Nehemiah 1-3, Psalm 49
Prophecy comprises approximately 25% of the Bible. The amazing aspect of Biblical prophecy is how specific it is, and without exception the over 500 prophecies that have already been fulfilled have done so with absolute precision. In the book of Nehemiah we get the date for the beginning of one of the most amazing prophecies in Scripture. Though the entire prophecy is contained in Daniel 9:24-27, we will only examine 9:24-26a, "Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy. 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 street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times. And after sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself;...". Realize this is the only Old Testament passage which refers to Messiah as "Messiah". In other areas they use terms like "Shiloh", "Righteous Branch", "Prince of Peace", etc. This prophecy was written by Daniel roughly 536-537 BC, or approximately 100 years before what unfolds in the book of Nehemiah.
The start date is recorded in Nehemiah 2:1, "And it came to pass in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artexerxes when wine was before him, that I took the wine and gave it to the king...". We know from 1:11, that Nehemiah was the king's cupbearer. We know from history that Artaxerxes Longimanus ascended to the throne of the Medo-Persian empire in July 465 BC. By Hebrew tradition, when the day of the month is not specifically mentioned it is assumed to be the first day of the month. So the date mentioned here would be in our current calendar March 14, 445, BC. Going further in chapter 2 of Nehemiah, he states the problem to the king that his city, Jerusalem lies waste and in ruins because the walls needed to protect themselves has yet to be built though the temple had been rebuilt over 60 years previously. After this discussion the king gives Nehemiah the edict to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. When Nehemiah gets to Jerusalem he clearly states this edict and why he has come to the people in Nehemiah 2:17-18.
Back to Daniel's prophecy, the timetable of the prophecy begins with the "going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem". Realize in the prophecy the seventy weeks refers to 70 weeks of years or 490 years. So, according to the prophecy Messiah would be declared as king after 69 weeks or 483 years. Sir Robert Anderson, in his book The Coming Prince applied the principle of the 360 day Hebrew/Babylonian calendar to the 483 years and arrived at 173,880 days. Taking into account transposing the Hebrew calendar onto the 365-1/4 Julian calendar, along with the leap years and omitting the year "0" which never existed brings us to April 6, 32, AD. On April 6, 32 AD our Messiah, Jesus Christ, rode upon a donkey as prophesied in Zechariah 9:9 on that Palm Sunday Road from the Mount of Olives and declared Himself King for the first time.
Realize this is not some formula contrived from Christians but was acknowledged by the Jewish experts. The members of the Qumran community (the writers of the Dead Sea Scrolls) based their life and hope on the fact that Messiah was to arrive then (they were writing during this time). In the 12th century AD, Maimonides, one of the most respected rabbis in history, said regarding Daniel's seventy week prophecy: "Daniel has elucidated to us the knowledge of the end times. However, since they are a secret, the wise (rabbis) have barred the calculation of the days of the 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 Messiah (he rejected the Messianic claims of Jesus). The main compiler of the Talmud (the written commentary on the Mishnah (Jewish oral law, written between 200-500 AD), Rabbi Judah, said when referring to Daniel's seventy week prophecy, "These times were over long ago". These affirmations that this portion of Scripture referred to the future Messiah was also present in the Targum (The Jewish commentary on the Tanakh or Hebrew Scriptures) written between 200BC -200AD).
Sorry for the long post, but this amazing prophecy which came true with pinpoint precision concerning our Messiah's first coming has been calculated and verified by those inside the Christian community along with those who have rejected Jesus as Messiah, in the Jewish community. Unfortunately, for those who choose to reject Jesus as their Lord and Savior this presents a dilemma, because by doing so they are also rejecting their own prophets, since we know that a prophet must be correct 100% of the time. So their only conclusion would have to be that their prophets were wrong or that they missed the coming of their own Messiah. For those who are interested, we are currently in the times of the Gentiles which occurs between the space between the 69 weeks and the final week of Daniel's prophecy. This final week, which is also called the time of Jacob's trouble in Jeremiah 30:7 corresponds precisely with the seven year Tribulation which is yet to come. We can be sure that this final week of prophecy will come true with the same precision every other portion of prophecy has. For those of us with Jewish friends or family members, pass this along and tell them about their Messiah.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: