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Date of Artaxerxes Decrees

Discussion in 'Eschatology - Endtimes & Prophecy Forum' started by Christian Gedge, Oct 22, 2018.

  1. Christian Gedge

    Christian Gedge Active Member

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    This prediction is arguably the most important Messianic prophecy written in the Bible. It says that Messiah would be revealed at the end of the 69th week. (of years)

    Our problem is that three or four decrees were issued. It would make life simpler if there was only one, because all we would need to do is count forward 483 years, (69 x 7) and the answer would be there. Either Messiah came or he did not. But decrees were made by three Persian Emperors following Daniel’s forecast, and we have to choose which one marks the commencement date from which to count.


    Actually, In God's eyes it was one decree. Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes were all correct as stated clearly in Ezra 6:14.

    What this verse is saying is that it was really a single decree, and the source of the decree was God himself! He inspired Cyrus to declare restoration for Jerusalem in 538 BC but his order was delayed. If we add 483 years to 538 BC, we arrive at a year of no particular significance. Did an anointed prince appear in 55 BC? No, nothing of interest happened at all. However, Darius and Artaxerxes picked up the mantle of Cyrus and re-decreed it. Unusual as it may seem, the law of the Medes and Persians were permanent and could not be revoked, so it was normal for emperors to re-decree what had been decreed before.


    Therefore, the count of ‘sevens’ should be started in the reign of Artaxerxes. When we count forward 483 years from 1 Nisan 457 BC, it comes out at 1 Nisan AD 27 - the time Jesus began his public ministry. (John 1:29-34) When one considers how Daniel first predicts the decree nearly a century before it happened, then proceeds to telescope another 69 weeks further, we find a supernatural fulfilment of the ‘times’ in Jesus of Nazareth which cannot be brushed aside as a coincidence. It provides powerful testimony to the identity of the Christ.


    However, no sooner than we solve the “whose decree” issue, a cluster of date questions arise to muddy the waters. Did it happen in his seventh year or in his twentieth? Since Artaxerxes’ reign began late 465 BC, some commentators quote 458 BC and others 445 BC as the years in question. Just as many other sources say 457 BC and 444 BC. Why the difference?


    The goal of my topic here is to identify the date once and for all, because as stated, it provides the key to the Bible’s most important Messianic prophecy. Just join in if you've got a preferred starting date. I'll be batting for the 457 BC date, and I want to talk about a man called Sir Robert Anderson too. He's put a lot of people wrong.
     
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  2. Anto9us

    Anto9us Well-Known Member Supporter

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    More mud in the waters is the issue of 360 day vs 365 day years...

    But 357 BC or 444 BC could work out ok.

    Either way, it is a tremendous prophecy about Christ.

    Some say Daniel was written in Macabbean times, not as conservatives view it.
    Even so -- the prophecy is well before Christ.

    More mud -- is Annointed One 'cut off" right at the end of 69th week of years, or, as some say in the midst of 70th week?

    If Sir Robert Anderson can help us wade through the mud, fine.

    One view is Christ was cut off mid-70th week, and 3 1/2 years later was stoning of Stephen -- which ended ALL of the seventy weeks. I can see that -- I think the 70 shauvim ran CONSECUTIVELY, no 'gap' of 2000 years
     
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  3. Anto9us

    Anto9us Well-Known Member Supporter

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    To identify the date once and for all is a tall order, Christian Gedge, but well worth the effort, I suppose.

    Nehemiah's date around 444-445 BC also has specific things in it authorizing CUTTING TIMBER to build walls with -- this may be significant.
     
  4. Christian Gedge

    Christian Gedge Active Member

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    Sir Robert created the 360 day theory. More mud than light I would say.
     
