Daniel's prophecy of the 70 weeks of years tells us the time of the coming of the Messiah
Daniel's prophecy of the seventy
weeks is one of the prophecies that show with great precision that the Lord
Jesus is the Messiah. This prophecy indicates the time from when
Artaxerxes king of
Since we now use the word "week" only to indicate the lapse of seven days, it is important to first demonstrate that in the time of Moses and the prophets, the word also was used in the sense of a period of seven years.
In Genesis 29:27-28, we see, that from very early times, one of the biblical meanings for the word "week" was as a period of seven years. Here the word "week" is related directly to a period of seven years. This is important to establish, because the meaning of "week" in this case is the key for the interpretation of the prophecy of the Seventy Weeks.
After Jacob was deceived by his father-in-law who gave Leah to Jacob's to be his first wife instead of Rachel, Laban proposed that his son-in-law work "another week" before also giving him Rachel.
"27 Fulfill her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years. 28 And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week; and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also." (Gn 29:27-28)
As we saw in this passage, a period of seven years is called a "week." Again in Leviticus 25:8 we see that a lapse of seven years is called a "week". Those who have not read the Bible do not know that "weeks of years" are mentioned. In the following verse we see another occasion when seven years are called a "week."
"And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years, unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years." (Lv 25:8)
We see again in the verse we just read that the word "week" (or equivalent "Sabbath) is also used to indicate a period of seven years. Now that we are aware of the ancient use of the word "week" to indicate a period of seven years, let's read a prophecy from the ninth chapter of the book of the prophet Daniel.
At the beginning of the chapter we see Daniel seeking the will of God and praying for it. We learn this as we read the first twenty-three verses of the chapter where an angel appeared which made the following revelation. As you carefully analyze this revelation, you will find that the revelation in this passage is only consistent with Jesus Christ.
"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. 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. 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. 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." (Dn 9:24-27)
From this very important passage of Daniel's prophecy we can come to the conclusion that God was revealing that the Jewish people were to pass through three distinct periods.
The first period was the seven weeks, that is the 49 years while they will turn to building the plaza (street) and wall during trying times. This occurred in Nehemiah's time, you only have to read the book of Nehemiah in the Bible to confirm this.
The second period was the
seventy-two weeks, which comes to 434 years. Adding the first period
of 49 years to the 434 years adds up to 483 (49+434=483). After the 483 years
the Messiah will come according to verse 25. After His coming, they will
take His life as verse 26 clearly states. Afterwards the City of
From this reading of Daniel's prophecy, we can conclude that:
a) God has decreed a period of 70 weeks of years for the people
b) The Messiah will arrive (69 weeks) 483 years after the order
is given for the restoration of
c) The Messiah will be killed following the 483 years after the
order to restore
d) After the Messiah's life is taken, the City of
e) After these two periods which add up to 69 weeks, there remains a future third period of one week of years when Israel will again enter into God's prophecy.
These will be the final seven years of the history of the world. The first three years and six months of these seven years will be distinguished by the appearance of what the Book of Revelation (in the New Testament) calls "the two witnesses." These are two of God's prophets that will perform miracles like in the ancient times did Elijah. After the first three and a half years, the antiChrist will appear and rule for forty-two months (three years and a half). This figure will kill God's two witnesses and will make the people believe that he is the messiah. Then he will demand that the people worship him as a god and require that they mark themselves with the number 666 which many will do.
When should we begin to count the 483 years? Knowing what Daniel's prophecy says, we are able to demonstrate how the prophecy of the Messiah is fulfilled by Jesus Christ. But, to know when the 483 years finish, we first need to know when the period begins.
According to Daniel's
prophecy, "from the going
forth of the commandment to restore and
Nehemiah 2:1-6 turns out to be one of the most important passages in relation to the Messiah. We base the prophecy of the seventy weeks of years that is found in Daniel 9:24-27 on the date given in Nehemiah for the beginning of this period. Both passages together form a magnificent way to prove to Jews that Jesus is the Messiah in His First Coming and to prove to atheists that the Bible is a book from God as we shall see.
At the beginning
of chapter two of Nehemiah, we see he appears during the twentieth year of
Artaxerxes' rule. At this time
a) The people were living in affliction and reproach. The walls of the city were destroyed and the gates burned.
b) The city was deserted and
very few were living there.
This is confirmed by Nehemiah
11:1- 2 where we learn of a kind
of compulsory levy to recruit inhabitants for
c) Nehemiah asks the king
directly to be sent to rebuild
As a result there
cannot be the least doubt that the
"commandment to restore and to
The words of Nehemiah the son
And it came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth
year, as I was in Shushan the palace,
Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain
men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which
were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.
