Book Daniel's 70 weeks

Appendix 2: Anderson-Hoehner Interpretation (a Critique)

Appendix 2: The Anderson-Hoehner Interpretation

*A Critique of Sir Robert Anderson’s Interpretation in:
‘The Coming Prince’, and Harold Hoehner’s Revision in: ‘Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ.’

Daniel’s 70 Weeks is a vital foundational Bible Prophecy that requires careful study to understand properly, as Jesus said when commenting upon it, “let those who read it understand” (Matthew 24:15). This chronological prophecy predicts the time of the Coming of Christ and should be fulfilled exactly (to the day). The correct interpretation sheds much light on the rest of Bible Prophecy, and so it is important that we seek to find it.

In this book, I have presented and built upon the interpretation first discerned by Sir Edward Denney, which leads to an exact fulfilment to the day. But unfortunately often the greatest barrier to the truth is something close to the truth which satisfies us, so that we fail to dig deeper. In the case of Daniel’s 70 Weeks those who look for a literal and exact fulfilment think they have already found it in the well-known work of Sir Robert Anderson’s The Coming Prince, revised and updated by Harold Hoehner, who changed Anderson’s starting and finishing years by a year. This interpretation has encouraged many who believe in the literal fulfilment of prophecy, and so it is with reluctance that in the interests of truth I have to reveal that it is undeniably incorrect in a number of ways. This Appendix is a detailed and somewhat explanation of why the Anderson interpretation clearly fails.

The Anderson interpretation claims to provide an accurate fulfilment to the very day. Therefore people think it can’t possibly be wrong. Moreover they are unable to check the validity of the calculation due to the large number (173,880) of days involved. As a result they just repeat Anderson’s claims without checking their validity. However with calendar software now available on the internet it is now fairly straightforward to do this. Unfortunately, when the calculation is actually checked it does not work as claimed. It is better that people realise this, rather than be misled by an incorrect and inferior interpretation which only has an apparent accuracy. Their heart will then be open to hear and receive the true literal fulfilment of the 70 Weeks. If they remain attached to Anderson’s interpretation, they will fail to find the full understanding of Daniel’s 70 Weeks, and miss some of the revelation it contains.

So the following Critique is written for those who find it hard to receive the interpretation in this book, because of their commitment to Anderson’s more well-known interpretation. My reason in pulling it down is only to put something much better in its place, for if we do not have an accurate understanding of the Seventy Weeks, our grasp of Bible Prophecy and Chronology will be greatly hindered.

The 70 Weeks (Daniel 9:24-27).
*Wrong Day to Start From.
Jewish months back then, began when the new moon could just be seen with the naked eye soon after sunset. At sunset on the evening of March 13th the moon would have been only 11 hours old, too young to be seen. Thus the new month could not have begun until the evening of March 14th, making March 15th the first day of the new month, not March 14th as Anderson has it.

*Wrong Month to Start From. March 14th Julian (March 9th Gregorian) is too early in the year to be considered Nisan 1st in the 5th century BC. We have 2 resources that tell us something about the calendar back in the 5th century BC: Jewish scribal papyri from Elephantine, Egypt and cuneiform tablets from Mesopotamia. Both indicate that March 14 is too early in the year to be considered Nisan, the first month of the Jewish year (see Appendix 3 for more on this). Thus in 445 BC, Nisan would have begun after the new moon of April, not after the new moon of March, making April 13 the true Nisan 1, not March 14. It is questionable the barley could have been ripe enough for the wave sheaf offering on Nisan 16 if Nisan 1 was as early as March 14. That date is just too early in the year.

*Wrong Year to Start From. The main purpose of this article is that Anderson’s calculation is demonstrably wrong from a technical point of view, but it is appropriate to also mention that his candidate for the starting year of Daniel’s 70 Weeks (Nisan 445 BC), the 20th year of Artaxerxes (Nehemiah 2), does not agree well with the description of Daniel 9:25: “from the going forth of the Command (Decree with a Divine Origin - ‘Dabar’) to restore and build Jerusalem.”

