The Bible contains literally thousands of specific prophecies that have endured the test of time. What’s so significant about the Bible is that the prophecies it contains, many of which were given thousands of years before their actual fulfillment, have been fulfilled with 100% accuracy over time. In more than five hundred specific cases, the Bible has clearly and specifically predicted the future, with the fulfillment verified by historians and archeologists throughout the ages. In many cases, the fulfillment of these prophecies can be verified using a common encyclopedia. No other book would dare to predict future events in such great detail, and certainly, no other book can come close to matching this level of accuracy. The Bible is truly unique, for its track record of predicting the future simply defies mathematical probability.
Prophecy is what makes the Bible unique among other religious works such as the writings of Muhammad, Buddha, Confucius or the Book of Mormon. Indeed, thousands of years ago, the God of the Bible made a bold challenge to all other religions and prophets to use prophecy as the test by which to measure all other religions (Isaiah 41:22-23). So far, there has been no credible response to God’s challenge for a religion to put its reputation on the line by accurately predicting the future.
In the opportunities I have had to teach over the past year, I have frequently found people shocked to learn that the Bible accurately predicted the exact dates certain events would occur – often thousands of years ahead of time. These events include when Jesus Christ, the long-awaited Jewish Messiah, would come to the earth when Israel would be restored to being a nation again following World War II, when Israel would gain control of Jerusalem again as well as when the people of ancient Israel would be released from their captivity in Babylon. All of these prophecies had specific dates and timelines associated with them in the Bible, and all were fulfilled exactly as they were predicted – many to the exact day — even though their fulfillment was often thousands of years later.
These prophecies are amazing because unlike more generic prophecies (such as the fall of certain world empires or moral decay in the end times), there can be no question that these prophecies were divinely inspired and positively prove that the Bible is unique among all other works. For a book to predict the future to the day not once, not twice but at least half-a-dozen different times hundreds or thousands of years into the future is unquestionably and mathematically impossible – unless God’s hand were at work.
My purpose in writing this article is to provide an overview of a few of these prophecies and to show how they were fulfilled exactly as predicted to demonstrate the power of prophecy in the Bible.
Before delving deeply into each specific prophecy, it’s important to point out a couple of things that will help individuals replicate the calculations and timelines that follow.
First, the prophecies cited in this article come from the Old Testament and were delivered by prophets 500-600 years before the coming of Christ. At this time, of course, the Christian (also known as the Julian and then subsequently Gregorian) calendar had not yet been invented. The calendar used by the prophets was the Jewish calendar, which is very different than our own. It is lunar-solar and has only twelve months of thirty days each, for a total of 360 days a year, as opposed to the solar year used by us today which consists of 365.242 days (the .242 fraction represents the leap year which occurs every four years, and the occasional leap century). Although this may sound confusing, all it means is that when a prophecy in the Bible says something will take “70 years” for example, it means “70 years of 360-days each” or a total of 25,200 days as opposed to the “70 years of 365.242 days” or a total of 25,567 days which we would be used to.
This difference in the length of a Jewish year from our own solar year is important to keep in mind when evaluating prophecies in the Bible that have specific, measurable time frames that can be computed. Failure to take this into account has frequently confused people through time and led to miscalculations and misinterpretations of prophecy. Evidence that the 360-day Jewish calendar was used in prophecy includes Noah’s account of the flood in the book of Genesis where 150 days are recorded as five months (from the seventeenth day of the second month to the seventeenth day of the seventh month, Genesis 7:11, 24, 8:3-4), Esther’s account of the six-month-long feast of King Xerxes (which lasted exactly 180 days, Esther 1:4) and John’s account of the end times in Revelation where he describes the last three and one-half years as precisely 1,260 days or forty two months (Revelation 12:6,14, 13:5).
The second important point to keep in mind when calculating timelines in the Bible is that there was no year zero on the Christian calendar – we went directly from 1 B.C. to 1 A.D. Adjusting for this requires that we add a year when converting from the Jewish calendar to the Christian calendar when the period in question crosses the 1 B.C./1 A.D. date.
With these two points in mind, we can then proceed to evaluate some of the Bible’s most amazing prophecies.
