The 70 weeks of Daniel

Of all the controversial topics found in the Bible, none other has been so abused or misunderstood than the prophecy known as Daniels 70 Weeks. There is no other Messianic prophecy that so perfectly foretells the coming of Christ and the year of His baptism and crucifixion. So why is this 70 week prophecy of Daniel 9 so misinterpreted? The true answer can only be attributed to our adversary. The most significant reason being of course is that this prophecy of weeks is perfect proof that Jesus is the Christ (anointed one). Non-Messianic Jews would realize they had missed the first coming of the Messiah if they understood this prophecy, but they avoid it believing this passage is cursed. The one passage proving they missed the Messiah and they won’t read it! Who would you say is responsible? And what would you say if I told you that many now think this prophecy foretells the coming of antichrist?

As part of the Counter Reformation, the Catholic Church commissioned Jesuit priests to write counter interpretations of Bible prophecy as a counter response to the Protestant reformation when the finger was pointed at them as being antichrist. Spanish Jesuit, Francisco Ribera proposed that the final seven years of the 70 weeks of Daniel was a future antichrist and that antichrist would bring an end to sacrifices in a rebuilt temple. This is where the supposed 7 years of tribulation comes from before the second coming of Christ. But this was manufactured prophecy, written with the sole purpose of deceiving Christians on the true identity of antichrist. When has a Bible passage ever been so abused by Satan? Attributing Daniel’s 70th week of Jesus’ baptism and crucifixion and applying it instead to antichrist is outright blasphemous.

Daniel’s 70 weeks is actually not that difficult to understand and current historical information makes it relatively easy to get accurate dates. Despite this, there are an alarming number of people who Daniel's 70 weeks gap theorybelieve there is an unknown gap of time between the 69th and the 70th week that originated from the Spanish Jesuit Francisco Ribera. Chuck Missler and many others have been deceived by this and sadly are deceiving countless others. Publishers Weekly printed that Left Behind authors Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye took the fictional, future one man antichrist idea of Ribera, Bellarmine, Maitland, Todd, Newman, Irving, John Darby, Cyrus Scofield and Hal Lindsey and made it “The most successful Christian-fiction series ever.

The book “The Late Great Planet Earth” by Hal Lindsey was primarily theological and this limited its appeal, but “Left Behind” was a successful series of fictional novels. So much so that John Hagee, Jack Van Impe and Peter and Paul Lalonde television ministries worked together and produced “LEFT BEHIND: The Movie.” This venture received attention from the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal that resulted in an interview with Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye on the Larry King Live show. This Left Behind fiction is now teaching much of the same Jesuit Futurism as Francisco Ribera, which is hiding the real truth on antichrist and some fictional seven year tribulation period that did in fact originate from an outrageous abuse of Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy that foretells the coming of Christ, not antichrist.

Futurism through this highly imaginative and fictional Left Behind series has unleashed a tsunami sized tidal wave of false Prophecy, which is sweeping over the entire world. I mean, everyone believes movies and books, right? Thus we now have all this false teaching circulating on some illusory secret rapture and seven year tribulation period as many have taken these books as being primarily true and teach them as if they are Biblical truth even though these books are fictional.

Consider the following in regards to this erroneous gap theory. If you purchased a house on monthly repayments but made your payments every 6 months, do you think that the bank would accept this? Obviously not. How do you think the bank would respond if you told them that you were in fact paying your monthly payments every month but you had added a 5 month gap between the 3rd and 4th weeks making your monthly repayments actually occur every six months? Do you think they would accept your reasoning? It would be far more likely they would call the funny farm and have you committed for some serious psychiatric help! They would also tell you that one month is one month!

Daniel’s 70 week prophecy is also just that! It is not 70 weeks plus some indefinite period of time thrown in between the 69th week and the 70th week. To quote the obvious, that would no longer be 70 weeks! The angelic interpreter speaking to Daniel declares exactly how long it is and nowhere does scripture say we can manipulate time periods by adding time in where we choose. This is nonsensical foolishness and not supported in the Bible anywhere. Those teaching this erroneous heresy have tragically been deceived by our adversary who has succeeded in having them spread this Jesuit spawned propaganda. Too many people underestimate what the enemy can do and has done over the centuries and continually do so.