The Prophecy should really be tied to Artaxerxes' 7th year - Nisan 458 BC (Ezra 7), not his 20th year (see Chapter 3 for a full explanation). The simple fact is that there is no Decree recorded from the 20th year of Artaxerxes in the book of Nehemiah! The earlier decrees of Cyrus (Ezra 1:2-4) and Darius (Ezra

6:1-12) focused on the building of the Temple, but it is only in Artaxerxes' Decree in his 7th year, as recorded in Ezra 7, that there is a restoration of the judiciary (self-government). At the start of his reign, Artaxerxes ordered that Jerusalem could not be rebuilt with walls until he gave the command (Ezra 4:21, see also v11-16).

This Command was then given in Ezra 7 in his 7th year (458 BC), where the king makes a Decree which clearly has Divine Origin coming directly from God’s throne (v27) as the word ‘dabar’ indicates. This Decree imparted full authority to Israel for self-government, so that it could function as a City (under the Persian Empire). This command also gave them authority to rebuild the Walls of Jerusalem as Ezra 9:9 explicitly tells us.

This is also a logical consequence from the context of the Ezra 7 Decree. For it was the reversal of the Ezra 4:21 command made by Artaxerxes in probably his first year, which forbid them rebuilding the City and its Wall. Ezra went ahead and developed the spiritual and civil aspects of Israel’s government. However fears due to long-standing implacable local opposition to the rebuilding of Jerusalem (see Ezra 4) meant that this rebuilding did not take effect for another 13 years when only the arrival of Nehemiah made it possible, who had both great courage and favour with the Persian King. Through the strong leadership of Nehemiah, Israel was able to overcome their fears and enemies, and implement their authority to rebuild the City.

Nehemiah was galvanised into action in Nehemiah 1 when he received the report that the King’s earlier Decree (458 BC) had not resulted in the rebuilding of Jerusalem. So he sought and received permission to accomplish this neglected task. The important issue is that Nehemiah was simply released by the King to implement an earlier Decree. There is no new Decree in the Book of Nehemiah! This is easily checked by reading Nehemiah.

The dominant Decree in Ezra-Nehemiah around which all the action is based is the one in Artaxerxes’ 7th year (Ezra 7). That is why it is emphasised so strongly and dated so exactly,as if God was underlining it (as anyone can verify by reading it).

* Thus the only possible start date for the 70 Weeks is 458 BC.

This agrees with the Prophecy itself (Daniel 9:24,25), which says there would be a Decree to rebuild Jerusalem and that it would be rebuilt as a fortified city within the first 7 Weeks (49 years) in troublous times (against much opposition). Now while Cyrus’ Decree (537 BC) to rebuild the Temple resulted in the resettlement of Jerusalem this Prophecy was not fulfilled in the years (537-488 BC). However, it was clearly fulfilled in the days of Ezra-Nehemiah (458 - 409 BC).
v24: “70 Weeks (‘70 Sevens’ or 490 years) are determined
for your People (Israel) and for your holy City (Jerusalem),
(1) To finish the transgression,
(2) to make an end of sins,
(3) To make reconciliation (atonement) for iniquity.”
(All these were fulfilled at the Cross in AD 33)

(4) To bring in (the kingdom of) everlasting righteousness,
(5) To seal up (fulfil) vision and prophecy,
(6) and to anoint the Most Holy (Temple)
(These 3 are yet to be fulfilled at the 2nd Coming of Christ).”

v25: “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth
of the Command (‘dabar’) to restore and build Jerusalem until MESSIAH the Prince, there shall be:
7 Weeks (49 years) and 62 Weeks (434 years)
(These make a total of 69 Weeks or ‘Sevens’ = 483 years).

