and Zechariah’s prophecies, thereby proving that He is the Messiah, the King of the Jews and Savior of the World.


NOTES:
[1] Plutarch, Artaxerxes, l. 1. c. 1. 11:129 – cited by Ussher, Annals, para. 1179
[2] Plutarch, Artaxerxes, l. 1. c. 1. 11:129 – cited by Ussher, Annals, para. 1179
[3] 1. Ghias Abadi, R. M. (2004) (in Persian). Achaemenid Inscriptions (کتیبه‌های هخامنشی)‎ (2nd edition ed.). Tehran: Shiraz Navid Publications. pp. 129. ISBN 964-358-015-6.
2. Encyclopedia Britannica 1990 Edition, section on Artaxerxes I.
[4] Nehemiah Chapter 2, and Plutarch, Artaxerxes, l. 1. c. 1. 11:129 – cited by Ussher, Annals, para. 1179
[5] 1. JewishEncyclopedia.com”. Retrieved 2012-04-24.
2. See Willie Roth’s essay The International Date Line and Halacha.
3. Appendix II: Baal HaMaor’s Interpretation of 20b and its Relevance to the Dateline” in Talmud Bavli, Schottenstein Edition, Tractate Rosh HaShanah, Mesorah Publications Ltd. (“ArtScroll”) 1999, where “20b” refers to the 20th page 2nd folio of the tractate.
[6] Sir Robert Anderson, “The Coming Prince”, ISBN-10: 1479215945
[7] Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Tiberius, also Barnes notes on the Gospel of Luke, chapter 3, and Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Gospel of Luke chapter 3.
[8] Flavius Josephus, the Wars of the Jews, account of the destruction of the temple.Translated by William Whiston, 1737
[9] Ibid, Josephus
[10] Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Tiberius, also Barnes notes on the Gospel of Luke, chapter 3, and Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Gospel of Luke chapter 3.
[11] Sir Robert Anderson, “The Coming Prince”, ISBN-10: 1479215945
[12] Plutarch, Artaxerxes, l. 1. c. 1. 11:129 – cited by Ussher, Annals, para. 1179
[13] 1. JewishEncyclopedia.com”. Retrieved 2012-04-24.
2. See Willie Roth’s essay The International Date Line and Halacha.
3. Appendix II: Baal HaMaor’s Interpretation of 20b and its Relevance to the Dateline” in Talmud Bavli, Schottenstein Edition, Tractate Rosh HaShanah, Mesorah Publications Ltd. (“ArtScroll”) 1999, where “20b” refers to the 20th page 2nd folio of the tractate.
[14] Sir Robert Anderson, “The Coming Prince”, ISBN-10: 1479215945
[15] James Ussher, His Annals.
[16] Plutarch, Artaxerxes, l. 1. c. 1. 11:129 – cited by Ussher, Annals.
[17] Sir Robert Anderson, “The Coming Prince”, ISBN-10: 1479215945
[18] ibid, Sir Robert Anderson
[19] ibid, Sir Robert Anderson, “The Oming Prince” Location 1550-1551
[20] Ibid, Plutarch, Artaxerxes

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