The Messiah would appear 483 years after a call to restore and rebuild Jerusalem

Bible passage: Daniel 9:24-27
Prophet: Daniel
Written: About 537 BC

This article is contributed by Ray Konig, the author of Jesus the Messiah, Jesus the Prophet, Jesus the Miracle Worker, and 100 Fulfilled Bible Prophecies.

By Ray Konig
Published: April 26, 2024

For some scholars and commentators, Daniel 9:24-27 is an incredible prophecy that accurately predicted the time in which Jesus began his public ministry as the promised Messiah.

For others, this prophecy is not fulfilled by Jesus and is not about the Messiah.

This prophecy has been the subject of nearly 2,000 years of commentaries and other writings that reflect an uncountable number of conflicting opinions as to how this prophecy should be translated, understood, interpreted and resolved.

In speaking for itself, however, Daniel 9:24-27 speaks of an Anointed One, who would be cut off, as in rejected and executed, within a Messianic context that calls for resolving the problem of sin, in a final and permanent way, and bringing in everlasting righteousness.

For context, the spiritual task of resolving the problem of sin, in a final and permanent way, is assigned to the Messiah in other Old Testament prophecies, such as Genesis 3:15 and Isaiah 52:13-53:12. And, the bringing in of everlasting righteousness is uniquely linked to the Messiah in Isaiah 9:6-7 and Jeremiah 23:5-6.

Daniel’s prophecy wraps these spiritual events within a predicted timeline that begins with a call to restore and rebuild Jerusalem and ends with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple.

A plain, literal and defendable application of Daniel 9:24-27, specifically verse 25, yields that it accurately predicted the arrival of Jesus as the Anointed One, or Messiah, 483 years after a Persian king began granting decrees to restore and rebuild Jerusalem.

This prophecy was received by Daniel about 2,500 years ago, when Jerusalem was in ruins, after having been destroyed by the Babylonians:

24 Seventy weeks 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.

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.

26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.

27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. (Daniel 9:24-27, KJV)

The underlying Hebrew word that is translated as Anointed One is moshiach, which is rendered in English as Messiah. The word Christ is based on the Greek word for anointed. The terms Anointed One, Messiah and Christ are interchangeable.

The time periods in this prophecy are given as weeks, which are often understood by scholars within Judaism and Christianity to refer to seven-year periods of time, partly because Daniel 9:1-23 is speaking about a period of time that involves years.

With this understanding, the Messiah would appear after the seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks, which works out to a total of 69 seven-year periods of time, which is 483 years.

And this 483-year period was to begin after a commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem.

About a century after Daniel received this prophecy, the King of Persia, Artaxerxes, began giving decrees to restore and rebuild Jerusalem.

His first decree, which was given to Ezra in about 457 BC, granted full religious autonomy to the Jews. This allowed Jerusalem to resume serving as the administrative center for Judaism, which represents the single biggest milestone for the city’s restoration. This decree is recorded in Ezra 7:11-28.

His second decree, which was given was given to Nehemiah in about 445 BC, permitted the rebuilding of the defensive walls around Jerusalem. This allowed Jerusalem to become defendable, which meant it could be more safely repopulated. This decree is described in Nehemiah 2:1-9.

These decrees allowed Jerusalem to transform from a conquered-city-in-ruins to a viable and defendable city that could again be fully repopulated. The work of Ezra and Nehemiah, as documented in their Old Testament books, was completed well within the first time period that Daniel spoke of, which is the seven weeks of years, or 49 years.

During the second time period, which is the sixty-two weeks of years, or 434 years, Jerusalem became fully repopulated.

It was after these two time periods, which total 483 years, that the Messiah was to appear, according to Daniel’s prophecy.

And, that is what happened.

When moving forward 483 years from Artaxerxes’ first decree, which was given in about 457 BC, one ends up in about the year AD 26. This corresponds with the timing in which John the Baptist is recorded as testifying that he witnessed Jesus being anointed by God, through the Holy Spirit, as the Messiah (John 1:29-34).

In other words, Jesus appeared 483 years after the first decree was given to restore and to build Jerusalem, in fulfillment of a plain and literal understanding of the prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27.

Jesus remains the only person in history to have ever achieved or sustained a widespread following as being the promised Messiah. And, he is uniquely associated with the Messianic tasks in Daniel 9:24, by people throughout the world.

© Ray Konig.

Ray Konig is the author of Jesus the Messiah, Jesus the Prophet, Jesus the Miracle Worker, and 100 Fulfilled Bible Prophecies.