The 7 Weeks: The street (of Jerusalem) shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome (‘narrow’) times (fulfilled in the time of Ezra-Nehemiah).”

v26a: “And after the 62 Weeks (sometime after 483 years)
the MESSIAH shall be cut off (by capital punishment), but not for Himself
(or: ‘but He shall have nothing, His Kingdom will be unrealised’);

v26b: “and the people (Romans) of the prince who is to come (antichrist) shall destroy the City (Jerusalem) and the Sanctuary (the Temple), the end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined (fulfilled in AD 66-73).”

v27: The future Tribulation: “Then he (the antichrist, the prince who is to come) shall confirm a covenant with many for one Week (7 years, the 70th Week); but in the middle of the Week (after 3.5 years), he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate (he will set up the Abomination of Desolation in the Temple) even until the consummation which is determined, is poured out on the desolate (he will be destroyed at the end of the 7 years).”

Firstly, I should point out that as far as the substance of Anderson’s dispensational interpretation is concerned, I am in agreement. What is under discussion here is the chronology - the detailed timing of how it was and will be fulfilled. This is a chronological prophecy and so to interpret it properly we must understand its time measurements accurately. Some key questions include: (1) When do the 490 years start and end?, and (2) What kind of year is being used?

1. I will first summarise Anderson’s interpretation.

2. Then I will reveal its errors.

3. Then I will summarise Hoehner’s improved version.

4. Then I will demonstrate that this version is also fatally flawed.

*1. Anderson claims to have found an exact fulfilment (even to the very day) of Daniel’s Prophecy of 70 Weeks.

Anderson noticed that the 70th Week has yet to be fulfilled (Daniel 9:27), so he divided the first 69 weeks (483 years) from the 70th Week (7 years), even though Daniel 9:24 considers them as a continuous unbroken series of 490 years. To make his calculation work he had to use a year of 360 days (a ‘Time’), which he called a ‘Prophetic Year.’ Now 483 ‘prophetic’ years of 360 days makes 173,880 days.

Anderson took as his starting point Artaxerxes' 20th year of reign, when Nehemiah requested and received permission from the King to continue the rebuilding of the Walls of Jerusalem. His date for 20th Artaxerxes was 445 BC. Nehemiah 2:1 says it was in the month Nisan that Nehemiah received his commission from Artaxerxes. Anderson assumed this meant Nisan 1, and then calculated it as March 14th, BC 445 (Julian) based on it being a New Moon. He counted 173,880 days from this date of March 14th. He did this by converting this to 476 (Gregorian) years and 24 days (a Gregorian year is 365.242 days), which the reader can easily verify ends on April 6th AD 32 (Julian), which he claimed was Nisan 10th AD 32, the date of the Triumphal Entry (4 days before the Cross).

Since this was Jesus’ official Presentation of Himself to Israel as the Messiah this seems to be an impressive end-point of the 483 years. At this point God stopped the prophetic clock for Israel, and will only start it again when the Tribulation begins and the last (70th) Week of 7 years will run to complete the 490 years.

I remember being impressed by the apparent accuracy of fulfilment (to the day) provided by this interpretation. For this reason, many who believe in the literal fulfilment of Bible Prophecy accept Anderson’s calculation, but without checking it.

However, as we will see, when one looks in more detail at the calculation, one finds it is in error on practically every level.

Anderson explains his calculation: “The Julian date of 1st Nisan 445 was the 14th March. 69 weeks of years (i.e. 173,880 days) reckoned from the 14th March B.C. 445, ended on the 6th April A.D. 32. Now 483 years (69 x 7) of 360 days contain 173,880 days. And a period of 173,880 days, beginning March 14th, B.C. 445, ended upon that Sunday in the week of the crucifixion . . or Palm Sunday. The Julian date of that 10th Nisan was Sunday the 6th April, AD 32. What then was the length of the period intervening between the issuing of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem and the public advent of "Messiah the Prince" -between the 14th March, B.C.445, and the 6th April, AD 32? THE INTERVAL CONTAINED EXACTLY and to the VERY DAY 173,880 DAYS, or 7 TIMES 69 PROPHETIC YEARS of 360 DAYS, the first 69 weeks of Gabriel's Prophecy.”

