*In this essay I discuss the most amazing prophecy of all time. It appears in the Book of Daniel, chapter 9. The exact fulfillment of this prophecy provides a convincing argument that Jesus Christ is the Messiah.*

In Daniel 9 we read how an angel announces to Daniel that 70
periods of 7 years ("weeks" of years) have been decided
over Israel [1, 2]. According to the prophecy this period would commence
with the command to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. Then the first 69
periods (weeks of years) would continue until a Messiah (Anointed
One), a Prince, arrives. After that the Messiah would be "cut off"
(i.e. die) (Dan. 9:25-6). In this short note we focus on the calculation of this
first 69 weeks of years (483 years). The relation between these 69 weeks and the final week is discussed elsewhere (see [1] where all the different views are discussed).

*The only command that was ever given to rebuild the city of Jerusalem*, was the one given in the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of the Persian king Artaxerxes Longimanus (Neh. 2:5). This was in the year 445 BC (Artaxerxes's rule is calculated from the death of his father Xerxes in July 465 BC; Anderson 1984:253). The three previous commands that were given by Persian rulers, were all concerned with the building of the temple – not the city of Jerusalem (Ezra 1:2-4; 5:13; 6:3-14; 7:12-26).

The period of 69 weeks of
years would come to an end when Messiah, a Prince, appears. There can
be no doubt that this prophecy may be taken as referring to Jesus Christ since the
period clearly continues until his time. In the King James Bible the
word "anointed one" is accordingly translated as "Messiah".
The question that now confronts us is: To which event during the
earthly ministry of Jesus does the prophecy refer? Or to put it
differently: when did Jesus present himself as Messiah and King
(Prince) to Israel?

This clearly happened when
Jesus rode upon the donkey into Jerusalem in accordance with the
prophecy of Zechariah: "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion;
shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy

*King*cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass" (Zech. 9:9). When that happened, the crowd cried out: "Hosanna, Blessed is the*King of Israel*that cometh in the name of the Lord" (Joh. 12:13 – King James Bible).
From the details in the
Gospel of St. Luke we know that John the Baptist started his ministry in the fifteenth year of Cesar Tiberius (Luk. 3:1-3). The
fifteenth year of Tiberius commenced on 19 August 28 AD. Jesus was
therefore baptized in the autumn of 28 AD. This means that
he was crucified three-and-a-half years later in the year 32 AD
(Anderson 1984:97).

This period of 69 weeks of years, i.e. 483 years, that is from 445 BC to 32 AD, ends long after the latest possible date that the text could have been written (somewhere after 164 BC; i.e as is accepted in Biblical Criticism circles). This means that a considerable part of the prophecy refers to events that happened long after the text was written (by the latest estimates). Traditional Christians belief that the prophecy dates much earlier, namely to the time mentioned in the Book of Daniel (538 BC; right at the beginning of the Persian rule over Babylon). Irrespective of the position taken,

*The year 32 AD is also the only year in which the calendar agrees with the events of that time.*Jesus therefore entered Jerusalem on the donkey on the Sunday before the crucifixion in the year 32 AD (see Joh. 12:1, 12).This period of 69 weeks of years, i.e. 483 years, that is from 445 BC to 32 AD, ends long after the latest possible date that the text could have been written (somewhere after 164 BC; i.e as is accepted in Biblical Criticism circles). This means that a considerable part of the prophecy refers to events that happened long after the text was written (by the latest estimates). Traditional Christians belief that the prophecy dates much earlier, namely to the time mentioned in the Book of Daniel (538 BC; right at the beginning of the Persian rule over Babylon). Irrespective of the position taken,

*the 483 years obviously ends long after the latest accepted date for the writing of the book*[3]. One can also not think that Jesus could have calculated the date to superficially "fulfill" the prophecy because (as we will now show) the kind of mathematics necessary to do the calculations was not available at that time.**Background for the calculations**

Before we can proceed to
calculate the period from the command given by Artaxerxes Longimanus to rebuild Jerusalem in 445
BC until Jesus' entrance on Palm Sunday into Jerusalem in 32 AD, we need
certain background information.

It was already known from
early times that the moon period (from new moon to new moon) is 29
1/2 days and that the seasonal year is 365 1/4 days. Twelve moon
months of 30 and 29 days respectively (with an average of 29.5) give
354 days (one moon year) which are 11 days short of a seasonal year.
By including a moon month of 30 or 29 days from time to time (more or
less every third year), the ancients were able to synchronize the
moon and seasonal years.

In the year 432 BC the Greek
astronomer Meton calculated that these moon and seasonal years would
synchronize precisely over a period of 19 years if 4 or 5 days are
added by some moon years over a period of 19 years. For each 19
year cycle for which 4 days are added, there must be three such
cycles for which 5 days are added. The 19 year cycles are calculated
as follows:

Cycle 1: 19 x 354 days + 6 x
30 days + 29 days + 5 days = 6940 days

Cycle 2: 19 x 354 days + 6 x
30 days + 29 days + 4 days = 6939 days

The average over four such
19 year cycles is therefore

1/4 (3 x 6940 + 6939) = 6939
3/4 days

which is precisely the
amount of days in 19 seasonal years:

19 x 365 1/4 days = 6939 3/4
days.

Although it might seem
strange that 4 or 5 days are added in this manner, the result is that
the calculated moon cycle is much closer to the real moon cycle than
would otherwise be the case (when those days are not added). This is
shown below:

The assumed moon cycle that
was know from early times: 29.5 days

Average calculated moon
cycle in accordance with Meton's synchronizing procedure (235 moon
months in 19 years): (6939 3/4)/235 = 29.53085 days

Real (average) moon cycle
(current calculation): 29.530588 days

The difference between
Meton's procedure and the real moon cycle is about 1 day in 307
years!

If Meton's procedure is
followed, then the moon will show the same phases on the same dates
after 19 years. Since the moon and seasonal years synchronize so
precisely, the moon would in any case show the same phases on the
same dates even when the procedure is not followed – the moon and
earth rotations are obviously not dependent on the manner in which
the moon months are kept on earth. If the moon months are just continuously kept in line with the moon phases (for example, from
new moon to new moon), then the moon months would also after 19 years
fall on the same days calculated by Meton's procedure. Meton's
procedure merely facilitate the process of calculation.

Another important
calculation that we can make, is to show that every 28 years the same
days of the week fall on the same dates (the "solar cycle").
This follows from the combined effect of adding a leap year every 4
years and the 7 days in the week (4 x 7 = 28). Already in 457 AD
Victorius of Aquitaine brought this sun cycle and Meton's
calculations together in one procedure to calculate the dates for
Easter Sunday.

In 1977 Roode (1977:4) rewrote these calculations mathematically, allowing us to calculate any Easter dates with ease. The reader should not be overwhelmed by the symbols used as part of this algorithm to calculate those dates for any year AD. One merely stick the information of the relevant year into the algorithm and then the details of that year become available. This is shown below:

In 1977 Roode (1977:4) rewrote these calculations mathematically, allowing us to calculate any Easter dates with ease. The reader should not be overwhelmed by the symbols used as part of this algorithm to calculate those dates for any year AD. One merely stick the information of the relevant year into the algorithm and then the details of that year become available. This is shown below:

G = (J) mod(19) + 1

(J is the year of interest,
G is the golden number of that year, X mod(Y) = fraction(X/Y).Y)

E = (11 G – 4) mod(30) + 1
(1 for leap years)

(E gives the "age"
of the moon on 31 December before year J)

N = 44 – E (43 – E for
leap years)

(N gives the full moon date
in March)

D = 5 J/4

M = N + 7 – ((D +N)
mod(7))

(M is the date in March
before the first Sunday after the relevant full moon).

**The date of Jesus' entrance**

We have already shown that
Jesus entered Jerusalem in the year 32 AD on the donkey. To get all the necessary information for this year, we use the year 32 AD in the
above algorithm. This is done below:

J = 32

G = 14

E = 1 (leap year)

N = 42 March (11 April)

D = 40

M = 44 March (13 April).

The calendar for March/April
looks as follow

The Jews usually began their
months on or just after the new moon, which is 13 days before full
moon. This implies that the relevant month, namely Nisan, began with
the new moon on Saturday 29 March 32 AD (on the Sabbath). This date is marked on the calendar given above. The full
moon 13 days later on 14 Nisan was therefore on Friday 11 April 32
AD. This was also the day of the Passover (Pesach) and the day on
which Jesus was crucified. Jesus therefore entered Jerusalem on
Sunday 6 April 32 AD on the donkey.

**The date on which the royal command was given**

We must now consider the
possibility of determining on which date Artaxerxes Longimanus gave
the command to rebuild Jerusalem. We know already that it was in the
year 445 BC. How can we find the details for this year? An easy way
follows from the algorithm given above. We have shown that the phases
of the moon fall every 19 years on the same date. Furthermore, the
same weekdays fall very 28 years on the same date. The combined
effect of these two principles is that after each 532 (19 x 28) years
the phases of the moon would not only fall on the same dates, but
also on the same day of the week. Every 532 years are therefore
identical!

We can now consider which AD
year – for which we have the algorithm – would be identical with
the year 445 BC. This is the year 88 AD. The period between any date
during the year 445 BC and the same date during the year 88 AD is 532
years (there is no year 0). This is shown below:

For the year 88 AD we have

G = 13

E = 20

N = 24 March

D = 110

M = 30 March.

The calendar for that year
is given below:

We can now make some small
changes to the above calculations to accommodate those corrections that are necessary given our current knowledge. These corrections are only necessary for our data from 445 BC (the calculations for 32 AD involve a relative short period, namely from 1-32 AD, for which no changes to the moon cycle and leap years are necessary). Meton's procedure
results in the moon being allocated one day too far on the calendar
after 307 years. We therefore have to "move" the moon
backwards by about 1 1/2 days (that is for 445 years) in the
direction of the date that we used as point of departure for the
algorithm (the year 1 BC). This means that the real new moon was on
13 March 445 (instead of 11 March) and the real full moon was on 26
March 445 BC.

Another important point
concerns the leap year calculations. In the above algorithm it is
assumed that the seasonal year is 365 1/4 days long. This is not
really correct and must be reduced with 11 minutes and 14 seconds
(there are 365.2422 days in the year). Since no corrections was made
in this regard since the procedure was first developed (starting in
64 BC), this error has grown throughout the centuries until the sixteenth
century to 10 days. To rectify this error, the calendar of the year
1582 has the strange feature that 4 October was changed to 14 October
(with the switch from the Julian to the Georgian calendar)! The ten
days that was held as leap years through the ages, but which never
really was, was in this manner removed from the calendar. If those
days were not added on 29 February, the calendar would have stood 10
days later.

We must now do a similar
correction on the calendar for the year 445 BC. For every 400 years 3
leap years have to be removed. This implies that Wednesday 26 March
445 BC (full moon) should actually be Wednesday 23 March 445 BC. The
new moon on March 445 BC was therefore on 10 March. This is shown
below:

The eventual question that we must answer is: On what day did Artaxerxes Longimanus gave the command that Jerusalem should be rebuild? In the Book of Nehemiah we read that it was in the month of Nisan. This is the first month in the Jewish religious calendar. At that time the Jewish months commenced either on the new moon of maybe when the first crescent appeared (according to the Mishnah – Anderson 1984:101) which could have been a day or so later.

In the year 445 BC this new
moon was on the Thursday (10 March). It is therefore possible that
the religious new year could have commenced on any day from the
Thursday to the Saturday. In those days the Jews also kept the New Years day as a Sabbath (Amos 8:5; Hos. 2:10; Is. 1:13; 66:23). Since this
new year and the next Sabbath were so close to each other, it is
likely that they would have coincided (these Sabbaths were not
allowed to follow on subsequent days directly after each other). This means that the first working day of the week thereafter would
have been the Sunday (13 March 445 BC). Nehemiah would have
appeared before the king on this day.

The royal command must have
been given early in the month of Nisan – maybe on this Sunday (2
Nisan). We can see this from other information in the Book of
Nehemiah. We know that they started building the wall around the city
on the third of the month Ab (the wall was finished 52 days later on
25 Elul). Nehemiah would therefore have arrived on the 1st Ab in
Jerusalem (Neh. 2:11; 6:15). Thirteen years earlier Ezra also arrived
on this date in Jerusalem after departing five months earlier from
Babylon (Ezra 7:9). This implies that Nehemiah must also have started
his journey early in Nisan.

The reason why Sunday 13
March seems to be the correct date, is that this would have been the
first day of the new year and month when Nehemiah appeared before the
king. It might be that he humbled himself the previous day during the
great Sabbath before God since another year has passed with the wall
and gates of Jerusalem laying in ruins. He was clearly still grieving
over the conditions in Jerusalem when he appeared before the king
(Neh. 2:1-2).

**The period from 445 BC to 32 AD**

We can now proceed to
calculate the period from Sunday 13 March 445 BC when the royal
command was given to Sunday 6 April 32 AD when Jesus entered
Jerusalem on the donkey. From 13 March 445 BC to 13 March 32 AD are
476 years which includes 365 x 476 days + 116 leap days = 173856 days.
The period between 13 March and 6 April 32 AD is 24 days. The total
is therefore 173880 days. This is precisely 69 prophetic years of 360
days each (see Rev. 11:1-2) – even to the exact day!

