Most churches will celebrate Palm
Sunday, the Sunday before Easter. This event, also known as "the Triumphal Entry," involves one of the
most astonishing passages in the entire Bible.
To fully appreciate the remarkable
significance of the following, it is essential to realize that the Book of Daniel, as part of the Old Testament,
was translated into Greek prior to 270 b.c., several centuries before Christ was born. This is a well established
fact of secular history.1
After his conquest of the Babylonian
Empire, Alexander the Great promoted the Greek language throughout the known world, and thus almost everyone -
including the Jews - spoke Greek. Hebrew fell into disuse, being reserved primarily for ceremonial purposes (somewhat
analogous to the use of Latin among Roman Catholics).
In order to make the Jewish Scriptures (what we call the Old Testament) available to the average Jewish reader,
a project was undertaken under the sponsorship of Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285-246 b.c.) to translate the Hebrew
Scriptures into Greek. Seventy scholars were commissioned to complete this work and their result is known as the
"Septuagint" ("70") translation. (This is often abbreviated "LXX".)
The Book of Daniel is actually one of the most authenticated books of the Old Testament, historically and archaeologically,
but this is a convenient short-cut for our purposes here.
It is critical to realize that the Book of Daniel existed in documented form almost three centuries before Christ
Daniel, originally deported
as a teenager (now near the end of the Babylonian captivity), was reading in the Book of Jeremiah. He understood
that the seventy years of servitude were almost over and he began to pray for his people.
The Angel Gabriel interrupted Daniel's prayer and gave him a four-verse prophecy that is unquestionably the most
remarkable passage in the entire Bible: Daniel 9:24-27.
These four verses include the following segments:
9:24The Scope of the entire prophecy;
9:25The 69 Weeks;
9:26An Interval between the 69th and 70th Week;
9:27The 70th Week.
9:24: "Seventy weeks are
determined upon thy people and upon thy 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 Place."
The idiom of a "week" of years was common in Israel as a "sabbath for the land," in which the
land was to lie fallow every seventh year.2
It was their failure to obey these laws that led to God sending them into captivity under the Babylonians.3
When did the Messiah present Himself as a King? On one specific day, Jesus arranges it!
Note that the focus of this passage is upon "thy people and upon thy holy city," that is, upon Israel
and Jerusalem. (It is not directed to the church.)
The scope of this prophecy includes a broad list of things which clearly have yet to be completed.
The First 69 Weeks
A very specific prediction occurs
in verse 25:
9:25: "Know 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 includes a mathematical prophecy. Verse 24 states that "seventy weeks are determined for your people
and for your holy city." In Hebrew the word translated as "weeks" is pronounced "shabua"
and literally means a week of years. The word shabuim would readily be understood as a seven of years in this context,
much like the word decade means ten years in English.
Verse 25 then declares that Daniel should "know and Understand, that from the going forth of the command to
restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty two weeks." This
verse is a precise mathematical prediction of the time of Messiah's coming! In effect, the angel Gabriel told Daniel
that after sixty-nine weeks of years the Messiah would be revealed to the nation of Israel!
If a "shabuim" is a week (seven) of years, it therefore follows that 69 sevens is 483 years (69 x 7=
The Jewish (and Babylonian) calendars used a 360-day year;4 69 weeks of 360-day years totals 173,880 days.
In effect, Gabriel told Daniel that the interval between the commandment to rebuild Jerusalem until the presentation
of the Messiah as King would be 173,880 days.
The "Messiah the Prince" in the King James translation is actually the Meshiach Nagid, "The Messiah
the King." (Nagid is first used of King Saul.)
The commandment to restore and
build Jerusalem was given by Artaxerxes Longimanus on March 14, 445 b.c.5 (The emphasis in the verse on "the street" and "the wall" was to
avoid confusion with other earlier mandates confined to rebuilding the Temple.)
But when did the Messiah present Himself as a King? During the ministry of Jesus Christ there were several occasions
in which the people attempted to promote Him as king, but He carefully avoided it. "Mine hour is not yet come."6
The Triumphal Entry
Then one day He meticulously
arranges it.7 On this particular
day he rode into the city of Jerusalem riding on a donkey, deliberately fulfilling a prophecy by Zechariah that
the Messiah would present Himself as king in just that way:
"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he
is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass."
Whenever we might easily miss the significance of what was going on, the Pharisees come to our rescue. They felt
that the overzealous crowd was blaspheming, proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah the King.8 However, Jesus endorsed it!
"I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out."
This is the only occasion that Jesus presented Himself as King. It occurred on April 6, 32 a.d.9
The Precision of Prophecy
When we examine the period between
March 14, 445 b.c. and April 6, 32 a.d., and correct for leap years, we discover that it is 173,880 days exactly,
to the very day!