And just to clarify since some have misunderstood in the past. Yes the Bible does say we go through tribulation but we are not told how long. Scripture says that “except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved.” (Matthew 24:21-22) And yes scripture does teach there will be a second coming of Christ that many refer to as the rapture, but the word rapture is not found in the Bible and nor does it teach that it will be secret.

Daniel’s 70 Weeks Prophecy Explained

The Book of Daniel was written while the Jews were in exile in Babylon because of their sin and rebellion against God. Daniel 9:24-27 has a prophecy spoken by the angel Gabriel to encourage the Jewish people as they were going to be given a “second chance” to end their sin and rebellion, return home and rebuild Jerusalem and their temple and ultimately receive their Messiah, being of course Jesus Christ.

All these following events described here in Daniel chapter 9 took place in 538 B.C. soon after the Chaldeans (Babylon) were conquered by the Medes and the Persians.

Daniel 9:1In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans;

Daniel had often studied the book of Jeremiah and understood that the last 70 years of slavery for his people had now finally come to an end.

Jeremiah 25:11-12And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. 12 And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations.Jeremiah 29:10For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.

Daniel 9:2-3In the first year of his reign [Darius, see Daniel 9:1] I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. 3 And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:” Parenthesis added.

Now that Babylon had fallen, Daniel knew it was time for Jerusalem to be rebuilt. Daniel had no doubt that it was the sins of his people that had caused all their grief, but he wondered if the Daniel prayingrebuilding of Jerusalem was delayed because of their rebellion. Thus we find in verses 3-19 that Daniel is in fervent prayer and fasting to His Creator God, seeking forgiveness for the sins of himself and his people.

Daniel 9:4-5, 17And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments; 5 We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from your precepts and from your judgments: 17 Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of your servant, and his supplications, and cause your face to shine upon your sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake.

During Daniel’s prayer the angel Gabriel appeared to Daniel again. In the previous chapter of Daniel 8, the angel gave Daniel a vision describing a 2300 day (2300 years) period of time. However, because Daniel collapsed, he was unable to hear the entire interpretation of the vision at the time.

Daniel 8:14-16, 27And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed. 15 And it came to pass, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, then, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man. 16 And I heard a man's voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision. 27 And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king's business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.

Daniel 9:20-21And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God; 21 Yes, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.

Gabriel now tells Daniel that he is going to explain the vision he had at the beginning. However, nowhere in Daniel 9 do we see Daniel having a vision. The last vision Daniel had was in the previous chapter of Daniel 8 when he collapsed and was unable to hear all Gabriel had to say. Plain common sense and logic tells us that Gabriel is about to finish telling Daniel what he was too sick to hear before when he fainted. Remember there are no chapters or verses in the original Hebrew and Greek text and are added.

Daniel 9:22-23And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give you skill and understanding. 23 At the beginning of your supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to show you; for you are greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.

Note that the word determined in Daniel 9:24 comes from the Hebrew word, “chathak,” (see Strong’s 2852) which literally means to cut off or to be marked out. In other words, the angel is telling Daniel that 70 weeks had been cut off or marked out for the people of Israel, but how do you cut off this time? It would have to be cut off from a larger period of time which can only be the 2300 day (2300 years) prophecy in Daniel 8:14. The angel Gabriel is about to illustrate a period of time that is cut off a longer period of time that is marked out specifically for the people of Israel.

This brings us to the main passage of Daniel’s prophecy. The entire passage of Daniel’s 70 weeks is given below first for ease of study and so the context can be seen before we explain the remaining verses. This very controversial prophecy literally reads:

Daniel 9:24Seventy 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.
Daniel 9:25Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
Daniel 9:26And after threescore and 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 thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
Daniel 9:27And 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.

We find in Daniel 9:24 that God gave Daniel’s people 70 weeks to end their sin and rebellion against Him, but if they ignored this warning then God would reject Israel as His chosen nation. When Bible prophecy is symbolic, the proven and established day for a year principle applies. (See Ezekiel 4:6 and Numbers 14:34) So Daniel’s 70 weeks (490 days) is actually a literal 490 years. Daniel 9:25 informs us that these 70 prophetic weeks began with the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem.

