The Prophetic Dates for Jesus 1st Appearing and the Tribulation
Introduction: Background to Daniel’s “Seventieth Week”:
Before Jesus of Nazareth ascended into heaven, from “the Mount of Olivet,” He told His Jewish disciples He would return and bring the Kingdom and that He was going away to “prepare a place” (John 14:1) wherein “the twelve” will sit on “twelve thrones” when the literal physical Kingdom comes down from heaven to literal physical earth. (cf. Rev. 3:12, 21:2).
Relating to His return with the Kingdom, Jesus gave the parable of Luke 19:12 wherein “A certain noblemen” left His servants to “receive… a Kingdom” and then “return.” Metaphorically, Christ is that “noblemen” who supplied his “citizens (Israel)” all they needed and then He went to a far country (heaven). Christ will “return” a 2nd time with the “kingdom” for His faithful believing servants of Israel.
“(Jesus) said therefore, A CERTAIN NOBLEMAN (JESUS) went into a far country (heaven) To RECEIVE FOR HIMSELF A KINGDOM, And TO RETURN. 13 And he called his ten servants (“ten” represents the fullness of Israel), and delivered them ten pounds (“all” that they needed), and said unto them, OCCUPY (in righteousness) Till I Come. 14 But His Citizens (Israel) Hated Him, and sent a message after him, saying, We Will Not Have This Man To Reign Over Us.
15 And it came to pass, that when he [Jesus Christ] was returned, Having Received The Kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money (the valuable gospel of the long-promised Kingdom on earth), that he [Jesus] might know how much every man had gained by trading (investing “the gospel of the kingdom”). (Luke 19:12-15)
By this parable the Lord was metaphorically indicating that He would NOT immediately be setting up His Kingdom during His 1st coming, but rather that He would be leaving soon, then to be made King when He returns with the Kingdom. When He returns a 2nd time He’ll reward His Jewish followers, punish His enemies, then He will establish His Theocratic Millennial Kingdom on earth.
As the “noblemen” said in the parable of Luke 19:12-15, Jesus did instruct Israel’s Messianic believers to “occupy (be busy)” that is … keep doing what I told you, preach “the gospel of the Kingdom” to all of Israel only (Matt. 10:5-6). They were to preach the “gospel of the kingdom” to Israel until the end of the age, when He would return (Matt. 24:14). They were to make “kingdom” disciples (Matt. 24:4), baptizing them in the name of Jesus and teaching them to obey everything that He had commanded while He was on earth… until His return with the Kingdom (Matt. 28:20).
But what did Israel do with Jesus? They crucified the King, rejecting Him and the word of His Kingdom.
Then after Pentecost “The Twelve” apostles of Israel were faithful to proclaim and offer “the kingdom” to Israel for a brief time in the early Acts period, but of course the leaders of the Nation Israel continued to rebel, stoning Stephen to death while he yet spoke as the witness of the Holy Spirit (Act 7:51-59). These “citizens (Israel)” in Jesus’ parable, were in effect saying “We will not have this man (Jesus) to reign over us.” (Luke 19:14). Though Israel failed by rejecting Jesus and His offer of the Kingdom through the Apostles the 1st time, the preaching of the “gospel of the kingdom” will be fulfilled by believing men of Israel during the Tribulation, then to receive Him in His 2nd coming to start the Millennial Kingdom. Israel then will, as “priests of God” fulfill God’s words that Abraham’s seed shall rule and “bless all nations (Gentiles)…all the families of the earth.”
With their rejection of Christ and then the stoning of Stephen (Acts 7:58-59) we have the last straw in Israel’s rebellion. Though being the Lord’s chosen elevated people (Exo 19:5), Israel long rejected the Lord, killing His prophets. Then they crucified Jesus of Nazareth, and stoned Stephen to death; these acts are the equivalent of “three strikes and you are OUT.”
Thus, Paul writes of Israel as “fallen” (Rom 11:11-12). God then interrupted Israel’s prophetic program when Israel was thereby “blinded” (Rom 11:25a). The promise of the coming Kingdom on earth was set aside for a time, as seen here.
“… BLINDNESS IN PART IS HAPPENED TO ISRAEL, UNTIL the FULNESS OF THE GENTILES BE COME IN” (Rom. 11:25).
‘Daniel’s 70th week,’ that we call the Tribulation period follows the dispensational age of “the Grace of God,” which ends with for the Gentile “body of Christ,” being Rapture to heaven.
Now let’s look into ‘Daniel’s 70th week.’
