The Mighty Angels of Daniel 9: Foretell 483 Years Until the Messiah
By Nathan Jones
483 Years Until the Messiah
Vic Batista: We are continuing to make our way through the book of Daniel from the point of view of God’s mighty angels. In Daniel 9, the Angel Gabriel has declared some of the most incredible prophecies in all of the Bible! Daniel can be called the “Mini-book of Revelation” because it goes so well hand-in-hand with the book of Revelation.
Nathan Jones: Daniel and Revelation are Bible prophecy’s bookends. A lot of what can be understood in Revelation can be attributed to the book of Daniel, and vice versa.
Vic Batista: Daniel 9’s prophetic theme primarily revolves around the 70th Week of Daniel prophecy. We have been taking our time studying through it in this series because there is just so much information packed into this one prophecy.
Nathan Jones: When it comes to Daniel 9, everybody is a student. The Seventy Weeks of Daniel prophecy is probably one of the meatiest out of all the prophetic chapters in the entire Bible. In some areas it also contains some of the most confusing passages. I would also say that Daniel 9’s claim to fame is that it has the most speculation made concerning that horrific end time personage — the Antichrist.
While Daniel 9 is a packed chapter, understanding it is vital to putting together a proper prophetic timeline, especially one that is constructed through a literal interpretation of the Bible.
Vic Batista: I love Daniel 9! One of the reasons why God revealed such monumental prophecies to Daniel was because he put such great importance in prayer. And so, I’ve prayed over our study of Daniel 9, concluding with Daniel 9:24-27. Here are verses 24-26, saving 27 for a bit later.
“Seventy weeks are determined, for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.
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; 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.”
Before we focus on unpacking these verses, let’s quickly recap what came beforehand in Daniel 9.
Nathan Jones: The Angel Gabriel arrived with a message from God. While Daniel had been praying and fasting, God sent the Angel Gabriel to give Daniel the answers he was seeking concerning God’s prophetic timeline. Daniel wanted to know when the Jews would be allowed out of their exile in Babylon. Instead, God blew Daniel’s mind with a timeline far, far larger in scope.
Gabriel revealed that when it came to the Jews, seventy prophetic weeks were determined for them. These “weeks” are actually meant as years. So, seventy weeks of years equals 70×7=490 years. This 490 year prophetic timeline would commence with an edict by a king for the Jews to go out from exile and restore and rebuild Jerusalem. It would run along until the Messiah finally came 483 years later. One week of seven, meaning seven years, would remain after the Messiah is “cut off.”
In previous segments we’ve covered some potential edicts that would act as the starting point point for Gabriel’s prophecy. Daniel would have died by the time these edicts were made, but we today have the benefit of looking back into history at some of the edicts pertaining to Israel so that we can know pretty well when the Seventy Weeks began.
Vic Batista: That’s why I love the Word of God, because it’s prophetic, and we benefit from seeing fulfilled prophecies. I may be getting ahead of myself, but God reveals in this chapter just how far we are in His prophetic time frame. The Seventieth Week is all that remains. The end times clock is ticking! We are living in a really special time period.
Nathan Jones: We are! What’s so amazing about Daniel is that the book has so many exact, precisely calculated prophecies that have already come true. Fulfilled Bible prophecy helps us put our faith and trust in the Bible.
When we look at the various decrees that act as a starting point for Daniel’s Seventy Weeks, there are two main decrees that make the most sense. One calculates almost to the day when Jesus made His Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, known as Palm Sunday. That is the view that Dr. John MacArthur holds. In one of his studies, he calculates to the exact day from when Artaxerxes, King of Persia, in 445 B.C. issued his decree to Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem all the way up to when Jesus made His final entry into Jerusalem (Neh. 2:1-8).
Our own Dr. David Reagan wrote an excellent article on Daniel’s 70 Weeks of Years that I would highly recommend for those interested in this topic. He argues for another starting point that ends at the beginning of Christ’s ministry in 27 AD. His starting date is 457 B.C., when Artaxerxes issued a decree to Ezra authorizing him to reinstitute the Temple services, appoint judges and magistrates, and teach the Law (Ezra 7:11-26).
So, even with a 12 year variation between the two decrees, the numbers work out when you factor in whether the prophetic year is 360 or 365 days, Leap Years, and how off the Julian Calendar was. Either way, the Messiah was cut off from His potential kingship by execution. Jesus Christ was cut off, just as Daniel had been told by the Angel Gabriel.
That Daniel was given the exact number of years — 483 years to be exact — for when Jesus would come should really strengthen our faith in the Bible. Daniel wrote these prophecies centuries before Jesus came, and that this prophecy came true so many centuries later, provides the absolute proof that the Bible is indeed the Word of God. After all, how could Daniel have known the number of years unless the prophecy originated with the Word of God?
Vic Batista: People today try to downplay the Bible. They claim that it was man-made and so God didn’t write it. But, when we see how accurate Bible prophecy can be, and how it is impossible for so many prophecies to be fulfilled by accident, then we can be assured the Bible truly is the Word of God.
Nathan Jones: Yes, there’s nothing accidental about prophecy. Nobody can accidentally fulfill Bible prophecy. General prophecies, sure, those can be possible, but specific prophecies? For example, Micah 5:2 foretold that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem Ephrathah. There were actually two Bethlehem’s in Israel at the time, so Micah was being very specific. The Messiah would descend through the Davidic family line. He would minister primarily up in the Galilee region. Again and again and again, these and many more prophecies that were proclaimed by the Old Testament prophets were fulfilled in detail by Jesus Christ.
There are 300 general and 109 distinct prophecies that Jesus Christ fulfilled. Daniel proclaimed one of these 109 prophecies in Daniel 9:26, that the Messiah would be cut off, and so Jesus was.
In the twenty-sixth segment of this series on the mighty angels of Daniel, we’ll address a prophetic problem concerning the Seventy Weeks of Daniel prophecy.