*2. Sir Robert Anderson's theory does not work!

*Wrong Intervening Period. There is a serious calculation error hidden in his mixing of 2 calendars, which by itself invalidates his calculation. It is a confusion between Julian and Gregorian calendars. The Julian calendar is longer than a true solar year (about 3 days in 4 centuries). This error amounted to 11 days in AD 1752 when our English calendar was corrected by declaring the 3rd September to be the 14th September, and by introducing the Gregorian reform, so that the Gregorian calendar we now use stays in line with the sun.

The problem is that Anderson uses Gregorian years when calculating the number of days between two Julian dates. If we use Julian dates, we must also use Julian years, and if we use Gregorian dates, we must use Gregorian years. We cannot mix the two calendars in the way that he proposes. Anderson was thus 3 days off in his calculation, for there are really 173,883 days inclusive between Friday, March 14, 445 BC and Sunday, April 6, 32 AD (Julian). Instead of adding 116 days for leap years, Anderson should have added 119, for that is precisely how many leap years there are in 476 years in the Julian calendar. If he had wanted to use Gregorian years, he should have started and ended with the Gregorian dates of Saturday March 9, 445 BC, and Sunday April 4, 32 AD (March 9, 445 BC Gregorian = March 14, 445 BC Julian; April 4, 32 AD Gregorian = April 6, 32 AD Julian). But when we add 116 days for leap years to the number of days between these 2 dates, we still end up with 173,883 days. Only by mixing the 2 Calendars does it falsely appear that there are 173,880 days.




Part 2


*Wrong Day to End With. 
There are major problems with Anderson's ending date of April 6, 32 AD. His theory called for it to be Nisan 10. He explains it this way:

“For example, in A.D. 32, the date of the true new moon, by which the Passover was regulated, was the night (10h 57m) of the 29th March.”

The ostensible date of the 1st Nisan, therefore, according to the phases, was the 31st March. It may have been delayed, however, till the 1st April; and in that case the 15th Nisan should apparently have fallen on Tuesday the 15th April.” Thus far, his explanation proves that he has chosen the wrong date for the 10th of Nisan. If Nisan 15 fell on April 15, then Nisan 10 fell on April 10, not April 6.

He continues: “But the calendar may have been further disturbed by intercalation. According to the scheme of the 8 years' cycle, the embolismal month was inserted in the 3rd, 6th, and 8th years, and an examination of the calendars from AD 22-45 will show that AD 32 was the 3rd year of such a cycle. As, therefore, the difference between the solar year and the lunar is 11 days, it would amount in 3 years to 33 3/4 days, and the intercalation of a 13th month (Ve-adar) of 30 days would leave an epact still remaining of 3 3/4 days; and the "ecclesiastical moon" being that much before the real moon, the feast day would have fallen on the Friday (11th April), exactly as the narrative of the Gospels requires.”

If that didn't make sense to you, it is because it does not make sense! It is just plain wrong! The Jews would add in a 13th month every 2 or 3 years. Since this 13th month was the length of a lunar month, as Anderson admits above, there was no "epact remaining."

Thus Nisan 1 would still have begun with observing the new crescent on the
evening of March 31st, making April 1st Nisan 1, and April 10th (not April 6th) Nisan 10. So Nisan 10 occurred at the earliest on April 10, not April 6 as Anderson supposed.

*Wrong Year to End With. No one, except those who ascribe to Anderson's theory suggest 32 AD as a possible date for Christ’s death. The simple fact is that Nisan 14 (the Cross) in that year would have been on a Monday or Tuesday! It is simply impossible to reconcile this fact with the Gospel accounts of the death of Christ. This consideration alone invalidates Anderson’s interpretation!

*Wrong kind of year. Anderson's theory relies on using a 360-day year, which he calls a "prophetic year." Now this can’t be right, because this is a prophecy specifically about Israel and would use the kind of year used by Israel, which was a luni-solar year which always stay aligned with the seasons for agricultural and ceremonial reasons (the feasts were connected to their seasons), so that the Passover (14th Nisan) was always kept in the Spring (after the Vernal Equinox on March 20/21st) according to the Biblical requirement (this fact will prove important shortly).

