Most modern Bible scholars agree that the decree “from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem,” in Daniel 9:25, occurred in the month of Nisan on the Jewish calendar and the year 444 BC on the Julian calendar. It was issued by King Artaxerxes Longimanus of Persia. Dr. Thomas Ice, Dr. Harold Hoehner, Dr. John F. Walvoord, E. Michael Rusten, and many other scholars agree on this month and year. The decree was issued for rebuilding the city of Jerusalem, not the temple in Jerusalem.
There had been three previous edicts or decrees regarding rebuilding Jerusalem and the temple. In 538 BC, Cyrus, king of Persia, issued a decree to rebuild the temple (2 Chronicles 36:20-23; Ezra 1:1-4; 6:1-5). In 520 BC, Darius confirmed Cyrus’ decree to finish the temple in Jerusalem ( Ezra 6:6-12). King Artaxerxes issued the third decree, which related to the establishment and practice of the proper services at the Temple, in 458 BC (Nehemiah 2:1-8). The fourth decree was issued by Artaxerxes (in the 20th year of his reign) in the first month of Nisan (Nehemiah 2:2), 3317 AM on the Jewish calendar, and April, 444 BC on the Julian calendar.
This is the starting month and year of Daniel’s prophecy of Seventy Sevens found in Daniel 9:24-27. The exact day this decree was issued is unknown. However, we do have a few clues. NASA’s records indicate a solar eclipse on April 30, 444 BC, on the Julian calendar. Solar eclipses only occur on new moons, so the previous new moon would have been 30 days earlier on March 31, 444 BC. The next day, April 1, 444 BC, the crescent moon would be seen. This would have been the first crescent moon of spring and would have occurred on Nisan 1 of the Jewish calendar, as crescent moons occur on the 1st day of every month of the Jewish calendar. The only clue Nehemiah 2:2 gives is that he petitioned the king to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem in the month of Nisan. This could be any day between April 1 and April 30, 444 BC.
THE SIXTY-NINE SEVENS OF DANIEL’S PROPHECY
These same scholars also agree that the end date year for the sixty-nine (7 + 62) weeks or sevens mentioned in Daniel 9:25-26 is AD 33. “Until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks (sevens) and sixty-two weeks (sevens); The street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times. And after the sixty-two sevens, the Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself” (Daniel 9:25-26). Jesus was “cut off” or killed on Passover, Nisan 14 on the Jewish calendar. NASA’s records indicate a lunar eclipse on the Julian calendar on April 3, AD 33. Lunar eclipses only occur on a full moon. Full moons appear on the Jewish calendar's 15th day of every month. Friday, April 3, AD 33, was Nisan 15, 3793 AM on the Jewish calendar. One day earlier would have been Thursday, April 2, AD 33 on the Julian calendar and Nisan 14, 3793 AM on the Jewish calendar. This is the end date for the sixty-nine sevens portion of Daniel’s prophecy. See Seven Famous Passovers in Scripture (rev310.net) for more information on this being the date for Jesus’ crucifixion.
So, the sixty-nine sevens prophecy was from 444 BC to AD 33. It’s interesting that for this 476-year timeframe, there are 173,847 days in a Jewish calendar (Nisan to Nisan), and there are 173,856 days in a Julian calendar (January to January). So, if you want to assume that the 476 years were complete on the Jewish calendar and the starting and end dates were on Nisan 14, then the starting date for Daniel’s prophecy of sixty-nine sevens is April 14, 444 BC, and the end date is April 2, AD 33 on the Julian calendar.
The Hebrew word, ‘shabu’ (translated as sevens), represents Shemitah cycles (weeks) of seven years, where the land was to have a Sabbath rest every seventh year. This is a clue that God is giving Daniel regarding how to interpret the timeline of this prophecy. If the duration were to be for four hundred and eighty-three years, God would have told him so with those exact words, just as He did with Jeremiah when he gave him the prophecy of seventy years. “And those who escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon, where they became servants to him and his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia, to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths. As long as she lay desolate, she kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years” (2 Chronicles 36:20-21).
It’s obvious Daniel’s prophecy is based on the seven-year Shemitah (Sabbath) cycles or weeks and the actual Shemitah years (Sabbaths of the seventh year) as described in Leviticus 25, whereas Jeremiah’s prophecy is not. Otherwise, God would have informed Jeremiah that the duration of the desolations of Judah and Jerusalem would be for “10 sevens” and not “70 years.”
