**Q. When did the 7 + 62 (69) weeks (483 years, in actual fact) start and then subsequently end, which then heralded "Messiah the Prince", as portrayed in Dan, 9:25 [NASB]?
This much written about and endlessly debated time period, in my opinion, has to be understood before we can even think about ascertaining when the "70th week" of Daniel's famed prophecy came about, or indeed may still have to come about, which depends on whether one is a Preterist, or, Dispensationalist quite frankly, there possibly, but not by any means probably, being an undetermined length of time (gap) between the end of the "69th week" and start of the "70th week". So for the purposes of this Q. and A. let's ...put the "70th week" aside for the time being !!
NB:- Daniel's "70 Weeks" prophecy, as portrayed in Dan, 9:25-27, shows that ordinary weeks cannot be meant. The language does not imply weeks of days, it actually implies weeks of years [70 x 7 (years)=490 years] and the "day for a year" bible rule is therefore very appropriate and is the general consensus of opinion amongst the vast majority of theologians.
A. It is, at least, generally understood that Jesus, the Messiah, features 'after' the end of the 7 + 62 weeks, in that he is 'crucified' (cut off), see Dan, 9:26. Now, whether the "69th week", in of itself, ended, at, (1) Jesus' baptism; or, (2) his entry into Jerusalem, on a donkey; or, (3) his death on the cross, is/has been much debated, by many a theologian, over centuries of time, who have then pointed to one, or the other, of the first two options, but not so much to the third option, that of Jesus' death. As to the (483 years), there has also been much debate as to whether we are talking about "Literal", 365.2422 day years, or, "Prophetic", 360 day years ...
Prophetic years (Wikipedia)
There is ongoing debate, but evidence put forward by advocates of the so-called "Prophetic year" can be seen in the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation, as seen in the use of "time, times and half a time", "1260 days" and "42 months". These references represent a period of 1260 days (based on the 360 day Jewish year multiplied by 3.5).
There has again been much debate as to which "decree" or, "command", by way of the relevant king's "word", heralded the start of said "69 weeks", there being at least 3 candidates:-
Candidate # 1...Edict of Cyrus the Great, of 539/8 BC (too early, although 2nd Jewish Temple was completed in 515/16 BC, as a direct result of this edict).
Candidate # 2...First decree of Artaxerxes I, of 458/7 BC (7th regnal year), which involved the Jewish priest Ezra (closer...and the most popular amongst theologians, although they have used the modern 365.2422 day year and base their calculations on an erroneous 27 AD baptism and 31 AD death of Jesus, instead of the now, much more attested to, 29 AD and 33 AD truth.
Candidate # 3...Second decree of Artaxerxes I (although not a decree as such, as it was really in furtherance of the decree given to Ezra), which was substantiated in the form of "letters", requested of the king by the Jewish leader, "Nehemiah", a contemporary of Ezra's, in the "20th" regnal year of the king, i.e. 445/4 BC, the ONLY ... decree/command/word, especially when taken from "Nisan" of 444 BC - when using the, now more relevant to the time and place, 360 day year - able to survive the math, see Nehemiah 2: 1,7,8,9.
To be more precise...we not only know the year of Jesus' crucifixion (33 AD), we also know the month (April) and date (Friday the 3rd), not to mention the hour, based on a number of factors:-
Factor # 1... the vernal equinox of 33 AD (researched by me, almost one year ago now) was on March the 20th (18:47 GMT, or 21:47 local time), with the new moon actual sighting (Nisan 1) being right on time for the appropriate full moon of Saturday, April the 4th, which happened to be a "Great" sabbath (Passover), very fitting for the day after Christ's death, on the Friday, of april the 3rd (Nisan 14). And, if that wasn't all, the full moon not only became a "blood moon" (part of the 1st, of 9 more since, Common Era "Tetrad's") but was preceded by a "total solar eclipse" (some 2 weeks previously) and accompanied by an "earthquake", all definitively prophetic on their own merit.
Factor # 2...we are told that John the Baptist started his baptizing in the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar, who was inaugurated in 14 AD (all the Roman historians who calculate the years of Tiberius' rule - namely Tacitus, Suetonius and Cassius Dio attest to this), regardless of the apparent fact that he was co-regent with his ailing father for two prior years...
