Can we confirm the start date for the prophecy which calculates the date on which Jesus presented himself as Messiah.
Daniel 9:25: "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 sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times."
In the fifth century B.C. a Hebrew named Nehemiah, then cup bearer to the Medo-Persian king Artaxerxes, wrote of the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem:
"And it came to pass in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of the reign of Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, I took wine and gave it to the king. Now I had never been sad in his presence before. Therefore, the king said to me 'why is your face sad, since you are not sick.'" Nehemiah 2:1-2 (NKJ)
Nehemiah went on to explain that he was sad because he had heard reports that the city of his people, Jerusalem, was still desolate. Nehemiah, requested that he be allowed to go back to Jerusalem and rebuild the city. King Artaxerxes granted his wish on the spot and gave him official "letters" or documents for easy passage. This occurred, we are told in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes Longimanus' reign.
Artaxerxes Longimanus ascended to the throne of the Medo-Persian empire in July 465 B.C. (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1990 ed.). The twentieth year of his reign would have begun in July 446 B.C. The decree occurred approximately nine months later in the month of Nisan (March/April on our calendar). By Hebrew tradition when the day of the month is not specifically stated (as in Artaxerxes decree), it is given to be the first day of that month. Consequently, the very day of Artaxerxes' decree was the first day of the Hebrew month Nisan in 445 B.C. The first day of Nisan in 445 B.C. corresponds to the 14th day of March. These dates were confirmed through astronomical calculations at the British Royal Observatory and reported by Sir Robert Anderson (Robert Anderson, "The Coming Prince", Kregel. Reprinted in 1984.).
The prophecy states that 69 weeks of years (173,880 days using the 360 day prophetic year) after the command goes forth to restore and rebuild the city of Jerusalem the Messiah will come. If we count forward 173,880 days from March 14th 445 B.C. we arrive at April 6th 32 A.D.
How could Daniel, writing in 537 B.C., have known this in advance ? How could anyone have contrived to have this prediction documented over five centuries in advance?
There is in fact, another way to check the accuracy of this date. In the Gospel of Luke, chapter three, it states that in the 15th year of the reign of Caesar Tiberius, Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and began his ministry. It is well established that the reign of Caesar Tiberius (The Encyclopedia Britannica, 1990. Micropedia) began with his coronation on August 19th in the year A.D. 14. Most scholars believe Jesus was baptized in the fall season. It therefore follows that the ministry of Jesus started with his baptism in the Fall of A.D. 28, the 15th year of reign of Caesar Tiberius (The day that a Roman ruler ascends the throne begins his first year.). The ministry of Jesus spanned four Passovers or about three and one half years.
The first Passover of Jesus' ministry would have been in the Spring of A.D. 29. The fourth Passover of His ministry was the day of his crucifixion and would have fallen in the year A.D. 32. The Passover in that year fell on April 10th (The Passover holiday always occurs on the 14th day of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar. This corresponds to the first full moon after the Spring equinox.). Remarkably, according to Robert Anderson and the British Royal Observatory, the Sunday before that Passover was April 6th-The very day that Jesus presents himself as King and exactly 173,880 days after the decree of Artaxerxes!!
According to the principles of biblical higher criticism, this prophecy proves that the book of Daniel was written after the Gospel of Luke! This is, of course, absurd because Daniel was translated into Greek (the Septuagint) nearly three centuries before Jesus was even born
This Prophecy is one of the most astonishing proofs that God transcends time and is able to see the end from the beginning with incredible precision!
To goto Part 3 see:A Decree or Not a Decree; Daniel 9:25
Reference: Mark Eastman, M.D. and Chuck Missler, "The Creator Beyond Space and Time", Copyright 1996 The Word For Today. p.138,140-141