There are dozens of powerful prophecies which have been fulfilled, but one of the most compelling is sometimes referred to as the prophecy of Daniel’s 69 Weeks. In brief, the prophet Daniel predicted that a command to restore Jerusalem would be given, and 69 weeks of years from that date, the Messiah would be cut off (killed), both of which happened.
Daniel’s 69 Weeks Prophecy
Daniel’s 69 Weeks prophecy is found in Daniel 9:25, 26.
Know therefore and understand,
That from the going forth of the command
To restore and build Jerusalem
Until Messiah the Prince,
There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks;
The street shall be built again, and the wall,
Even in troublesome times.
And after the sixty-two weeks
Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself;
Biblically, a ‘week’ can refer to seven years, and the word used for week means ‘sevens’.
Nehemiah’s Call to Restore Jerusalem
In short, in 444 B.C. a Persian king named Artaxerxes (in his 20th year of rule) declared that Nehemiah and any Jews who were willing should return from Persia and restore Jerusalem’s walls and gates. This is described in Nehemiah 2:3-6.
2 And it came to pass in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, that I took the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had never been sad in his presence before. 2 Therefore the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This is nothing but sorrow of heart.” So I became dreadfully afraid, 3 and said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ tombs, lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire?” 4 Then the king said to me, “What do you request?” So I prayed to the God of heaven. 5 And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it.” 6 Then the king said to me (the queen also sitting beside him), “How long will your journey be? And when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.
When was the Messiah was ‘Cut Off’?
A chronology of Jesus proposes a timeline of his birth and death. Using non-Christian sources Josephus and Tacitus, as well as biblical sources and an analysis of full moons (useful because of the crucifixion happening right before the Passover, which was always on a full moon), many scholars settle on the date of Nisan 14, 33 A.D. Nissan 14 is the date on the Hebrew calendar, which would convert to April 2 or 3, 33 A.D. For more of this analysis, visit NeverThirsty.org for their calculations.
How Much Time Between the Two Events?
If you go from 444 B.C. To 33 A.D., without paying attention to the time of year, you have roughly 477 years, minus one year since there is no year 0. So for the prophecy to be even roughly accurate, we are looking for a value of about 476 years. If we want more accuracy, we have to know exactly when the decree was ordered, and this is the only place that I differ from the people at NeverThirty.org – they try to determine an exact day for the decree, but all the text gives us is ‘the month of Nissan’. They arrive at the day Nissan 1; visit their site if you want to dig deeper.
How Many Days is 69 Weeks?
69 Weeks of years would be 69 x 7, or 483 years. A biblical year is composed of 360 days. 483 x 360 is 173,880 days. If we now divide those days by a Gregorian calendar year of days (using 365.24219879 for an accurate solar year), we get 476 Gregorian years and 24.7 days.
That’s close enough for me! In Daniel 9:20 and beyond, we learn that this prophecy came to the prophet Daniel through non other than the angel Gabriel. Gabriel gave the specific decree which would start the 476 year clock ticking, and gave the world-changing event that would take place – namely, the death of Messiah the Prince.