  5. Biblewriter

    Biblewriter Senior Member Supporter

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    This is an error. The fact that the Jewish year was 12 lunar months was well known, even in ancient times. And the fact that the calculation of the seventy weeks should be based on "Hebrew years," rather than on the Roman 3651/4 day year, was clearly taught in ancient times by Julius Africanus, who is thought to have lived from about A.D. 160-240. See “The Extant Fragments of the Five Books of the Chronography of Julius Africanus,” by Julius Africanus, part 16, “On the Seventy Weeks of Daniel,” from "The Early Church Fathers: Ante-Nicene Fathers," vol. 6, ed. by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, as found in its American edition ed. by A. Cleveland Coxe.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2018
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  6. Christian Gedge

    Christian Gedge Active Member

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    I appreciated your informative link, but it doesn't make my criticism of Anderson an error. The ancients certainly knew of a lunar calendar, but it had 354 days, just as it does now. Anderson created a 360-day theory and gerrymandered a count of 490 using this non-existent 'prophetic' calendar.
     
  7. Anto9us

    Anto9us Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We are not gonna know an exact day and hour anyway, gentlemen, of His return -- we just wanna get close enough for jazz for the decree made effective. I still say 444 BC with Nehemiah going with authorization to cut timber and build walls -- he went from Royal Cupbearer to Authorized Lumberjack -- and returning Jews started building WALLS.
     
  8. Anto9us

    Anto9us Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Dan 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 threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times

    I think the times were so troublous the Jews worked with a tool in one hand and a weapon in the other because of hostile neighbors
     
  9. Biblewriter

    Biblewriter Senior Member Supporter

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    Actually, that is not correct. Julius Africianus very clearly pointed out that the seventy years needed to be calculated on the basis of “Hebrew years,” as opposed to what the Romans knew, by that time, was longer.
     
  10. Christian Gedge

    Christian Gedge Active Member

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    I read the artical. His 'Hebrew years' were lunar 354-day years, not 360-day years as Anderson proposed.

    I don't actually agree with Africanus, but at least he knows what a lunar year is. When we count the 70 weeks, by all means use a lunar calendar, but we must add the intercalary months. The ancient Hebrews added them, and so did Daniel!
     
  11. BABerean2

    BABerean2 Newbie Supporter

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    In his book "The Coming Prince" Sir Robert Anderson admits that the Hebrews made periodic corrections to the 360 day calendar.
    Anderson then ignored this fact in the rest of his book.
    Anderson was C.I. Scofield's friend, and was attempting to make Scofield's doctrine work.

    In only 37 years a 360 day calendar reverses the growing seasons.
    The Hebrews could not have grown crops during the winter.
    Therefore, we know they made regular corrections to the 360 day calendar.

    Read the book "The Atonement Clock", which reveals the ancient Hebrew calendar.


    .
     
  12. Biblewriter

    Biblewriter Senior Member Supporter

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    Yes, it is commonly known, and was even discussed by Julius Africanus, that the Hebrews "adjusted their calendar at regular intervals. This was an obvious necessity, as they did not have the correct length for a year. And this has nothing to do with the calculation of the seventy weeks.

    in giving the scriptures involved, God never, even once, used the word year. in the prophecy we are speaking of, he simply said "sevens," which was the word the Hebrews used for both a period of seven days and also for a period of seven years. This is why this word is normally translated "weeks."

    But in the closely associated word commonly translated "times," God did the same thing. As this was done in three different languages, three different ancient words were used. But each of these words simply meant a precisely defined period of time, and was thus often used to represent a year. But none of these words actually meant a year.

    So we have a coming period of time which God called "a seven," which to an ancient mind obviously meant seven years. He divided this time into two halves, each of which He called "a time. times, and half a time," which to an ancient mind obviously meant three and a half years. And these "half weeks" are also called both forty-two months and 1260 days. All of this works out perfectly when the Hebrew year of 360 days is used in the calculation.

    So to claim that Sir Robert Anderson was "just attempting to make Scofield's doctrine work," borders on nonsense. Why not say he was just trying to make the doctrine taught by Irenaeus and Hippolytus work.

    What He was actually doing was explaining how all these various prophecies fit together as a precisely defined period of time, that the planned future has a very precise timetable.

    He also concluded that the sixty-nine weeks were a prophecy that accurately predicted to the very day when Messiah would arrive. For if his calculation was correct, the sixty ninth year ended on the very day of our Lord's triumphal entry into Jerusalem, at which time He was announced as the Messiah.

