An amazing prophecy in Daniel 9:25 gives the specific year the Messiah would appear. The angel Gabriel revealed this information to Daniel approximately 580 years before its fulfillment. Let's examine this remarkable prophecy and how it was fulfilled.
"Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks ..."
The word translated "weeks" here literally means "sevens." While it could mean seven-day weeks, that is evidently not the case here. Daniel had been specifically praying earlier in the chapter about a prophetic period of 70 years. In this answer to his prayer, he is told of a period of 70 sevens—clearly meaning 70 sevens of years in this context, i.e. 70 seven-year periods.
Adding 7 plus 62 (69) of these seven-year periods—that is, a total of 483 years—from a decree to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem gives the year the Messiah would appear on the scene.
After Jerusalem's destruction by the Babylonians in 586 B.C., the Babylonian Empire was succeeded by the Medo-Persian Empire. This empire's kings issued several such decrees that were recorded in the Bible (by Cyrus in 538 B.C., found in Ezra 1:1-2, and by Darius in 520 B.C., described in Ezra 6:8).
But the one that was issued by Artaxerxes Longimanus in 457 B.C. (Ezra 7:11-26) points us specifically to Christ's ministry. Counting 483 years from the 457 B.C. date of this decree brings us to A.D. 27 (keep in mind that because there is no year "0" we have to add one year to the calculation).
A.D. 27 was a significant year. Jesus was baptized this year and began His public ministry.
The Jews of Christ's day were certainly familiar with Daniel's prophecy. And regardless of which decree one might choose as the starting point of the 483 years, the time for the Messiah to appear had elapsed during Jesus' day. Messianic fervor was rampant with the realization that the fulfillment of this prophecy was near at hand (compare John 1:41; John 4:25).
If the Messiah was to come, He would have to arrive on the scene just when Jesus did—in the exact year!