If the ‘sevens’ in Daniel’s prophecy are Shemitah cycles, it would appear that there should be 483 years from the start to the finish of the sixty-nine sevens prophecy because 69 x 7 = 483. However, there are only 476 years or 68 sevens (68 x 7) between Nisan, 444 BC, and Nisan, AD 33. Either the dates are wrong, or there is some other explanation that is not obvious without further research. Due to the work of biblical scholars, as I mentioned before, and my own research, I am inclined to believe these dates are accurate.
THE PROPHETIC 360-DAY CALENDAR
Two main theories can explain these seemingly contradictory discrepancies. Sir Robert Anderson introduced the first one in his book entitled The Coming Prince. Anderson developed a ‘prophetic’ 360-day calendar that he says Abraham, the father of Israel, used when he came into the land of Canaan and was the same calendar his ancestors used in his ancient home in Ur of the Chaldees. Supposedly, the Genesis account of the Flood in the days of Noah illustrates the use of this 360-day year by recording the 150-day interval till the waters abated from the earth. The 150 days began on the 17th day of the second month and ended on the 17th day of the seventh month (Genesis 7:11, 24, and 8:3-4). In other words, the five months consisted of 30 days each; therefore, 12 months would equal 360 days (12 x 30 = 360).
The “prophetic calendar” has 5-6 fewer days than a solar calendar so it would have seven more years for this particular timeline in Daniel’s prophecy than a Jewish lunisolar or Julian/Gregorian solar calendar. Thus, it would have the required 69 sevens (69 x 7) or 483 years. The 360-day prophetic calendar has 173,880 days in a 483-year timeline.
Most of the scholars I mentioned above agree with Anderson’s assessment of using the 360-day calendar for figuring the dates for Daniel’s timeframe of the sixty-nine sevens. Besides the apparent reason that it is the only calendar that will allow for 483 (69 x 7) years between 444 BC and AD 33, the book of Revelation appears to back it up. Revelation 11 and 12 use words and terms such as 1260 days (Rev. 12:6), 42 months (Rev. 11:2;13:5), and “time, times, and half a time” (Rev. 12:14) to describe the last 3.5 years of the Tribulation, known as the Great Tribulation. Daniel also uses the term “time, times, and half a time” in Daniel 7:25 and 12:7, referring to the Great Tribulation.
Although 42 months and “time, times, and half a time” are not specific in how many days are involved, it would appear they are referring to 1260 days. Since the prophetic 360-day calendar has 30 days in a month and 12 months in a year, there would be 1260 days in a 3.5-year or 42-month period. Interestingly, all of the verses in Revelation and Daniel that I have listed above are regarding the last part of Daniel’s 70th seven, otherwise known as the Day of the Lord, Jacob’s trouble, or the Great Tribulation). There is only one verse in Revelation that is believed to refer to the first part of the 7-year Tribulation, “And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days. Clothed in sackcloth” (Revelation 11:3). This verse is vague regarding the exact timing of when these two witnesses will prophesy.
The duration of the first part of the Tribulation is not given, only assumed. What has always been taught is that if the 360-day calendar were being used, the 7-year Tribulation would be divided into two halves of 1260 days for a total of 2520 days. As a former proponent of the prophetic calendar, I had a different take on the duration of the two halves of the Tribulation that I wrote about in my “In the midst” articles. I broke it down into a 1230 - 1290 (1260 + 30) days split to satisfy Daniel 12:11, “and from the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. More on this later.
The only problem with Anderson’s prophetic calendar is that the Hebrews never used a 360-day calendar, especially one that didn’t have an intercalary month added periodically. They used (and still do for their religious activities) a lunar calendar (353/354 days) with an extra month of 30 days added every two to three years to keep it in alignment with the solar calendar (365/366 days). If the Jews ever used a 360-day calendar for keeping abreast with prophecies, it would have to be in conjunction with their lunisolar calendar. In other words, they would have to use two calendars, which would get very confusing.
THE JEWISH CALENDAR – COUNTING SHEMITAH YEARS
The second main theory regarding the timeframe of Daniel’s prophecy of Seventy Weeks/Sevens is based on the Jewish calendar. With this calendar, you are not counting days or years but actual Shemitah years. The first step to deciphering the 69 weeks is to confirm the word ‘sevens’ and not ‘weeks’ as the proper translation. This is critical for this theory to have merit. ‘Sevens’ refers to the seventh year of the seven-year Shemitah cycle (week).