Day on which the royal
command was given: Sunday 13 March 445 BC

Day on which Jesus entered
Jerusalem: Sunday 6 April 32 AD

Period in between:

13 March 445 BC to 13 March
32 AD

(476 years = 476 x 365 days)
173740 days

13 March – 6 April 32 AD
+ 24 days

Leap years in the period
+ 116 days

Total 173880 days

For 69 x 7 prophetic years
(360 days in the year)

(69 x 7 x 360) 173880
days

*The fact that 173880 days are precisely dividable by 7 shows that the first and last dates must fall on the same day of the week*

*(if those days are not calculated inclusively)*. We have indeed shown that both the royal command and the entrance in Jerusalem happened on Sundays – which is the day of the One about whom the prophecy is. Both events probably happened in the morning, with precisely 173880 days in between.

To confirm that the new moon
did fall on 10 March 445 BC, we can apply a simple test. We know the average period between new moons and know that it did not change
significantly since the time of Meton's procedure (432 BC). The
period between any two new moons must now be dividable through this
moon period (29.530588 days) – so also the period between the new
moons of 10 March 445 BC and 29 March 32 AD.

We can now move the
calculated period three days back such that it commences on the relevant new moon in 445 BC, which would mean that it ends just 5
days after the relevant new moon in 32 AD (3 days before Jesus'
entrance into Jerusalem). The average period between these new moons
would then be 173880 – 5 = 173875 days. This period is one day less
than 173876 days which are exactly dividable by the average moon
period of 29.530588 days (5888 times). The reason for the one day
difference is that the first and last days of the total period (or of
the period between these new moons) are not taken inclusively (which
would add another day); the exact time of the new moons may therefore
vary as much as one day. The new moon date in 445 BC has therefore
been calculated correctly.

**Other calculations**

There have been various
efforts to calculate this period of 69 weeks of years. The first and
best known was done by Sir Robert Anderson. He used the same date for
the time of Christ, but for the year 445 BC he took 13 March as the
date for the new moon (as calculated in 1877 by the British Royal
Observatory). Our date is 10 March. Since we do not have access to
the details of his calculation, it is difficult to give precise
commentary on it. If one uses the Julian calendar (365.25 days in a
year), one finds that the new moon is indeed on that day (this is the
uncorrected date in our calculation). This means that he included
three leap years to many (119 in total). He would have had 3 days too
many in his calculation. According to him the royal command was given
on the Friday – the day after the new moon – 1 Nisan according to
him). This is 2 days before the date that we used. The third surplus
day originated from him taking the first and last days inclusive.
Anderson, however, removed three days from his total when he assumed
116 leap days. His calculations therefore add up.

In 1984 another calculation
of this period was published in

*Boodskap van die Basuin*(April 1984) in which Prof. J.M. Schepers did the calculation. He used the same dates for the time of Christ. He, however, assumed that the new moon was on 23 March 445 BC – based on a calculation by Prof. Gawie Cellié of a solar eclipse which took place on 1 July 446 BC. This date agrees with our date for the full moon (!) although Prof. Schepers assumed 119 leap years. According to this calculation the period ends with the date of the crucifixion. In our view, this is not what the prophecy says. According to the prophecy the period of 69 weeks of years ends when the Messiah reveals himself as Prince (King), and it is only thereafter that the Messiah would die. The new moon date of 23 March 445 BC are also 13 days off when the new moons are calculated back from 29 March 32 AD.**Conclusion**

In this note we performed the
calculation of the first 69 weeks of years in Daniel's prophecy (Dan.
9). The period stretches from Sunday 13 March 445 BC when Artaxerxes
gave the command that Jerusalem must be rebuild until the Sunday
before the crucifixion (6 April 32 AD) when Jesus entered Jerusalem
on the donkey. The period is 173880 days long and is precisely 69
weeks of years – to the day.

**Sources**

Anderson, Robert. 1984.

*The Coming Prince*. Michigan: Kregel.
Malan, J. S. 1984.

*Boodskap van die Basuin*. April edition. Alberton: Basuin Uitgewers.
Roode, J. D. 1977. Metoniese
siklusse, epakta's en paasfees, of hoe Christopher C nie Amerika nie,
maar 'n algoritme vir Paassondag ontdek het.

*Epsilon*7(1).[1] For a detailed discussion of the various interpretations of this prophecy, click on The final seven years: the different views

[2] This essay was originally published in Afrikaans as note 6 in Dr Willie Mc Loud's book

*Op pad na Armageddon*(1995).

[3] Those of the Biblical Criticism school that regard the prophecy as "history", i.e. as written after the events, have serious problems in explaining the period of 483 (or 490) years (see [1] for a detailed discussion).

Author: Dr Willie Mc Loud
(Ref. wmcloud.blogspot.com)

The author is a scientist-philosopher (PhD in Physics; MA in philosophy). He writes on issues of religion, philosophy, science and eschatology.