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Featured Bible casts doubt on dating of Artaxerxes decree

Discussion in 'Eschatology - Endtimes & Prophecy Forum' started by Julian King, Dec 28, 2018.

  1. Julian King

    Julian King New Member

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    As many of you know, it is not clear from the Bible which events marked the start and end of the 1st 69 weeks of Daniel's 70 Weeks prophecy (Daniel 9:24-27), or even whether those 69 weeks lasted 483 actual years or 476 actual years. One current, popular interpretation of the prophecy suggests that the 69 weeks began with the issue of Artaxerxes decree in 444 BC and that they ended 476 years later in AD 33 with an event during the week of Jesus' crucifixion (there being only 1 year between 1 BC and 1AD).

    I think the Bible casts doubt on the dating of both those events, which therefore suggests that that current interpretation of the prophecy may be incorrect.

    Let me explain:
    The destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar's army and King Cyrus of Persia's conquest of Babylon are currently dated at 587/586 BC and 539 BC respectively, a gap of 48 years. I think the Bible is telling us that the gap between these two events was 70 years, a difference of 22 years. And since Artaxerxes was a later Persian king, it means that the dating of his decree may also be incorrect, and hence that the gap between the issue of that decree and AD 33 may be quite a few years less than 476 years, which is one reason why that interpretation of Daniel's prophecy may also be incorrect.

    So, let's have a look at the relevant scripture:
    Jeremiah 25:11 tells us that Jeremiah prophesied that Judah would serve Babylon for 70 years.

    I think that 2 Chronicles 36:19-21 is telling us that these 70 years began when, following Jerusalem's destruction, the surviving inhabitants were taken into exile to Babylon, and that the 70 years ended when the Persian Kingdom was established.

    And Jeremiah 25:12 tells us that Jeremiah prophesied that God would punish the king and nation of Babylon after the 70 years had ended.

    Now I think Cyrus' conquest of Babylon is the punishment that fulfilled this prophecy, which would mean that his conquest occurred at least 70 years after Jerusalem was destroyed, which, as I said, is 22 years more than our current dating suggests, which suggests that the current dating of either Jerusalem's destruction or Cyrus' conquest of Babylon or both, is incorrect.

    Now if it's the dating of Cyrus' conquest that is 22 years out, then since Artaxerxes was a later Persian king, it means, especially if the dating of his reign has been calculated by reference to the dating of Cyrus', that the dating of his reign, and of the issue of his decree, may also be incorrect, possibly by around 22 years, which would mean, as I said earlier, that the gap between the issue of that decree and AD 33 was less than 476 years, and hence that the interpretation of Daniel's prophecy which claims that the issue of that decree marked the start of the 69 Weeks, may also be incorrect.

    And, in addition to that, I think the Bible, combined with our dating of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman army, is telling us that Jesus was actually crucified in AD 30, and not AD 33, as claimed by that interpretation of Daniel's prophecy, which is a second reason for thinking that that interpretation is incorrect.

    Let me explain:
    I think that Jesus' crucifixion was the iniquitous event that marked the beginning of the 40 years of Judah's iniquity prophesied in Ezekiel 4, and I think that the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman army, following a siege, was the event that marked the end of that 40 years- indeed, Jesus, in Luke 19:43-44 prophesied that Jerusalem would come under siege, and be destroyed, because 'they did not recognize the time of their visitation from God'. That destruction of Jerusalem is currently dated at AD 70, which means under this interpretation of Ezekiel 4, that Jesus was crucified in AD 30.

    As a final point, there are other credible candidates for the events that both began and ended the 69 Weeks of Daniel's prophecy, but that's for another posting, as I wanted, in this posting, to focus entirely on a crucial problem with the interpretation mentioned above.
     
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  2. vinsight4u

    vinsight4u Contributor

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    /nvm
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2019
  3. BABerean2

    BABerean2 Newbie Supporter

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    Daniel Chapter 9: Dr. Kelly Varner



    .
     