Daniel 9:25Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

This well known starting date for the decree to rebuild Jerusalem was given by Artaxerxes in 457 B.C. (Ezra 7:13). Remember this date was also the beginning of the 490 years God gave Israel to end their rebellion and so the 490 year probation period ended in A.D. 34 where the Jews ceased to be God’s chosen people. Daniel 9:24-25 informs us the Messiah would be anointed after a total of 69 (7 + 62) of these prophetic weeks had passed. That is 483 years (490-7) from the 457 B.C. decree date and brings us to the year A.D. 27. This was the exact year Jesus was baptized by John and the Holy Spirit anointed Him for His ministry. The Greek word “Messiah” means “Anointed One” and so we know this can only be the fulfilment of Daniel’s 70 week prophecy that the Messiah would appear in A.D. 27. The Jewish probation period was 70 weeks but Jesus appears as the “Messiah” after 69 weeks. So the 70th and final week is left for Christ to minister before the Jews probation ended. What happened in this 70th and final week?

Daniel 9:27 gives the answer, “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.

Daniel's 70 weeks chartThe “midst of the week” is half of 7 days being of course 3.5 prophetic days, which is 3.5 literal years being the time from the baptism of Jesus to His crucifixion. And as you would expect, the Bible confirms the ministry of Jesus lasted exactly 3.5 years. When they crucified Jesus in the spring of A.D. 31, the temple veil was rent from top to bottom, (Matthew 27:51) which signified the end of the sacrificial system. By His own death Jesus caused the “sacrifice and the oblation to cease.” The remaining 3.5 literal years brings us to the end of the 70 weeks and the Jewish probation. The disciples laboured mainly for the Jews during those three and a half years and in A.D. 34, the 70 weeks ended when Stephen was stoned after his immense speech before the council in Acts chapter 7. The Jews had rejected the Gospel message and so were no longer God’s chosen people and thus the Gospel began to go to the Gentiles (Acts 8:4). The Jews now receive salvation as individuals in the same way we do.

Note 1: There are different opinions on who “the people of the prince” refers to in Daniel 9:26 but the majority of scholars however do agree that the destruction of “the city and the sanctuary” applies to the second destruction of Jerusalem and the rebuilt sanctuary by Roman armies under Prince Titus in 70 A.D.

Note 2: Remember the 70 weeks or 490 years was the time God gave His chosen nation to end their rebellion where they would then be forgiven for their transgressions. Now note that Jesus references this prophetic time period while conversing with Peter on the topic forgiveness. 70 times 7 is of course 490.

Matthew 18:21Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times? 22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

For those wondering, the well known and accepted day for a year rule is correct or otherwise the entire ministry of Jesus would have only been 3.5 days instead of 3.5 years and the entire prophecy would have only lasted about 1.3 years. That would be from 457 B.C. to approximately 455 B.C. The temple and the streets and the walls of Jerusalem etc would have had to have been rebuilt in 49 days. This would be an impossible task and it certainly did take every bit of the 49 years as one would expect.

So let’s just clarify these times again. Daniel 9:24 “Seventy weeks are determined upon your people” Seventy weeks is 70 * 7 days which is 490 prophetic days, which on the day for a year rule is 490 years.

Daniel 9:25Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

Daniel 9:25 states that from the decree to rebuild the temple until the Messiah (means anointed one), which can only be Jesus, is 7 weeks and threescore and two weeks, Three score is 60, plus two equals 62 weeks. So this is 7 + 62 = 69 weeks from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem until the beginning of Christ’s ministry. The ministry of Jesus began at the allowed age of 30 years with His baptism.

Luke 3:22-23 NIVAnd the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased. 23 Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry…

So how do we get the year of baptism to be 27 A.D. when it states Jesus was about thirty years old? When the time of this was first calculated there was an error of 4 years made as many now know. Herod was still alive when Christ was born and did all he could to try and kill Jesus at that time. But History records Herod’s death to be in 4 B.C. After the error was recognized, the historic facts became even clearer. Jesus was born in 4 B.C. and then baptized in 27 A.D. at the age of 30.

The 7 weeks (49 days = 49 years) was the time it took to rebuild the Temple and streets etc and the remaining 62 weeks brings us to the Baptism of the Messiah. Note that Christ means the “anointed one” in Greek while Messiah means the “anointed one” in Hebrew.

Daniel 9:26And after threescore and 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 thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.

