DANIEL’S PROPHECY OF JESUS’ FIRST ADVENT

 

The angel Gabriel gave Daniel an amazing wealth of prophetic information in response to his supplication to the Lord. More remarkable yet is that it is encapsulated in a mere four verses: Daniel 9:24-27:

“Seventy weeks are determined upon your people and upon your holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.

“Know, therefore, and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem to the Messiah, the Prince, shall be seven weeks, and sixty two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

“And after sixty two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself; and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary, and the end of it shall be with a flood, and to the end of the war desolations are determined.

“And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week; and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”

Not only is there an abundance of information in those four verses, but some of that prophetic information already has been fulfilled. The timing of its fulfillment is of astonishing accuracy. Of particular interest in this regard is the second of these four verses, Daniel 9:25, which foretells when Jesus will appear in His first advent. This event, which was to take place about five hundred years after the prophecy was written, occurred just as foretold, even to the very day that Jesus made His triumphal entry on an ass into Jerusalem.

As a side note, Jesus’ riding on an ass re-enacted Solomon’s riding on a similar animal to be crowned King over Israel. The account is given in 1 Kings 1:38:

“So Zadok, the priest, and Nathan, the prophet, and Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites, and the Pelethites, went down, and caused Solomon to ride upon King David’s mule, and brought him to Gihon. And Zadok, the priest, took an horn of oil out of the tabernacle, and anointed Solomon. And they blew the trumpet; and all the people said, God save King Solomon.”

Moreover, Jesus’ entry on an ass was specifically foretold in Zechariah 9:9 by that prophet:

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem; behold, your King comes to you; he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt, the foal of an ass.”

But it was Daniel who had captured the event’s timing. According to verse 9:25, there would be a time interval of sixty nine weeks from a certain event to Jesus’ appearance. There is no coded equivalence here. A week is simply a group of seven units of time. Here, it is obvious from the prophecy’s fulfillment that the unit of time that Daniel was writing of is a year, which is usually understood to be a prophetic year of 360 days’ duration. A week in this prophecy, therefore, is a time interval of seven prophetic years.

The event that was to start the prophetic time interval was a commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. The commandment that matches that event was a decree issued by Persian King Artaxerxes Longimanus in 445 B.C. to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. This event is detailed in the Book of Nehemiah. The situation is summarized in Nehemiah Chapter 2:

“And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes, the king, that wine was before him; and I took up the wine, and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence. Wherefore, the king said unto me, Why is your countenance sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very much afraid. And said to the king, Let the king live forever. Why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ supulchers, lies waste, and its gates are consumed with fire? Then the king said to me, For what do you make request? So I prayed to God of heave. And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, that you would send me unto Judah, to the city of my fathers’ sepulchers, that I may build it. And the king said to me (the queen also sitting by him), For how long shall your journey be? And when will you return? So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.”

The walls were rebuilt in troublous times indeed; in Nehemiah’s account, the workers had to have their weapons ready at hand as they worked. The rebuilding project took 49 prophetic years (the first 7 weeks of Daniel 9:25).

Including the additional 62 weeks (434 prophetic years) prophesied in Daniel 9:25, the 69-week time to Messiah from Artaxerxes’ decree was 173,880 days, (the product of 483 and 360), which agrees with astonishing precision with the estimated date of April 6, 32 A.D. for Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

For the person who wishes to delve deeper into this prophecy, further details can be obtained by Googling “Jesus’ triumphal entry 69 weeks after Artaxerxes’ decree”.

It is important to keep in mind that the decree of Artaxerxes was made after the decree of Cyrus to end the seventy-year captivity of Judah. The decree of Cyrus was to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem and is covered in the Book of Ezra, while the decree of Artaxerxes, as described in Daniel 9:25, was to rebuild the city of Jerusalem itself and is covered in the Book of Nehemiah.

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