The Babylonian Captivity
In the Old Testament days, after the time of David and Solomon, the ancient nation of Israel fell into decline and turned away from God. Because of this, the Lord sent various prophets (Jeremiah, Obadiah, Joel, Jonah, Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Micah, Nahum, Zephaniah, and Habakkuk) to warn the people of Israel of the consequence of their sin and to pronounce His judgment upon them. This judgment was certain destruction of the nation by the hands of foreign invaders if Israel did not turn from its wicked ways. The people of Israel did not listen to the prophets and continued to disobey, so God sent Babylon to invade and destroy the nation (Jeremiah 5:19, 7:22-34). The story of Israel’s disobedience, the warnings given by the prophets, Israel’s captivity into Babylon, and their return from this captivity fills the majority of the Old Testament.
One of the most interesting prophecies regarding this captivity was given by the prophet Jeremiah the year Israel was taken captive by Babylon. In this prophecy, Jeremiah predicted that the captivity would last seventy years, after which, the Israelites would return to the city of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 25:11, 29:10). Was Jeremiah correct in his prediction? Was the Bible accurate in this case?
To understand these events, we need to look no further than a history book or a common encyclopedia. From these, we learn that the nation of Israel encountered three separate sieges by the Babylonians:
- The first started in 605 B.C. when King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon invaded the region and subsequently laid siege to Jerusalem and defeated Jehoiakim, the King of Judah (the southern kingdom of Israel). Nebuchadnezzar then carried off many Israelites (including the prophet Daniel), along with some of the articles from the Temple to Babylon (Daniel 1:1-2). Judah then became a subject state of Babylon and had to pay tribute (taxes) to Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 24:1).
- The second siege started after the Egyptians encouraged Judah to rebel in 601 B.C. In 598 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar returned to Jerusalem and again laid siege to the city of Jerusalem. The city fell on March 16, 597 B.C. and the rebellion was crushed. Jehoiachin, the king of Judah at the time, and many of the country’s leaders, laborers, and craftsmen (including the prophet Ezekiel) were taken to Babylon in exile (2 Kings 24:10-16).
- The final siege occurred in 588 B.C. when despite the two prior attempts, Zedekiah, a puppet king placed on the throne of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar, appealed to the Egyptians for help and once again rebelled. On January 15th, 588 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar again invaded Judah and laid siege to Jerusalem. After about 30 months, the city was taken on July 18th, 586 B.C. and the rebellion crushed. Zedekiah and the remaining survivors (including the prophet Jeremiah) were carried off as slaves to Babylon. During this final siege, Nebuchadnezzar plundered the Temple and carried off various articles (including the bronze pillars of the Temple). He then set fire to, and destroyed the city of Jerusalem along with Solomon’s Temple, the great centerpiece of the Jewish faith, on August 13, 586 B.C. (Jeremiah 39:1-10, 52:1-23, 2 Kings 20b-25:21). The Jewish people still commemorate this tragic day which is known as “Tisha b’ Av”.
A complete timeline of these, and other events mentioned in this article is contained in the appendix. With this knowledge, we can then proceed to look at the timeline and the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s 70-year prophecy:
In October, 539 B.C., the Babylonian Empire fell to the empire of the Medes and Persians. The city of Babylon itself fell without a battle when the Medes and Persians diverted the water of the Euphrates River flowing through the city and, marching at night under the gates of the city, captured it while the Babylonian king was throwing a large feast. Both the secular historians Herodotus and Xenophon describe this event as did the prophet Daniel (Daniel 5). Cyrus II, the king of the Media-Persian Empire, established a new, enlightened policy of peaceful relationships throughout the empire and in 538 B.C. issued a decree that Jews would be allowed to return to Israel along with the treasures that were originally taken from the Temple by Nebuchadnezzar. It was this policy that allowed Cyrus to expand the Empire and still administer and control far-off nations. About 50,000 Jews left Babylon in 537 B.C. and did return to their original homeland, arriving in 536 B.C.
Unfortunately, we don’t know from history the exact day that the first siege of Jerusalem occurred which would start Jeremiah’s clock, but we do know that it had to occur between June and August of 605 B.C. because of two events that history records bookmarked this event – the first being the battle of Carchemish between the Egyptians and Nebuchadnezzar which occurred between May and June of 605 B.C. and the second being when Nebuchadnezzar returned to Babylon on August 16, 605 B.C. upon hearing of the death of his father.
