The Mighty Angels of Daniel 9: Dating the Coming of the Messiah
By Nathan Jones
Dating the Coming of the Messiah
Nathan Jones: The 70 years of Jewish exile were nearing its end. The Persian King Cyrus issued a decree in 536 BC to allow the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple. After much hardship and legal challenges invoked by hostile neighbors, Ezra 6:13-22 reports the returnees finished the construction of the Temple in 516 BC, exactly 70 years from the 586 BC exile. Amazing!
The Angel Gabriel told Daniel that the Messiah would be cut off before the last seven years, leaving 483 years remaining. This number of years between Cyrus’ decree to rebuild the Temple and for the Messiah to be cut off just doesn’t add up, though. Cyrus’ decree, proclaimed in 538 BC, would have had the Messiah cut off in 55-54 BC. Jesus wasn’t even around until at least 4 BC, so that decree wouldn’t work in Gabriel’s timing.
The fact of the matter is there were actually three different decrees given by three different Persian rulers:
538 B.C. — Cyrus, King of Persia, issued a decree to Zerubbabel to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-3; and Ezra 6:1-5).
457 B.C. — Artaxerxes, King of Persia, issued a decree to Ezra authorizing him to reinstitute the Temple services, appoint judges and magistrates, and teach the Law (Ezra 7:11-26).
445 B.C. — Artaxerxes issued a decree to Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:1-8).
Different theologians begin Daniel’s 483 years with either of the latter two decrees. Any way one chooses, these decrees bring us up to Jesus, either just as He began His ministry, or exactly to the day when Jesus rode into Jerusalem for His triumphal entry, which we today call Palm Sunday. Either decree one chooses, the prophecy is mind blowing!
Vic Batista: Specifically fulfilled Bible prophecy proves without a doubt the divine authorship of the Bible. Just how accurate the Bible is when it comes to the fulfilling ancient prophecies proves we can trust that the Bible is indeed God’s word.
Nathan Jones: I could go through some interesting calculations concerning those prophesied 483 years. I heard John MacArthur go through the calculations in a series about Israel he produced, and I read them again in another book by Sir Robert Anderson. Dr. MacArthur calculated down to the day, depending on which decree you start with, either Jesus beginning His 3.5 year long ministry, or Jesus’ triumphal entry. Like MacArthur, I favor the latter, for the people shouted, “Hosanna, Hosanna” and dropped palm branches in front of Him as He rode into Jerusalem, and they accepted Jesus as Messiah, only to crucify Him that very same week. The Messiah was rejected. The Messiah was cut off the very week of the Triumphal Entry.
If there is anything that should help people believe that the Bible is the real deal, and that it divinely originated from God, it is the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. The first 483 years of the Seventy Weeks of Daniel prophecy was fulfilled to the day that Jesus was cut off from the world.
Vic Batista: People play the lottery hoping to win. I say, stick to the Bible! The Bible is far, far more accurate and trustworthy any day.
The Seventieth Week of Daniel
Nathan Jones: What do we do then with the extra seven years, known as the Seventieth Week of Daniel, from Daniel’s 490 year prophecy? The Messiah was cut off, but now the Angel Gabriel’s proclamation points out that there remain seven years still unfulfilled. Those seven years continue to revolve around the Messiah, and so must point to the return of Jesus Christ. The world has experienced nearly 2,000 years since the Messiah was cut off. The Church Age has rolled on for nearly two millennia, and still Jesus hasn’t come back.
History has proven the break Gabriel gave between the 483 years and the final seven years. And now we wait! I believe that we are living in the Church Age now, which will end with the Rapture of the Church when Christ catches up all believers in Him to Heaven. After the Rapture, that’s when the Seventieth Week of Daniel — that last seven years — will commence. And, once those seven years are over, ushering in the return of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, all 490 years of this prophecy will finally have come to pass.
Vic Batista: How amazing is the time that we are living! We are a special generation, because the signs of the end times point to the soon return of Jesus Christ. Daniel’s Seventieth Week is about to commence. Christians especially need to recognize God has chosen us to live in a time such as this to be lights in this world in the short few years remaining.
Nathan Jones: We are the generation that witnessed Jerusalem being retaken by the Jewish people. Israel was reborn as a nation again, just as Jesus prophesied would happen in the Parable of the Fig Tree. That means we are the generation that will see Jesus Christ return. Exciting!
Vic Batista: Absolutely! I pray people will recognize the significance of the Seventy Weeks of Daniel prophecy, realizing we don’t have a lot of time left before the Lord returns. That means if you don’t have a saving relationship with Jesus, you have little time left to accept Christ before the Rapture.
Remember that God loves you. He has a plan for your life. And, it starts with a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. We want you to be able to experience all the wondrous events God has promised those who put their faith and trust in Him, such as the Rapture. If you knew you are about to die, or that Jesus was to return right now, ask yourself, “Would I be going to Heaven?”
Nathan Jones: The Seventy Weeks of Daniel prophecy should solidify our understanding that the Bible is the real deal. Count on the Bible as the real Word of God. And, in that Word, Jesus tells us that if we believe in Him as the Son of God, and repent of your sins, you will be saved. All you have to do is pray from your heart something like, “Dear, Jesus, please forgive me of my sins and be my Savior.” Jesus promises that you will be forgiven of your rebellion against Him and all of your other sins. The wrath of God moves off of you and on to Jesus Christ. Jesus paid the price for your salvation, but you have to accept that free gift in order to be saved.
In the twenty-fifth segment of this series on the mighty angels of Daniel, we’ll continue to flesh out the Seventieth Week of Daniel prophecy.