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Seventy Weeks of Daniel 9

 The 70th week in Daniel 9
By: David M. Curtis

Finding the correct starting date for the Seventy Weeks is the most essential step in determining a right understanding of this prophecy. If we have the wrong starting date, everything that follows is going to be erroneous.

We are looking for a very specific decree. We are looking for the edict to rebuild Jerusalem, and its walls. Nothing less than this will do. The book of Ezra and Nehemiah have four edicts, and only one of these edicts has to do with rebuilding Jerusalem, and is in fact the very decree that causes the walls to be rebuilt. The other three decrees were given to rebuild the Temple, and restore its worship, and further commissions two colonies of Jews to return to Jerusalem. These other three decrees have nothing to do with rebuilding Jerusalem. Therefore we can be 100% certain which of these four decrees give to us a starting date for the “Seventy Week” prophecy of Daniel 9.

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.  Daniel 9:25

One of the following dates below is the starting date we are looking for!

Initiator and Date for each Decree

Cyrus Ezra 1:1-4 538 B.C.
Darius Ezra 6:8-12 519 B.C.
7th Year of Artaxerxes Ezra 7:11-26 457 B.C.
20th Year of Artaxerxes Nehemiah 2:1-9 444 B.C.

 

 

Edict #1 by Cyrus, in the 538 BC 

 

538 BC: Cyrus gives the edict that the temple in Jerusalem was to be rebuilt. Ezra 1:1-4.

538 BC: The first colony of Jews return to Jerusalem under the leadership of Zerubbabel. Ezra 1-6.

538 BC: The foundation of the temple is laid. Ezra 3:8-13.

537 BC: The building is hindered. Ezra  4:24.

THE EDICT OF 538 BC HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH REBUILDING JERUSALEM OR ITS WALLS!!!

 

 

Edict #2 by Darius, in the 519 BC

 

519 BC: Darius re-commissions the rebuilding of the temple. Ezra 6.

516 BC: Temple completed.  Ezra 6:15.

THE EDICT OF 519 BC HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH REBUILDING JERUSALEM OR ITS WALLS!!!

 

Edict # 3 by Artaxerxes I, in the year 457 BC

 

457 BC: The second colony of Jews return to Jerusalem under the Authorization of Artaxerxes I. Ezra 7.

  • The King finances the Temple worship Ezra 7:13,15,20
  • King commissions the purchase of animals for sacrifice Ezra 7:17
  • Vessels and other things needful for Temple worship are restored Ezra 7:19,20
  • King commissions all the help neccessary to restore Temple worship. Ezra 7:23
  • King restricts taxation on those involved in Temple worship Ezra 7:24
  • Jerusalem is given permission by the King to excersize the law of Moses and to teach it. Ezra 7:25,26

457 BC: The list of Ezra’s company of returning exiles and their arrival at Jerusalem. Ezra 8.

457 BC: The correction of social evils by Ezra. Ezra 9-10.

THE EDICT OF 457 BC HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH REBUILDING JERUSALEM OR ITS WALLS!!!

 There is no way in demonstrating that Christ died and AD 31, and it is well known among scholars that there is no way of proving that the decree of 457 BC is the one referred to in Daniel chapter 9 verse 25. There is nothing in Ezra 7 giving permission to rebuild the city in Ezra 6:14 in contact show that the decree by Artaxerxes concerned the temple and not the city.” Desmond Ford –  1844, the Day of Atonement, and the Investigative Judgment page 24.

 

Edict # 4 by Artaxerxes I, in the  year 444 BC

 

444 BC: Edict to rebuild Jerusalem, its palaces, and its walls is given by Artaxerex I. Nehemiah 2:1-9.

441 BC The wall is dedicated. Nehemiah 12:27.

 

Nehemiah 2:1-9 

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.  2  Wherefore the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid,  3  And said unto the king, Let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when THE CITY, the place of my fathers’ sepulchres, LIETH WASTE, AND THE GATES THEREOF are consumed with fire?  4  Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven.  5  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 IT6  And the king said unto me, (the queen also sitting by him,) For how long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou return? So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.  7  Moreover I said unto the king, If it please the king, let letters be given me to the governors beyond the river, that they may convey me over till I come into Judah;  8  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.  9  Then I came to the governors beyond the river, and gave them THE KING’S LETTERS. Now the king had sent captains of the army and horsemen with me.

From this we can know for certain that in 444 BC that….

  • Jerusalem had not been rebuilt
  • The wall had not been rebuilt
  • The gates had not been rebuilt

The King sent Nehemiah with offical legal documents and his captains and an army of horsemen to….