The prophecy from Jeremiah states that the captivity would last 70 years after which the Israelites would return to the city of Jerusalem. If we convert from the Jewish calendar to the Christian calendar (by multiplying 70 by 360 and then dividing by 365.242), we end up with almost exactly 69 years of time on the Jewish calendar. Starting from June-August 605 B.C. (the year Israel lost its sovereignty and the first group of Jewish people were taken into captivity following the first siege), we can subtract 69 and expect to see from this prophecy that the captivity should have ended in the summer of 536 B.C. with the return of the first group of Jews back to Jerusalem. From history, we can clearly see that this was the case – the people of Israel were indeed taken captive in 605 B.C. from their nation and did return exactly 70 years later on the Jewish calendar – arriving in the summer of 536 B.C. Unfortunately, again, history doesn’t record the exact day of their return, but we do know that the Altar of the Temple was rebuilt in September-October 536 B.C. and rebuilding this would have been a priority for the Jewish people, so it is logical to conclude that they did, indeed, arrive one to three months prior in the summer as we would expect.
We can see from this that Jeremiah’s prophecy of the 70-years of captivity was fulfilled exactly as predicted. Clearly, Jeremiah was a prophet of the true God.
The Restoration of Israel as a Nation
The second prophecy we’ll look at concerns the restoration of Israel as a nation. The rebirth of Israel as a country in 1948 after 2,000 years of dispersion is a hallmark event in Bible prophecy. Many Old Testament prophets foresaw this event and many people are familiar with these prophecies. When Israel became a nation again on May 14, 1948, it marked the first time since AD 70 that the people of Israel had a nation to call their own. It marked the first time since 605 BC that Israel had its own sovereign nation, which was not under the control of another world power. The importance of this event cannot be overestimated – no other nation in history has ever ceased to exist for centuries and then returned as a nation to its former land to regain its place in world history – and the Bible predicted this is exactly what would occur, thousands of years before it happened.
However, as remarkable as it was for the nation of Israel to be reborn at all, it was even more remarkable that the nation was reborn on the exact day in history when the Bible said it would be! To understand this prophecy, we must look to the prophet Ezekiel. In 593 B.C., Ezekiel received a vision from God. In this vision, the prophet was told to “act out” the coming siege of Jerusalem. Ezekiel’s vision and subsequent timeline start with the siege of Jerusalem (Ezekiel 4:2). Ezekiel is told to “lay siege to it. Erect siegeworks against it, build a ramp up to it, set up camps against it and put battering rams around it.” Clearly, the timeline of this prophecy starts with Nebuchadnezzar’s sieges against Jerusalem as described above. Ezekiel is then told by God in his vision to lie on his left side for 390 days to represent the bearing of the sins of the house of Israel (the Northern kingdom following their split) and then on his right side for 40 days to represent the bearing of the sins of the house of Judah (the Southern kingdom of Israel). Ezekiel is told that God has “assigned you the same number of days as the years of their sin” (Ezekiel 4:4-6). What this prophecy means is that God’s pronounced judgment for the people of Israel would last 430 years. God then proceeds to describe the nature of the coming judgments upon Israel.
Was this prophecy correct in its prediction? We know from the previous section that the Babylonian captivity lasted 70 years. If we subtract this from the 430, we end up with 360 years of punishment that should remain for the people of Israel following the Babylonian captivity. If we convert between the calendars and do the math, we would expect to see God’s punishment for Israel end between 182 and 164 B.C. (depending upon whether we use the first siege when Israel lost being a sovereign nation or the third siege when Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed – both very significant events to the Jewish people). However, looking through history, these dates don’t correspond to any known dates or significant events in Israel’s history. What should we say then? Was the Bible wrong in its prediction?