Year 1 09/18/14 to 09/17/15
Year 15 09/18/28 to 09/17/29
When Luke talks about (Luke 3:1) the 15th year of Tiberius, we are talking 28/29 AD. John started his preaching in the same year of Jesus' baptism, in the Spring of 29 AD. Jesus was then baptized in the Fall of 29 AD (the start of his ministry), and then crucified in the Spring of 33 AD, as implied above.
Factor # 3...Luke also tells us (Luke 3:23) that when Jesus began his ministry, he was about 30 years old, so if one counts back 30 years from his baptism, in the Fall of 29, one comes to the Fall of 2 BC, for Jesus' birth. Now, the traditional date for Herod the Great's death has actually been ascertained to be 1 BC. - No, 4 BC! you say. - Well hear me out, if you please. Historian's Filmer and Steinman, for example, propose that Herod died in 1 BC, and that his heir's backdated their reign's to 4 or 3 BC, to assert an overlap with Herod's rule , and bolster their own legitimacy. This, of course, would mean that Herod the Great was still alive at Jesus' birth and therefore not contrary to biblical narrative. In addition, the Roman governor of Syria, Quirinius, presided over a census (taken once every 14 years), the first of his governorship (Luke 2:1,2) and whereupon Luke seems to suggest that this coincided with Jesus' birth, although the actual census was in 6 AD, thus confusing many an historian/theologian, as Jesus could not possibly have been born in 6 AD. However, while this was a "bona fide" census for the registration of all peoples, it was actually the second registration under Quirinius, as the first registration was in 2 BC, during his first governorship, but which was not a census as such, consequently, it must have been this first registration that Luke was referring to.
When all is said and done, we now know for a fact that Jesus was crucified on April the 3rd of 33 AD. We also know that the 69 weeks lasted for a total of 173,880 days (483 x 360 day years). We even know *Nehemiah, in the 20th year of Artaxerxes (20th regnal year commenced in Tishri, Sept/Oct of 445 BC and ended in Tishri of 444 BC), entered into the king's presence, in forlorn disposition, but even though summarily fearful, succeeded in obtaining his requested "letters", already referenced above.
*Nehemiah, Ezra and Daniel, used Tishri accession year reckoning for the regnal years of Artaxerxes I. See "Thiele/McFall" system summary, regarding the Jewish civil calendar.
Furthermore, we also know from, Nehemiah 2:1, that the commission (an instruction, command, or duty given to a person or group of people) of Artaxerxes (in his 20th year) came about in the month of Nisan, which commenced on March the 5th, of 444 BC, according to some historical accounts at least, although this would surely be too early of a start for the month. The 3rd, or 4th of April of the next month would make more sense. However, seeing as we have already established that the Nisan of 444 BC had to have began in March, a more likely date for the start would more than likely have been several days later - WE CERTAINLY CANNOT START BEFORE THE BEGINNING OF NISAN - In order to get to this date, we now need to count back 173,880 days from April the 3rd of 33 AD. 11,788 of those days are in the Common Era, which leaves 162,092 before the Common Era, which according to this site http://calendario.eugeniosongia.com/eng_duration.htm March the 13th of 444 BC is determined, after having taken into account of the fact that there was no zero year, when transitioning from AD to BC. This date, therefore, would be a much more likely date for the 1st of Nisan, or at least the start of the 69 weeks.
Now the general consensus, of at least some theologians, is that Jesus became "Messiah the Prince", when he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, which in 33 AD would have been on Sunday, March the 29th (5 days before his crucifixion), but this would have meant that the 173,880 days would have had to have started 5 days before Nisan 1 of 444 BC, most likely, a possibility that has already, most probably, been ruled out (remember the CAPITALS above). Consequently, this premise of many has to be in error and even discredited. As to this particular number of days, ending at Jesus' baptism, in 29 AD, given all the above, we can totally discredit that idea.
Jesus could not have become "Messiah the Prince" until after his death, which, by all accounts, would have been a short lived title, at least until he had finished with all his 'earthly' apparitions, prior to him taking up his Kingship at the right hand of God, the Father in heaven. Messiah the Prince literally means Anointed Ruler. The anointing at Jesus' baptism was not the beginning of his rule however, the true anointing came, as per the 6th point in Dan 9:24, when Jesus sat at the right hand of God, in the Holiest of Holies, in the heavenly realm.