Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.(Isaiah 52:13-15)
Israel has been awaiting the coming of the Messiah. Over the centuries, the Hebrew prophets described him through the Spirit of the LORD. He would come through the line of Abraham,Isaac,Jacob ,Judah and David, He would be born in Bethlehem(Micah 5) , and arrive before the destruction of the second Temple (Daniel 9).
How did some people know enough to anticipate the coming of the Messiah, in the first century? For example the Wise men of the Christmas story, and the multitudes who went out “into the wilderness to prepare the way of the LORD in the days of John the Baptist?
They knew because they were familiar with the writings of the prophets, and particularly Daniel, as pertaining to timing.
The Prophecy of Daniel 9 is so accurate, it predicts the coming of the Messiah, to the very day.
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. 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. 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.(Daniel 9:24-26)
Daniel received this revelation in exile, in Babylon during the captivity. He had been confessing the sins of Israel and interceding for the restoration of Israel.
An Angelic messenger gave him the interpretation,
*Seventy weeks- literally “Seventy sevens”…or 490 years…Picture a stop watch with 490 years…
- Are determined upon thy people and Holy city…Israel and Jerusalem will be given 490 years …
- Within those 490 years, The Transgression of sin must finish, sin itself must be done away with, reconciliation must be accomplished,and the Age of Righteousness must be inaugurated,all prophecy must be fulfilled, and the Holy Place reconsecrated.
- The Stop watch will start ,”From the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem…”
- 69 weeks of years shall pass. (483 years) “…unto the arrival of Messiah the Prince…”
- The Messiah will then be cut off…but not for himself , but for the people…
- At that point, the Stop watch will be turned off…leaving even years…
The command to rebuild the city is recorded in Nehemiah 2:1,5,8 and the date is given for it . Artexerxes began his reign in 464 BC, and this was the twentieth year of his resign in the month of Nisan (March/April).
And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence… And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers’ sepulchres, that I may build it. …And a letter unto Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the palace which appertained to the house, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall enter into. And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me.(Nehemiah 2:1,5,8)
Therefore the stop watch clicked on in March/April 444BC.
We must remember that Jews reckon time by a lunar calendar and not a Solar calendar as we do in the west. A month is 360 days. 483 years x 360 days is 173,880 days. By calculating days starting from Nisan 1, we can come to an arrival date for the Messiah to present himself to Israel.*
Daniel said that from that decree in 444BC unto the arrival of Messiah the Prince would be 69 weeks of years(483 years or 173,880 days which would compute to March 29th 33 AD.
The Messiah presented Himself to the Jewish people in late March, 33 AD.
500 years before, the prophet Daniel predicted to the very day that the Messiah would come and “Be cut off”, but “”not for himself but for the people”.
But when the Messiah was cut off for us, the stop watch clicked off, leaving seven more years to accomplish in the people and the city those momentous things; the end of sin and iniquity, the fulfillment of prophecy, the reconciliatory sacrifice, the dawning of the Age of Righteousness, and the reconsecration of the Temple mount.
There is coming a signal from heaven which will indicate that “the age of the gentiles “is over, and the seven last years have commenced. It can’t be very long now…
- I am greatly indebted to the wonderful book of Sir Robert Anderson, former head inspector of the Scotland Yard, and fervent Bible scholar of the late 19th century for these calculations.