There is remarkable proof in the authenticity of Jesus, as the Son of God, in Isaiah 53, though starting at the tail-end of 52. The messiah to come is said there to be sacrificed to death for the sins of Israel, but the same person is then said to become the eternal ruler of the world, implying his resurrection. How did Isaiah know about Jesus some seven centuries before he was born?
In the New Testament, we find Jesus informing his disciples, after His resurrection, about the Old-Tesrtament texts that foretell his first coming. Although we are not told which texts he pointed them to, we find part of Isaiah 53 in Acts 8:32-33, indicating that this was one of the texts.
Daniel 9 speaks in a curious way about the cutting off of the Messiah after 69 weeks. Daniel claims that an angel came to him to say that God wants him to know about a 70-week period. The angel said that, from the decree to start of the rebuilding of Jerusalem, there would be 70 weeks only until the eternal restoration of Israel. Wow, how exciting was that for Daniel to hear? The resurrection of Abraham and others, a little more than one year off. This prophecy would not have gotten any traction if God meant 70 literal weeks, for it did not come to pass that quickly. The mystery is that the prophecy remained in the book of Daniel centuries afterward, even though it appeared to be a false prophecy from the get-go. Daniel himself should never have allowed the prophecy to remain in his book, when, 70 weeks had passed, but nothing. No lightning, no planetary shaking, no "son of man" in the clouds, no nothing. Yet, Daniel allowed the prophecy to remain in his works, apparently, and after his passing away, the prophecy was passed on down through the generations.
Someone eventually got the idea that each so-called "week" was a period of seven years, not seven days, and he started to count off seven periods of 69 years, because the prophecy says that the Messiah would be cut off after the 69th week. And although it's not absolutely certain as to the year when the streets of Jerusalem were first rebuilt, it's known that the year was close to 450 BC. And with Jesus crucified in about 30 AD, that's a total of about 480 years. If you take out your calculator, and do 7 x 69, you get 483 years. That's something to investigate, isn't it? If you want truly to know whether Jesus was what the apostles claimed for him, you'll want to investigate this. I'll do the work for you. All you need to do is read along.
Whatever you do, don't take Wikipedia's article on the 70 weeks seriously; it is filled with the words of an idiot(s), and there are others writing wrongly about it. But there is hope even for idiots, ask me. There is no end to the twisting of Scripture by people trying to mark themselves out as gifted beyond the norm. If you want to use this prophecy as proof that Jesus is the promised messiah, you need to find the year when the decree went out to rebuild Jerusalem. There is some disagreement on the particular year, because we don't know which decree it was, but you will find (not without some trouble) that it was close to 450 BC. I've done the work for you, just read along and decide whether it's an acceptable viewpoint.
There are corrupt English versions of the Daniel prophecy used by some who wish to corrupt the prophecy as they like to see it. Therefore, get the feel for reading backward (right to left) in a Hebrew interlinear, for it has Daniel text as closely as one can get it. Some are saying that the messiah comes after only seven weeks, but the interlinear below makes it apparent that he comes after seven plus 62 weeks:
It would take a reader a lot of work to verify the things said in the advanced article below. I would like to quote from it: "There can be no doubt for anyone familiar with the available chronological sources that we have the regnal years of Artaxerxes I accurately fixed. Indeed, the dates are so well set in the cement of these sources that it is hard to imagine any kind of future discovery that could possibly move them." This king's first year was 464 BC. The writer believes that the decree in the 70-week prophecy was this king's decree found in Ezra 7, at the start of the king's seventh year, which I peg at the start 457 BC, though the writer uses the beginning of 458, curiously enough, but later amends it to 457.
The writer above, from the Adventists, has done some phenomenal investigation, and resolves that the 69 weeks lands on 27 AD, regardless of when Jesus started his ministry. Whatever we may think spiritually of Adventism, it should be kept separate from this particular study on a purely historical matter. Either he has the 457 date correct, or he doesn't. If we start counting from the start of 457 BC, there will be 457 years to the start of 1 AD. The total of 483 years gets us to the start of 27 AD. It's perfect, in my opinion, for the year of Jesus' baptism. You don't need to to grapple with all of the statements in the article above; you need only verify from the bulk of historians that Artaxerxes' 7th year was in 457 BC, and then you need only read Ezra 7, where there is a decree by this king to allow Ezra and others to return to Jerusalem to do their full will there. We could assume that part of the allowances included the rebuilding of the city, not just the temple, but if not, we can imagine that a seperate decee to rebuild the city was soon after the king's seventh year.
