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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.

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  • There are about 490 years from the first year of Darius (9:1) to the Roman destruction of the Jerusalem Temple, which happened midway through the seven year war. There is about half a century between the same year, and the birth of the other Darius, from 11:1-4. Note also that the Septuagint of 9:26 has anointing, instead of anointed.
    – Lucian
    Sep 6 at 14:16
  • @Lucian-I'm sorry, but we are talking about the same Darius (Darius the Mede) in Dan, 9:1 and 11:1 and not only that but we are talking about the same 1st year of his reign, i.e. 538 BC. And, there were to be over 600 years until the 70 AD destruction of Jerusalem. Also, I do not see the word 'anointed', let alone 'anointing' in 9:26 !!! Sep 6 at 22:40
  • (1). Darius the Mede is mentioned in both passages; but, in the latter, four others are mentioned as well, the last of which, also named Darius, lost the empire to Alexander. (2). 538/9 BC was the first year of Cyrus, not Darius. Notice that Daniel conflates the two, as is evident from its fifth and sixth chapters, where the latter is named, but the former's deeds are described. Likewise in its ninth chapter, with the first verse mentioning Darius, but the twenty-fifth alluding to Cyrus' edict. (3). See Greek Septuagint.
    – Lucian
    Sep 6 at 23:26
  • @Lucian-Admittedly, the reigns of Darius the Mede and Cyrus the Persian can be confusing for the reader after the overthrow of Babylon in 539 BC and Daniel does seem to conflate the two. Cyrus most definitely ruled for the majority of the period after 539 BC, as Darius disappeared, it seems, as early as 536 BC. But Daniel 9:25 has nothing to do with Cyrus and his edict but everything to do with Artaxerxes I, in his 20th year (444 BC), as laid out in my answer, just recently posted. As for the 'Greek Septuagint' translation of Dan, 9:26, I give it a C-. Sep 7 at 0:43
  • Literally and exegetically, it refers to Cyrus' edict, issued in his first year of reign; the conflation between the two kings then allows us to transform his first year (~540 BC) into Darius' (~420 BC), 490 years before the Temple's Roman destruction. Mystically and eisegetically, it can also be interpreted as relating to Artaxerxes. The two complete each other; it does not have to be an either/or.
    – Lucian
    Sep 7 at 1:10
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**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 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. March the 5th (the 1st of Nisan, in 444 BC), therefore becomes the "starting" date, for counting down the 173,880 days. WE CERTAINLY CANNOT START BEFORE THE BEGINNING OF NISAN. However, from the 5th of March, 444 BC, until the changeover from BC to AD, we have a little more than 162,100 days and then a further 11,788 days in the Common Era. This would bring us to late April of 33 AD. BUT, as we don't know when in Nisan of 444 BC the commission was given, we could very well be looking at April the 3rd, of 33 AD.

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, a possibility that has already 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.

CONCLUSION

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.

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There are some very key determining points in this prophesy that helps focus the context. We can see them if we keep the verses together.

"24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined." (Dan. 9:24-26, KJV)

First of all, this prophesy concerned a specific people - Daniel's people. Vs. 24, "upon thy people" - Daniels people were the Jews in the captivity; and "upon thy holy city" - Daniel's holy city was Jerusalem. So, the prophesy concerned the Jews and their city Jerusalem. It did not apply to any other nation or people.

As you have noted the weeks are actually years as Daniel had been praying to know when the 70 years of the captivity would by finished as had been prophesied by Jeremiah. So, when Daniel asked for the end of the desolation he thought he was asking about just the end of the captivity. However, his question opened the door because God answered the true end of Jerusalem's desolation / destruction - 490 years into Daniel's future after a specific commandment had been given.

People have been trying to ascertain the starting point of which commandment that meant for many years. But, there is a much simpler way to pinpoint this time, and that is from the cutting off of the Messiah foretold in vs. 26.

Seven weeks, or 7 sevens of years, or 49 years after the commandment the city of Jerusalem was to be rebuilt. Then after another 62 sevens of years, or 434 more years the Messiah would come. Then, in the 70th sevens of years, that is the next 7 year period after 483 years had expired.... 483+7 = 490... the Messiah would be cut off in the middle of that last 7 years.

When was Jesus cut off? Most probably 30 or 31 AD. I favor 31 AD as it is the first year of the 40 years mirror of the Exodus wandering until the destruction of the city - Jerusalem in AD 70. So, the middle of the last seven years ended at the 3-1/2 years of Jesus' ministry at His death on the cross.

