Q. From my research, I see that Daniel was taken captive around 605-600 B.C. Yet, while there, he was given a vision of prophecy that would take place 483 years into the future, the coming of the Messiah. I’m having problems reconciling the time leading up to Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday from the 69 weeks of Daniel’s prophecy and the time-frame that he was held captive. Did Daniel have an abnormally long life span?
A. When Daniel received his famous 70 Weeks prophecy (Daniel 9:24-27), Gabriel told him to start counting when a decree was issued authorizing the Israelites to rebuild Jerusalem (Daniel 9:25). The Jews were released from their 70 year captivity when Cyrus the Persian conquered Babylon in approximately 535 BC and began returning to their homeland shortly thereafter. But they didn’t receive permission to rebuild Jerusalem until 445 BC, about 90 years later. This is recorded in Nehemiah 2:1-6, where the 20th year of the reign of Persian King Artaxerxes corresponds to 445 BC.
Also, the key to unlocking Daniel’s prophecy was discovered by Sir Robert Anderson, working in partnership with the London Royal Observatory. They concluded that God was using His original 360 day calendar in giving this prophecy to Daniel, so you have to convert our calendar of 365.25 days to His in making the calculations. You’ll find that 483 years on God’s calendar is only 476 years on ours. And remember, there is no year zero when moving from BC to AD. 483 years of 360 days each from 445 BC brings us to the first Palm Sunday.
Jesus confirmed the validity of Daniel’s prophecy when He rode into Jerusalem that day. Prophesying the coming destruction of Jerusalem, He said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace–but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”
I believe He was holding them accountable for their failure to understand Daniel’s prophecy.