Shemitah cycles are counted, but only if they are located after the starting date and before the end date of Daniel’s prophecy. However, I believe God was only counting 69 Sabbath years (476 years) and not 69 Sabbath cycles (483 years). Gabriel, an angel of God, relaying his message to Daniel, never mentions years, only sevens. Why is that? Sevens refers to the Shemitah year of rest for the land of Israel, going back to when the children of Israel entered the Promised Land. For more information, charts, etc., see The Sixty-Nine Shemitah Years of Daniel's Seventy Weeks Prophecy (rev310.net). In this article, I show how 444 BC and AD 33 are both Shemitah years, and there are 67 Shemitah years between them, for a total of 69 Shemitah years or sixty-nine sevens.
As Jesus fulfilled the first four Feasts of the Lord at his 1st advent, He will fulfill the last three at his 2nd advent. The three terms for identifying the last 3.5 years of the 7-year Tribulation
noted above can be easily explained by accepting the premise that the Fall Feasts of the Lord coincide with Jesus’ 2nd advent. The Jewish calendar usually has 1260 days from Nisan 10-12 to Tishri 1, the Feast of Trumpets, in 3.5 years.
Nisan 10, AD 33, was the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey as the king of Israel but was rejected by the Jews. Some scholars say this was the day Jesus was “cut off” from his kingship of Israel, but I believe it was four days later on Passover, Nisan 14, when Jesus was killed. This was also the end date for Daniel’s prophecy of 69 sevens (7 + 62 sevens) mentioned in Daniel 9:25-26.
Nisan 10 was also the day the children of Israel first entered the promised land in 1406 BC. Most Bible scholars believe the abomination of desolation and the 3.5-year Great Tribulation will start on Nisan 10-12, a few days before Passover. 1260 days (3.5 years or 42 months) later on the Feast of Trumpets, Tishri 1, Jesus will return to the earth to fulfill His second coming. This explains how the Jewish calendar is used for deciphering the timeframe regarding Daniel’s prophecy (and also Revelation 11, 12, 13) and not a 360-day calendar that the children of Israel never used in their entire history from Moses (Exodus 12) forward.
Even the 150 days mentioned in Genesis7:24 and 8:3, when the waters started to recede during the great flood of Noah’s day, which transpired in 5 months (from the 17th day of the second month to the 17th day of the seventh month), does not necessarily prove a 360-day calendar with 30 days per month. It takes our moon about 29.5 days to complete one cycle of phases (from new moon to new moon). Although Noah had a small window in the ark (to release birds to determine if the water had receded), it is doubtful he could have seen the moon at night. He probably just counted days and rounded off to 30 days per month. If he did use a 360-day calendar, it probably had an intercalary month added approximately every six years to keep it in alignment with the solar calendar.
Going against tradition and some great Bible scholars, and for the reasons listed above, I think that the timeframe of Daniel’s prophecy of Seventy Sevens is based upon the Jewish calendar and not Anderson’s prophetic calendar. The 69 sevens are Shemitah years, starting with 444 BC and ending with AD 33, and the duration is for 476 Jewish years (353 – 355 days per year + intercalary month added every 2-3 years) and not 483 prophetic years with 360 days per year. The Jewish calendar has approximately 2540 days in a 7-year timeframe or 2570 days if an extra third intercalary month is added.
IN THE MIDST OF DANIEL’S SEVENTIETH SEVEN
“And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week, and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate” (Daniel 9:27). The prophet Daniel is referring to the last seven years (“one week”) on earth before Jesus’ 2nd Coming to the world. This period is known as Daniel’s 70th Seven, the Tribulation, and Jacob’s Trouble. Numerous Old Testament prophets referred to it as the Day of the Lord.
In Daniel 9:27, does the term “in the midst” mean the exact middle, or could it mean near the middle? 269 times in the Old Testament use that terminology. Very few of them refer to the exact middle. Most of them refer to a near middle or center. For example, in 1 Samuel 16, Samuel the prophet went to the house of Jesse of the tribe of Judah to anoint one of his sons as the king who would eventually replace Saul. Jesse had eight sons, counting David. God informed Samuel that he was to anoint David, the youngest. “Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren…” (1 Samuel 16:13). With seven brothers, there is no exact middle, for there are four on one side of David and three on the other side of David. If there were nine sons, then David could have been in the exact middle of them, but as it was, he was only in their midst.
The “in the midst” event of Daniel 9:27 is known as the “abomination of desolation” and is described in Daniel 12:11 and Revelation 13:14-15. Daniel 12:11 gives the duration of the last part (3.5 years) of the Tribulation, from the A.O.D. to the end of the 7-year Tribulation. “And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days” (Daniel 12:11).