In what year did Jesus die? There is debate. Some use comets in order to figure out the date of his birth, but this is in vain, for even if there was a star that guided magicians to the place where baby Jesus lay, it couldn't have been a comet. A comet cannot indicate one house versus another, nor one town versus another. Here is some of my previous work:
Luke 3:23 tells that Jesus was about 30 years old when he began his ministry (at the baptism given Him by John the Baptist). Second, Luke 3:1 tells that Jesus started his ministry in the 15th year of Caesar Tiberius. The problem has been that Tiberius started a joint reign with Caesar Augustus in 12 AD, but reigned alone starting in 14 AD, wherefore his 15th year has been debated because it can fall either in 27 or 29 AD. The good news is, one can easily discover which of those two years is correct, and then count backward 30 years to His birth. In neither case will 30 years get us further back than 4 BC.
John 2:20 is key for solving the problem, where we learn that the Jerusalem Temple was in its 46th year of construction at the near-start of Jesus' ministry. Thanks to the internet, I easily found that the temple was started in Herod's 18th year. The bad news is that his 18th year lands in either 20 or 19 BC, but the good news is that it doesn't matter, for this purpose. For when we add 46 years to 20 or 19 BC, we land between 26 or 27 AD, wherefore 29 AD is not an option! That is, it is a concrete matter so far as I am concerned that Tiberius' 15th year was not 29 AD, but 27 AD. Having made that solid conclusion, I then subtract 30 years from 27 AD to find the year of Jesus' birth: 4 BC (not 3 BC because there was no year 0).
If we start at the very end of 19 BC, 46 years later is at the end of 28 AD, but, chances are, the count should not begin at the end of 19 BC i.e. it falls short of 29 AD in any case. My quote above had nothing to do with trying to make it fit with 457 BC; the 70 weeks were not on my mind while grappling with the problem of Jesus' birth year. Honestly, until writing on this originally, in the 1st Iraq update of December, 2016, I had no idea that there could be found exactly 483 years from the decree of Ezra 7 to the first year of Jesus' ministry, to the best of our ability to discover it. Even if these dates are out a year or two, chances are that they perfectly fulfill the 70-week prophecy. This prophecy says that AFTER the 69 weeks, the Messiah will be "cut off." It seems that God did not wish to use "killed." The prophecy does not tell how much time after the 69 weeks the Messiah was killed.
The New Testament has Herod dying while Jesus was in his first year, or perhaps his second, but we can start by assuming that Jesus was born the year that Herod died, in 4 BC. It's a traditional viewpoint. Thirty years later puts us somewhere in 26 AD. It truly works out well, for if Jesus was baptised in 26, his death would have been in the first half of 28, for the Gospels reveal little more than two years for His full ministry. It begins shortly before Passover (March-April), and ends on Passover two years later. I tend to think that the waters of the Jordan were too unpleasantly cool between December and March so that the baptism could have been before December of 26.
Here is a Google page for the edict of Artaxerxes:
When we go to Nehemiah 2, we find that Jerusalem was still in ruins at Artaxerxes' 20th year. I expect that, as soon as the temple was started, there were some building of homes too, and of course some clearing of streets could be expected, in and out of the area. Thirteen years is long enough to establish a village beside the temple site, even if the walls remained in ruins. Nehemiah's concern was the city wall, for starters. From what we read in Nehemiah 2, chances are that Israel's enemies thwarted the re-building of the city to a large degree, which is why Nehemiah asked the king for letters to make the actions of Israel's enemies illegal. In other words, the decree to rebuild the city may have been about 13 years earlier, but Israel's enemies were working to thwart the program. When the king gave Nehemian permission to go to Jerusalem to salvage the building program, it did not necessarily involve an official edict. It took only a few weeks to rebuild the city wall, indicating that the Jews had enough men to do it in short-order. Why didn't they start the work earlier, without Nehemiah? Because, they needed the king's written word directly against the agressors to keep them from invading the Jews at the sight of a massive re-building program.
Here you can access the Daniel prophecy as per an interlinear reading:
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