  4. vinsight4u

    vinsight4u Contributor

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    /nvm
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2019
  5. eleos1954

    eleos1954 God is Love Supporter

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    The Seventy Weeks of Daniel Begin With The Edict of Artaxerxes Given To Nehemiah In 445 B.C. And The Command To "Restore And Build Jerusalem". (Dan.9:25)

    artexarxes.jpg

    DANIEL 9:24-25
    24. "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.
    25. "Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times.

    Determining the date of the decree


    The dates for Artaxerxes' reign are well documented in the ancient sources. These sources include the Greek historians, Ptolemy's Canon, the Babyonian business tablets, and the Elephantine papyri from Egypt. From these documents we know that Xerxes was killed in late December of 465 B.C., and the reign of Artaxerxes began at that time.

    The decree to restore and build Jerusalem was issued in the seventh year of Artaxerxes' reign (Ezra 7:7, 8).

    The book of Ezra was written in Jerusalem for the Jews. It would be natural that he would use the Jewish method of reckoning in numbering the years. Whereas the Babylonians and Persians began their years in the spring, the Jews counted their civil year as beginning in the fall. This means that Artaxerxes' accession year, according to the Jewish method of reckoning, extended until the fall of 464 B.C., at which time his first year of reign began. His seventh year is thus determined as follows:

    Artaxerxes Reign Fall to Fall
    First year 464/463 B.C.
    Second year 463/462 B.C.
    Third year 462/461 B.C.
    Fourth year 461/460 B.C.
    Fifth year 460/459 B.C.
    Sixth year 459/458 B.C.
    Seventh year 458/457 B.C.

    Therefore, the seventh year of Artaxerxes, according to Jewish reckoning, extended from the fall of 458 to the fall of 457 B.C.

    Although the Jews began their civil calendar year in the fall, and the reigns of kings were counted according to that calendar, the numbering of months was always in reference to the spring. Thus their civil year began in the "seventh" month and ended in the "sixth" month. As an example, notice Artaxerxes' 20th year as recorded in the book of Nehemiah. News of the condition of things in Jerusalem came to Nehemiah in Artaxerxes' 20th year, in the month of Chisleu or Kislev which was the 9th month (Nehemiah 1:1). But later, when Nisan, the 1st month, came, it was still Artaxerxes' 20th year (Nehemiah 2:1).

    With that understanding, now we can determine quite closely the beginning of the 70-week prophecy. Ezra 7:9 tells us that Ezra left Babylon on the first day of the first month, which was probably early April depending upon the moon and the barley harvest. He arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month, which would then be early August, 457 B.C. We are not exactly certain of the date in which the king's commission was delivered to the king's lieutenants and governors, but we may be quite certain that it was at least August of that year.

    As noted in the comments on Daniel 9:25, the significant point in the decree to rebuild Jerusalem was not when it was signed by Artaxerxes, but rather when it went into effect, after Ezra arrived in Jerusalem. The decree was useless until the Jews were actually made aware of it and could act upon it. Until they and the governors east of the river heard it, the decree had not fully "gone forth." Therefore, we begin the prophecy of Daniel 9 in the late summer or early fall of the year 457 B.C.
     
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  6. mkgal1

    mkgal1 His perfect way sets me free. 2 Samuel 22:33 Supporter

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    This is from another thread, but I wanted to share it here, because this poster has done an extensive amount of study on this topic:

     
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  7. BABerean2

    BABerean2 Newbie Supporter

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    If anyone is interested in the ancient Hebrew calendar, Christian Gedge's book "The Atonement Clock" is an excellent resource.
    I have bought several copies to share with friends and family.

    https://www.amazon.com/Atonement-Cl...546018042&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Atonement+Clock


    .
     
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  8. ghtan

    ghtan New Member

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    I don't think the start of the 69 weeks can refer to Artaxerxes' decree because that would mean God failed to keep his promise that Jerusalem would be desolate for only 70 years. So it more likely refers to Cyrus' decree. God said he would punish Jerusalem for 70 years but nothing stops him from shortening it in mercy in response to Daniel's plea. That was why the angel said Daniel was "highly esteemed."

