Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time. And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing.
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 “weeks” God speaks of when He says, “seven ‘weeks,’ and sixty-two ‘weeks'” 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 cut off. He 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.
“These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” -Jesus Christ, Luke 24:44
You might also like:
- Jesus in the life of Joseph of the Old Testament
- Jesus in Abraham’s obedience to sacrifice his son
- Jesus in the gospel message from Adam’s genealogy in Genesis 5
- Finding Jesus in the Old Testament by Rabbi Jonathan Bernis
John Walvoord, Daniel (The John Walvoord Prophecy Commentaries), Moody 2012]
[Image via: Missional Volunteer – Creative Commons]