Therefore the Jewish year averaged 365.242 days, not 360 days. Anyone reading this prophecy, including Daniel, would have understood that this kind of year was intended, rather than a 360 day year which Israel never used. 

The 360 day year is actually a Babylonian ‘Time’, and it slips over 5 days a year against the solar seasons, and neither is it in phase with the moon. It is certainly not the year used by Israel. It is misleading to argue that this is the year generally used in the Bible. In fact it is used at most on two specific occasions: the 150 days of Noah’s Flood, and the two halves (1260 days each) of the Tribulation. These situations are both special in that they are times of world-wide Judgement, and it seems this is when God uses the 360 day year.

That the luni-solar year used by Israel is the year used in the prophecy is confirmed by the fact that the 490 years are described as 70 Weeks (Sevens) of years. This is a clear reference to how God told Israel to count their years in Leviticus 25. They were to mark every 7th year as a Sabbath year when the land was to be rested. Every 7 Sevens of these years was a Jubilee-Cycle (49 years), and the 490 years were thought of as 70 Sevens, or 10 Jubilee Cycles of 49 years each on Israel’s Calendar. Thus the language used alludes to the Jewish Sabbatical and Jubilee Cycles that Israel kept according to the Law. We know that the years Israel used and counted in this manner were luni-solar according to God’s Law, with each month starting with a new moon and each year starting so that Passover in the first month was in the Spring. These years had to be kept in phase with the solar year, both for agricultural reasons and so that the Feasts (which were connected to the harvests) took place in the right season.

But the 360 day years used by Anderson and Hoehner to make their calculations work neither stay aligned with the seasons, nor with the sabbatical cycles.

The Passover falls back by 5 days a year and by an entire month every six years. In only 35 years, the Passover would occur in the Fall. Every 70 years, the Passover would have circled all the way through the seasons back to where it started. Thus, there is no possible way to make their calculations align with the years and cycles used by Israel, even though the language used strongly indicates that the Prophecy is expressed in terms of these years and cycles. Thus the 360-day calculation is just a hypothetical calculation that bears no resemblance to the years or Cycles being used by Israel, and therefore is against the plain meaning of the Prophecy. Therefore good Bible interpretation requires us to reject them.

Once we see the 360 day calculation does not work anyway, then all grounds for considering the 360 day year disappear. The only possible way to do justice to the language of the Prophecy with the 490 years counted in a way consistent with the Jewish sabbatical system is to use real Jewish luni-solar years that stay aligned with the seasons. Such years must on average be 365.2425 days in length, not 360 days. 

Moreover the immediate context of Daniel 9 confirms this. Israel was told that if they did not let the Land rest in that 7th year, the Land would become desolate and they would be taken captive for a time that would allow it to have its full quota of rest years that they had not kept (Leviticus 26:34,35). Jeremiah 29:10 later specified that they would be captives in Babylon for 70 years, and these 70 years of Desolation are explicitly said to correspond to the number of Sabbatical Years that had not been kept by Israel (2Chronicles 36:21). Thus, Daniel's reference to 70 years of Desolation in Daniel 9:2, speak of a time-period of 490 years during which the Land had no Sabbaths. So Daniel 9 begins with a reference to a past 490 years or 70 ‘Sevens’ which had happened, and then ends with a reference to a future period of 490 years or 70 ‘Sevens’ in the Prophecy of the 70 Weeks (Daniel 9:24-27). If the first set of 70x7 years were Jewish luni-solar years then surely the other set of 70x7 years are also to be understood as luni-solar. Thus the context as well as the natural meaning of the language surely tells us that the years in this Prophecy are Jewish luni-solar years not Babylonian Times. This is the plain meaning of the Prophecy.

