Teach Us to Number Our Days

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Daniel's 70 Weeks of Years Prophecy

 

Daniel 9:24

   Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the

   transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and

   to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to

   anoint the most Holy.

The Hebrew word שָׁבוּעַ, pronounced shaw-boo'-ah, means a period of seven and is

translated as “weeks” in the King James Bible.[1] Thus, the passage begins with a literal

time duration of seventy periods of seven. The calculation for the total is 70 x 7 or 490.

However, the focus of Daniel's prophecy is most interesting as it pin-points the presence

of the long awaited Messiah  :

Daniel 9:25

   Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to

   restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and

   threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in

   troublous times.

The 490 total is sub-divided into two parts: 7 periods of seven, and 62 periods of seven

leaving leaving 1 period of seven unaccounted for. The calculation is 7 x 7 or 49, and then

62 x 7 or 434. The total is 49 + 434 which is 483. The question then becomes

483 “what”? Is the time period hours, days, months, or years? The context is clearly

established in the first three verses of Chapter 9 which precede our passage of interest:

Daniel 9:1-3

   1 In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which

     was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans;

   2 In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years,

     whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would

     accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.

   3 And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with

     fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:

Daniel was contemplating the “number of the years” that God had decreed by the prophet

Jeremiah for the desolations of Jerusalem. This was an intensely personal thing for Daniel

for he was among the first of the Jewish captives carried by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon

in 606 BC. Since Daniel at the time was thinking and praying about a prophetic duration in

terms of years, it seems most natural that God would not suddenly answer Daniel in the

midst of his prayers and change the unit of time from years to some other arbitrary unit

without telling him plainly.

 

The 26th verse identifies what part of the life of the Messiah the prophecy is aimed at:

Daniel 9:26

   And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself:

   and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary;

   and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are

   determined.

There is general agreement among main line Christian sects that the duration of the

prophecy would end with the Messiah being killed or more literally “cut off ”. The Hebrew

word for “cut off ” is כרת pronounced kaw-rath and when used of persons means to be

extirpated or destroyed.[2] This part of the prophecy would not be filled at the end of

the first sub-division of seven sevens (49 yrs) but after the second sub-division of sixty-

two sevens (49 + 432 yrs or 483 yrs). But what about the remaining 1 week (7 yrs) that

is unaccounted for? This is addressed in the 27th verse as a period that will post date  

the Messiah's death :

Daniel 9:27

   And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the 

   week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading

   of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that

   determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

This last sub-division of time when added to the others totals exactly seventy sevens or

70 x 7 or 490 yrs. The key decision that must be made to interpret the 69 or 70 weeks

prophecy is identifying what type of year was being contemplated. Sir Robert Anderson

reaches the same key question:

   “But here a question arises which never has received sufficient notice in the

    consideration of the subject. None will doubt that the era is a period of years; but of

    what kind of year is it composed?”[3]

Some have used a Lunar Year made of 12 lunar months or 354 days per year. Others

have used a so-called Prophetic Year of 360 days. Still others have opted for a natural

Solar or Tropical Year composed of 365.242199 days which represents a straight forward

literal interpretation of the Bible (see the long term cumulative average,

Hebrew-Calendar).

 

There have been five major attempts to solve the mathematics of Daniel's 69 or 70

weeks of years that end at or within days of the death of Messiah. They are :

   [ Click on each of the underlined Links below for more detail and analysis ]

   1) Julius Africanus (AD 200-245) used 490 Lunar Years ending in 31 AD 

   2) Sir Isaac Newton (1733) used 490 Solar Years ending in 34 AD

   3) Sir Robert Anderson (1882) used 483 Prophetic Years ending in 32 AD

   4) The late Dr. Harold Hoehner (1973) used 483 Prophetic Years ending in 33 AD

   5) Dr. Floyd Nolen Jones (1993) used 483 Solar Years ending in 30 AD

In each case, except Dr. Jones, a non-literal element was used by the various authors

in interpreting the Daniel 9:24-27 passage. In each case, except Dr. Jones, an outright

mathematical error or violation of the ancient Hebrew Calendar has been detected in the

details of the various author's proposed solution. 

 

It is my firm conclusion that only the simple, literal interpretation of Daniel's 70

week prophecy (see Jones above) leads to a satisfactory solution that is mathematically

sound and does not violate the ancient Hebrew Calendar. Thus, the literal fulfillment of

Daniel's amazing 483 solar-lunar year prophecy begins Thursday April 8, 454 BC (Julian)

in the "barley ripe" Hebrew Month of Nisan 15 and ends on Monday April 3, 30 AD

(Julian) in the "barley ripe" Hebrew month Nisan 10, the day the sacrificial lambs must be

selected. This time period spans 176,412 days (inclusive) which is a 365.24 days per year

average.  