This leaves only the final 70th week, which is 7 years to complete the 70 weeks of Daniel, (7 + 62 + 1 = 70 weeks or 490 years). We are told that after the threescore and two weeks (60 + 2 = 62) that the Messiah would be cut off. In other words, cut off from the land of the living, that is, killed by crucifixion. This happens after the 62 week period which follows the 7 weeks, so this is 69 weeks into the prophecy. Note that is says “after” this time period and not at the end of the 69 weeks exactly. So how long after the 62nd week was it when Jesus was crucified?

Daniel 9:27And 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.

Daniel 9:27 tells us exactly when after the total of 69 weeks Jesus was “cut off, but not for Himself,” for He was cut off for us as He died for our sins. Note that it states that He, Jesus, caused “the sacrifice and the oblation to cease” in the “middle” of the final week (7 years), which is 3.5 years of course. When Jesus, the Lamb of God, died on the cross, He became our one and final perfect sacrifice and put an end to the temple sacrifices. This was signified by the temple curtain been torn from top to bottom.

Matthew 27:51And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;

This still leaves 3.5 years before the end of Daniel’s 70 weeks (490 years) and the close of probation for Israel. The Gospel was still to go the Jews exclusively for this remaining time. So what happened at the end of the 490 years? Stephen gave one immense and very significant speech before the Sanhedrin. This was God giving the Jews their final chance to repent. How did they respond and what did they do?

Acts 7:54-60When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. 55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. 57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, 58 And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul. 59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. 60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

Notice that this is an extremely significant event as we see Stephen say, “I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” It is also interesting to note that Stephen effectively said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” The final 3.5 years, which was the same length of time as the ministry of Jesus Christ, ended with the death of Stephen and him effectively saying the same words as Jesus when He was crucified. This marked the end of a very significant time period being the end of the Daniel’s 70 weeks.

In the autumn of the year 34 A.D., the Jewish leaders rejected the Gospel message. They openly declared this rejection by the stoning of Stephen that was approved wholly by the leaders of Israel. The sad historical fact is Stephen was the first Christian martyr killed by the hands of the Jewish nation itself. The 490 years were up and the Jews not only did not repent but they killed the very Messiah they had been waiting for as well as the final messenger that was sent to give them their final chance to repent. The Jews were now rejected as God’s chosen nation and were no different from the Gentiles.

After Jesus was baptized by John, Jesus states the following. Mark 1:15 “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” What is this time that is fulfilled that Jesus speaks of here? I am sure you already know but note the following Bible Commentary for confirmation.

Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible, LL.D., F.S.A., (1715-1832)
Mark 1:15 The time is fulfilled - That is, the time appointed for sending the Messiah; and particularly the time specified by Daniel, Dan_9:24-27.

Daniel’s 70 weeks date evidence

The basics of the 70 week prophecy of Daniel 9 are relatively simple and clear as I am sure you will now agree. The only thing that is not initially distinctly clear and that many dispute is the date evidence. How can we be sure that this prophecy did in fact begin in 457 B.C.? In order for this prophecy to prove that Jesus was in fact the Messiah, then the starting period has to come close to a year that can be reconciled with a date that could be aligned with the baptism and crucifixion of Jesus. As we discovered earlier, this starting date began with the decree to rebuild Jerusalem.

Daniel 9:25Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

The decree to rebuild Jerusalem
The issuing of the command to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem begins with a specific decree, but the problem is that there are several different decrees in the Bible concerning rebuilding within Jerusalem.




Particulars of the Decree


Ezra 1:1-4

539 B.C.

Allowed the Jews to return home and rebuild their Temple. The work ceased because of false allegations (Ezra 4:6-13).


Ezra 6:8-12

520 B.C.

Allowed the Jews to complete the rebuilding of the Temple


Ezra 7:11-26

457 B.C.

Gave authority to Ezra to lead the nation in the Laws of God


Nehemiah 1

445 B.C.

Gave permission to Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem

The first two dates are way too early to have any bearing upon the coming of the Messiah and the last one is way too late. Ezra was given his commission in the 7th year of Artaxerxes. So allowing for his ascension year, this Persian king began his reign in 464 B.C. This places the king’s decree to Ezra around 457 B.C. (464 B.C. – 7 years = 457 B.C.) We find Ezra also alludes to possibly been given permission in his prayer not only to rebuild the Temple but also to build the walls of Judah and Jerusalem.