Now, we can count back 483 + 3-1/2 years to the commandment, which puts it about the time Artaxerxes commanded Nehemiah as detailed in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, or about 455 BC. (1) All of which time period was detailed in the prophesy in Dan. 11 which takes the history from Darius all the way down to King Herod when Jesus was born.

The middle of the "week" after Jesus was crucified was interrupted, and this is where many people want to insert 2,000 + years and counting. But, the interruption was the 40 years transition period from the old covenant to the new covenant for the preaching of the gospel of Christ throughout "all the world" of the Roman empire.

We can know this because the "city" that was to be destroyed in vs. 26 was the same city of vs. 24 - Daniel's holy city - Jerusalem, and the end thereof was the flood of the Roman army which destroyed it in the 3-1/2 years war of AD 67-70. A time, times, and half a time; or 1260 days, or 42 months, or the last half of the last 70 week of years of Daniel's prophesy. (2) (3)

The end of the prophesy was the end of the desolation of Daniel's holy city - the end of the destruction of Jerusalem which happened in AD 70.

Notes:

  1. Africanus' calculation -

“If, for instance, we begin counting the seventy weeks from Cyrus and the first Mission, the period will be too long by more than a century, if from (b) the day the angel prophesied to Daniel still longer, and longer still if we start from the beginning of the Captivity. For we find the length of the Persian Empire to be 230 years, and of the Macedonian 300, and from then to the sixteenth year of Tiberius Caesar 60 years. And from Artaxerxes to the time of Christ seventy weeks are (c) completed according to Jewish reckoning. For from Nehemiah, who was sent by Artaxerxes to rebuild Jerusalem, in the one hundred and fifteenth year of the Persian Empire, and in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes, and in the fourth year of the eighty-third Olympiad up to that date, which was the second year of the two hundred and second Olympiad, and the sixteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, there are 475 years, or 490 according to Hebrew reckoning. For they reckon years by the course of the moon, I ought to (d) tell you, counting 354 days, while the course of the sun is 365 ¼ days, twelve lunar revolutions, being exceeded by one solar by 11¼ days. Therefore the Greeks and the Jews add three intercalary months to every eighth year. For eight times 11¼ days makes three months. So then 465 years, in eight-year cycles, makes fifty-nine years and three months. Since adding the three intercalary months every eighth year, we have a few days short of fifteen years. And these added (391) to the 475 years complete the seventy weeks.” (Fifth Book of his Chronography, Quoted in Demonstratio Evangelica (Proof of the Gospel) ; BOOK VIII)

  1. The Seventy Weeks of Daniel 9 - ShreddingTheVeil

  2. Daniel and the End Times - ShreddingTheVeil

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  • You can't have an arbitrary separation of time half way through a week of years, as in your 70th week scenario, when we already have a CLEAR separation of time at the end of the 69th week. The 70th week has to stand on it's own validity. The '(p)rince' (as opposed to 'Messiah the Prince') with a small (p), i.e. General Titus, had STILL to come AFTER the 69th week had ended, which marked the time of Jesus' crucifixion, IMO. So there is your separation of time. It was during THAT space/gap in time, where the GREAT COMMISSION happened, mirroring Jesus' lifespan, not the 40 year Exodus wandering. Sep 7 at 22:37
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A simplified literary structure of Dan 9:24-27 looks something like this:

70 weeks are determined for

A: Your people [2 word phrase]

. . B: Your Holy City [3 word phrase]

A: Finish the-transgression, end sin, expiate iniquity [2 word phrases]

. . B: Introduce eternal righteousness, seal vision & prophecy, anoint most holy [3 word phrases]

A: From the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem till Messiah – 7 weeks + 62 weeks

. . B: Rebuilt in times of trouble

A: After 62 weeks Messiah cut off and will have nothing

. . B: People of prince destroy city & sanctuary, end like a flood, war & desolations

A: He confirms covenant with many for 1 week, cut off mid-week & stops sacrifice & offering

. . B: On the wing will come abomination that makes desolate until the end

The prophecy of Dan 9:24-27 is clearly a dual prophecy about two related but distinct matters: “Your people” (the Messiah especially), and, “Your Holy City”, Jerusalem. The two prophecies are combined into an ingenious literary unit which complement each other but are always held in apposition. More commentators have come to grief on this issue than any other by ascribing aspects of one to the other.

