Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Did Daniel Correctly Predict the time of Jesus?

Daniel 9:25-26

25 "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.


26 "And after the sixty-two weeks

Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself;

And the people of the prince who is to come

Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.

The end of it shall be with a flood,

And till the end of the war desolations are determined.


Most of us are familiar with the prophecy known as the 70 weeks of Daniel. These were written during the captivity if Israel, and speak of the coming of Messiah and are divided into 3 parts, the first seven weeks related to the return of Israel, then 62 weeks preceding the appearance of "Messiah the Prince" and a final week normally associated with the second coming or "Day of the Lord".


First Daniel and other prophecies identify each week as a period of seven years. Next he gives us a marker in verse 25 to start the clock when the command goes out to "restore and build Jerusalem". Now there are recorded 4 different decrees or commands for the restoration of Jerusalem. The first two by Darius and Cyrus only concerned rebuilding the temple. The third by Artaxerxes, recorded in Ezra chapter 7 is the one most would connect to Daniels prophecy. The two verses that make this connection are 13 and 25.


13 I issue a decree that all those of the people of Israel and the priests and Levites in my realm, who volunteer to go up to Jerusalem, may go with you.

Verse 13 establishes are right of return for Jews from the captivity, and the word for "restore" in Daniel 25 also means "return" so King Artaxerxes decree passes the first point.

25 And you, Ezra, according to your God-given wisdom, set magistrates and judges who may judge all the people who are in the region beyond the River, all such as know the laws of your God; and teach those who do not know them.

Verse 25 establishes the Law of the Lord as the legal authority in Jerusalem, and authorizes Judges and magistrates to enforce the law. In Daniel 25 the word for "build" also means "establish", so King Artaxerxes order to establish independent government authority in Jerusalem satisfies the second point of Daniels marker to start the clock on the 70 week prophecy.


Ezra marks the time of this decree as the 7th year of King Artaxerxes which scholars tell us was in 457 BC. From 457 BC we count forward seven weeks or 49 years to complete the rebuilding of Jerusalem, then 62 weeks or 434 years before "Messiah the Prince". So we can count forward 49 + 434 = 483 years from 457 BC and that would bring us to around 26-27 AD. I always say around for these ancient dates because there is no consistent calendar and scholars have to piece together all these different civil calendars most of which start in different months so I cannot pinpoint a date with certainty.


So linking Daniel 9 to Ezra 7 predicts the time of "Messiah the Prince" at somewhere around 26 AD, and this would be when Jesus is about 30 years old. That phrase Messiah means "anointed" and corresponds to our word Christ. In the OT kings and priests were anointed to mark their being chosen by God before they can serve. The first 3 gospels record the baptism of Jesus and Luke 3 tells us it occurred when Jesus was aged 30. As Jesus was baptized Luke 3:
22 says "And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, 'You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased."'.

Throughout scripture anointing oil is the analog for the Spirit of God, so the Spirit descending and the voice of God calling represents the anointing of Jesus to serve as Messiah the Prince.


Last December I walked you though the clues that puts the time of Christ birth to around 4 BC, here we have that time confirmed by the prophecy of Daniel. Verse 26 of Daniel 9 says that after those 62 weeks of the prophecy that Messiah would be cutoff. This helps us understand why Jesus did not begin his ministry, teaching, and miracles before age 30 as His time had not yet come. In John 2 at the "wedding in Cana of Galilee", Jesus tells his mother "My hour has not yet come".

Galatians 4:4-5

But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

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