To better understand this prophecy and God’s punishment for Israel in more detail, we need to go back to the original covenant the people of Israel made with God at Mt. Sinai. After Moses led the people of Israel out of captivity in Egypt, they wandered around the wilderness for 40 years. During this time, God made a covenant (or contract) with the people of Israel through Moses. In this covenant, God promised that if Israel obeyed His commandments, He would treat them as His treasured possession. He would make them a kingdom of priests, with direct access to God, and a Holy nation. The people of Israel affirmed this covenant and agreed to “do everything the Lord had said” (Exodus 19:3-8). The Israelites however, promptly broke God’s commandments by making and worshiping idols (Exodus 32:1-10). They then repented of this sin, and God renewed the covenant He had made with them. God promised to bless them above every nation of the earth, and do wonders for them never before done for any nation in the world if they remained obedient to Him (Exodus 34:10, Deuteronomy 28:1). However, as part of this renewed covenant, God promised that if they disobeyed Him again, they would be disciplined. Moses prophesied that this discipline would take the form of two future dispersions, where the nation of Israel would be taken from their country and scattered throughout the nations.
Moses prophesied that the first time the Israelites disobeyed God, they would be conquered by an as-of-yet unknown nation which would lay siege to Jerusalem (Deuteronomy 28:36, 49, 52). The first conquering of Jerusalem was, of course, by Babylon, which did not exist in 1410 BC when Moses made this prophecy and wouldn’t conquer Israel until 800 years later. The second time the Israelites disobeyed God Moses prophesized, the survivors would be scattered throughout the world in every nation. They would worship idols, be relentlessly persecuted and be without a country (Deuteronomy 4:27-31, 28:64-68).
What’s interesting to note about these prophecies from Moses regarding Israel’s punishment are several passages in Leviticus. In these verses, God clearly stated four different times that if Israel didn’t obey God the first time (Babylon), he would multiply Israel’s punishment by seven.
- “If after all this you will not listen to me, I will punish you for your sins seven times over” (Leviticus 26:18).
- “If you remain hostile toward me and refuse to listen to me, I will multiply your afflictions seven times over” (Leviticus 26:21).
- “If in spite of these things you do not accept my correction but continue to be hostile toward me, I myself will be hostile toward you and will afflict you for your sins seven times over” (Leviticus 26:23-24).
- “If in spite of this you still do not listen to me but continue to be hostile toward me, then in my anger I will be hostile toward you, and I myself will punish you for your sins seven times over” (Leviticus 26:27).
God then proceeds to describe His punishment: “I will scatter you among the nations….” (Leviticus 26:33).
Basically, when God made the original covenant with the people of Israel, He knew they would break it, even though He would send numerous prophets warning the Israelites of His pending judgment. God is merciful and the first dispersion (the Babylonian captivity) was intended as a wakeup call or warning shot. Even though the people ignored the prophets, surely they would recognize God’s hand in their captivity and turn back to Him so that upon their release, they would again be obedient to His laws and have a right and restored relationship with Him. However, as stated in Leviticus, if they didn’t turn back to Him and continued to break God’s laws even after this warning shot, God’s anger would burn and he would multiply their punishment by seven.
Knowing this, let’s then look at the timeline and see if multiplying the remaining punishment after the Babylonian captivity by seven yields anything meaningful.
First, looking at Ezekiel’s prophecy, we have to realize the clock starts with the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem (“lay siege to it”) as opposed to the end of the siege when the city itself actually fell. This leads us to use slightly different dates than what we did for Jeremiah’s prophecy. The question, of course, is which ‘siege’ should we use? Ezekiel didn’t specify in his prophecy and both the first siege (when Israel lost its national sovereignty) and the third siege (when Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed) were very significant to the Jewish people. Let’s see what happens if we look at both.
