Around the turn of the twentieth century, Sir Robert
Anderson of Scotland Yard, in The Coming Prince, decoded
Sevens.” In a chronological diagram of
the history of Judah, Anderson observed three eras of seventy
weeks. He dated Israel’s entrance into Canaan as 1585 B.C.,
the kingdom established under Saul as 1096 B.C., Judah’s
servitude to Babylon as 606 B.C., and the Mystic Era beginning
with the restoration of Jerusalem as 445 B.C.
490 years From Canaan to Kingdom
490 years From the
Kingdom to Servitude
490 years Mystic Era of Seventy
This writer dates Israel’s entrance into Canaan as 1406
B.C., the kingdom established under Saul as 1050 B.C.,
Judah’s servitude to Babylon as 605 B.C., and the Mystical
Era beginning with the restoration of Jerusalem as 444
B.C. Anderson’s three eras of seventy weeks are
questionable, but his calculation from the restoration of
Jerusalem to the Messiah being cut off is extremely
Gabriel’s prediction is concerned with the seventy
weeks that begin in 444 B.C., and the exact time that the
Anointed One (Messiah) would be cut off (His rejection by
Israel and crucifixion on the cross). Consequently, Christ
would not acquire the messianic kingdom envisioned in the
OT during His first advent.
The seventy sevens are “weeks” (seven-year periods),
totaling 490 years of prophetic time for the Jews. Gabriel
divided this time into three parts:
1. Seven sevens (7 x 7 = 49 years)
sevens (62 x 7 = 434 years)
3. One seven (7 years)
It took 49 years to rebuild Jerusalem, which occurred
in troublesome times according to the book of Nehemiah.
Then 434 years later, the Messiah, the Ruler, was cut off.
The total is 483 years. Using a solar year to calculate
when the Messiah would be cut off, one arrives at A.D. 38.
By all reckoning, Christ died before A.D. 38. Thus, there
must be a different way of making this calculation.
Verse 25 predicts that the event, which triggers the
490 years, would be a decree permitting the Jews to
restore and rebuilt Jerusalem. History tells us there were
four different decrees relating to Jerusalem. Cyrus (Ezra
1:2-4), Darius (Ezra 6:3-12), and Artaxerxes (Ezra
7:12-26) issued decrees concerning the rebuilding of the
Temple (Ezra 1, 6, 7); and Artaxerxes decreed that
Nehemiah could return to rebuild the walls (Nehemiah 2:8,
13-15). Gabriel’s indicator as to which decree is the
starting point for counting the 483 years is that “it will
be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of
trouble.” Chapters 3-6 of Nehemiah are about the
rebuilding of the walls and Jerusalem in “times of
The date of Artaxerxes’ decree to rebuild Jerusalem is
given in the biblical record as “in the month of Nisan in
the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes,” which is
March/April of 444 B.C. (Nehemiah 2:1).
Christ’s death occurred on Friday, Nisan 14 in A.D. 33
(Friday, April 3, A.D. 33, on the Gregorian calendar). The
common Jewish practice was to reckon from the first day of
the month. Nisan 1 was March 5, 444 B.C., and from this
date to Monday, March 30, A.D. 33 (the day of the
Triumphal Entry on Nisan 10, A.D. 33, the day the Passover
lambs were selected) is 173,880 days. When the period
between these two dates is calculated, using the prophetic
year of 360 days, one arrives at 173,880 days.
69 x 7 x 360 = 173,880 days
March 5, 444 B.C. to
March 30, A.D. 33 = 173,880 days
See Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ for a
more detailed explanation of this calculation.
Sir Robert Anderson used the older dating system and
calculated from March 14, 445 B.C. to April 6, 32 A.D.,
which was also the Tenth of Nisan that year, the day
Christ might have presented Himself at Jerusalem.
Some conservative scholars use the earlier decree of
Cyrus and arrive at the possible time of Christ’s birth in
5/4 B.C. Others use the decree of Darius and arrive at the
possible date of Christ’s baptism in A.D. 26.