  • Rebuild Jerusalem
  • Rebuild the wall

The mission Nehemaih was sent to accomplish under the edict of King Artaxerxes in 444 BC, was to rebuild Jerusalem and the wall, and that is exactly what we are looking for as a starting date for the “Seventy Week” prophecy! This is the only edict that fits what we have been looking for!

Let’s look one more time at the chronolgy of what took place during this decade.

444 BC: Edict given by Artaxerex I to rebuild Jerusalem, its palaces, and its walls. Nehemiah 2:1-9.

441 BC The wall is dedicated. Nehemiah 12:27.

Let’s not miss the significance of how important this is. Just three years after this edict is given in 444 BC the wall is dedicated. In fact that is what the entire book of Nehemiah is all about. The culmination of the book is about a story when Nehemiah was able to use the newly erected wall and gates to bar Jerusalem against merchants on the Sabbath.

Discovering the starting date to the “Seventy Week” prophecy is the easy part. Next we need to discuss the mathmatical parts of this prophecy.

Daniel 9:25-26  Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem (444 BC) 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.  26  And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself:

At the close of the 62 weeks the Messiah would be cut off or in other words He would die on the Cross!

The duration of time that would pass until the crucifixion of Christ was to be 7 + 62 weeks, which is a total of 69 weeks, or 483 days.

We are looking at a period of 483 YEARS from 444 BC. Which according to most people’s calculations brings us to the year 40 AD.

For those who are getting out their calculators, allow me to point out something important here. When we transition from 1 BC over to 1 AD there is no 0 year. So you will need to minus a year to get the right total.

Of course JESUS DID NOT DIE IN 40 AD. That much is obvious. So how are we able to explain this? Stick with me. There is a completely rational, and reasonable explanation that will clear all of this up.

THE SEVENTY WEEKS USE THE BIBLICAL YEAR SYSTEM OF 360 DAYS PER YEAR

(DON’T MISS THE NEXT PARAGRAPH IT IS IMPORTANT!)

When applying a day for a year to a Bible prophecy it is important to use the Biblical 360 day in a year system.  Most Bible students that look into the seventy week prophecy forget to do this. They may do it elsewhere. They may apply the 360 Biblical day in a year system to Daniel 7 or Revelation 12 and 13 arriving at a total of 1260 years. If they do, they make 360 days a major point in their teaching on those time prophecies. If they did not use the 360 day Biblical system, they would have arrived at a 1278 and 1/3 year prophecy instead of the 1260 year prophecy. But for some reason when we come to the Seventy Week” prophecy they apply the 365.25 day in a year system that we use in modern times.

WHAT IS NEEDED IS A CONVERSION of BIBLICAL YEARS INTO THE GREGORIAN CALENDAR SYSTEM IN ORDER TO KNOW WHEN THE PROPHECY WAS TO END.

Don’t worry I do all the work; you just have to keep up! 🙂

Stay with me during this next part.

 

Jewish month Nisan in 444 BC – See Nehemiah 2:1

+ 483 Biblical Years (360 Days X 483 = 178,880 Days) 

EQUALS = (Nisan , the Month of the Passover)  in the year, 33 A.D.

“it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king…” Nehemiah 2:1

What Year Did Jesus Die?

Jewish Year

Year

Julian

Gregorian

Day of Week

Nisan 14, 3787

27 AD

April 9

April 7

Wednesday

Nisan 14, 3788

28 AD

March 29

March 27

Monday

Nisan 14, 3789

29 AD

April 16

April 14

Saturday

Nisan 14, 3790

30 AD

April 5

April 3

Wednesday

Nisan 14, 3791

31 AD

March 26

March 24

Monday

Nisan 14, 3792

32 AD

April 14

April 12

Monday

Nisan 14, 3793

33 AD

April 3

April 1

Friday

Nisan 14, 3794

34 AD

March 22

March 20

Monday

Nisan 14, 3795

35 AD

April 11

April 9

Monday

Nisan 14, 3796

36 AD

March 30

March 28

Friday

Nisan 14, 3797

37 AD

March 20

March 18

Wednesday

Source for the above dates: http://www.abdicate.net

http://RosettaCalendar.com

NASA confirms that the New Moon occurred March 21, in 33AD, which gives us a Friday Passover April 3, in 33 AD (Julian Calendar / Dates before 1582 on NASA’s site are based on the Julian Calendar).

http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/phase/phases0001.html (expired link –  Since writing this article in 2011, NASA no longer provides this service, here is another site that confirms the same information. http://www.moonpage.com/index.html)

Another thorough study confirming Christ’s crucifixion in 33 AD can be found on Google’s “Calendar Studies” on Google.com CLICK HERE, note that I found this four years after writing this article and did not reference it during my research. If you do not want to get lost in all the information, scroll to the bottom of the page and read the Conclusion.