    I have problems with all such claims, for ancient dates simply cannot be determined with that kind of accuracy. For the ancient records do not agree with other. The only time when we can precisely determine an ancient date is when it is specifically stated as so long before or after an astronomical event, such as an eclipse, which is stated in suffuciently precise terms that it can be identified as a particular astronomical event whose time can be precisely calculated.
     
  13. BABerean2

    BABerean2 Newbie Supporter

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    Daniel Chapter 9: Dr. Kelly Varner




    .
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2018
  14. Christian Gedge

    Christian Gedge Active Member

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    Was Artaxerxes 7th year 458 BC?

    Xerxes was assassinated by his high official, Artabanus, who then became regent of Persia for a few months before being executed. In the last half of 465 BC, Xerxes’ son, Artaxerxes, became king. His ‘accession year’ would have lasted until 29th Adar (March) 464 BC when the Persian calendar year ended, and then his first full year would have been, by Persian reckoning, 1st Nisan 464 to 29th Adar 463.

    Hence his years ...

    1st year - Nisan 464 to Adar 463

    2nd year - Nisan 463 to Adar 462

    3rd year - Nisan 462 to Adar 461

    4th year - Nisan 461 to Adar 460

    5th year - Nisan 460 to Adar 459

    6th year - Nisan 459 to Adar 458

    7th year - Nisan 458 to Adar 457​

    Now, the Bible references a decree in Artaxerxes 7th year and dates it as follows:

    So, comparing this verse with the above chart of years certainly explains why so many scholars choose the 458 BC date. The decree was made on the very first day of the year! It seems to be an open and shut case!

    Coming up - Why so many say his 7th year was 457 BC?
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2018
  15. Christian Gedge

    Christian Gedge Active Member

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    Why so many say his 7th year was 457 BC?

    It is because the first set of commentators are counting from a Nisan New Year, and the second group are counting using a Tishri to Tishri system. When Artaxerxes accession year stretches to Tishri, (late September) his 1st full year comes six months later, making the date mentioned refer to the following Nisan instead.

    Yes, the Hebrew New Year began in Nisan (late March) like the Persian one did. (Exodus 12:2) No, the original Hebrew calendar did not have a ‘Rosh Hashanah’ New Year as our modern Jewish one does; nor was there a distinction between ‘civil’ and ‘ecclesiastical’ calendars as so often claimed when discussing this subject.

    However, when it came to a king’s reign, the kingdom of Judah used to offset its regnal years to Tishri in a manner similar to how we designate a ‘fiscal year.’ Advocates for the 457 BC date apply this method to Artaxerxes, reckoning his accession from when his father died until Tishri, 464 BC. His first full year would have been deemed by Jewish writers to have started then, through to Tishri 463 BC. (The books of Ezra and Nehemiah, were not written by Persian historians.) Hence Artaxerxes’ 7th year, they would have meant to be Tishri 458 to Tishri 457 BC.

    Here is an explanatory table:

    View attachment artaxerxes.svg
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 26, 2018
  16. Christian Gedge

    Christian Gedge Active Member

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    Does Scripture support the 457 BC date?

    The argument becomes stronger with more evidence from Nehemiah’s account of Artaxerxes’ 20th year. He says, “In the month of Kislev, in the twentieth year,” (Nehemiah 1:1) then he proceeds to mention the same ‘twentieth’ in the following Nisan. (Nehemiah 2:1-3) If the Persian calendar was being quoted, it would have switched to the 21st year but it didn’t. So, Artaxerxes’ reign was indeed being measured from Tishri to Tishri, the ‘Nisan’ mentioned in this case referring to 444 BC. Put another way, Persian records of the same event, if it was of any interest to them, would have read, ‘twenty-first’ year.

    Scholars from very different theological persuasions have noticed this calendar ‘anomaly.’ For example, Andrews University has been at the forefront of research done on double-dated Jewish papyri found on Elephantine Island that pointed to the same conclusion – Jewish dating in the middle Persian period was being measured from Tishri to Tishri.

    Andrews University had a ‘historicist’ approach to interpreting scripture and Dallas Theological Seminary was ‘futurist.’ However, Harold Hoehner of D.T.S. produced the same results in his book, ‘Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ’. One group preferred the 457 BC date to start counting Daniel 70 weeks, and the other preferred the 444 BC date, but in both cases their logic is built on the information provided by Nehemiah, as well as archaeological research.
     