*3. Dr. Harold Hoehner's Alternative to Anderson's Dates.
We have seen that Anderson’s calculation is in error on practically every level. Some of these problems are known to dispensational scholars. Dr. H. Hoehner in his book, Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ, presents a different version of Anderson’s calculation that gives alternative dates. This alternative solved some of the difficulties of Anderson’s work and it now has become widely accepted in dispensational circles. Hoehner’s work is based on the same principles as Anderson’s, but starts and finishes the 70 Weeks one year later. But we shall see that his calculation does not work either!

The most obvious pointer that Anderson was in error was his year for the Crucifixion. Hoehner realised that an AD 32 crucifixion was impossible, for Christ would then have had to die on a Sunday or Monday. Anderson himself realised this dilemma and had to use mental gymnastics to try and get a Friday crucifixion (his attempts to do this are clearly invalid). Hoehner establishes from the criteria that the Crucifixion was on a Friday Nisan 14th that the only possibilities are AD 30 and 33. Therefore Hoehner realised the only way to save Anderson’s calculation was to bring it forward by a year.

Thus instead of having it run from 445 BC - 32 AD (as Anderson had it), Hoehner’s 69 Weeks run from 444 BC - 33 AD. His 69 Weeks began on Nisan 1 in 444 BC, which fell on March 5 (Julian). The 69 Weeks then ended on Nisan 10, 33 AD, which fell on March 30 that year. So Christ died on Friday April 3rd (Julian) in 33 AD. Insofar as Hoehner now has the correct date for the Cross, he has improved upon Anderson. However in every other respect his calculation has all the same problems as Anderson’s and cannot be correct. 

Summary: Hoehner's Four Changes
1. He identified 444 BC as the 20th year of Artaxerxes, however in this respect Anderson was probably right and Hoehner wrong. Both Jewish and Persian practice at that time was to number their years and the years of their kings from Nisan. This gives 445 AD for the 20th year of Artaxerxes which is the generally accepted year (as Anderson used). In order to get 444 BC instead (so that the first 69 Weeks ended in 33 AD) he has to argue that the regnal years of Artaxerxes were measured from Tishri on an accession-year system.

2. 33 AD is a much better choice for the year of the crucifixion since it is possible to have Christ die on Friday that year.

3. His starting date, March 5, 444 BC, was the first day of a Jewish month, since the new moon could have first been seen the previous evening. In this respect this is better than Anderson’s first day.

4. His end-date for the first 69 Weeks, March 30, 33 AD, was indeed the 10th day of a Jewish month, since the new crescent moon could have first been seen the evening of March 20. In this respect this is better than Anderson’s last day of the 69 Weeks which as we have seen could not have been the 10th Nisan despite Anderson’s claims.

4. We now discuss where Hoehner's calculations fall short.

*Wrong Year to Start From.
As with Anderson, he starts from 20th Artaxerxes (rather than the 7th of Artaxerxes), but he dates it to 444 rather than 445 BC (Anderson). I have previously explained why this change from Anderson is probably in error.

*Wrong kind of year. Like Anderson, Hoehner uses the 360 day year which have previously shown to be in error.

*Wrong Intervening Period. Hoehner is guilty of the same basic calculating error as Anderson through mixing together Julian and Gregorian years in his calculation. Like Anderson, Hoehner converted the 69 Weeks (483 years) of 360 days to days. Multiplying 483 years by 360 days per year gives 173,880 days, which is about 476 of our (Gregorian) years. He then tries to show that March 5, 444 BC and March 30, 33 AD are 173,880 days apart, which would be exactly 69 Weeks of 360 day years. If this was correct it might be impressive. But it is wrong!

Instead of there being 173,880 days between the dates in question, there are really 173,885 days! Hoehner was off by 5 days in his calculation! This is an issue of fact, not of interpretation or opinion.

Any reader can verify this by using a calendar program that computes Julian Day (JD) numbers. (The Julian Day number tells us how many days have transpired since January 1, 4713 BC). This gives an accurate method of calculating the exact number of days between two dates 476 years apart. One just converts the dates to Julian Days, and then subtracts one from the other to find the precise number of days between the two. So, March 5, 444 BC (Julian) is JD 1559316, and March 30, 33 AD (Julian) is JD 1733200. Thus, by subtraction, reckoning inclusively, there are 173,885 days, NOT 173,880 days.