Ezra 9:9For we are slaves; yet in our bondage our God has not forsaken us, but has extended loving kindness to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us reviving to raise up the house of our God, to restore its ruins and to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem.

The conclusion of the 69 weeks is the coming of “Messiah the Prince” and theologians generally agree that this Anointed Prince is a reference to Jesus Christ. So this makes it a simple matter of looking at the four decrees and seeing which one aligns with the first coming of Jesus. Since there are some differences of opinion in these dates, I have given a range of the most accepted dates.

Daniel 9:25Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince will be seven weeks and sixty two weeks…

Instigator and date for each decree

483 Year date end


Ezra 1:1-4

539-536 B.C.

56-53 B.C.


Ezra 6:8-12

520-519 B.C.

37-36 B.C.

7th Year of Artaxerxes

Ezra 7:11-26

458-457 B.C.

26-27 A.D.

20th Year of Artaxerxes

Nehemiah 1

445-444 B.C.

39-40 A.D.

This chart makes it easy to see that the first decree of Artaxerxes that was given to Ezra in 457 B.C. is the beginning of Daniel’s 70 week prophecy since the date of 27 A.D. is within the timeline of the beginning of the ministry of Jesus. Note that more secular scholars date the seventh year of Artaxerxes mentioned in Ezra 7:7 to 458 B.C. instead of 457 B.C. Other years that some have used are impossible.

Historians have been able to establish absolute dates for the reign of Artaxerxes I using classical Greek sources and Egyptian and Babylonian astronomical and historical sources. We now know that Artaxerxes ascended to the throne late in 465 B.C. after his father, Xerxes, died and that his first full year was 464 B.C. There is no doubt for anyone familiar with the available chronological sources that we have the regnal years of Artaxerxes I accurately fixed. The dates are so well set in the cement of these sources for Daniel 9:25 that the Bible itself provides all the basic information we need in order to understand this prophetic period. If there is confusion in the scholarly world, it is because scholars feel uncomfortable with the historical information provided by the books of Ezra and Nehemiah.

Decree for Daniel's 70 weekDaniel’s 70 weeks prophecy pointed to a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem as the starting date for the 70 weeks. Information provided by Ezra indicates that this prophecy was fulfilled by the decree of Artaxerxes I in 457 B.C. which authorized Ezra to restore and rebuild Jerusalem by allowing him to establish a judicial system based on the Law of the Lord in Jerusalem and throughout the Trans-Euphrates province. The decree also allowed for the rebuilding of the city. Nehemiah makes it clear that in computing the years of the reign of Artaxerxes he was using a fall-to-fall calendar making it possible for us to identify the seventh year of the king as 457 B.C.

More date evidence for Daniel’s 70 Weeks

We are also given other pertinent information in scripture that helps confirm the date evidence. For example, Luke describes the preaching of John the Baptist at the time Jesus was baptized.

Luke 3:1Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene,

This information also gives us an excellent historical time clue. It is remarkable that we know from very reliable secular records that Tiberius Caesar began his sole reign in 14 A.D. His fifteenth year would therefore be 28 A.D. This date however, is one year out using 457 B.C. and would mean the date of the decree would have to have been 456 B.C. For this reason only some have used this date but 456 B.C. is definitely wrong. The dates that most scholars agree on are either 457 B.C. or 458 B.C. but neither can be reconciled with 456 B.C. This means we cannot reconcile the dates and appear to have a one year error.

Tiberius Julius Caesar is said to have reigned from 14 A.D. to 37 A.D. but this is his sole reign. After his adoption in 4 A.D., Tiberius was given proconsular (military) and tribunician (legislative) power and in 13 A.D., he was given powers equal to that of Augustus effectively making him ruling co-emperor. So when Augustus died in 14 A.D., the question of succession was a non issue as Tiberius already had the powers of emperor. The fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar using the date of his sole reign would make the baptism of Jesus 28 A.D. Many forget to use inclusive years and so erroneously get 29 A.D. The correct calculation is 14 A.D. + 15 – 1 years = 28 A.D. But this as we just noted still cannot be reconciled with the decree date to rebuild Jerusalem. But when you allow for the joint rule with Augustus for one year prior to 14 A.D., then the baptism of Jesus is of course one year earlier in 27 A.D. The calculation becomes 13 A.D. + 15 – 1 = 27 A.D. This now aligns with the other evidence we have for the starting date of 457 B.C. to rebuild Jerusalem. Observe the following two encyclopaedias for further verification.