Have you ever wondered why Daniel 12:11 is for 1,290 days instead of 1,260 days? I believe the Antichrist’s abomination of desolation will occur on Nisan 10-12, a few days before Passover, starting the Great Tribulation that will last for 1260 days. These 1260 days, from around Passover until Jesus returns on the Feast of Trumpets (Tishri 1), will fulfill the prophecies of Revelation 12:6, Rev. 11:2, Rev. 13:5, Rev. 12:14, Daniel 7:25, and Daniel 12:7. However, the end of the Tribulation does not end with Jesus’ victory at the battle of Armageddon, but rather 30 days later. This takes into consideration enough time for the 6th Feast of the Lord, the Day of Atonement, to be fulfilled by Jesus. This Day of Atonement will be the long-lost 70th seven (Shemitah year) of Daniel’s prophecy. The extra 30 days also allow for the 7th Feast of the Lord, Tabernacles, to be fulfilled by the Lord Jesus. Also, there will still be enough time for Jesus to fulfill the prophecies of Matthew 24:30-31 and Matthew 25:31-46. The Feast of Tabernacles lasts for eight days until Tishri 23rd. Seven days later, the Millennium Kingdom of Jesus Christ will commence, 1290 days after the A.O.D. At this time, the prophecy of Daniel 9:24 will be fulfilled.
EXAMPLES OF DANIEL’S SEVENTIETH SEVEN USING THE JEWISH CALENDAR
Let’s look at a couple of examples of the timeframe involved in using the “in the midst” reckoning for Daniel’s 70th seven using the Jewish calendar. These are merely examples, so one can get a general idea of the Feasts of the Lord that are involved within these last seven years. They are not predictions of the actual dates for the seven-year Tribulation. The first one will be the first possible timeline starting with 2022 as the starting point and 2029 as the ending point. The second one will be the next in line, 2023-2030. When configuring these dates, you must always start with Jesus’ returning on Trumpets (actually 30 days later) and work your way backward to the start. Remember, there are approximately 2540 or 2570 days in seven years in the Jewish calendar. We will look at both examples.
These seven years contain approximately 2540 days. The end of the Tribulation would occur on Heshvan 1, 10/9/2029. Jesus would have returned 30 days earlier on Tishri 1 (Trumpets) on the Jewish calendar or 9/9/2029 on the Gregorian calendar. The Antichrist will have set up his abomination of desolation 1260 days earlier (from Trumpets) on Nisan 12- 3/29/2026. That is 1290 days total thus far, which agrees with Daniel 12:11. Since there are 2540 days in this timeline, you must deduct 1290 days from 2540 days. The difference is 1250 days. When you deduct 1250 days from 3/29/2026, you come up with Heshvan 2 - 10/26/2022 for the start of the Tribulation when the Antichrist confirms the covenant with the many.
These seven years contain approximately 2570 days (as there are three intercalary years added instead of two). The end of the Tribulation would occur on Heshvan 1 - 10/28/2030. Jesus would have returned 30 days earlier on Tishri 1 (Trumpets) - 9/27/2030. The Antichrist will have set up his abomination of desolation 1260 days earlier (from Trumpets) on Nisan 10 - 4/16/2027. That is 1290 days total thus far. Since there are 2570 days in this timeline, you must deduct 1290 days from 2570 days. The difference is 1280 days. When you deduct 1280 days from 4/16/2027, you come up with Tishri 30 - 10/14/2023 for the starting date of the Antichrist’s confirming of the covenant or the start of the Tribulation.
In these two examples, Daniel’s 70th seven (the last Shemitah year of Daniel’s prophecy) will
occur during the seventh year of the Tribulation on the Day of Atonement, Tishri 10, ten days after Jesus returns to the earth on Trumpets. In example #1, the date will be 9/18/2029. See Daniel's Last Seven (rev310.net) for 2029-2030 as the possible year for the 70th Jubilee. In example #2, Daniel’s 70th seven will occur on 10/6/2030.
When Jesus returns at the end of the 7-year Tribulation, the six objectives mentioned in Daniel 9:24 will finally occur for the Jewish people: To finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy. The children of Israel will finally be the people God had planned for them all along. “You shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:5-6).
Thirty days after Jesus returns to the earth, Daniel’s Seventieth Seven prophecy will have been fulfilled. The last event before the millennial reign of Jesus Christ will be the anointing of the Jewish Temple by the Shekinah presence of Lord Jesus. This will be the last prophecy to be fulfilled, this side of the Millennium.
Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!