(The attached chart called “Daniel’s Crucifixion and Tribulation Timeline Chart” will help as you proceed reading the following with its verses.
Here in this series of studies we will explain the basis of the timing (dating) of
1) Jesus of Nazareth’s presentation to Israel and His crucifixion, and
2) the 7-year Tribulation period, seeing Israel again under Gentile rule, this time under Antichrist.
“Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment [of King Artaxerxes] to restore and to build Jerusalem [in 445BC] unto the Messiah the Prince [Jesus Christ] shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks (= 69 weeks): the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times [the time of the rebuilders, Ezra and Nehemiah.]” (Daniel 9:25)
The prophet Daniel was told, “from the going forth of the commandment to restore… Jerusalem” … “unto Messiah the Prince” would be 69 weeks of years, meaning 483 years (69×7) (cf. Gen. 29:27; Lev. 25:8).
But frankly, the very specific dating of this prophecy baffled Bible students for many years because it did not seem to exactly match up with the year or date of the Lord Jesus Christ’s death. Then, in his book ‘The Coming Prince,’ a Bible teacher and the head of England’s Scotland Yard, Sir Robert Anderson, realized the problem was in the different ways Jews and Gentiles mark time on their calendars. Today the Christians world uses the Gregorian solar calendar year, having 365 days (plus leap years); but the Biblical Jewish calendar has a 360-day calendar year, consisting of 12 months, having 30 days each.
Proof of the 30-day Biblical month is found in Genesis 7:11. There we read that the deluge of Noah’s day began “in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month,” exactly “an [150) hundred and fifty days” later, “And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days.” (Gen. 7:24) “the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month” (v. 8:3-4). The only way an exact period of five equal months can end 150 days later on the same day of the month is if each of those months has 30 days.
Further evidence of this is seen when we remember that the last half of Daniel’s seventieth week (7 years) is sometimes said to last “forty and two months” (Rev. 11:2), and sometimes it is said to last “a thousand two hundred and threescore days” (Rev. 11:3). The only way 42 equal months can work out to 1260 days is if each of those months has 30 days. This is important for us in our interpreting the end-time prophecy timeline.
When Sir Robert Anderson recalculated Daniel’s prophecy using the 30-day month, he found that the 69 weeks “unto the Messiah” worked out to the very day the Lord Jesus rode the colt of a donkey into Jerusalem and making an official presentation of Himself to Israel. No wonder the Lord lamented later that day, “If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace!” (Luke 19:42).
When you are asked why men should trust the God of the Bible, why not give the reason God Himself gives, that is… fulfilled prophecy! (Isa. 42:8-9; 44:7-8 cf. John 13:19). To those who would tout the gods of the world’s other religions, God says, “Produce your cause…bring forth your strong reasons…let them bring them forth, and shew us what shall happen…shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods” (Isa. 41:21-24).
Below we have the timeline of Daniel’s “Seventy Weeks” prophecy. It dates the coming of the Messiah and several significant items to be noted in order to properly understand “the last days.” (Read Daniel chapter 8 to understand the context of the following verses.)
“21Yes, while I (Daniel) was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel (the Lord’s messenger) … said, O Daniel, 22I am now come forth to give you skill and wisdom and understanding. 23 At the beginning of your prayers, the word [giving an answer] went forth, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved. Therefore consider the matter and understand the vision. (Daniel 9:21-23)
Continuing: “24SEVENTY WEEKS [70 weeks of 7yrs = 490 yrs. of Israel under Gentile rule] are determined upon thy people (Israel) and upon thy holy city (Jerusalem), to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation [justice] for iniquity (by the cross), and to bring in everlasting righteousness (in the Kingdom), and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to (re)build Jerusalem unto [the presentation of] the Messiah the Prince shall be SEVEN WEEKS [49 wks.], THREESCORE AND TWO WEEKS [62 wks.] AND (plus then) the street (Jerusalem) shall be built Again, and the wall, even in troublous times. (7 weeks of 7yrs = 49 yrs. PLUS 62 weeks of 7yrs = for the Total of 483 Biblical Yrs.)
26 after (the) threescore and two weeks shall MESSIAH BE CUT OFF (killed), but not for himself [not for any sin of His own but “for the sins of the world”]…and [in 70 AD] the people of the prince (Rome) that shall come, shall DESTROY THE CITY [Jerusalem] and THE SANCTUARY; and the end thereof shall be with a flood [an overwhelming deluge of judgment], and unto the end of the war desolations [devastations] are determined. (Dan. 9: 24-26
The preceding events (above) have already happened. Now Daniel’s prophecy moves to things yet to come.
