New Book: Daniel's 70 Weeks

Chapter 4: Calculation and Fulfilment of the 70 Weeks

We now have established the starting date for Daniel’s 70 Weeks. It is the Ezra Decree, whose issuing forth (activation) is precisely dated by Scripture to: ‘the 7th year of King Artaxerxes’, ‘on the first day of the first month’ (Ezra 7:6-9). Fortunately, the dates for the Persian kings are well established by historical records.

The date of the beginning of the 1st year of the reign of Artaxerxes I is accepted as 1st Nisan 464 BC (the accession year being 465 BC), therefore the 7th year began with Nisan 458 BC (the Persian kings measured the start of their new regnal year from Nisan, in Spring). The commandment for Ezra to set out for Jerusalem was timed for Nisan 1st (new year’s day), the start of Artaxerxes 7th regnal year.

* Therefore, Daniel's 70 Weeks start on Nisan 1st, 458 BC.

Since the Calendar used at that time was Luni-Solar, we can use astronomy to calculate the exact date on our own Gregorian Calendar.
Each new month began at the time of the observed New Moon. Since each new day began at sunset, the month started on the evening when the moon first became visible. Lunar tables or software (I recommend the NASA tables at http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/phase/phasecat.html) can give us the dates of each Astronomical New Moon, from which we can deduce when the Crescent New Moon first became visible.

The day defined by the appearance of the New Moon is always 2 or 3 days after the Astronomical (True) New Moon happens. A good rule of thumb is that it normally needs to be at least 27-30 hours old at 6pm, for it to be observable that evening. So if there is a True New Moon before Noon on (say) 3rd March, it would not be visible that evening, but it should be visible the next evening (of the 4th March), so that the first day of the new month is the 5th March (although really it opens at the sunset of the 4th). But, if the True New Moon was after 3pm on the 3rd March, it would only be visible on the evening of the 5th, so that the first day of the new month is the 6th March. Borderline cases require more complex calculations.

Below are some results for -457 (458 BC) which are taken from: http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/phase/phases-0499.html


Y e a r Astronomical New Moon
- 4 5 7 J a n 7 0 3 : 1 9
F e b 5 1 8 : 5 3
M a r 7 1 1 : 1 5
*A p r 6 0 3 : 2 7
M a y 5 1 8 : 4 6


Please note in using these tables that for years before Christ, you must make a 1 year adjustment (e.g: Year -457 = 458 BC). Also they give the Julian (rather than the Gregorian) dates, so a further adjustment has to be made. The Julian Calendar was the solar Roman Calendar in use at the time of Christ, but this Calendar had to be adjusted in the time of Pope Gregory (1582), so the Calendar we now use is called the Gregorian Calendar. So, for example April 6th, 458 BC (Julian) is equivalent to April 1st (Gregorian). There are a number of Calendar Converters online that you can use to do this.

The other correction you will need to make is from the UT (GMT) used by the Tables to ‘Jerusalem Time’, by adding about 2 hours 20 minutes. Thus, 1pm GMT is about 3pm Jerusalem Time.

Now, Nisan is the Month in Spring that marked the start of their New Year. In this case, there is no doubt that the Nisan Astronomical (True) New Moon is the one in April, namely April 6th (Julian) or April 1st (Gregorian) at 03.27 GMT (or about 6am Jerusalem or Persian time). Now the New Moon would not have been observable 12 hours later at 6pm, April 1st, but it would have been observable 36 hours later on 6pm, April 2nd, which would have marked the opening of the New Month (Nisan) and New Year. Therefore, Nisan 1st, 458 BC was April 3rd (but actually the day started at 6pm of April 2nd).


Therefore, the 70 Weeks started on April 3rd, 458 BC (on
our Gregorian Calendar), or more precisely at 6pm, April 2nd.


Let us now calculate the starting point of the 70th Week. Measuring forward 69 Weeks or 483 years (in Jewish luni-solar years), takes us to Nisan 1st, AD 26.

