Summary: All religious books claim to be the word of God, but prophecy sets the Bible apart as having God’s seal of authentication. This section looks at the exact fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy from the decree to the Messiah.
(Part 4 of 6)
According to the angel of God, once the decree to rebuild Jerusalem went forth, God’s people would know for certain that the Messiah would be in Israel in 483 years. This is a fascinating prophecy that opens up scripture and indisputably points to Jesus Christ as the Messiah. God told His people the exact year and even the day in which He would present Himself as their king. The Bible warns, “to whom much is given, much is required”, so because they refused Him knowing that the time was at hand, God held Israel accountable. Look at Luke 19
41 Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it,
42 saying, "If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.
43 "For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side,
44 "and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation."
In pain and a broken heart, Jesus wept over the city and proclaimed their accountability for killing the prophets and their Messiah. With tears Jesus predicted the destruction of Jerusalem and the leveling of the temple. Why was Jerusalem destroyed? “Because you did not know the time of your visitation”. The Pharisees knew the prophecy. The religious leaders boasted about their knowledge of scripture. Even though they knew the time was now, they did not want a Messiah that undermined their customized religion and challenged their power. They hated Jesus out of pure envy (Mark 15).
Let’s take a moment to examine this prophecy’s timetable. The understood time between the decree and Messiah was 69 weeks of 7 years or 483 years, based on a biblical year (which was 360 days). The total number of days is 173,880. Just as Daniel was the watchman who knew exactly when the bondage of Israel would end (70 years), the scholars of each generation counted down the days when the Messiah would arrive. There are many examples that showed without a doubt that Israel knew that it was time for the Messiah. Three times in Matthew and Mark, the Herodians were mentioned. Who were the Herodians? They were people who understood that the time of Messiah was here and they looked for that leader. Herod was in power and they identified him as the Messiah. They called themselves Herodians identifying themselves as followers of Herod. Herod was a cruel murderer and any student of scripture could easily know that he did not fit the description of the Messiah. Nevertheless, when Herod became king, they assumed that he must be the Messiah the ruler spoken of in Daniel.
The wise men from the east knew. Look at Matthew 2:
1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem,
2 saying, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him."
Unless they were watching, they would not have known to be looking for the Messiah, King of the Jews. We are not given the information as to how they knew, we only know that they watched for a sign, and this star on this date in history was assumed to be the sign they were watching for. It is very likely that they were aware or even students of the scripture provided in Daniel’s prophecy. They could have been of Jewish decent, or they could have been believers following scripture from the time of Daniel when Babylon fell. We can only speculate. However, we know that they are a testimony against those who refuse to recognize the visitation of the Lord.
The faithful in Israel were watchmen who recognized Christ’s coming. Look at Luke 2
25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
27 So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law,
28 he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:
29 "Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word;