Does the Second Coming of Jesus solve the Daniel 9 Prophecy?
INTERPRETATION SIX: 445 BC – Christ’s Second Coming
Commonly known as the ‘Great Parenthesis Interpretation’, this model is again very similar to the other interpretative viewpoints. However, its point of difference is that the first section of time begins not with King Cyrus, but rather in the 20th year of King Artaxerxes (as this is argued to be the starting point of the prophecy due to Nehemiah began the restoration of the Temple Walls (Nehemiah 1:1; 2:1; 5:4)).
· Therefore, from this marker, the “seven weeks” represents the time it took to rebuild and complete Jerusalem’s Walls (i.e. to the 32nd year of King Artaxerxes (Nehemiah 5:14; 13:6)).
· The following “62 weeks” is then said to start from the Walls, right up to Jesus Christ’s last literal week of ministry during his ‘Triumphant Entry’ into Jerusalem as mentioned in John 12:12-19.
· However, with regard to the “final seven years”, it is argued that the seven years represents Jesus’ last literal ‘seven days’ (i.e. where he is “cut off”), but also incorporates his second return in the future. That is, it is argued that the ‘prophetic clock’ is stopped, but is turned on again in a futuristic time nearing Christ’s second coming. Thus the remainder of the ‘final seven years’ are said to involve modern day Israel (who will be befriended by a modern day Roman Prince who will inevitably establish a ‘covenant’ with the Jews). This is the last tribulation period that ends with the second coming of Christ.
· Overall, the prophecy is broken into two timelines: 445 BC to 25 AD, followed by the last 7 years in the future.
· Firstly, the year of 445 BC (that is advocated as being the 20th year of King Artaxerxes) is in hot debate, as most scholars see this date as being inaccurate. This is because King Artaxerxes is mentioned in the Book of Ezra alongside King Cyrus and King Darius (Ezra 4), positioning King Artaxerxes’ first year to be 529BC, making his 20th year 509BC (and not 445BC).
· However, even if 445 BC is perceived as the starting marker for this particular interpretation (which it isn't), then the “seven weeks” which is said to end in the 32nd year of King Artaxerxes, is confusing. That is, if the work on the Temple Walls began in the 20th year of King Artaxerxes, and was completed in the 32nd year of King Artaxerxes, then simple mathematics asserts that the Walls took only 12 years to complete (i.e. 20th year of Artaxerxes to the 32nd year of King Artaxerxes = 12 years). It seems somewhat questionable to argue that 12 years must equate to the “seven weeks” (i.e. 49 years).
· With regard to the “62 weeks” beginning from the Temple Walls to the last literal week of Jesus Christ’s ministry (in 25 AD), it is unclear whether the starting point of the “62 weeks” is from the beginning of the Jerusalem Walls (i.e. the 20th year of King Artaxerxes) or at its completion (i.e. the 32nd year of King Artaxerxes). Either way, both timeframes do not add up to 434 years (62 weeks). In other words, if 445 BC is perceived as the correct starting date for the 20th year of King Artaxerxes, this equates to 470 years (i.e. 445 BC to 25 AD = 470 years). If however, the starting date begins at the completion of the Walls (i.e. the 32nd year of King Artaxerxes (which would presumably be 433 BC), then this equates to 458 years (i.e. 433 BC to 25 AD = 458 years). Neither of these timelines equal 434 years, and are therefore inaccurate.
· Reviewing the ‘extended’ “final seven years”, this too becomes problematic, as the 490 years is seen to be greater than 2500 years (i.e. from King Artaxerxes to some point in the future)
· And finally, others realising that this interpretative viewpoint has its flaws, have readjusted Jesus’ death to be in the year 33AD… but this date also does not equate to the exact figures of either 434 years, 483 years or 490 years in total.
· Overall, this interpretation has tried to advocate a literal interpretation of the “70 weeks” prophecy, but due to conflicts in accurate dating … as well as calculations not adding up to 490 years, it too falls short of being correct.
For a visual description of ‘Interpretation Six’, please refer to the chart below