Question: Did the Old Testament really predict the exact year of Christ’s crucifixion?
Answer: The time of Christ’s first advent and the year of His crucifixion were predicted by the angel Gabriel to Daniel. “Seventy weeks,” said the angel, “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” (Daniel 9:24).
A day in prophecy stands for a year (Numbers 14:34; Ezekiel 4:6). The seventy weeks, or four hundred and ninety days, represent four hundred and ninety years. A starting point for this period was given: “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” (Daniel 9:25). Sixty-nine weeks represent four hundred and eighty-three years.
The commandment to restore and build Jerusalem, as completed by the decree of Artaxerxes Longimanus, went into effect in the autumn of 457 BC (Ezra 6:14; 7:1, 9). From this time four hundred and eighty-three years extend to the autumn of AD 27. According to the prophecy, this period was to reach to the Messiah, the Anointed One. In AD 27, Jesus at His baptism received the anointing of the Holy Spirit and soon afterward began His ministry.
Then, said the angel, “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week [seven years]…” ( Daniel 9:27). For seven years after the Savior entered on His ministry, the gospel was to be preached especially to the Jews; for three and a half years by Christ Himself, and afterward by the apostles.
“…in the midst of the week He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease” (Daniel 9:27). In the spring of AD 31, Christ, the true Sacrifice, was offered on Calvary. After His crucifixion, the veil of the temple was rent in twain, showing that the sacredness and significance of the sacrificial service had ceased. The time had come for the earthly sacrifice and oblation to stop by the His crucifixion.
The one week – seven years – ended in AD 34. Then by the stoning of Stephen the Jews finally sealed their rejection of the gospel; the disciples who were scattered abroad by persecution “went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8:4); and shortly after, Saul the persecutor was converted and became Paul the apostle to the Gentiles.
Daniel 9 predicted the exact year of Christ’s crucifixion. Most amazing precise prophecy!
In His service,