If we consider the first siege when Israel lost its national sovereignty and was taken captive by Babylon, we should subtract the time of the captivity (the 70 years) and start from the date that Israel was released from this captivity to evaluate if multiplying the remaining punishment by seven yields a fulfillment. Although Cyrus issued an edict in 538 B.C. regarding Israel’s release, it wasn’t until July 23, 537 B.C. when the first group of Jewish captives organized, gathered their provisions and former Temple treasures as allowed by Cyrus’s decree, and left Babylon on their “exodus” to return to their original land in Palestine. If we start from this date, we would expect the fulfillment to occur 360 years times seven later on the Jewish calendar – or a total of 2,520 years or 907,200 days. Converting between the calendars and adding one to account for the fact that there was no year zero on the Christian calendar, we end up with 2,483 years, 9 months and 12 days on the Christian calendar. Adding this to July 23, 537 B.C., we would then expect the fulfillment to occur on the 14th day of the 5th month of 1948 or May 14, 1948. What happened on this date? This is the exact date that the nation of Israel declared its independence and was reborn after almost 2,000 years of dispersion. In fact on May 14, 1948, the first Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben Gurion, citied this prophecy in the book of Ezekiel as his authority for proclaimed Israel as the new Jewish homeland. The nation of Israel was re-established on the exact day predicted by the Bible! The story of how Israel was reborn is a remarkable one since no other nation in history ever has fallen off the map only to be reborn thousands of years later. The rebirth truly was a miracle of God, but even more so since He fulfilled the rebirth exactly to the day which the prophet Ezekiel predicted more than 2,500 years earlier.
Now consider what happens if we start with the third siege by Babylon when the city of Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed. If we subtract the time of the captivity (the 70 years), we see we should start from the date when the “desolations of Jerusalem” (the time when Jerusalem was uninhabited) was recognized as having been completed, which was on August 16, 518 B.C. Counting from this date and converting between the calendars as we did before, we would then expect the fulfillment to occur on the 7th day of the 6th month of 1967 or June 7, 1967. What happened on this date? This is the exact date that the nation of Israel captured the old city of Jerusalem (the site of the Temple Mount) in the Six-Day War. Even though Israel was permitted to declare statehood under a plan by the United Nations in 1948, it didn’t hold Jerusalem. It was only on this date that Jerusalem was fully again under the control of Israel – the first time this was the case since the original fall of the city to Nebuchadnezzar.
What we see from Ezekiel’s prophecy is that God fulfilled to the exact day the time during which Israel would be punished. And even though there were multiple sieges of the city, God’s timeline still held – Israel lost its national sovereignty for “430 years” and Jerusalem and the Temple mount were out of Jewish control of “430 years”. Obviously, these prophecies defy mathematical probability of occurring by random chance and certainly couldn’t have been fulfilled by calculating Jews who may have been aware of these prophecies, since the Jewish people certainly didn’t control the timing of the initial sieges by Babylon or when the nation of Israel would be reborn. The later only occurred after the horrible events of World War II when Jewish refugees had nowhere to go and world sentiment was such that it was actually feasible for a new Jewish homeland to be created in the land of Palestine by the United Nations. Certainly, Israel also couldn’t predict the timing of the Six-Day War or exactly the date upon which Jerusalem would be recaptured.
So, what can we conclude? Only that once again the hand of God must have been at work in the fulfillment of these prophecies and that Ezekiel was a true prophet of God.
The Coming of the Messiah
The third and final prophecy that we’ll look at pertains to the coming of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. Although certainly many Christians are aware that the Old Testament contains many prophecies concerning the coming of Christ – literally hundreds related to aspects such as where He would be born, where He would minister, what lineage He would descent from, what His death would be like and so forth, I’ve found very few people are aware that the Bible actually predicted the exact day of His coming, which was foretold by the prophet Daniel.
In 538 BC, during the time that Israel was being held captive by the Babylonians, the prophet Daniel recognized that the time of Israel’s captivity would soon be coming to an end. It had been sixty-seven years since Jerusalem was conquered by Babylon, and Daniel had been studying the prophecies that said the captivity would last only seventy years. He then proceeded to pray for the people of Israel and that the prophecies concerning the 70-year captivity would be fulfilled. During this time of prayer, the angel Gabriel appeared to Daniel and provided one of the most amazing prophecies in all of scripture (Daniel 9:23-27). Although the seventy years of captivity would come to an end, the angel of God declared that this would not be the end of Israel’s punishment for breaking God’s covenant. Rather, the punishment would last ‘seventy sevens’:
Therefore, consider the message and understand the vision: Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city… from the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench but in times of trouble. After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary…(Daniel 9:23-26a)
In essence, Gabriel was correcting Daniel’s misunderstanding concerning when the Messianic Kingdom would be set up. He did this by providing a timeline and series of events that would not only lead to the end of the Babylonian captivity and the restoration of Jerusalem, but also to the first coming of the Messiah and various other future events related what most know of as the Tribulation period, which occurs prior to Christ’s second coming. For the sake of this article, however, we will only focus on the timeline leading up to the first coming of Christ.