The key to understanding is found in the first verse of the passage: “your people” is two words, and, “your holy city” is three words in the Hebrew. The destiny of these two entities is described by a list of six things, the first three of which use two-word phrases and refer to “your people”, and the last three use three-word phrases and refer to “your holy city”. See above. The remainder of this dual prophecy follows this distinction.

Now, examine the literary structure and observe that all the time elements apply exclusively to “your people” (or actually, Messiah who represented them and us), and that no time element is ever applied to the destiny of “your holy city.” Again, elaborate (but wrong) chronologies have been erected on the assumption that the city of Jerusalem had a timetable regulated by some aspects of the 70 weeks – but the prophecy does not say this. In fact, the rebuilding of the Jerusalem and the temple were started in 536 BC, well before the beginning of the 490 years and lasted until (almost) 70 AD, well after the end of the 490 years.

As described above, Dan 9:24-27 describes five dates, four of which are given significance in the prophecy. These four dates are discussed below.

The Beginning: The issuing of the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. Several decrees issued by Persian kings are listed in Ezra but only one of these, Ezra 7, is directed at rebuilding Jerusalem, and restoring its political independence. [The other decrees were only intended to re-establish the temple.] This decree is precisely dated as being, according to Ezra’s reckoning, in the 7th year of Artaxerxes. Now it is clear that Ezra and Nehemiah used a calendar similar to that used in the Australian financial year, one that started in the seventh month. That is, for example, in any given civil year, since the seventh month marked the year’s beginning, the first and second month came after the seventh. Examine Neh 1:1-4 and 2:1 for an example of this – the first month of Nissan came after the ninth month of Kislev in the 20th year of the King. Next, when a king ascended the throne part way through a year, the first incomplete calendar year of his reign was regarded as his accession year; his first year of reign was counted as beginning on the next New Year’s Day. Thus, Artaxerxes ascended the Persian throne in about Jan 464 BC, but the first year of his reign began about Sep 464 BC. Therefore, the fifth month in his seventh year would be about July/August 457 BC. See appendix 1 below for more details.

Messiah Anointed: The seventy-week period is divided into three contiguous parts, seven weeks, 62 weeks and the final week (Dan 9:25, 27), in that order. The Hebrew, “messiah” and the Greek, “christos”, both mean the anointed one. The beginning of Jesus’ ministry was marked by His baptism, which, according to Luke 3:1 occurred in the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar. Unlike the Persian calendar, the Jews in New Testament times used the non-accession year dating, or inclusive reckoning. This means that when a monarch ascended the throne, the first incomplete calendar year (no matter how small) was counted as the first year. Since Tiberius ascended the imperial throne on 19 August 14 AD, his “fifteenth year” would be the twelve months beginning 1 Ethanim (September/October) 27 AD by the non-accession reckoning of the Jews. Since Jesus’ ministry lasted 3½ years according to the Gospel’s record (see below for this date), Jesus’ Baptism occurred about October/November, 27 AD.

Thus, we find the beginning of the final week of the 70 weeks when Messiah would “confirm covenant with many for one week”, namely, 27 AD. This suggests that it was the official transition from the “Old Covenant” to the “New Covenant” as promised in Jer 31:31-34 and fulfilled in Matt 26:28, Mark 14:24, Luke 22:20, 1 Cor 11:25 by Jesus.

Messiah Cut-off: Daniel’s prophecy also records that in the midst of the 70th week, Messiah would be (a) cut-off, and (b) end sacrifice and offering. Jesus’ death in 14th of Nissan, 31 AD fulfils this exactly. This can be confirmed using the usual dating systems by finding a year in the range 30 AD to 33AD in which the Jewish Passover fell on Friday. Since we do not have definitive and precise information about the Jewish calendar (specifically the occurrence of “leap years” with the second Adar), such methods depend more on what is unknown than known. Even astronomical methods cannot help because they depend upon local meteorological conditions such as cloud obscuring a new moon. However, the overwhelming consensus from such methods, despite their limitations suggests that the crucifixion must have occurred during the Passover in Nisan (March/April), either in March, 30 AD, or, April, 31 AD. The former is too early as already shown (Jesus’ ministry lasted more than 2½ years), but the second accords with the known facts. See appendix 2 below for more details.

70 Weeks Ended: The end of the 70 weeks would mark the close of Jewish probation, or more precisely, the end of the Jews’ status as the chosen people. After that, the Christian church was called and the Covenant established with “New” people (Heb 8:8, Matt 21:43), based on the ancient promises, and established by Jesus blood of the New Covenant. Again, the historian Luke records the facts of what happened in 34 AD.