Liberal scholars, who claim that Daniel was written in
the bitter days of the Jews’ persecution by Antiochus IV
Epiphanes, have proposed various starting dates. One
begins the 490 years on the day Jeremiah announced the
future restoration of Jerusalem. This one counts seven
sevens (49 years) from 586 B.C. to 538 B.C., and arrives
at an anointed one, a prince, who is Cyrus the Great. Then
the sixty-two sevens (434 years) represent the period
during which Jerusalem was to be rebuilt while
experiencing many troubles. At the end of that time, the
anointed one that is cut off is the beloved and honored
High Priest Onias III, an event of great significance to
the Jews (2 Maccabees 3:1, 3-40; 4:7ff., 23ff.).
Overall, liberal scholars reject any application of the
prophecy to the Messiah of the NT. Note that 483 years
from 586 B.C. is 103 B.C., and the date Onias was murdered
is 171 B.C. Such erroneous calculations often occur in
calculations that attempt to keep “the anointed one” from
being Christ Jesus.
This writer believes Artaxerxes’ decree to rebuild
Jerusalem triggers the counting of the 483 years, which
ends on the date of the Triumphal Entry, March 30, A.D.
33. Why? Because on this day, the outcomes of Christ’s
first advent and of the nation were fixed, just as Gabriel
As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept
over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on
this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden
from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your
enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle
you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to
the ground, you and the children within your walls. They
will not leave one stone on another, because you did not
recognize the time of God's coming to you” (Luke
Jesus expected the Jews to know the day of His bringing
peace, for it was predicted to the very day in the
prophecy of the seventy sevens. The Jew’s failure to study
prophecy was tragic!
Jesus was declared Israel’s King on the day of the
triumphal entry as the crowds shouted, “Hosanna!” “Blessed
is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the
King of Israel!” (John 12:13).
However, Jesus would receive no crown, except a crown
of thorns! He was cut off from David’s throne and the
kingdom was not restored to Israel at that time.
Early the next day, Jesus cursed the fig tree (symbolic
of Israel) for not bearing fruit (cf. Matthew 21:18-20;
Mark 11:14) and made His way to the Temple, where He drove
out the merchandisers, while quoting Jeremiah 7:11: “It is
written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a
house of prayer,’ but you are making it a ‘den of
robbers’” (Matthew 21:13).
Significantly, Jesus had quoted only a portion of the
prophecy in Jeremiah; the Jews should have known what
followed and should have repented on the spot.
But I have been watching! declares the LORD. Go now to
the place in Shiloh where I first made a dwelling for my
Name, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness
of my people Israel.
While you were doing all these
things, declares the LORD, I spoke to you again and again,
but you did not listen; I called you, but you did not
answer. Therefore, what I did to Shiloh I will now do to
the house that bears my Name, the temple you trust in, the
place I gave to you and your fathers. I will thrust you
from my presence, just as I did all your brothers, the
people of Ephraim (Jeremiah 7:11-15).
The destruction of God’s dwelling place (at Shiloh by
the Philistines in the days of Samuel) and the destruction
of the Temple (at Jerusalem in 586 B.C.) foreshadowed the
destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70. On the evening of
the day following His triumphal entry, Jesus sat on the
Mount of Olives overlooking Jerusalem and foretold its
When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you
will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who
are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city
get out, and let those in the country not enter the city.
For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all
that has been written. How dreadful it will be in those
days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be
great distress in the land and wrath against this people.
They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners
to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the
Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled
“For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of
all that has been written” applies specifically to
Gabriel’s prophecy, and generally to other predictions in
the OT. The cited events during the Passion Week clearly
establish that the Jews had rejected Jesus as their King
and He had rejected Israel before the morning of the day
after the Triumphal Entry (Nisan 11). He had been cut off,
and left with nothing, before His crucifixion on Friday
(Nisan 14). He had been selected as the Passover Lamb by
the people on the tenth of Nisan according to the
Scriptures (Exodus 12:1-11).