27 And he [the Antichrist] shall confirm the covenant with many for one week [7 years]: and IN THE MIDST OF THE WEEK (at 3-1/2 yrs.) he [Antichrist] shall cause the [Temple] sacrifice and the oblation [offerings] to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate [waste], even until the consummation (the end of the age), and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” (Daniel 9:24-27)
“11 from the time that the DAILY [Temple] SACRIFICE SHALL BE TAKEN AWAY ([by Antichrist], and THE ABOMINATION that MAKETH DESOLATE set up [a speaking image of Antichrist in the Temple, cf. Rev 13:15], there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days 13 “until the end…” (Daniel 12:11, 13)
Daniel 9:24-27 and 12:11-13 record prophecies of events to be understood in their chronological order.
- The angel Gabriel tells Daniel of “the vision” referring to a total of 70 Weeks, counting 7 years for each day, equaling 490 years. This begins with the edict of King Artaxerxes to rebuild Jerusalem and its temple and it ends with the awful 7-year period that we call – The Tribulation period.
- Interruption: The 490 years is interrupted at year 483 with the presentation of Jesus of Nazareth on Palm Sunday as “the Prince” to be “cut-off” (v 26), the Hebrew word “karath” means “executed.”
- A Biblical prophetic ‘week’ is a ‘week of years.’ In Hebrew a shabua or shabu’im is 7 years.
- Daniel 9:27 mentions a coming period of severe Jewish persecution that begins in the “midst (middle)” of the final Seventieth Week of seven years and continues to the “end” of the ‘week.’ This period is obviously the three and one-half years of the “Great Tribulation.”
- We must let the Bible interpret itself in terms of the length of a Biblical prophetic year. We’ve already established the fact that a Biblical prophetic year is 360-days. The Biblical calendar uses 360-day years, and we then add a “Leap Month” on specific years so as to coincide with the Solar cycle of the ‘Gregorian’ calendar used by the Christians world today.
- The easiest way to unravel this Bible prophecy is to convert the number of Biblical prophecy weeks into DAYS.
A Biblical prophetic ‘Year’ can be defined by noting that Dan. 7:24-25. It speaks of Antichrist as a “prince” in Dan. 9:26, saying he will persecute Israel for “a time (1 yr.) and times (2 yr.) and the dividing of time (1/2 yr.)” In the Aramaic this is ‘three and a half ‘times,’ or as we will see, 3-1/2 years.
Rev. 13:4-7 speaks of the same political Ruler (Antichrist) and his persecution of the Jewish “saints” lasting “forty and two months” (v5). Rev. 12:13-14 also refers to the same persecution, saying the duration in the same terms as Dan. 7:25 … “a time (1 yr.) and times (2 yrs.) and half a time (1/2 yr.).”
This period is further defined in Rev. 12:6 as “a thousand two hundred and three score (1260) days.” Thus, we have the same period of time variously stated as 3 ½ times (years), 42 months, and 1260 days. It’s clear then that the length of a Biblical prophetic month is 30 days and Biblical prophetic year consists of Biblical prophetic 360 days.
Knowing this, we can now better compute the years involved to arrive at these three prophetic dates.
- The date of Jesus’ presentation to the world as the Israel’s Messiah/King’s entrance into Jerusalem, riding on “a donkey.” (see Dan 9:25)
- The time of His death (“cut-off,” see Dan 9:26), and later,
- The defilement of Jerusalem’s end-time third Temple, yet to be built. (see Dan 9:27, Rev 13:15).
We can proceed to calculate the prophetic days involved in order to ‘date’ the above points.
1. Per Daniel 9:24 we add the 7 weeks and 62 weeks = 69 weeks of years.
2. Multiply the 69 weeks x 7 days to get 483 days.
3. These 483 days are each for a prophesied Biblical year of 360 days, as we confirmed here. “After the Number of The Days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, Each Day For A Year…” (Num. 14:34)
4. We also know “1260 days” (Rev 12:6) is the same as “42 months” (Rev 13:5), by which we then know each month is 30 days and each year is 360 days long.
5. By multiplying 483 years by 360 days, we know “Daniel’s 70 weeks” vision covers 173,880 days.
So, the prophet Daniel, who lived 533 years before Jesus, wrote that from the day King Artaxerxes gave the edict to rebuild Jerusalem and its walls, unto the coming Messiah would be 173,880 days!
We can convert the 173,880 days of the Daniel’s prophetic vision to Gregorian calendar years by… dividing the 173,880 days by our 365.25 days of the Gregorian year (the .25 adjusts for leap years). The result is 476 Gregorian calendar years…which EQUALS 483 Biblical Prophetic Years.