  • Acts 7:51, 57, 58: Stephen stoned, Jews (at least the leaders) reject Jesus as Messiah, finally. Stephen recognises that Jesus is now in the heavenly sanctuary, Acts 7:48, 49, 55, 56, seated at the right hand of God.
  • Acts 8:1: Church scattered from Jerusalem
  • Acts 8:26, 27: First missionary to gentiles, Philip & the Ethiopian
  • Acts 9:11, 12, 15: Paul the apostle to gentiles is called and appointed
  • Acts 10:11, 12: Peter’s vision to go to the gentiles
  • Acts 11:17, 18, 26: Gentiles become Christians and called such
  • Acts 11:19-21: Church headquarters moved from Jerusalem to Antioch

Thus, each of the time elements in the prophecy, as documented in the four dates, was fulfilled exactly and completely.

APPENDIX 1 - Original Sources for the Start date

The dating of kings with their associated chronologies is very well established for the period of about 750 BC to 100 AD, often to the precise day. Multiple original sources can be used to verify these dates:

  1. Olympiad Dates: These lists from ancient Greece and Rome traced reigning kings via the 4 yearly cycles of “Olympiads”. Several such lists are available from Xenophon, Thucydides, Plutarch and Julius Afrikanus.
  2. Ptolemy’s Canon: The great Greek astronomer, mathematician, geographer and astrologer, Claudius Ptolemy (100 – 170 AD) created a very famous and accurate list of kings and their reigns beginning with Nabonassar (747 BC, Babylon) up to Aelius Antonius (160 AD, Rome).
  3. Elephantine Papyrus: The Island of Elephantine in Aswan, Egypt, had a significant Jewish settlement and these people have left a huge trove of documents most of which have been double or triple dated with Babylonian, Persian and other kings in both the Babylonian-Persian luni-solar calendar and the Egyptian Solar calendar.
  4. Babylonian Cuneiform Tablets: This large group of documents provides lists of kings who ruled in the area from 626 BC to 75 AD.
  5. General archaeology: Numerous letters, coins, inscriptions and other varied documents all confirm the chronological data above.
  6. Astronomical records: There are numerous records of calculable astronomical events such as eclipses in the reigns of Nebuchadnezzar and other kings that fix their chronologies beyond doubt.

Thus, we can be quite confident that Cyrus began his reign in October 539 BC, and that his first regnal year began in September 538 BC. Using these same sources, Sir Isaac Newton correctly observed in his “Observations Upon the Prophecies of Daniel” (page 131):

“Now the years of this Artaxerxes began about two or three months after the summer solstice, and his seventh year fell in with the third year of the eighteenth Olympiad; and the latter part thereof, wherein Ezra went up to Jerusalem, was in the Julian Period 4257” [= 457BC]

APPENDIX 2 - Jesus' Crucifixion Date

There is further evidence of this date of 31 AD for Jesus' Crucifixion. Luke also records that Jesus was baptized when He was “about 30 years old” (Luke 3:23). While the exact date of Jesus’ birth is unknown, there is a narrow range from which to choose. It was after the Caesar Augustus’ census of 8 BC which took several years to complete. And, it was before Herod’s death in April 4 BC. Since shepherds were in the fields, Jesus must have been born before Nov 5 BC and probably about Sep/Oct 5 BC. In Oct 27 AD, He would have been 31 years old, or “about 30 years old”. Later dates suggested by some would stretch the meaning of Luke’s age too far.

Despite the insuperable difficulties in knowing the local calendar of 2000 years ago, there are still a very limited range of possible dates from which to choose. If we accept that Jesus died on the afternoon of Friday, 14th of Nisan, then the first of Nisan must be at sunset on Friday, about 18:00 local time. In the years 30-33, there are only two years that are even possible when such a Friday occurs two weeks after the equinox, namely,

  1. 30 AD when New Moon occurs at 20:07, Wed, Mar 22 local time. Thus, Nisan 1 would begin about 1 day and 22 hours later on Mar 24. This accords with the Babylonian calendar (not used in Jerusalem) but such an event is almost too soon in date and too soon after sunset to be reliably seen.
  2. 31 AD when New Moon occurs at 13:53, Tues, Apr 10 local time. Thus, Nisan 1 would begin about 3 days and 4 hours later on Apr 17. This is more credible.
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  • The phrase "your people" is connected with the conjunction "and" to the next phrase "your holy city". The two go together, & the 70 sevens of years are for both.
    – Gina
    Sep 7 at 2:57

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