Old Testament

24 "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.

25 "Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree 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.

26 After the sixty-two 'sevens,' the Anointed One will be cut off 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.

27 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 on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.

Tanakh

24 Seventy weeks (of years per notes on page 1828) have been decreed for your people and your holy city until the measure of transgression is filled and that of sin complete, until iniquity is expiated, and eternal righteousness ushered in; and prophetic vision ratified, and the Holy of Holies anointed.

25 You must know and understand: From the issuance of the word to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the [time of the] anointed leader is seven weeks; and for sixty two weeks it will be rebuilt, square and moat, but in a time of distress.

26 And after those sixty-two weeks, the anointed one will disapear and vanish. The army of a leader who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary, but its end will come through a flood. Desolation is decreed until the end of war.

27 During one week he will make a firm covenant with many. For half a week he will put a stop to the sacrifice and the meal offering. At the corner [of the alter] will be an appalling abomination until the decreed destruction will be poured down upon the appalling thing.

 

In this prophecy, we are told that there will be 70 sevens of time between the time the decree is given to rebuild Jerusalem, and the end times.  Both the Jewish Tanakh and the Old Testament agree that these 70 sevens are years, so this means that 490 (7 X 70) years will be involved in this prophecy. Furthermore, the prophecy is split into 3 time frames: 49 years (7 X 7), 434 years (62 X 7), and 7 years (1 X 7).  We are told that the Anointed One will be cut off after the 7 and 62 year periods, which would mean that he will be cut-off (killed) 483 years after the decree is given to rebuild Jerusalem.  According to the Tanakh, this decree was given in late 445 or early 444 B.C. (Nehemiah 2) by Artaxerxes I. 

 

According to this verse, the word to begin rebuilding the city was given, “In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes”.  According to the Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, Artaxerxes ruled Persia from 464 B.C. to 425 B.C., which means that the 20th year of his reign would have been late in 445 or early in 444 B.C.

 

You may have noticed that if you say that the decree to build the city was given in 444 B.C. and 483 are to pass before the Messiah is to be killed, that according to our calendar, the Messiah should have been killed in 39 A.D…. Considerably later than Jesus’ crucifixion.  You need to understand however, that the Hebrew year is a lunar year, which means that it has 360 days instead of our 365.25 days.  In order to convert the years from Hebrew years to the years that we use, we must first convert the Hebrew years into days, and then divide that number of days by the number of days in our year.  I have provided the following calculation:

 

483 years * 360 days (Hebrew year) = 173,880 days.

173,880 days divided by 365.25 days (Our year) = 476.06 years (.05 years is about 22 days).

 

This means that by our calendar, the messiah was supposed to be killed just over 476 years from 444 B.C.  If you add 476 years to 444 B.C. (444 B.C. is a negative number for this equation), you would arrive at 31 or 32 A.D., but there is one more thing to bear in mind.  When the calendar went from 1 B.C. to 1 A.D., there was no year zero (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_zero). From 1 B.C. to 1 A.D. was only one year, not two, so we need to add one year back into the equation.  This means that the Messiah should have been cut-off in 32 or 33 A.D.  

 

-444 + 476 = 32

32 + 1 (For the extra year we counted between 1 B.C. and 1 A.D) = 33 A.D.

 

This is the time at which Jesus was killed. I have only one problem with this prophecy as it is given here… We are told that Jesus was, “about thirty years old when he began his ministry.” (Luke 3:23) This means that if he was born in the year 1 B.C. or 1 A.D, he would have been 30 years old in the year 30, and since he was crucified after three years of ministry, this works out perfectly.

 

My problem is that according to the latest research, Jesus was born somewhere between 4-6 B.C., which means that he was thirty in around 26 A.D., and should have therefore been crucified in around 29 A.D., which is too early according to this prophecy. There are a few reasons that I have thought of for this issue. First, Luke 3:23 states that Jesus was about 30 years old when he began his ministry, not that he was exactly 30 years old. The phrase, “around thirty” means that he could have easily been a few years older or younger than thirty, which by itself could have made him the correct age to die in 33 A.D. The second reason is that the calendar that we use today was not in use back in the days of Jesus. This calendar was not invented until 1582, and the dates are not always the same. This could also have caused a slight difference in the dates. Either way, we know that Jesus was alive at the correct time, and died within a few years of the correct time. The fact that he fulfilled a large number of other prophecy makes it sure that he fulfilled this one as well.

 

I have heard two interpretations of the 70th week.  Some scholars believe that this week refers to the time in which the Jewish Temple was destroyed (70 A.D.), and others believe that it refers to the end times.  The Book of Revelations in the New Testament tells about the end times, and states that they will continue for seven years.  I personally agree with those who say that this last week refers to the end-times. 

 

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