Mining the 70 weeks of Daniel 9

Messiah the Prince (Dan. 9:25).

Daniel 9:25 states that from the " 'decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince' " (NASB) would be 69 weeks or 483 years. What date do we apply to this decree, and why?

Various dates have been given for this decree, including 538 B.C., 520 B.C., and 457 B.C. Let's look quickly at all three.

For starters, let' begin with:

  • 538 as the starting point. From the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem (538 B.C.) unto Messiah the Prince, Jesus, would be 483 years (we're using the day/year principle, because the text demands it). Going 483 years from 538 B.C. reaches to what? 55 B.C.—a date that in no way fits the time of Christ's earthly ministry.

  • 520 B.C. If that's the starting point of the decree, and we go 483 years later, what date do we arrive at, and why is that date unworkable?

  • 457 B.C. date, the numbers bring us right to the time of Christ. This decree was given by Artaxerxes I, and it provided for the restoration of complete civil, judicial, and religious authority of Jews in their homeland (see Ezra 7:11-28).

It's obvious that both the Jews and their enemies understood the decree to mean the rebuilding of the city. In Ezra 4:7-13 (the events in Ezra are not in chronological order), a group of Persian officers wrote to King Artaxerxes, complaining about the Jews who were rebuilding Jerusalem. In the letter, they stated two important points:

  1. That the city was being rebuilt (Ezra 4:12).
  2. The Jews who were rebuilding had come there because of the king. Said the letter, "the Jews which came up from thee to us are come unto Jerusalem, building the rebellious and the bad city" (vs. 12, emphasis supplied).
  • In other words, the Jews who were rebuilding the city had come there because of King Artaxerxes, and the only decree issued by the king that sent the Jews back to Jerusalem was issued in the seventh year of his reign, the one shown in Ezra 7, a date that can be established as 457 B.C.

Starting with year 457 B.C., what date will you come to 483 years later? (Remember: There is no such thing as "A.D. zero"! so, when you reach zero in the timeline of history, continue counting from A.D. 1.)

Answer: A.D. 27. Why is 457 B.C. the only date that works? Dwell on this amazing prophecy. It would be equivalent to someone in the time of Martin Luther predicting the exact year Angela Merkel would be elected chancellor of Germany. What does this prophecy tell us about the power of God?

Truth found truth shared. CM

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