An amazing prophecy in Daniel 9:25 Daniel 9:25Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem to the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and three score and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
American King James Version×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 Ezra 1:1-2 1 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,
2 Thus said Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven has given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he has charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.
American King James Version×, and by Darius in 520 B.C., described in Ezra 6:8 Ezra 6:8Moreover I make a decree what you shall do to the elders of these Jews for the building of this house of God: that of the king’s goods, even of the tribute beyond the river, immediately expenses be given to these men, that they be not hindered.
American King James Version×).
But the one that was issued by Artaxerxes Longimanus in 457 B.C. (Ezra 7:11-26 Ezra 7:11-26 11 Now this is the copy of the letter that the king Artaxerxes gave to Ezra the priest, the scribe, even a scribe of the words of the commandments of the LORD, and of his statutes to Israel.
12 Artaxerxes, king of kings, to Ezra the priest, a scribe of the law of the God of heaven, perfect peace, and at such a time.
13 I make a decree, that all they of the people of Israel, and of his priests and Levites, in my realm, which are minded of their own freewill to go up to Jerusalem, go with you.
14 For as much as you are sent of the king, and of his seven counsellors, to inquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem, according to the law of your God which is in your hand;
15 And to carry the silver and gold, which the king and his counsellors have freely offered to the God of Israel, whose habitation is in Jerusalem,
16 And all the silver and gold that you can find in all the province of Babylon, with the freewill offering of the people, and of the priests, offering willingly for the house of their God which is in Jerusalem:
17 That you may buy speedily with this money bullocks, rams, lambs, with their meat offerings and their drink offerings, and offer them on the altar of the house of your God which is in Jerusalem.
18 And whatever shall seem good to you, and to your brothers, to do with the rest of the silver and the gold, that do after the will of your God.
19 The vessels also that are given you for the service of the house of your God, those deliver you before the God of Jerusalem.
20 And whatever more shall be needful for the house of your God, which you shall have occasion to bestow, bestow it out of the king’s treasure house.
21 And I, even I Artaxerxes the king, do make a decree to all the treasurers which are beyond the river, that whatever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, shall require of you, it be done speedily,
22 To an hundred talents of silver, and to an hundred measures of wheat, and to an hundred baths of wine, and to an hundred baths of oil, and salt without prescribing how much.
23 Whatever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be diligently done for the house of the God of heaven: for why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons?
24 Also we certify you, that touching any of the priests and Levites, singers, porters, Nethinims, or ministers of this house of God, it shall not be lawful to impose toll, tribute, or custom, on them.
25 And you, Ezra, after the wisdom of your God, that is in your hand, set magistrates and judges, which may judge all the people that are beyond the river, all such as know the laws of your God; and teach you them that know them not.
26 And whoever will not do the law of your God, and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily on him, whether it be to death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment.
American King James Version×) 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 1:41He first finds his own brother Simon, and said to him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.
American King James Version×; John 4:25 John 4:25The woman said to him, I know that Messias comes, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.
American King James Version×).
If the Messiah was to come, He would have to arrive on the scene just when Jesus did—in the exact year!