Augustus. Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2009. Encyclopaedia Britannica Online. 16 Jun. 2009
Although Augustus was now feeling his age, these years in association with Tiberius were marked by administrative innovations: … and the conversion of the hitherto occasional appointment of prefect of the city (praefectus urbi) into a permanent office (AD 13). When, in the same year, the powers of Augustus were renewed for 10 years—such renewals had been granted at intervals throughout the reign—Tiberius was made his equal in every constitutional respect. Read more...

The death of Gaius in AD 4 initiated a flurry of activity in the household of Augustus. Tiberius was adopted as full son and heir and in turn, he was required to adopt Augustus' nephew, Germanicus, the son of his brother Drusus and Augustus' niece Antonia Minor. Along with his adoption, Tiberius received tribunician power as well as a share of Augustus's maius imperium, something that even Marcus Agrippa may never have had. In AD 7, Agrippa Postumus was disowned by Augustus and banned to the island of Planasia, to live in solitary confinment. Thus, when in AD 13, the powers held by Tiberius were made equal, rather than second, to Augustus's own powers, he was for all intents and purposes a "co-princeps" with Augustus, and in the event of the latter's passing, would simply continue to rule without an interregnum or possible upheaval. Augustus died in AD 14, at the age of 76.

So was Luke referring to the sole or joint reign of Tiberius Caesar? The table below not only reveals the answer but also confirms the correct year of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem. Since we have two pieces of historical information, all we have to do is find which columns we can reconcile dates with. So find which 15th year column matches which row with the date of the Baptism of Jesus. As you can see, the only row and column that does match, reveals the decree date to be 457 B.C. and so Luke had to be referring to joint reign of Tiberius. It is a simple addition now to get the crucifixion date of 31 A.D.

Date for the giving of the Decree
7th Year of Artaxerxes

Plus 483 Years
Jesus' baptism

15th Year Tiberius
Joint reign 13 A.D.

15th Year Tiberius
Sole reign 14 A.D.

458 B.C.

26 A.D.

27 A.D.

28 A.D.

457 B.C.

27 A.D.

27 A.D.

28 A.D.

A careful study on the gospel of John also reveals that Jesus did preach for about 3.5 years just as Daniel’s 70 week prophecy reveals as it states Jesus was cut off in the middle of the final 7 years. Since Jesus was crucified at the Passover, which was observed in the spring of the year, then His baptism would have to be in the fall of a previous year. Thus, 3.5 years following 27 A.D. brings us to 31 A.D.

So using the historical evidence of the starting date of 457 B.C. for the decree to rebuild Jerusalem and the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, (Luke 3:1) while allowing for the one year joint reign with Augustus, gives us the identical date of 27 A.D. verifying it is correct. This also gives us the crucifixion date of 31 A.D. with no complications in reconciling any of the dates with the historical and Biblical evidence. Remember not to count year zero going from B.C. to A.D. as many have done or this will produce another one year error. The calculation should be 457 – 483 – 1 = 27 A.D.

The 3.5 Year date evidence

We just noted that the book of John reveals that Daniel’s 70 weeks is correct in demonstrating that the Messiah (Jesus) was “cut off” 3.5 years after Jesus began His ministry. Right after Jesus is anointed by God in the river Jordan, Luke 3:22-23 informs us that “the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased. 23 Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry…” This is when Jesus was baptised and began His ministry. Daniel’s 70 weeks began around the Day of Atonement, which is in Tishri and is approximately 6 months before Passover, so counting the number of Passovers that follow this time until Jesus is cut off or crucified reveals that it is 3.5 years that have elapsed.

Since ancient times commentators have been divided regarding the identity of the feast in John 5:1. The opinion of the Church Fathers is divided between Passover and Pentecost, and indeed one 9th century gospel manuscript at Oxford goes so far as to insert “feast of unleavened bread” instead of “feast of the Jews,” thus identifying the feast as the Passover. In the previous chapter (John 4:35) Jesus declared that four months remained until the harvest. As the grain harvest in Palestine occurred around April or May just after Passover, the events of chapter 4 would seem to have occurred in December or January. At this very time the Feast of Dedication (also known as Hanukkah) was celebrated in all the synagogues throughout Palestine. This would make the feast of John 5:1 fall around Passover. While it is highly probable this feast is Passover, it cannot be proven conclusively but it also cannot be disproved.