Here are the NASA results:

Y e a r Astronomical New Moon
2 6 J a n 7 1 6 : 3 4
F e b 6 0 7 : 2 4
M a r 7 1 9 : 1 8
*A p r 6 0 4 : 2 8
M a y 5 1 1 : 4 3

Now April 6th AD 26 (Julian) is equivalent to April 4th (Gregorian).
This means that the Observed New Moon of Nisan 1st, AD 26 was at 6pm on April 5th (Gregorian). This must be the start of the 70th Week, the opening of the Time of Messiah’s Presentation to Israel.


* According to our present Gregorian Calendar,
Daniel's 70th Week started on April 5th, AD 26.


This date finds a perfect corresponding fulfilment in the events recorded by the New Testament. The prophets had predicted that the Messiah would be heralded by a forerunner, who would go before Him, the voice in the wilderness, coming in the spirit of Elijah, preparing the way of the Lord. The New Testament tells us that this was fulfilled in the Ministry of John the Baptist, which marks “the Beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (the Messiah)” (Mark 1:1). All the prophets “prophesied unto John”, but with John something quite new began - the actual fulfilment of Messianic Prophecy.

According to the New Testament the Presentation of the Messiah to Israel, when He and His Kingdom was declared to be at Hand, was the Ministry of John the Baptist. This is what opens the 70th Week.

We have seen that Luke 3:1 gives the date of the start of John’s Ministry as the starting (foundational) date of the New Testament, namely: the 15th year of the ‘rulership’ of Tiberius Caesar, which is AD 26, the very year predicted as the start of the 70th Week!


*The Ministry of John the Baptist started on April 5th AD 26, which marks the opening of the 70th Week.


Thus we have seen how Daniel 9:25 has been fulfilled:
“Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem (Nisan 1st, April 2/3rd, 458 BC) until (the time of) Messiah the Prince (Nisan 1st, April 5/6th, AD 26), there shall be 7 Weeks (49 years) and 62 Weeks (434 years, making a total of 49 + 434 = 483 years).”

Thus from Nisan 1st 458 BC (the Ezra Decree) to Nisan 1st AD 26 (the Opening of John’s Ministry) are exactly 483 Jewish (luni-solar) years (69 ‘Weeks’ or ‘Sevens’) just as predicted by the Prophecy.

Remember that whenever you go from BC to AD dates, you must take into account that there was NO YEAR ZERO (0). The year after 1 BC is AD 1, so 10 years from 5 BC is NOT AD 5, but AD 6.


Now it should be clear that the 70th Week must end 7 years later in APRIL 33 AD. Amazingly we can prove that Christ’s DEATH and RESURRECTION took place in April AD 33! Could it be that the 70 Weeks came to their climactic conclusion at the Death and Resurrection of Christ? If so, what great proof this would furnish for the Messiahship of Jesus of Nazareth!

The Dates of Christ’s Death and Resurrection.
It might come as a surprise that it’s possible to get the exact dates for Christ’s Death and Resurrection; but there is sufficient data from the Bible, astronomy and historical records to do this with confidence.


Let us put together all the clues:


1. Christ died as our Passover Lamb on a Passover (Nisan 14th), during the time of Pontius Pilate (AD 26-36).

2. The Gospel accounts agree that this was a Friday, the day before the weekly Jewish Sabbath, on the year of the Cross. The word used: PROSABBATON is the standard word used for FRIDAY. There is no evidence that this word was used in any other way in the time of Christ. Moreover, all of Church History, even from the First Century, confirms this as an accepted fact, and there was never any hint of any dispute over it. Only in modern times have theories arisen proposing a Wednesday or Thursday Crucifixion, but the evidence for Friday is so strong that these other theories would never have arisen,

if it were not for the 3 days and 3 nights of Jonah. (For those concerned about the 3 days and 3 nights see Appendix 7 for more on this issue). These theories have an initial appeal, but do not hold up to further investigation. So, I will assume that the established and generally accepted view of a Friday Crucifixion is correct.