“The lunar month on the Jewish calendar begins when the first sliver of moon becomes visible after the dark of the moon. In ancient times, the new months used to be determined by observation. When people observed the new moon, they would notify the Sanhedrin. When the Sanhedrin heard testimony from two independent, reliable eyewitnesses that the new moon occurred on a certain date, they would declare the rosh chodesh (first of the month) and send out messengers to tell people when the month began.” http://www.jewfaq.org/calendar.htm

According to the Bible way of reckoning time, the first day of the month would begin at the NEW MOON sighting. Depending on the Jewish cycle, whether it is a LEAP YEAR with the second month of ADAR being inserted into the calendar, the FOURTEENTH DAY OF NISAN LITERALLY HAS TO FALL BETWEEN March 20 – April 19. All of which depends on which day the New Moon began and whether or not it was a leap year, in conjunction with the Spring Equinox of March 20-21.

Both the Jewish Calendar itself, and NASA confirm that 33 AD is the ONLY ELIGIBLE YEAR we have a Friday Passover.

Read why Why Jesus died on a Friday, and not Wednesday as some theories teach.

Nehemiah 2:1 tells us the year and the month the decree went forth to rebuild Jerusalem. It was the twentieth year of Atraxerxes during the Jewish month of Nisan. That was the month of the Passover and the 7 day Feast of Unleavened Bread. This chapter tells us that Nehemiah was very sad, so much so that he could not hide his feelings from the King. As cup bearer to the King, he was required to remain professional at all times. It was inappropriate to reveal his sadness in the Kings presence. This tells us that something was troubling Nehemiah in the worse possible way. So much so that he could not contain his grief.

 

It is the opinion of this author that the day this story in Nehemiah takes place was sometime between the 14-21 or the month of Nisan. In other words either on the Passover itself or during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. To be even more specific it is my opinion that it was specifically on the 14th the day of the Passover. My reason for this, is that exactly 483 Jewish years later Christ died on the Passover 33 AD. I stress that is my own opinion, but I am certain you can see the reasonableess of it all.

All opinions aside, and strictly dealing with undeniable facts; it is a fact of simple mathematics, that 483 Biblical years after Nisan in 444 BC takes us directly into the month Christ died in 33 AD. The only year with in that decade that has a Passover that happened on a Friday, except for 36 AD. In 36 AD Herod was in the middle of a war, that makes that year very unlikey to fit the gospel narrative.

Reminder: When we transition from 1 BC over to 1 AD there is no 0 year. So you will need to minus a year to get the correct total.

Daniel 9:25-26  Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem (444 BC) 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.  26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself:

Your thought questions answered

Q. Why couldn’t the start date of the Seventy Week prophecy be 457 BC?

Answer:

  1. The end of the three score and two weeks (69th week or 483rd year) from 457 BC is 27 AD. Christ was NOT cut off in 27 AD, rather He was baptized.
  2. The decree of Ezra 7 addresses matters of TEMPLE WORSHIP. Rebuilding Jerusalem, and its wall are not mentioned.
  3. 13 years later during Nehemaih 2 we learn that Jerusalem had not been rebuilt, it was still in ruins. 13 years after 457 BC Nehemiah deserately wanted to see Jerusalem restored. If it was already under construction Nehemiah 2 would have never occurred.
  4. Using 457 BC as a start date one must use the Gregorian Calendar year, instead of the Jewish 360 day system. Ariving at 31 AD. According to the Jewish Calendar, 1. 31 AD would be 1492.5 days to long even if you used the entire 70 weeks! There is no basis in which a person can use the Gregorian Calendars Yearly cycle for this prophecy. That system was not adopted until thousands of years later.

Q.  Does the colony of Jews that returned to Jerusalem in 457 BC prove we should start Seventy Weeks that year?

A. This was the second colony of Jews to return. The edict that allowed the Jews to return was actually given in 538 BC by Cyrus. The decree of 457 BC was one of FINANCIAL BACKING from the King, and it was because of this financial backing and support from the King, that Jews felt it safe to return to Jerusalem.

Q. Doesn’t the fact that the Temple Services were restored in 457 BC prove we should start the 70 weeks that year?

Answer:

  1. Temple services had been restored since 516 AD when the Temple was finished and dedicated. Once again it was the financial backing that made the difference in 457 BC. The fact that the King put his money into the Temple services in 457 BC proved to the people that it was safe to return, and that king Artaxerxes had no intention of conquesting them again if they went home to their beloved city.
  2. The starting date given in Daniel 9 has nothing to do with Temple Worship! Rather the main thing we are looking for is a commandment to rebuild Jerusalem. The decree in 457 BC has no such thing!