    If anyone is interested, I have written a short commentary on Daniel entitled Daniel: Until the Last Thirty Days. For the Christmas period, I am giving the ebook away for FREE via several distributors. Unfortunately Amazon does not allow me to price it below $0.99 and so I have set it there at that price. You are welcomed to download it. I trust you will find the approach in it different. If possible please insert a review on the distributor’s product page. Thanks.
     
  9. Julian King

    Julian King New Member

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    Hadn't thought of it that way. Thank you.

    I still think 2 Chronicles 36:21 reads as though it's describing historical events and that it's telling us that the land did actually lay desolate for 70 years, and that there were therefore 70 years between Jerusalem's destruction and the beginning of Cyrus' reign and, of course, the issue of his decree, but it's not as definite as I would like on that point.

    I too am in favour of Cyrus' decree marking the start of the 69 Weeks. So, which event in Jesus' life do you favour for marking the end of the 69 Weeks, and do you think those 69 Weeks lasted 483 actual years or 476 actual years.

    And are you happy to accept that Cyrus conquered Babylon in 539 BC? The only reason I ask is that as you may know, the 69 Weeks form part of a biblical calculation of the age of Mankind (as is the 70 year exile in my opinion), and therefore it is important to determine, if we can, when Cyrus conquered Babylon.
     
  10. Julian King

    Julian King New Member

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    So how many years are you allocating to the period between Solomon's death and the end of Zedekiah's reign?
     
  11. Julian King

    Julian King New Member

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    Hadn't realized that there were so many sources to support the dating of Artaxerxes' reign. So, even if the dating of Cyrus' conquest of Babylon happens to be 22/23 years out, it's possible that the current dating of Artaxerxes reign may still be correct.

    One point on Daniel 9:25- the Hebrew word 'shuwb' which has been translated as 'restore' in many Bible translations can also be translated as 'return to/turn back', which means it's possible that Daniel 9:25 should be translated as 'return to and build Jerusalem', rather than 'restore and build Jerusalem'. Although Jews did return to Jerusalem around the time of Artaxerxes decree, perhaps the most important return to Jerusalem is the one that followed the issue of Cyrus' decree, which enabled the prophecy in Jeremiah 29:10 (that God would bring his people back after the 70 years were completed) to be fulfilled. Which supports the suggestion that it was the issue of Cyrus' decree that marked the beginning of the 1st 69 Weeks of Daniel's prophecy.

    Which event in Jesus' life do you think marked the end of the 69 Weeks, and are you treating it as occurring 483 or 476 actual years after 457 BC?
     
  12. Julian King

    Julian King New Member

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    So you have the 70 years that 'the land remained desolate' (2 Chron 36:21) as beginning in 605 BC, which was the first occasion that Jews were taken into exile to Babylon during Nebuchadnezzar's reign.

    Since 2 Kings 25:21 and Jeremiah 52:27 both say, after describing the events of Jerusalem's siege and destruction, that 'Judah went into exile out of its land', I think the Bible is telling us that the 70 year exile began in the year that Jerusalem was destroyed, which is currently dated as 587/586 BC, which, if that dating is correct, would mean that the 70 years ended in 517/516 BC.

    And I think the Bible, combined with world historical records, enables us to work out that those 70 years ended when Cyrus conquered Babylon and when, following the issue of Cyrus' decree, the Jews returned to Judah.

    Let me explain:
    I think 2 Chronicles 36:19-21 is telling us, via deduction, that 'the land lay desolate' for 70 years, and that those 70 years and 'the 70 years that Judah would serve Babylon (Jeremiah 25:11) both began with the same event, the Jews being taken into exile. Which means that, since I think they both began in the same year, that I think both 70 year periods ended in the same year.

    Now I think that the Jews returning to Judah marked the end of the 70 years that the land lay desolate, which means, since I think both 70 year periods began in the same year, that I think the 70 years that Judah served Babylon ended in the year that the Jews returned to Judah. Which, since that return followed the issue of Cyrus' decree, means that I think the Bible is telling us, via deduction, that Cyrus' decree was issued in the 70th year that Judah had served Babylon.