Here is a brief detailed summary of the items we are concerned with in Daniel 9:24-26.
- It says “Messiah the Prince [Jesus]” (9:25) will be revealed after 7 weeks + 62 weeks, or 69 “weeks of 7 years,” or 483 Biblical prophetic years, when King Artaxerxes would give the “commandment to restore and to (re)build Jerusalem,” with its “walls.”
- Then 173,880 days later the Messiah will “be CUT-OFF (executed!),” but “NOT for Himself,” that is not for His sins (9:26). Being sinless, Jesus died as the perfect sacrificial “Lamb of God” for “the sin of the world.”
This is a detailed prophecy whose timing may be interpreted by simply calculating the years. The prophet Daniel wrote that it would be 483 Biblical Prophetic years (476 Gregorian years), from the time of Artaxerxes’ commandment to rebuild Jerusalem and its walls unto the time the “Messiah the Prince” would be revealed and presented to Israel by His entry into Jerusalem, “riding on a donkey.”
The result of what we’ve discussed so far is that we have the exact dates seen below.
- On March 14, 445 B.C., King Artaxerxes’ issued the “commandment (edict)” to rebuild Jerusalem and its walls.
- On April 6, 32 AD (Palm Sunday), the 10th of Nisan (our April), is when the Messiah was welcomed as King. But this is 477 years Gregorian calendar years, which we can explain.
Note: We must deduct 1 year from the 477 years because there is no year “0” when we go from BC to AD., we can only count actual years completed. This results in 476 years on the Gregorian calendar we use today. As we’ve already proven, 476 years of 365.25 days Gregorian calendar equals 483 Biblical prophetic years of the 360-days.
- King Artaxerxes Commandment (Edict) to Rebuild Jerusalem: This prophecy of the coming Messiah is both remarkable and extremely precise. There were other orders to rebuild the Temple, but there was only one commandment to restore both Jerusalem and its wall. On March 14th, 445 BC, as confirmed by modern archaeology, King Artaxerxes I of Persia issued the edict to rebuild Jerusalem and specifically included its walls (Neh. 2:2-9). The book of Nehemiah records at length an account of rebuilding the city and its wall.
- The Prophecy fulfilled: Now take the 483 Biblical Prophetic years (476 Gregorian calendar years) in this prophecy and simply count from March 14, 445 B.C. when “the commandment to rebuild the city Jerusalem and its wall” was given. This brings you to the exact year and the very day that Jesus rode triumphantly into Jerusalem “on a donkey.” Jesus was praised as King by thousands of Israel’s people who had gathered from all over for Passover. This was exactly as the prophet Zechariah prophesied.
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion (Israel)! Behold, your King (and Messiah) is coming to you [Israel]; He is just and having salvation, yet HE IS LOWLY and RIDING ON A DONKEY.” (Zechariah 9:9.)
The Significance of Dating Daniel’s Seventieth Week
On the 10th day of Nisan, which is April 6, 32 AD (Gregorian), exactly 476 Gregorian years (483 Biblical prophetic years) after the commandment to rebuild the “city and its walls,” Jesus made this triumphal entry into Jerusalem, “riding on a donkey.” The people of Israel cried out and sang what is spoken of in David’s Psalm 118 concerning the coming Messiah; “Hosanna to the Son of (King) David, blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!” (cf. Mark 11:8-10). This took place just a few days before Jesus of Nazareth was “cut-off” or “executed” (Dan. 9:26), exactly as Daniel’s prophecy said. It was what we call Palm Sunday, April 6, 32 AD, when Jesus was presented and welcomed as Israel’s King and Messiah. This was the only time that Jesus of Nazareth ever allowed Himself to be honored as Israel’s Messiah/King.
Who but Jesus of Nazareth has fulfilled all these precise prophecies? Know this; God always keeps His prophetic word. The Son of God, Jesus Christ, came to earth in His 1st coming about 2,000 years ago exactly as promised, literally fulfilling hundreds of related prophecies. Just consider these fulfilled prophesies below.
- Peter wrote to “the circumcision [Israel]” to whom he was sent (cf. Gal 2:7, Mat 10:5-6) concerning “THE LAST DAYS” saying, “… there shall come in THE LAST DAYS scoffers, walking after their own lusts (desires), 4 And saying, WHERE IS THE PROMISE OF HIS COMING...? Peter then writes of these willingly ignorant “scoffers…perishing” in the coming judgments (2Pet 3:3-6). This is similar to the scoffers who mocked Noah before the flood, who being warned did not heed the words of warning of coming flood of judgment.