Q. David did you make this “theory” up?

A. No! While it is true that I did my own research in the scriptures to prepare this article, and that I wrote all the points it contains, this is main stream Christian teaching. There are varioius interpretations out there. Some go with the 538 BC decree, others insist it is the 457 BC decree. However mainstream Christianity starts the seventy weeks with the decree of Atraxerxes given to Nehemiah in Nehemiah 2, and end the 69th week in the year 33 AD.

 

Q. What about the 70th week?

Can you explain the 70th week in Daniel 9?
By: David M. Curtis
Recorded from a live phone call September 1, 2011

Download the MP3 (Right Click and Select “Download Link As”)

DANIEL 9

MATTHEW 24

LUKE 21

1. “To finish the transgression,”
– This was fulfilled in Christ. (Matt 21:33-45; 23:32,35,36,38; Luke 11:47-51; 1 Thess. 2:14-16)

2. “Make an end of sins,”
– This was fulfilled. (John 1:29; Matt 1:21; Acts 10:43; Hebrews 9:12-14,26; 10:9-14)

3. “Make reconciliation for iniquity,”
– This was fulfilled in Christ. (Romans 5:8-11; II Cor. 5:17-21; Hebrews 2:17; Col 1:12-21)

4. “Bring in everlasting righteousness,”
– This was fulfilled in Christ. (Romans 3:21-26; 4:13; 5:17,18; 9:30,31; 14:17 (Isa. 51:8) ; Hebrews 9:12; II Thess 2:16; I Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 9:9)

5. “Seal up vision and prophecy,”
– This was fulfilled in Christ. (Matthew 13:14,15 (cf. Isaiah 6:9,10); 17:5; John 1:1; 12:39-41; Acts 7:37; 28:25-27; Romans 1:1-2, 3:21, 16:25-26; Ephesians 2:11-17; 3:3-6; Colossians 1:26; Hebrews 1:1-2; I Peter 1:9-11; II Peter 1:19-21)

6. “Anoint the most holy (or holy place).”
– This was fulfilled in Christ. (Matthew 3:15-17; Luke 4:18; John 1:32; Acts 2:32,33,38,39; 4:26,27; 10:37,38,44,45; Hebrews 9:22-24 / Not Physical Temple – Acts 7:48-49)

All of the requirements in the 70 weeks were fulfilled in Christ. All the Jews had to do was accept Jesus Christ to satisfy everything that was necessary to cancel the impending destruction of Jerusalem.

Had the 70th week ended in 34 AD as SDA teach, then God would have ended his exclusive relationship with Israel based on the decisions of only the few in Jerusalem. That would not have been fair to the Jews around the world who had never heard of Jesus Christ and had not been given the opportunity to decide one way or the other in 34 AD. Around the same time that the Christians made their flight from Jerusalem in 66 A.D. the Apostle Paul died. He had preached the gospel all over the known world to the Jews in every province and territory. He went into their synagogues on the Sabbaths and told them about Jesus. By the year 70 AD, when Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed, the Jews from everywhere had an opportunity to accept or reject the Messiah, and most had rejected Him. During 33 AD and 66 AD the Jews from around the world had an opportunity to hear the gospel from the Apostle Paul as well as from those Jews from every province who had heard the gospel from the Apostle Peter on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2. The judgments during the 70th week (66-73 AD) were JUST and RIGHTEOUS since it was the universal consensus of the Jews to reject the Christ. If you had not already done so, please listen to the audio above for a further explanation.

In Closing

Christ knew the previous year it was not yet time to go to Jerusalem because His time had not yet come.

John 7:6-9  Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready.  7  The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.  8   Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet full come.  9  When he had said these words unto them, he abode still in Galilee.

Christ was to be cut off at the close of the 69 week, and not a year earlier. That previous year Christ was already a controversial man among the Sanhedrin. He remained in Galilee so that He would not move events along sooner than the prophecy had determined.

Jesus knew the year of his death, he knew the month, and He even knew the day. He knew He was to die during the Passover the next year. The above verses indicate that He knew He would have died at the feast that year had he gone. But that He needed to wait until the following year. His time had not yet come!

Christ was a student of scripture and understood Daniel. (See Matthew 24:15). Another time we will look into the significance of Daniel 9 as it related to the destruction of Jerusalem. Christ was thinking of the Seventy Weeks when he warned of its impending doom in Matthew 24. For now we will close. Be certain to study this article again if this is new for you. Its points will sink in deeper when you read it through a second time.

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