Day of Jesus prophesied 600 years beforehand?
Prophesies are meant to be somewhat hidden, especially to the general non-seeking public. But when the event happens it becomes clear. We can look back and see that Daniel 9 clearly predicted the very year of Jesus’ arrival 600 years before it happened. Daniel 9:1 tells us that the book of Daniel was written in the first year of Xerxes, which was 539-538 B.C. Critics try to say Daniel was written much later to avoid explaining all its exact prophesies. (see my other article on how it knew details only known in that time period. Look half way down the article.) However they have to admit it was written by 153 B.C. at the very latest because it was part of the Greek translation of the Old Testament (Septuagint), which was finished by 153 B.C. So at the very minimum, Daniel predicted the year of the Lord 180 years before it happened, which still isn’t bad.
“Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. Daniel 9:25
The prophesy says that the messiah would come after 7 “sevens” and 62 “sevens” (69 “sevens” total) from when there was a decree to rebuild Jerusalem. The “sevens” are periods of 7 years. So 69×7=483 years. In Ezra 7:11-26 Artaxerxes gives Ezra permission to rebuild Jerusalem in the fifth month of the seventh year of the king. Secular historians agree Artaxerxes ruled from 465-424 B.C. so the 7th year of his reign was 458 B.C. (465 B.C. – 7 years = 458 B.C.).
8 Ezra arrived in Jerusalem in the fifth month of the seventh year of the king. …11 This is a copy of the letter King Artaxerxes had given to Ezra the priest… 13 Now I decree that any of the Israelites in my kingdom, including priests and Levites, who volunteer to go to Jerusalem with you, may go. … 18 You and your fellow Israelites may then do whatever seems best with the rest of the silver and gold, in accordance with the will of your God. Ezra 7:8, 11, 18
26 A.D. is 483 years after 458 B.C. (remember to add 1 to the count since there is no year 0 A.D.). We’re not sure what this refers to though. His death or the start of his ministry are the most likely. It appears to coincide with the day Jesus publicly started his ministry because it fits into the chronology of all the events best (see chart below). It may have been on the Day of Atonement, or Yom Kippur, the highest Holy Day, because this day is 6 months before Passover. That way he had 3 -1/2 years of ministry before His death on the Passover in the Spring of 30 A.D. This is when he was “cut off” in the middle of his 7 years as Daniel 9 predicted.
After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. Daniel 9:26a
It also interesting that if this is the right date, then the destruction of Jerusalem was exactly to the day 40 years after Jesus’ death. This could be related to Ezekiel 4:6. Or it could be one generation. Either way, Josephus (who was not a Christian so he’s not biased) recorded (see quote in table below) that Titus began the attack on Jerusalem on Passover in 70 A.D., exactly 40 years to the day after Jesus died. Interesting coincidence which must tie in somehow. This verse above also tells us that the coming Antichrist (“the ruler who will come’) will be from the Roman empire because it was that empire that destroyed Jerusalem.
Jesus may come back to finish his week (3-1/2 additional years) on a future Day of Atonement (see Isaiah 34:6-7; Ezekiel 39:17-19, Rev 19:11-21). You’ll notice that a lot of events in Revelation are all 3-1/2 years. The Antichrist seems to have 3-1/2 years to deceive the nations and bring havoc on the earth, especially the Christians. He signs a 7 years peace accord and then he sets up an abomination in the Temple (or possibly just a Tabernacle) half way into this. This appears to be when Jesus comes back to bring wrath upon the Antichrist and all who follow his terrible ways (the wrath is well deserved-we’ll probably understand it better at that time just how well deserved it is).
The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. 27 He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him. Daniel 9:26b-27
Then after this remaining 3-1/2 years, the complete “Seventy-Sevens” will be finished as mentioned in the beginning of the passage. This may be when the millennial (1,000 year) reign of Christ starts. This will wrap up a nice 7,000 year life of the earth for God to find people willing to obey Him and live forever with Him. Biblical events are not always exactly lined up with the exact thousand year increments, so we don’t know it will be 2030 AD. For example they can calculate the date of the flood and it is 1656 years after the creation, not an even 2000 years. However they calculate the date of creation as 4004 B.C. and so Jesus’ birth at 5 B.C. (see chart below) was almost exactly 4000 years later. But even if Jesus’ return turns out to line up with a thousand year increment this time, we also don’t know which point will line up. Could his actual return be 2000 years after his death, or just the coming of the antichrist. So we may have +/- 3.5 years of unknown. So Jesus told us to watch for certain seasons but really His point was to always be ready, not to focus on figuring out the date. So as usual we know His return could be anytime. However, I think it’s okay to enjoy speculating and one interesting date would be the Day of Atonement 2030 A.D., lining up with the year of Jesus’ death.
“Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy. Daniel 9:24
Here is a chart showing all the New Testament events and how they fit into secular recorded events. The scenario that I’ve picked lines up with all of them. There is another theory that uses a lunar calendar of 30 days/month and uses another king’s decree to finish the rebuilding of Jerusalem. Both theories actually work to the general time period but that one doesn’t fit with the first census of Quirinius. Also the event it uses to start the clock, Artaxerxes to Nehemiah to rebuild the walls Neh 2:1-8, is not a decree to rebuild the city but just the walls. And even then it’s not a decree to rebuild them but just permission for him to return to Jerusalem. Then he rebuilds them when he gets there. You basically just take a strict 360 day year and multiply by 483 years. That gives you a certain number of days, then you divide by 365.25 to get it back to solar years so you can use our typical dating.
But I don’t think you can do this because even when people used a lunar calendar in the Old Testament, they needed to make adjustments from time to time to get it back on track with the solar calendar so the seasons will be right. I’ve heard they added a leap week or month occasionally when they noticed it getting off. Otherwise your summer will be in the winter months. So the years still turn out to be solar years eventually. For short term calculations (up to say 50 years or so) you can use the lunar calendar but with longer calculations the difference starts to be significant. So anyway, I used the solar calendar and things really line up nicely. I put the dating for both methods side by side here. And below is another website discussing it.