3. Christ rose again as the Firstfruits ON THE THIRD DAY, which was also the FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK, the day after the Sabbath (SUNDAY). ‘On the 3rd day’ always means ‘the day after tomorrow’ and is the main phrase used by the New Testament. If Sunday is the 3rd day, then Friday is the first day, and therefore the day of the Cross must be a Friday (not Wednesday or Thursday).

The plain reading of all the Gospels is that Christ died on a Friday (the ‘Prosabbaton’, the day before the weekly Sabbath), and was in the grave throughout the Sabbath day, and then rose again on the 3rd day, which was a Sunday (the first day of the new week). Any other reading has to be artificially imposed upon the text.

Therefore His Death and Resurrection had to take place in a year when the 14th Nisan was a Friday. A Friday Passover limits the options to AD 30 or 33, as you can verify from the NASA Tables (http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/phase/phases0001.html). The first Chart on the next page summarises the Passover dates from AD 26-36. Under that are listed the 3 years where there was a Friday Passover: AD 27,30,33, but we can immediately dismiss AD 27 as a possibility.

 

DATES chart; Chart 1 and Chart 2

 

s 70 Weeks13

 

 

 

s 70 Weeks14

 

 

Therefore, the two possible dates for the Cross are 7th April, AD 30 (on the Julian Calendar), which is 5th April on our (Gregorian) Calendar, and 3rd April AD 33 (Julian), which is 1st April (Gregorian).

4. The Signs in the Heavens. In addition, the Bible speaks of two Astronomical Signs, occurring on the day of the Cross, which confirm the AD 33 date and eliminate the AD 30 date as a possibility.

Joel 2:30,31: “I will show SIGNS in HEAVEN above:
(1) the SUN will turn to DARKNESS and (2) the MOON to blood, before the Great and Terrible (Manifest) Day of the Lord.”

SIGNS always come BEFORE the main event, announcing it. In this case, we have 2 Astronomical Signs that come BEFORE “the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord.” This literally means: ‘the Day of the Lord’s Manifestation’, the Day when He (the Messiah) would be manifested as Lord, which was fulfilled initially in Christ’s glorious Resurrection. Thus, just before the Messiah is to be manifested as Lord, first of all, the Sun (by contrast) is to be turned to darkness!

This was also prophesied in Amos 8:9: “And it shall come to pass in that day,” says the Lord God, “That I will make the SUN go down at NOON, and I will darken the earth in broad daylight.”

This was clearly fulfilled on the day of the Cross: "Now from the 6th hour (NOON) there occurred darkness over all the Land until the 9th hour" (Matthew 27:45). "Now when the 6th hour had come, it became dark over all the land until the 9th hour" (Mark 15:33). "It was now about the 6th hour, and darkness came over all the land until the 9th hour, the sun failing" (Luke 23:44-45).

*There was indeed a supernatural darkness on the day of the Cross just as prophesied in Amos 8:9 and Joel 2:31, 2 days before the Day of the Lord’s Manifestation (in His Resurrection)! Now this strange darkness was also recorded by the Roman historians and one of them even dated it to AD 33! See Appendix 4: “The Day the Sun stopped Shining”, for a Summary of the historical evidence for this Darkness.


Thus, this Darkness confirms AD 33 as the year of the Cross!

50 days later, on the Day of Pentecost, Peter pointed to this fulfilment of Prophecy as a proof of Jesus’ Messiahship:

Acts 2:16-21: “This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall come to pass AFTERWARDS, says God, ‘that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy. I will show Wonders (Signs) in heaven above and on the earth below: blood, fire and vapour of smoke. The SUN shall be turned into DARKNESS, and the MOON into BLOOD, BEFORE the Coming of the Great and Awesome (Manifest) Day of the Lord (the Great Day of His Manifestation). And it shall come to pass that whoever calls upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Joel prophesied that BEFORE the Day of Messiah’s Manifestation

in glory, the Sun would be turned to darkness and the Moon to blood, and AFTERWARDS (on the basis of His Work), His Spirit would be poured out upon (made available to) all flesh, so that all could be saved and filled with His Spirit, by calling upon the Messiah as Lord.