    Now, I think it's extremely likely that Cyrus issued his decree after he conquered Babylon, and I assume that there were no Babylonian kings after he conquered Babylon, which means that Judah's 70 years serving Babylon must have ended either when, or before, he conquered Babylon. Now, since I think the Jews returning to Judah marked the end of a 70 year period that began in the year that I think the 70 years serving Babylon began, it means that I think his conquest of Babylon actually occurred in the 70th year that Judah served Babylon, which means that I think he conquered Babylon in the same year that he issued his decree and that the Jews returned to Judah, and not 3 years later as you suggest.

    (I know that Daniel 5:24-31 tells us that Darius became king after Belshazzar, the last king of Babylon, was killed, so I'm assuming that there was some kind of co-reigning arrangement between Cyrus and Darius, so that they were both king of Babylon at the end of the 70 years.)
     
  13. ghtan

    ghtan New Member

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    Numbers in biblical prophecy are sometimes symbolic rather than literal, e.g. the ten horns in Dan 7. I think this applies to the 70 sevens. Indeed, reading the sevens as ‘seven years’ instead of ‘one week’ (its literal meaning) shows we accept the numbers are symbolic. Seven symbolises completeness.

    I think the angel was saying that from the issuance of the decree (by Cyrus, in 539BC since I have no reason to doubt the historians) there would be several complete periods (7 sevens) before the city of Jerusalem is rebuilt (fulfilled by Nehemiah) followed by a much longer complete period (62 sevens) before the Anointed One comes and is cut off (fulfilled by Jesus’ death). Finally there would be a short complete period (1 seven) before the city is destroyed again (fulfilled in AD70).

    If we accept a symbolic reading for these numbers, it would be much easier to understand chapter 12.
     
  14. eleos1954

    eleos1954 God is Love Supporter

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    The 70 weeks

    457 B.C. - Command to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem


    A.D. 27 - 69th week ends (483 years - Baptism of Jesus - anointed as Messiah - Holy Spirit)


    A.D. 31 - Death of Christ


    A.D. 34 - Gospel to the Gentiles


    483 years from 457 B.C.

    Notes:

    To get at the date, you need to subtract 457 from 483. That comes
    to 26, which would mean A.D. 26. However, we are dealing with a calendar here and not a straight number line, which goes like this: -2 -1
    0 1 2 3. The calendar, of course, doesn’t have a slot for zero (there’s
    no zero year). The calendar, instead, goes like this: -2, -1, 1, 2, or,
    more specifically, 2 B.C., 1 B.C., A.D. 1, A.D. 2. Thus, with the zero year
    missing on the calendar, 483 years would extend one more year on the
    calendar, coming to A.D. 27 instead of 26.
     
  15. Julian King

    Julian King New Member

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    I see what you are saying, and can see that in some instances the numbers may be entirely symbolic, but I think that in the case of the 70 years prophesied by Jeremiah, Daniel's 70 Weeks, the 390 years and 40 years of Ezekiel 4 and, to within say a margin of error of maybe 30 days, the end-times time periods mentioned in Daniel and the book of Revelations, the time periods mentioned are exact, because God was wanting to tell the Jewish people, and us, something.

    For instance, in the case of Jeremiah's 70 years, I think, once they had been exiled to Babylon, God firstly wanted to make it clear that they wouldn't be returning soon, and that they should therefore 'build houses, and plant gardens, and have families' (Jeremiah 29:5-6), and secondly, by giving them a set time for their return, God may have eased the exiles sorrow and despair and also told them exactly how much longer they had to survive and gave them a date to look forward to- it helps greatly to have hope when times are tough.

    And secondly, in the case of Daniel's 70 Weeks, I think the 1st 69 Weeks form part of a biblical calculation of the age of Mankind, which tells us, by solely using verses and passages in the Bible, that there were 3965 years between Adam's creation and the event in Jesus' life that marked the end of Daniel's 69th Week- we then simply add on the number of years from that event to 2018 to calculate the year that we're in- I think 2018 is within two or three years of either 5955 and 5987, depending on which event in Jesus' life you choose to mark the end of the 69th Week.