 

Historical validation of 30 AD as the year Christ was crucified has at least three sources:

First, after the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD, the ancient writings of those Jews

who continued to reject Jesus, confirms an exact 40 year period of strange phenomenon in

and about the Temple leading up to its destruction. The Ancient Jewish Talmud clearly

states that 40 years before the Temple was destroyed:

1. The middle (western) candle in the candlestick in the sanctuary refused to burn

continually (Jerusalem Talmud, Yoma 43c).  Formerly, it was always the first one lit and

would always burn to the last after the others went out.

2. The locked doors of the Holy Temple would open all by themselves during the night

(Babylon Talmud, Yoma 39b). Josephus documents it took 20 men to open and shut these

massive brass doors.[4] In light of a 30 AD rejection and crucifixion of their own 

Messiah, the abrupt beginning of strange, unruly Temple operation in precisely 30 AD is

understandable. They had attempted to kill the Temple of God - Jesus' Earthly Body, and

now spiritual worship in their own Jerusalem Temple was hopelessly broken and would not

no longer cooperate. For 40 consecutive years beginning in 30 AD the lot of the scape-

goat which had always appeared each year in the "right hand" had suddenly switched to

the "left hand" which was considered by the Jews at that time as a bad omen. Also the

scarlet chord that was hung on the doors of the temple each year would miraculously turn

pure white at the death of the scape-goat until 30 AD when for 40 consecutive years the

scarlet chord representing the sins of the nation Israel remained blood red. Why would

Jerusalem Temple worship suddenly turned sour precisely beginning in 30 AD? What had

they done to deserve this spiritually cold shouldered treatment? Nothing but the slaughter

and rejection of the innocent "Lamb of God" can explain this historically STRANGE  

phenomena

Second, Eusebius, bishop of Caesarea in Palestine, included in his c.325 AD writings about

the early Church history a reference indicating that Christ died in 30 AD. 

   “. . . that all gracious Providence (of God) that had deferred their (the Jews)

     destruction for FORTY YEARS after their crimes against Christ.”[5]

This 40-year statement and the fact that Jerusalem was laid waste in AD 70, taken along

with all the forgoing applications of the Daniel 9, constitutes very strong evidence and

convinces me that 30 AD is the preferred year for establishing the chronology of Christ’s

death.

 

Third, Paulus Orosius (417 AD) mentions that Pilate had reported to the Emperor

Tiberius and to the Roman Senate concerning the strange happenings surrounding the trial,

execution and resurrection of Christ including the subsequent miracles  performed by the

risen Christ and His disciples. He also reported the fact that an ever increasing multitude

believed that this Christ was a God. Orosius states that Tiberius proposed to the Senate

that Christ be held a god and the Senate, roused by Tiberius' perfect Sejanus who

obstensively opposed this religion, refused to deify Christ.  This angered the Emperor

who had a number of Senators put to death and put Sejanus to death for also attempting

a revolution.[6] What makes this important is that the death of Sejanus is known from

Tacitus as 18 October 31 AD.[7] This eliminates Anderson's 32 AD date of prophecy

end as well as Hoehner's 33 AD date since Sejanus was still alive when Jesus was  

crucified.

 

Two other Bible prophecies also support the 30 AD crucifixion date. One is Jesus'

pronouncement that the Temple would be utterly destroyed (Matt 24:1-2) but also

declared :

Matt 23:34

   "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled."

A Jewish generation is commonly considered 40 years as was the case during the

wandering years after The Exodus. Forty years from 30 AD is 70 AD, the very year the

Temple was destroyed.

 

Another prophecy that links to the death of Jesus on the 14th day of the Hebrew month

Nisan and strongly supports a 30 AD crucifixion date is the Siege of Jerusalem Prophecy

of Ezekiel 4:6-8.     

 


 

 [1] Brown, F., Driver, S. R., & Briggs, C. A., Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (electronic ed.), (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems,2000) (week).

[2] Dr. William Gesenius, Gesenius’ Hebrew And Chaldee Lexicon To The Old Testament Scriptures, translation by Samuel Prideaux Tregelles, LL. D., (Grand Rapids, MI., Baker Book House, 1979), p. 416 (#3772).

[3] Sir Robert Anderson, The Coming Prince, reprint of the tenth edition, (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1977), 67.

[4] Flavius Josephus, Josephus Complete Works, trans. by William Whiston, (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1960), Wars of the Jews, VI. 5. 3. 

[5] Eusebius Pamphilus, Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History, Vol. III (Grand Rapids Michigan: Baker Book House) Ch vii, 94.

[6] Paulus Orosius, Seven Books of History Against the Pagans, (New York: Columbia UP., 1936), pp. 325–326.

[7] Cornelius Tacitus, Annals, The Loeb Classical Library, (Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1931), vi., 25 & 15 (written c.117 AD).