The key to understanding this passage (Daniel 9:23-27) is to recognize that the ‘sevens’ mentioned refer to seven-year periods. This is certainly the case: the original Hebrew translation of this phrase supports this interpretation and Daniel had clearly been thinking about the years of captivity Israel had endured. Gabriel was essentially using a play on words in the Hebrew text, pointing out that the Messiah’s Kingdom would not be established in “seventy years”, which is what Daniel had been expecting, but rather “seventy sevens of years” (seventy times seven, a total of 490 years). Therefore, the “seventy sevens” refers to seventy, seven-year periods of time. Essentially, what the angel was telling Daniel about Jeremiah’s prophecy was similar to what we saw related to Ezekiel’s prophecy – namely that the punishment of Israel was to be multiplied by seven due to Israel’s disobedience.
The seventy ‘sevens’ are divided into three separate units – seven ‘sevens’, 62 ‘sevens’ and one ‘seven’. The second block of time is said to immediately follow the first for a total of 69 ‘sevens’ or 483 years (69 periods of 7 years each). The first event we read of in Daniel’s timeline is “the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem.” From history, we know that this decree was issued by the Persian King Artaxerxes on March 14, 445 B.C., which started the countdown of Daniel’s seventy ‘sevens’. The decree was issued at the request of Nehemiah, an advisor to the king, who was deeply concerned upon hearing news that the remnant that traveled back to Jerusalem had run into significant difficulties in rebuilding the city of Jerusalem itself. From the issuing of this decree in 445 B.C., this prophecy says there will be 483 years until the “anointed one, the ruler, comes”. Who is this “anointed one?” The Hebrew translation of this word literally means “Mashiach” or “the Messiah”. Therefore, this is a prophecy about the timing of the coming of the Messiah to the earth.
What will the arrival of the Messiah look like? The prophet Zechariah provides the answer: “Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (Zechariah 9:9). Zechariah’s prophecy describes the coming of the Messiah, riding into Jerusalem. The people of Israel were awaiting a political savior to ride into the city of Jerusalem and free them from the nations that ruled over them. Zechariah describes this event but describes it not as a conquering King riding into the city on a lofty steed, but rather as a humble savior riding in a humble donkey.
Converting between the calendars, the 483 years mentioned in this prophecy (the first 49 plus the second 434) add up to 173,880 days. If we add this time to March 14, 445 B.C., we end up with the 6th day of the 4th month of the 32nd year or April 6, AD 32 which is when we would expect the Messiah to arrive. What happened on this day? Exactly 173,880 days from the issuing of Artaxerxes’ decree, Jesus Christ made His triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and fulfilled this prophecy just as it was predicted.
The passage then goes on to say that various events would happen after the sixty-nine ‘sevens’. These events include the “cutting off” of the Anointed One, the destruction of the city and the Temple, and the continuation of wars. These events were fulfilled just as they were predicted. The Hebrew word “cut off” translated is a common word used in the Mosaic Law and simply means, ‘to be killed’. This is fitting with the coming of Jesus Christ and His death on a cross. The destruction of the city and the Temple a second time we know from history would occur in 70 AD at the hands of the Romans.
The implications of this single prophecy and what it describes are enormous – this Old Testament passage actually predicted that the Messiah would come in AD 32 and would later be killed at some point before the destruction of the city and the Temple which we know would later occur in 70 AD. It is amazing to consider why so many Jewish people ignored this prophecy regarding the coming of the Messiah and rejected Jesus Christ when they had waited so patiently for His arrival and their own Scriptures predicted the exact day of His coming. If the Messiah was not on earth 483 years after the decree was issued to rebuild Jerusalem and then was not killed in accordance with this prophecy sometime before the destruction of the city and the Temple in 70 AD, then Daniel was a false prophet and his book shouldn’t be included in the Hebrew Scriptures. But if Daniel was not a false prophet, then there is no other conclusion but that Jesus Christ was truly the Messiah that the Hebrew Scriptures describe. There is simply no other person that could have fulfilled this prophecy – and he fulfilled it to the exact day it was predicted to occur.