  17. Christian Gedge

    Christian Gedge Active Member

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    Is there another explanation for the Tishri Count?

    Applying Judah’s regnal year system is reasonable, but there has been an unnoticed matter that may provide an even better explanation. When a continuous count of Sabbatical years is made from the time Moses instituted the Hebrew calendar, (Exodus 12:2,17) a rare Jubilee year coincides with the date of Artaxerxes accession in 465/464 BC!

    Once every 49 years the Hebrews inserted a 50th year and these Jubilees were an exception to the usual Nisan calendar. It started in Tishri and was announced on the Day of Atonement. (Leviticus 25:8-11) Thus, if a Jubilee had of been announced followed by a new king later in the same year, that king’s accession would have extended to the next Tishri.

    However, there is no precedent of this happening among the Judean or Samaritan kings, and the first example in the Bible is the Persian monarch under discussion here. The Jews seems to have measured Artaxerxes reign from Tishri to Tishri in keeping with the rare New Year in force when he took office. (For more information regarding the historical sequence and placement of Sabbatical years, please see my published book, ‘The Atonement Clock.’)

    So, we are left with three possibilities concerning the decree dates:
    1. Artaxerxes reign was being measured on the usual Nisan to Nisan calendar, and Nehemiah's “20th year” was a scribal error. The dates in question, therefore, were 458 BC and 445 BC.
    2. Jewish records of foreign monarchs followed Judah’s former Tishri to Tishri method of recording king’s reigns. The dates in question, therefore, were 457 BC and 444 BC.
    3. Artaxerxes reign began on a Jubilee, hence a Tishri to Tishri system uniquely applied to his reign. The dates in question, like the second option, were 457 BC and 444 BC.

    It is my opinion that the third one here is the correct option, and, having determined the year, the day can now be calculated. Artaxerxes’ decree was the first day of Nisan, and new moon of that year converts to our Julian date, 26th March 457 BC.
     
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  18. LittleLambofJesus

    LittleLambofJesus PESKY DEVIL! GIT! l SAID GIT! Supporter

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    Doesn't a lot of the 7's have to do with the Levitical ordinances?

    Strong's Concordance with Hebrew and Greek Lexicon

    Leviticus 16:29
    This shall be a statute forever for you:
    In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether a native of your own country or a stranger who dwells among you.

    Leviticus 25:
    8 ‘And thou hast numbered to thee seven sabbaths of years, seven years seven times, and the days of the seven sabbaths of years have been to thee nine and forty years, 9 and thou hast caused a trumpet of shouting to pass over in the seventh month, in the tenth of the month;
    in the day of the atonements ye do cause a trumpet to pass over through all your land; 10 and ye have hallowed the year, the fiftieth year; and ye have proclaimed liberty in the land to all its inhabitants; a jubilee it is to you; and ye have turned back each unto his possession; yea, each unto his family ye do turn back.


    .....
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2018
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  19. LoveGodsWord

    LoveGodsWord Well-Known Member

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    Hello brother, nice thread thanks for sharing this useful information. It is also interesting that when using the 457 BC decree for the 483 year timeline of Daniel 9 we hit the BAPTISM of JESUS. The WORD to the coming of the MESSIAH *DANIEL 9:25 in the HEBREW is ANNOINTED.

    The timeline of 27 AD from the 457 decreee leads directly to the begining of the Ministry of JESUS and the time of JESUS public ANNOINTING by the HOLY SPIRIT *MARK 1:7-12. After the Baptism of JESUS and the temptation in the wilderness, JESUS starts his ministry proclaiming " THE TIME IS FULFILLED repent and BELIEVE the GOSPEL" *MARK 1:15. I believe this is a direct fulfillment of DANIEL 9:25. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    God bless
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2018
  20. Christian Gedge

    Christian Gedge Active Member

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    Yes, it’s interesting isn’t it, that Jesus said, “The time is fulfilled!” I absolutely agree with you, that he was referring directly to Daniel’s prophecy.
     
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