1st Passover

2rd Passover (conjectured)

3nd Passover

4th Passover

John 2:13, 23And the Jews' Passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, 23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did.

John 4:35Say not you, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. 5:1 Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews.

John 6:3-4And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. 4 And the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh.

John 13:1Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.

Daniel’s 2300 Days and the 70 weeks

Some people such as John Pratt and Sir Isaac Newton have placed the crucifixion of Jesus at the end of Daniel’s 70 weeks (490 years) prophecy. But as we have seen, Jesus was crucified in the middle of the final seven years (7 prophetic days - 7 years), which is 3.5 years earlier making their date of 33-34 A.D. more in favour 30-31 A.D. Here is the pertinent verse from the Amplified Bible.

Daniel 9:27And he shall enter into a strong and firm covenant with the many for one week [seven years]. And in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and offering to cease [for the remaining three and one-half years]; and upon the wing or pinnacle of abominations [shall come] one who makes desolate, until the full determined end is poured out on the desolator.

Note the following statement from Pratt’s own web site, “Those familiar with my work know that in virtually every case, our Lord’s prophecies are fulfilled not only to the year, but to the very day. Can this be the case with the 70 weeks prophecy?” Pratt places the date of Artaxerxes decree on April 3, 458 B.C. and the crucifixion of our Messiah at the very end of the 490 years on Friday 1 April, 33 A.D. being two days off 490 years. But since Jesus was actually crucified 3.5 years prior to the end of the 490 years, we know this is incorrect. What Pratt and others have also overlooked is that the prophecy of Daniel’s 70 weeks (490 years) is cut off from Daniel’s 2300 day (2300 year) prophecy from the previous chapter.

Daniel 8:14And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.

Here the angel Gabriel tells Daniel that the sanctuary would be cleansed at the end of the 2300 years, which was the cleansing of the sins of the people from God’s Temple. This is the fulfilment of Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement. Yom Kippur falls in the month of Tishri, which is around September, October on the Gregorian calendar. Most theologians would agree with Pratt in that Bible prophecies are very precise in time, and since the beginning of the 2300 year prophecy is also the beginning of Daniel’s 70 weeks (490 years), then it also began from the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) around September, October and not April 3. Thus the date of 458 B.C. from Pratt and others who made the same mistake is wrong and would actually be 457 B.C. that does align with the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar.

Who is the Israel of God Now?

Since the Jews were rejected as God’s chosen nation, then who does the promise go to now and who are Jews and Israel today? Paul states in Galatians 6:16 that there is the Israel of God and in 1 Corinthians 10:18, Paul speaks of the Israel after the flesh. The Israel of the flesh are those that are Jews by birth and the Israel of God is anyone who belongs to Christ and is under the New Covenant. The majority of Christians fail to understand the simple truth that if we are Christ’s then we are spiritual Jews and the Israel of God. The New Covenant was only made with the House of Israel and so those choosing to reject this very clear and plain truth cannot be under the New Covenant. Note in the following passage that Paul speaks of two Israels and declares that the literal seed of Abraham is no longer the Israel of God today.

Romans 9:6-8Not as though the word of God has taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: 7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall your seed be called. 8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.

Paul further clarifies that the children of the flesh (Jews by birth) are not the children of God but the children of the promise are. So who are the children of the promise now? Galatians 3:28-29 explains this in a manner that cannot possibly be misunderstood and Romans 2:28-29 is also very clear.

Galatians 3:28-29There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you be Christ's, then are you Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Romans 2:28-29For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

When the Jewish council rejected God’s message from Stephen (Acts 6:8-7:60) and stoned him, this ended the 490 years God gave Israel to end their rebellion and sin against Him. (Daniel 9:24) When Daniel’s 70 weeks concluded, the following points of scripture came into effect. He is not a Jew which is one outwardly, but he is a Jew who is one inwardly and so if we are Christ’s then we are Abraham’s seed and thus children of Israel and heirs according to the promise. So when the Bible speaks of the Jews after this time, it is referring to spiritual Jews and the Israel of God. This is anyone who belongs to Christ.

Daniels 70 Weeks Prophecy - Page 2