Again, looking at this amazing prophecy and the others contained in this article, what can we say other than God’s hand was at work and that the prophets of the Old Testament truly were inspired by God? What other book could so accurately and precisely foretell events that would occur hundreds and thousands of years into the future and get them right, often to the exact day? The implications are simply that we must believe in the God of the Bible, the word of God as contained in scripture, and be obedient to what it says. There is simply no other conclusion one can draw from a book that has shown that it could foretell the future to the exact day, multiple times thousands of years in advance.
Appendix: Timeline of Events
|May-June, 605 BC||Egypt defeated at the battle of Carchemish by Nebuchadnezzar. Judah loses its ‘protection’.||Bible Dictionary, Ryrie/Bible (Jeremiah 46:2)-MM, World History (-MM), Lion (-MM)|
|June-August, 605 BC||First siege – Jehoiakim of Judah submits to Nebuchadnezzar. Numerous carried off to Babylon (including Daniel) as well as various Temple treasures.||Ryrie/Bible (Daniel 1:1)|
|December, 598 BC||Start of second siege after Jehoiachin rebels.||Bible Dictionary, World History (-MM)|
|March 16, 597 BC||End of the second siege. Jehoiachin, the king of Judah at the time, and many others (including the prophet Ezekiel), as well as various temple treasures, were taken to Babylon in exile||Bible Dictionary, Bible (2 Kings 24:10-17) -DD, World History (-DD), Lion (-DD)|
|January 15, 588 BC||Start of the third siege after Zedekiah rebels||Ryrie/Bible (Jeremiah 39:1-10, 52:1-23), 2 Kings 24:20b-25:1), World History (-DD)|
|July 16, 586 BC||End of the third siege. Zedekiah blinded and he with the remaining survivors (including the prophet Jeremiah) were carried off as slaves to Babylon along with various temple treasures.||Ryrie/Bible (2 Kings 25:2-4), World History (-DD), Lion (-DD)|
|August 13, 586 BC||Nebuchadnezzar destroys the city of Jerusalem & Temple by fire.||Ryrie/Bible (2 Kings 25:8-10)|
| October 12, 539 BC |
October 16, 539 BC
|Babylon empire falls to Media-Persia|| Ryrie, Bible (Ezra 1:1)-DD, World History (-DD), Lion (-DD) |
|538 BC||Edict by Cyrus II to release Israel from captivity||Bible (Ezra 1:1), Lion|
|July 23, 537 BC||Israel released from servitude||To His Glory Ministries, Bible Dictionary (-MM)|
|536 BC||First return of people (49,897) to Israel||Ryrie/Bible (Ezra 1-2)|
|September-October 536 BC||Altar rebuilt||Ryrie/Bible (Ezra 3:4)|
|Spring 535 BC||Foundation for Second Temple laid||Ryrie/Bible (Ezra 3:8-13)|
|August 16, 518 BC||Completion of “desolations of Jerusalem”||To His Glory Ministries|
|March 12, 515 BC||The rebuilding of Temple completed||Bible (Ezra 6:15)|
|March 14, 445 BC||A decree issued by Artaxerxes to “restore and rebuild” city of Jerusalem||Ryrie/Bible (Nehemiah 2:1-8)|
|April 6, 32 AD||Christ makes a triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday||Bible (Matthew 21:1-11)|
|May 14, 1948||Israel restored to being a sovereign nation||Various|
|June 7, 1967||Jerusalem & temple mount re-captured||Various|
- ‘Bible Dictionary’: New Bible Dictionary, Second Edition., Tyndale.
- ‘Ryrie/Bible’: Ryrie Study Bible, Expanded Edition. Charles Caldwell Ryrie, Moody Press.
- ‘World History’: Encyclopedia of World History, Peter N. Stearns, Houghton Mifflin.
Two useful (secular) resources that I’ve found to verify events and dates include Peter N. Stearns, The Encyclopedia of World History and Microsoft’s Encarta Encyclopedia.
These calculations based on “The Fig Tree Blossoms” from To His Glory Ministries
This calculation originally performed in 1895 by Sir Robert Anderson, the head of Scotland Yard in The Coming Prince, p. 127