    And I think one of God's reasons for wanting us to make this biblical calculation of the age of Mankind, is that it will help us to make a long-range forecast of the year that either Jesus will return, the Battle of Armageddon will take place, or the Millennium will begin (the 3 Jesus Return Events).

    So, I think the figures given in the above-mentioned prophecies are exact, and furthermore, I think it's important that we try to interpret those prophecies as accurately as possible, so that our predictions of when the 3 Jesus Return Events will occur are as accurate as possible.
     
  16. Julian King

    Julian King New Member

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    Thank you. I still think the 69 Weeks began with Cyrus' decree, but I accept that your start and end-points are also possible.

    However, I disagree with your placement of the 70th Week and the length of those 69 Weeks: I think that the destruction of the city and sanctuary mentioned in Daniel 9:26 is referring to Jerusalem's destruction in AD 70, which means that the 70th Week mentioned in Daniel 9:27 could not have started until after then, whereas you have the 70th Week finishing in AD34.

    Also, I think the 70th Week refers to the 7 years prior to the Battle of Armageddon, since that is when I think the desolator (the first-mentioned beast of Revelation 13) meets his end (when he is cast into the lake of fire during the Battle (Rev 19:20). I also think that the 70th Week is written in prophetic time (which has 360 days in a year) and that it will therefore last 2520 days, which is just over a month short of 7 actual years, and that, if the 70th Week is written in prophetic time, then surely the 1st 69 Weeks of the prophecy are also written in prophetic time, which would mean that they lasted 476 actual years, rather than 483 actual years.

    I imagine that the above two arguments are not new to you, and would be interested to hear your counter-arguments.

    Regarding the length of those 69 Weeks
     
  17. eleos1954

    eleos1954 God is Love Supporter

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    I think, if I am understanding you correctly, one major difference is that you see Revelation 13 (1 through verse 7) as a future event(s) ... and I see them as historical recaps.

    We probably also differ about the Battle of Armageddon, which I see happening in ( Revelation 7:1-3, Revelation 16:12-16)

    The battle of Gog and Magog (Armageddon) will be when the new Jerusalem comes down out of heaven to the earth.

    Difficult to discuss Revelation on here as there is so so much to it. ;o)
     
  18. eleos1954

    eleos1954 God is Love Supporter

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    We just need to always be ready for His return that's what is important, no one knows when. ;o)
     
  19. ghtan

    ghtan New Member

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    How do you get from 69 weeks to 3965 years and then to 5955/5987 years?
    I also read that you think the final week refers to seven years before the return of Jesus. How do you justify a time gap between the 69th week and the 70th week? And why then do you read the final week as 7 years and not, as you seem to do with the earlier 69 weeks, as thousands of years?
     
  20. Julian King

    Julian King New Member

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    A couple of points:

    1- Daniel 9:26 tells us of the city and the sanctuary's destruction- when do you think that occurred?

    2- In the middle of those few verses on the Devil's armies gathering at Armageddon, Revelation 16:15 says 'See, I am coming like a thief'. I think that relates to 1 Thessalonians 5:2 and Matthew 24:42-43, which equate the Day of the Lord/coming of the Lord to someone coming like a thief in the night, and which therefore suggests that Jesus will come on a cloud to gather the elect (Matt 24:30-31 and 1 Thess 4:17) around the time that the Devil's armies gather at Armageddon. Which if as you suggest, the Battle of Armageddon refers to the final defeat of the Devil in Rev 20:7-10, would mean that the elect will be gathered after Jesus' 1000-year Millennial reign. Since Jesus would already be on earth at that point, why would he then come in a cloud to gather the elect? Isn't it more likely that his coming in a cloud will either be on, or before, the day that He returns to earth to fight in the battle of Revelation 19, which precedes his Millennial reign? What do you think?
     
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