In Peter’s Sermon (Acts 2:22-39), he proved that Jesus fulfilled this Prophecy, as well as other prophecies, in His Death and Resurrection.
His listeners had just experienced the Supernatural Darkness, on the very same day that Jesus was crucified, so it would have been impressive to them when Peter showed how this was prophesied to happen in connection with the Coming of the Messiah, proving that the Messiah had to be Jesus. It was even more impressive when put together with two other prophesied supernatural events, namely the Resurrection (the Day of His Manifestation as Lord and Christ - Acts 2:36), and the Outpouring of the Spirit (Acts 2:1-4, 32,33).

*The Prophecy spoke of: (1) a Supernatural Darkness happening
just BEFORE (2) the Day of the Lord’s Manifestation,
AFTER which (3) the Spirit being poured out on all flesh.

*In the Fulfilment (in AD 33): (1) the Supernatural Darkness happened at the Cross, just BEFORE (2) the Day of the Lord’s Resurrection, AFTER which (3) the Holy-Spirit was poured out on all flesh.

All this (the supernatural Darkness, along with Christ’s Resurrection as witnessed by the disciples, and by the empty tomb) would have

convinced many that Joel’s Prophecy was indeed being fulfilled and that on this Day of Pentecost, the Spirit was indeed being poured out on all flesh, and that Salvation was available to all, through calling on the risen Christ. No wonder thousands believed and were saved! Peter did not need to add any comment about the Supernatural Darkness, for all his listeners knew that it had recently happened.

Next, we will show how the 2nd Sign in the Heavens of the Moon turning to Blood, confirms AD 33 as the year of the Cross. Moreover, we will see that it even confirms and fixes the date of the Cross as April 1st AD 33. If Joel’s Prophecy was inspired by God and fulfilled in the year of the Cross, as Peter claimed, then we would expect this to have happened at about the same time the Sun was turned to Darkness, since these two Signs are mentioned together in Joel’s Prophecy as happening just before the Day of Messiah’s Manifestation. Moreover, when Peter quoted this Prophecy as having been recently fulfilled in Christ’s First Coming, he mentioned both Signs together, with no hint that only one happened, but not the other. If they had not BOTH happened, this would certainly have weakened his argument that the Outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost, resulting from the Resurrection of Christ, which had preceding astronomical Signs ‘in the heavens’, was a genuine fulfilment of Joel’s Prophecy, confirming that Salvation and the Gift of the Spirit were available to ALL through Jesus. On the other hand, if the Sign in the Moon had also just happened, that would have been all the more impressive!

So what does this Sign of ‘the Moon turning to Blood’ mean?
In fact, this was a well-known expression for a LUNAR ECLIPSE, when the earth’s shadow crosses the moon, causing it to turn blood-red. This effect is strengthened whenever there is a lot of dust in the air, as indeed there would have been on the day of the Cross, due to all the earthquake activity that took place then (Matthew 27:51,54).


Therefore, the day of the Cross can be located by a double Sign in the heavens, one (the sun turning to darkness) being supernatural, and the other (the Moon to Blood) being natural. The Sun turning to darkness can be dated by the historical records to Passover (Nisan 14th) AD 33 (see Appendix 4) which was April 3rd (according to the Roman Julian Calendar used by the people of that time), as we shall establish from the NASA Tables. Also, this day was a Friday, just as Scripture requires. According to the Gregorian Calendar (the Calendar we now use) this is April 1st (you convert Julian dates to Gregorian dates for events around the time of Christ by subtracting 2 days).

Home

Books

About Us

Events

Teachings

Bible Commentary

Media

Shop

Donate

Contact

Print

OBC Office

363 Banbury Road
Oxford - England - UK
OX2 7PL
Telephone: +44 (0)1865 515086
Fax: +44 (0) 8721 107068
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Print

Sunday Services

Sundays at 11am and 6pm
Cheney School Hall
Cheney Lane - Headington
Oxford - England - UK
OX3 7QH