Daniel, as he recounts in chapter 9 of his book, is given an amazing prophecy by the Archangel Gabriel that predicted among other things the year that Jesus would be crucified. It was worded in such a way as to make its fulfillment even more amazing than just stating a given date. It hinged its fulfillment on events that in Daniel's day (circa 538 BC) had yet to occur.
The word "week" is translated from the Hebrew word transliterated as shabua.Aside from having the meaning of a week, the seven-day period, it also has the meaning "seven" or "unit of seven."
Let's now look at a passage in Genesis concerning the patriarch Jacob. He had been working seven years for his uncle Laban with the intent of earning the right to marry Laban's younger daughter Rachel. Laban tricked Jacob by substituting his older daughter Leah in the marriage bed on the night of the wedding. Jacob was incensed, but Laban insisted that it was only proper the older daughter should marry first, but he agreed that if Jacob fulfilled Rachel's "week, we will give you this one also for the service which you will serve with me still another seven years" (Genesis 29:27).
The word "week" in this passage of Genesis is the same word shabua used in Daniel, and here we have it being equated with a period of seven years. It can be assumed then that "weeks" in the prophecy of Daniel 9 can be understood to mean periods of seven years.
When we add the 7 weeks and the 62 weeks mentioned in Daniel 9:25, we come up with a total of 69 weeks. Then if we multiply 69 times 7, we arrive at a figure of 483 years.
Keeping this in mind, we must now consider what is regarded as a year in ancient terms. Sir Isaac Newton (1642–1727) wrote: "All nations, before the just length of the solar year was known, reckoned months by the course of the moon, and years by the return of winter and summer, spring and autumn; and in making calendars for their festivals, they reckoned thirty days to a lunar month, and twelve lunar months to a year, taking the nearest round numbers, whence came the division of the ecliptic [path of the sun's annual rotation] into 360 degrees" (Anderson, Robert. The Coming Prince. London: Hodder & Stroughton, 1894). In other words, the year of the ancients consisted of 360 days.
A biblical confirmation of the length of what is sometimes called a "prophetic year" is found in Genesis 7:11,24 and 8:3–4. The time that the biblical deluge in the time of Noah began until the Ark came to rest on the top of Mount Ararat is given as 150 days. This period is dated as beginning on the 17th day of the second month of the year and lasting till the 17th day of the seventh month, a period of exactly 5 months. When 150 is divided by 5, we come up with a month being a period of 30 days. If we extrapolate that, then 12 months of 30 days would equal 360 days.
In Revelation 11:2–3, 42 months is equated to 1,260 days. Forty-two months is also equal to three and a half years. If we take the 1,260 days and divide it by 3½, we end up with 360 days in a year.
Nehemiah was the cupbearer to the Persian king Artaxerxes Longimanus. According to his account in Nehemiah chapter 2, it was in the king's 20th year on the throne that Nehemiah was granted permission to supervise the reconstruction of the walls of Jerusalem. Dating this event to our present calendar has been done quite precisely due to astronomical records from the time of the Persian Empire. The 20th year of King Artaxerxes and thus the year this command to restore and build Jerusalem is, with a fair amount of certainty, fixed at 445 BC. Several other decrees issued by Artaxerxes and his predecessors had allowed the Jews to return to their homeland and rebuild their temple, but this seems to be the one that gave them permission to rebuild the city walls. Even so, as you can read in the book of Nehemiah, this feat was completed against the constant and "troublesome" interference from neighboring kingdoms.
So now it is time to do some math. We need to convert 483 prophetic years into solar years. A solar year consists of close to 365¼ days.
(483 times 360) divided by 365¼ = 476
If we now add 476 years to 445 BC., we arrive at the year 31 AD. However, since the first day of 31 AD. would be the end of the 476 years, to fit in with the prophecy Jesus' death would have had to happen somewhere within the year 30 AD. Most sources state that Jesus was crucified around 30 AD.
Indications are that the Jews of Jesus' day were expecting the Messiah to come around that time, as Luke records that "the people were in expectation, and all reasoned in their hearts about John, whether he was the Christ or not" (Luke 3:15). Could this prophecy from Daniel be the cause for this expectation?
The fulfillment of the first part of this amazing prophecy inspires faith that the rest of it will be fulfilled just as accurately. For as you would have noticed, there is one week of years left over. 70 minus 69 =1. What and when is this last week? It certainly wasn't fulfilled seven years after Jesus was crucified and then rose from the dead. As shown in Chapter 1 of this book, the last week starts when the Antichrist confirms the covenant with many for one week. It really is the last week—the last seven years of the Antichrist's rule on Earth. When that is over, the stipulations in Daniel 9:24 will all surely be fulfilled.
"Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy" (Daniel 9:24). Jesus already died for our sins at the end of the 69th week and we have thus been reconciled. And by the end of the 70th week the transgression of the Antichrist's reign in Jerusalem and in the temple will be finished. Everlasting righteousness will be ushered in with the establishment of God's kingdom on Earth. The vision and prophecy will be fulfilled and sealed, and Jesus will be anointed King.