And they said unto me:
that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction
and reproach. The wall of
This passage which
we have just referred to proves that in the twentieth year of king
"1 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 it. 6 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." (Neh 2:1-6)
Not only did the king Artaxerxes give the command, but he also granted Nehemiah authority as well as soldiers and resources to carry out the work. As we read in the book of Nehemiah:
"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." (Neh 2:7-9)
As we have seen,
the command for the restoration of
Know therefore and understand, that
from the going forth of the
commandment to restore and to build
Now we turn to the Encyclopedia
Britannica, XV edition of 1977, Micropaedia,
volume I, page 549. Here we see that the King
Artaxerxes I, the king who gave the order to "restore
If from the twentieth year of Artaxerxes rule (445 B.C.) until the Messiah, 483 years were to pass, then we can make the calculation and see that we fall in the year 38 A.D. (after Christ). In other words even with the imprecision of the chronology, our calculations place us in the epoch of Jesus Christ.
Even if someone objects that the calculations fall in the year 38 and not in the year 33, when Christ was crucified, nor in the year zero when Jesus was born, this is irrelevant for two reasons:
a) The five year difference is not that great in view of the inexactness of the ancient chronologies. Even our present chronology has an error of four years.
b) During all of this period of time no other personage emerged with messianic stature aside from Jesus Christ.
In other words, our problem is not to try to see which of three or four contemporary personalities of the epoch better fit with the prophetic chronology. If there had been other "messiahs" with the religious stature of Christ, there could have been some doubts; but that did not happen. He was unique among all the people of that entire period. Therefore it is logical to conclude that He was the one who fulfilled the time which was prophesied even though at this distance of time there is a small divergence in the calculation. In reality true believers in the Hebrew Scriptures have two alternatives: a) Either Jesus is the Messiah in His First Coming, or b) the prophet Daniel miserably failed in his prediction, something that a Jewish believer would consider to be blasphemy.
Once all of this is understood, we can say that any honest atheist who wishes to reason through this matter, who has an interest in investigating the truth, must realize that here lies a proof of the divine origin of the Bible. The two passages that prove that Jesus fulfills the prophecy about the Messiah belong to the Old Testament; they belong to portion of the Bible that the Jews accept and administrate. No atheist can suspect that these passages were "fixed" so that they would be in agreement with the coming of Jesus Christ, since: 1) the orthodox Jews do not "fix" the Scriptures; and 2) even in the case of an alteration, it would never be done in order to demonstrate that Jesus is the Messiah.
Therefore, if the proofs of the coming of the Christ were precisely prophesied based on passages that could not have been "arranged", it would be right to think that the prophecy has been fulfilled. And if a singular, unique event was prophesied 483 years before its occurrence, then one must conclude that the book that contains the prophecy is not and cannot be a humanly inspired work.
If an atheist wants
more proofs that the Bible is God's book, then he can read my book "The Last
Four World Powers" that can be found on my website: www.bibleserralta.com.
In this book I present the evidences from outside of the Bible that show
how the prophecy contained in chapter 7 of the biblical book of Daniel the
Prophet is being fulfilled in our time. This prophecy which was made nearly
three thousand years ago states that the last four great powers of the world
Back to the
matter at hand. Remember that what
Artaxerxes gave was official permission backed
by the armed forces (Nehemiah 2:9) to rebuild
As if to confirm the double use of the word "week", we see a little more ahead in the same book of Daniel where he mentions weeks of days. Because he was fasting during those weeks, they cannot be weeks of years.
"In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled." (Dn 10:2-3)
All of this obvious
reasoning and data demonstrate that it was customary to speak in terms of
weeks of years. In addition, any Jewish person that believes in the Old Testament
as the Word of God, must conclude that if the prophecy
of the 70 weeks referred to weeks of days, then the prophecy would not have
been fulfilled. I say this because
Let's situate ourselves
in the time of Hebrew history that occurred 483 years after the order for
the reconstruction and rebuilding of
Summary: The prophecy of the seventy weeks of years in the book
of Daniel, chapter 9, accurately shows when the Messiah was to come. The
two passages from Genesis 29:27-28 and Leviticus 25:8 show how the word "week"
in the biblical epoch was used to indicate a seven year amount of time. Then
in Daniel 9:24-27 we see how the prophet Daniel announced that the Messiah
was to come 69 weeks of years (483 years) after the command for the restoration
Afterwards we saw
in Nehemiah 2:1-6 that in his twentieth year of rule,
Artaxerxes King of