For those who believe in Biblical inspiration and the genuineness of predictive prophecy, it will be no surprise to learn that the date fixed by Nehemiah happens to be one of the best known dates in ancient history. Even the Encyclopedia Britannica, certainly not biased in favor of prophecy, sets the date of Artaxerxes' accession as 465 B.C.; and therefore his twentieth year would be 445 B.C. The month was Nisan, and, since no day is given, according to Jewish custom the date would be understood as the first. Hence in our calendar the date would be March 14, 445 B.C. Here we have the beginning of the Seventy Weeks.
4. When Did the First Sixty-nine Weeks End and What Happened on that Date?
Having found that the Weeks are composed of years, that the length of the prophetic year is 360 days, and that these years began on March 14, 445 B.C., the ground is now cleared for the chronological computation. And for this I am indebted to the painstaking research of the late Sir Robert Anderson, the results of which are set forth in his great book, "The Coming Prince", a work occasionally sneered at by the critics but never answered.
In order to find the end of the Sixty-nine Weeks, we must first reduce them to days. Since we have 69 Weeks of seven years each, and each year has 360 days, the equation is as follows: 69 x 7 x 360 + 173,880 days. Beginning with March 14, 445 B.C., this number of days brings us to April 6, 32 A.D.
To prove that the 173,880 days equal exactly the period from March 14 445 B.C., to April 6, 32 A.D., it is necessary to compute this period in terms of our own calendar year, as follows:
445 B.C. to 32 A.D. is 476 years (B.C. 1 to A.D. 1 is one year)
475 x 365 days 173,740 days
Add for leap-years 116 days (3 less in four centuries)
March 14 to April 6 24 days (inclusive)
Total? 173,880 days
April 6, 32 A.D., therefore is fixed definitely as the end of the era of the first 69 Weeks; and according to Daniel's prophecy, it should mark the very day of Messiah's manifestation as the Prince of Israel. Without attempting to enter into the clear but intricate chronological calculations set forth by Anderson in his book, "The Coming Prince" (pages 95 -105), I shall simply state his conclusion that April 6, 32 A.D., was the tenth of Nisan, that momentous day on which our Lord, in fulfillment of Messianic prophecy, rode up to Jerusalem on the "foal of an ass" and offered Himself as the Prince and King of Israel.
That out Lord understood perfectly the crucial nature of His action on that day is unmistakably clear from the record in Luke 19:28-44, a passage which should be studied carefully noting the following details: First, realizing that the day had arrived for Him to ride up to Jerusalem in fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9, He sends His disciples to procure the "colt" upon which as the King He must appear (30-34). Second, the whole multitude of the disciples, clearly understanding the meaning of His act, began to shout a well known quotation from a Messianic Psalm (118:22-26), saying, "Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord" (37:38). Third, although previously He had forbidden the disciples to make Him known as the Messiah, now He rebukes the Pharisees' protest and commends the disciples' shout, saying that "if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out" (39-40). Certainly something was happening here that had never happened before.
But most important of all, we have from the lips of Christ Himself an estimate of the unparalleled importance of that day and what He was doing. Weeping over the city because He knew in advance the certainty of His rejection, He laments, "If thou hadst known, even thou, in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace, but now they are hid from thine eyes" (42). What "day"? Why, the day God had fixed in Daniel's prophecy, the day that belonged to Israel, the day on which their "Messiah" would manifest Himself as the "Prince," the exact 173,880th day of the prophecy! And what were "the things" belonging to their peace? They are the identical "things" names in verse 24 of the prophecy of the Seventy Weeks, those marvelous blessings promised to Israel by that God Who never breaks a covenant. But now for a time all these "things" are to be hid from the eyes of the nation; their enemies will prevail over them; and the city will be once more destroyed. But why? The answer is tragic but just: "Because thou knewest not THE TIME OF THY VISITATION" (44).
Thus the 173,880 days of the first Sixty-nine Weeks ran their course to the very day - deep and abiding encouragement to all who love the Lord and His precious Word of prophecy. And I close this discussion with but one remark: The exact fulfillment of this prophecy is sufficient to demonstrate the accuracy of Daniel and also by implication the inspiration of the Bible and the truth of Christianity. Only God can "declare the end from the beginning" and forecast to the very day "things that are not yet done" (Isaiah 46:10).
~Alva J. McClain~
(continued with # 5 - "The Parenthesis of Time Between the Sixty-ninth and Seventieth Weeks")