Did Daniel the Prophet Accurately Predict the Timing of Jesus’ Death?

Nehemiah The short answer to this question is yes. Below I have presented the longer answer.

According to Daniel (9:24-27) “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 Place.

“Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out 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. After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. 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 at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.”

According to the Jews for Jesus, “seventy sevens of years” equals a period of 490 years, which is seventy times seven. A 490 year period was decreed for the accomplishment of the final restoration of Israel. The Jews for Jesus link of the purposes of the seventy sevens as follows: (1) to finish transgression (c.f., Isaiah 59:20; (2) to make an end of sins (c.f., Isaiah 27:9; Ezekiel 36:25-27; Jeremiah 31:31-34); (3) to make reconciliation or atonement for iniquity; (4) to bring an everlasting righteousness (c.f., Isaiah 1:26; 11;2-5; 32:17; Jeremiah 23:5-6; 33:15-18); (5) to seal up vision and prophecy; and (6) to anoint a most holy place, the Jewish temple (c.f., Ezekiel 40-48). Click here for further details from their website:  https://jewsforjesus.org/publications/issues/issues-v05-n01/the-messianic-time-table-according-to-daniel-the-prophet/

The Jews for Jesus further suggest that the start date for the 490 year countdown was either between 538 B.C. and 536 B.C. on the decree of Cyprus concerning the rebuilding of the temple (2 Chronicles 36; 22-23; Ezra 1:1-4; 6: 1-5) or in the year 444 B.C. at the meeting of Artaxerxes and Nehemiah (Nehemiah 2:1-8). There were two other options, yet all four suggest that by 444 B.C., the countdown had begun. Biblical scholars have supported the start date of 444 B.C. (e.g., Hoehner, 1978).

“The seventy sevens are divided into three separate units – seven sevens, 62 sevens, and one seven. During the first time period (49 years), Jerusalem would be ‘built again, with street and moat, even in troublous times.’ The second block of time (62 sevens, a total of 434 years) immediately following the first for a total of 69 sevens, or 483 years” (Jews for Jesus, 2018). At the end of the 483 year time period, “unto the Messiah, the Prince.”

In the time of Daniel, people believed years contained only 360 days, which when multiplied by 483 comes to 173,880 days. Dividing that by 365.25 gives us 476 years. Adding that to 444 B.C. (and accounting for no year zero) results in the year 33.

According to Hoehner (1978), the report to Nehemiah occurred in Chislev (November/December) 445, and the decree of Artaxerxes (c.f., Ezra 7; Nehemiah 1,2) occurred in Nisan (March/April) of 444 B.C. Using a spring start date in 444 results in the prediction that Jesus would be put to death in the spring of 33. Numerous scholars have supported the following date for Jesus’ crucifixion: April 3, 33. Furthermore, as predicted by Daniel, the temple that had been rebuilt was destroyed by the rulers (i.e., Romans). This event occurred in 70 A.D.

Fulfilled prophecies are what distinguish the Bible from other holy texts and are evidence of direct revelations by God. Jesus fulfilled over 330 Old Testament prophecies. In their book, “Evidence that Demands a Verdict,” Josh and Sean McDowell (2017, pp. 229-230) listed 48 of Jesus’ fulfilled prophecies that predicted His first advent (e.g., Genesis 3:15; Jeremiah 23:5), His forerunner (Isaiah 40:3; Malachi 3:1; 4:5), His nativity and early years (e.g., Numbers 24:17), His mission and office (e.g., Psalm 110:4), His passion (e.g., Psalms 8:2; Isaiah 6:9), His resurrection (e.g., Psalm 2:7; 16:8-10; 41:10), His ascension (Psalm 16:11), His second advent (Daniel 7:13-14) and His universal, everlasting dominion (e.g., Daniel 7:14; Isaiah 9:7). The scholars state (pp. 231): “We find the chance that any one man fulfilled all 48 prophecies to be 1 in 10197. Such a number represents an extremely small chance.

“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’” (Matthew 19:26).

Thank you for your time.

References

Hoehner, H.W. (1978). Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ. Zondervan. USA.

McDowell, J. & McDowell, S. (2017). Evidence that Demands a Verdict. Harper Collins. USA. 

4 Replies to “Did Daniel the Prophet Accurately Predict the Timing of Jesus’ Death?”

  1. I think Daniel also predicted the time of His return, in chapter 12, verse 11-12. End of sacrifice = Babylonian conquest, sometime between 605 and 587 BC. 600 BC + 1290 years = 691 AD, when the Dome of the Rock (an instance of the “abomination that causes desolation”) was completed on the Temple Mount. 691 AD + 1335 = 2026 AD. I guess we’ll see…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. OK, hold on a second…

    1. Artaxerxes didn’t issue a decree to Nehemiah; Nehemiah asked Artaxerxes’ permission to go and rebuild the city of Judah, and Artaxerxes agreed. That isn’t ‘the going forth of the word’. According to Ezra 6:3, the decree to rebuild Jerusalem went out in the first year of Cyrus. That would have been decades earlier.

    2. Years have never ‘contained only 360 days’. It’s true that at one point people thought that was the length of a year (although, as far as I can find out, they seem to have figured it out correctly by the time Daniel was written), but they certainly wouldn’t have counted 483 years by counting the individual days! They’d have counted them as the passage of all four seasons. So 483 years would mean 483 years, not 476. Which, again, makes the dates come out completely wrong.

    3. Wasn’t Jesus supposed to have been crucified in AD 30, not AD 33? I thought the idea was that he was born in the reign of King Herod, started preaching when he was 30, and was crucified three years later.

    It’s actually more likely, by the way, that Daniel was talking about a different anointed one (the word ‘Messiah’ literally just means ‘anointed one’; while Jews obviously used it to refer to the king of David’s line whose coming was predicted, it was also a title given to kings and priests generally, as these people were anointed as part of taking up their duties, and the term in Daniel apparently just translates to ‘a messiah’ rather than ‘the messiah’. Either way, the dates are way out for Jesus.

    Liked by 1 person

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