Thus the main strength of this interpretation (its apparent accuracy to the very day) is just an illusion. In the next Section we will show it is not only inaccurate but impossible.

How was this error made? In order to determine how many days there were between his start date of March 5, 444 BC (Julian), and his end-date of March 30, 33 AD (Julian), he said this is 476 (solar) years plus 25 days. So he multiplied 476 by 365.24219879, the number of days in a solar year to get 173,855 days and then added 25 days to get the 173,880 days. This would slip under the radar of anyone unfamiliar with calendars. The problem is that he is using Julian dates, but true solar years to measure the gap between them. (A Julian year is only approximately solar, but the difference only builds up over centuries). If he used Julian dates he should have used 365.25, the number of days in a Julian year. Then he would have got the correct answer of 173,885 days between the 2 dates (reckoning inclusively). Or he could have used the Gregorian year with Gregorian dates, but by using the solar 365.24219879 instead of the Julian 365.25 with Julian dates, he introduced confusion resulting in an error of 5 days in his calculation. It is much safer and less confusing to do these calculations with Julian Day (JD) numbers.

*Wrong Month to Start From.
The wrong number of days between March 5, 444 BC and March 30, 33 AD is not quite fatal to Hoehner's position, since he correctly states that Artaxerxes could have sent Nehemiah off to Jerusalem later than Nisan 1. If the correct starting date is Nisan 6 instead of Nisan 1, then the number of days between the dates could be 173,880 after all (this, by the way, shows that an exact solution cannot be claimed if based on Nehemiah’s Decree, since the exact starting date is not known). But the difficulty we will now consider disqualifies Hoehner's view from further consideration:

He postulates a Nisan 1 date occurring on March 5, 444 BC.
This corresponds to a Gregorian date of February 28th.
(The Gregorian calendar, stays aligned with the seasons perpetually).

The Jewish calendar never starts Nisan 1 on February 28, as this is much too early in the year! The Passover would then be on March 13 (Gregorian). However, there is absolutely no way that Jews in 444 BC (or indeed ever) celebrated the Passover 8 days before the Spring Equinox. This is much too early. It contradicts the Jewish practice as required by the Law of Moses that the Passover (14th Nisan) must be after the Spring Equinox (21st March). This means that 1st Nisan (Abib) could not possibly be before 8th March (Gregorian).

Moreover, if Nisan 1 was on February 28th, then the barley could not possibly be ready for the Firstfruits Offering on Nisan 16th. Thus it is impossible that this could be the starting month for the 70 Weeks, and therefore the whole calculation fails to work, in that it is not just out by a few days, but also by a whole month.

*Start a Month Later?
We have shown that it is impossible that the New Moon of March 5th (Julian) 444 BC could be Nisan 1 marking the start of the New Year. Therefore Nisan 1 could come no earlier than the next New Moon in 444 BC which was April 3 (Julian). This agrees with today's rabbinical calendar projected back to the 5th century BC. But this is a whole month later than the date postulated by Hoehner. This means the 69 Weeks finish a month later in 33 AD. That would make Nisan 14 (Passover) fall on Saturday, May 2, or perhaps a day later (Sunday). But if Nisan 14 fell on a Saturday or Sunday in 33 AD, how could Christ have died on a Friday if He died in that year? So when we try to start the 483 years a month later in 444 BC (whatever day in Nisan we start with) we end up with the impossibility that Christ died on a Saturday or a Sunday, in 33 AD.

So whichever way you try it, the Anderson style of calculation does not work. So, neither Anderson’s nor Hoehner's reckoning of the 70 Weeks is correct, and so this interpretation is proven false. Although both clearly fail to give an exact fulfilment of the 70 Weeks (to the day), this book reveals an interpretation that does succeed!



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