The prophet Daniel from Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling.
“Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing.” -Daniel 9:25-26
This prophecy from Daniel predicts the time when Messiah would present himself–as Messiah–to the nation of Israel. At the time this prophecy was given by Daniel, Jerusalem was in ruins. The “sevens” God speaks of when He says, “seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens’” are seven year periods. So the time frame we’re talking about here is:
Seven times seven years, plus sixty-two times seven years.
or, written in numerals,
7 x 7 years + 62 x 7 years.
Which equals 49 years + 434 years.
Which equals a total of 483 years.
Both the Hebrews and Babylonians of Daniel’s day used a 360 day calendar. So taking that into account, when you multiply the 483 years times 360 days you come up with 173,880 days.
483 years x 360 = 173,880.
Which equals 476+ years on the modern calendar.
Artaxerxes, the Persian emperor, decreed Jerusalem to be restored and rebuilt in the 20th year of his reign, around 444 BC. (Nehemiah 2:1-8) That’s what started the clock for this prophecy.
Do you see where this is headed? The time frame given in the prophecy, 476 years, added to the starting point given in the prophecy, the year in which Jerusalem was ordered to be restored by Artaxerxes, puts us around AD 33. (In case you were wondering, there is no zero year. The calendar goes from 1 BC to 1 AD. That’s why it’s AD 33 instead of AD 32.)
That’s when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the donkey while the people praised him and received him as their king. (Luke 19:28-42) And shortly thereafter Jesus was put to death–fulfilling the prophecy.
Scholars have different opinions about exactly when the 483 years started. But even so, any way you look at it, Daniel’s prophecy is amazing.
Once again we see that Jesus’ words are true.
Once again we find Jesus in the Old Testament.
Just as he said they were, when Moses and the prophets wrote the scriptures–they were writing about Jesus Christ.
“Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” -Jesus Christ, Luke 24:44
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[Resources and related articles: John Walvoord, Daniel (The John Walvoord Prophecy Commentaries), Moody 2012]
[Image via: Missional Volunteer - Creative Commons]