- We must realize that more than 75% of the Bible is devoted to and concerns God’s calling and prophetic eternal plan for the Nation Israel and their part in the eternal Kingdom of God to come on earth. Jesus’ disciples inquired and He taught them repeatedly about the long promised coming “Kingdom of God” during His ministry to Israel on earth. In fact, after His resurrection, Jesus spoke almost exclusively of “the Kingdom of God” for forty days, just prior to His ascension to heaven. “he (Jesus) shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them FORTY DAYS and speaking of the things pertaining to THE KINGDOM OF GOD” (Act 1:3). His gospel was “the gospel of the kingdom.”
- The angel Gabriel came to Joseph confirming Isaiah’s prophetic words of Isa. 7:14 concerning the Messiah’s birth. “…a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, GOD WITH US. (Matt 1:23) Jesus was Israel’s long-awaited Messiah, the “King of the Jews.” As prophesied in Daniel 9:25, the Messiah/King actually first came to make sacrifice of Himself, giving His “life for the sin of the world” (Jn 1:29). As noted earlier, Jesus entered Jerusalem and offered Himself sacrificially in the year and on the exact day that Daniel had foretold.
- Note that Israel was warned in Daniel 9:26 that the rebuilt Jerusalem and the Jewish Temple (the “Sanctuary”) would be destroyed again AFTER the Prince/Messiah was “cut-off” (executed). Then the rebuilt city and its temple were destroyed again in 70 AD by the Roman General Titus, under the Roman Emperor Vespasian. Thus, to this day Judaism can no longer be practiced, without temple and priesthood.
In the verses of Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy concerning yet coming judgments to come upon the people of Israel, the city of Jerusalem will be under Gentile rule (Dan 9:24). Israel will be under Gentile rule for the total of 490 years, but not all in succession. This does not count the years of Israel scattered.
These six points of Daniel’s prophecy Israel, Jerusalem and the Messiah have been fulfilled.
- Solomon’s original Temple and the Jerusalem with its walls had been totally destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar II after the Siege of Jerusalem of 587 BCE, some 142 years before Nehemiah began to rebuild Jerusalem, its walls and sanctuary.
- The 490 prophetic years calculation commences with the rebuilding of the Temple in 445 BCE (v25), as authorized by edict of King Artaxerxes Longinus of Persia.
- On Palm Sunday April 6, 32AD Jesus of Nazareth made an open presentation (v25) as “Messiah the Prince,” the King of the Israel; this was 483 Jewish years from King’s Artaxerxes edict to rebuild.
- Then, upon the first 483 years of the prophecy, Messiah would be “cut off (killed)” (v26).
- Then after the first 483 years, in AD70, Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed again (v26).
- The ‘Seventieth Week’ of Seven Years (The Tribulation) does NOT immediately follow the first sixty-nine weeks of years.
An interruption came by Israel’s “fall” and rejection of Christ (Rom. 11:10-15, 25) ... and their rejection of God’s interjection of Paul’s teaching and Christ-given ministry of “the dispensation of the grace of God… for the Gentiles” (Eph. 3:1-2).
- After the Rapture of the Gentile “body of Christ” the false “prince,” the “Antichrist” will appear, though he would be alive a while before the Rapture.
- The 7-year Tribulation period (the final week of years) begins after the Rapture or “the church, the body of Christ,” with the Antichrist covenanting with Israel to defend them from their enemies.
- But at mid-week, at 3-1/2 years into the 7-year Tribulation period, Antichrist breaks that covenant (Daniel 9:27). Thus, begins the last 3-1/2 years, or 42 months, or 1260 days of the final half of the Tribulation period, called “the Great Tribulation.”
- To this date sixty-nine “sevens” of years (483 years) of Daniel’s prophesied 490 years have been completely fulfilled. Having completed 483 years, only one week of years (7 years) remains, as seen by the 1 week of years, the 7-year Tribulation.
We call this ‘Daniel’s 70th Week.’ which will complete the 490 years that the Angel Gabriel revealed to Daniel in Daniel 9:21-7.
The 70 weeks of years were interrupted by Israel’s “fall” (Rom. 11:10-11, 15, 25) and scattering of Israel, and the establishment of “the dispensation of the grace of God” (Eph 3:2) for the Gentile “body of Christ.” The remaining “70th week” of Israel under Gentile rule, includes the final 3-1/2 years, the “Great Tribulation,” ending with Christ’s 2nd coming.