Here are the calculations. March 14th, 445 B.C. to March 14th, 32 A.D.
is 476 years.
(1 B.C. to 1 A.D. is one year, There is no year zero)
476 years x 365 days per year = 173,740 days
Add for leap years = 116 days (Leap years do not occur in century years
unless divisible by 400 [therefore, we must add three less leap years in four centuries])
March 14th to April 6 th = 24 days - total = 173,880
How could Daniel have known this in advance? How could anyone have contrived to have this detailed prediction documented
over three centuries in advance?
Ancient Rabbis and Daniel's Seventy Weeks
Some of you may be thinking
that the application of this prophecy to the Messiah is a Christian contrivance. In fact, most modern rabbis try
to deny the messianic application of this prophecy. However, it is well established that the ancient Jews believed
that this prophecy pinpointed the time of the Messiah's coming. In fact, many in the Qumran community (the writers
of the Dead Sea Scrolls) believed that they were living in the very generation to which this prophecy pointed!
Archaeology Review, Nov./Dec. 1992, p.58)
In the Baylonian Talmud, compiled between A.D. 200-500, ancient rabbis commented on the time of the Messiah's coming
and Daniels seventy weeks prophecy.
Regarding the times referred to in Daniel's prophecy, Rabbi Judah, the main compiler of the Talmud, said: "These
times were over long ago" Babylonia Talmud Sanhedrin 98b and 97a
In the 12th Century A.D., Rabbi Moses Ben Maimon (Maimonides), one of the most respected rabbis in history, and
a man who rejected the messianic claims of Jesus of Nazareth, said regarding Daniel's seventy weeks prophecy:
"Daniel has elucidated to us the knowledge of the end times. However, since they are secret, the wise (rabbis)
have barred the calculation of the days of Messiah's coming so that the untutored populace will not be led astray
when they see that the End Times have already come but there is no sign of the Messiah" (Emphasis added).
Igeret Teiman, Chapter 3 p.24.
Finally, Rabbi Moses Abraham Levi said regarding the time of Messiah's coming:
"I have examined and searched all the Holy Scriptures and have not found the time for the coming of Messiah
clearly fixed, except in the words of Gabriel to the prophet Daniel, which are written in the 9th chapter of the
prophecy of Daniel" The Messiah of the Targums, Talmuds and Rabbinical Writers, 1971. But there's more...
There appears to be a gap between
the 69th week (verse 25) and the 70th week (verse 27):
9:26: "And 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."
The sixty-two "weeks" follow the initial seven, so verse 26 deals with events after 69th week, but before
the 70th. These events include the Messiah being killed and the city and
sanctuary being destroyed.
There is a remaining seven-year period to be fulfilled. Revelation 6-19 is essentially a detailing of that climactic
As Jesus approached the city on the donkey, He also predicted the destruction of Jerusalem:
"For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round,
and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they
shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation." Luke
The Messiah was, of course, executed at the Crucifixion. "But
not for Himself."
The city and the sanctuary were destroyed 38 years later when the Roman legions under Titus Vespasian leveled the
city of Jerusalem in 70 a.d., precisely as Daniel and Jesus had predicted. In fact, as one carefully examines Jesus'
specific words, it appears that He held them accountable to know this astonishing prophecy in Daniel 9! "Because
thou knewest not the time of thy visitation."
The 70th Week
There is a remaining seven-year
period to be fulfilled. This period is the most documented period in the entire Bible. The Book of Revelation,
Chapters 6 through 19, is essentially a detailing of that climactic period.
The interval between the 69th and 70th week continues, but it is increasingly apparent that it may soon be over.
The more one is familiar with the numerous climactic themes of "end-time"
prophecy, the more it seems that Daniel's 70th Week is on our horizon.
This paper is Part 1. For Chuck Misslers follow up on this same topic
see: Confirming the Prophetic Date of 445 B.C.
For a more complete exposition of this amazing passage, see our Briefing
Package, Daniel's 70 Weeks.
1.Anderson, Robert, The Coming Prince, Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1894. The classic work on the Seventy Weeks
2.Missler, Chuck, Daniel's 70 Weeks, Koinonia House, 1993. (Also, the Expositional Commentary on Daniel, 24-tape
study with notes.)
1.Encyclopedia Britannica, Volume 10, p.642.
2.Leviticus 25:1-22; 26:3-35; Deuteronomy 15.
3.2 Chronicles 36:20-21.
4.Genesis 7:24; 8:3, 4; Revelation 11:2; 12:6; 13:3, 4; etc.
5.First identified in Sir Robert Anderson's classic work, The Coming Prince, first published in 1894. Now available
in any Christian bookstore.
6.John 6:15. Always in control: John 7:30, 44; 8:59; 10:39.
9.Luke 3:1: Tiberias appointed in 14 AD; 15th year, 29 AD; the 4th Passover occurred
in 32 AD.